After a break of one week, Li Yao once again arrived at the Zenith Province to conduct the first combat trial of the demon beast detector.
Chopping a rattlesnake into two, Li Yao quietly placed it on the desert floor, whereupon the sweet scent of fresh snake blood wafted hundreds of meters away.
This was Li Yao's bait.
Very soon, a half-meter long lizard crawled out from the cracks between the rocks. It stuck its head out and looked about. Having carefully observed its surroundings for a long while, it could no longer endure the torment of its hungry stomach and jumped.
Two skin membranes just like two wings opened on either side of its body, making it glide extremely fast in the air as it swooped towards the rattlesnake in the blink of an eye.
However, its vigilance was much higher than that of the the Hump-Nosed Viper. The moment it pounced on the rattlesnake's corpse, it vaguely sensed that something wasn't right.
Once again two semi-circular fleshy wings opened from either side of its head, making its head look ten times bigger than usual.
In nature, it was a very common intimidation technique.
Under the setting sun, the fleshy wings radiated with a strange glow as round after round of blue annular stripes appeared on them.
At first glance, it seemed to be a highly toxic Blue-Ringer Flying Lizard.
In addition to having quick movements, it had poisonous glands under its tongue that could shoot fatal poison a dozen meters away. It was a very nasty high-rank Demon Soldier.
However, in Li Yao's eyes, there was a completely different scene.
Within just half a second, the crystal eye had scanned all the characteristics of this flying lizard and was carrying out a comparison with 1,875 species of lizard-type demon beasts.
In less than one second, a short paragraph of information appeared in the light-red lens:
"Purple-Ringed Flying Lizard, low-level Demon Soldier, non-poisonous, agile, can glide for a brief period, specializes in disguising itself as its close relative the Blue-Ringed Flying Lizard to scare off enemies."
"An adult Purple-Ringed Flying Lizard's battle force is comparable to a 5th level Refinement Stage cultivator at most."
Li Yao grinned as he jumped out from his camouflaging netting. A blade of light flashed from his waist, blowing sand and stones in the air.
"Waste of space with a battle force less than 5th level of Refinement Stage, just die!"
When Li Yao was slaughtering demon beasts in the Zenith Province with the help of the demon beast detector, the HoD of Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department, Yuan Manqiu, was conversing with the logistics supervisor of Mountain Sea Sect, Jiang Wenbo, via the spiritual crane messenger in the 1st laboratory.
Jiang Wenbo was also a refiner from the grassroots faction. Since he had discovered Li Yao, this rising star, he held a quite a bit of love for him. Every once in a while, he would converse with Yuan Manqiu regarding the progress of Li Yao's cultivation. Not only that, he had also taken the post of a guest professor and opened up two specialized courses for Li Yao. He even persuaded the Mountain Sea Sect's management to provide a sponsorship of five million to the Refining Department of the Grand Desolate War Institution.
Such funding could not be considered much, but for the past two years, the Mountain Sea Sect was in deficit due to poor management. Although it was not to the point that they could not make the ends meet, the current cash flow was comparatively tight. Both Yuan Manqiu and Li Yao were very pleased and were grateful for their kind intentions.
In the hologram, Jiang Wenbo looked somewhat frustrated as he dejectedly said:
"Big Sis, I am entrusting this matter to you. You have a wide range of connections, and you also have some connections with the army. If there is someone who needs a 'Mystic Laser Micro-Engraving Machine' and its supporting assembly line, please help us communicate with them!"
"Alright! But let me forewarn you, the Mystic Laser Micro-Engraving Machine and the mini-components assembly line is very expensive. More importantly, it has few and specific applications. I am afraid I cannot find anyone in a short period; by my estimate, it will at least take a few months."
Yuan Manqiu paused for a bit before speaking in a slightly reprimanding tone:
"Old Jiang, don't be offended, but your Big Sis told you when your Mountain Sea Sect was spending a large fortune to purchase this piece of equipment to launch some 'essence watch project' that the current essence watch market is already saturated. There is a giant called Zephyr Guild who has been manufacturing the essence watch for a few centuries."
"Your Mountain Sea Sect doesn't have any experts and doesn't have any new technology. How are you to compete with the other party?"
"I have told you that the precision of the essence watches manufactured by you is pretty good, but they make a lot of tick-tock-tick-tock noises which can be heard be demon beasts from over a hundred meters away. How can anyone be able to hunt while wearing it? It would be even more strange if someone bought your magical equipment!"
Jiang Wenbo took a long deep breath before he helplessly said:
"Do you think I don't know of these problems? However, in the Star Glory Federation, sects are everywhere. Not only are the top five hundred major sects taking more and more aggressive stances, there are many young cultivators who are establishing their own sects. Although they are not too strong, they are creative and have enough tricks to craft magical equipment that fits the liking of youths. Furthermore, they can enter the market without any burdens, it is easier for their small enterprises to change their line of products, some of which would eventually show results."
"Our, Mountain Sea Sect is a second-grade sect and is out of luck. We are squeezed in the middle, we are not able to go up, nor can we afford to go down; we are not that big but not too small either. We don't have some powerful magical equipment to take hold of the market, nor do we have a Core Formation Stage or above expert who could lead a team to kill high-level demon beasts. We didn't know what we could do. The entire sect, from top to bottom, has to live on air!"
"When we were feeling desperate, we could only think of purchasing a new facility; we wanted to change our structure."
"But who would have thought that the difficulty of manufacturing essence watches would be so high? With the functions of mini-crystal processors getting stronger and stronger, the market for traditional essence watches is gradually shrinking."
