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Chapter 299: Locust Plague Heading North – Using Natural Disasters to Counter a Natural Disaster!
The nation’s attention was focused on Southern Jiang. The Prince of Southern Jiang watched as swarms of locusts covered the sky, voraciously devouring his rice crops, causing his head to explode in anger. Every passing second resulted in hundreds of rice plants being damaged.
Dragging his officials, Prince of Southern Jiang spoke with extreme urgency, “Do any of you have a solution? Hurry and come up with something for me! If we can’t deal with these pests, my grain will be eaten away!”
Southern Jiang’s officials wore bitter expressions as they shook their heads, “Your Highness, we truly have no means. This locust plague is one of the most terrifying disasters in the world, and it’s insurmountable. This is a natural disaster; can human effort counter it?”
Prince of Southern Jiang’s anxiety deepened, “How did the locust plagues disappear in the past?”
“Your Highness, your subordinate knows!”
Prince of Southern Jiang perked up, “Tell me!”
Wang Fugui cupped his hands, his face filled with despair, “After they’ve devoured all the grain in the fields and have nothing left to eat, they will naturally starve to death.”
Prince of Southern Jiang’s face darkened, he staggered, nearly falling.
“Be careful, Your Highness!”
“Step back, I don’t need assistance!” Prince of Southern Jiang swatted away the hands that supported him. Glaring at the swarming locusts, he roared, “You say this is a natural disaster, and human effort is futile? I absolutely refuse to accept that! Summon all martial artists and soldiers, eradicate these pests and protect the fields for me!”
“Yes, Your Highness!” the crowd responded.
Thus, the soldiers cultivated by Prince of Prince of Southern Jiang entered the fields in a massive wave to eliminate the pests. Those without martial skills used fine fishing nets to catch the insects or utilized brooms made from dead branches to clear the pests. The most efficient were the martial artists, whose bursts of energy could kill many insects in an instant. Particularly the innate martial artists, after this campaign, nearly cleared a vast expanse.
Seeing the results, Prince of Southern Jiang laughed with joy, “Exactly! Kill all of them for me! Leave none alive!”
“Yes, Your Highness!” The 430 individuals echoed and continued their extermination efforts.
However, people grow tired, whereas locusts are endless, never tiring, and continue to multiply. After wiping out one wave, another emerges, and they seem impossible to eradicate. After three consecutive days of killing, Prince of Southern Jiang’s soldiers collapsed from exhaustion. Yet, the locusts didn’t appear to diminish in the slightest.
However, the rice crops had been substantially devoured.
Gazing at the almost ruined rice plants, Prince of Southern Jiang sank to his knees, his eyes filled with despair, “All of my grain is gone, everything is gone!”
This grain was not just his army’s sustenance; it was also the hope for his imperial ambitions. Now that the grain was gone, his aspirations were crumbling as well.
At this moment, a wild idea sprouted in his mind. Since everything was about to end, why not rise up now and march directly towards the capital? Either he would ascend the throne or perish trying!
“Your Highness, the locusts are migrating north!” Someone called out.
“What? The locusts are migrating north?” Prince of Southern Jiang’s spirits lifted. The northern border of Prince of Southern Jiang was the direction of the capital.
“Haha, excellent! Keep going north!” Prince of Southern Jiang stood up with hearty laughter, “I have no grain, and none of you will either! I’m going to see how these locusts have devoured your grain! Haha!”
Witnessing this scene, Prince of Southern Jiang’s officials were filled with deep concern.
“Has Your Highness gone mad? He’s crying and laughing alternately…”
“Perhaps the shock was too much. Poor Your Highness! Sigh.”
“So what do we do now?”
Billions of locusts, in an immense swarm, migrated northward, devouring all plants along their path, especially the rice crops. The scale of this devastation was beyond comprehension, leaving virtually no trace of greenery.
Witnessing this, the Prince of Southern Jiang felt a sense of euphoria. “Keep eating like this, devour everything! I won’t have it easy, and neither will you!”
News of the locust plague migrating north spread rapidly throughout the realm.
In the land of Wuxi, the royal residence:
“The locust plague is actually moving northward, directly towards the capital?” The Duke of Wuxi heard the news and couldn’t contain his excitement. “Haha, this is wonderful! If they can consume all of the imperial grain, the autumn harvest will fail, and it will be the perfect time for us to rise in rebellion!”
“Your Highness speaks the truth!” Mr. Fengchun’s face was flushed with enthusiasm.
In the land of Northern Hebei, the royal residence:
The Prince of Northern Hebei was equally delighted, “This locust plague is a blessing in disguise! With no grain during the autumn harvest, the imperial court will suffer! This is fate, a sign that the heavens want the downfall of the court! Heaven’s will is on our side!”
“Your Highness speaks the truth!” Advisor Zhuge’s expression was lively, “After the autumn harvest, our forces will be nearly ready. The time for our uprising is near, and our grand plan will be realized!”
“Advisor speaks the truth. Keep a close eye on the capital and the locust plague’s movement!” The Prince of Northern Hebei was extremely satisfied.
“Yes, Your Highness!” the military advisor responded loudly.
Other countries and ambitious individuals witnessed this scene with great pleasure.
