Chapter 2674: Who’s the Deterrent?
As rows of data flashed in Boss Bai’s and Lei Chenghu’s eyes, Boss Bai was gradually relaxed, but the fury on Lei Chenghu’s face was almost bursting out like black magma.
“What’s the meaning of this?”
Clenching his fists so hard that his metal parts were cracking, Lei Chenghu demanded.
“Exactly what you’re seeing, General Lei.”
Li Yao smiled and said, “I’ll return the entirety of the capital planet to the reformists, but not the Gold Crystal Pyramid. Technically, the range within ten kilometers from the Gold Crystal Pyramid will be established as a demilitarized area. Please note that the entrance of any armed force into this area will trigger the severest reaction.”
“You want to claim the Gold Crystal Pyramid for yourself?”
Lei Chenghu was enraged. “What exactly are you trying to do?”
“Rest assured, I know the horror as well as you do, and I do not want to activate such a dreadful weapon.”
Li Yao sighed and said, “However, Boss Bai is right that an alliance is steady only when the parties in it are balanced. Now, since the Imperium is so much more powerful than the federation, and we believe in opposite things, how can our temporary alliance last without a ‘failsafe’?
“This is just a safety measure for our alliance. Otherwise, even if we believe in your integrity, it’s still possible that some of the malicious Immortal Cultivators will try to conquer the federation, and that some Cultivators will plan to attack the Imperium first before those Immortal Cultivators attack them. In this case, the alliance will fall out, and we can never finish off the four families and the Alliance of the Holy Covenant.
“Besides, we’re only cooperating with you in order to renew the Imperium, and we have to ensure that we’re capable of supervising your renewal and that this renewal is in the best interest of the general public of the Imperium. Otherwise, why would we have helped you defeat Wuying Qi if you are no different from him?
“The Gold Crystal Pyramid is very important for us as supervisors. It’s the treasure of all human beings including the underground hominoids. Like what Boss Bai just said, I’m neither qualified nor do I have the power to give it to you.”
“Supervise our renewal…”
Narrowing his eyes, Lei Chenghu gnashed his teeth in obvious fury. “Li Yao, are you threatening me?”
“It’s not a threat, but it’s indeed a deterrent.”
Li Yao was not scared at all. Actually, after the life-and-death battle with Wuying Qi, few people in the entire Imperium could scare him now. “Don’t you Immortal Cultivators believe in survival of the fittest and winner taking all? Why would you work with the Cultivators on equal terms if we do not have the power to intimidate the capital?”
“I knew it! I knew it!”
Lei Chenghu roared, “I knew that the Cultivators were not to be trusted! Your purpose has never been to eliminate Wuying Qi! At first, you struck the faith of the Immortal Cultivators with the despicable pictures of Wuying Qi, tarnishing the glorious image of our founding emperor. Now, you’re even claiming the secret treasure of the Imperium. Li Yao, you shameless scoundrel. Don’t presume that I would not attack you because you saved me!”
“You’re wrong about that, General Lei Chenghu. The Gold Crystal Pyramid does not belong to the Imperium. Technically speaking, it’s the legacy for mankind from the primeval civilizations. Naturally, whoever finds it first has the right to it!”
Li Yao continued with a smile, “As for my shamelessness, you should’ve known it a long time ago. I’ve never pretended to be an honorable gentleman, have I?
“You knew that I was not a good man, but you still cooperated with me. Why? Because you didn’t have a choice!
“Since you chose to cooperate with me, and I finished off Wuying Qi as I promised, I’m naturally entitled to some reward. Do you think you can get the capital back without paying anything? Nice thinking!”
Lei Chenghu took a deep breath, and his fury and aggression were all retracted, as if he had been bluffing.
However, his eyes were flashing more and more dangerously, indicating that he had made a cruel decision.
“Tell me, Li Yao.”
Lei Chenghu said coldly, “If I refuse to admit your so-called… ‘demilitarized area’ and send a troop to take over the Gold Crystal Pyramid, what will you do?”
