Hong Tong stared at Li Yao in the eyes and said solemnly, "The Star Glory Federation has been exploring the Occult Orbs for hundreds of years. The Occult Orbs several thousand lightyears away from us are mostly discovered already. There are some Occult Orbs that we haven't set foot in, but their size is far from that of 'Ultimacy', nor are their spiritual waves as intensive as those from 'Ultimacy'.
"Right, Occult Orbs Fellowship has named this particular Occult Orb 'Ultimacy'.
"Beyond ten thousand lightyears, there might be even bigger Occult Orbs, or even other worlds which have their own civilization. But reaching them exceeds our technology level at present. Without new magical equipment or knowledge, and just based on the natural development of our civilization, we won't be able to explore and exploit them within the next fifty years even if we are lucky enough to discover any.
"But in the next fifty years, maybe thirty, the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector will meld into one.
"Which means 'Ultimacy' is our last hope for the war between the two Sectors!"
"By the experts' calculation, since it is emitting such strong spiritual waves after thousands of years, Ultimacy must have several pieces of planetary magical equipment or something of the same level, if not stellar magical equipment."
The power of stellar magical equipment could reach every corner in a stellar system.
Planetary magical equipment was relatively weaker, but it could still suppress a planet easily.
Neither the Star Glory Federation nor any of the kingdoms in the Blood Demon Sector were beyond the limitation of the ground. The foundation of the two civilizations was the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector respectively. They hadn't really been able to drift into the sea of stars.
A piece of 'planetary magical equipment' which could suppress a planet easily was indeed a game-changer for the situation. There was even the possibility of waging a genocidal war without taking any casualties.
But if their opponents got the planetary magical equipment first
Li Yao tremored. He blurted out, "The Blood Demon Sector has found Ultimacy, too.
Not a question, but a statement.
Had the Blood Demon Sector not found Ultimacy, the news wouldn't have been set to the public and it wouldn't have been possible for a random Star Team to get access to the files so easily.
Hong Tong nodded his head.
"In fact, the Blood Demon Sector discovered Ultimacy earlier than we did. It was by stalking an 'Octa-eyed Goblin' of the Blood Demon Sector that one of our Phantom Travelers located Ultimacy."
The Blood Demon Sector had plans to explore the Occult Orbs, too.
Although they didn't have powerful magical equipment, they had bred a special type of demon beast named 'Octa-eyed Goblin' which was particularly suitable for survival and flight in the vacuum of the cosmos. When necessary, they could enter the state of hibernation and flow in the universe for hundreds of years like an asteroid, until it was woken up by any spiritual waves it encountered and continued their journey in the exploration of the universe.
Octa-eyed Goblins and Phantom Travelers were the pioneers of the demon clan and the human beings in the conquest of the sea of stars.
Hong Tong added, "However, the Phantom Traveler didn't find any trace that the demon clan was exploiting Ultimacy on a large scale. It has been assumed that they made their discovery not very long ago. Since the comprehensive capability of the Blood Demon Sector is of similar level to ours, such an Occult Orb that we find difficult to deal with must be tricky for them, too."
Pondering for a moment, Li Yao basically understood the situation now.
"The concept of time in an astronomic sense is always calculated in the unit of billions of years. From that point of view, the two worlds will meld into one like two bubbles in no time. But for us trivial human beings, which are but plankton in the sea of stars, the process can be as long as fifty years.
"During the fifty years, neither of the two worlds will be capable of projecting all the available troops into the other world at their will.
"Besides, even if the projection succeeds and a bloody war is carried out, the most likely outcome is that the two parties will suffer equally great losses. Most of the elites of the two worlds will perish. It is hard to say whether or not the final winner will be able to recover from the war."
In Li Yao's previous life, there was an idea known as 'nuclear winter'. When two countries both with nuclear weapons were at war, it was quite likely that the world would end up in dozens of years of darkness and coldness. There would be no winner. It would be just that some people died later than other people did.
Although nuclear weapons were not invented by the Heaven's Origin Sector or the Blood Demon Sector, the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and the demon emperors were capable enough of overturning the world with absolutely no help, just themselves.
In a war where dozens of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and demon emperors were engaged, it was not unlikely that the natural spiritual energy of the two worlds would be in disorder, which might cause all kinds of extreme phenomena, including earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, flood, volcano eruption, and maybe even another Ice Age.
Neither humans nor demons would like to see that happen.
So, it would be a perfect solution if some planetary magical equipment which could deal irrecoverable damage to the opponent within a moment could be retrieved from the Occult Orbs.
No wonder Occult Orbs Fellowship was keeping such a high profile recently. Not only had it been revealing a lot of secrets to the public in order to get their support, it was also recruiting talents crazily among Cultivators. Almost all the excellent Cultivators in the Building Foundation Stage had been gathered.
Exploration in the Occult Orbs could indeed potentially decide the destiny of the human beings in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
Li Yao asked, "Has any Star Team explored Ultimacy?"
Hong Tong shook his head.
"It's still too early. Ultimacy is too far from the Heaven's Origin Sector. To cover the nine thousand lightyears in between, our launch bases can only send out Phantom Travelers. It is impossible to launch star shuttles which are larger in size while ensuring that the crew on board are alive and that the vehicle can return."
