“Sigh... I don't know what day it is today... in the chaos of the world, this old man has already lived for some days. Heaven has been kind to me. If I don't close my eyes soon I would be burden to Zhang Ye and the others...” Not far from the mother and son was a very old man leaning on a half-a-meter-tall wall, looking at the sandstorm outside. The corners of his mouth were pulled back, there was an indifference to death, but he had no strength to smile again.
“Yes... we have lived enough, no matter how many more days there are for us old people it is still meaningless... If we continue to live, we would be taking away the juniors' chances of survival. We should have died earlier.”
“It's not easy for Zhang Ye and the others, they are burdened by us...”
“What we can do to help them now is by saving our breath...”
The elderly, who were sat to a side, looked to be in a poor state, but were still very calm. They slowly gathered with great difficulty, huddled together, seemingly to discuss something.
One month ago, they left Yu Leaf City and reached Lifeng City.
Because there were too many elderly and women and insufficient supplies, they simply could not hurry to the next site, and had to stay here to wait for the right time.
Moreover, five days ago they had depleted all the water and food supplies on them.
The team of hundreds of people began to face the adverse conditions of the desert without food or water.
Because there was no food or water, the hundreds of people were incredibly weak, especially the elderly and children. They could only curl up in the corner or in an adult's arms, struggling to survive and waiting to die in despair.
There were around thirty martial artists who were taking care of the elders, women and children.
They looked better than the average person, though they were similarly covered in sand and dust. They did not rest for a moment, busy patrolling back and forth. Some were looking after the group, some distributed around the city walls, some patrolling around, and others were looking afar from time to time, seemingly waiting for something.
These martial artists were not particularly strong. The majority were between fifty and seventy Spirit Springs, although they were of varying ages and builds, all were wearing the same style of clothing, though the colour was already unclear. They were evidently disciples of the same sect, and because of the support of yuan qi, looked to be in not bad spirits, but just somewhat tired and haggard.
In the most central area of the ruins.
There were also a few Heaven Ascension experts, who were clearly the core figures of the group of people, gathering together to discuss something.
“Senior brother Zhang Ye, think of a way, even if the adults can wait, the children and the elderly can't last another day. We did our best to take them to escape with us, we cannot let them die in this desert...”
“Yes, senior brother Zhang Ye, the resources in Yu Leaf City were limited, and there was no way the people could make a living. The food and water we stored up before we left were very little, now Uncle Huang and others have reached the limit.”
“It has been three days since junior brother Luo Qi went out looking for water along with a few other brothers. Why is he not back yet, did something happen? Sigh, I'm getting anxious.”
Six pairs of slightly anxious and worried eyes were all looking at the same direction.
The place where the eyes gathered was a martial artist who looked the oldest. He was about thirty years old, his facial features were sharp and defined, eyes bright and full of expression, and was tall and burly. From the way the other people asked him for advice, it was clear that he had the highest seniority. He was an Immortal Step realm expert and the eldest senior brother of this group of people——Zhang Ye.
Seeing the trust in the eyes of his junior brothers, Zhang Ye gave a wry smile and said, “Wait a little longer, before Luo Qi comes back, all we can do is wait... By the way, Cheng Kui, you and Liu Ming go check on the women and children... see if there are symptoms of illness, Qiao Qu and I will go to the city walls to see whether jhunior brother Luo Qi and the others have come back yet.”
Zhang Ye gently sighed, after issuing these orders, and turned toward the direction of the city walls.
“Senior brother Zhang Ye, wait for me.”
Behind him was a woman in a blue battle robe, who looked in her early twenties. She was beautiful and gentle, and although her soft skin had gone rough from the wind and sand her eyes were still bright and clear. Her name was Qiao Qu, the only woman among the martial artists, and also Zhang Ye's childhood sweetheart. When the old Master of Ancient Sky Dragon Sect was around he had personally promised to preside over their wedding. Everything seemed very happy, but later the old master died in battle, internal conflict broke out in the sect, and the two still had not gotten married.
A moment later.
On the city wall ruins of Lifeng City.
Zhang Ye and Qiao Qu stood side by side, gazing into the distance.
On the boundless desert, where not a blade of grass grew, a gust of wind rolled up a giant yellow sand pillar that connected to the sky, seemingly about to destroy the whole world.
In the distance, where the yellow sand and the sky were almost connected into one.
A huge red sun was slowly setting in the desert. The light was like blood, and the glow like fire, reflecting upon the sky and desert, like blazing flames, with the pride and sadness of devouring heaven and earth.
