All the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were deep in thought. Even Li Yao nodded quickly after a slight daze.
Yes, although it was also an Imperium, the Star Ocean Imperium ten thousand years ago was more complimented than criticized in modern times.
It was because, in the Great Dark Era that lasted thirty thousand years, human beings were suppressed by demons. Cultivators were even the primary targets of the demons. On many occasions, they had to count on the ordinary people to cover and even shelter them.
When the Cultivators rose again, they resisted under the banner of ‘defend humanity’. It was naturally impossible for them to oppress ordinary people like the demon rulers did.
Due to the limitation of the era, there were not laws such as the Constitution of Cultivators in the Star Glory Federation, which dictated the rights and the equal status of Cultivators and ordinary people.
But the simple ideas that evil had to be executed and the weak had to be helped still entered the minds of most Cultivators of the Star Ocean Imperium.
It was so for the Star Glory Federation, a small country at the edge of the universe. How could the Imperium of True Human Beings, which was at the center of the universe, not be so?
The heritage of Cultivators was never just about the cold Cultivation arts and classics. It also included the beliefs and spirits of the predecessors!
In the relics of the Star Ocean Imperium, other than the marvelous arts, there were also teachings from the Cultivators of the Imperium left for the latecomers, as well as the soul-stirring tales where they sacrificed themselves for humanity.
Such teachings and tales, of course, would reshape the beliefs of the future generations.
For example, Li Yao once discovered a multipurpose exploration ship named ‘Sparkle’ from the depths of the underground silver ocean of Boneyard.
In order to suppress Skeleton Dragon, Gao Xingce, the captain of Sparkle and a Cultivator of the Star Ocean Imperium, eradicated ninety-nine percent of his soul and memories, even including those about his family, just so that the remaining part of his soul could survive longer, monitor the status of Skeleton Dragon, and warn the latecomers!
Li Yao had accepted Sparkle and become its new captain. He had also accepted Gao Xingce’s spirit.
That spirit was now an indispensable part of his ‘belief’.
One day, if Li Yao intended to do anything that harmed the interest of the ordinary people, his belief would be shaken and caught in a self-contradictory state, which could result to a significant drop of his level!
It was so for Li Yao. Could it have been different for the Cultivators who received the legacy of the Star Ocean Imperium at the center of the universe?
This was a world where materials could be affected by spirit. It was impossible that one could just learn a senior’s ultimate skill but not his benevolence!
“I believe that you’ve all found the subtle contradiction here, haven’t you?” Zhou Yifu said. “By logic, for a country of human beings at the center of the universe, after inheriting the enormous legacy of the Star Ocean Imperium, the Cultivators should be sharing the same ideas as the Star Ocean Imperium’s.
“They should consider themselves the ‘sabers of humanity’ and feel proud of defending the ordinary people. How on earth did they stop regarding themselves as human beings and even invent a new term, true human beings, to address themselves?
“Such a drastic change of beliefs is highly illogical. Under normal circumstances, it would certainly result in the collapse of their belief, their mental derangement, and even their abrupt death!
“The conversion of one or two Cultivators is nothing usual. The federation has such evil Cultivators, too, but all the Cultivators in an entire country have been transformed into Immortal Cultivators collectively. Such a change is barely comprehensible if there weren’t external pressure!”
Li Yao’s eyes shone. He turned on the public communication rune array and said, “Senior Zhou, are you saying that, when it was first established, the Imperium of True Human Beings, which absorbed the legacy and the ideology of the Star Ocean Imperium, was perhaps also a country made of Cultivators whose goal was to defend humanity, a ‘smaller Star Ocean Imperium’ if you will?
“Later, under certain enormous pressure, they were forced to exploit all the national capability as quickly as possible to cope with it.
“Therefore, the Cultivators of the Imperium of True Human Beings, to quote my foster father, ‘abandoned humanity and the pride of Cultivators’ and transformed into Immortal Cultivators?”
“Exactly!” Scratching his goatee, Zhou Yifu nodded quickly. “Everything that has happened to the federation in the past year is perhaps a replay of the transformation of the Imperium of True Human Beings.
“The Star Glory Federation was a country where the equality between Cultivators and ordinary people was highly valued. Everybody made their own contribution and fought for a better future together.
“But ever since the news of the Imperium of True Human Beings a year ago, many Cultivators changed their mindset. They believed that the current system was not enough to exploit the most war potentials within the shortest amount of time. For survival, for the civilization, and for ninety-nine percent of people, one percent of them can and should be sacrificed!
“Cultivators who held such extreme ideas, represented by Lu Zui and Zhou Hengdao, killed tens of thousands innocent civilians to achieve their goal!
