The bright gold phantom of Gao Tieyi gradually dispersed, leaving the round ball at the center spinning and humming, which eventually flew into the sky and vanished behind the skyscrapers.
The seven new Orb Patrollers looked at each other in astonishment. They had thought that bloody tests were waiting for them inside. They didn't expect the environment here to be so lax that they were free to do whatever they wanted.
Li Yao thought of the advantages of such a design.
Exploring the Occult Orbs was a dangerous undertaking after all.
As Cultivators who valued freedom more than anything else and hated restraints most, if they were forced, even though just slightly, to enter the Occult Orbs, they would definitely find the system repulsive.
That was why Occult Orbs Fellowship tried the best to create such a liberating atmosphere in which they were their own masters.
But the liberating atmosphere was not as comfortable as it sounded. They had to try everything they could to let the top 100 teams realize their worth.
"Now that we've met each other by the arrangement of fate, how about we seven forming a team to challenge one of the top 100 teams to win a ticket to the Occult Orbs?" suggested Cao Tongting, a disciple from Leopard Valley.
Nie Junxia, disciple from Heavenly Essen Village, shook his head and said coldly, "I stand by what Senior Gao just said. The seven of us didn't know each other before, nor have we ever cooperated. We would just be like a mob if we were to team up.
"For a Star Team who has been fighting bloody battles through life and death in the Occult Orbs together, it will not be something that we can deal with even if it ranks among the last ten in the list."
Zhao Mo, disciple of Ten Ultimacies Union, said calmly, "Besides, none of us have ever been into an Occult Orb before. Even if we won the qualification miraculously, we'd still be committing suicide to explore the Occult Orbs on our own. I'd prefer to team with the experienced Orb Patrollers. That way, my likelihood of survival will be relatively higher."
Li Yao did not think it was a good idea, either. He shook his head.
Cao Tongtian was not a bad-tempered man. He said with a smile, "Alright. If you are not willing to, I think it's time we bid farewell and go our separate ways.
"However, before that, I suggest we go to the mainframe crystal processor together first to find out guidelines for newcomers as well as more information about our contribution points, so that we won't be lost like headless flies!"
It was a rather practical suggestion. They all walked to the center of the square.
In the center of the square, thousands of gold electric arcs mingled and weaved into an oval about six meters in length, which was full of bumps and hollows. At first look, it seemed to be a translucent electromagnetic brain.
On the surface of the 'brain', countless light beams were flickering.
Several Cultivators were standing near the electromagnetic brain, busily looking up information and communicating with the mainframe crystal processor.
Seeing seven obvious rookies coming close, there was curiosity in some of their eyes, while a few others were staring at them with contempt and hostility.
Li Yao walked to the electromagnetic brain. An electric arc immediately darted out and stopped one meter away from him where a translucent light beam was opened up.
Pondering for a moment, Li Yao typed in the first question with his telepathic thought.
"I am Li Yao from the Grand Desolate War Institution. Please display my current contribution points and the prices for the key facilities in Empyreal Star City such as training rooms of all levels."
Lines of information were quickly manifested on the light beam.
"Orb Patroller Li Yao has 1,244 contribution points at this moment.
"There are 1,643 training rooms in Empyreal Star City. The specific information and their respective price are as follows"
Li Yao skimmed through them quickly. Compared with the price of middle-level training rooms, he had quite a decent amount of contribution points, which should be enough for him to train in Empyrean Star City for about two months.
But of course, considering that the nutrition liquids, Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, medical equipment, etc. would also need to be redeemed by contribution points, he wouldn't be able to make two months with his current contributions.
"Second question. Please download an inventory of all the secret treasures that can be redeemed by contribution points to my mini crystal processor."
"Sorry. For confidentiality, all the files can only be read in this place and are unavailable for personal crystal processors. We apologize for the inconvenience."
Li Yao was dazed for a moment. They he realized that it did make sense. Suppose someone downloaded confidential files to their crystal processor, it would be a terrible disaster if the crystal processor was lost or stolen by the demons.
No wonder so many Cultivators would rather gather in the square for the mainframe crystal processor than use their own mini crystal processor.
Li Yao was patient enough to browse over the inventory of the secret treasures on the light beam of the mainframe crystal processor, only to find that the all the secret treasures were remarkably expensive. His contribution points were far from enough for the cheapest secret treasure.
It seemed that his contribution points were indeed 'complimentary', only enough for him to survive in Empyreal Star City. That was the best they could do.
But his fellows seemed to be even poorer than him.
Li Yao 'accidentally' noticed that Zhao Mo and Nie Junxia had no higher than 800 complimentary contribution points.
Cao Tongtian, on the other hand, had almost 1,100 complimentary contribution points.
