After shouting to stop Guo Chunfeng, Ding Lingdang stared at Lu Zui and stood straight again against the aggressive eyes of the high-level Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator. She gnashed her teeth. “What are you trying to say?”
Lu Zui retracted his aura and became a dying old man again, as if the thunderous fury a moment ago had never happened. He breathed softly and said, “I’m trying to say that, although the Patriots Partnership can be destroyed, the soil that nurtures it is unlikely to be emptied in the decades to come. The soil is the hatred that has sunk to the deepest parts of countless people’s hearts.
“The hatred was condensed in hundreds of years of blood. A piece of paper and a few slogans such as ‘love and peace’, and they think that the bloody hatred will be gone just like that? How is it possible?
“As long as the soil of hatred still exists, even if the Patriots Partnership founded by me is eradicated today, a new Patriots Partnership will rise again when the time is right.
“Maybe it will be under a different name and a different appearance, and it will be run in a different way, but the soil in which it is deeply rooted will remain unchanged.
“Believe me, in the century of integration to come, all kinds of contradictions will take place between human beings and demons. For the next schemer, the right time will certainly show up. Even if it doesn’t, he can always create a ‘time’ on his own, just like I did.”
Ding Lingdang’s voice was colder and colder. “So, are you hoping that I can be the leader of the next Patriots Partnership when it appears?”
“No.” Lu Zui’s eyes were gentler and gentler. He smiled. “I’m hoping that you can to everything possible to prevent the next Patriots Partnership from appearing.”
Ding Lingdang was dazed.
Guo Chunfeng and the other Cultivators next door were dazed, too.
“The bloody hatred of thousands of citizens of the federation is like an invincible, indestructible, double-edged sword. When the sword falls into the hands of certain schemers, such as the past me, it will kill countless lives, cause tremendous damage, and even drag the entire nation to its doom.”
Lu Zui’s eyes were clearer than ever. Tiny brooks were flowing deep inside his eyes and emitting silver, starry spots. “However, weapons are not wrong, and they don’t kill people on their own initiative. It is people who can tell right from wrong and kill other people.
“Like you said, Fellow Cultivator Ding, your parents were killed by the demons right before your eyes. Is your hatred toward the demon race not justified? Who has the power to demand that you erase the hatred? Is the hatred even erasable? What is wrong with such hatred?
“Therefore, since the ‘hatred sword’ boasts tremendous damage and cannot be destroyed, for the future of the federation, the most critical question will be… by whose hands will the sword be grabbed?
“Will the sword be grabbed by the next schemer, like the me in the past, or will it be wielded by someone who is franker and more straightforward and doesn’t bother to think of any schemes or tricks?”
Ding Lingdang sat cross-legged, deep in thought.
This time, she did not protest when Lu Zui addressed her as a ‘fellow Cultivator’.
“On the other hand—cough, cough. Cough, cough, cough, cough!”
Lu Zui coughed hard and vomited a mouthful of thick, black blood. After calming himself down for a moment, he said, “You and I both agree that the integration of human beings and demons will not necessarily go very well. There are ambitious schemers among human beings, but are there no similar guys among the demons? Are there no unwavering ‘demon supremacists’? Are there no demon versions of the Patriots Partnership?
“Now, because of Zhou Hengdao and me, the federation has been swept over by the propaganda of the reconciliation of human beings and demons. Many people are dazzled by the near peace and turning a blind eye to the dreadfulness of the demon race. They are even singing for the demons when the peace agreement hasn’t been signed yet, calling for forgiveness, understanding, and harmony!
“It’s dangerous, Fellow Cultivator Ding. Such overcorrection is truly dangerous!
“Even if human beings and demons truly reach a truce, we should not let go of all our vigilance! Flowers in one hand and dagger in the other. That should be the proper attitude!
“Otherwise, what if the doves represented by Li Yao are wrong?
“Or rather, even if Li Yao is not wrong, and the old-generation demons such as Jin Tuyi mean to cease the war with us sincerely, what if other schemers pop up in the new generation of the demons?
“The integration of two races will not be completed overnight. There will be a time span of decades or even centuries, with interests, beliefs, historical conflicts, and concessions involved! There will be too many unexpected factors! If we drop the weapons in our hands and hearts so early, if something goes wrong in the middle and other schemers in the demon race jump out to instigate trouble, who will be there to stop them?
“There must be a force in the federation to keep the demon race in check. When other people are all relaxed, singing and dancing in peace, it will be the last defense line! I’ve given it a lot of thought. This is perhaps the value and the mission of the Patriots Partnership in the next hundred years!”
Ding Lingdang was greatly moved. Her eyes blinked nonstop, indicating that giant tides were surging inside her head.
“Right now, you have two options.” Lu Zui looked at her peacefully. “Firstly, you can consider everything that I said just now to be nonsense. You can blow up my head with my punch and walk out of this prison cell lightheartedly. You will return as the Crimson Queen, adored and applauded by the young people. You will enjoy your warm, peaceful life with Li Yao.
“Then, I will confess the last members of the Patriots Partnership as per our deal, and I will try my best to ask all the ‘patriots’ to turn themselves in, completely destroying the organization that I founded myself!
