Chapter 269 - Invisible Bug
Pondering for a moment, Master Qin shook his head and said, "The second encryption is obviously consistent with the style of ancient encryptions from the Star Ocean Imperium, of which I'm no expert. If I'm given another month, I might be able to create a new algorithm to bypass it. But the chances of success are not very promising. 30% tops, I estimate."
Li Yao frowned. He didn't expect the encryption in the Cosmos Ring to be so complicated.
But it was reasonable on second thought. If the encryption was simple, the snake demon would've cracked it already, and he wouldn't be the one taking the advantage now.
Li Yao said, "I could give you one month. But the 30% success rate is too low for me. Thank you for your effort, Master Qin."
While he was talking, he took back the mini crystal processor.
Master Qin sent the mini crystal processor into his chest by manipulating the crystal wires. He thought for a moment and said, "Ancient encryptions of the Star Ocean Imperium are a very special research field. Not many Cryptohackers in the Serpent City are familiar with it. Let me see… You can try and see if Yuan Qi, the 'Invisible Bug', could do something about it. He's a wizard of the field."
Li Yao squinted. He started to wonder what this nickname stood for.
An hour later, Li Yao marched to the underground of Serpent City and stepped onto a giant lift.
Every major city of the federation had an underground ghost city. Serpent City was no exception.
Or rather, the underground world ten times larger than the one on the ground was the main body of Serpent City.
Li Yao recalled what Master Qin told him.
Yuan Qi, the Invisible Bug, didn't belong to any organization. He was an unaffiliated cultivator.
As a research-type Cultivator as well as a genius Cryptohacker, he had cracked countless encryptions and broken into the mainframe crystal processors of many major sects. He was like a small, shapeless bug that no barrier could stop.
He had been wanted by the federal government due to the illegal intrusions. Later, he somehow made a deal with the federal government, or maybe the federal government valued his talent too much. Whatever the reason was, his name disappeared from the wanted list, and he moved to Serpent City; he had caused no more trouble ever since then.
Or rather, he stopped causing trouble under the name 'Invisible Bug'.
Even if he caused trouble, no one could relate him to the name 'Invisible Bug' anymore.
He was exactly the kind of person Li Yao was looking for.
The lift stopped at the minus 37th level underground Serpent City.
The moment Li Yao walked out, a familiar scent of rust and hot waves hit his face.
What came next was the sound of booming vehicles, hoarse shouting of the crowds, and screaming of the overloaded power rune arrays.
Even the air was burning.
In front of Li Yao was dozens of giant, dilapidated metal buildings which looked like bird nests made of steel.
Among the gaps of the bird nests were tangled race tracks that weaved high and low.
Almost a hundred shuttles were rushing on the race tracks, none of which were willing to slow down a little bit.
There were also many auditoriums inside the bird nests, in which many spectators were cheering in excitement. When a shuttle passed by them at a close distance, there would always be a round of crazy screams.
The dome of the underground city displayed a lot of light beams, each standing for a different world fragment.
The conditions of the world fragments were extremely bad. Some were raining hard; some had volcano eruptions; some were deprived of gravity and rugged stones were flying in the air.
Countless shuttles were rushing like lightning in the world fragments.
This level was the 'Super Shuttles Racing Arena' in the underground of the Serpent City.
Super shuttle was a special kind of shuttle.
Armed shuttles such as the Mystic Bird Battle Shuttle and the Crimson Flame Battle Shuttle, despite their remarkable price, focused more on combat ability. Therefore, they often carried a lot of attack magical equipment. Their shape designs had taken battle needs into consideration too. All in all, their speed was not the fastest.
The super shuttle was a kind of shuttle refined with speed as the priority.
All unnecessary components were removed to minimize the weight. Comfortability, attack ability, and defense ability were all put aside, just in order to improve the shuttle's top speed.
Shuttle racing was a popular sport in the Cultivation world.
When they boomed into supersonic speed, even the Cultivators could feel their heart beating fast and their blood swelling.
Therefore, many Cultivators loved shuttle racing very much. Yuan Qi, the Invisible Bug, was one of them. He was passionate about the sport, if not addicted.
Standing outside of one of shuttle racing arenas, Li Yao was in a trance.
Memories from nowhere flooded in and drowned him like rising tides.
The strange dream that had been haunting him since he was a little kid, in which Li Yao, an earthling, was the best racing automobile mechanic and the most skilled underground racing driver in his city, crept back.
Li Yao had buried the dream deep into his brain. He barely touched anything related to shuttle racing in his entire life.
Over the past a year and a half, after he'd absorbed Ou Yezi's memories, it was the Hundred Smelting Clan 40,000 years ago that often showed up in his dreams. The earthling Li Yao hadn't visited him for a long time.
He even thought that the dream was already gone.