Thinking for a moment, Li Yao figured out the reason. It appeared that hybrid-type Cultivators were more popular for the missions in the Occult Orbs. They had received additional contribution points because of their multiple talents.
It was quite reasonable. For a team of less than six members, of course, Jack of two or even more trades would be better appreciated.
"Third question. Do you have any suggestions for newcomers such as myself?"
"For the Cultivators who are new to Empyreal Star City, the one thing that is of paramount importance is to train and to participate in matches, so that the Star Teams will be able to discover you after you upload the videos of your performance to the mainframe crystal processor.
"Of course, you can also choose to gamble in the casino to win more contribution points in order to stay longer in Empyreal Star City."
The mainframe crystal processor answered quickly, "However, you are a hybrid-type Cultivator who has talents in both combat and creation, which are two most popular talents in Occult Orbs Fellowship.
"With talents in combat, you won't drag the team down too much.
"With talents in creation, and also as a registered refiner, you will be very useful in the exploration of many Occult Orbs.
"According to my records, you've met the conditions of seven Star Teams which are open to new members. I can help you contact them and ask for an interview."
"You may also find a refining workshop and record several videos of your refining and modification work in order to attract attention from more teams."
Pondering for a moment, Li Yao shook his head.
"Not so fast. I want to see the basic information of all the teams and their most distinctive mission videos."
Now that the mainframe crystal processor had described hybrid-type Cultivators to be honeypots, he was not in a hurry to send out resumes now.
There was still plenty of time. He could select a team that fit his appetite most after cogitation.
Right then, a feminine voice called out to him from behind.
"Excuse me, are you Mr. Li Yao from the Grand Desolate War Institution?"
Li Yao raised his eyebrows. He took a step to the left front before turning around.
Two men and a woman in silver combat suits were in his back, who were all good-looking without the least flaw. They were looking at him with a smile.
But Li Yao somehow felt that some sort of coldness was hiding behind the warm smiles.
Back when he was in the magical equipment graveyard, he had seen too many guys who were talking and laughing while they stabbed a knife into the chest of their friend.
The three of them gave Li Yao the same feeling that those friendly-look villains in the magical equipment graveyard did.
Li Yao was surprised. He was pretty sure that he did not know the three Cultivators.
"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Guo Yu, and I'm a member of Team Lingering Wind which ranks the 83rd in the Rank of Stars this month. This is Long Chengde, our deputy captain. This is Wan Feihe, the best warrior in our team."
The feminine young man smiled and continued after a brief pause.
"Mr. Li Yao, I'm told that you are a hybrid-type Cultivator talented both in combat and creation, which is what Team Lingering Wind desperately needs. If you're interested, how about we going for a test in an arena? As long as your combat ability is reasonably acceptable, you will be a member of Team Lingering Wind!
"Our team has ordered a trip to the Occult Orbs next week. If you are willing to join us, this trip will be focused on you in order to help you improve your strength. How does it sound?
"Although the rank of our team is not very high, we are offering you our invitation sincerely. We hope you can think about it."
Li Yao blinked his eyes and glanced at the light beam which were displaying the names of the seven teams that were hiring combat-type refiners.
As he expected, Team Lingering Wind was not on it.
It was all the more confusing for him what these people wanted.
He was about to turn down their offer, when a fat figure crammed in between Guo Yu and him and shrieked in an extremely unpleasant voice, "I'm sorry, Guo Yu. Mr. Li Yao is my close friend, Bi Ran. He promised to join Team Chosen Ones long ago. Stop wasting your time here!"
While he was talking, the fat man turned around and winked at Li Yao.
His face was also a stranger's to Li Yao.
Besides, Team Chosen Ones was not among the seven teams hiring refiners, either.
Things were getting more and more interesting.
Li Yao didn't see much hostility in Bi Ran's eyes. So, he simply smiled and continued watching the show.
Bi Ran's appearance interrupted Guo Yu's neat plan. The two parties probably had been holding a grudge for a long time. Right now, all the four faces suddenly turned gloomy in a vibe of intension.
Guo Yu almost lost control over his pretended courtesy. His fists were clenched and loosened. Finally, he took a deep breath and spoke to Li Yao.
"Mr. Li Yao, Team Lingering Wind is really interested in you. If you feel the same way, please contact us later. We look forward to hearing from you any time."
Then, he glared at Bi Ran, before all the three members of Team Lingering Wind turned around and left.
Watching them walk out of the square, Bi Ran exhaled a long sigh of relief. He then turned around and smiled at Li Yao.
"Mr. Li Yao, had I not intervened, you would have been beaten up terribly, to the extent that you might have to spend a few days in bed because of bone fractures and internal organ injuries. You would be humiliated by them. You would be a loser from inside to outside!
"I risked my life doing you such a great favor. Now it is only fair that I ask you to return a favor that is far less difficult, isn't it?"