The deva was back!
Zhao Tianjiao and Chen Yueshan immediately backed away from each other, as if they had just been caught doing something wrong. At the same time, feelings of embarrassment and anxiety rose up in both of them.
Three-eyed Chen Hetian wore a grim expression as he glared at Zhao Tianjiao. Behind him, the five Nascent Soul cultivators all seemed exhausted, and yet, were still exchanging enigmatic smiles. Strange expressions could also be seen on their faces as they sized up Zhao Tianjiao and Chen Yueshan.
Because of Chen Hetian’s glare, and the odd expressions on the faces of the Nascent Soul experts, Zhao Tianjiao and Chen Yueshan immediately realized that… these old-timers had heard the entire confession of love from moments ago.
Furthermore, the strange phenomena in the sky and sea almost certainly had something to do with Chen Hetian.
Off to the side, Bai Xiaochun felt a chill running up his spine. All of a sudden, he was struck by a very bad feeling. He thought about trying to sneak way, but decided that wouldn’t be appropriate. Instead, he looked in a different direction and tried to pretend that he was just a passerby taking in the scenery. He even took out a flask of spirit alcohol and began to sip it slowly....
Zhao Tianjiao was sinking into his nervousness. The person he feared most in life was his Master, and at the moment, not only was he anxious, he was also embarrassed. However, Chen Yueshan was not. After the initial shock of her father’s arrival, she reached out again to grab Zhao Tianjiao’s hand, then looked up with an expression that said she wouldn’t back down an inch.
“Finally grew some spine, eh Zhao Tianjiao?” Chen Hetian said. Giving Zhao Tianjiao another good glare, he snorted coldly and looked over at Bai Xiaochun’s hiding spot.
His gaze was like a razor-sharp knife that cut right down to Bai Xiaochun’s heart. Bai Xiaochun looked up in thought for the briefest of moments, then caused his face to flush as if from drinking. Staggering a bit, he slurred, “Nice stuff!”
Swaying back and forth, he retreated backward and then ducked around the corner to escape Chen Hetian’s gaze. Once out of sight, he began to hurry down the corridor.
Chen Hetian snorted again. Paying no attention to Bai Xiaochun, he led the five Nascent Soul cultivators up to the cabins on deck 1.
Zhao Tianjiao and Chen Yueshan exchanged a look. Then, Zhao Tianjiao forced himself to calm down. Bracing himself, he went off to offer formal greetings to his Master, as well as an explanation; he didn’t want his Master to have any ill feelings toward Chen Yueshan or Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun jogged all the way back to his cabin. Once inside, an anxious expression could be seen on his face.
“If I had known this was going to happen, I would have had him confess his love yesterday! What a weird coincidence. How come old three-eyes had to return today...? If he finds out I'm the one who got Zhao Tianjiao together with his daughter, it could turn out to be a real disaster for me.” The more he thought about the situation, the more nervous he got. And yet, there was nothing he could do other than sigh and try to come up with a contingency plan.
After a few days passed, Bai Xiaochun still hadn’t seen Zhao Tianjiao. However, Chen Hetian hadn’t come looking to cause problems, so Bai Xiaochun’s anxiety started to ease. However, that was when Chen Hetian actually issued an order throughout the ship.
“All disciples are to remain confined in their assigned cabins until they are called up to deck 1 for questioning!”
Chen Hetian’s voice sounded very somber, even angry. Not a single person aboard dared to disobey his orders, so Song Que and the other Dao protectors all returned to their assigned living quarters.
Soon, Chen Hetian and the Nascent Soul experts began to make the rounds, inspecting each and every cabin. Obviously, they had been informed about the numerous deaths which had occurred while they were away, and were now making a thorough investigation.
The inspection was very meticulous. Next, all disciples, regardless of their ranking, were questioned thoroughly by Chen Hetian and the Nascent Soul cultivators. Soon, it was Bai Xiaochun’s turn.
Bai Xiaochun nervously headed up to deck 1, and as soon as he was in the presence of three-eyed Chen Hetian and the other top experts, he clasped hands in greeting.
“Disciple Bai Xiaochun offers greetings, Seniors!”
“You're Bai Xiaochun, huh?” Chen Hetian said, eyes shining brightly.
Bai Xiaochun nodded nervously, keeping his eyes fixed on the three-eyed old man.
Chen Hetian looked at him closely, then coolly said, “So you’re the one with the spine....”
Then he closed his eyes and let the Nascent Soul cultivators proceed with questioning him. One of those Nascent Soul experts had a gaze like lightning that seemed capable of piercing all illusions.
