Inside the maintenance duct, Ding Lingdang and the other two wounded teammates were sitting cross-legged. A water-like mist of brightness flowed slowly from their ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouths and surrounded their bodies at a stable speed, until in the end, it penetrated into their bodies again through the pores, nourished their internal organs, and reached the skull again, finishing the entire circulation.
They had all absorbed a lot of Flowing Brightness Crystals. With the immense spiritual energy stored inside, their injuries were finally suppressed.
Right then, the warship shivered, and they were suddenly enveloped in brightness. Ivory lights on the walls of the maintenance duct were turned on, illuminating the previously dark duct.
"You can get down now."
Li Yao's calm voice came through the communication channel, while a map of the maintenance duct was sent to their crystal processors.
"What is going on exactly? Is this a warship from the Star Ocean Imperium?"
Standing in the middle of the engine compartment, the four of them observed their surroundings for a long time and finally realized something.
Li Yao smiled. "This multipurpose exploration warship is named 'Sparkle'. It's our salvation today!"
But 'Dummy' Ba Weiqi shook his head and said worriedly, "Not necessarily. The skills required to steer a starship can be very complicated, and they are by no means readily learnable. The starship is to us what a shuttle is to the primitive barbarians. We are equally unintelligent in this regard.
"Vulture, you've been in Occult Orbs Fellowship for too short a time to know this.
"Before, Occult Orbs Fellowship has excavated a lot of magical equipment, armed shuttles, and even remnants of small starships of the Star Ocean Imperium.
"However, most of the items were so delicate that it took the experts and researchers several years to study them before the mechanism was grasped, and it took another several years to learn how to activate and manipulate them.
"Even though this starship is intact, where can we find a qualified pilot to maneuver it?
"I'm afraid nobody in the entire Heaven's Origin Sector is able to do that. Even the Core Formation Stage Cultivators and the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators can't do anything about it!
"Now that we are trapped in this place, it's barely possible to get out even though we are lucky enough not to have been squashed by the giant rocks."
Leng Ziming and Yan Yangtian both nodded and sighed.
They were all experienced Orb Patrollers and had excavated countless kinds of magical equipment. They knew better than anyone else the difficulty of controlling a piece of magical equipment from the Star Ocean Imperium.
But Ding Lingdang was still staring at Li Yao in delight.
For some reason, she saw very strong confidence on Li Yao's face.
Li Yao scratched his hair and said casually, "That is not going to be a problem. I've spent a whole year studying how to maneuver starships of this particular model."
The three of them who were sighing gloomily were all dumbfounded as if they'd been hit by lightning. They gazed at Li Yao in such a strange way that he seemed to be a demon beast with three heads and six arms instead of a human being.
Spending an entire year studying how to maneuver a starship?
That couldn't be right!
Controlling a starship was not controlling a flying sword. Even if he wanted to learn it, who would teach him that, and how would he train himself?
Besides, who would be so foolish as to study such a powerful yet utterly useless skill?
What had you been doing before you join Occult Orbs Fellowship, Vulture Li Yao?
Staring at Li Yao for a long time, they turned their suspicious and surprised eyes to Ding Lingdang.
Hey, what was the background of your boyfriend? Why was he able to steer a starship from the Star Ocean Imperium? It was just unbelievable!
Ding Lingdang took a breath and said with a smile, "Don't look at me. We never poked around in regard to each other's Cultivation. I don't know how many skills he has, either.
"However, even if he told me that he could manipulate a piece of stellar magical equipment, I would believe him without the slightest doubt.
"Because that's what my man, Vulture Li Yao, does!"
Everyone was rendered speechless. But very soon, they were excited again.
Correct. It didn't matter how Li Yao grasped such a skill. What mattered was that they had hope now!
Led by Li Yao, the five of them went to the cockpit.
On the way, Li Yao told them of Gao Xingce's last words and his theories about the current situation.
It was not until then that everyone learnt that such a scandalous scheme was brewing in Boneyard and that a vexing struggle had been going on in the silver ocean ten thousand meters below the ground for thousands of years.
"Senior Gao Xingce was indeed a role model of all Cultivators. From his doings, I understand why the Star Ocean Imperium could overthrow the demon race's thirty-thousand-year reign within a thousand years and become the dominators of the sea of stars."
Inside the cockpit, Ding Lingdang, Ba Weiqi, Leng Ziming, and Yan Yangtian were all greatly moved. They bowed to Gao Xing's body three times in respect.
"If that is the case, something that has been haunting me is solved now."
Leng Ziming observed calmly, "Since we landed on Boneyard, I've always been ill at ease and felt that things were going too well.
"Hardly had we reached the underground when we discovered so many Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures. Also, Skeleton Dragon's residence was not protected by any traps or barriers. Even Cultivators at the Refinement Stage wouldn't find it troublesome at all to get inside, let alone us. It did not look like the base of an ancient deadly demon at all, did it?
"Skeleton Dragon has lured us to this place on purpose just so that we can break the barrier and let him loose!
