There was no telling whether it was anger, trance, disbelief, or relief on Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao’s face. He stepped back and collapsed into the buffer rune array, mumbling, “This is super warship that is dozens of kilometers long and weighs almost a hundred million tons, produced with almost all the resources of the Flying Star Sector through the wisdom of the best refiners after arduous efforts!
“On the warship are hundreds of thousands of best soldiers and Cultivators. Heavenly Might Cannon, the main gun of the warship, can demolish a town or leave a crater thousands of meters in diameter on the surface of a planet in only one attack!
“Such a super warship has fallen victim to a tiny mouse.”
“It was definitely not a random mouse!” Luo Xingzi argued in embarrassment. “Fellow Cultivator Zhou, you must be clear that the environment of the Heaven’s Origin Sector and that of the Flying Star Sector are vastly different. In the Flying Star Sector, we are a starship civilization that counts on crystal warships to live in the vacuum in the universe!
“Of course, there are mice on our starships, but the environment in the universe is relatively simple. There are few mice mutants!
“The tubes, wires, and internal defense system are all set to resist the ‘universal rodents’!
“In the Flying Star Sector, we have not seen many demon beasts. How do we know how to keep an eye on them?
“But the Heaven’s Origin Sector is different. This place used to be a world of demons five hundred years ago, and now it borders the Blood Demon Sector. The Grand Desolate Plateau is also a paradise for demon beasts!
“Ever since we arrive in the Heaven’s Origin Sector, our greatest enemy has never been the demons but the cockroaches, fleas, and mice that just appeared out of nowhere! Yes, the Heavenly Might Cannon can blow up a town after a single bombardment, but how can it annihilate all the pests on board?
“All in all, this mouse must be a local, hostile mouse of the Heaven’s Origin Sector. God knows what evil arts and techniques it has!”
Luo Xingzi felt wronged and elaborated on it for a long time. His key point was that it was truly an accident.
The mainframe crystal processor of the engine compartment boasted a fault detection system that would emit a mystic ray and scan all the wires every minute automatically. If one of the wires was broken, it would immediately send out warnings.
But as it happened, the wire had been gnawed off by the mouse when the previous scan was just over, and the careless boy scout had adjusted the parameter to 300% by mistake almost at the same time.
Because the wire of the alarm system was broken, the data displayed on the control light beam were quite normal. None of the workers noticed that the power of a certain unit was soaring crazily.
It also happened to be the minute when the No. 2 key unit of the space jump array was activated to the maximum, which was the most critical moment.
But if that was everything, the serious accident would not have happened at all.
After all, Burning Prairie was a super warship. Many redundant units had been designed on the key parts. Even if the problem was discovered one minute later, there would still be remedies.
But at this moment, the mouse that was running inside the crystal processor perhaps bit apart yet another wire and connected two wrongs ones, giving the mainframe crystal processor of the engine compartment a signal that a serious explosion took place in the engine compartment. Therefore, the mainframe crystal processor issued warnings and activated the automatic fire-extinguishing rune arrays, spurting out tremendous foams!
The entire engine compartment was filled with the foam, which blocked the experienced masters from the careless boy scout.
Everybody thought that the engine compartment had an explosion. In the flurry, they did not have time to bother about the boy scout’s operations anymore.
Then, the boy scout discovered the mistake that he had just made.
Under the interference of the explosion alarms, he was so panicked that he did not turn to the masters for help but tried to fix the problem on his own. However, the more he fixed, the more problems he caused. He made almost all the mistakes that could possibly be made in the next half minute, which eventually resulted to the paralysis of the space jump array!
On the light beam, the supervisor of the engine compartment scratched his nose and explained, with foams all over his head, “This is a tragedy caused by a series of accident. It is a price we have to pay in order to raise the rookies. We are all old sea wolves who have spent our entire life on crystal warships, but we have never seen such a weird thing before. I can only say that… we were unbelievably unlucky!”
Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao did not even have the strength to burst into fury anymore. He waved his hands wearily and asked, “How long will it take before everything is fixed?”
“It’s not a big problem. The only faulty part is the No. 2 core unit of the space jump array. It can certainly be repaired in two to three hours,” the supervisor of the engine compartment assured him. “Together with the debugging time, in three hours, no, four hours at most, we will certainly be able to perform the space jump!”
Iron Commander took a deep breath.
There was not much he could do now except to breathe.
Four hours was a very awkward duration.
Recently, the federal army had established a few teleportation arrays on the Grand Desolate Plateau. It was possible to send one or two legions to the Blood Demon Sector without Burning Prairie, although the legions might be scattered in the foreign land and not end well later.
However, according to the plan of the Patriots Partnership, the best move was to drag the Flying Star Sector into the trouble.
That was why Zhou Hengdao requested to board on Burning Prairie.
Everything seemed to be quite smooth. Cultivators from the Flying Star Sector had fallen into the trap step and step, but now that such an uncanny accident had taken place at the critical moment, he was a victim of his own scheme!
