A secret operation was to begin in a hundred days!
It equaled to a public declaration that exploration of Ultimacy was beginning soon, and that only the most brilliant Cultivators of the Heaven's Origin Sector would set foot in the mysterious place that had never been visited before.
Empyreal Star City was on fire.
All the Star Teams had gone crazy, busily applying for all kinds of difficult tasks.
The star rails of Occult Orbs Fellowship's launch base were working day and night. There were star shuttles rushing out through the sea of stars every hour.
The thunder in the sky never died down. The reddish clouds never faded.
In the moment when all the Star Teams were desperate to show themselves, Team Blue Bronze announced its grand return by the dazzling and awe-inspiring achievements that they accomplished.
Each team who returned from Occult Orbs full-loaded and balanced their contribution points in satisfaction would hear Team Blue Bronze's much more flabbergasting news, which spread to every corner of Empyreal Star City easily.
"On March 15th, Team Blue Bronze went to Secret Mirage where they picked up a rarely-seen plant 'Shocking Thunder Flower'. It is of great use to Cultivators whose spiritual energy is of the lightning class when they are entering the Core Formation Stage.
"In the meantime, they slew the atrocious spiritual beast guarding the flower, a Thunder Spirit Leopard!"
"On March 21st, Team Blue Bronze went deep into Burning Flame. Not only did they find a vast ancient battleground where a lot of well-preserved weapons were dug out, 'Vulture Li Yao' also unearthed an armed shuttle that was basically intact!
"Some of the technology employed in the armed shuttle are at least thirty years more advanced than the existent ones in the Heaven's Origin Sector. If they are fully decrypted, they will be a great help for the development of the next-generation armed shuttles of the federal army!
"On March 27th, Team Blue Bronze and another three Star Teams started an expedition to Burning Inferno. A blood pool that the demon clan built up to breed special demon beasts was demolished. More than fifty demon generals were killed. Inferno Witch Ding Lingdang slayed three high-level demon generals personally and was credited as the MVP!
"On April 6th, in competition for the right to carry out a mission that was extremely dangerous, Team Blue Bronze challenged Team Eternal Phoenix which ranked the 29th to a duel and finished the battle in only 21 minutes and 37 seconds!
"Over the past one month, Team Blue Bronze has been unstoppable. Its rank has improved by more than thirty places and has reached 27th place!"
Breaking news regarding the latest progress of Team Blue Bronze was shocking the Orb Patrollers every day.
As for the two newcomers, Vulture Li Yao and Inferno Witch Ding Lingdang, their personal strength had been continuously soaring after every mission. Their unbelievable mission videos were great eye-openers for a lot of people, making them two of the best-known celebrities of Empyreal Star City right now.
On April 27th, in an advanced refining workshop with the most facilities
As the number of the contribution points in his account increased crazily, Li Yao could afford better services now. This particular refining workshop was modified based on a maintenance workshop of a starship from the Star Ocean Imperium. It was the top refining workshop even in the entire Heaven's Origin Sector. Naturally, the hourly fee to rent it was also astronomical. Li Yao gritted his teeth and rented the workshop for three hours every day.
After training for over a month in the Occult Orbs and going through life and death in frost, flame, and blood pools of the demon clan, Li Yao's demeanor had greatly changed.
Before, although he had been engaged in several big events such as the Battle of Verdant Tart City and the War of Seven Cities, Li Yao had spent most of his time in the Grand Desolate War Institution. Inevitably, a vibe of immatureness that belonged to the college students who had never experienced real life always lingered around him.
But after fighting and killing in the foreign lands far away from the Heaven's Origin Sector, he was like a saber whose sharpness was all hidden deep inside the edge because it had been burnished hundreds of times. He was much more peaceful and sophisticated than before.
However, a bright blue scar that looked like a tear could be found right below his right eye, which destroyed the overall serenity in his face and made him looked somewhat brutal.
The scar had been left by the splashing corrosive acid when they were uprooting the blood pool of the demon clan. Although he had smeared medical ointment, it would take at least two months before new flesh could grow out.
Li Yao couldn't care less about it. On the contrary, he quite enjoyed his new appearance which was endowed with an air of cruelness.
Li Yao warmed up his fingers slowly. After two months of soaking and regenerating that were as miserable as hell, the 'Thousand Fingers Soft Bone' technique had been fully carried out. Purple colors were spreading out of his fingers and spinning around them, as if he were holding two torches of purple flames in his hands.
After a shiver of his fingers, all the purple flames were absorbed by his hands, which now seemed to be carved out of flawless and sparkling purple jade.
In the next second, bones and joints bulged out from his two hands which were as warm and smooth as jade a moment ago. In his flesh, ten sharp knives of bones seemed to be buried. He opened his hands, and they immediately ejected out with an intense smell of blood. Dozens of electric arcs flickering with blue and purple spluttered among his fingers.
In front of Li Yao, a rock that was extremely hard was placed.
