“A report written by Speaker Shui Yian in person, who brought Firefly out of the ‘troubled times’ more than two hundred years ago, marked by his unique signature?”
When Tang Dingyuan received the highest command in the bridge again, he also received a series of reports sent by Cui Lingfeng, which stated the background, roles, duties, and permissions of Team Red Lotus. All the information was clearly explained. Not only was there the signature of Speaker Shui Yian, the creator of the team, every Speaker that followed had also left their own unique stamp on the paperwork. The lineage was complete and undisrupted until it reached Speaker Cui Lingfeng’s generation.
The files proved the identity of Team Red Lotus and provided endorsement for their unstoppable operations inside Firefly to eliminate the Immortal Cultivators.
At that moment, Team Red Lotus had the highest permissions on Firefly, only below Cui Lingfeng and Tang Dingyuan. Exactly like Qi Changsheng had jested earlier, they could not have been more powerful with the new prerogative!
Regarding Team Red Lotus, which had marched out of nowhere from the darkness, Captain Tang Dingyuan and the other people in the bridge all had complicated feelings.
Essentially speaking, the elite warriors were a private armed force that only belonged to the Speaker, and it had secretly been established by Speaker Shui Yian more than two hundred years after bypassing the bridge and even parliament!
Founding a private troop that only obeyed the command of the Speaker with the few resources that belonged to the entire Star Ocean Republic truly toed the line and did not fit the spirit of the Star Ocean Republic in any way.
If it were any other time, the technical staff would have berated the very existence of Team Red Lotus and regarded it as a scandal. They would even have tried to deprive the Speaker of command over the troop and merge the troop into other troops that were more controllable.
But today, it was Team Red Lotus who had rescued the core members of the technical staff, including the captain’s daughter, from Black Stone Jail. Even Captain Tang Dingyuan himself had been saved by Lin Jiu, the captain of Team Red Lotus.
Not just that, Captain Lin had also killed Cheng Xuansu indirectly and captured Ding Zhengyang alive after saving the Speaker and the captain, thereby reversing the whole situation. It would not be an exaggeration to say that he had set everything back on track!
Such great contributions had doubtlessly justified and necessitated Speaker Shui Yian’s decision to create the troop more than two hundred years ago. Tang Dingyuan and the other core members of the technical staff were not shameless enough to be picky about their saviors.
Besides, after reading the shocking names on the list that Ding Zhengyang had provided, even Tang Dingyuan had to admit that the Immortal Cultivators’ infection of Firefly had already reached an extremely severe level. At this moment, perhaps only ‘Team Red Lotus’ was trustworthy!
Tang Dingyuan was not a man who was lustful for power. Otherwise, he would not have offered to join the Star Glory Federation. His contradiction with Speaker Cui was mainly in business. Now that Speaker Cui’s stance had subtly changed, there was no need to be at loggerheads with the Speaker during a critical period.
Besides, if everything said on the files was true, then ‘Lin Jiu’ and the other warriors of Team Red Lotus who were willing to be sealed for hundreds of years were out-and-out heroes, which was undeniable however Tang Dingyuan viewed Cui Lingfeng.
After thinking that through, Tang Dingyuan also discovered during the conversation with ‘Lin Jiu’ that the captain of Team Red Lotus was not interested in the conflict between the parliament and the bridge whatsoever but fully focused on the strike against the Immortal Cultivators. Tang Dingyuan could not help but grow respectful of his savior. He rectified his attitude toward Team Red Lotus quickly.
Compared to Tang Dingyuan, Speaker Cui Lingfeng was caught in a greater predicament.
It was impossible for Tang Dingyuan to see through the fabricated secret files that had allegedly been passed on in parliament. Therefore, he could believe in ‘Team Red Lotus’ comfortably while knowing nothing.
However, for Cui Lingfeng who had personally faked the secret files regarding Team Red Lotus, it was a wild gamble in which the entire Star Ocean Republic and even the Star Glory Federation would be doomed with one moment of carelessness.
Should I trust the so-called natives of the Red Lotus Sector whose background is unclear?
The question had been tying Cui Lingfeng’s heart like a viper from the beginning to the end.
At first, he might have thought that he could only use the Red Lotus natives to weather through the difficulties. After everything was settled, he could get rid of them one way or another or separate them for investigation in order to figure out their backgrounds and their purpose.
However, after the Immortal Cultivators lurking inside Firefly were uprooted one after another, the situation turned out to be much more serious than he had imagined.
The bridge where Ding Zhengyang worked was naturally a disaster-stricken area, where the workers in many crucial posts had been transformed into Immortal Cultivators. But the situation in parliament was no better. Quite a few influential MPs were involved in the scheme.
There was no need to mention the subordinates around Cui Lingfeng himself. For years, he had absolute trust in Cheng Xuansu and regarded her as his foster daughter. He had entrusted all his personal affairs to her. Therefore, almost all his subordinates had been taken down.