“Also, they pretended that they didn’t know human beings and demons were of the same origin, and they planned to send all the demons to the resource planets where the captives would slog until they died!
“It is safe to say that Lu Zui, Zhou Hengdao, and the rest of them, with everything they did, do not deserve the name ‘Cultivator’. They are out-and-out ‘Immortal Cultivators’!
“But after changing from Cultivators who guard ordinary people and humanity to Immortal Cultivators who can sacrifice random ordinary people to achieve their purpose, their belief was not caught in chaos, and their level did not decline. Before Lu Zui’s death, he was even able to summon all his strength and break into a whole new level!
“Why did all that happen?
“It’s simple. They did not think that they were wrong. They believed that, even if their approaches were flawed, their ideology and purpose were right. They believed that every ordinary person they killed was for the salvation of our civilization. It was with the idea of the ‘greater good’ that they deteriorated so quickly!”
At this moment, Luo Xingzi, the Cultivator from the Flying Star Sector, requested to speak.
“Fellow Cultivator Zhou, please allow me to add a few words.
“Based on the experience of the Flying Star Sector, a Cultivator can deteriorate really fast. Instead of a year and a half, it can be completed within several minutes if he is sent to a starship that is floating in a cosmic storm after an accident with limited food and fuel.
“To fight for the slim chance of survival, even the most righteous Cultivator in peacetime can turn into a fiend instantly. He can even develop a theory to defend himself later.
“After all, as long as he survives, excuses are always easy to find!”
Zhou Yifu nodded and smiled. “Thank you for your illustration, Fellow Cultivator Luo Xingzi. It is indeed true!
“In retrospect, it was very fortunate that the scheme of the Immortal Cultivators such as Lu Zui and Zhou Hengdao was stopped. Otherwise, in the war between the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector, they certainly would have expanded step by step and seduced more Cultivators. They would have exploited everybody through the most brutal methods until the Star Glory Federation turned into a new country of Immortal Cultivators in the end!
“Everything that didn’t happen in the Star Glory Federation must’ve happened for real in the Imperium of True Human Beings!
“We can totally imagine that at the beginning, the Imperium of True Human Beings must’ve been a country of Cultivators, like the Star Ocean Imperium in the past.
“However, during its development, the Cultivators ran into a formidable enemy named the Alliance of the Holy Covenant.
“Fellow Cultivator Li Yao’s foster father mentioned that the Imperium of True Human Beings was a ‘traditional superpower’. So, it is not hard to guess that the country must’ve hit a bottleneck at that time, with trouble both inside and outside. In the meantime, the Alliance of the Holy Covenant was a new power that was rising unstoppably like the sun in the morning!
“Therefore, the Covenant Alliance was as much a headache to the Imperium as the Imperium is to us now. Perhaps, some of the people in the Imperium believed that they must abandon humanity for animality and exploit the value of everybody in order to defeat the Covenant Alliance and defend their civilization!
“In the beginning, maybe, they thought the same as Lu Zui and Zhou Hengdao did. They believed that sacrificing the one percent for the remaining ninety-nine percent was worthwhile. However, how could they ever stop doing such things once they began? Under the aggression of the Covenant Alliance, the Imperium of True Human Beings must’ve been like an athlete addicted to exhilarants. It became mired deeper and deeper until it couldn’t be freed anymore. Eventually, Cultivators were completely transformed into Immortal Cultivators, and they no longer hesitated to do such a thing as kill hundreds of babies!”
Zhou Yifu’s deduction was both reasonable and convincing. With only a few words, he described the degeneration of an enormous kingdom at the center of the universe and proved the existence of the Alliance of the Holy Covenant from the side. The Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were all nodding in approval.
The Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were all quick-minded fellows with amazing computational ability. Thinking quickly, they all felt that the deduction was perfectly reasonable and perhaps the truth.
“It appears that we all agree that the Covenant Alliance does exist. So, we are faced with not one but two super forces now.”
Jiang Hailiu, host of the meeting, glanced around and asked calmly, “Then, do you feel that, faced with two super forces that are both extremely hostile to us, our situation is now even worse than before and we should further adjust our previous strategies?
“Let me declare my opinion first. I think that it is utterly unnecessary!
“Our situation right now has not worsened. On the contrary, it has greatly improved. It will not be exaggerating to say that the next hundreds of years will be the period of strategic opportunities for the Star Glory Federation!”
Humming sounds immediately filled the room. Many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators did not expect Jiang Hailiu to be so optimistic about the issue.
However, Jiang Hailiu, as the Speaker of the parliament, doubtlessly boasted an excellent view of the overall situation. His stance regarding the war against the Blood Demon Sector before proved his strategical prowess, too.
All the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators held their breath and waited for his presentation.