"The elimination matches of the Skyhill Sword Seminar that everybody looks forward to are about to begin! Just listen to the rumbling cheers inside and out of the Thousand Edges Mountain!
"The very first elimination match is a highly anticipated one. Mo Tianshui, the talented heir of the Mo family from Phoenix Forest, who supposedly would've marched into the final unstoppably without any suspense, is faced with Li Yao, an expert who rose miraculously from the Great Horn Exo Society and calls himself the founder of the 'Li family'!"
Li Yao sat cross-legged in the darkness like a lurking beast. The excited yells of the host and cheers from the crowd were echoing above his head nonstop.
But Li Yao heard none of it because he was focused on the tiny light beam on his crystal processor.
It was Ding Lingdang's delighted face inside the somewhat dim picture.
"You are being lazy again. Come on and fight with me for another three minutes. I'll make noodles for you, with five additional delicious tea eggs!"
"You are not giving up just like that, are you? Hey hey hey, I don't have such a weak brother. How shameful! Just get up already. You still have the strength. I know it. I can see it! Get up!"
"Wow, since when did you become so strong? You are so bad. You must've been training behind my back, haven't you? I know exactly the reason why. You want to be stronger than me soon so that you can beat me and savage me!
"Hahahaha! But I won't let things go your way. Guess what level I am in right now?"
"I will wait for you, Li Yao! No matter how long, no matter how far away, I will be waiting for you!"
Each sentence came from a different time and a different place. Ding Lingdang was wearing different clothes, too.
The only thing unchanged was her face that was always smiling.
It was a video montage that Li Yao had created from countless videos in which Ding Lingdang appeared.
Whenever he was exhausted or about to engage in a fierce battle, it was his greatest comfort.
Li Yao smiled and put the crystal processor back into his Cosmos Ring. He took a deep breath, his eyes glimmering in the darkness.
The darkness above his head was torn apart. The lights pierced down like swords.
He was in a lift that was going up slowly. Very soon, he appeared in the sight of tens of thousands of spectators.
"Li Yao! Li Yao! Li Yao!"
Cheers crushed over everything like tides.
Li Yao looked around and found himself in a fully-equipped refining workshop with transparent crystal walls.
Mo Tianshui was in a workshop identical to his not far away.
"The two contestants have appeared. There are voice-transmitting rune arrays inside the two workshops through which the two of them can talk freely. Will they be engaged in a battle of the tongues before the real competition?"
Li Yao and Mo Tianshui looked at each other in the distance through the two walls. A moment later, Li Yao retreated his gaze and focused on the warm-up of his hands silently.
Mo Tianshui smiled. He grasped the last minute to warm up his hands, too.
Both of them were refiners. Let their hands be the language that they spoke!
"Both of the two contestants chose to say nothing. The match is to be started immediately. It is well known that the rules of the elimination matches vary each year.
"This year, the match is a competition of free refining. The two refiners can pick materials at their will and refine whatever melee magical equipment they want. In the end, their final works will be examined to determine who the winner is!
"However, all the materials must be from the inventory that the organizer provides, and the total value of the materials cannot exceed ten thousand dollars!
"On the inventory, there are natural materials as well as components such as machine-made chips and insertable rune arrays. The two refiners will be given half an hour to pick any of them freely. If the time is up and they haven't used up their quota, the budget unspent will be cancelled!"
"Countdown of thirty minutes, begin!"
In front of Li Yao, an enormous light beam was unfolded, on which the pictures and details of thousands of materials poured down, followed by the prices of the materials.
What was most troublesome was that the materials were not pegged at market prices; they were all given a random price. Some Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures were extremely cheap, while some ordinary and expendable materials were fixed at a shockingly high price.
The chaotic pricing system was a harsh test on one's computational ability to select the advantageous materials and spend all ten thousand dollars!
Li Yao skimmed through the inventory and memorized the names of the materials and their respective prices within five minutes. Then he closed his eyes and started contemplating.
Before the match began, he had made plans about the magical equipment that he could refine.
However, the inventory with messed-up prices had completely shattered his plans because several regular materials in the plans were too costly for his budget.
In the meantime, certain other Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures were as cheap as candy. It would be a shame not to purchase and make the best use of them.
It meant that he had to reconstruct his prepared structural designs according to the inventory given!
This was also what the organizer wanted. It was meant to test their flexibility.
Twenty minutes later, Li Yao took a long breath and gradually opened his eyes. He pointed at the light beam quickly with his fingers.
