In a dim, narrow pathway at the end of the warship
This warship seemed to have undergone protracted head-on battles. The internal structure was on the verge of destruction. Cracks, dislocations, and broken cabins that had been sealed by strengthened foams were everywhere. In general, it was like a complicated maze which had been smashed to pieces by a giant.
Through the tiny gaps between steel beams and tubes, Li Yao slithered silently from one cabin to another like a hungry boa which had just woken up from its hibernation.
Occasionally, several space pirates would come by the pathway below him. But Li Yao didn't attack them. Instead, he listened to what they were talking about carefully.
From the space pirates' conversation, Li Yao discovered that the warship was actually in a very bad condition, with serious internal damage everywhere that could possibly lead to explosions. The spiritual energy of the warship was running dry, too.
Most of the soldiers had been deployed to attack Star Lord Temple. Those left on board were mostly operators and mechanics.
Finally, when a space pirate was rushing close from the pathway in front and Li Yao's telepathic thoughts didn't sense a second heartbeat in the surrounding dozen or so square meters, he moved out!
Like a lurking boa lunging at its prey, Li Yao darted out from the gaps among the tubes, stomping on a wall. He reached the space pirate momentarily, and his two arms slapped down like the sharpest whips, producing earsplitting noises.
Before the space pirate knew what was going on, his shoulder blades had been blown into powder as tiny as sand!
The sense of pain hadn't yet travelled to his brain. There was still confusion in his eyes, but Li Yao had already locked his neck and kicked brutally right in his chest. His mustard suit proved to be utterly useless. His internal organs were shattered and his ribs broken. The sharp fractured bones brushed past his heart narrowly!
The space pirate finally felt the excruciating pain, but his mouth was being strangled by Li Yao so hard that his teeth were all clattering against each other.
The boa had caught a sheep. Unable to struggle, the space pirate was dragged to a long-prepared tool cabin by Li Yao, who then stickered a muting rune on the door of the cabin casually before he threw his captive to a corner.
The space pirate was cramping and vomiting in agony. Yet, he had lost the strength to scream. His eyes were darting around rapidly, which soon noticed the black crystal suit with blood-red spiritual stripes. Then, he was consumed by fear!
Li Yao took out a dose of a highly-condensed drug, flipped its cap away with his thumb, and tilted the utensil.
The thick, translucent drug with alluring aroma immediately flowed out and dripped to the ground silently.
Li Yao said calmly, "Your shoulders and ribs are all broken. Your internal organs are bleeding seriously. Depending on your capability, you will die in five to eight minutes.
"If you ingest this medication, your internal bleeding should be stopped temporarily, long enough for you to make it to the med bay.
"Now, you have three minutes to tell me the reason why you people are here, the status and personnel of your starship, and the identity and capability of your highest commander.
"Confess everything that you consider useful. I will be the one to judge whether or not your information is valuable.
"If I'm convinced that listening to you is worthwhile, I will give you the medication drug. You are not my target. I won't waste my time on a shrimp such as yourself.
"However, make it fast. The medicinal drug will continue to pour to the floor over the three minutes. If the remaining drug is not enough for you, don't blame me."
While he was talking, Li Yao projected a light beam in front of him, on which a blood-red countdown in a gruesome font was manifested.
Three minutes. The countdown began!
Two minutes and fifty-nine seconds to go!
The space pirate was cramping and grimacing in the sharp pain like a loach which had been pinned to a chopper block. He was mumbling something, but there was no telling whether he was cursing or begging.
Li Yao was as peaceful as before. The countdown continued, as did the flowing medication drug.
After ten seconds, the space pirate finally realized the situation that he was in. Like a drowning man grasping the last straw, he held back his pain and moved to Li Yao's feet, telling Li Yao everything that he knew of.
The reality was similar to what Li Yao had guessed. This starship of Storm Prison was not commanded by Fengyu Zhong, the brutal bandit in the Core Formation Stage, personally, but by his only son Fengyu Ming.
Fengyu Ming was 27 years old and in the high level of the Building Foundation Stage. But he was quite a Mr. Nobody in the 'Spider Den', a planet where space pirates congregated. In order to succeed his father's enterprise, he would have to show his ruthlessness to everyone first.
This was actually Fengyu Ming's first hunting trip by himself.
At first, everything had gone quite well. He'd captured two business starships and looted a lot of useful resources.
But very soon, during his next assault, he was noticed by the passing-by 'Great Horn Exo Society'.
The Great Horn Exo Society were not the guards of the business starship being savaged by him nor were there any grudges between the two parties before. Their comprehensive capabilities were on par. Fengyu Ming's side even had slight edge. Once they were engaged in a battle, there would be two losers and zero winners.
However, the Great Horn Exo Society bit Fengyu Ming like a bunch of rabid dogs and wouldn't let him go no matter what. They drifted and fought in the sea of stars for over two months, with significant losses on both sides. Their starships were all riddled with holes and on the verge of destruction now.
Fengyu Ming had never seen such a fearless Exo Society before. He ran far away and eventually reached this far-flung area.
At this moment, his starship was collapsing. Now that he'd detected Star Lord Temple, he had planned to steal some supplies from the place.
