Over the next three days, the twelve experts of the Ancient Sages Sector dwelled in the ocean of jade chips, unable to free themselves.
They studied the customs, vernacular, and usages of all kinds of bizarre magical equipment in the modern Cultivation civilization from the jade chips. At the same time, they dived deep into the professional fields that they were interested in.
With the computational ability of the Nascent Soul Stage and the Divinity Transformation Stage, although it was impossible for them to completely understand every detail of the modern Cultivation civilization in only three days, they had managed to grasp the basics of the Star Glory Federation. They had also learned a thing or two about the exotic customs and language habits. Hilarious jokes such as mistaking the automatic toilet for a basin to wash hands certainly never occurred.
Three days later, in an ordinary, unattractive hotel room near the library of jade chips, the few Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators all put on new clothes.
They had all put on light protective clothes with the feeling of icy silk, which allegedly was very popular in the Star Glory Federation. There was a portable crystal processor of the latest model in the shape of a water drop on everybody’s wrist. Colorful lights and shadows were flashing on everyone’s eyeballs, which were projected by the most advanced retina chip systems. Together with the super-tiny vibration rune arrays stuck into the earholes, a local area network made of twelve people was established for the convenience of communication.
Meng Chixin, Wu Suiyun, and Wan Mingzhu, the three spectral Cultivators, also found a store that specifically sold artificial bodies in the area that was inhabited by the outcasts from the Nether World Sector. They each bought a new body as a replacement for the crude iron shells crafted by Li Yao.
The artificial bodies manufactured in the assembly line of the big factories—with their delicate details, glamorous rune arrays, and ancillary crystal processor that had an extremely high computational ability embedded into the brain—made the spectral Cultivators overjoyed and unwilling to let them go.
At that moment, a few Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were adjusting their expressions in front of the mirrors and familiarizing themselves with the dialects of the local area. Another few were still changing clothes in their respective room. Some other experts were commenting on the things that they had learned over the past few days in amazement.
“The war potential of the Star Glory Federation is indeed too deep to measure!”
Heaven Battering King Qi Changsheng clicked his tongue and said, “I have read the war memoirs of the federation and the Uranian Ring Sector in the past couple of days. The federation was able to deploy almost a thousand main-force warships during the war, not to mention the medium-sized warships and smaller ones. Hundreds of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and more than ten thousand Core Formation Stage Cultivators participated in the war. However, for the Star Glory Federation, it was still merely a local war, and the country hadn’t entered the legendary ‘general mobilization’ state! I do wonder what kind of terrifying power the federation can unleash if it’s going at full blast!
“It appears that we were indeed frogs in a well who did not know the vastness of the universe outside at all before!
“Since the federation is so powerful, as long as the terms are good enough, we can certainly join it and get a few hundred starships as toys. Haha. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all!”
“It is not going to be easy to join the federation.” Meng Chixin smiled. He then touched his metal face with his metal hands, surprised that the ‘muscles’ made of super-tiny metal threads could make a ‘smiling’ expression. “I’ve been studying the political system of the federation, especially their citizenship system. It is really quite interesting.
“To be a citizen of the federation, the first measurement is ‘contribution points’, which means military credits or accomplishments in other fields. This is nothing strange. It is similar to the citizenship system in the Imperium as Heiye Lan described, except that it is not as cruel as in the Imperium and that the power of ‘citizens’ is greatly limited.
“The so-called ‘citizenship education and tests’, on the other hand, are quite interesting. Most of the procedures are conducted in a game called ‘Civilization’!
“To become a federal citizen, one must complete a certain number of quests in ‘Civilization’, play for a certain amount of time, and experience the rise and fall of hundreds of civilizations in person. They will also taste the feeling of killing a great civilization with their own hands because of a poor decision!
“According to the federation’s theory, the game of ‘Civilization’ can make the citizen candidates understand how important the vote in their hands is. It also teaches a ‘pre-citizen’ to make use of their power correctly and responsibly in order to participate in the decision of the national affairs!
“In the Ancient Sages Sector, such knowledge is definitely part of the arts of a monarch, but the Star Glory Federation is providing the arts of the monarchs for ordinary people to learn and sometimes even forcing them to. They have even made the knowledge into a game that all the ordinary people are addicted to. How unbelievable!
“It is a shame that it requires a residential number of the Star Glory Federation to connect to the Spiritual Nexus and experience the whole content of the game of ‘Civilization’. In the Dragon Snake Space Zone, we can only play the… castrated version, which is a complete waste of time.
“After we find our way into the federation and get ourselves a few residential numbers, I will absolutely try to taste the feeling of picking up the arts of monarchs with games!”
“The Star Glory Federation’s attitude toward the spectral Cultivators seems very nice, too!” Mother White Lotus Wan Mingzhu shrieked. “The ‘Affirmative Action for Ghosts’ was enacted two hundred years ago. Now, the Nether World Sector has been established as a paradise for spectral Cultivators. Super rune arrays to block the radiation and protect the soul have been set up in the atmosphere of the planet of the Nether World Sector. If a spectral Cultivator is to live in the Nether World Sector, their longevity will be lengthened by decades. I’m almost tempted to stay in the Star Glory Federation now!”
