"If the fearsome demon thirty thousand years ago returns to his peak state, it may eventually lead to dire consequences. Right now, more than seventy percent of the imperial armed forces are engaged in the Hundred-Million Lightyears Expedition. The troops left behind are all mediocre reserves.
"If Skeleton Dragon were to roam for a year and half in the dozens of constellations within the imperium, how much chaos and casualty will be caused? We don't even dare to think about it!
"Thankfully, the captain discovered the strange phenomenon inside the residence in time and launched deadly attacks with his all might half way through Skeleton Dragon's escape.
"The demon has been hibernating for thirty thousand years after all. His capability might be only 1% of what it was supposed to be. He was beaten up with serious wounds and bound by the barriers again.
"This time, it will take at least another ten thousand years before he could stir trouble again.
"But he won't have a second chance. The time when the rescue team comes is the time of his doom!
"Aug. 26, year 899 in the Star Ocean Calendar.
"We are now caught in the worst situation!
"The fierce battle between Sparkle and Skeleton Dragon might have disturbed the spiritual energy balance underground. An appalling undersea volcano eruption took place in the depths of the silver ocean.
"The rock stratum in the bottom of the ocean was torn apart. A super trench tens of thousands of meters deep that seems to be leading to the center of the planet has been created!
"Our Sparkle was stranded right beside the trench and was under the influence of the great undersea volcano eruption!
"Magma, swirls, earthquake, undercurrents They are coming at us like thousands of ferocious animals!
"Magma thousands of degrees high mixed with all kinds of corrosive impurities surrounded Sparkle. Crazy spiritual waves and radiation pierced through the shell of the warship and went on a rampage inside the cabins and pathways!
"Most of the survivors were killed instantly. Only those who were above the high level of the Building Foundation Stage narrowly escaped death. But our capability hit rock bottom, too!
"My spiritual root and veins have been seriously wounded. The best I can do right now is to summon spiritual energy that befits the Cultivators in the beginning level of the Building Foundation Stage.
"But my conditions are the best of all the remaining five survivors.
"Sparkle has been seriously damaged in the undersea volcanic eruption, and we've lost almost all supplies and maintenance materials. It is buried in the deeper undersea rock stratums by the movement of magma and rocks right now.
"The silver lining is that we didn't fall into the trench directly. Otherwise, we would've been crushed long ago.
"The five of us are all seriously wounded, with no food or medication. I don't know how long we can persist.
"But we can't waste a single second, and we won't give up hope when it is still out there!
"In the imperial armed forces, Sparkle is a multipurpose quick exploration warship. Its designing purpose is to allow a tactical squad to explore an unfamiliar constellation. Therefore, although its firepower is not very impressive, its survival limits and self-recovery abilities are even better than those of many main force starships.
"In the shell of Sparkle are countless pieces of mustard-level maintainers that are only a thousandth the size of a grain. With enough spiritual energy, they can absorb the materials nearby and transform them into useful ingredients for maintenance automatically.
"Other than them, two automatic maintenance puppets are still functional.
"However, our spiritual energy has run dry. Blocked by the rock stratums, it is hard to absorb the necessary spiritual energy from the silver ocean. According to the current speed of repair, it will take at least a thousand years before Sparkle returns to the minimum usable state.
"We don't have too much time to bother about any of that. Setting Sparkle into automatic maintenance mode, we wait for the arrival of the rescue team patiently.
"Sep. 26, year 899 in the Star Ocean Calendar.
"Odd. It is just too odd! We've been trapped in the undersea rock stratums for a month, but there is no sign of the rescue teams at all. This is absolutely impossible!
"Unless the military bases in the few constellations around have been demolished at the same time, how could they forget their comrades on Boneyard?
"Is there something terrible happening outside?
"The thought is haunting every survivor like a wraith inside the bleak cabin.
"Over the past month, our physical injuries have been getting better, but due to the lack of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures and source of spiritual energy, our Cultivation levels have failed to recover, if not dropping constantly.
"With our current capability, it is impossible for us to escape.
"During the last month, we have modified the only piece of probe magical equipment on Sparkle that is not too damaged into a large pinger. It can send out special spiritual waves to the outside world penetrating through the rock stratums. I hope someone outside can pick up the signal soon.
"Nov. 15, year 899 in the Star Ocean Calendar.
"I'm already dead.
"The undersea volcano erupted again. Maybe it was just an aftershock of the previous earthquake, but Sparkle was too ragged to resist the rampant spiritual waves at all.
"Although the shell was intact, the spiritual waves swept over like a storm. Not only did they completely wreck the mainframe crystal processor, all the remaining survivors were murdered, too.
