The egg-like black ball continued rubbing Li Yao’s face. It was soft, fat, and warm, like the pink bottom of a baby.
Seeing that Little Back, who had been accompanying him since his childhood, was now reborn in a brand-new form, Li Yao was filled with mixed feelings, almost shedding tears of joy. “Excellent, Little Black. So, your real identity is not a flying sword but an egg!”
Little Black’s pointy tail waved in dissatisfaction, as if it were saying, “I am not an egg!”
“Then, what are you exactly? I’ve never seen such magical equipment before!”
Li Yao could not have felt stranger. He extended one of his fingers and jabbed Little Black.
He had never seen such a weird material before. Even ‘liquid metal’ was not enough to describe one ten thousandth of Little Black’s qualities.
Little Black’s ‘tail’ shook for a long time in confusion, as if it did not know what it was either. Eventually, ripples spread out on its ‘head’, and two items popped up from its body.
The first item was a three-edged metal stick the width of a finger.
Li Yao could not discern the materials that the stick was made of. He only knew that the hardness and density of the stick were extremely high. At the very least, it was much harder than all the metals and rocks that Li Yao had seen.
Compact spiritual stripes had been carved on the mental stick. They were fluent and in a consistent style.
Li Yao studied for a while. He could tell that those spiritual stripes were from the heyday of the Star Ocean Imperium, but he failed to figure out the specific usage of them.
Perhaps, the stick is a key?
No. Not a key, but half a key.
Some of the rune arrays on the stick were obviously incomplete. Also, there were quite a few mortises on one side of the stick that were perhaps meant to connect another component.
Half a key from the Star Ocean Imperium? What can it open?
The second item that Little Black ‘vomited’, on the other hand, was quite common. It was just a jade chip—a modern one produced by the Star Ocean Imperium no earlier than thirty years ago.
Li Yao blinked and inserted the jade chip into his portable crystal processor.
The light beam shook for a moment. As the ripples slowly condensed, a slobby man, who did not seem to fit in the world he was living in at all, showed up. The man grinned at him and said gently, “Ah Yao!”
“Pop!” Li Yao exclaimed in surprise with tears swirling inside his eyes.
The man inside the light beam was exactly his foster father, the man who had raised him for almost ten years in the magical equipment graveyard, taught him the basic ethics of a human being, and laid a solid foundation for his refining skills!
In Li Yao’s memory, his foster father had fallen into the magical equipment graveyard from a garbage ship. The old man’s body had always been in poor condition. He also liked the lousiest liquor most. After he was drunk, he would vomit, and when he was sober again, he went on drinking. He always crept into the garbage hills when he was half-wasted and got himself hurt. He would not listen to Li Yao even if the latter spoke to him many times about it. It was almost like a self-torture.
After torturing himself for ten years, he had passed away on a stormy night. He had not said much when he was dying.
Li Yao had never expected his foster father to have left a jade chip inside Little Black!
It was obvious that the jade would not be opened until his Cultivation reached a point where he could break Little Black’s seal!
Pop, where are you from? Travelling in dozens of Sectors, carrying a piece of mysterious magical equipment like Little Black with you, and leaving your last words for me in such a weird way?
Were you worried about something? Was there anything unfulfilled? I’m listening!
Li Yao bulged his eyes and pricked his ears up.
The slobby middle-aged man on the light bean said in a low voice, “Ah Yan, if you are watching this video, it means that you are at least in the peak of the Core Formation Stage, or maybe in the Nascent Soul Stage. So, you are slightly qualified to travel in the sea of stars now.
“Besides, you should’ve noticed the anomalies about me and Black Wing and guessed that we are not natives of the Heaven’s Origin Sector.”
Li Yao nodded. His foster father was not from the Heaven’s Origin Sector. It was not an unexpected answer.
Wearing the most complicated expression, the slobby middle-aged man stopped for a long time before he continued slowly. “Ah Yao, after knowing that I will die very soon, I have been debating with myself whether or not I should tell you the truth about the center of the sea of stars. Or maybe, should I wager on the possibility that you will live your life happily in the bliss of ignorance?
