Five days later, in an advanced refining workshop within Empyreal Star City
It was a refining workshop for rent, which had been furnished with many kinds of magical equipment from the Occult Orbs that could be dated back to the era of the Star Ocean Imperium. It was as impressive as the professional workshops of the Refining Department of Deep Sea University, if not better.
Li Yao had spent most of his time in this place happily after he discovered that there was such a gold mine in Empyreal Star City. His complimentary contribution points had been used up for everything he'd done here.
However, his gains were enormous.
Li Yao smiled, while he polished the last piece of the plate armor with the fur from the stomach of a crocodile before reassembling the crystal suit.
The five crystal suits in a corner of the workshop were the personal crystal suits of the five members of Team Blue Bronze, which had been worn for missions in the Occult Orbs multiple times, with both obvious external damages and hidden internal ones which were even more deadly.
After Li Yao's maintenance and revision, they had put on a whole new appearance, as if they'd been reborn.
"Is it my illusion, or does the crystal suit work more smoothly now? The feedback is clearer, and the soul consumption is reduced, too."
Putting on the crystal suit, Captain Hong Tong punched in the air, where vague ripples immediate spread out.
"It is not your imagination. The performance of our crystal suits has truly improved. The range of my mental attack has expanded by 5%. Its duration has been extended by 4%. It's truly unbelievable. Li Yao, how did you do it? I didn't notice you doing anything special to the crystal suits!"
'Dummy' Ba Weiqi was quite amazed.
His crystal suit was 'Fiend Apparition Battlesuit', which was specially designed to enhance the brain waves for mental attacks. It had an enormous helmet that almost covered his entire upper body, making him look like a lopsided fat-headed fish.
Li Yao smiled and replied, "I didn't do any major modification to your crystal suits. I only polished and adjusted them according to your height, body shape, and fighting style, so that they could better fit each of you."
"Does that mean they've been tailor-made for us?"
Ba Weiqi joyously exclaimed, "I didn't know that I would be able to wear a crystal suit that was tailor-made for me one day!"
Building Foundation Stage Cultivators such as them were actually in an awkward situation when it came to selecting a crystal suit.
For Core Formation Stage Cultivators and Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators who had higher personal ability and much more resources, they could purchase a large batch of Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures and hire an Armadominus as well as a professional team of refiners with high salaries, so that they could get a tailor-made crystal suit which was a perfect match for their size, level, and habits.
There wouldn't be another of the crystal suit that they were wearing; it would be unique. Their crystal suits were born for them, which could help them reach the edge of their limits, if not surpassing them.
As for the Refinement Stage Cultivators, they were often content with whatever crystal suit was offered to them, which in most cases would be an MP crystal suit. They were usually not picky about the crystal suit.
But for the Cultivators at the Building Foundation Stage, although their crystal suits were manually made by experienced Armadominuses, they'd produced the crystal suits in large batches of ten to twenty pieces, according to the amount of the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures available.
The crystal suit could automatically adjust the gaps in a range to better fit the body of the Exo, but it was far from perfect.
If a crystal suit was larger, or smaller, in size, the Exo would find it hard to carry out their best in it.
Normally speaking, it was not a big issue. Most Building Foundation Stage Cultivators simply chose to deal with it.
But after trying the crystal suits which Li Yao had carefully attuned and furbished according to their own body features, the members of Team Blue Bronze finally understood what 'as light as a feather' meant and how it felt to be fully embedded with their crystal suit.
Although the crystal suits that they were wearing all weighed several tons, they all felt that the crystal suits were like the wings of a cicada over their body, which were light, thin, and could barely be felt.
"The adjustment of the crystal suits alone is enough to bring up the comprehensive capability of Team Blue Bronze by at least 10%. Our hope to get into the top ten is much higher now! Li Yao, good for you!" Ba Weiqi cried out in ecstasy. Then he thought of something and asked, "Right. What kind of crystal suit are you using right now? Ding Lingdang told me that you've been using an MP Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit. Isn't it very unsatisfactory? Do you need a better one?"
"Indeed, Li Yao. Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit might not be suitable to be worn in the Occult Orbs."
Hong Tong continued caringly, "Every model of crystal suit can be bought in Empyreal Star City with enough contribution points. They're at least thirty percent cheaper than outside. This is sort of a privilege that Occult Orbs Fellowship gives to us, the Orb Patrollers, as a reward for participating in the life-and-death missions. You're probably running out of contribution points since you are a newcomer. But that's alright. Team Blue Bronze has quite a few group contribution points which we can allot to you. Then, if the rest of us each lend you some contribution points, you should be able to buy a decent crystal suit."
Li Yao was touched, but he shook his head and smiled.
"That will be unnecessary, captain.
"The Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit that I've been wearing was not an MP one.
"The framework design of Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit comes from the era of the Star Ocean Imperium. After more than twenty years of improvement by the Refining Department of the Grand Desolate War Institution, it has become a very classic model that is apt for my refining and fighting principles, even though it is not entirely flawless. Besides, it entails endless possibilities for modification.
"I've upgraded this particular Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit that I wear from head to toe with tremendous Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures at a cost of more than one billion.
"Its performance is as good as the advanced crystal suits which are being sold at a price of three to four billion, if not better."
"Besides, I've been wearing the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit for a long time and I'm quite used to it. It won't be a good thing if I switch to a new crystal suit right now, since I'd have to adapt to it in a very short time.
