885 Brewing Influence, Rising Waves
Han Xiao only narrowed his eyes, not speaking. In actual fact, he had also shared the same suspicions, but Risda had replied in the same manner each time he asked, making him unable to verify it.
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Manison crossed his hands and calmly spoke.
"Just based on their ability, they would never be able to break through my firewall. Behind them was another Beyond Grade A Mechanic that was coveting my Indestructible Mechanic Empire and wished to wreck my trump card troops while I was not within my base. They secretly guided these two little guys that knew nothing and quietly opened the virtual data channels for them."
"A pity that his cheap trick was spotted by me, and his scheme thus failed. I actually knew that the little fellow who had turned itself into an indestructible mechanic soldier had always been residing in Floating Dragon Island. She borrowed my energy transmission channel and stole my recombination material, so I could naturally track her.
"But I didn't go and recollect it. That's mainly because I don't care about these two fellows who were wandering outside, but I also decided not to make contact with Ames due to my past relationship with Aesop. However, since I'm here today, it's just as well. You can hand both of them back over to me."
Han Xiao rubbed his temples, feeling a little helpless. Twenty years ago when he first recruited Aroshia, he had been but a Grade B Super. He was just a nobody in the universe, so naturally, Manison would not place him in his eyes.
When he discovered the origins of Aroshia later on, he had once worried about whether Manison would pursue them, but Aroshia had never met any danger, so he had thought that Manison did not know of Aroshia's position.
When he reached the Beyond Grade A level, his Virtual Technology knowledge grew deeper, and he also started to doubt the given description of their escape, but because of his preconceived notions and added to the fact that twenty years had gone by peacefully, he took it for granted.
To think that Manison had always known…
Han Xiao's brain quickly moved.
Obviously, with Manison's status, he did not care about Aroshia and Risda escaping. After all, he had an entire AI civilization as his army; just two escapees did not mean anything.
But the reason he had mentioned this was not to take Aroshia and Risda back but rather because Han Xiao had rejected his request to obtain the amber, so he decided to attack him!
This old thing… God only knows just how many cards he still has on hand.
Han Xiao frowned, pausing for a moment, before replying solemnly.
"Aroshia is a comrade of mine who has followed me for over twenty years. She has free will and is not a slave of mine. I can't just pass someone who is respected and was involved in the establishment of Black Star Army together with me. How would I answer to my officers in this manner?"
Manison wished to reclaim its escaped soldiers, but Han Xiao tweaked the situation, emphasizing Aroshia's position within the Black Star Army. Thus, he could firmly reject.
"Your Excellency Black Star, you're a really tough nut." Manison still remained calm, and he only sighed.
From the time they had met up till now, Han Xiao had always been courteous, but regarding any crucial issues, he had never given way and always had hidden needles to retaliate.
Want the amber? Not selling!
Want my people? Not giving!
Han Xiao was apprehensive of Manison's strength, but he was not afraid of the other party. It would have been one thing if he did not have any support, but the dynasty was backing the Black Star Army, while the Federation backed Manison. Both of them had prestigious backers, and there was no need to be afraid.
Since he was the one to obtain the Spacetime Amber, the dynasty did not force him to hand it over because as long as it was in his hands, it was equivalent to the dynasty's strength.
However, if he chose to deal with the Mechanic Empire, this would mean that the method of production of the Spacetime Amber would be passed onto the Federation of Light's hands. This would cross the bottom line of the dynasty, and he would suffer the consequences. Thus, not even a guarantee from Manison that he would only research it privately could persuade him.
The reason Han Xiao did not make the transaction was not just to maintain the deterrence of the Spacetime Amber but also because of the problem of their opposing factions. Even if he would end up offending the other, he could only reject. This even applied to the worst case where they turned hostile.
The atmosphere was a little heavy for a moment. Han Xiao only stared at Manison, not speaking, while Manison did the same, his mechanical host not showing any emotions.
