“What!” Qi Zhongdao took quite a few steps back in shock to the verge of the almost broken gunwale. Almost unable to bear such a critical strike, his long hair was pointing to the sky, and his face turned extremely hideous!
After a few cracks, the entire carrier was shaking up and down under his surging spiritual energy as if it were on a stormy ocean and about to crumble at any time!
“Wasn’t Qi Changsheng’s Heaven Battering Army blown apart last winter?”
Qi Zhongdao gnashed his teeth. His eyes gradually turned gloomy and terrifying as he stared at Master Dawn Moon’s heart. Colder than ever, he demanded, “Why could he organize such an elite army so quickly that even the fleet of carriers protected by you and the experts of the six major sects have been crushed and even you were heavily wounded yourself?”
“Cough, cough. Cough, cough, cough, cough!” Master Dawn Moon threw out two mouthfuls of black blood and replied in pain. “It was exactly because Qi Changsheng’s Heaven Battering Army was defeated last winter that we were too careless and reckless to search the caves on the two sides of the Wolf Smoke Canyon when we passed it. As a result, we were ambushed by the Heaven Battering Army!
“Nobody knows how Qi Changsheng returned so quickly or where he gathered so many experts. Perhaps he has united all the evil beings in the northwest!
“Most of the high-level Cultivators in the six major sects came to the southeast in advance for disaster relief. There were only a few Cultivators in the Building Foundation Stage and the Core Formation Stage in our carrier fleet. Qi Changsheng’s Heaven Battering Army, on the other hand, was well prepared. They were as ferocious as tigers and separated our team at the very beginning!
“We were carriers fully loaded with assets after all. Our crafts were too cumbersome for us to fight agilely. We suffered heavy losses when the battle first started. I led the vanguard in a few charges but failed to break in. Seeing that we were about to be surrounded, we could only flee forward. Later, we lost another few carriers while we were getting rid of the Heaven Battering Army. Finally, we managed to save the eight carriers here!
“It was a shame that, in order to increase our speed, we were forced to abandon most of the assets. Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough!”
Master Dawn Moon’s face grew pale as he spoke, and he was coughing so worryingly that his lungs seemed as if they would spurt out at any moment.
A few disciples of the Grand Mystery Sect hurried to support him. They looked at Qi Zhongdao pitifully.
“You were assaulted in the Wolf Smoke Canyon, and all your assets were stolen by Qi Changsheng? Not a grain of food has been delivered?” Qi Zhongdao demanded scarily, one word after another. His eyes gradually froze into two icy clones. Despite Master Dawn Moon’s dying appearance, he looked more and more fearsome.
“It was exactly what happened!” Master Dawn Moon replied feebly. “The fellow Cultivators from other main sects together with me have seen it with their own eyes. It was not because of our incapability but because Qi Changsheng’s Heaven Battering Army was too tough!”
“Sun Jiuling, Leader Sun!” Qi Zhongdao was so furious that he was calling his junior nephew by his name. “All thirty ships of assets, and you failed to keep any of them. Excellent. Excellent. You are really my excellent junior nephew and an excellent leader of the Grand Mystery Sect!”
The flames of spiritual energy suddenly burst out of Qi Zhongdao’s body and soared into a raging fiend in his back!
Boosted by the spiritual energy, the entire flying boat was creaking. Many parts that were already full of damages were now blowing out bits of wood again!
“The failure of the battle and the heavy losses are all due to my inappropriate commands. Please punish me as you see fit, Senior Uncle!”
Vomiting blood, Master Dawn Moon shoved the disciples in front of him and fell on one knee in front of Qi Zhongdao before he craned his neck and gazed at Qi Zhongdao.
“You—you think that I do not dare punish you?” Qi Zhongdao was so exasperated that the flames of spiritual energy above his head were even more fierce!
A few elders of the Grand Mystery Sect who had been eyeing coldly nearby stood up and said unhurriedly, “The leader is indeed partly to blame for the loss of the relief assets after the assault of the Heaven Battering Army.
“However, nobody could’ve foreseen that Qi Changsheng could return so quickly!
“Qi Changsheng has savaged the northwest for decades. As one of the notorious Four Rapscallions, he is qualified as one of the top ten experts in the world. His indestructible body is also too sturdy for Master Dawn Moon to resist himself. It is understandable. Before, a lot of Cultivators were deployed to hunt Qi Changsheng. One time, more than twenty Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators went to chase after Qi Changsheng, but did they not fail to block the guy and let him run away?
“Since the leader has fought bloody battles and is now exhausted and heavily wounded, we’d better let him treat his wounds right now and punish him when the wounds are healed!”
The elders mostly possessed high positions. Some of them were even a generation older than the leader and were senior brothers or junior brothers to Qi Zhongdao. They were basically on par with each other and did not need to listen to Qi Zhongdao’s curses.
Qi Zhongdao gnashed his teeth so hard that the teeth were almost ground to dust.
“Do you have any other orders, grand leader?”
The few elders of the Grand Mystery Sect stood between Qi Zhongdao and Master Dawn Moon without saying anything. There was no telling if it was intentional, but they stressed ‘grand’ when they addressed him.
