While the two parties were at loggerheads, the short old man suddenly took a step forward and stood between Li Yao and the female Immortal Cultivator. He pressed his temples, removing the facial cover and the helmet and revealing a face that was full of wrinkles.
It was quite odd that, while Li Yao’s first impression about the old man was cleverness, if not cunningness, when he observed the old man at close distance, gentle brightness seemed to be emanating from every pore on his body at this moment, making him look kind, benevolent, and trustworthy.
His eyes were almost transparent, and his face was warm, caring, and mixed with the delight of running into compatriots in the middle of nowhere as he stared at Li Yao’s pupils and seemed to pierce into his brain.
This is an expert of mental warfare!
Li Yao was suddenly alarmed. He immediately realized the old man’s identity. The guy’s eyes boasted not only hypnotizing but also lie-testing techniques!
“Is my fellow Cultivator from the Flying Star Sector? Are we in the Flying Star Sector right now?” the old man asked in both surprise and joy.
Li Yao gave no answer. The muscles all over his body were still tightened. There was half fear and half alert in his eyes.
He did not want to brag, but in his more than ten years of travelling in the universe, he had never been scared of anybody in terms of acting skills!
The old man rolled his eyes and waved at the two Immortal Cultivators and the Grand Illusionary Soldiers.
The two Immortal Cultivators sniffed and took a few steps back. Even the Grand Illusionary Soldiers also dispersed, withdrawing their chainswords and crystal cannons.
The old man helped Li Yao to his feet pretentiously and apologized, “Fellow Cultivator, do excuse us. We have only just arrived in this foreign land, and we were being a bit paranoid for fear of encountering evil creatures. We didn’t know that it was my fellow Cultivator who observed us, and we attacked too heavily. Please do forgive us, fellow Cultivator!”
“Cough! Cough! I—I didn’t know that you were human beings, either. You were causing such a fuss. Of course, I had to take a look!”
Li Yao vomited a mouthful of blood and took a deep breath. Fear slowly faded from his face, replaced by curiosity. He eyed the war base far away and then the three Immortal Cultivators, before he clicked his tongue and remarked, “Your crystal suits are different from ours. Those puppets look rather similar to the Grand Illusionary Soldiers of our Flying Star Sector, though. Who are you exactly?”
“Grand Illusionary Soldiers?”
The three Immortal Cultivators exchanged a thoughtful look. The old man’s smile was even sunnier as he replied mildly, “May I know your name, my fellow Cultivator? What is this place in the Flying Star Sector, and how far away is it from your mother planet?”
“I am Li Yao, a Cultivator in the Building Foundation Stage. As for exactly what this place is, I don’t have the slightest idea!” Li Yao said pitifully. “I ended up in this place after my starship had an accident!”
The three Immortal Cultivators looked at each other in bewilderment. The old man said in a daze, “Misery truly loves company. We also ran into a storm in the sea of stars when we almost used up the fuel on the starship. We were forced to land in this place, but we didn’t expect that we would run into a fellow Cultivator from a different Sector!”
Noticing that Li Yao was distracted by the war base far away, the old man said with a smile, “There’s no need to fret, Fellow Cultivator Li. That is our starship, which is now self-recovering and refilling its fuel. As soon as the maintenance is done, we will be able to leave this place, with you, my fellow Cultivator, too!”
Ecstasy immediately beamed out of Li Yao’s eyes. He exclaimed in joy and waved his fists.
“However—” The old man frowned. “Such emergency maintenance won’t sustain long. If we don’t hurry to perform a full maintenance in a dock, it will collapse in space sooner or later!”
“It will be easy if we return to the Flying Star Sector!” Li Yao blurted. “The Flying Star Sector is adept at the maintenance of starships. Your starship is definitely going to be repaired there!”
“How exactly did you end up in this place, Fellow Cultivator Li?”
Colorful brilliance shot out of the old man’s eyes, and his thousands of telepathic thoughts crept into Li Yao’s head through his pupils, decorating his voice with irresistible charm. “Right now, we are all trapped in this place. It’s necessary to work together and get out of here! Fellow Cultivator Li, your experience might help us localize the Flying Star Sector’s coordinates. Please do tell us everything without leaving out any detail.
“After we have the starship repaired, Fellow Cultivator Li, you will be able to go home!”
Li Yao sensed that the old man’s voice and eyes turned into a weird force that were stimulating his cerebral cortex, especially the brain cells and clusters of nerves that were responsible for memories.
If he were truly a Building Foundation Stage Cultivator, chances were that he really would have been hypnotized after only a few words and confessed everything.
However, Li Yao’s brain had suffered the blasts of Ou Yezi, the mental devil, and many other weird forces. His brain cells were even more developed than a regular Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator’s. Such petty tricks were naturally not a problem for him.
“My father is an elder of the Swooping Eagle Sect. According to the rules of the Swooping Eagle Sect, every disciple of the sect must train themselves for three to five years or even longer in the real world while concealing their identity. For me, I changed my name and went to the Thousand Sails Space Zone, where I applied to be a guard for a short-distance cargo ship named ‘Sparrow’.”
