"Don't look at me like that. What's wrong with being my girlfriend?"
Li Yao said assertively, "Just think about it. If my girlfriend, or your boyfriend, was someone else, we would have to go on dates, go shopping, go to dinners, etc. How troublesome would that be? Our training time would be greatly diminished.
"Besides, it wouldn't be convenient for me to come by and fight with you in the middle of a night, would it?
"But everything would be different if we are together. You are an utter maniac in training, and I don't have much interest in anything other than training, either. If we're together, we can go on our dates by fighting against each other. Killing two birds with one stone. Isn't it super efficient?"
"Who says we're going on dates?"
Ding Lingdang's cheeks were so flushed that even her ears were red now. She pinched Li Yao's waist hard.
"If my girlfriend is someone else, you won't get to pinch me anymore," Li Yao said, trying not to scream out of pain.
Ding Lingdang's hand backed off as if it had met an electric shock. Thinking for a while with her lips bitten, she said, "What you said does make a little sense. However, I still feel that something is not right. When other guys are pursuing girls, there are always flowers, gifts and such. They don't come straight to the point like you!"
Although Ding Lingdang was crazy about martial arts, she was a girl in her twenties after all. When she saw other girls receiving gifts from their boyfriends, she sometimes felt excited, too.
Li Yao smiled. He took out a ruby box from his pocket and handed it over.
"I didn't prepare any flowers, but I do have a gift. See if you like it!"
Holding her breath, Ding Lingdang opened the box and found a crimson, sparkling ring lying on the velvet.
The ring looked ancient and simple, without any redundant features. But it was apparently made of the best materials. When the box was opened, faint redness was all over the room.
In the middle of the ring, red crystal liquid was flowing slowly like clotting magma.
Ding Lingdang was somewhat dazed. She raised her eyebrows.
"It looks beautiful. But you know that I'm not a fan of jewelry, which will affect my combat ability. It seems so fragile that if I wear it and punch anything, it will break into pieces immediately."
"We've known each other long enough for me to learn of your habits. How could I offer you a ring as a gift? This is not a ring, but a lethal weapon refined by me which I've named 'Red Lotus Knuckle'."
Li Yao picked up the ring gently and held it in his palm as he explained, "On the surface, it looks like an ordinary jade ring. But, in fact, it is a piece of ultimate magical equipment with 'Bloody Shooting Star', a marrow crystal, as the main material together with four other marrow crystals as ancillary materials. It took me 36 days to refine it. What's more, I tried the best I can and carved almost 100 attack rune arrays inside the ring.
"Come on, put it on and use your telepathic thoughts to trigger it."
While he was talking, he slipped the ring into Ding Lingdang's fourth finger.
Ding Lingdang was dwelling on what Li Yao had just said and was too curious about the effects of the 'Red Lotus Knuckle' to stop him.
The Bloody Shooting Star was mild and smooth. Wearing a ring made of it felt very comfortable, as if the ring were part of her flesh.
With a telepathic thought, Ding Lingdang unleashed her spiritual energy. The hundred rune arrays on the Red Lotus Knuckle were lit up one by one with bright red colors, forming a vivid lotus in the color of blood which blossomed and wreathed her fists.
Almost a hundred petals with sharp edges were protruding from the blood lotus.
Fierce fiery spiritual energy was spilling among the petals, which instantly brought up the room temperature by ten degrees.
"Beautiful! Formidable! Ruthless!"
Ding Lingdang was immediately attracted. Her two eyes were full of eagerness.
Li Yao smiled and said, "You are best with fiery spiritual energy. The Bloody Shooting Star is a marrow crystal that belongs to the fire class and contains a lot of pure fiery spiritual energy.
"Wearing the Red Lotus Knuckle is like adding oil to a fire. I estimate that your punch will be at least three times fiercer than before!
"How about it? Is this gift fit for you?"
Ding Lingdang heard none of it, because she had been bewitched by the Red Lotus Knuckle. She rose up suddenly, her right arm burning in flames. The fire snake flowed out of her body again. With the enhancement of the Red Lotus Knuckle, the head of the snake split into three, making it a ferocious triple-headed fire snake.
"The Bloody Shooting Star is a rare Heavenly Material and Earthly Treasure of the fire class. I've been told that it can greatly enhance the performance of fiery spiritual energy. But I didn't know it could be so good!"
Thrilled, Ding Lingdang was waving her arms up and down, without knowing where she was anymore.
Body practitioners usually did not carry any weapons. But other than the fundamentalists, the ordinary body practitioners generally did not reject handy and helpful magical equipment.
Ding Lingdang's father had been a refiner. Due to the accident that happened to her parents, she had hated magical equipment for a long time.
But the knot had been resolved by Li Yao a long time ago.
After putting on the Red Lotus Knuckle, she was as happy as a little girl who just got the clothes that she had been longing for a long time.
Dancing in fire for a long time, she finally withdrew her spiritual energy, not entirely satisfied. She eyed Li Yao in a different way from just now, as if she had thought something through.
Her countenance alarmed Li Yao, who started to feel that Ding Lingdang was going to take over the situation.
"Come to think of it, it's very true what you just said. Why did I never think of that before?
"I'm never interested in boyfriends because dating and such is too much of a waste of time.
