Sounds of thunder continuously rumbled outwards. Concentrated sounds of raindrops poured down.
Because of the great nourishment from the Snow Swallow Nest Soup and the Ironhead Dogfish, Lin Xi was both full and warm, waves of heat rising from within him. When he saw that the rain was even greater than yesterday, he wanted to ask Jiang Xiaoyi to cultivate in the rain with him.
However, right at this time, he heard someone chatting with Elder Mo, just that it was hard to hear clearly under the sound of rain.
A moment later, Elder Mo’s footsteps sounded on the wooden stairs, walking closer and closer. Lin Xi knew that someone else might be looking for him.
Sure enough, when Elder Mo wasn’t far from his entrance, he said, “Sir Lin, there is someone who urgently wishes to see you.”
Lin Xi replied, quickly opening the door and leaving. As Elder Mo descended the stairs, he saw an honest looking, slow speeched farmer dressed in a pair of straw sandals.
Even before he could say anything, this farmer seemed to be sure that he was the ‘Sir Lin’ everyone spoke of. As such, he directly knelt down with a putong noise, nervous and not good at speaking to begin with. He opened his mouth, not knowing what to say. Out of panic, with another pa sound, this farmer knocked his head on the ground.
“There is no need for excessive formalities, do not be anxious either. What pressing matters are there? You just need to tell me.” Lin Xi immediately took a step forward, supporting this farmer, directly raising him back up.
The farmer opened his mouth several times, but still didn’t know what to say. Finally, he burst out, “Sir Lin, please save the lives of five thousand people!”
“Lives of five thousand people?”
When Lin Xi, Jiang Xiaoyi, and even Elder Mo heard this, their expressions changed, feeling like something big happened. However, when he saw how this farmer was nervous and slow to speak, already not knowing what to say, Lin Xi still remained completely calm and collected, using the most gentle tone to say, “Don’t be nervous, tell me slowly. If you cannot calm down and tell me what happened, no matter how skilled I am, it would still be hard for me to know what to do.”
“There is no rush, you don’t need to think over your wording before you speak. Just say what you want to say one sentence after another, we should be able to figure it out and understand.” After remaining silent for a bit, Lin Xi encouraged this farmer again. “Are you someone from East Port Town? What is your name?”
For this farmer, replying to Lin Xi’s questions was a bit simpler than speaking himself. After calming down a bit, he immediately replied, “This farmer is named Chen Haozhi, someone from East Port Town’s Mulberry Elm Circle.”
“Mulberry Elm Circle?”
Lin Xi frowned slightly. He recalled that this region was one of the areas in the seventeen alleys, one port and three markets that didn’t have much trouble, to the east of East Port Town’s town region, a village where a large number of peasant households gathered. Only, he vaguely recalled that even if all of the population of this village of peasant households were added together, it should still only be around two thousand. What did the five thousand lives this Chen Haozhi spoke of refer to then?
“Did something big happen in your area?” However, because of this farmer’s nervousness and difficulty speaking, he still used the most gentle tone to calmly ask this.
The farmer’s words finally became a bit more fluent, saying in a single breath, “The river blocking dam might burst.”
“Dam burst?” Because Lin Xi wasn’t an ordinary youngster, the knowledge stored in his brain who knew how many times more profound than that of the people of this world, he immediately sensed the urgency of this matter, his brows furrowing. “I have just arrived at East Port Town, so I don’t understand things on this side too well… Don’t feel anxious, tell me what happened slowly.”
“It was my grandfather who had me come, my grandfather is already ninety-three years old.” Perhaps because Lin Xi told him he didn’t need to think things through first before he spoke, to just say whatever he thought, this farmer directly spoke in preface without anything prepared afterwards.
Only after a bit of time did he immediately add, “My grandfather has worked on fields his entire life, he understands the weather extremely well. He said that this torrential rain might last another few days. Also, this year’s rain is already more than double last year’s, so the river blocking dam might collapse.”
Lin Xi’s brows furrowed even more tightly. However, before he said anything, Elder Mo already frowned, saying, “The river blocking dam has always been extremely firm and solid, after all these years, I have never heard of there being any issues. Back then, the people who built this river blocking dam were rumored to have even received great rewards, later on always being promoted, all the way until they entered the capital city.”
This farmer Chen Haozhi seemed to have finally put together the main points in his mind, his words also becoming more and more flowing, “My grandfather said that there were four dams originally built in total, one in East Port, one in Swallow Descent, one in Clear River, and one in the lower reaches’ Flag Honor Town. Our East Port and Swallow Descent’s dams have always been fine because they were reinforced thirty-seven years ago. Back then, it was also this ‘Rise of the River Dragon King’ weather, not only was there much more rainfall than usual, the torrential rain continued incessantly. Since we are in the rainy season to begin with, the river’s water level is relatively high.”
Lin Xi’s mind inwardly sunk. He immediately looked at Chen Haozhi and asked, “From what you are saying, back then, Clear River and Flag Honor Town’s dams both burst?”
Chen Haozhi saw that Lin Xi was carefully asking him questions, and his expression was also extremely serious, this immediately making him feel a bit more at peace inside. He forcefully nodded. “Clear River and Flag Honor, these two towns, their dams both burst back then, but now, there is no trace of it to be found. Only, back then, there were only large amounts of fish pools established behind Clear River and Flag Honor’s dams, so when the dams burst, there weren’t that many people nearby and not too many people’s lives were lost. Now, these fish pools have also all disappeared, just becoming two basins. Among them, Clear River Town’s basin has become Clear River Town’s Cloth Beating Port, the edge full of cloth dyeing and cloth manufacturing shops.”
