In the lobby, melodious music started playing as a faint sandalwood fragrance started to spread, bringing everyone in the vicinity a sense of calmness and serenity.
Thousands of examinees crawled out of their respective cabins with difficulty; their faces were pale with exhaustion.
Many people sighed and groaned, and even repeatedly shook their heads.
Some even moaned as if a weight had been lifted from their shoulders. Thirty to forty percent of the examinees walked towards the waiting area.
"This year's exam was really very hard, I was only able to finish 70% of the paper. I'm afraid I won't make it!"
"That's right, the topics are getting weirder and weirder every year!"
"Lucky for me, there were two topics which I had reviewed just before the exam, maybe I will be able to score more than 600 points."
"Jiang Shaoyang, that monster is truly terrifying, he actually submitted the paper more than an hour earlier. I wonder how many points will he score? Maybe he scored more than 800 points?"
"No matter how many points Jiang Shaoyang scored, it was to be expected, but there was another guy who also submitted the paper at the same time as Jiang Shaoyang, who was he?"
Several dozen examinees from the Deep Sea University faired pretty well, and naturally, walked towards Jiang Shaoyang. However, when they saw him sitting alone, they were astounded. One by one, they came forward to greet him.
When they saw Jiang Shaoyang's hands spread out on the coffee table, all of them let out a shocked gasp.
Jiang Shaoyang's hands were red and swollen. His hands were almost 30% thicker than normal and steam was rising from them, it appeared as though he had placed them inside a steamer and steamed them.
Everyone was greatly astounded.
"Nothing much, I have not had so much fun in a long time."
Jiang Shaoyang heaved a sigh of reluctance. The sluggish look on his face instantly became as that of intense excitement. His eyes sparkled as if two shining gems had been fitted in his eye sockets.
"Hey, do you know"
There were still some Deep Sea University's examinees who were totally unaware of everything, all they saw was many of their fellow students gathered here, so, they too swarmed over.
Another guy's face beamed with excitement as he burst into laughter and said, "Do you know there was another guy who submitted the paper at the same time as Jiang Shaoyang? I just learned that it was none other than Li Yao!"
At this moment, everyone became cheerful.
Even the older and prudent students could not help but smile, and those whose tempers were relatively frivolous, even more so, shook with laughter, "Oh, really? Isn't Li Yao the guy who's famous for challenging us? What a joke! He could not even last five hours of the written exam and gave up halfway!"
Li Yao, who was carrying a large water bucket, calmly walked over. As for hundreds of Deep Sea University's examinees, he turned a blind eye and drilled into the crowd.
"Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!"
In the blink of an eye, numerous sharp gazes pierced him.
Everyone didn't expect him to actually have so much guts that even after shooting off his mouth, he still dared to enter deep into the crowd of hundreds of 'enemies'.
Although they had heard Li Yao was quite adept at fighting, while everyone present was a refiner, refined, academic men, and couldn't fight...
However, they could, at the very least...use their gazes to despise him, mock him, and tease him, couldn't they?
"What is this guy planning to do?"
"Who knows! What is he even carrying? That looks really cold."
"From what I hear, this guy is very violent. He wouldn't intentionally make trouble and fight with us? Quickly go and call the invigilators!"
Li Yao was like a bloodthirsty shark that was swimming deep in the sea, the small fishes and shrimps gave way to him on their own, no one dared to block him even for half a second.
Li Yao walked straight to Jiang Shaoyang and poured the large bucket filled with ice cubes on the table before sitting across him. Afterward, he inserted his hands into the heap of ice blocks, a moan filled with relief escaped his mouth.
His hands were also like as that of Jiang Shaoyang, they were red and swollen, and steam was rising from them as well.
Jiang Shaoyang inserted his hands into the heap of ice cubes to cool them down and said while deadly staring at Li Yao, "I have never encountered an expert like you among my contemporaries. I am very happy with today's battle, but even after competing for such a long time, we still ended in a draw. It is truly regrettable.
"Fortunately, the Refiners' Registration Examination has three rounds. We can still see who wins and who loses from the scores."
Having heard this statement, all the examinees of Deep Sea University were flabbergasted; they became dumb as a wooden chicken.
On the outside, they looked stupid and absent-minded, but a tsunami of emotions was raging in their hearts.
"DidDid I hear it right?"
"So earlier, that expert Jiang Shaoyang mentioned was none other than Li Yao!"
"It sounds like Jiang Shaoyang had a match with him and the two ended up drawing."
"This Li Yao is actually on par with the Tenth Star, Jiang Shaoyang?"
In a moment, the hundreds of gazes peering at Li Yao, that were filled with scorn, contempt, and mockery were now instead filled with surprise, fear, and shock!
At that moment, countless faint bursts of exclamations rang everywhere.
The lobby, which was hustling and bustling a moment ago, suddenly became dead silent in the blink of an eye.
On the semi-arched dome, a huge hologram appeared, projecting the results of thousands of examinees.
The names of examinees who had scored over 600 were displayed in golden, glittering characters.
While the names of examinees who had scored lower than 600 were displayed in slightly dim green characters.
The golden numbers were sparsely scattered among a slew of lush green numbers.
Most of the golden figures stayed in between 600 and 700, only a few were above 700.
Among all the numbers, there were two numbers that began with "9" which immediately stood out; they were especially dazzling.
"Deep Sea University, Jiang Shaoyang, 931 points!"
"Grand Desolate War Institution, Li Yao, 901 points!"
The lobby was in a deathly silence for about ten seconds, like the calm before a storm, after the strange calmness, the entire lobby burst forth with tempestuous waves of energy!
"Jiang Shaoyang scored 931 points, he is truly worthy of...what? Another guy scored more than 900 points? Li Yao? Impossible!"
"Li Yao! The Li Yao from the Grand Desolate War Institution! That ignorant, crazy guy who doesn't know fear? He actually scored over 900 points!"
"If I remember it correctly, isn't he the guy who submitted the paper at the same time as Jiang Shaoyang, both of them had submitted the paper more than an hour earlier! Who would have thought that he would be so terrifying? No wonder he can shoot his mouth like that!"
"Monster! Both of them are monsters!"
The examinees of the Deep Sea University had, even more so, taken a huge blow.
They looked at their pathetic 600-700 points and then, again and again, looked at shimmering 901 points of Li Yao. They were having a hard time believing it. In their heart, they repeatedly asked themselves if there was something wrong with their eyes or ears?
"You won the first round," Li Yao said calmly; he wasn't surprised by such result.
He was from a non-technical background. No matter how solid his theory was, how could it ever surpass Jiang Shaoyang who was from a family with a history of giving birth to academic geniuses?
Having a difference of 30 points was pretty normal.
"I had an unfair advantage."
Jiang Shaoyang admitted very frankly, "Many of the people who made the paper were from Deep Sea University. I am quite familiar with their style of exams. It is rather natural for me to score over 900 points, but for you, who is from Grand Desolate War Institution which has completely different refining ideologies, to actually score over 900...
"You're good! You're really good!
"I'm anticipating the competition with you in the next two rounds more and more. I'm going to enjoy defeating a monster like you!"
Not much of a break was provided in between the three rounds of Refiners' Registration Examination.
This was not only a test of a refiner's knowledge and skills but also a test of his or her spirit and will.
After the results of the first round, the written test had been announced, the failed candidates were dejectedly escorted out of the lobby to the special guest house prepared by the army.
After the departure of the failed candidates, all that remained were 844 examinees who once again entered the examination hall and sat down inside the egg-shaped cabin.
Following which, the glyphs on the eggshell lit up brightly, before the examination cabin went back under ground and took the examinees to a huge underground base.
In a huge training room, thousands of crafting furnace simulators were arranged in a row.
These simulators weren't connected to any crafting furnace system; they only had a circular control interface composed of a dozen holograms.
The super crystal processor with powerful computing power could simulate various complex situations that could happen in a crafting furnace and even simulate thousands of complex and intricate failures that could occur during the process.
All the candidates had to do was rule out all the failures and complete hundreds of refining tasks.
Every successful task completed would grant a point respectively which would be automatically added. Anyone who could accumulate 1,000 points within five hours would pass the second round and could enter the final round, the "practical exam."
In front of Li Yao, the circular control interface, like the vibrant wings of a butterfly, gradually spread out.
The second round, the refining simulation test, began!
In the blink of an eye, the light green control interface turned burning red as various performance parameters madly fluctuated, suddenly, the parameters shot through the roof before suddenly falling to zero.
A blood-red message popped out, reminding the user that the "crafting furnace" was on the brink of a meltdown!
In the first test, the examinee had to find the reason why the crafting furnace was about to meltdown and restore the crafting furnace to the normal state by eliminating all the errors through the control interface.
The very first topic at hand was super difficult, many examinees let out a cry of despair.
Li Yao, on the other hand, had his will to fight soar to the high heavens. His slightly red arms seemed to have been wrapped in red-lotus like flames!
In the control room, a dozen of holograms displayed the refining videos of Li Yao and Jiang Shaoyang.
Even though the style and technique of the two were totally different, there was one thing in common.
Fast, they were as fast as sparks from a flint!
The three were veteran refiners, what things they had not seen or experienced? Yet, they were rendered speechless. As they quietly watched the peak showdown between two monster-level examinees, cold sweat dripped down their forehead; for a long time, they were unable to calm their hearts.
After the two entered a crazed state and their hand speeds soared to the limit, Dong Liuqi finally could not hold himself, his six fingers wiped the cold sweat as he said with a sigh, "These kids are truly incredible. Are you sure both of them are in their teens?
"When I was of their age, even ten of me could not compare with them!"
The master crystal processor converted the points of the two into two progress bars which were directly being projected before the three invigilators.
Along with the completion of each task, the progress bars of the two were chasing each other as they progressed at an extremely fast rate!
After three hours fifty-two minutes and thirty-seven seconds, Li Yao's progress bar made a jump and reached the endpoint; Li Yao was first to gather 1,000 points!
Two minutes and nine seconds later, Jiang Shaoyang's progress bar reached the endpoint but it was too late.
"You won the second round."
In the simulation training room, countless examinees were immersed in the complex and intricate tasks, unable to extricate themselves. Some had suffered cramp in their arms and legs by moving them too quickly, and some were even foaming at the mouth.
Li Yao and Jiang Shaoyang were, instead, quietly stood facing each other.
"With the previous two rounds, we are once again tied."
"However, you and I, are both very clear that whether it is the written test or refining simulation, they are just boring games, nothing more nothing less!"
"The third round, the practical test, is the real contest!"
Sorry for the delay.