"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!"
Savaged and brutalized by countless kinds of magical equipment, the underground world was wreathed in undying smoke. The temperature hundreds of degrees high vaporized a huge amount of lake water, raising clusters of silver mist above the lake.
The strange beast inside the lake was squeaking angrily. Water pillars rose up and hit the crags. A lot of rocks were falling down. For a moment, the ground was trembling as if an earthquake was occurring.
Li Yao and his teammates moved as quickly as they could as they dashed into a new crevice. The roars of the strange beast didn't die down until they were thousands of meters away from the silver lake.
"It's great that Vulture was fast enough to finish the collection of the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures before the strange beast inside the lake revealed its true self!
"It's possible that the beast was seriously wounded or was shackled by some kind of barrier. That's why it didn't float up to fight us in the first place. Now that it has been irked and decided to swim up by force, it must've paid a terrible price. Our bombardment in the end only added to its injuries. If we come back the same way, we may even be able to try hunting it down!"
Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures of immeasurable worth had been secured. The six of them were all very excited.
"Team Tiger Deity has left another telepathic thought ball!"
Their crystal processors picked up traces of a faint telepathic thought at the same time. According to the map, it was from an inconspicuous gap about four kilometers ahead of them.
They were all refreshed. Li Yao performed some quick maintenance on everyone's crystal suits and replaced the plate armor that had been too seriously corroded. Then the team marched forward to the source of the telepathic thought.
Half an hour later, they found themselves in a shabby cave that was devoid of any light.
After scanning with mystic rays and telepathic thoughts, they discovered a skeleton at the end of the cave. It was two meters tall, with bright gold bones. Complicated round stripes could be seen on its arms.
"A body practitioner!"
Ding Lingdang was greatly interested. "Spiritual tattoos into the bones, bright gold body. This is a very advanced body practitioner. It must be no lower than the middle level of the Core Formation Stage. How did it end up in this place? Why did Team Tiger Deity not bury it when they found it?"
Li Yao took a step forward and scanned the skeleton with mystic rays inch by inch. Soft cloths were scattering around the bright gold skeleton, which appeared to be some sort of protective clothing like a mustard suit. But the passage of time had rendered them ragged beyond recognition.
From one of the scraps of cloth, a small part of 'Red Dragon Swallowing the Sun', the emblem of the Star Ocean Imperium, could be distinguished.
It seemed that this was a Cultivator from the Star Ocean Imperium.
Li Yao withdrew his gaze and pondered for a while. Then he realized why Team Blue Bronze had left the skeleton in the open air.
If the skeleton used to be a Cultivator of the Star Ocean Imperium, it meant that the dead body had been decaying in this place for more than seven thousand years. Core Formation Stage Cultivators had not reached the level of immortality. Even body practitioners who boasted amazing physical strength and body hardness would rot soon after they died.
The skeleton in this place was already on the verge of dismemberment. With any foreign force, it would definitely crumble into powder. There was no way to absorb it into a Cosmos Ring.
In a corner of the cave, Team Tiger Deity had left the second telepathic thought ball.
The information contained in this ball was ten times more detailed than the previous one.
As it turned out, there had been a lot of magical equipment that was not entirely putrid near the dead body of the Cultivator of the Star Ocean Imperium, including several jade chips. Team Tiger Deity had taken away all the functional items.
But before they left, experts of Team Tiger Deity had decrypted the barrier of the jade chips and translated a lot of information contained inside.
The Star Glory Federation was a succession of the Star Ocean Imperium. Although thousands of years had passed, their languages, cultures, and social forms were very similar.
Team Tiger Deity had a rarely-seen hybrid-type Cultivator talented in both battle and research. Besides an Orb Patroller, he was also an anthropologist who specialized in the history of the Star Ocean Imperium, especially the barriers and encryption systems of the army at that time.
A huge amount of information that he decrypted flooded into the crystal processors of Team Blue Bronze.
The key words of the information stunned each and every one of them.
"What? The real name of Ultimacy is 'Boneyard', the residence of Skeleton Dragon who was one of the nineteen strongest demons in the early years of the Great Dark Age?"
The six of them were truly shocked.
"Search your crystal processors and your own brain and share all the information you find regarding Skeleton Dragon!" ordered Captain Hong Tong hurriedly.
Early years of the Great Dark Age meant almost forty thousand years ago. It was too far away from right now. Most of the files had been lost in the sea of stars as time went by. Most of them had buried the information deep inside their brains even if they had read any books concerning it, and they definitely wouldn't waste their precious computational ability recalling it every once in a while.
Everyone tried their best to dig out their memories. Finally, they found a thing or two about the monster. Together with the information provided by Team Tiger Deity, they had a basic understanding about what Skeleton Dragon was now.
In the early years of the Great Dark Age, or rather, the twilight of the Ancient Cultivation Civilization, Cultivators had bred billions of demon beasts to attack one another.
After thousands of years of fierce battles, countless strong species had emerged among the demon beasts.
