Laughing drily, Dan Fengzi said, “Great Zhou? Haha. The Great Zhou Dynasty where all the Cultivators treated each other with manners?
“You can never know dignity until your belly is full. The Great Zhou Dynasty is still the ignorant age of the Ancient Sages Sector. At that time, the world was still in chaos. The land was vast, and the population was small. Dense forests in which countess Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures were growing were everywhere. There were few Cultivators at that time!
“Every Cultivator could gain sufficient Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures and cores and bones from the forests if they were willing to. If a few Cultivators helped each other and fought in a team, their gains would only be multiple times more!
“In such an environment, they were naturally capable of treating each other with manners like brothers without violating each other. They could enjoy abundant resources and train themselves slowly!
“However, after a hundred thousand years, now that we have arrived at the Great Qian Dynasty, most of the unowned land has been developed. Few available resources are left, and so many new Cultivators are popping up every year!
“Elder Spiritual Vulture, let me tell you something. Anything will be cheap if there is too much of it! Today; the least valuable things are lives. The lives of the ordinary folks are as cheap as the lives of the Cultivators!”
After a long silence, Li Yao sighed and said, “I thought that the Cultivators in the forests in the Southland of Sorcerers were already brutal enough to raise ghosts, play with poison, and even offer blood sacrifices. I didn’t know until today that the Cultivators of the central plateaus could be even more brutal than us. Also, your brutality is so traceless and incredible!”
“Hahahaha!” Dan Fengzi laughed and shook his head. “Elder Spiritual Vulture, you didn’t understand such simple logic until today? The central plateaus boast beautiful landscapes and vast, fertile land with abundant spiritual energy. Natural paradises are everywhere. How could such a wonderful place belong to us if we Cultivators in the central plateaus were not more brutal than the Cultivators in the Southland of Sorcerers?
“If the barbarian Cultivators were more brutal, it would’ve been a barbarian Cultivator who sat on the throne in Divine Capital. The Cultivators from the central plateaus such as us, on the other hand, would be chewing the bananas in the rough, smoky forests of the Southland of Sorcerers!
“What I am about to say may not sound very pleasant, and it may upset you, Elder Spiritual Vulture, but I’m going to say it anyway. Elder Spiritual Vulture, you are perhaps one of the cruelest, toughest people in the Southland of Sorcerers. However, while your skills are more than enough for you to dominate the forests in the Southland of Sorcerers, if you establish your own sect in the central plateaus, you won’t know how you died!
“Yes, you are very strong, and you are adept at refining. Even five Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators might not be able to defeat you even if they attack together. However, in the central plateaus, competitions do not mean fighting on many occasions. When the fighting does take place, it is probably not going to be five Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators that come at you but more like today, when thirty Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and almost eighty Core Formation Stage Cultivators attacked together! After all, it is everybody’s responsibility to slay evil!
“Is ‘Heaven Battering King’ Qi Changsheng not tough? Is ‘Mother White Lotus’ Wan Mingzhu not tough? Is Lead Eunuch Wang Xi not tough? But are they not stray dogs living in panic every day right now?
“Do forgive my bluntness, Elder Spiritual Vulture. I’ve been talking to you sincerely for your own sake, and I suggest that you stop thinking of establishing your own sect and just work as an elder in the Purple Pole Sword Sect. Later, I can help you occupy a mountain yourself, and you can manage your own offshoot. That way, you will still be able to pass on the knowledge from Great Zhou on sword forgery. Isn’t it a win-win?”
“It appears that I was wrong all the time,” Li Yao replied, somewhat depressed. “I read a lot of the notes of the Cultivators of the Great Zhou Dynasty in the residence. After I broke out of seclusion, I also collected the stories, such as the ‘Legends of the Swordsman on the Spiritual Mountain’, that were introduced from the central plateaus. I thought that the Cultivators in the central plateaus would be more or less as described in the book!”
“Legends of the Swordsman on the Spiritual Mountain?” Dan Fengzi was amused. “And I thought that you were depressed for a better reason, Elder Spiritual Vulture. So, you were simply misled by some hilarious novels. They are not the anecdotes of the Cultivators at all but make-believe that the ignorant ordinary people have fabricated. You cannot believe a single word in that!
“I remember reading a few pages of the Legends of the Swordsman on the Spiritual Mountain. The Cultivators in the book are all able to do whatever they want. Their life is truly enviable. It is understandable that you found it attractive.
“However, how can the Cultivators in the real world be so unattached from mundane affairs? Not only do we have to eat food, we will also have to eat ten times, a hundred times, or even a thousand times more than ordinary people do!
“There are no free lunches in the world. If you want to eat, you have to fight for the food with your own hands. In that respect, is there any real difference between a high and mighty Cultivator and a butcher on the street?
“If we get to the bottom of it, although the folks call us ‘deities’, we are both clear that we are just people who have more strength and bigger stomachs!”
