“Huh?” Bai Xiaochun was initially confused. However, after seeing the crazed Preceptor Seadeep’s bloodshot eyes shift to look at his fishing pole, he realized the truth. The man had clearly come to the conclusion that there was something special about his gear that enabled him to hook so many heavenly dragonfish.
“Well, I guess it makes sense,” he thought. “This awesome demigod fisherman has been fishing here for more than a hundred years, and obviously has really sharp eyes!”
From the way Preceptor Seadeep was breathing, it seemed he was having a hard time keeping himself under control.
“Name your price, Fellow Daoist Bai,” he said. “I want that gear of yours!”
If he had been dealing with anyone else, he would probably have just tried to forcefully take the fishing rod. But Bai Xiaochun was Duke Heavenspan. He had both a high position in the government and also a high cultivation base. Even more potentially threatening was the fact that he was the leader of the Heavenspan Realm.
Therefore, using force on him wasn’t an option. He could only try to work out a deal.
When the crowd heard what was being said, they suddenly looked at the fishing pole, and started to wonder if there was something suspicious about it. Soon, many eyes began to burn with passion over the thought of what it might be able to do.
Preceptor Seadeep was the type of person most people would avoid offending, and yet, there were still a few cultivators in the crowd who pulled out jade slips to send messages to important people.
“Fellow Daoist Bai, since you’re new to Saint-Emperor City, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re a bit short on funds. How about this… I’ll pay you 1,000,000 spirit stones for that fishing pole. What do you say?!” With that, he stood there nervously, worried that others might try to jump in and outbid him.
“Uh….” Bai Xiaochun said, hesitating. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to sell the fishing pole, but rather, he knew that it wouldn’t work at this point. Whoever he sold it to would be completely screwed over.
As a good person, he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of conning people in such a way.
“Preceptor Seadeep,” he said, “even if I sold you the fishing pole, it wouldn’t work.”
Preceptor Seadeep was really starting to get anxious, and prepared to say something else, but Bai Xiaochun cut him off with the wave of a hand.
Slinging the fishing pole over his shoulder and tucking his other hand behind his back, he sighed loftily and said, “Preceptor Seadeep, 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.
“You saw me fishing just now, but the truth is that I was contemplating life. With a temperament like yours, you probably shouldn’t waste your time here.”
Preceptor Seadeep’s expression darkened as he heard the very words he had spoken to Bai Xiaochun parroted back to him. Although the detestation he felt toward Bai Xiaochun only continued to grow, he simply wasn’t willing to be refused.
“I’ll add in three Godbarrier Pills!” he said through gritted teeth. He was absolutely determined to get the fishing pole. Even if he could only use it to catch one or two heavenly dragonfish, it would be worth it.
Starting to feel frustrated, Bai Xiaochun said, “Preceptor Seadeep, I really can't sell it. It won’t work for you! Why are you making things hard for me?”
Eyes completely bloodshot, Preceptor Seadeep said, “Hogwash! I want it even if it won’t work! Look, I’ll add in ten Immortal Ruins Pills! Deal?! Think this through clearly. I'm a very important person in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty. When Chen Su sees me, he calls me Master!” It was an obvious threat that Seadeep normally wouldn’t resort to. However, he was feeling very nervous at the moment.
When Bai Xiaochun heard that, he glared back at him.
“Alright, old man,” he said coldly. “If I sell you this fishing pole and it doesn’t work, then don’t blame me. Everybody here can bear witness to what I just told you!”
At this point, Preceptor Seadeep hesitated for a moment, but then got too nervous and said, “No problem!”
It was a huge amount of spirit stones and medicinal pills. To most demigods, it would be a ridiculous amount of wealth, but Preceptor Seadeep was very rich, so he could afford it.
With that, he pulled out his bag of holding and handed over what he owed. Bai Xiaochun inspected it, then gave Preceptor Seadeep a deep look before handing him the fishing pole. Then he swished his sleeve and walked off toward his blessed land.
