“Ask yourself. When you heard Professor Mo Xuan’s introduction on the exploration mission in the dark nebula just now, was the very first thought that popped up in your head ‘I have to go because the mission is important for the federation’ or ‘I want to go because the mission is so interesting’?”
Ding Lingdang looked at Li Yao expectantly.
Li Yao’s eyes passed her and darted toward the furiously burning sun. Under the sunlight, his face turned gold.
Holding Ding Lingdang’s hands softly, he was deep in thought for a long time. His face flickered with confusion, calmness, excitement, and gloom until it became pureness in the end.
“I… want to go, from the bottom of my heart,” Li Yao mumbled. “You’re quite right. It has nothing to do with the grandeur concepts such as civilization, federation, or future. The universe is such a spectacular place. I just want to go out there and take a good look at it.
“There’s something that I kept from you all the time.
“After more than ten years of soul-stirring adventures, in the past five years, I was finally able to live a peaceful and routine life like normal people.
“I had almost everything. Fame, position, power, enterprises, and support and admiration from the general public! You were by my side the whole time, too. No matter how hard we were training during the day, we were still able to share the same bed at night like a normal husband and wife.
“By logic, this should already be the most satisfactory point of my life, right?
“However, do you know who visited my dreams most when I was sound asleep at night?”
Blinking his eyes, Ding Lingdang said, “Yan Xibei, Xiao Xuance, Bai Xinghe, the star child, Jin Tuyi, Elder Nether Spring, Zhou Hengdao, Lu Zui?”
“How did you know?” Surprised, Li Yao scratched his lips subconsciously. “Do I talk at night?”
“Of course not.” Ding Lingdang smiled. “It’s because I often dream about my past enemies, too!
“During the ten years when you were away from the Heaven’s Origin Sector, I was training and travelling in the depths of the Grand Desolate Plateau. I encountered many brutal and hideous demon beasts, and I only narrowly escaped from beast tides hundreds of times, too.
“The scenes often reappear in my dreams!
“It is quite odd. When I was wandering on the Grand Desolate Plateau, I often had to burn my life and soul, sparing nothing, in order to win a slim chance of survival. On many occasions, the physical and mental suffering were simply indescribable!
“Every time I survived a beast tide and dragged my bleeding and exhausted body back to the base, I told myself that I would never do such a stupid thing as to wander in front of the wormholes on the Grand Desolate Plateau by myself again!
“But I would be reckless again after resting in safety for less than one week. I forgot the pain as soon as the scars were gone!
“In my dreams, when I am back in those moments of life and death, I often… relish them so much that I want to try them once, or a hundred times, more!”
“Yes. That’s exactly the feeling!” Li Yao’s eyes suddenly shined. He held his wife’s hand more and more tightly and exclaimed, “In my dreams, I often find myself challenging Yan Xibei, Xiao Xuance, Elder Nether Spring, Lu Zui, and the rest of them again. What troublemakers they were! I only managed to defeat them with the help of countless companions and a bit of luck every time after the last bit of wisdom, courage, and determination in the deepest part of my soul were exploited!
“The unparalleled ecstasy after I defeated them, or simply while I was defeating them, made me feel that I was 100% or even 105% alive!
“Honey, make no mistake. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the peaceful life for the past five years or that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with you. It’s just that—it’s just that, compared to the blood-freezing adventures ten years ago, I feel that such a smooth, undisturbed life, which I can absolutely foresee will be like decades later, is a bit—a bit—boring!
“You—you can understand the feeling, right?”
“Of course!” Ding Lingdang’s thoughts drifted to somewhere far, far away, too. Her entirely body seemed to be turning into a transparent diamond that was gradually melting into the air. She felt both real and illusionary.
Her voice was so deep that it sounded like it was coming from the cold, dark universe. “In order to advance into the Nascent Soul Stage, I once risked training for ten days and ten nights in the closest orbit to the pulsar.
“The special force fields of the pulsar were like a natural telescope that was magnificently built in the universe. It could collect all the information of light in history.
“Through the special filters on the crystal suit and the direction perception of the spiritual root, I seemed to envision that the whole universe was unfolding slowly in front of me.
