Xiao Xuance paused for a moment and observed the reactions of the ‘real Immortal Cultivators’.
Everybody was as strongminded as he expected. They did not even blink.
Satisfied, Xiao Xuance continued. “I know that it was quite risky for everybody to come here without alarming your own sect. Let’s cut to the chase and invite Captain Xiao Yushan, leader of the ‘Dragon Slaying Operation’, to explain the latest developments.”
Xiao Yushan was the young man with dense hair whom Xiao Xuance had summoned twenty days ago.
He was a member of the Xiao family and had been under the tutelage of Xiao Xuance when he was growing up. Naturally, he had accepted Xiao Xuance’s ideology and become a staunch Immortal Cultivator.
The Dragon Slaying Operation was a set of plans to deal with the unexpected reappearance of the Dragon King Battlesuit. Search, localization, defense, siege, assassination, and manipulation, every procedure had dozens of backup plans.
Xiao Yushan stood up quickly without any ado and bowed to everyone.
Dozens of light beams were hovering behind him. He was wearing a jade ring on his right index finger, which shot out a scarlet ray as he pointed at the light beam and said, “Three days ago, we discovered part of the debris of ‘White Horse’, the medical starship that went missing more than half a month ago, at the periphery of the Swooping Eagle Space Zone. By analyzing the spiritual energy residue and the remaining materials, we estimated that White Horse collapsed due to a very serious explosion.
“The explosion was too fierce to have been an accident. Besides, there had not been serious cosmic storms around the Swooping Eagle Space Zone recently. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that the explosion was man-made.
“We set the Swooping Eagle Space Zone as an important area of investigation and devoted a lot of resources for the search, only to come up with nothing.
“There are three space zones near the Swooping Eagle Space Zone that are all within reach of one space jump. If one boarded a quick carrier, they could travel between them within one to two days.
“We found a lot of valuable clues in the Mystic Cloud Space Zone, which is next to the Swooping Eagle Space Zone.
“First, let’s do some calculations.
“Jumping from the Spider Den Space Zone into the Swooping Eagle Space Zone before blowing up the starship would take one to two days.
“Putting on a faked appearance in the Swooping Eagle Space Zone, sneaking into a high-speed carrier, and leaving for the Mystic Cloud Space Zone would take another one to two days.
“All things considered, that would have been three to five days in total.
“Exactly six days after the Dragon King Battlesuit reappeared, seven hospitals of the Mystic Cloud Space Zone were broken into. Medication worth of millions was taken. The local sects investigated the case for days but found no leads at all. They were only sure that it must have been done by an expert.
“After our thorough investigation, we found that the seven cases had something in common. In the inventory of the stolen items, there were a lot of medications that were designed to pacify the soul.
“Fellow Cultivator Yin Pingzi of the Feathered Snakes Brotherhood is a spectral Cultivator who passed away more than a hundred and thirty years ago. He has done profound research on the arts of reincarnation and possession.
“According to Fellow Cultivator Yin Pingzi, such dark arts are extremely perilous. Even if it works out, the body will experience strong rejection reactions in the first couple of years. If the user is not careful, their soul will still be expelled out of the body.
“The weaker the possessor’s soul is and the stronger the body of the victim is, the more intense the rejection reactions will be. They will have to take a lot of medicines to pacify their soul and maintain the stability of their body.”
When Xiao Yushan got to this part, one of the Immortal Cultivators tapped the table and said, “Fellow Cultivator Xiao, if I may interrupt.
“We get what you are trying to say. Your team believe that Bai Xinghe has reincarnated and fled to the Mystic Cloud Space Zone. He broke into the seven hospitals for the soul-pacifying medicine only. Other items he took away were just distractions.”
“Exactly.” Xiao Yushan nodded and said, “The members of the Dragon Slaying Operation and part of the star brain’s computational ability analyzed for an entire day. This is the most likely possibility.”
“If so—” The Immortal Cultivator narrowed his eyes, which were as sharp as swords. “The medicine in general hospitals are mediocre after all. If the man was really Bai Xinghe’s reincarnation, he would definitely have the capability to sneak into the local sects of the Mystic Cloud Space Zone and steal better drugs, wouldn’t he?”
Xiao Yushan shook his head and said, “This is exactly why Bai Xinghe was smart. Stealing medicines from Cultivation sects would have been too obvious and exposed him.
“In comparison, stealing the normal medicines from general hospitals was much more low-profile. Nobody would overthink it.
“In fact, if we had not known which starship he ran away on, we wouldn’t have locked onto the Swooping Eagle Space Zone so quickly, and if we hadn’t concentrated tremendous resources and computational ability in this place, such minor cases definitely would’ve been neglected by us, considering the vastness of the Flying Star Sector.
“It’s true that the medicine is poor in quality. That is why he went to seven hospitals altogether.
“Retrieving the essence from abundant mediocre medicines should be enough for his use temporarily.”
The Immortal Cultivator who suspected him pondered for a moment and said, “Alright. You’ve convinced me, Fellow Cultivator Xiao. Please continue.”
Xiao Yushan nodded. The light beams behind him changed. He said, “For the sake of confidentiality, the scale of our organization has been kept small. It is nowhere near as large as the Temple of Immortals, which serves as our disguise. We don’t have many spare hands in the Swooping Eagle Space Zone. Most of the time, we can only collect and analyze the public information.
“However, the Black Spider Tower has been developing in the Flying Star Sector for hundreds of years and is more or less associated with the underground worlds of the major space zones.