After he left, Preceptor Seadeep carried the fishing pole over to the very spot where Bai Xiaochun had been standing earlier. Instead of casting his line, though, he simply studied the area for a bit, then turned and left.
Everyone watched as he walked away, anxious to know the truth about the fishing pole. However, they clearly wouldn’t get an answer now, and so the crowd departed.
Preceptor Seadeep took a long walk through the city until he found a spot where he had a bit of privacy. There, he performed a few tests. Unfortunately, every time he cast out the line, the heavenly dragonfish would just swim past the hook. Eventually, he pulled in the line, his face completely expressionless, but his eyes flickering.
“Does he think I'm an idiot or something? That money was nothing. Maybe the fishing pole doesn’t work anymore, but there’s definitely something suspicious about it. It might not be obvious right away, but I’ll figure out what it is eventually!”
With that, he studied the fishing pole a bit more closely. Eventually, his gaze came to rest on the hook, which he pulled closer to his face. He even sniffed it.
“Looks normal, but there’s definitely something unusual about it! Well, in the end, a lot of people saw this thing hook three heavenly dragonfish, and never saw it fail. If I play my cards right, I can probably sell it to someone and make some of my money back!”
Before long, news began to spread in Saint-Emperor City about the events of the day. Many of the court officials were shocked, especially when they heard about how Preceptor Seadeep ended up buying the fishing pole. That in itself led many people to come up with their own ideas about what had gone on.
Even the Saint-Emperor heard the news. Considering that the heavenly dragonfish all belonged to him, he knew more about them than anyone. Although the matter of being connected by destiny was ostensibly true, there was no way someone would be able to catch three fish in a row that way.
Curious, the Saint-Emperor sent his Archaean Realm divine sense into the heavenly pond to check on all the dragonfish. However, he didn’t detect anything unusual.
He eventually sent down orders to have the fishing pole brought from Preceptor Seadeep for him to inspect. But the fishing pole didn’t bear any unusual clues either.
Although the Saint-Emperor was still a bit suspicious, he decided that three heavenly dragonfish weren’t worth making a big fuss about. Besides, he was reaching a critical juncture in a certain Daoist magic that he was cultivating. Not wanting to be distracted any further, he entered a private chamber and began to cultivate in seclusion.
The night passed uneventfully. Bai Xiaochun was very nervous the entire time, but by the time the light of dawn came, his eyes began to shine.
“Nothing happened!” Laughing heartily, he licked his lips and got to work. One fish he roasted, the other he stewed, and the third he sliced up and ate in a hotpot…. By the time he finished his breathing exercises, it was evening. Opening his eyes, he excitedly grabbed another random fishing pole and found a good place to do some more fishing….
In one fell swoop, he hooked more than twenty! The people in the area were as stunned as wooden chickens.
On the third day, after confirming that no one had come to cause problems for him, he gritted his teeth and hooked more than a hundred fish in one shot…. The court officials were stunned, but as for the Saint-Emperor, he was still in secluded meditation, and had no idea what was happening….
On the fourth and fifth days… Bai Xiaochun’s courage grew. Soon, he was catching hundreds of fish every day!!
“Heavens! Something big is happening!!”
“Bai Xiaochun has already caught thousands of fish! There are only 20,000 or so left in the heavenly pond!!”
“He’s undermining the foundation of Saint-Emperor City!! The pond is going to run out of fish soon!”
By this point, news of Bai Xiaochun’s fishing was sweeping through the whole Saint-Emperor Dynasty!! All of the important officials were in a huge uproar. Even the celestials were shaken. And yet, Bai Xiaochun’s status was sensitive, and none of them could come up with any clues about what was happening. All they could do was brace themselves for the moment that the Saint-Emperor came out of secluded meditation.
Meanwhile, the crestfallen Heavenly Marquis Liu could only sigh and murmur, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”