Bai Xingjian’s nose was almost out of its place because of his fury.
Their claim that some Immortal Cultivators might have fled to the Big Bai Fleet’s starships was a blatant lie that both parties were aware of.
Logically, since the two parties were allies, if Firefly had really been hunting Immortal Cultivators just now, they should not have allowed the Big Bai Fleet to dock at such a sensitive time. At the very least, they should have informed them of the information in advance!
Yet, they had not told the Big Bai Fleet anything until their starships had constricted from the battle formation into the anchoring station, and some of the starships were already connected to the ports. What was the meaning of that?
Bai Xingjian knew that certain experts on Firefly must have seen through the real purpose of their trip and even perhaps the series of schemes behind it.
However, Bai Xingjian was not in the least embarrassed. Instead, he was more and more curious. Was their previous evaluation on Tang Dingyuan and Cui Lingfeng all wrong? Were the two of them actually much more capable than they had expected?
Bai Xingjian planned to meet ‘Colonel Lin Jiu, the commander of the guards of the Speaker of the rightful government of the Star Ocean Republic’. He was quite interested in the stranger.
Should the armed forces near the Speaker of the government-in-exile not have been the secret police headed by Cheng Xuansu? What were the ‘guards of the Speaker’ about?
He had never heard the name ‘Lin Jiu’ before. However, he vaguely had a feeling that the guy was the key to the whole event.
Of course, he would not allow Lin Jiu and the rest of them to ‘board the starship for investigation’. However, he did arrange for a meeting in the cold, empty warehouse of shuttles near the No. 7 airtight gate of Infinite Fire, greeting the ‘ally’ that he had never seen before with the space shuttles of the latest model that were emitting coldness and the two teams of fully-armed Exos.
A silver transportation vessel from Firefly, which carried the agreeable and elegant style from the center of the cosmos, passed through nine serial airtight gates and slowly slid into the No. 7 warehouse.
However, only three people walked off the transportation vessel into the steel forest that was brimming with killing intent.
Narrowing his eyes, Bai Xingjian eyed the newcomers casually.
It was truly… an astonishing lineup.
The guy on the left was bald dwarf whose head was almost shining. The military uniform of the Star Ocean Republic that he was wearing seemed to have been sewn in too much of a hurry, giving a clumsy and comical feeling. He was also holding a short sword that did not fit in the modern era at all and seemed to have just been dug out from a relic. He was as hilarious as a clown in the circus.
When the dwarf’s eyes and his own accidentally collided, the two of them were almost dazed at the same time, and their pupils constricted to the minimum abruptly.
The dwarf could not help but hold the grip of his sword, and Bai Xingjian took a slight step back. Then, both of them came back to themselves and regained their previous cool as if nothing had happened.
Bai Xingjian secretly took a deep breath. He then looked to the right, only to discover that a woman whose face was plain but who was unusually tall was smiling at him.
When did so many monsters appear on Firefly?
Bai Xingjian secretly frowned. It was not until then that he finally focused his eyes on the middle-aged man in the middle who was wearing a colonel uniform of the Star Ocean Republic.
Compared to the dwarf holding the short sword and the woman who was smiling warmly, this was a man who did not carry many distinctive features. One might even say that he was unattractive. But for some reason, the more he studied it, the more he felt that… he had seen the guy from somewhere before!
What’s happening? I’ve obviously never seen the face before, but why does he give me such a familiar feeling?
While Bai Xingjian was eyeing ‘Liu Jiu’, Li Yao who was pretending to be Lin Jiu was observing Bai Xingjian expressionlessly, too.
In Li Yao’s eyes, the most important general on Jin Xinyue’s side, the ‘traitor’ of the Burning Prairie Fleet and the commander of the Big Bai Fleet, had a slightly sloppy appearance that was a huge contrast to his glorious military accomplishments.
His Major General uniform and his hat was wrinkled and dangling from his body as if they had been worn for half a year without washing. His sallow face that could not be called handsome in any sense was covered in a beard. There was no telling how long it had been since he last shaved or washed his face. His eyebrows slowly collapsed, as if he was not interested in anything that was happening around him, and he could be yawning and throwing out trash talk such as ‘I mean, not just you, everybody of the Burning Prairie Fleet is garbage…’ anytime.
Yes. It was exactly the feeling. Helpless pride and blatant arrogance. The guy seemed to have ‘come on and hit me, moron’ written on his forehead.
While Li Yao was observing, he was thinking to himself, too. What’s happening? Why do I have a familiar feeling when I see the guy’s eyes? That’s utterly unreasonable. When I left the federation a hundred years ago, he was a teenager at best, and he must’ve been playing with mud in the Burning Prairie Military School. With such a unique face, there’s no reason I wouldn’t remember him if I really had seen him before!
Li Yao and Bai Xingjian walked to each other, both frowning deeply.
“Major General Bai!”
Li Yao saluted casually and indifferently first, fully demonstrating the pride and superiority of a high-level officer of the ‘rightful government’ from the center of the cosmos.
