'Dummy' Ba Weiqi jumped out of the ocean. Nine antennas covered in rings stood out from the disproportionately large head of his crystal suit, which projected his mental power that had been enhanced by dozens of times to the sky where it formed an impregnable dragnet.
A moment later, a translucent shadow appeared in the sky, dancing and dashing, only to be blocked by the vast, invisible net, before returning to Sang Hai's head helplessly.
"Sang Hai's soul has been pressed back to his dead body!" Ba Weiqi yelled.
Yan Yangtian, who had been hiding nearby all the time, leaped forward and slapped Sang Hai's head, which was immediately frozen with frost flowers flourishing.
Emotionlessly, Yan Yangtian picked the frozen head, put it into a container, and placed it in her Cosmos Ring.
Since Sang Hai was one of the three thousand deadly demons, he must be aware of much confidential information about the Blood Demon Sector. The secret arts that he employed to breed biochemical beasts would also be a great help to the study of life science in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
He had been executed neatly. His brain cells were all intact; his demon soul failed to run away. After the team returned to the Heaven's Origin Sector, many research-type Cultivators would be able to make him confess every secret buried inside his brain.
"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!"
At this moment, more than ten earthshaking explosions took place deep down the ocean in the far ahead. The fireball soared to the sky and dyed the gloom into redness.
The sea biochemical beasts breeding base that the Blood Demon Sector had established deep under the ocean had been detonated by four Star Teams.
Letting out a long sigh of relief, Li Yao watched the kraken's dead body floating up and down in the dark swirls moving toward the depths of the ocean, knowing that a potential hazard had been removed successfully.
Had Occult Orbs Fellowship not discovered the secret base in time, the demon clan would've been able to throw the eggs of the biochemical beasts into the sea of the Heaven's Origin Sector where they would have grown up over ten to twenty years without anybody noticing anything wrong. At the right timing, a demon squad could've snuck into the Heaven's Origin Sector and appeared in the seashore of the Star Glory Federation reining those biochemical beasts, locking the ports and cutting off transportation The consequences would've been calamitous.
"Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!"
More than ten streaks of brightness dashed toward them, which were the other Orb Patrollers taking part in this collaborative mission.
Seeing the twitching dead body in the air which was still surrounded by intense demonic energy even though it had lost it head, all the Orb Patrollers were dumbfounded, and it was not until five seconds later that then finally gasped in disbelief.
They might have demolished the breeding base of the demon clan, but Team Blue Bronze had slain a well-known expert on the Deadly Demons List!
It seemed that Team Blue Bronze would receive the most contribution points again!
But no one had any complaints.
They were a hundred percent sure that they could destroy the breeding base of sea biochemical beasts, but they had no faith whatsoever that they could kill Sang Hai and were not even willing to give it a try.
Team Blue Bronze had become the best team of the outside-world Orb Patrollers!
Four seriously damaged star shuttles stopped at the end of the star rails.
Members of Team Blue Bronze walked out of their star shuttle with their heads held high, surrounded by staff that were almost five times as many as before.
Many research-type Cultivators had learnt of the news in advance. They were waiting outside to get the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures retrieved from the Occult Orb and the head of the deadly demon, so that they could begin their study sooner.
Right now, Team Blue Bronze had been well acknowledged as a first-tier team.
Other than Li Yao, Ding Lingdang and Captain Hong Tong had appeared on the Deadly Demons List, too, which meant that they were considered by the demon clan to belong to the three thousand most dangerous people of the Star Glory Federation which had a population of almost ten billion.
Captain Hong Tong ranked the 2321st, while Ding Lingdang ranked the 2904th.
Three members of a team were on the Stars to Destroy List. It indicated that the personnel of the team were neatly organized. There was no significant drawback. Even if the team suffered great damage in a battle, in which one or two main members perished, the capability of the team wouldn't be entirely lost.
After handing in the trophies obtained from the mission in Ghost Ocean and submitting the mission videos, they asked the mainframe crystal processor to reevaluate the capability of the team.
According to the accomplishments and the personal strength of the team members, the system soon calculated their rank.
11th on the Rank of Stars!
Seeing their new rank, all the members of Team Blue Bronze had complicated feelings, especially the four old members including Captain Hong Tong.
"After Captain Yin perished, we never expected that we could return to the top 20 of the Rank of Stars within a year after the pillar of the team had died. Our comprehensive score is only one step away from 10th!"
Staring at the light beam, Hong Tong's eyes turned reddish while tears were brewing. He remarked, "Li Yao, Lingdang, thanks to you, Team Blue Bronze has been revived!"
"Captain, we've been through life and death together enough times to drop the civilities."
Li Yao smiled and said, "Ding Lingdang and I always feel lucky that we chose Team Blue Bronze, too, because this is the place where we can bring out the best of what we are! It's needless to say anything else. There are ten days to go before the candidate teams eligible for the secret operation are to be announced by Occult Orbs. We must reach the top ten by then!"
