At the end of the maintenance duct, Li Yao opened a cover below his body and jumped down.
The cabin was entirely dark, without the vaguest ray of light. But inside his brain, countless structure designs overlapped and constituted a complicated 3D map.
Li Yao's eyes were gleaming. He saw everything around him clearly as if his eyes were penetrative.
"If this crystal warship is indeed the training target of Neltharion, their internal structures shouldn't be very different. Maybe it has undergone modification, but key facilities such as the cockpit must still be in their original place.
"My current location should be the engine compartment!"
Li Yao's spiritual waves rippled out in the air and touched every inch of the cabin wall. As he expected, he found a lot of magical equipment that could only be found in the engine compartment.
Like a silent cannonball, Li Yao rushed at his full speed in the darkness.
The cabin door which was driven by spiritual energy had been locked, but there was a mechanical device nearby for emergency. After ten seconds of trying, the cabin door squeaked and partly opened slowly.
Three glimmering green lights suddenly jumped out in front of him. There seemed to be three invisible rays that pierced through his brain and his body and scanned everything inside.
Li Yao suddenly felt extremely terrified. Countless pieces of attack magical equipment seemed ready to fire upon him in the darkness.
The glimmering green lights blinked for a moment. Then a green glow as mild as water appeared on the walls, outlining a narrow and long path and showing him the way.
Li Yao was overjoyed and thought to himself, 'This must be the screening magical equipment of the crystal warship. It is now automatically opened to me after making sure that I'm a human being!
'It seems that the crystal warship is not entirely broken yet despite the shabby appearance. Many key components are still functional.
'Besides, the previous master of the crystal warship must've hoped that a human being could find the crystal warship someday. That's why he set the defense rune arrays to be fully friendly upon the detection of a human being before he left or passed away.
'If a demon snuck inside, it would've been killed already!'
Li Yao moved forward without any hesitation. Through the med bay, crew living area, cafeteria, arsenal, crystal chamber, and two training rooms, he finally arrived at the cockpit, the control center of the warship!
He didn't find any corpses on his way. There was not much debris or scraps, either. Somebody seemed to have cleaned everything up.
The Red Dragon Swallowing the Sun emblem carved on the cabin door stretched out like a blossoming flower. The cabin door glided open quietly, unleashing an intense smell of metal that could only belong to the large-scale crystal processors.
Li Yao swallowed and tiptoed in lightly while holding his breath.
The surroundings of the cockpit were almost identical to the simulation of Neltharion when his telepathic thoughts crowded into it. The operation dashboard was right in front of him.
Suddenly, a "beep" sound came from the corner of the darkness. A strong wind was blowing at him!
Li Yao felt a shiver run down his spine. He retreated immediately and crouched, his right hand grabbing the handle of his Boiled Blood Wind Slashing Saber while activating the Flash Vibration Claw on his left hand at the same time.
In the darkness, two clusters of dim, dying redness were blinking nonstop. A hoarse and sluggish voice was uttered. It took almost ten seconds for a single word to be spoken. The same dull syllables were repeated.
"Trap Trap Trap Trap Trap"
Li Yao finally made clear that it was a hunched metal puppet in front of him that looked like a deformed skeleton because of the huge loss of components. Many units had been exposed to the air and seriously rusted.
It had only one arm. Its legs were intact, but one of them was longer and the other shorter. It stumbled close while its only arm was trembling,
"Trap Trap Trap Trap Trap"
Its crystal processor seemed to have been wrecked, with 99.9% of its computational ability lost. The word was the only thing that it could articulate.
While it was talking, it moved its sole remaining arm and dug into its own chest, as if it was trying to take something out of its chest.
Li Yao observed for a while and then exclaimed in bewilderment after a shiver.
He realized something unbelievablethat the object in front of him was not a metal puppet but a spectral Cultivator!
Although both of them relied on mechanical structures as their bodies, metal puppets were non-living creatures driven by crystal processors, while spectral Cultivators were Cultivators in a different life form. The latter were alive, and the former were not!
Their structures, as well as the metal materials that made up their bodies, was not exactly the same.
Li Yao could even sense a fading yet still flickering soul inside the incomplete metal skull, just like a candle which was burning up in the middle of a heavy storm.
"How could it be!
"The era of Star Ocean Imperium was more than seven thousand years ago.
"Even this crystal warship belonged to the last batch of imperial fleets after the Armageddon Rebellion, it was still six thousand years ago.
"No spectral Cultivator could live such a long time. What kind of formidable being was this Cultivator?"
However formidable the spectral Cultivator had been when he was alive, his thinking ability had deteriorated after thousands of years. He was merely pulling the metal cover on his chest.
"Something seems to be buried inside his chest, and he is planning to give it to me!"
Taking a deep breath, Li Yao tried to extend his hand.
