Pausing for a moment, Yuan Manqiu said thoughtfully, "No wonder we never found any ghosts after the big explosion. The staff and students at the time were all at the high level of the Refinement Stage or even the Building Foundation Stage. Some of their souls should've been strong enough to survive the explosion.
"Based on your discovery, I assume that the blast was so intense that most of the souls were vaporized instantly. But some of them were too obsessed and thus turned into Phantom Entities.
"At that time, the spiritual energy inside the crystal reactor had all leaked out. The center of the explosion was the warehouse of crystals nearby.
"The crystal reactor itself was meant for the storage of spiritual energy. It was very solid, which made it the best shelter after the explosion.
"So, the Phantom Entities hid themselves inside, until they're discovered by you today."
Li Yao said in great joy, "Professor, do you mean that the professors and my senior brothers are still alive in a different form, even including Professor Mo Xuan?"
With a bitter smile, Yuan Manqiu answered, "Li Yao, Phantom Entities are different from ghosts.
"Although ghosts have lost their bodies, their self-awareness and memories are well kept. They know where they come from and where they're going to. They can be observed and perceived by us in various ways. They can interact with us, too.
"Once a ghost enters a metal puppet, they will be like humans who have artificial head, artificial torso, artificial limbs, and all the other artificial body parts. In that case, they will be no different from any other disabled person.
"Therefore, in the modern Cultivation world, we acknowledge the fundamental rights of ghosts and view them as humans of a different form, or a special kind of disabled people.
"But Phantom Entities are different.
"Their memories lost, their consciousness withered, their thinking ability gone, the Phantom Entities are just scraps of souls or even reflections of souls.
"If we get to the bottom of it, Phantom Entities are just a kind of mental existence.
"If a ghost can be compared to a bonfire burning in the middle of darkness, then a Phantom Entity is nothing but a sparkle which floats out of the bonfire.
"Most Phantom Entities are short-lived. No matter how determined they are, without the support of a body and a soul, they will disappear gradually within several months.
"It is already a miracle that these Phantom Entities could be perceived by you after hiding here for over a year.
"But as you said, their light is getting duller now. Maybe it won't be long before they're completely gone.
"So, don't understand Phantom Entities to be living in a different form. They're just the last radiance of a perished life.
"It's like you and your photo. However similar a 3D photo of you looks, it is not you after all."
Li Yao was quiet. He was starting to understand why his professor looked so lonely.
He thought that he had found Professor Mo Xuan's soul. But in the end, it was only a 'photo' of it.
Of course his professor felt sad seeing the image of old times.
"More importantly, Phantom Entities can't be perceived by everyone."
Taking a deep breath, Yuan Manqiu spoke, her voice shivering, "Phantom Entities are pure mental beings resulting from strong obsessions. 99.99% people can't feel their existence.
"For people who shared the same obsession with them, it still requires a lot of time to stay close to the Phantom Entities before they rhyme with the spiritual palpitation of the Phantom Entities and perceive their existence."
Li Yao felt he had understood something.
He touched the cold shell of the crystal reactor with his fingers.
There was a sharp pain coming from his fingertip, as if the crystal reactor had been boiled by an ineffaceable mental power.
"Is this the reason why you are lingering on in this world?
"You don't want to see the fall of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, but its rise and glory?
"Even without your bodies, even without your souls, your spirit has still been burning, shining, and waiting. You tried your best to talk to me and teach me your insights and ideas so that the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit could be reborn from ashes!"
Li Yao finally understood everything.
Phantom Entities were the fruits of human spirits and willpower, the dogged determination that even death couldn't not obliterate.
And the dogged determination of the staff and students of the Refining Department would be the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit.
Since he had been pondering about the Refining Department and the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit beside the statue, his passion had reverberated with the spiritual palpitation of the Phantom Entities.
It probably had something to do with the fact that his brain had been possessed twice, too.
His brain was unique in the entire Heaven's Origin Sector.
Today, awed by the Tiger King Battlesuit, his eagerness for victory had been set alight. His obsession and hope for the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit were stronger than ever. Also, he happened to have made the decision to dismantle the crystal reactor and study its inner structure.
All the coincidences combined together resulted in his startling discovery of such vivid Phantom Entities.
Although Yuan Manqiu was equally determined for the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit to succeed and her Cultivation was much deeper than Li Yao's, she did not have the habit of contemplating beside the statue, nor had her brain been weirdly developed by a double possession. Therefore, she wasn't able to feel the existence of the Phantom Entities.
Seeing Li Yao's enlightened face, Yuan Manqiu said, "It seems that you've got it. Those who can see Phantom Entities are called 'Observers' in the Cultivation world.
"You are the Observer of the hundred Phantom Entities here.
"According to your description, you can see their visualization, hear their sighs, and even perceive their past and learn from them.
"It means that your observation level is very high; you are a strong Observer.
"Such a strong Observer is rarely seen. I'm afraid you might be the only one in the world that can feel their existence now."
Li Yao finally understood Yuan Manqiu's lonely expression.
Even though they were just pieces of their previous souls, it would still be a great comfort if she could feel their existence.
However, failing to perceive the last bit of Professor Mo Xuan's spirit, his professor had to learn everything by Li Yao's paraphrase knowing that it was there.
It wouldn't feel good.
Li Yao clenched his fists. In the quietness of the park, his bones were cracking loudly, as if two crystal bombs had been crushed in his hands.
"Professor, you said that Phantom Entities are ghosts who lost themselves in a lower dimension. Then, is there any way that we can"
Li Yao pause, then continued to ask carefully, "let them return to the higher dimension and find the memories that they lost so that they can be restored to who they were?"
Yuan Manqiu was dazed for a moment. She found herself hardly able to keep her eyes open under the invisible flames burning in Li Yao. A while later, she said, "It would be very difficult.
"In the history of the Star Glory Federation and the books of the Star Sea Imperium, thousands of Phantom Entities have been observed. But most of them sank into oblivion within one year after they were observed.
"Odds are low that Phantom Entities will be able to regain their memories and self-awareness and return to the ghost state.
"According to the experts in Phantom Entities, it has to do with both the Phantom Entities themselves and their Observers.
"If the Phantom Entities wander in wilderness for too long and gradually lose their consciousness and memories under the effect of electromagnetic storms and cosmic radiation, they will be unrecoverable because their past has been erased for good."
Li Yao couldn't help but interrupt her. "Professor, the Phantom Entities of our Refining Department should be different. They were transformed by the intense spiritual tides into Phantom Entities instantly after the big explosion, and since then, they've been hiding in the crystal reactor, which should be thick enough to hold back the electromagnetic interference and cosmic radiation.
"Therefore, there's a good chance that their memories have not been wiped out but live on in a manner than we can't comprehend!"
Yuan Manqiu hesitated for a moment, but she nodded her head.
"What you said is possible. After the big explosion, all the high-level Cultivators of our school were engaged in searching for survivors, but not a single ghost was found, which indicated that they were evaporated into Phantom Entities momentarily.
"However, it's extremely difficult to bring back their past even if it still exists. Actually, we don't know how to do it at all.
"Based on previous cases, there are only two things that we know about.
"Firstly, by keeping in touch with the Phantom Entities, the Observers can slow down the speed of their extinction.
"Secondly, by following the Phantom Entities' will, fighting in their spirit and finishing what they've been longing for, there will be harmony between the Observers and the Phantom Entities, which could increase the power of the Phantom Entities significantly.
"Chances are that they might be able to find their memories and self-awareness again and return to the three-dimension if their power is strong enough."
Li Yao's eyes were beaming keenly in the darkness.
Holding the crystal reactor closely in his arms, he felt that a wildfire was burning its way from his stomach up through his throat to the top of his head where it broke out and pierced into the sky!
"Do you mean that if we can successfully refine the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit and make it the best MP crystal suit of the Star Glory Federation, the professors and my senior brothers might be able to return to themselves?"
Li Yao muttered to himself, "Good.
"When I first came to the Refining Department, there were nothing but ruins here. I dug out many ragged jade slips of the professors and my senior brothers from the ruins, which has been a great help to me in my studies.
"I've always respected them very much and feel sorry that I can't learn with my senior brothers from the professors.
"Now, we have an opportunity to fight side by side and let the world to be impressed by the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit. The mediocre crystal suits such as the Tiger King Battlesuit will be beaten to ashes!"
"One day, you will wake up from the nightmare of chaos and witness your triumph and glory with your own eyes!"
He then turned to Yuan Manqiu. "Professor"
He lit up an empty light beam with his crystal processor and drew a blueprint on it quickly with his telepathic thought. Then he said, "While I was communicating with the professors and my senior brothers, an inspiration that could possibly solve our current problem about the crystal reactor occurred to me."