Li Yao did not know whether he had a jinxed mouth or there was a certain special magnetic field around him that would attract all the plots and schemes.
Just as he felt that his half year in the Ancient Sages Sector had been peaceful and quiet without much turbulence, a super scheme that could totally shake the structure of the Ancient Sages Sector presented itself!
The Three Saints and Four Rapscallions, and the Monk and the Emperor who wandered off the evaluation system of the Cultivators, together with the Grandmaster of Great Zhou who recently rose to fame, were basically the ‘top ten experts’ of the Ancient Sages Sector.
However, the so-called ‘top ten experts’ only described their personal combat ability. As a matter of fact, the Three Saints and the Four Rapscallions were greatly different from each other.
Ba Xiaoyu was an unaffiliated Cultivator who came and went on his own. Yan Liren and Master Bitter Cicada could not mobilize all the forces of the Purple Pole Sword Sect and the Stupa Temple, either. Although Qi Zhongdao was the nominal leader of all the Cultivators, he was more like a mascot than a real commander who could control the sects below him effectively. There was no need to mention Li Yao, who, as an alien in this world, fought on his own, too.
The five of them basically had no subordinates. They were just good fighters. That was all.
The Four Rapscallions, on the other hand, were different. Han Baling, Qi Changsheng, and Wan Mingzhu were all leaders of important organizations. Even if the latter two were often defeated and crushed, they always rose again despite all the setbacks!
Although Wang Xi was a homeless dog, his wisdom and leadership were certainly unquestionable, considering his past power in the court. The organization named Ghost Character that he had founded himself and infiltrated the world of Cultivators was not entirely cleaned up, either. A lot of loyal subordinates had vanished mysterious when he went on the run!
In other words, any of the Four Rapscallions commanded tremendous resources and stood for a force that had the chance to turn the world upside down. They were certainly magnitudes above the solo warriors such as Ba Xiaoyu, Master Bitter Cicada, Yan Liren, Qi Zhongdao, and Li Yao!
Right now, the four forces were joining their hands.
What were they up to exactly?
Li Yao slowly activated his technique to lower his heartbeat to the minimum, while he analyzed every word spoken inside the cabin without missing a single detail.
Then, he heard a voice that sounded damp and from the deep soil. “Let’s not talk about the world just yet and focus on the ‘core’ for now. We have paid such great prices in order to retrieve those items. Are they really the ‘core’ that Lord Wang mentioned?”
The man slightly had the accent of the northeast. Although he was trying to disguise himself, Li Yao was still able to distinguish it easily.
The sunny female voice chuckled. “You can tell if it is real for yourself after I show it to everyone once Mother White Lotus returns. It has been decades since Lord Wang learned of the secret and began planning everything. ‘Ghost Character’ was founded half for the secret, too. Right now, we have finally collected all the intelligence and items needed from various channels. How can we be wrong?”
Then, another voice that sounded rather solemn spoke coldly. “Since Wang Xi has spent decades planning the exploration and collecting the intelligence and the usable items from all the sects without bothering cost, why did Lord Wang not start the exploration on his own but chose to share the great benefits with us? I believe that Lord Wang must have a lot of capable, trusted subordinates exactly like you, Special Agent Long.”
The voice sounded rather familiar. Li Yao blinked and immediately recalled who it belonged to. The owner of the voice was exactly Han Yuantai, Han Baling’s right-hand man who had been captured by him in the forests of the Southland of Sorcerers and then released in the past!
Even Han Yuantai had gone there in person. It appeared that the secret meeting of the Four Rapscallions was of a high level!
The woman who spoke first turned out to be surnamed ‘Long’. She was a special agent sent by Wang Xi.
It would seem that Wang Xi had found an important secret decades ago and then collected all kinds of information and items in order to unravel the secret.
Perhaps, he did not intend to share his secret with anybody else but planned to develop it on his own with his incomparable power.
It was a pity that his reign had been toppled, and the resources at his disposal had been greatly reduced. Also, he risked being attacked by all the Cultivators in the world if he showed up. Having no other choice, he could only propose a meeting of the Four Rapscallions as a middleman to develop the secret together!
As expected, Special Agent Long said, “General Han, Lord Wang had already shown his complete sincerity for the operation. Cloud Qin is best known for your fearlessness. Why are you so skeptical?”
Not convinced, Han Yuantai said coldly, “Just because we are not scared to be killed does not mean we want to be killed.
“History has proved that most operations to explore prehistoric relics end in internal conflict. Your Lord Wang is certainly not the most lenient person in the world. I find it difficult to completely trust him!”
“Lord Wang is not the most lenient person, but Regent Han is not so easy to deal with, either!” Special Agent Long chuckled. “Then again, do the Heaven Battering King and Mother White Lotus look gullible?
