The mental devil grimaced and sneered nonstop. “Let’s just wait and see. One day, when the Imperium of True Human Beings truly arrives, I will definitely be able to prove the uprightness of the Immortal Cultivators!”
“There’s no need to wait for them to arrive!” Li Yao declared confidently, waving his fists. “After the expedition army of the Imperium of True Human Beings is dealt with, I will try to observe the territory of the Imperium of True Human Beings in person and see if the ‘true human beings’ and the ‘hominoids’ living in the place are exactly as Su Changfa made out!
“I believe that the Imperium of True Human Beings is definitely not as impeccable as his propaganda claimed. There must be fatal drawbacks!”
The mental devil simply turned around and clung to the memory tree, pretending to be sleeping.
After sorting through his thoughts, Li Yao had no interest in dealing with it any longer. His consciousness floated to the shallow layer of his brain as he refocused his attention on the Grand Illusionary Land.
After studying carefully for a moment, Li Yao discovered that the Grand Illusionary Land that was designed for brainwashing did not simply boast a story-telling function. There was also an immersive experience mode from the main perspective for many scenes.
After entering the mode, Li Yao felt that he was experiencing the destruction of the Cultivators and the rise of the Immortal Cultivators from the angle of different individuals.
He seemed to have become a Cultivator of the Curly Dragon civilization. At the Age of Doom when crystals had run dry, he walked slowly past a launch field that had become overgrown with weeds. He touched the rust on the launching racks and looked at the night sky where the stars were glittering, yet there was nothing more that he could do.
Then, he became a Cultivator of the Medicine Fork civilization. In the chaotic world after the pestilence broke out, he fought with the infected patients who had ulcers all over their bodies. Eventually, he contracted a fatal virus himself and died a miserable, hideous death.
Next, he became Wuying Qi at the last moment of the Martial Meritocrats civilization. His veins and bones were all locked up, and he was thrown into a crater.
The feeling of his internal organs being burnt by the magma was cutting his nerve endings as precisely as a scalpel!
Later, as Wuying Qi, he passed through multiple scenes, including the travel in the universe, the arrival at the Star Ocean Republic, the battles with the Covenant Alliance on the frontlines, the court in the capital where he was despised by everyone, and eventually the punishment field. Every scene felt like a real memory, and his real emotions were being triggered.
Before he knew it, he seemed to be melding with Wuying Qi into one.
When ‘he’ was captured, taken to the punishment field, and took the barrage of curses and shouting, the feeling of being betrayed by the entire world seemed to have overlapped with the scene where he was thrown into the crater a moment ago. He could not have felt more depressed, infuriated, and hateful!
Then, the army loyal to him appeared out of nowhere, and the dark emotions that had been compressed to the minimum were instantly unleashed!
He was heaved by thousands of hands onto the immortal throne to rein over the sea of stars!
Concession, devastation, counterattack, revenge! Boundless pleasure was crushing his nerves and his brain like a hurricane!
In a trance, his facial expressions were changing nonstop unpredictably, as if he had truly been bewildered.
In the war base not far away from the brainwashing room, the three Immortal Cultivators were monitoring Li Yao’s every action on the light beam, including the slightest changes of his biological data.
On the light beam with a super high resolution, the subtlest change of expression on Li Yao’s face was recorded dutifully.
As for his biological data, they were divided into more than a hundred indexes including heartbeat, pulse, brainwaves, hormones, and so on. Everything was precisely under their control.
“The curve of his brainwaves deviates less than five percent from the standard curve. He has completely been fascinated by our tutorial,” Tang Qianhe said with a smile. “He is now dwelling in the worlds and viewing everything from the perspective of the Immortal Cultivators. He is also unleashing his feelings without restraint.”
“That’s for sure. Nobody can withstand the bombardment of truth, not to mention a guy… who has long realized the meaning of survival of the fittest!” Su Changfa announced confidently. “Another lost Cultivator has been rescued and transformed into an Immortal Cultivator! Considering that we are seriously short of hands right now, an increase from three to four is quite good news! The odds of a successful exploration in the underground relic are much higher!
“Is your gear done testing?”
Tang Qianhe and Kou Ruhuo both nodded.
“Then let’s go to welcome our new fellow Cultivator now!”
Very soon, when Li Yao walked out of the brainwashing room, his head dizzy and his face flushed, he saw Su Changfa, Tang Qianhe, and Kou Ruhuo looking at him with sincere smiles.
“Master Su, I have a question.”
Li Yao licked his dry lips, his bloodshot eyes glittering, before he asked impatiently, “What do I need to do to be a citizen of the Imperium of True Human Beings?
“I mean, a citizen like you, who enjoys the corresponding rights in the Imperium.”
Su Changfa coughed and said, “To be a real citizen of the Imperium, there is only one condition, which is that you must break your limits and awaken your spiritual root!
“Fellow Cultivator Li, you have obviously met the condition. Not only is your spiritual root awakened, you are also an expert in the Core Formation Stage!
