Han Tuhu’s eyes were filled with the most freezing heat like magma frozen in frost. Intense smoke of war was leaking out of his every pore, and he marched forwardly quietly in the smoke like a black shadow by himself.
The black shadow was etched into Li Yao’s heart and made him even more determined about his belief. The road ahead of him had never been clearer.
Li Yao took a deep breath and said sincerely, “Thank you, Colonel Han. You have given me a good lesson. I know what to do now.”
Han Tuhu laughed and rose up. “You’ve convinced me, but it is far from enough. Human beings and demons are in vastly different circumstances right now.
“Time is on the Star Glory Federation’s side. The Cultivation technology of the Heaven’s Origin Sector is developing much faster than the biochemical technology of the Blood Demon Sector. Even in the past ten years of war, which were the hardest for us, we have managed to establish sixteen crystal suit legions despite the pressure. In the decades to come, we will only become stronger.
“It is needless to say that a new Sector of human beings has been discovered right now. Even though the assistance of the Flying Star Sector is merely symbolic, the exchange of knowledge between two different worlds and two different systems of Cultivators will certainly lead to the most brilliant sparks and make the technology of both worlds develop exponentially quicker!
“We have the whole future ahead of us. As long as we have a rest of five to ten years, our technology and comprehensive capability will be far higher than those of the Blood Demon Sector!
“Therefore, peace at present is in the interest of the Star Glory Federation. It is also the biggest reason I’m willing to agree with you.
“But what about the Blood Demon Sector?
“As of now, their comprehensive capability and the number of super experts are still higher than those of the Heaven’s Origin Sector, but the gap is being reduced at a visible speed. It is the greatest motivation for the Blood Demon Sector’s assault.
“They have to seize the most critical ‘window’ right now. After the precious ten years or so pass, they will stand absolutely no chance.
“Moreover, right now, with the help of the Flying Star Sector, our comprehensive capability is improving at an even higher speed. It is possible that we will surpass the Blood Demon Sector within several years!
“If you were the leader of the Blood Demon Sector, would you be willing to stop the war now?
“Let’s play a mind game. Imagine you are Jin Tuyi, the commander-in-chief of the coalition army and the incumbent leader of the Blood Demon Sector. One day, a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator named ‘Li Yao’ suddenly shows up and tells you everything about the Flying Star Sector and the Imperium of True Human Beings. What will you do?
“You have to options.
“Firstly, you choose peace. You sign a truce with the Star Glory Federation. You wait and watch the communication between the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Flying Star Sector getting heated and the technology to support super-long-distance space jumps growing mature, to the point that a universal bridge will be established between the two human Sectors, which leads to the boom of the Cultivation techniques and technology. In a few years, the Blood Demon Sector will be left far behind.
“Then, the demons of the Blood Demon Sector will be the meat on a chopping block, and you can only count on the integrity and mercy of human beings.
“Alas, the history of the past five hundred years tells you that mankind has never been a merciful species. In fact, we are probably not.
“Secondly, you bet everything and start a strategic war before the large-scale communication between the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector begins and the technological boom happens!
“You will try to crush the Star Glory Federation before the reinforcements of the Flying Star Sector arrive. At the very least, you will fight for better conditions for your negotiation even if there will be a ceasefire eventually, in order to maintain the mutual deterrence!
“Hehe, Jin Tuyi, commander-in-chief of the coalition army, these are your only options. Which one will you choose?”
After a brief silence, Li Yao shook his head. “The Blood Demon Sector will definitely fail if they wage a strategic war right now.”
“So what?” Han Tuhu said coldly. “You will be killed either way. It is better to make a great gamble with all the wagers you’ve got while you still have a chance than to wait and get killed!
“If I were the commander-in-chief of the coalition army of demons, I would gather all the troops I have unhesitatingly the first second I learned of the existence of the Flying Star Sector and start planning the ultimate war against the Heaven’s Origin Sector!
“The future of the Blood Demon Sector depends on the war!”
Li Yao could not help but observe, “However, under the threat of the Imperium of True Human Beings, we cannot afford to consume so many resources to fight a lose-lose war! Even if we successfully annihilated all the demons of the Blood Demon Sector after decades, so what? We will still be smashed into smithereens by the Imperium of True Human Beings!”
In a mysterious smile, Han Tuhu replied unhurriedly, “As the commander-in-chief of the coalition army of demons, I have every reason to believe that the so-called ‘Imperium of True Human Beings’ is nonexistent. It is a great strategical deception!”
Li Yao was dazed. “What?!”
Han Tuhu sneered. “Assume I am Jin Tuyi. I have received reliable intelligence that the Heaven’s Origin Sector has discovered a new world of human beings and that the two Sectors are about to communicate on a large scale.
