The hanging man was tightly confined by the shackles, as if he had been inserted into an iron coffin. There was no emotion in his speech at all, either. He simply introduced everything in the flattest tone.
However, his peaceful narration seemed to penetrate the light beam and the space like surging tides, sweeping across the bridge of Black Swirl and soaking the commander of the Black Wind Fleet in soundless waves.
Jin Xinyue, what a horrible woman to come up with such a horrible plan! Heiye Ming remarked.
Indeed, the hanging man said. If the full version of the Dim Moon Plan works out, as the daughter of the commander-in-chief of the coalition army of demons in the past and the leader of demons right now, Jin Xinyue will lead the demons to a real renaissance. As a disciple of Vulture Li Yao, she will also help Li Yaos group to completely seize the power of the Star Glory Federation. Anybody in Li Yaos group, Ding Lingdang, Wu Mayan, Bai Kaixin, Fiend Blade Peng Hai, Guo Chunfeng, Xiong Wuji, Lei Dalu They will all thank her, trust her, and support her after hearing of her sacrifices. As one of the leaders of the Star Glory Federation, she will also crush the expedition army of the Imperium, accomplishing an unparalleled achievement!
A leader of demons, a disciple of Li Yao, and a leader of the federation, she lives up to all the three identities. It will be one stone that kills three birds. One victory will mean the rise of demons, Li Yaos group, and the Star Glory Federation!
After that, as long as the entire plan is slightly decorated to release part of the truth to the public, she will immediately become the greatest hero in the history of the Star Glory Federation. Later, she can ask Ding Lingdang to be the Speaker while she controls everything behind the curtain, and she can also go out to be the Speaker herself. She can even change the election law right now to extend the term of the Speaker and grant herself great power. Wouldnt it be simple?
Heiye Ming smiled thoughtfully. What a great strategy, and what a greedy mouth! She has taken both her own people and her enemy into her delicate scheme! Impressive! But did she not consider the possibility of me not being fooled? After all, fake surrender is not an innovative tactic but an ancient strategy that anybody can think of.
The Dim Moon Plan is a low-coupling, highly-independent plan, the hanging man explained. Although all the procedures are connected with each other, the effects of the previous procedures will not be affected even if the last procedure goes wrong.
Even if you are not fooled, so what? The guys in the traditional conglomerates who have ill intentions have all been instigated by Jin Xinyue and will surely take action in twenty-four hours. Then, even if you are not fooled, the treason of those renowned sects will be doubtless.
In such a way, it will be simple to tell who is unwaveringly loyal to the Star Glory Federation and who might defect when they cant hold the pressure. The hidden problems will be eradicated in advance. Wouldnt it be good, too?
After the purge operation is over, Guo Chunfeng, the director of the Secret Sword Bureau, and certain powerful people in the Burning Prairie Fleet, mostly likely the Chief of Staff Bai Kaixin, will stand up and testify for Jin Xinyue that everything was just a special pressure test. Yes, Jin Xinyue, Guo Chunfeng, and Bai Kaixin are the iron triangle of the scheme.
The traditional conglomerates that are too fat and corrupt after hundreds of years of good days will be better saboteurs than contributors in the war to come. Eliminating all of them and confiscating the tremendous resources under their control will only do good to the unity of the entire federation!
But I can take the chance to assault other worlds instead of the Heavens Origin Sector, Heiye Ming said.
Even if Jin Xinyue does not carry out her Dim Moon Plan, wouldnt you still be free to choose any of the seven Sectors to attack? the hanging man asked. But would you do that, General Ming?
Hehe. Everybody knows that, while the Star Glory Federation does not want a protracted war of attrition that will turn their homeland into a wasteland, the Black Wind Fleet also wants to finish the war as quickly as possible, in case new unexpected factors come from the Imperium, say, the arrival of an expedition army that is far stronger than the Black Wind Fleet, in which case it will swallow all of us.
General Ming, you need to occupy the most fundamental world of the federation quickly and crush the main force of the Burning Prairie Fleet in order to destroy the federations will to resist!
So, the Heavens Origin Sector is the only option.
Therefore, although fake surrender is an ancient strategy, the odds of success are still well above fifty percent if it is carried out at an appropriate time in a way that is most convincing for the hostile commander.
The federation does not have much hope against the Imperium in the first place. Is such a high likelihood not enough for Jin Xinyue to take a gamble?
Heiye Ming nodded slowly. Everything you said makes sense. But theres one other thing. How exactly did you learn of it? Would Jin Xinyue tell such a plan to you?
Of course, Jin Xinyue never told me anything, the hanging man said. Despite our years of cooperation, she never really trusted me. Theres no way that she would reveal such a secret plan to me.
However, decades ago when my master was still alive, I had already got my eyes on Jin Xinyue. I liked studying the woman because I smelled the same scent from her body that was identical to the scent from mine. She and I were the same type of person. I knew that she was not content to be a puppet for the traditional conglomerates, and she was definitely not foolish enough to end on bad terms with the big backers such as Ding Lingdang and Guo Chunfeng. What she wanted was much more than Speaker of the Federation.
