Listening to Tang Qianhe’s explanation, Li Yao could tell that she was talking much more colloquially than before. He immediately understood that theory was very popular in the Imperium of True Human Beings, and she had not just come up with it. Perhaps, it was ‘brainwashing’ rhetoric that every Immortal Cultivator had to accept.
Li Yao was quite curious about the Immortal Cultivators’ theories. To maintain a kingdom as enormous as the Imperium of True Human Beings, to ask so many Immortal Cultivators to sacrifice themselves incessantly, and to consider itself the ‘guardian of humanity’ after enslaving countless ordinary people, the Imperium of True Human Beings certainly had a self-consistent system of theories to support its shamelessness. It was the ‘belief’ for the Immortal Cultivators and the source of their strength!
If he could study the belief of the Immortal Cultivators, he would be able to locate the source of their strength. He could analyze it and come up with solutions.
That would be the competition of beliefs between the federation and the Imperium!
It was too great an opportunity to let go of. Li Yao was very interested in how the Immortal Cultivators brainwashed themselves into such an evil and yet complacent ideology!
Solemnly, he bowed to Tang Qianhe and respectfully asked, “I feel that I’m onto something, but I’m still confused about some of the critical parts. I wonder, can you enlighten me with the real meaning of the true path of immortality, Senior Tang, including the relationship between the ordinary people and the Cultivators?”
Tang Qianhe was of the lowest rank among the three Immortal Cultivators. She was quite happy when Li Yao addressed her as a senior.
Raising her head, Tang Qianhe looked at Su Changfa in inquiry.
Su Changfa had been observing the two of them not far away. He coughed and nodded.
In their plan, Li Yao was not going to be used temporarily but as a long-term investment. They would rely on his help to invade the Flying Star Sector. His identity, his Cultivation, and his secret made him the perfect traitor available. Until they found the next candidate that was even more apt for the job, he was very valuable.
If Li Yao could be brainwashed into an Immortal Cultivator, he would be willing to do things on his own without complaint, which would be perfect for them. Having received the permission from the captain, Tang Qianhe said with a smile, “Alright. Now that you’ve made up your mind to thoroughly reform yourself, of course, we would like to give you a hand!
“Let me ask you a question first. Which one do you think is more critical for a human being, the body or the soul?”
Li Yao blinked, not sure which answer fitted his current role better.
Before he replied, Tang Qianhe spoke again. “Or maybe, let’s start with a simpler question. Are there spectral Cultivators in the Flying Star Sector? The ones whose souls persist after their death and are attached to some magical equipment or puppets.”
“There are.” Li Yao nodded. “Spectral Cultivators are common in the Flying Star Sector. Nobody feels strange about them. They are regarded as our own kind, too.”
“That’s right!” Tang Qianhe clapped her hands. “The spectral Cultivator is under a metal shell and thinks with a crystal processor, while a human being is in a body of flesh and blood and thinks with their brain cells! The two existences that look vastly different are considered to be the same kind!
“Let me give you another example. Do you know an evil art known as the ‘Soul Transference Technique’ in the world of ancient Cultivators forty thousand years ago? Such a technique could transfer a human being’s soul into the body of an animal and swap it with the animal’s soul.
“Imagine that, one day, you are captured by a strong Cultivator for experiments. You are locked with a monkey, and your soul is swapped with the monkey’s through the ‘Soul Transference Technique’. Then, your soul will be confined inside the monkey’s body, and the monkey’s soul will be confined in yours. If so, between you and the monkey, which one do you think is more qualified to be called a ‘human being’?”
“Me, of course!” Li Yao blurted out. “Not just the body of a monkey. Even if I’m in the body of a cow, a goat, or a pig, I am still a human being!”
“That’s right. I agree with you. This is the only conclusion after thousands of years of debate in the world of the Immortal Cultivators!” Tang Qianhe said with a smile. “I’m giving you two examples to prove one thing. What defines a ‘human being’ is not your genes, not your body, but your soul, the amalgamation of your spirit, will, and memories!
“Genes can be filtered, modified, and mutated. Your body of flesh and blood are nothing more than a shell. Even if it is replaced by a new one that is made of metals and crystals, it will not change your essence as a human being!
“For those who have Cultivated to our level, we can stimulate our genes and cells and perform preliminary modification on the cells all over our body, thereby changing us into the opposite of our ‘natural appearance’.
“Are we no longer human beings after we grow tusks, scales, a three-lobed lunge, two hearts or two brains during the modification?”
Eagerly nodding, Li Yao said, “Of course we are.”
He agreed with the Immortal Cultivators’ opinion so far.
After a Cultivator advanced into the Core Formation Stage, the end of their spine would begin to expand, and a second brain would slowly take shape. The functions of the internal organs would be significantly enhanced. By the training of special techniques, they could even grow brand new organs.
Li Yao’s Cell Obliteration Cannon was the most typical example. It was impossible for ordinary people to grow a translucent ‘crystal concretion’ in their palm or on their chest!
