Li Yao’s lips twitched. “The federation will not wrong any hero that has made contributions to her, especially the anonymous heroes on the secret frontline!”
Long Yangjun chuckled. “Maybe. However, most of the ‘cleaners’ of the Dim Moon Squad had been engaged in the most clandestine and the dirtiest intelligence work during the decades when the federation and the four new Sectors were integrating. Most of them were heavily wounded and left with a lot of diseases, both physically and mentally. They had been turned into machines of slaughter and destruction in the black war. Even if such people were true heroes, it was impossible for them to go back to society and live a normal life like normal veterans, right?”
Li Yao nodded. “What became of the ‘cleaners’ of the Dim Moon Squad eventually?”
“Opinions were greatly divided within the Secret Sword Bureau as to the arrangement for the Dim Moon Squad or the ‘Cleaning Division’,” Long Yangjun said. “It is said that even the leadership of the Secret Sword Bureau had quite a huge argument. But eventually, all the cleaners of the Dim Moon Squad were still relieved of their duty. A special ‘Dim Moon Fund’ was established to take care of their lives after retirement, ensuring that they would not worry about their income. It would be absolutely fine even if they spent the subsidies in the most extravagant way.”
Li Yao was relieved. “Isn’t that good?”
“No. Not at all,” Long Yangjun said. “We are all high-level Cultivators. Try to stand in their shoes. Is extravagancy enough to satisfy you, Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture?”
Li Yao was slightly dazed. He gradually frowned and mumbled, “You do have a point. For those above the Core Formation Stage, materialistic needs are basically no longer a problem. What they need is the sense of gratification and the acknowledgement of the general public. Or rather, they desire to carry out their beliefs and expand their ideology to the entire sea of stars!
“However, speaking of which, what was the belief or the ideology of the Dim Moon Squad?”
“We have yet to find out such specific details,” Long Yangjun said. “All in all, soon after the Dim Moon Fund was founded, it was taken in by another department of the government and continued carrying out the missions that were inappropriate for the government, the federal army, or the Secret Sword Bureau to be involved in. Many of the powerful sects chose to maintain their interests in the new worlds through the Dim Moon Fund, too.
“You may understand it this way. Right now, the Star Glory Federation has two intelligence agencies, one in daylight and the other in the dark. The one in daylight is the Secret Sword Bureau, an open, public agency that focuses on defense and homeland security. You can find the headquarters of the Secret Sword Bureau in the capital city of the federation. Guo Chunfeng, the director of the Secret Sword Bureau, is among the leadership of the federation and often show up in the media. As time passes by, the files and archives of the secret operations of the Secret Sword Bureau in the past decades have gradually been unclassified and released to the public.
“Open, bright, with a focus on security and defense. What a perfect and flawless intelligence agency!
“But in the dark, there is also a ‘nonexistent intelligence agency’, which is the Dim Moon Fund. It is a mysterious and cold organization that focuses on attack. You can never find its name on the list of the departments in the federal government. It is a taboo for civil funds, too. The leadership of the federation will never acknowledge the existence of such an organization or endorse any of the operations that the organization conducts. But it exists in reality nonetheless and has infiltrated to the dark and bloody corners that the federal army and the Secret Sword Bureau cannot reach!”
Li Yao was silent for a moment. “Alright. I understand it now.”
“No, you don’t.” Long Yangjun chuckled again. “Do you want to know who the founder and first commander of the Dim Moon Squad and who the biggest supporter of the Dim Moon Fund is? Do you have any idea why your good disciple Jin Xinyue has been nicknamed the ‘Venomous Witch’?”
Li Yao blinked quickly. “It can’t be true.”
“What? Are you questioning the capabilities of the true disciple of the ‘dominator of the three Sectors’?” Long Yangjun said quickly. “A hundred years ago, when the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector were still at war, there was a secret agency named ‘Saintess Palace’ under the ‘Pantheon of Demons’, which was essentially the government of the Blood Demon Sector. It was responsible for raising the saintesses for the Pantheon of Demons. I believe that you are well aware of that, right?”
When he and Jin Xinyue first met, Jin Xinyue had been one of the ‘saintesses’ of the Pantheon of Demons. She had been sent to the ‘Saintess Palace’ by her father, Jin Tuyi, to receive the harshest and most professional training for a saintess, which was a combination of a female assassin, a female spy, and a female special agent.
During the two hundred years after the Blood Demon Sector and the Heaven’s Origin Sector discovered each other, the Blood Demon Sector had been at an advantage in the battlefield and suppressed the Heaven’s Origin Sector. Therefore, the ‘Saintess Palace’ was fundamentally different from the ‘Secret Sword Bureau’ even though it was also an intelligence agency.
The Saintess Palace focused more on attack. Its purpose was to send more demon agents into the federation for all kinds of sabotage missions as preparation for the Blood Demon Sector’s overwhelming suppression and even invasion into the Heaven’s Origin Sector.
The Secret Sword Bureau focused on defense. Its main work was to find the demon spies who had snuck into the country and caused great trouble.
