There were three objects in the Cosmos Ring. The first one was a mini light beam projector, in which a video clip was stored.
It was the top-secret meeting hosted by Lu Zui, the director of the Secret Sword Bureau, recorded by Professor Mo Xuan in secret.
Li Yao watched Lu Zui's setup in silence and felt even more confident.
Something is indeed wrong! What the guy said is 99% true. But in the most critical 1%, he concealed something and even deliberately lied, thereby reaching an extremely absurd conclusion!
He has captured three Children of the Nether World and even forced them into cooperation? That part might be true. After all, Elder Nether Spring is doomed. The Children of the Nether World need to find a new thigh to cling to if they want to survive. It makes sense.
He made such a terrible lie about the Blood Devil trying to steal Burning Prairie. No wonder Burning Prairie activated the self-defense sword array of the highest level!
Li Yao's questions were answered one by one, only to be replaced by questions that were even bigger.
Lu Zui was one of the three key people that he needed to seek help from on his trip to the Heaven's Origin Sector. He had collected numerous files when he was still in the Blood Demon Sector.
In terms of birth, work experience, and his remarks on the Blood Demon Sector, the guy was an out-and-out patriot of the Star Glory Federation. It would not be exaggerating to say that he was a pillar of the federation!
Even Jin Tuyi thought highly of the old hero who had fought in the secret frontline for more than a hundred years. He believed that Lu Zui was an opponent that deserved his respect and his full wisdom to compete with.
Why was such a guy betraying the federation? Why?
Li Yao did not believe that he was betraying for the power or personal benefits.
Putting the question in his heart aside, he picked up the second object. It was a tiny pendant. Judging from the rune arrays on it, it was a 3D animated photo in the form of a pendent.
He pressed the pendent softly. A mystic ray was immediately triggered, forming a bright hologram in front of Li Yao.
It was exactly Ding Lingdang, as energetic, confident, and persistent as she ever was!
Ding Lingdang was wearing short pants and a vest. She seemed to have just finished her training because sweat was all over her body. Her figure was even more stirring than ten years ago. Her skin was the color of honey, giving out an enticing scent although she was merely on the light beam.
"Welcome home," Ding Lingdang said with a smile. "After ten years, you're finally back! Let me tell you, I have developed a lot of new moves in the past ten years. When the thing is over, let's have a good fight!"
Ding Lingdang paused for a moment and continued. "The third piece of magical equipment in the Cosmos Ring is a point-to-point communicator produced by Professor Mo Xuan.
"Professor Mo Xuan and I were suspicious about the rumors surrounding you a long time ago, but Professor Mo Xuan stopped me when I was about to burst into fury. He said that he sensed a mysterious force that had been monitoring our every move in secret.
"Therefore, we didn't do much during that period, but Professor Mo Xuan was in fact observing the force in secret, scanning their surveillance patterns and easing their wariness. Finally, he designed a communicator that could prevent interference without them knowing!
"A few days back, the product was finally successfully made, but we never had the chance to give the communicator to you.
"You must be clear that, to avoid the surveillance of the enemy, the point-to-point communicator does not send signals via the Spiritual Nexus but through electric wires by transforming the information into very feeble electric waves. The signals will be transmitted through the electric network. Together with the anti-tracing barriers that professor invented, a short, secure dialogue can be established!
"At midnight, you can find a random electric wire and connect the communicator to it. Then, it will be good to go. However, only the simplest text can be transmitted. The communication cannot be very long or accommodate much information.
"Think about what you can say to us before midnight. At midnight, Professor Mo Xuan and I will be waiting for you. If the circumstances do not allow you to talk to us, we will be waiting for you at every hour sharp that follows until we get in touch!"
The clip came to an end.
Li Yao held the pendent in his hands, almost brimming with confidence. He felt stronger than ever!
Midnight soon came.
Li Yao had gone out a second time earlier and made the Secret Sword Agents dizzy again before he found a wasted tube network and lurked down. He groped for an electric wire and dug a hole in its porcelain shell. Through a crystal wire, he connected the point-to-point communicator to the cable.
Very soon, the crystal processor reacted. However, there was only dry texts on it.
"Li Yao, time is precious. Let's get down to business. Tell us your side of the story."
Li Yao had spent a few hours abridging the causes and consequences of the whole thing. Now, he described the situation in the Blood Demon Sector and his intention for the homecoming in only a thousand words.
Professor Mo Xuan and Ding Lingdang were both silent for a moment after he sent the text. Then, they replied, "You suspect that there is an anomaly in the leadership of the Federation?"
"I am not suspecting; I am certain," Li Yao replied. "I have evidence, and I can give it to you and the Cultivators of the Flying Star Sector. Only you are trustworthy now."
