Li Yao was rendered speechless. He did not realize that he was involved, too.
However, on second thought, it did make sense. Although the ancient sects and the modern sects were both named ‘sects’, they were fundamentally different!
The ancient sects were independent kingdoms and war groups that acted on their own. Although Qi Zhongdao was the well-acknowledged leader of all Cultivators, it was just a nominal title to show respect for him.
When life was peaceful, he was naturally respected by everyone because of his unparalleled capabilities. However, when their core interests were affected, they would not care about who he was at all!
To unite the hundreds of independent groups large and small to think and do things together was too hard!
“Now that Master Righteous One, Master Bitter Cicada, and so many other fellow Cultivators have arrived,” Duan Yuanwu shouted from Roaring Tiger City, “to show respect for everyone here, and with the benevolence of the heavens in mind, we have combed the burnt barns time and time again and finally collected three thousand baskets of food! After taking the three thousand baskets of food, you can lead the disaster victims eastward to East Peace County. That’s the only place where they can survive!”
“Three thousand baskets is far from enough!” Qi Zhongdao did not give in at all. “Right now, the road to East Peace County has been blocked by the White Lotus ghoul army. It is impossible for the weak and sick folks to travel to East Peace County before they are enchanted by Mother White Lotus and turned into an army of ghouls, causing great trouble! They cannot go to East Peace County and must settle here! Roaring Tiger Hall can provide fifty thousand baskets of food right now. In a couple of days, after the flying boats that are fully loaded with food from the other sects arrive, the crisis will be resolved!”
“Fifty thousand baskets?” Duan Yuanwu burst into laughter. His eyeballs seemed to be twice as large as before and turned dim yellow color, resembling those of a tiger. His beard shaking, he snarled, “So, you want to demolish Roaring Tiger Hall and annihilate the Duan family?”
“If the army of ghouls walks in the day, the world will be shattered. There will be no good for anybody!” Qi Zhongdao said sincerely, almost digging out his heart to show Duan Yuanwu his earnestness. “Right now, both the Grand Mystery Sect and Roaring Tiger hall, both the Duan family and the Qi family, should bear the big picture in mind and consider the entire community of Cultivators! Let’s stabilize the current situation no matter what for now. No matter what prices your sect has paid, I assure you with the Heaven Flipping Seal in my bag that we will make up for your losses later!”
“Haha. Hahahaha. The way I see it, Master Righteous One, you are trying to openly plunder our city with the power of the Heaven Flipping Seal, right?”
Duan Yuanwu did not buy what he said at all. He raised his head and laughed, before he scratched his beard and said, “I didn’t know that the world would be reversed after the natural disaster arrived. The leader of all the Great Qian Cultivators, and the grand leader of the Grand Mystery Sect, has been changed into a bandit who loots a burning house!”
“Young Leader Duan!” Blood red veins were bulging out on Qi Zhongdao’s dark face, and terrible ripples were spreading out. “Is Roaring Tiger Hall so ruthless that you are not going to open the barn even if hundreds of thousands of victims are dying of hunger and coldness outside?”
“No food. No food. Not a grain of food!” Duan Yuanwu slapped a rock on the tower so hard that it was immediately blown into smithereens. “Let’s forget the fact that the barn of Roaring Tiger Hall has been burnt down with all the food gone and we cannot offer much. Even if we do have food, why are you demanding that we offer the food?
“The thousand square kilometers nearby is all the property of Roaring Tiger Hall! We earned the land fair and square! We reaped the crops without violating any laws! It all belongs to Roaring Tiger Hall and the Duan family!
“We have been merciful enough to allow those bumpkins to trespass on the land of Roaring Tiger Hall. You want food? No. Absolutely no!”
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
The auras of the two Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were colliding like tides in ear-splitting noises.
The dizzy victims on the ground in their ragged clothes were listening to the talks of the two ‘deities’. Some understood what they were talking about, but most did not. They were all shaking and struggling in pain while covering their ears.
“Young Leader Duan, are you really so mean and heartless?” Qi Zhongdao bellowed.
“What about being mean?” Duan Yuanwu shouted. “The land is ours. The food is ours. Is it an unpardonable crime that we do not have food to spare?
“Besides, there are too many Cultivation sects in the southeast. Why are you clinging to Roaring Tiger Hall alone?
“1,250 kilometers south of this place, the Heaven Resounding Guild is also a famous big sect in the southeast. Is there not any food?
“1,320 kilometers north of this place, the Flying Leopard Palace also has thousands of acres of fertile land. Is there not any food?
“The founding elder of the Heaven Resounding Guild was an elder who split from the Grand Mystery Sect!
“Although the Flying Leopard Palace had nothing to do with the Grand Mystery Sect in the past, its current leader is an in-law of Elder Lu of the Grand Mystery Sect!
“The Heaven Resounding Guild and the Flying Leopard Palace are both rich and boast bountiful resources. They are also deeply connected with the Grand Mystery Sect. Why are you coming to Roaring Tiger Hall instead of asking them first?