This kind of rock was harder than most metals, and it was naturally resistant against spiritual energy. It was almost as good as the rock in Li Yao's own refining workshop on which he hammered his magical equipment.
Sniffing, Li Yao waved his hands which were wreathed in blue and purple electric arcs and scratched the rock. Cracking noises echoed nonstop, as if a giant animal was chewing its prey's skin and bones. The rock crumbled and shrank in size like it was a piece of rotten wood. Half a minute later, it was only half its previous size.
Li Yao was greatly satisfied. He examined the traces of his claws and mumbled to himself, "As expected of an ultimate martial art that cost me 32,000 contribution points. This 'Purple Electric Blue Hell Claw Art' is indeed marvelous!"
After he was done with 'Thousand Fingers Soft Bone', he had been thinking to learn a new martial art that could make best use of his fast hand movement and monstrous finger strength.
After considering for a long time, he decided to learn a claw art.
After all, his spiritual energy was in the form of an eagle when solidified.
The most common way for an eagle to attack was snatching the prey with its claws. By learning a claw attack martial art, it would be easier to resonate with his spiritual energy.
Therefore, after he had accumulated enough contribution points, he redeemed them for one of the best claw arts in the Heaven's Origin Sector without any hesitation.
Although he hadn't fully grasped it since he'd only bought it half a month ago, Li Yao was very satisfied with his progress.
"In the Cultivation world, there is a kind of unusual magical equipment named 'Flash Claw' which can unleash high-voltage electricity when it tears the enemy apart. I could totally add a Flash Claw to the left hand of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, with additional high-frequency vibration abilities.
"With the electric shock and the high-frequency vibration, even the demon beasts with the thickest skin wouldn't be able to suffer one of my strikes!
"Then, I will have Floating Vulcan Machine Guns as my long-range weapons, Boiled Blood Wind Slashing Saber as my melee weapon, Vibrating Flash Claw during a close combat, together with the forty mini beast puppets that I refined out of the egg of the Gold Thread Venomous Bee. I am already armed to teeth. Who knows? I think I'm ready for Ultimacy right now!"
Licking his sharp teeth, Li Yao smiled and returned to peace. He washed his hands carefully and walked into the dust-free room on the right side of the refining workshop.
The practice of 'Purple Electric Blue Hell Claw Art' was just meant to warm up his fingers.
What he was going to do next was more important.
Over the past month, he had been carrying the nine scraps that he bought from the secret treasure exchange with him all the time and studied the damage on them whenever he was free. He had perceived several of the saber actions from them, which made his Thunderous Tornado Saber Art all the more intimidating.
However, what brought him the most benefits was the rusted, watch-like magical equipment.
This piece of magical equipment looked shabby and not worth repairing at all. But after Li Yao removed the dust with the secret technique of the Hundred Smelting Clan and cleaned all of its components, he discovered that it was far less ruined than he had expected.
The delicacy of the magical equipment was beyond his expectation, too. He estimated that it was even more precise than the most advanced hunter's watch of the Zephyr Guild.
Studying in the Grand Desolate War Institution all the time, Li Yao was not familiar with precise magical equipment. This was a good opportunity for him to practice.
Out of pure curiosity, Li Yao dismantled the magical equipment and got countless components than were smaller than millet and narrower than a hair, before he studied the usage of each component and the purpose of this magical equipment as a whole.
At first, he was only doing it for fun. But soon, he was deeply attracted to the magical equipment.
After spreading out all the components, it would only take up an area of a desk.
But for him, it was like a vast ocean that he couldn't see the boundary of.
Li Yao was addicted to it. Except for the days on the Occult Orbs, he was completely devoted to the polishing and maintenance of this mysterious magical equipment.
Today, he finally understood the attributes of all the components and devised a few new tiny components according to the intention of the designer of the magical equipment. Everything was set.
"The technology employed in the magical equipment is too complicated for me. It's impossible for me to fully repair it at present.
"However, I can bypass the trickiest part and fix the peripheral components only. By connecting an outlet unit with the peripheral components, I can make it work with the minimum functions. I estimate that thirty percent of its functions can be triggered!
"Thirty percent is good enough!"
To deal with the components that were tinier than millet, Li Yao had undertaken a new method to assemble them: refining with spiritual threads!
He closed his eyes, while his spiritual energy rippled out and lifted thousands of miniature components which were floating up and down in the air like invisible hands.
Then, he extended innumerous spiritual threads out of his spiritual root, each of which tied up one component gently.
Muttering spells to himself, Li Yao quickly waved his hands in the air, drawing not runes, but a translucent, bright gold holograph that appeared to be the internal structure of something.
After that, his ten fingers trembled at a speed that was too high for the human eyes to catch, as he guided his spiritual threads to drag the components to the corresponding location on the holograph.
When the thousands of components were all in position, Li Yao's half-closed eyes suddenly opened. Then he crossed his fingers and bellowed, "Freeze!"
The bright gold holograph instantly condensed into a ball, before it exploded and unveiled a brand-new artifact inside.
The thousands of components that were tinier than millet had been assembled momentarily!