Night fell. The dashing stars weaved into a net and soon covered the entire world.
Below Roaring Tiger City, the torches as thick as children’s arms were paved. Together with the enhancement of the Cultivators’ techniques, their brilliance integrated and illuminated the place as if it were daylight.
After a whole day of hard work, the flood nearby had been drained. Also, the bricks and rocks dismantled from the debris of Roaring Tiger City were piled into simple dams, which expanded the lone islands in the flood and gradually connected them together. They looked like an undersea continent that was rising up.
On the spacious ground, centered around the porridge pots, independent zones had been divided according to the banners of different sects. A lot of traps, trenches, and walls had been dug out, too. There were also weights, hammers, and other facilities for working out on the ground. Swords, sabers, and spears could be found, too.
Also, fully-enclosed tents had been established, in which the confidential test magical equipment of the sects was set up to examine the aptitude and talents of the applicants.
The disaster victims, who were mostly as thin as a skeleton, were already scrambling on the traps and walls when they had not entirely recovered from the horror of the savaging flood yet. They were also crushing themselves with the weights and hammers, unwilling to give up even when they were bleeding. Some of the peasants who had learned a thing or two about martial arts before were waving the spears or sabers so crazily that even water would not pass.
It was because the main sects had established offices below Roaring Tiger City to recruit new disciples.
Although resources were scarce, people were certainly not. However, most folks had barely any clothes and had been starving for a long time. They were even falling off at the first morning breeze. Therefore, they were only a waste of food and absolutely useless for the Cultivation sects.
The natural disasters treated everybody equally. Not just the common folks were running for survival, even the richer households who had the wealth for wine, meat, and body buildup before had to escape, too.
After such a long period of suffering, the applicants who had strength to complete the tests that the Cultivation sects arranged certainly had desirable aptitude and talent. Even if they were not qualified to be core disciples, they were more than enough to serve as external disciples or a servant or tenant of the vassal families of the Cultivation sects.
What was even better was that, unlike the locals that the Cultivation recruited within their own territory, the disaster victims were unhesitant to sign the lifelong indenture.
According to their indenture, there would be no compensation if any accident happened to them during their training, and even if they accomplished something, they would still have to serve their master and sect for the rest of their life. If they had other intentions, they would be struck by the wrath of the heavens!
The disaster victims who were healthy, strong, and far away from home and signed an indenture were the best cannon fodder for the Cultivation sects.
When two Cultivators were fighting, dozens of disciples of the hostile sect might get killed by accident in every round. Most of the dead disciples were those people.
When it was required to explore highly dangerous relics and mysterious demon caves, or to fight tough enemies such as the White Lotus Cult, the Heaven Battering Army, and the Ghost Qin cavalry, those people would be sent out first, too.
Dan Fengzi was the one who told Li Yao that inside information.
Inside Roaring Tiger City, an argument that was even more fierce was breaking out. The six major sects—including the Grand Mystery Sect and the Purple Pole Sword Sect—as well as sects from the central plateaus that had come for disaster relief together were all involved in a debate as to the distribution of the tremendous resources left by Roaring Tiger Hall, including crystals, magical equipment, and the low-level disciples.
It was then that Li Yao realized that the low-level Cultivators of Roaring Tiger Hall would not certainly be punished with death even if they possibility participated in the Black Devil Cult’s operations in the past. On the contrary, for the sake of benevolence, they would be sent to the main sects for ‘rectification’ so that they would have a chance to atone for their mistakes.
Seeing that the elegant-looking high-level Cultivators lunged at Roaring Tiger Hall’s enormous body like ravenous hyenas and were tearing off the bloody, stinky meat piece after piece greedily, Li Yao could not have been more disappointed by the ‘noble sects’ in the world of ancient Cultivators!
He finally understood that the ‘noble sects’, just as the leaders of Roaring Tiger Hall and the Black Devil Cult said, were there for personal gains blatantly under the disguise of disaster relief.
It did make sense on second thought. If most of the ancient Cultivators were not as despicable as such, how could a super civil war that swept across the three thousand Sectors have broken out and eventually destroyed the entire ancient Cultivation civilization?
The experiences of ‘Chaos’ Ba Yanzhi alone were indicative enough of the faces of most of the ancient Cultivators!
Li Yao was more and more reluctant to stay any longer in such a corrupt world. He could not wait to return to the modern Cultivation civilization.
Even after dealing with the ruthless Imperium of True Human Beings or the emotionless, mechanical Alliance of the Holy Covenant seemed to be better than hanging around with the pretentious guys and listening to their bullsh*t about ‘slaying evil and serving justice’!
Li Yao made a decision.
After the issue with the White Lotus Cult was over, he would find an excuse to travel on his own for a while. Then, he would go to the second satellite of the Ancient Sages Sector and establish the star beacon first!
