Li Yao felt a headache coming on.
He held his head and pondered for a long time, only to come up with nothing. In the end, he admitted honestly, "I don't see any loopholes in Fiend Star's theories, and I totally agree with him."
This time, everyone was dumbfounded.
Fiend Star's classical refining theories were quite popular on the Spiritual Nexus recently. His ideas of combining ancient refining arts with modern ones had opened a new window for many young refiners.
Therefore, Fiend Star's theories had become a fashion for the young refiners of the Flying Star Sector. Whoever knew nothing about Fiend Star would be considered to be outdated!
On the other hand, despite the validness and profoundness of Fiend Star's classical refining theories, his knowledge about modern refining was apparently flawed.
Combining the traditional techniques with the contemporary technologies was a path that no one had walked on previously. Many of his opinions were still immature, with errors that could be fixed. Therefore, the room for observation was quite large.
Young refiners often tried to find loopholes in Fiend Star's theories and would come up with their own remedies based on his ideas.
Young people were supposed to be disobedient. They should have the confidence to challenge everything with a flexible mind, instead of believing in the authorities blindly. Moreover, it was well acknowledged that many parts of Fiend Star's theories were imperfect.
But this guy, Li Yao, completely agreed with Fiend Star's theories without offering any understandings of his own?
At that moment, no one thought highly of Li Yao.
When Li Yao first walked in, those young people from noble families had actually been quite nervous.
Nowadays, many top experts liked to play meek. They wore ragged, lowly clothes and yet they were preparing to give a killing shot at any time despite their hideous appearance.
Just now, when Long Yunxin had brought Li Yao in, they had thought that he was such a low-profile expert and were ready to listen to his discerning observations. It had never occurred to them that he couldn't say anything at all.
Fiend Star had proposed almost a hundred theories and hypotheses. If someone couldn't even find one loophole in them, how much expertise could he possibly have?
Li Yao said, "Please resume your discussion, everybody. I'm only here to listen and learn."
Then, he sat down peacefully.
The young generation of the noble families all had the basic courtesy to not make fun of a strange guest right to his face. Seeing that Li Yao was not going to say anything, they didn't force him to. A short girl in a bright gold refining uniform stood up and smiled at Li Yao. Then she said, "Brother Li Yao is new here and may still not be adapted to our ambience. I am Zhou Yilu from Green Island. I would like to offer my humble opinions on the drawbacks in twelve-chain ancient thunder runes that Fiend Star proposed when they are applied to modern magical equipment. I must say that Master Fiend Star was truly incredible to have excavated the twelve-chain ancient thunder runes and combined them with modern magical equipment. It is indeed fascinating. However, there is still some negligence that can be mended"
Everybody here was a crazy fan of magical equipment. When they dwelled in the world of magical equipment, they completely forgot the episode of Li Yao's speechlessness. The furious battle continued, with words as weapons. It was quite a turmoil.
Li Yao was truly drawn to it.
Criticizing oneself was always the hardest. Of course, Li Yao did not know what loopholes existed in his theories. If he did, he would've rectified them on the Spiritual Nexus.
He had thought that it was going to be a boring party. However, listening to so many experts in refining diagnosing his theories with the sharpest language that felt like scalpel, Li Yao felt like cold sweat was trickling down his back. He nodded his head nonstop in consent.
Some of the rebuttals were completely unreasonable, but most of the criticisms hit right in the target and solved many problems that had baffled Li Yao for a long time.
One can always learn from the company one keeps. This trip has absolutely been worthwhile!
None of them are very old, but their families have given them a lot of solid teachings. The system of their theories is so concrete and impeccable. The loopholes that they've find are indeed faults now that I think about it!
After I correct my theories according to their amendments, many of my explorations could make another leap forward!
Li Yao was truly enraptured by their debate. He slapped his lap as he enjoyed himself. When he was rivetted by someone's ideas, he was even applauding them.
For the speakers, although the guy was plain and apparently had nothing inside his brain, his attitude was quite sincere, and his applause always came right in time when a criticism reached its most marvelous point. They all felt tickled and delighted. The atmosphere became somewhat friendly, too.
Long Yunxin had been observing Li Yao secretly, only to discover that he had been listening attentively like an elementary school student.
The more she observed, the less comfortable she became. She leaned over to Xie Anan and said in a low voice, "Xie Anan, just tell me the truth. Where did you meet this Li Yao and how are you sure that he is a mysterious expert? Just look at him. Putting the 'expert' part aside, do you think he is 'mysterious' at all?"
Xie Anan was suspicious, too. How could an expert who had passed such a difficult test perfectly in less than one minute have no second opinions about Fiend Star's theories?
Truth be told, even she could offer a few criticisms about Fiend Star's theories!
Thinking for a long time, Xie Anan tried to find an excuse for him. "Senior Brother Li Yao is truly skillful, but since he is from the Great Horn Exo Society, he must be a refiner who is best at the practical tasks. It's quite understandable that he is not familiar with theories."
"Is that so? I guess we'll find out shortly." Long Yunxin was not fully convinced.
The hot debate went on for more than two hours. Other than Li Yao, everyone had pointed out many of Fiend Star's flaws clearly and thoroughly. Even Xie Anan had stood up and talked for five minutes under the encouragement of everybody. She was praised by them, too.
Li Yao was already soaked in sweat; he felt that he had just taken a hot shower.
Right then, a thin, exotic scent spread over them.
"The sword has been boiled!"