Phantom Travelers were smaller, lighter, and relatively simpler in structure. Therefore, it was easier to launch them. They could be boosted with the maximum amount of spiritual energy possible, and it didn't matter very much even if a launch failed.
But it was a whole different thing to launch a manned star shuttle through the four-dimensional space to nine thousand lightyears away instantly.
In an awful tragedy where the star shuttle was successfully sent and yet the Orb Patrollers inside were all killed during the process, it would not help the situation at all.
Hong Tong continued, "Occult Orbs Fellowship has two launch bases and twelve launch platforms. But even the biggest one can only guarantee that the vehicle can be safely recovered within 5,700 lightyears.
"When Ultimacy was discovered, Occult Orbs Fellowship immediately contacted the leaders of the federation as well as the influential Cultivators, who reached a consensus very quickly that all the resources available in the Heaven's Origin Sector would be immediately allocated to build the newest, largest, super teleportation array which would boast the longest launching range.
"We've named the teleportation array Heaven's Artillery!
"Only with the help of the Heaven's Artillery can we rip open the boundary between the three-dimensional space and the four-dimensional space and land on Ultimacy.
"However, even the Heaven's Artillery cannot teleport many people at the same time. Those to be teleported can't be in the very high levels, either. I believe you've heard of the metaphor regarding the difference between a pebble and a rock before."
Li Yao nodded his head.
Core Formation and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were giant rocks tons of weight.
On the other hand, Refinement and Building Foundation Stage Cultivators were small pebbles weighing dozens of kilograms.
To throw a stone as far away possible with an extremely crude catapult, of course, pebbles would be better choices.
If a giant rock were to be selected, not only might it fail to be thrown away, it also risked wrecking the catapult.
It meant that only Cultivators at the Refinement Stage and the Building Foundation Stage would be able to explore Ultimacy which was nine thousand lightyears away from the Heaven's Origin Sector and possibly had planetary magical equipment buried inside!
Li Yao finally understood why everyone was so thrilled watching the video that even their fingers were twitching.
Thinking for a moment, he further asked, "What is the estimated time of the first launch? And how many people will be teleported?"
Hong Tong replied, "The construction spot and progress are both top secrets. But all things considered, it won't be slow. By the end of this year, it will certainly have been completed!
"Because not just us, the Blood Demon Sector must be building super teleportation arrays, too. It is now just a matter of speed!
"For the construction work, three teleportation arrays in the No. 2 launch base have been dismantled. The crystal rails and all kinds of magical equipment from them have been filled into the Heaven's Artillery, just in order to be faster than the Blood Demon Sector!
"There won't be many candidates to be teleported. Impressive as the Heaven's Artillery may be, six or seven Star Teams, with dozens of members in total, tops."
Taking a deep breath, Li Yao felt that his blood was surging like tides.
"Which means we have to ascend into the top 10 of the Rank of Stars before the end of this year, right?"
Hong Tong nodded his head seriously. "Elites are always the first to explore a new Occult Orb. For an Occult Orb like Ultimacy where planetary magical equipment might be preserved, nepotism and adulation will not work at all. Who's eligible and who's not will be entirely based on capability!
"Ranking in the top 10 will prove that we are the best Cultivators at the Building Foundation Stage and that we are qualified for the mission to explore Ultimacy!"
Li Yao's eyes were beaming with eagerness as he asked, "But I wonder how many secret treasures are stored in Ultimacy, and how many benefits we can gain from it?"
Hong Tong smiled and said, "Since it is unexplored, everything we talked about is just speculation. Even if planetary magical equipment does exist, it is quite likely to be well beyond our ability to manipulate and maneuver since we are merely at the Building Foundation Stage. Besides, chances are that we might be engaged with the elites of the demon clan. Although it's not possible for the demon emperors to be teleported due to the restriction of the long distance, the best silver-blood demons must be able to land on Ultimacy. Maybe, the princes of the dozens of demon kingdoms will join together.
"Therefore, although it has not been officially announced yet, the benefits of exploring Ultimacy are quite enormous.
"According to my sources, not only are the contribution points as the reward of the mission astronomical, the participants will be given a lot of Cultivation arts and magical equipment. They can even receive the personal enlightenment of Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators!
"I'm not talking about a lecture of several hours. I'm talking about a training session of ten to fifteen days during which time you will eat and live together. The Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators will teach you like teaching their own disciples!"
Li Yao raised his eyebrows. His breath suddenly turned extremely ragged.
Fifteen days of wholehearted teaching as if you were one of their disciples?
Was that even possible?
Li Yao's first reaction was that it must be a lie.
But on second thought, he realized that it did make sense.
Exploration of Ultimacy concerned the fate of all human beings in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
As the saying went, when the skin is gone, there will be no place for the hair. Strong as the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators may be, they wouldn't be able to survive by themselves if the Star Glory Federation was destroyed.
Besides, their family, descendants, and disciples were also here!
Now that the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators could not explore the Occult Orb in person, naturally, they would hope that those embarking on the trip could be as strong as possible.
For the future of the human beings of the Heaven's Origin Sector, for themselves, for their family and disciples, they wouldn't be stingy when it came to one or two Cultivation arts.
Hardly had he thought everything through when he was greatly shocked again by what Hong Tong said next.
"Not just that. It is said that before setting off to Ultimacy, all the Orb Patrollers for the mission will be blessed with a 'spiritual seed' by the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators!"
Bonus Chapter #2