Li Yao’s blood was boiling because of the Fire Ant King’s words.
The terrible future that Gui Suishou had described and the depression that had been haunting him for days disappeared. His belief was clear and firm again!
Yes, the Pangu civilization might have been the parent civilization of mankind, but so what?
Surmounting was the best reward for creation!
Li Yao, the Fire Ant King, and Professor Mo Xuan bade farewell to their family and friends before striding to the launch field.
The operation was highly confidential. Other than the two hundred Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors, only the families of the three of them and the staff at key positions knew what they were going to do.
No reporters were at the site. Jiang Hailiu, the Speaker of the federation, and dozens of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors were all there were to see them off.
Those Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors would stay in the base of Heaven’s Artillery and have drills with Burning Prairie so that they could jump in the second echelon after the three explorers established star beacons and sent back the critical astronomical parameters.
“Li Yao!” Jiang Hailiu patted Li Yao’s shoulder and said half-jokingly, “I am not a superstitious man, but the wonders you’ve created in the past ten years make me willing to believe that there is something in you that allows those wonders and more.
“How does it feel? As the first person in the three Sectors to explore the relic of the Pangu civilization, is there anything else you want to say?”
Looking at so many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors, Li Yao emotions were mixed. He thought for a moment and said carefully, “I feel that I’m lucky to have been born in this era. If it were in the ancient times, I’m afraid that everybody who knew such a super treasure like the Pangu civilization’s relic would’ve desired to monopolize it and take all the benefits. They would definitely be killing each other until there were no survivors.
“Two hundred Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors developing the relic of the Pangu civilization together is itself a true wonder!
“Whatever everybody’s reason is, and whether everybody is truly selfless or simply making the choice because of the pressure of survival, I believe this is a good start!
“Now that everybody has entrusted the mission to explore Kunlun as the first echelon to us, we will certainly not disappoint you!”
Li Yao stared at Ding Lingdang in the end.
Ding Lingdang waved her fists and opened her mouth wide to cheer him up. She was smiling ever so brightly and was obviously confident in him.
Li Yao felt more ambitious than ever. He smiled and boarded on Sparkle, not once looking back!
At 1:25 p.m., all three explorers boarded Sparkle and sank themselves into the bubble-like buffer gel.
At 1:27 p.m., Sparkle was dragged to the center of the Heaven’s Artillery. It was now like a grain of rice that was protruding from the center of a super large pan.
Li Yao’s four senior brothers, the Four Kings who had transformed into star spirits like Professor Mo Xuan, had been making preparations on Sparkle. The four of them melted into Sparkle and input the Star Map of Kunlun into Sparkle’s space jump system. All the parameters were set, and it was good to go!
At 1:30 p.m., Jiang Hailiu ordered that the Heaven’s Artillery, which had undergone emergency upgrades, be fully activated!
The Heaven’s Artillery, which was dozens of kilometers in diameter, looked like a giant pan deeply embedded to the ground. The pan was made of more than a million arced metal pieces whose angle could be adjusted freely.
Every metal piece had been carved with more than a thousand runes, allowing them to absorb the energy from the magma in the underground, the cosmic radiation, or even the crystals that were combusted!
When the three channels were working at the same time, the spiritual energy soared up. Colorful water seemed to be boiling in the super large pan. A series of bubbles popped up and concentrated in midair until an enormous pillar of light that pierced into the sky and the ground was formed!
The Heaven’s Artillery seemed to have been transformed from a pan into a super spotlight. The dazzling, colorful pillar of light rushed into the sky, tore the clouds apart, and shot into the outer space!
The extraordinary view was visible even hundreds of kilometers away.
The hardworking engineers and soldiers on the Grand Desolate Plateau were all dumbfounded. They were at a loss when they gazed at the pillar of light on the horizon.
“Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven!”
Inside the launch center, all the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors echoed the countdown at the same time.
Inside the pillar of light, Sparkle spiraled up along the invisible rails of spiritual energy, at an ever-increasing speed, drawing closer and closer to the sky.
Inside Sparkle, despite the protection of the buffer gel, Li Yao tasted the feeling of breaking the void yet again. He felt that his every muscle fiber and every nerve was extended to a hundred kilometers long and that he was a lengthy noodle that was to break apart!
“Six! Five! Four! Three!”
Ding Lingdang was staring at Sparkle in the pillar of light from the launch center, too. She bit her lips so hard that she did not even know that her blood was flowing to her chin.
