"Good lord, what is this"
The six Orb Patrollers all thought that they'd seen a lot of things, but what they saw right now still dumbfounded them. Their hearts seemed to be tossed into the middle of the surging tide, bouncing up and down with no way to calm down.
After passing through the steep mountains, they'd found a vast, black plateau, on which countless absolutely vertical black lines were standing while they pierced into the sky and protruded out of the atmosphere.
As they drew close, they finally realized that the 'black lines' were actually giant pillars more than a hundred meters in diameter.
The cylinders were more than a hundred meters in diameter and dozens of kilometers long without the slightest error. There was no telling what the cylinders were made of. They didn't collapse because of their own weight, nor were they weathered or worn by thousands of years of climate changes and crustal movements; they just stood silently on the rugged land of Ultimacy.
The indifference of the black pillars indicated the formidability of their creator!
Everybody held their breath faced with such an unbelievable splendor. They circled around the black pillars time and time again, only to become more confused than before.
Li Yao drew his dagger and scratched the pillar, trying to retrieve some powder for future research.
But he failed to leave any trace on the black pillar even though he exerted all his strength. The material and the technology making up the giant pillars were indeed too advanced to fathom.
Li Yao clicked his tongue. Whatever those black pillars were made of, it was much solider than many super metals recorded in the classics of the Hundred Smelting Clan. Flying swords, armor, and starships would be indestructible if they were refined out of such materials!
If he could figure out the distribution of the materials and learn the method of refining, the war potential of the Star Glory Federation would be upgraded by many levels.
Ultimacy was indeed a place full of treasure!
Right then, he heard Yan Yangtian's cry in the communication channel.
Li Yao was greatly alarmed. He quickly moved to where Yan Yangtian was, only to find that she was not in any danger but was floating in front of one of the black pillars in a daze.
Li Yao raised his eyebrow and looked at the black pillar. His eyes immediately widened, and his pupils dilated in shock.
Three scratches that were several meters deep had been left on this particular black pillar which was indestructible in Li Yao's understanding. A claw more than ten meters in diameter must've snatched down from the sky and torn the black pillar apart easily!
"What kind of magnificent being could leave scratch marks like this?!"
Greatly amazed, Li Yao flew toward to the depths of the black pillars.
He noticed that the distribution of the black pillars was apparently in a pattern. They seemed to form a giant array. The closer he got to the center, the more scratches he found on the black pillars.
After their surfaces were broken, the black pillars were not able to withstand the weathering of time despite their unparalleled hardness. Small granules could be found on the edge of the scratches. Li Yao finally gathered some powder.
By preliminary analysis, the powder was neither metal nor stone, but it was emitting intense spiritual waves, indicating that its raw materials were among the best Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures.
As for what the raw materials were specifically, it could only be found out when they were back in the Heaven's Origin Sector's labs.
Li Yao even found a broken claw inside the hole of one of the scratch marks.
Technically speaking, it was just a talon, but it was already as long as an adult. It was bright gold, somewhat curved, and extremely sharp.
It took them an hour of hard work to pull the talon out of the black pillar.
Li Yao swung the talon gently. Like the most excellent saber, the talon roared and raised immense spiritual waves, unleashing an aura that was almost fifteen meters long.
"Good heavens! This is definitely one of the best Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures! It can enhance my spiritual energy by 200% without being refined. It will definitely be a marvelous saber if it is refined properly!"
Li Yao's eyes were beaming with joy. He was almost drooling.
His Boiled Blood Wind Slashing Saber was refined out of rarely-seen marrow blood crystals from the Blood Demon Sector and dozens of other marrow crystals and Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures based on the ancient refining technology of the Hundred Smelting Clan. But the blood aura triggered by the saber was no longer than ten meters.
The talon could unleash a fifteen-meters-long aura without being refined whatsoever!
Besides, its shape and weight were very similar to those of a heavy saber, and it felt comfortable in his hands.
If he could refine the talon together with his Boiled Blood Wind Slashing Saber, the strength of his weapon would at least be doubled.
Li Yao stored the talon inside his Cosmos Ring without any hesitation.
As the refiner and the expert in saber arts in the team, he was naturally the most suitable guardian of such a saber-shaped Heavenly Material and Earthly Treasure. Should it be needed, its strength would be maximized in his hands.
Li Yao had made up his mind that he would redeem this talon no matter how many contribution points he had to pay.
As one of the explorers of the item, he had the priority of redemption. Even Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators could not compete with him.
While he was drawing dozens of refining plans in his mind, his teammates made more shocking discoveries.
Among the dozens of black pillars in the center of the giant array, they found countless thick chains, each of which was more than one meter in diameter brimming with runes that were smaller than grain. They were releasing weird dark purple light.