Hong Tong calmed himself down. His eyes regained sharpness, while he said in a low voice, "Everything is in vain if we cannot arrive in the top ten of the Rank of Stars. We've been pushing ourselves for three months. There are only ten days to go. We must overcome the barrier in front of us, no matter how hard it seems!
"Only after we enter the top ten of the Rank of Stars will we qualify to receive the enlightenment of the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators and accept their spiritual seeds.
"Of the six of us, Li Yao and Ding Lingdang are still young and full of potentials, while the rest of us are almost fixed, our potential running dry, although we are at the middle level and high level of the Building Foundation Stage.
"Without undergoing fortuitous events and just by training normally, Li Yao and Ding Lingdang may need dozens of years in order to break into the Core Formation Stage, if they are unbelievably lucky.
"As for the four of us, we don't stand a chance at all.
"But, spiritual seeds! With the help of the spiritual seeds of the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, we will be bestowed an opportunity to experience the higher level and form our cores! Li Yao and Ding Lingdang's training time will be greatly saved. It will take less than ten years for them to form their cores!
"Not to mention that exploring the unseen Ultimacy is the highest honor for us Cultivators. If we set off on the expedition, our names will be left in the history books of the Star Glory Federation!
"Even if I have to die, I will stab my bones deeply into the earth of Ultimacy!"
Hong Tong's speech triggered countless thoughts in everyone's hearts.
From the ancient time to nowadays, millions of Cultivators had been seeking the path to immortality, but none of them had ever succeeded.
For some of them, not only were their bodies rotten, the innocent also fell victim to their attempts. Even the world had once been on the verge of dilapidation. They and their descendants were doomed and cursed for all eternity.
However, although bodies may cease to exist, spirits could live forever. The names of all the Cultivators would be indelible in the magnificent history of the Star Glory Federation.
As long as the Star Glory Federation lived on, these Cultivators would be immortal!
When the Star Glory Federation expanded into the universe, their names would be spread to every corner of the sea of stars!
As modern Cultivators, this was the supreme immortality that they were pursuing and willing to die for!
"I suggest that we take a three-day rest, and that 80% of the contribution points be allocated to Li Yao, who then will purchase secret treasures for all of us, so that our magical equipment can be fully upgraded again. After that, we will carry out the most risky and difficult mission in order to reach the top ten of the Rank of Stars!"
Captain Hong Tong waved his hand fervently.
Yet, his teammates didn't answer to his declaration as enthusiastically as he'd expected, because they were gazing at the light beam behind him in bewilderment.
Hong Tong was surprised and turned back, only to notice that the Rank of Stars was changing violently while Team Blue Bronze jumped upward to
10th of the Rank of Stars!
Then, they heard shocking exclamations from the chitchatting Orb Patrollers nearby.
Soon, the latest news popped up at the bottom of the light beam. Everybody's eyes were stung by the blood red.
"Team Dragon Slayers, originally 6th in the Rank of Stars, was ambushed by the demon clan during a mission in Forest Sea; there were no survivors. All six members, including the captain who ranked 2441st on the Stars to Destroy List, have perished!"
Ten days later, in the Temple of Fallen Stars, a building of solemnity and reverence in front of the central square of Empyreal Star City.
During the ten days, Team Blue Bronze had poured all the resources available to purchase a large batch of secret treasures. They had also completed another mission, securing tenth place on the Rank of Stars to this day and leaving no chance for the Star Teams behind to catch up to them.
Explorations of the Occult Orbs were extremely perilous endeavors. Orb Patrollers died every month.
In the middle of each month, all the Orb Patrollers in Empyreal Star City would congregate in the Temple of Fallen Stars to pay their respects to the Orb Patrollers who were gone.
Over the past few months, the resource competition between the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector had gotten fiercer and fiercer.
Many names on the Deadly Demons List had been eradicated.
On the other hand, thirty-one Orb Patrollers had fallen, including Team Dragon Slayers which had been eliminated as a team. It was a great loss for Occult Orbs Fellowship.
Therefore, the Temple of Fallen Stars was extraordinarily grave today.
In the temple, Li Yao bowed to the 3D portraits of the Cultivators who'd passed away over the last month deferentially three times, left the line, and mourned silently, with mixed feelings rolling over in his heart.
Although the accident of Team Dragon Slayers had emptied room for Team Blue Bronze to return to the top 10 of the Ranks of Stars effortlessly, it was not a result that Li Yao desired.
On one hand, reaching the top ten in such a way felt like cheating.
On the other hand, although Team Dragon Slayers was exclusively made of Children of Occult Orbs and they'd never seen eye to eye with Team Blue Bronze, they were Cultivators of the Heaven's Origin Sector after all. The conflicts between them seemed trivial when a war concerning the future of the human race was drawing near.
Li Yao couldn't help but feel sad for the demise of so many fellow Orb Patrollers.
Seeing from the 3D portraits the vivid figures, some of whom had been training with him, some of whom had been on the same mission as him, and still some of whom had asked him to modify magical equipment for them, Li Yao was clenching his fists tighter and tighter.