Obviously, cursing was not going to solve the problem.
Everyone knew how terrifying the Heavenly River was.
They would all have been dead if not for the Ferryman of the Netherworld's boat, which looked like an ordinary fishing boat that could sink at any moment. Thus, when faced with this peculiar Ferryman of the Netherworld, the only way to resolve this problem was to accede to its request—even the foolish and short-sighted Thousand Illusion Elder could tell that attacking it would definitely be the quickest way to die.
The Thousand Illusion Elder was the first person to step up to the challenge.
He took out a highly concentrated, high-quality origin crystal from his storage items and handed it to the ferryman.
Gold and silver were truly considered worthless among the martial artists throughout the Vast Thousand Domains, while origin crystals were the true symbols of wealth. The high-quality origin crystal that Thousand Illusion Elder handed over was at least five hundred grams and was a considerable sum for a ferry ride.
The headless scarecrow was clearly displeased.
It took the origin crystal, then two ancient formations burst out from its broken neck and flung the origin crystal into the Heavenly River like it was garbage.
The five hundred-gram origin crystal fell like a droplet of water into a raging fire, instantly melting into the black Heavenly River without a single ripple.
The Thousand Illusion Elder's face alternated between turning pale and flushing red.
The headless scarecrow's words were like the ultimate slap to his face.
Did it actually refuse an origin crystal?
The other passengers, including Ye Qingyu, noticed something was wrong.
The Ferryman of the Netherworld seemed greedier than they had expected.
Isn't the ferry fare that it expects a little too high?
There was a quick-witted Saint from the Human Race who thought for a moment, then made his attempt. He drew out a Saint-level war hammer with cloud markings, raised it high above his head, then handed it to the headless scarecrow.
Then, the same two ancient formations appeared.
The Ferryman of the Netherworld seemed a little annoyed as it flung the Saint-level war hammer into the Heavenly River. This war hammer, which was crafted from divine materials and full of formations, fell into the river like an ice cube falling into molten lava. It melted as quickly as the origin crystal had earlier and disappeared into the waters of the black Heavenly River.
The expressions of the other Human Race experts immediately changed and they felt as though someone had stabbed a knife through their hearts.
That was a Saint-level weapon!
And it still wasn't enough for the Ferryman of the Netherworld?
How expensive is this ferry ride going to be?
"Woof, woof. That thing looks so ugly, and it's just made of straw. It doesn't even have a brain, so why is it so greedy? A Saint-level weapon isn't even enough fare to get across the river? This is clearly daylight robbery…" Little Nine said peevishly. That was such a waste. If that scarecrow didn't want the Saint-level weapon, it could have given it to me. Why did it have to destroy it by throwing it into the river? What a wastrel.
Ye Qingyu and the others also realized that the scarecrow was planning to make a killing from extorting treasures out of them.
"Pay the price!"
It stretched out its hand a third time.
The Ferryman of the Netherworld's voice sounded like a demonic dragon.
This time, it was not only just Ye Qingyu and the others, even silly dog Little Nine could sense its rage. "Woof. I think this fella is about to fly into a rage. human pet, give him something quick… before he throws us all into the river to feed the fish."
The battered and worn fishing boat started to sway gently, as though it could hear Little Nine's words.
Everyone's expressions immediately changed.
As the Ferryman of the Netherworld bellowed, something strange and mysterious happened to the surrounding river. The black mist grew thicker and faint sounds of evil, vengeful spirits bellowing could be heard from the mist. Then, this black mist transformed into a variety of horrifying scenes. Most importantly, they could clearly see the boat they were standing on was gradually starting to sink into the Heavenly River.
Right then, the situation had turned from extortion to robbery.
"Wait a minute," the Four Stars holy girl said.
She took out a mysterious scarlet fruit that was the size of a fist and handed it to the scarecrow.
A delicate and mysterious fragrance wafted through the Void.
Everyone stared at the mysterious fruit and could see that this fruit was exuding a visible, faint, scarlet divine splendor. Its skin was slightly translucent, clear and crystalline, and they could see thin and tiny formations circulating within the fruit. These formations were like golden lightning imbued with terrifying power.
It only took Ye Qingyu one look to know that this scarlet fruit was truly extraordinary.
This fruit… hmm, it could probably be considered a divine and precious herb and is definitely a rare treasure in this universe. It was clearly not a freshly plucked fruit since its flesh had naturally developed into the divine formations of the laws. If it was aged longer, it could probably become spiritual. Once it was at that stage, this scarlet mysterious fruit would automatically be at the Saint level… This should be a divine fruit that she obtained from the 18th district of the Black Demon Abyss, Ye Qingyu thought.
The Ferryman of the Netherworld grabbed the fruit with its fingers and hefted it in his hands. Its floating bamboo hat swayed slightly as though it was nodding its head, then it threw this scarlet mysterious fruit into the opening in its neck and stuffed it into its chest.
The boat stopped sinking.
But it had only stopped for now.
The Ferryman of the Netherworld was still not satisfied.
It pointed its straw hand toward the Third Prince of the Mizar Race, Yin Kaishan.
Their expressions changed yet again. They finally understood that the scarecrow was not collecting one fee for all ten passengers, but instead, it planned on collecting a fee from every single passenger.
This scarecrow was exceptionally greedy.
Yin Kaishan frowned.
However, he decided not to object and took out an oddly-shaped silver shuttle and flung it at the scarecrow.
