Seeing the casual appearance of the young man and the face that often appeared on posters on the street, all the college students were dumbfounded!
Is—is—is this the legendary Master Li Yao?
He was wearing a sloppy T-shirt that seemed half a size too big, with a huge ‘250’ at the center. There was also a badge, a clenched fist, on the chest, which was surrounded by the caption ‘The Grand Desolate War Institution has been established for two hundred and fifty years’!
It was obviously promotional clothing that had been distributed for free when the birthday of the school was celebrated.
From the somewhat lackluster number and badge, and the creases that could not be removed no matter how they were ironed, it could easily be deduced that the T-shirt had been worn for quite a few years. Even the regular cloth now looked like silk because it had been rubbed too much!
The creased T-shirt, the fat, striped beach pants, and a pair of sloppy slippers, along with a bag of tools mixed into various colors by the oil dirt and crystal powder dangling from his waist, constituted Master Li Yao’s basic profile!
Having just finished the maintenance of Fancy Phantom, Master Li Yao not only had a pair of hands that were stained with dirt and all kinds of suspicious liquids that were emitting repugnant smell, but he also had a black-and-white face, like a panda that had only just woken up.
His appearance collapsed the image of their idol in many female student’s hearts.
As it turned out… all the handsome and magnificent pictures on the posters were lies. They must have been rendered through countless modifications and edits!
He—he—he was actually so unattractive in real life!
Naturally, Li Yao did not have the vaguest clue what on the female students’ mind.
He was glad to meet an old friend from the Flying Star Sector, too, and greeted Long Yunxin with a smile.
With mixed feelings, Long Yunxin was lost for words for a moment.
She knew better than to pay attention to the appearance on the surface. Through the immense vitality dispersing from Li Yao’s every pore and the stars that were hidden deep inside his eyes, she sensed a vast ocean!
Long Yunxin secretly sighed.
At this moment, she finally acknowledged, however reluctantly, that even if her vague feelings for Li Yao years ago had not been turned down on the spot, they would not have yielded any fruit.
They were living in two different worlds. The gap between their levels was too huge.
Her world was Flying Star University and the Flying Star Sector, or the New Federation that would include the three Sectors at best. That was the limit of her knowledge and the goal that she fought for.
However, below Li Yao’s seemingly casual posture and his somewhat slobby appearance, a boundless world that could almost include the entire universe was hidden!
His own world was so vast, mysterious, and marvelous that he was too fascinated by it to care about his image in the mortal world.
It was like how a falcon would not care for its every feather so that other people would be able to appreciate it because the falcon had a higher sky to break into and further clouds to conquer!
Making colorful feathers and uttering crisp shrieks were what sparrows and orioles should do.
Long Yunxin felt that she was a small sparrow right now, while Li Yao was a falcon that was soaring above the sea of stars. Although the two of them had spent some time flying together because of fate, it was inevitable that they would part in the end.
The one who was qualified to fly with a falcon to the end of the universe could only be another falcon!
After thinking through that, Long Yunxin suddenly felt her heart shake for a moment. An invisible rope was loosened instantly, and the problem that had troubled her for years was gone. She found herself able to confront Li Yao at ease now!
Taking a deep breath, Long Yunxin smiled and bowed back to Li Yao as an old friend before she said what they were there for.
“You are here to communicate with me on the arts of refining? Welcome, welcome. Of course, you are all welcomed here!”
Overjoyed, Li Yao blinked and said, “After all, I was a visitor scholar in Flying Star University for more than half a year, and I also developed an Ares Extension with Master Xue Yuanxin of your school! Flying Star University does mean a lot to me. Communication of the refining arts is definitely not going to be a problem!
“But there’s a minor problem. I only just returned to the Heaven’s Origin Sector from Kunlun, so I have a lot of old friends that I have to meet. My schedule for the day is full. How about the night?
“Tonight, we will have a good talk. Everybody will exchange their ideas and thoughts deeply and freely until dawn. How does that sound?”
The students did not expect that the legendary Master Li Yao would be so warm and easygoing. For a moment, they were all jumping and laughing in joy!
“However…” Li Yao smiled. “I want to ask a favor from you, too, which will possibly take an entire day. But don’t worry. Your time will not be wasted for nothing. In fact, I’m hoping that you can help test a piece of brand-new magical equipment so that some experiment data can be collected!”
For the students of the Refining Department, it was their daily routine to work as a refiner’s assistant or run magical equipment tests.
Now that it was an offer proposed by the legendary Master Li Yao, the item to be tested was definitely not random magical equipment. There was absolutely no reason for them to refuse the offer!
Therefore, all the students were encouraging Long Yunxin to accept the request.
