Li Yao smiled, his sharp teeth glaring. He glanced over Bi Ran casually as he said, "So, Team Chosen Ones is not interested in me?"
Bi Ran shook his hands and answered casually, "Indeed it is not. Although I think highly of your personal ability myself, Team Chosen Ones is full; we have six members at this moment. A new member would be a burden for the team. Many classic tactical operations will be not able to be carried out. It's not like that we can kick out any team member. So, sorry, we can't take you in.
"However, I first heard of your name a long time ago. Vulture Li Yao, a rising star on the Grand Desolate Plateau. I even bought one of your Demon Beast Detectors before. Haha!
"Allow me to reintroduce myself. Besides a member of Team Chosen Ones, I'm also a mediocre disciple of the Hundred Saber Alliance, which has a lot of connections with the Grand Desolate War Institution. So, there is no need for you to be so hostile, is there?"
Bi Ran was the kind of person who could emit endless warmth when he was smiling. He seemed straightforward and not much of a threat to anyone.
His identity was a greater relief for Li Yao.
The Hundred Saber Alliance was one of the biggest sponsors of the Grand Desolate War Institution. The Refining Department had received a lot of patronage from the Hundred Saber Alliance, too.
Even his Occult Orbs Card had been offered by Long Wenhui, vice president of the Hundred Saber Alliance as well as a Core Formation Stage Cultivator, who was in effect his introducer to Occult Orbs Fellowship.
A disciple of the Hundred Saber Alliance who had no conflict of interest with him shouldn't have any reason to trick him.
Thinking for a moment, Li Yao asked, "What kind of favor are you asking for?"
Bi Ran's eyes beamed. He unsheathed a battle saber which was about 2.25 meters long with a sawtooth tip and handed it over. He said,
"Mr. Li Yao, I went through a lot of trouble to get this saber. It is supposed to be a good one, but I've always felt that something is wrong when I exert my strength. I sent it for maintenance to several refiners, who all failed to see any fault in it. Can you help me take a look at it?"
Hearing that the man wanted to have his saber repaired, Li Yao was greatly interested. Without bothering with anything else, he took out a silk, smooth handkerchief from his pocket and cleaned his two hands thoroughly with it, before he took the saber over solemnly in the end.
He played with it carefully in his hands for a moment. Then he tested its barycenter. After that, he patted the back of the saber with his finger and listened to the sound that was triggered by his movements. Pondering for a moment, Li Yao said slowly, "This battle saber is an 'Ultimate Phantom Battle Saber' developed by Blood Phantom Valley seven years ago. However, it is not a random one made through the assembly line. It should be one of the limited editions crafted by one or even more experts no lower than Elders of Blood Phantom Valley.
"Then, in a fierce battle, the tip of the sword broke off. So, the saber was repaired in the southern refiners' style. The edge of the saber was added with sawteeth to increase its power of cutting.
"The repairer of the saber is an expert. His work does not have the slightest flaw. The excellence of the battle saber was not affected at all. Instead, more brutality and cruelness were added. You seemed to be a muscled man. Your strength will be perfectly good for this battle saber.
"Therefore, there is not a problem with the battle saber per se. Of course, those refiners failed to find anything wrong. It is you who has a problem."
Bi Ran was dazed. He pointed at himself with his short and thick finger.
"What problem do I have?"
"You are too stout."
Li Yao explained, "This Ultimate Phantom Battle Saber is 2.25 meters long. Its barycenter leans forward to the front in the first place. With its sawtooth edge, its barycenter is further to the head. It is most suitable for people whose height is between 1.79 meters and 1.82 meters. You are, on the other hand, 1.71 meters high at most. Besides, your upper body is disproportionally long. All these factors together lead to the imbalance of your body when you're waving the sword. That's why you find it difficult to exert your strength.
"The problem is very easy to address. You can either redesign the shape of the saber and re-forge it, or, if you want a simpler way, dig a hole on the back of the saber to reduce its weight and adjust its barycenter.
"But as to how the hole should be dug in order to move the barycenter to the perfect location without affecting the hardiness of the saber, and how the hole can leave more possibilities for your future advancements, they are all very complicated issues.
"I've already done you a favor by pointing the problem out to you. If you want me to refine it for you, you will have to tell me why Team Lingering Wind asked for my trouble without a good reason.
"Even if they were merely bullying newcomers for fun, I have six companions who joined Occult Orbs Fellowship with me. Why did they come to me directly? Do people hate to see me?"
Bi Ran was deep in thought hearing Li Yao's words. But Li Yao's last sentence made him laugh out aloud. He said, "Mr. Li Yao, this is what one might call 'undue disaster'. You are not to blame. You were merely being tricked because of someone else's wrongdoings.
Li Yao raised his eyebrow. "How so?"
"You will know."
Bi Ran smiled. "Everyone in the Hundred Saber Alliance knows that I like to make friends best. Now that I've encountered such a superstar as Vulture Li Yao, of course I need to foster a good relationship with you, don't I?
"Although Team Chosen Ones is full at present, I have a lot of friends in quite a few other teams who can refer you to their captains. However, we need to get out of this place right now, or we'll be in trouble."
It was when he gestured that Li Yao noticed that many Cultivators nearby were eyeing them with a hint of hostility.
Bi Ran led Li Yao into an alley and slowed down.
