Surrounded by four muscular men in black in the middle, Li Yao walked to a vacuum tube shuttle that was used for internal transportation on the starship through a narrow pathway under the lead of the old officer.
His face seemed to be tranquil and even slightly impatient, but behind his disguise was a tiny bit of anxiety.
Li Yao was not worried that the enemy had already seen through his disguise, but he was not confident that they would never see through it. He had not made enough preparations before he pretended to be Professor Luo De. It was impossible for him to be perfect. If he had stayed in the refining workshop, he might have been able to fool those who had come to pay a visit, but if he was to face the Speaker of the government-in-exile, God only knew when he would give himself away!
Li Yao touched the lines on his fingertip. His fingerprint and iris had been changed into Professor Luo De’s, but there was no way that he could pass blood and gene tests.
He could not hope that the enemy’s security measures were not so rigorous.
Naturally, Li Yao was not concerned about his own safety. He was still hiding the Cosmos Rings that stored the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit and the Colossus inside his body through secret techniques, and he could summon them for a huge fight anytime. However, the last thing he wanted to happen right now was a huge fight. He was hoping to bind Firefly and the Ancient Sages Sector to the tank that was the Star Glory Federation so that everybody could deal with the Imperium side by side. He did not want the three parties to be mired in delirious mayhem before the army of the Imperium arrived!
Calm down. It might not be so serious. I’m only going to interpret the mysteries of the tracking magical equipment for Cui Lingfeng, the Speaker of the government-in-exile. It is also a chance for me to observe Cui Lingfeng. Maybe the trip is not going to be as bad as I imagined!
Two indifferent-looking female officers were standing next to the vacuum shuttle. Each of them was holding a fingerprint scanner. They asked Li Yao to put his ten fingers on the machine for scanning. One of them also searched Li Yao’s body up and down with a glowing stick. Two Cosmos Rings were found by the officer, both of which had been taken off Professor Luo De’s fingers by Li Yao earlier, thankfully!
“Professor Luo, please allow us to take care of your Cosmos Rings for now. They will be given back to you when you return.”
The old officer opened the door and slightly bowed, extending his hand toward Li Yao.
Li Yao sniffed. With slight dissatisfaction, he bashed the two Cosmos Rings into the officer’s palm before he bent his back and got onto the shuttle.
The four bear-like officers of the secret police crammed in from the two sides. Altogether, they weighed more than five hundred kilograms. The entire shuttle was filled up. Li Yao’s slim, hunched body, being squeezed to the center by them, was like a toothpick in the middle of four eggs.
The shuttle had been specially modified. It was pitch black outside of the window. Even telepathic thoughts could not be sent out. The vehicle was running very steadily, too, making it impossible to tell whether it was rushing at a high speed or absolutely still the whole time.
Li Yao counted in his heart silently. One minute and twenty-nine seconds after he entered the sealed shuttle, the blockage between the passengers’ side and the cockpit was suddenly lifted. A passenger seated in the front slowly turned around.
The man’s face was particularly broad. It was also square and healthily red, making him look handsome and dominating. He was wearing a mustard-seed, dark-silver protective suit made of such rare materials that even Li Yao had never seen before. He was sitting there like a king.
It was exactly Cui Lingfeng, the Speaker of the government-in-exile of the Star Ocean Republic and the nominal supreme leader of Firefly, whose appearance Tang Xiaoxing had described for Li Yao before!
The most powerful man on Firefly was right next to him. Li Yao’s heart was beating one percent faster than before. Fourteen plans in which he could control Speaker Cui in three seconds popped up in his head.
However, after considering carefully for a moment, he still decided to wait and watch. The situation was still unclear. There was no need to act recklessly.
Li Yao pretended to be slightly dazed and nodded unhumbly.
Professor Luo De was a master of refining who could be counted as an expert. He was an arrogant and taciturn guy, too. Therefore, there was no need for Li Yao to respond too earnestly when he saw the leader of the parliament.
As he expected, Speaker Cui did not care about Li Yao’s indifferent attitude at all. His short, thick hands were playing with the ‘stick’ that Li Yao had carefully crafted. Then, he handed it back and smiled. “We’re in the middle of an emergency. So, we’ll just have the meeting in the shuttle. I’m told that you are a top specialist in terms of super-minute carving. You were the one who analyzed the tracking magical equipment. Is the item’s precision and performance as high as you wrote in the analysis report?”
“Of course!” Li Yao snatched the ‘stick’ and caressed it in his hands affectionately. Infinite passionate beamed out of his eyes as he said, “It is much more than a piece of tracking magical equipment; it is a super tiny gadget with tracking, localization, and scanning functions. The materials it is made of, the almost five hundred kind of rune arrays it adopts, the seven-layered-tower architecture, and the distribution and organization of all the rune arrays… almost all the details are impeccable!”
Speaker Cui did not stop Li Yao from giving his speech. Therefore, Li Yao could only go on explaining it feverishly, his saliva darting out. He even dissected the few layers of the metal shell at the periphery in person and then assembled them again. Thankfully, it was a piece of magical equipment that he had crafted himself, and he had carefully studied Professor Luo De’s style of refining just now, which allowed him to conduct the whole analysis through similar approaches.
