The matter of the heavenly dragonfish was the talk of Saint-Emperor City. Not only were a lot of people grinning maliciously in their hearts, many even began to denounce Bai Xiaochun publicly.
Deep in the imperial palace was a cistern surrounded by a forest of ornamental rocks, where the spiritual energy was stronger than anywhere else in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty.
There were many restrictive spells in the area, as well as precious treasures. Close examination would reveal that the cistern was actually connected to the entire mountain upon which Saint-Emperor City and the heavenly pond was built. Anyone who even got close to this place would be physically and mentally shaken.
It was one of the most well-protected places in all of the Eternal Lands. Even if the Vile-Emperor came, he would be unable to get close without being affected by the restrictive spells.
Of course, there was little need to mention celestials such as Gu Tianjun. Unless the circumstances were absolutely dire, they would never even think of disturbing the Saint-Emperor’s secluded meditation. After all, cultivators would only seal their divine sense and go into absolute seclusion when a very critical cultivation step had been reached.
Although someone with a cultivation base as high as the Saint-Emperor’s would not likely experience a dangerous energy deviation if he were to be interrupted, distractions could lead to mistakes or failures.
But at this point, they felt that they had no choice…. Gu Tianjun, Chen Su, and a middle-aged man wearing a scholar's robe were all present, and currently in the middle of exchanging awkward glances. These were all of the celestials in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, with the exception of the fourth, who was currently stationed in the second immortal domain.
Gritting his teeth, Chen Su spoke in a loud voice laced with lamentation, “If things keep going this way, by the time the Saint-Emperor comes out of seclusion, his heavenly dragonfish… will be extinct.”
The scholar was inwardly despising Chen Su for his showy display of grief. However, his eyes shone with cold light as he loudly said, “That damned Bai Xiaochun! Maybe we should just arrest him and come up with some random crimes to charge him with….”
Gu Tianjun snorted coldly. Eyes flashing with killing intent, he said, “In my opinion, there’s no need to disturb the Saint-Emperor. I’ll just go cut down that traitor Bai Xiaochun myself!”
He hadn’t liked Bai Xiaochun from the beginning, and was just itching to do something to him. It was only Chen Su and this other middle-aged cultivator who had prevented him from doing so.
In the opinions of Chen Su and the scholar, they were the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, not the Vile-Emperor Dynasty. In the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, it was important to follow the rules, and so far, Bai Xiaochun had not violated any. Plus, he had a special status. Despite being celestials, they couldn’t simply make a move against him.
Most importantly, they knew that Bai Xiaochun had a world treasure. Although all three felt confident in being able to handle him, the result of such a battle would not be determined quickly.
If they joined forces… the consequences could be severe, and if the heavenly dragonfish were affected as a result, that would be even worse.
Gu Tianjun had been listening to such lines of reasoning for days now, much to his annoyance. For one thing, he knew that the other two had other reasons for preventing him from taking action. And all of it made him even more anxious to do something about Bai Xiaochun.
Another factor was that all three of the celestials knew that if these heavenly dragonfish belonged to them, and Bai Xiaochun did something like this, they absolutely would not let the matter slide. They would already have done something. Unfortunately… the heavenly dragonfish belonged to the Saint-Emperor, not them.
And there was one final aspect, the most important of all…. Bai Xiaochun had been fishing every day for half a month, and despite the fact that all of the aristocracy was grumbling angrily about it… none of them did anything to stop him.
And that was because he never ate alone!
Every day, he would send some heavenly dragonfish to certain officials of the court. That included Chen Su, the scholar celestial, and even Gu Tianjun, to whom he had sent several.
Of course, all of them would have loved to get even more fish than they had. But they were clever schemers one and all, and did not hold back from expressing outrage over what was happening. Now they had come here to warn the Saint-Emperor about what was happening, which would also ensure that they weren’t blamed for holding back.
Moments ago, they had made sure to speak especially loudly about their complaints, bolstering their voices with their cultivation bases in the hopes that they would be heard by the Saint-Emperor within his secluded meditation facilities.