Her fists that would not tremble even when she punched demon beasts the size of a hill were now shivering slightly. She unclenched them and wiped the sweat in her palms off.
From her perspective, it could be clearly seen that Sparkle gradually turned transparent. It seemed to be made of ice but was vaporizing into nothingness in the scorching sunlight!
A lot of materials were disintegrated from Sparkle and rushed to all directions in mystic lights.
Very soon, Sparkle would be completely melted into the pillar of light!
“Two! One! Launch!” the chief refiner responsible for the Heaven’s Artillery bellowed. A huge hum burst out from the depths of the Heaven’s Artillery, and the pillar of light turned even brighter than before!
Although the glass window was tinted, its color close to the color of ink, everybody in the launch center could see nothing but white for half a second.
When their eyes were normal again, the pillar of light was dispersing into a smog. Centered at the Heaven’s Artillery, the dozens of kilometers around were soaked in an ivory mist where one could barely see their own fingers.
Ding Lingdang was the first to lunge to the window. She pressed her face so hard on the window that it was nearly squeezing through it, but after she bulged her eyes and observed for a while, she did not find any component of Sparkle in the smog.
Sparkle had vanished from the world!
On Sparkle, Li Yao felt that he was an over-blossoming flower. His every cell had exploded completely and was unfolded in the grand universe!
In the void, time and space lost their original definitions. In a trance, he seemed to ‘see’ countless ‘Li Yao’s that were placed next to each other in the shape of noodles and pies. They interweaved and filled the entire universe.
He even ‘saw’ that his mental devil was swung out of his brain and twisted to the limits in the universe like a half-dead germ, and yet it was still grimacing with what seemed to be both a cry for help and mockery.
The weird process lasted 0.1 seconds, or perhaps several days, before Li Yao shuddered hard. His every cell, nerve, vein, and muscle fiber compressed into real entities again.
Li Yao struggled to free himself from the buffer gel and kneeled on the floor, gagging, only to dry heave.
Luckily, he had quite a few experiences of long-distance space jumps. The distance of this particular jump was not very long, and the buffer performance of Sparkle had significantly improved, too. He was back to himself in no time.
Then, Li Yao heard earsplitting alarms immediately.
Sparkle was under the scourge of a meteoroid cascade. The blood-freezing noises of impact were echoing nonstop.
“Did we make it?”
Professor Mo Xuan, the Fire Ant King, and the other four star spirits all recovered from the space jump, too.
The four star spirits hurried to turn on the spiritual shield and the force field twisting system.
During a space jump, the defense system of a starship would lose effect briefly, which was the most vulnerable moment for the starship. If they were unlucky, a tiny meteoroid might break through the shell and hit a critical unit.
After the spiritual shield and the force field twisting system were turned on, the smaller meteoroids would be blown away, and the meteoroids that were too big would be shattered by the shield.
As the spiritual shield and the force field twisting system were back online, the noises of impact grew weaker and weaker. Sparkle gradually stabilized until they could not feel the meteoroid cascade at all.
“It doesn’t seem to be a large meteoroid cascade. Just star dust, probably!”
“Self-examination has been completed. Sparkle is now 97% intact. The key units are undamaged. The fuel has not leaked, nor was it affected by the space jump!”
“The parameters nearby have been collected. Two celestial bodies are emitting immense spiritual waves in front of him. One of them is Kunlun, and the other is a pulsar deep inside the crab nebula!”
“Measuring our relative distance to them and referring to the Star Map of Kunlun, it is safe to say that we have successfully jumped to the center of the crab nebula. Kunlun is no more than five hundred thousand kilometers from us!”
The four star spirits reported good news.
Li Yao, the Fire Ant King, and Professor Mo Xuan looked at each other in excitement.
It was a very successful space jump. A distance of five hundred thousand kilometers was just the distance between a planet and its satellite. In astronomy, it was the same as the width of a hair!
Without the guidance of a star beacon, and just based on an ancient star map from forty thousand years, they had hit the bull’s eye. It was quite a lucky day for them.
“What’s the situation outside? Turn on the crystal cameras and let’s take a look!” Professor Mo Xuan asked.
Immediately, the more than hundred crystal cameras around Sparkle captured the space around them, transformed the view into a hologram, and projected to their nearby.
From their point of view, the entire starship seemed to have vanished, and they were floating in the boundless space on nothing, appreciating the magnificent, spectacular universe!