Chapter 1133 Confrontation
Manison did not get baited. He sized Han Xiao up and nodded. “You’re quite humorous. I’m the development union president. I wouldn’t miss the meeting even if you might.”
Han Xiao stood with his arms crossed and said, “As the president, what you did doesn’t really live up to your position though. Not everyone supported you, yet you made the personal choice of kidnapping their interests and gambling with it.”
The moment he saw Manison, he completely forgot about not provoking him. In fact, all he wanted to do now was provoke him.
Knowing about the side the association was leaning to, he deliberately tried to bring up the dissatisfaction of the people around, which proved to be quite effective. Many people looked at Manison with even unfriendlier eyes. They were all important people, so none of them liked having anyone else make decisions for them.
The two of them had now clearly drawn the line and gone back to being competitors. Damaging Manison’s reputation was not the main goal; satisfying his guilty pleasure was… Wait, it seemed like it was supposed to be the other way round.
The allies of the federation present felt the most awkward. Manison was still the federation’s ally on paper, but they did not want to be on Manison’s side either. Those who supported Manison before were feeling uneasy.
Manison completely ignored how the people around him looked at him and coldly said, “I’ve finally seen through you after this. The purpose of us creating the association was to gain more power and not be controlled by advanced civilizations. You claim to be thinking for the Beyond Grade As, but you’re actually just a dog of the three Universal Civilizations. Everything I do is for the Beyond Grade As in the long run, and it’s impossible not to take risks… Sadly, you want to suck up to the three Universal Civilizations and not lose your reputation among the Beyond Grade As, so you chose to destroy our hope. In my eyes, that’s nothing but a selfish act of an opportunist. I will never have any hope in you anymore.”
“Oh, I didn’t expect the great Mechanic Emperor to have to resort to bullsh*tting. Being old surely has benefits. Even your way of twisting the facts is so skilled.” Han Xiao did not mind at all and said, “Sadly, the audience’s eyes are clear. The things you’re trying to frame me for won’t stick. Everyone has their own opinions about the truth. As the vice president, I have a duty to stop you from forcing everyone to take one path till the end.”
“Hehe… do you really think of yourself as the hero just because you’re wearing the coat of public opinion the three Universal Civilizations have weaved for you?”
“You’ve got a lot of things to say now, but I’m very curious, will you have the face to attend the award ceremony sometime soon that’ll be broadcast to the entire universe?”
“Why not? If not for me, how could the three Universal Civilizations have discovered the virus so soon? How could the special antivirus program have been invented so quickly? Without me, the Intelligent Plague would still be running rampant even now. In terms of contribution, I’m not much inferior to you, but the three Universal Civilizations never said a single word about it. How obvious are their intentions?”
As the conversation got a kick start, the two of them started to argue without holding back.
They started arguing… and the various Beyond Grade As watched with popcorn from the side.
After arguing for a while more, Manison looked around and said coldly, “I didn’t come to argue with you today. The purpose of the association is to solve conflicts between Beyond Grade As. As the president, I have to set an example, so don’t worry, although we have our differences, I won’t do anything to you.”
“You say it in such a nice way. I think you’re so busy dealing with the three Universal Civilizations and simply don’t dare to mess with me anymore,” Han Xiao said with a mocking tone. Manison narrowed his eyes and said, “You seem to think that our tie was real. We both know the truth, but you seem to have misunderstood something. Do you really think you can fight on par with me?”
“That’s the truth, not a misunderstanding.” Han Xiao chuckled and said with a taunting tone, “If you don’t approve of it, I’m available anytime.”
He had gotten quite a lot of good stuff from Manison, including even his core Unique Talent, so he even wanted to fight Manison more.
“The purpose of the development union is to solve physical conflicts between Beyond Grade As. I won’t lower myself to your level.”
Manison turned and walked into the venue with an expressionless face, no longer bothering with Han Xiao.
Seeing this, Han Xiao secretly curled his lips.
Old Man Manison really is patient. If I provoked him like this in the past, he would have undoubtedly come looking for me to have a talk with a forty-mile-long sword in his hands.
However, the Mechanic Emperor should feel frustrated too. He was so certain he could defeat me, but he was forced to stop at a tie by the three Universal Civilizations, and now he has to patiently wait for the opportunity to regain his position. Until then, he will have to watch his reputation get weakened with his own eyes.
