In the middle of the refining workshop was an advanced refining furnace, which was 'Vulcan III', the latest model that Empyrean Terminus Sect developed one year ago.
The fact this particular model had been named after the god of fire was evident enough of Empyrean Terminus Sect's ambition and confidence.
Around Vulcan III, the iron mat, heater, and polishing pool were distributed according to the traditional styles of Hundred Smelting Clan, together with a few other refining furnaces that Li Yao crafted by himself using the ancient techniques.
At first, he would refine the components with the modern technology. Then, he would polish and furbish them delicately with the secret arts of Hundred Smelting Clan. This was the unique refining style of Li Yao.
In such a way, Li Yao upgraded the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit from head to toe.
As a MP crystal suit model for the federal army on a large scale, the performance of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit was acceptable.
However, as his personal crystal suit which he would wear for life-and-death combats and maybe to the Occult Orbs one day, it was far from satisfactory.
As his own strength improved, especially after he reached the peak of the Refinement Stage, Li Yao had always felt that he couldn't enjoy him enough when he was wearing the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit.
It sort of felt like a tall, muscular man who was waving a bulrush as his weapon. Not only was he unable to exert his full strength, he was also afraid that the bulrush might break up at any moment.
Therefore, over the past half year, Li Yao had purchased a lot of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures and modified the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit crazily.
After his modifications, other than the classical framework design which had been retained, all the parts of the crystal suit had undergone tremendous changes.
The key components had been replaced by Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, which had been further strengthened by many secret arts including 'Dragon Scales Tossing', 'Seven Levels of Heaven', 'Invisible Seals', etc.
The crystal reactor had been changed to the most advanced model refined out of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, too. But the valve design was kept. When necessary, the spiritual energy inside the crystal reactor could be used to launch a critical attack easily.
At first glance, the new Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit seemed no different from ordinary ones. If anything, it seemed more shabby and straightforward, with an air that it could crush anything in its way with nothing but its speed and steadiness.
But in fact, the combat ability of the new Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit had been improved by multiple times!
Beside the new Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit stood a red crystal suit that looked like burning fire.
It was 'Crimson Phantom', a crystal suit specially designed for body practitioners. After Li Yao bought it, he had been modifying the crystal suit intensively according to Ding Lingdang's body shape and combat habits.
Body practitioners had different demands for crystal suits compared to common Cultivators.
They usually did not like too many weapons or pieces of magical equipment as accessories on their crystal suits. Instead, they were more interested in the enhancement of crystal suits to improve their sensitivity to the outside world.
Most importantly, since body practitioners often had powerful spiritual tattoos on their body, the crystal suits they wore could not hinder the flow of their spiritual tattoos. It would be best if the crystal suits could magnify the spiritual tattoos, so that the combat ability of the body practitioner would be significantly improved.
This 'Crimson Phantom' was one of the best crystal suits for body practitioners. It had won several important prizes in crystal suit design matches. Besides, a lot of fiery crystals wereembedded into the crystal suit, which was perfect for a body practitioner whose spiritual root was of the fire attribute such as Ding Lingdang.
With Li Yao's current knowledge, it was hardly possible for him to refine a crystal suit from scratch.
However, Li Yao was already an experienced expert in upgrading an existing crystal suit with his insane imagination.
The purchase of Diminutive Dust Domain, Crimson Phantom Battlesuit, and the huge amount of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, as well as the modification fees that he had spent on the two crystal suits with absolutely no consideration of budgets whatsoever, had cost him a great fortune.
Although Li Yao had made quite a decent amount of money through Project Mystic Skeleton and the Demon Beast Detector, he had used up all the money and even borrowed a large sum of loans from the bank. He was a cash-strapped poor man again now.
However, compared with ordinary people, money was not that important for Cultivators, who always valued the improvement of their strength more than anything else.
Besides, in the past half a year, the news was more and more troubling. An unprecedented storm seemed to be brewing.
