Chapter 715: Spider Den
Translator: flycrane01 Editor: Millman97
Ten thousand years ago, Spider Den had been an ordinary planet at the edge of the Flying Star Sector, far away from the star and without atmosphere, until one of the fleets of the Star Ocean Imperium landed accidentally to avoid a cosmic storm.
While waiting for the prolonged cosmic storm to pass, one of the bored Cultivators in the imperial army, who was adept at the spiritual energy of the earth class, considered roaming below the surface great entertainment.
But when he performed his techniques again and cruised below the ground as if he were sailing, he hit an invisible wall.
The Cultivator, who was almost buried alive, after being dug out, shouted to his rescuers without even having the time to care about his swollen head. “There’s a mountain below the ground, a mountain made entirely of Divine Cloud Stones!”
The Divine Cloud Stones were not among the most expensive Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, but they were what the imperial army needed most.
When a large number of Divine Cloud Stones were refined into alloys and installed on starships as plate armor, its absorption of spiritual energy would be significantly enhanced, and it would boast certain stealth ability.
An exploration team made of countless research-type Cultivators soon arrived. They were mostly geologists and material scientists.
The outcome of their study was beyond anyone’s expectations. Other than the Divine Cloud Stones, there were also hundreds of different mother lodes below the ground in which copious amounts of high-purity crystals were stored!
The planet was priceless!
Modification immediately began.
At first, star beacons were established on a large scale in this remote space zone. More than a hundred super star beacons were activated at the same time and formed a great array in space. A great ‘space gate’ was opened.
Through the space gate, every space zone in the Flying Star Sector could send carriers to this place. They would then gather in the orbit of Spider Den!
Cultivators descended on Spider Den like rainwater. One rune array after another was constructed. Ivory pillars of light soared into the sky and dispersed into an artificial atmosphere.
The biological system of the planet improved after the atmosphere was established. The air became suitable for human beings, too.
Then, billions of workers and heavy mining magical equipment were transported to the place by starships incessantly from the Flying Star Sector and even other parts of the Star Ocean Imperium.
The drills dug down, and explosions echoed nonstop. Humanity marched toward the core of the planet and eventually conquered it.
At first, Spider Den was a simple resource planet. The crystals and raw minerals were all packed into carriers and shipped to the important refining towns of the Flying Star Sector through the space gate.
But soon, people realized that it was too inefficient. The raw crystals and minerals were too large in size and cost a lot of fuel during their transportation, not to mention the potential damage on the way.
Since there were so many resources on the planet, after prolonged exploration and calculation, it was ascertained that building refining factories on Spider Den was a better choice in terms of cost.
Iron forests rose up around the giant mining holes that were more than a thousand meters in diameter. Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures purification centers, assembly lines of various kinds of magical equipment, and even a test center for the latest inventions were all established on the planet.
In just a thousand years, the previous rocky planet turned into an iron one that was riddled with holes and shining in metallic colors.
The planet was full of mining holes. Even the smallest holes were almost a thousand meters in diameter, and the largest holes were more than a hundred kilometers in diameter and extended to hundreds of meters down the ground.
All kinds of refining facilities were around the mining holes. Deep down in the mining holes were interconnected tunnels that led to the bottomless abyss in the deepest part of the underground.
Later, after the Armageddon Rebellion, various frontlines were in crisis during the last years of the civil war.
The planet, which was about to be forsaken since its resources were running out, was prioritized by the military because of its industrial foundations and the endless tunnels below the ground.
The complicated, interweaving tunnels that looked like a spider net were a natural fortress.
The military shipped countless pieces of magical equipment, resources, and assets from the big space zones of the Flying Star Sector and modified Spider Den completely, determined to wage a final battle against the rebels with this planet as one of the last strongholds.
However, before the final battle began, the ‘Supreme Emperor’ and the ‘Mad Armageddon’ had an ultimate competition in Empyrean Terminus, the capital planet of the imperium.
After the battle that had no winners, the Star Ocean Imperium fell apart. All the preparations were rendered meaningless.
In the thousands of years that followed, Spider Den was hidden in darkness.
Even after the remaining troops of the Star Ocean Imperium reestablished a coalition government on Iron Plateau, the planet at the edge of the Flying Star Sector was still undiscovered.
It was not until thousands of years later, when the apocalypse arrived and Cultivators together with countless ordinary people fled into space only to be assaulted by meteoroids, that some roamers found Spider Den as well as the resources, debris, and abandoned starships that had been left on the planet.
These people were the earliest space pirates.
