Chapter 187 - Lone Hunter
One month later.
Zenith Province at the northwest of Wasteland.
Amid the desert that stretched as far as the eye could see stood jagged rocky mountains of all kinds of shapes and sizes, just like a forest carved out of rocks.
Each piece of rock was peppered with hundreds of thousands of holes. On the inside, they were full of caves that stretched out in all directions, carving out a cave which was no different than a maze.
In addition, hidden under the ground were many-hundred-meter-long underground rivers, turning this seemingly lifeless stone forest into a paradise in the Wasteland.
It was also the best hiding place for the demon beasts.
Crouching inside a gray-brown thermal camouflage netting, Li Yao looked just like a piece of rock.
A poisonous scorpion crawled its way from his ass to his head before slowly crawling down, its tail all curled up, apparently searching for a prey between the rocks.
"It seems today isn’t good as well!"
Very carefully, Li Yao sucked in a mouthful of water with a straw.
Because it was in the sun for a very long time, the water bag that was stitched up using the demon beast leather was sizzling hot, and sucking the water brought a sour taste to his mouth.
Nevertheless, Li Yao was reluctant to waste even a drop of water. He slowly nourished his parched throat with a small mouthful.
He recalled the events from one month ago, where he slaughtered everything in his wake in Verdant Tarn City, madly raked in credits, and even beheaded a Demon King as an executioner… These scenes filled with zeal and morale caused him to be fired up with boundless enthusiasm!
However, in that battle, he seemed to have used up all his luck. In the following month, his progress wasn't that smooth.
Since the battle of Verdant Tarn City, the demon clan seemed to be well-behaved all of a sudden. Or perhaps, after losing a Demon King, the high-level demon clan experts of Blood Demon Sector didn't dare to act rashly and were readjusting their battle strategy.
In short, in the following month, the southern regions of the Wasteland were pretty calm. Only two small-scale beast tide outbreaks had occurred, and the wormholes only opened up within the wilderness.
When Li Yao received the news, the army had long mobilized a large number of crystal battleships and bombarded the beast tide to the point that not even slag remained.
The northern part of the Wasteland, the vast domain which was not yet fully under control of humans, had several demon beast lairs hidden. A few even sheltered small wormholes, which would open several times in a year, allowing a large herd of demon beast to enter the Heaven Origin Sector.
However, only high-level cultivators or an army regiment dared to deeply venture into this perilous domain. No matter how gutsy Li Yao was, he knew the difference between seeking death and taking a risk.
Once, Li Yao and a team of senior students who had at least reached 7th level of the Refinement Stage had taken a high difficulty mission to hunt a high-ranked Demon Soldier, Red Griffin.
After spending seven days and seven nights straight, experiencing countless storms and eating loads of sand, they finally killed the Red Griffin. However, as Li Yao was the weakest, his contribution was the least, and therefore the credits he obtained were just crumbs . He might as well honestly stay at the institute and take the courses!
After eating such a loss, Li Yao was no longer willing to team up with senior students.
In contrast, Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan weren't in immediate need of credits like him. They would rather proceed step by step and steadily cultivate than go out and take risks every now and then.
Anyhow, they had earned a lot of credits in the battle of Verdant Tarn City, which would last for a while.
Having thought this over again and again, Li Yao bit the bullet and made a decision which would be considered crazy in others' opinion.
He applied for multitudes of hunting missions and prepared to go solo, freely hunting the demon beasts in the Wasteland.
Acting solo was not good at all. Although he would be free to act as he wished and have a monopoly on credits for the demon beasts hunted, he would not have any support, supply or intel; he would be on his own for everything.
In this crisis-ridden Wasteland where demon beasts were everywhere, it was the most dangerous profession.
Obviously, Li Yao wasn't heading for his doom, he also had a secret weapon.
It was precisely the self-cultivating magical equipment—the Black Wing Sword!
Although Little Black was a piece of magical equipment, it cultivation was even crazier than Li Yao’s. Among the credits Li Yao had spent, a large portion of the credits was used for buying high-purity crystals for Little Black to engulf.
After engulfing the crystals, the black spirit threads that spread around its body would grow in number and become thicker; they could now be very clearly intertwined into black wings.
When these black wings spread, Little Black could also get faster.
Li Yao, for one, had experienced this firsthand. Little Black's speed could very easily break through the sound barrier and reach Mach 2.
After that, Little Black could still increase the speed by a notch, but Li Yao's body was unable to hold on.
If the sword sped up, his body could very well be torn to pieces by the air resistance.
This speed had already surpassed many combat-class flying shuttles.
And as an incomparably flexible flying sword, Little Black's small maneuvers were far more intricate and complex than that of the Mystic Bird Battle Shuttle, Crimson Flame Battle Shuttle, and other comparable vehicles.
It was because of Little Black that Li Yao dared to venture alone in the Wasteland.
He had specifically selected the missions for which he would not have to venture far away from the military base, allowing him to stay within a relatively safe zone. The demon beasts he would hunt were not strong either, but they still had precious materials on their bodies.
And once a high-ranked Demon Soldier or any enemy ranked above that appeared, he would hug the Black Wing Sword and escape through the sky immediately.
Once, he also let his imagination run wild: maybe, without any ability, he could directly stab a demon beast or even a Demon General with the quick speed of Black Wing Sword.
However, Little Black's master forgot that it didn't have any limbs; if it was restricted by some kind of barrier, it would lose its ability to attack.
Whenever Li Yao drove the Black Wing Sword to launch an attack at a demon beast, this guy would always circle around constantly, seemingly confused.
