Chapter 193 - One Against Two Thousand?
"Now, only the last 10,000 credits remain!"
In a cave, Li Yao carefully baked a hare with the help of a fire glyph. Meanwhile, he had also laid down fresh air glyphs around so that all the air would remain in one place and the demon beasts outside the cave would not get a single whiff.
A knowing smile appeared on his somewhat gaunt face. His deep black eyes seemed to appear bigger.
Spending a month alone in the Wasteland, Li Yao's appearance had undergone enormous changes. Not only had he become slender, his skin also had a metallic luster, but it didn’t radiate light like steel.
At first glance, he looked no different than an ordinary rock found in the Wasteland.
However, once he discovered prey, he would suddenly erupt, while his speed and strength soared to the limit. He would turn into a ferocious hunter in the blink of an eye.
Over this month, he had not only amassed credits, he had also accumulated hunting experience.
The demon beasts of the Wasteland were a treacherous, cunning, and vigilant bunch. More importantly, these demon beasts were the best at camouflaging and sneak attacks.
If one wanted to hunt such demon beasts, he or she would need to be even more treacherous, more cunning, and better at camouflaging and sneak attacks.
On one side, Li Yao was hunting, while on the other, he was learning as well. All the demon beasts were Li Yao's teachers.
He learned how to hide like a poisonous snake, crawl like a centipede, kill prey in one attack like a scorpion, glide like a flying chameleon, and even studied how to lay down traps and put out bait like a spider.
Soon afterwards, these techniques, along with a decade or so of techniques honed through surviving in the magical equipment graveyard, turned into even more powerful hunting techniques. With these skills, he became a field survivor as well as a hunting expert. He became a true guerrilla expert!
"One month and 10,000 credits."
"Even if the utility patent is approved, I will only earn 3,000 credits. I'll still be lacking 7,000 credits."
"The demon beasts in the southern regions of the Wasteland are too weak. If I keep hunting in this area, I'll simply be unable to amass 7,000 credits."
"Moreover, it's is not 100% certain that the utility patent will go through. If I fail at the most crucial moment, it will be truly embarrassing."
"It seems I have to take the risk and head deep into northern regions!"
The forces of the Star Glory Federation were concentrated more on the southern regions of the Wasteland. There were fewer cities deeper into the north. Meanwhile, the lesser the signs of humans, the more powerful demon beasts could be found.
In order to acquire 10,000 credits within one month, Li Yao was prepared to play with his life.
He planned to wander fifteen days in the southern regions of the Wasteland.
And if he was unable to save enough credits, or if the utility patent wasn't passed, he then planned to go to the northern regions of the Wasteland and wander in more dangerous regions!
"But first, I should return to the Institute and cash in the prey from this trip.” Weighing the heavy, rumbling backpack, a satisfied crept upon Li Yao's face.
Li Yao's harvest from this trip was also pretty good. He would probably be able to exchange it for a few hundred credits.
Having returned to the Institute and converted the spoils of his hunting for credits, Li Yao returned to the medical room to deal with some minor injuries. He had not even taken a rest before he received an invitation from Ding Lingdang, asking him to celebrate breaking the 30,000 mark.
"Li Yao has arrived! Li Yao has arrived!"
In front of a small house amid the sea of bamboo, a colorful and gorgeous parrot squawked as the door automatically opened.
Just as Li Yao stepped into the door, a light breeze brushed his face.
Li Yao was taken by surprise. He had been suddenly caught by Ding Lingdang.
The latter also ruthlessly twisted his arm behind his back, making him grimace in pain.
"What the hell is going on? Didn't you ask me to dinner to celebrate breaking the 30,000 mark?"
"Of course, we are going to eat, but first of all—"
Having twisted his arm a bit again, Ding Lingdang angrily said, "Let this sister first twist your arm for a while so that I can vent my anger. You, Smelly Brat, have so quickly and quietly broken the 30,000 mark. You also broke the record for the fastest student to attain 30,000 credits, taking down Senior Brother Peng!"
"At the beginning, I was the second fastest student to break the 30,000 mark, but now, you have thrown me into third place. Tell me, is that all right? You are truly a monstrous genius. Maybe one day you will even become stronger than me. Then, would I not be bullied to death by you? Absolutely not! While I'm still stronger than you, I'll crush you a bit; I might as well get the most out of it until then!"
Twisting his hand once again, she exclaimed:
"What is going on? In the one month I have not seen you, your muscles are even more solid. Twisting your hands feels like twisting a stone. It's not even a bit interesting, forget it! Let's eat!"
Without uttering even a word, Li Yao followed her to the living room. But when he got to see the dinner placed on the table, he didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"Didn't you say we were going to celebrate? So, did you invite me to eat noodles?"
Ding Lingdang, who was carrying a bowl of noodles, sat down on the ground as she started slurping the noodles. She was eating with one hand and was handling some work on the crystal processor with the other. She muttered:
"I have been swamped with work and had no time to cook fish or meat. Make do with it for now. Didn't I add two soy eggs to your bowl?!"
Having said that, she paused a bit before continuing:
"I have seen your hunting results, you're really doing a good job. From looking at the wounds, you've attained perfection in the 'Desert Storm Saber Technique'. Even if it was me hunting in the southern regions of the Wasteland, I would also be unable to do better than you!"
"However, high-value demon beasts are, after all, rare in the southern regions. If you want to amass 10,000 credits in one month, you have to head north, which is the habitat of high-level demon beasts."
"I know that you are quite crazy and like to take risks. Maybe someday you will secretly head north, playing with your life. So, today, I specifically asked you to come to tell you that you don't need to worry."
"Recently, I have been very busy and could not spare any time. However, I'll be done in ten to fifteen days, after which I have some days off. At that time, I will accompany you to the north and help you hold the line!"
