On the operation light beam, the parameters representing the external and internal temperature of the starship and the performance of the spiritual shield, as if stimulated by strengthening drugs, exceeded the warning line almost instantly and continued soaring!
The sea of stars had put on an entirely different face.
When Gold Horn was about to break out of the Dim Flame Belt, Wraiths' Wrath finally decided to drop its mask and demonstrate its fury by extending thousands of limbs of flames.
Before, the universe, as deep and dark as ink, could still be seen through the gaps of the broken space.
But right now, the light beam had been consumed by thousands of shades of red.
Meteoroids, starship remnants, and even the vacuum of the universe itself all seemed to be on fire!
Behind Gold Horn, countless meteoroids and streams of flames were spinning toward the same location faster and faster, and gradually formed a magnificent crimson swirl that was even more eye-catching than a nebula.
In the deepest part of the funnel-shaped swirl, there was a dazzling light ball that looked like a supernova outbreak.
The nebula-like swirl grew larger and larger like the snowball rolling down a cliff by absorbing the meteoroids and spiritual energy nearby. It was quickly expanding at a macroscopic speed.
Like a bloody mouth opening in the universe, it bared its fangs at Gold Horn; the streams of flames were its saliva!
"True Fusion, Space Swirl!"
The faces of Li Yao and Bai Ze both blanched.
True Fusion was one of the most terrible natural disasters in the universe.
Ever since Cultivators recognized that mysterious 'spiritual energy' existed everywhere, both in the living worlds and in the vast sea of stars, and that it could be used for their own training in various ways, countless wise Cultivators had pondered the essence of spiritual energy.
Even to this day, it had not been confirmed whether spiritual energy was particles or waves.
On the other hand, many Cultivators had shifted the direction and explored different fields.
Some Cultivators reflected on what would happen by splitting a portion of spiritual energy into unbreakable constituents.
Some other Cultivators considered what would happen if countless portions of spiritual energy were collected, compressed and condensed.
Studies in the two directions had been ongoing for ten thousand years. It was one of the most essential questions of the modern Cultivation world.
Although the ultimate answer hadn't been found yet, the wise predecessors had discovered that, once the fission and fusion of spiritual energy reached a certain level, immense damage would be unleashed instantly that could potentially deal much more damage than spiritual energy of the same amount could under normal circumstances!
This discovery also provided a reasonable explanation for the Cultivators' world-shaking strength.
The fission and fusion of spiritual energy could be applied to astronomy to explain many fantastic phenomena.
In places such as the Dim Flame Belt, infinite kinds of furious spiritual energy had been trapped in the small crack. They attracted, crushed, and swallowed each other. During their billions of interactions, once a certain mysterious condition was met, there was a slim chance that 'True Fusion' might occur.
Once a True Fusion took place, there would be a chain reaction allowing more spiritual energy nearby to join the event. In the blink of an eye, the spiritual energy accumulated for hundreds of years would all be consumed, thereby unleashing tremendous damage!
If the spiritual energy and materials nearby passed a certain threshold, a True Fusion could even produce a new star!
If there were not enough spiritual energy and materials, just like what Gold Horn was facing right now, a space swirl with immense attraction force and intimidating damage would be born after a True Fusion!
The center of the swirl was the nucleus of the True Fusion, which was hauling and absorbing all the materials and energy around. It was condensing, condensing, and still condensing, trying to break the threshold and become a star!
It was perhaps one of the most fabulous splendors in the sea of stars.
Just like moths darting into candlelight, billions of furious flames were sprinting toward the swirl and piercing into the cluster of brightness at the deepest part of the swirl crazily.
Each of the flames was hundreds of kilometers long, but after they pierced into the light ball, they could only turn into a long, narrow red thread, before they completely vanished without leaving the slightest trace.
The light ball, in the meantime, would expand a little bit. Its halo dispersed and spread over hundreds of thousands of kilometers, as if it were the best expert in martial arts in the universe.
Of course, it was impossible for anyone inside Gold Horn to hear the sound of the True Fusion.
However, the cracking noises of the shell and the explosions of the units deep below Li Yao's and Bai Ze's feet gave them the feeling that a devil of fire was gloating.
Gold Horn struggled helplessly for a moment before it was captured by the invisible attraction force and pulled backward.
Gold Horn was being dragged into the swirl.
The surging exhaust flames behind Gold Horn was lackluster and insignificant compared with the streams of flames of the True Fusion. They were like the feeble cries of a bleeding lamb which had been mauled by a tiger.
The remnant of Ghost Jail attached to the back of the starship was like a dry leaf in a storm, shaking and scattering.
Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa!
The chains that locked Ghost Jail to Gold Horn were cut off promptly so that the starship would not be burdened to doom together with the remnant.
Ghost Jail was immediately trawled by the swirl.
As if tangled by countless invisible tentacles, it was drawn deep into the swirl.
When it was some ten thousand meters away from the center of the swirl, it was crushed to powder by meteoroids and fire and turned into a spark on one of the raging streams of flames.
Everyone was aghast to see the finale of Ghost Jail.