After silence reigned for a period, Manison finally opened his mouth again. "Alright then, it seems that my request was a little overboard."
He did not insist on reclaiming the duo, maybe because he did not wish to turn hostile with Han Xiao over such a small matter. However, Han Xiao could not know if that was what he thought.
"Many thanks for understanding, Your Excellency Mechanic Emperor." Han Xiao's tone also softened. Since the other party had given him face, there was a need to respond appropriately.
"However…" Manison's words took a curve. "While I don't care if they have their own lives, there's something I need to remind you of."
"Those two fellows have always wanted to free their clansmen. I hope you will not be fooled by them. The Beyond Grade A Mechanic who helped them the other time ended up as my trophy, and I don't wish to be enemies with you… or else the result won't be nice to see." Manison's tone remained calm.
Han Xiao's pupils needled. This was a pure warning!
At this moment, Manison stood up, and he expressed his intention to leave.
"No matter what, being able to come into contact with you, Your Excellency Black Star, has made this a worthwhile trip. It was pleasant getting to know you."
Han Xiao remained expressionless and stood up, shaking hands with the other.
After exchanging communicator numbers, they walked out of the room. Han Xiao personally escorted Manison back to the Federation of Light's spaceship.
Before the hatch closed, Manison turned back to look at Han Xiao.
"Since you are coming over to the Primeval Star River to deal with EsGod, if time permits, come over to my place for a visit."
"Sure, I'll try to do so." Han Xiao nodded.
The hatch sealed itself, and the spaceship's thrusters ignited, taking off into the vast universe.
Sending them off with his eyes, Han Xiao secretly heaved a sigh of relief and murmured, "Old fox."
Dealing with Manison was really not a pleasant thing.
Han Xiao could not determine Manison's true thoughts. His attitude was also ambiguous, his every move seemingly carrying probing intentions.
This guy is not just a person who purely pursues benefits. His thinking was hard to predict, and even with Manison's deeds from his previous life as a gauge, Han Xiao still found it hard to figure out the character of this old fox.
When encircling EsGod, the battlefield will be in the Primeval Star River. There's a need to go to the territory of the Mechanic Empire to battle… From the current situation, since I rejected him, Manison will definitely be dissatisfied with me, but considering all factors, he probably won't make me an enemy for now.
Han Xiao shook his head.
Because of a conflict of interest, this meeting ended on a heavy note.
This time, the communicator rang, and Mona passed on the news that the Federation of Light had approved Han Xiao's request to hunt down EsGod.
No matter what, at least I have more assurance in dealing with EsGod now.
Han Xiao regained his spirit. Regarding the Mechanic Empire, he could handle it at a later date. The pressing task at hand was to first get rid of EsGod.
He was only an ally and thus could not privately engage in a cooperation with the Federation of Light without the dynasty's knowledge, or it would be considered as overstepping his bounds. Thus, he had to inform the dynasty, which was also convenient to show the dynasty his firm killing intent toward EsGod.
Regardless of whether the dynasty was willing to cooperate, the Federation of Light would be dispatched, and the only difference would be whether they encircled EsGod together or separately.
At the same time, on the Federation of Light's spaceship, Mona approached Manison and respectfully said, "The upper echelons have accepted Black Star's request to encircle EsGod, and they hope that Your Excellency Mechanic Emperor will be able to help since the battlefield will be situated in the Primeval Star River."
Manison waved his hands before controlling his host to move toward the porthole, gazing at the shrinking Black Star Army headquarters in the distance.
"No wonder Sorokin suffered a loss here. This guy is one tough nut." Manison nodded.
He was one of the shareholders of the Limitless Financial Group, and he supplied the financial group with a large amount of mechanical materials yearly. Thus, he had known Sorokin for quite a long time.
The armed force that Sorokin was developing on the Shattered Star Ring was not a secret to Manison. His intelligence web was huge, to the point where even though the Calamity Grade partner of the Beyond Grade A seed Roseau seemed to be working for Sorokin on the surface, he was actually a spy loyal to Manison.
