The following day, the corpse was gone. The ruffians who had stolen horses and disappeared into the night would never again be seen in the world.
Although Bai Xiaochun didn’t care about them, the Giant Ghost King wanted to make sure there were no loose ends. Although the people in the town were all mortals, he still didn’t want to risk word spreading that could cause trouble.
The gang in town lost three members, and although they investigated the matter, they didn’t turn up any evidence about what had happened, and quickly forgot the matter. As for Bai Xiaochun, he continued with his usual routine.
However, now he didn’t drink alone. Whenever he went to the tavern, he was joined by an old man.
The man was tall and tough-looking. Although he was old, he was mighty and heroic, and made quite the contrast to the slim, fair Bai Xiaochun. In fact, his burly frame, the scars on his face, and his overall manly appearance made him quite attractive to many of the women in town.
Eventually, a month had gone by. The Giant Ghost King never tried to force Bai Xiaochun to cheer up. The two of them spent their days drinking, and their nights dreaming drunken dreams. They talked a lot. The Giant Ghost King recalled his past glories, and bragged about how incredible he had been. He even talked about how many young noblewomen had crawled into bed with him throughout the years. Eventually, Bai Xiaochun started to get bored with such stories, and began to throw in some sarcastic comments here and there.
At one point, he yawned and said, “Hey, remember that woman from that one clan? I forgot which clan it was. Have you forgotten who told me to go get her, and then made me the scapegoat in the whole thing? You old pervert. Nobody in the Wildlands ever found out the truth!”
Although he wasn’t as talkative as the Giant Ghost King, every time he said something sarcastic, it would catch the man by surprise. After a moment passed, the Giant Ghost King would then angrily resort to reminding Bai Xiaochun who he was.
Grabbing the alcohol jug out of Bai Xiaochun’s hand, he glared at him and growled, “Listen, fool, I’m your father-in-law! You think I don’t know about you and Zimo?! If it hadn’t been for me secretly playing matchmaker, that would never have happened!”
Snorting coldly, he guzzled down some alcohol.
Upon hearing Zhou Zimo’s name, Bai Xiaochun sighed despondently.
When the Giant Ghost King saw that, he felt a bit bad. Sighing, he said, “Hey, Xiaochun. Do you know why the Arch-Emperors never had many children?”
Somewhat taken aback, Bai Xiaochun looked over at the Giant Ghost King.
“Few people know the truth, but as a heavenly king, I know many things that ordinary people don’t. You see, people who cultivate the Undying Live Forever Technique have much stronger male energy than ordinary cultivators. Because of that, it’s impossible for them to get mortal women pregnant. And even if they get a female cultivator pregnant, it will take dozens of years or more for that masculine energy cause the baby to form!”
This was Bai Xiaochun’s first time hearing anything like this, and although he was a bit shocked, he actually didn’t find it very surprising. As he took another drink, the Giant Ghost King went on to another conversation topic. Before long, Bai Xiaochun was as silent and depressed as he had been earlier. The Giant Ghost King sighed, and deep within his eyes, it was possible to see a glint of worry.
He knew that Bai Xiaochun had suffered a much greater blow than he had. Furthermore, when it came to how many years the two of them had lived, the Giant Ghost King really did count as an old man compared to Bai Xiaochun.
However, he wasn’t hoping to immediately light a fire in Bai Xiaochun’s heart. He wanted to help him recover slowly. And in fact, a month later, it was already possible to see that Bai Xiaochun was different from before. He talked a bit more, and would smile more often.
Another half a month went by.
The regulars at the tavern were now used to Bai Xiaochun and the old man coming to buy alcohol. Furthermore, the old man was quite different from Bai Xiaochun. He liked to talk, and before long, people got comfortable around him.
Some people even noticed that the old man referred to himself as Scholar Bai’s father-in-law. Eventually, people in tavern formed their own version of Bai Xiaochun’s background.
“So, Scholar Bai’s wife died!”
“His own wife! No wonder he’s been so down in the dumps!”
“Now the two of them are relying on each other to survive! You have to admit, the world is a crazy place right now.”
Most of the people in the tavern would sigh sadly at the story.
Bai Xiaochun and the Giant Ghost King began to argue more often as time went on. One evening in the temple, as the Giant Ghost King lounged against the wall, guzzling some alcohol, he looked over at Bai Xiaochun and said, “Xiaochun, I’m telling you, there’s no flower up in the sky, just that ugly face! We’re out of alcohol. Go get some more.”
