After much thought, Bai Xiaochun wasn’t able to determine whether or not the hundred-year-old loach could possibly have been the cause of death. However, he knew that he definitely couldn’t come up with any answers locked in his room, so eventually, he called on his Dao protectors to discuss the matter further.
Over the past few days, his Dao protectors had been too rattled to focus fully on cultivation, but once they heard this new fish theory of Bai Xiaochun’s, they began to calm down.
Finally, after more than half a month of remaining in seclusion, Bai Xiaochun emerged and headed up to the main deck. There, he happened to catch sight of Gongsun Wan’er, who also seemed to have come up to the deck to relieve her boredom. Upon catching sight of Bai Xiaochun and his Dao protectors, she smiled and joined them.
Most of the cultivators on the deck were grouped together in twos or threes, although a few of them stood by themselves.
As such, Bai Xiaochun’s group was the largest present. Song Que was walking behind him, radiating his usual murderous aura that made him seem completely unapproachable. Master God-Diviner was walking next to him, looking almost like his personal assistant. And then there was Gongsun Wan’er on one side with her incredible good looks, and Chen Manyao on the other side with her spectacular beauty. Together, they made quite a sight.
Many of the cultivators in the area looked over at Bai Xiaochun, and although some of them had cold looks on their faces, many seemed envious.
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath of sea air, looked up into the sky, and then gazed out at the golden sea. Gradually, the weight in his heart seemed to lessen.
“Ai,” he sighed. “I can't believe our wonderful voyage took such a turn for the worse.” Looking around at the crowd, he suddenly realized that a lot of people were looking at him. Turning, he realized that Gongsun Wan’er and Chen Manyao were right by him, and by chance, both of them happened to be smiling at him. They were two different smiles, and two different facial expressions, but they were both very beautiful. All of a sudden, Bai Xiaochun’s mood got even better.
As of that moment, he discovered a new hobby. In the following days, he would take time every day to go for a stroll on deck, and would always make sure to chat openly with Chen Manyao and Gongsun Wan’er. As they smiled and laughed with him, many of the other cultivators in the area would look over enviously.
The more looks like that he got, the more he liked this new hobby, and at the same time, he felt less distant from Gongsun Wan’er.
“Gongsun Wan’er really is pretty when she smiles,” he thought, glancing around proudly at the crowd. As he did, he noticed that up ahead, Zhao Tianjiao was standing there, looking as cold as a statue.
During the past few days, he had caught sight of Zhao Tianjiao a few times, as well as Chen Yueshan. Both of them were superstars in the top 3, with extremely high status. They were the type of people who didn’t need to have an entourage to provoke countless envious glances from the surrounding cultivators.
As Zhao Tianjiao walked along, a group of seven or eight other cultivators trailed along behind him, looking very subservient. Bai Xiaochun actually recognized some of them from back on Sky Quarter Rainbow, when he’d gone around asking for help to get some seven-colored mistysea grass.
Lowering his voice, he leaned over and said, “Hey Master Snortsnort, why do you think all of the superstars are so cold-looking? Zhao Tianjiao looks like he’s above everyone else, and it’s the same with Chen Yueshan and Heretic. They hardly ever hang out with anybody else, and spend most of their time in secluded meditation.”
Master God-Diviner hesitated for a moment and then said, “Well, ummm... maybe they act that way because everyone expects them to be like that.”
Even as Bai Xiaochun contemplated this possibility, he looked over at Zhao Tianjiao, and found that Zhao Tianjiao had turned and was looking back at him.
Suddenly, their gazes met.
Although Zhao Tianjiao’s expression was placid, there was something intense within his eyes that Bai Xiaochun found to be almost painful. Of course, although Bai Xiaochun was definitely the type who feared death, he was not the type who shrank back when someone simply looked at him. As soon as he felt the painful intensity of Zhao Tianjiao’s gaze, his own eyes began to shine as he stared back.
Though no sound could be heard from the interlocking of their gazes, both of their minds filled with intense fluctuations. Bai Xiaochun’s expression flickered, and he stopped walking, and then Zhao Tianjiao retracted his vision. And yet, unlike Bai Xiaochun, Zhao Tianjiao didn't stop walking. Instead... he headed in Bai Xiaochun’s direction.
Zhao Tianjiao occupied 1st place among the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Superstars, so no matter where he went, he was always the center of attention. When people realized that he was walking toward Bai Xiaochun, everyone began to pay close attention.
That was especially true considering that he was flanked by seven or eight followers, making it seem like a grand procession.