Li Yao felt warmth in his heart.
So this was the real reason why Ding Lingdang asked him to come.
With Ding Lingdang, one of the youngest Building Foundation Stage experts in the federation, holding the line, the danger would drop significantly. He could hunt demon beasts far more easily.
Holding the bowl of noodles, Li Yao was at a total loss; he didn't know what to say.
Ding Lingdang burst into jovial laughter, a noodle dangling at the corner of her mouth. Waving her hand, she said:
"You have been acting as a human sandbag for me for a long while, so why can't I help you a little? Besides, you, 'Vulture Li Yao', are currently at your peak. You are an influential figure among the freshmen of our Grand Desolate War Institution. For a genius like you, the Institute is surely going to provide special care so that we can speed up your progress. This is absolutely normal! If I had not been swamped with work recently, I wouldn’t have waited to accompany you to the northern regions!"
"Sister Ling, thank you!"
After having hesitated for a long while, Li Yao somehow uttered these words.
Having sat down next to Ding Lingdang, Li Yao took a big bite out off the fragrant soy egg.
Ding Lingdang's response was just one word as she began dealing with her work with rapt attention.
Li Yao, while slurping the noodles, happened to take a fleeting glance at Ding Lingdang's face. Suddenly, he discovered that as long as this ferocious dragoness in human skin didn't utter one word and concentrated on her work, she looked incredibly beautiful.
This kind of quiet and indifferent temperament gave off the aura of a completely different person, someone completely different from the person that talked non-stop and charged around impulsively.
It appeared as though there were twins who looked exactly the same but had diametrically opposite dispositions. It was extremely weird.
"What are you looking at?"
Ding Lingdang somewhat discontentedly stared at him as she found the strange look in Li Yao's eyes.
Li Yao's face suddenly flushed red. Instantly, he turned his gaze at the hologram as he changed the topic in a panic. "I'm looking at your work. Recently, you have been so busy. Are you starting a lot of new courses? Hey, 'All-Freshmen Interdepartmental Thunderbolt Cup'? What is this? The winner will be awarded...10— 10,000 credits!"
Suddenly Li Yao sprang from the ground. Half of the bowl of noodles even fell of his chest. Nevertheless, he didn't even care to clean up his mess as he anxiously shoved his head towards the hologram.
"Freshman tournament... the winner will be awarded 10,000 credits? Awesome, I want to register! I am going to register now!"
Li Yao began to dance with joy.
Ding Lingdang forcibly pushed him back. She was angry and found it funny as well.
"Don't get excited, first take a look clearly. This interdepartmental match is a group match where each student union has to act as one unit. It is not an individual match. I admit that you are strong, but you are the only student of the Refining Department. How are you going to participate?"
"Based on student union? There are no individual matches?"
All of a sudden, cold water had been poured over his excitement.
"That's right, in accordance with previous years’ conduct, it's a match between the freshmen of two student unions in the Combat Department, the Chaos Edge Hall and the Iron Fist Club. Both sides will choose their best 1,000 freshmen and carry out a contest."
"And as I am a new professor, I'm mainly responsible for freshmen's chores. Also, I am relatively familiar with the situation, so I am one of the staff for this year's tournament. This is the reason why I have been swamped with work recently."
The All-Freshmen Interdepartmental Thunderbolt Cup was the traditional tournament of the Grand Desolate War Institution. It had been going on for a few decades already.
Its purpose was to allow the freshmen to display the results of their first year of cultivation at the Institute, while also allowing various sects to select geniuses in the process.
On another note, it also served as the competition to decide how resources would be allocated next year.
The main sources of income for the Grand Desolate War Institution were the multitudes of combat sects who revered martial arts. They provided a lot of resources, and obviously, they would want their resources to be spent on the strongest department.
Since the beginning, the Thunderbolt Cup had been sponsored by the Devil Fist Sect, the Hundred Saber Alliance, and a few dozen other famous combat sects of the Wasteland. During the tournament, a real-life combat scenario was simulated and the winner would take all!
In short, the Thunderbolt Cup was a way for the two student unions of the Combat Department to compete for the annual resources. The tournament was specifically tailor-made for them.
According to the rules, other departments could participate too. As long as they were strong enough, they could get the sponsorship of numerous combat sects.
However, in combat, how could other departments compete with the Iron Fist Club or the Chaos Edge Hall?
They would simply be tidied up in minutes.
Ever since the first decade or so, where some departments took part in the tournament to try to gain some undue advantage only to end up last, for the last three decades, there had been fewer departments registering for the Thunderbolt Cup.
Over time, the Thunderbolt Cup turned into a civil war between two student unions from the Combat Department.
Li Yao was immersed in magical equipment all day. He simply had no free time. Therefore, it was quite normal for him to be completely ignorant of the details of the Thunderbolt Cup.
Having gained some knowledge of the details, Li Yao sank into deep thought.
As he wracked his brain, Li Yao thoughtfully asked:
"According to the rules, student unions of all departments can participate in the Thunderbolt Cup. The upper limit for people from any one union is 1000. However, there is no lower limit.”
"As long as one wins, he or she could get 10,000 credits, which would be subsequently divided among the participants."
"In short, I, as the president of Refining Department's student union, have all the qualifications to register for the tournament. And as long as I win, I alone could enjoy all 10,000 credits, for I'll be the only student from the Refining Department who would be taking part in the tournament."
"Theoretically, that's right!"
Ding Lingdang snappily said, "The problem is, there would be 1,000 participants from the Iron Fist Club and 1,000 participants from Chaos Edge Hall. My smart little brother, do tell me, how are you going to compete? How are you going to knock out all 2,000 opponents?"