But when he was standing outside the shuttle racing arena listening to the roaring, booming, cracking and shouting, he suddenly realized…
An intangible seal deep inside his head had been torn apart instantly, like a fierce animal that just broke out of the cage in which it had been locked for years. Irritating power flowed through his veins. His every finger and every toe started itching and jittering uncontrollably.
Li Yao exhaled a long breath.
Of all things in the world, this Invisible Bug Yuan Qi happened to like shuttle racing best!
Li Yao had planned to wait for Yuan Qi outside of the arena, but somebody seemed to have cast a spell to his legs which brought him into it.
Li Yao used a lift to reach a gap on the top of the bird nest and sat down in a random seat.
In the middle of the bird nest, a shuttle race was coming to an end.
The eight shuttles in the game had all dashed into supersonic speed. The earsplitting noises from them were transformed by rune arrays into blood-boiling roars, which brought an authentic feeling of momentum for the audiences.
The race tracks in the bird nest were all three-dimensional. They were embroiled together, and there were cliffs and high walls here and there. Sometimes the shuttles on them needed to move vertically or even do a 360 degree rotation.
In the last spurt, three shuttles, due to slow reactions, crashed into the guardrail.
Fortunately, there were defense rune arrays on the race tracks and rosy gelatin for protection of drivers inside the shuttles. The drivers were all uninjured after the accident, although their shuttles were nothing but piles of garbage now.
The rest of the five shuttles continued chasing one another. A black shuttle was in the lead, followed by an orange one, which was trying to surpass the black shuttle ahead of it. But the black shuttle was suppressing the orange one the whole time. At the last turn, the orange shuttle almost hit the wall due to over-acceleration. While it was readjusting its direction and speed, two other shuttles exceeded it, making it a fourth place in the end.
The black shuttle was the first to pass the finish line. The race was won!
A moment later, the five shuttles all arrived in the maintenance area under the bird nest.
The hatch of the orange shuttle, which had a flying, two-winged bug in it, was opened. A young man, who had dark circles under his eyes and pale skin that were indicative of an all-year-around indoor life, jumped out of the shuttle and cursed while slapping its hatch.
"Yuan Qi. You lost yet another three million to me after this game!"
A tall young man crawled out of the black shuttle which was painted with a demon pattern and laughed.
Yuan Qi's face was flushed with shame, the veins on his neck bulging. He stomped on his feet and exclaimed, "Gao Rong, don't overestimate yourself! I was a little bit sluggish at the last turn, otherwise I would've surpassed you for sure! I'm going to modify my shuttle right now. Let's race again, I dare you!"
Gao Rong, the tall young man, smiled and replied casually, "Anytime. We can play however many games you want as long as you've still got the money to lose."
The shuttle racing arena offered super shuttles for rent to visitors. But most of its profits came from the sales and modification of super shuttles.
A super shuttle was even more expensive than armed shuttles such as the Mystic Bird Battle Shuttle or the Crimson Flame Battle Shuttle by itself. The cost of upgrading and modifying them was a bottomless hole.
Fans of the super shuttles were mostly rich Cultivators. It was not unusual for two competitors, when in a quarrel, to spend millions on upgrading their shuttles on the spot.
Yuan Qi was a regular customer of this super shuttle racing arena. The moment he declared war on his opponent, many staff members dragged his super shuttle to the modification workshop. An old, grey-haired, seemingly professional man held a crystal processor and asked Yuan Qi to select an upgrade plan.
Cost of the plans were, naturally, astronomical.
Li Yao stepped forward.
"Master Yuan, Master Qin of the Bountiful Treasures Pavilion has referred me to you. I have a double encryption that, according to him, you are the only one in the entire Serpent City capable of cracking."
Yuan Qi heard none of it. In bloody redness, his eyes were fixed on a resplendent upgrade plan as he gnashed,
"Good. Good. Good. I want this power module of the latest model as well as the sprint system. Haha. My top speed will be increased by three percent. That boy Gao Rong is dead for sure!"
Li Yao frowned. He raised his voice,
Yuan Qi didn't even bother to look at him. Waving his hand, he said unconcernedly, "Wait until I beat Gao Rong in the next game!"
Li Yao glanced at the upgrade plan and his eyebrows were even tighter. He didn't want to waste his time, so he said straightforwardly, "But you'll only be slower under this new plan. You wouldn't defeat him even if you play another ten games with him."
This time, Yuan Qi finally looked up. His triangular eyes were glaring, "What did you say?"
The old man who had been promoting the upgrade plans to Yuan Qi looked at Li Yao in dissatisfaction and said, "Dear sir, the Aurora Autos is a renowned shuttle dealership that has operated for decades in the Serpent City. The quality of our goods and service has won universal praise. The upgrade plan consists of super shuttle components of the latest model. Although they are a bit costly, they'll definitely enhance the performance of the vehicle. Based on what did you say such vilification?"
Li Yao said, "Make no mistake. I'm not saying that the upgrade plan is not good. I'm just saying that Master Yuan is… too weak!"