Looked around, Ji Hao walked along the wall to an inner corner, then slapped heavily on Yao Meng’s shoulder. Yao Meng sat under a pillar at that time, leaning against it and sleeping.
Yao Meng was suddenly woken up by Ji Hao, immediately grabbing the large axe from the side.
Seeing Ji Hao’s face, Yao Meng sighed in relief, lowered his voice and greeted, "Brother Ji Hao, it’s you! You startled me! I thought I was attacked again by water-kind monsters out there!"
Yao Meng slapped on the ground beside him, and Ji Hao sat straight down next to him. Yao Meng took a long gasp, showed his teeth while twisting his neck, and generated a loud series of bone creaking noise. Then, he said, "I had a scary dream just now…A bunch of crocodiles rushed up in my dream and ate my goddamn legs! Then, you slapped me on the shoulder."
Ji Hao looked at Yao Meng’s tired face and asked in a low voice, "Where are your people?"
Yao Meng pointed outside with his thumb and responded, "Si Water City was destroyed, and my Si Water territory didn’t manage to survive the flood either. Therefore, I took all my people to Pu Ban City to take refuge."
Dropping the axe, Yao Meng rubbed his hands and looked at Ji Hao, seeming to be a bit embarrassed. "Hehe, Ji Hao brother, that…" stuttered Yao Meng.
Ji Hao frowned, then bumped Yao Meng’s shoulder with his own and said, "What is it? Just say it out! We’re brothers, we fought side by side. What's so embarrassing?"
Yao Meng gave a hollow laugh, looked around, then lowered his voice further again and said, "This, eh, I’ll just tell you the truth. Hehe, eh, the flood rose so suddenly that I only had the time to take my people and run for life. We were in a great hurry, and didn’t manage to bring out much food. You see, I’m just wondering if you can help me with some food?"
"We adults are fine, we can live without food for three to five days…Besides, we’re strong, we can live on tree trunks…But those children are not like us. Even if we have nothing left but rice water, we need to make sure that they can have some to drink each day." Yao Meng swallowed and continued with a blushed face.
Ji Hao looked at Yao Meng in shock and asked, "Did you run out of food? Didn’t Pu Ban government distribute food?"
Yao Meng spread his hands and looked at Ji Hao, seeming to be a bit helpless and sad, "It has been five days. Emperor Shun did give the order to distribute the food, but only a small amount of food can be distributed each day, and…My Si Water territory is only a small territory. Well, the food I got…"
Ji Hao’s face turned dark, "Is someone skimping the food? Under such a situation? Does Emperor Shun know about this?"
Yao Meng helplessly shook his head, lowered his eyelids and said, "No one is skimping the food. It’s just that Emperor Shun doesn’t have that much food in store. The flood came so suddenly and so violently. People came to Pu Ban City with their families to take refuge… Which one of them could have possibly brought large amounts of food?"
Turning his head, Yao Meng pouted his lips towards a group of elderly men, who stood in the front with serious looks and luxurious clothes. Then, he put his mouth near Ji Hao’s ear and said, "Those large clans have food. Ten Sun country has over ten-thousand large granaries in Ten Sun Market. They have cellars too, with mountain-huge piles of grains and dry meat stored underground. But…I emptied my wallet, and still failed to purchase a single grain of rice from them!"
Ji Hao threw a disgusted glance at those people and said in a deep voice, "Hmm, I have a palace in Pu Ban City, with a garden. It’s a quite broad place. Can you find those earls who fought with us against those water-kind things back then, when we were building the water-sealing magic formation? If they have brought their people over too, you go invite them to live in my place together."
Ji Hao slapped heavily on Yao Meng’s left knee and continued in that deep and strong voice, "It’s perfect. I am just in lack of military strength. Yesterday, people from two small clans tried to rob me. We’re all brothers. You go help me guard the place, then I can worry less."
Yao Meng let out a long breath in relief. He grabbed Ji Hao’s shoulders and shook heavily. "Brother Ji Hao, cut the crap. You have just saved our lives…" said Yao Meng with a pair of misty eyes.
Clicking his tongue, Yao Meng continued, "I’m not the only one having a hard time. Those few earls who fought with us, they all have small territories, and all suffered great damages. None of their territories managed to survive the flood, and they have all escaped to Pu Ban City with their people…I’m telling them now!"
Ji Hao nodded, took out a few bronze tablets from his sleeves, and handed to Yao Meng. With these bronze tablets, Yao Meng and the other few earls could head straight to Ji Hao’s palace, and managers from Yao Mountain City would arrange accommodations for them.
Yao Meng took over the few tablets and walked away excitedly. Ji Hao knitted his eyebrows, took out a jade talisman and created a message on it by using his spirit power, then crumbled it in his hand. He ordered his people to send some food over from Yao Mountain City. Yao Meng, the other few earls and their people were going to move into his palace. Apparently, the stored food in the palace couldn’t last long.
From the central area of the hall, Emperor Shun’s strong and resonant voice could be heard, "The flood-control mission is related to the future of our humankind…"
Emperor Shun was interrupted violently. A tall and slim elderly man walked out of the crowd. This elderly man had white hair, and the power vibration releasing from his body was as sharp as a sword. With a harsh tone, he said, "The flood-control mission is related to the future of the humankind. Therefore, we can not let Si Wen Ming, a kid, be in charge! Si Xi has just made a huge mistake, and Si Wen Ming might follow the same old disastrous road. It’s hard to avoid!"
This elderly man’s voice was bright and sonorous, sounding like two pieces of iron clanging against each other. Following his voice, an extra sharp power vibration suffused the hall, that made people feel suffocated and uncomfortable.
Ji Hao looked at this man in shock. The power vibration released from this elderly man was even stronger than the power vibration he sensed from Si Xi that day after the latter broke into the level of Supreme Magus. Besides, this elderly man’s power vibration was stable and well-controlled. Si Xi from that day couldn’t possibly compare with him.
"We should give the flood-control mission a further thought. We need to carefully select capable ones among us to be in charge of this." Another strong voice could be heard. Following this raging-fire-like voice, a tall and strong elderly man walked out of the crowd. Looked at Emperor Shun right in the eyes, without showing a sign of fear, this elderly man continued loudly, "This is related to the future of our humankind. Therefore, Emperor Shun, you can’t make the decision alone!
The hall fell into a deathly silence in the following while, and the atmosphere got extremely tense.
These elderly men contradicted Emperor Shun right to his face, without showing any respect. In the hall, the group of human leaders had been waiting silently for Emperor Shun’s decision; these people all had different thoughts. Probably, they were waiting for a result that may or may not be a surprise.
Emperor Shun looked at those two old men with a dark face.
"Gong Sun Sword, Suiren Flame…What do you mean by capable ones?"
Emperor Shun stood up slowly, looking at these two people coldly, and continued, "I haven’t seen you for years. Today, you showed up quite unexpectedly. What do you want?"
From behind Emperor Shun, twelve dreadful streams of power suddenly rose and shredded the power vibrations released from Gong Sun Sword and Suiren Flame instantly, like twelve fierce dragons.
Twelve silhouettes emerged from the air behind Emperor Shun. Each of those man-shaped silhouettes had a blurred face, and was wearing a tall hat, a long robe, and surrounded by coiling faint mist. These silhouettes silently stood behind Emperor Shun, but the strong pressure they released together made Gong Sun Sword and Suiren Flame both take a series of steps back.