Chapter 104 - Meeting with an Old Senior
Waiting room No. 8 was huge; dozens of rows of long iron aisles were filled with passengers, and the center of these aisles was packed with large and small bags. The fragrance of greasy meat buns filled the air, and although it smelled awful, it also brought a sliver of warmth.
Pushing the large and small bags to the side, Li Yao somehow managed to find some space in a corner, and just as he was about to sit, he heard some whispers coming from behind:
"Jiang Tao, so this is the so-called ordinary waiting room. Wow! It really is different from the VIP waiting room. There are so many people, it’s so lively, and it’s a little stinky too!"
Which was then followed by a somewhat husky voice:
"Gu Lili, I'm truly embarrassed! Currently, it just so happens that schools are about to open and there are many workers heading north to look for work in the Demon Beast Wasteland, not to mention the trains are short in supply as well. With the help of many family connections, I had originally already booked a special compartment in a deluxe express the day before yesterday, but who would have known that beast tide would break out on the front lines. Because of this, the army had temporarily requisitioned that train. I can't do anything other than to take a seat in this rotten, slow express. You’ll just have to bear with it. What can we do? This is just how the wasteland is."
"It's alright, Jiang Tao. You don't have to treat me as some delicate miss. Occasionally traveling on an ordinary crystal train is also a rare life experience. Although it smells a little bad, it will only last a day and night. Thinking back in the future, maybe I will think of this as an interesting adventure trip!" the girl said with a laugh.
"That's good, but I'm afraid you will be disappointed."
The girl with a smile on her face continued, "In fact, I think it will be rather interesting. The two of us are dressed so low-key and are mixed among the poor, so who would know that my dad has so many crystal mines? And even more so you, Jiang Tao, who would expect that you are a 3rd level Refinement Stage cultivator, as well as a refiner, and even a member of the Jiang Family?! Wow, it is simply a plot of a novel—a white dragon disguised as a fish, playing pig to eat the tiger! If a few ignorant rogues molest me, then you can amaze the whole world in a single brilliant feat. That's so awesome!"
Li Yao could no longer go on listening. If he continued listening, he would not be able to endure and would burst into laughter. He simply found a corner far away, and disregarding whether the ground was dirty or not, he sat down and very comfortably stretched his tired waist.
Unexpectedly, after a moment, the voices of the young boy and the young girl, like his shadow, floated from behind:
"Jiang Tao, check that farmer uncle out. He is so funny! Excluding the fact that he had brought so many sausages with him to travel, he had also brought such a big stone!"
Li Yao was stunned for a while before he realized that the "farmer uncle" in their conversation was none other than him. Lowering his head, he looked at how he was dressed—his hair was a mess, he had grown a beard, his skin was tanned, and his shirt and pants were riddled with holes. In left hand was a large package wrapped in cloth, inside of which were homemade sausages that the villagers insisted for him to take, while in his right hand was similarly a large package which carried the Dark Star Rock.
At a first glance, he very much so held the appearances of those workers who left for the Demon Beast Wasteland to make money.
"Jiang Tao", who surprisingly had good eyesight, said, "That stone is a meteorite, but it is not surging with any spiritual energy, so it is not some heaven and earth material. In a big city, I estimate that it could be sold for 100,000-200,000 bucks. I think that this villager must have inadvertently found this big stone in some nook or cranny and thought of it as a treasure, so I’m guessing that he is bringing it to a big city to sell."
"I guess he is a little strong if he can carry such a big stone with him!" Gu Lili said in wonder.
"Well, he is a farmer, so it is normal for him to be a little strong. However, the way I see it, he is stupid. Wait a while. In just a bit, he will want to cry but won’t be able to. Such a big stone that’s shaped like a war hammer is simply no different than a peerless weapon, so how could he be allowed to bring it on the crystal train? You see that? A patrolling Puji Critter is flying over. As long as it discovers the stone, he will certainly not be allowed to carry it on the train!"
Jiang Tao said as he laughed. A tinge of mockery could be heard in his laugh.
