Chapter 1382: Deterrence
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The case was actually quite simple.
A from Village B lost a cow, only to find it again with C from Village D. A went to question C. C said, ‘Would the cow reply to your call?’ A said, ‘There was a mark on the cow’s body.’ Then, C simply asked his fellow villagers to beat A out. A was not only bruised and swollen but also broke a leg.
As a result, a large fight between Village B and Village D began.
In the poor and uncivilized area, such village-wide fights were nothing unusual.
For cows, for water sources, for land, for women, or for grudges accumulated through all kinds of trivia, two villages might be fighting hard, each dropping a few dead bodies. It was rather a common practice.
However, Village B and Village D happened to be at the border of the territories of two Cultivation sects, and they were under the protection of the two Cultivation sects. The souls of the Cultivators from the two Cultivation sects were also enshrined in the two villages. The incense was burning inside the two temples all year long!
During the fights, the villagers often invited the statues inside the temples with them. Covering the statues in fancy garments and lighting up firecrackers, a few muscled men would carry the statues to the front, hoping that the deities would watch over them and guarantee their victory.
However, it was often unavoidable that the statues of the ‘deities’ on one side were broken. Some of the villagers even intentionally tarnished them with dog blood or the cloth women used during their menstrual period.
For the Cultivation sect that was the supporter of the losing side, how could they watch the souls of the Cultivators of their own sect be insulted like that?
If the rumors spread that a certain Cultivator of a certain sect could not even help the believers on his side win a battle despite the amazing techniques that he had when he was alive, and a bunch of peasants even broke his halo easily with a basin of dog blood, would the Cultivation sect have any reputation among the Cultivators?
Therefore, it was necessary that the Cultivation sect should stand up for the peasants within its territory!
To stand up for the peasants, they would not demean themselves by troubling the hostile peasants but simply go to their protector!
Because the two sects bordered, a lot of friction had certainly developed during the long history. They had long developed grudges with each other, not to mention that there were certainly conflicts of interests, too. Now that one party had challenged the other openly, would the other party simply give in?
The fight that caused the death of three Building Foundation Stage Cultivators and more than twenty Refinement Stage Cultivators in the two Cultivation sects was thus initiated hilariously.
The cause of the fight seemed to be a cow, but it was actually more than a cow. They were fighting to prove their capabilities. Proving their capabilities was, of course, for the full-scale battles of living space.
According to what Li Yao had learned later, street fights were quite popular in places that had been highly developed and could not expand further.
In rural areas, the villages fought each other for farmland, wells, irrigation issues, and the like. In towns, the gangs also resorted to fighting to strive for and maintain their interests in transportation businesses, mining businesses, or unchartered salt businesses.
Most of the land in every village belonged to a Cultivation sect. The salt dealers or the ferrymen in the towns, even if they were controlled by some chambers of commerce on the surface, were still in fact connected to the Cultivation sects.
Therefore, all the fights would eventually involve the Cultivation sects. The fights among ordinary people gradually escalated into fights among Cultivation sects. Even worse, the two parties might invite reinforcements from other places. The fire of war might burn more and more intensely until it became a huge conflict where dozens of sects were involved.
The fight between two Cultivation sects caused by a cow that Li Yao witnessed was actually among the better ones.
After all, in the age of ancient Cultivators, a cow was an important asset of a village. Its ownership was certainly worth fighting over.
The most extreme example that Li Yao heard, however, was a fight because of a poop, in which two reasonably large Cultivation sects were fully at war. They continued inviting their friendly sects for help, and their friendly sects had relatives who had established their own branches and returned to give their family a hand upon hearing that the situation was not good.
More and more forces joined. After half a year of battles, except for other casualties, even two Cultivators at the peak of the Core Formation Stage were killed!
One cr*p cost the lives of two Core Formation Stage experts. It indeed sounded ridiculous!
However, after Li Yao’s careful analysis, he found that it was a truly indestructible loop. Whoever was caught in the loop, from the ignorant farmers to the high and mighty Core Formation Stage Cultivators, would not get away from it.
More specifically speaking, the cause of the battle was when a kid felt a stomach ache and had a bowel movement on his return from a family visit with his mother, who was a peasant’s wife.
At that time, poop was very important fertilizer. The place was far away from their village, but the wife could not stop the kid from popping because of the emergency. Then, she enveloped the excrement with a few broad leaves, planning to take it back to her farmland.
But a local peasant’s wife dashed out and announced to her that, since the poop had dropped on the territory of that village, it was the village’s property. She demanded that the stranger leave the poop!