After all, Long Yunxin and her students were on a study trip. The opportunity to be enlightened by such an expert like Li Yao was too rarely-seen to be missed out. Therefore, she promised Li Yao very quickly. However, she did say that some of the students that she had brought with her were less skilled than others. Some of them were only in their sophomore year or even freshman year. If the magical equipment to be tested was too sophisticated, they might not be able to complete the job well.
“Rest assured, everybody. The test does not have any difficulties. Not just college students, even middle-school students can finish the job easily.” Li Yao smiled. “In fact, it is not much of a test. I’m simply inviting you to play a game.”
“A game?” Long Yunxin was confused.
“Yes.” Li Yao smiled and replied mysteriously, “A game. A very special game.”
Twenty minutes later, they arrived at a sealed area in the southeast corner of the Magical Equipment Exposition.
The most cutting-edge super magical equipment, some of which was still being developed and tested, was displayed in the era. It was not open to the public. Only VIPs and specialists with special invitation cards were allowed to visit.
Li Yao brought the hundred students to a round, glass room.
It was like a center of virtual games everywhere to be seen, with game cabins that looked like metal cocoons scattered about in the room. Through the nerve connection technology, the players would be allowed to enter the most profound Grand Illusionary Land where they could play vivid and exciting games.
Special humming sounds caused by the high-functioning crystal processors could be heard. The air was mixed with the flavor of incense.
A lot of participants were already running tests in the game cabins.
Long Yunxin glanced around and noticed that the age and gender of the participants varied. Most of them were even seniors whose hair was completely white.
“This particular game demands that the tester boasts certain knowledge in sociology, politics, game theory, and military strategies,” Li Yao explained. “Therefore, most of the ordinary participants are of a relatively older age.
“Right now, the game is still in the alpha test phase. We have invited the citizens of different trades and social classes in the Heaven’s Origin Sector for the test and accumulated tremendous data. Next, we will invite players from the Blood Demon Sector and the Flying Star Sector who are of a different cultural background for the test!
“The Flying Star Sector is a civilization based on starships. When you play the game, the strategies that you choose will certainly be slightly different from what the people of the Heaven’s Origin Sector, who are from a planetary civilization, have chosen.
“The hundred students that have come with you on the study trip must be the most distinguished elites, considering that they have been admitted by Flying Star University. It should not be difficult at all for them to have fun in the game.”
Li Yao took the college students to the first basement. Many workers immediately led them to their game cabins.
Long Yunxin noticed that the staff were all wearing the school emblem of the Grand Desolate War Institution on their chest. They should be a team of volunteers made up of the students of the Grand Desolate War Institution.
It appeared that the development of the game was deeply associated with Li Yao, who was also from the Grand Desolate War Institution.
Li Yao adjusted one of the game cabins to the ‘Half-Step Grand Illusionary Land’ mode and guided Long Yunxin to play the game.
Because the game had not been completed yet, the picture demonstrated on the light beam was a bit shabby. In the middle of music, a crude, unembellished title rushed close from the depths of the universe.
That was the name of the game.
On closer look, the title ‘Civilization’ was actually made of countless brilliantly shining stars. When the player focused their eyes on the title, the shining stars suddenly exploded into a waterfall, which was then magnified into swirling galaxies.
Every galaxy had a caption next to them.
The Curly Dragon civilization!
The Medicine Fork civilization!
The Martial Meritocrats civilization!
The Sand Primitive civilization!
The names of dozens of different civilizations were listened. When the player focused their eyes on any name, detailed information about the civilization would be displayed, including the population, distribution of resources, social form, number of experts, and so on.
“‘Civilization’ is a cosmic simulation game,” Li Yao explained. “The player will choose a civilization of Cultivators, play the role of the highest decision-maker, and decide the progress of the civilization!
“Every civilization of Cultivators has its unique skills and resources. Some of them boast abundant crystals, and some others have tremendous relics of the Star Ocean Imperium. However, the civilizations are faced with all kinds of problems, too, such as a shortage of resources, population boom, asteroid collision, and even the invasion of demons or descent of extraterrestrial devils. As the highest decision-maker, you will have to select the most appropriate strategy and deal with the problems one by one!
“We have provided almost a million selectable strategies. You can consider yourself to be infinitely free in the game, not bound by any rules such as morals, laws, or ethics. You can do whatever you want as long as you can bear the consequences of a certain strategy!
“The game has hundreds of different victory criteria. The one with the highest difficulty is to make a civilization of Cultivators survive thirty thousand years and radiate to at least a hundred Sectors nearby.
“It’s a pity that no player has yet achieved the goal in the alpha test. Therefore, Miss Long, you may set your goal as ‘make my civilization live as long as possible’ before you get started.
“After the game is over, you will be able to see how skillfully you can lead a civilization from the rank of players.”