The explosion immediately triggered a chain reaction. Centering at the metal puppet, ripples of destruction spread out, turning the ancient battleground into an ocean of broken diamonds. Cracking noises were echoing nonstop in the vast, cold expanse.
Even the most powerful magical equipment and creatures would find it difficult to withstand the corrosion of time for thousands of years. Like a castle made of sand on a beach, the splendid ancient battleground soon fell into nothingness when crushed by the surging tide.
Yet, on the edge of the battleground, clusters of weird smells were popping up.
Li Yao set the resolution of the crystal camera to maximum and activated the full potential of the nerves of his retina by stimulating them with his spiritual energy, so that his sight was improved by five times temporarily.
On the edge of the battleground, he saw that several demon beasts which also looked like ice sculptures did not explode into pieces like the other demon beasts did. The only thing that was broken was their ice shell, revealing their black bodies which resembled countless dried octopuses.
They were gradually expanding.
These demon beasts had been in the periphery of the frigorific cyclone's reach. They must've entered the hibernation stage in time, which allowed them to survive the disaster.
The demonic energy from their bodies was burning more and more fiercely like a wild fire.
Soon, the dozens of demon beasts had been enlarged to an unimaginable level, which looked like balloons that had been fully pumped up.
Every demon beast was three to five meters in diameter. They were floating in the midair, each with hundreds of messy tentacles full of thorns dangling to the ground.
Such balloon-shaped demon beasts did not have eyes. Their airbag-like bodies were full of wrinkles and holes. Their tentacles wriggled forward and interweaved into a grey net hundreds of meters in diameter.
"Judging from the appearance of those demon beasts, they should be sort of like the 'Floating Jellyfish' from ancient times.
"Such demon beasts can absorb the air around them, condense it to minimum, and spurt it out through the holes and wrinkles over their bodies. Their bullets of air can be very intimidating.
"Especially here in Mystic Glacier where the air contains corrosive gas. It's a perfect slaughterhouse for them," Yan Yangtian blurted out.
"Don't be nervous, everybody. Those demon beasts are not at very high levels. Middle-level or high-level demon general, tops. Besides, after thousands of years of hibernation, their body tissue must've been significantly undermined. Although they've woken up again, they are far less effective than thousands of years ago."
Hong Tong's words were mostly meant to ease Li Yao.
Although the demonic waves from them were not intense and they were probably still very weak after thousands of years of hibernation, it was hard to tell whether or not they had any hidden moves, considering that they were demon beasts from thousands of years ago after all.
Taking a deep breath, Li Yao tried to calm himself down. He moved his right hand inch by inch, until he eventually grabbed the Boiled Blood Wind Slash Saber quietly.
His other teammates dispersed silently according to the tactics that they had practiced countless times during training.
The giant net of tentacles from the dozens of demon beasts drifted in the air like a weird grey cloud, until they sensed the existence of human beings and quickly moved toward them.
They were moving in the same way as Heaven's Roar did. The intense air spurting from the holes on the back of their bodies was boosting them forward at an astonishing speed.
A fierce battle was about to break out.
In the blink of an eye, the closest demon beast was only fifty meters from Li Yao.
Li Yao was able to vividly see every thorn on every tentacle right now. The Boiled Blood Wind Slash Saber was shivering violently inside the sheath, eager to jump out.
Suddenly, a shriek burst out from his left, as a streak of brightness passed by him and pierced into the body of the demon beast!
A flying sword!
The Floating Jellyfish were all filled with air inside their body. Now that a flying sword left a long, narrow cut on it, a high-pitched noise of air being leaked immediately echoed and didn't stop until the demon beast withered again.
The other Floating Jellyfish were apparently greatly shocked. They waved their tentacles and formed a dense line of defense.
Li Yao was dazed, too. The flying sword didn't come from him, but from the northeast corner of the ancient battleground.
"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!"
The earth was shaking.
Appearing in front of his eyes were dozens of triplet crystal cameras in the shape of triangle, which were emitting brutality and toughness as their owners march forward in the grey fog.
Soon, it was clearer. Dozens of metal puppets walked into his eyesight rigidly yet firmly.
Their arms had been modified into chainswords and sabers, and they had dull and burdensome honeycomb launchers affixed to their shoulders which were ejecting flying swords unstoppably as they marched on.
Many puppets had been greatly undermined by the blowing wind after such a long time. Their ankles or knees exploded as they were walking, making them fall to the ground, unable to stand up again.
But the remaining puppets never bothered to even glance at them. They stepped over their companions' bodies and marched on.
For the fallen puppets, as long as their crystal processors were still working, they would wave their hands and move their bodies forward with their arms, continuing on their charge at the demon beasts.
"They're the metal puppets from the Star Ocean Imperium.
"In extreme conditions, some puppets will also enter the hibernation state. Only when they detect intense demonic waves will they awaken again to destroy the targets," Hong Tong explained.
While they were talking, the army of metal puppets rushed into the grey net of the demon beasts. A bloody battle with no blood being spilt broke out!
At first, the metal puppets sent out massive flying swords from their honeycomb launchers and separated the demon beasts, before they wielded their chainswords and sabers and slashed the demon beasts as well as their tentacles into pieces.
The demon beasts were not easy to deal with. Countless bullets of air erupted out from the wrinkles and holes covering their bodies and blew the limbs of the metal puppets to pieces.