Tu Yongqing, host of the gettogether, bulged his eyes. He clapped his hands and smiled. "Everyone, the wine that I brought here is nothing unusual. It's just the 120-year-old 'Drunk Mountain' from the Floating Stream Island! However, the scraps of ancient swords boiled inside today are indeed fabulous. Come on. Just like our convention, whoever identifies the scraps will be deemed the 'Sword Master' today!"
Tu Yongqing brought in three bottles and poured the yellow, honey-like wine into cups. Everyone present took a cup carefully, closed their eyes, and focused their attention on tasting the wine.
"This wine has additional sorrow compared with normal 'Drunk Mountain'. It gives me the same feeling as the 'Broken Heart Sword Sect' from forty-eight thousand years ago. I'm guessing that the scrap came from the Broken Heart Sword Sect!"
"I don't agree with Brother Dongmen. You sense sorrow from the wine, but I also sense a vague killing intent beneath the sorrow. In my opinion, the scrap should be from 'Bloody Thorn', an assassination group from forty-seven thousand years ago. It is even possible that the sword was personally made by Elder Bloody Thorn, leader of the group and also a renowned master in sword forging!"
"You two both have fair points. But in my opinion"
All the participants expressed their opinions without giving in to anyone.
Tu Yongqing, as the host, was truly a gentleman. He didn't despise Li Yao for not speaking just now. He handed over a cup of 'Drunk Mountain' with both hands and smiled. "Brother Li, since this is a 'Sword Tasting Gettogether', how can we not taste swords?
"Our convention is that the host brings bottles of delicious wine and a scrap from an ancient sword. We boil the sword with the delicious wine, and when the feelings of the sword are melted into the wine, everyone will taste the wine and guess the origins of the scrap. Whoever gets closest to the fact will be the 'Sword Master' of this gettogether and the host for the next one.
"Brother Li, please."
Li Yao blinked and took the cup suspiciously.
Boiling the scrap of an ancient sword in the wine could melt the 'feelings of sword', and the origins of the scrap could be sensed simply by tasting the wine?
What kind of techniques were these? That sounded rather wonderful.
Li Yao supped. The wine was not bad. The spiritual energy contained inside was abundant. But other than that, he didn't sense the slightest hint of sorrow or scent of killing.
Tu Yongqing smiled and said, "Feel free to offer your input, Brother Li. It's not a big deal even if your guess is wrong. In fact, determining a sword through the wine is a very complicated technique. Few Cultivators are even close to grasping it. We are merely taking wild guesses and pretend that we are knowledgeable people!"
"Is there really such a technique?" Li Yao's eyes were glittering, as he was greatly interested, too. If one could learn the feelings of the ancient swords by boiling them, such a technique was definitely worth studying.
"Of course there is."
Tu Yongqing suddenly turned solemn. He said seriously, "This is a mysterious ancient technique, and the top secret of the 'Hundred Smelting Clan', an unparalleled refining sect from forty thousand years ago in the ancient Cultivation world.
"Through such a technique, one can train one's senses in the most efficient way. A refiner would be able to understand the ultimate level of melding the soul with the magical equipment in the half-drunk state!"
Li Yao coughed beyond his control. His face was pure red. 'Drunk Mountain' was all over his body.
"The wine is too strong for me."
Li Yao's eyes were twitching violently, as he said with a weird expression, "But I've never heard such an enigmatic technique before. I really can't taste anything in it. Please do forgive me, Brother Tu."
Feeling that it was time to leave, he continued, "Brother Tu, I've really been enlightened by all of your marvelous insights today. However, there is some other business that I must attend to. I have to take my leave now. See you again in the Skyhill Sword Seminar!"
Tu Yongqing was dazed for a moment. He glanced at Long Yunxin and Xie Anan, uncertain about the relationship between Li Yao and the two of them. But he still smiled and said, "Brother Li, Sword Tasting Gettogethers always have three stages. First is the discussion on theories; second is the sword tasting and guessing; third is the real practice. After all, however talkative a refiner is, it is our hands that matter.
"Since Brother Li is a refiner from a major Exo Society, I believe your hands are going to shock us all. Why don't you wait a moment and finish the last stage before you leave?
"We are not going to fight. We only prepared a few broken blades that everyone can repair and polish. It is just a game, nothing else.
"The first round of the Skyhill Sword Seminar is magical equipment maintenance, too. Just consider it a pre-warmup! Hahahaha!"
Li Yao did have other plans. But after hearing Tu Yongqing's words, he was hooked again. He sat down and warmed up his fingers despite the blockage of the ugly grey gloves.
A competition of refining skills was always his favorite. He had been pretty bored after one and a half months of training in solitude. Now that he had a chance to practice with the experts and warm up his body, of course he wouldn't say no!
Xie Anan glanced at Li Yao and said to Long Yunxin seriously, "Sister Long, just you wait. Senior Brother Li Yao is truly an unknown expert. 'Sword Tasting Via Wine' is a mysterious skill from the Hundred Smelting Clan that has only been passed on in the noble refining families. It's quite normal that he is not familiar with it, but this is going to be an eye-opener for you in a moment!"
A moment later, everybody finished tasting the ancient sword. The guess of Luo Dong from the Luo family of East Brightness was the closest, and he was honored to be the 'Sword Master'. After a while of laughter and chatting, Tu Yongqing led everyone to a clear pond in the middle of the bamboo forest.
Beside the pond, more than twenty rusted, dented battle sabers and giant swords were stabbed into the ground.
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