In the strong species, many top experts were born.
Led by the elite demon beasts, the demon race fought against the Cultivators and liberated themselves.
However, the demon race consisted of merely man-made creatures. The disparity within the race was far more severe than that of mankind. Many demons were natural nemeses themselves, and there was no way that they would listen to their enemy's command.
Therefore, although the 'Demon Union', an alliance formed by the nineteen strongest demon species, waged war against the ancient Cultivators and pioneered the Great Dark Age where the ancient world of Cultivation fell apart and human civilization became subservient to the demon civilization, the alliance quickly collapsed when they lost the mutual adversary.
Leaders of the nineteen demon species all hoped to be the sole emperor reigning over the entire sea of stars. Hence, cruel civil wars began!
Skeleton Dragon was one of the leaders.
As of now, the files depicting the wars in the early years of the Great Dark Age were mostly lost. But one thing that everybody knew was that Skeleton Dragon was not the winner who laughed to the end.
Considering the cruelty and brutality of the demon race, it was not hard to fathom what became of the losers!
And the very planet that they were standing on was Skeleton Dragon's residence
As the saying went, 'clever hares have multiple burrows'. Top ancient demons such as Skeleton Dragon apparently wouldn't have only one place to live in.
This might be a base for the preparation of his counterattack or maybe a villa of seclusion to treat his injuries.
But one way or another, abundant secrets must've been buried in this place!
Pondering for a while, Li Yao realized something.
In the early years of the Great Dark Age, expert demons such as Skeleton Dragon must've annihilated countless ancient sects while leading their army of billions of demon beasts.
The demon race did not have its own civilization. The training pattern in its beginning phase was rooted in the same paradigm as the ancient world of Cultivation. Therefore, Skeleton Dragon must've looted a lot of Cultivation arts and secret treasures in order to improve his own species and strengthen his relatives and descendants.
These treasures might've been buried somewhere in Skeleton Dragon's residence!
The logic was quite simple. Therefore, when the Star Ocean Imperium thrived, and the last demon beast dynasty was on the verge of destruction at the epilogue of the Great Dark Age, the two parties both sent an expedition team when they discovered Boneyard by accident.
The Cultivator who had bright gold bones and spiritual tattoos on his arms must've been a member of the expedition team back then.
The enormous platform that Li Yao saw at the bottom of the canyon and the channel almost ten thousand meters long leading to the center of the planet were apparently the work of their predecessors from the Star Ocean Imperium.
According to the journal left in the ancient jade chips, the expedition team of the Star Ocean Imperium had slain countless spiritual beasts while they were marching forward. There had been four strong spiritual beasts inside the silver lake, but they had been wiped out by the expedition team!
"No wonder our trip so far has been easy and smooth, and the spiritual beasts near the Heart Locking Flowers and the Flowing Brightness Grasses are so weak.
"It is because the real strong guardians were killed a long time ago!"
That was almost everything useful contained inside the ancient jade chips. There was much more additional information that had been locked behind sophisticated barriers. The expert from Team Tiger Deity had failed to crack it due to the lack of time.
According to the journal, the expedition team of the Star Ocean Imperium had come across several exploration teams of the Demon Beast Empire. They'd fought several times, with casualties on both sides.
The bones of the body practitioner were intact without being damaged at all. There was no sign that the ancient Cultivator had been killed by an expert demon.
No one could tell what kind of accidents occurred to the expedition team later, or the outcome of the competition between it and the exploration teams of the Demon Beast Empire.
However, it did not matter who had won and who had lost.
Thousands of years had passed. Both the Demon Beast Empire and the Star Ocean Imperium were long gone like dry leaves shattered in a storm.
"This place is the residence of one of the top demons from forty thousand years ago. Even if it is just a temporary house, countless treasures must be lying under the ground. We're definitely going to get rich!
"It is very fortunate of us. Our capability is not enough to allow us to explore the residence of the ancient demon seven thousand meters under the ground. But the predecessors of the Star Ocean Imperium have already paved a way for us!
"Maybe, this is a blessing for the human civilization!"
The six members of Team Blue Bronze stood up straight and paid homage to the ancient Cultivators seven thousand years ago as followers from the Star Glory Federation.
Right then, their crystal processors received a signal from an independent communication network at the same time.
Perhaps blocked by the underground stratums, the signal was sporadic. They tried many times but still failed to connect the signal to their communication channel. However, they did hear somebody shouting, "MAYDAY!"
"A distress call from Team Tiger Deity!"
Their faces all paled instantly. They took action without delay.
Yan Yangtian activated the probe magical equipment on her crystal suit to search for the source of the signal. Half a minute later, she locked onto something 9,500 meters below them!
To rescue their companions, and for the residence of Skeleton Dragon, they would march downwards even if it was ten thousand meters below the ground!
Our Editor is getting better but not fully recovered yet. We'll try to restore the daily release first. The owed chapters will be coming later. Thank you for your support!