"Is he Vulture Li Yao? He seems rather plain. But I'm told he's quite something in the outside world. He is a brutal man as famous as Ding Lingdang in the younger generation of the Grand Desolate War Institution!"
"He is indeed quite popular. But his popularity is mostly based on refining. He once developed a piece of magical equipment named 'Demon Beast Detector' which has become a best-seller. He also participated in the Project Mystic Skeleton. It is said that he is an excellent Exo."
"But I doubt his own strength."
"After all, he's only just past twenties and entered the Building Foundation Stage only two months ago. Talented as he may be, he is still too young and inexperienced to be a match for Guo Yu."
"Then why did he agree to duel with Guo Yu?"
"Hehe. I'm guessing that it is because he is new to this place and he doesn't have the slightest idea how deep the water here is. Even though he has been forewarned, such a guy must've enjoyed a peaceful growth the whole time without suffering any major failure. He has no idea how tough Occult Orbs Fellowship is. I'm afraid that he considers the duel to be a chance for him to rise to fame."
Fixed on by the curious eyes of many Orb Patrollers, Li Yao walked toward the members of Team Lingering Wind neither too fast nor too slowly.
"Mr. Li Yao, you're here!
"I picked this arena in your favor. There are all kinds of magical equipment debris and weapon scraps inside. The arena will provide standard mustard suits. No personal magical equipment is allowed. Ten free-of-harm minutes will be granted for both parties to prepare items that they deem to be of use. Such a place is best for a talented refiner like yourself."
Guo Yu grinned happily. "We'll stop when we need to. This is all about friend-making. Many Star Teams are paying close attention to the duel. With a marvelous performance, you'll definitely become one of the most desired newcomers in Empyreal Star City!"
Li Yao had studied the No. 17 arena carefully last night.
It was a medium-size arena whose name was 'Burning Tank'. The place was a simulation of a post-war battleground which was scattered with fragments of magical equipment and dead bodies of demon beasts.
The most distinctive part of this arena was that nine burning crystal tanks were placed loosely on the battleground which were likely to explode at any time. They were the biggest variables of the arena.
Ostensibly speaking, Guo Yu had indeed picked a battleground in his favor, where his advantages in maintenance and modification could be best made use of.
However, after studying multiple combat videos of Guo Yu's, Li Yao discovered that he was actually a jack-of-all-trades who was adept at many different kinds of weapons and familiar with both guns and melee armaments.
Burning Tank was a battleground where his specialties could be best carried out, too.
Li Yao nodded his head and smiled. "Cool. Let's start."
At the same time, in the star shuttle launch base on the ground.
In the sky, dark clouds were rolling, and gold arcs were dancing. A giant swirl formed, which constricted violently and spat out a round star shuttle. The star shuttle rushed downward on the track rapidly, until it was blocked in the end after breaking through dozens of spiritual nets.
The star shuttle was originally made of colorful crystals. But right now, there was nothing but blackness on its shell where white smoke was popping up. It seemed to have just been picked up from magma.
In an earsplitting shriek, the shell of the round shuttle opened slowly, unveiling an oval cabin door.
"Star Shuttle No. 23 has been recovered successfully. Team Blue Bronze is back!"
Dozens of workers and doctors hurried to the star shuttle carrying medical magical equipment.
From the oval door, a girl no taller than 1.5 meters whose hair was in the color of emerald crawled out swiftly, followed by a hideous-looking yet extremely tall, muscular man. The third team member and the forth held each other up while they were getting out, both of whom were carrying a lot of guns and heavy magical equipment.
The fifth team member was wearing a crimson mustard suit. Her messy short hair seemed to have been gnawed by dogs. Yet, her eyes were sparkling, and there was unfulfillment in her face. She immediately attracted everyone's attention when she appeared.
"Ding Lingdang, Queen of Fire!"
"Why is her scent so much more intimidating than the day when she left? It's been only several days; yet her Cultivation seems to have improved significantly. She looks like a tyrannosaur which is growing at an exponential speed. How terrifying!"
Listening to people discussing themselves, the ugly muscled man turned around and smiled at Ding Lingdang.
"Lingdang, your surprisingly fast growth has scared everyone!
"I wonder why Team Blue Bronze was so fortunate as to be joined by such a genius like yourself. Perhaps the soul of our deceased captain is indeed watching over us from the heavens.
"In this trip to the Occult Orbs, Yan Zi might've been killed without your excellent performance."
Ding Lingdang smiled and said, "The honor is mine to join Team Blue Bronze. Everyone wouldn't be entering the Occult Orbs so frequently in the first place if I weren't here. Of course, I had to do my best. Thankfully, the trophies of this trip are quite satisfactory. The nine Fire Ganodermas that I devoured are mostly digested now. The remaining Fire Ganodermas can be exchanged for contribution points. They should be enough for the rank of Team Blue Bronze to ascend more than ten."
The ugly man nodded his head.
