The cockpit had been consumed by the furious flames. Damaged magical equipment was flying everywhere.
Fortunately, those qualified to stay in the cockpit were all seasoned warriors, and they'd experienced quite a lot of scenarios where the cockpit had been hit by hostile firepower directly. Therefore, after a moment of chaos, the fire was put out and the damage was repaired.
"What is our status right now?" bellowed Lei Dalu in the communication channel.
"The mainframe crystal processor lost 5% of its computational ability. An explosion took place inside the engine compartment, and two power rune arrays were wasted. But Master Xiong is working on it right now, and the impetus decline has been halted! The cabin of the spiritual shield generator suffered worst. It was hit by the meteoroid shower directly. The cabins nearby were all torn apart, the pathways to it were blocked, and it is surrounded by severe spiritual energy interference, too!"
Bai Kaixin's face was pale and cold as he spoke fast. "The communication between the spiritual shield generator cabin and us has been cut off. We can't reach out to Bai Ze. Given the blockage of the pathways and the shortness of hands, we need at least half an hour to break our way into it!
"The hardness of our spiritual shield has dropped to 52% and is still declining. If it keeps the current trend, we will completely lose our spiritual shield in the next fifteen minutes. By then, we will have to resist the foreign intrusions by our plate armor. It will be a miracle if we can survive three minutes!
"The most terrible thing is that we have been fully captured by the gravity sphere of the True Fusion!
"Our speed is now too low to compete with its attraction force. We will only gradually fall into its nucleus and end up as a small spark just like Ghost Jail did!
"The force of the True Fusion is too immense. We wouldn't be fast enough to get rid of its attraction even if the power rune arrays were fully functioning, not to mention that two of them have already exploded!"
Bai Kaixin's words cast the communication channel into weird silence. The only thing that could be heard were desperate breaths and stumping heartbeats.
Lei Dalu was quiet for a long time. Then he suddenly started chuckling, in a way that almost frightened his companions who were listening to it, before he commanded, "Go forward."
Bai Kaixin's eyes were wide open, as he thought that his ears deceived him.
"I said, go forward! Activate the power rune arrays to maximum and go forward at full speed in the same direction as the swirl of the True Fusion!"
Lei Dalu's voice was shivering, half out of fear and half excitement. "We have barely any spiritual energy left. The structure of the starship is frail, too. We wouldn't stand a chance against the attraction of the True Fusion even if we go back at full speed!
"In that case, our final outcome would either be that the starship is ripped into shreds due to the over-stretching or that it is slowly dragged into the swirl after we run out of spiritual energy and all the power rune arrays break down!
"Now that there is no way that we can turn back, we might just as well take our chances!
"This space swirl must be more than a million kilometers in diameter. Right now, we are still at its edge. Its attraction force is not very strong here and now.
"In the meantime, it is revolving rapidly. All the materials and spiritual energy devoured by it will be accelerated and sent to its center in spirals.
"If we go forward at a full speed, we will be able to draw an arc and accelerated to a higher speed!
"When our speed reaches a point that is enough to fight against the attraction force, we will alter our direction and thus have the opportunity to rush out of the swirl!"
Bai Kaixin was dazed for a moment. The blood all over his body was flowing toward his head. Even his two white eyebrows were vaguely red now. He gritted his teeth and said, "Yes, yes. The space swirl can indeed accelerate us. It might be our only chance!
"However, we have but one time to try!
"While our speed soars as we are moving helically inside the swirl, we will be dragged deeper and deeper in the space swirl and bound by stronger and stronger attraction force!
"Therefore, we must seize the best time window to alter our direction. If it is too early, we won't be able to get enough speed; if it's too late, the attraction force will be too huge even if we have enough speed, and the most likely ending for us is that the starship will be blown to smithereens after a period of deadlock!
"Besides, the plan has an extremely high demand on both the engine compartment and the spiritual shield generator cabin!
"The importance of the engine compartment is self-explanatory.
"Our spiritual shield will be going through harsh tests, too! Its current hardness is far from enough to withstand the tearing force and the collisions of more meteoroid showers deep inside the space swirl!"
Lei Dalu breathed heavily for a moment and said firmly, "I believe in everyone, and I believe we are going to make it!
"Now, stop backing off. Forward, forward! Go forward at full speed toward the core of the space swirl and the True Fusion itself!"
Inside the spiritual shield generator cabin, Li Yao fixed Bai Ze and his crystal suit onto a wall with a big magnet and installed a defense rune array around him before he went back and prepared to clean up the mess.
On the dome, the twisted tubes sprayed a lot of foams which consolidated into solid grey matter and managed to block the countless holes in the shell.
The crazily dancing scraps of magical equipment finally went peaceful and fell to the ground with rattling noises.
Seeing the muddle in front of him, Li Yao felt that somebody had stuffed a handful of freezing rune arrays into his groin. Coldness was rising up from his abdomen, flowing all through his body, and calcifying all his nerves.
The sixteen metal plates that constituted the spiritual shield generators were all awry. Many of them had been blown up by the meteoroids. A lot of scorching stones were still embedded in them, damaging the defense rune arrays there.
The few spare components Li Yao had prepared had already been thrown to the vacuum. Whatever was left had also blown into a clutter and scattered in every corner of the cabin.
The main axis in the center of the generator was emitting ominous mystic rays and revolving at a lower and lower speed.