It was clearly an extraordinary item and ranked above the Saint-level. The Ferryman of the Netherworld also hefted it in its hand, then put the item inside its chest below its broken neck.
Sure enough, it seemed as though everyone would need to pay the price separately.
The Thousand Illusion Elder looked pained but he was not left with much of a choice. After he hesitated for a while, he finally took out an ancient black coin and tentatively handed it to the Ferryman of the Netherworld. After the ferryman carefully examined the coin, it finally accepted it, much to his surprise. Another Human Race Saint looked miserable as he handed over a stone axe that he had obtained from an ancient historical ruin. The Saint looked worriedly as the ferryman looked a little uncertain, but it ultimately accepted that axe, albeit a little doubtfully.
Unfortunately, another Human Race Saint was not so lucky.
He took out dozens of treasures but the headless scarecrow, who was also the Ferryman of the Netherland, threw them all into the Heavenly River. This drove that Human Race Saint crazy with rage. Since you think they are all worthless, why can't you return my treasures back to me? You're going too far by destroying them all. He ultimately even handed over his life Saint weapon, but to his surprise, the headless scarecrow also threw it into the Heavenly River. Then, his life Saint weapon disappeared with a puff of smoke into nothingness.
"You... What exactly do you want?" The Human Race Saint was so angry he could have spat blood. He lost all sense of reason as he bellowed, "I have nothing, nothing left... You've taken all that I have. I've given you all my secret treasures just for a ride in this tattered boat, but I've ultimately lost so many treasures here. I no longer want to cross the Heavenly River, please send me back."
Before he had finished speaking—
The headless scarecrow's large bamboo hat tilted at an angle.
A withered straw tendril stretched out from its palm.
The mysterious power of laws on the small boat surged instantly. Then, an aura that felt as though a Quasi-emperor had boarded the boat spread everywhere, and it seemed like the weight of ancient mountains pressed against the backs of everyone on the boat, leaving them breathless. The withered straw tendril looked like it could be broken apart by a gust of wind, but it contained an extremely terrifying power. Before Ye Qingyu, the Four Stars holy girl, the Third Prince of the Mizar Race, and the mysterious man in a black hooded cloak could even react, the straw tendril wrapped tightly around that Human Race Saint like an Immortal Trapping Rope. Then, this Human Race Saint was hung upside-down, brought out of the small boat, and suspended three or four meters above the Heavenly River.
"Let me go..." The Human Race Saint cried out in terror.
The next moment, the calm water suddenly split opened and a black shadow tunneled out of the water as quick as lightning. It bit the lower part of the Saint's body, and although the Saint's body was as tough as divine steel, he was immediately torn into two pieces. Blood from his innards gushed out—it was a horrifying sight to behold.
"Was that... a fish?"
"A giant fish!"
"What kind of monster was that!"
Everyone was extremely astonished.
No one expected living creatures, especially creatures as terrifying as the one earlier, to be dwelling in this black river, which had the ability to melt Saint weapons.
"Help..." The Human Race Saint cried desperately as his soul flew into the sky, struggling with all his might.
However, the lower half of his body was trapped by the mysterious straw tendril and he could not escape his bindings at all. As his blood fell into the Heavenly River, something terrible happened. Numerous phantom figures of monstrous lightning fish flew from the river and rushed madly to chew on the Saint's body.
One breath later—
The Saint's cries still echoed through the air, but all that was left of him hanging from the straw tendrils was just half his skeleton.
The tendrils loosened their grip.
The half-skeleton fell into the Heavenly River and turned into white mist before it disappeared.
A Saint expert had died, just like that.
The other passengers on the small boat felt a chill run down their spines.
Little Nine was so terrified that it felt as though its limbs were giving way, and it said through chattering teeth, "This scarecrow is so goddamn cruel!"
The Ferryman of the Netherworld was way too frightening.
"Quasi-emperor grade," Ye Qingyu came to a decision.
Hu Bugui looked terrified as he gave up his treasure. He ignored the pain he was feeling and immediately took out a bronze mirror armor, which was peppered with rust, that he must have dug out from some grave. He then handed it reluctantly to the headless scarecrow with a constipated expression.
"This idiot is definitely going to die."
Thousand Illusion Elder and the other Human Race Saint delighted in Hu Bugui's impending misfortune when they saw his treasure.
How could he hand a lousy bronze mirror armor to the ferryman? Wasn't he just courting death?
However, the reality was completely different from what they had been anticipating.
The headless scarecrow took the bronze mirror armor with both hands and carefully hefted it in his hands for a long while, looking surprisingly satisfied. It thought for a moment and then two withered straw tendrils sprung out from its body. It assembled the bronze mirror armor and wore it on its chest. Then, it stood at the edge of the boat and looked proudly at the calm river, as though it were a vain girl who was checking out her reflection in the mirror after changing clothes.
The Four Stars holy girl, the Third Prince of the Mizar Race, and the mysterious man in black looked at Hu Bugui in surprise.
They could tell that the headless scarecrow thought that this rusty bronze mirror armor was worth more than the mysterious scarlet fruit earlier. No one had expected this disheveled and bearded man with low cultivation to possess a treasure of such a level. Unfortunately, they could not tell what the value of that bronze mirror armor was. They could make out faint markings from the Fiendgod Age, but there was not a trace of yuan essence qi contained within it. Wasn't it clearly a useless relic?
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