"The cooperation of our team is almost perfect now. The most important thing next is to recruit a new member to make us a full team again. Only a full team has a chance to squeeze into the top 10 in the Rank of Stars, so that we'll be able to explore 'the place' in half a year.
"However, we can't be too prudent in the selection of the new teammate. I would rather keep the team in the size of five than recruit a useless crap that will be a burden for the team.
"Thankfully, you are a superstar right now. There are many people who are willing to join Team Blue Bronze. Let's sort out their resumes when we're back to Empyreal Star City."
The doctors examined them and found no anomaly in their bodies. Considering that they'd also brought back a lot of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, this was an extraordinarily fruitful trip to the Occult Orbs.
Talking and laughing, the five of them walked out of the launch base. Yet, a conversation between two workers caught their attention.
"What? A newcomer from the Grand Desolate War Institution is dueling with Guo Yu?"
Ding Lingdang suddenly stopped. Smalls snakes of fire were flowing around her body. There was anger in her eyes, as she rubbed her fists and said, "Guo Yu doesn't know what he is doing. What's the meaning of this? Finding a random guy from the Grand Desolate War Institution to vent his anger on because he can't find me?"
The ugly, tall, muscled man, who was the incumbent captain of the team named Hong Tong, replied, "Guo Yu suffered a tremendous failure because of you. Of course, he needs to make up for it. Otherwise, he would never be able to hang around with other Orb Patrollers anymore. Since you were not present, and he would be no match for you even if you were, it was apparently a good idea to challenge another newcomer from the Grand Desolate War Institution to a duel!"
"Of all dates, Guo Yu picked the day when we return from the Occult Orbs to duel with the new guy of the Grand Desolate War Institution. It's obvious that he is trying to humiliate us. Let's go there and check it out!"
The female teammate who had emerald hair sniffed.
Her name was Yan Yangtian. She was the scout in Team Blue Bronze.
"According to the two workers, the newcomer dueling with Guo Yu is a famous guy in the Grand Desolate War Institution in the recent years who is known as Vulture Li Yao. Lingdang, you must know this guy from school. What do you think of him?" Captain Hong Tong asked.
Ding Lingdang's faced was immediately brimming with bewilderment.
Her reaction was almost identical to that of Li Yao when he first heard of 'Inferno Witch Ding Lingdang'.
Then, she beamed with great pleasure, which spread out from the corner of her mouth like the ripple of a lake that had just unfrozen in the spring.
All her four teammates were greatly shocked.
The staff and doctors nearby were completely dumbfounded, too.
Ding Lingdang, Queen of Fire, had always been a human-shaped tyrannosaur in their minds, a maniac in martial arts and a psycho in training.
But why was she smiling so charmingly? She wasn't possessed by anything, was she?
In the No. 17 arena
Burning Tank was less than three hundred meters in both length and width. Considering the sight, speed, and damage of Cultivators, it was one of the smallest rings of all. Within a breath, they would be able to run a lap inside of it.
Li Yao and Guo Yu stood at two ends of the battleground which had been enclosed by electromagnetic rails and defense rune arrays.
For the audience, they could watch the 3D live stream of the match through the head-worn light beam projector.
In the battleground of Burning Tank, a great war seemed to have just taken place. The air was filled with the stink of blood and the scent of metals being burnt. Damaged magical equipment and weapons were scattered all over the ground. There were even quite a lot of broken limbs of the demon beasts, which were scattered and in bizarre shapes.
Nine crystal tanks were burning fiercely, like nine bombs which were likely to detonate at any moment.
As the three Judge Balls floating in the air turned from green to yellow, the match official began!
The initial ten minutes were preparation time. They were not allowed to attack each other and had to assemble their own weapons with the debris of magical equipment on the battleground.
Li Yao glanced around and noticed something. He immediately rushed at a battle saber that was basically intact, while picking up a lot of fragments of magical equipment and wrecked weapons along the way.
Then, he found a place far away from the burning crystal tanks, before he started maintaining and modifying the battle saber at an astonishing speed.
He glanced at Guo Yu in the middle of his work.
Guo Yu's hands were moving like flying butterflies, too. Several pieces of magical equipment had been repaired and put beside him.
All the weapons on the battleground of Burning Tank were MP magical equipment. Their structures were relatively simple.
As an experienced Orb Patroller and a weapon expert, Guo Yu was of course familiar with the basic maintenance and assembling skills.
In regard to the maintenance of such simple magical equipment, he was not much slower than Li Yao.
Li Yao focused his attention back on his own weapon.
His plan was different from Guo Yu's.
Guo Yu had tried his best to repair as many weapons as possible, and he'd got almost twenty weapons. In the meantime, Li Yao had embedded all the magical equipment components he found useful into the one saber, transforming it into a giant, grotesque saber.
The new saber was 2.37 meters long and weighed 425 kilograms. Its two edges were juxtaposed and looked like the tusks of demon beasts. As the crystals and rune arrays on the body of the saber were triggered, electric arcs started dancing and colliding between the two edges with cracking noises, while the saber was vibrating and turning the tip of the saber into blurred shadows.