The fierce battle between the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator and someone at the superlative height of the Core Formation Stage in fact only lasted one second. When ‘Death Ray’ hit the ground like a broken doll, Li Yao was long gone.
After the Secret Sword Agents and the top experts crowded around and tore down the chimney, they discovered that at the bottom of the chimney was a series of holes that had been blown up by dozens of oriented crystal bombs.
Passing through dozens of meters of holes, it was the congregating point of more than ten drainage canals.
The rainwater of the storm last night had all gathered inside, which made them the dirtiest swirls. Below the swirls were another ten or so discharge tubes that led to every direction of the underground world.
If Li Yao had jumped into the dirty swirls, nobody would have been able to tell which floor of the underground maze he had returned to right now.
In the command center of the operation, Guo Chunfeng burst into fury and smashed his teacup hard. Cracks were immediately appearing on his tea cup which he had used for more than ten years.
Boss is angry!
Most of the Secret Sword Agents had never seen Guo Chunfeng lose control of himself before. Knowing that he had burst into fury for real, they looked at each other in bewilderment and did not know what to do.
Before, even when they were faced with the infiltration of the most cunning demons, when they were all angry and anxious, it had always been their boss who calmed them down peacefully!
They always said that their boss would be tranquil and optimistic no matter how harsh the environment was.
It never occurred to them that the tranquility that their boss had trained for decades would be broken by Li Yao.
But it was quite understandable. At this point, all the Secret Sword Agents could tell that Li Yao had played them!
Everybody felt awful. When they recalled a few days ago when they were eating the bear paws together dreaming to capture Li Yao soon, it was like a whole century ago.
As for the other advanced hunting group led by ‘Death Ray’ Ye Changkong, naturally, many Secret Sword Agents were not happy about it.
However, that was part of the battles in the secret frontline. When Director Lu Zui informed them of the existence of the Children of the Nether World, most people had found the arrangement acceptable after careful thought.
Besides, Ye Changkong was the chief coach of gunnery in the federal army and a legendary, senior expert. He was an unquestionable federal hero whom many Secret Sword Agents regarded as their idol!
They had nothing to say about the other team that was led by such a senior, and they simply considered it another safety measure.
It never occurred to them that even such a seasoned Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator would be tricked by Li Yao. After only one move, his right arm was chopped off, and he was beaten into heavy wounds!
Could a sniper who had lost one arm still shoot?
The field-tested Secret Sword Agents grew a deeper understanding about the dreadfulness of Vulture Li Yao now. The command center seemed to have turned into a refrigerator, where they became the frozen, dead fish.
“Give my orders. Ask the Secret Sword Agents in the cities nearby to reinforce us. We will march into the underground district and search for the devil!”
His eyes bloodshot, Guo Chunfeng gritted his teeth so hard that they were cracking.
“With everything coming to this point, we can only overwhelm him with sheer numbers now!
“I will file an application to the government and the parliament requesting to close the few main entrances and exits of the underground district and to identity and evacuate all the citizens living down there. We will empty the underground and find this Blood Devil no matter how deep we will have to dig!”
All the Secret Sword Agents were shocked.
Almost ten thousand citizens were residing in the underground district of the capital city. Just for the search of one target, were all of them going to be evacuated?
It had to be a joke!
This was the capital city, which had just gone through a disaster, and the underground district was to be emptied today? Were they scared that the citizens were not panicked enough?
Such an application would never be passed. Even the Speaker would not dare make the call.
Everybody knew that their boss was too angry to think it through, but none of them dared to point it out.
Guo Chunfeng breathed heavily for a long time. Then, he seemed to realize that he had said something stupid. Waving his hands helplessly, he said, “Forget it. It’s not like we can evacuate the citizens right now. Summon the Secret Sword Agents from the cities nearby. Triple, no, quintuple the number of the Secret Sword Agents to be sent into the underground! Even if we can’t capture him, we must keep him busy and stop him making trouble for anyone else!”
Now that all the Secret Sword Agents were being sent to the underground, the defense and search on the ground would certainly be greatly weakened.
But there was no better solution right now. None of the Secret Sword Agents felt that the order was strange when they bowed and went to carry it out.
Guo Chunfeng threw himself into the cushion in the corner heavily and crouched deep into it. Narrowing his eyes, he stared at the swirls on the light beam where giant foam was floating and began a new round of consideration.
In the factory area, Ye Changkong was like a pile of broken meat that was covered in the scrap iron and copper when he lay on the ground.
But all the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators boasted amazing vitality. As long as they were not killed on the spot, any seemingly shocking wounds were actually not a big deal.
All the members of the hunting group were greatly shaken. The medics hurried to come close and treat him. In the meantime, their airship landed. He was sent into the airship through a floating medical cabin and delivered to the hospital affiliated to the Secret Sword Bureau for deep treatment.
“Wait a moment.”
Ye Changkong struggled to raise his remaining arm and pressed his ear softly.
“I have failed.”
