The entire time, Song Que did not realize that the almighty government official he was speaking to… was the very uncle he had just referred to….
If he ever found out the truth one day, he would likely vomit buckets of blood, and would be filled with unending regret over what he had just said. But Bai Xiaochun was very used to operating under cover, and had a mask that made accidental slip-ups in his disguise virtually impossible.
As Song Que was taken away, Bai Xiaochun looked around at the Chen Clan, sighing in his heart.
“Who would have thought that I would actually run into Que’er here…. He really does get himself into the worst situations. How did he end up as a living spirit stone?” Clasping his hands behind his back, he stuck his chin up and looked around at the main square of the Chen Clan which stretched out around him, sighing even more deeply.
Bai Xiaochun was really starting to think of Song Que as one of his lucky stars. Every time he ran into him, he would save Song Que from an abyss of suffering. Whether it was in Sky City, on the Great Wall, or here, he was always able to get Song Que to call him uncle.
“Don’t tell me that it’s just because of how outstanding I am, is it…?” Sighing, he continued to relish the pleasure of shaking down the Chen Clan.
Before long, all of the wealth of the Chen Clan’s reserve savings had been gathered up by the corpse troopers, and piled into a small mountain in the middle of the square. As for the cultivators of the Chen Clan, they stood there trembling and not daring to say even a single word.
After all of the wealth was extracted, and the clan had been swept through thoroughly to make sure it was safe, Bai Xiaochun finally strutted inside to do his own inspection, and make sure nothing had been missed.
Escorted by his quasi-Deva Realm corpse trooper bodyguard, he went here and there within the sprawling clan estates, occasionally making observations.
“There’s something strange about that ornamental rock formation. Blast it open! I’d put money on the fact that there’s a secret chamber inside!”
“Look at the pearls inlaid into the eaves of that building. They’re obviously spirit pearls! Pry them out and take them away.”
“There’s something odd about the ground here. Men, come dig this area up and see if there is any treasure hidden underground. If so, take it. If not, then we’ll make do with the limestone slabs.” As he walked along, the surrounding corpse troopers obeyed his every word.
The Chen Clan cultivators were all very jumpy, and could tell that Bai Xiaochun was clearly going to clean them out completely.
Unfortunately for them, there was nothing they could do except bow their heads and accept the fact that… the Chen Clan was finished.
Rumbling sounds filled the clan as Bai Xiaochun went here and there performing his final inspection. When he was fairly satisfied, and was even preparing to leave, his expression suddenly flickered.
His divine sense was currently far beyond the Nascent Soul stage, and was actually comparable to a deva’s. Therefore, his final scan of the clan revealed that some distance away, there was actually a subterranean cavern.
It was rather large, fully 3,000 meters from one side to the other. It was locked with numerous restrictive spells, and various other defenses that made it seem almost like an enormous chamber of holding. In fact, his divine sense was actually incapable of penetrating inside.
“Eee?” he murmured, eyes glittering. The truth was that he was still hoping to find something in the Chen Clan that would be of personal use to him, just as he had in the Li Clan.
Flying over to the area, he pointed down and excitedly said, “Dig that area up!”
Instantly, corpse troopers flew over and got to work.
As the rumbling sounds echoed out, many of the Chen Clan cultivators’ faces drained of blood. They knew that, deep within that pit was hidden, not a magical item, but rather… the foundation of the Chen Clan’s ability to sell life force!
Under normal circumstances, if anyone had dared to touch that area, they would have attacked with deadly force. But now, they could only watch silently as the buildings covering it were leveled.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of soul cultivators had gathered in the area to watch this unprecedented, momentous event playing out. Two heavenly marquises had fallen, an event which was shaking all of Arch-Emperor City, and prompted more and more people to come and witness the matter personally.
As the buildings in the rear of the Chen Clan collapsed, the ground beneath was eventually revealed, which then began to crack and split under the force of the magical techniques and divine abilities of the corpse troopers. Eventually, the lid of the chamber of holding was out in the open, and then it was removed, revealing the pit beneath!!
