The Dim Moon Squad is losing.
In Fish Dragon City in the Dragon Snake Space Zone, Li Yao constricted and constricted his bones silently until he almost narrowed himself into a line behind a magnetic rail, where he observed the battle below him calmly.
Below him, the ever-surging fireballs were like an ocean of blossoming flowers. Now and then, a few heavily armed shuttles would be blown into pieces, which then flew crazily in midair under the blast, like the most brilliant-looking killer butterflies.
The Dim Moon Squad, a secret armed force under the Ministry of Equality and Development in the federation, was made of the most elite warriors who had weathered through the storms of blood during the decades of rapid expansion of the federation. Even the secret police from Firefly were no match for them.
However, they were in the territory of the Four Sectors Chamber of Commerce after all, and the Dim Moon Squad did not seem to have notified the Secret Sword Bureau of their operation in advance. Therefore, they did not receive the full support of their allies.
Now that their tail had been bitten by the local gangsters, Exos of the Chamber of Commerce were arriving incessantly from all directions, attempting to kill them with their sheer advantage in numbers. The Dim Moon Squad was about to be drowned in the ocean of mobs.
After a brief scuffle, hearing the rushing noises that implied that more and more crystal suits were approaching, the Dim Moon Squad was left with no choice but to continue fleeing to the port area in the southwest instead of getting rid of the pursuers behind them.
It appeared that they had a starship waiting for them in the port, and they were planning to break out of the siege after they had the target.
Li Yao was about to chase after them when something else occurred to him. He began to feel that the Dim Moon Squad’s operation was too simple and straightforward.
Since they had made plans to steal Tang Xiaoxing, there was no way that they did not know that Fish Dragon City belonged to the Four Sectors Chamber of Commerce. It was a certainty that they would be heavily besieged. ‘Break out of the siege by brute force’ did not seem like Jin Xinyue’s style.
If Jin Xinyue could only come up with such a lousy plan like ‘rob and run’ after a hundred years of training, he would have been terribly embarrassed by her as her master!
Something is wrong.
Tapping his forehead softly, Li Yao narrowed his eyes and observed the magnetic rails, the dilapidated alleys nearby, and every manhole and underground maintenance tube in the battlefield that had fallen silent abruptly after the brief engagement of the two parties just now.
Li Yao’s eyes glittered; he was onto something. Like a cluster of black mist, he snuck into the remnant of an armed shuttle that had been turned into a heap of garbage but was still burning furiously. Holding back the high temperature, he touched the entrance cover of an underground maintenance tube.
Something was indeed not right.
Such underground maintenance tube covers were usually sealed with barriers. It was impossible for normal people to open them easily.
But right now, the barriers had been modified.
Not only did someone open the cover just now, they had also established new alert rune arrays around the previous barriers. As long as the cover was opened, the alert rune arrays would send out a feeble telepathic thought that would be perceived by a certain reception array far away.
Naturally, such alert rune arrays were not a problem for Li Yao.
Three seconds later, he appeared in the underground maintenance tube. His spiritual threads spread out, and he soon discovered a lead-gray, metal box that was more than half a meter tall more than ten meters away from him.
Li Yao crossed his two fingers and snapped it softly. There was no telling what materials the metal box was made of exactly, but Li Yao felt that it could both absorb the violent shock and blast of the outside world and prevent various waves from being released internally.
Had he not been right next to the box and observing it with his naked eyes, it would have been practically impossible to detect its existence from the ground with any probe magical equipment or telepathic thoughts.
This is what I’m talking about!
Li Yao warmed up his hands and groped on the gray metal box that seemed to be immaculate and gapless. A moment ago, after a hiss, a deep blue stripe of light suddenly appeared where there had previously been no gap at all. Centered at the stripe of light, the cover glided toward two sides, revealing Tang Xiaoxing who was sleeping soundly in a cluster of gel in the fetal position.
This explains a lot. They’re pretending to be running immediately after stealing the target, drawing all the enemy’s attention. But in fact, they have hidden Tang Xiaoxing in this place, and she will soon be taken away by another team, which is the real force that should be protecting her!
Li Yao grinned. Such a plan made much more sense.
But regretfully, he needed to intervene and take Tang Xiaoxing away.
It was not because he was intentionally adding to his disciple’s trouble. The reason was simple. There was no way that Jin Xinyue could foresee, despite her wisdom, that in Fish Dragon City right now, other than Firefly, the Chamber of Commerce, the CIFA, and the Secret Sword Bureau, there was still a super deluxe lineup made of two Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators and ten Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, and this particular team had developed an interest in Tang Xiaoxing, too.
Now that Meng Chixin, Wu Suiyun, Long Yangjun, and the rest of them were planning to wade into the matter, it was hardly likely for the Dim Moon Squad to retreat with Tang Xiaoxing in one piece.
Besides, Li Yao did not want the experts of the Ancient Sages Sector to have a head-on clash with the Dim Moon Squad, in which case the situation would be beyond his control.