“I ‘saw’ the galaxy arms made of billions of stars burning furiously. I ‘saw’ the nebulas expanding and shrinking like the raging behemoths inside an ocean. I ‘saw’ boundless galaxies blossoming like flowers before they slowly withered. I ‘saw’ the tide of the millions of colors released by the pulsar that enveloped me instantly. I even forgot my training. The brilliant plethora of the millions of colors were enough for anyone to pay their entire life to enjoy!
“Before I knew it, I was so attracted to the view that I moved closer and closer to the tipping point of the gravity sphere of the pulsar. I was almost absorbed by it!
“But at that time, I didn’t feel frightened or regretful at all. Instead, I had a weird sense of calmness and delight. I felt that I was a grain of dust that came from the universe and was returning to the universe!
“It was in those ten days and ten nights of training that I polished my real belief. I understood the true meaning of ‘reborn’. I was reborn from the universe!
“It was perhaps the greatest reason why I could march into the Nascent Soul Stage at such a young age!
“When someone has seen the millions of colors from the pulsar, the colliding and simmering rivers of stars made by the galaxy arms, and the unpredictable flowers made of the rays of stars from tens of billions of years ago blossoming slowly in front of them, how can they be at all interested in anything in the mortal world at all?
“Fame, power, wealth, position, honor… In front of the grand universe, the things that the mortals crave and fight for with their lives are as hilarious as the high towers made of sand!”
“We should’ve communicated on the topic earlier.” Li Yao stared at Ding Lingdang in a very strange way before he said proudly, “Honey, you truly have chances on a daily basis. You are completely different from the past now!”
“Of course. Do you think that you are the only one making breakthroughs and other people never improve?”
Grinning, Ding Lingdang flicked Li Yao’s forehead hard. “It’s not too late to communicate right now. Tell me the truth. You think that the past few years have been a bit monotonous, right?”
“Not exactly monotonous. My life is never monotonous with you around. I just feel that it wasn’t 100% me!”
Pondering for a moment, Li Yao shook his head. “No. More precisely speaking, in the past five years, Li Yao was living as an Ultra-Level Federal Hero and a super mascot but not purely for himself!
“The pure Li Yao only lives in adventures and fierce battles when he is burning his life and soul to have summit confrontations with formidable enemies such as Xiao Xuance, Bai Xinghe, Elder Nether Spring, and Lu Zui!
“I don’t want to live as a ‘super mascot’ anymore. Not even for one day, much less the next five years, ten years, or decades until the Imperium of True Human Beings arrives!
“I yearn to visit the scenery in the wonderful worlds in the depths of the universe that nobody has ever set foot on, make friends with the experts there, study their civilization, and confront formidable enemies! In the ever-escalating adventures, I will feel my physical strength, my will, my wisdom, my life, and my everything being exploited to the maximum, knowing that the pure Li Yao is back!
“The most important thing for a Cultivator is to Cultivate your true self. My ‘true self’ is right out there in the middle of the stars!
“Stars are my destination!
“Therefore, it doesn’t matter at all if the issue is related to the fate of the federation and the future of our civilization.
“Now that I have learned of the existence of such a mysterious world, and I’ve been given the opportunity to find out what it is exactly, I will certainly not let it go!
“It is mine. The last thing I want to see is it falling into somebody else’s hands, its beauty and mysteries being enjoyed not by me!”
Li Yao’s voice was more and more deep and resolute. Infinite dominance was spreading out from every pore on his body!
Even the clouds were dancing around him, cladding him in a battle robe.
If not me, who?
Hearing Li Yao’s simple and majestic demonstration, Ding Lingdang chuckled, her eyes brimming with affection and tenderness. “This is the answer I wanted to hear. If that’s the case, just go to the depths of the sea of stars, conquer new worlds, and live as your true self. I’ve absolutely got your back!”
“But—” His wife’s empathy and support made Li Yao feel both moved and ashamed.
“No ‘but’. I know that your soul has been stolen by the mysterious world. If I insist on you not going, you will live the rest of your life in regrets and without a soul!
“What I want is a man who lives up to all the wonders of himself, not a walking zombie!
“I understand you as much as you understand me. If you have never hindered or stopped me when I went out for travels and adventures, why would I hinder and stop you now?”