I, however, not only acquired his core Unique Talent but also secretly acquired the incomplete blueprint of the virus technology that he dreams of having. I even got a new ability that counters him… but in his mind, my strength is still the same as when we fought.
If I fight him again, I’ll certainly give him a ‘surprise’.
While Han Xiao was smiling in his head, Kasuyi came over and said, “I’ve not seen Manison get forced to do something for a very long time. You’re one of the very few people who can give him a loss.” Han Xiao turned to look at him and said with surprise, “I thought your relationship was quite good with Manison, but you seem quite happy.”
Kasuyi smiled with narrowed eyes. “Hehe, don’t misunderstand, I have known Manison for many years, and we are indeed quite close friends. However, he’s him, and I’m me. To be frank, I don’t agree with what he tried doing either. Even if you didn’t stop him, I would’ve drawn the line with him after the incident.”
Han Xiao nodded. “Without this matter, the Mechanic Emperor and I might still be friends. Sadly, our philosophies are too different. I only hope this did not affect the relationship between us.”
“Don’t worry, your conflict with him won’t affect our relationship. I don’t mind differences in philosophies because I think everyone has something they want… However, although Manison’s method was not the most righteous, he did say one thing right. The three Universal Civilizations are just using you to damage him, and when you’re no longer of value too one day… his present might become your future.”
“I know my lines. You don’t have to worry about that.
While the two of them spoke, a third voice appeared. “Therefore… while we’re still being used by advanced civilizations, we’ll have to quickly get any benefits we can. This comes from my personal experience.” The two of them looked over and saw Sorokin, who had come too. Sorokin added his almost symbolic fake smile to the conversation and greeted the two shareholders.
“Oh, it’s you.” Han Xiao glanced at him. “What other ideas do you have?
“You’re flattering me, Your Excellency Black Star. I’m just an ordinary Beyond Grade A. I’m in no place to take part in such a big topic. I don’t have any good ideas. I’m just giving my suggestion from the perspective of a businessman, hoping to provide Your Excellency Black Star with some ideas to deal with the current situation.” Sorokin’s tone was passionate.
Han Xiao crossed his arms and sized Sorokin up.
“It doesn’t look like you’re just here to have a chat. What do you want?”
“Haha, nothing can escape Your Excellency Black Star’s eyes indeed,” Sorokin said with a bright smile. “I’m hoping to talk about a partnership with you…”
Han Xiao listened to him for a while and finally understood what he meant. He was not even surprised about how shameless Sorokin was.
He had become the consultant of the three Universal Civilizations, so he now had support from all three of them. Sorokin saw a business opportunity, so he wanted to forge a deeper partnership with him, a shareholder. Han Xiao had gotten this shareholder position basically by robbing it, and Sorokin was not happy about it at all initially. However, now that he saw he could profit from it, he instantly put all that behind him without hesitation and came to speak with Han Xiao. The beef between them was not even cleared, yet he could act as nothing happened.
Over the past few months, Han Xiao had been busy dealing with the Intelligent Plague, while Sorokin had been dealing with how displeased the three Universal Civilizations were with him. After paying a hefty price, he was finally able to mitigate the damage.
Not only that, through some flashy moves, Sorokin was able to prove that his stand was the same as that of the three Universal Civilizations, as well as connect with some of the officials of the federation and the church who had real power. He also used his director position in the association to build new profit networks.
Han Xiao suddenly thought of something. “By the way, Manison is also a shareholder of the Limitless Financial Group, so won’t the things he did affect you too? Can the three Universal Civilizations allow him to continue being a shareholder?”
“Well, it did have some impact. However, that doesn’t stop me from continuing my partnership with him, and the scheduled dividends won’t stop for him either.” “The three Universal Civilizations allow that?” “Firstly, my financial group is private and legitimate, so I have the right to freely choose who’s in my financial group. Secondly, hehe…” Sorokin giggled but did not say anything and gave Han Xiao a knowing look.
Then it occurred to Han Xiao. No wonder the three Universal Civilizations did not mind the two of them having a partnership. They were using the Limitless Financial Group as a way of acquiring information about Mechanic Emperor’s forces. This had to be one of the terms Sorokin had to provide to regain the three Universal Civilizations’ support. Of course, he did not want to develop a deeper partnership with Sorokin, so he never gave any direct answers to any of Sorokin’s questions and just dragged on the conversation.
