Ten days later.
"BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!"
It was a sunny day on the desert, yet sounds of thunder echoed.
In the middle of the grey desert, a blood-red figure was burning with a blade flying up and down, triggering waves of wind and tides of thunder.
It was Li Yao who was practicing a saber art!
Of the three months training in the Thunder Training Camp, the first month was meant for rudimental movements and basic crystal suit driving skills, the second month was for embedding the trainee's previous arts into the crystal suit, and in the third month, the trainee would need to improve themselves by hunting down demon beasts in some of the most dangerous zones in the Grand Desolate Plateau together with their instructors.
Li Yao was wearing the Bloody Blade Battlesuit, which was a model even older than Seven-step Rock Snake. Few people in the Outer Camp were fond of it.
Yet, Li Yao loved it, because it was simple, solid and reliable. Besides, there were endless possibilities for it to be modified so that he could fulfil the potential of the saber.
Chief instructor Mao Feng was a big fan of the Bloody Blade Battlesuit, too. He taught Li Yao his experiences about the Bloody Blade Battlesuit without reserve. Li Yao's understanding of the classic crystal suit grew deeper after Mao Feng's teaching.
The standard Bloody Blade Battlesuit carried a 2.01-meter long heavy straight saber.
Li Yao substituted it for a 1.97-meter long crescent saber with air paths on both sides, so that his advantage in swiftness could be maximized.
Li Yao stomped on the ground. The burst of spiritual energy from below his feet sent hundreds of pebbles up to the sky in all directions.
The Bloody Blade Battlesuit turned into dozens of crimson shadows which enveloped most of the pebbles.
Li Yao's movement was too fast to measure. With several cracking sounds, the pebbles were all cut into halves and fell to the ground.
The last few pebbles exploded into powder because of the spiritual burst.
Li Yao put back his saber. The crystal camera on his suit beamed red rays and scanned the field. Then he sighed grimly.
"Of the 372 pebbles, 364 were cut into two halves, 6 were hit too hard that they were crushed into pieces, and 2 fell to the ground before I reached them.
"I still can't utilize the crystal suit perfectly. I don't have enough control over my strength and I can't manipulate it the way I want.
"Three days. It's been three days since I made any progress. Is this my limit?"
Li Yao was somewhat irritated.
Since he entered the second phase of the training, his progress had been slower. He missed the feeling of joy in the first phase when he was improving every second.
In the last three days, he even came to a halt. However crazily he trained himself, he found himself not improving at all.
Mao Feng told him that was normal. Every training had bottlenecks and limitations.
An adolescent would still grow taller even if he didn't eat much food, but when he became an adult, it would be difficult for him to be even one centimeter taller no matter how much food he ate.
If a man was growing and improving every second, even only by one trillionth each time, he would be formidable.
What Li Yao needed most was a good rest. He had to slow down and chew over what he had learnt.
But Li Yao didn't buy it. He only took half a day's rest. Then he went to the desert to practice the saber art again.
"How long will it take before I can wave the saber as fiercely as Long Wenhui?"
In the Bloody Blade Battlesuit, Li Yao picked up a small stone from the pocket on his waist.
It was the very stone that the Core Formation Stage Cultivator Long Wenhui, vice president of Hundred Saber Alliance, gave to him.
Every facet of the stone had been left with Long Wenhui's saber demonstration. Each demonstration contained endless mysteries.
After repetitively studying it, Li Yao only had a partial understanding of three demonstrations on the stone.
He was like a beginner who was asked to copy a masterpiece painting when he'd only just learnt how to use a brush.
"Long Wenhui is in the Core Formation Stage. His saber demonstrations are not that easy to follow.
"But with the enhancement of the crystal suit, my combat ability is three times stronger than before. I wish I could understand even one of them.
"One move. I just need one move!"
Holding his breathe, Li Yao touched every facet of the stone again.
Although his fingers were covered by the suit, the delicacy of senses were transmitted into his brain perfectly. But the essence of the saber demonstrations was still intangible as if in mist.
Putting the stone back into his pocket, Li Yao resumed the tedious training.
Blade out, speed up, slash, blade back!
The monotonous actions were repeated time and time again. Li Yao lost the sense of time and buried himself in the world of the Bloody Blade and the pebbles.
Centered at the Bloody Blade Battlesuit, thousands of broken pebbles were scattered over the area of half a square kilometer.
He didn't notice that it was already dusk until he was too exhausted to stand up anymore.
Suddenly, he caught some anxious screams behind him.
The crystal camera on the back of the Bloody Blade Battlesuit recorded what was happening.
Countless beasts on the desert had gathered together and were coming at him unstoppably like surging tides.
Common beasts were in the front, demon beasts with bizarre shapes were behind them. Li Yao even detected several strong demon soldiers.
But it's not like they were hunting anything. They seemed to be fleeing from something!
BOOM! BOOM BOOM! BOOM BOOM BOOM BOMM!
Dull quakes came from the horizon, like an iron army had been assembled and ready to conquer the world.
Soon, a gargantuan yellow cloud appeared in the horizon. It drew closer and closer, blocking the sun and the sky.
Li Yao's face turned pale.
Dust storm was one of the most destructive natural disasters in the Grand Desolate Plateau, in which hundreds of tornadoes were aggregated with millions of tons of sand and stones.
The disaster was often caused by the disorder of natural spiritual energies and showed no signs before it took place. According to the damage, it was classified into ten levels.
A level 10 dust storm, which was the least damaging, was already powerful enough to send humans and animals into the sky.
A level 7 dust storm was strong enough to blow away a crystal-rail train.
As for the dust storms of level 5 or above, even many Cultivators would find themselves unwilling to face them.
This particular dust storm was vast, yellow in color, and dark like ink. Thunder and lightning seemed to be brewing in it, too. It was definitely level 5 or higher!
Li Yao ran away instantly.
Behind him, the dust storm devoured everything in its way.
Now and then, screams of demon beasts, who struggled only to be consumed by the dust storm, pierced through the sky and died down, ending up somewhere far, far away.
Li Yao brought his speed to maximum. Many red letters were jumping crazily on the screen, warning him that all the power rune arrays were overloaded. The crystal reactor in the stomach was burning so hard that he felt he was holding a fire ball.
Li Yao didn't care. He ground his teeth and carried on fleeing!
The power of nature far exceeded any human's wildest imagination. After dozens of kilometers of running, he was caught and swallowed by the dust storm.
Inside the dust storm seemed to be a totally new world. Because of the disorder of spiritual energies, a lot of colorful tornadoes were moving and roaring everywhere, as if some prehistoric beasts had come back to life. Thousands of lightning bolts resembling vipers were tangled together. It was more splendid and magnificent than Li Yao could ever have imagined.
Countless stones, beasts, and demon beasts were caught by the mad tornadoes and ended up crushing each other into ashes.
Death was so close to him that he felt like the gates of hell had been opened in all directions.
The Bloody Blade Battlesuit was far from enough to overcome the torture of the tornadoes.
Li Yao tried to turn on the power rune arrays in hope to flee out of the dust storm, only to wreck two power rune arrays instantly.
The solid crystal suit, suffering tearing forces from two different directions, with several cracking sounds, seemed like it could explode at any moment.
"If I can't run away, I might as well not even try!"
With death at the doorstep, Li Yao's heart felt like booming. His mind was clearer than ever. Time became slower for him, allowing him to observe the details of the dust storm.
"Zhou Zhenghao was correct. The universe is a big training camp in which I need to polish myself, train myself, and fight against the universe.
"Even if I must die, I'll kill this damn dust storm first!"
Li Yao's eyes blazed and he roared like a beast.
Instead of running, he boosted the power rune arrays to maximum in the same direction as the swirling of the tornado. At a speed faster than ever, he continued charging forward!
He was not taking the trip passively, but slashing everything aggressively in his way!
A giant stone was thrown at Li Yao by a tornado.
For a moment, the saber demonstration that Long Wenhui had left woke up in Li Yao's brain and streamed into his limbs and organs like shooting stars after an explosion.
In the storm of death and the swirl of various colors, Li Yao slashed the giant stone into pieces in the most overwhelming way.
A flying demon beast was drawn into the swirl, too. It dashed towards him while it was trying to maintain its balance.
Li Yao bellowed. He tilted the power rune arrays to change his direction and rushed towards the beast in wind and thunder.
In an almost perfect arc, his crescent saber slashed the high-level demon soldier into two halves.
"BOOM! BOOM BOOM!"
A violet tornado moved at Li Yao in the most formidable way.
Li Yao roared again. His soul was burning so ferociously that the Bloody Blade Battlesuit was covered in crimson, as if the crystal suit had become a 7-meter tall red giant. The spiritual energy on his saber was extended by more than ten meters and flared devilishly.
Meaningless, random noises rolled out of Li Yao's mouth.
They were the war cries deeply buried in the blood which had been uttered when ancestors of human beings were faced with natural disasters and animal assaults before they learnt how to speak.
Li Yao went for the tornado.
The crescent saber, in a sky-tearing brilliance, hit in the middle of the tornado.
His violent spiritual energy had ripped a giant hole on the tornado which he dashed right through.
Then, the tornado dissipated into countless clusters of wind, before they were absorbed by other tornadoes and completely vanished.
The tornado was killed by Li Yao!