“For such an expert like you, Fellow Cultivator Li, who has advanced into the Core Formation Stage determinedly in a harsh environment with barely any resources at the edge of the cosmos, you meet every requirement in the ‘Overseas High-Level Talent Introduction Act’ of the Imperium. The procedures of your application can be greatly shortened!
“As for exactly how it should be done… Right, Fellow Cultivator Li, please follow us to the outside for the ceremony!”
A big question mark popped up in Li Yao’s heart again. He walked out of the war base behind the three Immortal Cultivators dutifully. Surrounded by hundreds of Grand Illusionary Soldiers, they arrived at an empty area nearby that was not too spacious.
Four Grand Illusionary Soldiers carried a heavy metal box to the center of the empty ground.
Four drills extended out of the box and dug deep into the ground.
After a soft mechanical rubbing sound, the metal box was unfolded into a simple flag-raising platform.
An enormous flag rose from the bottom of the flag-raising platform slowly and flapped in the breeze.
The background color of the flag was as crimson as blood. At the center of the flag were three sharp stripes that looked like a cross between sabers and lightning. In a circle, they constituted a triple-edged star, giving a strong sense of aggressiveness and dominance.
“This is the national flag of the Imperium of True Human Beings, the Triple Star-Lightning Flag. The deep red background color represents the fact that the advancement of the civilization of mankind requires the irrigation of the hot blood of those who are sacrificed. The three black lightning bolts represent solidarity, devotion, and evolution. They are the three indispensable pillars of the country!”
Tang Qianhe proudly explained the flag to Li Yao.
“Raise the flag and play the national anthem!” Kou Ruhuo declared solemnly.
A magnificent march, which sounded like the barrage of the main guns of a starship, immediately echoed from the fully-automatic flag-raising platform. The Triple Stars Lightings Flag moved higher and higher, fluttering in the wind.
All three Immortal Cultivators raised their right arms high and clenched their fists, roaring together with the dull, domineering, and depressing drumming.
This was the first time that Li Yao had heard the national anthem of the Imperium of True Human Beings.
Different from the Star Glory Federation’s national anthem, which was bright and soul-stirring, the national anthem of the Imperium was dragged four to five registers down as a whole. The heavy drumming was bashing his heart like a storm, making him feel that his heart was about to explode!
Li Yao breathed hard and finally managed to control his crazy heartbeat. The Triple Star-Lightning Flag had already reached the top, and the three Immortal Cultivators were singing the last verse of the song!
“Let’s conquer, Immortal Cultivators! Conquer the ghosts and the evils!
“Let’s reign, true human beings! Reign the dark and cold universe!
“As our warships swoop past the surging tides, the glory of the Imperium will shine forever!”
Although the song had ended, the three Immortal Cultivators were still reveling in the glory of the Imperium with their eyes half closed, unable to free themselves.
Li Yao felt sweat all over his back, as if he had been bombarded by the main guns of the starship multiple times.
“Alright, Fellow Cultivator Li.” Narrowing his eyes, Su Changfa observed the Triple Star-Lightning Flag, which was flapping in midair, and clapped his hands in great satisfaction. “The ceremony of flag rising has been completed. Right now, the mysterious planet is now the territory of the Imperium of True Human Beings!”
“Well—” Li Yao blinked. Uncle, isn’t it a bit too arrogant? Just stab a flag to the ground, and the land is now your territory?
“This place has been abandoned for more than a hundred thousand years. Of course, whoever arrives first can claim it,” Su Changfa said matter-of-factly. “Whoever finds new worlds, new space zones, and new planets is entitled to the ownership of their findings. This is the common practice in the universe!”
Li Yao thought for a moment and said, “In other words, the force behind whoever finds the planet first owns the place, right?”
Su Changfa nodded. “Of course. Is there a problem?”
“No. Not at all. I feel that this is a very excellent system. Reasonable and logical!”
“Good!” Su Changfa smiled. “Now, since this place is the territory of the Imperium of True Human Beings, we will be allowed to begin our work!
“You may not know this, Fellow Cultivator Li, but in order for the fire of the Imperium of True Human Beings to illuminate as many worlds in the sea of stars as possible, the explorers from the Imperium like us have all been given special authorizations!
“Our starship is a multipurpose base. It is the ‘floating territory’ of the Imperium of True Human Beings with multiple functions!
“It is a military camp, a court of law, a police station, an arbitration tribunal, a tax bureau, a school, a culture center, and most importantly of all, an immigration office!
“Explorers such as us have all been authorized as the special staff of said agencies of the Imperium!”
Su Changfa took out a small badge from his Cosmos Ring and clipped it onto his chest. He tapped it softly. Mystic rays shot out and soon interweaved into a pattern in which many eagles were flying back to their nest.
“This is the badge of the Imperial Immigration Office. Right now, I am a level-two immigration officer of the Immigration Office of the Imperium of True Human Beings.”
Su Changfa coughed and cleared his throat. “According to the immigration law and the ‘Overseas High-Level Talent Introduction Act, considering the level of our war base and Fellow Cultivator Li’s Cultivation in the Core Formation Stage, I am now allowed to grand Fellow Cultivator Li the green card of the Imperium of True Human Beings with the highest permission!”