"I won't die," said Li Yao softly.
It was both like a promise to Ding Lingdang and a murmur to himself.
The faster his hands were moving, the more tranquil his face became. His firm voice was transmitted to everyone's ears like unstoppable falling stars.
"I promise you that I definitely won't die. I will just be away for a while!
"But I will come back again very soon. I will return to the Heaven's Origin Sector and fight with you and everyone with stellar magical equipment under my feet!"
Everyone was dazed.
Ding Lingdang was somehow confused. Then, she realized what was going on as if lightning had struck her mind. She lost control and burst out, "Li Yao, you"
Li Yao licked his dry lips and connected the last crystal wire. A new spiritual energy circulation started functioning!
Whatever was left of the spiritual reserve on the warship surged crazily toward the 'space jump system'!
The large teleportation array in the center of Sparkle suddenly glittered. Spiritual patterns and rune arrays spurted out colorful brilliance which rippled out like rainbows!
As a multipurpose exploration warship, the space jump system loaded on Sparkle far exceeded its scale; it was supposed to be installed on the main force warships more than three thousand meters long.
Usually, Sparkle and all the materials five kilometers nearby could be transported thousands of lightyears away with the teleportation range locked in 50%.
When Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures too large to be stored or dissected were detected in a foreign constellation, they could be bound to the shell of Sparkle and be teleported back to a base by upgrading the teleportation range to 60% or even higher.
But right now, Li Yao had overridden the warnings and set the teleportation range at 120% by force without care for himself!
As a result, everything within a hundred cubic meters of Sparkle would cruise the sea of stars by shattering the void!
Shattering the void meant going into the four-dimensional universe from the three-dimensional one before being compressed back. It was an extremely dangerous process.
Even the Cultivators who boasted abundant spiritual energy in a starship whose shell was intact might suffer serious consequences because of breaking through the void after a space jump.
It was inevitable for any creatures undergoing the process!
Right now, Skeleton Dragon was weaker than ever. In order to counterattack the drill of mystic rays, it must've used up most of its strength. Li Yao didn't believe that it could keep itself safe and sound with nothing but its body in a crazy space jump!
The odds were ten to one that its body would be torn apart by the endless cosmic storms!
Also, Li Yao didn't input the coordination of his destination because of the lack of a star map. Even if Skeleton Dragon was lucky enough to survive the disaster, since Sparkle could be transported to any random point in the furthest space jump distance, both of them would be far away from the Heaven's Origin Sector wherever they ended up in the boundless universe.
This was the ultimate plan that Li Yao came up with now that he was caught in a hopeless situation!
Since most of the spiritual energy was supplied to the space jump system, the drill and the power rune arrays slowed down all of a sudden. Skeleton Dragon was under much less pressure and pushed Sparkle out of its body at a higher and higher speed.
At first, it was exuberant and thought that Li Yao had already given up resistance due to exhaustion.
But a moment later, it sensed that a calamitous danger was coming!
On Sparkle, the mustard-level maintainers that resembled liquid metal were crowding to the damaged places resulting from the intrusion of its arms and filled up the holes at any cost.
In the meantime, a huge amount of super sticky foam that was meant to seal cracks temporarily in emergences was sprayed out into the cabins.
As a formidable demon forty thousand years ago, Skeleton Dragon boasted amazing computational ability, too. Based on these insignificant clues, it formulated a deadly possibility instantly!
In a moment, Skeleton Dragon shrieked in bewilderment and fury. Its mental waves penetrated the shell of the warship like countless ice pitons into the deepest part of Li Yao's brain where they captured a few crazily bouncing telepathic thoughts.
A tenth of a second later, Skeleton Dragon knew Li Yao's plan as clearly as Li Yao did.
"What are you doing?!
"Your warship is already riddled with holes. There is no way that it can support a space jump. It is definitely going to be ripped apart!
"Even if you are lucky enough to make it, we both might be teleported to a barren area in the universe far away from stars, planets, and world fragments because you don't have a star map at all. We won't be able to retrieve any materials or energy and will be starved to death in the darkness!
"Stop! Stop there!"
Li Yao was dazed for a moment. Then, his face was gleaming with amusement.
"So, you are scared of death, too."
Li Yao spat a mouthful of saliva mixed with blood. He shook his head violently to refresh his vision which had gone blurry. His hands maintained the same high speed and his fingers were almost broken off. Finally, all the parameters were set, and all the operations were completed!
"No. The teleportation array must not be activated!" Skeleton Dragon bellowed.
The red core at the center of its body shrank into an egg-shaped cluster of brightness the size of a human heart, before it suddenly bounced and released tens of thousands of red threads!
The red threads pierced forward rapidly like electric arcs. They avoided the drill of mystic rays and penetrated through the cockpit into Li Yao's brain as if the solid shell of the warship was nothing.
Li Yao's eyes were bulging wide. His feet had left the floor, because the red electric arcs were grabbing him by his neck. His eyes had rolled back and were filled with the whites. His limbs were all cramping crazily!
Skeleton Dragon had burnt its demonic soul madly despite the seriously wounded body and unleashed the most formidable mental attack, trying to take over the control of Li Yao's body.