“Over the past years, Spider Den has been on the decline. The smugglers, drug dealers, and gamblers have been restraining themselves, seeing that things were not going well. However, the Black Spider Tower has enough evidence of their crimes to force them to cooperate.
“Still, we found nothing through the public information or underground methods.
“Our target was extremely prudent. Other than stealing the soul-pacifying medicines, which was probably a must for him, he did not leave any traces.
“However, seven days later, a weird burglary took place in the Three Brightness Space Zone.
“This time, the victim was not a hospital but a store of mining magical equipment. A lot of devices for prospecting, mining, and purifying were stolen.
“The case was quite odd.
“We all know that mining magical equipment, such as drills, excavators, pumps, and ventilation rune arrays, is large, heavy, and not very valuable. More importantly, it is difficult to sell them because normal people won’t need such rigs at all.
“What was the purpose of stealing so much niche, hefty mining magical equipment?
“In addition, the crime scene was too clean. Judging from all the evidence, the thief absorbed the mining magical equipment with a few Cosmos Rings.
“Cosmos Rings are highly valuable. One advanced Cosmos Ring might be more expensive than a high-level crystal suit. Besides, every Cosmos Ring has a limited longevity.
“The thief had at least five Cosmos Rings with him. He was definitely a magnate, and yet he was stealing worthless mining magical equipment with the precious Cosmos Rings. It’s like hijacking a bus with a gun made of diamonds. The whole thing did not make any sense.
“We looked into the case carefully and finally found something interesting in the inventory of the lost goods.”
Behind Xiao Yushan, a mystic ray was divided into six beams, each of which projected a translucent shadow on one of the long desks.
It was a piece of magical equipment more than two meters in both length and width, which was square and looked like an iron block. Enshrouded in a vague black air, it emitted the solidness and clumsiness that solely belonged to the mining magical equipment. There was also a curved metal web unfolding on top of the magical equipment.
“Great Pagoda VII, a special communication device for mines. It boasts a high penetrability and interference immunity, designed for the remote areas that are not covered in the Spiritual Nexus and in the mines where there is tremendous interference. The range of communication can cover the normal asteroids. Even if it is placed a thousand meters below the ground, the telepathic thoughts can still be transmitted through the thick rocks.
“More importantly, such a communicator is based on the point-to-point link of telepathic thoughts and does not require the Spiritual Nexus. Essentially speaking, it is just a super large interphone.”
Another Immortal Cultivator raised his hand. “So, if somebody talks via the Great Pagoda VII communicator, we will not know the content of their conversation, right?”
“If we don’t know the time and location of the conversation, no,” Xiao Yushan replied.
The command center was caught in dead silence. All the Immortal Cultivators were frowning.
Clearly, none of them liked the feeling of losing control.
After a moment, Xiao Yushan continued. “If we assume that the stolen cases of the seven hospitals and the burglary of the store of mining magical equipment were done by the same person, it will be much easier to determine his traces.
“After a day and a night’s hard work, during which time a Fellow Cultivator unfortunately sacrificed himself, we finally found the traces of the target in the Dawn Moon Space Zone, which is in the middle of the Three Brightness Space Zone and the Mystic Cloud Space Zone, and proved that the target stayed in the Dawn Moon Space Zone for a while.
“Then, everything becomes clear.
“The target suffered heavy wounds below the ground of Spider Den five years ago. It took him five years to recover by means of either healing or possession.
“Then, he joined the chaotic battle and hijacked a medical starship, jumping to the Swooping Eagle Space Zone.
“He knew that the Swooping Eagle Space Zone was very dangerous. So, he didn’t leave any traces and simply snuck into the Mystic Cloud Space Zone.
“In the Mystic Cloud Space Zone, perhaps due to the strong rejection between his body and his soul, he was forced to steal a batch of soul-pacifying medicines.
“Then, he left the Mystic Cloud Space Zone and snuck into the neighboring Dawn Moon Space Zone.
“The Dawn Moon Space Zone was just a transfer station. Besides, there was not much magical equipment there since it was most famous for its scenic spots. He did not find anything he needed.
“Therefore, he jumped to the Three Brightness Space Zone where he finally found two Great Pagoda VII communicators, which could allow him to talk to someone else without accessing the Spiritual Nexus. He would be able to send or receive commands.
“Please take a look. Spider Den, Swooping Eagle, Mystic Cloud, Dawn Moon, and Three Brightness. He roamed in five space zones in less than half a month. It was indeed an incredible speed. If we did not have the key leads, and without the support of the star brain, we would not have been able to lock onto him!
“As expected of the Pirate Potentate, but it’s a shame that he can’t get away from us!”
The Immortal Cultivator who raised a question in the beginning asked again, “I’m sorry, Fellow Cultivator Xiao. I have to return to the Furious Bears Union to avoid suspicion. Can you tell me your conclusion? Where is he running to and what is his purpose?”
Xiao Yushan smiled. Dozens of mystic rays interweaved into a map of the universe in front of him, where dozens of space zones were like translucent glass balls, swirling in the vast cosmos.
Five of the balls were connected by a golden line.
“This is the target’s route.”
The golden line extended toward the center of the map, reaching another glass ball that was neat and layered.
“This is Heavenly Saints City.
“Do you see it, everybody? He has not been running from the beginning but marching unstoppably toward Heavenly Saints City. He is coming to us!”