"You are a smart one. I'm going to ask three things of you. If you are as smart as you just were, I will be gone in five minutes."
Li Yao asked indifferently, "Firstly, why is the Great Horn Exo Society chasing you? Is it really because you've slain hundreds of pigs, or is it because you killed someone you shouldn't have killed and looted something that you shouldn't have looted?"
"No. It was the plainest starship that I robbed!"
Fengyu Ming felt that he was wronged and exclaimed in defense, "It was an old 'Fast Fish'-level carrier. The crew members were the most mundane farmers. Inside the cabin, there were rice and farming magical equipment and nothing much of value. It was far less rewarding than our first job!
"We didn't kill hundreds of people. There were only ninety-eight crew members on board. At first, I only killed some ten of them in order to frighten the rest. But an old woman rushed out and tried to bite me, cursing me for killing her grandson. My crystal suit was contaminated by her saliva. That is why I killed them all!"
Li Yao's eyes were suddenly extremely cold. "Just because of that, the Great Horn Exo Society chased you for two months?"
"Yes, indeed! Those rabid dogs!"
Fengyu Ming's face was twisted when he talked about the Great Horn Exo Society. He said with the utmost hatred, "I did nothing except kill dozens of ordinary people who weren't even the employers of the Great Horn Exo Society. They were just passing by the wreckage of the cargo ship. A guy seemed to still be breathing and told them everything.
"Then, they signed the contract with the fellow with a bag of rice as the price. They've chased and hunted me through more than ten space zones for more two months!
"Over the past two months, hundreds of Exos have been killed on both sides, including dozens of Cultivators!
"A bag of rice!
"No more than a hundred ordinary people!
"Just because of that, dozens of Cultivators have been killed!
"On our way, I sent telepathic thoughts to the Great Horn Exo Society stating that there are no grudges between our two parties and nobody would win anything if the situation went on like this. Even if they manage to kill me in the end, my father will definitely not let go of them!
"I was even willing to offer them a large sum of money, as long as they agreed to leave us and go separate ways.
"However, those rabid dogs replied that the contract had been made with a bag of rice as the price, and the bag of rice had already been cooked, eaten, digested and excreted. Even the defecation had been flushed away!
"Therefore, the contract was irretractable. They will never let go of me even if they have to pursue me to the end of the sea of stars!
"Rabid dogs! They are a bunch of out-and-out rabid dogs! You must take care, senior. You might get into trouble if you are chased by them despite your amazing abilities!"
Li Yao nodded.
"Good. Your first answer is very satisfactory. Then, the second thing. I know your father Fengyu Zhong to be one of the toughest guys in Spider Den. He must have gathered quite a fortune after dozens of years of diligent work as a space pirate.
"You are his only son. He was definitely worried about you on your first solo hunting trip. Although he didn't come personally, he must've given you a huge amount of money, supplies, and magical equipment with you.
"We space pirates, of course, wouldn't deposit money in a bank; we exchange them for the most valuable hard currency and bring them with us.
"Therefore, give me your Cosmos Rings."
Fengyu Ming was dazed for a moment. Rolling his eyes, he gritted his teeth and said, "There is a hidden pocket on the left bottom part of the chest in my mustard suit. The Cosmos Ring is right inside the pocket. Please take it by yourself and consider it a gift from a junior to a senior."
Li Yao smiled.
"I'm not done yet. Here are the rules about the second thing.
"Firstly, although your joints have been crushed by me, as a Cultivator in the high level of the Building Foundation Stage, you can still control your muscles with your telepathic thoughts directly to move your body, as long as you can hold back the sharp pain for a while. Therefore, I won't take it myself. You have to give it to me.
"Secondly, a clever rabbit always has more than one home. I don't believe a guy like you just has one Cosmos Ring.
"Your father is a seasoned bandit. He must've taught you a lot of techniques and secret arts. We are both well aware that there are thousands of ways to hide a Cosmos Ring on one's body which wouldn't be found out in a short amount of time.
"I don't want to waste mine, and I'm not interested in interrogation, either.
"Therefore, I will just assume that you brought three Cosmos Rings with you. In a moment, I will release my finger and resume the countdown, and you will give me your three Cosmos Rings promptly.
"If the countdown reaches zero and you haven't taken out the three Cosmos Rings, you die.
"If you really only brought one or two Cosmos Rings, you die.
"If you have four Cosmos Rings with you, then you are a lucky guy. You can keep the most valuable one to yourself since I won't find out anyway."
While he was talking, Li Yao raised his finger and snapped, freeing Fengyu Ming's right hand.
The countdown began ticking yet again.
33 seconds, 32 seconds, 31 seconds
Fengyu Ming had concocted a hundred schemes to hide the most important Cosmos Ring of his. But Li Yao's insidiousness was beyond his expectations, and he was truly caught off guard.
The quickly bouncing red figure was stabbing and burning his eyes like the scary flames of the hell. He felt that he was going to be blinded.
Fengyu Ming wriggled desperately and screamed in a voice resembling a pig which was being butchered, "Senior, I really just brought two Cosmos Rings with me. But there are a large quantity of high-purity crystals and the best medication drugs inside. I will gladly offer all of them to you. But I really just have two Cosmos Rings. Just two!"
Li Yao said suspiciously, "You really just have two Cosmos Rings?"
