With the nourishment of the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, although his level hadn't advanced yet, Li Yao's understanding of the Thousand Tempering Hundred Refining technique, the strongest quenching body exercise of the Hundred Smelting Clan, had reached a whole new level.
When he stretched the spiritual energy inside his body and brought the Thousand Tempering Hundred Refining technique to maximum, his body no longer was the color of brass. The essence of the technique had sunk deeper into his body. Except for the deep gold color on his body that was occasionally visible, he looked exactly the same as any other person.
But his resistance had more than doubled.
Body strength of a body practitioner, magical equipment control of a refiner, and combat skills of an Exo had integrated perfectly in Li Yao.
On the 25th day of the field trip, Li Yao had become the focus of the other 19 students.
He was the weakest among all the students.
All the students who passed the first two rounds of the elimination match were in the high level of the Refinement Stage, except for him who was only in the middle level of the Refinement Stage.
But once he put on the crystal suit, his combat ability was almost equal to Long Qianyue, the top expert of all the students, if not better in some regards.
None of the students who had seen Li Yao's combat in his crystal suit were not astonished and shocked at his tough style.
In their eyes, Li Yao was playing with fire, and he risked being seriously wounded by demon beasts at any moment.
The combat style was what they desired yet could not learn, because it was based on Li Yao's profound understanding of the structure of the crystal suit as well as the robustness of his body.
As the days went by, Li Yao's trophy collection grew larger and larger.
"Did you hear it? Li Yao killed a Frost Triangle Chimera and got two precious soft scales for chest protection from it!
"Plus, the tailbone from the Green Paw Dragon Snake! Damn, he's already earned roughly a million in the past two days!"
The twenty students were all proud of themselves and competed with each other secretly. They observed other people's collections every day.
But most of them soon discovered to their dismay that two students gathered much more than any of the rest of them, who, moneywise, earned more than double of what any other students did.
One of the two students was Li Yao, and the other was Long Qianyue.
They were the well-deserved strongest students of this batch!
Thirtieth day of the field trip.
"Today is the last day of your field trip, which means that the three months of Exo training has come to an end!"
The twenty students sat in a circle. Mao Feng was standing in the middle and said, "Three months ago, many of you were ignorant beginners; some were even super newbies who had never touched crystal suits before.
"But after three months of training, as qualified Exos, you are all able to go hunting in the Dark Desolate Domain in middle-level and low-level crystal suits now.
"However, in order to be formally acknowledged by the Thunder Training Camp and to get the 'Thunder Exo' badge, you have one last conquest to complete.
"Tonight, everybody will take a good rest. Starting from 5 o'clock tomorrow morning to 5 o'clock the day after, the 24 hours will be your free hunting time.
"During the day and the night, you will try your best to hunt down demon beasts that are most valuable in your eyes. At the end of the match, the worth of your trophies will be the criterion to determine the final winners.
"The top ten will receive the title of 'Thunder Exo', and when they reach the Building Foundation Stage, they will have the opportunity to be instructed by Lei Tingwei, the Core Formation Stage strong man, in person!"
Mao Feng's words set the crowd in ablaze.
Every student was so excited that their faces were flushed and veins were appearing on the backs of their clenched hands.
As one of the four major training camps, the Thunder Training Camp was even better recognized than many battlesuit majors of the famous universities.
'Thunder Exo' not only meant that they could be personally taught by a Core Formation Stage Cultivator, but also proved that they were competent enough in the new generation of the world of Exos. Major sects would hire them with decent payment, and their future career paths would be unhindered. Chances were that they might even be able to marry a daughter of the leader of their sects and thus inherit it one day. They would arrive at the peak of their life easily.
Li Yao was anxious, too, and couldn't wait for the dawn to come.
During the three-month training, besides crystal suit driving skills, he also grasped much knowledge about crystal suit maintenance and modification.
He was hoping to conclude the training satisfactorily and return to the Grand Desolate War Institution to refine the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit together with his professor.
Right then, a delicate, blade-like figure came close to him.
It was Long Qianyue.
Long Qianyue had a long face. Her chin stood out a little bit, making her less pretty than she was supposed to be. But she had a fair skin through which one could see her veins.
Her eyeballs, which seemed to have been carved out of two crystals, were translucent.
"Li Yao, it's a pity that we haven't had a chance to confront each other over the last month since the second elimination match.
"I hope that we're both lucky tomorrow to reap enough booty to decide who the winner is between us."
Long Qianyue's eyes were glittering. She continued, "People say that we're the top students in this class. It's hilarious. How can there be two top students?
"I would rather be defeated and stay in the second place temporarily than share the first place with someone else.
"I believe that you are the same as me, aren't you?"
Li Yao stared at her in the eyes and grinned a moment later.
He rose up, feeling that every artery in his body was inching and every cell expanding.
Unable to control it any longer, he decided to practice the Thunderous Tornado Saber Art while the night was still young.
There was no moon in the sky. Many giant swirls made of stars were spinning in the sky, crushing and swallowing each other.
Endless natural spiritual energies flooded out towards the ground of the Dark Desolate Domain from the center of the swirls like volcano eruptions.
Under the mad starry sky, a rainbow-like laser flashed in the darkness, which was caught up with and hit heavily by two faster lightness.
The rainbow-like laser came to a halt and revealed its true self, a dreadful demon beast that looked like a hybrid of a lion and a dragon.
It had a lion head, but its body was long and narrow which was covered by deep gold scales like the body of a dragon.
It had legs as strong as those of a lion and paws as sharp as those of a dragon. Silver blood could be found on the tip of the paws.
On two sides of its body grew two wings that looked like those on a bat. However, they were folded close to the body, indicating that they could only be used for sprinting but not flying.
The most attractive part of the demon beast was its caltrop-like dragon tail that was galvanizing in darkness like clusters of crystals condensed together.
A lion dragon, a hybrid of a liger demon beast, and a dragon demon beast!
And it was not just a common lion dragon. Judging from its bizarre shape, it must've been mutated by the intense spiritual energies somewhere in the Dark Desolate Domain.
Its capability was almost equal to that of a demon king!
However, the demon-king level mutant lion dragon was not in its best state.
It quickly rose up after it was knocked over. Roaring back to something in darkness behind, it accelerated and disappeared into the murky forest.
A moment later, more than twenty figures showed up where the mutant lion dragon just fell over.
They looked very similar to human beings, with distinguishable limbs and face, albeit not devoid of characteristics of beasts.
They were in a glorious panoply. Besides cold weapons such as swords and saber, they were also carrying heretical thermal weapons.
It was an infiltration squad from the demon clan!
A young demon, with a strong air of leadership, stood in the middle of the circle of demons. Few features of beasts could be found on his body. At first look, he looked just like a tall, handsome young man.
He had gold curly hair and gold eyes. Even his neatly-trimmed beard was completely gold, too. He was wearing bright gold battle armor decorated by crystals that formed the head of a roaring lion. His countenance was also as majestic as that of a lion.
A wicked, tongue-wagging demon walked out of the circle and crouched to the ground with four limbs. The tip of his nose was bouncing hard as he tried to smell something from the ground. A moment later, he found a blood spot.
"Young master, this mutant lion beast has been wounded and its blood is flowing out. It will be easier next time!
"We can definitely track it by its blood so that we can tame it and make it your subordinate!" the demon dog said in a high pitch.
The demon clan was created by human beings. Many of their training technique were actually based on the Cultivation arts of the human beings. Therefore, they spoke the human language, too.
The voice of the 'young master' was hoarse, yet with a strange attractiveness. He observed, "I never expected that I would discover a demon-king level mutant lion dragon on this trip to the Heaven's Origin Sector. My influence will grow much stronger once I subdue it. You will all be rewarded according to your contribution when everything is done!
"Let's follow the mutant lion beast from a greater distance so that it won't come at us. It is in the demon-king level and far stronger than any of us. But as long as we stalk it, my two teachers here will find an opportunity to deal with it!"
Two invisible demons covered in mysterious black mist snorted in agreement.
Wild demon beasts, especially strong ones such as the mutant lion dragon, were proud animals to the bone and unwilling to listen to any commands easily.
To tame them, the best way was to beat them into a grievous state and let someone treat it, during which time manipulation shackles would be enforced to their brains.
Only with both stick and carrot, as well as the manipulation shackle, could a wild demon beast be tamed.
"Hurry! I want this mutant lion dragon sitting at my feet like a cat before dawn!"
The young master waved his hands. The demons vanished into the forest.