The people chattered for a while, and it was finally time to start the meeting. They swarmed into the venue and sat on their seats.
Han Xiao did not continue insulting Manison. Following the theme of this meeting, the two of them dealt with matters one after another just like the usual plenary meetings.
However, although the two of them were minding their own businesses, the atmosphere was still very strange. After what happened outside the venue earlier, most people were influenced and acting completely normal would be quite difficult. Very soon, the last topic arrived. Manison looked around at everyone and said with a deep voice, “Due to the sudden outbreak of the Intelligent Plague, the conflict between the three Universal Civilizations and the Super Star Cluster Alliance was postponed for more than half a year. Now that the plague has been dealt with, these two sides are about to start fighting. Our Beyond Grade A Association needs to pick a side.
“As all of you know, the three Universal Civilizations have been holding tight to the Ultimate Knowledges. The terms they gave was to have us deal with the Super Star Cluster Alliance in their place, which I don’t intend to agree to. Therefore, I suggest we hold our original stand and do not take part in the war between advanced civilizations.”
The people nodded. Although they were unhappy with Manison, this decision was agreed upon by most of them previously, so there was not much argument.
As for the direct members of the three Universal Civilizations, they usually did not express their opinion at times like this. After all, there would be no point even if they did.
However, this time, Manison turned to Han Xiao and suddenly asked, “Vice President, what do you think?”
Han Xiao’s eyes flickered, and he started pondering. He noticed what the Mechanic Emperor intended to do.
He was now at the center of public opinion. The reasons behind the three Universal Civilizations’ recent compliments of him might not exclude them wanting him to become the representative of the development union who stood on their side. Not only did they hope he would compete with Manison, but they also hoped that he would speak for them in the association.
However, one of the very purposes of building this association was to help the Beyond Grade As escape from the faction lock the advanced civilizations had set up for them, so they did not have to murder each other as tools. On this matter, Han Xiao realized that no matter which side he picked, he would still be negatively affected.
Supporting the overall agreement of the people present was not a problem on the association’s side, but although the three Universal Civilizations would not be surprised about it, they would feel somewhat disappointed, which would reduce the support he would receive. The other allies could make this choice because they were the ‘crowd’, while he was the ‘representative’ whom the three Universal Civilizations had high hopes for. The impact was different despite the choice being the same.
If he spoke for the three Universal Civilizations and encouraged everyone to deal with the Super Star Cluster Alliance, it would be even worse. He would look like he had completely taken the side of the three Universal Civilizations and become the ‘dog’ that the Mechanic Emperor claimed he was, which would undoubtedly displease everyone. Furthermore, the philosophy he represented would look different. It would turn from peaceful co-existence to sucking up to the three Universal Civilizations, which completely went against the purpose of the association and was exactly the same as the original path everyone was taking.
Han Xiao looked up. Everyone present, including the direct members of the three Universal Civilizations, was focused on him. They clearly knew what impact this decision he made would have, so they waited for him to make a stand.
Manison’s question could not be considered dirty or anything. It was just rightfully using the opportunity.
“Of course, I agree with everyone. That’s why we gathered here in the first place… However, I’m going to deal with one of the Super Star Cluster civilizations. I have some private beef with them,” Han Xiao said calmly. He was very realistic, so he would not pick the wrong side at times like this.
When the three Universal Civilizations were praising and supporting him, Han Xiao had known a moment when he had to prove to the other Beyond Grade As he did not ‘change his heart’ would come.
Hearing his answer, the people were satisfied.
After the business was done, the plenary meeting ended, and the Beyond Grade As went offline one after another.
Han Xiao, however, did not leave immediately. He dragged Hila, who had been only watching, to the said, found a room, and closed the door.
“You’ve returned.” Hila sized Han Xiao up and said, “You seem to have lost weight.”
“I should be the one saying that to you. How’s the Underworld?” Han Xiao smiled.
“It’s getting stable and slowly recovering… By the way, I have something to tell you. It’s about the Underworld too.”
“What a coincidence, I have something I want to ask you about the Underworld too, but you go first.”
“Okay, have you heard about the Sanctum?”
Han Xiao’s face was filled with shock. He subconsciously pressed his hand on his chest where his heart was.
At that moment, he finally understood how Oathkeeper felt.