“In the end, I decided to set up such a test. If your Cultivation is not high enough to pass my test, it will be unnecessary for you to know what I’m going to say next, because even if you do, there will be nothing you can do except wait for your doom to arrive.
“But now that you’ve passed my test, I can tell you my background and my suffocating and devastating homeland!”
When he mentioned his homeland, the slobby middle-aged man was clearly shivering. His teeth clattering violently, he managed to go on. “My homeland, the country that I escaped from and would never have the courage to face, is the strongest nation of human beings in the sea of stars. It is also the evilest, most terrible civilization in the history of mankind. No, it is even not qualified to be listed as a civilization of mankind; it is the terminator of all civilizations of mankind!
“You people living in the minor Heaven’s Origin Sector at the edge of the universe cannot even begin to fathom its dominance or one millionth of its wickedness!
“Right now, looming at the center of the sea of stars, it is extending tentacles to anywhere that was once illuminated by the fire of humanity. It is invading and expanding unstoppably!
“Maybe, one day, my homeland will reach the Heaven’s Origin Sector, the Star Glory Federation, and you, my son, too!”
Li Yao nodded heavily. That explained a lot. He understood everything now!
As he expected, his father was from the Imperium of True Human Beings. Because his foster father was not satisfied about certain policies of the imperium and believed that the Immortal Cultivators were not qualified as a civilization of mankind but a threat to it, his foster father made up his mind to flee from the country to the edge of the cosmos.
However, his foster father was also very clear that, since the imperium was expanding rapidly, chances were that it would invade the Star Glory Federation soon.
His foster father had passed away more than ten years ago. In his eyes, at that time, the insignificant federation was obviously no match for the imperium. It would have been blown to smithereens the moment the expedition army of the imperium arrived.
That was why his foster father had always been so miserable and desperate!
“If… ” The slobby middle-aged man gnashed his teeth. “If the army from my homeland finally arrives on your doorstep one day, the only suggestion I can give you is… don’t surrender—resist to the end!
“Yes, you are certainly no match for it, but even if you are destroyed, you will die with the pride and dignity of human beings! If you surrender, you will be no longer human beings, not even animals, and, in some cases, no better than germs!”
Li Yao took a long breath and clenched his fists. He had never felt more passionate!
His foster father was right. Enslaved by the wretched Immortal Cultivators of the Imperium of True Human Beings, the ordinary people were simply ants and weeds, nothing remotely related to human beings!
The war between the Cultivators and the Immortal Cultivators had only just begun. They would certainly fight to the end until the blood of the last Cultivator was shed in the sea of stars!
Li Yao narrowed his eyes and declared, one word after another, “Rest assured, pop. No matter how formidable the imperium is, we will show them the pride of the federation!”
Naturally, the slobby middle-aged man could not hear his reply. He simply continued. “Ah Yao, listen up. My homeland—the most dreadful force of human beings in the universe—is the Alliance of the Holy Covenant!”
“The Covenant Alliance, the strong, most wicked, and most terrifying nation of human beings in the entire universe! So far, countless Sectors have fallen into the hands of the Covenant Alliance. None of them were even close to be match for the Covenant Alliance!
“To resist the Covenant Alliance, which is rising like the sun, even the traditional superpower Imperium of True Human Beings, which always considered itself the rightful successor of the Star Ocean Imperium, has betrayed its past beliefs, abandoned the glory of Cultivators, and trampled on humanity, turning themselves into pure animals and out-and-out war machines!
“Despite the gory prices they paid, the Imperium, which has been utterly deformed, only managed to slow the march of the Covenant Alliance. As for how long their fierce war at the center of the universe will last and which side will be the final winner, we might not be able to know the answer this century!”
“…” Li Yao.
