Chapter 408: Muddying the Waters
“Master, your fried paste noodles and cola.” The little robot Pod respectfully brought a food tray over, with two large bowls of noodles and a glass of cola.
The golden-colored noodles gave off a fragrance which could be smelled from a distance. Green leafy vegetables were placed orderly above—a lovely sight that would whet anyone’s appetite at first glance.
“Pod, your skills are steadily improving. You’ll soon catch up to even the most experienced cooks found in Shanghai.” Xia Fei patted Pod’s head as he gave it high praise.
“Shanghai? Is that somewhere fun?” Pod crooked his head and asked.
Xia Fei was put in a somewhat awkward spot. Earth was in the Endaro Star Region, which had already been colonized by the insectoids. Xia Fei had been made aware of this after reading a battle report over the insectoid internet.
He had no clue if the Forbidden City, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and other such structures that symbolized Earth culture had been destroyed or knew nothing of what had happened to Old Whitey selling beef buns or the bearded Ning selling mutton skewers, including those neighbors whom he was familiar with and his friends from his own company, Quantum Holdings; Xia Fei was worried about them all in his heart.
In the past, he would always complain about the sandstorms in Shanghai during spring or the traffic going at a snail’s pace along the busy streets. Only now did he realize that such things were difficult to accumulate but so very easily destroyed.
The unaware Pod was still waiting expectantly for Xia Fei’s answer, and he could only force himself to flash a slight smile as he casually replied, “It’s not bad.”
Furball, who was sleeping sprawled on the couch, suddenly bounced on his feet, letting quite a roar in the warship command deck with bleary eyes as if he were extremely angry. After he was done with its bout of tantrum, Furball hopped back on the couch and buried his head beneath the pile of magazines as the godly beast resumed his sleep, seemingly having just experienced sleepwalking.
“What’s with Furball?” Phantom asked, laughing.
Xia Fei replied, “That guy felt a change in my emotions and thought I had stumbled upon an enemy. He went crazy in his groggy state for a bit, but upon realizing that nothing’s happening, he plopped back to sleep.”
Phantom nodded. Ever since Furball and Xia Fei signed the contract and mentally connected with each other, the little creature had been getting angry whenever Xia Fei was mad, happy whenever Xia Fei was in a good mood. Unfortunately, Xia Fei had not been feeling too happy recently, so Furball’s temper was slowly becoming more and more easily irritable.
Shoveling a few mouthfuls of noodles, Xia Fei turned on his computer, infiltrated the insectoid internet and, after a complex deciphering process, managed to extract a username and password of a major general, which allowed him to browse plenty of information available online freely. He even got access to military networks, though browsing through would leave behind his log in trace. He needed to circumvent the firewall and log in via a proxy server in order to keep hidden.
The Top 100 Sacred Warrior Leaderboard had been updated, and Xia Fei searched for his next target there. Arendaz, the insectoid who had reached for the sun and got burned, was ranked in the late three hundreds; clearly, challenging Xia Fei had all been a publicity stunt of his. In fact, Xia Fei would not have bothered to kill him had it not been how overly arrogant he was acting. He was absolutely asking for death, given how he acted, while Xia Fei’s real targets were actually these individuals in the top 100.
In the first place was High Priest Ryun. Xia Fei had found plenty of information about him, and they all described him as some sort of god-like existence, practically omnipotent.
Xia Fei did not believe in god, though there was no way the insectoids would worship one to such a degree for no rhyme or reason. Perhaps there were problems hidden within that he did not understand, and Xia Fei’s keen intuition was also warning him not to get himself entangled with that number-one Insectoid. As such, Xia Fei turned his sights on the others, who had a certain level of fame yet he was also capable of beating.
Furthermore, these targets could not be too far from him. The insectoid territory covered a wider expanse than the Pan-human Alliance, requiring a ship to fly for three months non-stop to get from one end to the other. There was simply no way he would spend months on a long voyage just to kill an expert.
From the very beginning, Xia Fei’s goal was very clear. Devastating the insectoid capital and killing Uti was the only chance to avoid humanity’s extinction!
All these experts Xia Fei had killed along the way were nothing but side dishes. He still had two Stars of Ruin in his possession, and using them to destroy the figurative central nervous system of the insectoids was Xia Fei’s main goal. Though the special task force fleets had been decimated, leaving just Xia Fei alone, he had not yet given up on the plan.
“Who’s our next target?” Phantom asked.
Xia Fei’s finger lightly tapped the screen and picked out the information of a particular Sacred Warrior as well as a star map of his location.
Phantom glanced at what was displayed as his brows furrowed. “Won’t doing this be a little too obvious? Even a fool can tell that you’re advancing toward their emperor’s location. I’m afraid the defense’s over by the Golden Tent will be extremely tight when the time comes.”
Xia Fei was unperturbed. “Sometimes, raising the grass to startle the snake is a viable strategy at war. What do you think will happen if we suddenly disappear while everyone believes we are about to infiltrate the capital?”
“Well…” Phantom was uncertain. Xia Fei’s tactics were always crafty and had plenty of twists and turns, so he was momentarily stumped over Xia Fei’s true intention.
“Look, the insectoid territory is like a basin of water. First, I’m going to muddle the water, so both the big and small fishes will all panic and be lost over what to do, which all set up the perfect opportunity for me to fish in troubled waters!” A cold glint twinkled in Xia Fei’s eyes as he spoke harshly.
