“The magical equipment is for the customer to use, not for the refiner to show off…”
Professor Tang took a deep breath, and her confused eyes became clear again. She looked at Li Yao in a completely different way from before.
“I seem to get it now, senior. It’s true that I shouldn’t have helped Zhao Tongtian adjust his crystal suit just now. I should’ve informed him honestly that the crystal suit is not suitable for him to carry out ambushes or patrol missions in such a complicated environment as the Dragon Snake Space Zone without the logistical support for a long time. Whatever adjustments the crystal suit has, it will not resolve the source of the problem. Even if it is immaculate for a moment after the adjustment, the crystal suit will be very troublesome again with the slightest faults after a few not-so-intense battles!
Professor Tang’s face was even redder. She said in a low voice, “I saw through it from the very beginning, but I did not think that it was a big deal. That Zhao Tongtian is a truly annoying fellow. I didn’t look at him properly at all, and I didn’t even regard him as the real owner of the Azure Thunder. I felt that… he did not deserve such a crystal suit!”
“I thought so, too,” Li Yao said. “I did not like the repulsive fellow, either. I, too, don’t think that he deserves the Azure Thunder Therefore, I didn’t even have any interest in studying the crystal suit carefully in the beginning.”
“In the beginning?” Professor Tang’s eyes glittered. She grasped the key of Li Yao’s sentence keenly.
Li Yao smiled and changed the topic. “Do you know? Just now, I took some time to study the work of Master Xie Anan, Wu Yaxuan’s mother and a representative of the arts of refining of the Grand Desolate School. After I compared her crystal suits to the crystal suits crafted by ‘Solar Eclipse’ Jiang Shaoyang, the leading person of the Deep Sea School, I couldn’t help but notice a very interesting difference.
“In the circle of refiners in the federation, it is generally acknowledged that Jiang Shaoyang is the most extraordinary person other than Professor Mo Xuan, who is a master refiner of the older generation. He has even dwarfed all his competitors. While Xie Anan is a fairly good expert of refining herself, there is always a gap between her and Jiang Shaoyang.
“Such a theory is not entirely groundless. After all, the few cutting-edge, most-advanced crystal suits in the federation have all been devised by Jiang Shaoyang. It is even believed that the high-level Cultivators above the Core Formation Stage should all wear the crystal suits of the Deep Sea School and that the crystal suits of the Grand Desolate School are only suitable for the middle- and low-level Cultivators below the Core Formation Stage.
“That is a rather reasonable theory. However, after carefully studying the hundreds of crystal suits built by Xie Anan and Jiang Shaoyang in person over the past thirty years, I have realized that, while the performance parameters of Jiang Shaoyang’s crystal suits far exceed Xie Anan’s in almost every aspect, when it comes to the rate of severe faults that have caused disability and even death, Jiang Shaoyang’s works are seven percent higher than Xie Anan’s!
“Of course, since Jiang Shaoyang’s crystal suits adopted many new technologies, including recently invented ones that were still experimental, it is understandable that his rate of severe faults is higher.
“But what is the rate of severe faults of the crystal suits forged by Xie Anan in person? Zero! Of the hundred crystal suits she’s built, even after they weathered through the bombardment of the main guns of the warships and the savage of the hostile Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators while they were worn by the experts in the Core Formation Stage or even the Nascent Soul Stage in such a harsh environment as the Uranian Ring Sector, sometimes without effective support and maintenance for several months if not years, the crystal suits remained stable and functional. Accidents where the Exos were injured or even killed because of the crystal suit’s faults never happened!
“Such steadiness is truly horrifying. It’s no wonder that, while most of the top-tier experts in the federation have selected the crystal suits of the Deep Sea School and appointed Jiang Shaoyang as their special maintainer and modifier, Ding Lingdang, known as the God of War in the federation, always chooses Xie Anan to modify her crystal suit!
“I believe that the ‘flawlessness’ in Xie Anan’s style of refining means that she is able to be completely devoted to the magical equipment she is building and to consider purely from the user’s point of view. It is not just the difference in the specific techniques.
“Wu Yaxuan thought that he had learned her mother’s tricks of ‘flawlessness’, but in fact, he caught the shadow and lost the substance. He only saw the surface but never perceived the essence below. There’s still a long road ahead for that young man!”
While commenting, Li Yao drank up the soup of the instant noodles. He smacked his lips and handed over the empty bowl to Professor Tang.
Professor Tang looked at Li Yao.
Li Yao looked back at her emotionless, too.
“Oh. Right.” Professor Tang finally understood what he meant. She took the bowl respectfully with both hands, threw it into the dustbin, and turned back to listen to Li Yao’s enlightenment again.
“I value fairness in deals more than anything. The Green Star Ancient Square Stone is an ultimate treasure that can rarely be found at the edge of the cosmos. Now that you are willing to trade it for my teaching, naturally, I won’t just throw some random stuff to you.”
After pondering for a moment, Li Yao said, “Do you know why I’m telling you all this?”
Professor Tang shook her head. “I don’t. Please do enlighten me, senior.”
