“I’ll make a judgement myself whether or not to count on you,” Li Yao said solemnly. “What other conclusions have you made?”
“All in all,” Long Yangjun said, “after the four new Sectors were discovered one after another, the federation’s expansion—oops, I slipped up again—the federation’s ‘assimilation’ temporarily reached its limit. It was already full and needed to take some time to slowly digest the four new worlds. Then, the Dim Moon Squad, as the sharpest claw, lost its place. Guo Chunfeng, the conservative and experienced director of the Secret Sword Bureau, and Jin Xinyue, the aggressive, ambitious operational manager of the Secret Sword Bureau and the founder of the Dim Moon Squad, had a heated argument.
“The final outcome of the disagreement was that the Dim Moon Squad was fired as a whole, and Jin Xinyue left the Secret Sword Bureau, too. Later, with the support of many big shots of the major sects and the entire Blood Demon Sector, she was elected as the minister of the Ministry of Equality and Development in the federation and recruited the Dim Moon Squad again as a secret armed force that was directly under the command of the ministry.
“Right. The very existence of the Dim Moon Squad seems to be the fuse of the contradiction between Jin Xinyue and Ding Lingdang. The Dim Moon Fund often stirs up trouble in the four new worlds, which Ding Lingdang’s Patriots Front consider to be its own base. One of them is trying to deal with all the troublemakers as quickly and thunderously as possible, while the other is hoping to resolve the issues through gentler approaches like a spring breeze. The contradiction between the two parties has slowly developed due to the times of minor friction.
“That’s basically all the information we have right now. Do you have any questions, Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture?”
Scratching his head, Li Yao felt that his brain was twenty times bigger than usual. He could not help but have a weird feeling that he was a leader of a family whose previously obedient children had now grown into rogues. After a long pause, he said, “Well, about that. Their competition of routes is none of my business. It is perfectly normal that not everyone thinks the same way. I don’t know the first thing about politics. Therefore, the issues might as well be left to the professionals to deal with. I only want to know one thing. Did Jin Xinyue’s Dim Moon Squad do anything… outrageous in their secret operations in the past decades?”
“What do you mean by ‘outrageous’? If you are asking whether or not they are saints who abide by the law dutifully and are willing to sacrifice their everything for the people of the federation, then I must regretfully tell you that they are not.”
Li Yao coughed. “That’s not what I was asking.”
“Got it,” Long Yangjun said. “If you meant to ask whether or not they have ever injured or killed any innocent ordinary people in their operations, I haven’t heard any reports on that so far.”
Li Yao was relieved. “That’s good.”
Long Yangjun was silent for a moment. Then she laughed in great amusement. “What? Were you worried that your good disciple had broken the boundary of the Cultivators and slid into the abyss of the Immortal Cultivators after a hundred years?”
“No.” Li Yao shook his head. “I trust my disciple. It’s not going to happen!”
“Do not be so certain,” Long Yangjun said dishearteningly. “I have carefully studied your three true disciples. If any of them is going to go against your belief, this ‘Venomous Witch’ Jin Xinyue certainly has the greatest potential!
“Look. When your first disciple Wu Mayan followed you, he was only a twelve-year-old kid in the Refinement Stage.
“When your second disciple followed you, she was not very old, and her Cultivation wasn’t high, either. Also, her mind was pure and simple, and she was entirely dedicated to the world of refining.
“The beliefs of your first two disciples were not entire fixed, and their worldview had yet to be completely established. After they followed you and were edified by you, they were certainly heavily influenced by you and would never betray you.
“What about Jin Xinyue?
“When she followed you, she was already an expert in the demon king stage. A demon king, by the standard of the Cultivators, equals to the Core Formation Stage. That’s already rare enough!
“The belief and outlook of a high-level Cultivator in the Core Formation Stage are basically fixed. It is practically impossible for them to be swayed by the outside world.
“Also, in the past hundred years, the burden on Jin Xinyue’s shoulders has actually been terribly heavy. The Red Tide Plan seemed magnificent, but if nobody worked hard to push it forward prudently, it could only stay on paper!
“Jin Xinyue was exactly such a pusher. On one hand, she had to suppress the ambitious schemers within the demon race who were simmering in impatience, sometimes even by butchering her own people. On the other hand, she had to negotiate with the big shots of the various important sects in the federation, in order to fight for the petty benefits for the demon race. She has essentially struggled forward in a tiny gap while she pushed the Red Tide Plan forward. Tsk, tsk, sk. Even I want to clap for her!
“Under such circumstances, even if she slightly broke the boundary of the Cultivators and betrayed your belief, it would still be quite understandable. She is not a natural-born Cultivator but transformed from the demon race after all!”
Li Yao was silent for a moment, and his voice gradually became cold. “Long Yangjun, I don’t know what kind of secret reason you are fomenting trouble between me and my disciple for, or maybe you are trying to shake my belief. However, I believe in my disciple in any case. I trust that she will not betray me or the boundary of the Cultivators!”
