The crystal airship flew below 'THIS PLACE FOREVER BANS YOU FROM A LONG LIFE' into the gate slowly. A brand-new world seemed to be unfolding before them. Grass was scattered on the ground in between several zigzagging rivers. Even the air was moister than before.
Looking up front, there were seven mountains on the horizon in the shape of cones without the slightest error. They were not steep, but they were of various colors and seemed to be made of rainbows.
Everyone gasped when they were closer. Even Li Yao's eyes were wide open.
The seven mountains were actually made up by seven spiraling crystal rails. As they got closer, they looked like seven gargantuan mosquito coils.
They were all hollow. Inside them were seven translucent rune towers on which thousands of rune arrays were carved. The rune arrays were shinning glamorously from inside to outside, while the runes enshrouded in octagonal brightness emitted infinite magical power like a surging tide.
'Have they really piled up seven mountains of rails hundreds of meters high with pure crystals? The highest one is almost a thousand meters. How wealthy they are!'
Li Yao felt his head was dizzy.
As a refiner, his eyes were much keener than the other six Cultivators' in regard of identification of crystals. Without much trouble, he had recognized that the crystal making up the mountains of rails included Heavenly Net Stone, Moon Reflection Crystal, Silk Spot Sand, Empyrean Morning Steel They were all best of the best materials. The price of a small portion of them was already astronomical.
Even the top three Cultivation sects of the federation combined together might not be enough to afford the seven mountains.
Only by gathering the resources and manpower of the entire federation could such a miraculous splendor be established!
For a moment, Li Yao was feeling proud that he belonged to the Cultivators of the Heaven's Origin Sector more than ever.
At the top of each mountain, the rails were all piercing at the sky vertically like javelins.
At the foot of the mountains, the rails were much smoother, where a few transparent, weirdly-shaped vehicles that looked like a combination of crystal trains and crystal warships were parked.
"They're 'star shuttles', vehicles that transport us between the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Occult Orbs through the sea of stars," Gao Tieyi explained.
Right then, one of the mountains suddenly shined brilliantly. Various colors surged out like flames. Runes glittered one by one, releasing immense energy.
Although it was thousands of meters away, the crystal airship that Li Yao was on was also shivering in the spiritual tide.
In the bottom the rail, pure white brightness spurted out from the back of one star shuttle and propelled it forward and upward on the mountain of rails.
After each circle, the altitude of the star shuttle was a bit higher and so was its speed. It was closer and closer to the end of the rail which pierced at the sky.
Shrieks from the high-speed movement turned into roaring of the stars in Li Yao's ears.
Dark clouds with thunders and lightning suddenly enveloped the end of the rail, in the middle of which the broken void was revealed. A giant, deep eye seemed to be opened in the sky, with innumerable stars in its center!
The speed of the star shuttle was boosted to maximum when it reached the end of the rail. Then it charged into the center of the eye of stars precisely!
The clouds, thunder, and lightning were all gone. Blue sky was back again. But the star shuttle had vanished.
The seven young Building Foundation Cultivators were truly dumbfounded.
Gao Tieyi seemed to be used to the astonishment of newcomers. He said with a smile, "This is a launch base of Occult Orbs Fellowship. What you saw just now is how we usually break the barrier between worlds and send star shuttles into the Occult Orbs that are in the depths of the universe.
"You may consider the seven mountains of rails as seven super teleportation arrays.
"As the best Cultivators of the younger generation, you must've used teleportation arrays in your everyday training, with which you can reach a world fragment momentarily.
"However, the world fragments that you are familiar with are all very close to the Heaven's Origin Sector and within its gravity sphere. They can be compared to the satellites near a planet which can be reached with an effortless jump.
"Therefore, ordinary teleportation arrays are enough for them.
"But the Occult Orbs are different.
"Even the closest Occult Orbs are hundreds of lightyears away from us, with horrendous star turbulences and cosmic swirls in between. Ordinary teleportation arrays are useless in such cases.
"If the ordinary teleportation arrays were to be employed, it's 99% likely that the object being teleported would be torn apart and burnt to a crisp during the process.
"By the same logic, since the energy entailed in the ordinary teleportation arrays is insignificant, you can just stand on them and be transported in no time.
"However, the energy of the super teleportation arrays is too immense, and the spiritual tide that they trigger is too violent. Human bodies risk being ripped apart by the formidable force if standing on them without protection. Even Core Formation Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soult Stage Cultivators find it challenging and prefer to take a star shuttle for the journey."
Li Yao nodded his head. It was quite easy to understand.
The higher the speed is, the stronger the obstruction will be. For example, although he was a Building Foundation Stage Cultivator, he did not dare enter the state of ten times the speed of sound easily. It was not because his strength was not enough, but because there was a high chance that his body would be torn apart during the process. Chances were that he might be disassembled in the air and turned into a cluster of meat and blood.
His body was relatively sturdier because of the Thousand Tempering Hundred Refining technique that he had been training with. Common Cultivators at the Building Foundation hardly ever rushed at above five times the speed of sound for the same concern.
The super teleportation arrays could send people to hundreds of lightyears away instantly. It was not hard to imagine how powerful the resistance would be.
Gao Tieyi sighed.
