Xiao Lou turned on the navigation system and set the destination as the bug planet. The screen showed that it would take half an hour to reach the destination. Xiao Lou looked at the meteors outside the window and thought quickly about countermeasures.
At present, Ye Qi and Shao Qingge’s Bug King cards had been used. Ye Qi’s card was used to heal Tang Ci’s legs and Shao Qingge became the bug king the last time they landed on the bug planet. These two cards could only be used once in a secret room. Now the bug king’s skills were on cooldown and it was even more difficult for them to sneak onto the bug planet.
The bug queen had great hostility toward humans. Once she called the bugs to attack them, the six of them alone wouldn’t be able to face the countless bugs. The number of bugs on this planet was far beyond that of 8 of Spades. Lu Jiuchuan led an army to eliminate the bugs but was almost wiped out. This time there were only six of them, which wasn’t even enough for the bugs to fill the gaps between their teeth.
The cockpit suddenly quieted down. Yu Hanjiang found that Xiao Lou was frowning and asked him in a low voice, “What are you thinking?”
“I have a question about Chu Huaying…” Xiao Lou came to his senses and turned to Yu Hanjiang. “Huaying should be on the bug planet. Uncle Qin must’ve reached an agreement with the bug queen. As a hunter, why didn’t Uncle Qin kill Chu Huaying?”
“……” Yu Hanjiang heard this and also felt puzzled in his heart.
Xiao Lou turned back to Lu Jiuchuan. “Brother Jiu, I remember you said that previously Huaying killed too many hunters and became first on the wanted list. The reward for killing her should be very high, right?”
“Yes.” Lu Jiuchuan shook his cured left hand and walked up to Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang. “In fact, Huaying isn’t the type of female devil who kills people without blinking an eye. Most of the hunters she killed were to help cover for me. During my six months undercover in the league, I have experienced the World Weekly secret room many times. She followed me to the same world and helped me eliminate the hunters who were doubting my identity.”
“Of course, we know this. Previously in the Endless Sea World Weekly, Chu Huaying killed the hunters with you so you could meet me.” Yu Hanjiang answered softly.
“Since Huaying is first on the hunter’s reward list, why hasn’t Uncle Qin killed her yet?” Xiao Lou was puzzled. “Doesn’t Uncle Qin want to receive the high bounty?”
“Could it be that they want to do some research with Sister Ying’s genes?” Ye Qi actively ran over to participate in the discussion.
“The bugs have already taken Huaying’s genes to clone Chu Huaying version 1.0. There should be no need to continue studying her genes. If they were afraid that Huaying’s name would disappear from the contract, they would first keep her until the starship crashed and then kill her… but now that the starship has crashed, Huaying is still alive?” Xiao Lou was puzzled by this.
“It is a bit strange.” Yu Hanjiang frowned. Then after a few seconds, he thought of a possibility. “Perhaps the hunters discovered that we aren’t dead? Therefore, they didn’t kill Chu Huaying and want to use her to lure us in?”
“I can read the team contract book to judge the life or death of our teammates. How do the hunters know if we are alive or dead?” Xiao Lou paused before a chill went down his spine. He couldn’t believe it. “Do you think they have an item that can determine the survival of challengers?”
“Let’s assume the hunters and challengers are opposing factions. Our goal is to clear the secret room while the goal of the hunters is to kill us. Will the system show them a message like ‘12 survivors among the challengers’? It is just like how we can see how many bosses are left when playing a game instance.” Ye Qi scratched his head and made a guess.
“…This also makes sense.” Xiao Lou pondered on it. “If Uncle Qin can see something like ‘12 survivors among the challengers’, he would know that we didn’t die when the starship crashed. Therefore, he didn’t rush to kill Chu Huaying who has lost consciousness. Instead, he wants to use Chu Huaying as bait and lead us to save her.”
Xiao Lou looked at Yu Hanjiang and asked the other person’s intentions with his eyes.
