The snowflakes were drifting regularly even though they appeared to be irregular.
The room was still as quiet as before.
Jing Jiu came out from the room, though he didn't go very far.
He was waiting patiently.
A moment later, the person shrouded in fog left the room, following Jing Jiu into the distance.
The hidden network was like an imaginary world, one where the users could construct the barriers at will or build a house in the blink of an eye.
If one wished to, they could build a palace in the network. However, that palace would be built on the sands of data, which could be toppled by a gust of wind.
Jing Jiu pushed open an imaginary door, motioning for the other party to enter through it.
The person shrouded in the fog was obviously dissatisfied with the square house Jing Jiu had built. The person had built a sky-wheel nearby, shaking her head.
Yes, this person was a woman.
Jing Jiu came to this conclusion not just because she liked the sky-wheel, as it was well known that many men liked the sky-wheel based on the movies he had briefly watched. It was simply that this person also liked covering her face in a patch of fog like the Immortal Bai had done.
Apart from himself, only women liked to do such a thing.
No sooner had Jing Jiu and the person entered the sky-wheel than it started rotating. It rotated fast one moment and slowly the next, indicating that the calculations were updating automatically. It was believed that nobody could hear their conversation. The person was evidently trying to show off her technological know-how; unfortunately, Jing Jiu was not impressed.
"The person you looked for was Chen Xin. He had been an interplanetary soldier in the fourth army of the federation, and he died in a battle with the Sea of Dark Matter."
The person in fog said, "Now that you want to investigate him, he must be still alive."
"No, he is dead now," said Jing Jiu.
The person in fog figured out what he meant by saying that and asked after a moment of silence, "What do you wish to find out?"
"He was a hired killer. I'd like to find out who paid him or which organization he belonged to," replied Jing Jiu.
The modern term was "assassin". As such, the person was not used to hearing "hired killer". After a long silence, the person suddenly asked, "Have you heard of the butterfly effect?"
Jing Jiu was well aware that she wasn't asking him about insects.
"The military of the federation had a special department about two hundred years ago which had neither a formal name nor a code name and couldn't be found in the files," the person in fog said. "You don't need to ask me how I know about this department. All you need to know is that this department existed and has been dismantled by the military."
"Go on," urged Jing Jiu.
The person in fog said, "That department had no code name; however, the traces of butterfly effect had been found in the places where the first three missions were carried out."
Though Jing Jiu was not used to the habit of acknowledging the other speaker in the middle of the speech, he had no choice but to utter, "Hmm?"
"Two curved lines occurred in the first place, which can be regarded as the simple drawing of the butterfly wings; three yellow butterflies were found dead in the second place; and two eyes were found in the third place." The person in fog continued indignantly after she found Jing Jiu had no intention to respond to her, "As you know, the eyes are the often-seen pattern on the wings of butterflies."
"What was the purpose of the three missions?" asked Jing Jiu.
The person in fog said, "There is no recording of the missions, but the investigations could be found in the classified military files. However, according to my own research, they were all terrible actions. The second mission led to the destruction of a planet."
"How does it have something to do with the person I'm looking for?" demanded Jing Jiu.
"Few people are qualified to know about this special department. I happened to see some written files…when I was young. This department has been dismantled according to those files, but I think otherwise."
"I think that butterfly has been flying amid the sea of stars," she said in a low voice; it was unclear what she had recollected.
"Any evidence?" pressed Jing Jiu.
"I've studied all the significant events over the last two hundred years in the Federation of the Milky Way. I found that ten percent of the events are hard to explain and that I can always detect the traces of butterfly effect in those events. I believe that that mysterious organization has been in existence the entire time, but I have no idea whether it's a good or bad one…"
The person in fog went on, "For instance, a popular council member was assassinated unnoticeably under tight protection during the election of the federation thirty years ago, and the permanent star of the solar system had suddenly experienced a super strong electronic windstorm back when the Stargate Base was besieged and billions of people were on the verge of being slaughtered during the war with the Sea of Dark Matter seventy years ago, which destroyed the communications between the demons of the Sea of Dark Matter. The people in the underground of the Stargate Base had survived as a result. What did the butterfly intend to do?"
"Hmm?" Jing Jiu inquired.
The person in fog said while staring into his eyes, "The image of the electronic windstorm was a pair of butterfly wings."
Jing Jiu remarked, "You think too much of it."
This would be the accurate judgment given by an astronomical physicist.
The person in fog said, "If Chen Xin was merely an assassin, he must have worked for that butterfly."
"A dead man revived and became an assassin. It could only be the doing of the federation based on the plots in the movies," said Jing Jiu.
The person in fog said, "Trust me. The federation is not behind all this."
"Hence, you suspect Chen Xin had something to do with the butterfly?" pressed Jing Jiu.
The person in fog returned, "Otherwise, why would the federation let an interplanetary soldier with military background feign his own death and flee?"