“But it will be useless.
“We can destroy the Patriots Partnership, but we cannot destroy hatred. As long as hatred is not removed, a new Patriots Partnership might reappear any day! A guy that is more dangerous, crazier, and more sordid than the past me will show up at any time to steal the invincible ‘hatred sword’ and create more hatred with it until the weapon expands and swallows everything!
“Or maybe we are lucky enough to not run into such a schemer. As time goes by, the old generation will gradually pass away. All the hatred might truly disappear. Human beings might forget the threat of demons and have embraced them from the bottom of their heart, allowing the demons to reach every capillary vessel of the federation.
“At that time, however, a schemer might jump out within the demon race, establishing a mirror version of the Patriots Partnership on their side. The federation will still be turned upside down!
“These are things that might happen if you walk out of this prison cell doing nothing.
“Of course, I’m not saying that it will definitely happen. But who can know the odds for sure? Ten percent? Twenty percent? Or even higher?
“You can take a gamble. Or maybe, you can simply leave it aside and declare ‘not my damn business’.
“Yes, it is indeed not your business. After you walk out of the room, nobody will know that this conversation ever happened. Even if a disaster really takes place one day in the future, causing the deaths of millions of people, nobody will blame it on you.”
Ding Lingdang’s eyes narrowed into two sabers while she gnashed her teeth. “Cut the cr*p. What’s the second option?”
Lu Zui laughed. “The second option is to be the new leader of the Patriots Partnership. Of course, it is already a stinky name in the federation now. You can give it a new name, but the core of the organization will be the same.
“The criminals of the Patriots Partnership right now who are about to serve time will be your first loyal supporters. Their family and friends outside of the prison will be the second echelon. With your appeal and ability to rally the public, the billions of people who have bloody hatred with the demon race will be the third batch of your supporters!
“When the three forces are combined, they will be enough to compete with the demon race openly and legally as you described just now!
“In short, the hatred of all the citizens of the federation will be forged into the sharpest sword, and you will the person in the federation who grabs the sword!
“It will be your responsibility to look after the ‘hatred sword’ well. You cannot allow it to dart out and hurt other people easily, and you cannot allow it to fall into the hands of the ambitious schemers. You cannot allow it to rust inside the sheath, either! You will have to polish the sword and wield it all the time, making sure that it remains as sharp as ever!
“One day, if a schemer in the demon race really jumps out and jeopardizes the interests of the federation and the civilization of mankind, it will be the time when you unsheathe your sword and slay the evilness!
“The Sword Grabber will not be an easy job. Or rather, it will be a dirty, exhausting job that yields few benefits for you! Once you choose to become the new leader of the Patriots Partnership, you will be shouldering the sins committed by Zhou Hengdao, me, and the rest of them! Starting from the very beginning, you will be destined to be misunderstood by everybody. You will be cursed by the family of the victims in the Federal Square. Many people will think that you have betrayed Li Yao. Even Li Yao will not understand you—”
“Wait!” Ding Lingdang rudely interrupted him. Baring her white teeth, she sneered, “Old fart, I have noticed that you have been trying to stir discord between Li Yao and me. What do you want? You feel bad after being crushed by him, so you are trying to raise a family conflict between us in order to make you feel better? Shame on you!
“Let me tell you something. Even if I do take over the ‘hatred sword’ as you said, it doesn’t matter what other people think of me, but Li Yao will certainly understand me!
“Maybe Li Yao and I have a slight disagreement in our beliefs. Maybe we are not always on the same wavelength. But even if he does not agree with the decisions I make, he will still understand me and support me!
“It’s like one month ago. Even though I did not completely agree with his beliefs, I still understood him, trusted him, and supported him without reserve!”
Lu Zui was dazed for a moment. For the first time, there was a bit of confusion on his face.
“Therefore…” Ding Lingdang sniffed. “Even if you are almost two hundred years older than me, and you have advanced into the Nascent Soul Stage, there are certainly things that guys like you will never understand.”
Lu Zui took the criticism without complaint, smiling. “It appears that I have underestimated you two. So to speak, you have agreed to my offer?”
“Says who?” Ding Lingdang frowned. “I’m still confused about one thing. Why me? I know myself very well. Awesome as I am, I’m just a Core Formation Stage Cultivator. Even in terms of appeal and the ability to rally people, there are many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators in the federation that are better than me, aren’t there?”
“Yes. It’s true that there are many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators that are more suitable than you,” Lu Zui said calmly. “In fact, it took me only five seconds to come up with seven Nascent Soul Stage candidates who are more suitable to be the new leader of the Patriots Partnership than you.”
“…” Ding Lingdang.
With a bitter smile, Lu Zui said, “The real problem is that all the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators are powerful, experienced, and value their reputation. How can they degrade themselves by working with the stinky Patriots Partnership as the grueling, unbeneficial Sword Grabber? Won’t they be sullying their name?
“Only the young, hot-blooded people who don’t care about the opinions of the outside world might be bewildered by me, however unlikely. Isn’t that so?”