Over the last decade, there had been more wormholes between the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector appearing in larger scales than any time before. Many parts of the sky that used to be very stable without any wormholes for hundreds of years had been ripped open, ushering terrible beast tides in.
According to the collaborative work of the research-type Cultivators from several major universities, the coverage of the Dark Desolate Domain had expanded by two thirds and there was no sign of stopping.
All the clues indicated that the Heaven's Origin Sector and the Blood Demon Sector were merging beyond the three-dimensional level.
Maybe one day, parts of the two worlds would overlap each other, which would shorten the long distance between the two civilizations to zero!
Demon civilization of the Blood Demon Sector might have long been aware of that. In the beast tide outbreaks over the last ten years, many demon kings and demon generals had been assigned to suicidal missions.
The demon civilization was trying to delve into the Heaven's Origin Sector at any cost.
By sacrificing a few demon generals and demon kings, a lot of intelligence about human civilization had been collected.
Once the demon civilization gathered enough information, and the two worlds really started melding, an unprecedented war would break out, which would be the most large-scale collision of the two civilizations in the past five hundred years.
"The Heaven's Origin Sector is entering a state of war. The military have undergone a paradigm shift regarding how the war should be fought. The crystal suit advocates are winning the warship advocates over. This is going to be our chance."
Li Yao nodded.
In the military, and also among the Cultivators, debates had always remained unabated as to whether warships or crystal suits should be the main force in a war.
Crystal warships had obvious advantages. They had long attack range and fierce firepower. If they were faced with a large number of low-level demon beasts, it would be a one-sided slaughter.
Their disadvantages were clear as well. Their size was too large to be usable outside of specific situations. They could not cruise in the areas where spiritual fluctuations were intense such as the Dark Desolate Domain, they could not be transmitted through middle-size and small-size wormholes or teleportation rune arrays, and they could not drill into underground and fight the demon beasts in the mother lodes where resources were most abundant.
When confronting strong, high-level demons, they risked being infiltrated by the enemy. If the enemy was inside the warships, the defense of the warships would be reduced to minimum, turning them into flying coffins.
Therefore, many military leaders and Cultivators had changed their thought and believed that conquering the Blood Demon Sector would require face-to-face combat by Cultivators in crystal suits, instead of the cumbersome warships.
Since the crystal suit had more advocates than the warship did, most of the future military budget would go to the research and refinement of crystal suits.
Yuan Manqiu continued, "The military has notified the Nine Elite Universities and the top five hundred Cultivation sects that the army will purchase a model of crystal suit on a large scale in the coming three to five years. The research and refinement of this particular model will be put out to be outsourced and the Nine Elite Universities and the top five hundred Cultivation sects will bid for the qualification! Each university and sect can come up with their own design.
"We'll have one year to prepare for that.
"In one year, the model that beats all the rivals in the competition will be fielded to the soldiers of the federal army and become the main equipment!"
Li Yao's heart was beating fast. The news was amazing.
Since the foundation of the Star Glory Federation five hundred years ago, it had persevered with the strategy of homeland defense. Crystal warships were enough to deal with the beast tides. Crystal suits had never been mass-equipped.
Although some elite troops had been armed with crystal suits, the crystal suits they wore were of different models. There had been no uniform standard.
Right now, the military wanted a mass-produced crystal suit as the standard crystal suit for the army.
Everyone could see the value of the project. Whatever won the bid would undoubtedly be the king of crystal suits.
"However, why has the military decided to determine the model of the crystal suit this way instead of refining one themselves?" Li Yao mumbled.
"The reason is simple. The military and the Cultivation sects are the two wings of the federation. With a great war coming close, the two wings must cooperate in order to unleash the full power of the Star Glory Federation," Yuan Manqiu explained.
Li Yao nodded in agreement.
The military and the Cultivation sects had always been in a subtle relationship.
Before the federation, it had been the era of sects. There was neither government nor military.
All human beings relied on the Cultivators in the sects to fight against the demon beasts.
Conflicts were brewing among the countless sects, which eventually turned against each other.
Also, many Cultivators considered themselves to be saviors of the world and lived an extravagant life by exploiting the ordinary people. The folks were not as supportive as before after suffering a lot.
Therefore, in light of the defects of the sect system, the Star Glory Federation adopted a series of hypercorrect policies during the time known as 'Red Dragon Legion Era'.
During the thirty years of the Red Dragon Legion Era, the old sect system was smashed into pieces, and the power was highly centralized to the federal government. All the Cultivators were enlisted into the Red Dragon Legion and fought as soldiers of the army.
When the Red Dragon Legion was first established, it contributed a lot to the banishment of the demon clan with its amazing strength.
But as time went by, the main drawback of the new system, its rigidness, was revealed.
Creativity and epiphany were of paramount importance in Cultivation. A 'eureka' moment had been what all the Cultivators looked forward to.
Besides, due to their domineering strength, the Cultivators often preferred freedom to restraints. They might go wherever for training whenever they wanted to.
However, the top principle for soldiers was obedience. They didn't need to think. All they needed to do was to play their part in the war machine.
When organized in the form of an army, the Cultivators immediately lost vitality.
The Cultivators who were willing to research new techniques or new magical equipment grew fewer and fewer. Many of them turned into submissive nerds who focused all the attention to the stern military training rules, which distorted their mind and transformed them into utter killing machines. Some even set on the path of devil Cultivators.
Just like that, thirty years after the Red Dragon Legion was established, its battle capability plunged. All kinds of riots were taking place in the legion. There were even cases where the entire troop turned into devil Cultivators.
The Cultivators who dwelled on the sect era were also conspiring to tear the Star Glory Federation apart.
Thankfully, the dark time finally passed without insurrection against the regime.
Based on the lessons learnt from the sect era and the Red Dragon Legion Era, the Star Glory Federation imposed a mixed system that combined characteristics of the two.
The military and the sects co-existed. The military represented stability, the sects represented creativity; the military had a large number of soldiers who had dominative strength in a battlefield, whereas the sects were famous for their advanced technology and magical equipment. With the checks and balances of the two sides, the world of Cultivation and the Star Glory Federation both witnessed peaceful and rapid growth.
At this time, the military's outsourcing for the main force battlesuit was clearly a signal that even if a war were to break out, the time that the military controlled everything such as the Red Dragon Legion Era wouldn't come back. All sects should rest assured and work together against the common foe.
Li Yao finally understood why so many more refiners had joined the Project Mystic Skeleton.
Yuan Manqiu said, "The Refining Department of the Grand Desolate War Institution has been working on crystal suits for mass-production since more than ten years ago. Although we haven't make many achievements, we did have collected a lot of data and documents. Therefore, many experts decided to join us, especially those who believe in the grassroot ideologies.
"However, we have formidable competitors, too.
"The moment the military's decision of outsourcing was announced, the universities and sects that had the ability all started their own mass-production crystal suit refinement projects.
"They may lack experience, but they have a long history of crystal suit refinement.
"Some sects are even refining low-cost crystal suits by simplifying the crystal suits that they already have. Naturally, their research speed is much faster.
"The Refining Department of Deep Sea University is working with the Golden Armor Sect for a new model of crystal suit for mass-production, too.
"The Golden Armor Sect ranks among the top twenty in the federation. It is the strongest sect in battle armor refining and has refined crystal suits independently before. Their work is best known for the sturdiness.
"Now, the best university and the best sect have formed a coalition. The billions-worth order is almost sure to fall into their hands. It's indeed difficult for us to steal the food from a tiger's mouth.
"However, if we want the 'Holy Land for Refiners' to refer to us and us alone, we have to win the competition!"
Li Yao clenched his hands. His voice was shaking in excitement.
"Professor, do you really believe that we can beat the Refining Department of Deep Sea University and take the title of 'Holy Land for Refiners'?"
In a faint smile, Yuan Manqiu said, "I'll tell you a secret, Li Yao.
"Ever since the day I went separate ways with Chu Xiuhong, my professor, and walked out of Deep Sea University, there hasn't been a day going by over the past decades without me yearning to beat the Refining Department of Deep Sea University and assume their title 'Holy Land for Refiners'!"
Li Yao gasped at the determination in her words.
Yuan Manqiu laughed and patted Li Yao on his shoulder. She continued, "Alright. You must be exhausted after your adventure to the Dark Desolate Domain. Take a decent rest before you get back to work again.
"Right, remember to check on your girlfriend, too. Days ago, when she heard you had went missing in the Thunderous Sound Mountain, she was jumping up and down in worry. She even decided to go to rescue you in the Dark Desolate Domain. Thankfully, President Xiong stopped her from doing that. What a silly girl."
Li Yao was so focused on the announcement of the military that he didn't even realize what his professor was talking about. A moment later, his eyes grew wide as he said in bewilderment, "My girlfriend? Who's my girlfriend?"
Yuan Manqiu glanced at him strangely.
"Isn't Ms. Ding, who stayed at the institute after graduation, your girlfriend? You always go to and leave her place at midnight. Everybody in the faculty neighborhood knows that. I've even seen it with my own eyes a couple of times. Is there a problem?"