Fengyu Ming nodded vigorously. "Yes. Just two!"
Li Yao sighed and replied, "Then, today is not your lucky day."
The countdown continued. 28 seconds, 27 seconds, 26 seconds
Fengyu Ming was dumbfounded like a frozen statue. He was absolutely still for three seconds, but it felt like three days and three nights for him.
Suddenly, the frozen statue exploded. He was cramping like a shrimp on a steel sheet in a sushi restaurant and cried out, "Three! I have three Cosmos Rings! I'm giving them to you right now! Stop it! Stop it now!"
Li Yao eyed him calmly and unresponsively.
The countdown went on. There were only 21 seconds left.
Tears and snot were flooding down Fengyu Ming's face. He held back the agony while the muscles over his body rippled like waves. A moment later, three Cosmos Rings appeared in his palm.
Only one of them was in the shape of a ring. The second one looked like a tiny button, while the third one was secretly hidden in a box of medication drug mixed with dozens of capsules.
Even if Li Yao adjusted the resolution of the crystal camera on his crystal suit to the highest setting, he couldn't tell it was any different from a regular capsule.
If he had searched his captive's body in person, he might have been able to locate the first two Cosmos Rings, but the third one would definitely have been overlooked.
Taking the three Cosmos Rings, Li Yao did not pause the countdown, until there were only last 15 seconds left on the light beam.
"The five additional seconds are a little warning to remind you to stop playing any tricks because my patience is limited.
"Right now, you have fifteen seconds to do the last thing that I ask you to. If everything goes well, I will be gone in three minutes, and you will go back to fight the Great Horn Exo Society.
"But if it doesn't go well, you will take a shower in the crystal reactor, and the worst thing for me is just that my identity might be recognized. However, I don't believe that the rabid dogs of the Great Horn Exo Society are capable of blocking me!"
"Everything is definitely going well!"
After submitting the three Cosmos Rings, Fengyu Ming cowered and trembled as if three sections of his spine had been ripped away.
Li Yao said, "I want the highest clearance on the mainframe crystal processor of your starship. I want to know all the information about the starship, especially the star maps that you have stored.
"Therefore, you will tell me the spiritual password of the highest clearance.
"Not so fast. Let me explain to you how this will be done.
"Firstly, you will tell me the spiritual password, and I will reset the countdown to three minutes.
"In the coming three minutes, I will infiltrate the local Spiritual Nexus of your starship and test the password that you are going to offer me.
"If the password you give me is true, naturally, I will have all clearances and get everything I need in three minutes. Then, I will stop the countdown and leave you alone.
"But if the password is a false one and I fail to get all clearances in three minutes, then your outcome will be the same as before. You die!"
Li Yao finished his speech and moved his finger again.
14 seconds, 13 seconds, 12 seconds
Fengyu Ming gave up the spiritual password without any hesitation.
The three things that Li Yao demanded had been proposed progressively just in order to fully crush his mental defense line.
Now that he had surrendered the most precious Cosmos Rings, it didn't seem a big deal to concede the clearances of the mainframe crystal processor.
After all, the Great Horn Exo Society was coming at any time. Fengyu Ming presumed that his starship was useless for a 'senior space pirate'.
But he didn't know that it was the highest clearance for the mainframe crystal processor that Li Yao had wanted since the very beginning.
When the countdown stopped at 10 seconds, Fengyu Ming fell over exhaustedly like a saddlebag that had been emptied.
"Senior, I've told you everything you want to know and given you whatever you needed. The Great Horn Exo Society is coming anytime. You should at least give me some time to prepare the defense of my starship," Fengyu Ming said, fatigued, like half-dead fish on a dry riverbed.
But inside his brain, malicious thoughts were spinning over and over, as he was considering how to stir up chaos with the unexpected visitor after the 'senior' left.
Perhaps, he could reveal the existence of such a 'senior' to the Great Horn Exo Society directly? Such a bandit was apparently of much higher value than himself.
Or rather, he should make the best use of his time to take down the town in front of him and hold the countryfolk inside hostage?
While he was absent-minded, he heard the 'senior' talking. "Very well. You have been very cooperative. I believe that the spiritual password you've given me is real. I won't waste my time testing it."
Fengyu Ming was overjoyed. He was grinning merrily in his mind, while he put on an obedient expression and said, "Senior, what about"
Before he was able to complete his sentence, the words were frozen in his throat like ice blocks.
Right in front of his violently shrinking pupils, the facial cover of the senior was being gradually opened!
Fengyu Ming's heart was palpitating so hard that he felt like choking.
He was well aware that unveiling the true face to someone else was definitely not a signal of friendliness among space pirates, but a confident declaration that
Everyone who saw the face would be killed!
He wants to kill me? Why? What good is there in killing me? Fengyu Ming was held by desperation and bewilderment.
The next second, when he saw Li Yao's face, which was apparently too young for an old space pirate, a spark suddenly burst out his heart and spread to every part of his body. He started shaking beyond his control.
"It seems that you've realized it. I'm not a space pirate. Every word I said just now was a lie."
Li Yao eyes were as deep and dark as ink. He drew close and stared Fengyu Ming in the eyes, enjoying the panic and confusion there, as he said, one word after another, "Your sorry life has ten seconds left."
He gently removed his finger. The countdown of the last ten seconds started.