According to Qi Zhongdao, the inundated area that the members of the Purple Pole Sword Sect were at was still in a relatively decent condition.
After all, floods were rather common in the Great Qian Dynasty every year.
The victims in front of them alone were not enough to panic the court and the Cultivators.
The real trouble was the southeast seashore where the febrile typhoon savaged.
The febrile typhoon had affected three states, nine counties, and seventy prefectures, devastating more towns than anyone could count. It had also triggered continuous forest fires, burning a lot of farmland and settlements to the ground. Too many folks had lost their homes. Their number was a hundred times larger than the disaster victims that the Cultivators could see before them!
The disaster victims were not problems per se because they were not much of a threat to the Cultivators.
The real problem was that, since most of the victims were short of clothes, food, and medicine, and they were already dying because of the wounds caused by the febrile typhoon and the dirty water that they were soaked in, there was a good chance that they would die in the end.
There were peaceful deaths and unpeaceful deaths.
For those who died of old age, their soul was relatively steady, and it was easy for them to disperse and be relieved for eternity.
But for the victims who were starved to death in the febrile typhoon and flood, who were killed because they ate too many plant roots, and who died miserably because their wounds caused by the febrile typhoon got infected, their soul contained powerful hatred and aggression. When the negative emotions were taken advantage of by guys such as ‘Mother White Lotus’ Wan Mingzhu, they could easily turn into ferocious ghosts and threaten the Cultivators.
Based on past experience, the great disasters were always followed by plagues. During the plagues, the army of ghouls would march forward fearlessly. The ghostly fire would blossom everywhere in the prosperous land in the southeast as fast as lightning!
“A big army of ghouls has already appeared near East Peace County, with fire that looks like a white lotus above their heads. Even in broad daylight, they still dare to appear on the main road, trying to block the transportation between East Peace County and other places and assassinate the scouts and Cultivators flying out of East Peace County. They are apparently making preparations for the army of ghouls to attack the city!
“The ten or so towns to the south of East Peace County suffered the heaviest blow after the febrile typhoon passed. Countless folks were killed, but when the Cultivators of the sects nearby went to investigate, they only saw a whole area of dead bodies and found absolutely no remaining souls. It was obvious that all the remaining souls had been taken away by ‘Mother White Lotus’ Wan Mingzhu and refined into ghoul soldiers!
“This time, the White Lotus ghouls are assaulting on a large scale exactly at a time when the febrile typhoon and the floods are happening. It is not to be underestimated. The entire southeast may be affected!
“The southeast of the Great Qian Dynasty is the most important agricultural region for the Cultivators. Half of the Jade Crystal Pellets for the Cultivators are grown here.
“Before, the fertile land in the northeast could also be established into farmlands, but the main roads to the northeast have all been cut by the Dragon Wolf cavalry of Ghost Qin. It is impossible to develop the northeast for now!
“We cannot allow anything to happen to the southeast. Should the White Lotus ghoul army trample on all the farmland, the prices of rice and wheat will certainly soar. Chances are that starvation will happen even among the Cultivators. If so, the competition between sects will become even fiercer. All the rules in the world of Cultivators will disappear!”
With a dark face, Qi Zhongdao elaborated on why they had come such a long way for disaster relief and to eliminate the White Lotus Cult.
Qi Zhongdao was not a merciful monk like Master Bitter Cicada. Everything that he did was for the interests of the Cultivators.
He would not bat an eye if thousands of victims were killed, but it was utterly intolerable if those victims could be turned into deadly ghouls and sabotage the southeast farmlands under the lead of Mother White Lotus!
There were thousands of training techniques in the Ancient Sages Sector. However, there was one fundamental training principle that transcended all other methods.
Nobody could do anything without food!
Cultivators boasted marvelous capabilities. The functioning speed of their cells, nerves, and muscles was ten times and even a hundred times higher than that of the ordinary people. To maintain the activity of their cells, they had to devour an astronomical amount of food every day. Otherwise, it would be very easy for them to starve themselves.
If they fed on regular food and meat, they would require a huge amount of provisions, and they might not be full after consuming a hundred kilograms of food. In the meantime, such food could only keep their current level from falling at best.
If they intended to progress, they had to feed on the meat of the animals that boasted tremendous spiritual energy or food such as Jade Crystal Pellets.
The animals that boasted tremendous spiritual energy had to be hunted. They were not readily available for low-level Cultivators. The rice and wheat grown in the farmlands where spiritual energy was dense, in comparison, was the foundation for the Cultivators’ training and for a Cultivation sect to exist!
Half of the farmlands were located in the southeast, which was also the better half with the most spiritual energy.
If the southeast farmlands were destroyed by the White Lotus ghouls, there would certainly be a ‘food crisis’ among the Cultivators in the harvest season in the latter half of the year!
Qi Zhongdao unfolded a map of the Great Qian Dynasty painted on goatskin.
