The more outspoken Ding Lingdang was, the more hesitant Li Yao became. “But we are talking about decades!”
“It’s not as serious as you imagine!” Ding Lingdang smiled. “As Professor Mo Xuan said, you will spend most of the time in the space journey in a hibernation state. You close your eyes, you open your eyes, and the journey is over. You will not perceive the passage of time at all!
“Even when you are awake, your sense of time will be vastly different from the outside world because you are at the sub-light speed. The decades in the outside may only be a few years for you!
“The time will only go at a normal speed again when you discover the mysterious world and begin collecting intelligence. So, it will not take many years for you.
“As for me, I certainly won’t wait stupidly in the federation for decades after you leave. I will also join the ‘Heavenly Road Plan’ to explore a greater universe and enjoy a more marvelous life. I’ll spend most of my time in the hibernation cabin, too, and I will not be unfrozen and woken up for adventures until new Sectors are found!
“If I have nothing better to do, I can always join the ‘Solar Soldier’ program. I will train myself in prolonged hibernation in a special cabin near the orbit of a star by absorbing the spiritual energy released by the star.
( Boxno vel. co m ) “In such a way, even if a hundred years have passed in the real world, in our perception and for our body status, it will only be three to five years or maybe around ten years at most.
“A departure of ten years seems acceptable to me. What do you think?”
Li Yao pondered carefully and realized that it did make sense.
Most of the time in a space exploration mission was always wasted on looking for new galaxies and worlds in the vast, boundless universe.
Such a dull task could totally be automatically accomplished by the navigation crystal processors, allowing the explorers to kill time in hibernation without knowing anything.
As long as a hundred years might be, it would only be a dream for them. They would not be conscious of anything.
If everything went well, in their perception, they would meet each other after only a few years.
“Li Yao!” Ding Lingdang suddenly grew excited. She waved her arms hard under the golden sunlight, like a leopard that was jumping at the sun. “Let’s make a deal and have a competition!
“In the next hundred years, you will explore the mysterious world deep inside the dark nebula, and I will participate in the ‘Heavenly Road Plan’ to discover more Sectors!
“In a hundred years’ time, when we meet again, we will tell each other the interesting adventures we’ve been through while we are exploring the new Sectors. Then, we will see whose stories are more intriguing and whose achievements are greater. How does that sound?”
Her ecstasy drove apart Li Yao’s last hesitation.
Extending his finger to his wife, Li Yao curled his pinkie with hers!
“It’s a deal then!”
With the most brilliant smile, Li Yao said, “I’ll certainly bring the most beautiful flower of the Sector in the dark nebula back to you. Wait for me, honey!”
“Of course,” Ding Lingdang said softly. “I’ll certainly be waiting for you, until the day the universe is destroyed.”
A month later, the first Trilateral Magical Equipment Exposition of the Heaven’s Origin Sector, the Blood Demon Sector and the Flying Star Sector came to a successful conclusion amid amazement and applause. The superstring magical equipment, the Colossi, the automatic resource-collecting puppets… All the magical equipment was a dazzling eye-opener for the tourists.
A new batch of super projects, including the Heavenly Road Plan, were initiated one after another. The glorious prospects that they described were a great ‘cardiotonic’ for the general public of the three Sectors, filling them with confidence in the future.
However, in the secret fields that were inaccessible for the general public, undercurrents were flowing, and many people were quite ill at ease.
The mysterious signal from deep inside the dark nebula—the greeting or threat from an unknown force—made the leadership of the three Sectors and all the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors have a ‘it never rains; it pours’ feeling.
After realizing the severity of the issue, everybody agreed unanimously that, however great the price was, an explorer had to be sent toward the dark nebula!
Li Yao’s capabilities and experiences in the past clearly made him the best candidate.
It was also the exploration mission of the highest priority in the ‘Heavenly Road Plan’.
Right now, the directional modification on Spark and the space gate was being carried out busily. The Heaven’s Artillery would have to be adjusted to the extreme mode in order to maximize the distance of teleportation.
Li Yao had three months for his ‘super intensive training’.
A training team consisting of more than thirty Nascent Soul Stage experts was providing service for, or rather, torturing, him and him alone.
The cruel, hellish training reminded him of the miserable sufferings when he was a young man.
Although he often found pleasure in self-abusive training, he was now groaning in pain from morning to dawn.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Every day at four o’clock in the morning, inside the training chamber of thirty times the standard gravity deployed on Kunlun, Li Yao’s daily torture would begin with the bombardment from Ding Lingdang and ‘Iron God’ Yan Ba, the expert body practitioners.
There was no need to mention ‘Iron God’ Yan Ba, who was an old battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator in the federation, an extremely crazy body fundamentalist, and a monster that could tear apart a crystal suit barehanded as easily as tearing apart a matchbox!
Ding Lingdang, a newly-risen battle-type Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator, showed absolutely no consideration for their husband-wife bond at all. She was punching him so hard that she did not stop until Li Yao was bleeding from his every orifice.
“Hurry, hurry, hurry. You are too slow. Way too slow!”
“You think you are awesome because you can pilot a Colossus? When you reach an unfamiliar foreign land, will there be Colossi and crystal suits available for you?
“Any magical equipment can be worn and broken. In the harshest environment, you can’t find resources and tools to repair your magical equipment!
“Therefore, your body is your most trustworthy ‘magical equipment’!
“Only by polishing your body to the point that it has a higher density than the neutron star will you be able to secure a slim chance of survival in the mysterious land!”
Whetted and bombarded by the two expert body practitioners, Li Yao felt like crying. At times, he felt like he was truly compressed into a neutron star with an extremely high density and then ripped apart into spraying dust.
The body build-up would last an entire hour. Then, he would spend an hour recovering in the medical cabin.
However, he was not idle in the hour. Although he could not move his body, Guo Chunfeng, director of the Secret Sword Bureau, was still able to train him on the intelligence work.
“Over the past dozen years, you’ve done a great job in both the Flying Star Sector and the Blood Demon Sector, but too much of your success was based on luck and accidents,” Guo Chunfeng said. “During both of the two adventures, you made friends with big shots of certain forces by accident, got involved in mysterious plots, and finally laid your hands on the information and secrets inaccessible for normal people.
“Obviously, we cannot put our hope on luck and accidents. You will have to abandon all your self-taught knowledge and systematically learn how to fake an appropriate identity, break into the core of the target force, and gather the most crucial intelligence consciously!
“In such a short period of time, it is impossible and unnecessary for you to study the most rudimental theories from zero.
“I have prepared a lot of cases here. All of them are top classified files in the Secret Sword Bureau, including the classic infiltrations between the Heaven’s Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector over the past two hundred years!
“There’s the case of an expert in the Blood Demon Sector, known as ‘Thousand-Faced Fox’, who lurked in the federation for decades until he was promoted to the Deputy Director of the Classified Files in the Department of National Defense. There’s also the case where our Secret Sword Agent snuck into the Blood Demon Sector and infiltrated the Pantheon of Demons. Of course, there are also experiences where they were seen through, captured, resisted interrogation, broke out of prison, and escaped!
“If you figure out every detail of the hundreds of cases, I believe that the mysterious new world will not trap you at all whatever it really is.”
Pausing for a moment, Guo Chunfeng said, “Unless, of course, the locals of the new Sector are all members of the Pangu Clan who are twenty meters tall, in which case even the gods will not be able to help you. You will have to count on your own luck!
“It is also part of the lessons that we will get in touch with later—how you can avoid being captured alive when you are in a desperate situation, and how you can terminate your own life cleanly and painlessly without leaving any useful information to the enemy even if you are captured alive!”
“If you think that it is too difficult, there is still time for you to turn back. To be honest, I’m quite interested in the mission myself!”
“Hehehe.” Li Yao chuckled. “I went through all the trouble of persuading my wife to let me go on the mission. How can I give up the chance so easily? You must be joking, Brother Guo!”
After dwelling in Guo Chunfeng’s mysterious world of underground battles for an hour, Li Yao would enter the routine of magical equipment maintenance.
The elite teams from the Refining Department of the Grand Desolate War Institution and the Refining Department of Deep Sea University, including Professor Mo Xuan and Supernova Jiang Sheng themselves, gathered and poured all the knowledge about the assembly and maintenance of the space gate to Li Yao.
Although Li Yao was a top refiner, his specialties were crystal suits and Colossi.
He could make do with regular star beacons, but the array of star beacons of an enormous scale, and the space gate made of said star beacons, was a completely different issue!
In order to send the coordinates information from the dark nebula to the Heaven’s Origin Sector, covering a distance of millions of lightyears, the space gate was destined to be gigantic. It was estimated to be made of at least three hundred star beacons and tens of thousands of magical equipment units.
When the magical equipment units were launched into the depths of the dark nebula, it was impossible for them to be precisely projected to Li Yao’s surroundings. Therefore, the magical equipment units would be installed with special radiative sources that would emit unique signals that were perceivable to Spark alone. Then, Li Yao would maneuver Spark to collect all of them and assemble them.
After the space gate was assembled, a series of thorough and repetitive debugging procedures were also mandatory for it to work and send out signals normally.
The fundamental files and the operation manuals concerning the work were as boundless as an ocean. The jade chips being delivered to Li Yao every day could be measured by ‘basket’!