Li Yao and Guo Chunfeng were both dumbfounded.
It was not because Su Changfa’s brazenness was beyond their expectations, nor because they had no rebuttals, but because they were shocked by Su Changfa’s childishness.
Did the guy think that they would set him free after he won a game of words?
Li Yao’s eyelids were twitching.
He believed that Su Changfa was definitely not such a boring man. The man was the soul of the three Immortal Cultivators!
Thinking for a moment, Li Yao immediately understood Su Changfa’s intention. He also sensed the vague thorn inside his heart.
“Brother Guo, can we talk in private?”
Li Yao called Guo Chunfeng to go out of the cell.
“Is there something wrong with the Immortal Cultivator’s head?” Guo Chunfeng found it unbelievably. “He is not thinking that the Cultivators are so ‘innocent’ that we will let him go after his empty talk, is he?”
“That’s not what he meant.” Li Yao smiled bitterly. “I’m afraid that his life and death is no longer his concern right now. He is not expecting that he can get away through some bullsh*t. His words were specially prepared for me to hear.”
“For you to hear?” Guo Chunfeng was confused. “Why? What’s the point?”
“He wanted to plant a thorn in my heart, or a seed that might grow into the ‘true path of immortality’ one day,” Li Yao said carefully. “I assume that he had two reasons.
“Firstly, it was me who sabotaged his endeavor and played him for a fool. He was probably pissed off and hoped to destroy my belief in such a way.
“If a gap appears in my belief and I fall from the Nascent Soul Stage into the Core Formation Stage, he will have his vengeance!
“Secondly, perhaps, despite his extreme hatred, he hasn’t entirely given up hope yet. He wants to have one last go and see if I can be transformed into an Immortal Cultivator.”
Guo Chunfeng was amused. “With a few empty words?”
“Maybe.” Li Yao stared at Guo Chunfeng solemnly. “To be honest, I’ve been considering the difference between the Cultivators and the Immortal Cultivators over the past few days. If there is a clear boundary that classifies the two concepts, where exactly is the boundary? Or rather, is there no boundary at all but an ambiguous, gray area?
“What crimes has Su Changfa, an Immortal Cultivator, committed? Does the Star Glory Federation have the right to try and punish him? Even if he is suspected to be a threat to national security and must be confined, how long will he be confined? If he is unwilling to confess dutifully all the time, are we allowed to torture and torment him to get the information we want?
“I would very much like to find the answers to these questions.”
Guo Chunfeng scowled. “That’s petty kindness!”
“Maybe, but part of my belief is exactly made of such ‘petty kindness’. If that part collapses, my belief will be broken, and my level will definitely plunge!” Li Yao pondered for a moment and said, “Also, as a result, I will not be able to answer one question to myself. Without the ‘petty kindness’, what’s the essential difference between a Cultivator and an Immortal Cultivator?
“Hehe. Perhaps, as I result, I may be trapped in the dilemma longer and longer until I cannot free myself from it anymore. I will truly be an Immortal Cultivator by then.
“Just think about Lu Zui and Zhou Hengdao. Sometimes, it may only take one second for a Cultivator to be transformed into an Immortal Cultivator.”
Guo Chunfeng tilted his head and thought for a long time before he said, “I understand it now. The old man was not struggling to survive. He was merely hoping to plant the seed with his words and his ‘miserable outcome’ later into your heart so that you could be turned into an Immortal Cultivator who was willing to achieve your purpose through whatever means possible!”
“Yes.” Li Yao nodded. “Therefore, I’m desperate to know whether or not there is any legal ground for us to confine him and even to exploit his soul through torture.
“After all, it is true that he did not do anything hostile to the Star Glory Federation from the beginning to the end. He even surrendered the moment the Fire Ant King and Professor Mo Xuan broke into his medical cabin. I would say that he was quite cooperative!”
Guo Chunfeng frowned and asked, “If there isn’t, are you going to stop us from interrogating him?”
“Of course not. After all, the Immortal Cultivator and his war base are too valuable. I can’t stop it.” Li Yao thought for a moment and said, “However, a thorn will be buried at the bottom of my heart as I cannot think it through.
“From this day on, I may not be as confident in my belief as before, which can seriously affect my training and my battles. Chances are that one day in the future, I will suddenly ‘think it through’ and decide that I can do anything needed for the interests of the federation!
“As a result, I will be an Immortal Cultivator like Lu Zui, Zhou Hengdao or Su Changfa.”
“Understood.” Guo Chunfeng took out his glass teacup and poured the water into his mouth before he chewed the tea leaves hard. “Therefore, in order for the belief of the ‘Ultra-Level Federal Level’ hero and the future star of the Star Glory Federation not to be broken, we must handle everything with undeniable proof in the completely legal way, right?”
“More or less. Is it difficult?”
“I don’t think so. Give me five minutes. Let me see.”
