When they left the Future City Gallery, it was already nightfall.
Outside of the gallery was large artificial turf. There were streams flowing and bird singing not very far away.
Countless tourists were sitting on the turf and enjoying their picnics. Mortal life and crystal beasts formed a delightful contrast, peaceful and comforting.
Ai Zhiying was not satisfied yet. But her mother was a little tired.
Thankfully, there was a rest stop nearby where several Cultivators were providing sprays that could assuage fatigue.
After spraying her back and her legs, Zhou Xiulan felt that her strength was back.
Then, the three of them visited a few other galleries quickly.
In the Life and Health Gallery, they saw artificial flesh that was refined out of crystal gel.
Once it was covered on a metal puppet, not only could the life-span of the puppets be prolonged, the outlook and texture of the real skin could be simulated, too.
If it was used to make artificial limbs, the appearance of the artificial limbs could be greatly improved and so would the quality of life of the disabled and spectral Cultivators.
In the New Energy Gallery, they saw submarine mining equipment that could work 10,000 meters below the sea level. They also witnessed an advanced technology which could transform the energy contained in coal and oil into spiritual energy.
In the Robotization Gallery, they saw hundreds of fully automated machines that could walk through the entire process from sowing to harvest by themselves, thus freeing human beings from the tedious peasant work.
In the end, they reached the Universe Gallery.
The moment they stepped inside, they felt like that they had entered a sea of stars. The entire cosmos was spinning around them, full of mysteries and vastness.
In the boundless Universe Gallery, Ai Zhiying, who had been vivacious all the way, shut her mouth and walked behind Li Yao quietly.
The first thing to be seen was a piece of obscure, unattractive magical equipment flying alone in the universe.
The surface of the magical equipment was full of bumps and hollows, which indicated that it had been hit multiple times.
"This is a 'flying star telescope' which was launched by 'Seven Stars Alliance', a top 10 sect of the federation, 299 years ago. In its three hundred years of voyage in the cosmos, it has sent everything it saw back, which provides precious data for the study of universe."
Li Yao was very solemn. He said in a low voice, "During the past three hundred years, the federal government, as well as many Cultivation sects, has sent almost a hundred flying star telescopes with more advanced technologies to explore the more distant universe.
"However, the very first flying star telescope has been retained and controlled by a Nascent Soul Stage expert of the Seven Stars Alliance as a symbol of the expedition to the universe of the humans of the Heaven's Origin Sector."
Ai Zhiying asked, "What are we looking for with so many flying star telescopes?"
Li Yao replied, "The Heaven's Origin Sector only has limited resources, which will run dry as our civilization develops. So, we must find new worlds as alternatives.
"If we meet a world fragment, we can collect the resources inside.
"If we meet an intact world, we will consider building a stable, inter-world wormhole for large-scale migration.
"Anyway, our destiny is the end of cosmos, and we will not be bound by such a small place as Heaven's Origin Sector."
"I understand it now. It's the same reason why my dad left our hometown to work in the big city. I didn't know what was good about the big city and cried to persuade my dad not to go. But now that I've seen it with my own eyes, I finally know that the big city is a really lively place with so many delicious foods and so many beautiful and interesting things. So, I have decided that I will go to the big city just like my dad in the future.
"The Heaven's Origin Sector is a small village, too. Other worlds in the cosmos are big cities like Deep Sea City. We the people of the Heaven's Origin Sector can't stay in our village forever. The cosmos is too great a place to be missed out," Ai Zhiying said.
"Correct." Li Yao nodded his head. "That's why the Star Glory Federation is working hard on the aeronautical and astronautical technology and trying to find safe passage between worlds.
"See? This is a crystal starship model named 'Serenity', which is built by the 'Thousand Sails Guild' with the technologies found in the Star Ocean Imperium relics.
"The real Serenity starship boasts a complete ecosystem and a self-circulation system. It can accommodate 100,000 people on board and carry a large amount of materials for the construction of stable wormholes.
"This is a crystal starship even larger than 'Serenity', whose name is 'Prestige'. A million people can live inside it for hundreds of years. But it is still experimental and not successfully refined yet.
"This is 'Quick Ghost', the latest model of automated flying star telescope. It is fifty times faster than the first-generation flying star telescopes. It can detect abnormal spiritual waves that are often the sign of a new world.
"Maybe in the foreseeable future, we can refine hundreds of crystal starships and light the fire of our civilization in other worlds!"
Ai Zhiying was excited by Li Yao's words. She muttered, "Me too. If Deep Sea City is already so interesting, I bet there will be much more fun in other worlds!"
When they left the Universe Gallery, it was already 10 p.m.
Since it was impossible to finish visiting the Magical Equipment Exposition within a day, the ticket covered the hotel fees. Li Yao escorted the mother and the daughter to the hotel on the third floor of the convention center. Then they said goodbye to each other, however reluctantly.
Tomorrow, the military magical equipment exhibitions would start. Li Yao would be too occupied to accompany the lovely little girl anymore.
Besides, her father had sent a message through spiritual crane messenger, saying that he would ask for leave and come to reunite with his wife and his daughter tomorrow. It was a relief for Li Yao.
