The rain seemed to know that human beings were only a breath away from the final success. Therefore, the storm was crazily strong, many times stronger than two years ago. Heavy curtains of rain smashed down from the sky, seeming to even suffocate all living beings.
The mountainside that people were resting on was protected by a formation. An invisible screen blocked the rain. It was still awfully cold and humid, but a lot better than other places. Wet firewood was slowly dried by the bonfires. Amidst dense smoke, the flames grew stronger and stronger. A few iron pots were hanging above the fires, and the tea was boiling.
Everyone was holding a large clay bowl with breaches and cracks. On higher or lower positions, they all sat on the ground together. They poured the thick and hot tea into their mouth, and let the warmth spread in their stomach. Smiles emerged on everyone’s face — The aroma of tea made them believe that they were truly alive.
Ji Hao sat side by side with Si Wen Ming, on a wet log, surrounded by many of his friends.
Huaxu Lie, Lie Mountain Kang, and many princes who chose to support Si Wen Ming, and family ministers from You Chong Clan... Everyone was sallow, completely exhausted. Some of them were princes from super clans and families, some were earls and marquises with ordinary family backgrounds, while some were commanders. They were all respected ones at high positions, but right now, they looked even more miserable than beggars.
Ji Hao even saw a floating grass coiled in Huaxu Lie’s hair, and a tiny frog squatting on Lie Mountain Kang’s head. These two princes were supposed to be the ones to be taken care of, but at the moment, they didn’t even have to time to clean themselves. They were sitting on the moist ground, gulping tea like two old farmers.
These years, Ji Hao let his mind sink into the embryo of Dao of evolvement, trying to understand and absorb the immeasurable great Dao possessed by it. He left a small part of his spirit t control his body, but still, he heard many stories about Si Wen Ming and his followers.
In one story about Si Wen Ming, he passed by his home three times, but never went in…Ji Hao clearly knew that ‘three’ was an unreal number. Si Wen Ming had been rushing around between Pu Ban City and all the ‘battlefields’; he passed by his own home countless times, but he never went back to that home, not even to take a single, short glance.
Before the flood, he married Tushan Princess, and days later, Tushan Princess got pregnant. Years had passed until now, yet Si Wen Ming didn’t even have the time to take a look at his son, who could already run.
Tasting the bitter tea, Ji Hao glanced at Si Wen Ming.
Si Wen Ming was wearing nothing but that ragged piece of hide. His body was covered in scratches and bite wounds. A few large wounds were left by venoms, but more scarily, a bowl-sized piece of his left thigh was bitten off, and his right rib area was deeply dented. At least three ribs of his were missing.
Si Wen Ming was a Divine Magus, who was supposed to be able to regrow a body from a single drop of blood. Reasonably, no wound should be left on his body at all.
"Uncle, your wounds?" Ji Hao was shocked. Looking at Si Wen Ming’s wounds, then glancing at Huaxu Lie and Lie Mountain Kang, who were also covered in injuries, Ji Hao couldn’t even imagine what they had been through in the past two years, and how many battles they had fought when they rushed all over Midland.
Ji Hao was protected by the Pan Gu bell and the Taiji cloak. He also had supreme treasures like the nine dragons chariot and the golden bridge. No ordinary living being could easily hurt him. Therefore, these years, no wound managed to find a place on Ji Hao’s body.
But, Si Wen Ming and his followers were not as lucky as him.
"Ah, nothing!" Si Wen Ming laughed with a dry voice, then carelessly shook his head and said, "Hm, under Gong Gong’s command, many powerful beings existed aside of the eight senior ministers. Their curses are not easy to deal with…But, when the flood is gone, I’ll fix all these in a few years. These are nothing.
Ji Hao clicked his lips, then took out a calabash-full of magic pills and put it in Si Wen Ming’s hands.
"Uncle, you know that apart from those tutors of mine in the Magi Palace, I have another Shifu. These healing and life-saving pills are really good." Ji Hao gave Si Wen Ming all Priest Dachi’s magic pills he had. These pills didn’t mean too much to him. After all, he was almost impossible to be hurt now. But to Si Wen Ming his followers, every single pill could mean a life.
"Hmm, thank you then! I’ll take these." Glancing at Ji Hao, then at Huaxu Lie, Lie Mountain Kang, and his other followers, Si Wen Ming accepted the calabash with a bright smile.
A strong woman walked over, carrying a wooden bucket containing a warm meat soup. In the soup were fist-sized water-kind beast meat pieces.
Si Wen Ming grinned and waved his hands, then told everyone to start eating. A thousand miles away in the east, thunderous, muffled battle drums suddenly echoed to the clouds. The aggressive drum vibrated the water surface and raised three-thousand-meter tall waves, roaring over like a giant water wall.
Under the mountainside, hundreds of human warriors leaped into the sky. They were also scrawny, with ragged clothes, but they wielded their weapons strongly. They roared like beasts while launching hacks. Hundreds of arc-shaped, sharp airstreams swished out, and cut the water wall into pieces.
"Woo-ha!" Following a thunderous growl, a bright beam of light darted up to the sky from the dark series of mountains in the front. A dense dark cloud spread in the sky, from which, a, hundreds of miles wide black snakehead abruptly reached out.
That enormous snake cast a glance at Si Wen Ming with a frigid look, then shouted with a hissing voice, "Human beings…Lord Gong Gong knows what you have been doing. You dredged water channels. Through the most importantly nine water gates, you will eventually draw the flood into the Final Land, right?"
"This is Kui Gate, hehe! The first of your most important nine water gates!" The enormous snake let out its fork-tongue and continued viciously, "We decided to not fight you over the other water areas! We have gathered all of our powers in the nine final water gates!"
"I am Black Water Serpent, the commander of Lord Gong Gong’s vanguard unit! I am responsible for guarding this Kui Gate!" The dark serpent opened its jaws and released a dark stream of poisonous water, then roared coldly, "If you have no fear of death, come!"
Si Wen Ming dropped his clay bowl and stood up, seriously looking at that mountain area.
"As I thought, I cannot underestimate Gong Gong and his followers. My flood-control plan, I guess they know about it." said Si Wen Ming blandly, "The other areas don’t matter now. I think we’ll have to risk our lives for the final nine water gates."
Ji Hao raised his eyebrows and snorted, then stood up and said, "Uncle, only nine places left? Then, I don’t have to dart all over the Midland to deal with emergencies…Kui Gate, the first gate, leave it to me."
Ji Hao continued while smiling, "Black Water Serpent Clan is an old enemy of our Gold Crow Clan!"