With her identity and environment, if she wanted to become the Speaker, she shouldnt have kept such a high profile. But since she did talk about her dream all the time, it meant that Speaker of the Federation was just a disguise for something greater and more profound.
Because I discovered that Jin Xinyue was such an interesting woman, I approached her after my master passed away and let her know about my supposed ambitions. As I expected, she thought that I was of high value.
You know what happened next, General Ming. Although Jin Xinyue never told me her real plan, is it strange at all that I can infer everything based on the things she asked me to do and the psychological analysis and studies I performed on her over the following decades?
So, Heiye Ming said, just like what she appreciated most in you, you are both a pure Immortal Cultivator and a firm patriot who loves the Star Glory Federation unwaveringly?
Yes, the hanging man said. Jin Xinyue had her test methods, too. If I were not truly passionate about the Star Glory Federation, I wouldnt have been selected by her at all.
But youve betrayed Jin Xinyue for the Imperium, Heiye Ming said.
I only betrayed Jin Xinyue; I have not betrayed the Star Glory Federation, the hanging man said. Or rather, I only betrayed the name of the Star Glory Federation and its government, but I never betrayed the seven Sectors and all the compatriots under the name.
As a pure Immortal Cultivator who has a profound understanding about the invincibility of the Imperium of True Human Beings, I believe that ending the war as soon as possible and implementing the system of the Immortal Cultivators in the seven Sectors sooner are the only salvation and the real future.
I cannot allow my compatriots to walk further on the wrong path anymore. They will only bring more pain to themselves and the people of the Imperium!
This is the only reason Im cooperating with you, General Ming. You must believe me and save the deviant fellow humans at the edge of the cosmos. Please!
Heiye Ming, a brutal warrior who had earned his fame through life-and-death battles, could not help but slightly tremble. He gloomily said, For some reason, I am scared of you. Both you and Jin Xinyue. People at the edge of the cosmos like you are as scary as vipers.
We are not as powerful as the high-level Immortal Cultivators in the Imperium of True Human Beings at the center of the cosmos, the hanging man said. For survival, the poor folks at the edge of the cosmos waiting to be saved can only develop insignificant plots and schemes. But they are not worth mentioning at all in front of the invincible Imperium.
Heiye Ming sniffed. Tell me, why should I trust you? Jin Xinyue is faking her surrender. How do I know that youre not? Maybe you are up to something else. Maybe you work for Jin Xinyue and this is just a double fake surrender.
I cant tell you, the hanging man said. You have exploited all the information from me and gathered enough information from Jin Xinyue, too. As the commander of the Black Wind Fleet, it is your responsibility to figure out the correct answer from the complicated information, not mine.
All in all, you have twenty-four hours. If you do not take action in twenty-four hours, Jin Xinyue will know that you have not been fooled. Then, both parties will lose the opportunity to finish the war quickly. So, a war of attrition will be inevitable!
Heiye Ming stared at the hanging man hard, trying to see the truth deep inside his brain.
But the eyes and upper face of the hanging man were still covered by the iron mask. Nothing could be seen at all.
Heiye Ming was silent for three minutes. The hanging man was equally patient. Except for the bloody bubbles coming out of his nose, he gave absolutely no reaction, as if he were already dead.
Fine! Heiye Ming finally made the call. Rebar-like muscles popped up on his face, as he gritted his teeth and threw out his words like cannon balls. Since Jin Xinyue has prepared delicate traps in the Heavens Origin Sector waiting for me to step in, if I dont go there, wont her hospitality be in vain? She wants me to go to the Heavens Origin Sector, and I will do so! I will show her the invincibility of the Black Wind Fleet and the feeling of being killed by her own scheme!
The hanging man was still silent, as if he did not hear Heiye Mings choice at all, and as if he was dwelling in a certain deep, profound world inside his head.
Stop stimulating his nerve endings, but do not loosen his shackles and barriers. Keep blocking his senses, and do not put him down.
While making the gestures, Heiye Ming said, Lu Qingchen, you are too dangerous. Before the war is completely settled, Im not planning to let go of you. Are you fine with that?
Lu Qingchenthe hanging man, the president of the CFIA, and the leader of local Cultivators of the federationnodded within the range of the shackle. Of course.
Right. One other thing. What is the Immortal Cultivator 2.0 theory that you have been preaching? Heiye Ming suddenly asked. Ive read a few of the books that you wrote. You talked as if it was a real thing. I cant help but feel quite curious!
Lu Qingchen smiled, baring his white teeth. However, since his face was upside down, it looked like intense mockery.
The new-generation Immortal Cultivator from the edge of the cosmos smiled at the old-generation Immortal Cultivator from the center of the cosmos and said, Theres no Immortal Cultivator 2.0 at all. Thats just bullsh*t that we made up to attract all the Immortal Cultivators in the federation and fish them up.