Bai Xiaochun felt jittery all the way until late in the night, until he eventually called over Master God-Diviner, Song Que, and even Chen Manyao to have a little chat.
Eventually, Chen Manyao and Song Que closed their eyes to meditate, leaving only Master God-Diviner and Bai Xiaochun awake to give each other cultivation advice. Whenever Bai Xiaochun started to brag about something, Master God-Diviner would respond very enthusiastically, which made Bai Xiaochun feel wonderful. Eventually, he even started to explain some of the tips and tricks he'd learned from imposter Nightcrypt.
Previously, Bai Xiaochun had assumed that the death of the cultivator the previous night would lead to another situation like before, in which a long period of time went before tragedy struck again. However, it was only the next evening when another scream ripped through the night, causing Bai Xiaochun to nearly leap up into the air in fear.
“What was that!?” he shouted. Master God-Diviner, Song Que and Chen Manyao were all alarmed, but went out nonetheless to find out what had happened. Soon, they learned that one of the more than fifty chosen assigned to deck 4 had been completely drained of blood during the night. Bai Xiaochun’s fear continued to mount.
Things weren’t over yet. Over the course of the next few days, the deaths continued to occur on deck 4, and with greater frequency. After a half a month had gone by, the nightly screams and deaths had all of the cultivators onboard shaking with fear.
Based on the look of the corpses after they were discovered, everyone came to the conclusion that the killer had incredible battle prowess that Core Formation cultivators were defenseless against.
Terror gripped the hearts of all aboard. As for Bai Xiaochun, in his anxiety, he set up more and more spell formations both inside and outside of his cabin.
He wasn’t the only one to do that. No one on deck 4 dared to sleep alone anymore, and huddled together in groups of between three to five. After that, the deaths seemed to slow down.
A few more days went by, and although no one died, the shadow of dread still loomed large, and Bai Xiaochun continued to fear that the white shadow he had fought would come back for revenge. Considering that there seemed to be safety in numbers, he finally asked for help from Gongsun Wan’er....
He told her that if she came to his room, everyone from the River-Defying Sect would be in one place, ready to brave the crisis together.
Upon receiving his invitation, a strange look appeared on Gongsun Wan’er’s face. Covering a smile with her hand, she followed him back to his room to join the group.
When everyone was assembled, Bai Xiaochun felt a little better.
“With me and Wan’er here, and Master God-Diviner, Song Que, and Chen Manyao to back us up, even if that white shadow shows up, we’ll definitely be able to break free and cry for help.” Seven days later, not a single additional death had occurred. Bai Xiaochun was finally starting to relax, and once again began to think back to everything which had occurred with Zhao Tianjiao.
That was actually just about the time that Zhao Tianjiao actually came to see Bai Xiaochun, his face a bit flush and clearly in high spirits. A smile covered his face, as if he had just experienced some wonderful, life-changing event.
“Xiaochun, I think things are pretty much taken care of. Junior Sister Yueshan definitely doesn’t look at me like she used to. Hahaha!” Upon looking around the room, Zhao Tianjiao realized that there was a new addition to the group, that being Gongsun Wan’er.
He had never paid much attention to Gongsun Wan’er before, but gave her a nod as he walked in and sat down cross-legged in front of Bai Xiaochun.
“Okay, Xiaochun,” he continued excitedly, “what do we do now? What’s the next step? Am I supposed to reveal my true feelings to Junior Sister Yueshan?”
Zhao Tianjiao had never felt more blessed than he had during the past few days. He had visited Chen Yueshan every day in her cabin, where the two of them would sit down and spend the whole day chatting. In fact, they had spoken more to each other in the past few days than they had in the past ten years combined.
Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat and then cast a very serious look at Zhao Tianjiao, complete with a bit of a glare. “What happened? Did a few days of happiness knock all the sense out of you?!
“Let me ask you, Elder Brother Zhao, are you looking for a momentary burst of youthful passion, or a love that will last as long as the world itself?!” Bai Xiaochun’s words hit Zhao Tianjiao like a club to the face. Suddenly, his heart trembled, and a serious expression overtook his face.
“I don’t want youthful passion!” he said earnestly. “I want love that will last as long as the world!”
Bai Xiaochun’s expression softened, and it was with heartfelt sincerity that he continued, “Elder Brother Zhao....
