"I can tell from the abrasions on your battlesuit."
Li Yao explained, "I'm a Refiner. Most of the crystal suits that we use have been maintained by me. Few people choose a super-heavy crystal suit such as the Thunder Axe Battlesuit. Of the two Thunder Axe Battlesuits in the Outer Camp, one was sealed and rarely used, while the other one has been used on a daily basis. I assume it is you who has been wearing it."
Zhou Zhenghao nodded in surprise. He never knew that besides training, Li Yao had been working on the maintenance of all the crystal suits, too.
That was a tremendous workload. Did he not need sleeping?
Li Yao continued,
"While I was maintaining the Thunder Axe Battlesuit, I discovered a problem.
"As a super-heavy crystal suit, it has many elastic gaskets made of the bones of the 'Sanskrit Sun Demon Fish' on its legs as buffers, so that it won't be collapsed due to its own weight.
"However, for this particular Thunder Axe Battlesuit, the elastic gaskets on the right leg are 0.41% more worn than those on the left leg.
"The disparity of abrasion suggests that the Exo who's wearing the suit tends to be lopsided on his right leg, and that even when he's using both of his legs, the force from his right leg is always greater than that from his left leg.
"Generally speaking, Cultivators have perfect control over their bodies. Unless they're using some special skills, their bodies should be absolutely balanced during their training.
"The simple tricks of balance control should be easy for a Cultivator in the 10th level of the Refinement Stage such as yourself. So, I assume that your leg was too seriously injured before to function normally like your right leg."
Indescribable expressions appeared on Zhou Zhenghao's face. He exclaimed, "That's correct. When I was 21, I was engaged in a brutal battle with demon beasts in the depths of the Grand Desolate Plateau in which my left knee was chipped and my left leg was almost entirely melted due to the demon's poison!
"It took me a whole year to fully recover. But, although my body was healed, there has always been some unresolved issue on my mind. I can't use my left leg as fluently as I use my right leg. There's always a tiny difference. It's sort of an 'inner demon' for me.
"But the difference is so small that few people can recognize it. Li Yao, now that you've pointed it out, is there anything you can do about it?"
Zhou Zhenghao knew that Li Yao must've had more to say about the issue.
For years, he had been looking for doctors and experts for his leg. In fact, his leg injury had been cured a long time ago. It was the mental problem that had been haunting him.
But he was a stubborn man and not the type of people who would be easily influenced by interferences. Therefore, although he had many hypnotherapy sessions, they didn't really help.
Seeing that Li Yao could find out about his old ailment based on just a few elastic gaskets, a glimmer hope was rising from the bottom of his heart.
Li Yao thought for a while and nodded, "Now that your injury has become a mental issue, it's definitely not something that I can fix up.
"However, I do have a few suggestions for you as a Refiner.
"Your problem right now is that your speed and reactions in combat are affected because of your imbalanced legs. I'm not sure how the problem can be sorted out in daily life, but I have two ideas if you're in a crystal suit.
"Firstly, change the elastic gaskets in the right leg of the Thunder Axe Battlesuit into something made of softer materials.
"There are many kinds of elastic gaskets. Sanskrit Sun Demon Fish's bones have medium elasticity. You can choose a softer material so that the force from your right leg will be more absorbed than your left leg is. This way, your two legs will remain balanced.
"Secondly, if you don't want to change the elastic gaskets, you can also ask a Refiner to increase the weight of the electromagnetic axe on your right leg, or reduce the weight of that on your left leg.
"All in all, the point is, to restore balance by foreign aids.
"The two approaches can't resolve your mental issue. But at least they will increase your combat abilities in a battlefield.
"As to precisely which kind of elastic gasket you should use, or how to reshape the electromagnetic axes, you'll need to hire an experienced Refiner who will observe your legs and run calculations to figure out the delicate differences before modification."
Zhou Zhenghao beamed and nodded.
Although Li Yao's proposal was only palliative, it did solve his urgent problem and was not difficult to put into practice. In fact, it was much easier than resolving the insubstantial mental issues.
His depression caused by elimination was instantly gone!
Zhou Zhenghao even felt that he was lucky to have met Li Yao in the elimination match.
Eliminated by the Thunder Training Camp, he could still try other training camps, or accumulate experience from real combats. There was still a good chance that one day he could become a strong Exo.
But without Li Yao's enlightenment, the leg injury would've been likely to bother him forever!
"I can't thank you enough!"
Zhou Zhenghao paused for a while. Then he said, "Li Yao, from the way you tossed the axes just now, I can see that your speed and strength were both good enough, albeit not without a lack of subtleness. It appears to me that you haven't done much training with flying axes and you were merely throwing them away with brute force.
"In fact, there are many tricks you can use to flying axes. Once you get to the bottom of it and wield axes with your full abilities, the axes will be ten times more intimidating than the flying swords! I've practiced axes-flying for a while, and I think I have some shallow understandings about how to best use it. If it's not too presumptuous of me, we could discuss this and see if there's any improvement."
He was trying to return the favor and also make friends with Li Yao.
After the soul-stirring combat, Zhou Zhenghao was aware of how strong Li Yao was and thought Li Yao deserved his respect.
Also, Li Yao pointed out his problem without holding back and helped to resolve it, which indicated a good personality.
Moreover, Zhou Zhenghao had long known that Li Yao was a Refiner whose name was on the rise.
Now that he was lucky enough to meet a young, strong, upright, genius Refiner who was destined to be the star of tomorrow in the world of Cultivators, how could he miss such a rare opportunity to make friends of him?
This was also how Cultivators normally made new friends and expanded their social network.
What he said lit up Li Yao's eyes, who leaned forwarded and said earnestly, "Not presumptuous at all. I, for one, admire Brother Zhou's strength very much. A super-heavy crystal suit is not something that some random guy can play with!
"I was only taking advantage of my familiarity with the structure of the crystal suit.
"If we have another fight and you're aware of the weakness under your arm, there is no way that I will defeat you.
"You're correct. I never learnt the art of flying axes. When I tossed the electromagnetic axes, I did feel that something was wrong. My tremendous strength couldn't be transmitted into the axes, and it near suffocated me. Please do enlighten me, Brother Zhou!"
Zhou Zhenghao smiled.
"Your strength is indeed abundant. The explosive power inside your body is disproportional to your tiny figure. What a beast! The key is breathing. Your breath must reverberate with the electromagnetic momentum in a sophisticated way. The following things are of paramount importance"
Two training maniacs started discussing wholeheartedly.
The breathing method introduced by Zhou Zhenghao gave Li Yao major inspiration, while several of Li Yao's ideas on how to exert one's force caused cold sweat to break out on Zhou Zhenghao's forehead.
The more they talked, the more topics they found themselves both interested in. From the art of flying axes, tricks of super-heavy crystal suits' small-scale movement, ways to minimize the enemy's range of activity by flying swords, to the question how to lure the enemy into the Thunder Axe Battlesuit's sprint distance.
The two of them were chatting with their arms waving up and down. Even after the instructors escorted both of them out of the arena, they were still in high spirits.
"I'm terribly sorry that I eliminated you. I wish we could still learn from each other in the training camp."
Li Yao meant what he said.
"Indeed, it is regretful. But it doesn't matter now."
Zhou Zhenghao scratched his beard and replied cheerfully, "I am now in a new training camp called 'the universe'. Although I've been eliminated by the Thunder Training Camp, I will pursue my training in the 'Universe Training Camp'. There is still a long road ahead. We'll have a lot of opportunities to meet and discuss with each other. Hopefully, one day, we'll be able to fight side by side! 'Vulture Li Yao', this is a name that I'm never going to forget."
Li Yao smiled. "'Vulture' is my nickname for my enemies; if you consider me a friend, call me the 'Fiend Star'!"
Zhou Zhenghao nodded. "I spent almost all of my time on training and don't have many friends. But you're definitely one of them! There's still some time before the end of the elimination match. Would you like to watch the game with me in my preparation room and talk about the crystal suit skills?"
"That's exactly what I want!"
They talked and laughed on their way to the preparation room.
The audience was stupefied and couldn't understand what was going on. Blocked by dust, they couldn't see clearly the actions of the two Thunder Axe Battlesuits. They'd seen that Li Yao had been suppressed by his opponent the whole time and he was on the verge of being cut into pieces. But before they knew it, the system had announced that Li Yao had won the match!
What was more puzzling was that after a little chitchat when they were off their crystal suits, Zhou Zhenghao seemed to be mad with joy in appreciation.
But Li Yao had just eliminated him!
Zhou Zhenghao had struck everyone as a man serious in both speech and manner who cared about nothing but training. He was cold like ice whenever one spoke to him. Definitely not someone with a good temper.
It was also one of the reasons why he was nicknamed the 'steel man'.
But why was he talking with Li Yao so casually and joyfully now?
Everyone was looking at each other, hoping to find an answer from someone. It felt like there was a giant stone stuck in their chest.
What kind of person was Li Yao? A newbie or a murderous vulture?
"What the hell?"
Yuan Yeshi was biting his lips so hard that blood was running out. He clutched his fists, his veins appearing on his face.
Intentionally or unintentionally, he glanced at the No. 1, Long Qianyue.
"Interesting. I'll find the answer myself in the second elimination match one month later."
Long Qianyue smile vaguely. She wrote 'Li Yao' on her palm with her finger.
Then, with a clap, her hands folded, crushing both the air and name in between into pieces.