"Nothing will be better than a date of fighting, which will be so much more fun than dinners or shopping."
Ding Lingdang muttered thoughtfully, "Besides, you were correct that I would be too embarrassed to train with you at midnight if you had another girlfriend. I know better than that. I'm afraid we'd drift apart and forget each other then."
"I wouldn't be able to find a second sturdy guy who's crazy about training such as yourself in another hundred years. No. There's no way that I let you go so easily.
She strode towards Li Yao, fierce flames beaming in her eyes.
Li Yao suddenly felt that he had got enmeshed in a web of his own schemes. Dazed, Li Yao said, "To where?"
"Billowing Star Sea, of course."
Ding Lingdang shook her ring finger. "I have decided to accept you as my boyfriend. Now, hurry up. Let's start our first date!"
A month later, in the east of the Star Glory Federation, outside Deep Sea City.
A crystal airship carved with 'Fist of Fury', the emblem of the Grand Desolate War Institution, rushed to the city from the north with a long exhaust flame, tearing apart the clouds in its way.
Li Yao was standing on the front deck of the crystal airship, enjoying the view of the spectacular metropolis before him.
Deep Sea City, located on the east seashore, was unquestionably the largest city of the federation. It was more than ten times bigger than Floating Spear City, Li Yao's hometown.
It was a dramatic three-dimensional city. Countless building spread to the undersea like the tentacles of an octopus which occupied a large area near the seashore.
When the night came, the myriad of lights from the undersea buildings made them look like a palace made of diamonds.
Deep Sea City was a legendary city that made the best use of floating mountains, which were so vast that an entire block could reside on one of them.
The countless floating mountains were connected to each other by long, narrow and translucent tubes which were built with the mechanism of communicating vessels. The traffic among the floating mountains was even faster than riding on flying swords.
As the biggest city of the federation, Deep Sea City was headquartered by plentiful Cultivation conglomerates. It was also where Deep Sea University was located, as well as the center of the magical equipment manufacturing industry. Therefore, it was also known as
The City of Magical Equipment!
In the southwest corner of the City of Magical Equipment stood a colossal nine-level pyramid.
The bottom level had a coverage of more than 1500 acres. Even the top level still had almost 300 acres.
It was the largest convention center of the federation known as 'Heaven's Path'.
The Magical Equipment Exposition, a biennial gala of the Star Glory Federation, would be held here!
The Magical Equipment Exposition represented the peak of the Star Glory Federation's Cultivation technologies. It was also indicative of human civilization's future in the Heaven's Origin Sector. Therefore, it was not just a festival for the Cultivators. Many ordinary people would come to the carnival and enjoy themselves, too.
Billions of people often spent a fortune attending the exposition from far away to feel the essence of the Cultivation civilization.
As a magical equipment fan, Li Yao had been craving to join the Magical Equipment Exposition since he was a little boy.
However, he had been struggling all day to survive back then. He could barely pay for the travelling expenses, let alone the ticket.
Today, his dream was coming true!
Holding back her excitement, Yuan Manqiu walked to Li Yao's back and said calmly, "Li Yao, we're here."
This was not the first time that Yuan Manqiu had attended the Magical Equipment Exposition.
However, the Refining Department of the Grand Desolate War Institution had been weak and focused much of its attention on the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit before.
Other than the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, there was no other magical equipment they could show to impress everyone.
Therefore, even when it was participating in the exposition, in most cases it would stay in a corner and keep a low profile.
But today would be different
Taking a deep breath, Yuan Manqiu recalled the day when she left Deep Sea University proudly.
The memory was as fresh as yesterday. The hot blood at that time was still boiling in her chest right now.
But within the blink of an eye, thirty years had passed.
This time, she had come back dignifiedly and imposingly with the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, after thirty years of blood and sweat, to the City of Magical Equipment.
The crystal airship slowly moved through a giant virtual light beam, which had a slogan on it that read: 'Welcome to the 139th Magical Equipment Exposition of the Star Glory Federation, Fellow Daoists!'
Li Yao and Yuan Manqiu looked at each other and noticed the ineffaceable determination in the other's eyes at the same time.
This time, they were not just participating the Magical Equipment Exposition.
They were also going to raise a riot of amazement in the gala that was the center of the public attention.
As a gala for the entire federation and for every human being, the Magical Equipment Exposition was divided into the civil section and the military section.
The exhibitions in the civil section had started three days prior to their arrival and would last for a month, whose target audience were ordinary people.
The exhibitions in the military section would officially kick off three days later, which would be frequented by the military and the Cultivators. It was considered to be a trade fair, too. If one saw a piece of magical equipment to one's liking, one could place an order and purchase it on the spot. Bulk purchases or negotiations were of course available as well.
The ordinary people could watch the exhibitions of the military magical equipment, too. The tickets were not very expensive. But they would need to rent a whole suit of defense magical equipment for their own protection.
After all, the exhibitions of the military magical equipment could be somewhat dangerous.
This year, the Grand Desolate War Institution had rented a good exhibition booth, costing them a small fortune.
The upcoming three days would be mainly used to the decorate the booth.
However, Li Yao didn't need to bother about that.
Having nothing to do, he wandered around the Magical Equipment Exposition as an ordinary magical equipment fan.