Immediately, a vile, indescribable odor was released, an odor so noxious that it made many people involuntarily vomit.
Frowning, Bai Xiaochun waved his hand in front of him to clear the air, and then peered inside the pit. As he did, a tremor ran through him, and he let out a yelp of surprise.
“This….” He almost couldn’t believe what he was seeing; it caused his mind to spin, and made his eyes completely bloodshot.
At the same time, everyone else who could see the pit all began to cry out in shock.
“So, this is the secret of the Chen Clan!!”
“So that’s how the Chen Clan is able to sell life force….”
The 3,000-meter-wide pit was filled with what appeared to be 10,000 people!!
It was actually a pit of foul, necrotic water, within which could be seen so many corpses that 10,000 was probably too small of a number to describe them. Some of the corpses were completely decomposed. Others were only partially decomposed, and there were some… living people!!
The clothing visible was not the clothing of Wildlanders. Bai Xiaochun could immediately tell… that these were Heavenspan cultivators!!
They were skinny and emaciated, their expressions listless, as though they lacked souls. Black strands of smoke wriggled and writhed beneath their skin, constantly extracting their life force…. Obviously, these were cultivators who had been captured and then viciously soulsearched!
Because of the force of the soulsearch, their souls had been destroyed, leaving behind only their physical bodies. After undergoing some special treatment, they were then thrown into this pit and sealed up, whereupon their life force was slowly extracted!
After they were sucked away into nothing more than dried up corpses, however, their agony was not yet over. The foul liquid that resulted would be filtered and turned into the primary medicinal ingredient that the Chen Clan used to refine life force!
Although the Wildlanders who saw the pit were shocked, they were not as deeply affected as Bai Xiaochun. He was not a Wildlander; he was an ordinary cultivator from the Heavenspan River region, and therefore, he immediately began to tremble and sink into a very grim mood. After a moment passed, he even closed his eyes, worried that he might not be able to control his emotions.
After a long moment passed, he opened his eyes and sighed. The war between the Wildlands and the Heavenspan River region was not something that he could change. After all, the conflict he had solved between the Spirit and Blood Stream Sects had been between two forces that were fundamentally on the same side.
Without saying a word, he clenched his hand into a fist. Drawing upon his cultivation base and the full power of his fleshly body, he then unleashed a fist strike onto the pit.
Everything trembled as a massive force slammed into the corpses in the pit, instantly transforming them into flying ash.
As for the people who were technically alive, for all intents and purposes, they were already dead. Only their physical bodies lived on. For them, Bai Xiaochun’s fist strike was actually something of a release….
Although he couldn’t be sure, he thought that some of those living bodies actually smiled in the moment before they faded away into nothing….
Expression grim, he flicked his sleeve and coldly said, “Arrest all members of the Chen Clan and send them to the Grand Asylum!”
The corpse troopers immediately went to work, and the Chen Clan cultivators did nothing to resist.
Bai Xiaochun was in a very grim mood. Although he had collected a lot of wealth from the Li and Chen Clans, he didn’t feel very much like he had exacted personal revenge, mostly because of the matter of the huge pit.
He stood there for a long moment, wrapped up in his thoughts. Then he sighed, and turned and left with his corpse troopers.
There was nothing he could do to change the overall situation. Furthermore, he knew that if he did anything to reveal his true identity, he might end up just like the people in that pit. After all, he wasn't in the River-Defying Sect right now. He was in the Wildlands, in Arch-Emperor City….
Now that he had handled the Li and Chen Clans, it was in his role as the inspections commissioner that he went to the imperial palace to see the Grand Heavenmaster… and provide an official debriefing.
Along the way, he struggled with his bad mood, and kept thinking about that pit. When he arrived at the palace, he took a deep breath and pushed all of his gloomy thoughts into the bottom of his heart.
“I need to focus on my flame conjuring. Once I make that cultivation base breakthrough, I can leave this place….” At the moment, he really missed home.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hey everyone, check out my book review of Wu Dang: Fist of the Wanderer, a modern wuxia pulp fiction novel by Barbara Doran.