If one listened carefully, one would easily notice that the noises inside the fog were not chaotic but well organized into a thrilling narrative.
It sounded like a large batch of demon beasts were attacking a human town inside the fog.
At first, there were the noises of the beast tide surging and the alarms of the human's defense rune arrays ringing.
Then, there were the noises of the demon beasts breaching the defense and fighting the human soldiers face to face.
In the beginning, the two parties were evenly matched. One could hear the human captains commanding the troops calmly.
But soon, the roars of the demon beasts grew larger and echoed on all directions.
The intense gunfire and rubbing of chainsword were soon replaced by screams.
"For the human race!"
"For the federation!"
Inside the fog, the dying shouts occurred once in a while, followed by earthshaking explosions.
Although they didn't see it with their own eyes, with the surround sound, the audience was able to picture a heartbreaking scene: in a lone town besieged by countless demon beasts, the soldiers and Cultivators stuffed themselves with crystal bombs and rushed against the beast tide in their last battle hymn, dying a martyr's death unflinchingly.
Women's screams, children's cries, civilians' wails came from the slaughter house vaguely, too.
The complicated noises boiled for almost five minutes, until the clamor of demon beasts completely overwhelmed the barrage of the human troops. Everybody in the audience could tell that the town would fall in no time.
Right then, distant yet terrifying thunders echoed far away, as if countless giants were marching in a neat formation at the town in war fire.
"BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!"
Iron feet rose up and stomped down in the same rhythm.
The reinforcements were not moving at a fast speed, yet their footsteps were surrounded by an intimidating aura which seemed ready to crush everything in their way.
Joyful, hopeful, and somewhat twisted cries came from the center of the fog.
"It's a crystal suit legion!"
"The crystal suit legion of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit!"
"BANG! BANG! BANG! BAM BAM BAM BAM!"
The savage footsteps were denser, louder and more furious as they approached near.
Every audience could picture the same scene in their mind: Thousands of Cultivators, wearing glittering silver crystal suits, congregated into an iron cascade and crashed into the beast tide!
The aching noises of the following onslaught put sweat on everyone's forehead, who was more curious about the belated Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit than ever.
"It seems that the Grand Desolate War Institution has been fully prepared for their exhibition. The advertisement alone is evident enough of their ambition!"
"The Grand Desolate War Institution is indeed good at keeping secrets. They didn't leak anything beforehand, waiting to pour everything out in the Magical Equipment Exposition today. I'm going to see whether or not their crystal suit is as good as they claimed in the advertisement!"
All of the audience was engrossed in the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit.
However, most of the believers of the elite refining ideology, especially those who were the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit's competitors, were eyeing the booth suspiciously.
"The Grand Desolate War Institution does not have such competence. They're just bluffing."
"They claim that they have successfully refined it. Who knows what kind of garbage they're going to bring out? Don't think that a battle armor plus a crystal processor equals a crystal suit!"
"Even if they have refined one, it's going to be uninteresting."
"Uninteresting or not, I'm more concerned about the stability. Who knows whether or not it will explode again like last year? I suggest we all put on our spiritual shields. Visiting the booth of the Grand Desolate War Institution might endanger your life!"
As for the reporters from the three magical equipment magazines and 'Crystal Suit Vista', they were relatively more objective. Gathering together, they discussed the advertisement in whispers.
"This audio advertisement has indeed been finely made. It seems to be suggesting that the Grand Desolate War Institution's crystal suit will highlight the low cost and the mass-manufacturing possibility."
"Think about it. If a thousand warriors put on crystal suits and make up a full-crystal-suit legion, as long as the performance of the crystal suit is acceptable, such a legion will be indeed unstoppable."
"We just don't know yet how far away the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit is from other crystal suits as the cheapest crystal suit of the federation."
"Look, the countdown is coming to an end. The secret will be revealed now."
"The last five seconds!"
As the countdown reached zero, the fog inside the booth dissipated. The smoke of war fire had been cleared by breeze.
Unfolding in front of thousands of pairs of eyes were vivid city ruins scattered by collapsed buildings that were still burning in fume.
On the ground closer to the audience, there were dead bodies of humans and demon beasts, corroded crystal railguns, burning crystal tanks.
Some of them were mock-ups. Some were holograms projected by mystic lights. Tangled together, they made a life-like post-war wasteland.
Even the air was filled with the intense odor of blood, the stink of demon beasts, and the pungent smell of spiritual energy explosions.
The booth only had a coverage of 1,000 square kilometers. But with the delicate stage setting and the 3D projections, one would be under the illusion that the boundary of the booth extended to the horizon, making the booth ten times larger than it actually was.
In the most eye-catching position and the center of everyone's attention, a Cultivator in a crystal suit was breathing heavily on one of his knees.
