Long Yangjun was overjoyed. “Have you agreed to my proposal, Senior Spiritual Vulture?”
“It doesn’t matter whom I cooperate with to explore the Divine Palace,” Li Yao sneered. “The real critical issue is my own safety. How can I trust your Lord Wang? After all, his reputation is not good among the Cultivators!”
“Senior Spiritual Vulture, as a visiting elder of the Purple Pole Sword Sect, which was very close to Lord Wang in the past, you should know that most of the Cultivators’ condemnations are ungrounded.”
After thinking for a moment, Long Yangjun blinked and said, “You won’t believe whatever I say right now, Senior. Please enlighten me. How can I convince you of our sincerity?”
“You operated too fast just now, and I was too far away to see everything clearly,” Li Yao said coldly. “Bring out the map and the Thousand Stars Tray and show me the operations carefully again!”
Long Yangjun was dazed for a moment, hesitating.
“Let me make it clear for you. You are begging me for cooperation now, not the other way around.” Li Yao toughened his tone. “If you are unwilling to cooperate, let’s just call it a day now. I’ll kill you directly, or you can kill yourself. Nobody is going to find anything from the Divine Palace!”
While he stared at Long Yangjun and spoke, he intentionally mixed some soul attacks in his eyes to remind Long Yangjun of the horror in the febrile typhoon.
Long Yangjun shivered slightly, and her face was even paler than before. Cold sweat the size of beans was popping up on her forehead.
She pondered for a long time, only to come up with no solution. She could only retrieve the items from her Cosmos Rings as per Li Yao’s orders and begin to assemble them carefully.
Last time, because of Neltharion’s angle of observation, fearing that he might be caught, Li Yao had failed to record the procedures through which she displayed the map.
But this time, Li Yao focused his full attention without overlooking a single detail.
Very soon, the Thousand Stars Tray was assembled, and the map core was placed at the center of the pedestal. A sphere operation menu was released one more time.
Long Yangjun’s hands moved on it quickly, activating the internal structure of the Divine Palace and the coordinates of the Divine Palace.
With Li Yao’s computational ability in the Nascent Soul Stage, since he was observing at such a short distance, naturally, he was able to etch every detail into his mind clearly.
Not entirely satisfied, Li Yao asked Long Yangjun to lower the speed of her operation and demanded that she explain every instruction on every menu.
Li Yao’s questions were short and fast, leaving Long Yangjun no time to consider at all.
Because of the high pressure, Long Yangjun confessed all the operations dutifully.
Following her instructions, Li Yao tried a few times himself and did not find any loopholes. He finally nodded in approval.
Long Yangjun had perhaps kept some secrets in the map core to herself, and chances were that something more valuable was contained inside the storage magical equipment.
However, that did not matter. Based on the details that she had shared, Li Yao was already able to basically analyze the retrieval logic of the operation menu. Together with the crystal processor that he brought from the Star Glory Federation, he believed that he would certainly be able to unravel more secrets than the ‘ancient people’ could.
“Very good. It seems that you are indeed very sincere!” Li Yao smiled and waved at Long Yangjun. “Now, step away!”
Exactly like Long Yangjun had done, Li Yao turned off all the maps and began dismantling the map core and the Thousand Stars Tray.
He was a professional refiner, and it was only natural that he dismantled the magical equipment even faster than Long Yangjun did.
Long Yangjun’s face color changed greatly. She stammered, “S—Senior Spiritual Vulture, what’s the meaning of this?”
“Nothing,” Li Yao said casually. “Since you were sincere enough to confess everything dutifully, to show respect to Lord Wang, your life may be spared. However, I must take away the Thousand Stars Tray and the map core! This place is not far away from the continent. Despite the weight of all the things, I can fly over by carrying them on my back. It is not a big deal whether or not I have your Cosmos Rings!”
Long Yangjun was dumbfounded. “S—Senior Spiritual Vulture, are—are you still reluctant to work with Lord Wang? Why? The Great Qian Dynasty is already on the verge of collapse. Those pretentious Cultivators have nothing but dirty, shameless schemes in their heads. You will certainly die without a burial if you cooperate with them!”
“Do you not understand why I choose not to stand on Lord Wang’s side?”
Dismantling the Thousand Stars Tray unhurriedly, Li Yao did not bother to raise his head as he casually spoke. “It’s not because he is too scary for me as one of the Four Rapscallions. To be honest, as a barbarian Cultivator, I always keep an open mind toward the Three Saints and Four Rapscallions. They are basically the same as me!
“However, it is a habit that I must take the initiative in any cooperation with other people no matter who my partner is!
“If I cooperate with the Four Rapscallions, the four of you are already enough to complete most of the work. Even the map of the Divine Palace is in your hands. I will be a dispensable worker, and the best that I can expect is to serve as a vanguard—or rather, cannon fodder—with my combat ability!
“Before, during, and after the exploration, as long as you feel that I’m no longer of any value, you can eliminate me at any time!