"Tell you one thing," Professor Mo Xuan said. "Starting from last night, Lu Zui and some experts of the military established a special operation group and captured the Children of the Nether World on a large scale. Up until now, more than fifty have been arrested. Another several hundred have been invited to a secret unit directly under Lu Zui's command in the Secret Sword Bureau to help the investigation!"
Li Yao was surprised. Pondering for a moment, he realized what was happening. This was exactly the same as how Jin Tuyi seized power after the Eye of Blood Demon was destroyed.
Jin Tuyi had been capturing 'accomplices of Elder Nether Spring', and Lu Zui was capturing Children of the Nether World. But as for who exactly they were capturing, they were the only ones who knew the truth.
Speaking of which, Elder Nether Spring was quite a tragic guy, considering that he had taken the blame twice in a row. Although he was definitely not innocent, his experience was quite heartbreaking nonetheless.
"Are you suggesting that anyone who believes in me may be assumed to be a Child of the Nether World?" Li Yao asked.
"There's no need to assume," Professor Mo Xuan replied. "If Lu Zui indeed has a plan, it will definitely be activated soon. Whoever has suspicions about him, he can always invite them to 'help the investigation' for ten days or a fortnight. Those guys will eat well and sleep well, except that they won't be able to do anything else. What can other people say when everything is over?
"Of the three most powerful men of the federation, Speaker Jiang Hailiu is heavily wounded and still in coma, and Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao has been blinded by fury and completely taken his side. Two thirds of the representatives in parliament are frantic advocates of the expedition and support his operation. He has also presented valid proof of the Children of the Nether World. Who dares challenge the Secret Sword Bureau in such troubled times?"
Li Yao gnashed his teeth. "I'll give the evidence to the Cultivators of the Flying Star Sector first. Let's make sure that Burning Prairie is still under our control!"
"It is moot. Luo Xingzi is not qualified to trust you."
"That's impossible. I've been fighting side by side with Luo Xingzi. I know him very well. Also, I've done so many favors for the Flying Star Sector, and I am backed by the Glorious Sunlight Group and Iron Plateau. Why won't Luo Xingzi trust me?"
"Pay attention to my wording," Professor Mo Xuan said. "I said that he is not qualified to trust you, not that he will not trust you.
"Of course, the evidence in your hands is enough to constitute a reasonable theory, but the chain of evidence in Lu Zui's hands is more intact and convincing. He has both proof and eyewitnesses, and his theory makes perfect sense, too. Furthermore, he stands for the federal government, the legal ruler of the Heaven's Origin Sector!
"The most critical point is that you cannot prove that you are not possessed by the Blood Devil. Think about Yan Xibei!
"Ding Lingdang and I only stand for ourselves. Naturally, we can trust you without caring about anything.
"However, Luo Xingzi stands for the billions of people in the entire Flying Star Sector. If he trusts you recklessly, and you turn out to be really possessed by the Blood Devil and steal Burning Prairie, what can he do?
"Burning Prairie is the masterpiece of the Flying Star Sector that belongs to all the people of the Flying Star Sector. Does Luo Xingzi have any qualification to believe that you are not the Blood Devil on behalf of all the people of the Flying Star Sector?
"I've talked with him many times regarding the issue. He is miserable. As a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator, Luo Xingzi has unquestionable integrity. If he was all by himself, he would definitely be willing to trust you, however great the risk.
"Yet, the issue concerns the fate of his family, his compatriots, and billions of other people! Without enough evidence, how can he trust you?
"Let me offer an example. On Iron Plateau, everybody trusted Yan Xibei, but what happened in the end? If you, the unexpected factor, hadn't jumped out in the end, the entire Iron Plateau would've been drowned in blood!"
Li Yao was silent for a long time, before he typed, "This is a chain of suspicion. This is a dark forest."
"That's right. You are now trapped in a small 'dark forest'. Any leader whose head is calm, regardless of whether they are the chief of a sect, the commander of a troop, or the Speaker of a government, as long as they are shouldering the fate of more than their own, none of them are qualified to believe in you until you present undeniable proof."
Li Yao took a deep breath and continued. "Can the Truth Cabinet prove it?"
"The Truth Cabinet is just a polygraph. Any polygraph can be cracked. Didn't you crack it once before? This is too important an issue. Neither the Flying Star Sector nor the Heaven's Origin Sector will not have absolute faith in a polygraph, which is not any polygraph but one carefully studied by you, a master of refining, before."
"I've figured out an approach that should be able to solve the conundrum, but it cannot be used in the environment right now. How about this? Instead of proving that I'm innocent, let's find evidence of Lu Zui's scheme. It will also be enough to suggest that the whole thing is weird, right?"
"That's true. Speaking of that, Ding Lingdang has a lead."
Li Yao was refreshed. "What lead?"
Ding Lingdang joined the discussion and asked, "Have you ever heard an organization named 'Patriots Partnership'?"