Naturally, after that, the enemy would be even less suspicious about his identity. After all, such professional dissection and assembly of super-minute magical equipment could never have been completed so fluently and flawlessly if he was not a great expert in the field.
“So to speak, it is true that the super-tiny magical equipment is extremely sophisticated?”
Tapping the rail, Speaker Cui said thoughtfully, “Then, according to your judgement, Professor Luo De, who else is capable of producing such a piece of magical equipment other than yourself?”
“None, myself included,” Li Yao explained. “It is not about the proficiency of techniques and technologies but about the difference of materials and style.
“If asked to produce a piece of tracking, localization, and scanning magical equipment of similar size and functionality, perhaps another few refiners and I would manage to accomplish the task in a couple of days. However, the materials we adopt, the rune arrays we carve, the distribution of the rune arrays, and so on would be highly different from what is on this particular piece of magical equipment.
“Many materials adopted by the magical equipment might not be found on Firefly and even in the Star Glory Federation. The designing principle and the spiritual energy circuits of many rune arrays are also the opposite of our style and even theory in the past.
“I dare say that the magical equipment was not crafted on Firefly by any Cultivator on board.”
Professor Luo De frequently said ‘I dare say’, which Li Yao had copied.
Speaker Cui nodded and continued his questioning. “Then, who do you think is the most likely producer of the magical equipment? The Imperium, the federation, or the Covenant Alliance?”
“I don’t know.” Li Yao shook his head and pretended to reply dutifully. “Based on the technological communication with the Star Glory Federation in the past couple of years, I’m sure that the magical equipment does not fit in the style of the Star Glory Federation. However, we’ve been away from the center of the cosmos for too long to know the latest achievements of refining in the Imperium and the Covenant Alliance. Without further study, it will be hard to tell which of them crafted the magical equipment.”
“Understood.” Speaker Cui crossed his hands. The sharpest brilliance suddenly beamed out of his eyes. He put on a warm smile and said, “Thank you for your interpretation, Professor Luo De. We’re here.”
The door of the vacuum shuttle opened without a sound. Outside of the shuttle turned out to be a fully-enclosed pathway made of soft metal. Passing through the pathway, Li Yao found himself in a secret chamber that was full of light beams and surveillance magical equipment. Many officers and specialists of the secret police were busy working. At the center of the room, the guy who was sitting majestically in deep thought was… Speaker Cui!
Li Yao was slightly dazed. Looking at ‘Speaker Cui’ next to him again, he discovered that the guy’s facial muscles were twisting weirdly into a new appearance that was similar to Speaker Cui except that it was much younger and sharper!
Cracking noises were echoing inside the body of ‘Speaker Cui’. His whole body instantly expanded, and explosive muscles protruded from the bottom of the protective suit one piece after another.
The ‘Speaker Cui’ bowed to Li Yao and smiled. “Do excuse me, Professor Luo De.”
Rapidly blinking, Li Yao immediately understood what was going on. What had happened just now was another test. It did make sense. Although the guy was merely the head of a government-in-exile, he was managing a population of more than a hundred million after all and could definitely be considered a big shot by any standard. How could such a person get so close to him so easily?
Judging from the bulging muscles and the rising temples of Speaker Cui’s impersonator, he must be a rather tough battle-type Cultivator. If the fake Professor Luo De was truly an assassin and attacked him abruptly just now, it was very possible that the assassin would have been captured on the spot.
In the worst case-scenario, even if the assassin’s attempt succeeded, the only victim would have been a stand-in. The real Speaker Cui would still be entirely unharmed.
It seemed that this ‘Speaker Cui’ was quite paranoid. He was prudent enough when he was only dealing with an old, strengthless refiner.
Li Yao was wondering why he had been summoned there. It was definitely much more than simply interpreting the scarlet ball, which could have been done remotely through a video chat. It would have been unnecessary to bring him there.
Thinking quickly, Li Yao eyed the surroundings without alarming anyone, especially the intimidating-looking fellows among the bodyguards and the officers of the secret police around Speaker Cui.
His eyes soon stopped on a tall, slender woman.
There were three bloody crystal cameras in what should’ve been her left eye. Such a distinctive feature could only belong to Cheng Xuansu, the leader of the secret police of the Internal Affairs Division.
Li Yao’s eyes passed Cheng Xuansu quickly.
But Cheng Xuansu stared at him for a long time, especially his smooth, fresh hands.
Pretending that he did not notice it, Li Yao frowned and looked at Speaker Cui in a daze. “Speaker Cui, do you want me to repeat what I said in the shuttle?”
“That will be unnecessary. As expected of the best super-minute carving specialist on Firefly, your interpretation and operations are quite spectacular. I was watching a live stream of it just now.”
The real Speaker Cui was sunnier and more outspoken. He smiled at Li Yao’s resistance and mockery before he walked up to Li Yao with his hands behind his back. “Today, we’ve invited you here for something else, Professor Luo De.”