Inside the plaza of the Ministry of Equality and Development, Jin Xinyue was appreciating the magnificent clouds in the sky through the window.
Under the setting sun, the angry clouds were roiling as if two armies, one gold and the other red, were charging at each other. Heads were falling, and blood was running, until all the soldiers were swallowed by darkness.
The scene somehow reminded her of something from more than a hundred years ago.
As she recalled, in the Blood Demon Sector more than a hundred years ago, right above the Eye of Blood Demon, there had been the exact same bleeding ocean of clouds. It was above the crimson clouds that she had listened to her father unveiling the truth of the Red Tide Plan and understood who exactly her father was and what he had been trying to accomplish.
A hundred years had passed. Now, it was her turn.
“Okay. Alright. Keep going.”
She was still wearing a black suit and a pair of high heels, but her black hair that looked like a waterfall was bound by a hairpin that was still in the shape of the Rising Dragon of the Nine Stars emblem of the federation, which made her appear even more agile and aggressive.
Her face was as cold as ice under the dim sunlight, and her voice was even more frigid than a blizzard in the North Pole. Even her fury had been frozen while she listened to the sound far away attentively and replied calmly now and then.
“The Immortal Cultivators’ insurgency failed, Cui Lingfeng and Tang Dingyuan knew everything in advance, and a certain ‘Team Red Lotus’ took care of everything neatly.
“Hehe. As expected of the Star Ocean Republic. Even a broken ship has many nails that are still useful. Is it strange at all that a country that has lasted thousands of years would have some precautions or a few top-secret troops made of unseen monsters?
“So to speak, it must’ve been ‘Team Red Lotus’ that rescued Tang Xiaoxing in Fish Dragon City before we did, only to throw her back to the secret police later, right?
“Lin Jiu? Alright. The name has been noted.
“What, Cheng Xuansu is dead, but Ding Zhengyang is not?
“Of course, it is very serious.
“Ding Zhengyang knows too much, and those people in the government-in-exile seem to have much keener senses than we expected. Right now, we are in the middle of a campaign. Should they trace all the evidence back to us and expose the whole issue, it will definitely be a great scandal that we cannot cover up. The public will not accept the way we treated our ‘ally’. The Patriots Front will not let go of the issue, either.
“Forget it. With everything coming to this point, you do not need to do anything now. I’ll pick it up from here. Just focus on your own business!”
Jin Xinyue cut off the communication. She continued watching the last struggle of the dying sun wholeheartedly while holding her arms.
As the dim redness slowly sank into the swamp of the night sky, her previously cold, grave face gradually put on a hint of a smile.
“The first phase of the Dim Moon Plan has been completed successfully.”
She turned around and smiled at the old, rusty archive manager in the room.
“I did not know that the government-in-exile still had a rather elite secret troop. They have suppressed the rebellion of the Immortal Cultivators on their own without the intervention of the Big Bai Fleet. Even Ding Zhengyang was captured by Team Red Lotus alive.
“They must’ve grown suspicious of me. The first phase has been more successful than I thought it would be!”
While speaking, Jin Xinyue walked over agilely, helping the archive manager finish the work that had been disrupted by the message when it was half done.
The archive manager was sitting in a special metal chair. A lot of components on the artificial body were connected to the magical equipment units on the metal chair. Dozens of translucent soft tubes were bound to his body, filling spiritual energy, nurturing his soul, and lubricating the rusted components for him. However, it seemed slightly different from the maintenance for normal spectral Cultivators.
Jin Xinyue walked behind the archive manager and fixed his metal head with a holder. Then, she carefully unlocked the seal rune arrays on the skull and plucked an arched metal cover that duplicated the skull of a living person. There was a clear, round container that was carved out of a whole crystal.
Soaked in the crystal container and nurtured by the bright green nutrition liquids was… a brain!
Judging from the trembling, the brain was still alive. Tremendous artificial nerves made of biochemical materials extended all the way down from the brain and controlled every part of the artificial body.
Therefore, the archive manager was not a spectral Cultivator who only had a broken soul at all. He was a living human being, except that most of his body parts had been replaced by artificial organs. Compared to the disabled people who put on an artificial limb after their body was broken, it was only a matter of ratio, and he was essentially no different from those people!
Jin Xinyue put an enormous crystal cover right above the chair. After sterilizing the germs inside the crystal cover with mystic rays, she extended her hands into the crystal cover through the pair of gloves on the side of the crystal cover. She then connected a syringe to a tiny hole next to the crystal skull of the archive manager and slowly injected a tube of bright golden liquids.
The liquids dripped into the crystal skull along with the soft tubes, turning into golden balls in the middle of the green nutrition fluids.