Moments later, powerful fluctuations erupted from within the cistern, fluctuations that began to shake Saint-Emperor City as a whole.
Around that time, Bai Xiaochun was in his blessed land, in the middle of eating a roast fish. Suddenly, he shivered, and looked in the direction of the imperial palace.
“A few days ago, that wily fox Chen Su hinted that the Saint-Emperor was in secluded meditation…. Seems the Saint-Emperor is about to come out!” Bai Xiaochun was a bit nervous, but reminded himself that he had given away about thirty percent of the heavenly dragonfish he had caught in the past half a month or so.
“The law fails when too many people are guilty. Besides, I kidnapped a celestial for him. I doubt he’ll care much about a few fish.” Rubbing his nose, he cleared his throat and ravenously devoured the rest of the fish he had roasted.
In the depths of the imperial palace, the cistern opened, and the Saint-Emperor slowly emerged, his green garments rustling in the wind. The three celestials who had gathered quickly bowed in greeting.
An unsightly expression could be seen on the Saint-Emperor’s face. Considering how loudly the celestials had spoken moments before, bolstering their voices with their cultivation base, it was impossible for him to have not heard what they were talking about. After sending his divine sense out into the city to check the situation, he knew exactly what was going on.
The entire thing had him feeling very shaken. After all, nearly twenty percent of the fish in the heavenly pond were gone, leaving him feeling stabbed to the heart.
“My fish….” he murmured angrily, doing his best to control his breathing as he glared at the three celestials. Naturally, he knew exactly what they were up to. They were trying to both benefit from Bai Xiaochun, and at the same time, make sure they weren’t implicated.
Then he considered how many fish Bai Xiaochun had gifted to other members of the aristocracy. Although he hadn’t given fish to everyone, he had made sure to include all of the most important people.
Face twitching, he realized that anything he did now would be as ineffective as punching a pillow. Not only was Bai Xiaochun’s status particularly unique, but he had given away fish to too many people. The Saint-Emperor could already feel a big headache coming on.
In terms of punishing Bai Xiaochun… he obviously couldn’t execute him. And locking him up didn’t seem like a viable option either. He could levy a fine, but at the moment, Bai Xiaochun had almost no wealth. Clearly, he didn’t have anything to fear in that department.
In terms of his special status… the Saint-Emperor had come to the conclusion that the best thing would be to just send him away from the capital city!
“Well played, Bai Xiaochun. You’re forcing me to let you go!” A moment later, the Saint-Emperor waved his right hand toward the heavenly pond, causing a frigid qi to erupt out from the imperial city.
In the blink of an eye, cracking sounds filled the air as the heavenly pond began to ice over. After ten breaths of time passed, the surface of the lake was solid ice!!
It was now completely sealed, making it impossible for anyone with a cultivation base lower than the Saint-Emperor’s to do any fishing!
“Let’s see how you fish now!” he growled to himself. Swishing his sleeve, he ignored the three celestials and went back into the cistern to continue his session of secluded meditation.
The celestials eyed each other, cleared their throats, and then left.
Soon, news was spreading everywhere about the pond having been sealed. Bai Xiaochun got word from the court officials that he had become friendly with. Although there was a bit of a commotion, it wasn't a huge deal.
In fact, despite not being very happy with how it had been handled, many people breathed sighs of relief that this particular crisis had now been resolved.
“So stingy!” Bai Xiaochun grumbled. “He’s a mighty Saint-Emperor! There are more than 20,000 heavenly dragonfish left in that pond! I only got about 3,000 so far. I'd say 10,000 would be a good limit. I invested a lot of Fantasy Pills into this venture!” Despite all of the heavenly dragonfish he had eaten so far, he was still quite a distance away from a cultivation base breakthrough. It was a real pity.
However, the sight of the heavenly pond covered in ice caused him to hesitate….
“Weird. Something about it seems off.”