In his last words, Li Yao’s foster father wanted Li Yao to surrender to the Imperium of True Human Beings when the Alliance of the Holy Covenant attacked them. He also asked Li Yao to look for a woman named Li Linghai in the Imperium, claiming that she would certainly look after Li Yao and even the entire Heaven’s Origin Sector for old time’s sake.
Li Yao felt quite strange about the plan.
First of all, his foster father was from the Covenant Alliance, while Li Linghai was from the Imperium. What exactly was the relationship between them that made his foster father unable to forget her when he was about to die and believe that she would certainly take care of his offspring?
Secondly, who was Li Linghai in the Imperium exactly? Was she powerful enough to decide the fate of an entire Sector?
His foster father had mentioned that Li Linghai’s identity was not a secret. If Li Yao ever had the chance to go to the homeland of the Imperium, he could ask any random guy to learn where she was.
Since Su Changfa was an expert in the Nascent Soul Stage, and certainly not any random guy, it was all the more likely that he knew who she was.
After all, it was hardly likely that he would ever return to the Imperium in the rest of his life. Therefore, Li Yao decided to ask him right now. The secret would not be leaked anyway.
“Her surname is Li?”
Scratching his bald eyebrow, Su Changfa pondered for a moment and then said, “Since you are asking me without a context, it is obvious that this Li Linghai should be someone famous. In the Imperium, there is indeed a powerful ‘Li family’, which is sort of the most influential noble family only second to the royal family!
“The Li family of Long Wind was a great house whose influence spanned quite a few Sectors early in the age of the Star Ocean Republic. The history of the family can be dated back to thousands of years ago. Even long before the Star Ocean Republic was established, the ancestors of the family had already begun their activities.
“They are probably one of the most ancient families that have survived on to this day from the collapse of the Star Ocean Imperium!
“After Wuying Qi ascended to the throne, the Li family of Long Wind was among the first batch of noble families to pledge loyalty to him. A lot of members of the Li family joined the imperial army and participated in the war to annihilate the ‘rightful government of the Star Ocean Republic’. They accumulated their battle credits, increased their influence in the army, and swallowed countless Sectors who disobeyed the Imperium along the way!
“At present, there are seven Sectors whose Sector Masters are from the Li family. The other members of the Li family, in the army and in the capital, hold the positions relating to economy, politics, military, and media both on the surface and below the table!”
“Understood.” Li Yao nodded. “Wuying Qi was an outsider after all. He couldn’t have ascended to the throne without the support of the local magnates such as the Li family of Long Wind!
“One may even say that it was the local magnates such as the Li family of Long Wind who took the opportunity to eliminate their dissidents and competitors and to gain more benefits with Blackstar the Great as their cover!
“After all, in either the Star Ocean Republic or the Imperium of True Human Beings, no matter how dynasties and eras change, the Li family of Long Wind stands as stably as ever!
“This is about the case, right?”
With everything coming to this point, everybody already knew each other’s intelligence. Su Changfa was no longer bold enough to embroider the Imperium anymore. After a cough, he said, “You can say that.”
Li Yao pondered for a moment. If she was a descendent of an ancient family that had a heritage of thousands of years and was one of the earliest contributors to the Imperium’s cause, it was quite possible that she could potentially decide the fate of a ‘remote world’ such as the Heaven’s Origin Sector.
“Li Linghai, Li Linghai…”
Su Changfa curled his fingers and tapped his head softly.
“The Li family has tens of thousands of members. Even the most excellent of them are too many to count. It seems difficult to find her. Wait. Odd, odd. The name does ring a bell. There must’ve been shocking news about her!
“Let me see… Let me see… Li Linghai. A member of the Li family. A woman…
Su Changfa narrowed his eyes. He suddenly eyed Li Yao up and down for a long time with a queer expression. Li Yao felt so creeped out that he had goosebumps all over his body.
It was not the hostile and malicious look that an Immortal Cultivator cast toward a Cultivator.
Instead, it was a look mixed with certain ‘affection’!
Affection? Li Yao was dumbfounded. He rubbed the goosebumps on his arms hard while he asked awkwardly, “Why are you looking at me in such a way, Senior Su? Is the woman a taboo?”
“She is indeed a minor taboo. The Crown Princess of the Imperium of True Human Beings happens to be Li Linghai.”
The vague affection inside Su Changfa’s eyes turned into deep suspicion. “Few people dare address the Crown Princess directly by her name. That’s why I didn’t realize it was her in the beginning!
“Where did you learn the name, and why are you suddenly asking about our Crown Princess?”
Li Yao was truly dumbfounded. His mind in a mess, he stared at Su Changfa for almost ten seconds before he struggled to say, “If I say that I asked about her because I truly admire the charm of your Crown Princess and don’t mean anything, will you believe it, Senior Su?”
Su Changfa shook his head slowly.
Li Yao’s teeth were aching again, as if somebody had put pepper into his mouth.
Had he known that the answer was so sensitive, he would not have asked Su Changfa.