Li Yao cursed silently.
The main axis was the core of the cooling pool. By spinning the sixteen metal plates, it could make them fully cooled down inside the cooling pool.
Once the main axis was broken, the cooling liquids around the sixteen metal plates would boil and vaporize very quickly, which not bring the temperature down.
In a few minutes, the metal plates would start melting, and the stability of the spiritual shield would hit rock bottom!
Li Yao tried to contact the cockpit in the communication channel, only to receive nothing but background noise.
Most of the light beams were either black or showing nonsense.
For the light beams that were still working, their connection to the mainframe crystal processor had been cut off, too.
He had completely lost all forms of communication with the cockpit.
The starship was slowly turning around in the space swirl toward the depths of it.
Doom seemed to be the inevitable outcome.
Li Yao took a deep, deep breath. His lips curled into a crazy smile that was exactly the same as the one that Lei Dalu was wearing right now.
I am still alive at this moment.
Even if I might be destroyed in a second, I'm still alive right now!
To live means to fight! One more second of survival should be one more second of struggling! I must not abandon myself until the last bit of my soul is burnt to ashes!
Ding Lingdang is waiting for me; the Star Glory Federation is waiting for me; the Heaven's Origin Sector is waiting for me! I cannot die from an insignificant True Fusion in such a wretched place!
I have slain lightning, I have executed tornadoes, and it's time that I blow up a space swirl!
Li Yao bit his lips so hard that they were bleeding. His soaring fighting will was almost burning his eyes through.
He took out a lot of strengthening drugs from his Cosmos Ring.
The strengthening drugs had been prepared for Fengyu Ming by his father Fengyu Zhong. The total quantity was enough for several years' use.
Without even blinking, Li Yao chugged a portion of them that was sufficient for a common Cultivator to use for almost half a year.
A series of explosions immediately erupted in his stomach. His skin was chapping, and magma was raging inside his veins!
His spiritual energy had run dry. Right now, he needed power, the most intimidating, furious power!
"Art of the Swallowing Whale, activate!"
Like a crazy devil, Li Yao tried his best to absorb the spiritual energy contained inside the strengthening drugs with Art of the Swallowing Whale, a rudimental Cultivation art of the Hundred Smelting Sect forty thousand years ago.
At the same time, more than ten pleasant-smelling little flowers appeared in his palm.
Heart Locking Flowers, secret treasures retrieved from Boneyard, could stabilize the soul of a Cultivator and maintain the tranquility of their brain. However dangerous the situation was, the Cultivator wouldn't suffer from mental derangement with the help of Heart Locking Flowers.
They were Li Yao's biggest reason for drinking dozens of times of the ordinary dosage of strengthen drugs.
Otherwise, even though his body might be sturdy enough to withstand the effect because of the Thousand Tempering Hundred Refining technique, his brain would definitely be boiled and wrecked under the blast of the overloading spiritual energy. He would become a moron if so!
Without further calculations, Li Yao gulped down the twenty or so Heart Locking Flowers and finally suppressed his burning brain. He entered the Super Perceptive Stage again!
His brain cell activity soared to maximum!
The huge amount of spiritual energy stored inside the strengthening drugs exploded and spread out like dozens of invisible tentacles around Li Yao. They snatched all the useable components inside the debris and turned them into a rampant storm of metal!
Gritting his teeth, Li Yao turned into a streak of greyness and jumped into the cooling pool which was about to boil.
Inside the cockpit, all the light beams were displaying the horrifying scenes at the nucleus of the True Fusion.
Gold Horn had entirely shifted its direction. It was accelerating and turning into a leopard that was jumping at the sun!
The performance parameters on the light beams suggested that the hardness of the spiritual shield was still dropping. Many parts of the shell were blown up by the meteoroids again. Countless other areas were sending warnings.
"This is bad. The spiritual shield only has 40% left, but the temperature around us is continuing on the rise! The spiritual energy of the fire class is growing more and more intense! We won't be able to persist for another three minutes!" shouted Bai Kaixin.
Lei Dalu gnashed his teeth. "Keep moving forward. Bai Ze is going to take care of the spiritual shield."
"But there is no time! We only have three minutes left! The hardness of the spiritual shield has dropped to 38%!" Bai Kaixin screamed so hard that his voice was hoarse.
"Forward, keep moving forward, at full speed!"
Lei Dalu closed his eyes and stopped looking at the crazily bouncing figure. Wearing a vague smile, he declared, one word after another, "The most important thing about us Cultivators is trust! The Great Horn Exo Society would never have achieved what we have achieved today without trust!
"I trust each and every one of you. I believe that Uncle Xiong will adjust the power rune arrays to the best state; I believe that Xiong Ze will fix the spiritual shield generator up; I believe that every brother in the cockpit here will calculate the perfect and precise route; I believe that the rest of our crew members will try their best to mend every broken hole on the starship so that Gold Horn is solid enough to crush over all the surging tides!
"And you, you've also trusted me and every crazy decision that I have made.
"Therefore, keep moving forward and charge at the True Fusion. We are either dying or rising from ashes!"
Bai Kaixin was speechless for quite a while, but he suddenly noticed the minor change of a figure on the light beam.
He bulged his eyes and looked at it again. He was not hallucinating!
The hardness of the spiritual shield had been increased by 1%, returning from 38% to 39% stubbornly!