He had thought that, after one or two barrages, the country folk down there would surrender nicely. But the defense of Star Lord Temple was much tougher than he had expected. Having no other choice, he had been forced to command the bandits to launch frontal attacks. Li Yao already knew the rest of the story.
After two months of battles, Fengyu Ming had lost most of his elite subordinates. The surviving space pirates were all exhausted if not injured, with little ammunition and spiritual energy left. That was why his attack on a small town had lasted almost an hour with little progress.
"II've told you everything. Give me the medication drug, give me"
The space pirate's face was pale. Blood was gurgling inside his throat. He begged anxiously and desperately.
Li Yao was deep in thought.
Great Horn Exo Society?
Exo Societies were unique organizations of Cultivators in the Flying Star Sector.
Compared with Cultivation sects, Exo Societies were burdened with less rules. The Exos with a clean history and acceptable skills could join or leave any of them free at their will.
Such loose organizations were very popular among the unaffiliated Cultivators who hated to be bounded by restrictions. Many young men from Cultivation sects preferred to join an Exo Society when they were travelling in the outside world away from their sects to gain more battle experience, make more prominent friends, and enjoy the more splendid scenery of the vast world.
Exo Societies mainly had two sources of income: to serve as guards for large business fleets or mining bases, and to hunt down space pirates and demon beasts to claim their bounties.
However, Li Yao didn't find 'Great Horn' among the names of the most famous Exo Societies in the Flying Star Sector. It seemed to be a mediocre one.
Then, why would a mediocre Exo Society with no impressive capabilities hunt the space pirates of Storm Prison for more than two months without any rest? Were the bounties of the space pirates that high?
"Why have the Great Horn Exo Society been chasing you for the last two months?"
Li Yao lowered his wrist. The medication drug inside was pouring out at a higher speed. Almost half dose was about to be emptied.
Two hands seemed to be popping out from the hollowed eyes of the space pirate. Smelling the exhilarating flavor, he felt that his internal organs were all the more painful and insufferable. His lips tremored for a moment, before he finally spoke the truth.
"When Master Ming was pillaging the second business starship, to to better spread his name, hekilled everyone from the starship after they surrendered."
Several blood vessels inside Li Yao's eyes suddenly burst. He nodded and handed over the medication drug. "Very good. The information you've provided is very valuable."
The space pirate took a long breath in relief and picked the medication drug, shivering. Before he was able to swallow it, he suddenly felt that his chest was aching as if ten thousand iron needles had stabbed into it at the same time with tens of thousands of electric arcs. After an intense spasm, his eyes widened and froze.
Li Yao took back the medication drug and vanished in the gaps among tubes on the ceiling of the tool cabin.
Like a wolf who was locked in an iron cage with a broken leg, Fengyu Ming paced to and fro stumblingly, with a hideous and desperate, if not somewhat wronged, expression on his face.
"Son of a gun. When are the rabid dogs of the Great Horn Exo Society going to stop?
"It was not the cargo that you were protecting that I robbed anyway!
"This is just my first hunting trip. The bounty on my head is not even enough to pay for the fuel of your starship!
"Why? Can somebody tell me why?!"
Fengyu Ming yelled at the top of his voice and pulled on his hair incredibly violently.
The past two months had been a terrible memory for a bandit who had just started his career.
The comprehensive capability of the Great Horn Exo Society was not very impressive at all; it was even weaker than his starship.
But 'give up' seemed to be an entry that was missed from their dictionary. Each time he got rid of them, they would simply come back again. There was absolutely no way to ditch them!
Every time they were engaged, the Great Horn Exo Society was always determined to perish together with him. His enemy would park their starship an inch away from his own starship despite the fierce bombardment and then open fire at him. It was just like two burly thugs stabbing each other with daggers, not having the slightest fear about what might become of themselves.
Faced with such an insane foe, even the brutal bandits of Storm Prison had no other choice but to run away.
He had thought that, reaching the periphery of the Flying Star Sector after more than half a month of cruising through stone belts and cosmic storms, the rabid dogs must've been left behind.
But as it turned out, half a day ago, the telepathic thoughts of the Great Horn Exo Society had still been detected, which carried a piece of arrogant information written in plaintext without the shallowest disguise.
"It is the most important thing for Cultivators to keep our word. When we say we will take you down, we will take you down, even if you flee to the end of the sea of stars!"
A bunch of rabid dogs!
It never rains; it pours. The small space town in front of him was quite eccentric, too. Its powerful defense rings made him fail to conquer the settlement after almost two hours.
Fengyu Ming had a vague feeling that he was not going to be able to get supplies from this place.
Even though he could take over the town right now, there wouldn't be enough time for them to transport the supplies to their starship, since the rabid dogs of the Great Horn Exo Society could arrive at any time.
Fengyu Ming's facial muscles were twitching violently. He gritted his teeth and decided to abandon the fat meat right below his mouth and continue his escape as soon as possible.
Right then, the warship shivered. The giant light beam on the top of the dashboard was in ominous red, while hasty alarms were echoing nonstop.
The engine compartment had a serious explosion. 15% of the impetus was lost, and the number only continued to rise.
Fengyu Ming's face suddenly turned taut and grave.