Li Yao could not help but observe, “I’m an uncivilized barbarian, and I don’t understand what you are implying. However, I do find your gloom and depression very peculiar. You are mostly at the peak of the Nascent Soul Stage, and few people in the entire world are a match for you. If this world is truly an impenetrable, filthy wine tank that dissatisfies you, why don’t you just smash it into pieces?”
“Smash it into pieces?”
With a bitter smile, Qi Zhongdao mumbled while gazing at the intense darkness far away. “Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture, you don’t understand. This wine tank is made of the hardest metal and does not have a single gap. It is also filled with the most narcotic and intoxicating liquor. How can you smash it when you are soaked inside the darkness without seeing any light?
“I know that you have come to the central plateaus from the Southland of Sorcerers for the pursuit of invincibility. However, hehe, what can you do even if you are truly invincible? You can only demonstrate your power in the dark, sunless wine tank, and it is going to be arduous to take one step out of the tank!”
“Leaving aside the Four Rapscallions and the emperor, the five of us are basically the five strongest Cultivators in the entire world,” Li Yao said solemnly. “Are we not able to carry out our will the way we want?”
Qi Zhongdao shook his hands and pointed his index finger at the lively Roaring Tiger City far away. “If you want fame and fortune and everyone’s reverence, or if you want to train in seclusion striving for the ultimate Divinity Transformation Stage, you will of course be able to fulfil your desires. Everybody will respect you and cater to your every need. You will feel that you are on top of the world!
“However, if you want to change the world, does the peak of the Nascent Soul Stage mean anything at all? You are just another struggling bug inside the giant wine tank!
“It’s true that the five of us have the highest Cultivation in the entire world. General Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators are absolutely no match for us. But so what? There are dozens of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and hundreds of Core Formation Stage Cultivators inside Roaring Tiger City right now. Even if the five of us join our hands, can we suppress them and force them to listen to our commands obediently and offer all the food and resources?
“Even if the five of us were ten times stronger than we are now and boasted the ability to suppress and crush them, so what? The detailed affairs have to be accomplished by someone specific. So, they will still have a chance to meddle. The substitutes may be dutiful at first, but after three days, they will be as corrupted at their predecessors!
“Besides, who can do such a thing as butcher dozens of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and hundreds of Core Formation Stage Cultivators in a row? Wouldn’t they be the greatest evil in the world and an enemy for all the Cultivators in the world? By then, the entire world will be in turbulence. Is it any good?”
Qi Zhongdao’s sigh silenced the few top experts.
“I did not know that you had such keen eyes, Fellow Cultivator Qi,” Master Bitter Cicada observed.
“My eyes are always keen.” Pointing at the front, half drunk, Qi Zhongdao said, “But before, I was always reluctant to look at everything carefully. Today, I have to admit that there is no road ahead of us!”
The few Cultivators at the peak of the Nascent Soul Stage looked at where he was pointing at.
There was nothing but the mud brought there by the flood between the gloomy sky and earth. It looked like a boundless swamp without any path on it.
Li Yao, Qi Zhongdao, Yan Liren, Master Bitter Cicada, and Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar all stared at the roadless swamp in a daze.
Another peal of thunder rumbled in the sky. Dozens of lightning bolts lunged down. Fierce wind was blowing again, forecasting yet another storm.
“Look over there!”
With the illumination of the lightning, the five of them were keen enough to notice a few wriggling black spots on the horizon deep inside the mud where the moors were next to each other.
Master Bitter Cicada tosses his pearls where the black spots were wriggling. The pearls released gentle brilliance in midair. Both like a lighthouse and like a torch, they illuminated everything down there!
The black spots turned out to be three disaster victims!
Everybody observed carefully, only to discover that the three disaster victims had paved a door on the mud to increase their buoyancy in the mud.
On the door was a white-haired lady and a pregnant middle-aged woman. The old lady was as thin as a skeleton and about to die, and the middle-aged woman was appallingly slim, too, as if her flesh and blood had all been absorbed into her round stomach!
Even so, the two of them were still jabbing the mud crazily with two bamboo poles to maintain their balance and control the direction.
Behind the door, in the mud that had already reached his chest, there was a thick, ugly man who was gritting his teeth to push the door forward with all his strength, while they budged slowly toward Roaring Tiger City.
They must have seen the light in Roaring Tiger City and knew that there was a chance of survival there. So, they had decided to risk traversing through the swamp that even the Cultivators felt to be roadless without thinking too much.
Hearing the thunder and seeing the lightning, the three disaster victims knew that a storm was drawing near. Their faces were all extremely pale.
