Bloody Blade Battlesuit, developed 124 years ago, was a beginner's crystal suit for the Refinement Stage Cultivators best known for its amazing weight and solid structure.
However, the passage of time had decorated this robust crystal suit with a thick shell of rust.
At first glance, it seemed to be covered in crimson moss.
Ordinary rust-removing techniques were not able to erase such a thick shell in such a short time.
Li Yao bent his fingers and lay them down on the chest of the Bloody Blade Battlesuit.
His fingers danced like a gentle breeze, as if he were playing a delicate piano.
With the dance of his fingers, his countenance changed from austerity to enjoyment.
Each touch sensed the inner structure of the crystal suit and sent it into his brain.
Together with the structural design and maintenance manual he'd just studied, he knew everything about the crystal suit now.
Then, the speed and strength of the finger dance increased by one hundred times, transforming the piano-playing into ruthless striking.
A burst of brisk cracking sounds came from the skin of the suit, as if thousands of pearls were raining upon it.
The Bloody Blade Battlesuit was rattling.
Li Yao condensed all his spiritual energy into his fingers, where strong spiritual energy lightning was triggered and flashing.
The spiritual energy started rippling on the surface of the suit.
Then something amazing happened!
As the waves stretched forward with the movement of his fingers and the excitation of his spiritual energy, the thick dense rust was desquamated and flew away in pieces!
In less than five minutes, the rust shell on the outmost layer had been completely purged.
Although the suit still looked lackluster and a lot of rust remained in the joints and gaps, it was ready to be dismantled for further maintenance.
Li Yao smile and moved his hands as fast as the wind. He tore down the 107 components that made up the head of the suit and dropped them in a giant metal bucket.
While he was meditating, staff of the training camp had brought a lot of maintenance tools and materials, including many kinds of maintenance lubricant used in the modern cultivation world.
The lubricants were either directly extracted from demon beasts or synthetic. Each of them had their special usages.
But Li Yao felt they were not good enough. After analyzing the characteristics of the maintenance lubricants, he mixed dozens of different lubricants according to the ancient formula in Seven Ways to Hide Edge .
He selected seven lubricants and poured them into the bucket in perfect ratio.
Upon shaking, the vibrant colors of the lubricants melted into dark gold, and the blended liquid started emitting an exotic fragrance.
Then, Li Yao pushed the colorless components into the secret lubricant gently.
After that, Li Yao put his hand into it.
With a growl, Li Yao's hands trembled violently.
Weird ripples appeared on the surface of the dark gold lubricant.
Countless bubbles popped up.
At the bottom of the liquid, undercurrents triggered by the shaking of Li Yao's hands were brushing the components of the suit unstoppably.
Li Yao seemed to be still, but he had brought his spiritual energy to its limit. Every muscle, every artery, and every nerve of his was providing power for his hands.
Now and then, he would need to smack his head to resist the scourge of the Balance Breakers.
In no less than three minutes, his clothes were soaked in sweat, which highlighted the shivering of his muscles.
Five minutes later, Li Yao panted with relief and picked up one component from the lubricant. He observed it carefully under light.
After the two rust-removing procedures, the component had been entirely renewed. It was crystal clear without the slightest hint of rust as if it had just been collected from a refining furnace whose warmth had not entirely gone yet.
However, there was a small scratch thinner than a hair on its surface, which was probably consequence of a fierce battle with a demon beast.
Rust-removing, polishing, lubricating, polishing again, lubricating again.
Many of the key components needed repetitive nourishment of the spiritual energy before they could be assembled again.
The tedious and dull procedures might have been a headache to ordinary refiners, but in Li Yao's eyes, they made a most splendid and interesting game to which he dedicated his full attention.
The wrecked crystal suits were all classic magic equipment from a hundred years ago. They could be divided into seven categories with 21 different models in total.
Li Yao had little knowledge about them, except for the simple introductions in the crystal suit journals that he'd read previously, let alone details of their structural designs.
But now, not only was he given an opportunity to read their structural designs and maintenance manuals, he was also allowed to touch, break up, explore, and assemble them at his will.
For a magical equipment maniac like him, he was like a rat in a rice jar.
Both Mao Feng and Mr. Xu had considered maintaining the wrecked crystal suits a dreadful ordeal. It never occurred to them that this was a bonus for Li Yao.
Since the key parts and plates of the suits, which were made of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, had been removed and the framework was the only thing left, Li Yao was able to appreciate the beauty of the core of a crystal suit.
Framework was the foundation of a crystal suit.
A crystal suit without a proper framework was like a man with aberrant bones. It wouldn't help no matter how many Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures one put on it.
And the frameworks of the classic crystal suits were perfect.
Through the scattered rust, Li Yao saw dazzling, soul-stirring sceneries.