Bai Xiaochun frowned at having his reverie interrupted. Glaring, he threw the jug over to the Giant Ghost King.
“You go!” he said.
The Giant Ghost King sat up straight and yelled, “Bai Xiaochun! Don’t think I’ve forgotten how you slapped me and kidnapped me! We never settled that debt. All I want you to do is go get some booze, but you come up with a million excuses. Don’t forget that I’m your father-in-law!”
After hearing the Giant Ghost King call himself ‘father-in-law’ for over a month, Bai Xiaochun felt like his ears were about to fall off. Glancing mischievously out of the corner of his eyes, he said, “Oh yeah, well I’m the Arch-Ancestor!”
Bai Xiaochun’s words apparently caught the Giant Ghost King completely by surprise, and he couldn’t think of anything to say. Even as he sat there, eyes turned up in thought, Bai Xiaochun’s expression flickered. Then, the two of them looked at the door of the temple.
Before long, the voice of a woman could be heard from outside.
“Squire Zhou. Scholar Bai. I have some good news for the both of you!” From the way the woman spoke, she sounded very happy and excited. Even as her words continued to echo out, she stepped into the temple. Neither young nor old, she was dressed in fine clothing, and was flanked by several handmaidens.
“Well, if it isn’t Madam Sun,” the Giant Ghost King said, his eyes sparkling. Ignoring Bai Xiaochun, he rose to his feet. “Please, let’s talk over here!”
Bai Xiaochun sighed. The Giant Ghost King had made quite a few friends since coming to town. Bai Xiaochun had been in the town for a lot longer than him, and yet wouldn’t even have been able to guess what this woman’s name was.
Bai Xiaochun looked at the Giant Ghost King and the woman standing there off to the side talking back and forth, and couldn’t help but marvel. Here was the Giant Ghost King, a mighty demigod, a heavenly king, acting just like a mortal. Although that in itself wasn’t necessarily amazing, the fact that he even knew how to deal with mortals on the romantic side left Bai Xiaochun mostly speechless.
All of a sudden, Madam Sun gently pushed the Giant Ghost King away from her.
“You devil!” she exclaimed. Eyes flashing charmingly, but expression serious, she continued, “Squire Zhou, I’m being serious here. Widow Zhang has a shop in the east part of town. Her husband died years ago, and ever since then has maintained the propriety of a widow! She’s also one of the most good-looking women in town, and very rich!
“You’re lucky to have a woman like that take a liking to you, Squire Zhou. She asked me to come here and see if you would be willing to marry into her family! If you are, then she’ll give you thirty percent of her shop as her dowry!”
In response to Madam Sun’s words, the Giant Ghost King’s jaw dropped. Never could he have imagined that something like this would happen to him in a little town like this….
After all, he was a mighty demigod. To marry into the family of a mortal widow… would be very embarrassing.
However, the truth was that despite how old he was, he was still tall and well-built, and also very handsome. To most older women, he would be considered very attractive.
Bai Xiaochun was also stunned. He looked at Madam Sun, and then at the Giant Ghost King, and despite how depressed he still was, couldn’t help but slap his thigh and start laughing.
“Congratulations, father-in-law!” he said. All of a sudden, he felt the sadness and bitterness inside of him melt away a bit.
The truth was that all the bickering with the Giant Ghost King had been slowly chipping away at the ice which held his heart locked up. And now, his laughter caused those cracks to widen and begin to fall away.
In contrast, the Giant Ghost King was very depressed by Bai Xiaochun’s words.
However, even as Bai Xiaochun stood there laughing, Madam Sun looked over at him with narrowed eyes.
“Oh, Scholar Bai,” she said with a smile. “I’m glad you approve of the matter. Silly me, I forgot about the good news for you. Widow Zhang said that if Squire Zhou accepted her proposal, then her daughter, whose husband just died last month, and who is also very beautiful, would be the perfect match for you. If both of you agree to marry into the family, she’ll give you fifty percent of the shop!
“I guess her daughter must have just been born under an ill star. Her husband was a ruffian of sorts, a real plague on the village. Supposedly, he got what was coming to him, and was tossed out into the wilderness for the animals to eat. Obviously, he’s nothing like the well-educated and cultured man you are, Scholar Bai.”
All of a sudden, Bai Xiaochun’s laughter screeched to a halt. Then, a moment later, the Giant Ghost King started laughing.