Chapter 2081 Tragic Heroes and Clowns
Li Jialing listened attentively, as if he were enthralled by Li Lingfeng and was receiving the man’s edification sincerely.
Li Yao also pricked his ears. He was very curious about how the Immortal Cultivators viewed the natural-born contradictions between ‘true human beings’ and ‘hominoids’.
Li Lingfeng sighed and went on. “When the Imperium arrived at the limits of expansion about four hundred years ago, its comprehensive national power began declining. The hominoids went on a strike or riot every now and then, which significantly diminished the strength of the Imperium and deprived the Imperium of its competence in the war against the Covenant Alliance.
“A typical example of the escalation of the situation was the failure of Black Wind a hundred years ago!”
Highly sensitive about the words ‘Black Wind’, Li Yao could not help but shiver lightly.
“Are you referring to the fiasco of the Black Wind Sector?” Li Jialing asked.
“Exactly,” Li Lingfeng said. “In the battle, five worlds of the Imperium including the Black Wind Sector were swallowed by the Covenant Alliance. One might say that it was a crushing defeat unlike anything the Imperium had ever witnessed for hundreds of years. Most importantly of all, the Imperium could not mobilize more troops for the time being and reclaim those five worlds—not even one of them.
“Such a debacle completely woke all the Immortal Cultivators from the illusion, forcing them to reflect on the feasibility of the logic in which the world operated.
“The hundred years from that time to this day have been the age of revolution for the Imperium. Almost all insightful people have been working hard to reflect on the old true path of immortality and government. They have also raised all kinds of optimization and improvement plans. It is not wrong to say that the drastic changes that have taken place in the Imperium in the past hundred years are more intense and profound than those in the past thousand years in total!”
“For example, slaughter streams?”
Li Lingfeng smiled and nodded in approval. “Yes. You are smart enough to see that the so-called ‘slaughter stream’ is much more complicated than a simple game. It is a whole set of lifestyles that are extremely cheap in cost and most suitable for the hominoids to vent their redundant energy and dissatisfaction.
“Through the thrilling battle scenes shot from the first-person perspective, the streaming platform’s tipping and chat functions, and the myriad of talent shows and lotteries, it is very convenient to control the eyes, brains, and souls of the hominoids!
“In the end, not only are we gaining astronomical revenues from the slaughter stream platform, we can even conquer and control all the hominoids, including those who do not belong to the Li family, after bypassing the traditional barriers of power and the nominal leaders without them knowing.
“This is why I have invested a great amount of money in the Heavenly Eye Group to build the slaughter stream platform.”
While talking, Li Lingfeng stopped at the end of a pathway and smiled. “We’re here.”
Li Jialing looked at his feet. Bluish arcs extended gradually from the surroundings and congregated into a circle. The floor inside the circle slightly shivered and sank, bringing him and Li Lingfeng into a gargantuan, hollow sphere.
The place looked like a magnificent ball-shaped palace. The arced wall of the room was covered by glittering light beams that flashed nonstop.
But what was manifested on the light beams were not the scenes streamed from the Land of Sins but faces that were anxious, excited, angry, scared, or extremely twisted.
Right next to every face was a series of information and parameters that poured quickly like a waterfall, reflecting weird brilliance.
Countless workers flew without a sound in the spherical palace on floating discs, like ghosts that were feeding the heads.
“What—What is this place?” Li Jialing swallowed hard. “Shouldn’t we be visiting the stream center?”
“Yes. But it is highly unnecessary for us to watch the boring games in the Land of Sins,” Li Lingfeng said. “They are the viewers who are watching the ‘slaughter stream’ right now and a sample of targets that we have randomly selected for investigation. We implanted some small information feedback chips on their terminals, which will collect all the physiological and mental changes when they are enjoying the slaughter stream. Their breath, their heartbeat, their secretion of adrenalin, and the rhythm of their brainwaves are all under our observation.
“After analyzing and calculating the big data of their feedback comprehensively, we will be able to find out their needs more accurately and provide more exciting and irresistible shows for them.
“More importantly, we can grasp and even interfere with their ideas based on that.”
“Ideas?” Li Jialing mumbled.
“Yes. Maybe you will find out later that it is very easy to destroy a living enemy, but it can be terribly difficult to eliminate an idea.”
With a weird smile, Li Lingfeng replied, “But today, we are trying to completely eradicate an idea with the platform of the slaughter stream—the idea of the Cultivators!”
Li Jialing slightly trembled, and his eyes widened.
