Chapter 2509: The Less of Two Evils!
“It’s true that people suffer all the time!”
The messy-haired passenger sighed. “No wonder so many civil business ships risk doing businesses when space pirates and hostile fleets are on every sailing route. Dongling, you do know a lot of things.”
Huo Dongling blushed and said, “I don’t know anything. Everything I know was what my dad complained about every day. On our business trip, in every port we passed, the important assets had been bought out, and the unrefined raw minerals were not wanted at all. Half of our food and our fuel have been consumed. There’s still no telling the situation in the Seven Seas Grand Market. Dad is so worried that he is almost losing all of his hair. He has been moaning in a corner every day. Even if I don’t want to hear him, I have remembered all his complaints!”
Pondering for a moment, the messy-haired passenger asked, “Dongling, if you have to choose, do you think the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors is better or the ‘authorities’ behind the four Kurfürst families is better? Would you prefer to live under the governance of the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors or the ‘authorities’?”
“The Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors, of course. The Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors is a hundred times better than the four families!”
Huo Dongling blurted out, “It’s true that the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors is a bunch of cunning merchants who earns money from us through whatever means possible, but they have boundaries and business rules more or less, and they occasionally help us.
“Although I described them to be sleazy a moment ago, those planets were developed by them first before they half-sold and half-offered the properties to us. Otherwise, the poor folks like us could never expect to have our own homes.
“After the planets were sold to us, the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors also sold us tremendous devices in expedition and mining on credit and taught us the necessary technologies. They even provided very convenient microcredit. Those things naturally had to be returned, with a rather daunting interest rate, but they kept us alive after all!
“Later, while the business teams of the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors monopolized the imports and exports of the planets, they also often brought us new, bizarre magical equipment and new businesses. It was also possible for the capable young men of the settlements to become the employees of the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors, in which case their families would enjoy a more favorable interest rate and better technical support. Their days would be even better!
“All in all, Dad told me that the residents on the planets are like hens that lay eggs for the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors, which would raise the hens and make them fat and strong first so that they could eat our eggs in the long term!”
The messy-haired passenger nodded his head, deep in thought. “Raising the hens before eating their eggs, that’s not a bad idea. What about the four families?”
“The four families are the most ferocious wolves. All they think about is to kill the hens and eat the meat. Do they care about our life and death at all?”
With hatred beaming out of her eyes, Huo Dongling gnashed her teeth. “However cunning the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors was, they at least provided loans, technology, education and market for us, but what did the four families and the so-called ‘authorities’ give us? Nothing except taxes and fines!
“The Immortal Cultivators that belonged to the four families hardly came by. Whenever we encountered famines, plagues, mine accidents, or high radiations caused by space storms, there was never disaster relief from the authorities, but whenever we had the slightest savings, the wolves of the authorities would swagger around blatantly.
“The port construction tax, the environmental protection tax, the traffic safety tax, the special tax for national protection, the tax for the renaissance of the Imperium, the tax for the evolution of mankind, you name it!
“Those taxes were the legitimate taxes collected by the authorities. As for the fees and fines collected by the local Immortal Cultivators in private, there were simply too many to count! You don’t want to submit them? They would not hesitate to kill all the oppositions with their sabers and guns! Even if they did not kill openly, they could put on the skin of space pirates and go back for a pillage. How could the poor settlements like us expect to resist them?
“If they gave us a chance to survive after looting our money, like the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors did, it still would’ve been fine. But the lords of the four families never cared about our status. After all, we were just ants, weeds, and hominoids that deserved whatever became of us!”
The messy-haired passenger frowned harder and harder.
As she talked, Huo Dongling’s eyes became red again. Tears rolled in her eyes for a long time, before she finally went on, “The Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors had an enormous plan of construction. According to the plan, the number of settlements on the South Spirit Planet should’ve surpassed ten decades ago and connected with each other, and we should’ve owned our own stable atmosphere. In that case, the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors could’ve given greater businesses to us and sold more goods to us. Everybody would benefit from it. To quote the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors, it would’ve been a ‘win-win’!
“However, the Immortal Cultivators of the four families had been exploiting both the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors and the colonized planets greedily every year. They also domesticated a bunch of space pirates for robberies. The slight savings that we gathered were often entirely captured by them. When such things happened again and again, how could we possibly build our hometown?