Over the past six months, beast tides had been breaking out much more frequently. Small-scale beast tides were taking place every day. The federal army had been busy as bees putting out fire here and there.
More and more high-level demons were joining the beast tides, too. Every three to five days, strong demons at the level of demon king would trespass into the Heaven's Origin Sector through wormholes and sabotage the human towns and cities.
Even the regular demon army had come several times.
The regular demon army was similar to human beings in appearance with equally high intelligence. Their devil weapons were as powerful as the magical equipment of human beings. They would charge and retreat according to commands. As well-trained soldiers, they boasted a far stronger fighting will than ordinary demon beasts did.
Even when they were besieged by the federal army and Cultivators, they were still able to handle the situation. When they were retreating, they always left a series of tricky traps that often lead to major casualties.
Some small-scale devil warships were teleported to the Heaven's Origin Sector through wormholes and reinforced the demons on the ground with fire support.
They'd surprised the federal army many times, who had been taught a hard lesson by them.
The Grand Desolate Plateau had become a battlefield that was full of perils.
Even the most inert inland citizens were aware that a bloodier war than any of the past 500 years was going to break out in no time.
In response to the new situation, both the federal government and the Cultivators were taking actions promptly. Top secret projects were revealed to the public one after another, unveiling powerful magical equipment that had never been seen before, in order to show the muscles of the Heaven's Origin Sector and pacify the people.
News about Occult Orbs Fellowship was one of them.
Before, the citizens had heard a thing or two about the fact that the federal government and the Cultivators were exploring world fragments, but they didn't know the details or the progress.
This time, not only did Occult Orbs Fellowship show a lot of secret treasures and arts from the world fragments to the public, it also revealed a lot of video clips of the bases of the federation in the Occult Orbs and the large-scale exploitation on them.
Several strong Cultivators that had been Cultivating in the Occult Orbs for their entire lives returned to the Heaven's Origin Sector. After they challenged the rampant beast tides with their extraordinary performances, they immediately became center of public attention and were considered as new heroes of the federation.
In such a magnificent era when big shots emerged like rising storms, whatever influence Li Yao had had half a year ago was soon drowned under the surging tides.
Li Yao did not care about it very much.
His life was simple. Training, refining, and fighting with Ding Lingdang.
He had also gone to the military and several sects which had purchased Mystic Skeleton Battlesuits to provide technical support as a technician of the Grand Desolate War Institution.
Today, the two fully upgraded crystal suits were finally completed.
"When is Ding Lingdang coming back? I cannot even reach out to her via spiritual crane messenger. Did she go to the depths of the Dark Desolate Domain?" Li Yao muttered to himself, as he carved the mark of 'Fiend Star' carefully on the bottom of the feet of the Crimson Phantom Battlesuit.
Before, Ding Lingdang had always told him her destination when she was going to the Dark Desolate Domain.
But this time, she was quite mysterious. She told him that she was going to bring him a present when she came back, but there had been no message of her whatsoever for more than half a month. He could not help but start wondering what she was doing.
When she was back, she would be happy to see the Crimson Phantom Battlesuit tailor-made for her, wouldn't she?
Li Yao was thinking to himself joyfully, when his mini crystal processor started buzzing crazily.
It was not a message from spiritual crane messenger, but the emergency ringtone of the Grand Desolate War Institution.
Judging from the pitch and frequency, it was an alarm at the top level.
Something important must've happened.
Li Yao squinted. He waved his hand and released two mystic colors, which scanned the two crystal suits and absorbed them into his Cosmos Ring.
Since Yuan Qi, known as 'Invisible Bug', cracked the two barriers on his Cosmos Ring for him, the space inside had been greatly expanded. Not only was there enough space to store the two crystal suits, more supplies and additional magical equipment were able to be kept inside, too.
It was indeed convenient. However, the Cosmos Ring was a money-burning machine, which required a lot of crystals to nurture and polish every day. The spiritual energy consumption when it was triggered every time had been a major headache for Li Yao, too.
