Late into the night, the Scented Cloud Mountain was enveloped by inky darkness. It was so dark that if one extended their hand, they would not be able to see their fingers. Apart from the wailing winds which swept through the valley, the surroundings were quiet, as though even birds and beasts were afraid to break the silence.
In the inky darkness, Bai Xiaochun took out the ribbon given to him by Zhou Xinqi and tied it to his arm. He nonchalantly walked forward, straight along the small path leading towards the Spirit Tailed chickens’ yard. His shadow was rapidly shifting from one place to another. It wasn’t long before he had passed through the bamboo shrubbery, arriving close to the chickens.
From there, he could see the Spirit Tailed chickens resting in the yard. Still, there were a few which would occasionally wander about, most notably, a certain Spirit Tailed chicken that was heading in his direction.
Bai Xiaochun squatted amidst the shrubbery and licked his lips. After waiting for a short while, when that Spirit Tailed chicken had come closer, he slowly approached the enclosure. Just when he was about to take out his bamboo rod, he was suddenly startled and his eyes turned serious.
At that moment a low bellow suddenly resounded from behind him. Silhouettes appeared one after another, some of them even producing fireballs, brightening the surroundings with blinding light.
“Damned chicken thief! You’ve finally appeared!”
“I’ve waited here for many days and have laid traps all over the place. Let’s see how you’re going to escape!” The bellow resonated in the air. Seven to eight shadows instantly shot towards Bai Xiaochun, surrounding him completely.
These shadows were the disciples in charge of rearing the chickens. They had been painstakingly waiting for numerous days, and never imagined that today, their efforts would actually pay off. Hatred had accumulated deep within their hearts, so every sinlge one of them wanted to execute this chicken thief on the spot.
After hearing their words and seeing their approach, Bai Xiaochun was initially shocked. Then he rolled his eyes, before humphing coldly.
“This junior disciple is truly a sincere and responsible person.” This girl was naturally Zhou Xinqi. She had already investigated all the territories. In the beginning, there had still been people patrolling about, but as night fell, most had left to complete their own training. Only this Bai Xiaochun had really gone out in earnest search for the thief.
“With him being here, the chicken thief’s actions will certainly be heavily restricted.” Zhou Xinqi looked away. With her heart now set at ease, she flew back towards her cave.
After some time, Bai Xiaochun had circled around and returned to his own yard. With a pat of his storage pouch, two Spirit Tailed chickens appeared. Chuckling to himself, he plucked and cleansed the chickens before throwing them into a pot. Soon, an aroma floated outwards, causing Bai Xiaochun to swallow a mouthful of saliva. He didn’t even care that the food was still burning hot as he began to shove it into his mouth ravenously.
Finally, with a burp, he patted his stomach and lay beside the pot. On his face, a look of elation could be seen.
Soon, a month had passed. In this month, Bai Xiaochun had been rather dilligent. His shadow could often be seen in various chicken-rearing places during the night.
But even so, chickens continued dissapearing. It was as though their opponent came without a shadow and left without a trace, mysterious and unpredictable. The disciples in charge of rearing the chickens increasingly felt like they were losing face so they spared no efforts and swore numerous times that they would definitely catch the chicken thief.
They depended on Bai Xiaochun who seemed to be even more dutiful than they were. He had tenaciously guarded the territory, as though he would never rest until he had caught the thief. He even went as far as guarding the area for a consecutive four days and nights.
This kind of persistence and determination seemed to have acted as a strong deterrent since the chicken thefts had vastly decreased. However, they still did not disappeared completely. The Spirit Tailed chickens’ population of the Scented Cloud Mountain had already dwindled to less than half. Not many were left, and most of them were immature chicks.
In the end, even the disciples in charge of rearing the chickens sighed at their incompetence. They constantly lamented that if all the disciples of the thief-catching group were like Junior Brother Bai, then they would definitely catch the chicken thief.
Zhou Xinqi was also getting worried. One afternoon, Bai Xiaochun was sitting cross-legged in the chicken coop, vigilantly observing his surroundings, when a streak of blue damask suddenly came closer and Zhou Xinqi’s figure appeared.
“Sister Zhou.” When Bai Xiaochun saw her, he stood up and obediently greeted her.
“Junior Brother Bai has worked hard.” Zhou Xinqi’s beautiful eyes looked towards Bai Xiaochun as a smile appeared on her face.
Soon, the other disciples in this area had all hurried over, clustering around Zhou Xinqi. Bai Xiaochun was also among the crowd.
“Thank you very much for your help over these past few days. I appreciate your efforts but the thief remains impudent. In the following days, I have decided to guard this place together with you.” Zhou Xinqi said softly. After scouring the surrounding area again, she furrowed her brows.
“Perhaps this chicken thief has a history with Master? After all, the other mountains have Spirit Tailed Chickens too, but he solely targets my master’s!”
Upon hearing this, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes lit up and he almost slapped his thigh. The expression on his face showed complete agreement with her words, it was as if those words were very reasonable and he himself had reached the same conclusion.
In the next moment, Bai Xiaochun’s line of sight involuntarily shifted towards the Purple Cauldron Mountain in the distance. His eyes slowly narrowed, hiding the cunning glint deep within his gaze.
The moment Zhou Xinqi had come here, the surroundings had quickly been filled with numerous admirers, causing the entire chicken-rearing territory of the Scented Cloud Mountain to be filled with a sea of people.
Apparently, the chicken thief could no longer find a way to steal. So in the following days, there was not a single Spirit Tailed chicken which had gone missing.
Even so, this incident of the mysterious chicken thief had already become well-known, and the person behind it had long been named “The Mad Chicken-Stealing Devil” as it circulated among the disciples. Some people had even compared this thief to the small turtle as they became two of the most mysterious people of Scented Cloud Mountain. Even the outer sect disciples of the Green Peak Mountain and the Purple Cauldron Mountain had also heard of them.
When she noticed that the chicken thief disappeared, Zhou Xinqi was pleased. Although they did not manage to catch the thief, she remembered Bai Xiaochun’s earnest efforts throughout this period of time. In the end, she had ordered people to bring the jade tablet to him as a reward.
The matter had finally come to a close. Furthermore, Bai Xiaochun’s tenacity and sincerity had caused plenty of outer sect disciples to remember this pure, tidy, obedient and incredibly compassionate Brother.