"There are actually better modification plans available. I've prepared a few lists here which have included all the Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures and the estimated specifications after the modification on them for your reference."
"Excellent. Let's do it according to your lists."
Hong Tong replied without any hesitation, "I'll transfer 50,000 contribution points to you in a moment. You can purchase the materials you need through the mainframe crystal processor of Empyreal Star City directly. Just buy whatever you think is of use to improve the combat ability of Team Blue Bronze!"
Once a Star Team entered an Occult Orb, the team members would only have each other to rely on. The reinforcements from the Heaven's Origin Sector wouldn't be able to arrive until days later even if they sent out distress calls, while in fact, an expert demon could turn them into piles of bones in several minutes.
Therefore, each team member had to absolutely trust each of their teammates. The stronger their teammates were, the safer their own life would be.
Twelve days later, in a desolate world fragment, broken rocks dominated the land. Brown steam was surging out from the gaps. The air was filled with the pungent smell of sulfur. Yellowish clouds in the sky were fleeting. Now and then, explosions would take place, dying part of them grey and black.
This place was a training ground which was a simulation of the territories and harsh environments in some Occult Orbs.
Team Blue Bronze was doing their seventh training session for team cooperation here.
"CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!"
From the gaps where brown steam was spurting out, more than twenty surreal reptiles which were thicker than boas and had lumps of rock all over their bodies crawled out.
The front end of the reptiles opened up as if blossoming, revealing a bloody mouthpart with sharp, crisscrossing teeth. Their saliva as thick as acid liquids dropped to the ground and immediately ignited it.
Hong Tong bellowed. Ripples of air spread out from him and lunged at the rock retiles as if they were ghosts brought back to life.
The rock reptiles squeaked, because they were slowed down as if an invisible mountain out of nowhere had buried them.
Leng Ziming opened fire with one pistol in each hand. The furious bullets raged out and blew the rock reptiles into pieces, causing the rocks and blood in their bodies to splutter everywhere.
Ba Weiqi mumbled something to himself. He took no action, but the twenty rock reptiles were apparently grasped by anxiety, their tails twisting as if they were being chased by predators.
"At least another thirty rock reptiles are coming up from the crevice on your right. Shell, blow the rock on your right into pieces to block them!
"Not good. A big fellow is coming from the left. Judging from the noise, it is a hundred-legged rock reptile! The guys in Empyreal Star City must be crazy! This is just a training ground, and they're letting in such an intimidating demon beast like a hundred-legged reptile rock!"
Yan Yangtian was crouching, with her ear against the ground. It took her less than a second for her to report the location, scale, and type of the incoming enemy.
Half a minute later, a hill suddenly rose up from the ground, which was soon riddled with cracks, before it finally exploded like a volcano eruption.
A giant demon beast that looked like a centipede, only thousands of times larger in size, dashed out from the underground, enshrouded in dense venomous fog. Its fangs were even thicker than Li Yao's thigh.
Li Yao and Ding Lingdang looked at each other.
Despite the heavy helmet, the two of them seemed to have seen the eagerness in the each other's expressions, as well as the sparkles that were dancing to the same rhythm in their eyes, at the same time.
Li Yao unsheathed the Boiled Blood Wind Slashing Saber. An aura of blood that was almost six meters long was triggered and pierced toward the sky.
Ding Lingdang was surrounded by three serpents of fire that were unimaginably thick, while two lotuses of flames were blossoming on her fists.
The two of them shouted simultaneously, "Go to hell, scumbag!"
The cooperation practice of Team Blue Bronze lasted for almost a month, with a rather satisfactory outcome.
According to Captain Hong Tong, although the absolute combat ability of the new Team Blue Bronze was still not as good as the old one, Li Yao's participation and his modifications on all their crystal suits allowed a greater range of tactical options for Team Blue Bronze, which significantly improved everybody's upper limit.
Traces of the past gradually wore off. New tactical styles were brewing in the team.
But in the meantime, other Star Teams weren't idling around, either.
There was no telling if Occult Orbs Fellowship and the leadership of the federation had done it on purpose or not, but news of the discovery of Ultimacy and the construction of the Heaven's Artillery was quickly spreading to the ears of every Orb Patroller, as if someone had been leaking it on purpose.
Almost all the Orb Patrollers were aware that by no later than the end of this year, the first batch of Star Teams would be chosen and teleported to explore Ultimacy, and that these Star Teams were likely to receive the enlightenment and spiritual seeds of the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators.
For Building Foundation Stage Cultivators, there couldn't be a more alluring reward.
Therefore, over the past month, all the Star Teams had been going out to explore the Occult Orbs crazily, in order to improve their teamwork as well as to earn more credits.
Since Team Blue Bronze stayed in Empyreal Star City for an entire month without setting foot in any Occult Orb, its position in the Rank of Stars had been on a continuous slump. Right now, it was ranking in the eighties.
Once the team fell into the nineties, they would need to face the challenge from the teams that were not in the Rank of Stars.
Although it wouldn't be difficult to defeat them, it was quite a nuisance and a waste of time anyway.
Therefore, one month after Li Yao officially joined Team Blue Bronze, his first trip in his entire life to leave the Heaven's Origin Sector for an Occult Orb was about to begin!