Chapter 2082 Pitiful Wretches in the Empty Jar
Li Jialing tilted his head and began to think carefully. “Instead of killing them directly, transform all the Cultivators into clowns?”
With thoughtful brilliance flashing inside his eyes, Wuying Lan replied, “Yes. It is useless to destroy their fleshly bodies as we’ve done the previous forty-one times, although it is quite easy for the Imperium. It is a shame that even if their bodies are burnt up to ash and their bones crumble into powder, their idiotic but dangerous ideas will likely continue spreading.
“At first, the ideas may be as harmless as the weakest cold viruses, as if they have truly gone extinct. Tales of the Cultivators are sometimes not heard for decades.
“But the day will come eventually when a small bunch of people are corrupted by theories that have disappeared for decades and become a new generation of Cultivators, causing minor trouble in the Imperium again.
“Did you know? According to our investigation, the Starlight that has popped up this time did not even have a single person whose spiritual root was awakened at the beginning. It was merely made up of a group of idiotic miners who did not even know what they were doing.
“But after decades of development and absorption of depressed Immortal Cultivators and scoundrels of all trades, they have transformed it into a rather troublesome force.
“We captured a few core members of the new Starlight. They admitted frankly that they had nothing to do with the Land of Sins or the Martial Meritocrats Sector. They did not even know that Starlight originated from the Martial Meritocrats Sector. All they had heard were some ungrounded, ridiculous legends that worshipped Starlight and the Cultivators.
“In those bullsh*t legends, the Cultivators of Starlight was like an undying phoenix that would be reborn in fire time and time again. All the sacrifices were meant for it to be stronger the next time it was reborn.
“Some of the legends were told from person to person and first made by a wrinkled, dying old man at the beginning. Some came from jade chips and crystal processors because the previous forty Starlights left something before their destruction.
“The thing about rumors is that the more bizarre and appalling they sound, the more people will buy them and the faster they will spread.
“All in all, the universe is too vast a place. Despite the speed and ferocity of the Imperium’s army, it is difficult to annihilate an insurgency organization of Cultivators immediately after the news that it is on the rise in a certain border space zone. As a result, Starlight is truly carrying a mysterious, heroic, and soul-stirring halo, and more stupid people will believe in the legends of ‘reborn in fire’!
“Therefore, even if we completely destroy the Starlight today, it will only begin a new cycle of ‘rebirth’. Before long, a new Starlight will emerge, perhaps established by a bunch of exhausted miners, perhaps by furious bottom-level soldiers, and perhaps by hungry famers. No matter how weak and unattractive it may seem at the very beginning, as long as the banner of ‘Starlight’ is set up, it will mean a small victory for the Cultivators.”
“Do not overlook the Cultivators,” Li Lingfeng added. “Although our greatest enemy right now is the Covenant Alliance, the Cultivators have been the earliest enemy of the Imperium. Those guys have not been completely annihilated after a thousand years. Their vitality is truly stronger than that of the cockroach!
“But after the ‘epic quest’, it will be practically impossible for the Cultivators to deceive anyone in the future because we will not grant them a chance to make a valiant sacrifice.”
Wuying Lan operated his wrist crystal processor quickly. The arc-shaped light beams around the sphere palace changed quickly, displaying the pictures on the surface of the Land of Sins, below the ground, and the space zones near Manjusaka.
“Starlight has two branches. Other than the one in space, some of their cockroaches are below the Land of Sins, too. They have not been completely extinguished in the past hundreds of years,” Wuying Lan explained. “However, I found an opportunity decades ago to send one of my spies to the underground world of the Land of Sins. I planned to completely demolish the underground branch of Starlight with the intelligence provided by the spy, but the spy’s performance was unexpectedly remarkable. It seemed to be a waste to just deal with the underground branch.
“As it happened, the slaughter stream platform of the Heavenly Eye Branch gradually climbed to the peak, and its influence spread throughout the Imperium. So, I began to consider a new possibility.”
Li Jialing raised his head and looked at the enormous light beams floating before him.
On the light beams, all the remaining ‘earthly dragons’ of the underground branch of Starlight were clearly visible. Their most accurate coordinates had been locked onto by the Immortal Cultivators.