Now that a dangerous game seems unavoidable, I might as well be the one who throws the dice! Li Yao smiled and licked his lips, with brilliance of confidence beaming out of his eyes. This is the Star Glory Federation. This is my place. Naturally, ‘Monster Li’ should be in charge! I’ll make the ultimate call as to what game we are going to play next!
He dragged Tang Xiaoxing out of the protective gel and carried her on his shoulder as if she were a sack. Then, he bent down and moved into the depths of the maintenance tube, which was enshrouded in darkness.
Ten minutes passed.
When Tang Xiaoxing woke up, she found, to her astonishment, that she was sitting in the seat of a shuttle again. The lights and shadows outside of the window were nothing more than the night view of the prosperous Fish Dragon City.
Then, she noticed that the guy sitting next to her who was driving the shuttle casually while tapping on the light beam of a crystal processor quickly was—
“Senior Lin!” Tang Xiaoxing exclaimed in disbelief and bit her tongue to make sure that she was not dreaming. Had what she experienced a moment ago actually been an absurd nightmare that she had just woken up from?
However, the ever-dying explosions echoing far away in the night sky, as well as the shouts, curses, and shrieks that were played by the mainframe crystal processor of the shuttle, immediately brought Tang Xiaoxing back to reality.
Tang Xiaoxing discovered that the mainframe crystal processor of the shuttle seemed to have been connected to a private communication channel, in which there was nothing but the voices of the excited Exos of the Chamber of Commerce who were making tactical arrangements.
Li Yao continued tapping on the light beam. He studied the terrain of Fish Dragon City and all the information about Firefly collectable on the Spiritual Nexus, especially the internal structure of Firefly and the renowned experts on board. After sensing Tang Xiaoxing’s confusion, he explained without raising his head, “I installed a ‘gadget’ on the crystal suit of an Exo of the Four Sectors Chamber of Commerce, which allows me to hack into their tactical communication channel. Don’t be nervous.”
“You—You—I—” Tang Xiaoxing was lost for words for a moment. “You didn’t abandon me and run away?”
“We are now in the middle of an emergency. Would you please at least show some of the wisdom and resolution of the Cultivators from the center of the cosmos by not asking questions whose answers are obvious?” Li Yao said quickly. “If you are going to ask questions such as ‘who are you’ or ‘what do you want’, I suggest you don’t. I will tell you my real identity, but not now. I can only guarantee that I mean no harm to you or Firefly. Instead, I’m trying to help you and possibly make a deal with you.
“If you believe my words, we will carry on. If you feel that I have other ill intentions, you’d better check which neighborhood nearby has a better environment so that I can drop you there. That’s definitely not a problem. In my opinion, the gate of the mall over there is not half bad. All the shining neon lights are quite entertaining. Should I drop you there?”
“Don’t!” Tang Xiaoxing’s face was pale. She could not help but grab Li Yao’s arm. Recalling the nightmares just now, she took a deep breath and gritted her teeth. “I—I’m willing to believe in you, Senior Lin!”
“Very good. Then, let’s talk about our deal and how I can help you and Firefly,” Li Yao said. “But first of all, I need to decide whether or not you are of enough value to be helped and your ability to fulfil the deal. Well, we are running out of time, so I’ll just speak frankly. I believe that you must be well aware of the current situation right now. Right when you were arrested by your own people for ‘high treason’, Captain Tang Dingyuan, your father on Firefly, must’ve had the same treatment, too, if not worse. It is possible that he has been… killed.”
Tang Xiaoxing slightly shivered. Tears were rolling inside her eyes, but she tried to hold them back. Looking at her hands, she said softly but firmly, “I know!”
“But there is still another possibility, one that is even more terrible than the possibility that your father has been murdered,” Li Yao said casually. “In fact, your father, the captain of Firefly, could actually be behind the whole scheme. He could have developed clandestine ambitions decades ago and planned a shocking scheme for his seemingly grandiose and noble but in fact sordid and shameless ideology. If the scheme succeeds, it is very possible that the world will be destroyed!”
“What? How did you know that, senior?”
“This is just one of the life lessons that I have learned as a senior who has travelled in the sea of stars long enough,” Li Yao said.
“Of course, on a positive note, it is possible that your father is not scheming, and he isn’t dead yet. This is exactly what I’m asking. In your opinion, what are the odds that your father has been executed immediately after being captured by the enemy, supposedly your Speaker Cui Lingfeng? Is there any chance to rescue him now?”
Covering her face, Tang Xiaoxing took deep breaths for half a minute and cleared her mind. She shook her head. “Even if it was Speaker Cui Lingfeng who planned everything and captured my father for nonexistent crimes such as treason, it would still be impossible to execute him immediately.
“The Star Ocean Republic has an open and just parliamentary system after all. Speaker Cui is not a powerful dictator. It is impossible for him to secretly capture and execute the captain of Firefly, a leader who is second only to himself. Even interrogation is barely an option.
“It’s very likely that my father is still alive, but he must be in custody!”