Judging from his appearance, Li Yao indeed looked irregular when he activated the primeval cells to the maximum.
However, it would be preposterous to say that he was no longer a human being!
The essence of a human being was not the body but the soul. That was the mainstream opinion of the Heaven’s Origin Sector, the Flying Star Sector, and the Blood Demon Sector. It was also the theoretical background of the New Federation.
Li Yao had always been a firm supporter and promoter of the theory. His understanding about the theory was even more profound than Tang Qianhe’s. Earlier, outside of Heavenly Path City in the Blood Demon Sector, he had persuaded Jin Xinyue through the theory and made Jin Xinyue realize her real identity.
Tang Qianhe was truly embarrassing herself by preaching that theory to him!
“Therefore, as long as they carry the soul of a human being, no matter what they look like—in a body of flesh and blood, in a metal shell, or in any other bizarre appearance—they can be regarded as human beings alike, right?” Tang Qianhe asked with a smile.
Li Yao sensed that there was a trap in the question, but he did not figure out where the loophole was after consideration. Thus, he nodded hesitantly.
“If so, it should be true vice versa, right?”
Dangerous brilliance beamed out of Tang Qianhe’s eyes as she said, “The essence of a human being is not the shell but the soul. Although ordinary people boast a shell that is almost identical to ours, they lack a real soul. So, they are not true human beings! They are like what you get after transferring the soul of a monkey into the body of a human being, which is naturally not a human being but a monkey that looks like a human being!”
Li Yao was dumbfounded. Is—is—is it even possible to explain it in such a way?
He barely needed any pretension when he stammered, “Se—Senior Tang, then, how can you confirm that a person has the ‘true soul’?”
“It’s simple!” Tang Qianhe tapped between her eyebrows with a smile. “It all depends on the spiritual root! As soon as your spiritual root is awakened, and you master the ability of absorbing spiritual energy, you will be qualified to fight for the civilization of mankind. That’s the sign of a true soul!
“Otherwise, how are the useless cr*p whose spiritual roots cannot be awakened be addressed with such a great title as ‘human being’?
“Do you still remember the example of the parasitic wasp? In many cases, the eggs of the parasitic wasp and the eggs of the host are kept and raised together. Even their larvae look very similar, but they are essentially two different species!
“It is also the relationship between us and ordinary people!
“When our body is just born, we have to go through the period where our spiritual root is not awakened, which is like the eggs that the parasitic wasps planted into the host.
“At first glance, we are truly identical to ordinary people!
“However, after receiving harsh training, some of us will eventually distinguish themselves. They will surpass their limits and awaken their spiritual roots. They will understand their duty and glory as part of mankind!
“Only those people are the ‘parasitic wasps’ and qualified to be called ‘true human beings’. It is also where the name of the Imperium of True Human Beings comes from!
“In the Imperium, everybody is divided into two kinds. Cultivators whose spiritual roots are awakened, such as you and me, are addressed as ‘true human beings’. Only true human beings are entitled to be citizens of the Imperium and the pillars of humanity!
“The useless cr*p whose spiritual roots cannot be awakened after ten to twenty years of training are, of course, unqualified to be called ‘human beings’. You may call them ‘hominoids’ or ‘subhuman’. They are a relatively advanced animal between livestock and true human beings.”
Despite knowing that he was being brainwashed, Li Yao still found the shock to his worldview almost unbearable.
“You have been brainwashed by the archaic ideologies of the Cultivators for decades,” Tang Qianhe mocked. “Do you feel that what I said is ridiculous jibber-jabber?”
Li Yao hurriedly shook his head and apologized. “Not exactly. I simply feel that—well, ordinary people and livestock are still different, aren’t they? Livestock can nether think nor talk, while ordinary people can communicate with Cultivators freely.”
“The best you can say is that those ‘hominoids’ are relatively personable,” Tang Qianhe sneered. “Personable animals are not rare. Cats and dogs are very personable themselves, which many people like to keep as pets. After being raised for a few years, the pets will be connected with their master and can understand the meaning of their master’s words and actions.
“As for the hominoids, they are the upgraded version of cats and dogs at best.
“Right. Is there such a thing as ‘animal rights extremists’ in the history of the Flying Star Sector? They are a bunch of psychos who consider cats and dogs their own kind and, sometimes, even as their sons and daughters. They place their hobby on the moral high ground and climb up there to demonstrate. They cannot bear to see others mistreating cats and dogs and often stop them in the most violent ways. In short, they attach more importance to animal rights than they do to human rights!”
Li Yao blinked and nodded. “Not only were there such people in history, there are even a lot of them at the present day. They are making quite a fuss nowadays, especially when things don’t go their way!”
“That’s right!” Tang Qianhe snorted. “In the eyes of Immortal Cultivators, the hypocritical Cultivators who consider ‘protecting the ordinary people’ their destiny are nothing more than ‘animal rights extremists’ in a different form!”