Thus, Manison was aware that Sorokin tried to probe the Black Star Army and ended up suffering in the Gulal Civilization.
Sorokin was interested in the undying troops of the Black Star Army, which were also of interest to Manison. From his point of view, Black Star's immortal troops were akin to his Indestructible Mechanic Empire, just that Manison's army was larger. Thus, he was not as eager as Sorokin was.
What he was most concerned about now was the Spacetime Amber.
As for the Evolution Cube, he was not too interested in it.
The theory behind the Evolution Cube was unknown, and it was impossible for the genetic optimization to be adjusted. He was different from EsGod in this regard; Manison did not like things that could not be controlled.
On the mother planet of the Crimson Dynasty, Urranrell put down the report in her hand. Facing the long distance projection of Tarrokov, she expressionlessly asked, "You're saying, Black Star took the initiative to contact you, saying that the Federation of Light had contacted him, wishing to reconcile with him, and he persuaded them to prepare to encircle EsGod together?"
"Yes." Tarrokov nodded.
Not too long ago, Han Xiao had contacted him once more and roughly summarized the events for him. After ending the call, he had immediately reported upward to Urranrell, conveying Han Xiao's intentions.
"Hmm…" Urranrell leaned back in her chair, her hand rapping on the table as she turned to look at her confidant, Clotti. "What do you think?"
"Black Star did not ask the dynasty in advance and privately found a collaborator without permission. He has crossed the line, forgetting his identity now that he has made some achievements." Clotti's tone was indifferent, and he did not like or dislike Han Xiao, merely speaking his mind.
"It's not that serious. In fact, it's a good thing. Plus, he reported it immediately. This minor issue is not worth pursuing." Urranrell waved her hands. "I know that he wishes to kill EsGod more than anyone else. He's probably worried that EsGod will still eye the Evolution Cube and will make a comeback."
She pondered for a while before making a decision.
"Since the Federation of Light wishes to participate, pull aboard the Arcane Church. Let's have a three-pronged operation."
Because EsGod had turned traitor, it resulted in huge losses for the Arcane Church. Thus, the Arcane Church would definitely remember this grudge. Furthermore, because they had worked together with EsGod during the battle of Planet Lighthouse, it had caused some negative public opinion within the interstellar society. There was an urgent need for them to express their position against EsGod.
In this regard, EsGod was just like a chamber pot. When there was a need, they would take it out to use, but once they had utilized it, they would find it smelly and kick it back into the corner once more.
Urranrell's idea was to drag the Arcane Church down as well, to relieve the pressure on the dynasty. If they were going to fight, all of them should do so. No one should sit by the side and watch.
Furthermore, eliminating the EsGod would also help to fulfil Black Star's wishes.
In a certain desolate universe belt of the Primeval Star River, EsGod's fleet was currently cruising along, moving toward the edge of the star field.
In the main hall of the spaceship, Fakisen came up to the throne of the EsGod, awakening the snoozing EsGod.
The dark mist swirled, forming ugly facial features. EsGod opened his eyes, gazing at his assistant before asking indifferently, "What's the matter?"
"There's a problem with our main camp. The troops we have in the Central Galaxy have been encircled by the Crimson Dynasty and the Arcane Church, and our losses are disastrous."
"Oh, is there anything else?" EsGod nodded as though he did not care.
Fakisen paused for a while before forcing a smile. "We've also angered the Arcane Church this time, and they may join hands with the dynasty to send Beyond Grade As after you. Are you not worried?"
"They're the ones that should be worried, not me." EsGod closed his eyes again, his tone akin to one dreaming. "I can also test out my strength after my evolution."
Seeing EsGod once again sink into slumber, Fakisen left the hall. As he closed the door, it covered the ferocious arc of his mouth.
Anger, glee, complacency, resignation… all sorts of complex feelings flashed across.