Li Yao smacked his lips and was quite shocked.
Shattering the void and vanishing into thin air was the ultimate level that ancient Cultivators had longed for.
However, most of the ancient Cultivators, after burning their life to the extremity, failed to shatter the void. Or rather, they were shattered by the void and perished without the slightest trace.
Even when some of them were lucky enough to enter a universe of a higher dimension, they might not have been able to find a way to return to the three-dimensional universe and were sometimes lost between the dimensions. There was no way for them to go back, either. It was even worse than being killed instantly.
But right now, despite the fact that the six of them were merely at the Building Foundation Stage, they were able to shatter the void and cruise through the sea of stars time and time again with the support of their star shuttle.
This went to show how far the modern Cultivation civilization had progressed.
"Our star shuttle has checked the surroundings of Mystic Glacier. Mystic Glacier has a thin atmosphere. The gravity and environment are relatively stable. The current temperature is -72C. The estimated extreme temperature is -134C. It is warmer than we expected.
"There is a small portion of oxygen in the air of Mystic Glacier. But other than oxygen, there are all kinds of corrosive gases. Besides, invisible swirls that can corrupt the organs and suppress the functioning of spiritual energy are everywhere on the ground, like tornadoes that we can't see.
"In the ancient Cultivation world, such a phenomenon was known as 'gale from hell'. Rumors have it that they could blow the flesh off the bones, which can be quite frightening. We can't be too careful about it. Activate the internal circulation system, breath the air that has been filtered, and never take off your crystal suit. Are we clear? Good.
"Now, let's get to work!"
At Hong Tong's command, everyone stepped onto the dull and cold land of Mystic Glacier in a line.
This was the first time that Li Yao had ever left the Heaven's Origin Sector. He was curious about everything he saw.
Mystic Glacier was a gray world. Looking at the horizon, there was no obvious distinction between the sky and the earth.
Perhaps due to lack of water, there was not very much ice on the ground. But gray rocks filled the place, making them feel like they were standing in the middle of a forest of mushrooms.
In the crevices of each rock, countless sprouts were growing. At the ends of the sprouts were buds which were fluctuating as if they were about to blossom, emitting alluring violet colors that were brightening and dimming repeatedly.
They were the unique fungi of Mystic Glacier called 'Sole-eyed Giant Mushroom', which were not very aggressive, with certain narcotic abilities. They could be refined into ingredients for food in the case of an emergency because of the huge amount of water contained within.
The gravity of Mystic Glacier was 1.35 times that of the Heaven's Origin Sector. For Cultivators at the Building Foundation Stage, it was not a big deal. Captain Hong Tong was saved the trouble of altering the gravity.
Turning back, Li Yao sensed that an invisible rope of spiritual energy was tied to the back of the star shuttle, which disappeared more than ten meters away and seemed to be extending to a different world.
It was the link connecting the star shuttle to the Heaven's Origin Sector.
If a stone was tied with a rope of infinite length and elasticity, then the stone could be pulled back to its original position at any time, no matter how far away it was thrown.
Of course, it was only a shallow metaphor. Li Yao couldn't understand the real mechanism yet. Such a technique had been discovered in the relics of the Star Ocean Imperium. It was still too advanced for the Cultivators of the Heaven's Origin Sector to fully comprehend.
Maybe only the Cultivators beyond the Nascent Soul Stage would be able to appreciate its mysteries.
Li Yao only knew that such a 'hauling rope' could work for five days.
In five days, as long as they returned to the star shuttle and activated the rune array, they would be immediately pulled back to the Heaven's Origin Sector.
But if they stayed for more than five days, or they were engaged in battles and their star shuttle was destroyed, they would not be able to go back anymore.
However, Occult Orbs Fellowship had prepared plans for such emergencies. Dozens of research-type Cultivators were monitoring their status, and when they sensed that the star shuttle was destroyed, or the 'hauling rope' was cut off, an empty star shuttle would immediately be sent to Mystic Glacier. Since most of the cost for a launch was to ensure that the passengers inside were safe, the cost of sending an empty shuttle there was negligible.
When they found the empty star shuttle, they would be able to get back to the Heaven's Origin Sector again.
"Let's check our time. From now on, we have four and a half days for collection and exploration. More exactly, we have 108 hours, 35 minutes, and 42 seconds!
"Let's hurry up and make every second count. Yan Zi, check our surroundings; Vulture, look for the star torch and repair it; Lingdang and I will cover up our star shuttle; Shell and Dummy, stay in alert!"
Hong Tong waved his hand, and everybody immediately started working.
They were in luck. Li Yao discovered the star torch on a hill a hundred meters away very soon.
A star torch was a kind of magical equipment that looked like a giant torch carved out of red crystals. The undying flames at one end of it would emit intense spiritual waves while they danced glamorously.
As its name suggested, a star torch was a torch on a star. It was the lighthouse in the sea of stars which guided the way for star shuttles and starships.