The spectral Cultivator didn't object; he pushed out his chest.
Li Yao found a gap on his chest and pressed it. A green line suddenly appeared and spread out into a square hollow, lifting up a jade chip inside the chest.
An exhausted and yet fulfilled moan sounded in the metal throat of the spectral Cultivator. Just like a soldier who had accomplished his mission, he fell to the ground with the heavy burden on his shoulders relieved. The red glow from his eyes gradually dimmed and was entirely gone three seconds later.
The spectral Cultivator had perished.
Li Yao was stunned.
"The fire of life of the spectral Cultivator has no reason to burn for thousands of years. He should've died a long time ago, but he simply persisted with some sort of secret art to wait for the arrival of a human being and pass the jade chip on!"
An eternal life might not be a bliss.
Living for thousands of years inside a metal body in a lightless crystal warship buried by billions of tons of rocks ten thousand meters below the ground?
Li Yao was frightened just thinking of the idea.
Life was totally more miserable than death in such an environment!
"The senior spectral Cultivator endured the sufferings in the darkness for thousands of years in order to pass the jade chip on to a human being.
"What kind of things are recorded inside?
"He had lost all his memories. Even his self-awareness was gone. But he kept repeating 'trap'. What exactly is this trap and who is it targeting?"
Although he didn't know what had happened to the deceased spectral Cultivator, the guy's doings gave him a very strong sentimental feeling.
He laid the metal body of the spectral Cultivator in a corner, posed it properly, and paid his respect, before he finally got down to the jade chip.
Jade chips were universally applicable in the military of the Star Ocean Imperium. They were also one of the most solid artifacts. Therefore, many of them had been found in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
The jade chip scrap that Yuan Manqiu found, which contained the files about the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, was of the same type as the one in Li Yao's hand.
Therefore, although the interface of the jade chip wad different from the standard interface of the Star Glory Federation's jade chips, Li Yao managed to build up a small commutator with the materials inside his Cosmos Ring.
He inserted the jade chip to the commutator, and then connected the commutator to a port on the back of his helmet. The crystal processor immediately hummed and started working, but it was not until five minutes later that the scanning was completed.
Li Yao was quite surprised. The crystal processor of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit had been modified multiple times by him with the most advanced components. It was even installed with a cooling system retrieved from an Occult Orb. Although it was only the size of a fist, its computational ability was as good as many large-scale crystal processors.
But it had taken the crystal processor five minutes to scan the jade chip. The information stored inside the jade chip must be tremendous!
Finally, the scanning was over!
But his crystal processor reminded him that most of the files recorded in the jade chip had been saved in a very mysterious structure and were unavailable at this moment, and that only a small proportion of data and images could be read.
What appeared first on his light beam was a giant Red Dragon Swallowing the Sun emblem. It gradually faded away, replaced slowly by the information of the owner of the jade chip.
Li Yao finally knew that the owner of the jade chip was named Gao Xingce, who had been a Core Formation Stage Cultivator as well as the chief gunner of the crystal warship.
Also, the name of the crystal warship was 'Sparkle'!
What followed was Gao Xingce's personal combat and training journal.
Information streams flooded into Li Yao's brain one wave after another, telling a tear-triggering story of valiance and sacrifice that happened thousands of years ago, ten thousand meters below the surface of Boneyard.
"July 23, year 899 in the Star Ocean Calendar.
"We just finished clearing Phantom Moon Constellation. There are no organized demon troops in this area anymore. Only demon bandits are still running away.
"I'm told that we have secured many victories in the frontline, too. Three major fleets of the demon race had been annihilated. Our expedition army is marching toward 'Demons' Realm', the last base of the demon race. The Demon Beast Empire will be demolished in no time!"
Li Yao suddenly thought of something.
Year 899 in the Star Ocean Calendar was already toward the end of the Star Ocean Imperium. Later when 'Hundred-Million Lightyear Expedition' was about to succeed, the notorious event of 'Armageddon Rebellion' took place. The Blood God, supreme commander of the expedition army was corrupted by the extraterrestrial devils and turned into 'Mad Armageddon', a demonic Cultivator. The second war of the Cultivation world began soon after, which eventually led to the collapse of the Star Ocean Imperium.
No wonder the crystal warship had been buried in this place without being found by anyone.
It was most likely that, when the universe was caught in a chaotic civil war, the military of the Star Ocean Imperium had been too occupied to look for it.
"July 29, year 899 in the Star Ocean Calendar.
"Today, our captain has brought us a piece of good news. We're going to carry out a new mission and explore a planet named Boneyard. It is said that the demon race has been secretly active on the planet.
"Our target is to find out the truth and destroy the demons!
"Clearing Phantom Moon Constellation was too boring a task. I feel that my bones are getting rusty. It is said that the new mission will be extremely dangerous. How marvelous!"