Li Yao offered Ai Zhiying three tickets for the military magical equipment exhibitions as a gift.
Since the Grand Desolate War Institution was one of the exhibitors, every staff of the school had received quite a few complimentary tickets. Having no one else to give them to, Li Yao decided that he might as well give them to the little girl, who apparently was very interested in magical equipment.
"I'll definitely show up!"
Ai Zhiying was overjoyed. She waved her little fists and said, "Besides, I've set you as my role model and I'll be a Cultivator one day!"
Li Yao was dazed for a moment. He asked in a smile, "Why?"
Ai Zhiying stood straight and answered briskly, "Because Cultivators are so awesome! With the marvelous magical equipment that they refine, everybody will be able to live a celestial-like life. So, I'm going to be a Cultivator one day, so that my mom and dad, my uncles and aunts at home, and everyone else in our village will live a peaceful and happy life.
"Maybe one day, I can refine a giant crystal starship, and bring everyone in our village to travel deep into the cosmos. The grandpas and grandmas that have never been out of our village in their entire life will be able to see what the other end of the universe looks like!"
"Good for you, Little Ying!"
Pondering for a moment, Li Yao took out a grey, small stone which had a hole in one end. He had slipped a red string into the hole and made it into a pendant.
It seemed uninteresting, but the stone was actually made of the powder of three marrow stones.
When a marrow stone was being polished, it was unavoidable that some powder would drop off. Li Yao made best use of the leftover and refined them into more than ten pendants together with some other Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures.
They were of little use to Cultivators. But for the growing adolescents, the pendants could build up their body heath and accelerate their brain development, which was similar to the effect of strengthening drugs.
Li Yao was planning to send the pendants to the Principal Mao of the Floating Spear City's Mining Clan High School for the students whose families were too poor to buy strengthening drugs.
Now that fate had arranged Ai Zhiying and him to meet, he might as well give her one first.
But he could only help her that far. It still depended on herself whether or not her spiritual root could be awakened so that she could be a Cultivator.
The pendant had been covered up by Li Yao with the ancient techniques of the Hundred Smelting Clan. Whoever examined the pendant would only feel that it was just a normal stone. Therefore, there would be no danger of robbery.
Li Yao hang the marrow crystal pendant on the little girl's neck. They exchanged their contact information. Then Li Yao returned to the residence of the delegates of the Grand Desolate War Institution.
"What's wrong? You look quite thoughtful. What did you get today?"
Yuan Manqiu saw him and greeted him in a smile.
"A lot. I never realized until today that civil magical equipment could be so amazing. It is a life-changer for the ordinary people, who can live such a happy life that was unimaginable in the old days. Just like what the slogan says, 'Better Cultivation, Better Life'!"
Scratching his hair, Li Yao remarked, "I thought that I was a strong refiner who could refine all kinds of powerful military magical equipment, and I sometimes despised the refiners who worked on the civil magical equipment because I thought they were boring. But the trip today has taught me a good lesson. For the ordinary people, the civil magical equipment has indeed improved the quality of their life and is much more important for them."
"It's great that you can appreciate the significance of the civil magical equipment. However, there is no need to go too far."
Yuan Manqiu added, "There is no paradise in or beyond the Heaven's Origin Sector. Every place is full of blood and slaughter.
"Today, you saw the happy and peaceful life of the ordinary people made possible by the civil magical equipment.
"However, without countless Cultivators and soldiers guarding our civilization with military magical equipment, how long would the peace and happiness last?
"Right now, the Blood Demon Sector is coveting us maliciously. Each beast tide is fiercer than the previous one. The more military magical equipment we refine, the better protected the life of the ordinary people will be!
"Besides, the boundary between military magical equipment and civil magical equipment is really blurred. Much civil magical equipment has been transformed from military magical equipment.
"The Demon Beast Detector that you refined was a piece of military magical equipment in the beginning. But it has been modified into a civil one which has possibly saved many lives already.
"Inheriting the past, defending the present, and creating the future are the three duties of us Cultivators. They are equally important. Cultivators who can fulfill one of the duties will be enough to be worthy of their names.
"If you are good at refining military magical equipment, then just try your best to defend what you saw just now!"
"I got it."
Li Yao was enlightened by what Yuan Manqiu had just said. He felt relieved again.
"Alright, just take it easy. Tomorrow is the first day of the military magical equipment exhibitions. Whether or not the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit can kick off a good start will be revealed after tonight."
Yuan Manqiu stressed, "Recently, not only have the beast tides been arriving more frequently, the local demon beasts of the Heaven's Origin Sector have also been seething with bloodlust. The mines and settlements of many Cultivation sects in the depths of the Grand Desolate Plateau are being threatened.
"Therefore, many sects are planning to purchase crystal suits for better defense.
"If we can secure a few orders from them before we get the big military order, it will ease the burden of the tremendous preliminary cost right now. On the other hand, it will be a great advertisement for us, too.
"How about it? Are you confident?"
When talking about the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, Li Yao immediately turned sharp again. He declared assuredly, "In the previous month, I wasted no time in preparing several secret weapons just for the big show tomorrow!"
Happy Spring Festival to everybody!
Or as we say it, chun jie kuai le!
CNY bonus chapter #1