Book 6 Chapter 15 - Watching the River

Right now, it hadn’t been long since the rain stopped, water had accumulated on the roofs. There was some wormwood that was still damp.

However, it was unknown just what it was that was burning inside the wicker basket, forming row after row of flame streams that quickly extended into the beams below the tiles.

This prison cell’s roof quickly became a great burning lantern, the blazing fiery light covering even the brilliance of the rising sun.

Cries of alarm sound sounded from the quiet and secluded street.

Right now, the one in charge of the Warden Office was Lu Mingyi.

Even though the order for him to become the Substitute Warden still hadn’t gone out yet, the previous Warden Qian Gangsheng had already been swept out by Lin Xi.

When he smelled smoke and fire, Lu Mingyi already rushed out from his room. The instant he saw the heaven surging flames rushing out from a prison cell, this large and strong man’s face turned deathly white, knowing that there was already no way of preserving that cell.

Right now, most of the people from the Enforcer and Warden Office were guarding the dam above the river. There were only three people left on his Warden Office side.

Normally, these three people were enough, because all of the prisoners were locked up in iron cells, some of the serious criminals’ bodies would also all carry fetters and handcuffs. If there were violators of serious cases, investigators and escort troops would be sent from higher up, the Warden Office’s people normally only supervised and arranged for these criminals’ food and drink. Coupled with the fact that the number of prisoners who were locked up in this town level prison wasn’t large, it was only Silver Hook Lane’s case that more than twenty people directly related became locked up in one go, or else normally, there wouldn’t be more than twenty prisoners locked up here.

Right now, the flames in that prison cell were already burning extremely fiercely. Forget about the three of them, even if there were thirty people, preserving that cell would still be extremely difficult.

The second one who rushed out was Xiao Chuan.

This was a fifty something year old guard, normally in charge of these prisoners’ food. When this second individual rushed out and saw the flames on that cell, this old guard immediately became startled from fright.

“Tao Zi! Bring out all the keys!”

At this time, the deathly pale Lu Mingyi released a loud shout.

Following his shout, a guard who was a bit younger than himself also ran out.

This youngster originally looked like he was still a bit sleepy, but the instant he saw the fiery light over the prison, he was immediately frightened until all of his sleepiness disappeared. The large ring of keys in his hands fell onto the ground with a crash noise.

“I’m going to release the criminals inside first, you all are not to move randomly for now, make sure that the prisoners don’t escape!”

Lu Mingyi leaned over, picking up the keys on the ground, and then broke into a run, heading towards that jail cell.

He had never seen such a great scene, normally, when facing this type of unforeseen accident, he might also immediately panic to the point where he was momentarily at wit’s end. However, at this time, a single thought appeared in his mind, which was that Young Sir Lin placed this Warden Office in his hands, so he had to take responsibility. However, he also understood extremely clearly that even if these were death convicts who committed capital offense, only after the Judicial Sector passed down the final document, setting an execution date, could they be killed. If even a single one died from being burned to death, Young Sir Lin would have to shoulder that responsibility.


“Hurry and put out the fire!”

At this time, loud shouts of help sounded.

Many women and children carrying buckets of water swarmed over from the quiet and secluded alley.

The small town’s common people had extremely pure thoughts. When they saw the fire, everyone’s first reaction was extremely simple and honest. When they saw the fire, their first thoughts were to put out the fire, not about who had jurisdiction over this area. When they were close, many people recalled that this was ‘Young Sir Lin’s’ administrative region, so the sounds of fire rescue became even louder.

“This is the Warden Office Young Sir Lin manages!”

“Hurry and help Young Sir Lin put out the fire!”

After this type of voice was released, even some of the weak and trembling elders picked up vessels containing water, appearing on the street that led to this place.

There was no lack of water used for putting out the fire in the Warden Office.

In a vacant area between several prisons, there were several copper containers used for storing rainfall water and fire rescue to begin with. Because it rained for several days in a row, these large containers were even more so beyond full.

There were quite a few people who immediately rushed over to the Warden Office as well, immediately forming a long queue, continuously pouring water over the jail cell. However, most of the town’s robust men and soldiers had already rushed to the dam, so these women and children couldn’t pour the water directly onto the burning rooftop. As a result, not only was the fire situation not contained, the flames instead extended towards the adjacent two jail cells.