"The demon exploration squad is still out there. They are definitely going to break the barrier at any cost!
"We have to get out of here and stop them as soon as possible!
"Vulture, how long will it take for Sparkle to be fully activated!"
Li Yao's telepathic thoughts had been docked to the mainframe crystal processor of Sparkle. A huge amount of data and graphs were flooding into his brain every second.
Li Yao brought his computational ability to maximum. His eyeballs were twitching violently, his face flushed, while steam was popping up nonstop from his messy hair.
Breathing heavily for a moment, he replied, "We need to repair at least ten groups of power rune arrays and four groups of anti-gravity rune arrays in order to carry out operations in the lowest standard. Other than that, the drill of mystic rays has to be further maintained to dig through the rock stratum burying us. The Rogue Meteorite has to be modified and strengthened, too. We won't be able to fight the demons without a proper weapon.
"Moreover, our crystal suits are mostly damaged right now. We have to spare some time to fix them.
"All things considered, it will take at least 65 hours and 48 minutes!"
Leng Ziming frowned.
"65 hours. That's almost three days. It's too long. There will be many new changes during the time!"
Yan Yangtian commented, "There indeed will be. But three days is not entirely unacceptable. Don't forget that two other Star Teams are still travelling outside, including Team Thunder Soul which has the highest combat ability of all!
"If I were to walk in the demon's shoes, I would certainly not risk opening Skeleton Dragon's residence when the Star Teams are not cleared up yet.
"By common sense, a lot of traps and barriers must be installed inside the residence of the ancient deadly demon. Chances are that one has to pay a bloody price in order to retrieve the secret treasures stored inside. There will be a lot of casualties.
"If I were to open the residence when my enemy had not been annihilated, it's very likely that my enemy would claim the fruits when my team suffered setbacks. Why would the selfish demons do something stupid like this?
"Therefore, I estimate that the demons will explore the undersea town and clean up the periphery first while setting up tons of pitfalls, waiting for the Star Teams to step in. They will not open the residence until all the threats are removed!
"In three days, we will still have an opportunity!"
Li Yao said, "I agree with you. Besides, the three of you have not recovered from your injuries yet. We won't be able to do anything even if we rush out right now. It's better that you treat your wounds first for three days. I wonder, how are you doing right now?"
"The three of us activated our spiritual seeds by force. Although we unleashed the strength of a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator, our bodies were also seriously wounded and are still extremely weak right now.
"But thankfully, none of us were mentally deranged. Also, after the blast of the spiritual seeds, our veins and internal organs have been greatly widened. Now that we are taking the Flowing Brightness Crystals as nourishments, our Cultivation will definitely soar after we are recovered!
"A phoenix does not die but rises from ashes again. As long as Team Blue Bronze can make it to the end, I'm confident that we will all enter into the Core Formation Stage in ten, or even five, years!
"However, we are only certain that we can try our best to return to the Building Foundation Stage within three days. It's impossible for us to resume our peak capability," said Ding Lingdang.
In the seed explosion state, the potential of a Cultivator was triggered infinitely. The immense strength that was levels beyond their own was often unbearable for their body. The side effects were inevitable.
Ding Lingdang and her teammates were just weakened and in the middle of a temporary capability decline. Neither were they mentally deranged nor did they suffer irreversible internal injuries. They were already unbelievably lucky.
It would be too harsh to ask them to return to the peak state within several days.
"Alright. If so, the Ares Extension and the Rogue Meteorite will be in my custody. You will try to Cultivate for the time being and restore your capability as much as possible.
"Three days later, we shall avenge our captain!"
65 hours to let the starship that had hibernated for thousands of years bare its fangs again!
The intense maintenance work was begun!
In order to save time, Li Yao fully scanned Sparkle, dismantled most of the magical equipment and components that were not of use at this moment, and used them to fill the places in desperate need of repairing with the help of the mustard-level maintainers.
After all, he didn't need Sparkle to sail for ten thousand years.
He only required it to burst out the most dazzling brilliance one time, three days later.
His attitude toward the Rogue Meteorite was the same.
There were some twenty other cannons large and small on board. Although they were wrecked, some of their components were still functional. Li Yao tore them all down and added them to the Rogue Meteorite after modifying and upgrading within the maintenance cabin on Sparkle.
The air defense cannon was not very advanced. The technology it employed was essentially the same as what the crystal cannons of the Heaven's Origin Sector had been using, only much more precise and delicate.
Li Yao did not have any requirements as to longevity or stability. He just ensured that the cannon was good enough to survive one battle. Therefore, many parts of the cannon were completely overlooked when he was modifying it insanely. He even forced the weapon to work by utilizing the ancient refining methods of the Hundred Smelting Clan forty thousand years ago.
After a day of modification, a bizarre-shaped Six-barreled Revolving Crystal Cannon, added with countless accessories and tangled in hundreds of thick crystal wires, which looked like a ferocious animal whose arteries were bulging, was born!