Deep inside the cave below the forest of rocks, Li Yao was moaning in pain in the darkness.
A vivid bone tail was waving slightly behind him under the control of his coccyx, leaving shallow grooves on the rocks.
Almost a hundred beast puppets the size of bees were humming and searching in the cave. Their searchlights scanned every crevice on the rocks and finally detected Li Yao and his bone tail.
“Don’t attack!” Li Yao shouted promptly as he gnashed his teeth. “I am Han Tuhu, commander of the Flying Tigers Legion! I have brought important intelligence back from the Blood Demon Sector! I want to meet the Iron Commander! I want to meet the Iron Commander!”
The beast puppets hovered in midair for a long time, scanning Li Yao’s appearance clearly, including the black shell below his ragged combat suit, the bone tail that was as sharp as a spear, and his tusks that slightly protruded out of his mouth.
Very soon, the beast puppets dispersed. A cold voice echoed in the darkness. “Stay where you are. General Han sacrificed himself a year and a half ago. You are clearly a demon. How can you be General Han?
“Who are you exactly? Why are you sneaking into the Heaven’s Origin Sector?”
A light-gray crystal suit slowly appeared in the darkness. Two highly-rising horns on the two sides of the facial cover along with delicate dragon scales constituted a magnificent dragon head.
Li Yao held his lower abdomen, his blood dripping from the gaps of his fingers. He was breathing heavily, and his bone tail was dangling lethargically. With a face of pain, he said, “It’s a long story, but I am truly Han Tuhu. I have important intelligence that must be reported to the Iron Commander immediately. The intelligence will decide the outcome of the war!
“You must be from the Dragon Horse Legion, right? Duanmu Ming, your commander, is an old friend of mine. Bring me to Duanmu Ming, and we will figure everything out!”
The Exo opposite him was still highly vigilant. Pointing a gun at Li Yao’s head, he slowly made his helmet that looked like a dragon head translucent, revealing a nonchalant face.
“I am Duanmu Ming. You are saying that you are Han Tuhu? What evidence have you got?”
Li Yao was overjoyed, but his sudden movement affected his seeming shocking wounds. His body shivered violently. Under Duanmu Ming’s frightful gaze, he took out a medication drug from his pocket and sprayed a large cluster of blue gel on his bleeding wounds until they were completely covered. Finally, he took a deep breath as a hint of redness returned to his face.
“I know that my appearance right now is highly suspicious, but please listen to my explanation, Brother Duanmu. Our dialogue can potentially change the future of the federation!” Li Yao said with a bitter smile. “I was not killed in the Dark Desolate Domain a year ago; I was captured by Elder Nether Spring, one of the four giants of the Blood Demon Sector, and taken to the foreign land, where I went through countless inhumane experiments and was modified into such a creepy, appalling appearance!
“Before, I was taking a temporary cell suppressant that could turn me into a human being briefly. But because of the scourge of the cannon fire just now, I was too heavily wounded to maintain the form any longer, and I had to expose my hideous face!
“I know that everything sounds too unbelievable, but you must trust me, Brother Duanmu. I would never make up such deeply-flawed lie, would I?
“I have very important information that I must report to the Iron Commander. Please make arrangements so that I can meet the Iron Commander soon!”
His advisor’s voice came in Duanmu Ming’s secret communication channel. “The appearance analysis has been completed. His features indeed match Han Tuhu’s.”
Brilliance suddenly radiated from Duanmu Ming’s face. He pondered for a moment and demanded in a cold voice, “The Iron Commander is not someone that anybody can meet at any time. There are too many loopholes in your theory. If you really are Han Tuhu, why did you turn around and run away when you saw the federal army? How were you teleported back to the Heaven’s Origin Sector safely? Did you come back alone, or did you bring more demons with you? Very important intelligence? What are you referring to?”
Li Yao coughed hard and breathed heavily. “I didn’t intend to run away in the beginning. I was planning to get in touch with you openly. But then, I discovered the memorial park of Vulture Li Yao and heard the news of his death.
“Howhow is it possible?
“Vulture Li Yao is clearly not dead. He teleported himself to the Blood Demon Sector and saved me from Elder Nether Spring. We’ve been fighting side by side since then!
“This time, he planned to be teleported back to the Heaven’s Origin Sector together with me, but he was delayed by some other issues. So, I was asked to bring some of the most important intelligence back and get in touch with the federation first.
“However, shortly after I landed, I saw his tomb!
“There must be a great plot in all this. I felt that my head was dizzy. Seeing that four crystal warships were coming at me aggressively, I had no choice but to run away in a hurry!
“Brother Duanmu, what is this all about? Based on what did you confirm Li Yao’s death? Who was it that told you that Li Yao was dead? And the talks about the debris of a starship in the depths of the Grand Desolate Plateau? Brother Duanmu, did you see the debris in person?”
