Everyone in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty was both proud and elated with how Ghostmother was traded away.
After all, the Vile-Emperor had given up three prefectures to seal the deal, prefectures which had belonged to the Saint-Emperor Dynasty to begin with, but had been lost over the years of minor conflict between the two dynasties.
To cultivators who were not in the know, it might seem like a major victory in the overarching conflict between the dynasties.
But the powerful and influential individuals in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, and of course the Saint-Emperor himself, knew that the three prefectures in question had been reduced to virtual wastelands over the course of the occupation.
To the Vile-Emperor Dynasty, they were now of little value or interest. But to the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, anything was better than nothing. Furthermore, the Saint-Emperor knew that if he pushed things too far, the Vile-Emperor could very well just abandon Ghostmother and refuse to offer any concessions at all.
If that happened, then the onus would be cast on the Saint-Emperor Dynasty for being greedy, and would ensure that not even the Vile-Emperor would take blame from his subordinates.
After all factors were considered, an agreement was reached that appeased both sides, and prevented greater issues from arising.
None of it had much to do with Bai Xiaochun. In fact, neither side mentioned him at all during the negotiations. Although he had played a critical role within the entire affair, it was in the interests of both parties to just pretend as if he hadn’t.
Bai Xiaochun didn't care about that. At the moment, he was sitting in his blessed land, scowling on the verge of tears, a thousand thoughts running through his head as he contemplated the issue of the heavenly dragonfish.
In an attempt to stop thinking about them, he took some time to make inquiries regarding pill concocting in Saint-Emperor City. What he came to find was that the techniques used here were in the same vein as those in the Heavenspan Realm. However, there were also some major differences that made the concocting process very difficult. They were also very expensive to produce.
In terms of medicinal pills that were appropriate for demigods, not only were they rare, they were ridiculously overpriced.
Another problem was that Bai Xiaochun didn't exactly have a huge savings built up. Worse, although he had some medicinal plants, he had no pill formulas, and creating new formulas from scratch was a very gruelling and expensive process. Unless he could think of some ways to earn a lot of spirit stones, he would definitely go broke trying to rely on medicinal pills.
“The best way to save money would be to use heavenly dragonfish!” It was with bloodshot eyes that he stared in the direction of the heavenly pond, which seemed the only viable path to further his cultivation. Gritting his teeth, he said, “I'm not gonna just give in. Considering those fish dared to despise me, I'm definitely going to teach them a lesson!”
Grabbing his fishing pole, he hurried over to the edge of the lotus leaf. Picking a different area than last time, he spent a few days fishing, but in the end, sighed and gave up again.
The fish really were like immortal beings. No matter which fishing spot he picked, they would just swim right past his line, and would often gaze at him with contemptuous looks in their eyes.
Several days passed in which Bai Xiaochun was eyed disdainfully by thousands of individual fish. Eventually, his world began to grow dark. At the same time, people noticed what he was doing, and gossip began to spread.
“Duke Heavenspan is fishing?”
“Well he is a barbarian foreigner after all. Back when he was talking himself up at court, he really sounded like some amazing figure. But it turns out he’s just a moron who doesn’t understand the true meaning of the Saint-Emperor’s rule about the heavenly dragonfish. I’ll tell you what, if that guy manages to catch a fish, I’ll change my surname to match his!”
“Seems the lotus leaves of Saint-Emperor City have gained another obsessed fool like Preceptor Seadeep.”
Not a single kind word could be heard among the aristocracy. Everyone was making fun of Bai Xiaochun.
After all, they looked down on the people of Heavenspan to begin with, just like Gu Tianjun did.
As far as they were concerned, the only thing the people of Heavenspan were good for was to be servants. At best, the Saint-Emperor Dynasty would pity them and take them in for charity’s sake.
The Saint-Emperor eventually heard what was happening, and shook his head.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said with a smile. “If Duke Heavenspan just spends his time fishing, that will save me a lot of effort down the road.”
The only person who reacted differently was Liu Yong. When he heard about the matter, he was initially shocked, but then he penned a formal request to the Saint-Emperor, in which he begged him to prohibit Bai Xiaochun from fishing.
Sadly for him, the fact that he was from the Heavenspan Realm ensured that everybody ignored him. The Saint-Emperor merely looked at the written request and then tossed it to the side.
Whether it was the fish in the pond, or the officials in the city, they all looked at Bai Xiaochun with contempt. Eventually, it reached the point where he couldn’t take it anymore.
