“Excellent!” Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar’s voice echoed in the communication channel.
Back in the Ancient Sages Sector, Ba Xiaoyu had always been a sloppy, rogue warrior who acted on his own. Sometimes, to serve justice—say, when investigating the evil criminals such as the Black Devil Cult—he would often have to camouflage himself and sneak into the enemy’s nest. It was a business that he was quite familiar with. One might even say that he was the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator of the twelve experts from the Ancient Sages Sector who was the best at the arts of infiltration other than Long Yangjun and Li Yao.
“We have basically finished exploring the external defenses and weaknesses of Firefly, and we have located the most suitable place to attack. As long as you figure out the location of the internal critical parts and the distribution of soldiers, we will be able to march into the starship unstoppably, Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture!”
Li Yao was slightly dazed. “So fast?”
Firefly was made of hundreds of starships, large and small, that were connected together. Its external structure was as complicated as a maze. Also, the experts of the Ancient Sages Sector had barely fought in the vacuum in space before. Li Yao had expected them to take at least half a day to finish the reconnaissance!
“We’ve got Heiye Lan!” Ba Xiaoyu said. “Don’t forget that she attacked Firefly almost ten years ago. If ‘Blazing Tyrannosaur’ Ding Lingdang hadn’t stopped her, I’m afraid that she would’ve long conquered Firefly. Naturally, she knows the fatal weaknesses of the starship.
“Of course, we didn’t inform Heiye Lan of our entire plan, but after she learned that we are going to assault the key part of Firefly, was there any reason for her not to help us make plans and contribute all her wisdom?”
“Everything is absolutely fine on our side. But as for you, Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture…” Meng Chixin’s thoughtful voice came over. “It is indeed a tedious task to sneak into Firefly in secret and pretend to be Professor Luo De. If the battle succeeds in the end, Fellow Cultivator Spiritual Vulture, you will certainly be the greatest contributor!”
Li Yao blinked and said, “It’s all thanks to Lord Wang’s thorough planning and the vivid skin mask that he has carefully prepared for me. I am merely carrying out his plan exactly as he said. I cannot take the credit of the greatest contributor.
“Besides, Professor Luo De is best known for his nonchalance and his weird temper. He is quite taciturn and unfriendly, and he has been locked in his own refining workshop to study for years. He barely sets foot in the outside world. Other people do not visit him in his refining workshop often, either. If I pretend to be such a guy for only a couple of minutes, it will be practically impossible for me to be seen through even if I want to be!
“However, in case anything goes wrong, I’m going to stay here and continue pretending to be Professor Luo De. If a student or a fellow refiner drops by but fails to find him, our clever trick will be ruined!
“All in all, the real infiltration and rescue operation will depend on you fellow Cultivators.”
“Rest assured.” Ba Xiaoyu smiled. “We have nine Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and two Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators here. Won’t it be hilarious if we cannot break into a prison and rescue a few people after learning the structure of the starship’s core and the distribution of soldiers?”
Li Yao realized that it did make sense. Different from the past, he was not by himself this time and had the support of the most deluxe assault team in perhaps the hundreds of lightyears nearby. Did he really need to attack in person with such a lineup?
Therefore, he might as well work as the ‘magical equipment director’ comfortably without thinking about anything else!
“Then, I’ll be waiting for the good news from you, fellow Cultivators.” Li Yao smiled. “I’ll provide remote support with magical equipment for you, and the latest map of the core area will be updated when anything changes and sent to your tactical crystal processors immediately.
“With your capabilities, fellow Cultivators, it should be more than simple to rescue Captain Tang. However, I hope that we all keep our purpose in mind. We must not make a huge fuss or deal irreversible damage to Firefly. We are here to save, not to kill. We are here to gain the government-in-exile’s trust, not hostility! If we really turn Firefly upside down, we might catch the attention of the Star Glory Federation, which will go against the original purpose of the mission!”
“Of course,” Meng Chixin said solemnly. “The operation will be simple, but the critical requirement of the mission is to rescue the prisoners quietly without alarming anyone and without exposing the real capabilities of the twelve of us. Other than Captain Tang and the few of his fellows, it would be best if nobody else learned of our existence. No blood should be shed if possible. Try to keep a low profile as much as possible!”
“Yes. Keep a low file as much as possible!”
Li Yao talked with everybody for a while longer before he cut off the communication.
He warmed up his body and stretched his arms comfortably. Snapping his fingers, he made himself a hot cup of tea through remote manipulation techniques.
It felt great that the only thing he needed to do was planning, and a bunch of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators would be leading the charge and accomplishing the mission for him. It seemed that he had to change his mindset and his habits as soon as possible. He was now a magical equipment director and an off-duty clerk who worked in an office. The tiresome work such as fighting and killing should simply be given to other Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivators!
