Chapter 685: Better Be a Thief
Translator: flycrane01 Editor: Millman97
Mo Xuan was deep in thought. Gold sparks were bursting out of the two deep hollows on the metal skull, while he said, “If the Temple of Immortals’ plan succeeded, the Iron Plateau natives would have been the cannon fodder of the Immortal Cultivators. They would have been projected to dozens of space zones nearby via the crystal warships of the space pirates. A total war would have broken out. What else?”
Li Yao’s eyes were shining. He spoke so fast that his voice was like rushing bullets. “Then, the Flying Star Sector would have faced an enormous crisis that can only be resolved by focusing all the resources and manpower available.
“There would be two plans for the Cultivators to choose.
“But the Ice God Project would still have been impractical, because the modification of Ice King requires at least twenty years. During the twenty years, the combat ability of Ice King will remain at zero. The Iron Plateau natives and the Immortal Cultivators are no fools. They would not stand by and watch the Cultivators to transform Ice King but come up with a way to sabotage the project!
“Moreover, let’s say that Ice King modifications are completed after twenty years and it’s turned into an invincible starship, don’t forget that the Cultivators have two targets right now: Iron Plateau and Spider Den!
“Awesome as Ice King may be, it can only hit one planet at most. It would is impossible to destroy Iron Plateau and Spider Den at the same time!
“Therefore, if the war broke out, the Ice God Project would have been out of the picture from the beginning.
After a brief silence, Professor Mo Xuan’s voice turned sharp. “Then, there’s only the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project left.”
“Indeed,” Li Yao said coldly. “The Grand Illusionary Soldiers are very cheap and can be refined by the other sects. As long as some of them are produced, they will boast a certain amount of combat ability. Also, they can be deployed in every corner of the Flying Star Sector. It is definitely a piece of perfect, tailor-made magical equipment for the ‘riot of the Iron Plateau natives’!
“No. It is also possible that the ‘riot of the Iron Plateau natives’ was a scheme tailor-made for the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project!
“Faced with the incoming Iron Plateau natives, it would have been impossible for the Cultivators to run the most detailed tests within one to two years patiently.
“Think about it. In the endless darkness, at the edge of the Flying Star Sector, one space town after another is swallowed by the ‘ferocious’ Iron Plateau natives and space pirates. Countless ordinary people are butchered. The fearsome flames of war are ignited in every part of the Flying Star Sector and sweep across the world!
“Under such circumstances, how can you expect to examine the Grand Illusionary Soldier for one to two years?
“Even three to six months might be too long.
“If I were a leader of a sect, and the space towns in my territory were being assaulted by the Iron Plateau natives, I would definitely try to buy a batch of Grand Illusionary Soldiers to solve the imminent threat whatever the cost.
“In such a case, the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project would be implemented in haste after a short period of one to two months of examination, if it is examined at all, won’t it?
“Professor, based on your experience, do you think it is possible to check the loopholes once the Grand Illusionary Project is fully initiated?”
Mo Xuan shook his head. “That would be very difficult.
“Li Yao, you are not a professor in the field of crystal processors. I can only explain it to you with the shallowest metaphor.
“Before the Grand Illusionary Project is activated, the star brain is in the original state. It is like a frozen, solid ocean.
“Although it is difficult to fish for a needle in a frozen ocean, it is still possible once countless experts are gathered.
“However, after the project is activated and the star brain starts running, billions of telepathic thoughts will enter and exit the star brain every second. The frozen ocean will be unfrozen, and surging tides will rage everywhere.
“Think about it. How is it possible to locate a needle that is flowing together with the waves in a rampant ocean with immeasurable undercurrents?”
Li Yao’s voice was chilly. “So, if no loopholes are found in the preliminary tests in the beginning one to two months, it is unlikely that they will be found in the future, correct?”
Mo Xuan spoke with a voice resembling the sound of rusted gears. “Yes.”
The training room was caught in a brief silence. The only sounds were Li Yao’s heavy breaths and the background noises when the crystal processors were transmitting information over a long distance.
After a long time, Li Yao took a long breath and said, “The great bandit Fengyu Zhong revealed himself in order to attract the Cultivators to the Iron Plateau Space Zone. The battle in the Iron Plateau Space Zone was meant to drive the Cultivators to Iron Plateau in order to raise a great war between Iron Plateau natives and space residents.
“Once the war broke out, the world of Cultivators would have had to pick the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project!
“If that were the case, everything would be more logical.
“Since the appearance of Immortal Cultivators in the big explosion during the Skyhill Sword Seminar, we have considered the Temple of Immortals to be the schemers and the space pirates to be their puppets.
“Therefore, Cultivators devoted all their resources and attention to the Temple of Immortals.
“No one has ever thought the other possibility. If space pirates are the puppets of the Temple of Immortals, are the Temple of Immortals a puppet of somebody else?”
Mo Xuan pondered for a moment. “You are suspecting Xiao Xuance?”
“He is indeed worth suspecting,” Li Yao replied.
“What’s his motive?” Mo Xuan asked. “He is the CEO of the Grand Illusionary Group and the crownless king of the Flying Star Sector. He is already at the peak of the world of Cultivators. Does he have any reason to destroy the mountain below his feet?”
“A crownless king is not as good as a crowned king,” Li Yao answered gloomily.
Mo Xuan thought for a moment and said, “Fair enough. But there are two points that call for our attention.
“Firstly, the Temple of Immortals’ scheme on Iron Plateau has met a fiasco. The Iron Plateau natives and the space residents are communicating closely right now. It is practically impossible that a war will threaten to break out again. But still, the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project has been introduced and is waiting to be tested.