Li Yao studied for half a day, but could not find any reason why it couldn’t attack. He could only give up and treat the Black Wing Sword as a pure escaping tool.
In the vast expanse of the Wasteland, the fighting between the human and demon beasts was completely different than street fighting in the city.
Here, there were no impetuous demon beasts who would gather and rush at Li Yao like a tide, only to be killed by him in the end. The Six Barrel Rotary Cannon and Heavy Vibrosaber-like heavy weapons were cumbersome. There was too much room for the demon beasts to escape. Just as the Six Barrel Rotary Cannon started to spin, the demon beasts would escape underground. So, no matter how fierce the firepower was, how could it do anything?
Since he didn't have the support of any heavy magical equipment, Li Yao could only take risks to cultivate a powerful technique and take very difficult Combat Department courses in order to up his offense and hunt powerful demon beasts.
The course he chose was "Desert Storm Saber Technique!"
This domineering-sounding saber technique originated from the frequently-occurring desert storms in the Wasteland. When it was trained to its highest level, the subsequent energy released from the saber would rotate just like a hurricane; sand and stones would fly, giving rise to thousand-meter-high waves of sand, which would gather into a giant sand blade that would ruthlessly slash towards the enemy.
Among all the courses in the Combat Department, the "Desert Storm Saber Technique" course was one of the most difficult. Usually, only 7th level Refinement Stage and above senior students would learn this technique.
In order to strengthen his offense, Li Yao spent close to 2,000 credits without an ounce of care and chose the "Desert Storm Saber Technique".
In the end, reality taught him a deep, harsh lesson—he failed!
Although university life wasn't complete without a failure, Li Yao was so depressed that he was about to vomit blood.
The loss of 2,000 credits wasn't as important as the fact that he didn't have much time remaining.
Li Yao discovered that he had fallen in a vicious circle.
If he wanted to earn a lot of credits in a short period of time, he had to take risks and head into dangerous zones to hunt high-ranked demon beasts.
And if he wanted to hunt high-ranked demon beasts, he had to improve his strength as soon as possible.
And if he wanted to improve his strength, he had to take risks and spend a lot of credits to train in highly difficult and powerful techniques.
However, once he failed, the large number of credits he had to spend would go down the drain.
And while he was going around and around in this vicious cycle, the time was quickly passing by the minute.
The deadline for the Refiners' Registration Examination was also not far away!
Fortunately, it seemed that every cloud has a silver lining. At the beginning of last week, his luck gradually returned to him.
First, under the stimulation of failure, he gave full play to his craziness. When he was madly training the "Desert Strom Saber Technique" during a stormy night, under the madness brought about due to his wish and his fanatic training, he actually rushed into the 6th level of the Refinement Stage and became an intermediate-level Refinement Stage cultivator!
With such strength, one could also hold a basic-level post even in the top five hundred cultivation sects of the federation.
Afterward, splurged and once again applied for the "Desert Storm Saber Technique" course. Whereupon, by relying on the comprehension he gained during the stormy night, he finally cleared the course. As a result, not only did he make up for the loss of credits, he also earned a bit.
Immediately following his recent success, Li Yao rode the Black Wing Sword and flew thousands of kilometers away as he arrived at the Zenith Province to the northwest of the Wasteland.
It was the active region of high-rank Demon Soldiers and Refinement Stage cultivators, and a place where priceless prey lurked.
Li Yao quickly found a Three-Horned Lancehead.
An adult Three-Horned Lancehead could be as strong as an intermediate-rank Demon Soldier. Its venom contained a very rare ingredient that was an essential raw material for producing many high-rank strengthening agents after it was purified; furthermore, it could not be produced artificially.
Therefore, the Three-Horned Lancehead's value was pretty high. If its venom gland remained intact, it could be converted into a lot of credits, a lot more than what he could receive for hunting some of the many high-rank Demon Soldiers.
However, the Three-Horned Lancehead was extremely vigilant. Usually, it would hide inside its complex, maze-like lair, avoiding the attacks of human experts and crystal battleships. It would seldom come above the ground.
The sand scorpion which had just disappeared amid the stones once again appeared, crawling under Li Yao's nose.
Li Yao utilized the "Soul Converging Technique" to the extreme. All his pores were sealed tight.
Not only was he not emanating even an ounce of spiritual energy, he even had slowed his breath down a lot.
And as his entire body was covered with a thermal camouflage netting, all the heat was completely locked inside so that his temperature was one with the surrounding rocks.
The favorite prey of the Three-Horned Lancehead was none other than the sand scorpion.
Since the appearance of the sand scorpion, Li Yao had been continuously staring at the Three-Horned Lancehead, which had been hiding in the darkness for four hours already.
Watching the sand scorpion crawling towards the distance, the Three-Horned Lancehead could no longer hold itself back.
With a flash, the Three-Horned Lancehead, like a javelin, ruthlessly charged towards the sand scorpion at lightning fast speed.
Just as it opened its mouth and swallowed the sand scorpion, the "rock" nearby suddenly cracked.
With a roar, Li Yao took a step before turning his body!
His body, under the influence of tremendous centrifugal force, turned into a whirlwind. Only then was the saber drawn from its sheath as its tip blew away the sand in its path. A fist-sized head flew into the sky; its eyes were still filled with the satisfied look of enjoying its meal. Even in death, it could not react.
In just half a second, the curtain of perfect hunting fell.
This was a contest of patience, in which Li Yao was the final winner.
 Lancehead, or Bothrops insularis, commonly known as the Golden Lancehead, is a species of venomous pit viper. You can learn more about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bothrops_insularis