"Drag them down?"
The words truly dumbfounded the seven young experts.
Zhao Mo was so pissed off that he almost laughed out loud. His eyebrows were furrowed, and he shrieked in a twisted voice, "The seven of us may not be the top experts of the Cultivation world. However, we are definitely among the best of our generation. Every one of us has experienced dozens of life-and-death battles. How can these so-called 'Children of Occult Orbs' despise us so much? Scared of us dragging them down? Interesting. How interesting!"
Gao Tieyi said, "The fighting style of the Children of Occult Orbs is entirely different from that of common Cultivators. The two parties have found it challenging to collaborate since the very beginning.
"A few years ago, something terrible happened. A team of Children of Occult Orbs and a team of outside-world Cultivators cooperated to explore an Occult Orb. However, one of the outsiders didn't follow the command and acted recklessly. The barriers deep inside the Occult Orb were triggered. Of the seventeen people who went there, only three came back.
"Did you see the angry-looking guy who has a deep scar through his left eye? He is Yan Jun, a Cultivator in the high level of the Building Foundation Stage, as well as one of the leading experts of the Children of Occult Orbs.
"He witnessed the tragedy a few years ago in person. Although he escaped luckily, an ineffaceable scar was left on his face, which is the result of a kind of weird acid that corrodes his flesh whenever and wherever. He has to resist it all the time without any rest. Otherwise, his brain will be corrupted by the acid to a point beyond any treatment."
Zhao Mo was rendered speechless. The fury on his face gradually disappeared.
Li Yao was somewhat shocked, too.
An incurable scar where acid was corroding the flesh all the time? Such agony was indeed terrifying just thinking of it!
No wonder the guy was so disdainful and cold.
Gao Tieyi continued, "Besides, Yan Jun's only blood sister also participated in the battle. She died in the Occult Orb unfortunately.
"Ever since then, Children of Occult Orbs have always been hostile and scornful to the outsiders. Instead of contributors to victory, the outsiders are deemed to be saboteurs of their endeavors who are in no way worthy of cooperating with them.
"Besides, the opportunities to enter the Occult Orbs are limited. Competition is everywhere inside Occult Orbs Fellowship. Sometimes, a team of Children of Occult Orbs and a team of outsiders plan to enter the same Occult Orb. But if the number of participants is limited, a match will be held to determine which side is more qualified for the mission.
"When there are more and more such matches, they only add more tension between the two parties."
Nie Junxia, a sword expert from Heavenly Essence Village who had been silent the whole time, opened his mouth and said slowly, "Mr. Gao, you mentioned that Yan Jun is merely in the high level of the Building Foundation Stage. Then why is he one of the leading experts of the Children of Occult Orbs? What about the stronger Cultivators at the Core Formation Stage and the Nascent Soul Stage? Are they not engaged in the exploration of the Occult Orbs?"
The gold phantom which was Gao Tieyi nodded its head approvingly.
"Excellent. You are truly elites of the elites. Your observation is sharp.
"It's true that Building Foundation Stage Cultivators are the main force to explore the Occult Orbs. Experts at the Core Formation Stage or the Nascent Soul Stage seldom set foot on the Occult Orbs unless it is absolutely necessary."
Everyone was dazed by what he just said. Humming whispers immediately filled the cabin.
Gao Tieyi explained, "There are two main reasons why Core Formation Stage and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators do not participant in the exploration of the Occult Orbs.
"Firstly, the souls of Core Formation Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators are too enormous. The cost is unimaginably high to transport them hundreds of lightyears away.
"The same logic applies for the demons of the Blood Demon Sector. The mediocre demon beasts can trespass into the Heaven's Origin Sector easily through wormholes, but to transport expert demons, it requires large-scale teleportation arrays with a great consumption of energy.
"If you find it hard to understand, you may think about it as follows.
"For a stone the size of a fist which weighs three kilograms, you can throw it thousands of meters away without any trouble.
"But if it is a stone ten meters in diameter which weights three tons, you will only be able to throw it dozens of meters away even if you try your very best.
"At present, our purpose is to throw 'the stone' as far away as possible with as little strength as possible. Of course, we will select the stones that are smaller in size and lighter in weight, which are the Building Foundation Cultivators such as yourselves.
"If we were to choose the Refinement Stage Cultivators, we could teleport even more people in one trip. But Cultivators at such a stage are too weak to handle all kinds of crises inside the Occult Orbs. We would actually be killing them by teleporting them there.
"Therefore, the Building Foundation Cultivators are the main force on the battleground of the Occult Orbs!"
It was quite a simple metaphor.
The Building Foundation Cultivators were pebbles, whereas Core Formation Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were stones weighing thousands of tons. Of course, the former would be easier to be tossed away.
Everyone in the cabin was smart enough to get what Gao Tieyi meant. They all nodded their heads.
Gao Tieyi continued, "The concern of cost is just a secondary reason. If it is really necessary, teleporting a batch of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators to the Occult Orbs without bothering the budget is not completely undoable.
"The problem is, though, that all kinds of strong magical equipment left during the bloody battles over the past 40,000 years can be found on most of the Occult Orbs. Although their masters have mostly perished, many of them have been set into the automatic detect and attack mode. Once they're triggered, they will start hunting and slaughtering until the spiritual energy contained inside is used up.
"When Core Formation Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators enter an Occult Orb, it's very likely that they will trigger such magical equipment and be chased by it. How can they explore the Occult Orb if so?"
Pondering for a moment, Nie Junxia shook his head lightly.
"Mr. Gao, if Core Formation Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators will be haunted, wouldn't it be even more dangerous for us Building Foundation Cultivators? Once the barriers are activated, I'm afraid we'll be blown into pieces instantly."
He asked the question that the others all wanted to ask.
Although they were not scared of death, they did not intend to die for no good reason.
Gao Tieyi smiled and said, "Let's say you have a pair of Heaven Splitters which can automatically aim and attack. It has limited cannonballs and spiritual energy. If an insignificant demon beast appeared in your fire range, would you want to fire or not?"
Nie Junxia was dazed for a moment. Deep in thought, he shook his head.
Listening by his side, Li Yao knew what Gao Tieyi was trying to say immediately.
The attack of Heaven Splitters equaled to the full-strength strike of a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator. But the spiritual energy consumption for each attack was astronomical. The cost for every shot amounted to that of a few crystal tanks being burnt to the ground. Besides, the barrels, body, and rune arrays of Heaven Splitters will suffer erosion during each attack.
If it were to fire at any random demon beast, thirty or fifty low-level demon beasts would be more than enough to let it overload and be completed wrecked.
Therefore, most of automatic magical equipment had been set with a threshold. Only when it sensed that the power of the enemy was above the threshold would it perform an attack.
Gao Tieyi said casually, "I believe you better understand now why the federation launched the Children of Occult Orbs Initiative and why it picked so many elites such as yourselves from millions of Cultivators, don't you?
"Frankly speaking, although you are merely at the Building Foundation Stage and your comprehensive ability is far from that of Core Formation Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, in my opinion, the future of the federation lies in your hands!
"It is universally known that the distance between the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector is getting smaller and smaller. The two worlds are very likely to merge within the next fifty years.
"War between the two Sectors has already commenced.
"However, the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector are almost on par with each other. Otherwise, we wouldn't have been engaged in conflict for five hundred years without a winner.
"If we were to fight each other the hard way, in a head to head battle, neither side could be sure that it would win. Even if the opponent were defeated, the winning side would have to pay a terrible price.
"Half a year ago, Deep Sea University, Star Nebula University, First Military Academy of the Federation, as well as the admin-type Cultivators and research-type Cultivators in the General Staff, gathered together and ran an enormous simulation taking all kinds of variables into account. Their conclusion was that
"If the two Sectors really merge and a regular war between the two worlds is started, even if the federation defeats the Blood Demon Sector, two thirds of the cities will be demolished, half of the population will be wiped out, and three quarters of Cultivators will perish!
"It is the same for the Blood Demon Sector. The federation will definitely fight until the last of its warriors die. Even if the Heaven's Origin Sector is occupied in the end, the demon kings and demon emperors are likely to be mostly killed.
"So, unless there is no other choice, neither of the two parties wish to perish together with the enemy through regular warfare.
"In fact, both parties have high hopes for the Occult Orbs.
"Countless secret arts, skills, magical equipment, and weapons that are far more advanced than the Heaven's Origin Sector's and the Blood Demon Sector's are buried in the Occult Orbs.
"Let's say one of you is lucky enough to dig out an arsenal, a starship of the Star Ocean Imperium, or even a piece of destructive stellar magical equipment. Then we'll be able to suppress the Blood Demon Sector with zero casualties, won't we?
"On the other hand, the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector are very close to each other in the four-dimensional level. We are almost twins. The Occult Orbs we discovered can be discovered by the Blood Demon Sector, too.
"In some of the Occult Orbs, there are no arsenals or fleets that are of use to us. But there are demonization dens, which, if controlled by the Blood Demon Sector, will be able to procreate existences that may even be stronger than demon emperors!
"If such a nightmare comes true, the Heaven's Origin Sector will be doomed to extinction."
His words ignited everyone's passion.
Everybody had felt, more or less, that more powerful people were supporting the world. Core Formation and Nascent Soul were the decisive forces of the war between the two Sectors. Building Foundation Cultivators like them were far from significant in the big picture. All they had to do was to fight to the best of their ability without worries.
Hearing what Gao Tieyi just said, they suddenly recognized that they actually would have the opportunity to change the destiny of the Heaven's Origin Sector.
"Stellar magical equipment" Li Yao muttered.
His blood started burning.
Hadn't a piece of stellar magical equipment the size of a satellite or even a planet whose rays radiates beyond an entire galaxy always been an ultimate dream for refiners such as himself?
If he was given a chance to touch a piece of stellar magical equipment with his own hands, study its structure, and even perhaps steer it in person to conquer the Blood Demon Sector
It would be worthwhile even if he had to die the next day!
But Nie Junxia was an extremely calm person. Taking a deep breath, he said, "Mr. Gao, I'll save the loyalty-pledging talks. Everyone setting off on the path of Cultivation has been prepared to be sacrificed when we must be!
"I only want to know this: what concrete benefits are there for us to risk entering the battleground of the Occult Orbs as individuals?
"Are they really able to enable us to break our limits and be reborn?"
Bonus Chapter (3/4)
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