Chapter 105 - Sworn Duty of a Cultivator
The middle-aged man was surprised for a moment. Noticing his own image being projected above Li Yao's wrist, he could not help but smile. He nodded and said:
"Hello! Yes, I'm Ding Yin."
"Awesome! Professor Ding, my name is Li Yao. I'm a new student of the Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department. I am an ardent fan of your books and have collected all four of your books, which I’m currently reading. I feel that your theories are easier to understand than others, and the data is very detailed as well—they are truly rare monographs of theories!"
Li Yao was extremely excited.
Although Master Refiner Ding Yin of Hidden God Valley hadn't refined any shocking masterwork weapons, in the refiners community, he was a theorist that was second to none. He had done in-depth research about refining theories and had written several important books.
The most valuable part was that the books he wrote were mainly targeted at teenagers, thus many basic theories had been explained in detail, making them very suitable as introductory textbooks.
Li Yao had learned and benefited a lot from his books.
Who would have expected that the prominent theorist of the refiners community would be dressed so ordinarily? Li Yao was completely at a loss as he spoke incoherently:
"Professor Ding, you see, I'm reading this book of yours. This, this is an original book, and your remnant telepathic thought spirit mark is still in here..."
Amused by Li Yao’s words, Ding Ying smiled and said:
"Student Li Yao, you don't need to show me, I have already sensed it. Our meeting must be destined. If you don't mind, can I sign it for you?"
Li Yao happily handed over his mini-crystal processor. Ding Yin's eyelid drooped down as he muttered some incantations. Suddenly, his pair of eyes overflowing in brilliance opened widely, and a golden radiance flared and shot like lightning towards the hologram!
"Well, Student Li Yao, you have pretty good hands; their foundation is very solid. They are good materials for a refiner!" Ding Yin laughed and said.
In fact, in his heart, Ding Yin had some misgivings.
Judging from Li Yao's hands, it was quite clear that he had practiced very hard and had a very solid foundation. He could very well be from a very ancient aristocratic family of refiners, but how could he go to the Grand Desolate War Institution, which was like a local school in refining?
The Grand Desolate War Institution was famous for its combat department. If he wanted to study refining, it was better to go to Deep Sea University!
However, after a moment of thinking, he remembered that the Deep Sea University's Refining Department was the star department of the entire federation, thus its cut-off marks were very high. He reckoned that this little guy wasn’t able to get in and had settled for less, choosing the unpopular Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department; he must have had no other alternative.
Ding Yin was a refiner of a cultivation sect and was not a member of the "Nine Elite Universities". Usually, he would be busy with theoretical research and would rarely pay attention to what was going on in society. The news of Li Yao challenging the Deep Sea University had not yet reached his ears.
He was an experienced old man. Naturally, he was not going to poke Li Yao's scars; on the contrary, he encouraged him from the bottom of his heart.
Taking out his mini-crystal processor, Li Yao, once again, opened the virtual book. At the bottom of the title page were additional, calligraphic golden characters written in a small font that was as flamboyant as flying dragons and dancing phoenixes: "Refining the Endless Starry Sky—Presented to Young Friend Li Yao!"
Li Yao's gaze was fixed on those small characters. Suddenly, his vision blossomed as if there were countless stars rotating. He sensed an unfathomable aura of telepathic thoughts.
Li Yao knew it was Ding Yin's soul markers, which authenticated that this was his “personal autograph”, something which others were unable to imitate.
He didn't expect for such a master to be so amiable and easy to approach. Li Yao restrained the excitement in his heart and cautiously asked:
"Professor Ding, thank you for your kind encouragement, but I'm lacking in the basics. In your book, there are some places which I don't completely understand. For example, in the 7th chapter, you said that it is possible to use a double-layer folding glyph arrays architecture for the spiritual and mechanical energy conversion in weapons that are similar to the chainsaw sword. However, by doing so, the number of parts would increase. Not only would this increase the manufacturing costs, it would also greatly increase the rate of failure as well. If I may ask, what are the benefits actually?"