"I want 231 grams of Blood Divine Stones, 555 grams of Blue Music Feathers, seven Green Fairy Flowers, one 'Iron-Knight-II' control chip, five plug-and-play high-frequency vibration rune arrays"
Li Yao picked more than three hundred materials and components in a row and spent all his ten thousand dollars.
Almost at the same time, Mo Tianshui finished his purchasing, too. He had also picked hundreds of dazzling materials.
The two of them rubbed their hands and couldn't wait to do their work.
But a happy voice then echoed from the ceiling of their workshops. "Both of you have selected your materials without leaving one dollar. But there is a new rule in the elimination matches this year that I forgot to tell you just now.
"Right now, you are free to choose five materials from your opponent's pick. There are no limits as long as their total value is below a thousand dollars.
"You can either choose materials that can contribute to your design or take away materials that you think are of paramount importance for your opponent!
"In the meantime, you must brace for the possibility that your crucial materials will be stolen by your opponent!
"The time for preparation is still ten minutes. If you don't choose any after ten minutes, you will be abandoning the opportunity. Now, begin!"
Li Yao and Mo Tianshui were dazed for quite some time.
The rule was too sordid!
Li Yao's heart was pounding. Of the three hundred or so materials that he had selected, there were indeed several crucial materials whose value were below a thousand dollars. If his opponent was to take them away, his refining work later would be greatly affected.
However, it was not up to him what materials his opponent was going to take away from him. He'd better figure out what materials he should take away from his opponent first!
Li Yao was never a fan of defense. It was more of his style to attack aggressively.
He immediately decided that he would steal Mo Tianshui's crucial materials.
To determine which of the materials were crucial, he had to guess what magical equipment Mo Tianshui was preparing to make.
After he sorted through the hundreds of materials that his opponent had picked, he would definitely be able to find traces.
Li Yao's computational ability was maximized as he transformed the quantities and qualities of the materials Mo Tianshui picked into information streams and transmitted them into his brain where he processed the data as fast as possible.
Based on the internal links of the materials, Li Yao came up with twelve possible models. He examined them and disapproved them one by one. In the end, the only two models left were a chainsword and a vibration saber.
Li Yao did not believe that Mo Tianshui would choose to compete against him in regard of saber, which was clearly his own specialty, after witnessing his crazy performance yesterday.
Then, it was going to be a chainsword that Mo Tianshui was making.
Li Yao was secretly amazed. Mo Tianshui truly deserved to be the talented heir of a noble family that had lasted for a thousand years. Based on the materials he had selected, it was a reasonable assumption that his chainsword was very likely to have seven levels of speed that could be altered seamlessly. The transition did not have any patterns and was very bewildering.
The deadliest part of the chainsword was that it could probably trigger three layers of auras, each more fatal than the last!
In order to trigger the triple auras that are closely linked, the division of spiritual energy is very important. Heavenly Silk Threat and Eight God Sulfur, the two inconspicuous materials, are the key to the procedure!
Although the two materials were utterly useless to him, Li Yao took them away without any hesitation.
The total value of the two materials was only slightly higher than 700 dollars. Li Yao selected Red Moon Fruits worth of 244 dollars. The loss of such materials wouldn't mean anything to Mo Tianshui, but they could increase the flexibility of his saber significantly.
He had been debating whether to pick them or not in the beginning and eventually gave up due to lack of funds. Now that he had the opportunity, of course, he took them away for his own use directly.
Right in the bullseye. Now let's see how you are going to refine your precious chainsword! Li Yao smiled vaguely.
A moment later, the materials that he was robbed of were displayed, too. His smile immediately froze.
"He has stolen my 'Iron-Knight-II' control chip? As the most commonly-seen control chip on the market, it is literally everywhere!
"Did he see through that I was preparing to refine a chainsaber equipped with techniques of both revolution and vibration?"
Cold sweat immediately appeared on Li Yao's forehead.
He had been planning to combine the advantages of the chainsword and those of the vibration saber and create a super blade with two ways of attacking.
The two techniques relied on two entirely different rune array amalgamations and spiritual energy circuits. Therefore, he needed an unimportant 'Iron-Knight-II' control chip to coordinate them.
Although the chip was cheap and obsolete because of its simple structure, it played an irreplaceable role in Li Yao's structural design!
Li Yao's face couldn't have been more awful.
Mo Tianshui was also wearing a weird expression with his brow furrowed.
Their critical materials had all been taken away, and they had both stabbed their opponent in the heart brutally!