Li Yao sipped the tea in great comfort. Then, whistling the old songs from more than a hundred years, he continued browsing Professor Luo De’s refining logs lightheartedly.
A lot of the refining arts from the center of the cosmos were worth studying, too!
Right then, his eardrum was vibrating softly again.
It was Long Yangjun.
Li Yao frowned and softly said, “What’s going on?”
“Nothing’s going on,” Long Yangjun said with a smile. “There’s no need for you to be so secretive, either. Right now, everybody is doing investigation separately. I’m using the private communication channel, so they won’t hear anything.
“I’m only calling you to say ‘you’re welcome’. I did not do any planning at all. Weren’t you the one who came up with the whole scheme in only one hour? Tsk, tsk, tsk. The great heroes are truly worthy of their name. Before, you appeared to be silly every day, and I found it hard to understand how exactly you became the ‘dominator of the three Sectors’. Only now, as you’ve revealed part of your capabilities, could I begin to imagine the charisma of Vulture Li Yao that you had a hundred years ago!”
“Wait!” Li Yao spat out the tea leaves. “What do you mean by ‘silly every day’?”
“Not important,” Long Yangjun said. “There’s one thing that I would like to figure out. Why were you so sure that no surveillance cameras were installed inside Professor Luo De’s refining workshop? If anybody was monitoring him in real time, wouldn’t your whole plan have fallen apart?”
“There can’t be any surveillance cameras,” Li Yao declared confidently. “No master of refining could ever tolerate their procedures of refining being monitored the whole time. It concerns not only confidentiality but also… their pride.”
“Pride?” Long Yangjun was slightly dazed. “I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t. This is something that only the refiners share.” Li Yao thought for a moment and said, “Let me put it this way. For refiners, especially the seasoned refiners who have gained enough expertise, every piece of magical equipment that they craft is like their own baby. So, the question becomes this. Would you install a surveillance camera above your bed to allow somebody else to monitor the whole process of you making a baby?”
“That explains a lot.” Long Yangjun was deep in thought. “That is why you chose Professor Luo De as the breaching point.”
“Exactly,” Li Yao said calmly. “I’m not a man who likes boasting, but when it comes to crawling through ventilation tubes, in the thousand square lightyears nearby, who could claim to be the best if I said that I’m only the second best? I know after only a quick glance what ventilation tube can be crawled through and what ones cannot be!
“All the tubes in the areas around Speaker Cui Lingfeng, Captain Tang Dingyuan, and the other important people are heavily defended. Not just a normal human being, even a mutated cockroach wouldn’t be able to crawl in!
“Professor Luo De is the only one who is a relatively crucial person but has a working workshop that is outside of the core area. Where should I have begun from if not this place? It’s simple logic!”
“It seems that it was the right decision to cooperate with you.” Long Yangjun smiled. “You are quite professional at what you are doing.”
“Then, let’s hope that you can be professional, too,” Li Yao said. “You must get the situation under control. They are all used to killing and slaughtering in the Ancient Sages Sector. It will be very easy for them to turn the starship into an ocean of blood. This time, you must keep them cool and contained! Do not go on a rampage while they are on a killing spree or simply blow up Firefly after summoning their Colossi, in which case we will be screwed!”
“Rest assured,” Long Yangjun said. “Nothing can possibly go wrong on our end. You just sit in the refining workshop comfortably and enjoy a nice cup of tea, or do some training if you are in the mood. Just send the map and the distribution of soldiers in the core area to us and wait for the good news!”
Li Yao smiled. He was about to reply when somebody knocked on the door.
Li Yao was slightly dazed. Then, he noticed something abnormal on the surveillance light beam nearby. The red spot that was supposed to be moving toward the core area had returned!
What the heck?
Li Yao swallowed. Glancing around, he did not notice any loophole. He thought for a moment and hid most of the Cosmos Rings on his body below Professor Luo De’s desk, before he finally opened the door.
It was the old police just now, followed by four strong, ferociously-looking men in black combat suits, who stared at him without blinking their eyes.
There was obvious anger on his face, as if he were in quite a bad mood after his work was interrupted.
“Professor Luo,” the old police officer said respectfully, “your analysis report has been sent to the superiors. Speaker Cui believes that the issue is very important and would like to hear you explain the mysteries of the scarlet ball in person. May you accompany us to Speaker Cui?”
“…” Li Yao.
“Professor Luo, is there something the matter?”
“No, there isn’t. Let me go to the toilet first.”
“By all means. Please, Professor Luo.”
“Why are the two bears cramming into my toilet, too? What are they doing? Why are they staring at my penis?”
“You must not misunderstand them, Professor Luo,” the old officer said. “This is just a tradition. I trust that you won’t mind it since this concerns our national security.”