He seemed to have experienced a brutal fight. Many parts of his crystal suit had been destroyed. Whatever remained was full of rust due to corrosion of the venom from demon beasts, to the extent that the crystal suit seemed to be breaking up at any moment.
After taking a rest, the Cultivators stood up difficultly.
All the other items were dimmed. Several mystic lights focused on him, highlighting the terrible conditions of his gear.
The crystal suit that he was wearing couldn't be worse.
The weird opening immediately raised a round of exclamations.
Neither did everyone expect the Grand Desolate War Institution to transform their booth into a battlefield, nor were they ready to watch the debut of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit in such an awful state.
In the ragged Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, the Cultivator peered at the audience coldly.
Although the face of the Cultivator had been covered by the rusted helmet, the intense scent of killing from the crimson crystal cameras still made a lot audience shiver. Some of them even took a step back in fear.
Then, the Cultivator turned around and walked into the burning city, one step after another.
"Fellow Daoists, my journalist friends, what you've just seen is the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, the latest crystal suit refined by the Grand Desolate War Institution. Allow me to introduce the general performance and the refining process to you."
Yuan Manqiu, together with the rest of the delegates, walked out of the city ruins and smiled.
Then, more than ten giant light beams appeared in the air, displaying the blueprints, specifications, and pictures of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit.
Two key points were stressed.
First, the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit was the cheapest crystal suit of the federation, with a price lower than those of the competitive products by more than a quarter.
Second, the fundamental framework of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit was based on technology from the Star Ocean Imperium, which the Grand Desolate War Institution had been working on for twenty years to fully digest it. Therefore, the quality of the suit is guaranteed despite the low cost. It is almost as good as the standard crystal suit of the imperial army of the Star Ocean Imperium.
However, most of the audience didn't quite catch what Yuan Manqiu said, because their attention was fixed on the Cultivator in the battered Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit who had walked onto a platform in the back of the booth.
A dynamometer for crystal suit rose up from below the platform, with a ten-minute countdown hanging above.
The Cultivator squatted, lowered his shoulder, and clenched his right fist beside his waist where it seemed to be burning in flames.
"He is going to demonstrate the strength of the crystal suit?"
"The crystal suit is as good as rubbish right now. What can it do?"
"I get it. The Grand Desolate War Institution wants the world to know that their crystal suit is sturdy enough to deal impressive damage under such lousy conditions!"
"But I wonder how good it can be. Five tons? Ten tons? Fifteen tons?"
In everyone's earnest eyes, the Cultivator kept his feet still, while he punched the dynamometer after a twitch of his back like a dragon jumping out of water. The dynamometer shook violently, before a row of numbers popped up.
The figure immediately set the spot in riot.
Everyone was wearing a weird expression.
It was not too strong. It was too weak.
"What? Not even one ton!"
"Are you kidding me? I can punch more than one ton even without any help. Why do I want to wear such a crystal suit?"
"Although it is seriously damaged now, it provides absolutely no enhancement to the wearer. There's nothing worth to show off about the crystal suit. What is the Grand Desolate War Institution doing here?"
The Cultivator seemed to hear none of it. He punched the dynamometer with his left fist the moment he retreated his right fist.
This time, the number was even smaller. It was
Complaints grew louder and louder.
But Yuan Manqiu continued smiling and introducing the specifications of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit.
The Cultivator turned a deaf ear to the boos from the audience. Dwelling in his own world, he punched the dynamometer with his right fist again.
The left fist continued.
Right and left again.
The Cultivator was like a precise machine. The gaps between two punches were exactly the same, and so was the damage dealt by each punch. 999.99 kg from the right fist, and 888.88 kg from the left fist.
One minute later, the whispers weakened.
Two minutes later, the whispers were gone.
Three minutes later, the Cultivator was still savaging the dynamometer leisurely. He had punched hundreds of times, and the reading of the dynamometer was either 999.99 or 888.88.
Cold sweat was appearing on the audience's forehead.
Four minutes later, the whispers were up again. This time with amazement!
Everyone understood that what the Grand Desolate War Institution was trying to demonstrate was not the limit of strength, but the unbelievable stability.
"Thisthis crystal suit is formidable. It is almost shattered, yet it can maintain exactly the same strength in hundreds of punches!"
"In my opinion, it is the guy who's wearing the crystal suit that is formidable."
"The enhancement of the crystal suit is truly important. But his manipulation of his own strength is astonishingly precise, too."
"Indeed. The guy is definitely a top Exo. I wonder where the Grand Desolate War Institution found such an expert!"
Happy Spring Festival to everybody!
Or as we say it, chun jie kuai le!
CNY bonus chapter #3