The grand leader of the Grand Mystery Sect and the current leader of the Grand Mystery Sect as well as the elders had a silent and yet extremely dangerous competition.
The flames of spiritual energy behind Qi Zhongdao were slowly retreated back into his body, but on his dark skin, red veins and nerves were bulging out!
Even Li Yao had sensed Qi Zhongdao’s intimidating aura that was ten times more powerful than during his match with Yan Liren during the Dragon Spring Meeting. It felt like an iron wall a hundred meters tall was about to fall upon everyone!
The air almost froze.
There was nothing but dead silence on the spot. Even the noise of a needle hitting the deck would have been as shocking as thunder.
Right when the two parties were about to have an open fight, Dan Fengzi, leader of the Purple Pole Sword Sect, suddenly walked out and bowed to Qi Zhongdao. “Master Righteous One, by common sense, this is an internal affair of the Grand Mystery Sect, and it is inappropriate for outsiders such as us to comment.
“However, in the fleet escorted by Master Dawn Moon, quite a few were contributed by the Purple Pole Sword Sect. Master Dawn Moon was wounded not for his personal interests but for the common interests of all the sects here and for the happiness of the people. So, on behalf of the Purple Pole Sword Sect, I fear that I must say something.
“First of all, the natural disasters are not over yet, and the great enemy is still ahead of us. Our primary target is the White Lotus ghoul army that is attacking East Peace County. Right now, the most important things for us is stability and unification. We can deal with other issues, however severe they are, after the White Lotus ghoul army is suppressed!
“Secondly, although it was quite a heavy loss for the thirty carriers to all be looted, we have fortunately conquered Roaring Tiger City. The assets in the few warehouses in Roaring Tiger City should be enough for the million disaster victims to survive the most difficult period. So, the consequences of the brutal failure might not be as dire as we imagine!
“If the assets in the whole of Roaring Tiger City still do not suffice, it doesn’t matter. As long as we inform the nearby sects of the appearance of Roaring Tiger City right now, hehe, I think that they will deliver a lot of relief assets very soon, and the disaster victims will survive the calamity!”
“Dan Fengzi, even you…” Qi Zhongdao stared at Dan Fengzi as ferociously as a tiger, as if he were trying to poke two holes on his face.
Dan Fengzi looked back casually and confidently. His eyes were as clear as water, and he seemed to be unaware of what Qi Zhongdao meant.
Other than Li Yao and Yan Liren, the other few elders of the Purple Pole Sword Sect all stood behind Dan Fengzi, holding their swords hilts. Vague sword auras were spreading out.
“Dan Fengzi is quite right. Four ships from the Gold Armor Clan have been pillaged, too. We went through a lot of trouble to gather those resources. Of course, we feel painful to lose them. However, the brutality of ‘Heaven Battering King’ Qi Changsheng is well-known. Is there anybody here who hasn’t suffered losses because of him? It was quite unfortunate that the fleet ran into him, but it was certainly not entirely Master Dawn Moon’s fault. Honestly speaking, even if we were defending the carriers, could we have stopped Qi Changsheng for sure?”
Including Bu Tiantong, a few elders of the Gold Armor Clan stood up, too.
“Thunderstorm Valley thinks the same. Right now, a great enemy is still in front of us. Let’s talk about the less important issues after we have suppressed the White Lotus Cult!”
A few elders of Thunderstorm Valley stepped forward and stood next to Master Dawn Moon, Dan Fengzi, the elders of the Grand Mystery Sect, and the elders of the Gold Armor Clan.
“After all, there are enough assets for the disaster victims. If we are still short of something, we can always ask the sects nearby to provide them. I don’t think they’ll dare to refuse!”
The Cultivators from Flying Spirit Island stood on Master Dawn Moon and Dan Fengzi’s side, too.
On this side, it was dozens of elders, leaders, and Cultivators from all the main sects.
On that side, it was just ‘Iron Saint’ Qi Zhongdao alone.
Looking at the many ‘fellow Cultivators’ in a daze, Qi Zhongdao seemed to grow twenty years older in just a moment. He suddenly lost all his strength. His veins and nerves, which had been bulging like snakes previously, withered, too. His lips trembled for a long time, but he did not know what to say in the end. His body was shaking slightly, and he seemed almost unable to stand on his feet.
“Senior brother,” an elder of the Grand Mystery Sect said respectfully, “like you used to say, we must consider the big picture!”
“The big picture?” Qi Zhongdao smiled bitterly. “The big picture!”
His throat rolled for a long time, only to come up with nothing. Finally, after a long sigh, he shook his sleeve and turned into a streak of grayness, flying into the clouds to get all the annoyances out of his sight.
The only things left behind were a dilapidated Roaring Tiger City and the folks who were gobbling in gratitude and innocence outside of the city.
The miserable screams of Duan Xingyi, the leader of the Black Devil Cult, seemed to be still echoing in the night sky.
“You did not intend to offer food at all. You did not plan to offer a single grain of food!”