If it wasn’t for suddenly starting the S-grade mecha Spirit Fox at the moment of life or death, the group would already be buried in the ruins of the universe. As they watched the Dark Night starship being crushed by the cosmic sandstorm into a pile of metal residue, Ye Qi hurriedly said, “Run! The sandstorm’s speed is very fast. It will be terrible if we are caught in it!”
Xiao Lou immediately raised the speed of Spirit Fox to the maximum and drove the mecha in the opposite direction to escape.
The black pressure that was the sandstorm followed behind them. Xiao Lou’s expression was heavy and his spirit was strained to the extreme. He was afraid that the Spirit Fox wouldn’t be fast enough and they would be swallowed by the sandstorm…
Fortunately, the performance of the S-grade mecha was very strong. Five minutes later, Spirit Fox finally left the sandstorm far behind.
After seeing the sandstorm move diagonally in another direction and getting further away from them, the group was finally relieved.
Everyone looked at each other. There was a layer of sweat on everyone’s forehead. Some people, such as Ye Qi, sweated more and even their clothes were soaked with sweat.
Ye Qi breathed hard, his face pale. “This was an extreme escape! It was only one second away. I thought we were going to die here.”
He suddenly paused and looked back at Shao Qingge. “By the way, did you just say something in my ear?”
Shao Qingge smiled and gently rubbed his head. “It’s nothing. I’ll tell you once we go back.”
Lu Jiuchuan walked to the console and asked curiously, “Where did this mecha come from?”
Xiao Lou answered, “My father left it to me.” He looked at everyone and spoke in a guilty manner, “Sorry, I shut it down before and just remembered that it could fly in the universe.”
Yu Hanjiang explained, “Not long after we entered the secret room, the emperor summoned me and gave me the ring. According to him, the ring is the mental fragment of the mecha Spirit Fox. Once it is activated, it will become the complete body of Spirit Fox. He handed me this ring and asked me to protect Xiao Lou no matter what.”
Tang Ci was a bit surprised. “The S-grade mecha Spirit Fox? It is S-grade and should be one of the most powerful mechas in the empire. Unexpectedly, you have one in your hand?”
Lu Jiuchuan was thoughtful. “The emperor actually gave you such a valuable mecha. Is he really the villain boss?”
Xiao Lou also found it very contradictory. If he didn’t have the S-grade mecha with him, everyone would’ve died. In his previous meetings with his father, the emperor’s concern didn’t seem false. He instructed Yu Hanjiang to protect Xiao Lou no matter what.
Xiao Lou clenched his fists to calm himself down and said, “Although the Spirit Fox rescued us this time and the emperor gave it to me in the name of protection, but it was actually used for surveillance.”
Yu Hanjiang agreed. “On Xiao Lou’s birthday, someone sneaked into the Twin Palaces. The emperor knew about it because Spirit Fox actually deployed a 360 degree surveillance network around the entire Twin Palaces with no blind spots. It reported the situation in the Twin Palaces to the emperor. In order to avoid our escape being known to the emperor, Spirit Fox was shut down during the entire process.”
Xiao Lou added, “We have examined it in detail. There was no tracker in the ring to start Spirit Fox and there were no problems after Spirit Fox was shut down. Therefore, we took it with us when we escaped.”
Xiao Lou was really glad. If the ring was left in the palace then everyone could only close their eyes and wait to die. Fortunately, Yu Hanjiang said at that time, “The ring the emperor gave me should be a key item. Let’s take it with us.” It was this idea that saved everyone at the key moment.
Lu Jiuchuan continued to ask, “Do you really think the emperor is the ultimate boss?”
Xiao Lou answered, “He is the initiator of the Noah’s Ark project and the leader of the Gu raising plan. On the surface, he is indeed the ultimate boss of this secret room but now I’m no longer sure about that.”
Yu Hanjiang gently held Xiao Lou’s shoulders. “Everything can wait until we return to the empire. We have to find the whereabouts of the real Chu Huaying first and figure out when she was cloned.”
Lu Jiuchuan wanted to speak when Tang Ci interrupted him. “Show me your hand.”
He forcibly lifted Lu Jiuchuan’s left hand where blood was still flowing from the wound created by the sharp metal. The entire palm was bloody. Distress flashed in Tang Ci’s eyes and his expression sank. “If you are injured then stop moving. Sit down and I will give you some treatment.”
Lu Jiuchuan smiled. “It is just skin trauma and it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry.”
During the time when he was undercover in the Hunter’s League, he had become accustomed to injuries and this was really nothing. Even so, Tang Ci forced him to sit down on a couch and summoned a healing robot to bind the wound.
Lu Jiuchuan trusted his hand to Tang Ci. He stretched out his legs on the sofa and looked at Yu Hanjiang. “Do you have a clue as to where Huaying is? How can we find her in such a big universe?”
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou. The other person frowned slightly and carefully sorted out his thoughts.
