Big Fatty Zhang was a bit taken aback. He looked at Bai Xiaochun, then looked around them at the swamp, a strange expression on his face. As far as he was concerned, only an idiot would believe what Bai Xiaochun had just said. After all, he knew Bai Xiaochun well, and was used to how he would brag and try to show off. And yet, that same understanding of Bai Xiaochun also caused him to hesitate for a moment.
“Although Xiaochun does like to brag,” he thought, “he doesn’t usually exaggerate things too much. Could it really be true that all the weird bugs and things in the swamp… will avoid us?” After a moment of hesitation, he sent some divine sense out, and was shocked to find that there wasn’t a single life force fluctuation in the area.
To Bai Xiaochun’s pleasure, the two of them proceeded forward through the swamp, with Big Fatty Zhang feeling more shaken with every moment. Before long, he sensed a flicker of life force up ahead. However, as soon as he detected it, it raced away in the opposite direction.
After that same thing happened a few times, he looked over at Bai Xiaochun, a strange expression on his face.
“What do you think, Eldest Brother? It’s like I said, I gave them all a strict warning. Hmmmphh! How dare they ambush my Eldest Brother! It was a kindness on my part to hold back from wiping out the entire swamp.” Bai Xiaochun felt prouder of himself with every moment that passed. Although the Godkiller technique was somewhat perverse, it was very effective.
That was just how Bai Xiaochun was. No matter what situation he found himself in, he could always find the bright side.
To Big Fatty Zhang’s continued shock, the two of them proceeded along through the swamp as smoothly as if it were their own front yard. Everything was quiet, to the point where Big Fatty Zhang even began to daydream a bit here and there.
At one point, a leech didn’t flee in timely fashion, and Big Fatty Zhang managed to grab it. Being so close to Bai Xiaochun caused the leech to let out a shriek of despair, and it even seemed to be pleading for its life. When Big Fatty Zhang relaxed his hand, it whooshed away, vanishing in the blink of an eye.
They also ran into another spider, the same type which had ambushed Big Fatty Zhang earlier. As soon as the spider saw Bai Xiaochun, it shivered and fled in the opposite direction….
Not even Bai Xiaochun could ever have guessed that the creatures in the swamp would end up so terrified of him.
“Could it be that, because of some strange quality of the swamp, when I was unconscious, I let out… even more of that blood mist than I realized was possible?” Eventually, he came to the conclusion that this must be the case. He actually had no idea how much life force he had absorbed, but the fact that it was enough to re-form a drop of Undying Blood was terrifying to think about.
Thankfully, Master Cloud Lightning had been frightened so badly that he fled. A craftier opponent might have taken advantage of that moment of unconsciousness to attack him.
One of the most exaggerated things to unfold in the swamp after the main incident was when they happened across a pack of gaunt wolves that were relying on their incredible speed and dexterity to harass a cultivator. That cultivator happened to be Sun Wu from the Dragon Totem Ghost Sea Sect!
Cultivators from the south were adept at shapeshifting, and at the moment, the green-skinned Sun Wu was using that ability to full effect. Occasionally, he would change into the shape of a vicious, brown centipede that would weave in and out of the attacking wolves.
No matter what he did, however, he couldn’t escape the more than 1,000 wolves, who kept him completely surrounded. Visible in the area were a few dead cultivators, which bore testimony to how long the fighting had been going on.
Off to the side was the leader of the pack, a wolf who was little more than a skeleton, with cold, sneering eyes, and energy comparable to a deva.
Sun Wu was already sinking into despair, and was fairly convinced that he wouldn’t be able to escape from this calamity. From what he could tell, the only reason the wolves hadn't killed him already was in the hopes of using him to lure out more prey.
He knew that unless a deva came to rescue him, nobody would be able to help him. He was going to die one way or another, and furthermore, was not the type of person who would violate his own principles simply to save his life. Therefore, he was shifting in and out of centipede form in the hopes that the shapeshifting fluctuations would serve as a warning to any other cultivators in the area.
As soon as Bai Xiaochun and Big Fatty Zhang approached, the wolves began to shiver and howl. Then, the entire pack of 1,000 turned and fled with their tails between their legs.
The leader of the pack was the first to start running, and moved especially quickly. However, before it could get very far, Bai Xiaochun’s voice rang out sonorously.
“Stay! The rest can go, but you stay!” The rest of the wolves vanished into the swamp. In the blink of an eye… only one wolf out of 1,000 was left behind.
That wolf stood there trembling, the cold arrogance in its eyes replaced by fear. However, it didn’t dare to flee, and instead dropped down onto its belly and tried its best to wag its tail.
Big Fatty Zhang was used to scenes such as this, but Sun Wu was completely stunned. Panting, he looked over at Bai Xiaochun, and almost immediately recognized him.
Even still, he was shocked. Although it made sense for a deva to be able to scare the wolves away, it was completely astonishing that a single word could cause the leader of the pack to not only refrain from fleeing, but also to grovel on the ground.
Filled with gratitude at having just been rescued, Sun Wu hurried over to Bai Xiaochun, clasped hands, and bowed deeply.
“Many thanks for saving my life, Senior Bai!”
Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat. He had begun to feel a bit awkward showing off constantly for Big Fatty Zhang, so now that he had someone new to work with, he definitely had to make a good impression.
Therefore, he made a beckoning motion with his right hand, prompting the shivering wolf to hurry over in front of him. The wolf didn’t do anything at all when Bai Xiaochun bopped it on the head. It even wagged its tail vigorously.
Sun Wu’s jaw dropped in exaggerated fashion; he was almost incapable of reconciling the image of the tail-wagging wolf with the cruel and vicious beast he had seen earlier. They didn’t seem like the same creature….
Bai Xiaochun looked around at the surrounding corpses and found that none were eastern cultivators. Therefore, he snorted and said, “I’ll spare your life this time!”
The wolf shivered, although it was impossible to tell whether it was from fear or joy. It gave a few whimpers, then turned and fled into the swamp.
Having driven off the wolves, Bai Xiaochun turned to Sun Wu, who shivered and once again bowed formally.
Off to the side, Big Fatty Zhang cleared his throat, looked at Sun Wu, and then looked back at Bai Xiaochun.
“You’re from the south?” Bai Xiaochun asked.
“Yes indeed, sir. I’m from the Dragon Totem Ghost Sea Sect.”
Bai Xiaochun thought back to Master Thousand-Ghost, whom he had defeated with a single stare. He nodded.
“Very well. You can follow me out of the swamp if you’d like.”
Sun Wu was overjoyed. So far, the swamp had been a nightmare for him, so as far as he was concerned, being able to join Bai Xiaochun was a stroke of good fortune. Bowing incessantly, he said, “Many thanks, Senior Bai!”
Laughing heartily, Big Fatty Zhang hurried over and lifted him up from his bowing.
“We must be connected by destiny,” he said with a smile. “Come come. Why don’t you tell us how you southerners have been doing in this trial by fire?” Big Fatty Zhang was very curious about the south, and Sun Wu was very eager to speak. Other than confidential matters, he was very free with his words.
After going on for a bit, his expression suddenly flickered.
“Oh, I just remembered something! Three days ago, I saw an eastern cultivator trapped in a dangerous location. Although I wished I could save him, not even I dared to get too close…. I think saving him would have required an entire team working together…. He called himself Song Que, and he asked me to tell anyone from the east that he needed help….”
“Que’er?” Bai Xiaochun murmured, a look of shock appearing on his face.