If the Secret Sword Bureau could be compared to the solidest shield of the federation, the Saintess Palace would be the sharpest spear that the Blood Demon Sector thrust at the Heaven’s Origin Sector brutally!
“Because the Blood Demon Sector’s surrender was conditional and Jin Tuyi, Jin Xinyue’s father and the former commander of the coalition army of demons, took most responsibility for the war crimes, and considering the imminent threat of the expedition army of the Imperium, the system of the Blood Demon Sector was not changed drastically, at least not until Jin Xinyue raised her cleavers toward her own people,” Long Yangjun said. “The Saintess Palace, as a training camp for the intelligence personnel of the demons, was also kept under a different name and fell into Jin Xinyue’s hands.
“Jin Xinyue was herself a ‘saintess’ in the beginning. Naturally, she knew every detail about the ‘Saintess Palace’. On one hand, she implemented reforms on the surface with Skyfire as her reliance. On the other hand, she established the first batch of personal soldiers who were absolutely loyal to her through the ‘Saintess Palace’. Based on the personal soldiers, she eradicated any dissidents within the demon race in the most coldhearted and ruthless way. In the decades that followed, she changed the Blood Demon Sector in an unprecedented way!
“While the Blood Demon Sector was completely integrated into the federation, she also achieved what even her father, Jin Tuyi, failed to achieve—the absolute control over the Blood Demon Sector!”
Li Yao took a deep breath in relief, not knowing how he should comment.
Long Yangjun smiled and said, “I actually like this Jin Xinyue very much. Do introduce her to me in the future! Let’s keep going. While Jin Xinyue reformed the Blood Demon Sector mercilessly, she also slowly marched to the center of power of the federation. She traded some interests of the Blood Demon Sector for the appreciation of many big shots in the federation. Finally, she entered the Secret Sword Bureau.
“It was because the main focus of the Secret Sword Bureau was to resolve problems that had occurred during the unification of the three Sectors, especially the unification of the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector. Most of the problems were actually caused by the disobedient demons. Therefore, Jin Xinyue, as a saintess from the demon race, was the perfect person to address the issues.
“Jin Xinyue did an excellent job. She soon rose to power in the Secret Sword Bureau and became the commander in charge of the field operations after only twenty years.
“At that time, the first new Sector was discovered, and in the foreseeable future, more Sectors would be discovered, too. The focus of the Secret Sword Bureau needed to shift from interior to exterior, from defense to attack, which was a situation that the traditional agents of the Secret Sword Bureau had never run into before.”
Li Yao thought for a moment and realized that Long Yangjun did have a point.
For example, Guo Chunfeng was the most distinguished Secret Sword Agent of the Secret Sword Bureau who had competed with him multiple times a hundred years ago and resolved the ‘Riot of Patriots’ together with him in the end.
At that time, Guo Chunfeng, known as ‘the strongest Core Formation Stage Cultivator’ with quadruple talents, would not necessarily have been on the losing side even if he encountered a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator. He also almost caught Li Yao’s tail many times during the hunting operation.
But it was also true that Guo Chunfeng was better at defense than attack. He worked better as a cat that caught rats than as a rat that snuck into a place and sabotaged it in secret. His character, which was relatively conservative and reliable, made him the best candidate to defend the homeland security of the federation. However, it was not entirely suitable for the brand-new strategy of the federation… ‘expansion’ in the universe!
“Do you get it now?” Long Yangjun said. “It was the Secret Sword Bureau’s tradition to highlight defense, but the traditional style of the ‘Saintess Palace’ was to attack, infiltrate, damage, pry, and slaughter. Since Jin Xinyue was the operational director of the Secret Sword Bureau, she naturally recalled her old subordinates to face the new situation.
“Therefore, the ‘Saintess Palace’, which previously belonged to the Pantheon of Demons in the Blood Demon Sector—after decades of changing, reforming, and moving—turned into the ‘fourth division of the Secret Sword Bureau’. It is externally known as the ‘Division of Logistics and Cleaning’ and internally known as the ‘Dim Moon Squad’. Many of its original members carried the bloodlines of demons. Jin Xinyue herself was the first commander.
“The Dim Moon Squad in the beginning was perhaps only a temporary agency that was established to resolve a certain special incident or to finish a stubborn and yet heinous enemy. However… after four new Sectors were discovered in a row in only decades, and to completely combine the available resources and unify the people of the old worlds and the new ones before the army of the Imperium arrives, such ‘special incidents’ must’ve been happening on a daily basis. Therefore, in the decades after it was established, the scale, capability, and power of the Dim Moon Squad rose until it was too big and influential to get rid of!”
Li Yao took a deep breath. “Wait. I don’t think that it is possible to figure out so much inside information in only ten minutes, is it?”
“Hehe. I’ve been caught.” Long Yangjun chuckled. “Not bad. That information is the conclusion I made based on the files I collected a few days ago and the details that I asked just now with consideration of some of my own experience in the past. It shouldn’t be far from the truth. You can certainly count on me!”