“Make no mistake.” Li Yao’s graveness made Long Yangjun laugh even more mysteriously. “You think that I’m fomenting trouble between you two? You couldn’t be more wrong. I only said so much because I truly do admire Jin Xinyue.
“What’s bad about betrayal? Every excellent disciple will betray their master one day. Every strong son will defeat his father one day!
“The civilization of mankind is one founded on ‘betrayal’ in the first place. The Pangu civilization created the civilization of mankind, but human beings betrayed Pangu. The Nuwa civilization used to guide and assist the civilization of mankind, sparing no efforts, but what scatters the universe today are only human beings without any trace of the Nuwa Clan. Why is that?
“Perhaps, ‘betrayal’ is the irreversible gene that has been branded into the deepest part of the cells of human beings. Only when you doubt will you betray, only when you betray will you transcend, and only when you transcend will you evolve. Betrayal is the highest virtue of the civilization of mankind!
“What, were you hoping to see three conforming, imitative disciples who have never jumped out of your guidelines after a hundred years? Do you not want your disciples to create a new path and bring some… surprises that are more interesting? Even I, as an outsider, still look forward to Jin Xinyue’s performance!”
“My instincts were right,” Li Yao said gloomily. “You are truly dangerous. What are you exactly?”
“A spectator,” Long Yangjun said with a smile. “I have never lied to you since the very beginning. I’m truly doing nothing but quietly observing.”
Li Yao knew that Long Yangjun would never answer his question properly even if he pursued.
The situation seemed very clear. The technical staff and the administrational staff on Firefly had a conflict. The technical staff intended to raise a motion to integrate into the federation, but the administrational staff had extinguished the endeavor in advance with their advantage in parliament. It was not very complicated.
It was inappropriate for the federal government to meddle openly considering the subtle situation. Was it for that reason that Jin Xinyue’s Dim Moon Fund had been deployed? Nothing more?
Li Yao pondered for a moment and slapped his thigh.
How could it be so simple?
The turbulence that he was involved in always had much more unpredictable twists and turns!
However, Li Yao had absolutely trust in his disciple. He believed that she would certainly persist in the boundary of the Cultivators and the national interests of the federation. Now that Tang Xiaoxing had fallen to Jin Xinyue’s hands, her safety was certainly not going to be a problem. It seemed unnecessary for him to make redundant plans and disrupt Jin Xinyue’s arrangement. All he needed to do was observe in silence.
A disciple should cater to the master’s needs. Should he take a rest this time and simply watch his disciples save the world while sitting in the darkness?
While pondering, Li Yao said to Long Yangjun, “Alright. Cut the cr*p. With everything we know, it’s best that we stick to the original plan and see what is going to happen!”
“Well, it does not seem very likely,” Long Yangjun replied. “The fellow Cultivators here gleaned some interesting information just now. Knowing that Firefly and the Chamber of Commerce have some big operations in Fish Dragon City tonight, the fellow Cultivators discussed enthusiastically and came up with quite a lot of new plans. They cannot wait to intervene now.”
“…” Li Yao.
“Don’t blame yourself. This is not your problem. Meng Chixin and Wu Suiyun, the two Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators, are not idiots. It is an utter mess out there as if a war will erupt soon. Even if you didn’t propose this, they still would have captured a few people to figure out what was going on. After they grasped the basic situation, they would naturally have tried to hold Tang Xiaoxing in our hands so that we can expect to make connections with the government-in-exile of the Star Ocean Republic through her and eventually enter the federation as the representatives of the government-in-exile. That is your plan, too, right? It is not a very difficult plan. If you can come up with that, they and I are certainly enough to come up with the plan, too. Great minds think alike!”
Li Yao felt that cold sweat was pouring off his head. “Nobody is blaming himself. Hey. Can you ask the fellow Cultivators to hold back their techniques for one second and stop yelling and shouting? Let’s stay cool and keep a low profile!”
“We are very calm and low-key,” Long Yangjun said. “The fellow Cultivators here are calmly considering exactly how we can calmly get Tang Xiaoxing, how we can calmly sneak into Firefly, how we can calmly become the envoys of the government-in-exile, and how we can calmly enter the core area of the federation.”
“Why didn’t you bring up such important issues earlier?”
“Just now, you were only asking me stuff about the ‘Dim Moon Squad’. Then you were vilifying me, saying that I was fomenting trouble between you and your disciple. Did I have a chance to tell you? Besides, I think that it is quite a good plan myself. At least, it is much better than the plan to move to the bottom level of the federation as common Cultivators through all kinds of disguises!”
Li Yao cursed silently in his heart.
A series of earthshaking noises and explosions suddenly echoed up ahead. The quickly expanding fireballs were almost pumping up the air of the area. It suddenly got extremely hot and suffocating!
Jin Xinyue’s Dim Moon Squad had engaged the pursuers again!