“The news has been verified to be true through various sources. My think tank has also concluded, after calculation, that the Heaven’s Origin Sector will surpass the Blood Demon Sector in terms of military power and comprehensive capability within ten years should the large-scale communication be established. As time goes by, the gap will only be greater, and there is no way that I can catch up to them again.
“My only choice is to start a final and ultimate war without considering the cost!
“However, at this moment, I’ve got another piece of intelligence. It is said that a formidable force named ‘Imperium of True Human Beings’ is marching toward the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector maliciously. In order to deal with the force, I must end the war.
“The intelligence, on the other hand, is not supported by any proof. It is just the words of human beings.
“Should I believe the news?
“No, certainly not! I will never believe it!
“I’ll be highly suspicious that this is fake news that human beings are throwing out to stall the strategic war that I’m going to wage. They are trying to win temporary peace for five to ten years so that they will have enough time to surpass us!
“In short, it is a delaying tactic!
“Therefore, the only choice I have is still to start a suicidal war at any cost by exploiting the last bit of our potential!
“I will destroy you, or I will be destroyed. There is not a third option. Peace? In your dreams!”
Li Yao gnashed his teeth. “The existence of Imperium of True Human Beings can be proved. In five years, their first minor apocalypse will arrive!”
“Yes, in five years,” Han Tuhu said. “But the Blood Demon Sector cannot wait for five years. They cannot even wait five months. The Heaven’s Origin Sector is getting stronger, and the hope of victory is getting slimmer with every passing second!”
Li Yao opened his mouth, only to come up with nothing.
Han Tuhu’s conclusion was too cold, but it was flawless, like a machine that was functioning precisely.
Han Tuhu mumbled, “The Dark Forest Theory? The guy who proposed it was truly smart! Right now, the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector are like two highly nervous desperadoes who are sticking poisoned daggers to each other’s hearts in a dark forest. Not far away, another desperado named the ‘Flying Star Sector’ is bringing a powerful storm bolter to the Heaven’s Origin Sector.
“Do you think that the arrival of the Flying Star Sector will make the Blood Demon Sector concede and choose peace?
“You’re wrong. On the contrary, the arrival of the Flying Star Sector will only make the Blood Demon Sector take a wild gamble and risk danger in desperation!
“Because in the dark forest, there is no way that you can prove that, after both of them put down their daggers and move ten meters backwards, the Heaven’s Origin Sector, which is now equipped with a storm bolter, will not shoot the Blood Demon Sector all of a sudden!”
Li Yao took a long breath.
He did not realize until this moment how insignificant the first step he had made in the dark forest was and how simple-headed he had been.
“What should I do?” he asked Han Tuhu sincerely.
“I suggest you go to chat with Suo Chaolong and get him on your side,” Han Tuhu replied.
Li Yao was dazed. “Is it possible?”
“It is,” Han Tuhu remarked emotionlessly. “Suo Chaolong and I are the same. We are real soldiers. Soldiers are the most realistic people in the world because nothing in the world is colder than a war.
“Wars don’t believe in tears and slogans. Wars don’t believe in speeches and boiling blood. In a war, the most resolute fighting will is still going to be ripped apart by waving blades and burning bullets, and the most shrilling cheers will be drowned in the noises of the cannon fire.
“To secure a victory in war, you must count on your capability and your calculation that is so precise that it borders on brutality!
“Therefore, compared to the politicians and their fancy slogans, it is the soldiers on the frontline who have a clear understanding about the war between the two Sectors.
“It is especially so for Suo Chaolong, a professional soldier who ran for thousands of kilometers with three crystal suit legions on his tail.
“Suo Chaolong is certainly not an obstinate man. You also saw how he abandoned the racial prejudice and worked with me in the Nether World.
“Although we had a lot of conflict on the surface, we were both conscious enough to never cross the line. His recklessness and bluntness on the surface are just his disguise. His heart is a hundred times calmer than he appears to be.
“Moreover, his Blood Lion Battalion is rather unique, too. There’s a difference between them and the real silver-blood demons of the Blood Demon Sector.”
Li Yao was dazed. “What do you mean?”
Han Tuhu said, “Have you never found it odd? Suo Chaolong’s team was strong enough to fight against the best crystal suit legions of the federation, but why is it still an awkward ‘battalion’?”
Li Yao frowned. He did feel a bit odd when he heard the name of ‘Blood Lion Battalion’.
In the military system of the Blood Demon Sector, the biggest independent combat unit was a ‘contingent’. For a large scale, many contingents could be combined into an ‘army’.
But what was a ‘battalion’ all about? Even a mediocre army was unlikely to be given such a title. It was unlikely that they were a militia, wasn’t it?