Some of the ‘earthly dragons’ even had spying chips in them, planted by the Immortal Cultivators. The conversations among the excited or exhausted Cultivators could occasionally be heard. It could also be seen that they were wiping their magical equipment, touching their blades, and assembling the firearms somewhat nervously, waiting for the arrival of the final battle in the temple and the global sword network system.
“Do you see it? Those Cultivators are waiting for the ‘sacred sacrifice’ ravenously!” Wuying Lan chuckled. “They think that attacking the City in the Sky will be the most splendid, glorious, and tragic battle of Starlight in the past hundreds of years. They are not worried about whether or not they will win because even if they do fail eventually, as long as they have made the gesture of a massive attack and caused the slightest damage to Manjusaka, the story will certainly grow into a new legend after much exaggeration—the legend of the ‘undying Cultivators’, which will charm another bunch of fools and turn them into new Cultivators in the near future.
“This is exactly their plan. It doesn’t matter whether they win or lose. All they want is a valiant death. They want the almighty Imperium of True Human Beings to admit that Cultivators are a concept on par with the Immortal Cultivators so that they can spread their ideas with the opportunity. Nothing more.
“It is a shame that none of the Cultivators will realize that the tragic battle to attack the City in the Sky has been planned by the Immortal Cultivators from beginning to end. Also, I have stuffed a lot of our own men into all the procedures.
“They think that they are initiating a sacred battle. Little do they know that it is only a live stream and a game, and they are nothing more than the entertaining clowns and toys in the game.
“Look here. We have been able to monitor the Cultivators’ every move and hear their unbelievably idiotic declarations since the very beginning. Those declarations, if switched to a different scene and supported by some stirring music, may indeed be a bit attractive. But what if we add some ‘canned laughter’ here with certain funny sound effects? What if we pave a few unctuous comments on their faces?
“As a result, when the targets that the Cultivators want to win over most, namely the hominoids that make up ninety-nine percent of the population of the Imperium, watch the scenes that we have carefully prepared, what will their impression of the Cultivators be? Will they consider them warriors like moths darting at the fire and mantises stopping a car with their forearms, or clowns who do not know what they are doing at all?
“And here, do you see it? This is the underground main battlefield that I have carefully devised, the temple of the Cultivators. To make it more mysterious and enticing, I even fabricated the notion of a Cultivator that had been lost for a thousand years.
“It was not exactly my personal creation but a rumor that spread through the past goddamn Starlights. It was nothing more than the image of an ancient Cultivator and an almighty, invincible god that was made up randomly to boost morale.
“It must be noted that this is a resister that does not exist at all. How can the Imperium kill him or disapprove his existence?
“Today, in the game that we have carefully prepared, the Cultivator that has been lost for a thousand years will show up as a clown and tell all the people of the Imperium how hilarious the Cultivators’ beliefs and hopes are!
“The preparations in space are as thorough as below the ground. All in all, the dragnet has already been opened, and all the traps have been set up. All we need to do is capture every look on the Cultivators’ faces from hopefulness to frustration and then to desperation. We will watch how spectacular their faces are when they learn that the sacred destiny that they have been dedicated to at the cost of their own life is nothing more than a game that is planned by other people.
“We will even involve the general public and the hominoids deeply into the game and give them the impression that Cultivators are worthless wretches and targets to be mocked and derided, and that everything is under the control of the Imperium and the Immortal Cultivators!
“When caught in desperation without any hope, many people are willing to be tragic heroes who march forward relentlessly without retreating. The feelings of fighting in blood until they collapse on a mountain of corpses in exhaustion can even be rather romantic.
“But in any case, absolutely nobody is willing to be a fly in a transparent glass jar, where their every move will be observed clearly by other people. What hilarious and pathetic wretches they are!
“This is exactly the case for the Cultivators of Starlight now. They’re wretches in a transparent glass jar!
“We will try to kill as few of those wretches as possible and simply try to capture them alive to deliver them to Manjusaka for refinement. We will let them realize how stupid and hilarious their beliefs were. They will certainly develop a profound understanding about the truth path of immortality after they are completely reborn.
“Trust me. After they completely figure out the truth and receive modifications in Manjusaka, they will certainly undergo drastic changes that touch their souls. Then, the processes in which they receive modifications and regret their past can be made into stream shows, too. They can also be arranged for a speech tour nationwide in the entire Imperium.
“Although the procedures can be complicated, I believe that this is the best way to completely destroy the Cultivators and their ideas without leaving any hidden problems for the future.”