Li Yao looked at Dan Fengzi carefully before he shifted his eyes and looked at the darkness of the night sky pressing down bit by bit. He mumbled, “So, it seems that we will not have true freedom until we break the void and ascend to the deities’ realm. No wonder so many Cultivators crave ascension!”
Dan Fengzi smiled miserably and said, “In the legends, after you ascend to the deities’ realm and become real deities, you will indeed be entitled to infinite freedom and comfort. However, I don’t think that is the case!”
“Oh?” Li Yao raised his eyebrow. “Why not?”
“Since Cultivators are much stronger than ordinary people and have much bigger stomachs than ordinary people, it is only reasonable that we assume that deities have stomachs a thousand times larger than the Cultivators’ if they are much stronger than the Cultivators, right?”
“But we know for a fact that it is a boundless black world beyond the Ancient Sages Sector. No air. No water. Nothing whatsoever except for cold stones. The resources there are a hundred times thinner than the resources in the Ancient Sages Sector!
“The deities’ stomachs are hundreds of times larger than the Cultivators’, but the resources outside are much scarcer than the resources in the Ancient Sages Sector. If the deities do live in the world beyond, then, to fight for the smallest resources, their competition will only be thousands of times crueler than in the Ancient Sages Sector. How can it be a real heaven of peace and happiness?”
Li Yao was dazed for a long time as he gazed at Dan Fengzi in disbelief.
“However, I estimate that there are neither the deities nor the deities’ realm.” Dan Fengzi burst into laughter before he declared ruthlessly, “Because if there really are deities, they would’ve marched to the Ancient Sages Sector, slaughtered each and every one of us, and stolen our resources! At the very least, if I were a deity, I certainly would have come and conquered the Ancient Sages Sector!”
Li Yao took a long breath and said, “I didn’t know that the world of the Cultivators and the deities’ realm are equally cruel in the leader’s eyes!”
“There’s nothing cruel in all this. This is the heavens’ will,” Dan Fengzi said casually. “Only the strongest should survive, and the winner is the king. That is the heavens’ will!”
Swallowing, Li Yao finally could not help it any longer. “Even if it is indeed the heavens’ will, aren’t Cultivators supposed to defy the heaven’s will?”
Dan Fengzi chuckled. “If you defy the heaven’s will, you will have to taste the power of the apocalypses!”
Li Yao gnashed his teeth. “If the thousands of Cultivators stand up and fight together, even the most powerful apocalypse can be punched into pieces!”
Dan Fengzi glanced at Li Yao in confusion. “But who will lead the charge? Elder Spiritual Vulture, the questions you raised today seem rather peculiar!”
Li Yao’s heart suddenly palpitated. He knew that he had been acting too radical because he was shocked by the misery of the disaster victims and the doings of the major sects.
Thankfully, prolonged horns echoed from the sky to the northwest.
Dan Fengzi’s eyes suddenly shone. Forgetting his chitchat with Li Yao, he put on a weird expression and said, “The fleet of the relief assets sent by the main sects has arrived. Let’s go take a look!”
To cope with the natural disasters in the southeast, the main sects in the central plateaus had all dispatched a lot of relief assets, which were delivered to the south in a huge fleet of flying boasts escorted by Master Dawn Moon, the current leader of the Grand Mystery Sect.
The flying boats that were fully loaded with food, clothes, and other assets were certainly not as fast as the light boasts that only accommodated the high-level Cultivators. They were less comparable to the flying swords that could rush at a supersonic speed. So, they did not arrive at Roaring Tiger City until that day, although the high-level Cultivators had been there for days.
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
Not just Li Yao and Dan Fengzi, the high-level Cultivators from other sects also turned into streaks of brightness and flew toward the fleet of relief assets.
However, they were all greatly shocked by the appearance of the fleet!
The fleet used to be made of dozens of behemothic carriers that were as huge as whales, but at that moment, there were only ten broken boats that were riddled with holes left. They looked like the bodies of whales attacked by sharks and seemed as if they would crash into the land at any point.
The black traces of charring could be found everywhere on the shell of every broken boat. The banners of the sects were all askew and blackened.
Moans and screams were echoing inside the cabins. The intense and even repugnant stench of medication drifted out!
“What—what exactly has happened?”
Li Yao heard an angry bellow in midair. ‘Iron Saint’ Qi Zhongdao smashed down like a weight and nearly knocked down the carrier in the lead.
A middle-aged Cultivator, wearing an advanced robe of the Grand Mystery Sect, who was covered in bandages from which balm was leaking out staggered out of the cabin supported by two disciples of the Grand Mystery Sect.
Dan Fengzi told Li Yao in a low voice that the heavily-wounded man was Master Dawn Moon, the current leader of the Grand Mystery Sect.
“Replying to you, Junior Uncle!”
Master Dawn Moon’s breathing and voice were feeble, but he struggled to get rid of the support of the two disciples and stumbled close, bowing to Qi Zhongdao deeply as a disciple, only to almost fall over. He shouted with the utmost indignation, “It—it was Qi Changsheng. Qi Changsheng’s Heaven Battering Army has looted the majority of our assets!”