“Senior brother Zhang Ye, are you all right?” Qiao Qu looked at Zhang Ye, eyes full of concern.
Although their senior brother rarely spoke and was not good in articulating himself, he cared a lot about his junior brothers and sister.
Along the way, senior brother Zhang Ye almost had not touched the water and food they prepared, and gave it all to the junior brothers.
“Just a little tired, don't worry, how would something happen to me? As I said before, I will take you away from Ancient Sky Dragon Domain to a place with mountains and water, flowers and birds, to start our new life again.” Zhang Ye's voice sounded exhausted. It seemed that it was only in front of his beloved woman that he could relax a little bit.
“Junior brother Luo Qi and the others have been gone for three days, do you think...” Qiao Qu hesitated and in the end did not dare to say what she was thinking about.
She grew up with these senior and junior brothers and they were closer than a family.
They had been planning the escape from Yu Leaf City for a long time, which almost exhausted everyone's mind. It could be described as a last struggle of life and death.
“Don't worry, nearby is desolate and uninhabited, and not even a blade of grass grows. It naturally takes a lot of time and effort to find water, but with their current level and physical strength, they should be back no later than today. Besides, given the power of Ancient Sky Dragon Sect in Yu Leaf City, those people won't get here so soon.”
Zhang Ye comforted Qiao Qu.
Even though he had said these words, there was still unconsciously an anxious look coming onto Zhang Ye’s face as he gazed into the distance.
After about half an hour later.
Suddenly, about four or five kilometers from Lifeng City.
There were two ripples of extremely faint Yuan qi that flashed.
“It's Luo Qi, they're back!” Zhang Ye’s eyes lit up when he sensed a wisp of aura.
After a moment.
In the Void.
Two figures staggered out.
Their clothes and hair were full of yellow sand and ashes, and their original complexion was obscured. They looked like they had just come out of a sand pit, but one could see that they were incredibly exhausted and their yuan qi extremely faint.
“How is it... you guys...” Zhang Ye hurriedly darted over to support them.
But he did not know whether his question ‘how is it’ was referring to the conditions of the two brothers, or the progress of the search for water.
As the backbone of the hundreds of people, the pressure and responsibility he had to bear was unimaginable.
“Luo Qi, Zhou Yuanshan, have you found the water?” Qiao Qu also hurriedly came over to support the two, but because of anxiousness, she ignored the brothers’ conditions and first asked about the result of their search for water.
But the two junior brothers at the same time looked pale and shook their heads gently.
“Senior brother Zhang Ye, senior sister Qiao Qu, I'm sorry I let you down, we're useless... Junior brother Zhou Yuanshan and I have searched thousands of kilometers, and did not see a drop of water. We have almost consumed all of our Yuan qi, we had no choice but to come back first.” Luo Qi kept his head low with a face of guilt.
“What are you saying, it's good to see you come back safe... right, why is it only the two of you are back, where are junior brother Mo and brother Xu?” Zhang Ye’s eyes flashed with a trace of disappointment, but still gently patted Luo Qi on the shoulder.
How would he not know that the kind-hearted junior brother had already done his best.
“They haven't come back yet?” Zhou Yuanshan’s eyes went wide with incomparable surprise upon hearing this. “We split up to search, they went in the other direction, but... Their level and physical strength are not as good as us, Senior brother Luo Yuanshan and I thought they should have come back today by the latest...”
His voice faded.
The four people went silent for a moment.
It was definitely not a good thing that the two junior brothers had not returned yet.
But everyone was hopeful. They did not say a word and chose to stand on the city walls to wait for them to come back.
No one wanted to think any more during this period, and was even more afraid to say anything.
So, they waited.
Waited until the last wisp of red cloud was forced away by the dim light of night.
The desert had turned pitch black, there was only a faint glow sprinkled by the hazy moonlight, bringing a hint of light to the ancient city.
The other two brothers who went out in search of water still hadn’t come back.
Zhang Ye and the others were still standing on the city walls looking in different directions in silence, but they had no choice but to start to admit and face the fact.
It boded ill rather than well for junior brother Mo and brother Xu.
In the vast desert, even if they did not encounter the enemies, there were still countless hidden dangers, as well as many fierce beasts.
“Let's go, it's time to see Uncle Huang.” Zhang Ye took a deep breath, pulled himself together and called the other junior brothers.
Then, the several people together headed towards the wall ruins in the city.
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