The latter nodded at him. “We have to jump in even if we know that it is a trap. Chu Huaying is our teammate. We can’t just let her die. She alone can’t cope with an entire planet of bugs. In addition, if the bug planet really has a cloning laboratory then we must destroy it to pass the instance. We have to go to the bug planet.”
Yu Hanjiang’s words were exactly what Xiao Lou thought. There was a trap. If they had a choice, they would make a detour. However, they had no choice but to grit their teeth and force their way through it.
Tang Ci said calmly, “Huaying’s cards are mainly physical enhancement cards. If she wants to escape then she can only use the invisibility cloak. I’m worried that if she is unconscious, it will be more difficult for us to save her. In addition, there are countless bugs on the planet. I agree about saving Huaying but we have to make full preparations in advance.”
The planet was full of bugs.
Once they landed on the bug planet, the sensitive bugs would definitely report the news to the bug queen. Forget finding the cloning laboratory to save Chu Huaying, they might find it even difficult to move before they were drowned in a sea of bugs.
How should they land on the bug planet to minimize damage?
The group fell into contemplation again.
After a while, Xiao Lou said, “The invisibility cloaks can be used for 30 minutes. During 8 of Spades, we once wore the invisibility cloak and passed through the square at night. The bugs didn’t find us. The bugs in 8 of Spades have the same origin as these bugs so the invisibility cloak should also be effective against these bugs.”
“Still, the cloak only lasts for 30 minutes. Is this enough time?” Lu Jiuchuan pressed a hand to his temple. He had a headache when thinking about these bugs. “The size of the bug planet is so large. If we want to find the cloning laboratory, we could probably search for a month and not find it.”
“Brother, do you remember that the first time we came here, we circled the planet and didn’t find any buildings protruding from the surface of the planet. This indicates that the cloning laboratory isn’t on the surface but underground.” Yu Hanjiang said. “More than 90% of the bug planet is black. The black part is the fungus blanket used by the bugs for reproduction. We shouldn’t need to search these areas.”
“That’s right!” Xiao Lou’s eyes lit up as he looked at Yu Hanjiang. “The fungus blanket will provide nutrients for the development of the bugs. It is of great significance to the bugs, just like soil necessary for the growth of plants. It is impossible to dig a deep pit under the fungus blanket to build a secret laboratory. Then we only need to search the areas of the planet without them.”
“So there is less than 10% of the area left? This can save a lot of time.” Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin and looked at Yu Hanjiang in a complicated manner. “There is the presence of you and Professor Xiao. Why do I always feel that I’m not smart enough?”
“Brother Jiu, just get used to it! Each time I followed Group Leader Yu and Professor Xiao through the Hearts secret room it always left me wondering if I even have a brain!” Ye Qi seriously agreed with him.
“It is very comfortable to lie down and win,” Shao Qingge said with a smile.
“The cloning plan must be carried out in secret. If the queen really cooperated with the merpeople to study the clones, it is impossible to place the laboratory in an area with too many bugs. She should find a relatively remote place to build the underground laboratory.” Tang Ci didn’t joke around or engage in the teasing of his teammates. His face was cold as always, giving the impression of a talking robot.
Nevertheless, his words made sense.
“Yes, a remote place without the fungus blanket and suitable for the construction of a secret laboratory. It is probably the vein we found last time.” Xiao Lou concluded.
“That mineral vein has been mined by the star thieves and there are many precious ores piled up in the mines. At that time, the bugs rushed over so we didn’t have time to check if there were any hidden mechanisms to go underground.” Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou. “The secret laboratory is probably under the veins that have been mined.”’
“Six months ago, Brother Jiu led the Arrow Corps to the bug planet. The merman Xiao Lou passed by and reached an agreement with the queen to study the cloning project. After the bugs built the cloning laboratory…” Xiao Lou paused before wondering, “The bugs shouldn’t be good at constructing underground structures, right?”
“They might have a consciousness but they are just bugs after all. They live on a fungus blanket and don’t use the equipment that humans need. How can they build underground laboratories?” Yu Hanjiang thought about it. “Will the merpeople help? The merpeople can build labyrinths in the ocean so their level of construction must not be lacking compared to humans.”