Both parties had been sleeping in the extreme coldness for thousands of years. Their bodies were unbelievably weak because of the weathering of the wind. Often, after several clashes, the two opponents fell into pieces at the same time.
But neither the demon beasts nor the metal puppets knew what fear was. They were simply carried out what they had been told to do.
Ten minutes later, the protracted war that had been delayed for thousands of years ended.
All the demon beasts and metal puppets had become broken pieces. Their limbs and components drew a painting of destruction on the grey land.
The only thing left was a flying sword in the sky, which was spinning in the air, somewhat lost, because it could not find a target. Eventually, it came at Li Yao.
Li Yao swallowed. His right hand held his saber even tighter.
"Don't be anxious. The flying sword should have the identification system installed. We are all human beings. It wouldn't attack us," Hong Tong explained.
The flying sword flew over the heads of each of them. Li Yao saw clearly the dented edge, the thick rust which was work of the acids of the demon beasts, and also the Red Dragon Swallowing the Sun emblem on the body of the sword.
It used to be the pride of human beings, flying in every corner of the sea of stars.
The tip of the sword shivered for a long time, like a hound which was sniffing to find its prey. After recognizing that they were all human beings, the flying sword went westward into the grey fog, until it completely vanished beyond the horizon later.
"Where is it going?" Li Yao asked.
"Although we are not demon beasts, we don't have the identification spiritual tattoo of the soldiers of the Star Ocean Imperium, either. It has perhaps considered us to be civilians," Hong Tong replied.
"It is going to find a troop of the imperial army, or a demon beast to attack."
Li Yao was dazed for a moment and further questioned, "What if it can't find either?"
Hong Tong answered, "If it can't, it will continue searching until it runs out of spiritual energy."
Li Yao inevitably pictured the following scene.
A lonely flying sword had been flying on the godforsaken land for no one knew how long, without being able to find any comrade or enemy. It was flying more and more slowly. The rust on its body grew thicker and thicker. Sometimes, it even fell down from the sky. But it did not know what fatigue was, nor would it ever abandon its mission. It would only carry on flying and flying until the last bit of its spiritual energy ran dry.
"Little Black, are you looking for a companion or an enemy like that flying sword?" Li Yao asked Black Wing on his back with a telepathic thought.
Black Wing shivered. Li Yao immediately understood what it meant.
"I've already found a companion."
"Alright. Everybody, keep it up! Battles between ancient demon beasts and metal puppets are not unusual in the Occult Orbs!"
Hong Tong bellowed, "Vulture and Dummy, clean up the battleground, and see if there's any trophies that are worth bringing back. Yan Zi and Lingdang, form a scout team and search the mountain nearby. Since this is a battleground, it is very likely that a tunnel is somewhere around here. Shell and I will be on guard!"
Leng Ziming picked an excellent position where he set up his sniper rifle, monitoring the situation of the battleground.
Li Yao and Ba Weiqi jumped down into the ancient battleground which was now covered in shards of ice.
Most of the ancient flying swords, crystal suits, and metal puppets had turned into powder. Although some of them looked intact, they would break into pieces the moment one laid a hand on them.
Li Yao could only scan their appearances with the mystic rays and save them to his crystal processor, hoping that it could be of some help to the designers of magical equipment in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
On the other hand, many of the components of the metal puppets which were engaged in the fierce battle just now were still undamaged.
Li Yao studied carefully. The artificial limbs and the honeycomb launcher were no more advanced than their counterparts in the Heaven's Origin Sector, and therefore were useless to take back.
In the meantime, the hibernation system that kept the puppets alive for thousands of years was quite delicate. Li Yao had never seen anything similar in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
After the Floating Jellyfish fully released the air inside their body, they were not very large in size. Li Yao picked the smallest one, which he soaked in 'Corpse Solidifying Liquid' before throwing it into his Cosmos Ring together with the core of the hibernation system.
He was quite lucky. In the first trip to the Occult Orbs, he had discovered a piece of new magical equipment and a demon beast species which had been thought extinct for a long time. A lot of contribution points had been secured!
Good news came from the scout team, too. Yan Zi and Ding Lingdang had found the entrance of a tunnel which was still open five kilometers west of the ancient battleground.
Five seconds later, the six of them gathered in the entrance of the tunnel.
This place was below cracked rocks. After the long time, the crevices of the rocks were full of Sole-eyed Giant Mushrooms, which were swinging in the wind and emitting a feeble glow.
A steep cave more than three meters in diameter pierced down into the ground, leading to a complete darkness.
The cave was apparently man-made, yet the passage of time had almost ruined all traces of the workers.
Li Yao picked up a piece of round magical equipment and knocked it to his helmet. The ball immediately started cracking.
Then, he threw the ball into the depths of the cave.
After a dull noise, a greenish mystic ray flashed deep down the cave, scanning every direction thoroughly.
The light beam of the six crystal suits displayed a 3D map of the cave which was quite spacious and extended to various directions.
Such a piece of magical equipment was known as 'Light Wave Grenade', which could send out spiritual waves that were similar to sound waves to scan the unknown environment before drawing a 3D map and feeding the conclusion back to the crystal processor. It was very useful in wilderness survival.
Li Yao rubbed his hands and said excitedly, "This tunnel goes 430 meters below the surface, where there are twelve operation platforms. It appears that there will be quite a lot of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures in this place!"