"Of course, we were likely to die very soon even without the volcano eruption.
"We'd used up all the food one day earlier.
"As Cultivators, we can wield the strength hundreds of times larger than that of ordinary people, but we have to absorb hundreds of times more food and energy too.
"Without sufficient spiritual energy and food, we will retrograde into ordinary beings quickly, or even worse.
"After all, our brains, body tissues, and cells are used to running rapidly due to abundant spiritual energy. If the brakes are slammed down abruptly, it is very likely that they will collapse all of a sudden.
"Compared with starvation, being killed by a volcano eruption is clean and comfortable. I only hope that the volcano eruption can be even more furious and perhaps destroy Skeleton Dragon's undersea residence once and for all.
"But surprisingly, my fire of life didn't die out, even though every cell inside my body stopped functioning, and it turned into a weird, different form.
"I became a spectral Cultivator.
"It is not unusual that Cultivators turn into spectral Cultivators in a battlefield that is often packed with victims. There are ten puppets on Sparkle for spectral Cultivators in case some crew members die and turn into one.
"Luckily, although nine of the puppets were broken, the tenth one was still usable. Controlling my fire of life for a leap of faith, I was back to life again.
"I pondered the situation I was in, sitting in the darkness.
"It was unquestionable that some unexpected changes which involved a large number of troops had taken place in the outside world. That was why the military didn't send any starships over.
"Ghost is an extremely unstable form of life. Besides, the puppet body that I resided myself in had been damaged in the first place. Therefore, I can only complete the most basic movements, like walking, sitting, or lying. But there is no way that I can get out of Sparkle with this wretched body.
"What I can do is to collect the spiritual energy leaking through the gaps between the rocks and try to recover Sparkle with it. Also, I keep sending warnings to the outside world for the possible new explorers that have come to the underground ocean.
"I really hope that the mess outside can be cleaned up and somebody is sent to pick me up soon.
"Dec. 30, year 999 in the Star Ocean Calendar.
"A hundred years have passed.
"It is quite odd that, when I was trapped in an iron coffin ten thousand meters below the ground faced with a future of darkness, every second was as miserable as hell. I was almost mentally deranged several times and nearly killed myself.
"But when I reminisce about my past, I feel that time is flying and the past hundred years have gone in the blink of an eye.
"Since my only source of spiritual energy is the seawater from the silver ocean that leaks inside through the gaps between the rocks, and most of the little spiritual energy has to be used to supply the mustard-level maintainers, the leftovers for me are far from enough to drive the puppet body to do any activity too intense.
"Therefore, over the past hundred years, the one thing that I have done most was to meditate in a corner quietly.
"Out of pure boredom, I have contemplated and calculated a lot of things. Gunfighting skills was one of them.
"In the military, I was sort of a gunfighting expert among the Core Formation Stage Cultivators, otherwise I wouldn't have been chosen to serve as the chief gunner of Sparkle.
"However, I am only mediocre compared with the real gunfighting experts who were participating in the Hundred-Million Lightyears Expedition.
"In the past, I was never fully convinced and thought that they were just luckier than me.
"But over the hundred years, I have reflected on every battle that I was ever engaged in and every mission video of the experts that I ever watched billions of times. I have even calculated the trajectory of every bullet that was shot. The gap between them and me is all clear to me now.
"After billions of calculations, my gunfighting theories are getting more and more thorough and delicate. I can declare positively that even the gunfighting experts at the Nascent Soul Stage in the imperial armed forces may not have as deep an understanding about the art of gunfighting as I do.
"Because it is impossible for them to do nothing but to explore the mysteries of gunfighting wholeheartedly for a hundred years uninterruptedly.
"But what's the use of that? Theories are just theories. I don't have enough spiritual energy or a powerful body to put the theories into practice.
"Moreover, since the rescue team hasn't arrived after such a long time, I have come to a heartbreaking conclusion.
"A world-overturning event that involved countless constellations must've happened outside. It is even doubtful that the Star Ocean Imperium exists anymore.
"The idea made me lose all hope.
"I was preparing to end my own life and the infinite desperation tomorrow, on January 1 of year 1000 in the Star Ocean Calendar.
"But as a soldier, my last mission hasn't been completed yet.
"Skeleton Dragon is still hibernating outside. Maybe soon enough, he will wake up again and send temptations to the outside world.
"If new exploration teams come, I have to warn them!
"Therefore, I can't die for now, because I need to keep the normal functioning of Sparkle and the signal pinger, while hoping that the new exploration teams notice the odd spiritual waves undersea first instead of the residence of Skeleton Dragon.
"Then, I will tell them the truth and destroy Skeleton Dragon together with them!"