After flying out of the embassy, he immediately felt a bit more at ease as he looked around and realized that he wasn’t the only person to have been issued an imperial edict.
Celestial Virūpākṣa and the other celestials were also included. Back when powerful experts of the Vile-Emperor Dynasty had been fighting those from the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, they had all been working together. But the truth was that, normally speaking, they were always at odds.
People noticed Bai Xiaochun, but did little more than look at him before moving along. That also served to put him more at ease.
“This thing probably isn’t about me specifically….” he thought. “After all, I'm the ambassador from the Saint-Emperor Dynasty. The Vile-Emperor probably just invited me to attend out of formality.” Feeling calmer than ever, he flew up to the imperial palace. Upon arriving, he saw a beam of light approaching, within which was a woman.
She was beautiful, but cold beyond measure. Most people edged away from her subconsciously, seemingly unwilling to even come into contact with the ghost qi that surrounded her.
She was none other than… Gongsun Wan’er!
Because Bai Xiaochun had given her a chunk of the sovereign's flesh back in the second immortal domain, she had acquired a reward that none of the other celestials did. Despite that, she treated Bai Xiaochun as coldly as ever, almost as if she didn’t even notice him.
Bai Xiaochun had originally planned to call out a greeting, but upon seeing how she was acting, gave an inward harrumph. He was really getting convinced that Gongsun Wan’er had mental problems. Considering that, he wasn’t inclined to pay her any attention, and simply turned to enter the imperial palace.
And yet, even as Gongsun Wan’er walked past him, he heard an almost undetectably quiet voice in his ear.
Only those two words were spoken, nothing else. And yet, ripples of divine sense could be detected inside the imperial palace in response to them, as though people had noticed. By then, Gongsun Wan’er was past Bai Xiaochun and in the imperial palace.
He stood in place for a long moment. Moments ago, he had calmed himself down, only to have that calm shattered by Gongsun Wan’er’s words. And yet, there was no going back now. Steeling himself, he entered the imperial palace.
He was in no mood to marvel at the magnificent imperial palace. Feeling the pressure mounting, he entered the main hall to find numerous banquet tables set up, spread with immortal liquor and spirit fruits. There was also a host of handmaidens present to serve the guests.
Bai Xiaochun looked around hesitantly at all the tables. He recognized many of the people here. Virūpākṣa, Gongsun Wan’er, Prince Ur-Demon, Celestial Deadfall, Daoist Heavenspan…. There were also quite a few demigod experts that he had seen before.
At the far end of the hall near the Dragon Throne was the Vile-Prince, who was currently chatting with the cultivators seated near him. When he noticed Bai Xiaochun, he looked over and laughed heartily.
“Ambassador Bai! Come come, sit here with me!” He even rose to his feet, walked over, and cordially put his arm over Bai Xiaochun’s shoulder to lead him over to the table.
Bai Xiaochun cautiously went along. After being seated, he looked over at the Vile-Prince and asked, “What’s the occasion, Vile-Prince?”
“My father the emperor recently had a cultivation breakthrough, and instructed me to throw a little banquet. I invited all of the officials and officers of the Vile-Emperor Dynasty, first to offer their congratulations, and second to, er… well, Ambassador Bai, most of your time in Vile-Emperor City has been spent in seclusion. You should really spend a bit more time getting to know the cultivators of the Vile-Emperor Dynasty.” He chuckled a bit, during which time many of the surrounding cultivators turned to look at Bai Xiaochun.
The celestials’ eyes were cold, and more than one derisive smile could be seen. Clearly, none of them had any desire to conceal the revulsion they felt for Bai Xiaochun.
As of this moment, Bai Xiaochun realized that this banquet… had indeed been set up to target him!
And the likely culprit wasn’t the Vile-Emperor, but rather, the Vile-Prince!
Bai Xiaochun’s brow furrowed slightly, but then he relaxed. Laughing heartily, he took a casual swig of some immortal alcohol, and then cast an enigmatic smile in the Vile-Prince’s direction.
In response, the Vile-Prince’s eyes flickered with icy light, and he chuckled again. Apparently, everyone who had been invited was now gathered. It was at this point that divine sense fluctuations spread out that clearly surpassed anything from a celestial. Before any of the shaken guests could react, someone appeared on the Dragon Throne!
He wore a dragon robe, and an imperial crown, and despite his expressionless face, looked like some sort of god. He was none other than… the Vile-Emperor!
Everyone, Bai Xiaochun included, shot to their feet, clasped hands, and bowed.
“Greetings, Vile-Emperor!” they said in unison.
The Vile-Emperor said nothing. Waving his hand dismissively, he closed his eyes, as though nothing present were worthy of attracting his interest.
Apparently, there were many people here who were used to the Vile-Emperor, and understood the significance of his action. And many of them began to cast occasional glances in the direction of the Vile-Prince and Bai Xiaochun.
As for Bai Xiaochun, he was now feeling more convinced than ever that this was no banquet.
“No matter what he has planned, I just have to play along…. I refuse to believe that I can commit some sort of capital offense while simply enjoying some alcohol!” Snorting coldly in his heart, he kept a calm expression on his face.
At this point the Vile-Prince rose to his feet, eyes narrowed.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said with a smile, “I think it’s safe to assume that most of you have at least heard of the new ambassador from the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, King Heavenspan, Bai Xiaochun.”
Bai Xiaochun raised his glass of alcohol as protocol required, a faint smile visible on his face.
“Thanks to my profound love for my father the emperor, I have been tasked with presiding over today’s festivities. Therefore, the first thing I would like to do is give Ambassador Bai a chance to enjoy his first Vile-Emperor Dynasty banquet.” Everyone looked on as the Vile-Prince gave his little speech, all of them looking very pleased.
“Ambassador Bai, worry about the alcohol later. Please, take a moment to enjoy a special kind of dance that has become something of a tradition in recent years.” Glancing at Bai Xiaochun out of the corner of his eyes, he began to clap in very soft fashion.
Within moment, soft footfalls could be heard as two groups of women entered from either side of the hall. All of them were beautiful and lithesome. However, there was something awkward about the way they moved, as if they were marionettes!
Odd smiles could be seen on their faces. Strangely, each and every smile seemed exactly the same, down to the slightest twist of the lip!
Anyone who saw such smiles would find them to be completely bizarre. However what was even more shocking was their expressions. Within their eyes could be seen profound entreaty, and even despair….
These were not female cultivators! Clearly… these were former female cultivators who had been transformed into corpse puppets!!
And yet… their souls had been ensnared within them, giving expression to their eyes. They were not like the walking dead, but rather, were being controlled by external forces. And as soon as they reached the center of the hall, they began to perform a graceful dance!
Some people might not find it too surprising of a situation. However as soon as Bai Xiaochun laid eyes on the spectacle, his mind began to spin, and he even began to tremble visibly. Within moments, his eyes were completely bloodshot!
And that was because… these women were all cultivators from the Heavenspan Realm!!
In fact, two of them had been disciples in the River-Defying Sect who had written love letters to him!!
Smiling, the Vile-Prince looked over at Bai Xiaochun and said, “Ambassador Bai, don’t you just love this opening dance that we’ve come to enjoy before banquets in the Vile-Emperor Dynasty?”
The eyes of the many celestials and demigods in the room were all focused dead on Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun was struggling to remain calm. Clearly, the Vile-Prince had set this all up on purpose to provoke him. The celestials were watching him with coldly flickering eyes, and even the Vile-Emperor sat there without saying a word.
If he did something rash here, then it would give them a perfect excuse to claim that he was trying to assassinate the emperor, and then possibly execute him as a result!Previous Chapter Next Chapter