“This material is named ‘Green Soft Crystal’,” Li Yao said. “It is a very common crystal that can be burnt with spiritual energy. The ignition point of the material is 525 degrees. Because of the high stability it boasts, the material is often adopted in the defense rune arrays and the stabilization rune arrays.
“Because it is steady enough and highly compatible with many other materials, it is helpful during the craft of many kinds of magical equipment. Therefore, almost every refiner will carry one or two pieces of the material with them.”
Cui Lingfeng was slightly dazed, looking at Li Yao in confusion.
“However, the ‘Green Soft Crystal’ in my hands is not from the stock of Firefly but purchased in the Dragon Snake Space Zone, where it does not go by the name. The local term for the material is ‘Emerald Brightness Crystal’.
“Do you see what I’m getting at, Speaker? In the Star Ocean Republic, it is known as Green Soft Crystal, whereas it goes by the name of Emerald Brightness Crystal in the Star Glory Federation. But for me, I don’t care about what it is called at all. What I care about is whether or not it is the material that I desire and whether or not it has the qualities and functions that I need!
“Whether it is named ‘Green Soft Crystal’ or ‘Emerald Brightness Crystal’, the qualities of the material won’t change in the slightest. The trafficability will still be around 79%, the ignition point will still be 525 degrees, and the hardness, crispness, compatibility, functions… Everything will be the same!
“Therefore, when I am going to run an experiment that requires such a material, does it really matter what the material is called exactly?
“On the contrary, the Star Glory Federation in fact also has a material named ‘Green Soft Crystal’. However, it is the very opposite of the ‘Green Soft Crystal’ that we know in terms of qualities and functions. Can I simply use the Star Glory Federation’s ‘Green Soft Crystal’ in a highly dangerous experiment just because the names of the two materials are the same?”
Cui Lingfeng was slightly dazed and deep in thought.
“It’s true that I have barely touched politics in my life, and I don’t understand the topics that you were arguing about just now. They’re too sophisticated for me.
“However, if I do have to make a choice, I think that what Captain Tang said is not entirely unreasonable.
“The Star Ocean Republic is certainly a great country. We boast a great history and tear-triggering heroes that are worth being proud of. Our struggle against the Imperium in the past thousand years is itself a twisting, soul-stirring legend and an out-and-out miracle!
“Therefore, if we ‘inject’ the proud history, the tear-triggering heroes, and the miracles from the past thousand years into the Star Glory Federation, the Star Glory Federation will fully succeed the spirit and ideology of the Star Ocean Republic. The people of the Star Glory Federation will regard our history as their history, our heroes as their heroes, and our miracles as their miracles. Isn’t that much more important than simply changing the name of the country? As long as their qualities are the same, it doesn’t matter at all whether the material is called ‘Green Soft Crystal’ or ‘Emerald Brightness Crystal’!”
“If it doesn’t matter at all…” Cui Lingfeng frowned. “Why can’t we insist on our name and called it ‘Green Soft Crystal?”
“Well, about that. It’s because…” Blinking quickly, Li Yao said, “It’s because there will be more practical benefits if the Star Glory Federation keeps its original name than if it is renamed into the Star Ocean Republic!”
“Is that so?” Cui Lingfeng had only considered ‘Professor Luo De’ to be someone whom he could talk about his feelings with. He did not expect that the professor would really offer valuable input. “What ‘practical benefits’?”
“Speaker, look, all the media on Firefly is analyzing the great war to come,” Li Yao said. “Even I often catch a thing or two about their comments, although I’m not always interested in national affairs.
“However, it has occurred to me that most of the discussions were limited to how we should deal with the expedition army of the Imperium, or to wit, the Black Wind Fleet. They are talking as if everything will be good after the Black Wind Fleet is defeated.
“But I don’t think that is right. The Black Wind Fleet is just one of the expedition armies of the Imperium. After the Imperium of True Human Beings stole the hundreds of Sectors of the Star Ocean Republic, they have more than a hundred thousand starships and countless high-level Cultivators!
“Even if we do defeat the Black Wind Fleet eventually, as long as the Imperium of True Human Beings is determined to destroy us because they consider us a great enough threat, they can always send out a ‘White Wind Fleet’, ‘Yellow Wind Fleet’, ‘Purple Wind Fleet’, or a fleet of any color you want. After the expedition armies come at us in turn, we will only be crushed by the Imperium of True Human Beings however powerful our ‘spirit’ is, right?”
“Yes.” Cui Lingfeng thought carefully. “Keep going.”
“The only reason the Imperium of True Human Beings is not chasing us and sweeping the edge of the cosmos with full strength is because they are stopped by the Alliance of the Holy Covenant at the center of the cosmos.
“In the eyes of the Imperium, it is the most important thing to fight for the hegemony against the Covenant Alliance at the center of the cosmos, and it is just an insignificant issue to destroy the secondary forces at the edge of the cosmos. That’s why we are able to catch our breath and develop in secret.