Jing Jiu could tell that the Federation of the Milky Way exerted a strict control over all the classes of the society, be it the underground neighborhood, the New Era Institute or Shou'er City, even though it appeared to be aloof. The ubiquitous surveillance scanners had completely eradicated the interplanetary crime organizations; the plots in the movies were mere imagination.
As such, the speculation appeared to be plausible.
However, the assassin in overalls didn't show any trace of a butterfly effect. It was probably because he had a very low Cultivation state and was a low-level member of the organization, Jing Jiu thought.
No matter whether the conjecture of the person in fog was correct or not, she had provided him with the accurate information about the man in overalls or a valid reference.
"The deal is completed on your part," said Jing Jiu. "What do you want from me?"
The person in fog said while staring at his face, "I'd like to know who you are."
Jing Jiu had promised to do one thing when he requested the most formidable Cloud Ghosts in the Federation of Milky Way in that room a few days ago. Though it depended on whether he could do it or not, he had to make a decision nevertheless.
Unexpectedly, the person in fog applied the same condition to him.
The sky-wheel had already rotated more than ten times; and the two of them had talked face to face for a long while.
However, they had no idea what the other person looked like, and their voices were fake as well.
The technological ability of the person was indeed excellent, which was tantamount to showing off. The room seemed quieter as the sky-wheel let out faint noise of friction.
The atmosphere was a bit depressing. The person thought Jing Jiu wouldn't respond to her request. As she was about to deride him, she heard his answer unexpectedly.
"I'm Jing Jiu. Jing is the same as the word 'well', as in the saying 'The well water doesn't meddle in the river water'; Jiu is the same as the word 'nine', as in the saying 'Nine out of ten things in one's life are unsatisfactory'."
Jing Jiu also offered a good after-sale service. He said while pointing to a portrait in the imaginary sky, "I look like this."
The atmosphere had turned cold all of a sudden, if there were an atmosphere in the world created by the digital data.
Looking at the image and remaining for a while, the person in fog asked, "Why do you have such a strange name Jing Jiu?"
"Wild Rabbit is a strange name as well," returned Jing Jiu.
The atmosphere grew even colder.
It was true that he had figured it out that the person in fog was none other than the "Wild Rabbit" whom he had chased to a battleship.
Unexpectedly, a person who had been his enemy helped him investigate the case.
The Wild Rabbit said with a sneer, "My name means a rabbit will bite when it's pushed into a corner."
The space of the universe was darker outside the solar system; it seemed that none of the trillions of permanent stars in the distance could draw near.
Looking out from the battleship, one could see the shape of the whole solar system, which resembled a toy in a child's hands.
Standing outside the locked captain cabin, the captain had a terrible look on his face, his hair scruffy. He waved his hand to motion for his subordinates to leave. "The battleship has already disconnected from the internet for more than ten minutes," he yelled into the intercom helplessly. "…What do you intend to do?"
Nobody replied to his question. The word "liar" could be vaguely heard inside.
As the door of the captain cabin was slid open, the voice became clearer, "Liar! Men are all liars!"
With a sudden change of expression on the captain's face, he entered the captain cabin as quickly as he could. After locking the door behind him, the captain asked a person in the corner, "Handong, what has happened?"
A young woman in the military uniform sat before a metal case while holding a computer, her face red. It seemed that she was upset at the moment.
Her name was Ran Handong, a computer maintenance office on this battleship in the frontline.
Of course, she had an ability that surpassed the ability of repairing computers and was from a profound family background.
As for what her family background was, there were only three people who knew it in the entire fleet.
"I hate you!" Ran Handong didn't pay attention to the captain. Staring at the perfect face on the computer screen, she said with a sneer, "I've helped you; but you dared use such an image in the games to fool me!"
The captain came before the computer screen and took a look at the face. "Which company designed this game?" he asked in slight surprise. "The Thunder Company? Who is the original artist? It's really a marvelous art piece!"
Ran Handong was taken aback slightly when she heard his comment. Then, she typed quickly on the keyboard and began to search for the name Jing Jiu.
"He is indeed a liar! His face is fake, and his name is also a fake one. Do you feel ashamed?!"
She swore while staring at the search results on the light screen.
The results were all from a novel titled "The Path toward Heaven".
The more the captain listened to her, the more perplexed he felt. Then, he felt ill at ease, wondering if the mistress fell in love with someone online and was scammed by the person.
"I'd like to request a leave of absence!"
Ran Handong stood up and said while staring into his eyes.
The captain thought that he wouldn't dare refuse her request if she wanted a leave of absence, but she should at least give a reason for it. Was she to use the treatment for failed love affair as an excuse? If this reason were heard on the Main Planet, how could she have the face and courage to live?
"I want to go back to the Stargate Base."
Ran Handong turned around and looked at the stars in the dark universe while saying, "I have a distant aunt who is in poor health. I'd like to represent my mother when visiting her."
The captain knew about her family background and was fully aware of whom that distant aunt was; the expression on his face changed slightly.
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