It was a huge project to get a hundred thousand soldiers on board and off board. The boarding procedure itself took almost three hours. It would take more than half a day for the soldiers to evacuate from Burning Prairie, regroup into battle formations, march to the federal army’s own teleportation arrays, and activate them!
It was not counting the strike on the morale of the army.
As the saying goes, the longer you delay, the more problems you will have.
Only a few people were really under Zhou Hengdao’s control after all. The majority of the soldiers were unaware of what was actually was going on.
But they were definitely not fools. The long they were delayed, the more unexpected factors would appear.
Having no other choices, Zhou Hengdao could only wait for the recovery of the space jump array patiently.
“A mouse?” With a despondent face, he mumbled nonstop, “A mouse? A mouse!”
At the rear part of the warship, almost twenty kilometers away from Zhou Hengdao, in the engine compartment, Ji Wende, the deputy chief tutor of the Burning Prairie Fleet was roaring thunderously, too.
He was trembling violently in fury, and his neck was so red that it might explode at any moment. Jabbing the young man’s face, he shouted, “Mouse Bai, what should I say about you? You acted so perfectly in your training. You’ve done simulations of space jumps in the Grand Illusionary Land almost a hundred times, and it was smooth and immaculate every time!
“But you panicked and made such an unpardonable mistake when you were on actual duty for the first time and when you were responsible for such an insignificant post!
“That’s not my fault!” With foam on his head and dirt on his face, Mouse Bai craned his neck, although he was apparently panicking. “It was because a mouse bit apart a wire in the crystal processor. Who could’ve foreseen that?”
“And you are still arguing!” Ji Wende was mad. “Why did you not turn to the teachers, the tutors, or the old masters when you noticed something wrong but decided act on your own? It was too complicated a problem for you to address single-handedly!”
“I shouted!” Mouse Bai defended himself. “At that time, foam was everywhere in the engine compartment. Alarms were ringing, too. Everybody thought that an explosion had taken place somewhere and was busy looking for it. I called them many times, but none of them even glanced at me. I thought that it was not a big problem. I handled it in the Grand Illusionary Land before. So, I decided to solve the problem myself, but I didn’t know that the mouse…”
“Mouse? You are still talking about mouse?” Ji Wende grabbed him by his ears and picked him up, roaring. “The way I see it, it was you who attracted the mouse to Burning Prairie. Why else are you nicknamed ‘Mouse Bai’?”
“Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!” Mouse Bai cried and hurried to beg for mercy. “Uncle Ji, it was wrong of me. It was wrong of me. Please loosen me. Let me make up for my mistake and help with the maintenance!”
“Make up for your mistake? You are planning to add to our trouble, aren’t you? Tutor Li, bring the boy to the single detention room and have him grounded for one month. Do not let him out one second earlier!”
Ji Wende was shouting with such a loud voice that his saliva was storming on Mouse Bai’s face. The boy shut his eyes like a shuddering mouse in a hurricane.
Ten minutes passed.
After a huge noise, the door of the detention room was slammed. Mouse Bai was left in the darkness alone.
When the tutor outside gradually walked away, the frustration and discontent on Mouse Bai’s face were suddenly gone. It was now mysterious and unpredictable, as if it were covered in a faint cloud.
In a moment, the feelings that he gave out were totally different from before. He was no longer a teenager but an old man more than two hundred years old who had weathered through too much difficulties.
His sharp eyes pierced through the thick shell of the warship and stared at the south of the Dark Desolate Domain, expecting something.
A little mouse as if made of white jade crawled to his shoulder out of nowhere. A dark gold streak of light extended from its head to its tail along the spine. The mouse moved agilely and scratched him.
“I hope my judgement was correct!”
Mouse Bai lay down in a corner of the detention room comfortably with his hands as the pillow. The stinky toilet was right next to him, but he could not care less about it. Grinning to the mouse, he said, “It’s a pity that we’ve only just possessed the body. The body cannot withstand any harsher training and can only wield the capability of the Refinement Stage!
“Otherwise, we should’ve been able to play this enjoyable game as well!
“Forget it. We’ll have a lot of chances when we run into the Imperium of True Human Beings in the future!
“Why is Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao in such a hurry to start the space jump? Is an unexpected factor that he fears coming? What is this scheme exactly, and what is the unexpected factor?”
When he spoke ‘unexpected factor’, a face suddenly popped up in Mouse Bai’s head, which made the smile on his face even more mysterious.
Yes. He thought of someone, a guy who was an ‘unexpected factor’ wherever he went.
“Is that you, Li Yao?”
Bai Xinghe—or Boss Bai, the Pirate Potentate and the ruler of Spider Den in the past—and Bai Xingjian—or Mouse Bai, a boy scout in the Burning Prairie Fleet—spoke with a smile to the mouse, which was possessed by the remaining soul of Yan Xinjian, an unparalleled expert who had once had the greatest chance to march into the Divinity Transformation Stage in the Heaven’s Origin Sector, the Flying Star Sector, or the Blood Demon Sector.
“If it is you, I can only help you so much.”