Seeing Li Yao's interested face, Shangguan Ce smiled and said, "Mr. Li Yao, I've carefully studied your files. I didn't expect that such a young man like yourself would have so many experiences. You are even a Federation's 1st Class Disabled Servicemen. So, you are more than qualified for my offer. Have you ever considered rejoining the military and working in the Unrestricted Warfare Research Center?"
Li Yao was dazed. He didn't anticipate that a lieutenant general would come and try to recruit a college student in person.
Pondering for a moment, he was caught in a dilemma.
The Grand Desolate War Institution went by the credits system. Any student would be eligible to graduate as long as they earned enough credits.
Li Yao had earned 40,000 credits in the freshman year. Now that Project Mystic Skeleton had triumphed, as the only student in the project team and the test pilot of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, he had earned astronomical credits which were more than enough for him to graduate.
However, he felt that it would be a shame to graduate right now. He was planning to redeem some of his credits for a few courses from the Combat Department.
Considering the amount of his credits, he could easily pick up a course taught by a Core Formation Cultivator.
Yuan Manqiu had talked with him about his future career after graduation, too.
The leaders of the school were sincerely hoping that he could stay at school after graduation, and if he did, his benefits would equal to those of Ding Lingdang's.
However, the Heaven's Origin Sector was too large a place to be missed out. In his heart, Li Yao was planning to travel around for a few years and gain more experience before returning to the Grand Desolate War Institution and starting to work.
As for joining the military
If it was an ordinary troop stationing behind a defense line waiting for the emergence of beast tides, Li Yao was of course not willing to.
But joining the Unrestricted Warfare Research Center and fighting the strong demons in an indiscernible battleground?
It sounded very interesting!
Li Yao hesitated.
Shangguan Ce glanced at him and said casually, "It's an important decision and I can give you more time to think about it. Even if you are willing to, it's not easy to join the Unrestricted Warfare Research Center. There will be all kinds of tests that you need to pass.
"However, if you decide not to return to the military, your capability in refining and your eye-opening ideas are truly valuable nonetheless.
"The Unrestricted Warfare Research Center is often in need of bizarre magical equipment. Sometimes it doesn't have to be powerful but requires creativity or even insane imagination.
"If we come across a problem concerning magical equipment, we might contact you, or we might ask you to refine magical equipment for the Unrestricted Warfare Research Center. Is that okay with you?"
Li Yao nodded his head quickly.
"Of course it is, as long as you don't blame me for my lack of experience."
Shangguan Ce smiled.
"Your lack of experience is precisely why I want you.
"The ways of refining of the experienced refiners are all fixed and easy to be seen through by the strong demons who can make up counteracting plans effortlessly.
"In comparison, it's quite possible that beginners like you can refine some magical equipment that is beyond the expectation of the strong demons!
"But the main purpose of my visit today is not to invite you to join the military."
As he was speaking, Shangguan Ce took out a glitteringly silver card from his pocket and handed it over solemnly.
"Mr. Li Yao, please keep the card. When you're free, you can explore it with your telepathic thoughts. This is an invitation as well as a test."
Li Yao was truly stunned.
He was too familiar with the card.
A year ago, Long Wenhui, vice president of Hundred Saber Alliance and a Core Formation Cultivator, had offered him the exact same card to him, telling him that the card came from an organization hundreds of times stronger than the Hundred Saber Alliance.
On the surface of the card were written four words, which were 'When Stars Are Shining'. It seemed as thin as the edge of his saber, but it actually employed a space folding technique named 'hiding a world in a mustard seed' and sealed an enormous three-dimensional labyrinth inside of it.
After he finished his training sessions every day, Li Yao would extend his spiritual threads into the labyrinth and explore its destiny.
But after almost an entire year, he had never touched the boundary of the labyrinth yet.
As a result, his spiritual threads were much thicker and longer, and his spiritual root was far more tensile than those of other common Refinement Stage Cultivators.
He didn't expect that Shangguan Ce would give him an identical card.
Did it mean that General Shangguan Ce was also a member of this mysterious organization?
Shangguan Ce was too smart to ignore Li Yao's bewilderment. He realized what was going on and smiled.
"Huh? Judging from your face, you've been given the quasi-membership card of 'Occult Orbs Fellowship', haven't you?
"Makes sense. How could an excellent young man such as yourself who has made extraordinary achievements in the Grand Desolate War Institution be overlooked by strong Cultivators? I wasn't thinking about it thoroughly.
"Haha. Since you're already a quasi-member of Occult Orbs Fellowship, try your best to Cultivate and break into the Building Foundation Stage so that you will be a true member of Occult Orbs Fellowship. We'll fight side by side and conquer the cosmos!"
Li Yao couldn't help but asked, "General Shangguan, what kind of organization is this so-called Occult Orbs Fellowship? The Cultivator who gave me the 'quasi-membership' card only told me that it is an influential organization that is stronger than any sect and didn't give me any more information. Can you tell a bit more about Occult Orbs Fellowship?"
Shangguan Ce pondered for a moment and replied frankly, "Alright. Occult Orbs Fellowship is not an illegal organization anyway. As the Blood Demon Sector draws close, more and more secrets will be revealed to the world, including those about Occult Orbs Fellowship.
"It doesn't matter if I tell you something about it in advance.
"Li Yao, during your Cultivation, you must've been into many world fragments already, haven't you?"