An amazing thing happened!
From the living brain, a lot of ‘synapses’ that were similar to flagella or nerves jerked up. Those synapses darted into the golden balls as fast as lightning and devoured all the liquids inside!
The brain glowed before it went back to normal a moment later.
“So, do you feel any better?”
After finishing everything, Jin Xinyue helped the archive manager close the metal skull that served as a camouflage on the outside. At first glance, he was no different from any other regular spectral Cultivator.
The archive manager slowly nodded and struggled to warm up his metal limbs.
“But I don’t feel that you are in high spirits. Why is that?” Inside Jin Xinyue’s eyes, the fire of ambition was burning so fiercely that it was almost flowing out like magma and completely consume her. “The Dim Moon Plan is proceeding smoothly. Everything is within my calculations and control. After a hundred years, the Red Tide Plan is about to be concluded with a perfect end, and our race will rise again! Do you not feel proud of me at all?”
“Of course, I am proud of you.” Perhaps because of the bright golden solution, the archive manager was speaking a bit faster than the days before, but the long-sealed smell of dust in the voice was still not entirely eliminated. “However, a word of advice. Nobody can calculate and control everything. I couldn’t, nor can you.”
On Firefly at the edge of the Dragon Snake Space Zone, a secret meeting regarding Ding Zhengyang’s confession, the expedition army of the Imperium’s strategy, and the policy of the ‘rightful government’ was being conducted.
Other than Tang Dingyuan; Cui Lingfeng, who hosted the meeting; and Li Yao, acting as the commander of the Speaker’s guards, a lot of critical people on Firefly, including the president of Star Ocean University, participated in the meeting.
After the meeting, the representatives would be nominated to form a new ‘Election Observation Delegation’ or rather ‘Participation Negotiation Delegation’. They would set off to the heartland of the Star Glory Federation and communicate with the federal government on the official merger of the two parties, or at least in-depth military cooperation to found a ‘joint headquarters’ for the war to come.
“The Black Wind Fleet is here. Both Ding Zhengyang’s confession and the confessions of the captives of the Imperium whom we caught ten years ago lead to the same conclusion! With the Black Wind Fleet’s route and their technological capabilities, it is absolutely possible for them to have reached the Star Glory Federation in the last ten years!”
As the captain, Tang Dingyuan was in charge of military affairs. Naturally, he was the one who interpreted everything about the Black Wind Fleet.
In the upper half of the ball-shaped meeting room was a splendid star map, depicting the functioning patterns and the possible routes in the hundreds of galaxies near the Star Glory Federation.
It was the result of the exploration and prospection by the Heavenly Road Plan that the federation had implemented a hundred years prior.
Also, Firefly had recorded all the galaxies, space zones, and Sectors that it had detected in the past thousand years while it was running from the Empyreal Terminus Sector to the edge of the cosmos. In fact, they possessed a rather detailed universal sailing route from the federation to the center of the Imperium.
The very sailing route could also be considered the route of the Black Wind Fleet’s march.
Pointing at the edge of the glowing star map, Tang Dingyuan explained, “Within a hundred lightyears from the Star Glory Federation, there are at least a hundred relatively stable galaxies. Right now, it is very possible that the Black Wind Fleet is lurking inside one of the galaxies to wake up the soldiers who have hibernated for a hundred years and to repair the damage on the starships due to the long journey. With any luck, they can even retrieve some fundamental resources from those galaxies and refill their supplies. They are now preparing themselves and waiting for the best opportunity to launch into the most vulnerable part of the federation!
“The Black Wind Fleet, as a main-force fleet that includes the armed forces of multiple Sectors of the Imperium of True Human Beings, is essentially a humongous dinosaur in the universe. Their cruise speed can’t be very high.
“It will take them several months for them to prepare a space jump, which will probably last around one week. There’s no need to mention normal cruising. It will be difficult for them to reach one tenth the light of speed while keeping an intact battle formation under such circumstances!
“Assuming that their normal cruise speed is one tenth the speed of light, what does it mean? It means that if they take the nearest galaxy to the Star Glory Federation as their base and march over by way of normal cruising, it will take them decades before they reach this place!
“It is obvious that they absolutely cannot march in such a way. During the decades of normal cruising, the consumption of fuel, the damage to the starships, and the unexpected attacks of the federation will not be something that the Black Wind Fleet can bear!
“In the last hundred years, the Black Wind Fleet has reached the edge of the cosmos through short-distance space jumps. Now that the final battle is drawing near, they have no choice but to directly ‘long jump’ to the edge or the center of the federation!
“This is exactly like a ‘beach landing’ in ancient times. The point of the landing will be the key to the outcome of the battle!”