Thankfully, Li Yao had stable revenues every month through the Demon Beast Detector, otherwise the Cosmos Ring would've been barely affordable for him.
'Cultivation requires investment.
'After I step into the Building Foundation Stage, I'll need stronger magical equipment, which will not only be much more expensive, but also consumes astronomical spiritual energy when it is triggered or maintained.
'The Demon Beast Detector alone will not be enough to cover my expense when I'm in the Building Foundation Stage. I'll need to find more sources of income.'
While he was thinking, Li Yao left the Diminutive Dust Domain in a hurry.
The emergency ringtones were echoing nonstop in the outside world.
Many high-level Cultivators lived in the neighborhood that Ding Lingdang and he lived. All kinds of sword aura were rising up to the sky, as countless professors and experts rushed to the square in front of the main teaching building on their flying swords.
Li Yao whistled and summoned Black Wing. Adjusting it to a subsonic speed, Li Yao stepped on it and followed the other flying swords.
Many staff and student had already gathered in the square. Li Yao glanced around and found Yuan Manqiu and some other people of the Refining Department. He immediately landed with a telepathic thought and joined them.
Li Yao asked, "Professor, what's happening? Why has the highest alarm been issued?"
Yuan Manqiu's face was solemn, but there was a hint of frenzy deep inside her eyes. She said, "Beast tide outbreak. Blood Demon Sector has invaded!"
Li Yao was dazed for a moment.
"Isn't a beast tide breaking out every day? What's strange about that?"
Yuan Manqiu shook her head.
"This time, it is different. Seven towns, mining centers, and military bases in the north had beast tide outbreaks at the same time and were mired into chaotic battles simultaneously.
"Besides, a demon king is commanding each of the beast tides. Even traces of demon emperors have been found in several battlegrounds!"
Li Yao gasped.
Strong demons such as demon emperors were equivalent to the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators in the human world. They were the top warriors of the Blood Demon Sector, just as the latter were the elites of the Heaven's Origin Sector.
Now that demon emperors had been sent out, these beast tides were definitely the biggest threat over the past hundred years.
Yuan Manqiu nodded her head, as she said seriously, "Just now, the three parliaments have passed a bill unanimously. The Star Glory Federation has entered the first-degree state of war. We are now at war!"
Li Yao blinked his eyes. His face was as solemn as Yuan Manqiu's but with much more eagerness.
The day had finally come.
Parliamentarism was the political system of the Star Glory Federation. There were three parliaments, namely Parliament of Cultivators, Parliament of Commons, and Parliament of Warriors, made up by representatives of Cultivators, ordinary people, and the military respectively.
The three parliaments supported the federation like a tripod.
First-degree state of war was the highest warring level in the federation. Since the Eastern Demon Empire was annihilated, the federation had never entered such a state.
In the first-degree state of war, Cultivators, ordinary people, and the military would unite as one and transform the Star Glory Federation into a killing machine, releasing the most brutal force of the human civilization!
Hi, guys. FMC has been receiving a lot of Power Stones over the past two weeks. To thank for your support, two bonus chapters will be released in the next ten minutes.
In the meantime, we would like to announce our incentive plan (for now). If the Power Ranking of FMC is in 16-20 at the end of a week, four bonus chapters will be released; If it is in 11-15, six bonus chapters will be released; If it is in top 10, next week will be double release. Please vote your Power Stones for the novel. :)
By the way, I want to remind you that there will be NO ADVANCED CHAPTERS in Patreon anymore. So, for those who have been pledging on Patreon, please cancel them as soon as possible.
Also, Ash is probably never coming back. You may have found that most of the chapters published from January to this day were translated by me and edited by millman97. Yet, Ash has been collecting patrons blatantly by copying and pasting our work without sharing any of them with us. If you've been focusing on the novel long enough, you should still remember the terrible update speed throughout the last year. So, overall, I think it's good that he be gone forever.
But don't worry. A new translator will be joining the FMC team soon. We hope we can bring the release speed to a new height by then. Thank you for your time and enjoy your reading. :)