Bai Xiaochun answered all of their questions, and was soon dismissed. As he left, sweat dripping down his forehead, he sighed and thought, “What did old three-eyes mean when he said I’m the one with the spine...? Was he praising me? Or insulting me? I was obviously just trying to make sure his apprentice and his daughter are happy for the rest of their lives.... What am I supposed to do if he makes things difficult for me later on?” Bai Xiaochun couldn’t quite make heads or tails of the situation, and even after much thought, he was forced to sigh and give up any efforts to figure things out.
It took half a month for all of the disciples on the battleship to be questioned. Even after the investigation, though, no amount of analysis on the part of Chen Hetian and the Nascent Soul cultivators could lead them to any conclusion on the subject.
They also inspected the corpses, of course, but the only result was that their expressions turned very grim, and they were left completely at a loss.
Thankfully, after Chen Hetian returned, no more deaths occurred. Time passed. Two more months went by, during which time Bai Xiaochun never caught sight of Zhao Tianjiao or Chen Yueshan. He really had no idea what was happening with them.
It was only in the sixth month of the voyage, when land appeared on the horizon again, that he finally saw them.
After all the time which had passed, Zhao Tianjiao’s cultivation base seemed to have improved. His eyes sparkled as he appeared on the main deck, and it was the same with Chen Yueshan, who walked at his side. In fact, there was a faintly discernible aura on both of them that seemed to indicate that, with the necessary items to form a Nascent Soul, both of them could advance to the next cultivation stage.
Quite a few people noticed that, and were immediately envious. Obviously, Chen Hetian had returned with good fortune for his apprentice and daughter.
Bai Xiaochun was in the middle of moping along on the main deck when he saw Zhao Tianjiao. He in turn saw Bai Xiaochun, and his expression brightened. Hurrying over, he pulled him off to the side and handed him a white bottle.
“Your sister-in-law and I saved this for you. It’s a bit of silver dragon blood. Consume that, and your cultivation base will advance quite a bit.”
Remembering that Chen Hetian and the Nascent Soul experts had gone chasing after a silver dragon, Bai Xiaochun was immediately excited and quickly took the white bottle. Seeing that Zhao Tianjiao still trusted and liked him, Bai Xiaochun felt very relieved.
“You already want me to call her sister-in-law?” he said with a smile. “Does she know?”
Now that he knew everything had been settled, he could sigh with relief. Obviously, old three-eyes wouldn’t be causing problems for him later....
Looking a bit awkward, Zhao Tianjiao cleared his throat and said, “Yeah, she knows.... Your sister-in-law told me to express her profound thanks to you.”
Then he clasped Bai Xiaochun’s shoulder, and a serious expression appeared on his face.
“Xiaochun, you need to focus on your cultivation. From the look of things, you’ve been slacking off recently. That’s definitely not the right attitude. We're going to reach the shore soon, and once we do, your battle prowess is going to be the crux of everything!
“I'm guessing you don’t know much about the Wildlands, so let me explain a few important details, so you’ll know what’s going on once we get there. These are some things that even I just recently learned from my Master.”
With that, Zhao Tianjiao pulled Bai Xiaochun further away from anyone else, apparently not caring at all that people realized how close they were with each other now. Lowering his voice, he said, “The Heavenspan Sea lies in the very middle of the Heavenspan Realm. Four rivers stretch out from it, which all break up into smaller branches. In that sense, they are almost like the branches of a tree. The areas near the water have spiritual energy, but the lands themselves are too vast, far larger than can be reached by all of the rivers. That is why there is so much land out there with no spiritual energy, the places which we call the Wildlands.
“The Wildlands don’t just exist far beyond the rivers, they also exist in the areas between each of the four main rivers. There are plenty of locations there that have no spiritual energy. That’s why the Great Wall was built.”
A very serious expression could be seen on Bai Xiaochun’s face. He took the Great Wall very seriously, and had even asked Chen Manyao about it. As a result, he knew how important it was to the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect.
Therefore, despite having heard information similar to this before, he was still paying rapt attention. After all, this pertained to a ten-year trial that could very well result in his death if he wasn’t careful.
“The Great Wall is like a circle of protection that ensures that the main branches of the Heavenspan River can thrive in safety. It’s like a border of sorts, beyond which are the Wildlands. The Wildlands are barren and infertile, and constantly at war. Furthermore, within those Wildlands are not only vengeful souls, but also savage giants!”
“Savage giants?” Bai Xiaochun exclaimed. He couldn’t help but think about the powerful organization that backed Chen Manyao.
“I don’t understand too much about them myself. But apparently, the savage giants practice cultivation in much the same way that we cultivators do, except that most of them cultivate body refinement exclusively. They’re savage and brutal, and whenever they get their hands on a disciple of the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, they eat them alive!”
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes went wide, and he gasped.
“Eat them alive?!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter