Chapter 174 - Li Yao's Transformation
Li Yao deeply furrowed his brows.
At first glance, what Zhao Tianchong had said made sense but it was also strange, after careful deliberation. Li Yao thought for a long while before responding with a stomp of his foot.
"Fellow student Zhao Tianchong, there's a big problem with your explanation. Your demon beast slaying efficiency rate is greatly increased when you're equipped with better magical equipment. If before, you could kill ten demon beasts in a day and tomorrow you could kill fifteen in a day, wouldn't you still be able to meet the same objective of crazily cultivating you've been bickering about? You just think my gear is too expensive!"
A rarely seen blush appeared on Zhao Tianchong's face.
He really had been exaggerating a bit.
It was true that the Grand Desolate War Institution didn't encourage students to use masterwork weapons when cultivating on campus.
However, in real combat where danger lurks in all corners of the battlefield, a bit of a performance increase with magical equipment was certainly a good thing.
No one would despise having an overly sharp sword.
Zhao Tianchong awkwardly explained:
"Fellow student, Li Yao, if the magical equipment was only more expensive by a couple hundred credits, everyone would grit their teeth and accept it."
"But the basic magical equipment is all consumable. They would need to be replaced with a new one every few days, under intense combat. We can't just spend a couple hundred credits every few days right?"
"We wouldn't be able to make it back, even if we do increase our demon beast slaying efficiency by 10%!"
Sword cultivators agreed with him one after another, for this was the most crucial factor.
If the price was right, who wouldn't want to equip themselves with more powerful performing magical equipment?
The key laid in the fact demon beasts were very hard to deal with. Some were like the Gold Armored Saber Mantis; they had a hard carapace. Some had super hard skeletons. Some even had bodies filled with corrosive acid.
Close combat weapons just didn't last more than a few days against demon beasts. Often, the blade's edge would crumble and the sword's body would split. They would be rusted by corrosion and become unusable.
Everyone was a college student strapped for credits. Every credit was saved through great difficulties. It was alright if they only had to spend several hundred credits once but who would be able to stand spending several hundred credits every few days!
Zhao Tianchong smiled wryly and said:
"Fellow student Li Yao, I just spoke the truth. We, students of the Combat Department, may earn credits at a lightning speed by taking missions but we spend a lot of credits in a lot of places."
"Not to mention, the professors of the Combat Department can destroy someone by subtle means and fail someone without blinking an eye. It makes us have to spend a large amount of credits to retake courses."
"Say that we regularly get injured during cultivation and we go find some fellow students at the Medical Department for help, their scalpels would have to be polished and sharpened until they're super shiny so that a single blade could draw blood!"
"So, we can only be meticulous about our points!"
He paused before speaking again.
"However, the magical equipment you've refined is really nice. If you can lower the price by 30%, you'll certainly make a lot of sales. I'll be the first to buy a chainsword, regardless of the others!"
"Yes, the things here are good. I really like this battleax. It's just too expensive. If you can reduce the price by 25%, I'll grit my teeth and buy it!"
A different and burly classmate stroked a battleax in his hands as he spoke with loving affection.
Li Yao blinked his eyes. He could tell that everyone spoke the truth.
Now that he thought about it, this was true. If a saber was more expensive by several hundred school credits but could be used for a year, he would grit his teeth and bear it.
However, these things were consumables. If one's luck was bad on the battlefield, encountering a demon beast with an especially tough skeleton or maybe a strong corrosion demon beast, the magical equipment would turn to scrap in an instant!
Even though the swords refined by Li Yao had their performances greatly increased, it was impossible for them to last for more than three to five days of continuous and intense combat.
Taking this into account, the price was indeed expensive.
Yet, Li Yao also had his difficulties.
If he were to sell a single close combat magical equipment for 800 credits, his net profit wouldn't be much. Most of the credits would go towards the cost.
Buying the original magical equipment to modify would require spending of hundreds of credits, to say the least.
In addition, there were all sorts of precious raw materials required. A single piece magical equipment would give him a net profit of one to two hundred credits at most.
He would have to work endlessly around to clock, modifying several hundred pieces of magical equipment, in order to reach 30,000 credits.
Not even 30%, if prices were lowered by 20%, a single piece magical equipment would only earn him a couple dozen credits. It would really take endless years to earn 30,000 credits.
Li Yao had the faint sensation that he appeared to have taken the wrong road.
He was still using the more manual, artisan style of refining methods of forty millenniums ago.
Through thousands of revisions of hard work, meticulous carving and perfecting, and forging by hand, he was able to refine a more exquisite magical equipment with slightly stronger performance.
However, the refining rate was terribly low. It would take at least one or two days for a single finished product. The more complex ones required three or four days.
Current cultivation sects long ago adopted large-scale industrial methods to refine low-level magical equipment. They refined in bulk. Their efficiency was extremely high.
With greater production, the costs could be brought very low.
The magical equipment produced by this large-scale refinement method didn't have the most powerful performance.
But the quality to price ratio was the absolute highest.
This was the perfect method of refining for low-level magical equipment with extremely high rates of consumption.
"Efficiency! The key lies in efficiency!"
Li Yao had this sudden epiphany.
"I was using the train of thought of refining quality products on refining consumable products. It takes me one to two days to modify an 'exquisite' consumable product. Obviously, I'm getting nowhere with efficiency as low as this!"
"However, a real quality product that could behead a demon god with one strike... How could I, a lowly cultivator of the 5th level of the Refinement Stage, refine such a thing?"
Li Yao thought for a moment. Then he asked with a heart filled with anticipation.
"What about the sticky bomb? It is inexpensive and it has decent power. This is my competitive product!"
This time it was Lu Tieshan's turn to speak.
"Fellow student Li Yao, it's true that your sticky bomb is decent. It's been well-purposed for use against the hard exoskeleton of a demon beast but it's way too complicated to use. What if I accidentally get it stuck to my hand? That would be very embarrassing."
"We don't have your astonishing hand speed or finger dexterity. We aren't able to stick that many sticky bombs to the carapace of a demon beast unnoticed!"
Li Yao was dumbfounded. He discovered he had made his second error.
When he was refining the sticky bomb, he had unconsciously used his own view as the viewpoint of a user.
Not only had he develop astonishing hand speed through high-intensity magical equipment maintenance, he had cultivated in the Thousands Fingers Supple Bone Exercise, a god-like technique of the ancient past devoted to increase the pliability and flexibility of fingers.
The fingers of a typical cultivator weren't as nimble as his and their hand speeds weren't as quick.
From their perspectives, using the sticky bomb was far too complicated. In intense combat, a single accident would have them sticking the bomb to themselves.
In short, it was a magical equipment exclusive to Li Yao. It was hard for others to use.
Li Yao lowered his head. His cheeks somewhat hurt with a burning sting.
"Senior Brother Peng was correct. For one to become an outstanding refiner, one must go through great quantities of real combat and first become an excellent soldier. This way, one understands what magical equipment is most popular, most practical within real combat!"
"It was because of my lack of combat experience that I refined, behind closed doors of the school campus, the magical equipment that only seemed brilliant."
"The numbers of the magical equipment was very beautiful on paper and they displayed outstanding performance during testing."
"But when they reached the battlefield, all sorts of problems were revealed."
"Real combat... I need large amounts of real combat experience!"
"I will temper my combat skills in actual combat and become a true soldier. Only in this way can I know which magical equipment will be the most well received and how to refine it!"
Three days later at the eastern business district of Verdant Tarn City.
Li Yao was expressionless among the ruins of dilapidated buildings. His eyes shone brightly with life. He stood in confrontation of a demon beast.
An intense change had occurred within the battlefield situation in these three days.
Large batches of cultivators had rushed over one after another. Quite a few of the students of the Grand Desolate War Institution had heard the news, heading back to campus early and entering the battlefield one wave after another to engage in slaughter.
Each day, transport ships had to make several trips back and forth between the Grand Desolate War Institution and Verdant Tarn City.
The large army expanded their territory, pressing against the demon beasts. The large beast tide on the surface was suppressed. The powerful Demon Generals and Demon Kings put up a resistance in the sewers where it was accessible from all sides. The high-level cultivators could only enter deep underground to engage in bloody slaughter in the maze of pitch-black darkness.
Small squads of demon soldiers were in every nook and corner on the surface. They were handed over to the Refinement Stage cultivators to deal with.
Li Yao was a well-known and excellent figure of the Refinement Stage cultivators.
He was facing an Armored Snapping Turtle. This was an extremely fierce and tough intermediate level demon soldier.
It was like a hybrid between a turtle and a crocodile expanded three times their original sizes. A tortoise shell armored its body. Its defensive power was even more tyrannical than the Gold Armored Saber Mantis'. It had a thick and muscular tail, covered with sawteeth, that was like a barbed iron whip. The tail ripped through the air, letting out a humming cry.
It didn't matter if one was being struck by the turtle shell or swept by the iron tail, the consequences would be disastrous.
But Li Yao was very different than the version of himself from three days ago.
After discovering his problem, he had deeply thought over the matter for a very long time. In the end, he deeply affirmed to his heart that he would properly sharpen himself in actual combat.
He sold most of the magical equipment he had refined during winter vacation at very reasonable prices to his classmates. He just left himself a Heavy Vibrosaber of great attack power.
Sabers, guns, swords, halberds, hatchets, axes, scythes, tridents... There were thirty to fifty different types of close combat magical equipment. It was obviously impossible to completely master all their properties in a single breath.
Li Yao was going to first master using the saber to become an expert in both refining and using it.
He liked the saber with its domineering air, to be able to press forward and sever things in half with a single strike!
Other than this, he conducted a modification on the Six Barrel Rotary Cannon. He adhered a mystic ray laser attachment to the barrel so that it could emit a red beam of light. This red beam of light could focus into a dot from several hundred meters away and act as a simple targeting system to increase the precision of this heavy firepower weapon.
He took the now-empty magical equipment box and modified it into an ammunitions crate. He carried thousands upon thousands of spiritual energy explosive rounds.
Right now, Li Yao had a jet-black Heavy Vibrosaber spanning across his waist, shining with light. He held the Six Barrel Rotary Cannon in his hand. A thick and heavy ammunition belt extended from the ammunition crate on his back to the firearm in his hands.
A vest covered with pockets was worn over his skin-tight combat garments. The pockets were all full and bulging, filled to the brim with sticky bombs!
He wasn't just fully armed. He was simply a walking weapons depot!
When faced with the Armored Snapping Turtle, whose strength was clearly a series higher than his, Li Yao's mouth hooked into a smile with a hint of calmness. He coldly squeezed out a single word from between his sharp teeth.
A streak of red light shot out from the muzzle of the Six Barrel Rotary Cannon. It precisely hit the chest of the Armored Snapping Turtle, forming a distinct targeting dot.
The Armored Snapping Turtle had yet to react when Li Yao heavily squeezed the trigger.
Amidst the loud sound, like a volcano erupting, came balls and balls of flame that exploded in front of Li Yao's body. They converged into a red stream of light that was incomparably thick and powerful. The light cleaved at the Armored Snapping Turtle's skull, ferociously bombarding it!