"Activate the power rune arrays at maximum. We have to try our best to get out of the swirl while we still can!
"If we fall into the swirl, we won't stand a chance. Even if our impetus is strong enough to compete with the attraction force of the True Fusion, the starship will be torn apart because of the insufficient hardness of the shell!"
"Hurry up. Everyone, put on your crystal suit and prepare to enter the vacuum!"
"Hardness of the spiritual shield is dropping fast. Fix it! Fix it right now!"
Exclamations and screams echoed nonstop in the communication channel.
Of all the voices, one was extraordinarily shrill shout. "A meteoroid shower! An unprecedented meteoroid shower is appearing in front of us!"
On the light beam, a storm of dense red light spots were dashing toward Gold Horn.
The meteor shower was originally moving on a trajectory that was far from Gold Horn and wouldn't have collided with the starship.
However, it was also pulled in by the True Fusion and swallowed by the blood mouth.
The speed of the meteoroid shower was much higher than Gold Horn's. The two parties collided heavily.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Ten thousand explosions erupted outside and inside of Gold Horn at the same time.
Just like a tiny boat on a raging ocean, Gold Horn was now tossed into a wave, thousands of meters high, now pressed hundreds of meters beneath the surface.
The crew members were now experiencing ten times gravity, having to move with much effort inside the cabin.
Thankfully, everybody had put on their crystal suits in time. If an ordinary person was standing there without a crystal suit, they probably would have died from brain compression and vessel fractures.
The spiritual shield suddenly shined in hundreds of brilliant colors.
After each color, the hardness of the spiritual shield would drop a little bit.
Continuous explosions were taking place inside the generator. Several metal plates carved with rune arrays had collapsed. The cooling liquids were boiling!
Li Yao and Bai Ze gritted their teeth like two maniacs as they appeared at several places of the cabin at the same time, trying their best to repair the generator with whatever was left of the supply components.
However, the density and intensity of this meteoroid shower were too high. The spiritual shield was not able to bear the bombardment. A few horrendous giant holes appeared in the front of the shield as if melted ice.
The distance was too close, and the speed was too high. The direction of the meteoroid shower could barely be altered even though the twisted force field was operating at maximum.
Many meteoroids had been heated to thousands of degrees because of the friction resulting from the high speed. They hit Gold Horn's shell like fireballs!
The shell of Gold Horn was immediately riddled with holes, resembling a beetle that had been gnawed clean by an army of ants.
Countless cabins were torn open. A huge number of scraps were tossed to the space, forming a drape of glittering scales around Gold Horn.
The cabin Li Yao was in was the first to take the blow.
Because of the mechanism of the spiritual shield generator, this cabin could only be deployed at the outmost layer of the starship.
In less than half a minute, tremendous meteorites had struck the shell brutally. All seven layers of plate armor, together with the defense rune arrays in between, were ripped to pieces!
Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa!
Countless meteorites were on a rampage inside the cabin with deep red flames behind them. Not only did they stab through a lot of the units inside the cabin, one of them even hit Bai Ze precisely!
Fortunately, Bai Ze was wearing a crystal suit. Also, as an expert at spiritual shields, he had condensed three layers of nested spiritual shields around himself as soon as he sensed that something bad was going to happen.
Bai Ze was blown away through a metal wall and ended up in debris with his limbs all stretched out. There was no telling whether he was killed or still alive.
Li Yao was still wearing the maintenance crystal suit 'Rockman'. Illuminated by the dim red lights inside the helmet, he found that cold sweat was popping up on his forehead uncontrollably, despite trying to calm himself down.
Gritting his lips, he jumped forward and activated the automatic repair system to fix the starship's shell. Then he found his way through the gaps of the meteorites to Bai Ze after tedious efforts.
The chest of Bai Ze's crystal suit was shattered, with a clear red round dent. He was cramping and showed no reaction to Li Yao's shouts.
However, Li Yao did sense a very feeble heartbeat and shallow breathing from him, indicating that he should've just passed out because his soul was disturbed by the chaotic spiritual energy mixed with the meteorites.
Li Yao frowned and cursed in a low voice.
Under such circumstances, Bai Ze wouldn't be able to conduct the maintenance work, even if he woke up later, until his damaged was soul recovered.
One minute later, the meteoroid shower finally passed.
But Gold Horn had almost been turned upside down. Many cabins had exploded. A lot of pathways had been blocked. Some crucial units had stopped functioning, too.
What was more fatal was that, due to a disastrous explosion in the engine compartment, two main power rune arrays had completely been wrecked.
In the chaos, Gold Horn had been entirely swallowed by the space swirl and had fallen to the core of the True Fusion.
After some researching, we think we've worked out the difference between meteorite, meteor, meteoroid, and asteroid. We're going with this site's definitions for now: https://phys.org/news/2015-06-difference-asteroids-meteorites.html.
So from now on, what has been referred to as a meteorite cascade/meteor shower will be called a meteoroid shower. I'll be going through some of the recent chapters to try to fix this. If any of you spot any other errors, feel free to join our discord and point them out to us: https://discord.gg/WqFxTZx