“If so, I’m afraid that the Arsonist Fleet will attack the Astounding Thunder Fleet immediately, and I, as well as my legion of puppets, will resist until none of us remains.”
Li Yao said, “We’ll do whatever it takes to defend the Gold Crystal Pyramid, including… the last resort.”
“The last resort?”
Lei Chenghu chuckled. “Are you talking about reactivating the Gold Crystal Pyramid and infuriating the sun again?”
Li Yao’s eyelashes shivered quickly. “Yes, if you really attack the Gold Crystal Pyramid, I will reactivate it.”
“Hehe, Li Yao, despite your shamelessness, you are still a Cultivator, which is both your most precious part and your fatal weakness.”
Lei Chenghu laughed. “Let me tell you, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that you’ll reactivate the Gold Crystal Pyramid and deal with me while putting the lives of billions of people at risk, especially not after you just saved them from Wuying Qi! Your belief won’t allow you to do that.
“Maybe you are an excellent spy and deceiver, but you are too soft-hearted to be a deterrent. Your threat and deterrent are basically zero.
“Let me tell you how to be a qualified deterrent. Now, I’m offering my own deterrence—
“I’ll give you half an hour for you to make a final choice. You have two options.
“Firstly, you will fly the Arsonist Fleet to the No. 9 base and submit the highest control permissions of all the key infrastructures on the ground, including the Gold Crystal Pyramid, and I’ll ensure your safety and power as I promised.
“You, Li Yao, will be acknowledged by me and the military of the Imperium as the King of Black Wind. The Black Wind Sector and the neighboring worlds can be regarded as a special area for Cultivators, and the fleets of the Cultivators can move in the Imperium under the name of the Black Wind Legion.
“This is the best the Immortal Cultivators and I can tolerate.
“Secondly, if the Arsonist Fleet does not fly to the No. 9 base within half an hour, and you refuse to submit the highest control permissions, my troops will land on the capital force and take over all facilities. What happens next will be beyond anyone’s control.”
“Lei Chenghu, you’re playing with fire!”
Boss Bai roared, “You’re giving away our hard-earned victory!”
“Exactly, but that’s how deterrence works.”
Folding his arms, Lei Chenghu said casually, “This will definitely cause great trouble to the cause of the reformists and the rebirth of the Imperium, but I believe that the Cultivators will be struck ten times more badly. I’m just wagering on the possibility that you dare not really end the cooperation, but of course, if I lose the bet, I’ll put my threats into action without hesitation. That’s what a qualified deterrent should do.”
Boss Bai fell into silence and looked at Li Yao.
Li Yao was pale and in a panic, as if he did not know what to do at all.
“Look, Li Yao, it’s in your nature.”
Seeing through Li Yao’s weakness, Lei Chenghu smiled and said, “It’s not exactly a weakness, but more like inappropriateness. Everybody has a suitable role for them, and yours is not a deterrent. You can’t play a game where the lives of billions of people are at stake.
“In any case, my troops will land half an hour later. If you want to reactivate the Gold Crystal Pyramid, be my guest. I’ll watch you press the button of destruction. But will you?”
Li Yao sweated heavily, as if he would have a meltdown at any moment. Biting his lips hard, Li Yao heaved a sigh. “You’re right, General Lei. I’m truly no deterrent material. You’ve seen through my threat so easily. How useless I am!
“It’s true that I won’t reactivate the Gold Crystal Pyramid in any case. If I do that, my belief will probably collapse in 0.1 seconds. I can’t handle the pressure, which is too brutal and… stimulating.”
“That’s alright. It’s not your fault. It’s even your advantage.”
Lei Chenghu smiled. “It seems that we have agreed that you are not a qualified deterrence, and I’m a better candidate to control the Gold Crystal Pyramid than you, right?”
“You’re absolutely correct.”
Blinking his eyes, Li Yao wiped the sweat on his forehead while he put on a vague smile. “However, since I’m too indecisive and undetermined, there are a lot of people who are more suitable as the deterrent than I am, so I do not have to give the Gold Crystal Pyramid to you, do I?
“Right, have I ever introduced to you my two children, Xiaoming and Wenwen?”