“Well, Senior Su.” Li Yao looked around, trying to change the topic. “Do you feel that there is any chance at all that the Imperium of True Human Beings and the federation can maintain basic peace first before the Covenant Alliance is destroyed? Can’t your expedition fleet turn around?”
“Your diversion of topics is too lousy,” Su Changfa observed.
Li Yao coughed hard.
“Forget it,” Su Changfa sighed. “I can’t force you to tell me anything if you don’t want to. Even if I know the answer, it’s hardly unlikely that I’ll be able to send the answer back to the homeland of the Imperium while I’m alive!
“However, groundless peace is definitely impossible! The Black Wind Fleet will not turn around. They will certainly swallow you in a hundred years!
“It has nothing to do with the Imperium’s ambition. It even has nothing to do with our different ideologies. To be honest, the Imperium is too rich and vast to bother about a few pebbles at the edge of the cosmos!
“The crucial question is that there is still the Covenant Alliance other than the Imperium!
“Any Sector that is not occupied by the Imperium will be occupied by the Covenant Alliance! Any resource that is not owned by the Imperium will be exploited by the Covenant Alliance and turned against the Imperium later! Any human being will be fighting for the Covenant Alliance after they are brainwashed by the Path of Ultimate Benevolence into emotionless puppets if they are not fighting for the Imperium!
“Do you understand now? Because of this, the Imperium will never abandon any Sectors or the creatures living in it!”
“I understand. Now that the Imperium will not give up its ambition to conquer us, it seems that a war between us is unavoidable before we work together to deal with the Covenant Alliance!
“I only hope that the failure of the war will clear the heads of the big shots in the Imperium and make them understand what exactly the opponent they are trying to conquer is!”
“That’s right.” Su Changfa smiled. “Power is the only thing that matters in the universe. The fittest will survive, and the winners will be kings!
“If you want to participate in the game between the Imperium and the Covenant Alliance as a player and sit on par with the dominators of the universe, you will have to demonstrate your power to the Imperium first!”
Although he had left the prison cell and the soft, comfortable breeze was brushing his face, Li Yao still felt that he was confused, and his head was in a mess.
Even the large excavation magical equipment far away, which was letting out deafening noises, and the buildings that were rising higher and higher could not calm him down.
Pop, this must be the greatest joke that you have ever played! How did you meet the Crown Princess of the Imperium of True Human Beings when you were from the Covenant Alliance?
From what I can read between the lines, you were actually not in a bad relationship with the Crown Princess? Is it possible that you two were together once?
Li Yao was quite scared by his own filthy thought.
However, on second thought, it did make a lot of sense!
After his foster father ended up in the Heaven’s Origin Sector, he would quench his sorrow with liquor every day. He had even wept at night and sometimes gazed at the sky in the distance while mumbling to himself. His mind had seemed to be drifting somewhere far, far away.
Li Yao had experienced the same things himself. They were obvious signs that a man was missing someone!
Besides, what reason could make a man and a woman who were not related absolutely trust one another other than ‘love’?
This is too dreadful!
What exactly are the intriguing, clandestine secrets between my foster father, a guy from the Covenant Alliance, and the Crown Princess of the Imperium of True Human Beings, the queen to be?
Was my foster father suggesting that I should seek help from his ‘former mistress’ one day?
Also, since my foster father was from the Covenant Alliance, theoretically speaking, he should have been bound by the Path of Ultimate Benevolence and shouldn’t have revealed any negative emotions!
But the foster father I saw had perfectly normal feelings, the same as everybody else. Also, when he was dying, he was still asking me to be wary of the Covenant Alliance!
It’s obvious that he had freed himself from the control of the Path of Ultimate Benevolence and awakened the real consciousness as a human being. He betrayed the Covenant Alliance completely!
How did he achieve it?
Did it have anything to do with the mysterious woman Li Linghai?
Also, what is Little Black exactly?
Over the past few years, what Li Yao had paid most attention to was not his own recovery but Little Black’s secrets.
The fat, lazy guy that had been sealed inside Black Wing for decades could be used to control a Colossus!
At first, Li Yao had thought that Little Black was a primeval treasure from hundreds of thousands of years ago.
However, after asking for his permission, Li Yao had scraped off part of the powder from his body for examination, only to discover that the latest time Little Black was completely refined was no earlier than ten thousand years ago.
Therefore, Little Black’s ‘birth date’ was not the primeval era but the age of the Star Ocean Imperium.
Based on Li Yao’s own experience and Little Black’s obscure memory, Li Yao assumed that Little Black should be a piece of ancillary magical equipment that the Cultivators of the Star Ocean Imperium produced to manipulate the Colossi.
It was an object that could almost be called a ‘liquid crystal processor’ and could translate the primeval operation menu of the Colossi into new interfaces that modern people could understand.
Then, the question remained.
Which unparalleled expert of the Star Ocean Imperium had Little Black’s previous owner been?
And where exactly did his foster’s father find it?
His foster father asked Li Yao to give half of the key to Li Linghai. So, was the whole thing related to the Crown Princess of the Imperium of True Human Beings from beginning to the end?