"Today is the day when the secret operation will be revealed. The top ten teams on the Rank of Stars are all here!" Captain Hong Tong said softly.
Li Yao retreated his gaze and glanced around.
The super teams ranking in top ten usually wouldn't stay too long in Empyreal Star City. They were either in an Occult Orb or on their way to one. So, Team Blue Bronze had barely seen them in reality before.
However, Li Yao had watched their mission videos hundreds of times to learn lessons from them. Therefore, he recognized them without any trouble.
Team Nine Cauldrons, whose six members were all above the middle level of the Building Foundation Stage. Their melee combat ability was the best in Occult Orbs Fellowship.
Team Permanent Apparition. Four out of its six members were adept at mental attacks; they could make their enemy's brain crumble without drawing their weapons.
Team White Fang. All six of its members were gun experts who were best at gunfighting. Once their fire net took form, even a demon king might be minced instantly.
Of course, there was also Team Thunder Soul led by Yan Jun, the first on the Rank of Stars for an entire year and the unquestionable king of Occult Orbs Fellowship.
While Li Yao was eyeing the other nine teams, they were also observing him quietly.
Team Blue Bronze was once a top 5 team. Its return was not very surprising. The old members such as Hong Tong and Ba Weiqi were all skilled Orb Patrollers whose capabilities were well acknowledged.
On the other hand, the eye-opening performance of the two newcomers, namely Vulture Li Yao and Inferno Witch Ding Lingdang, had attracted the attention of quite a few Orb Patrollers and Cultivation sects.
It was going to take a long time before two worlds were fully merged. According to the astronomers, the process could be as protracted as twenty or even thirty years.
Since the development levels of the two worlds were similar to each other, there was a good chance that neither of them would be able to defeat its nemesis before the final war, not without some extremely lucky accidents.
Which meant that this war could linger on for decades.
The young Cultivators who were full of potential such as Li Yao and Ding Lingdang might still be at the beginning level or middle level of the Building Foundation Stage at present. But after twenty to thirty years of training and killing, they would likely become first-rate experts as long as they were lucky enough to not get killed.
While the two parties were spotting each other, a breeze without any sign started drifting inside the temple.
In the blink of an eye, three shadows appeared in front of the temple before they consolidated, as if they'd been standing there the whole time.
Li Yao was entirely refreshed. The real experts were here!
On the left, it was a bald, athletic man more than two meters tall. His bulging muscles left the illusion that his black tuxedo was one size too slim and that it was going to be torn apart at any time. There was an extremely tiny flying sword on his back, which was so small that it looked like a child's toy.
For a muscular man of his height and weight, it was only reasonable that he wielded chainswords that were two meters or even three meters long. Yet, his weapon was a flying sword that had a length of no more than twenty centimeters, which was like an iron toothpick compared to his appearance. The contrast was somewhat hilarious.
The one in the middle was a plain-looking old man who was wearing ordinary clothes. The drowsy countenance and the messy grey hair could be found everywhere in a town on the retired old men who were idling around every day.
On the right, it was a graceful, middle-aged lady. Since they were here to pay respect to the sacrificed warriors, she was wearing a white dress, naturally bringing an air that she was an angle who did not belong to this world.
The auras of the three experts were locked into their body without any bit being leaked out. But still, one could feel the overwhelming dominance from them. This must be what the poets called 'traceless suppression'.
"Nascent Soul! Three Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators!"
Li Yao's eyes were full of passion. He was thinking of holding up his eyelids with his fingers, so that he wouldn't miss anything that the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators said or did.
In the entire Heaven's Origin Sector, there were only a few dozen Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, and less than a thousand Core Formation Stage Cultivators.
Among the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, there were fewer than ten battle-type Cultivators. Most of the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were admin-type and research-type Cultivators.
After all, the advancement of battle-type Cultivators often required fierce combat. Their death rate was far higher than the death rate of Cultivators of other types.
The three Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators were all Councilors of Occult Orbs Fellowship. Li Yao had paid a great many contribution points for their tutorial videos before. Therefore, he recognized them instantly.
They were all battle-type Cultivators!
A third of the best warriors of the Heaven's Origin Sector were standing right in front of him!
In veneration and deference, Li Yao held his breath and recalled the stories about the three Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators.
The inconspicuous messy old man in the middle was 'Iron God' Yan Ba, known as the best body practitioner in the Heaven's Origin Sector, who was the former leader of Marvelous Fist Sect and also a 'body fundamentalist' that despised all sorts of magical equipment and resorted to nothing but his own fists during combat.
Li Yao had studied one of his combat videos before, in which he beat a demon king to death bare-handed in less than five seconds. Li Yao had to admit that his fists were the most formidable weapons in the world, sharper than any magical equipment could ever be.
The middle-aged lady on the right was 'Sevenfold Dreams' Meng Weiyang, a hybrid-type Cultivator both talented in combat and culture.