Li Yao couldn't be more curious.
"What's with those people? Why do they look so unfriendly?"
Bi Ran sighed and said somewhat helplessly, "Mr. Li Yao, I believe you've already heard of the conflicts between the Children of Occult Orbs and the outsiders, haven't you? Those people you saw just now are Children of Occult Orbs who have been raised up in the Occult Orbs. Of course, they are not particularly fond of us outsiders.
"Although the two parties are cold to each other, we always keep away from them, and so do they. But you've come at a bad time. Recently, the relationship between two parties has been quite intense. Quite a few matches have been held in the arenas."
Li Yao asked, "Why?"
Bi Ran replied, "Because a super awesome big shot emerged among the outsiders!
"You may not know this, but the Children of Occult Orbs have been dominating the top 100 teams all the time. Not only are the top 5 teams all made of Children of Occult Orbs, they even make up sixty percent of all the team members.
"The Orb Patrollers from the outside, such as you and me, have always been suppressed by the Children of Occult Orbs. They are arrogant, but they do have every reason to be!
"It all started three months ago, when a super awesome big shot appeared among the newly recruited Orb Patrollers.
"It is said that the parents of this big shot died young. So, the big shot grew up as an orphan. With the natural gift and all kinds of lucky coincidences, the big shot became one of the youngest Cultivators to enter the Building Foundation Stage. At that time, the big shot was not even thirty yet.
"After the big shot joined Occult Orbs Fellowship, it was the usual one month of training and presentation time. Unfortunately, a big-headed Child of Occult Orbs thought that the big shot was young and decided to make some fun. Naturally, a conflict burst out. In the end, the big shot beat the Child of Occult Orbs to such an extent that even his own parents wouldn't be able to recognize him.
"As a result, the big brother of the said Child of Occult Orbs, was pissed off.
"His big brother is Guo Yu, whom you've met just now.
"The conflict continued, and then, one thing led to another, Guo Yu and the big shot organized a deal to duel in an arena to settle everything once and for all.
"Guo Yu and the big shot were both in the beginning level of the Building Foundation Stage. But Guo Yu had been training in the Occult Orbs for years and grasped several ultimate arts from the Occult Orbs. He thought himself to be a sure winner.
"But he didn't know that the big shot joined a Star Team and went to explore an Occult Orb. With unbelievable luck, the big shot discovered an ancient inheritance which had been overlooked by the previous explorers all the time. Not only did the big shot break into the middle level of the Building Foundation Stage, an incomparably brutal martial art of the fire class was discovered, too.
"So, the big shot had a match with Guo Yu as per the deal after returning from the Occult Orb.
"Naturally, Guo Yu, who thought that there was no way he could lose, was terribly beaten from the beginning to the end with absolutely no way to fight back.
"Perhaps out of fury, Guo Yu broke the unspoken rule of the arena and launched fatal attacks insidiously.
"This pushed the big shot to fully perform the secret martial art of the fire class retrieved from the Occult Orb.
"Eventually, the audience witnessed Guo Yu's bones be entirely broken to pieces and his flesh burnt like a dead, stray dog. He barely recovered after lying for more than half a month in the most advanced med bay.
"Since Guo Yu was not available, Team Lingering Wind lost two good opportunities to enter the Occult Orbs. The teams that took their place returned with enormous trophies and contribution points without much trouble.
"Since then, Team Lingering Wind has hated the big shot's guts, which leads to the tension between the Children of Occult Orbs and the outside-world Orb Patrollers."
Li Yao frowned. He scratched his hair and said, "This story sounds very familiar!
"But does it have anything to do with me? Why do I have to take the blame?"
Bi Ran sighed.
"As I said, they were merely trying to vent their anger out on you. The only reason is that both this big shot and you come from the Grand Desolate War Institution!
"After beating Guo Yu to the ground, the big shot went to train in the Occult Orbs again. It's been half a month. Tomorrow is going to be the day of the big shot's return.
"Since Guo Yu recovered, he has looked for several experts, planning to challenge the big shot for another few rounds. When he learnt that a newcomer from the Grand Desolate War Institution had just joined Occult Orbs Fellowship, he was too narrow-minded to let go of you.
"Team Lingering Wind's invitation was clearly up to no good. They were probably planning to fool you into the area under the pretext of recruitment testing so that they could teach you a lesson and embarrass the Grand Desolate War Institution.
"Punishing you is a warning to others!
"It's very unfortunate of you to be from the same school and of similar age to the big shot.
"Therefore, do you agree that I saved your life by interfering just now?"
Li Yao was dumbfounded. He blinked his eyes for a long time, only to recall no one of the Grand Desolate War Institution who was of similar age to him and fitted the description of this super big shot.
Such a brutal personality did not seem to belong to someone meek and low-key. How come he did not have any clue of whom it might be?
Wait a moment
Li Yao scratched his head hard. He swallowed uncontrollably, before he stammered, "If I may ask, the name of this super big shot doesn't happen to be Ding Lingdang, does it?"
"It is exactly this insanely tough woman!"
Bi Ran slapped his thigh as he exclaimed, "But she is a celebrity of Occult Orbs Fellowship right now. The Orb Patrollers from the outside world address her as 'Queen of Fire', while the Children of Orbs call her 'Inferno Witch'."