Bai Xingjian’s eyebrow twitched for a moment. He saluted back at Li Yao, too. “Colonel Lin, what happened on Firefly? What’s the fuss all about? If needed, my fleet is ready to help at any time. There’s no need to be polite. It is our mutual responsibility to annihilate the Immortal Cultivators!”
“That will be unnecessary.” Li Yao smiled. “It is true that a serious rebellion of the Immortal Cultivators took place on Firefly. Even Ding Zhengyang, the Chief Mate, and Cheng Xuansu, the head of the Internal Affairs Division, were involved. However, it was a trap that we set up intentionally in the first place in order to lure the snakes out of their hole. We were hoping to fish up the Immortal Cultivators once and for all!
“Because of the wise decision of Speaker Cui and Captain Tang, and thanks to the arduous efforts of Team Red Lotus, the Speaker’s special guards, most of the Immortal Cultivators have been suppressed. Only few of them are still on the run.
“There is no need for you to worry about Firefly’s safety, Major General Bai. On the other hand, I’m told that your fleet suffered heavy losses due to the cosmic storm you experienced just now. There might be loopholes in your defense that will allow the desperate Immortal Cultivators to sneak in. I suggest you fully search your starships with our cooperation!”
Cheng Xuansu and Ding Zhengyang have both been captured? Cui Lingfeng and Tang Dingyuan knew everything in advance? Team Red Lotus, the Speaker’s special guards?
Bai Xingjian analyzed the latest intelligence quickly. While he was pondering, his portable tactical crystal processor buzzed crazily.
Judging from the buzz’s rhythm, it was an alarm of the highest level!
After raising his wrist to check, Bai Xingjian’s face was even more gloomy than before. At exactly that moment, Silver Ray, an assault warship that he had just commanded to dock at Firefly’s port, detected that somebody had barged into the warship in secret. Also, the strangers were still wandering unstoppably after breaking three alert lines in a row. They seemed to be all prepared to retreat after an unsolicited visit on the warship!
Veins were bulging out on Bai Xinghe’s forehead as he glared at Li Yao furiously. “Colonel Lin!”
“What?” Li Yao was still expressionless, but there was a scornful smile in his eyes. “Have the Immortal Cultivators really snuck into your starships? Do you need our help to conduct the search?”
“That’s unnecessary!” Bai Xingjian gnashed his teeth, “No cockroach can ever sneak out of my starship unharmed after it sneaks in. None!”
“That’s good.” Li Yao slightly bowed to Bai Xingjian. “The purpose of my visit was to inform you of the latest updates on Firefly and to remind you to be as careful and prudent as possible while you are docked here in case any misunderstandings are caused. Otherwise, there might be dire consequences.
“After all, the Immortal Cultivators haven’t been entirely eradicated. If some of them run onto your starships, hoping to die together with your starships and even the high-level officers on board in their desperation, it will be a terrible tragedy that none of us would like to see, right?”
Li Yao and Bai Xingjian’s eyes collided in midair again, triggering such crazily jumping sparks that the entire empty warehouse seemed like it was about to explode.
Standing behind Li Yao, one on the left and the other on the right, Yan Liren and Long Yangjun narrowed their eyes while they stared at the iron giants behind Bai Xingjian as if they were nothing more than a bunch of harmless chickens.
“Colonel Lin…” Sensing the intense atmosphere, Bai Xingjian coughed slightly and smiled. “I didn’t know that such extraordinary people like you were hiding on Firefly. You’re quite right. We should be more cautious given the chaotic situation in case any trouble is caused. After all, we are allies, and the Imperium of True Human Beings is our common foe.
“I hope that I can fight side by side with you on the battlefield against the Imperium of True Human Beings, where I will witness your real capabilities, Colonel Lin!”
Li Yao stared at Bai Xingjian, too. “I hope so, too.”
When the silver transportation vessel slid out of the warehouse of Infinite Fire, Bai Xingjian was still frowning hard, deep in thought.
He called one of the Exos behind him who was tall and strong and looked hideous. “Old Wu, I’m not much of a fighter. Tell me your opinions on the capabilities of the three of them. Specifically, their personal combat ability.”
‘Old Wu’ was the captain of the assault team on Infinite Fire who was responsible for the boarding battles, as well as a tough battle-type Cultivator in the Nascent Soul Stage who was bold enough to charge at the enemy’s starships by himself. However, he hesitated at that moment, too. “The woman on the right is rather tricky. Judging from her posture, air, and the way she walks, it would be quite troublesome to deal with her. But the dwarf on the left is even more awesome. His air and the way he walks are no different from normal people, but they give a creepy feeling nonetheless, as if the entire warehouse and all the armed shuttles inside would’ve been slashed in half by him if he were in the mood to attack!
“Just now, when he glanced at us casually, a few of our brothers were so nervous that we felt as if somebody had stuck a blade right against our necks!”
Bai Xingjian nodded and asked, “What about Lin Jiu?”
“Lin Jiu?” Old Wu tilted his head and thought for a moment. “There doesn’t seem to be anything special about him. He should be between the woman and the dwarf, I think.”
“Is that so?” Bai Xingjian mumbled. Looking at the gate that had already closed, he began thinking and recalling.