Xie Anan blinked hard to ensure that her eyes were not deceiving her. Thousands of thoughts were rolling through her heart.
She was aware that, although the three hundred structure designs were all common magical equipment on the market and the well-trained refiners should've memorized their standard damage long ago, the foxy masters of the three main crystal suit centers had set up minor traps in them!
The examiners had adjusted 28 structure designs subtly by improving the power of 13 of them by ten percent and reducing the power of the other 15 by different levels!
Over the past few days, Xie Anan had seen hundreds of seasoned refiners who had fallen into the traps.
Within one minute, the guy had seen through all the traps and located the ten correct structure designs? How was it possible?
Xie Anan carefully observed Li Yao's test result, only to be all the more dumbfounded than previously.
She discovered that Li Yao's test result was ordered by the adjusted standard damage of the magical equipment from large to small.
The only explanation was that he had calculated the precise power of each piece of magical equipment by just glancing at the structure designs!
How incredible that was!
For a moment, Xie Anan completely forgot Senior Brother Mo's existence. She bulged her eyes and gazed at Li Yao.
Li Yao frowned. "Is there a problem?"
Xie Anan was suddenly back to herself. She blushed and shook her head quickly, "No. No. Li Senior Brother Li, you've successfully passed the test. This is your invitation card. Please input your personal identification pattern."
Li Yao accepted the invitation card and noticed that it was a tiny bronze sword like the ancient currency. It was in a vintage style and carved with complicated runes.
Li Yao condensed his telepathic thoughts and bound his unique spiritual wave to the invitation card. The tiny bronze sword blinked and emitted green, watery brilliance.
Xie Anan closed her hands. The tiny bronze sword was immediately divided into two halves. She gave one half to Li Yao.
The invitation card actually included a special telepathic thought, dyed with the host's and Li Yao's unique identification information. When the two parts were gathered again, it would be easy to tell whether or not the applicant had come in person.
Then, Xie Anan gave Li Yao a contestant manual carved on bamboo wood. The entire registration procedure was completed.
As Li Yao walked to and vanished in the teleportation array, she craned her head higher and higher, with curiosity inside his eyes.
Xie Anan decided that, other than focusing on Senior Brother Mo in the Skyhill Sword Seminar, she could spare, like, 5% of her time to observe this mysterious Li Yao.
It was possible that he could march into the final competition!
Five days later, inside Dual Ring Hall
Dual Ring Hall was a professional sect that focused on the refinement and maintenance of starships.
It was headquartered inside the Thousand Sails Space Zone on a star fortress like two rings.
Looked at from afar, the star fortress was like two giant wheels that were dozens of kilometers in diameter. They were connected by the spokes and span slowly.
In the middle of the two rings was a dock where almost ten ragged starships were parked.
Countless refiners in maintenance suits were entering and exiting the starships as busy as bees. Thousands of artificial arms also extended out of the two rings and conducted the maintenance work amid dazzling sparks.
It was the place where Gold Horn was being fully maintained and modified.
On a platform that protruded out of the living zone, there was a cabin whose walls were made of Leaf Water Crystals, which were the purest high-intensity materials in the Flying Star Sector as invisible as air. Together with the adjusted gravity, one would feel that they were standing in the middle of the universe when they were inside the cabin.
Looking to the outside from there, one would easily notice that the twisted shell of Gold Horn had been dismantled. The enormous artificial arms were consolidating the keel and the framework of the starship.
Very soon, power rune arrays and crystal railguns with higher performances would be installed. By then, Gold Horn would be back to life again.
"It was not a bad deal after all!"
Li Yao and Lei Dalu stood on the protruding platform and appreciated the rebirth of Gold Horn.
Lei Dalu grinned. "Although Gold Horn was shattered, we've earned our fame in the world of Cultivators. The reporters a few days ago were like hungry dogs! There was absolutely no way to get rid of them.
"It's all good now. We've received a huge amount of patronage and new loans from the banks. Gold Horn has been fully upgraded, with its combat ability doubled. Nice!"
Li Yao smiled. "Captain, there are conditions for the sponsorship. Not only do we have to use designated magical equipment during our modification, we also have to paint their advertisement on the shell of the starship. I've seen the demos of the advertisements. To be honest, they are a little bit too fancy."
"What's wrong with that!" Lei Dalu replied, apparently not taking it seriously, "The commercials are proper magical equipment. Flying swords, crystal suits, and such. None of them are philters. They can paint whatever they want. Then again, if they really want to paint commercials about aphrodisiacs, we are always open to negotiations as long as the price is high enough!"
"I bet we are."
Li Yao smiled. Then it was awkward silence.