Li Yao scanned all the runes and compared them with the multiple powerful arrays of the Hundred Smelting Clan. Then he mumbled, "Although I don't understand the specific functioning mechanism of the runes, they should be part of an ancient barrier!
"If my guess is correct, the black pillars do not just protrude out of the atmosphere, but they also extend deep into the underground!
"Beyond the atmosphere, they absorb the violent spiritual energy in the cosmos; in the middle of the atmosphere, they absorb the power of thunder; deep underground, they absorb the energy unbridled from volcano eruptions and crustal movements!
"All the energy has been transmitted to the black pillars in the center of the array in a mysterious way that I cannot comprehend in order to trigger the barrier on the chains!
"What kind of thing was such a splendid barrier trying to contain?"
Soon, they found the answer to their question.
In the center of the black array, they found dozens of bones.
Several of them looked like ribs but were more than three hundred meters long, as if they were the pillars of a splendid temple.
Some other bones seemed to belong to a short and thick arm, if two hundred meters could be called short.
The color of the bones was almost identical to the talon that Li Yao had collected previously. However, they were riddled with holes after thousands of years of savaging from the barrier.
"What is this beast that has ribs more than three hundred meters long and requires such an enormous barrier to suppress?"
"Why is there only such a small proportion of bones? Where are the rest of them? Have they been chewed by the spiritual beasts on Ultimacy or excavated by the adventurers of the Star Ocean Imperium and the demon race?
"Or maybe the beast tore off its own arm and ran away?"
Everybody looked at each other in bewilderment, while they pictured the same thing in their mind:
Locked by countless black pillars and manacles, curbed by thunder, fire, and interstellar storms, a bright gold beast several kilometers long was roaring, struggling, leaving deep scratches on the black pillars effortlessly.
Eventually, it exerted its strength and freed itself from the shackles at the cost of one of its limbs. Then it hollered and soared to the sky, vanishing in the boundless cosmos.
The picture made all six of them sweat in tremble.
Li Yao flew around the broken bones a few times, trying to store the bright gold bones into his Cosmos Ring.
But the storage technology of the Heaven's Origin Sector was still quite shabby. Cosmos Rings and Storage Bags were not able to be manufactured.
The Cosmos Rings and the Storage Bags they used were all pickups from the Occult Orbs.
The Cosmos Rings and the Storage Bags were all of low levels with limited space. Even the biggest of them had room no larger than that of a train car.
For the expedition to Ultimacy, the Heaven's Origin Sector had poured all the resources available. Every Orb Patroller was carrying more than ten Cosmos Rings and Storage Bags.
But they were all helpless when faced with such super large Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures more than a hundred meters long. Unless the items were cut into fragments, there would be no way to take them back in the Cosmos Rings.
Therefore, Li Yao could do nothing except sigh in discontent.
Thankfully, he found several broken rune chains near the bright gold bones. The dark purple chains were like boas in hibernation. Intense spiritual energy could be felt inside them, indicating that they were rarely-seen secret treasures, too.
Li Yao searched and searched. He didn't stop collecting until one of his Cosmos Rings was full.
At this moment, 'Dummy' Ba Weiqi had finally reached out of another Star Team.
It was not a direction communication. He simply received a telepathic thought from the Star Team.
The source of the telepathic thought was 1,500 kilometers away from them to their northwest.
Out of concern for the possible block and detection of the demon squads, the telepathic thought was brief and encrypted.
It was a targeted telepathic thought, indicating that the Star Team had a major discovery and would like other Star Teams to join them as soon as possible.
Everyone was refreshed. After scanning the surroundings and making sure of their coordinates, they rushed northwest without any delay.
The northwest was a mountainous zone with enormous folds here and there. One moment, mountains concealed by clouds blocked their way; the next thing they knew, uncanny gales surged up from the gorges thousands of meters of deep, with an immense force pulling them downwards by their ankles like formless hands.
Due to the extremely complicated territories, they had to tread lightly although they were Cultivators. It took them almost twenty hours to reach the source of the telepathic thought.
In front of them was a giant valley more than 5,700 meters deep.
The valley was too dark to see the bottom. Raging wind was charging to and fro inside the valley like a flood which was finding its way out of a canal.
Countless scattered stones were floating in midair, forming a very special stone belt.
The signal had been sent from the bottom of the valley.
The odd environment seemed too unfavorable for the demon race to set up any traps without a good reason. After discussing for a while, Team Blue Bronze decided to march inside.
"Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!"
Like six torches tossed into an abyss, the six crystal suits roared and broke into the rampant wind and the scattering stones!