The wide field which was just bustling with freshmen a moment ago had, very soon, turned desolate, as the freshmen continued to leave with their respective student union, leaving Li Yao along with 7-8 freshmen behind.
Apart from Li Yao, every one of them had a frown on their foreheads as a sigh of despair left their lipsall of them were the freshmen of the Refining Department.
"Oh! Where is everybody? Now, only we few brothers in hardship are left behind. The Refining Department deserves to be called the worst department of the Grand Desolate War Institution. Look, the guys who should have come to pick us up is even slower than the others, and even now, no one has appeared!"
A skinny black boy pursed his lips as a bitter smile dawned upon him.
His name was Huang Tong. His outgoing personality very soon eased up the atmosphere, allowing all the fellow sufferers to introduce themselves.
When everyone had introduced their names and hometowns to each other, Li Yao could finally not bear it any longer and asked the question that had been lingering over his heart for a while:
"Fellow brothers, why is everyone so depressed? Although the Refining Department is not very good, in the end, it is still one of the departments of the 'Nine Elite Universities' and could not be any worse than other colleges. After graduating, it is guaranteed that we will find a job, so what is it thats making you all so depressed?"
Once he said this, everyone looked at each other before all of them looked at Li Yao with an incredibly strange gaze.
Li Yao felt goosebumps all over his body from their gazes and asked in surprise, "Did I say anything wrong?"
A mischievous smile crept on Huang Tong face:
"Fellow Student Li Yao, it seems that when you were filling in the matriculation form, you definitely were not well informed about Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department."
Li Yao frowned:
"Indeed, I didn't have an in-depth understanding. I only knew that it was one of the worst departments in the 'Nine Elite Universities', so what about it? At most, the level of the university can be a bit low, but as long as we try hard, won't we become successful? Like the old saying goes, the master teaches the trade, but the perfection of the apprentice's skill depends on his own efforts!"
Huang Tong let a long sigh and said:
"Now we know that you definitely didn't have any in-depth knowledge regarding the Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department. Otherwise, how could someone like you, who had topped the College Entrance Examination in his city, willingly walk into this quagmire?"
"Quagmire? I don't understand!"
"Well, let me tell you, Student Li Yao. The biggest problem of Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department is not that its standard of teaching is low, but rather, the refining ideology is simply different than the mainstream in the refiners' community today. The Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department follows a 'non-mainstream' view."
"If we use the words of the ancient cultivation era forty millenniums agothen in the of mainstream refiners, the Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department is an unorthodox school!"
"Unorthodoxis it that serious?" Li Yao was taken by surprise.
Huang Tong nodded and said, "It is even more serious than you can imagine. It is on a level that it could even spark a 'struggle over the great daos'!"
"Struggle over the great daos?" A frown appeared on Li Yao's forehead. It seemed it was very likely to be true, as Ding Yin too had said the same.
He recalled the conflict that was aroused between the professor of the Star Nebula University and the professor of the Federation's First Military College on the Distance Expanse.
A debate over the "nature of spiritual energy" had sparked a "struggle over the great dao", and the two were not far away from "taking it to a field".
If a large crowd and numerous onlookers weren't present at that moment, then they truly might have fought over it and may even have tried to take each other's life.
Zheng Dongming had also explained to Li Yao that "cultivators" are precisely the "people who pursued the truth" and that every cultivator was unusually stubborn when upholding their own ideology.
Even if it was a cultivator who had a moderate temperament, once he was entangled in a "struggle over the great dao", he would not show any restraints nor any compromise. Either the enemy believes his "truth", or he would keep fighting until one of them ends up dead.
The "truth" was the foundation of a cultivator, whereas the "struggle over the great dao" was the biggest war for a cultivator. It was even more serious than the war with demons and devils, and there was no room for compromise.
"How does the mainstream ideology and the 'truth' believed by the Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department differ? How could it even reach the level that it could spark a "struggle over the great daos'?"
Li Yao was truly having a difficult time understanding this.
Huang Tong let out a dry cough and explained:
"The so-called 'struggle over the great daos', to be precise, is a dispute between the elites and the grassroots."