However, within the imperial court, they faced a dire situation. This was a once-in-a-century locust plague! The locusts left devastation in their wake, and with the autumn harvest imminent, failure to deal with the locusts would lead to a poor harvest, resulting in a series of repercussions.
To counter the impending locust plague, the capital assembled a large number of chickens, ducks, and geese to eat the insects. They also mobilized a substantial force of soldiers and martial artists to eradicate the locusts. In short, every available resource was being marshaled to confront the disaster.
Still, the Empress remained highly concerned, holding frequent meetings with her ministers to discuss the locust plague. Her worries were enough to turn her hair white.
However, Lin Beifan remained calm, eating and drinking as usual, not treating it as a major concern. He simply followed the imperial orders and cooperated accordingly.
Observing this, the Empress couldn’t help but ask, “Advisor, do you have any solutions?”
Lin Beifan cupped his hands, “Your Majesty, there’s no need to worry. They won’t be able to make it here.”
Minister of Revenue Qian Yuanshen anxiously exclaimed, “Why won’t they be able to make it? They’re already here!”
Lin Beifan responded calmly, “What’s the use of worrying now? We’ve done everything we can. All we can do is give our best effort and leave the rest to fate.”
“Sigh!” Everyone sighed in unison.
Seven to eight days later, the locust plague finally arrived within the capital’s borders. At this moment, all eyes in the realm were fixed on the capital, waiting to see whether the court could weather this calamity.
However, more often than not, overcoming this ordeal seemed impossible!
If they could overcome it, then it wouldn’t be the most fearsome locust plague that had everyone trembling!
The court’s military and horses were prepared, deploying numerous soldiers and martial artists to intercept the locusts. Especially the martial artists, aside from the guards, almost all had been brought in, amounting to over 5,000 individuals!
Many peasants and common folk spontaneously joined to help combat the disaster.
Even so, the imperial court dared not relax their efforts.
This locust plague was too terrifying! A once-in-a-century catastrophe!
Even Prince of Southern Jiang Prince, who was giving his all, found himself powerless.
Despite assembling so many soldiers and horses, the court still lacked confidence. They could only do their best.
Within the capital, all the citizens worriedly observed the battle between man and insect. If they lost, their future would be bleak.
Prince of Southern Jiang followed, his face revealing a wild and ecstatic smile as he observed the imperial soldiers in the distance, ready for battle, and the locusts blotting out the sky above him.
“Go, my little insects! You must devour all their grain!”
“Unleash your power!”
“I’m not having an easy time, and I won’t let them have one either!”
As Prince of Southern Jiang’s words fell, the locusts in the sky emitted a droning sound and surged towards the imperial city.
The generals and soldiers within the capital were on high alert, shouting, “The locusts are coming! Prepare yourselves!”
“Yes, General!” the soldiers responded in unison.
“Swish, swish, swish.”
They all drew their weapons, but instead of spears or blades, they wielded brooms to sweep away the locusts. The more luxurious among them had large nets. Numerous martial artists gathered their true qi and strength to shake the locusts to death.
Prince of Southern Jiang observed this scene with disdain, “If such actions were effective, I would have won long ago! But this is good as well. Without struggling, you won’t understand what true despair feels like! Hahaha!”
The locusts buzzed as they approached, nearly blotting out the sky! A single glance was enough to induce despair.
At the city gates, Lin Beifan muttered to himself, “Truly horrifying.”
Though he had heard that locust plagues were terrifying, this was the first time he had seen it, and it was even more frightening than he had imagined. Just one look could potentially make someone with a fear of crowds pass out!
In ancient times, there was simply no strategy to deal with such a situation.
Even in a world with martial artists, facing an overwhelming number of locusts left them helpless.
Fortunately, Lin Beifan was not without a countermeasure.
There was only one thing that could counteract a natural disaster like this…
Another natural disaster!
“The great wind rises, clouds fly!”
As Lin Beifan’s words fell, a strong wind suddenly blew from the north to the south.
The wind howled and managed to hold back the approaching locusts, as if a hand had pushed them back. Billions of locusts buzzed, but couldn’t take a step forward.
“It’s the wind! The wind is stopping the locusts!” someone exclaimed in astonishment.
“What a favorable wind!” Everyone cheered.
“If this wind could keep blowing forever!”
Although it was a hopeful wish, everyone knew that just as the wind came, it could also go.
When the wind departed, that would be the time for confrontation.
“A sudden thunderclap from level ground, wind and rain adding to the body!”
As Lin Beifan’s words fell again, a bolt of lightning flashed in the sky. Soon, dense clouds gathered, obscuring the sunlight, and a light rain began to fall.
The rain wasn’t heavy, resembling spring rain as it moistened faces and nourished the rice seedlings. The capital was bathed in this gentle rain, shrouded in misty rain and appearing especially beautiful.
But for the locusts, this rain and wind was an impenetrable barrier, a natural disaster that was impossible to overcome. They were left hovering outside, unable to cross.
They lingered, unable to make the leap.
The officials and commoners of the capital grew excited.
“It’s raining in the capital!”
“This rain came just in time, keeping the locusts outside!”
“Locusts are most afraid of rain. This is timely indeed!”
“What wonderful rain!”
Prince of Southern Jiang, who had silently observed this scene, was left dumbfounded, “How can this be?”