“Did you not forget the conflicts on the transportation business on the Sorcerers’ River last year between Roaring Tiger Hall and the Grand Mystery Sect? Are you taking the chance to diminish Roaring Tiger Hall so that the Heaven Resounding Guild and the Flying Leopard Palace can swallow us sooner?”
Qi Zhongdao was shaking in fury. “Watch your manners! Even your father Duan Tiande wouldn’t dare talk to me in such a way! You are only a junior in the beginning level of the Nascent Soul Stage. How dare you?”
Duan Yuanwu took off the tiger-hide armor, revealing his chest that was full of golden hair. He spat out a mouthful of saliva with a huge noise. “I call you Master Righteous One and regard you as the leader of all Cultivators merely to show respect for you! But as the leader of all Cultivators, you should do what is expected of the leader! You always talk about rules, and I certainly believe that law trumps rules. Tell me about it. What law has Roaring Tiger Hall broken exactly, and what crimes have we committed? Are you really regarding a noble and righteous sect as evil outlaws?”
Qi Zhongdao burst into fury. “You—”
Duan Yuanwu’s mouth was shooting like the Crouching Tiger Cannons and the Fiery Crow Ballista as he went on. “Digging out food from the throat of the Cultivators and offering it to the cash-stripped bumpkins for free. Has there ever been such a thing in the thousand years of history in the Great Qian Dynasty? Although Roaring Tiger Hall is not as powerful and influential as the Grand Mystery Sect, we do have a few disciples who can speak to the emperor in the court in Divine Capital! Qi Zhongdao, you are blatantly annihilating Roaring Tiger Hall for a few insignificant bumpkins. What are you up to exactly? Do you have any respect for the emperor?
“Are you intentionally earning the favor and support of the bumpkins for a grander scheme later?
“Let me tell you honestly. You want Roaring Tiger Hall to open the barn. It’s easy. Ask the emperor to issue a decree! Roaring Tiger Hall is loyal to the Great Qian Dynasty and obedient to His Majesty. As soon as we see the decree, we will open the barn immediately!
“But right now, with only a few empty words from you, Qi Zhongdao, you want us to open the barn and embrace our doom. Hehehehe. It can work, too, if the Grand Mystery Sect takes the chance to establish a ‘Great Mystery Dynasty’ exactly like the Thunderous Qian Hall did in the past!”
Duan Yuanwu was certainly not as blunt and reckless as he appeared.
His arguments were truly sordid and critical.
On the flying boat, many disciples of the Grand Mystery Sect frowned. They looked at Qi Zhongdao with complicated feelings.
“Look.” Dragging the few elders from the Purple Pole Sword Sect, Dan Fengzi further retreated to the back of the crowd. He looked at Li Yao and grimaced, “Now you should understand why Master Righteous One is the ‘grand leader’ of the Grand Mystery Sect now, Elder Spiritual Vulture. If he continued working as the leader, the Grand Mystery Sect would have been killed by itself in no time!”
“Fellow Cultivators!” The more Duan Yuanwu talked, the more excited he got. “Roaring Tiger Hall has no grudge with everyone here whatsoever. As a local of the southeast, we cannot thank you enough for coming such a long way here for disaster relief!
“However, Roaring Tiger Hall has indeed been caught in desperation, and we cannot offer too much food. We hope that fellow Cultivators have more sympathy on Roaring Tiger Hall!
“Although Roaring Tiger Hall has two Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and ten at the peak of the Core Formation Stage, that’s nothing compared to the entire world of Cultivators! Therefore, Roaring Tiger Hall is certainly unwilling to be on the opposing side of the great heroes and sects of the world!
“I’ll remember all the sects and Cultivators who have come to Roaring Tiger Hall today. If you understand Roaring Tiger Hall’s trouble right now, in a year and a half, especially when the price of the food is soaring, Roaring Tiger Hall will certainly offer gifts in return!
“However, if certain ill-intended fellows are determined to attack the headquarters of Roaring Tiger Hall taking advantage of the chaos in the natural disaster, then for the safety of the hundreds of thousands of lives in Roaring Tiger City, we will fight a bloody battle to the end knowing that we will fail. We will have no complaints even if we are shattered into pieces in the end!
“Make your choice now, fellow Cultivators!”
After saying that, Duan Yuanwu shut his mouth and focused his attention on the rune arrays.
Roars of dragons and tigers from Roaring Tiger City were even louder than before. Golden brilliance was crawling out of every corner of the city and condensing into vivid appearances of lions and tigers, which patrolled around the city and extended their claws to the outside world maliciously now and then.
Even the magnificent-looking Crouching Tiger Cannons and Fiery Crow Ballista were releasing the most brilliant, dangerous brightness!
Roaring Tiger Hall had made all its preparations for a final battle!
On the intruders’ side, however, there was nothing but disunion, exactly like the Dragon Spring Meeting three months prior. None of them were determined to fight against the enemy with their life.
Qi Zhongdao returned to the flying boat with a gloomy face. While he was walking, he left a few deep footprints on the deck, which was made of fine steel. It was indicative enough that he was truly more furious than ever!