Phantom responded. “So you mean to say that we’re not actually going into the capital proper directly but in its surroundings as we keep killing their Sacred Warriors and officials, and while this will cause quite the panic among the insectoids, what you’re doing won’t directly threaten the Golden Tent, either.”
Xia Fei laughed mirthlessly. “The master of the Golden Tent, Uti, is widely acclaimed to be the smartest insectoid in the history of their race. When going up against intelligent foes, martial arts strength alone isn’t enough to ascertain victory. I’ll need to accurately aim at his lifeline, mercilessly striking it in a singular blow.
“As powerful as the Star of Ruin is, we’ve already used it once, so the emperor won’t easily fall for it again. What we must do now is make it seem as if we’re about to kill our way to the capital, so when he calls back his heavy troops to guard the capital, we’ll intentionally not force our way through. Instead, we’ll take a detour and kill everything else around the capital!”
“After that?” Phantom nervously asked.
Xia Fei smiled. “After that, I’ll have a plan of my own. In any case, when going up against an intelligent foe, we mustn’t let him make sense of our movement. The more confused he gets, the easier it is for him to make a mistake. The moment he does, that shall be our opportunity!
“Don’t forget that we’re the ones in the shadows while they are out in the open. He hasn’t got a clue of our actions, yet we’ve already secretly gained access to the insectoid military network!”
Xia Fei was very serious as he said all that, and though Phantom could not understand what Xia Fei meant, he was in complete agreement with Xia Fei’s perspective of using unconventional methods to deal with unconventional opponents.
Uti was definitely unlike anyone else, or else he would not have become the master of the Golden Tent. It must be made known that the mite species he was part of had no stature in the race and was hardly populous. Their combat strength was also insignificant, and in the strictly hierarchical insectoid culture, the fact that he managed to obtain this supreme seat as a mite was a miracle in itself! Before this, there was not even a single general from the mite species, and it could even be considered as the lousiest species out of all insectoids.
Going up against such a figure, it was indeed necessary for them to use some indirect means.
Xia Fei plotted the ship’s course and resumed eating his noodles; later, he returned to his room to continue his cultivation.
Phantom suddenly realized that, after Xia Fei left, the little robot Pod took the video of Xia Fei killing Arendaz, as well as some trivial daily living footage, and transmitted them back to the Alliance via the Black Bat radar.
Phantom found this very curious. Xia Fei had never given such an order, so why did Pod send back the records of his fight, as well as Xia Fei’s daily activities, back to the Alliance?
“Master really likes Avril, so Miss Avril isn’t someone who will easily die. Pod must let Miss Avril know that master is still alive,” Pod was speaking to himself even as it sent everything out.
Phantom was so sad that he was speechless. It turned out that Pod did not believe that Avril was dead, which was why he had added some of the footage of Xia Fei’s day-to-day in the transmission and sent everything back to the Alliance, in hopes that Avril was still alive to view them.
Sighing, Phantom lowered his head and quickly departed. He could still hear Pod going on. “Miss Avril won’t die. Master won’t, either. Furthermore, master is very powerful, so if Avril sees master kill so many insectoids, she’ll surely be happy as well.”
Dubai would not have imagined in his wildest dreams that Uti would grant him a new mission so soon: Accompany a human girl and search for this other human infiltrator. Besides his old compatriot Laresh coming along for this ride, another of the Seven Champions, Yadan, would be with them as well.
The last time they had been instantaneously transported into the mammoth region, Duabi had already lost all confidence in himself. He was ready to retire and return to his home and never dabble in politics again.
Seeing Uti’s dark expression, Dubai never found the courage to put forth his idea about resigning and going back home, so he had no choice but to grit his teeth and accept this mission, taking off into the stars once more.
This time, he did not opt to choose a huge battleship but a well-equipped and nimble Ladybird-class insectoid cruiser, instead. The insectoids joining this pursuit were a lot fewer, and he had also lost the method of locating Xia Fei through their radar system, making it all the more important for them to utilize a warship both agile and mobile to track their target quickly.
“Kerosi, ranked sixty-first on the Sacred Warrior Leaderboard, has been killed by the enemy!” The communications officer received an emergency electronic message from the headquarters and reported.
“What?!” Duabi was stunned. “Kerosi is the commander of the deep-space outpost, floating in the middle of space. He’s specially installed to monitor passing ships secretly, so how could he have been killed?”
“The information we got states that someone infiltrated the outpost and practically slaughtered every crew onboard in the span of a few minutes!”
Duabi only felt a bout of dizziness fill him. This was like a scene out of a sci-fi film!
Kerosi’s unit was part of the covert investigation department, hidden among the vast emptiness of space, doing unspeakable missions. The fact that Xia Fei was able to locate this deep-space outpost was appealing enough, not to mention the fact that he had managed to slay the commander in charge! Could he have gotten a spy among the insectoids?
Knitting his eyebrows, Duabi cast his sight in the direction of Mingjing, hoping to hear her view. Though this girl was not an insectoid, she was still a disciple of High Priest Ryun. She had a transcendent status, and this operation was established around her participation.
Mingjing was mute, so she spoke not a word. Instead, she took out an electronic tablet and wrote down something and passed it to Duabi.
Dubai took the tablet in hand and read what was written on it.
“Bring me to the scene. My special ability is Mental Trace. As long as I’m able to find the remnant mental energies the enemy left behind, I’ll be able to find out where he is.”