Ye Changkong rolled his Adam’s apple and started a quiet dialogue with the chip stuck to his vocal cord.
“I know, but it doesn’t matter since you are fine. We will have other chances.”
Before the operation, Lu Zui had demanded that he accomplish it, but now that the operation had failed, Lu Zui was not angry at all but comforted him gently. Pausing for a moment, he asked, “Were you in close contact with him?”
“Except for the last kick, he was never within three meters from me,” Ye Changkong said.
“That’s good,” Lu Zui observed. “But you’d better examine your crystal suit and your body carefully. Last time, during his fight with Duanmu Ming, he stuck an eavesdropping chip onto Duanmu Ming’s crystal suit. It is possible that he has played the same trick again.”
Ye Changkong managed a smile. “I am not Duanmu Ming. I would know it if somebody else put an eavesdropping chip on me.”
“Of course, it is extremely difficult to place an eavesdropping chip on a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator,” Lu Zui said, “but it will be safer if you perform an examination.”
“Alright. I’ll examine it carefully,” Ye Changkong replied. “We’ll talk later after I make sure that it is safe.”
Loosening his fingers and cutting off the communication, Ye Changkong told his subordinates, “Take off my crystal suit right now and destroy it. Also, perform a thorough physical examination and see if there are any anomalies in the wounds on my skin.
“Pay special attention to the metal scraps that pierced into my body. They could be eavesdropping chips in disguise.”
Ten minutes later, his crystal suit was taken off and demolished straightforwardly. The examination of every inch of skin and every wound was done, too. No strange chips were detected.
Ye Changkong closed his eyes again and recalled the whole process of the fight. Making sure that Li Yao definitely did not have a chance to play any trick on his body, he was finally relieved.
When he was about to be sent into the airship, Ye Changkong suddenly remembered something. “Where is my Herald?”
Herald was an ultimate treasure modified by the best master of firearms in the federation. He definitely would not drop it here.
Holding Herald against his chest with his remaining arm and touching the barrel that as smooth as flesh, he took a long breath in relief and was sent into the airship.
The airship flew toward the hospital. When it was still on the way, a plain-looking shuttle caught up to it.
Lu Zui, director of the Secret Sword Bureau, came to visit the heavily wounded Ye Changkong in person.
In the secret chamber, he examined Ye Changkong’s wounds solemnly, especially the fracture of his right arm.
The technique of ‘Replantation of Severed Limbs’ was rather mature in the federation. The vitality of a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator was strong, too. It was not a big problem to revive the broken arm.
However, it had been severed completely. All the nerves and veins needed to be reconnected. After the heavy wounds, Ye Changkong would not be able to regain his peak capability for several months.
“I’m sorry,” Ye Changkong said. “I underestimated the young man.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Lu Zui replied calmly. “Although he was not killed, he was forced to display immense demonic energy in public. Also, so many eyewitnesses have seen him launching a fatal attack toward you. He can’t get away from that!
“Now, he has been pushed back underground again. Guo Chunfeng felt nothing wrong and dispatched a lot of Secret Sword Agents to go after him.
“If he resists, he may kill innocent Secret Sword Agents, which will add to his crimes. If he doesn’t, he will not be able to free himself from the dragnet, and he will be kept below the ground forever!
“From that point of view, the mission isn’t a complete failure.”
Ye Changkong coughed for a moment and asked, “What’s the situation in parliament?”
“This morning, the ‘expedition motion’ was passed,” Lu Zui said. “84% of the representatives voted for it. We are about to succeed!
“Now, two crystal suit legions are gathering and will finish their preparations soon. As soon as they break through the Dark Desolate Domain and march into the Blood Demon Sector, for nothing but their safety along, the war will only get more and more fierce until it becomes a true world war in the end!”
“What about the Cultivators from the Flying Star Sector?”
Lu Zui sneered. “The Flying Star Sector is loose sand. They don’t even know what a world war is. Of course, they are still wavering.
“Just let them waver. When our army marches into the Blood Demon Sector and the war is out of control, the Flying Star Sector will only have two choices.
“They can either watch and do nothing while the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector waste resources in the war, in which case the Flying Star Sector will be screwed with the Imperium of True Human Beings comes!
“Or, they can jump on our tanks and help us suppress the Blood Demon Sector at the minimal cost in the shortest amount of time!
“As long as we can move Burning Prairie to the Blood Demon Sector, just for the dream warship alone, the troops of the Flying Star Sector will have to follow up. They will have to fight the war, willingly or not!”
Hearing that, Ye Changkong finally breathed in relief with a smile. “So, all the unexpected factors have been ruled out, and absolutely nobody can stop us now?”
“Precisely. Starting from this second,” Lu Zui declared calmly, “including Vulture Li Yao, nobody can stop the rise of the federation!”
22.31 meters away from then, around the spurts of the power rune arrays of the airship, in the scorching, narrow, heat-emitting space, Li Yao twisted himself in a weird posture as he listened to Lu Zui and Ye Changkong’s conversation quietly.