“Fudge! Fine, screw this fishing business!” As he glared at the scornful fish, a vicious smile suddenly played out on his face. After sending some divine sense out to make sure that no one was watching him, he produced a Fantasy Pill from his bag of holding and threw it into the heavenly pond.
No one noticed, and the pill melted as soon as it hit the water. Within moments, it was absorbed by the nearby fish.
Giving them a final look, Bai Xiaochun snorted coldly and left. Over the course of the following days, he would frequently go to the edge of the lotus leaf and surreptitiously toss some Fantasy Pills into the water.
In order to avoid attracting notice, he was careful to only throw two or three pills in each time, and occasionally just one. He knew that some things could only be accomplished over time, and required patience. And thus, more than half a month slipped by….
Gradually, more and more of the heavenly dragonfish began to react to the Fantasy Pill.
Eventually, it reached the point where all Bai Xiaochun had to do was walk up to the water, and a large group of them would swim over in the hopes of getting some of the water affected by the Fantasy Pills….
Two things worked to his advantage. The first was that it was common for heavenly dragonfish to congregate near someone who was fishing, and cast contemptuous glances at them. The second was that Bai Xiaochun made sure to find remote locations where he was less likely to attract any attention.
To play things extra safe, he also pretended to be fishing as he went about his work.
As the days went by and he watched the heavenly dragonfish gobble up his pills, his heart swelled with more pride than ever.
“Measly heavenly dragonfish! I’ll show you how awesome Lord Bai is! Everybody who gets a taste of my Fantasy Pills gets addicted. I refuse to believe that you will be any exception!”
Bai Xiaochun was feeling very proud and confident in his pills. He was absolutely sure that the fish in the pond were developing a dependency on Fantasy Pills.
Eventually, he stopped throwing the pills in the pond, and waited for the heavenly dragonfish to begin showing signs of withdrawal.
One day as he was strolling near the edge of the lotus leaf, he saw a crowd forming, and people crying out in alarm.
“Heavens! The heavenly dragonfish are so smart! Look, guys! That one knows how to go fishing!!”
Bai Xiaochun hurried over and saw one particular heavenly dragonfish with a long string of seaweed in its mouth, acting just like a cultivator holding a fishing pole. Excited, he realized that the crucial moment had arrived.
Excitement surging, he pulled out his fishing rod, which he had already prepared for this very moment by coating the hook with the aura of a Fantasy Pill. Looking around, he realized that he was very close to Preceptor Seadeep, who was sitting there as motionless as usual. Hefting his fishing pole, he hurried over and sat down next to him, then prepared to cast his line.
The first thing Preceptor Seadeep did was frown. He knew that Bai Xiaochun was Duke Heavenspan, and yet, was as contemptuous of the people of Heavenspan as everyone else in the city. Clearly, he wasn’t happy that Duke Heavenspan had come to his fishing spot to fish without first asking permission.
Even worse was that Bai Xiaochun’s fishing rod looked completely ordinary in nature. Preceptor Seadeep’s was made from soft jade, making it incredibly flexible. It was also filled with spiritual energy. To top everything off, the look of anticipation on Bai Xiaochun’s face was very annoying.
As a demigod expert of the same age as Gu Tianjun, and someone who had even deigned to give advice to the younger Chen Su, Preceptor Seadeep was profoundly qualified in all respects.
“Well met, Duke Heavenspan,” he said, his eyelid twitching a bit. “Fishing requires patience, you know. As the ancient saying goes, luck brings achievements, fate brings failure. Understand that, and it will help you remain tranquil and even-tempered. Fix heaven and earth within your heart and mind. There are countless living beings within creation, all of which are intelligent in their own way. Remember, everything is connected; if a heavenly dragonfish has sown destiny with you, it will come to you. It’s how life works.
“Many people think that I sit here to fish, but the truth is that I am contemplating life. With a temperament like yours, you probably shouldn’t waste your time here.” As he spoke, he seemed to thrum with an otherworldly aura.
Bai Xiaochun was taken aback by how mysterious the old man sounded, although he didn’t understand anything that had just been said. However, the man looked pretty cool as a fisherman, and therefore, Bai Xiaochun nodded a few times, and then cast his line out into the heavenly pond.
Upon seeing that Bai Xiaochun really was going to make an attempt at fishing, Preceptor Seadeep got even more annoyed, and the contempt in his eyes grew more intense.