“Let’s just talk about this time. The four families announced that the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors was a rebellious organization and forbade us from doing business with it. Whoever traded with the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors would be regarded as an accomplice with the rebels.
“As obedient folks, we had always been loyal to the lords and His Majesty. Naturally, we did not want to ‘conspire with the rebels’. But if the lords did not allow us to do business with the rebels, please give us enough food, water, and compressed air for us to live through the difficulties!
“At first, we all stayed at home dutifully. None of us dared to trade with the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors, and we all looked forward to the relief assets from the fleets of the four families. They shouldn’t starve and suffocate us, should they?
“Hehe. An army of the authorities did come in the end. As it turned out, the high and mighty army did not bring a grain of food or a single water-cleaning cartridge. Instead, they damaged a lot of our own assets; our few assets that our lives depended on! Then, they simply rose and left, not leaving anything to us!
“The South Spirit Planet was among the better cases. I was told that a lot of settlements on the planets were slaughtered by the Kurfürsten’s fleets and razed to the ground. It seemed that they used the heads of the folks as their fake accomplishments after they suffered setbacks in the attack of the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors.”
Huo Dongling shivered and said, “We truly wanted to stay loyal to His Majesty and the Kurfürsten, but they did not want our loyalty at all, only our lives. So, we couldn’t just wait to get killed. We may be conspiring with the rebels, but so be it. There might be a way of survival if we take our chances in the Seven Seas Grand Market!”
The girl had probably been keeping those words to herself for a long time, and she had almost been driven mad because of fear on the way. Now that she had finally let it out without restrictions, she felt that every pore on her body had been widened, and she was covered in hot sweat.
It was not until she finished her elaborate speech that she realized that the passenger with pretty eyes was probably one of the Immortal Cultivators whom she just berated. She couldn’t help but shudder and observed the guy’s face timidly.
There was not much to look at on the passenger’s face, but his attractive eyes suddenly became particularly profound. From the warm brilliant, the coldness killing intent beamed out, scaring Huo Dongling out of her wits.
“Don’t be scared, Little Dongling.”
The passenger declared, one word after another. His voice was not very loud, but it sounded powerful enough to shake all the stars in the universe. “Trust me, the war will be over very soon. You will have a chance to go home and build your home… Trust me!”
“Okay, Mr. Li.”
For some reason, although the guy’s announcement sounded too ridiculous, Huo Dongling couldn’t help but want to believe in him, a better future, and a better hometown.
Right then, Little Bear shivered, and orange lights shined in the cabin.
They were about to pass the last stone belt.
After passing the stone belt, it would be the largest and heaviest planet of the space zone, as well as its two gargantuan satellites.
The planet and its satellites constituted a rather unique, unstable three-body system, attracting and exchanging materials with each other. As a result, the three-dimensional space nearby was highly unstable, and natural wormholes appeared often.
Performing space jumps in such a place could save fuel and maintain the completeness of the starship as much as possible, which made it the most favorite jump point for the civil teams.
This place was the last jump point until the Seven Seas Grand Market. Once the jump succeeded, the vehicle would arrive within the Seven Seas Space Zone, where the Business Alliance of Ten Thousand Sectors still had a powerful garrison and an in-depth defensive system that covered the entire area, protecting the safety of the business teams coming through the place.
However, before the jump was completed, the place was still a daunting, perilous test. Amid the overwhelming meteoroids that were full of radiations, it was possible that the hunting warships of the four families were lurking and ambushing the civil business ships that were going to the Seven Seas Grand Market.
Even the most experienced captains had to be extra careful when they passed through the dangerous stone belt.
Otherwise, they could easily become the starship debris that was revolving fast inside the stone belt the next second.
The ten or so cargo ships that made up the business team entered the stone belt prudently and in panic. Everybody was praying to all the gods they knew that they would not encounter the ferocious hunting warships.
However, the wishes of the ants and weeds were perhaps not loud enough for the gods to hear. What they were scared of became the reality. Right when all the starships had entered into the stone belt, unable to turn around and escape, two narrow and long warships that looked like sharks suddenly protruded out of the back of a few giant meteoroids, lunging at the prey aggressively!