He walked randomly on that dark night, moving farther and farther away from Roaring Tiger City.
Behind him was an obstreperous city full of lights, and in front of him was a stinky, muddy land savaged by the flood.
However, he found it hard to tell which side was hell and which side was the world of human beings!
Suddenly, Li Yao smelt a certain stimulating fragrance, which was the scent of some kind of thick, intense wine mixed with almost ten kinds of meat.
Then, he heard contented laughter far away ahead of him.
Greatly curious, Li Yao sniffed and walked toward where the fragrant came from.
After walking for a long time, he finally discovered that a ragged plank was docked in a small water pool that had been filled with mud below a crooked tree that had already been destroyed by lightning.
A giant pot had been set up nearby. There was no telling what was being boiled inside, but the cap of the pot was jumping because of the soaring air below, which was almost leaking out in milky smoke.
There were also dozens of tankards of wine paved in a row. The tankards were all shining greasily in dark golden colors. The marks on the tankards were the patterns of an awesome tiger, indicating that they were the fine wine treasured by Roaring Tiger Hall!
On the small plank, two people were sitting, one in the front and the other at the rear. They were the handsome monk Master Bitter Cicada, who did not mind eating rotten meat, and Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar, who was wearing ragged clothes and could not have been stinkier!
Master Bitter Cicada and Ba Xiaoyu seemed to be old friends. They were not restrained at all in front of each other.
Ba Xiaoyu picked up a tankard of old wine with his spiritual energy and broke the seal before he poured the wine, which was as gold as honey, into two bailers. He clapped his hands and laughed. “The b*stards of Roaring Tiger Hall committed all kinds of crimes. Even a stray dog on the street is cleaner than them! However, the wine that they brewed is indeed among the best in the world! When this beggar saw the Duans drinking the wine for the first time, I was so thirsty that I almost jumped down and knocked down both of them in order to drink up all their wine!
“After a year of waiting, I have finally fulfilled my wish today. This couldn’t be better! Hey, monk. Of the three tankards of wine here, one is yours, and the other is mine. If you haven’t had enough, fill your stomach with the meat!”
After saying that, Ba Xiaoyu raised the bailer with both hands and opened his mouth. Leaving aside the demons of the Blood Demon Sector, Li Yao had never seen any creature who could open their mouth to such an extent. After only one moment, an entire bailer of wine had nothing left!
With a world-shaking burp, Ba Xiaoyu burst into laughter. “There’s always wine in my cup, and there are always heads of the scoundrels waiting to be cut off. Satisfying. This is very satisfying!”
He was not in a hurry to pour the second bailer of wine. Instead, he opened his fingers and snatched another two tankards of wine with his spiritual energy. Shaking his arms, he tossed the two tankards of wine into the sky and smashed them into each other.
“The Thunderous Sound Hall, Green Glow City, Void Appearance Sect… All the victims killed by the Black Devil Cult, all the Cultivators and ordinary people, you may rest in peace now!”
The delicious wine sprayed on the dark land like broken stars.
Master Bitter Cicada sighed. The pearls that he held in his hand slowly drifted into midair. Accompanied by the soothing recitals of sutras, they revolved slowly and released the gentlest brilliance.
Ba Xiaoyu suddenly widened his eyes and spat, “Which scumbag is eavesdropping over there? Are you planning to steal my wine?”
Li Yao secretly frowned. He did not hide his presence but walked close openly. Although it was pure darkness around, it was impossible for Ba Xiaoyu not to have noticed him with his Cultivation under the illumination of the stars.
What was the guy’s attitude all about when he knew exactly who Li Yao was?
Li Yao could tell that Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar was quite hostile toward him.
It was quite perplexing. Li Yao was pretty sure that Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar must not have met Master Spiritual Vulture before. There should not have been any grudges between them.
“Old Ba, don’t be anxious.” Master Bitter Cicada stopped reciting the sutras and opened his eyes. He nodded at Li Yao with a smile in acknowledgement before he turned to Ba Xiaoyu and said, “The way I see it, Master Spiritual Vulture’s eyebrows are focused and not dispersing, his eyes are sharp but not deadly, and although killing intent is circling his face, there isn’t much brutality and aggression in it. He does not look like an insane, inhuman, and bloodthirsty person!
“Rumor among the Cultivators has it that he slaughtered quite a few tribes, leaving absolutely no survivors, and his notoriety spread across the entire Southland of Sorcerers. I know that you hate scoundrels as you hate your mortal enemies. It is understandable that you are not willing to make friends with such people.
“However, in my opinion, I don’t think that Master Spiritual Vulture is such a person right now.
“There could be more to the story, or it could simply be a rumor, considering that it happened almost a hundred years ago. Or, Master Spiritual Vulture might have realized his wrongdoing and decided to walk on a different path after receiving the legacy of Yan Zhu, the sword forger of the Great Zhou Dynasty!”