Duanmu Ming stepped forward, his voice even colder than before. “I am the one asking questions right now! What important intelligence have you brought back?”
“I won’t tell you!” Li Yao’s bone tail was tightened again like an unsheathed saber. Intense demonic energy was bursting out of the darkness as he declared brutally, “I don’t know whom I should believe if the mysteries of ‘Li Yao’s death’ are not unravelednot even you, Brother Duanmu. If you claim that you’ve seen the debris of Li Yao’s crash, I don’t know whether or not I should trust you anymore!”
Duanmu Ming was silent for a moment. Hesitatingly, he said, “BrotherBrother Han, is it really you?”
“Of course it’s me!” Li Yao was overjoyed. “Brother Duanmu, you finally believe me now? What’s ‘Li Yao’s death’ all about? I’m totally confused!”
Duanmu Ming narrowed his eyes and said slowly, “Alright. After all, it is not a secret in the leadership of the federation. So, I might as well tell you everything. Of course, I didn’t see the ‘debris of a crashed starship’ because Li Yao is not dead at all. The memorial park outside and the news of his death announced to the public were fabricated.”
Li Yao was greatly surprised. “Why did you fake the death of Vulture Li Yao?”
“Because all the evidence suggests that Vulture Li Yao has defected and joined the demon race’s side. He is now an important person in the Pantheon of Demons and very close to Jin Tuyi, the commander-in-chief of the coalition army of demons. The two of them have been concocting conspiracies!
“Some of the top confidential intelligence even indicates that he is in an intimate relationship with Jin Xinyue, Jin Tuyi’s most beloved daughter. It is very likely that, as Jin Tuyi’s son-in-law, he will become Jin Tuyi’s heir. If so, he will be the most dangerous enemy for the federation!”
Speechless, Li Yao had trouble stopping his jaw from dropping to the floor.
“Brother Han, you have been truly heavily wounded. I can see that your facial organs are all bleeding. Should you treat your wounds first?”
“No, thanks. II can deal with it now!”
“Li Yao is the first living Ultra-Level Federal Hero in the Star Glory Federation since it was established five hundred years ago. But in fact, we are both clear that he was granted such an honor ten years ago because everybody thought he was already dead.
“In the past ten years, the federal government has been promoting Li Yao as a symbol of national spirit. The propaganda reached the highest point when he returned with the fleet of the Flying Star Sector!
“Vulture Li Yao was already the pillar in the hearts of many citizens of the federation. The pillar could break or collapse, but it must never rot!
“What would the citizens think when they learned that an Ultra-Level Federal Hero has defected? Would there be any morale in our army? Wouldn’t our ‘national spirit’ be the greatest joke ever?
“Therefore, to pacify the army and the citizens, and to preserve the honor of the federal hero Li Yao in the past, we fabricated the scene of crash and announced his death.
“In fact, it was not a complete ‘fabrication’. Vulture Li Yao, the Ultra-Level Federal Hero who was fighting for mankind, had truly perished. We will never admit that the fiend that is Jin Tuyi’s accomplice in the Pantheon of Demons right now is the real Li Yao!”
Li Yao was silent, and his mind was in a mess. He struggled to reply, “Vulture Li Yao has defected? That’s the most hilarious joke!”
“If you are really Brother Han, you might have missed a lot of things since you were taken to the Blood Demon Sector a year and a half ago,” Duanmu Ming said calmly. “Of course, the real Li Yao would never defect. But the Li Yao you saw in the Blood Demon Sector has been possessed by a very dreadful ‘blood devil’.
“It has not been Li Yao since a long time ago but a monster who has been stirring trouble with Li Yao’s body as the shell.
“Demons and devils have been a family since the ancient times. Is it really odd that Li Yao would collude with the demons after being possessed by the blood devil?”
“Nonsense!” Li Yao burst into fury. “Being possessed by a blood devil? Which son of a b*tch said that!”
“It was the real Li Yao who told us through a message he left before he perished.”
“” Li Yao.
Duanmu Ming stepped forward again and said earnestly, “Brother Han, I am willing to believe that you are the real Han Tuhu because your appearance is simply too strange. If this is a plot, it is truly a terrible one.
“However, the Li Yao you met in the Blood Demon Sector was certainly not the real Li Yao. Whatever he asked you to do, there must be great schemes behind it!
“Therefore, tell me everything you know, and we will go to meet the Iron Commander together!”
Deep in thought, Li Yao mumbled to himself, “Howhow is it possible? Who exactly delivered the message of Li Yao’s defection? And who offered evidence that convinced each and every one of you?”
“The Secret Sword Bureau, of course,” Duanmu Ming replied. “Li Yao’s whereabouts in the Blood Demon Sector have been the top priority in the Secret Sword Bureau, which is led by Director Lu Zui and Guo Chunfeng, the supervisor of the first division! All the top confidential information was filtered and analyzed by the Secret Sword Bureau before his defection was finally confirmed!”