Li Yao was slightly dazed. In fact, the logic was quite simple. But the natural disasters in the Star Glory Federation were all handled properly and quickly soon after they happened. He had never seen the victims of the disasters causing trouble before. So, he did not think it through just now.
Seeing Li Yao’s reaction, Dan Fengzi continued. “Although the hundreds of thousands of homeless folks are a lot, and they will be troublesome after they turn into an army of ghouls if Roaring Tiger Hall does nothing, Roaring Tiger Hall will still be capable to dealing with them.
“If they do follow Master Righteous One’s instructions and open the barn, the millions of disaster victims nearby will be attracted, and the food still might not be enough. Countless victims will die of hunger. When there are a lot of bodies, with the density of the crowd, the odds of a plague outbreak will be much higher. Even more people will die a miserable death below Roaring Tiger City, their unrested souls lingering on!
“As a result, the army of tens of thousands of ghouls can be upgraded into an army of a million ghouls. If they hover above Roaring Tiger City, it is possible that Roaring Tiger Hall will not be able to resist them and will quickly be demolished!
“Tell me about it, Elder Spiritual Vulture. The lives of all the members of the sect are on his shoulders. How can the Duans show Master Righteous One respect?
“For Roaring Tiger Hall, the only correct choice is what they are doing right now. They’re showing unmistakably to all the disaster victims that Roaring Tiger Hall has absolutely no food and they will certainly die if they keep staying here. Going to East Peace County is their only choice to live if they want to live!
“In such a way, the trouble will be guided to East Peace County, and Roaring Tiger Hall will be at peace again!”
Li Yao took a deep breath. “That explains a lot. Human beings can really be treacherous.”
“Of course. The most treacherous things in the world are human beings!”
Dan Fengzi sighed and said, “Is Master Righteous One demanding that Roaring Tiger Hall open the barn because he is, to quote him, ‘serving justice and helping the people’? No. He is hoping to ease the pressure on East Peace County’s side with Roaring Tiger Hall as the price by attracting the disaster victims wandering around East Peace County so that Mother White Lotus will not be able to draft enough ghost soldiers, and he will have a chance to eliminate her once and for all!
“Hehe. Master Righteous One is taking advantage of Duan Yuanwu’s lack of experience since he is new to the Nascent Soul Stage! However, his father, Duan Tiande, has been hanging around with the Cultivators for more than a hundred years. They will not be fooled so easily!
“Just wait and watch. Duan Tiande must be lurking in the darkness. If Master Righteous One dares attack by force, the Duans will certainly bite a few pieces of flesh off him even at the cost of death!”
Li Yao was appalled. Pondering for a moment, he frowned and said, “That’s still not right. If the big sects including the Purple Pole Sword Sect are shipping food to this place, which will arrive in two to three days, Roaring Tiger Hall only needs to provide food for a day or two for the victims to survive the crisis. Isn’t it a happy ending for everyone? Why are the two parties so antagonistic to each other?”
“Hehe. Hehehehe!” Dan Fengzi chuckled, somewhat in embarrassment. Instead of replying to Li Yao’s question, he changed the topic and said, “Even if Roaring Tiger Hall does have food that is sufficient for millions of disaster victims to survive half a month, it is still impossible for them to offer any!”
“Why?” Li Yao asked.
“For a simple reason.” Dan Fengzi counted his fingers and calculated. “With the natural disasters in the spring, specifically the collective strike of the flood and the febrile typhoon, the fertile farmlands in the southeast have been ruined. When harvest season comes, the Cultivators will certainly be short of food!
“Not only will the rice, wheat, and Jade Crystal Pellets for the Cultivators be in short supply, when the Cultivation sects run out of their storage and the Cultivators have to feed on regular rice and wheat, their demand on food will grow exponentially!
“By then, the price of food will certainly soar. It will be five times and even ten times higher than right now!
“Whoever has food will have the most hardcore resources and capabilities!
“Offering a basket of food to the disaster victims right now means a reduction of their capabilities during the harvest season when the famine breaks out. Who’s silly enough to do that?
“After the natural disasters, Roaring Tiger Hall is bound to expand their territory. Battles will be inevitable. The food that they store will be exchanged for the resources needed in the battles. How can they waste the food on the disaster victims for nothing?”
“Battles?” Li Yao was more and more amazed. “Battles? What for?”
“After every natural disaster, there will be a period of fighting when the Cultivators in the central plateaus divide their turf again,” Dan Fengzi explained to Li Yao patiently. “The central plateaus are different from the Southland of Sorcerers. The land here is little, but the population is high. The friction is intense. The farmlands, plantations, and reserves of different sects are very close to each other, often without the slightest gap. Conflicts happen almost on a daily basis!
“Before, on a property, there would be barriers and banners indicating the owner of the territory. So, an ostensible peace can still be maintained. However, after a flood or a febrile typhoon, most of the barriers and banners will be ruined. Who can prove the boundary between two neighboring forces?
“Everybody wants more. Isn’t it only necessary that they fight each other for the expansion of their territory?”