Li Yao nodded, to which Shangguan Ce smiled.
"But the world fragments that you entered are not large in size. Their diameters are no larger than 500 kilometers. The environments there are exotic, and there are not many relics in them, at least not many significant ones that you find interesting, are there?"
Li Yao nodded his head again.
There were some relics both in Peng Hai's Small Grayfield and in Ding Lingdang's Billowing Star Sea. But they'd melted into the natural environment long ago and did not have anything special.
Shangguan Ce said, "As I expected. The world fragments that have been released to the public and are known by low-level Cultivators are the world fragments at the bottom level.
"As a matter of fact, we've discovered more world fragments than you can imagine. They are much more powerful and dangerous!"
Li Yao was breathing heavily.
"More powerful? More dangerous?"
Shangguan Ce nodded.
"What is a world fragment? As its name suggests, a world fragment is a fragment of a world which was torn apart during the brutal, bloody wars over the past 40,000 years by inconceivable forces and weapons.
"Are you curious about why the world fragments you came across have no trace of such wars?
"In fact, among all the world fragments, many were the ancient battlefields of those wars.
"There are mainly three kinds of ancient battlefields.
"Firstly, the world fragments created during the civil wars of the demon clan in the era of the Demon Beast Empire.
"In the 30,000-year-long Great Dark Age, the 'saint-blood demons' ruling over the Demon Beast Empire changed for more than ten times. Every change of dynasties means blood and vengeance. Many demons were mortal enemies. For them, killing their own kind was no less difficult than killing human beings. Therefore, a lot of fragmented ancient battlefields we have now can be traced back to that time.
"Secondly, the ancient battlefields created 10,000 years ago in the renaissance war of human beings between the Star Sea Imperium and the Demon Beast Empire when the Supreme Emperor rose up.
"The horror of such ancient battlefields is beyond the description of any words.
"Thirdly, the ancient battlefields created during the Armageddon Rebellion when the Blood God was possessed by the invading demons and transformed into Mad Armageddon.
"The Armageddon Rebellion destroyed the Star Sea Imperium. The human world was scattered again. The Heaven's Origin Sector ended up as a lone world floating in the edge of the cosmos.
"Such battlefields are also too cruel and brutal to be elaborated on, too.
"Other than the ancient battlefields, some world fragments were created on purpose.
"Of such world fragments, some are the cemeteries or the havens of legendary Cultivators; some are the research centers of mysterious projects; some are the last bases of other species, forces and troops; some are even the relics of the prehistoric civilizations from billions of years ago before the human civilization came into being.
"Li Yao, can you understand the value of such world fragments?"
Li Yao was deep in thought.
The longer he pondered, the brighter his eyes became.
The advanced world fragments were thousands of times more valuable than ordinary world fragments.
Shangguan Ce nodded his head and said, "It seems that you've got it.
"If a world fragment is an ancient battlefield, dead bodies of ancient soldiers, as well as their magical equipment, weapons, and rune arrays, are possible to be retrieved.
"If a world fragment is the cemetery or the haven of a legendary Cultivator, it will be even better. It's very likely that his lifelong collections are stored inside.
"If a world fragment is the research center of certain mysterious projects, or the last base of certain ancient forces, we may even get a complete Cultivation system out of it!
"Moreover, some world fragments are not of much value per se, but they are not entirely cut off from the mother world. We can use those world fragments as platforms to enter into another world!
"You should be aware of the significance of the world fragments for human beings of the Heaven's Origin Sector right now.
"The Star Glory Federation barely had any advantage 500 years ago and could only wait to be attacked passively. But 500 years later, a brilliant Cultivation civilization has flourished. We're even starting to refine starships, ready to break the limit of the Heaven's Origin Sector and cruise in the universe.
"Is it possible to learn all the technologies without inheriting knowledge of the past? Definitely not!
"Many parts of our Cultivation system, Cultivation arts, and magical equipment technologies are rooted in the discoveries in the world fragments!
"The world fragments that contain the relics of the civilizations over the past 40,000 years are called as 'Occult Orbs'.
"Occult Orbs are both mysterious and valuable.
"Countless treasures are buried inside Occult Orbs waiting for the valiant warriors to conquer!"
Li Yao finally understood everything,
"Occult Orbs Fellowship is an organization that explores and develops Occult Orbs?"
Shangguan Ce stopped smiling and looked at Li Yao with a solemn expression.
"The Occult Orbs are of paramount importance to the human beings of the Heaven's Origin Sector. However, the immeasurable value of the treasures hidden in them is enough to incite the greed of any organization or person, which might lead to a civil war among Cultivators. Therefore, 392 years ago, all the sects of the Cultivation world and representatives of the ordinary people gathered together and established Occult Orbs Fellowship with strict rules.
"Occult Orbs Fellowship is the top organization beyond all sects and forces in the Cultivation world of the Heaven's Origin Sector. It has two missions.
"Firstly, explore and conquer Occult Orbs to absorb and digest the Cultivation system, Cultivation arts, and magical equipment technology buried in them.
"By making best use of them, the Cultivation civilization of the Heaven's Origin Sector will strive for a better future.
"Secondly, ensure that the secret arts and treasures retrieved from the Occult Orbs do not become the property of a certain sect or person but are used for the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people. All the Cultivators and ordinary people should benefit from the Occult Orbs!"