Wuying Lan, the owner of Manjusaka, slowly ascended on a floating disc with his hands behind his back.
“My lord, everything is set now.” Wuying Lan bowed to Li Lingfeng gracefully. “The branch of Starlight below the ground is about to find their ‘temple’, and the branch in space should be arriving in the space zone that we expected to launch the suicidal attack very soon. Everything is within our control. The most splendid scene of ‘Dying Light’, the epic quest, will come on at any moment.”
“Very good.” Li Lingfeng nodded in satisfaction. “However, I must trouble Lord Wuying to explain why we planned the ‘epic quest’ first.”
Looking at Li Jialing, Wuying Lan said with a smile, “Are your wounds better now? Do not blame me for giving you a hard time earlier.”
Li Jialing looked at Li Lingfeng and then at Wuying Lan. Swallowing, he could not help but observe, “I understand that you have long been aware of the existence of ‘Starlight’, and you set up the trap with bait, hoping to catch them up once and for all. But I do not understand why you have to put the whole battle on the streaming platform. Isn’t it too childish and risky? Won’t the enemy notice any issues in it?”
Wuying Lan smiled and shook his head. “Please rest assured. We have meticulously calculated which pictures can be shown to the public and which ones must be kept a secret. No information that shouldn’t be leaked will be leaked. Only when the enemy launches a general attack with no turning back will we open all the cameras and pictures so that the audience of the entire Imperium will see for themselves how the pitiful and pathetic organization of Cultivators is entirely wiped out.
“As for your accusation of us being childish… This is definitely not a spur-of-the-moment thing but an ultimate action that we have been forced to adopt in order to completely destroy Starlight.”
Li Jialing was somewhat at a loss. “I don’t understand. Is Starlight very difficult to destroy?”
“No. In fact, it is not very difficult, but almost too easy, to destroy them.”
Approaching the young man, Wuying Lan grinned.
“Did you know? Ever since the earliest members of Starlight fled to the sea of stars in panic after the Martial Meritocrats Sector was conquered by the Imperium, Starlight has been destroyed forty-one times in total over hundreds of years!
“Every single time, the army of the Imperium completely destroyed all the personnel, chains of command, and secret bases of Starlight, ensuring that there were no lucky escapees or shelters that they could hide in.
“But before long, or even as the old Starlight was smashed into smithereens, a new Starlight would pop up from the depths of the mines on a certain remote planet. They are like lice, cockroaches, and rats that you can never finish killing!”
“Why?” Li Jialing mumbled.
“Ideas.” Wuying Lan pointed at his head. “The Imperium only destroyed the bodies, weapons, and bases of the Cultivators of Starlight but never their ideas.
“Ideas are the most dangerous things in the world. They are invisible and ubiquitous. They may seem unpredictable, but they can wield the power to collapse mountains and transform a world. They can turn cowards into animals, animals into warriors, and unorganized mobsters into an iron-blooded army!
“It is useless to just destroy Starlight and kill all the Cultivators.
“Before long, someone will be corrupted by their naïve but dangerous ideas and establish a new Starlight for their generation, which is passed on generation after generation and spreads from one world to another. In the end, the new Starlight may be deformed and completely different from the Starlight from the Martial Meritocrats Sector at the beginning, but they share the same group of damn ideas!
“It is practically impossible to completely kill such ideas. The more cruelly the Cultivators are hunted and slaughtered and the more blood they shed, the more greatly their images as ‘tragic heroes’ will be shaped, which will attract more and more desperate hominoids and bottom-level Immortal Cultivators to join the side of the Cultivators and establish a new Starlight.
“They are like cancer cells. After you kill one, two will be proliferated. The more killed, the more emerge. It can be truly annoying.
“Therefore, although the Star Ocean Republic was replaced by the Imperium of True Human Beings a thousand years ago and the massive resistance forces of the Cultivators are long gone, the Cultivators who cause minor trouble for all have never been completely eradicated.
“They caused minor trouble a thousand years ago, and a thousand years later, after being erased forty-one times in total, they are still causing ‘minor trouble’ today! I really can’t think of a more unreasonable thing!
“This is the key to our problem. Ideas can hardly be killed, but they can be contorted and deconstructed. In order to prevent the Cultivators from causing minor trouble again, besides destroying them physically, it is very important for us to change their roles as ‘tragic heroes’ into a character that all the hominoids are amused by and gain pleasure from.
“The role that they are going to be changed into is… clowns.”