Ding Yin's interest was also piqued. He did not expect for such a young man like him to have such a tricky perspective. Nodding again and again, he said with a smile, "Student Li Yao, you are very good. Most of the young people your age would first determine whether the magical equipment's strength is strong or weak. They usually believe that the stronger the magical equipment, the more formidable it is. I didn't expect for you to actually take into account the refining costs and the rate of failure. Good, pretty good! Come, turn the book over to that paragraph. I will explain. Using the double-layer folding glyph array architect, you can greatly reduce the energy loss during the conversion of spiritual energy to mechanical energy, and also, as long as proper refining techniques are used, the rate of failure would not increase too much. See? Especially this..."
The old and the young—the two heads bumped into each other as they burst into a heated conversation; they had completely lost themselves in the discussion.
At the beginning, the two kept each other at an arm’s reach; they were a little bit reserved.
Gradually, their conversation began to pick up. The two looked exceptionally solemn, and their tone became increasingly intense. From time to time, they would sketch some ghost-like structure in the hologram, yet the sketches would be as flamboyant as flying dragons and dancing phoenixes. “Lone Star Master Formula”, “Rock Reverend Formula”, or “Star Magnetic Rotational Forces Hypotheses”—one by one, words which seemed to have come from some book of heaven to the ordinary people were popping out of their mouths as if they were popcorn, and the passengers next to them, upon hearing, were surprised; it was as if they were looking at two madmen.
Like water overflowing from a broken dam, Li Yao could not be controlled and continuously threw strings of questions one by one as if he were firing a cannon. From time to time, Li Yao would praise him in his heart, "A master is a master. Generally, the problems which I could never understand even after contemplating for 10-15 days were solved with a few words in a way that it gave me a clear understanding. Moreover, thinking about it, he simply didn't use the concepts that were beyond my knowledge. One truly has to admire him greatly—he is really awesome!"
Little did he know that at this moment, Ding Yin had broken into cold sweat.
Because he found that this little guy was too abnormal!
Nine out of ten questions put forward by Li Yao were very basic, and Ding Yin could thoroughly answer with ease.
But after nine ordinary questions, he would often throw an extremely tricky and abstruse question. Upon hearing it at first, it would sound average, but after carefully pondering for a bit, you would find layers upon layers of stratagem inside; it was full of traps.
Ding Yin's entire body was drenched in cold sweat. He had to put forth his full concentration and use all his computing power to get the answer. Often, in his heart, he would feel unconfident as he pondered over whether his answers were complete or not.
As if the two were fighting, after a flowery fist with fancy footwork, he would suddenly throw one or two "trump cards", much like the heavenly steeds soaring in heaven, catching Ding Yin by surprise; he was terribly unhappy.
"This brat really doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of refining theories? Speaking of his in-depth knowledge, he is at most twenty years old. Most of the questions raised by him are very simple, thus he should not be an expert. One could even say that he is a newcomer. But, how could he raise such strange questions? They are simply as quick, as shadowless, and as traceless as a fiend blade. I'm completely baffled!"
Ding Yin was completely astonished.
After carefully recalling their conversation, Ding Yin discovered that when it came to classical refining theories from forty millenniums ago, Li Yao could fire one or two terrifying questions that could make his back drenched in cold sweat.
And when the topic was switched back to modern refining theories, Li Yao would turn into a muddled child.
Ding Yin was secretly amazed.
"Which sect raised this little monster? How does he have such deep knowledge in classical refining theories and clearly understand the rarest of hypotheses? It is truly a waste to send such good material to Grand Desolate War Institution's Refining Department!"
No, some of the questions raised by this brat became more and more uncommon, even to the point where Ding Yin had never heard of some of the classical theories raised by him—there were some for which he simply didn’t know their elucidation!
Ding Yin was secretly crying. He quietly guided the discussion back to modern refining theories.
Li Yao talked about interests, talked about impulses, talked about true fire, and time and time again, the conversation would again be brought back to classical refining.
At last, Ding Yin could no longer bear it. He turned his head to look and said in surprise, "Hey, it's about time for the train to leave!"
"No… Ah... There is still half an hour, Professor Ding, so you don't have to worry. What were we talking about? Ah yes, I remember. Underworld Spring Sect, a devil sect from forty millenniums ago, had refined a 'Nine Yin Mother Sword'. Its technique of binding tenebrum energy is a little similar to the fourth matrix in Professor Ding's book. Why don't we talk about the Nine Yin Mother Sword?" Li Yao enthusiastically said.
"I need to go to the washroom!" Ding Yin said with a straight face and suddenly stood up.
"I am coming too!" Li Yao followed behind him while talking endlessly, "It is said that the refining process of the Nine Yin Mother Sword is extremely cruel, especially..."
"I need to go for the big one."
Professor Ding sat in the lavatory for a complete half-hour, and only then did he reluctantly come out. Once he walked out of the lavatory, Li Yao, like a loyal and devoted dog, rushed over, but Ding Yin simply didn't give him a chance to speak. Pointing to the front, he said, "We must quickly leave for the check-in!"
"So soon for the check-in?" Li Yao scratched his head. Apparently, he wanted to continue the conversation.
"Young man, don't need to be so grumpy. I have given you my spiritual crane number, so we will have plenty more opportunities to discuss!"
Ding Yin said as if a load had been lifted off his chest. He then picked up his luggage and quickly drilled his way into the crowd.
"Professor Ding, what's your seat number? How about I find someone to exchange the ticket, so we can continue our discussion on the train?" Li Yao shouted in a loud voice as he threw the Dark Star Rock onto his back, refusing to let him leave.
Ding Yin broke into cold sweat and hesitated a bit before speaking, "No need, the magical equipment technician of the army on this train is my old classmate. We have not seen each other for many years, so we have to catch up on some things. We will have a chat next time, Student Li Yao."
"Next time, it won't be so easy to encounter a master like you on a green passenger train. If it were not for the scarcity of the trains, you would be sitting in a luxurious train and would not have rushed to sit on this kind of ragged green passenger train!" Li Yao muttered.
This sentence made Ding Yin stop. He came back and said with a weird look on his face, "Student Li Yao, you are wrong. Even if there were seats available in the more luxurious fast trains, even if there were more convenient and safe modes of transportation, I and many other cultivators wouldn’t sit. In the wasteland, a true cultivator would only choose the mode of transport which is carrying the largest number of people."
"Why?" Li Yao was puzzled; he could not understand why he got such a large reaction from his words.
"In order to protect you!"
"Protect us?" The answer was beyond Li Yao's expectation.
"Of course, Student Li Yao. It's not that we cultivators can not take more advanced modes of transportation, but rather—"
Ding Yin faintly smiled. His mediocre face surged with a strong pride and arrogance. "But if all the cultivators take the more advanced modes of transportation, then the trains would only have ordinary people. Once it was struck with a beast tide, who is going to protect you?"
"...So it was like that." Li Yao said as if deep in thought.
Ding Yin nodded his head and solemnly said:
"Although an addition armored battle compartment is attached to the train and an army of federation soldiers is stationed inside, but once attacked by a beast tide where powerful demon beasts are also mixed in, ordinary people would not be able to defend themselves. Therefore, in the Demon Beast Wasteland, when a cultivator needs to travel, all of them would try to choose a means of transportation with ordinary people. In the event that there’s trouble, we can act as promptly as possible and protect the ordinary people—this is but the sworn duty of us cultivators!"
"Sworn duty of cultivators?" In the cultivation world, Li Yao seldom heard these words.
When Ding Yin spoke of "Sworn Duty"—these two words—his entire body was shining in brilliance; it was as if an inexplicable power was bursting forth from the depths of his soul, ascending him into a completely different type of existence!
"Cultivators are the swords of human civilization, protecting every human from the harm of demons and devil-like creatures. This is the noblest mission of the cultivator, and it is also our ‘sworn duty'!"
When Ding Yin finished speaking, he slightly smiled. His back that was as straight as a sword, once again, went back to slouching; he once again reverted back to an ordinary, bald middle-aged man and mixed inside the crowd, mixed in with a group of workers and student, and gradually went through the check-in gate."
Li Yao stood in place for a long time.
He completely didn't understand Ding Yin's opinion, but he could feel the "strength" present in his words.
It was a completely different power compared to "spiritual energy", "punching power", and "sword energy".
It was something invisible and intangible, vague and insubstantial, something that couldn’t even break an egg.
But, Li Yao felt the blood in his chest boiling—it was as if a flame had been ignited in his chest!
"I really want to quickly become a cultivator!" Li Yao said to himself as he tightly grabbed the luggage and also mixed into the crowd, making his way through the check-in gate.
 - All show and no go, meaning ordinary question here
 - In China, green color train with a yellow line is mostly associated with the passenger train, and hence the green color in the sentence.