“Lord Wang is aiming for something great. This secret concerns the future of the Ancient Sages Sector. Our joint exploration will not be a robbery of the general mobs. I believe that none of us are shortsighted thieves. Why would we do things that will satisfy our foes and hurt our friends just because of some petty benefits?
“Besides, for the operation to work out, the four forces here are indispensable!
“There’s no need to mention Lord Wang, who was the first one to discover the secret. He spent decades collecting the scattered clues and gathering the ‘pieces’ from the major sects. Finally, even the ‘core’ has been retrieved!
“As for the Heaven Battering King, for the longest time, he has been dealing with underground relics. In terms of relic exploration and excavation, the Heaven Battering Army is certainly second to none in the Ancient Sages Sector!
“Mother White Lotus, on the other hand, is an unpredictable, bodiless spirit. Once we arrive at our destination, chances are that a lot of traps and secret tunnels will only be able to be infiltrated and cracked by her!
“Cloud Qin’s role in the exploration is even simpler. The location of the secret is the vast expanse to the north of Cloud Qin. If we want to send out tremendous elites to explore the secret, there’s no way that we can bypass Cloud Qin. Besides, the other three parties here are all under the hunting of the court of the Great Qian Dynasty. We are now at a temporarily low point, and few hands are at our disposal. Only Cloud Qin can mobilize a large batch of well-trained Cultivators to support our exploration operation!
“With that in mind, Lord Wang has invited everyone to join the operation. He is certainly not regarding anybody as cannon fodder!
“General Han, if we are talking about betrayal, I believe that the other three parties here should be more worried about Cloud Qin. After all, our destination is deep within Cloud Qin. Don’t you agree?”
Han Yuantai was dazed for a moment. “Well…”
“However, we are certainly not going to trouble you with the groundless concerns.” Special Agent Long suddenly changed the topic. Entirely grasping the pace of the conversation, she chuckled. “We believe that Regent Han is an ambitious hero who is pursuing a great cause. Right now, the greatest enemy for everyone is still the court of the Great Qian Dynasty and even all the Cultivators there!
“Although the four parties here barely had any contact in the past, we have been in implicit cooperation by stalling the forces of the Great Qian Dynasty for each other. That is the only reason that we are all alive today.
“If we attack each other, the Great Qian Dynasty will be the only one to profit. Who can’t understand such simple logic?”
There was a brief silence in the cabin. Then, the male voice with the northwestern accent gnashed his teeth. “Exactly. Last winter, a million soldiers of the Heaven Battering Army were reduced to three thousand by the court’s army. We are desperate for revenge!”
“As long as everybody here is sincere about the cooperation, Cloud Qin will certainly honor our words!” Han Yuantai said.
“That’s right!” Special Agent Long’s laughter was mixed with an indistinct coldness, like the edge of a razor covered in marshmallow. “The pie is so big that any force will choke if they intend to eat it alone. Only if the four parties divide it together can we finish it all without leaving any residue!”
Right then, a creepy voice suddenly echoed. “Mother White Lotus is back!”
Greatly alarmed, Li Yao crouched into the sand and did not dare to move at all.
The temperature of the ocean water was suddenly lowered by more than ten degrees. It was almost frozen.
The shoals of colorful fish, eels, and jellyfish seemed to have run into the most brutal enemies and fled in panic.
Vague white smoke, like an enormous jellyfish dozens of meters long, in the shape of a translucent cloud swam close over Li Yao’s head and merged into the shipwreck.
The shipwreck shivered slightly. As if new energy had been injected, it was moving at a much higher speed.
“It’s a privilege to meet you, Mother White Lotus!”
Inside the cabin, Special Agent Long and Han Yuantai and Qi Changsheng’s representatives all greeted her respectfully.
“Save the pleasantries. You’ve been troubled, too,” Wan Mingzhu said, somewhat exhausted. Her voice was no longer as agitated and high-pitched as on the battlefield a moment ago. Instead, it was filled with calmness and indifference.
That was more like the style of the ‘mother of all ghosts’. Her demeanor on the battlefield had been no different from a vixen on the street!
“You were blocked and hunted by Qi Zhongdao, Yan Liren, Master Spiritual Vulture, and other experts. Was your escape smooth, Mother White Lotus?” Special Agent Long asked caringly.
“It’s not a big deal. The five of them are not enough to kill me. Moreover, I didn’t even see that Master Spiritual Vulture in the end. He must be a guy who’s more interested in preserving his own strength, too!”
Wan Mingzhu sighed gloomily and said, “I only feel regretful that the tremendous army that I gathered through the natural disasters has been completely crushed. A lot of ghost generals who have followed me for years and many zombies that I refined at great costs perished!
“Special Agent Long, I hope that your Lord Wang’s intelligence is not wrong and that we have paid such great prices for something worthy of its cost!”