Elder Mo’s expression changed slightly. He was already over sixty years of age today, the things that happened thirty seven years ago also already quite distant to him, so he could only vaguely recall that there seemed to be something like this that happened.
“The dams were built forty-five years ago, yet after eight years, there were leaks, two of the dams burst.” Chen Haozhi looked at the seriously frowning Lin Xi, and then said, “The reason my grandfather remembered all of this clearly is because he was one of the individuals who worked on the dam back then, he worked under Sir Yuan who built the dam. Moreover, later on, he had also worked on the reinforcement.”
After saying these words, this farmer seemed to have suddenly recalled an important point, and thus hurriedly said, “Moreover, back then, my grandfather also heard Sir Yuan say that a water measuring pillar was originally established in front of the dam. Once the water level exceeds the marking, it means that damage might happen to the dam at any time. However, more than ten years ago, the water measuring pillar was already smashed broken by a passing boat. My grandfather looked at the water level, saying that the current water level is definitely above that measuring pillar’s marking.”
Lin Xi was naturally better at seizing the key point than Chen Haozhi. He nodded, and then muttered to himself, “From what you are saying, even though the two dams have been reinforced, they have already been worn down by years without maintenance, just like thirty-seven years ago, the situation is already extremely dangerous?”
Chen Haozhi immediately nodded, saying, “When my grandfather noticed that the water level was strange the day before yesterday, he already had us bring him to the dam to look around. He confirmed that the state of the dam was worse than it was thirty-seven years ago, much of the wood already rotten.”
Lin Xi’s brows were furrowed, continuing to ask, “I haven’t taken a look around the dams yet… if one of those dams collapses, will it drown many people?”
“Our East Port and Swallow Descent Towns have large amounts of agricultural land behind the dams, the villages are all inside of these fertile lands, the terrain not high, there are many pools in the surroundings as well, forming a network of water, like isolated islands. Our ‘circle’ is a residential area surrounded by water to begin with. Right now, on our East Port Town’s Mulberry Elm Circle’s side, most of the farmers still listened to my grandfather’s words, some elderly and young already moving to places of higher elevation. However, if all of these farm crops are washed away, not a single grain reaped, how are we supposed to make a living? That is why most people aren’t willing to give up. Right now, over half of the strong men listened to my grandfather’s words, already standing guard by our dam, trying to reinforce it.”
“Only, our strength is limited, we are momentarily unable to find sufficient wood to reinforce it. That is why once the dam bursts, there might be several hundred who die just by the dam alone.”
When he spoke up to this point, even though Chen Haozhi’s words were fluent, he became increasingly anxious inside. This farmer actually began to cry, his logical flow becoming incoherent again. “Swallow Descent Town’s side’s villagers have very few who trust my grandfather’s words, feeling like they’ve been fine and well all this time, the dam also looking fine, which is why they haven’t done anything at all.”
“Back then, our East Port Town and Swallow Descent Town, the reason why our river dams were reinforced was because many of the people who could fix the dam were still there. In addition, what was behind the two town’s dams were depressions modified into fertile rice paddy fields that couldn’t be lost. However, after all these years of peaceful living, together with the widening of Breath River’s surface, the water flow also moderate, never having any flooding, together with the fact that those robust dam builders are already old, no one believes us, none of them feeling like the high water levels will cause any problems.”
When he heard Chen Haozhi explain this while crying loudly, Lin Xi’s brows furrowed even tighter, his expression becoming even more serious. He then seriously asked, “Then according to your grandfather’s perspective… this dam is already in critical condition, possibly collapsing at any time? The five thousand people you are referring to refers to the people of East Port Town and Swallow Descent Town who might drown behind the dams?”
“Sir Lin, this is precisely the case.” Chen Haozhi felt like he finally explained things clearly, unable to help but kneel down again.
Lin Xi supported Chen Haozhi. He took a deep breath and said with a heavy voice, “This river port irrigation works matter isn’t originally under my jurisdiction. By seeking me out, moreover in such an urgent manner, is it because the corresponding Trade Sector official doesn’t believe your words?”
“Yes.” Chen Haozhi rubbed his face, and then looked at Lin Xi, saying in sorrow, “They feel like I am talking complete nonsense, that my grandfather might have also gone senile, his mouth full of nonsense, completely untrustworthy. Just now, I wanted to find the Town Supervisor, but I couldn’t find him. Left with no choice, I could only think of Sir Lin.”
A bitter smile appeared on the corners of Lin Xi’s mouth, feeling nervous and ice-cold inwardly.
Originally, he wanted this rain to fall a bit harder to make his cultivation results even better, but he never expected that the continuous rain actually caused this type of result, possibly placing the lives of many in danger.
“Let’s go, follow me to see the Town Supervisor.”
After remaining quiet for a bit, Lin Xi nodded towards this farmer, picked up his green umbrella, and then walked into the pouring great rain outside.
Under the pitch-black night’s violent downpour, Chen Haozhi and Jiang Xiaoyi followed closely behind Lin Xi.