“Listen Ah Yao, since you are close to, if not already at, the Nascent Soul Stage, you can more or less influence the policies of the federation now! If one day, the Covenant Alliance really comes at the federation, don’t hesitate, and run away immediately! Run to the center of the universe and ask for the reinforcement of the Imperium of True Human Beings! If possible, it’s best that the entire Heaven’s Origin Sector be ceded to and protected by the Imperium of True Human Beings!
“Have you seen the metal stick? You don’t need to know what it is. When you arrive in the imperium, go and find a woman named ‘Li Linghai’. Give her the metal stick and the jade chip!
“The jade chip can prove your identity. There’s also a video that I’ve imposed a barrier on. It’s a few words that I’ve left for her. You don’t need to know them.
“Since you are my foster son, after you give her the metal stick, she will not wrong you for my sake. Even the Heaven’s Origin Sector might be protected by her and the imperium!
“Of course, that is depending on the imperium defeating the Covenant Alliance. If even the imperium is crushed by the Covenant Alliance, it will be doomed. Everything will be doomed!
“You don’t need to worry about where to find Li Linghai. If you really make your way to the imperium, just ask anybody you run into, and they will tell you where she is. However, as for exactly how you can approach her, you will have to work it out yourself.
“Remember, nobody except Li Linghai is to see the metal stick. If anybody does, kill them immediately! Otherwise, you will be mired in infinite trouble!
“This is also one reason I hesitated to tell you the truth.
“As for this video, you can clip the part about the metal stick and Li Linghai off and simply inform the leadership of the federation of the existence of the Covenant Alliance and the imperium so that they can be better prepared!”
The slobby middle-aged man coughed and vomited a mouthful of blood. Not bothering to wipe it off, he mumbled, “Ah Yao, I know that you are good kid. The Star Glory Federation is a good country that persists in the orthodoxy principles of human beings, too.
“Perhaps, after you reach the imperium, you will find their approaches in complete violation of your beliefs and your moral standards. Those condescending and merciless Immortal Cultivators will definitely appear unacceptable to you!
“However, trust me. No matter how evil the Imperium appears to be in your eyes, the Covenant Alliance will be at least ten thousand times eviler!
“Are we clear?”
His eyes were bloodshot, and he was almost extending his head out of the light beam. He shouted desperately, “Don’t trust the Covenant Alliance. Don’t trust the so-called ‘Path of Ultimate Benevolence’ or ‘Pangu’s Covenant’. Don’t trust any of that. Never!
“This is the cruelty of the universe today. If you have to choose sides between the Covenant Alliance and the Imperium in the bleeding sea of stars, the Imperium should be your only option.
“However unwilling you are, and however ugly the Imperium of True Human Beings is, it is by far… the last guardian of humanity now!”
[End of Volume III]
[Prelude of Volume IV]
“Cough, cough. You self-righteous Cultivators don’t know the first thing about the universe or the true meaning of ‘human being’!”
“A few rookies in the Nascent Soul Stage… who gave you the courage to clamor here?”
“Haha! Come on, old monster. Open your eyes and observe! This is the true strength of human beings! We are the true human beings! The Immortal Cultivators shall never bend!”
Hi, everybody. Welcome to the end of Volume III, which appears to be a war between human beings and demon but is in fact still one between human beings and human beings. The theme of this volume is heavier, and more philosophical, than that of the previous two volumes. In Volume II, there are bad Cultivators, but they are called the Immortal Cultivators. Cultivators as a whole is still virtuous. But in Volume III, Cultivators are no longer necessarily representatives of justice. Also, the villains of Volume III, just like those in Volume II, have good reasons for their wrongdoings. I think it has always been a highlight of this novel. The design of two supervillains, one responsible for planning and the other responsible for fighting, is quite refreshing for me, too. All in all, the New Federation is rising, and the other two superpowers in the universe have announced their arrival. The mysteries about Earth are partly answered, too, but still with many questions unanswered. Where will Li Yao go next? How is he related to Earth? Wait and find out in the next volume! The FMC team will take a rest for a few days before the next volume starts. We hope you have enjoyed the read