The fat merchant who always had a smile on his face already reached a high point of this town, watching as the smoke and fire above the Warden Office became greater and greater. He wiped his hands on his sleeves out of habit, saying to himself in satisfaction, “These flames really are burning beautifully.”

Lu Mingyi brought five prisoners out of the prison that was already about half burned through, running out.

The waves of smoke made him cough fiercely, one arm likely hit by a burning falling piece of wood, producing an expanse of bubbles. However, he didn’t stop in the slightest, continuing to run towards another burning prison cell.

From the voices outside and the smoke that came in through the roof, the prisoners inside all knew what happened.

As Lu Mingyi followed a path that wasn’t all that spacious towards this prison cell, the prisoners locked up inside were all frantically beating the prison walls, crying out in alarm.

However, inside a dark and moist room, a well-built, bearded prisoner wearing manacles and leg-irons didn’t cry out. As he watched the roof become covered in greater and greater fiery light, saw the bits of flames were starting to fall, he who was not coughing even slightly from the smoke instead stared at Lu Mingyi who had just ran inside, his eyes locked onto the ring of keys in his hands, as well as the blade hanging from his waist.

Because of the great blaze of the neighboring prison, the temperature of this jail cell became even higher, which was why the flames began to spread even faster. Lu Mingyi’s eyes were swollen and in incredible pain, covered in tears, so there was no way he could see the viciousness in this prisoner’s eyes clearly.

The instant he opened the entrance confining this criminal, the prisoner inside sent a fierce kick into his chest.

Lu Mingyi fell backwards heavily. This prisoner had manacles and leg-irons, unable to rush out, but his entire being pounced out, jumping towards Lu Mingyi. The manacles on his hands smashed at Lu Mingyi’s head.

Lu Mingyi clearly couldn’t escape in time. In the smoke, a foot reached over, kicking the waist of this prisoner.

This kick looked extremely simple, but it carried tremendous power. Half of this prisoner’s body directly lost feeling, kicked to the point of flipping in the air, landing heavily into the floor.

A sickly yellow man who was holding a wet handkerchief to his mouth supported Lu Mingyi.

This sickly man who had ran into this prison unknowingly when was precisely Second Grandpa Zhang. Right now, his complexion was even more pallid than before, his condition looking even worse.

A skinny and shriveled woman suddenly ran out from the smoke behind him.

This woman was precisely the one brought back by Lin Xi last time in the fish market, Lu Fengniang who had been released from the Warden Office not too long ago.

She didn’t grab the keys in Lu Mingyi’s hands, only holding a metal wire. She then directly ran forward, the large iron gates locking the prisoners were quickly opened by her one after the next.

On East Port Town’s river dam.

Under the sounds of cheers, Jiang Xiaoyi used the last of his strength to smash the final stake deemed essential by Elder Chen Yangzhi.

After delivering this final strike, his trembling hands couldn’t grip the heavy hammer anymore, sitting in the mud, completely disregarding his appearance as a cultivator, the large hammer in his hands also directly tossed to the side.

A large burst of mud flew everywhere from the fall of the great hammer, a bit landing in his open mouth that was breathing deeply.

Pah! Pah! Pah!

Jiang Xiaoyi immediately couldn’t help but spit out his salvia, causing sounds of laughter all around.

Jiang Xiaoyi also laughed in embarrassment himself.

He raised his head, just in time to see the scarred faced woman was also currently looking at him while laughing, also wiping at the muddy water on her face.

However, the moment their eyes met, the woman’s eyes dimmed again, silently turning around and walking towards the place where congee was being cooked.

Jiang Xiaoyi’s smile went rigid. He couldn’t help but stand up, not thinking through things too much, wishing to ask this woman why she wasn’t happy. However, right at this time, he saw that there was a rider who quickly ran here from East Port Town.

This was a messenger soldier sent from Town Supervisor Manor. After asking a few questions on the dam, this messenger directly ran up to him, quickly speaking.

