The disciples of the Grand Mystery Sect and the high-level Cultivators of other sects all crowded toward him, with indignation, compassion, or mysteriousness on their faces.
“Elder Huang, what do the Heaven Resounding Guild and the Flying Leopard Palace have to say?”
With a dark face, Qi Zhongdao asked an elder of the Grand Mystery Sect, “When can they collect enough food and deliver it with flying boats?”
“About that…” Elder Huang coughed for a moment pretentiously. “The Heaven Resounding Guild and the Flying Leopard Palace have both been scourged by the natural disaster. It is reported that they suffered heavy losses, too. A lot of disaster victims are going to them. Right now, the most important thing for them is to deal with the disaster victims who have come to them! Of course, with their relation to the Grand Mystery Sect, they will certainly offer whatever they can! Both of them have promised that they are doing their best to collect food, medicine, and clothes. As long as Roaring Tiger Hall provides a batch of assets first, their reinforcements will arrive in a couple of days!”
“A couple of days!” Qi Zhongdao was more than angry. “In a couple of days, the assets for disaster relief from the six major sects will have arrived. Are they really needed? Also, what about the other Cultivation sects in the West River State and the states nearby? Did we not invite the managers of those sects to meet below Roaring Tiger City and discuss how we are going to resolve the problems at hand together? Why are there no leaders or elders here?”
“If I may inform the grand leader,” Elder Huang replied helplessly, “starting from yesterday, the disciples of the Grand Mystery Sect have been busy running around. They have visited dozens of sects, but you know the situation of those sects, too, grand leader. Their cities are too small to weather through the disaster. It is said that they have suffered huge losses, and they can barely take care of their own affairs right now. They do not have any time to deal with other business.
“However, now that the grand leader has commanded, those sects are naturally willing to follow your order. They have all promised that as long as the big sects such as Roaring Tiger Hall, the Heaven Resounding Guild, and the Flying Leopard Palace provide a batch of assets first that supports the victims for ten to fifteen days, they will have cleaned up their messes and gathered enough resources to help!”
“Everybody is using the natural disaster as an excuse. Tough as the flood and the febrile typhoon might have been, could they have ruined all the sects in the thousands of square kilometers nearby?”
Qi Zhongdao was shaking in anger. Pointing at a corner on the sand table that was packed with hills and mountains, he said, “Green Cloud Mountain to the south of the West River State is troubled by neither the febrile wind nor the flood. Why are the few Cultivation sects on Green Cloud Mountain not offering any food?”
Elder Huang blinked and stammered for a long time.
Looking around, Qi Zhongdao’s voice was as cold as voice. “Speak!”
Gritting his teeth, Elder Huang replied, “According to Green Peak Sect, the largest sect in the area of Green Cloud Mountain, although they did not suffer losses in the natural disaster, they have a lot of conflicts with Spiritual Cloud Sect, the second largest sect in the area of Green Cloud Mountain. Spiritual Cloud Sect is arrogant and ambitious, and they may swallow them at any point!
“If Green Peak Sect offers tremendous resources to sustain the disaster victims right now, they fear that the Spiritual Cloud Sect will surpass them shortly. By then, if the Spiritual Cloud Sect wages a war at them, how are they going to defend themselves?
“Therefore, Green Peak Sect is willing to offer money, food, or labor, provided that the Spiritual Cloud Sect offers an equal amount first. The Green Peak Sect will not pay one fewer coin or grain of rice than the Spiritual Cloud Sect does!”
“Hehe!” Qi Zhongdao narrowed his eyes and said coldly, “What did the Spiritual Cloud Sect say? I don’t suppose that they demand that Green Peak Sect offer the resources first and they will follow up with exactly the same amount, do they?”
“Not exactly,” Elder Huang replied. “According to the Spiritual Cloud Sect, the area of Green Cloud Mountain has been troubled by bandits and ghosts. Traces of the criminals of the Black Devil Cult have been found recently. They are obviously going to loot in the middle of the chaos after the natural disasters!
“As the grand leader and fellow Cultivators all know, the Black Devil Cult is an evil religion that has been savaging the thirteen states in the southeast. They trade slaves, produce drugs, murder, loot, and commit all kinds of crimes. However, they are quite unpredictable and capable. Many sects have been assaulted by the Black Devil Cult. On occasion, an entire group of flying boats have been hijacked by the Black Devil Cult, and they just vanished into thin air!
“The Black Devil Cult is too huge for the forces such as the Spiritual Cloud Sect and Green Peak Sect to resist. Therefore, they can only strengthen the defenses in their base and do not dare act recklessly. Even if they do gather a lot of resources, wouldn’t it add to the current problems if the food is looted by the Black Devil Cult during their delivery?
“All in all, grand leader, with all due respect, the local forces in the southeast are all waiting for the result in Roaring Tiger City. If we can subdue Roaring Tiger Hall and ask Roaring Tiger Hall to provide tremendous assets, it will be easier to deal with other sects!