“If we defeat the Black Wind Fleet under the name of the ‘Star Glory Federation’, when the news reaches the Empyreal Terminus Sector, it is possible that the Imperium will consider us a relatively tough country of barbarians. When they are planning to deal with us, they will weigh the possible gains and losses. It is unlikely that they will spare the elite forces who are confronting the Covenant Alliance to conquer us. Maybe, after they realize that the cost of conquest and occupation is too high, and the losses will possibly outweigh the gains, they will even consider negotiation or even acquirement, right?
“Throughout history, the central dynasty has ever been capable of demolishing all the barbaric kingdoms nearby. The Imperium of True Human Beings is no exception!
“However, if we crush the Black Wind Fleet under the name of the ‘Star Ocean Republic’, it will be a whole different issue!
“For the Imperium of True Human Beings, the Star Ocean Republic is its ‘antecedent’, and it was not a particularly honorable process when they stole the power of the ‘antecedent’. We will forever be a thorn in the throat of the Imperium!
“It may be tolerable for the Imperium if an unknown, desolate country is discovered at the edge of the cosmos, but it will certainly be an intolerable threat if the ‘antecedent’ has been rekindled and even boasts the capabilities of defeating an elite fleet of the Imperium. That will shake the foundation of the Imperium of True Human Beings!
“At that time, the Imperium of True Human Beings will certainly not bother about the cost and send out… as I said just now, the expedition armies of all kinds of colors in order to annihilate the remnants of the former regime!
“In conclusion, what I’m trying to say is that the name ‘Star Glory Federation’ is more low-key right now, and the ‘Star Ocean Republic’ is too eye-catching. Now that we are in such a disadvantageous situation, it is truly unnecessary for us to care about the formalities. Survival is the more important issue!”
Cui Lingfeng stared at Li Yao for a long time without saying anything. There was no telling whether he was considering what Li Yao had said or thinking about something else. Suddenly, he said, “It never occurred to me that you are not only an excellent refiner but also boast such strategic insight, Professor Luo De.”
“Well. During the spare time when I am not refining, I occasionally read political comments on some media as a way to relax myself and to train my mind.”
“… Is that so?”
Glancing at the indifferent, bear-like bodyguards sitting next to them, Li Yao was wondering what he should do when the vacuum shuttle shuddered slightly. It seemed to have reached the stop.
“Speaker, we are here.”
Cheng Xuansu got off first and opened the door of the shuttle for them from the outside. The four bodyguards then left the vehicle, too, while surrounding Cui Lingfeng and Li Yao in the middle.
However, the outside did not appear to be anything like a ‘No. 1 Fortress’. It was a rusted, empty, forsaken station with dim lights.
The wind mixed with the smell of rust that was blowing from nobody knew where added to the creepy air of the place.
Shua! Shua, shua, shua!
Behind Li Yao and Cui Lingfeng, the four bear-like bodyguards all summoned their crystal suits without a sound, turning into four hideous steel beasts.
The three crystal cameras on Cheng Xuansu’s left face were so red that blood seemed to be dripping at any point. The head of the secret police picked up a mini storm bolter of a particularly large caliber from the holster hanging on her waist. She stared at Cui Lingfeng expressionlessly.
Everything was already said in the silence.
Glancing at the environment that he was in, Cui Lingfeng slightly shivered and understood everything. He asked, his face pale, “You are not Cheng Xuansu?”
“You’re wrong.” The head of the secret police adjusted the triggering frequency of the crystals in her storm bolter and casually said, “I am Cheng Xuansu, not impersonated by anyone.”
“That’s impossible. Everybody on Firefly can be an Immortal Cultivator, but you absolutely can’t be!”
As if he had been fired upon by the fleet of the Imperium, Cui Lingfeng was entirely consumed by invisible fire. “Your father was the greatest hero during Firefly’s thousand year voyage. He led us to break out of the sieges of the army of the Imperium that were hundreds of times greater than us again and again. Had it not been for his valiant sacrifice in the end, it would’ve been impossible for us to make it to this day!
“You’re his daughter. How can you be an Immortal Cultivator? How can you surrender to the Imperium?”
Cheng Xuansu laughed. Her smile was as cold as the shell of the starship, which was placed in the deep, dark vacuum of the universe. “That man was not my father but the sperm provider for me. You retrieved his sperm that was stored deep inside the starship 278 years after he died and fertilized me. He and I are not associated at all.”
“Why?” Cui Lingfeng asked, one word after another. “Why are you doing this?”
“You forced us to,” Cheng Xuansu said. “We did not plan to kill you in the beginning. You were quite a good shield. You could also stabilize the situation on Firefly as much as possible before the Black Wind Fleet arrives. You were also the best person to deal with the Star Glory Federation for now. However, you were paranoid enough to come up with the solution of choosing a random refiner to examine the ‘polygraph’. Our dear… Professor Luo De also happened to be professional enough to really see through the loopholes of the machine. Therefore, we were left with no other choice.”
Cui Lingfeng raised his voice. “I am asking why you betrayed your father and the glory of the Star Ocean Republic and gave in to the Imperium of True Human Beings!”