Some of the crystal suits were solemn, some vivacious, some violent, and still some were mysterious. The different styles of the frameworks had awed him. He felt as wonderful as when he had just finished a bottle of nice wine.
When he'd just got started, the only thing on his mind was to finish the job as soon as possible so that the chief instructor Mao Feng would be humiliated.
But now, after he'd finished the maintenance of his first crystal suit, the Bloody Blade Battlesuit, he had successfully revived it to its former glory. Seeing it standing like a king in the darkness, he tossed the thought of revenge away immediately.
He had forgotten who Mao Feng was or where he even was.
Every inch of his mind had been occupied by the fantastic crystal suits. There was nothing but crystal suits, crystal suits, and crystal suits!
He almost wished that time could flow more slowly, so that he could stay a few more years in this gold mine. Every second when his fingers crossed over the surface of the crystal suits had brought him unparalleled ecstasy which he hoped to enjoy for a while longer.
It was odd that the more he wanted to freeze the time, the faster the actual time fled.
At first, it took him an hour to complete one job. But after he had absorbed and learnt all of the structural designs and maintenance manuals by heart, it would only take a few minutes for him to dismantle a crystal suit into atom components.
In the endless work, Li Yao grasped extensive knowledge, like a dry leech on the vascular wall of the world of crystal suits which had enjoyed enough blood to be plump.
In the beginning, he was learning the paradigm of crystal suit frameworks, and the way that their joints were connected.
Later, he started to explore the differences of the frameworks between melee crystal suits and long-range ones.
Next, he was fascinated by the different styles of the craftsmen.
Even the same heavy melee crystal suits could have widely divergent styles if they were created by two different craftsmen, who may have contradictory yet feasible theories on how to design a certain part.
In the end, he was attracted by the fatal wounds that led to the retirement of the crystal suits.
Every model of crystal suits had its own weakness. There was no such thing as a perfect crystal suit.
In the battlefield, once the weakness was discovered by a demon beast, the result could be deadly.
Therefore, the fatal wounds of many crystal suits of the same model were often located at the same place.
Li Yao boosted his computational ability to the maximum and inferred what had happened on the battlefield from the subtle differences of the wounds on the crystal suits. He also pondered if he could make any revisions to the framework design to avoid the fatal wounds or at least reduce their aftermath.
The challenging game grabbed his full attention and deprived him of any sense of time.
It was not until he'd finished the maintenance of the last crystal suit that he regrettably found that it was already 4 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes and 55 seconds later.
In the analysis room, Mao Feng was pacing to and fro anxiously. He checked the spirit clock on the wall now and then.
His face was brighter every time he found that some ten seconds had passed.
"Mr. Xu, it seems that the boy has succeeded. In another 20 minutes, he will have completed the five-day-five-night seclusion and proved himself qualified for your special overall planning!" Mao Feng said excitedly.
Although he could not see into the warehouse due to lack of crystal cameras, the fact that Li Yao'd stayed long enough without reaching out to him made it evident that he had persevered long enough.
Even though he might have done nothing but crying and rolling over during the five days, he still managed himself to the end.
Mr. Xu was as calm as ever. He said, not without fondness, "Mao Feng, it would seem that you have indeed come across a very distinguished student this time. My efforts on drafting training plans for him days and nights and revising the training equipment with the resources of the Inner Camp turn out to be not useless now."
Mao Feng was moved. He never thought that the best Training Planner of the Inner Camp would spend so much time on an unknown Outer Camp student.
Mr. Xu smiled and said, "There's no need to thank me. You and I share the same bad habit. Whenever we meet a promising young man, we can't hold back the temptation to bring out the best of them. I think this is our occupational disease. Haha. It's about time. Only ten minutes left. Let's go there."
In high spirits, Mao Feng was going to open the door, when the miniature crystal processor on his wrist started buzzing. The message on the crystal processor thrashed him in the face.
"Are you kidding me?!"
Mao Feng's nose was out of shape due to anger, "You've persisted for 4 days, 23 hours and 50 minutes and there are only 10 minutes left now, and you're giving up?"
Having no alternative, he accepted the video chat. Li Yao's corpse-like, pale face and bloodshot eyes gave him a big surprise.
The bigger surprise was what Li Yao said next.
"Reporting to you, instructor. I'm completed my task," Li Yao said, not entirely satisfied.
"You have? How many of them? 20? 30?" Mao Feng asked unconsciously.
"20? 30? Of course I have completed the maintenance work of all 146 crystal suits. Weren't you the one who told me that I shouldn't contact you until I finished all of them?"
Li Yao was confused. His ruby eyes were blinking fast.
To those who guessed that Li Yao would maintain all of the 146 crystal suits...
Winner, winner. Chicken dinner!