That was the history of Spider Den.
At least, it was the history that Cultivators told to the public.
On Spider Den today, the artificial atmosphere created ten thousand years ago was already battered. The dim sky was riddled with holes. Fatal venomous gas was everywhere in the wilderness. It was very unfavorable for the survival of human beings.
The giant mining pits that could more dozens of kilometers in diameter became new cities. Translucent domes covered the cities where they were exposed to the ground and blocked the air inside and outside from exchanging, thereby building micro biological systems inside the cities.
Social classes were obvious in the cities of the mining pits in regard to their altitude.
Those who lived in the highest places, which were closest to the ground and could enjoy sunlight, however rarely, were the rulers of space pirates that had their own bases, docks, and crystal suit centers and could make profit without doing anything such as Bai Xinghe.
In the deeper part of the mining pits were neighborhoods hiding in the tubes and the conveyors. They were places of entertainment where the space pirates enjoyed wine and whores. The largest black market of the Flying Star Sector was hidden in such places, too.
The middle class in the food chain of the space pirates, namely those like Fengyu Zhong in his old days who did not have their own bases, would often vacation and enjoy themselves there while having their starships maintained after a job.
In the bottom of the mining pits, there was no sunlight at all. Every street could only be illuminated by the rune arrays. The largest number of space pirates lived in this place.
Most of those who were struggling there were not strong enough. They were not qualified even if they would like to be space pirates and could only live off the charity that the upper levels donated to them.
However, they were not the most miserable people on Spider Den, because they still had hope.
In the world of darkness, the pirate gangs large and small would hold competitions regularly and select the stronger ones as the new blood of their organization.
With any luck, one day, they could be roaring in space on a starship, even if they had been nibbling stones ten thousand meters below the ground the day before.
What was more miserable than them were the slaves deeper inside the tunnels and the treasure hunters who were exploring the underground fortress.
Although most of the resources on Spider Den had run dry, that was only for the army of the Star Ocean Imperium’s needs.
The scale of space pirates was much smaller than the imperial army, and so was their demand for resources. If they did not care about the cost, they could always exploit some resources from the dried-up mother lodes.
As for the underground fortress, there was no need to stress its importance.
Since Bai Xinghe’s rise over the past hundred years, rumors about the secret treasures that the Star Ocean Imperium left in the depths of Spider Den had become more prevalent. The pirate gangs all worked harder to explore the underground.
However, the underground fortress was like a stomach that was forever hungry. The lives of countless treasure hunters were devoured, and still a second Bai Xinghe was not born!
At this moment, in ‘Silver Wing City’, the fifth largest city on Spider Den, 1,600 meters below the ground, Li Yao, in an old coat and with his hands in his pockets, was unhurriedly walking across a rusted bridge.
Below him was an abyss of raging black smoke. Above his head was a colorful forest of steel. Wind that carried the stink of rust and blood swirled up from the bottom of the pits and passed by him, raising his coat high and revealing a dagger and the handle of a gun tucked into his trousers.
He looked completely different right now.
After Li Yao reformed his facial muscles with his spiritual energy, his face was longer, and his jaw was slightly protruding. His eyes were sunken and bloodshot. There was not one second when his eyeballs were still; they were scanning the environment around him all the time.
His back was slightly hunched. His shoulders were narrowed, and his arms were enlengthened. When he put his hands back to his pockets, they looked like two folded sabers.
Everybody could tell that such a guy must have murdered countless people and was a brutal, ruthless man.
That was the new image that Li Yao came up for himself after reading through the entire book of ‘Stormy Sword’.
After sneaking out of the dock of space pirates, he showed up on the streets of Silver Wing City in the daylight with the brand-new appearance.
Li Yao was not worried that somebody would question who he was.
This place was Spider Den, the holy land of criminals in the Flying Star Sector as well as the well-acknowledged dirtiest place in the world.
Countless desperadoes were smuggled to Spider Den through various channels after they committed unpardonable crimes in their hometown.
Some of them killed people who must not be killed, some stole things that nobody was supposed to steal, some were looking for an opportunity for revenge, and some had unimaginable secrets in their hands.
Moreover, the thousands of pirate gangs were in a complicated relationship, too.
In such an environment where the last thing in short supply was brutal men, how could one investigate whether or not another person’s identity was real?
If they were too curious, it was quite possible that the person would simply stab their knives into the interrogator’s chest!
Therefore, it was a matter of course to use fake names, identities, and faces on Spider Den.
It was both a basic courtesy and the need of survival to not ask about someone else’s background and real identity.