“Besides, I’m all by myself, while the four of you all have tremendous forces under command. Even Lord Wang, who seems to be on the run, has the elite assassins of the Ghost Character like yourself!
“Hehe. However arrogant I am, I will not be conceited enough to believe that I can compete with a hundred experts together in the snowy land in the Land of Eternal Night in the north pole!”
Long Yangjun gnashed her teeth. “Is that any different from cooperating with the Cultivators?”
“Of course it is.” Li Yao shook the diamond-shaped crystal in his hand that contained the map and smiled. “As long as the Thousand Stars Tray and the map core are in my hands, I will be in possession of the critical information that the Cultivators certainly don’t know. If we really set off to explore the Divine Palace, I will be of paramount importance and take all the initiative. Even if someone wants to get rid of me, they will have to wait until I’m no longer of value!
“Besides, although I’m not interested in who is righteous and who is evil, I still feel that ‘Sword Maniac’ Yan Liren, Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar, and Master Bitter Cicada are more trustworthy than your Lord Wang, Wan Mingzhu, Qi Changsheng, and Han Baling!
“At the very least, Ba Xiaoyu and Master Bitter Cicada are by themselves, too. If I cooperate with them, I won’t need to worry about hundreds of experts jumping around a corner and attacking me together, will I?”
More than infuriated, Long Yangjun’s face was pure red, and the shackle on her body was shaking and clanging. Yet, there was nothing that she could do about Li Yao except gnash her teeth. “Senior Spiritual Vulture, have you made up your mind to fish in the dirty water?”
“I’m alone. It’s better to fish in the dirty water than to gain profit at risk!” Li Yao said with a fake smile. “The more forces that are involved in the issue and the more chaotic the situation is, the more advantageous my position will be!”
Li Yao had planned to evaluate the top experts of the Ancient Sages Sector and if there were other mysterious forces hiding in darkness in the first place.
Once the shocking news about the Divine Palace was released, all the experts would certainly be attracted to it.
The mysterious forces in darkness, should there be any, would definitely jump out!
At that point, Li Yao would be able to make a final decision as to whether or not he should open the space gate and summon the expedition fleet of the Star Glory Federation!
Long Yangjun was grinding her teeth in fury and could not say anything.
Very soon, the redness on her face faded away, and it was as pale as a piece of paper, as if she had thought of the punishment that she would go through for losing the Thousand Stars Tray and the map core after she returned to the Ghost Character. Even her breathing was rapid and disordered!
Leaning against a rock at a loss, she completely lost the strength to continue the game with Li Yao.
Li Yao finished dismantling the Thousand Stars Tray and the map core. While calculating the best way to pack them up in his head, he walked to Long Yangjun, planning to remove the shackle on her body.
Wang Xi was a rather important person among the top ten experts of the Ancient Sages Sector. Maybe, there was still a chance for cooperation in future. Naturally, Li Yao did not want to go too far. He even wanted to pass on certain information through Long Yangjun, implying that Master Spiritual Vulture was a rational man who was worth communicating and negotiating with.
Their conflict this time was just business, and since it was business, there were always chances for concessions and renegotiations.
Li Yao had already subtly expressed it. Long Yangjun might not have been able to understand it, but Wang Xi certainly would!
Li Yao could continue locking Long Yangjun with the shackle, but if he did, her life would be at risk on the perilous ocean.
Also, part of the shackle was Li Yao’s clandestine secrets, and he did not want such a piece of magical equipment to be retrieved by the terrifying Wang Xi.
At this moment, Li Yao was three steps away from Long Yangjun.
Long Yangjun collapsed at the bottom of the rock, as if her bones had been removed. She looked at Li Yao, but her eyes were unfocused, as if she were staring at the infinite ocean behind him.
Everything was under Li Yao’s control.
Li Yao, however, suddenly had a terrible feeling.
If history was any reference, every time that he thought that everything was under control, it would be proved later that absolutely nothing was under his control!
It seemed to be a reverse sign that never failed.
Li Yao’s right foot was about to reach the earth, but it could not move on any more during the moment. Instead, every muscle on his left foot, which was supporting his body, was triggered to the maximum!
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
He could almost hear the sounds of the cells inside his left leg exploding and the overloaded mitochondria blowing out infinite energy!
Right then, Long Yangjun moved.
Long Yangjun—whose veins, acupoints, and spiritual energy circulations should have been tightly locked up by Li Yao’s shackle—suddenly vanished!
Li Yao had every faith in the shackle that he had crafted.
The shackle was based on the Venomous Scorpion Bone Biting Shackle, ‘Solar Eclipse’ Jiang Shaoyang’s masterpiece.
It was the state-of-the-art barrier-type magical equipment in the Star Glory Federation. The best knowledge in physiology, anatomy, ergonomics, and hundreds of other disciplines had been employed. Countless simulations had been run. Not a single demon or human being, even including those in the Nascent Soul Stage, could break free from the shackle without paying a huge price!
However, Long Yangjun had vanished into a shadow and left the shackle on the ground incredibly before she marched up to Li Yao!