"The Deep Sea University, as the representative of the mainstream refining theory, follows the elite line. They believe that the more complex and compact the structure of a magical equipment is, then the more powerful and better it would be!"
"As for the production cost of refining such magical equipment, it would be too high. The complex nature of the structure also increases the failure rate. Meanwhile, the requirements to equip such magical equipment became more and more demanding... These problems for the mainstream refining theory seems small and were all insignificant."
"In accordance with this ideology, the deciding point for winning a war rested on high-level cultivators, that's why they do not hesitate to refine such powerful magical equipment at a high cost for Core Formation Stage experts and Nascent Soul Stage old devils. At most, they would only refine a few ordinary magical equipment for the Building Foundation Stage cultivators to use."
"As for Refinement Stage cultivators and ordinary soldiers, it was believed that they are unable to affect the overall situation, and hence they were not worth the effort. The refiners dont even pay a bit of attention to them."
"This is the general view of the refiners' community today. A vast majority of universities and refining sects also thinks the same."
"Whereas, our institute's Refining Department might be the only exception. As our institute originally rose to prominence from grassroots, special attention is paid to the battle force of low-level cultivators and ordinary soldiers."
"According to the grassroots ideology, the deciding point for winning a war does not rest upon high-level cultivators. On the contrary, a sea of low-level cultivators and ordinary soldiers are the most crucial for winning a war."
"So long as hundreds of thousands of Refinement Stage cultivators and ordinary soldiers are equipped with adequate magical equipment, even a Nascent Soul Stage old devil could similarly be pummeled to the ground under the attacks of tens of thousands of Refinement Stage cultivators, much like many ants biting an elephant to death!"
"From this point of view, the deciding factor for the standard of a magical equipment quality is obviously not its power."
For them, low production cost, simple structure, stable performance, resilience, and ease of repair were the key factors of the magical equipment! Instead of using heaven and earth treasures for raw materials, they used ordinary materials so that the equipment could be manufactured en mass on an assembly line. For such magical equipment, anyone could use it, and those from this point of view believe that this is what constitutes an undoubtedly good magical equipment!
"You see, the elites' and grassroots' refining ideologies are polar opposites. It's the most typical case of 'struggle over the great daos'."
"At present, the elites in the refiners community are those who follow the mainstream ideology. 90% of the refiners belongs to elites, while we, the grassroots, are regarded as ignorant barbarians. The magical equipment refined by the grassroots are even ridiculed to the point that they are even called fire plows and lumps of iron. The magical equipment refined by the grassroots are not even regarded as true magical equipment."
"The person who could carry the grassroots on his shoulder is precisely the head of department of our department, Professor Mo Xuan. He almost single-handedly picked up the flag of the entire grassroots faction and adhered to the ideology of refining magical equipment for low-level cultivators and ordinary people. For the past few decades, he had never wavered and that's why he also got the moniker 'Madman' in the refiners community."
"The mainstream refiners' community very much despises the students of 'Mad Mo'. After we graduate, it is almost impossible for us to find a good job in the mainstream refiners' community. The top five hundred sects in the federation even refuse to recruit the graduates of the Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department. We can only go to some small sects or go to the army in the grassroots troop and do the most basic refining work. In short, our future is bleak."
"The aforementioned is precisely the 'struggle over the great dao' in the refiners' community. As long as anyone had a deeper understanding of this, no one would ever apply to the Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department."
"Take me for example. Even in my dreams, I have never dreamt of studying refining. My first choice was actually the path of the Combat Department's sword cultivator. However, I chose to 'abide by the allocation', and as my score was not enough to become sword cultivator, I was transferred to the Refining Department!"
"I did not want to come, but as I have already repeated two years, I really did not want to repeat for the third time and become a '15th grader'. Wouldnt that be too much of a disgrace? I had no alternative but to pinch my nose and come here."
This statement of Huang Tong had garnered the sympathy of all the freshmen as everybody burst into a lively discussion.
"Same here! I also did not want to study some damn refining. It was my father who forced me to come. He says, at any rate, it is one of the 'Nine Elite Universities' and is still very prestigious!"