“This point alone is enough to disapprove your assumption just now.
“Secondly, as the CEO of the Grand Illusionary Group and the leader of the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project, Xiao Xuance will be standing in the spotlight from the beginning. He will be scrutinized and suspected by everybody. If he is the real schemer behind everything, it seems to be a very risky decision.
“Think about what happened on Iron Plateau. Yan Xibei, the Mountain King, was the real schemer, but he pushed his nephew Yan Chifeng to the front and did not expose himself until the last moment when he had no alternatives.
“Isn’t it too early for Xiao Xuance to jump out and take charge of everything personally?”
Li Yao’s eyes were rapidly flickering from side to side. He scratched his head and mumbled, “It’s indeed very strange, unless, of course, Xiao Xuance has an unquestionable way to prove his innocence. But, how can he?
“Is the schemer not Xiao Xuance but somebody else in the Grand Illusionary Group?”
“Everything you said is just your assumption,” Mo Xuan said. “You came to the conclusion by setting your perspective and your goal in advance. It is a very far-fetched deduction that is not supported by any proof.
“If you throw out your theory right now, nobody will believe it, and you won’t be able to lock onto the real schemer even if they do!”
Li Yao scratched his hair in desperation. His pupils suddenly constricted while he gnashed his teeth.
“If my assumption is correct, there is definitely something wrong with the Mist Plan and the Mist Clearing Operation!
“An unexpected situation will force the world of Cultivators to initiate the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project in a hurry without testing it first!”
Mo Xuan observed calmly, “Maybe. But look at your watch. The Mist Clearing Operation will be carried out in 55 minutes and 33 seconds. How can you expect to stop it with your words?
“Don’t forget who you are. In the eyes of Cultivators, you are still an Iron Plateau native. Although the Iron Plateau natives and space residents are in a close relationship right now, it is impossible for them to question Xiao Xuance and the Grand Illusionary Group co-funded by the six sects or cancel the Mist Clearing Operation just because of your accusations.
“Competition for rightfulness still looms between the six tribes of Iron Plateau and the six sects of Heavenly Saints City. Their relationship is sensitive. As the ‘best warrior of six tribes of Iron Plateau’, you must be careful about what you say and do.
“What if you are wrong?
“What if the Mist Plan and poison that can kill countless people does exist and the operation to stop the plan is disrupted by you?”
Li Yao shuddered and cursed.
He had once thought that Yan Xibei was the greatest schemer in the world.
But based on what is happening right now, if his guess was correct, this flawless ‘overt plot’ was much more neatly-made than Yan Xibei’s plan!
Li Yao suddenly burst into laughter. Tears were almost flowing out of his eyes.
Mo Xuan was curious. “What are you laughing for?”
“I’m laughing at Yan Xibei, who thought himself a hero but was in fact yet another chess piece on someone else’s board.”
His face red in excitement, Li Yao rubbed his abdomen and said, “Yan Xibei thought that the army of Iron Plateau strengthened by the Blood Stripe Virus could swallow the Temple of Immortals. But he did not know that the Temple of Immortals was but a disguise for another force!
“I don’t know whether or not the real schemer saw through Yan Xibei’s trick, but they would not have cared about it even if they did.
“If Yan Xibei’s plan did work out someday and he entered the space with thousands of blood-striped warriors or even took control over the Temple of Immortals as he planned, he would have been dumbfounded to find out that there were billions of Grand Illusionary Soldiers that he was faced with!
“Blood-striped warriors versus the Grand Illusionary Soldiers. Tsk. Tsk. The picture is too gory for me to imagine. Haha. Hahahaha!”
Sparks in the bottom of Mo Xuan’s eyes were shining again, as he said, “Laugh as you will, but I need to remind you that the Mist Clearing Operation will be put into action in 49 minutes and 21 seconds. Whether it is a trap or not, it is now already underway.
“Not you, nor anybody else, will be able to stop it!”
Li Yao covered his face with his hands and buried his head in his arms. Frustrated voice came through the gaps of his fingers as he said, “Nobody’s going to stop it. Then…
“Professor, even if the Grand Illusionary Soldier Project is activated right now, it will take five years or so for the project to yield satisfactory results. Can the five Star Spirits, including yourself, find the possible loopholes inside the star brain and block them in five years?”
“That’s impossible!” Professor Mo Xuan asserted. “You can be a thief for a thousand days, but you can’t be braced for burglary forever. Although we can hack most crystal processors, we are definitely not almighty gods!
“Such an arduous endeavor far exceeds the limits of our computational ability. However hard we train ourselves and level up, we won’t be able to do it!”
Li Yao’s voice turned from frustrated into desperate, but his words stopped half way through the sentence. His fingers suddenly splayed, and from the gaps between his fingers beamed out crazy brilliance that could be found on the gambler who had lost all the games until he had the last bargaining chip. He was ready to take the risk right now!
“Professor! What did you say? Can you repeat it?”
“I said that we will not be able to locate the loophole however hard we increase our computational ability.”
“No. Not that. The sentence before it. You said that one can be a thief for a thousand days but cannot be braced for burglary forever.”
“That’s what I said. Is there a problem?”
“No problem! Absolutely no problem! So, it is much more difficult to keep an eye on a thief than to be a thief, isn’t it?”
“Well, I guess. What do you mean?”
Li Yao suddenly leapt up, like a butterfly that had struggled out of its invisible cocoon. His face was beaming with joy while he gazed at the light beam with his bloodshot eyes and said, “With the ability of the five Star Spirits, it is impossible to stop the thieves from visiting. But what if you are thieves?”