Li Yao pretended that his eyes were frozen while he said dumbly, “Sparrow was a middle-sized carrier that often commuted among almost ten space zones. The sailing routes were the most prosperous ones in the Flying Star Sector. Nothing serious ever happened.
“However, the space pirates in the Flying Star Sector were getting more and more out of control. It was said that some terrible guys who called themselves ‘Immortal Cultivators’ also showed up…”
Li Yao could tell that the words ‘Immortal Cultivators’ were a shock for the listeners.
Concealing the existence of the ‘Immortal Cultivators’ in the Flying Star Sector was meaningless.
Since the star child had been disrupted when he only transmitted part of the coordinates of the Flying Star Sector, for the Immortal Cultivators of the Imperium of True Human Beings, the star child must have been exposed. So, the existence of the Immortal Cultivators was not necessarily a secret.
If he pretended that he did not know anything about the Immortal Cultivators, the three Immortal Cultivators before him might grow suspicious. Therefore, he might as well release some valuable intelligence in order to win their trust.
Besides, Li Yao also wanted to shock the three Immortal Cultivators with the words and see their reaction so that he could know more about the Imperium of True Human Beings.
“Our carrier team was attacked by space pirates during the voyage. Other starships were all captured, but we activated the short-distance space jump system in the hurry. After jumping aimlessly for a while, we got rid of the space pirates, only to find ourselves in the Wraiths’ Wrath, the most dangerous stone belt of the Flying Star Sector!
“To get out of the Wraiths’ Wrath, our captain performed a long-distance space jump without caring about anything. Our starship nearly broke apart because of the jump. Almost everybody on board was killed, too!
“We didn’t know how long we floated in space, but when our last fuel was running out, we finally received feeble signals of this planet. Having no choice except to take our chances, we arrived here.”
The old man rolled his eyes. “So, does that mean you have companions, Fellow Cultivator Li?”
“No!” Li Yao shook his head hard, as if he still had not recovered from the shock. His voice trembled as he said, “We did not know that it would be such a dreadful planet that half of it had broken into a dangerous ocean of meteoroids!
“Our carrier was riddled with holes in the first place. It was soon ripped apart by the meteoroids after a few collisions!
“Everybody ran to the escape capsules, but a meteoroid happened to crash into the area where the escape capsules were at. They all died. All of them!
“I was the only one who summoned my crystal suit in time. With the feeble impetus of the crystal suit, I managed to fly into the gravity sphere of the planet and survived!
“However, in the past year, I have been living on the food in my Cosmos Ring. I’m about to run out of food and starve here. I didn’t know that I would be fortunate enough to run into my fellow Cultivators!
“May I know the seniors’ names and where you are from?” Li Yao asked respectfully.
The old man smiled and gestured for his two companions to take off the helmet and the facial cover.
“I am Su Changfa, captain of ‘Flourishing Sun’. This is Kou Ruhuo, chief of arms of Flourishing Sun. This is Tang Qianhe, navigator of Flourishing Sun!”
Li Yao clicked his tongue in sympathy. “The cosmic storm that you experienced must’ve been a strong one. You are the only three survivors of such a huge starship?”
But he reviewed the three Immortal Cultivators’ duties coldly in his heart.
Since ‘Kou Ruhuo’, the bald, scar-faced man, was the ‘chief of arms’ of the three, he was probably the one with the highest combat ability. Should they be engaged in a fight, he should be dealt with first!
However, the possibility of the cr*ppy old man ‘Su Changfa’ tricking him could not be ruled out yet. One was often the opposite of their appearance. Chances were that the navigator ‘Tang Qianhe’, or even the old man himself, was the strongest of them!
Everything was possible. He had to continue investigating.
Su Changfa burst into laughter and waved his hands. “Fellow Cultivator Li, you are kind enough to care about unknown fellow Cultivators when you are in desperation yourself, but please rest assured, Fellow Cultivator Li. We didn’t lose any hands. When Flourishing Sun took off, we were the only three on board!
“Different from you, we are not from a Sector nearby but from the center of the cosmos after cruising millions of lightyears. The journey to break the void is too dangerous for us to bring too many people with us.
Su Changfa scratched his long beard and smiled even more gently, “We are here for peace, friendship, and development. We are not here to fight a war. Why do we need so many hands?”
“Center of the cosmos?”
Li Yao was utterly shocked. He stammered, “Wasn’t—wasn’t it the capital of the Star Ocean Imperium in the past?”
Brilliance suddenly shone in Su Changfa’s eyes. “Oh? You know the Star Ocean Imperium, too, Fellow Cultivator Li? It seems that the lineage of history hasn’t been entirely cut off in your world. Or is it because you’ve seen fellow Cultivators from other Sectors?”
Li Yao nodded first because he shook it later. He replied dutifully, “Of course, we all know the Star Ocean Imperium. It’s in the history books, but I have never seen or heard of fellow Cultivators from other Sectors before!
He seemed to have thought of something. Swallowing in excitement, Li Yao stuttered, with greed written all over his face, “If I can bring my fellow Cultivators back to the Flying Star Sector, I will certainly have both fame and fortune!”