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
Li Yao's joints were uttering blood-freezing squeaking noises. His arms were twisted in an unnatural way. No matter how he tried to resist, his arms were approaching the operation menu and about to cancel the space jump parameters that he'd just set.
Li Yao's brain was occupied by a surging ocean of blood. From the deepest part of the crimson swirls came countless voices.
"You will die!"
Some of the voices were coarse, some high-pitched, some nave and childish, some elderly and blended with coughs All the voices gathered together, emanating alluring, soul-stirring temptation.
"Yes. That's my boy. Cancel the teleportation and join the arms of Skeleton Dragon with me"
Wang Ji's extremely-twisted big face was floating in front of Li Yao again and grinning hideously.
Li Yao was breathing heavily like a bull. Every joint of his was trembling. His hands touched the light beam completely beyond his control.
Skeleton Dragon's soul was hundreds of times more powerful than Li Yao's. It was not something that a minor Building Foundation Stage Cultivator could deal with.
A dialogue popped up in the light beam: do you want to cancel the random space jump?
Right then, the mental power of Skeleton Dragon had descended to the deepest part of Li Yao's brain.
But a glimmering gold giant tree then released an enormous, unconquerable power!
It was the tremendous soul left by Ou Yezi that Li Yao hadn't digested and absorbed yet!
Skeleton Dragon's mental power was immediately dissipated like ice pitons being inserted into burning flames!
"What is this?!"
Skeleton Demon gasped in disbelief and bafflement, having no idea why the brain of a Building Foundation Stage Cultivator should contain a soul power than was even more immense than the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators'!
In Li Yao's head, the billions of enticing voices turned into billions of screams, and then vanished into thin air like vampires meeting the sunlight!
With a shiver, Li Yao was back to himself again.
Skeleton Dragon recovered from its shock, too, and launched the mental attack once more, but it didn't get a second opportunity.
Li Yao's eyes were as clear as water, where many high and mighty figures were floating.
He recalled Ding Yin, Wei Qingqing, and the other five Cultivators who had charged against the demon giant formed by the Ghost Face Silver Mosquitoes gallantly for the protection of all the ordinary people on the crystal train, including himself.
He recalled all the Cultivators and soldiers who had fought valiantly in the bloody battles of Verdant Tarn City and the War of Seven Cities.
He also recalled Senior Gao Xingce who had erased his identity, his past, his wife and children, everything but his last mission, just in order to fulfil his responsibility.
Every one of them seemed to be standing at his back and smiling at him, while they held back Skeleton Dragon's mental bombardment for him.
Li Yao smiled and said softly in the communication channel, "Ding Lingdang, I feel that I have never fully awakened as a Cultivator until this moment."
"Li Yao, I will wait for you. Ten years, fifty years, a hundred years, I will be waiting for you! Even if you are teleported to the end of the cosmos, I will still be waiting for you! You must come back! You will come back!"
Ding Lingdang sobbed and screamed in her loudest voice.
"Don't you dare! How dare you! No! Nooo!"
Skeleton Dragon twisted and struggled to break away from Sparkle. But its nine arms had pierced into Sparkle too deeply to be withdrawn quickly. Under the diligent work of the mustard-level maintainers, they had melded with Sparkle.
How could it free itself quickly?
On the contrary, Li Yao took the opportunity of the shock of Skeleton Dragon's soul and drove Sparkle further ahead. The drill of mystic rays pierced in brutally once again. Skeleton Dragon's previous efforts proved to have been futile!
In the competition over the control of his body, Li Yao's phalange, forearm, and scapula on the right side of his body had all fractured. His entire arm dangled down freely.
But he did regain control over his left hand, which darted out and pointed softly on the light beam like a lightning.
The space jump system was successfully activated!
For a moment, Sparkle, as well as the entangled Skeleton Dragon, became a phantom, as if dozens of their shadows were overlapping in their original places, before they turned into streaks of smoke and dispersed continuously.
Skeleton Dragon had never been more scared. Under its inconceivable brute force, three of its arms were broken off from their roots, while it screamed miserably in excruciating pain.
But there was no time.
The front half of Sparkle had almost entirely crawled into his body. Billions of stars were shining and spreading from the teleportation array, wreathing Skeleton Dragon in a rapidly-revolving crystal ball more than a hundred meters in diameter.
The splendid scene awed all the Cultivators watching it.
They could both hear Skeleton Dragon's poignant yelling and growling and eventually begging, and Li Yao's violent coughs and heavy breaths in the communication channel.
In a few seconds, the crystal ball was already revolving so fast that nobody could see it clearly. Its brightness was hundreds of times more dazzling than previously.
The Cultivators' eyes were then filled with pure whiteness, making them unable to see anything.
They could only hear an earsplitting boom, as if the universe had been drilled through by Li Yao!
When they opened their eyes again, both Sparkle and Skeleton Dragon were gone.
The only thing left were the scraps of the torn-apart crystal ball, which were floating in the seawater like thousands of brilliant feathers of a vulture, until they dispersed gradually.
The scene was etched on the hearts of all the Cultivators present for all eternity.