He had come to say goodbye to Lei Dalu.
His days in the Great Horn Exo Society were over. The Great Horn Exo Society would stay here for another half month and embark on new quests after Gold Horn was reborn.
Their previous adventure had brought them unimaginable popularity as well as new contracts. This time, the reward was no longer a bag of rice, but boxes of jingling high-purity crystals.
As for Li Yao, he would rent a personal training chamber near the Skyhill Domain and do last-minute preparations in order to distinguish himself in the Skyhill Sword Seminar. All so he could enter Heavenly Saints City and meet the highest Cultivators of the Flying Star Sector.
"Don't idle around here. Go now. Skyhill Sword Seminar is not a regular match. Make best use of your time in training and get a prize! Everyone in the Great Horn Exo Society will watch the live stream if they are not on duty. You must make it at least to the top hundred!"
Lei Dalu patted his shoulder hard.
Li Yao had mixed feelings.
Although he hadn't been with them for very long, he had gone through life and death with them. He could tell that everyone inside the Great Horn Exo Society, including Lei Dalu, Xiong Tao, Zhao Nuo, and the young fellows in the Tiger Killer Camp, really considered him to be a comrade and one of their own.
Sometimes, he was even thinking that, if the Heaven's Origin Sector weren't waiting for him, he would definitely go with the passionate men of the Great Horn Exo Society. Roaming in the sea of stars, drinking the hardest liquor, slashing the fastest saber, slaying the deadliest space pirates Such a life would indeed be fulfilling!
While he was pondering, he suddenly felt that somebody touched his clothes. Lei Dalu had put something into his pocket and smiled. "Cultivation is costly. Nothing inside the Thousand Sails Space Zone is cheap. There is two hundred grand inside the card. Take it and consider it the salary for your job here. If it is not enough, just talk to me via the Spiritual Nexus at any time!
"Don't be polite. This is a convention of our Society that has been well carried out since it was established."
"Convention?" Li Yao was confused.
Lei Dalu looked at the sea of stars outside the window and said casually, "You might not know why the victims of space pirates gathered and created the Great Horn Exo Society.
"Seeking revenge against the space pirates is just one of our purposes. Revenge can be achieved anywhere. We could've joined a stronger Exo Society, or a Cultivation sect, or even become a solo bounty hunter in the sea of stars.
"No. Our original purpose was to provide a shelter for the orphans who lost their home and family under the scourge of space pirates so that they could have a brighter future. That's all.
"Therefore, we accepted all kinds of contracts. The money we earned has been used to take care of the orphans. The 'Tiger Killer Camp' was established so that the orphans could have a place to train themselves to learn the skills of space survival and even to avenge their own family in person!
"After the orphans gradually grew up, we encouraged them to take part in the matches and the entrance tests of Cultivation sects. We tried to send them out to a vaster world and set them on a more promising path.
"Over the past ten years, we've brought up a lot of prodigies and sent them all out. Right now, they are scattered in the sea of stars living a whole new life in various universities, colleges, and Cultivation sects.
"To be honest, it is not slaying the space pirates that I'm happiest about after all these years.
"What I'm happiest about is that an orphan who might've embraced darkness after the assault of space pirates and the loss of their family has shifted to a brighter world with the help of Great Horn.
"Your case is a bit different, but since it is a convention of the Society, don't refuse it.
"Of course, if one day you earn your fame and fortune and become the well-respected master of refining, I certainly won't say no to your millions or even billions of donations to Great Horn. You won't get one coin back! Haha!
Lei Dalu's words greatly touched Li Yao.
He had been curious for a long time. In the Great Horn Exo Society, Lei Dalu was a Core Formation Stage Cultivator, Xiong Tao and Bai Kaixin both boasted amazing capability, and Ye Lingdie, the chief gunner in charge of all remote magical equipment, was a terrifying expert gunfighter.
With such impressive leadership, plus so many well-trained experienced Exos, how come the Great Horn Exo Society was still a second-rate group after so many years and only had a medium size starship?
As it turned out, Great Horn had devoted most of its resources to the education and training of the orphans and sent all of them for further development after they grew up!
Li Yao felt warm. He touched the gold bull horn emblem on his chest and looked at Lei Dalu in the eyes. "Captain, although I will be away from Great Horn, I will never forget the days I spent with our brothers on Gold Horn. I will gladly accept your generosity and cut the thank-you crap. There is only one thing that I want to say. No matter when and where, if Great Horn is in need of anything, I will definitely do my best!"
"Just watch the live stream on the Spiritual Nexus in a month and a half. I will be participating in the match as 'Li Yao of Great Horn', and I'm going to crush everything standing in my way!"