“But if we suffer a setback in Roaring Tiger Hall, it will be more than difficult to request other sects to do the same.
“Yes. Those sects are not as powerful and wealthy as the sects here. If we march over to them, they will have no choice but to open their headquarters. However, our attack will be unjustified. Furthermore, it is easy to open the gate of their headquarters, but it will be far less easy to find the assets that they have hidden. I’m sure that the local forces that have operated for hundreds of years must have several unknown treasuries in their territory.”
Elder Huang’s words made Qi Zhongdao breathe hastily for a long time even though he was an unparalleled expert at the peak of the Nascent Soul Stage. Finally, he shifted his eyes to Li Yao and the leadership of the Cultivators present.
“Everybody!” Qi Zhongdao’s voice was filled with fury and anxiety. Trying to hold back his anger, he said, “This is about the situation we are in right now. If we cannot gather enough food soon, countless disaster victims will die. After the victims die, Mother White Lotus will establish many troops of ghouls that are full of hatred! The troops of ghouls will not only savage the southeast and destroy the farmlands that are not destroyed in the natural disasters but also attack East Peace County, the most important town in the southeast. As a result, the world will be shaken, and endless evil will be rising! In the end, no Cultivator will benefit from it!
“Therefore, although this seems to be a disaster in the southeast, it is in fact a great catastrophe for the entire world of Cultivators. None of us are going to escape it!
“To resolve the crisis, we must convince Roaring Tiger Hall to open the barn and offer some food. However, Roaring Tiger Hall is ruthless and heartless! Fellow Cultivators, please speak now. How are we going to deal with such a sect like Roaring Tiger Hall, which does not care about the big picture at all?”
The Cultivators all whispered to each other after hearing his words.
A lot of them were berating Roaring Tiger Hall for its inaction. They declared with indignation that Cultivators should serve justice and help the people. Leaving so many disaster victims aside without the least bit of empathy was a shame for such a ‘noble sect’!
Somebody else was shouting that, since Roaring Tiger Hall had shown absolutely no respect for the heroes of the world, they should launch thunderous attacks immediately and force Roaring Tiger Hall to open the barn!
Then, somebody asked if it was appropriate. Roaring Tiger Hall was indeed cruel and heartless, but it did not violate any law and should not be treated as evil.
It was the responsibility of the Cultivators to slay the demons and devils, but Roaring Tiger Hall was neither a demon nor a devil. Duan Yuanwu did have a point. The land and the food were Roaring Tiger Hall’s property. Should they be punished with a death sentence if they did not want to offer the food to the disaster victims?
Some of the more experienced, older Cultivators also pondered and said that the issue would not be addressed even if the gate of Roaring Tiger City was broken. With the cunningness of the Duans, they must have hidden all their food and assets in the secret treasuries that were not going to be found quickly!
If the headquarters were indeed broken into, countless disciples of Roaring Tiger Hall slain, but no food was found, it would be a proof for Roaring Tiger Hall’s claims that their barn had caught fire and all the assets had burnt to the ground. Then, what were the major sects going to do? Would they not be burglars who openly looted someone else’s house?
Also, getting to the bottom of it, were they really qualified at all to attack the headquarters of Roaring Tiger Hall? Right now, the new monarch, Emperor Phoenix, had just assumed the throne. Nobody understood the personality and temper of the emperor yet. If they acted on their own without reporting the issue first, it would not be very appropriate, would it?
After a long discussion, they reached no conclusion. At this moment, a Cultivator in the crowd said loudly, “Fellow Cultivators, we have been talking about nonsense. Our attack may be unjustified, and the treasuries of Roaring Tiger Hall may take a while to be found out, but that is not important. The real critical problem is that the Tiger Apparitions Array and the hundred Crouching Tiger Cannons and Fiery Crow Ballista seem rather sophisticated. I fear that a real expert will be needed in order to break the array!”
Everybody looked at the source of the voice, only to discover that it was Bu Tiantong, a secondary leader of the Gold Armor Clan!
The muscles on his face twisting, Bu Tiantong declared angrily that the Cultivators should consider bullying the bullies and helping the weak as their responsibility, and trouble times were times when Cultivators should distinguish themselves! At such a critical moment, the ruthless and indifferent attitude of Roaring Tiger Hall was an insult to all Cultivators, which he found intolerable!
The so-called ‘Tiger Apparitions Array’ looked rather intimidating at first, but in his opinion, it might not necessarily be as tough as it appeared!
Were it not for the fact that he had been heavily wounded by Master Spiritual Vulture, known as a Grandmaster of Great Zhou, whose name resounded in the southeast, no, the entire Great Qian Dynasty three months ago during the Dragon Spring Meeting, and that he had not fully recovered yet after three months of treatment, he would have marched forward and broken the array for everyone instead of allowing the clowns of Roaring Tiger Hall to be so arrogant in front of Master Spiritual Vulture!
While saying that, Bu Tiantong, who seemed rather innocent and straightforward, glanced at Li Yao nonstop.