The two women thus began a fight over a poop. The woman from elsewhere, naturally, did not win the fight. Not only did she fail to secure the poop, some of her hair was even torn out.
When she returned home and told her villagers the story in tears, the two villages—which belonged to two different Cultivation sects and had deep grudges because of water sources, farmlands, and other reasons—naturally, had yet another huge fight, resulting in a few people dying.
Things would not end well if some people got killed in a fight. The peasants would never go to the local branch of the court and demand justice. Instead, they carried the bodies of their people to the headquarters of the local Cultivation sect and placed them in a row before crying and asking for the help of the deities.
Could the deities say no?
Since the Cultivation sects were deeply rooted in local villages, they counted on the support of the villagers.
The villagers were renting their land, providing labor for them for free, building temples for them, and enshrining the dead Cultivators with roasted chicken that the villagers could barely afford. They were catering to the Cultivators’ needs better than they catered to their family. What more could they do?
They were not calling the Cultivators deities or building the temples for nothing. The roasted chicken was not intended for the dead people to enjoy with nothing in return. It was a rather peaceful land nearby, without too many monsters that the Cultivators were obliged to kill. Their lives were comfortable enough. Now that the villagers were in trouble, were they even qualified as deities and brazen enough to enjoy the chicken if they did not help settle the trouble?
Besides, there was also the familial bond. It was their uncle of their aunt of their second cousin of the external disciple of their sect who lay dead outside. Knowing that he was backed by someone else and knowing that the village was under the protection of the sect, the hostile sect still beat him to death. Was it not obvious that they did not respect the sect at all?
If the Cultivators did not stand up for the villagers, they would not be praised for acting generously or leniently. Instead, they would be considered cowardly pushovers!
“What kind of sect is this? How is it going to fight for the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures if they cannot even fight for a poop?”
It might seem absurd, but it was the natural and the only possible result in an era when there were too many Cultivation sects and too few training resources, when the social contradiction was higher than ever.
It was not about a poop but about deterrence.
The so-called deterrence consisted of two parts.
Firstly, make sure that they had abilities to defend all their interests, even if the ‘interest’ was just a poop.
Secondly, make everyone believe that they were determined to use the abilities at any time when they were dissatisfied.
If they had deterrence, the other sects would be scared of them. It would be safer and more convenient for their disciples to travel outside. People of all trades would pay them for their protection. The other sects would have to consider carefully and evaluate the sect’s possible reprisals before they took anything from the sect. More unaffiliated Cultivators would join them because they were famous for their protection!
Without deterrence, if they could not even secure a poop, everything would be doomed. People would no longer believe in the sect, and the sect would have difficulty operating. Nobody would be awed by them when they were outside. The trades and territories under their control would be harassed on a daily basis. The sect’s disciples would be scorned by their family every day. Ashamed, they might just stand up and leave. Even the humblest peasants might run to the territory of another sect and work for someone else!
Moreover, if the thing was spread out, the court might feel that the sect was easy to deal with. There would be endless trouble in future!
So, it was only necessary that the Cultivators stood up for the villagers.
Of course, the first Cultivators to stand up were certainly the disciples in the Refinement Stage of the lowest level. Chances were that the two parties would even set up rules for the fight and hope to settle the problem in a peaceful manner.
However, Cultivators were capable of eating half a bull for a meal and killing a tiger with one punch. When they were truly angry, how could they remember the rules all the time?
Should some of the disciples be unlucky enough to be killed, could their master not stand up for them? How could they hang around with other Cultivators if they did not?
Of course, their masters had masters, too, and the masters of masters had senior brothers and juniors. When the young were defeated, the seasoned came. After the Refinement Stage Cultivators were dead, Building Foundation Stage Cultivators came, and after the Building Foundation Stage Cultivators were dead, the Core Formation Stage Cultivators arrived.
It was the whole story of ‘one poop killed two Core Formation Stage Cultivators’.
Getting to the bottom of it, ‘poop’ was just a fuse. The real critical factor was the resources that were running dry and could not support so many Cultivators!
Li Yao felt like laughing when he first heard the story.
However, after he learned the full story, he felt deeply saddened.
He knew that the Cultivation sects in the age of ancient Cultivators were in a much worse relationship than the ones in the modern Cultivation civilization. It was not unusual for them to fight over Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures or unparalleled techniques or even rob someone else of their belongings.
Such cruel tales had been well featured in movies, video games, and literary works of the Star Glory Federation, so Li Yao was not surprised.
But it had never occurred to him that a world of ancient Cultivators where the resources were running low could be so cruel, even to the extent that the most insignificant froth could be a spark to trigger a great battle when every sect wanted to maintain their deterrence!