Han Baling, a firm believer of classical militarism, snorted and said, “The Star Glory Federation is only good enough if it can resist the scourge of the army of the Imperium! I have studied the system and situation of the federation profoundly over the past few days, too, especially the problems in the federation. I found that the federation has too many hidden issues.
“It is needless to mention the conflicts between Skyfire and the Patriots Front. There’s also the rightful government of the Star Ocean Republic, which is quite a hot potato.
“On the surface, the ‘rightful government’ and the ‘Star Glory Federation’ are both civilizations of Cultivators. But as the saying goes, two tigers cannot live on the same mountain. It is exactly because their ideology is the same that some problems have become too subtle to be resolved.
“It is said that, before Firefly arrived, the Star Glory Federation thought that the Star Ocean Republic was long gone and regarded itself as the ‘successor of the spirit of the Star Ocean Imperium and the Star Ocean Republic’, which was certainly a justifiable title during their rise in the universe. Even if it was to march to the center of the cosmos someday, the title would also be a great, legitimate slogan!
“However, it never occurred to them that a ‘government-in-exile’ had fled on Firefly, which threw the Star Glory Federation into an awkward situation!
“Firefly has its own officials and system of the ‘rightful government’ on board, which takes the Star Glory Federation as a local armed force and hopes that the Star Glory Federation will accept the command of the ‘rightful government’ and even aid the rightful government in marching back to the center of the cosmos one day, helping the Star Ocean Republic with its resurrection!
“Well… To use some slang from the local area, those people have too much water in their brain. How can the federation accept such a deal?
“The federation intends to swallow Firefly and absorb the ‘rightful government’ into the federation. Then, the federation’s ‘legitimacy’ to march into the center of the cosmos will be beyond doubt! If, one day, the federation is truly developed enough to attack the homeland of the Imperium, the slogan will certainly be quite effective for many Sectors that are on the fence!
“The two parties are at an impasse right now. In general, the federation is certainly much more powerful than Firefly. However, Firefly does have legs. Having fled for a thousand years, they are like shocked birds who are always prepared to flee for another thousand years.
“Therefore, instead of staying in any of the seven Sectors in the federation, Firefly has been docked near the Dragon Snake Space Zone and trading with the federation through the platform, because it fears that it will be swallowed by the federation!
“Join the Star Glory Federation or not? The issue is not agreed upon on Firefly. It is said that those in favor and those who disagree are arguing hard, unable to reach a decision even though the army of the Imperium is drawing near.
“This could be a fatal wound for the overall strategy of the Star Glory Federation. The situation of the federation is not as simple as it appears. Undercurrents are flowing everywhere with many hidden problems!”
Wu Suiyun, the other Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivator, smiled. “We don’t have to place our bet in a hurry. The federation does have a lot of problems, but from the biographies of the leadership of the federation I’ve read in the past days, the figures such as Ding Lingdang or Jin Xinyue are all extraordinary talents. I believe that they certainly have solutions. Not to mention that there’s still Vulture Li Yao, Monster Li. Tsk, tsk, tsk. If such a person has been training in seclusion and manipulating everything in darkness all this time, a tiny Firefly will certainly not…”
Somebody knocked on the door.
Li Yao walked in with the latest camouflage.
All the Cultivators in the room were dazed.
“Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture, you are—”
Li Yao was wearing a sloppy, linen shirt and a pair of red-and-green beach pants, with two slippers that were spluttering noisily on his feet.
“The best way to hide is to hide among the people. Is there a problem?”
After speaking to Long Yangjun that day, he had completely let go of his burden. Instead of considering too much, he was back to his true self.
Sucking the smoothie in his hands, he looked at everyone innocently.
Before the experts realized what was going on, they were distracted by a graceful person who walked into the room behind Li Yao in casual clothes.
“Long Yangjun?” Mother White Lotus Wan Mingzhu exclaimed before she paused and asked in surprise, “… Lord Wang?”
“Excuse me.” Long Yangjun responded with the voice of ‘Lead Eunuch’ Wang Xi.
The many experts were all dazed, especially Han Baling and Qi Changsheng who were among the ‘Four Rapscallions’ like Long Yangjun. They were all amused. “I didn’t know that Lord Wang’s camouflage would be so immaculate. No wonder Lord Wang was not harmed at all when all the Cultivators in the Great Qian Dynasty were hunting you!
Thoughtfully, Meng Chixin asked, “Nobody is hunting Lord Wang right now. Why are you disguising yourself, Lord Wang?”
“It’s simple.” Long Yangjun restored her crisp voice. “Ding Lingdang and Jin Xinyue, the two most critical targets in the Star Glory Federation, are both women. We will have to deal with them sometime later. Approaching them as a woman may bring us unexpected benefits. Senior Wu Suiyun and Fellow Cultivator Wan Mingzhu here are both spectral Cultivators. It may not be convenient for them in many environments. Since I am good at such secret arts, I feel obliged to take the responsibility.”