“Phew…” Li Yao took a long breath. He recalled the anecdote that he had overheard when he was investigating along the Sorcerers’ River earlier. For nothing more than a pile of poop, two Cultivators at the peak of the Core Formation Stage had been killed in the fight between two sects.
“Friction over territory is not very important.” Dan Fengzi smiled again. “The more chaotic situation is this. Sometimes, the headquarters of a sect happens to be hit directly by a natural disaster and is completely demolished. With the experts in the sect wiped out, it does not have the capabilities to keep its previous territory any more.
“Some of the less lucky sects are even entirely uprooted by the natural disaster, and most of the disciples are killed. So, a lot of unowned farmlands and forests have present themselves!
“Elder Spiritual Vulture, do you think that the unowned land is worth fighting for?”
Li Yao nodded and gnashed his teeth. “Of course it is!”
“Therefore, after every natural disaster, there will be a great opportunity for the Cultivation sects to fight and swallow each other in their own way!” Dan Fengzi said with a smile. “For a local superpower like Roaring Tiger Hall, weather conditions mean little. In fact, after weighing the pros and cons, they might even prefer natural disasters!
“Elder Spiritual Vulture, you can take a minute to think if it makes sense. Roaring Tiger Hall currently boasts half of the farmlands in the West River State. It has also extended its tentacles into the neighboring states and counties and established a lot of fortresses, bureaus, and farms.
“If the weather is favorable, their farmlands will yield the most crops, which is certainly good!
“If there is a natural disaster, Roaring Tiger Hall, as the most powerful sect in the thousand square kilometers nearby, certainly boasts the highest anti-disaster capabilities. When the smaller sects are dying, Roaring Tiger Hall might only suffer bruises!
“As soon as they pass the natural disaster, Roaring Tiger Hall will have the opportunity to swallow the sects, resources, and interests nearby. Isn’t it a fairer deal than reaping the crops when the weather is favorable?
“How could Roaring Tiger Hall have developed into what it is today if they hadn’t chosen such a path? You can’t have ten Cultivators at the peak of the Core Formation Stage and two in the Nascent Soul Stage by farming alone!
“To fight for territory, a lot of resources will be consumed, among which food is the most important of all!
“Considering the scale of the natural disaster, a lot of sects must’ve been significantly weakened or even entirely collapsed. It is a great opportunity for Roaring Tiger Hall to rise. How can they waste the precious battle resources on the relief of the disaster victims?”
“That explains a lot!” With complicated feelings, Li Yao said, “Roaring Tiger Hall has other ambitions. No wonder they are giving no food!”
“Even if they do not have ambitions but merely want to protect themselves, it is still impossible for them to offer any food.” Dan Fengzi smiled. “If Roaring Tiger Hall truly offers a huge amount of food for the relief of the victims, their own barn may be drained. Even if they survive the scourge of the army of ghouls, they will still be eyed by the other sects nearby who have sufficient warriors and food!
“In this world, just because you don’t hurt other people doesn’t mean that other people won’t hurt you. How can Roaring Tiger Hall place themselves on a chopping block waiting to be butchered?
“It has nothing to do with the Duans’ personalities but concerns the lives of the tens of thousands of disciples of Roaring Tiger Hall as well as the ten times more fighters and tenants who are attached to them. Even if Master Bitter Cicada were the leader of Roaring Tiger Hall, would he trade the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of people inside Roaring Tiger City for a slim chance of survival for the millions of victims outside?”
Dan Fengzi’s statement was like a strike right on Li Yao’s forehead, and his head was humming.
He raised his head and looked at Master Bitter Cicada, only to discover that Master Bitter Cicada was still appeasing the deceased in the middle of the gloomy clouds far away.
His eyes half closed, he was mumbling the sutras to himself without looking at Qi Zhongdao and Duan Yuanwu, who were confronting each other.
Was the monk unwilling to look, or could he not bear to, or did he not dare to?
If the monk were asked to choose, would he have attacked Roaring Tiger City and opened the barn by brute force?
Pondering for a long time, Li Yao shook his head with a bitter smile. “It appears that they truly can’t respect Master Righteous One.”
“Of course they can’t. They will not even respect the emperor if he gives the order!” Dan Fengzi said resolutely. Then he put on a weird smile. “Besides, Master Righteous One does not deserve much respect right now because his face was slapped hard recently!”
“What do you mean?” Li Yao was baffled. “Who dares to slap the ‘leader of the Great Qian Dynasties’?”
“Wasn’t it you, Elder Spiritual Vulture?” Dan Fengzi looked at Li Yao solemnly. “Have you forgotten how you and Junior Brother Yan had a two-man show and stomped Master Righteous One’s face into the mud three months ago during the Dragon Spring Meeting? Do I need to remind you?”
“…” Li Yao.
“There is a big difference between the best and the second best.” Dan Fengzi shook his head and said, “Before, awed by the power of the Heaven Flipping Seal, everybody had to think carefully before they refused Master Righteous One’s request. But now, since it has been proven that the Heaven Flipping Seal is beatable and Master Righteous One is not invincible, the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators such as the Duans are certainly braver than before!”