"These days, even the Zephyr Guild is having a hard time, how could we have a way to make a living?"
"In short, we have arrived on a fork in the road. We could only hope to sell this set of equipment asap so that we can recover some of the loss."
Yuan Manqiu nodded and said:
"I guess that's right. Walking on the road of cultivation is like sailing against the current, we have to move forward or we'll fall behind. This is true for humans and the same goes for the sect as well. If we can't think of a way to ensure the competitive edge, we could be by eliminated any time!"
"Worry not, I will find a way to help you contact the buyers."
"Thank you, Big Sis."
The two chatted for a bit before Yuan Manqiu terminated the call. Afterward, Yuan Manqiu pulled up a huge telepathic thought message sent by Li Yao from her mailbox.
Although Li Yao was Yuan Manqiu's only disciple, she didn't interfere too much with Li Yao's training as in accordance with the institute's tradition.
Until and unless Li Yao took the initiative to ask her guidance, or she needed his help in refining, the two researched independently. They did not bother each other.
Yuan Manqiu had long known that Li Yao was crafting a completely new magical equipment, but she held her curiosity in check. She did not ask until now.
"What the hell is that kid refining? Is it an incomparably powerful saber?"
Yuan Manqiu knew Li Yao was studying saber-type magical equipment and his progress was amazingly fast. His understanding of many sabers had already surpassed hers and he could even draw dozens of blueprints of rare ancient sabers.
As she opened the message, instead of finding some saber, all she saw was an auxiliary magical equipment.
"Demon beast detector? This is a bit interesting."
An auxiliary magical equipment with such a function was rare in the market. Yuan Manqiu's interest was piqued.
As she turned page after page on the hologram, the look on her face became more and more solemn, the expression in her eyes became hotter as she grew increasingly excited.
"If this thing can be improved a bit, it has a wide range of applications in combat."
"Furthermore, its components arent that complex; aside from the high-precision crystal eye which is relatively expensive, other things don't need any heaven-and-earth-class treasures. This can be mass produced."
Yuan Manqiu spent an entire five hours studying the report on the demon beast detector.
At this moment, Li Yao, with his body wrapped in a bloody aura, returned from the wasteland. He respectfully knocked on the door, waking her up from her stupor.
"Why are knocking on the door, it's such a waste of time, quickly come in!"
Sitting in front of Yuan Manqiu, Li Yao was feeling somewhat apprehensive.
The results of the first combat trial were pretty good. His hunting efficiency had increased by 500%. Not only had he hunted a dozen relatively weaker low-level Demon Soldiers that were worth a lot of money, he was able to promptly see through the disguises of high-rank Demon Soldiers, which allowed him to avoid their fatal traps. He didn't even waste a fraction of a second on a needless fight.
What would the opinion of Yuan Manqiu, this experienced and knowledgeable "Deep Sea Goddess," be for this piece of magical equipment?
"Teacher, what do you think?"
Li Yao asked in anticipation.
Yuan Manqiu carefully observed the demon beast detector on his left eye as she nodded. After having pondered for a moment, she said:
"If I approve this magical equipment, what are you going to do next?"
Li Yao replied in a natural manner:
"Obviously I am going to craft more of them and sell it to the students!"
Yuan Manqiu shook her head and said:
"In my opinion, the demon beast detector has a great value in combat, but I am afraid acquiring 40,000 credits by selling them will be pretty difficult."
Yuan Manqiu paused for a bit before explaining:
"First of all, this magical equipment is completely new and most of all, it is invented by a freshman. How can you make everyone believe in the reliability of this magical equipment?"
"Yes, you have once modified some close-combat magical equipment and your fundamentals of classic magical equipment have also progressed, but you didn't alter the overall structure of the equipment."
"Furthermore, close-combat magical equipment has always been treated like a consumable, the emergence of some minor failure on the battlefield is pretty normal!"
"However, the demon beast detector is completely different, this is a very sophisticated piece of magical equipment. How can you make others believe that this piece of magical equipment could differentiate between two different species of demon beasts with 100% accuracy?"
"Even if the probability of mistaking a Demon General for a Demon Soldier was 0.1%, it would be disastrous for its user."
"For matters of life and death, everyone is very cautious. They would rather choose products of a more reliable sect, or choose the products crafted by well-known senior refiners in the industry. They might not completely believe a 1st-year freshman like you."
Li Yao's lips parted, wanting to justify. However, having wracked his brain for a long while, he could not say anything.
"Second and most important of all, you have used purely your hand to engrave the crystal card. This technique is really superb, even I'm very shocked."
"But what about the output? Can you even craft three or five a day?"
Li Yao shook his head:
"No matter how fast I am, it would take me at least five days to craft a demon beast detector."
Yuan Manqiu said:
"So to say, after working tirelessly for one month, you can craft six demon beast detectors at most."
"Furthermore, you have used a quasi-military grade crystal eye, and hence, your production cost would not be very low."
"What kind of price will you set in order to earn more than 10,000 credits in the remaining two months?"
"Perhaps even 2,000-3,000 credits per piece would not be enough!"
After having carefully pondered this, Li Yao came to the same conclusion. Furthermore, no one would be willing to spend so many credits just to buy an auxiliary magical equipment.
Scratching his head, Li Yao asked in a perplexed tone, "Teacher, what should I do?"
Yuan Manqiu smiled:
"Don't you worry, in my opinion, the demon beast detector is pretty important in combat. Its prospects in the market are very broad, it will not just bring you 10,000 or so credits."
"However, first you have to apply for a patent for the demon beast detector."