She was a Grand Illusionist, one of the most mysterious professions in the world of Cultivators. She was best at creating an illusionary wonderland with her pen in which her enemy would be trapped in endless scenes dominated by the rules written by her.
The bald, muscular man on the left who was using a weapon that was the very opposite of his size had a nickname that was equally in discordance to his stature'Sand'.
'Sand' Sha Tianqing, 192 years old, founder of 'School of Sand'.
'School of Sand' was also known as 'Quicksand'. It was not a real sect but a regularly-held seminar where Cultivators of different sects with similar beliefs gathered together and exchanged their ideas and thoughts.
Cultivators participating in the School of Sand maintained that speed was the decisive factor for strength. As long as the speed was high enough, a grain of sand was enough to kill a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator!
Therefore, magical equipment, mystic rays, and all other trivial technologies were all unnecessary. There was one and only one thing that School of Sand studied, which was how to accelerate an ordinary item to a super-high speed beyond limits.
As a result, School of Sand was also known as 'School of Acceleration'. Some of the believers even held that, when its momentum broke the ultimate limit, a grain of sand could blow a planet into pieces effortlessly, let alone Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators.
Of course, it was a different matter entirely to keep the sand intact at such high speeds.
Although countless Cultivators had openly declared that the principles of School of Sand were nothing but a joke, none of them ever dared to look down upon Sha Tianqing himself. In quarrels as to what 'the right path of Cultivation' was, Sha Tianqing had proved his theories time and time again with the extraordinary speed of the ordinary-looking flying sword on his back.
The appearance of the three Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators cast the entire temple into an odd silence. Everyone was staring at them with passion and admiration like Li Yao.
The three Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators paid respect to the sacrificed Orb Patrollers solemnly first. After mourning in silence for one minute, they turned around and glanced over the crowd with sharp eyes.
Meng Weiyang said seriously, "Three months ago, Occult Orbs Fellowship proclaimed a secret operation which required ten candidate teams. The teams we choose will receive the unreserved enlightenment of the Nine Councilors of Occult Orbs Fellowship as well as Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
"I believe most of you have heard of a thing or two about the secret operation. We're about to commence the exploration of Ultimacy!
"According to our latest intelligence, the Blood Demon Sector is also pouring all the resources they have into the construction of an unprecedented super teleportation array named 'Eye of Blood Demon'. In the meantime, they have been winnowing out the promising princes and nobles from all the demon kingdoms, building up the candidates' bodies with the cruelest, bloodiest methods, and preparing to send them to Ultimacy.
"What I'm saying is that the Orb Patrollers taking part in the mission to Ultimacy will most likely be engaged with the most formidable enemies in history.
"The opportunities and dangers have been stated clearly to you. If any of you wishes to withdraw, please step back so that the subsequent teams can fill up your place. If you've made up your mind, the mission to Ultimacy will officially begin now!"
One day later, in a rocky valley three hundred kilometers away from Empyreal Star City
Six military bases were in the periphery, with countless flying sword positions and surface-to-air defense rune arrays. There were even more than a hundred crystal warships stationed in this area.
Inside the valley, there was a giant crater almost five hundred meters in diameters. The inner wall of the crater was as smooth as a mirror, as if it had been made of glass. The entire pit seemed to be a result of a gargantuan meteorite.
Passing multiple checkpoints, a few crystal airships flew toward the crater.
With his nose pressed firmly against the cabin window, Li Yao observed the crater carefully.
The closer he got, the more he was impressed by the splendor of the crater. It gave the feeling that he was an ant crawling in an enormous pan.
When he was five hundred meters from it, he noticed that the wall of the crater was covered in runes the size of a palm.
To cover such a giant crater with such small runes, what a marvelous project it was!
In the middle of the crater was a hole more than ten meters in diameter leading to the deep underground, which made the crater look somewhat like a funnel.
Li Yao could vaguely feel the furious spiritual waves of the fire class being emitted from the depths of the funnel.
"This is the super teleportation array that can send Cultivators to Ultimacy nearly ten thousand lightyears away, our Heaven's Artillery."
Standing at the front of the cabin, Meng Weiyang said proudly, "Since the scale of the teleportation array was too large and the star rails demanded are too long, it is impossible to fix the problem regarding the hardness of star rails and the spiritual energy supply on the ground. Therefore, the Heaven's Artillery has been established under the ground.
"The pit you can see right now is the silo of the Heaven's Artillery.
"We chose this valley because there is a very active magma belt underground. It is filled with intense spiritual energy and is desperate to rush to the surface.
"Transformed by tens of thousands of rune arrays, the furious fiery spiritual energy has become pure and stable which will be used to activate the Heaven's Artillery. When the time comes, the star shuttle will be launched by a volcanic eruption!"
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