Song Que’s expression turned very serious, and although Master God-Diviner initially gaped in shock, his expression quickly became the same as Song Que’s. Even Chen Manyao looked surprised. The only one among the group whose expression was the same as ever was Gongsun Wan’er, who even seemed interested to see what would happen with Zhao Tianjiao.
As Zhao Tianjiao proceeded forward, silence fell upon the main deck. Everyone was watching as he slowly came to a stop right in front of Bai Xiaochun.
His expression was as cold as ice, and he looked like a glistening, unsheathed sword, as powerful as a mountain who could look down upon everything below him. As he measured Bai Xiaochun up, Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times, wondering what exactly was going on. After all, he and Zhao Tianjiao had only ever seen each other a few times, and had never even exchanged words.
After a moment, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t hold back from saying, “Elder Brother Zhao?”
Almost as soon as the words left Bai Xiaochun’s mouth, Zhao Tianjiao responded in a cold voice, “Junior Brother Bai, a word please?”
Although Zhao Tianjiao didn’t unleash any of his aura, considering his status and accomplishments in battle, he was the type of person that would leave anyone feeling cold with fear.
“Huh?” Bai Xiaochun replied, feeling a bit shocked. After a moment of thought, he nodded. The truth was that he wasn’t scared, just curious as to why a superstar like Zhao Tianjiao would want to talk with him.
Zhao Tianjiao’s face remained as cold as ever as he headed toward the prow of the ship. As he neared, the cultivators who had originally been gathered there backed away to make room.
More curious than ever, Bai Xiaochun followed along. Of course, he maintained his vigilance the entire way; although he doubted that Zhao Tianjiao had any ill intentions, he was prepared for anything.
Soon Bai Xiaochun and Zhao Tianjiao were alone at the prow of the ship, whereupon Zhao Tianjiao waved his right hand, causing a glittering shield of light to rise up that cut them off completely from everything outside. Clearly, this was not a defensive shield, but rather something that would block both sound and divine sense alike. As of this moment, the two of them would be able to speak freely without anyone else being able to hear.
Bai Xiaochun’s curiosity continued to mount as he looked expectantly at Zhao Tianjiao, waiting to hear what he had to say.
Zhao Tianjiao stood there quietly for a moment looking at Bai Xiaochun, his expression extremely solemn, as though he were wrestling with an important issue. Bai Xiaochun’s curiosity was reaching the boiling point, and as for everyone else on the main deck, they were watching the scene play out with various expressions on their faces.
“I wonder why Eldest Brother wants to talk with Bai Xiaochun?”
“Something strange is going on... could it have something to do with the death of Ji Fang?”
“Now that I think about, there was some friction between Ji Fang and Bai Xiaochun right before Ji Fang died....”
All sorts of speculations filled the hearts of the onlookers.
Even as Bai Xiaochun was going to try to make his own guess, Zhao Tianjiao took a deep breath and said, “Junior Brother Bai....”
Bai Xiaochun leaned forward intently.
Looking very serious, Zhao Tianjiao said, “Junior Brother Bai, those... those two girls you hang out with are pretty good-looking....”
“Huh?” Bai Xiaochun said, stunned. Considering the serious look on Zhao Tianjiao’s face, he almost wondered if he had misheard him.
“Um... listen, don’t take this the wrong way, Junior Brother. I don’t have any feelings for them.... I just want to know how you managed to win them over. I’ve been watching you the past few days, and really want to understand how you managed to get two hotties like that to hang out with you.” Zhao Tianjiao had a somber expression on his cold-looking face. He seemed tall and proud, like an unsheathed sword. And yet, the words he spoke caused Bai Xiaochun’s eyes to go as wide as saucers.
Had he not heard the words with his own two ears, Zhao Tianjiao’s somber expression would have made it completely impossible for Bai Xiaochun to guess what it was he wanted to talk about. It was completely unexpected....
Bai Xiaochun scratched his head, feeling a bit confused. Without even thinking about it, he said, “They're the ones who took to hanging out with me. I couldn’t get rid of them if I tried....”
When Zhao Tianjiao hear this, his expression turned even more serious than before, and he even frowned. Considering his status and incredible battle prowess, a frown like that would make anyone who saw it feel like a thunderstorm were descending.
Of course, no one could hear what the two of them were talking about. They could only see the expressions on their faces. First, they saw the incredulity and disbelief of Bai Xiaochun, and immediately began to come up with explanations for why he was reacting in such a way.
“Something big is happening! Look you guys! Bai Xiaochun is shaking his head. Now he's explaining something!”
“This is really weird. Look at Eldest Brother’s expression. It's even more serious than before. It’s almost like... he doesn't believe what Bai Xiaochun just told him!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter