Ji Fang had been eyeing the golden loach the entire time. Virtually everyone on the battleship had almost instantly begun to covet it, with the exception of Zhao Tianjiao, Chen Yueshan and Heretic.
Therefore, Ji Fang had simply decided to snatch it in the heat of the moment. Although he did fear Bai Xiaochun to some extent, he was confident that he could handle him, even if he teamed up with Gongsun Wan’er.
After all, Bai Xiaochun wasn’t the only one with people to back him up; Ji Fang had his own followers. Therefore, he didn’t even bother to respond, and simply turned on his heel and walked off.
“Insufferable bully!” Bai Xiaochun grumbled angrily. To have his belongings openly robbed was a bitter pill to swallow, and he was just about to step forward the prevent Ji Fang from leaving when Master God-Diviner grabbed his arm.
“Junior Patriarch, just let it go. Ji Fang used to be in the top 3, and even though he’s dropped down to 5th place, he's still terrifyingly powerful!”
“It’s just a fish,” Song Que said through gritted teeth as he watched Ji Fang walking away, “There’s no need to get into a big fight over it. That might make things problematic once we reach the sect outposts.”
Considering that everyone was persuading him to back down, Bai Xiaochun clenched his jaw and let out a cold harrumph. He could tell than both Song Que and Master God-Diviner felt the same way and didn’t want to offend Ji Fang. Even if Bai Xiaochun made a move on his own, it would still drag them into it, so therefore, he really had no choice other than to just grin and bear it.
“That guy is too overbearing,” he muttered. “With a personality like that, he’ll definitely get killed once we reach the Wildlands!” With that, he returned dejectedly to his cabin.
After the scene was over, only Gongsun Wan’er remained standing there. Although no one noticed it, she was chuckling as she watched Ji Fang walking away. Then she licked her lips, a strange light flickering in her eyes.
“Looks yummy,” she murmured to herself.
Nothing happened that night for Bai Xiaochun. He sat cross-legged in meditation, mulling over the day’s events and feeling more irritated by the moment.
“I can’t just let this drop,” he thought. “Ji Fang might have some skills, but I have even more skills! I have to think of a way to teach him a lesson he won’t ever forget!” Having reached this point in his train of thought, he opened his bag of holding to look for the little turtle, but even after searching around for quite a while, couldn’t find him.
By the time the first rays of dawn emerged, he was feeling more depressed than ever. However, it was at that point that the still and quiet atmosphere of the battleship was broken by a bloodcurdling scream that echoed out from deck 3, the very same deck that Bai Xiaochun’s cabin was on.
There was something terrifying about that scream, as if it had been fueled by a life force that was in the midst of being extinguished. Quite a few people heard the scream, including Bai Xiaochun.
“What’s going on!?”
Song Que and the other Dao protectors opened their eyes and looked around, shocked. Before long, the other top 10 chosen on deck 3 began to emerge, Bai Xiaochun included.
Even Zhao Tianjiao and Chen Yueshan came down from deck 2, and joined in as everyone searched for the origin of the scream!
It didn’t take long before they discovered that one of the cabins on deck 3 had a shriveled corpse in it!
The corpse was discovered in Ji Fang’s cabin... and after examining it closely, everyone could tell that it was none other than Ji Fang himself!
“This....” Bai Xiaochun said with a gasp.
Ji Fang had been withered dry to the point where he was almost unrecognizable. Despite being little more than a skeleton, he clearly hadn't been dead for long, and yet, already seemed to be rotting. Everyone present was a Core Formation cultivator and a top chosen, and therefore, it didn’t take long before they all noticed... that Ji Fang had died in a very strange way. Apparently, all of his blood had been drained away!!
Gasps and looks of astonishment appeared on the faces of everyone present. After all, Ji Fang was in the great circle of Core Formation, and possessed incredible battle prowess. And yet, there were no signs of magical combat in the area, as though Ji Fang had been killed in the briefest of instants!
Even more telling was that Ji Fang’s cabin was filled with intense, frigid coldness, something that caused everyone’s minds to tremble.
Bai Xiaochun stared mutely at Ji Fang’s corpse, his eyes wide with incredulity. He had been thinking about Ji Fang all night, and never could have imagined that the following day, he would actually be dead.
“He really died?” Bai Xiaochun was having trouble controlling his breathing, especially when he realized that the corpse itself actually looked very familiar. Before he could put much thought into it, the faces of Master God-Diviner and Song Que drained of blood, and looks of fear began to shine in their eyes.
Chen Manyao also gasped, and a look of fear spread out across her face.
If the three-eyed Chen Hetian and the Nascent Soul cultivators had been present, things might not have been as terrifying. But all of those members of the Senior generation were gone, and none of the Core Formation disciples present were quite sure what to do. Therefore, everyone looked to Zhao Tianjiao to take the lead. After approaching the corpse and examining it for a moment, his expression flickered and he said, “It seems that some sort of unclean thing is on board the ship with us. Everyone needs to be extra careful!”
All the disciples present shivered in fear, and as for Bai Xiaochun, he felt his scalp going numb. Unfortunately, the mystery of Ji Fang’s death was not something that could be explained at the moment, so everyone eventually dispersed, maintaining full vigilance along the way.
Heart pounding with fear, Bai Xiaochun returned to his cabin with Song Que, Master God-Diviner and Chen Manyao. As soon as they were all inside, he closed the door and then looked at his ashen-faced friends.
Worried that he might be reading too much into the situation, he tentatively asked, “Did you guys also think that corpse looked familiar...?”
Face filled with alarm and terror, Master God-Diviner replied, “Junior Patriarch... that corpse... reminds me of the corpses back in the River-Defying Sect!”
“It looks exactly the same!” Song Que growled.
“I noticed it too,” Chen Manyao said after a moment. “This corpse looks just like those other corpses....”
Upon hearing their responses, Bai Xiaochun felt like his scalp was tingling so hard it was going to explode. Considering how familiar the corpse seemed, and coupled with Zhao Tianjiao’s words, he couldn’t help but think about what had happened back in the River-Defying Sect. Now, the confirmation of his three Dao protectors left him convinced that the two events were connected.
“Dammit!” he wailed. “How could this be happening? I... I came all the way here, and that unclean thing followed the entire way...?” The more he thought about it, the stranger it and more terrifying it seemed. In fact, he immediately produced some evil-warding talismans from his bag of holding and plastered them onto himself.
Of course, that wasn’t enough for him. He quickly urged Master God-Diviner and Song Que to help him set up some more spell formations in the cabin. Then he went into his own private room and set up some additional spell formations, and also made sure he had plenty of Soul Convergence Pills ready.
“I have evil-warding talismans, spell formations, and Soul Convergence Pills. If that unclean thing has any sense at all, it won't dare to provoke me.... Yeah, that’s right. If it provokes me, it will definitely meet a miserable end!” Scowling on the verge of tears, he continued to try to encourage himself with the fact that Song Que and the others were also present. Considering that they were around, it wasn't likely that the unclean thing would come for him.
But then he remembered that Ji Fang had been in the great circle of Core Formation. Considering that he was also in the Core Formation stage, that left him feeling more unprotected and unsafe than ever. The image of Ji Fang’s desiccated, blood-drained corpse remained floating in his mind constantly.
“Just what kind of ghost are we dealing with...?” he thought. “When is that deva Chen Hetian going to get back...?”
It was in this manner that he stewed in his anxiety and vigilance for an entire night.
He wasn’t the only nervous one, of course. Song Que, Master God-Diviner, Chen Manyao, and all the other chosen on deck 3, and even the disciples on decks 4 and 5, were all very anxious.
If any other person had been killed, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. But Ji Fang had been in 5th place in the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Superstars, with extraordinary battle prowess. And yet, he had still met a bizarre and grisly fate, leaving everyone feeling completely ill at ease.
When dawn came, and people checked around and found that no one else had died, people finally began to breathe sighs of relief. Bai Xiaochun was slightly less anxious, but not by much. Taking advantage of the daylight, he set up more spell formations both inside and outside of his room. Sadly, he wasn’t good at creating paper talismans, otherwise he would have painted many, many more such items to ward off evil spirits.
Three days passed by in a flash. No one died, and soon, the atmosphere on the ship returned to normal. People once again went up onto the main deck. However, everyone still felt a great weight on their hearts, and often looked up into the sky, hoping to see three-eyed Chen Hetian and the Nascent Soul cultivators returning.
Eventually, half a month went by.... And yet, Chen Hetian and the other still were not back. However, no one had been killed during that time. At long last, Bai Xiaochun breathed a sigh of relief.
“Maybe I was mistaken. Maybe Ji Fang was killed, not by the unclean thing, but by... that big fish?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter