The other reason why Li Yao needed to go to Serpent Mountain Village was to uncover the secrets of his Cosmos Ring.
On his way back to the Grand Desolate War Institution, he had tried cracking the encryptions in the Cosmos Ring with his mini crystal processor.
But it didn't take long before he discovered that there was a double-encryption inside the Cosmos Ring. It seemed that two zones, one larger and the other smaller, had been sealed in it at the same time.
Li Yao inferred that the larger zone must be the snake demon's storage space, whereas the smaller zone was probably the storage space of one of the ring's former masters.
The ring's previous owner had set up a strong encryption inside the Cosmos Ring that the snake demon failed to unseal. Therefore, the demon simply added another encryption over the old one.
According to Li Yao's calculations, it wouldn't be difficult to crack the snake demon's encryption. With a suitable algorithm, the large-scale crystal processor could decrypt it within several days.
However, if the snake demon's encryption were to be cracked by brute force, the other encryption within it might be triggered and blow up the space inside the Cosmos Ring, which would definitely ruin everything contained inside.
To thoroughly crack the double-encryption was too difficult for Li Yao at present. Besides, he didn't have special crystal processors that were designed to crack encryptions, either.
However, in the world of Cultivation, there was an occupation in a grey area called 'Cryptohacker'.
Every Cryptohacker was both a crystal processor maniac and an expert in manipulating telepathic thoughts. Many of them were eccentric geniuses who sought no fame or fortune, but only the pleasure of deciphering an encryption.
The Serpent Mountain Village had a few such Cryptohackers. Even the large-scale encryption that the federal government set up on the Spiritual Nexus failed to block their methods.
They were the only people who possibly had the ability to crack the double-encryption in the Cosmos Ring and unravel the secrets inside for him.
"It's decided then!
"I'll get familiar with the progress of the Project Mystic Skeleton in the next couple of days. Then I'll ask for a leave to the Serpent Mountain Village. If everything goes well, it will be a three-day trip at most. I'll make best use of the weekend. Not many things will have to be postponed."
Li Yao activated the spiritual crane messenger for work.
"The Mountain Sea Sect sent me so many messages?"
Li Yao was refreshed. He rubbed his hands together.
Three months ago, he had made a deal with the Mountain Sea Sect. According to their plan, the manufacturing process should've already begun. He was curious about the sales.
The Demon Beast Detector was Li Yao's first self-refined magical equipment on which he had spared no efforts. He had hoped to make some money out of it. But more importantly, he wanted his work to be appreciated by fellow Cultivators.
Li Yao opened the messenger and started browsing in excitement.
The more he read, the more dazed he became. He was speechless for a long time before he mumbled, "Only 693 sold after an entire month?
"Bad reviews are all over the magical equipment magazines and the Spiritual Nexus forums?
"Many dealers are terminating cooperation with us?"
Li Yao scratched his head, confused.
The performance of the Demon Beast Detector had been tested by him in real battles. It was definitely not a laboratory toy.
The Mountain Sea Sect had done thorough market research and project feasibility analysis, both of which indicated a very promising prospect.
Besides, the Demon Beast Detector was the Mountain Sea Sect's last hope. The entire sect from top to bottom had been paying great attention to it.
Their assembly line was modified under Li Yao's personal supervision with consideration of every detail. The product quality was as good as those refined by Li Yao himself.
To expand the market share, the product was set at a relatively low price. It was meant to be a sales campaign to build up the brand image of the Mountain Sea Sect and the Fiend Star.
Although Li Yao didn't have high hopes for his first try, the sales of below 700 for a whole month were still too horrible to look at.
After pondering for a moment, Li Yao logged in the Spiritual Nexus and bought a few virtual magical equipment magazines of the latest releases. Then he searched reviews about the Demon Beast Detector on the magazines.
There were three most famous magical equipment magazines in the Star Glory Federation, which were 'Magical Equipment World', 'Refiners' Home' and 'Flying Sword and Battle Armor'.
Many new articles would be updated in the three magazines, commenting on the newest magical equipment and making a lot of rankings. There were good lists such as Golden List, Most Popular List, and Most Creative List, as well bad lists such as Black List, Rotten Eggs List, and Most Superficial List.
Countless new models of magical equipment appeared in the world of Cultivation every day, which was too much for any Cultivator to test in person. Therefore, the reviews of the magical equipment magazines played an important role in helping them decide what to buy and what not to.
It was acknowledged that if a piece of magical equipment received unanimous approval from all the three magazines, its sales would be sure to soar.
On the contrary, if all the three magazines criticized a piece of magical equipment at the same time, it would be gone from the market very soon.
The Demon Beast Detector, as a beginner's work, didn't attract much attention in the Cultivation world. There were only several articles written by some mediocre critics in the magazines.
Li Yao opened the review posted in the 'Magical Equipment World' and started reading patiently.
At the beginning, the article listed some of the advantages of the Demon Beast Detector casually, such as handiness, precision, quick reaction, and so on.
Then, the article changed its style with a big 'however'.
"However, since the Demon Beast Detector has been refined in the form of a monocle, the popping of information will surely block the wear's vision. Besides, since it is designed to be worn on one side of the head, it risks bringing lopsidedness and thus imbalance to the body.
"Under extreme circumstances where the crystal glass was broken, it is very likely to fly into the wear's eye and affect their combat ability.
The article, in a seemingly candid tone, listed more than ten defects, before it was eventually concluded with "All in all, as an interesting plaything created by a college student in his spare time, this piece of magical equipment is good enough in regard of completeness."
Li Yao's nose was almost put out of joint because of anger.
Perfect magical equipment did not exist. The Demon Beast Detector had its own defects and limitations just as any other magical equipment did.
But the article was simply nitpicking the Demon Beast Detector based on criteria so harsh that were bordering on absurdness.
It could be compared to criticizing a chainsword for lack of long-range attack abilities and decrying a crystal railgun because it was unsuitable for melee combat; it was utter BS!
It was correct that putting on a Demon Beast Detector on one of the ears would affect the body balance, but so would a chainsword or any other magical equipment carried by a Cultivator. Never would any Cultivator carry a chainsword on the middle of their back for the sake of balance control!
It was also true that the crystal glass might stab the eyes when it was broken. But any battle armor and crystal suit would have the potential danger of stabbing the wearer's body when they were broken. Criticizing magical equipment for that was just like giving up eating for fear of choking.
Li Yao cursed the writer of the article in mind and opened the review in 'Refiners' Home'.
This article didn't talk much about the shining points and shortcomings of the Demon Beast Detector itself. Instead, the main topic of the article was Li Yao and the Mountain Sea Sect.
It didn't vilify them. On the contrary, there were words of praises between the lines all over the article.
But after reading the entire article, one would recognize that Li Yao was a beginner in the trade of refiners, and that the Mountain Sea Sect was a combat sect without much experience in refining precise magical equipment whose last product, the Hunting Watch, was a brutal failure. They were brave enough to refine precise magical equipment. But the performance and quality of their product would be a big question mark.
Li Yao was so infuriated that he nostril grew even wider.
This article was even more sordid than the previous one. Everything in the article so true that there was not much to pick on.
'Flying Sword and Battle Armor' had used to be a professional magazine that focused on flying-sword-type magical equipment and battle-armor-type magical equipment exclusively. Later, it began to expand its repertoire and post reviews on other military magical equipment.
It had the most proficiency and authority of all the three magical equipment magazines.
The article in Flying Sword and Battle Armor was the shortest.
It did not note the advantages and disadvantages of the product, nor did it cling to Li Yao or the Mountain Sea Sect's background. Instead, it pointed out the problem of the Demon Beast Detector succinctly.
Judging from its designing purpose, the Demon Beast Detector was a piece of ancillary magical equipment for the solo hunters on the Grand Desolate Plateau.
But such solo hunters often boasted extraordinary perceptiveness and computational ability, as well as personal strength. They were already able to memorize features and skills of many demon beast without the help of the Demon Beast Detector.
Those who needed the Demon Beast Detector most were actually low-level Cultivators and ordinary soldiers.
But they often went on missions in groups with large-scale probe magical equipment. The Demon Beast Detector was redundant for them.
"A product of mixed-up orientation with uninspiring functions."
This was the conclusion in'Flying Sword and Battle Armor'.
Li Yao was sincerely convinced by the article.
He had been thinking of the target customer and function limitations lately and was preparing to add communication and map functions to the new version of Demon Beast Detector.
But the problems alone were obviously not enough to pull the sales down to only 600.
Li Yao thought for a while and entered a forum named 'Blood and Slaughter'.
It was a famous forum among demon beast hunters with a lot of Cultivator users who'd share their experiences in the Grand Desolate with other people.
There was a board in the forum that was especially for posting the personal experiences with a particular piece of magical equipment, which was quite popular among middle-level and low-level Cultivators.
Li Yao found 57 threads that were related to the Demon Beast Detector, none of which were positive.
"This is absolutely garbage. It worked fine at first but was entirely broken after I was tripped over one time during the battle. Later, it couldn't even distinguish low-level demon soldiers from middle-level ones, which almost killed me!"
"Poor design. Very uncomfortable when pinned to ear. Feels like the ear is stuffed if you're sweating."
"Don't ever try it. It is just a scam concocted by a college student and some third-rate sect!"
Reading the threads, Li Yao squinted. Sharp glint was shining in his eyes.
Only six hundred pieces had been sold off. Yet, some 50 users were already posting negative reviews in a small forum at a time and date that was extremely close to the Demon Beast Detector's debut.
It was just like they bought one copy immediately after the Demon Beast Detector was released, went straight on fighting in the depths of the Grand Desolate Plateau, and returned to condemn it on the Nexus the very next day.
One or two cases were possible. But more than twenty similar threads
Together with the biased reviews in the three magical equipment magazines, Li Yao seemed to have sensed the scent of a conspiracy.