Even though Jiang Wenhe and the others still didn’t understand his identity, on the inside, they all understood that he was a cultivator, and he was also Lin Xi’s friend.

“The Warden Office caught on fire?”

When he heard the words this messenger spoke, Jiang Xiaoyi’s expression immediately changed.

In Swallow Descent Town Supervisor Manor, He Zijing dressed in a Town Supervisor uniform was standing in the courtyard in front of his office, his head raised slightly towards the sky.

The weather was bright and sunny. As the warm sunlight was cast on his body, the somewhat sinister smile on his face instead became even stronger.

Sounds of footsteps could be heard. The military official dressed in bronze plate armor, Shang Yin, quickly walked in.

“Sir.” After respectfully bowing in front of He Zijing, this military official didn’t hide the joy on his face at all as he said, “The river dam is still perfectly fine. The villagers behind the dam have all been evacuated by Lin Xi to the hill behind the dam. We just received news that a great fire has been started in East Port Town’s Warden Office.”

“East Port Town’s Warden Office caught on fire?” He Zijing took a fierce step forward, his voice couldn’t help but become loud. “What are the exact circumstances?”

Shang Yin bowed slightly and said, “It is rumored that there are no casualties, nor did any convicts break free, but three prisons were burned down. Moreover, for the sake of fortifying the dam, he transferred quite a few people from the Enforcer and Warden Office to the dam.”

“This truly is his own sin, impossible for him to escape punishment.”

He Zijing began to laugh loudly, “Even if only three prisons were burned down, there is already no way for him to escape blame.”

“Shang Yin, you’ve worked hard all night as well, you can let your men withdraw and rest. Help me contact Sir Kuang and the others, let them know that they are to follow me to the dam.”

Lin Xi stood on Swallow Descent Town’s river dam.

“Our Breath River’s dams are different from the dams of other places. The other dams are mostly used for water storage and irrigation, but our Breath River’s dams are all meant to protect our fields and ships.”

The elder laying on a wooden chair to his side was covered in a thin blanket. When he saw the rocking river water surface on the dam, he explained to Lin Xi in a hoarse and unnatural voice, “The places where these four dams are located are originally all ‘gourd bellies’, the areas where the river surface is especially wide, having quite a bit of silt. Back then, when great ships passed through this place, they would easily suffer damage, the large ships that now cross this river couldn’t do so back then at all. That year, that Sir Yuan truly had astonishing ability in managing the river course and irrigation works. After carefully surveying, he built these four great dams, enclosing large amounts of shallow waters. Then, by using the silt dug up from the river, much of the good fertile land was produced behind Swallow Descent and East Port’s dams. This way, these areas of the river surface became more narrow, the water level deeper as well. Not only did it become easier for ships to pass through, our town which originally didn’t have much good agricultural land now had abundant harvests of both fish and rice.”

“Back then, Clear River Town’s shallows were dug relatively deeper, which is why after Clear River’s dam was destroyed, there weren’t too many issues. However, there are many large ships moving through Flag Honor Town in the lower reaches, so they need large amounts of workers to help them get through. Those great large stores use a large amount of manpower and resources to clear up the river silt, but it’s not actually because they aren’t diligent enough that they need to do so, but because there is no dam locking the opening, the waters are too level, it is too easy for shallows to form, the manpower cannot compare to the accumulation of mud and silt.”

“Among the four dams, the mudflat region behind Swallow Descent Town was originally the largest, which is why the fertile lands and population also exceed our East Port Town. If this river dam is destroyed, not only would the fertile land be gone, the river on this side might return to being how it was before, difficult for large ships to move through.”

When Lin Xi heard these things, he nodded. He took a deep breath, and then asked, “Elder, with your current understanding of the situation, even when the sky brightens, this dam still cannot be preserved?”

“It cannot, unless the river level decreases by two meters, otherwise, it is still extremely dangerous, likely to burst at any time.” Chen Yangzhi nodded. His head that didn’t have much hair left leaned heavily into the bamboo chair. “This weather… it’s clearly going to rain again. I fear that it will be another day or two of rain before it’ll stop. If we want this water level to decrease, it might take at least another two or three days, maybe even four or five.”

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