“Let me put it this way. Do you think the mainstream arts of refining on Firefly are more similar to the Deep Sea School or the Grand Desolate School?”
Professor Tang was slightly dazed. She slightly frowned and said, “There is no such classification among us. However, generally speaking, I think that we are more like the style of the Deep Sea School.”
“That’s what I thought,” Li Yao said. “After all, you come from the center of the cosmos, and you were the ‘rightful government’ before, with all kinds of advanced technologies and techniques. You must’ve carried a lot of precise magical equipment with you to your starship at first. Therefore, it is very possible that you have been walking on the path of the Deep Sea School.
“However, after a thousand years of escaping, I believe that most of the magical equipment and assets on your starships must’ve been consumed, and Firefly is quite damaged itself, with a lot of technologies and techniques lost, right?
“Do you still feel that it is appropriate to continue the route of the Deep Sea School under such circumstances?
“I am not implying anything but simply viewing the issue from a relatively objective perspective. I believe that if you are truly to establish technical communication with the Star Glory Federation, it would be better if you talk more with the Grand Desolate School. I believe that some of the ideas of the Grand Desolate School are more suitable for Firefly right now!”
Professor Tang shivered slightly, deep in thought. A moment later, she was so thrilled that she could not help but say, “My name is Tang Xiaoxing, and I’m a lecturer in the Refining Department of Star Ocean University on Firefly. May I have the privilege of learning your name, senior?”
“Lin Jiu.” Li Yao replied with a random alias, which was a homophone of Spiritual Vulture.
Tang Xiaoxing naturally knew that ‘Lin Jiu’ could not be the real name of the mysterious senior, but she knew better than to count on the stranger’s trust after such a short conversation. Bowing courteously, she said, “I have been greatly enlightened by what you just said, Senior Lin. But this is not a decent place for talking. I wonder, will you honor us by coming to the magical equipment warehouse that Firefly has set up in the Dragon Snake Space Zone so that we can have a proper meeting, Senior Lin?”
“Your magical equipment warehouse…” Li Yao weighed the pros and cons time and time again in his head.
The biggest problem was that the Cultivators from Firefly would be the focus of all the forces’ attention. Spies from the CIFA, the Secret Sword Bureau, and other organizations would be keeping an eye on them closely.
For Li Yao, who had been used to hiding in darkness since childhood, he did not like the feeling of being observed by so many people under the spotlight, whether those people were friends or foes.
However, the materials from the center of the cosmos were indeed tempting.
Also, this Tang Xiaoxing was certainly more than a ‘lecturer of the Refining Department in Star Ocean University’ on Firefly. If Li Yao intended to change the situation of the war between the federation and the Imperium on his own, Firefly was perhaps a very critical point to get started with.
“Yes. We have a very large warehouse of magical equipment in the Dragon Snake Space Zone. There’s also the most advanced refining workshop built with the technology from the center of the cosmos, which has better facilities than this place. It is usually not open to outsiders but for our own use only,” Tang Xiaoxing said excitedly. “However, you are certainly an exception, Senior Lin. Whatever materials and magical equipment you need, I will certainly try my best to get them for you!”
“The refining workshop will be unnecessary.” Li Yao made the decision. He did not want to use a workshop, which was likely to be monitored. After all, many of his refining tricks were confidential. Even the workshop he was in right now had been tested multiple times before it was put to use. “But I won’t object to taking a look at the materials. I’ll make a list. Tell me how long it will take for you to get all of them and how much it will cost.”
“No problem!” Tang Xiaoxing was overjoyed. “This way, please, Senior Lin!”
“One more thing.” Li Yao crossed his legs, his slippers waving on his feet. “In fact, I’m a man who likes to keep a low profile. The conversation just now should be between you and me. It is unnecessary for anyone else to know it, don’t you agree? If you do, maybe we will talk more often in the future.”
“A low profile…”
Looking at Li Yao’s clothes, which were true to the meaning of low profile, Tang Xiaoxing was rendered speechless.
At the door of the magical equipment center, the passers-by were talking.
“Did you hear? A very awesome mater of refining came by today and awed everyone on the spot!”
“I know. Wasn’t it Master Chu Chongjiu? The expert from Firefly is indeed incredible!”
“What Master Chu? It’s one ‘Master Tang’, who was much younger but also much more skilled than him!”
“What? M—Master Tang?”
“Don’t you know? Come here. Let me tell you what happened; I was there. Master Tang’s adjustment truly dazzled me!”
Right above the passers-by, three luxurious shuttles that were black and shiny, with firearms hidden in them, rushed by.
The two shuttles at the front and the rear were loaded with bodyguards. Inside the one in the middle, which was decorated as extravagantly as a royal palace, Tang Xiaoxing, addressed as ‘Master Tang’ by the people in the magical equipment store, was sitting opposite Li Yao, ill at ease, while she observed his hands curiously, trying to speculate the identity of ‘Senior Lin’ from the seemingly plain hands.
Li Yao, however, was looking out of the window.
The light spots floating in midair finally dimmed. ‘Night’ had fallen.
Fish Dragon City finally revealed its real face of chaos and lawlessness. Fights and explosions were taking place in the deep, dark corners of the city.