Mystic rays were slowly rising up, congregating into an uneven sand table where the mountains, rivers, and towns were all detailed.
He pointed at the sand table and said, “Right now, the five main troops of the court are marching to the southeast at top speed. As all you fellow Cultivators know, most of the soldiers of the court are ordinary people who can barely move forward in the flood. It will take them at least a fortnight to arrive at East Peace County.
“During that half a month, it will be our job to help stabilize the situation!
“We have three missions in total. First of all, pacify the victims and prevent them from getting killed by coldness and hunger and turning into hateful, restless ghosts. Secondly, protect the farmlands from the scourge of the army of ghouls. Thirdly, if possible, find ‘Mother White Lotus’ Wan Mingzhu and execute the ‘mother of all ghosts’!”
“This is indeed great kindness. With everyone’s help here, the folks in the southeast will finally have a chance to be saved. You are all making great contributions, fellow Cultivators!” Master Bitter Cicada, who had been informed and come over, put his palms together and asked, “But I wonder, where will the food for the homeless victims come from in the next half a month?”
Qi Zhongdao slashed his hands. “The Grand Mystery Sect, the Purple Pole Sword Sect, Thunderstorm Valley, Flying Spirit Island, the Gold Armor Clan, and the Monster Taming Pavilion, as well as many other large sects, have dispatched a sizable batch of emergency food that will be delivered in a couple of days!”
This was the first time that Li Yao had heard of the Purple Pole Sword Sect providing a large batch of food for the disaster area. After a momentary daze, he somehow had a better impression on the Cultivation sects.
Whatever their purpose was, supporting the disaster area with precious food would save a lot of victims. It was indeed worth commending.
Li Yao could not help but glance at Dan Fengzi, the leader of the Purple Pole Sword Sect, only to discover that Dan Fengzi was wearing a weird smile.
Sensing Li Yao’s eyes, he scratched his nose and turned his face.
Taking a breath in relief, Master Bitter Cicada thought for a moment and asked again, “Then, what are the victims going to eat for the next couple of days?”
After hearing that, Qi Zhongdao’s face was even darker than before. His cheeks cramping, he said coldly, “I’m afraid we’ll have to ask the local sects in the southeast to provide food. This is a local affair of the southeast after all. How can the local sects idle by while the foreign sects are doing everything we can?”
After listening to Qi Zhongdao’s explanation, Li Yao finally realized that not every place was demolished in the febrile typhoon and flood. There were still some paradises in the area.
They were the headquarters of the local sects in the southeast.
It was needless to mention East Peace County, a splendid city where dozens of sects were headquartered.
Even the sects in local towns had mostly established their headquarters against the mountains. The headquarters were often magnificent and impenetrable.
They were also surrounded by defense rune arrays and barriers. Floods, febrile typhoons, and other natural disasters would be hard pressed to breach their defenses.
Even when the bureaus of the Cultivation sects were destroyed, they were often the last establishments in the local area to be destroyed.
Therefore, when a natural disaster was nearing, most of the Cultivators would reap the rice, store tremendous assets, and escape into their headquarters in advance. They would defend the strongholds and would not be active in the outside world until the natural disaster was over.
Since the Sorcerers’ River downstream was a kingdom of swamps and the southeast was basically drowned, the headquarters of the Cultivation sects had essentially become lone islands where tremendous resources were stored.
However, it was certainly not easy to open the lone islands.
“Three hundred and fifty kilometers from here, it’s the headquarters of Roaring Tiger Hall!”
Pointing at the edge of a rather high mountain on the mountain, Qi Zhongdao said, “Roaring Tiger Hall is one of the few most famous sects in the southeast. Two thirds of the farmlands in the entire West River Stage belong to Roaring Tiger Hall. Roaring Tiger Hall first thrived based on the farmlands. Then, they monopolized the transportation business along a stretch of the Sorcerers’ River and accumulated tremendous wealth. They have spent twenty years hollowing Heavenly Tiger Mountain and establishing the magnificent Roaring Tiger City!
“Roaring Tiger City has been built next to the mountain and is extraordinarily spectacular. When it was built, an enormous Tiger Apparitions Array was already buried deep beneath the ground. Also, more than a hundred Crouching Tiger Cannons and Fiery Crow Ballista have been forged in the critical locations in the city. It is essentially an impenetrable fortress!
“Roaring Tiger Hall boasts two Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and ten at the peak of the Core Formation Stage. They are the dominators in the West River State!
“Hearing that the febrile typhoon and the flood were coming near, they collected all the resources, escaped into Roaring Tiger City, and shut the gate!
“Because Roaring Tiger City is the highest place in the hundreds of square kilometers nearby, it has not been damaged at all in the natural disaster. Right now, hundreds of millions of disaster victims are gathered below Roaring Tiger City, and millions more are still running toward the place. If Roaring Tiger City keeps their gates shut without letting anybody in or any grain out, there will be great trouble soon enough!”