This particular star torch was built up by the first Star Team to land on Mystic Glacier more than a hundred years ago, so that the following Star Teams would find it easier to locate the planet.
Every Star Team that came to the planet later had been teleported near the star torch and asked to maintain it before they were to start their mission.
Mystic Glacier had an extremely vast territory, most of which had not been explored yet. Dangers that no one could foresee might be lurking in the darkness.
Without the star torch, they could be teleported to anywhere in Mystic Glacier.
As a refiner, maintaining and strengthening the star torch was naturally his job.
Although he did not understand the mechanism of the star torch yet, his predecessors had left him with a detailed maintenance manual. It was not difficult just doing what was told in the book.
After being buffeted by the harsh winds for thirty years, the shell of the star torch had been weathered. The spiritual energy of the defense rune array was running dry, too.
Li Yao took off three pieces on the shell. Then he pulled out all the components inside and polished them, before he inserted new high-purity crystals into the star torch. In the end, he returned each piece back to its original position. Everything was successfully done.
In the meantime, his other teammates had finished their job, too.
'Dummy' Ba Weiqi and 'Shell' Leng Ziming stayed in alert and scanned the territory around them, while they marked their current location in the map.
However, there was only a very small part in the map that had been illuminated. Most of the map was still covered in fog, waiting to be explored.
Yan Yangtian sent out more than ten beast puppets that were as swift as swallows from her crystal suit, which flew to the sky and scrutinized the environment. Then she came to a conclusion and said, "The environment right now is not much different from thirty years ago. Our map is still usable. Preliminary scouting has detected no traces of enemies. Alert to the third degree should be fine for us.
"However, the tunnel that the Star Team thirty years ago entered through has collapsed because of the furious wind. The geologic structure of this area is extremely weak. Frigorific cyclones might be brewing in the underground. It is quite risky to blow up the entrance of the tunnel by force."
The so-called 'frigorific cyclone' was the unstable, freezing air mass buried deeply below the ground which could be well below -250C.
Once it was triggered, it would burst out of the ground like a volcanic eruption and turn into cold, gloomy mist that could turn everything within its reach into an ice block.
A frigorific cyclone was as dangerous as a volcanic eruption. Since it could penetrate into any place, it had a much greater effective range than the magma.
Yan Yangtian continued, "Since this place was a mining base of the Star Ocean Imperium, it is not likely that there is just this one tunnel leading to the center of the mother lode. I sensed that the spiritual gas in the southwest direction is relatively dense. I suggest we explore that area.
"According to the blueprint of the mining base, there should be more tunnels in the southwest.
"Even if we fail to find any, we will at least be able to explore more unmarked areas, which will earn us enough contribution points."
Hong Tong commanded, "Line up. Stay alert to the third degree. Move southwest in stealth mode!"
In the air of Mystic Glacier, which contained various kinds of corrosive impurities, the exhaust flames from the six crystal suits were in dreary grayness. They jumped forward in the desolate and barren land like six moths.
Each of them bounded forward, dozens of meters at a time. Very soon, they'd reached more than a hundred kilometers away.
They were moving in a zigzag. Along the way, they'd visited a large previously unexplored area, but they didn't find any creature except the Sole-eyed Giant Mushrooms.
It was not until they climbed a hill more than 170 kilometers away from the star shuttle that they finally saw something new.
It was a forest of ice, made by the debris of human beings, magical equipment, and demon beasts.
There were Cultivators in crystal suits with their chainswords and storm bolters raised, shouting despite the bitter cold, even though their helmets were already broken; there were metal puppets that were riddled with holes and on the verge of destruction; flying swords which had been ripped apart and lost their sharpness were scattered all around, as well as many unknown bizarre-shaped demon beasts that Li Yao could never imagine in his worst nightmare.
Everything had turned into translucent sculptures of ice on the splendid and yet silent ancient battleground.
"It's likely that, when the demon clan was attacking the mining base, the battle was so intense that a frigorific cyclone was triggered. As a result, everyone on the spot was instantly frozen by the icy mist that was close to absolute zero."
Yan Yangtian continued analyzing, "If that was the case, there must be an entrance to the mines nearby. Besides, since the frigorific cyclone has burst out once before, the geologic structure in this place is relatively stable, and it will be safer for us to collect the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures.
"But we should still be very careful. Many kinds of demon beasts could live in hibernation for thousands of years. Despite the frigorific cyclone's destruction, it is possible that some of them are still alive and have not woken up yet.
"Thousands of years have passed. The effects of the frigorific cyclone have mostly disappeared already. The demon beasts which weren't killed will likely wake up again soon."
Almost at exactly the same time when she finished her sentence, a frozen metal puppet on the ancient battleground, whose internal components had been eroded by the billowing wind for thousands of years, suddenly exploded into countless pieces because of the turbulent spiritual waves from the six crystal suits nearby.