Sure enough, an army-green Puji Critter which carried a "Train inspection, prohibited to carry dangerous goods" sign flew straight in front of Li Yao and shot a green light from the antennae above its head, completely scanning the Dark Star Rock from inside out.
"Beep! Dangerous item confirmed!"
The Puji Critter flew down a little as the green light turned red and scanned Li Yao.
"See? Just a while ago, they didn’t even allow us to carry a small knife and had even confiscated it, so how could they allow him to carry such a big weapon on the train?" Jian Tao smiled.
"Ding! The passenger's identity has been confirmed. You are allowed to carry dangerous items on the train. I wish you a pleasant journey!"
After Li Yao's status as a "Class-1 Federation's Disabled Serviceman" was confirmed, the Puji Critter suddenly changed the topic and spoke very gently.
It also bent its antennae towards Li Yao, seemingly giving him a respectful salute.
Class-1 Federation's Disabled Servicemen had all been forged in the crucible of war. They were the loyal warriors of the country, so it was obvious that they would not cause any trouble on the trains. Not to mention, if they encountered a demon beast invasion, they could perhaps rely on them to fight as well.
Let alone such a small Dark Star Rock, they could even openly carry a chainsaw sword on their shoulder and could still imposingly board the train.
In the Star Glory Federation, disabled soldiers were precisely so unbridled!
"..." Jiang Tao dumbfoundedly stared.
"Jiang Tao, what is going on? Just a moment ago, such a small fruit knife had been confiscated from us, and even my two makeup bags were checked. That farmer uncle is carrying such a big lump of iron—if he waved it, he could absolutely smash someone's brain! So why are they not checking him?" Gu Lili was puzzled.
"This—" Jiang Tao had a toothache.
With half a sausage dangling in his mouth, Li Yao casually picked up the few hundred kilogram Dark Star Rock and expressionlessly walked before the two. As he took an arbitrary glance, he discovered that Jiang Tao and Gu Lili could be regarded as a handsome and beautiful couple; however, their faces were overflowing in innocence, much like two pretty flowers grown in a greenhouse. Although they were older than him, they looked a bit naive.
At this moment, the two dumbfoundedly looked at him. It seemed as if he was a demon beast wearing human skin. Gu Lili's eyes were filled with curiosity; she wanted to ask but dared not to.
Withdrawing his gaze, Li Yao walked to the canteen on the side of the waiting room.
There was still some time before the train departs, and he was a little hungry. Li Yao was not ready to go to "Old Squad Leader's Gourmet Restaurant" to be ripped off, so he simply thought of buying instant noodles instead.
The canteen was an open-type, so all the goods were placed on the open shelves. Instant noodles were the most popular product in the waiting room, where dozens of brands filled the three shelves completely. It was simply a feast for the eyes.
"Hey, there is actually shrimp instant noodles manufactured by the Sea Dragon Sect?"
A smile seemed to appear in Li Yao’s eyes. Sea Dragon Sect was a very small sect with mediocre strength, and it also didn't have any well-known, big companies under it.
However, Sea Dragon Sect had an absolutely secretive mysterious method which could be used to produce a kind of delicious product with shrimp, fish, and kelp. When it entered your mouth, it would still be extremely fresh and delicious.
Since childhood, Li Yao liked eating the shrimp instant noodles from the Sea Dragon Sect. However, Sea Dragon Sect, due to poor management, suffered losses year after year. These past few years, it had been difficult to find the products of this sect in the market. He did not expect to finally find one here.
Licking his lips, Li Yao reached out his hand.
The very moment he reached out, someone else next to him also reached out and grabbed the final shrimp instant noodles. Li Yao was not as fast as the other guy, and in the end, he only touched the back of the other guy’s hand.
Li Yao and the other guy's eyes shone at the same time. Both of them felt a strangeness in the hand of the other.
Refiners pay particular attention to the actual application more so than the theory, especially the skills of their hands.
Li Yao swept a glance at the other guy's hand and then at the other guy's appearance, finding it to be mediocre. He was an ordinary-looking, bald middle-aged man, whose pair of hands seemed as if they had been carved out from jade; they were extremely delicate and faintly surging with warmth.
He was clearly a superb refiner.
And the middle-aged man was ten times more shocked than Li Yao.
Although Li Yao had currently grown a beard, he had a relatively mature temperament, and both his eyes were extremely clear. From the looks of it, he was at most 20-30 years old.
His pair of hands, on the other hand, seemed as if they had been immersed in refining techniques for 30-50 years. They were like rubber, and upon touching, one would not be able to find a single trace of his bones; however, his hands were tough to the extreme, giving others a very contradictory feeling.
The middle-aged man was intrigued. Like five poisonous snakes, his five fingers silently swam towards Li Yao’s palm.
Li Yao slightly smiled. His five fingers, like five mini-bullets, directly shot towards the other guy's fingers, and as his fingertips came in contact with the middle-aged man's fingertips, the two of them, at the same time, exclaimed, "Hey!"
Because they had both discovered that there were no fingerprints on the other’s fingertips.
All the fingerprints had been repeatedly tempered and became smooth.
This probing out only took one-tenth of a second. When the two's palm had just come into contact, Li Yao made concessions and chose the braised beef noodles next to the shrimp instant noodles.
Since the other party was a senior from the refiners community, he had to show a little courtesy.
The middle-aged man smiled in embarrassment and nodded to Li Yao as a greeting, seemingly expressing his apology as well as gratitude.
Not far from them, two passengers got up, leaving two vacant spaces. Li Yao leisurely walked over.
The bald middle-aged man hesitated for a bit but then chose to follow him. The two, side by side, sat down.
Li Yao opened the lid of the instant noodles; inside of which was a fork, a spirit glyph wrapped in plastic film, and a very greasy, square-shaped block.
Removing the fork, Li Yao, with his teeth, removed the plastic film packaging that covered the spirit glyph before pasting it onto the yellow-brown square block. Then, he waited for three seconds.
The red patterns on the spirit glyph suddenly lit up, and like a mass of burning flames, released a large amount of heat.
"Bo!" The compressed and solidified, greasy square block, in an instant, dissolved into a bowl of fragrant braised beef noodles with steam rising from it.
In fact, this kind of highly compressed noodles held no nutritional value and was often very greasy.
If one was not hungry to the point where the stomach made noises, one would rather not eat them.
But its biggest feature lied in the fact that, after the spirit glyph was activated, it would release a particularly fragrant aroma. Often, its consumer would not find it any tastier, but when one smelled that fragrance, they could not help but shout and immediately gorge it down.
Li Yao inhaled a long, deep breath of the aroma before heaving a completely satisfied sigh. Picking up the bowl of noodles, Li Yao wiped his fork on his clothes to clean it before shoving the noodles into his mouth.
Soon after, a burst of shrimp fragrance wafted from beside him and made its way into his nose, causing Li Yao to instantly remember his delightful and unforgettable childhood.
As his nose twitched, Li Yao forced himself not to look at the middle-aged man’s bowl of shrimp noodles; instead, he pulled up a virtual book from the mini-crystal processor, directing his attention to reading.
While reading, within Li Yao's mind constantly appeared the middle-aged man's appearance.
He suddenly felt that the ordinary-looking middle-aged man looked a little familiar, as if he had seen him somewhere.
Pondering for a while, Li Yao's eyes suddenly lit up. As an unbelievable idea came to mind, he switched to the title page at the front of the virtual book.
A virtual figure of a human immediately appeared on the hologram; it was an image of the book's author.
Raising the hologram, Li Yao overlapped the translucent image of the author with the middle-aged man sitting next to him. Besides the clothes, everything else was completely identical.
Li Yao exclaimed. A strand of noodle was still hanging out of his mouth, but he didn’t care about it as he excitedly asked:
"Hello, may I ask if you are Master Refiner 'Ding Yin', Professor Ding of Hidden God Valley? Are you the author of ?"