Five minutes passed.
Li Yao returned to the prison cell in a joyful mood.
Su Changfa’s eyelids were dangling down as he stared at the newcomer suspiciously.
“Problem solved, Senior Su,” Li Yao said merrily. “We truly do not have any evidence to support your accusations. Your freedom will be restored very soon.”
Su Changfa was dazed, with confusion beaming out of his eyes. He did not understand what Li Yao was up to. Was the guy going to let him walk away just like that?
“However, please be aware, Senior Su.” Li Yao coughed and declared pretentiously, “Before the starship of the Imperium of True Human Beings landed on the relic of the Pangu civilization, an exploration team of the Star Glory Federation had already discovered the place. Therefore, we have every reason to announce that this place was already the territory of the Star Glory Federation before you arrived!”
Su Changfa’s eyes were almost frozen and did not move again until a long while later. Hoarsely, he asked, “So?”
“So, Senior Su, you have committed ‘illegal entry’ as stated in the federal law. Of course, we understand that you were unaware of the situation beforehand. So, we do not intend to press formal charges. We will simply confiscate your vehicle with which you crossed the border illegally, pronounce you as an ‘unwelcomed man’ in our country, and banish you.”
This time, it was Su Changfa who was rendered speechless. Staring at Li Yao for a long time, he sneered, “By ‘banish’, do you mean depriving me of all my magical equipment and launching me out of the atmosphere where I will wait to die?”
“Definitely not!” Li Yao shook his head solemnly. “It’s true that we will launch you outside of the atmosphere, but we will certainly make sure that you have enough food and water. You will also be given a sealed suit, which should be enough to sustain you in space for a couple of days!
“We will launch you to a fixed sailing route. A few carriers of the Flying Star Sector cruise along the sailing route every day. You will definitely be rescued!”
Somebody seemed to have stuffed ice into Su Changfa’s throat. “The Flying Star Sector?”
“Exactly. The Flying Star Sector. The Flying Star Sector where the Immortal Cultivators raised a riot a few years back and killed countless ordinary people.”
Su Changfa glared at Li Yao.
“I have carefully considered every detail for you, Senior Su. Such a decision is definitely in the spirit of law and humanitarianism. Even the pickiest person cannot find anything wrong with it!”
With his hand on his chest, Li Yao said, “I feel quite relieved to have fought for such a privilege for you, Senior Su. I think that my belief has just been refreshed!”
Staring at Li Yao without blinking, Su Changfa said, one word after another, “I have never seen a Cultivator as shameless as you.”
Li Yao scratched his chin. “Perhaps, the Cultivators not as shameless as me have been eliminated by the cruel universe.”
“So,” Su Changfa said, “you are saying that, if I don’t confess the intelligence about the Imperium of True Human Beings and the secrets of the war base, you will hand me over to the citizens of the Flying Star Sector, who hate the Immortal Cultivators’ guts?”
“Technically speaking, we are merely banishing you, Senior Su. Moreover, you came such a long way for the purpose of conquering the Flying Star Sector in the first place. I don’t feel at all ill at ease to hand you over to the people of the Flying Star Sector.
“But I’m confused about one thing. Now that you have chosen to surrender, why are you not willing to confess everything promptly?”
“How can they be the same?” Su Changfa replied toughly. “Surrender is my personal choice. Surrender when the enemy is too invincible to keep myself alive, and chances are that I can rise up again later. It is a tactical choice, not immoral at all!
“But the crucial information, should I confess it, is very likely to jeopardize the overall interests of the civilization of mankind!
“I am a cr*ppy old man more than two hundred years old after all. However scared of death I am, it is not enough for me to sell out mankind in exchange for my survival!”
Li Yao was surprised. “Does it have anything to do with the overall interests of the civilization of mankind?”
“Of course it does,” Su Changfa said. “After a few days of getting to know each other, I have realized that, although the Star Glory Federation is remote at the edge of the universe and all by yourself, you are as ambitious as a rising sun, which reminds me of the Covenant Alliance in the past!
“Now that you are integrating the forces of all three Sectors and you have discovered such a large relic from the Pangu civilization, your potential will be further boosted if you have the tremendous intelligence about the Imperium!
“Once the federation rises, the Imperium will have enemies both in front and behind. If we have to waste too many resources and forces on you, we may not be capable enough to deal with the Covenant Alliance!
“Should the Covenant Alliance defeat the Imperium, the civilization of mankind will be suppressed by the Path of Ultimate Benevolence and cursed forever! Tell me, is it not against the overall interests of the civilization of mankind?
“Hehe. The reckless man Kou Ruhuo burnt his life and soul to show the member of the Pangu Clan the valor and valiance of mankind! If I betray everything just in order to live a few more decades when I’m an old man in the first place, I will be too ashamed to meet Kou Ruhuo in the afterworld!”