“The merpeople have lived in the sea for a long time and might not be able to adapt to the environment of the bug planet. Moreover, they used many materials such as shells when building the palace in the sea. This isn’t the same as digging at the ground. The difference in building something underground is quite big,” Xiao Lou answered seriously.
“……” The team members were stunned. How could those two people calmly discuss ‘architecture’ in this situation?
“Digging underground is best done by humans.” Yu Hanjiang paused before wondering, “Could it be the star thieves helping?”
“Uncle Qin should’ve been in contact with the bugs very early on and sent Huaying’s genes to the bugs to create a clone. However, half a year ago Huaying and the star thieves hadn’t gone to the bug planet. Uncle Qin has been staying with the starship the whole time. How can he help the bugs build a laboratory?” Xiao Lou frowned and thought carefully. Then a key point flashed through his mind and he trembled. “There is another possibility. The previous captain of the star thieves might not be dead!”
“…The previous captain?!” Ye Qi heard this and his eyes widened. “20 years ago, General Lin captured him and brought him back to Capital Star. His gene fragments were extracted and used in the Noah’s Ark project. That’s right… there seems to be no record of his ending!”
“Yes, based on the information we found in the merpeople kingdom, it was only said that the scientists extracted his genes and found they were different from human genes. After research, these genes were fused with human genes. However, from beginning to the end the information never stated what happened to the previous captain.”
Xiao Lou paused and looked at Ye Qi. “In addition, Ye Qi, your words just now were very important. He was taken back by General Lin.”
“So he could’ve also been taken away by General Lin?” Yu Hanjiang thought about it. “General Lin took his daughter and all the information on the Noah’s Ark project with him when running away. If the previous captain was still alive, it is indeed possible for General Lin to take him as well.”
“He has the bug genes in his body so he didn’t die when the Egret crashed into the sea.” Shao Qingge’s eyes narrowed slightly as he finally reacted to the reason for Xiao Lou’s speculation. “If this is the case, the previous captain not only knows the specific location of the bug planet as well as the details about the cloning plan. He also saw the merpeople in the deep sea?”
“I have always been wondering how the merpeople could suddenly upgrade and transform the clones. They aren’t familiar with human and bug genes and might not necessarily be able to do experiments with the data. Yet if the previous captain was alive, he could indeed work together with Elder Kareen to help the merpeople develop the clone 2.0 version.” Tang Ci spoke calmly.
“At that time, the clones had just come out of the petri dishes and their IQs were equivalent to newborn babies. Even if Elder Kareen of the merpeople rescued them, it would be hard for him to get much information from them. As an adult, the previous captain knew a lot and he survived in the deep sea. He worked with Elder Kareen to create a clone 2.0 version with a tail. Later, he took the merman prince Xiao Lou to visit the bug planet. He and the queen are old friends. If he comes forward to negotiate with the queen then she can easily agree.” Ye Qi followed everyone’s thinking and found that after adding this key clue, everything became more reasonable.
How else could the prince of the deep sea merpeople suddenly visit the bug planet and save Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci?
Apparently, there was a ‘middleman’ who led the way for the prince.
This person had lived on the bug planet for several years—the original captain of the star thieves!
“After the queen gave her consent, the captain stayed on the bug planet and assisted the queen in building the cloning laboratory. He also contacted his old subordinate, Uncle Qin on the Dark Night starship and asked Uncle Qin to steal Chu Huaying’s genes?” Lu Jiuchuan finally sorted out the logic and frowned. “It seems there is more than one boss in this instance. We have overlooked the key figure – the previous captain of the star thieves!”
The mysterious captain had been secretly promoting the Noah’s Ark project.
He worked with the merpeople in the deep sea to create the version 2.0 clones, he saved Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci and instructed his old subordinates to steal Chu Huaying’s genes. He cloned a copy of Chu Huaying on the bug planet…
Maybe he was also a hunter?
Partially proofread: Paranoid Kitten