"Although the star shuttles were refined out of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures and worth no less than crystal warships, they become total-losses after being used for three to five times.
"What I'm telling you is that the cost of exploring the Occult Orbs is astonishingly high. Every launch equals to burning half a crystal warship down.
"Therefore, it is not that we want to keep the Occult Orbs a secret and disallow all the Cultivators to explore the places. It's just that, because of the high cost, we have to select the elites of elites to cross the sea of stars on star shuttles to seek a brighter and more prosperous future for the Heaven's Origin Sector!"
The seven Building Foundation Cultivators nodded their heads simultaneously.
Eagerness beamed out of everyone's eyes. Li Yao was no exception.
While they were talking, the crystal airship landed slowly on a square near the launch base.
At this moment, Li Yao noticed through the window that a mountain on his left had started shining. Clouds and electric arcs appeared in the sky again. But there was no star shuttle in the bottom of this particular mountain. Instead, translucent threads popped up in the rails weaved into what seemed to be a giant spider's web.
The air exploded. A deep, dark eye opened in the blue sky abruptly, from the middle of which rushed out a star shuttle. It landed on the rail precisely and started charging downward rapidly!
The first spiritual net was ripped apart, which brought down the speed of the star shuttle a bit.
The second the third The spiritual nets were torn open one by one, but at a constantly decreasing rate. They were stretching was further and further, too.
Eventually, after destroying dozens of spiritual nets, the star shuttle was dragged by the third to last spiritual net when it almost kissed the ground. Although the spiritual net was pulled for more than fifty meters, it gradually retreated and stabilized the star shuttle on the track.
Countless Cultivators ran to the star shuttle as exclamations echoed around the area.
This star shuttle was utterly different from the previous one. It seemed to have just been picked up from magma. Scorching steam was rising up nonstop. Cracks and holes covered its shell.
It seemed to be rained upon by meteorites before being devoured by a giant animal. If someone blew at it, it might explode into pieces in no time.
The cabin was too twisted to be opened. Several officers cut it open with flying swords and rescued the crew.
Cultivators inside the star shuttle were all in crystal suits, if they could be called as such. They were ragged, lackluster, and stained with suspicious blood; the suits could barely cover the Exos' bodies.
They were staggering in a post-apocalyptic way.
Li Yao was shocked.
The Cultivator in the lead was wearing the Thunder Soul Battlesuit which was best known for its defense ability. With a selling price higher than three billion, it was definitely one of the best crystal suits in the world.
But right now, the crystal suit in front of Li Yao seemed to have been made of paper. It was shattered and corrupted by blood.
"Battlegrounds in the Occult Orbs are indeed terrifying. Even the Thunder Soul Battlesuit has been wrecked to this point!"
The Cultivator in the Thunder Soul Battlesuit took off his ragged helmet. He was a young, handsome man with long hair. There was a deep scar through his left eye which almost reached his bones. As a result, his left eye was bulging wide open, unleashing an air of brutality.
His companions took off their helmets and facial covers. They were very young, but their faces were filled with the indifference to life which clearly resulted from being engaged in too many bloody battles.
Feeling that they were being observed, the Cultivators who just returned from the Occult Orbs glanced at the crystal airship in scornful smiles. They exchanged a few words with each other and looked at the Li Yao and the arrivals with obvious contempt.
'What strong soul power!'
When the eyes of the scarred young man in the lead passed by him, Li Yao felt like two needles pierced into his own eyes. His tears flowed out, and he was forced to take a step back uncontrollably. He was truly stunned.
The man's soul power was strong enough to intimidate him at such a long distance!
Li Yao noticed that his companions also clenched their fists. They must've sensed their contempt and mockery, too.
Zhao Mo from Ten Ultimacies Union had slain more than 30 demon generals on the battleground. He was the center of attention wherever he went.
Even Li Yao had talked with him warmly when they first met. Apparently, they both thought highly of each other.
But now, they were equally despised by those people; their expressions and smiles indicated that those people considered them to be idiotic rookies. He couldn't hold it back any longer and scoffed, "Who are these people? They look very unfamiliar. Why are they so haughty?"
Gao Tieyi said, "Have you ever heard of 'Children of Occult Orbs' before?
"This is an initiative that the military and a few major Cultivation sects launched fifty years ago.
"According to the plan, the infants whose parents were Cultivators and who were talented with extraordinary genes were sent to be educated and Cultivate in special Occult Orbs.
"When they grew up, they would travel and fight in the Occult Orbs.
"Since their main battlegrounds are the Occult Orbs, they are not well known in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
"But it doesn't mean you should underestimate their toughness. Most of them have arrived at the middle level or even high level before they are thirty."
Zhao Mo frowned.
"But they don't need to be so arrogant."
Gao Tieyi sighed.
"The Occult Orbs are full of dangers. Many things inside are unimaginable for the people who never see them with their own eyes. When one lives on the Occult Orbs for too long, it is unavoidable that their personalities are prone to the influence of the foreign environment.
"Besides, Children of Occult Orbs have been living in the Occult Orbs and don't have much experience in communicating with other people. It's natural that they are a bit odd and eccentric.
"They are actually not hostile to you.
"It's just that they don't believe in your capability, and they fear that you might drag them down or even get them killed."