Cui Lingfeng discovered, to his embarrassment, that he had truly become a commander without soldiers, exactly like Li Yao had said.
Also, he was in a much more terrible situation than Tang Dingyuan.
Theoretically speaking, Tang Dingyuan was only the No. 2 person in the government-in-exile, who had been arrested in secret at his command at the very beginning of the entire scheme. One might say that Tang Dingyuan was unrelated to anything that happened later.
But his case was different. Despite the lies and tricks that Cheng Xuansu, Ding Zhengyang, and the rest of them had played on him, the orders to arrest the leadership of the bridge and the hundred or so social activists had been issued by him. If he denied the existence of ‘Team Red Lotus’ and clarified that everything had not been his plan to lure the enemy out, it would certainly be the greatest scandal ever. He would have to take full responsibility for the poor decisions and be kicked out of office. Parliament, which was already riddled with holes, after suffering such a blow, would be even weaker than before. It would not be able to compete with the technical staff on the bridge!
Without the check and balance of parliament, God only knew what kind of agreement the technical staff in the bridge would reach with the Star Glory Federation!
Cui Lingfeng had never believed that ‘Cultivator’ was a synonym for honor and integrity. Such an identity mattered little in the negotiations. Even blood brothers had to keep the entries on the ledger clearly if they did business together!
Therefore, he could only count on Team Red Lotus for now.
Then, Speaker Cui discovered that Team Red Lotus was so useful!
At first, Cui Lingfeng did not have high hopes for Team Red Lotus’ roles other than in combat. He had thought that the other ‘Red Lotus natives’ except Li Yao were pure warriors.
However, after those Red Lotus natives crushed all the Immortal Cultivators on board, pacified the infuriated crowds who were unaware of the truth, boosted the morale of the bottom-level soldiers, coerced the captives for more intelligence and benefits… They had demonstrated the most flawless and impeccable performance in almost every respect.
As the commander of the starship, Tang Dingyuan might not have been able to see through all the abilities of those people.
However, as the Speaker and a self-proclaimed ‘bad Cultivator’, Cui Lingfeng was very certain that those ‘Red Lotus natives’ were certainly not regular Cultivators from a Combat Department.
They gave him the feeling that some of them were seasoned generals from the battlefield, some were sovereigns who had dominated certain regions, and some had the most honorable titles and power. Even ‘Zhu Zongyou’, who seemed to be the youngest, carried a certain majestic and inviolable air with him!
At this time, Cui Lingfeng was pretty sure that those people could not be spies of the Imperium of True Human Beings.
Neither the Imperium nor the Covenant Alliance were extravagant enough to raise more than ten of such extraordinary spies and just throw them to the edge of the cosmos as if it did not cost anything.
There was no need to mention the Star Glory Federation, which was just a landlord that had grown rich all of a sudden in the harsh land. How could it have raised so many excellent Cultivators? The demeanor that those people showed was even more awesome than that of the authentic Cultivators from the center of the cosmos!
Cui Lingfeng made deductions in the end. Was it possible that they were truly the spies of the Imperium of True Human Beings, and this was some kind of trick in which they sacrificed Cheng Xuansu, Ding Zhengyang, and the other victims in order to control Firefly and enter the Star Glory Federation?
He soon rejected the speculation.
With the situation at that time and their capabilities, such a trick was highly redundant. They could have simply killed him and Tang Dingyuan and cooperated with Ding Zhengyang and Cheng Xuansu, in which case they would still have been able to achieve their purpose.
The real spies would not have chosen to appear in such an abrupt way. Furthermore, it was impossible for them to have learnt in advance that he would summon Professor Luo De.
As long as they were not spies of the Imperium, Cui Lingfeng was already determined to ignore who they actually were and gamble on them!
He might as well consider them to really be from the Red Lotus Sector!
Getting to the bottom of it, what could somebody’s ‘backgrounds’ prove, when Cheng Xuansu, whom he had personally raised and knew very detail of, had betrayed him?
For the government-in-exile, which had been in a rather passive situation during the communication with the Star Glory Federation because of the serious shortage of top-tier warriors, the arrival of Team Red Lotus would perhaps be huge leverage for the negotiations to come. Perhaps, they could really be the last hope for the government-in-exile!
Taking a deep breath, Cui Lingfeng thought through everything clearly.
The magnificent computational ability of an admin-type Cultivator in the Nascent Soul Stage was boosted to the maximum. Both of his hands worked quickly as he fabricated the secret files of Team Red Lotus and drafted a speech named ‘To All My Compatriots Onboard’ at the same time.
Very soon, the speech turned into resolute, inspiring soundwaves that danced and disseminated to every corner of Firefly!
The crew members and the passengers who had just calmed down from the chaos stood next to each other and held each other’s hands while they listened to the twisting story of a special force named ‘Team Red Lotus’ in silence. They listened to the legend where a superhero named ‘Lin Jiu’ saved the world at the most perilous moment!