"Who would be willing to learn some grassroots refining techniques? I have already decided that if there is an opportunity, I will transfer to another department. Let alone the four major departments, even if it were an ordinary department, it would still be better than following 'Mad Mo'!"
"Same here! Brothers, let's work hard together to strive to transfer to another department as quickly as possible!"
Huang Tong thought that Li Yao was worried about his future when he saw Li Yao thinking about something. He could not help but laugh and say:
"Fellow Student Li Yao, what are you worried about? You are so strong that the Iron Fist Club and the Chaos Edge Hall had both invited you a moment ago. You can change your department anytime you wish. You don't have to concern yourself with the rotten Refining Department."
Li Yao stood in silence for a long time before he shook his head and said:
"Fellow Student Huang Tong, thanks a lot for your kind explanation. However, I have no intention of changing my department. On the contrary, after listening to your explanation, I think the Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department might very well be the right choice for methis refining ideology sits very well with me."
Upon hearing his response, everyone was dumbfounded. They looked at him as if they were looking at some kind of monster.
Huang Tong said in astonishment, "Are you the same as 'Mad Mo'? Do you also support the grassroots refining ideology?"
"Yes," Li Yao frankly admitted.
After having assimilated a larger part of Ou Yezi's memory fragments, a majority of Li Yao's understanding of the refining branch had, knowingly or unknowingly, been tainted by the style of the ancient cultivators era from forty millenniums ago.
During the ancient cultivators era, there weren't any magical equipment that were so complex like the Taiyi Lightning Railgun, which was refined using a couple hundred thousand components.
Even the masterwork weapons that could kill Spirit Transformation Stage monsters had at most a couple hundred components.
Therefore, Li Yao naturally advocated for the simple and straightforward refining ideology; he somewhat resisted complex and compact magical equipment.
Li Yao vaguely remembered that in the strange dream from very long time ago of the previous world he lived in, there used to be two superpowers which had two different designing concepts yet manufactured similar tyrannical weapons!
One was the "Soviet Style"!
And the other was the "German Style!"
The German Style weapons were like the elites' magical equipment. The weapons were of complex and compact structure and had high production costs. Their production process was pretty complex, not to mention they had high requirements for their users.
And of course, they were extremely powerful.
Whereas, the Soviet Style weapons were like the grassroots magical equipment. The weapons were specially manufactured for human wave attacks. They did not have high requirements, and their structure was also simple and reliable. They had low manufacturing cost so that they could be mass produced in the simplest of workshops. They were built in a manner so that even the uneducated ordinary people and even the women could immediately use them.
Relying on powerful German Weapons, the former superpower had once conquered everywhere and engulfed almost half of the civilized world. At a tactical level, the former superpower had obtained one brilliant victory after another.
But on the strategic level...
The Soviet Style weapons that had a common structure, low manufacturing costs, were easy to operate, and were constantly produced in a steady stream from simple factories, forming an overwhelming steel army. A sea of boorish and uncivilized soldiers, who only had the courage but not the battle experience, after equipping these simple weapons, forcibly suppressed the German Style Weapons and the elite among the elite soldiers, and in the end, had even pushed them back. Those extremely exquisite German Weapons that were called a work of art were all completely smashed into pieces.
Li Yao's motherland in the previous world also followed the Soviet Style to the limit. The weapons that were manufactured had low manufacturing costs and had an extremely ugly appearance; the weapons were simply rustic to the core. However, on the battlefield, the battle force they unleashed could, instead, be called "perverse"!
The Soviet and German weapons in this chapter are all about World War II. The Germans weapons were exceptionally good, but they were harder to manufacture and maintain, whereas the Soviet weapons were simple and easy to produce and repair. In Russia, where it was extremely cold, the Soviet weapons were easy to maintain, while the German weapons, like tanks, had to keep running all night just to make it to the next day. And also, once the production facility of the German weapons was captured, it was quite difficult to establish another production facility, making it harder to maintain the supply to the front lines. All of this I found it on the internet, so correct me if I am wrong somewhere, as I have literally no idea about the processions of World War II to the minute details.