If a storm indeed came, they would be absolutely hopeless in the pouring rain with their tiny door!
There was no telling what the pregnant woman told the muscular man, but the muscular bellowed and pushed the door even harder, his hair standing up. He tried to push the door somewhere safe before the storm arrived.
The old lady and the middle-aged woman were waving their poles much faster than before, too, until the poles suddenly cracked in the mud!
It was an impossible mission.
But the three of them seemed utterly unaware of that. They were still pushing, digging, and rowing with all their strength, as if they had turned into three senseless machines. Even the shining pearls in midair did not trigger any reaction from them.
The scene turned the five Cultivators at the peak of the Nascent Soul Stage into statues.
Qi Zhongdao was the most dumbfounded one of all. He was blushing in embarrassment.
As if waking up from a dream, Master Bitter Cicada rose up and dashed toward the three disaster victims.
But he was still one step slower. Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar was faster than him and had already rushed to the horizon.
“Look, Fellow Cultivator Qi!” Seeing that Ba Xiaoyu and Master Bitter Cicada were both on the move, Li Yao took a deep breath in relief. He could not help but smile at Qi Zhongdao. “If there isn’t a road, we will simply fly over. We are Cultivators!”
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
After a few thunderous explosions, clusters of pale smoke were blossoming like white lotuses below East Peace County.
After the white lotuses gradually dispersed to the sky into what appeared to be giant trees with enormous crowns, thousands of translucent human-shaped shadows appeared without a sound right below the crown.
They were an army of ghouls!
The army of ghouls was different from the wandering ghosts that Li Yao had come across on his way to East Peace County. Despite their aggressiveness, they were not raging and screaming at all. Instead, they were simply staring at the city towers coldly and moodily. Whoever looked at them would feel that their hair was standing, and their spine would go numb!
They were like the tough soldiers who had survived a hundred battles, while the wandering ghosts were like untrained mobs.
They were not random ghosts but the White Lotus ghoul army built and trained by ‘Mother White Lotus’ Wan Mingzhu!
“The White Lotus ghoul army is fighting a bloody battle for real!” Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar spat on the flying boat.
Half a month had already passed since Roaring Tiger City was taken down.
Li Yao, Qi Zhongdao, Yan Liren, Master Bitter Cicada, and Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar, the five super experts, finally arrived at East Peace County, one of the three most prosperous cities of the Great Qian Dynasty, together with the main troop!
This was also an important part in Li Yao’s observation report.
Judging from his current information, the White Lotus ghoul army was a rather suitable target of cooperation. Li Yao had hoped to find a chance to communicate with Mother White Lotus and preferably make her acquaintance.
But his journey there was not very smooth.
The reinforcing sects from the central plateaus dawdled in Roaring Tiger City for five days to recruit new disciples—or rather, cannon fodder—and to carve up the resources left by the Roaring Tiger Hall and the Black Devil Cult before they finally set off for East Peace County unhurriedly.
On their way, when they ran into the disaster victims or the sects that suffered heavy losses in the natural disasters, they always stopped and ‘offered help’ tirelessly. As for exactly what they were up to in secret, Li Yao was not interested in finding out at all.
Just like that, they loitered, until three days ago, when the last thing that they wanted to hear came over from East Peace County. A large ghoul army was already bodacious enough to unleash the ghostly smoke to block the sunlight so that they could appear below East Peace County during the day. Also, their number was growing larger and larger. They showed no sign of dispersing. Instead, they looked like a well-trained, obedient army, as they divided themselves into different groups and manipulated the dead bodies to dig burrows as their camps. They had even carried hundreds of decaying coffins to East Peace County from nobody knew where. There was no telling what was inside the coffins, either.
All the signs indicated that Mother White Lotus had gathered enough ghouls to launch an assault on East Peace County!
The reinforcements from the central plateaus finally grew anxious. They marched toward East Peace County at full speed.
However, ‘Mother White Lotus’ Wan Mingzhu was certainly not someone easy to deal with, considering that she had been stirring trouble in the southeast for decades. Because of the Cultivators’ fuss in Roaring Tiger City, their location and route had long been determined by their enemy, and their enemy had arranged for two troops of ghouls to block them on their way.
Although the troops of ghouls were crushed in the end, the haunting things still slowly stalled their march.
After they arrived at East Peace County, the White Lotus ghoul army had already launched two waves of attacks.
Broken, filthy dead bodies were lying everywhere below East Peace County.
There were also the miserable screams when the aggressive ghouls were perishing, and the smell of flesh being burnt hung in the air!