“I know that you want to make Elder Sister Yueshan your Daoist partner as quickly as possible. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. Have you forgotten the Win Charm that I taught you, and how you have to keep calm!?
“I already told you before, once you get her attention and give her a sense of security, the next thing to do isn’t to push things forward, it's to back off!
“You need to make yourself seem mysterious. You need to advance things by backing away! Make Elder Sister Yueshan incapable of resisting the urge to get near you. Leave her hanging, and make her take the initiative to reach out to you!
“You have to remember this point! Keep your distance, and don’t seem too excited. Accept her a little bit at a time, that’s all. Only then, after enough time has passed, can you provide her with a hard-earned reward!” Bai Xiaochun explained things meticulously, but couldn’t prevent his words from revealing how disappointed he was that Zhao Tianjiao hadn’t learned his lesson already.
As for Zhao Tianjiao, he was fully persuaded, and after Bai Xiaochun was done speaking, he gritted his teeth and said, “Alright, I’ll do whatever you say!”
Filled with determination, he rose to his feet and left.
Over the following several days, Zhao Tianjiao did exactly as Bai Xiaochun had asked him to do. He started to back off from Chen Yueshan a bit, even disappearing for days at a time. When he did show up, he acted a bit coldly.
Occasionally, when Bai Xiaochun directed him to, he would revert to giving her enthusiastic attention.
Sometimes he was distant, sometimes he got close to her. At first Chen Yueshan was confused by this, but soon, she started to get angry.
Eventually, her confusion and anger combined, and she came to the conclusion that something was wrong. After that, she decided that she had to figure out exactly what was going on, and why Zhao Tianjiao seemed so different than she remembered.
At that point, she started to seek him out with the hopes of figuring out exactly why they had been going back and forth as if fighting....
The process went on for about a month, during which time, the mysterious deaths aboard the ship resumed. Yet again, they occurred on deck 4, where some of the cultivators had stopped sticking together in groups, and had gone off on their own. It was those solitary cultivators who ended up being killed.
Once the screams and the corpses returned, fear yet again rose up in the hearts of everyone onboard. As the death toll rose, terror mounted to an almost unbearable degree.
No matter what types of investigations were carried out, no one could come up with any clues whatsoever. Furthermore, suspicions were running high, and few people trusted each other. Plus, it soon reached the point where two or three people were dying at a time....
Most shocking was one instance when a total of thirteen people died, all of their blood drained away until they were nothing more than desiccated corpses. Everyone onboard was shaken to the core.
Bai Xiaochun was completely terrified at how dangerous this ship was, and couldn’t stop hoping that the three-eyed Chen Hefan would return....
“If this keeps up, there won’t be anyone left to reach the Wildlands!” Scowling on the verge of tears, he even called Zhao Tianjiao and his two familiar followers over to his room, hoping to have safety in numbers.
Those two followers were also scared out of their minds, fearful of the white shadow coming to exact vengeance. They had been spending their days shaking in their boots, so when Bai Xiaochun asked for them to join him, they were actually elated, and couldn’t help but rejoice at how wonderfully he was treating them. They immediately began to fawn over him and seek favor, offering to do anything he wished without the slightest complaint.
A few more days went by. By this point, the voyage was more than half over, and Zhao Tianjiao was reaching his breaking point. He felt like he was boiling inside; after all, he clearly loved Chen Yueshan dearly, and yet wasn’t able to get close to her.
As for Chen Yueshan, she persistently tried to get to the bottom of the strange situation. Zhao Tianjiao very much wanted to give voice to his true feelings, but whenever he reminded himself of Bai Xiaochun’s plans, he swallowed his words.
Even still, he eventually couldn’t take it anymore. One evening, he returned to Bai Xiaochun’s cabin to find his own followers next to the reclining Bai Xiaochun, massaging his shoulders and legs. One of them was even quietly asking Bai Xiaochun if the massage was comfortable.
Zhao Tianjiao looked haggard and thin as he stared at Bai Xiaochun and said, “Xiaochun, I can’t take it anymore. I can't count how many times I’ve wanted to reveal my true feelings. If things keep going like this, I don't see how I can be with Junior Sister Yueshan for as long as the world exists.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter