Lu Yin nodded after he heard the captain’s explanation. “So that toy’s called a Sheng Ao? That’s right, I killed it.”
The soldier did not completely believe Lu Yin since the people who had fallen under its control would do anything to gain the troops’ trust. He could not ascertain if Lu Yin was speaking the truth, but he also could not take the responsibility of killing him because of Lu Yin’s status. “Get on. I’ll take you to see Lord Qu Ao.”
The guardian of the right thirty seven planets was none other than Qu Ao, a Hunter. Lu Yin recalled his battle in space against the Tan Gang firebeast. Their battle had affected the entire Planet Conan, and the signal still had not been restored even now.
Lu Yin got on the warship and many of the soldiers transferred to another spacecraft. This was a precaution being taken in case Lu Yin had been compromised.
Lu Yin did not pay it any mind, and he calmly stood in the corridor as he watched the ground grow more distant. As it turned out, he had indeed still been on Planet Conan.
While travelling, no one disturbed Lu Yin. He was in no hurry, but less than an hour after they left, the spacecraft docked onto a giant warship that held Qu Ao.
On the other end of the humans’ border, in the dark void, a tripartite of black, white, and red flames intertwined as they burned in outer space. They were even more dazzling than the stars, and within the tricolored fire, there was a giant beast; it was Soaring Firebeast, the commander of the Astral Beast Domain’s forces that were clashing with the humans at the border.
A group of powerful giant astral beasts circled around the flame beast, their occasional roars distorting the void.
Suddenly, the void was torn apart, causing all of the giant astral beasts to turn vigilant.
Yao Gu emerged from the void and silently stood in front of Soaring Firebeast. “Emperor, may I have a word with you?”
The three flames covering Soaring Firebeast’s body surged as it replied, “It is my Wilderness Beast Alliance’s honor to receive a powerhouse on the Skymender List.”
Yao Gu’s eyes narrowed. “No, not the Wild Beast Alliance. This time, I want to speak to Soaring Firebeast.”
“Yao Gu, it was the alliance’s agreement that initially allowed you to come to my frontier. What do you want now?” Soaring Firebeast was dissatisfied with Yao Gu’s response.
“I don’t want anything. I came just to give Soaring Firebeast some good luck.” After saying this, Yao Gu’s mouth continued to move, but no voice came out. Instead, it directly entered Soaring Firebeast’s ear.
After a while, the three fires extinguished themselves, revealing the Soaring Firebeast’s giant body. “What did you say? You’re actually willing to help my Blazewhiz clan move up in the Heavenly Beast List?”
“This all depends on your sincerity. I don’t know how far you are willing to go in exchange for this Yao Gu’s promise.”
The void fell silent, but shortly after, the emperor’s loud voice reverberated out once more. “We haven’t had a decisive battle against the human allied troops for a while. Now’s a good time as any.”
In the darkness of outer space, Lu Yin met with Qu Ao on the giant warship.
Somehow, everyone in the Erudite Flowzone seemed to have similar characteristics; they all had a scholarly demeanor and a very gentle mien. Qu Ao was the guardian of the right thirty seven planets, and it astonished Lu Yin that he could maintain this calm of a temperament despite overseeing such a bloody battlefield.
“You’re Lu Yin?” Qu Ao’s tone was gentle yet firm.
Lu Yin respectfully replied, “Planet Conan soldier Lu Yin reports to the guardian.”
Qu Ao nodded in satisfaction and studied Lu Yin. Like many, he had thought that the students of the Astral Combat Academy would have an arrogant attitude since they typically had powerful backgrounds. Even Lu Yin was a prince back in his home empire, even if that empire was just a fringe weave in the Outerverse. It was not a given that the students would quickly adapt to military life, but Lu Yin’s performance was very satisfactory.
From the previous two base attacks, Qu Ao had already seen the Astral Combat Academy’s battlefield performance and knew that they were strong fighters. This was especially true for Lu Yin, who had repelled the Explorer realm astral beast, Zi Tie; it was truly a marvellous feat.
“Tell me about your experiences over this period,” Qu Ao said.
Lu Yin recounted what he had gone though at the Human Domain’s warfront from start to end, but he specifically left out the part about the Ghost Monkey, Progenitor Wushang, and the inheritance. He focused mostly on the time he spent hiding within the astral beast drove, and especially on the two unique astral beast species that had given him a great amount of difficulty.
Qu Ao’s face turned heavier the more he listened to Lu Yin’s story. When Lu Yin finished speaking, he and he studied Lu Yin’s face carefully. “That invisible astral beast is called a Yin Guai and those sound-based astral beasts are called Sheng Guai. Together, they are termed as the Astral Beast Domain’s two Guais. Their coordination can mow over many powerhouses within the same realm. The two hardly ever appear together, but here, their appearance was to protect the Sheng Ao.” At this point, Qu Ao stared at Lu Yin intently. “Give me a reason to believe that you are not controlled by a Sheng Ao. Otherwise, we have no choice but to isolate you.”
Lu Yin spread his hand and revealed the round ball that he had retrieved from the Sheng Ao’s head. “Have you seen this before, guardian?”
Qu Ao retrieved the sphere, studied it a little, and then shook his head. “Where did you get it?”
“It’s the object in the top of the Sheng Ao’s head. I discovered that every time this thing lights up, the Sheng Ao changes directions and avoids that area. While I was hiding in the astral beast drove, they were forced to change directions five times because of this phenomenon. My guess is that it’s related to sensing other Sheng Aos,” Lu Yin explained with a serious tone.
Qu Ao was shocked. “Are you saying that this thing reacts when it nears other Sheng Aos?”
Lu Yin nodded. “That’s just my guess. The specifics will have to be tested and verified.”
“Conduct the test,” said a voice from behind Lu Yin. It was from a screen that showed the image of an imposing man. It was the commander of the Human Domain warfront’s allied troops, Shui Chuanxiao.
Lu Yin turned and immediately bowed. “Planet Conan soldier Lu Yin pays respects to the commander.”
Shui Chuanxiao nodded. “If this theory of yours is true, then you’ll have made a great contribution.” With that, the screen directly turned off.
At the other end of the room, Qu Ao immediately ordered someone to take the sphere onto a warship and fly towards Planet Conan to then search it area by area.
Lu Yin had hidden amongst the astral beast drove for many days and had witnessed it change directions five times, which indicated that there were quite a few Sheng Aos on Planet Conan.
“The Sheng Ao is a very strange creature that has only appeared in recent years. The people that it manipulates are perfectly aware of themselves, have clear memories, and act no differently than before. Even the people themselves do not know that they are being controlled, but all of their actions are being influenced by the Sheng Ao,” Qu Ao solemnly said, seeming as an explanation to Lu Yin, but also possibly to remind himself. Lu Yin did not interrupt.
“Since the Sheng Ao has appeared, the death rate has increased by a third because of manipulated humans, and a great deal of damage has been caused to our facilities as well,” Qu Ao said before looking at Lu Yin and then suddenly switching topics. “How would you evaluate Qu Feng’s strength?”
Lu Yin was caught off guard and perfunctorily replied, “Very strong.”
Qu Ao laughed. “Strong? He couldn’t even enter the top sixteen in the tournament and is still too far too weak compared to Han Chong.”
“Is Qu Feng a member of your clan’s younger generation?” Lu Yin asked.
“Yes, he’s a descendent of the Qu family.”
The room fell silent.
Lu Yin had felt that Qu Ao was being rather friendly, just like Han Chong. He had also been quite friendly to Lu Yin during the Astral Combat Tournament. Could it have to do with his clan name? The Erudite Flowzone reportedly had the highest amount of clans with primeval surnames, but they had all hidden themselves. Could the Qu clan be one of those clans as well?
“Lu Yin, what about your family?” Qu Ao suddenly asked, still gazing calmly at outer space.
Lu Yin’s eyes flashed. Although Qu Ao wasn’t directly facing him, he felt that he was being carefully observed. “I have no family. I’m an orphan.”
“You were born with the bloodline of the Great Yu Empire’s King Zishan?”
“Yes,” Lu Yin answered with a nod.
“Why the family name Lu?” Qu Ao asked as he suddenly turned back around. Lu Yin’s brain rumbled. His mental state was disturbed, and his body suddenly turned limp. In that instant, Lu Yin felt like he had returned to Driftcharge Planet and was reciting the Stonewall Scriptures. That same overbearing pressure had reappeared: the might of a Hunter. If this had occurred before his experiences on Driftcharge Planet, then Lu Yin would have lost all of his reasoning ability and become muddle-headed, but after reciting the Stonewall Scriptures, his mind was able to hold onto a trace of clarity.
“I don’t know. I just feel that I should be called Lu,” Lu Yin painfully bent at his waist as he involuntarily answered.
Qu Ao frowned but did not speak as he continued to study Lu Yin.
Lu Yin vigorously shook his head, panting heavily. He then looked at Qu Ao in a daze. “Guardian, what about you?”
Qu Ao raised his hand to halt the conversation. “Forget about what happened just now and forget about your reply.”
Lu Yin nodded and continued breathing heavily. If Qu Ao had tried to force him any further, then he would have truly fainted; his pressure surpassed even Liu Shaoqiu’s Third Sword. And he had been subjected to this pressure just because his family name was Lu.
Actually, even Lu Yin himself did not understand why he had the surname “Lu.” When he was first rescued by his family, everyone had told him that this was his name, that he should be called Lu Yin. He had never felt any rejection towards the name either. This surname, “Lu,” that he carried had given him and his family much trouble, but he had never regretted having this name.
Not long after, a message was delivered, confirming that the experiment had been a success. The sphere that had been retrieved from a dead Sheng Ao still lit up in the presence of other Sheng Aos, and the warship had been successful in eradicating another horde of astral beasts and obtaining another sphere.
Qu Ao was delighted by the results and immediately ordered an Explorer to personally hunt down the Sheng Aos with the spheres.
The Sheng Aos and their guardian astral beasts were not Explorers, which was why they had to hide on the various planets. This had originally been the source of a huge headache for the humans, but now, Lu Yin’s discovery had nullified these astral beasts hordes’ concealing ability, which was a great contribution for the warfront.
This border zone was not just an area or territory but rather a warfront that concerned the rise and fall of the entire human race. Any contributions made at the warfront would be recorded in the annals of history.
“Good job, Lu Yin,” Qu Ao praised as he patted Lu Yin’s shoulder.
Lu Yin exhaled lightly. “It was all luck, good luck.”
Qu Ao smiled. “Sometimes, luck is more important than strength on the battlefield. It seems that you’re the bringer of good fortune.”
Not far away from them, a screen turned on, showing Shui Chuanxiao gazing gratefully at Lu Yin. Before the commander could speak, however, the spacecraft jerked violently, causing the connection to dissipate. A succession of explosions tore through the spacecraft’s metal hull as its structure fell apart. A terrifying shockwave swept through the ship, distorting the void and making everyone feel as if the entire universe were falling apart.
Qu Ao’s face instantly changed. “Not good! It’s Yao Gu!” Then, the clear sound of a voice reading some esoteric text caused Lu Yin’s entire body to go numb. For an instant, he felt as if the heavens were collapsing, and he could not even hear Qu Ao’s shouts. There was a rumbling sound in Lu Yin’s ears and a massive crack appeared in the warship.
In the vastness of outer space, Wen Sansi’s figure appeared. “Brother Yao Gu, you should reconsider your actions.”
“Wen Sansi, this will be the decisive battle! Let’s see if you can stop me,” Yao Gu shouted as the void exploded again. From the depths of space, the shadows of a dozen enormous beasts emerged. They were all space-exploring astral beasts.
Lu Yin was stunned. Decisive battle?
Qu Ao barked, “Land the spacecraft on Planet Conan. The Explorers will battle in the heavens. The war has begun!” He disappeared immediately after giving those orders.
The spacecraft shook and charged straight for Planet Conan.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Choco
Edited By: Neshi/Nyxnox
TLC'ed By: OMA