At night, inside the hotel where the top 32 players stayed
The Skyhill Sword Seminar was not just a match; it was also an important chance for communication within the circle of refiners as well as an opportunity to promote the arts of refining among ordinary people. Therefore, the contact between the contestants and the audience had always been highlighted.
Many ordinary guests were staying in the luxury hotel. A great number of fans of magical equipment had also gathered in the garden outside of the hotel and cheered for their favorite players.
A lot of contestants often chose to leave their rooms and meet with the fans in the garden in order to increase their popularity.
Some of them were already the spokespersons of a certain brand or had companies of their own that were related to magical equipment. They wouldn't hesitate to be known by more people so that their products could be better sold.
Li Yao, on the other hand, stayed in his room and listened to the sounds outside the window.
Most of the roars were dedicated to Mo Tianshui and Huangpu Xiaoya.
But every once in a while, his name could be heard, too.
"Li Yao! Li Yao! Li Yao! Li Yao!"
If one were to turn on the Spiritual Nexus, they would read news about him everywhere, including the videos of his crazy performance in the match. Most of the media had described him as 'a genius rising to fame miraculously'. Even Mo Tianshui and Huangpu Xiao had to share the headlines with him.
In front of Li Yao, Bi Luoling, third place of the Skyhill Sword Seminar last year as well as the rising star inside Red Line School, was smiling at him.
"Fellow Cultivator Li, you've become well-acknowledged after only one battle. All the refiners know you right now. In regard to the refinement of battle sabers, many experienced experts are quite interested in you.
"There is no need for me to boast about the leading position of Red Line School in the trade. The clauses on the contract are quite decent, too. After all, you are just a top 32 player and haven't made it to the top 8 yet. I don't believe that you will be offered a second contract that is as appealing as mine.
"You've read all the clauses. I can explain them to you if you find any parts unclear. You are free to propose extra demands, too. We are always open to negotiation."
Li Yao lowered his head and pushed the jade chip back to Bi Luoling. He said calmly, "I refuse the contract."
Bi Luoling's eyebrow was curled into two crescent moons, as she asked in astonishment, "Why?"
Li Yao replied, "Because it is not the top contract. According to the clauses, I can only join the mediocre groups of Red Line School and can't participate in the core projects. Also, I only have access to 80% of the classics and files collected by Red Line School. The more valuable and essential 20% is not available for my reference or training."
Bi Luoling coughed and frowned. "Fellow Cultivator Li, allow me to explain it. It is not as simple as you imagined for the three main crystal suit centers to recruit new people.
"Yes, you've demonstrated impressive capability, but you are a top 32 player right now after all, and it's very likely that the odds will not be in your favor when you are against Mo Tianshui tomorrow.
"Besides, your techniques are very mysterious, which do not belong to the major schools of refining.
"Excuse me, I am not prying into your background. However, we cannot run a precise assessment on your capability without knowing your background, nor are we certain about the stability of your performance and the ability of your cooperation with other people.
"To create a crystal suit, a platform for super magical equipment, teamwork is mandatory. We have to take many factors into consideration. A pair of phantom-like hands alone won't do.
"For the top crystal suits that Red Line School is working on right now, because of the preferences in designs, we are not preparing to equip them with sabers.
"However, among the crystal suit projects of a lower level, one model has been formulated to use a battle saber as the main weapon.
"It is because of your proficient skills in the refinement of sabers that we drew a contract in advance and invite you in.
"Speaking of the contract, it is truly a sincere one that is favorable for you in terms of salary, benefits, and your future career. You can ask around. It's very rare for a young refiner less than 30 years old to join the groups of Red Line School that are only secondary to the groups for the core projects!
"Besides, there are a lot of matches within Red Line School. The communication among the three main crystal suit centers is frequent, too. If you truly believe in your capability, you can always prove yourself in three to five years and advance into the top group to be part of the core projects!
"Three to five years of studying will do a young man like you no harm."
Li Yao pondered carefully for half a minute and shook his head again. "Thank you for your kindness, but the answer is still no.
"I will defeat Mo Tianshui tomorrow.
"After that, if Huangpu Xiaoya stands in my way, I will defeat her as well.
"Other than the top groups of the three main crystal suit centers, I won't settle for anything else.
"If you bring out the top contract right now, I will sign it immediately.
"If you can't, please go back. I have to train myself. We can talk tomorrow after the battle.
"However, I cannot guarantee that Red Line School will be first to provide a contract."
Bi Luoling's eyes twitched, but she maintained the perfect smile as she nodded her head. "Alright, then I wish Fellow Cultivator Li all the best in the match tomorrow!"
After Bi Luoling left, Li Yao deployed soundproof rune arrays and alarm magical equipment on the walls and the door of his room.
Together, they blocked the roars outside of the room from him.
The battle between Mo Tianshui and him would begin at 11 o'clock sharp the following morning.
Other than an hour of deep sleep, an hour of physical strength preservation, and a half hour of trifles, the time for training was only 10 hours, 32 minutes, and 57 seconds.
Li Yao dimmed the lights. He projected dozens of light beams from his crystal processor, which span slowly in the dark room.
The mottled pieces of light and shadow interweaved into pictures of the past.
"Ha. You can't be this weak. You just ate three fat drumsticks! You can't just fall over after one punch. Get up and let's do it again!"
"We made it! We've made it! The Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit has been successfully refined!"
"Little monster, you are going to the Grand Desolate War Institution tomorrow, and I'm going to embark on the path of becoming the best hairdresser. In honor of this thrilling moment, why don't wego and gulp two Red Flame Big Hand egg pies!"
"We are the hungry wolves on the Occult Orbs. We are Team Blue Bronze!"
These videos had been shot by Li Yao with his mini crystal processor. They were the most unforgettable memories of his life.
When he found his first Cosmos Ring, he had copied them to a jade chip, which he stored inside the Cosmos Ring and carried with him. The jade chip accompanied him all the way through the sea of stars to the Flying Star Sector.
In the company of the videos, he felt that his friends in the Heaven's Origin Sector were all talking and laughing around him.
Of course, most of the pictures belonged to vigorously-dancing Ding Lingdang.
"Just wait. I'll be back shortly."
Li Yao smiled at Ding Lingdang, who was laughing so hard that one seemed able to see her tonsils.
The beautiful moments from the Heaven's Origin Sector were the biggest motivation for his crazy training.
"Three to five years of studying? I don't have that much time!
"Revealing my full capability in front of everyone will, of course, trigger a lot of suspicion and investigations. I might be involved in unnecessary trouble too.
"But I don't have a second option.
"Only by showing my sharpness can I enter the center of the circle of refiners of the Flying Star Sector and get in touch with the strongest refining arts in the shortest amount of time possible!
"This is the only way that I can create a piece of powerful magical equipment that can suppress a planet and find my way back to the Heaven's Origin Sector.
"The road to the Heaven's Origin Sector is the road that I'm going to walk on. Nobody can stop me!"
Li Yao's eyes gradually turned hot and crazy. He observed his hands carefully.
The injuries on his hands had been replaced by pink flesh stimulated by the rapid-growth drugs. But the new-born vessels and nerves had not been fully integrated with his soul yet.
"I should make the best use of my time and start training now!"
Li Yao extracted a metal box from his Cosmos Ring that had holes in its four walls and a ventilation system. It was a simulated nest of ants in which hundreds of Purple Ring Sword Ants were crawling.
Subtle changes had happened to many Purple Ring Sword Ants. There was a weird green color mingled in the purple brightness around them.
The Purple Ring Sword Ants had been fed Wormwood Copper, a venomous Heavenly Material and Earthly Treasure.
Wormwood Copper could increase the pain of Purple Ring Sword Ants' biting by more than five times!
Li Yao took a deep breath and extended his hands into the ant home. He shivered his hands. 101 Purple Ring Sword Ants that had eaten Wormwood Copper were attracted to them.
The Purple Ring Sword Ants were forced away from their cozy home and tied by Li Yao's spiritual threads. Infuriated, they opened their mouthparts and bit down brutally!
The tiniest muscles on Li Yao's hands were trembling violently. They collapsed before each mouth gnawed them and dodged the attacks narrowly.
Five seconds later, veins were appearing on Li Yao's neck, and he was soaked in sweat.
His two hands that were brimming with Purple Ring Sword Ants suddenly turned into two clusters of grey mist as he dismantled the most precise probe magical equipment.
Li Yao grunted; he had been bitten!
The pain that had been increased by five times was too much even for a monster such as himself. He got distracted and was bitten consecutively by another ten ants.
The agony was like a series of lightning striking his head. Li Yao screamed as if somebody was skinning him. He cramped and foamed at the mouth; tears rushed out of his eyes.
"Ouch! Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch!"
Li Yao crouched like a half-cooked shrimp and rolled on the ground.
In the garden outside the room, countless fans of magical equipment were roaring.
"The star that rises like a miracle! The genius from the edge of the cosmos!"
"Genius! Li Yao! Genius! Li Yao! Genius! Li Yao!"
The roars were all blocked by the soundproof rune arrays. There was nothing except Li Yao's cries in the silent room, like those of a wounded beast.
There was no telling whether it was tears or sweat on his face. His bloodshot eyes looked like two rubies.
"Huchi Huchi Huchi"
He breathed heavily, while he gazed at the pictures in midair.
Ding Lingdang, Meng Jiang, Yuan Manqiu, Fiend Blade Peng Hai His family and friends in the Heaven's Origin Sector were all smiling at him, encouraging him, and waiting for him!
A crazy smile suddenly beamed out from his troubled face. Stimulated by the excruciating pain, his body cells seemed to have exploded instantly, pushing his hand speed to break its limits and enter a whole new level!
This was the training that Li Yao had been doing eighteen hours a day over the last one and a half months.
"Mo Tianshui you are no match for me.
"Behind you, it is nothing but the Mo family, the so-called noble family of refining that has lasted for a thousand years.
"But behind me, what has been supporting me to stride on and crush all the thorns and stones in my way is
"An entire world!"