After a while, he carefully analyzed it. “The Huaying we encountered the first time must be real. The swap must’ve happened when we were dealing with the merpeople plotline on Azure Planet while Huaying was alone on the starship. If I remember correctly, there were hundreds of star thieves on the starship yet so many people disappeared. The only explanation is that someone controlled the real Huaying and let the fake Huaying take the position of captain. All the star thieves were transferred away and the fake Huaying was used to lure us into the trap.”
Lu Jiuchuan doubted it. “Huaying has teamed up with us for so long and her alertness isn’t low. She also said that when she entered the secret room, she was forced to drink by a hunter only to kill the other person and take the captain’s position. How can she be controlled?”
Xiao Lou answered, “It is possible that someone acted on her food. They should be able to freely enter and leave the food storage of the starship at will. If they poisoned the food that Chu Huaying eats every day then it is possible.”
Yu Hanjiang had been frowning while deep in thought. He heard this and suddenly said, “Uncle Qin?”
Xiao Lou had also thought of this person. “During the time when we questioned all the star thieves about what happened over 20 years ago, he was the only one who looked evasive.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “I saw that he had a problem at the time and asked Huaying to test out a few sentences. Then he told everyone about the origin of the star thieves and bug planet. Most of what he said is true and was corroborated by our further investigation. There is just one thing that I don’t think is right when thinking about it now.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Is it the last thing he said about how things were so terrible that he didn’t dare to land on the bug planet after all these years? If he knew that Huaying would run to the bug planet, he would’ve stopped it.”
Shao Qingge raised an eyebrow. “Looking at this sentence in hindsight, it is just like someone saying ‘I would stop you if I knew what you were going to do’. In fact, it is really useless.”
Ye Qi also noticed what was wrong and scratched his head. “We wandered around the Hilt No Man’s Land for so long and even patrolled the bug planet. He is the repairman of the Dark Night starship and should’ve seen it a long time ago, but he didn’t stop us. In other words, he pretended to be acting for our own good but he actually watched us enter the bug planet without giving us a warning?”
Yu Hanjiang spoke softly, “He is a hunter. Watching us go to our deaths, why should he stop it?”
It was true that he knew the dangers of the bug planet. He was probably watching from the sidelines when everyone landed on it. Why should he speak up and give a reminder?
During Chu Huaying’s questioning, he pretended to say that he would’ve stopped it if he knew. Everyone hadn’t thought too much about the words at the time. Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang were busy analyzing the star thieves and the Noah’s Ark plan so they ignored this detail. Now it seemed that he had exposed himself a long time ago.
Xiao Lou touched his chin thoughtfully for a moment before suddenly saying, “I see. Huaying is likely to have been taken to the bug planet!”
The teammates were stunned when they heard this.
Ye Qi was in a daze. “This matter has to do with the bugs?”
Xiao Lou nodded. “We overlooked a key point. Brother Jiu was in danger when the 5th Xiao Lou passed by. The singing of the merpeople and the clones of Brother Jiu and Mr Tang that appeared among the merpeople all prove this. The strange thing is that the 5th Xiao Lou is the prince of the merpeople. Why would he happen to be ‘passing by’ the bug planet?”
The merpeople were located in the deep sea of Azure Planet while the bugs were in the remote Hilt No Man’s Land.
A prince from the ocean happened to pass by the bug territory? Did this make any sense?
Yu Hanjiang speculated, “It seems that we only took care of a small boss. The 5th Xiao Lou suddenly visited the bug planet. Perhaps it was to reach an agreement with the bug queen? For example, study the cloning program together?”
Xiao Lou followed his thoughts. “So the 5th Xiao Lou used this condition as an exchange. The angry bug queen realized that it was profitable and let go of Brother Jiu and his group. Otherwise, how could she suddenly release them when she said they would all be buried with her?”
Tang Ci thought about it carefully. “It makes sense. In this way, the cause and effect can be explained. The merman prince visited the bug planet and wanted to work with the bugs to study the cloning program. For example, extract more of the bug genes so that the clone version 3.0 can have the jumping ability and other abilities of the bugs. Then he rescued Brother Jiu and me to copy our genes, planning to use our clones as bait in order to wipe out our entire team?”
Lu Jiuchuan had a headache. “In other words, there is likely to be another cloning laboratory on the bug planet?”
Ye Qi was dumbfounded. “So that Uncle Qin also joined forces with the bugs?”
Xiao Lou said, “Uncle Qin has watched Huaying grow up since she was a child. It is easy for him to get Huaying’s hair. Perhaps when we landed on the planet, he secretly gave Huaying’s genes to the bugs. Then the bugs cloned Chu Huaying as quickly as possible and used the fake Chu Huaying to lead us to the Dark Night starship, destroying the starship’s systems and taking away the energy. This way, we would be buried in the universe.”
The team members stared at each other.
There was a fake Liu Qiao on the merpeople side and a fake Huaying on the starship. This instance was really tiring.
Xiao Lou opened the contract book and glanced at the names on it. “Huaying is still alive. We have to find a way to save her!”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality