Li Yao's actions finished with a flash. What everyone saw from afar was just a lightly fluttering paper napkin. Before the napkin even landed on the table, it was picked up and laid down flat on the table.
As Jiang Shaoyang took two steps forwards, he furtively observed and saw 144 holes pricked by the toothpick at the center of a square napkin that were evenly distributed across twelve vertical and horizontal lines to form a square whose borders ran parallel to that of the napkin. At first glance, it seemed no different than a pre-printed pattern.
Jiang Shaoyang was struck by a lightning, his face devoid of any blood in the blink of an eye.
"144 holes made using a toothpick on an incomparably soft, fluttering paper napkin within a second!? Maybe... I could also do it.
"However, the 144 holes would not be so evenly distributed to the point that the distance between each hole is exactly the same, forming a perfect square.
"This requires amazing computation ability and terrifying hand-to-eye coordination to do it!
"So, this is his true strength!
"Yesterday, this monster was holding back a bit!"
At this point, Li Yao also felt someone hot standing behind him. As he turned his head to look, the shiny bald head of Jiang Shaoyang had scared the hell out of him.
"You change your style? Not bad, quite an attitude! Have you eaten? If not, let's eat together!"
Jiang Shaoyang kept staring at him as he bit his lips to the point he was bleeding. After a long while, he said, stressing each word, "Senior Brother Li Yao, see you later!"
Having finished, he turned around in a rigid manner no different than a robot before retracing his steps back.
"What the hell?" Li Yao scratched his disheveled hair; a puzzled look covered his face.
'Last night, didn't this guy say he'd have a duel with me in the morning? Why does it look like he has taken a big blow?'
Even when he was defeated yesterday, he didn't look so crestfallen.
The gloomy look in his eyes was simply as though Li Yao had taken his girlfriend.
"What the hell!"
The Deep Sea University examinees were a million times more at a loss than Li Yao. One by one, they tugged their hair; they were simply unable to understand what had transpired.
A second ago, Jiang Shaoyang wanted to take revenge, he seemed to have been possessed by the devil; the murderous intention emanating from him clouded the sky and covered the earth.
That indomitable and unstoppable attitude devoid anyone of the slightest bit of doubt that Li Yao wouldn't be steamrolled by him, and it could also be considered as venting the suffocating feeling in their hearts.
After all, because of yesterday's defeat, God knows how many examinees were secretly mocking them. Particularly, the rival examinees from the Star Nebula University and the Federation's First Military College, they, even more so, did not have any intention to conceal their gloating.
They had been waiting for Jiang Shaoyang to use a brilliant victory to slap these people's faces swollen!
Unexpectedly, after having stood behind Li Yao for a few minutes and saying a few words, Jiang Shaoyang's overwhelmingly imposing attitude disappeared like a puff of smoke, and he withdrew dejectedly.
"Shaoyang, what happened? Didn't you wanted to go over and challenge Li Yao?! Why aren't you challenging him?" several Deep Sea University examinees asked, dissatisfied.
Jiang Shaoyang replied, dispiritedly, "The challenge is over."
A vacant look appeared in Jiang Shaoyang's eyes, yet there was also some sort of strange excitement too, as he muttered, "I lost again.
"If we say, yesterday's competition also had some element of luck, that Senior Brother Li Yao only won because he had laid some traps for me to walk right into it.
"Then today was completely due to the difference in strength. I was completely steamrolled by him!
"Nevertheless, it's pretty good. Senior Brother Li Yao has shown me clearly that once someone's will to fight has soared to 1,000%, their state can soar terrifyingly high too!
"We have many years ahead of us!"
Having finished speaking, the gloominess and sense of loss on Jiang Shaoyang's face were completely swept away. What replaced them was a resolution so strong it seemed he could kill tigers and dragons, behead gods, and slaughter devils. A power that could crush mountains and rivers in his path from the depths of his every cell emerged, the sun was rekindled!
With his head high and chest out, he walked out of the mess hall in large strides.
Leaving behind hundreds of Deep Sea University examinees who were soon about to go crazy.
"Did I hear it correctly!?
"Jiang Shaoyang has become so frightening overnight that his ultimate hand speed had improved by some 11%!
"Yet he had been defeated by Li Yao?!
"And it took only a second for Jiang Shaoyang to be convinced thoroughly to the point that he even said that he was completely steamrolled!? This is simply—
"Within in a span of one second, how in the bloody hell did they compete!? How did they even compete!?"
These people were outstanding members of the refiners' community, they were crowned with the title of 'genius' in their respective hometowns, yet they were scratching their heads as their faces flushed red to ears; they were on the brink of collapsing.
In their eyes, the quietly sitting Li Yao who was 'slurping' the soy milk and taking a bite of meat bun seemed to have his entire body covered in scales as wings, fangs, and talons emerged, an intense demonic energy was circling around him; he was a monster out and out!
After a while...
The message of authentication completion was announced.
All the examinees who had passed received a resplendent emblem, representing that they had officially become a refiner and joined the refiners' circle which is one of the strongest careers in the world of cultivation.
Following which, a couple dozen carriers returned the examinees to their respective cities.
Three of these carriers flew towards the largest city in the eastern hemisphere, the Deep Sea City.
When they landed at the Deep Sea City, it was already midnight.
The Deep Sea University stood toweringly at the corner of Deep Sea City. It occupied a quarter of the city's total area. The brightly illuminated rows upon rows of buildings, a part even extending to under the sea, along with the resplendent reflection on the sea, seemed no different to a paradise.
On a floating mountain dotted with rocks, giant trees, and waterfalls, Supernova Jiang Sheng was wholeheartedly enjoying a battle between two puppet warbeasts.
It was the previous day's duel between Li Yao's Tarantula and Jiang Shaoyang's Wolf King.
Jiang Shaoyang watched quietly with a deadpan look on his face.
Even when the Tarantula's weird tail plunged ruthlessly into the Wolf King, he didn't bat an eye even the slightest bit.
Until when the entire Wolf King had been destroyed into fragments did he turned his head and asked a dark skin girl standing nearby; she didn't even appear to have crossed thirty, "If it were you, how would you deal with this puppet warbeast?"
This lady's name was Yuan Yexue, she was Jiang Sheng's true disciple, and one of the Novem Stellae.
Jiang Sheng had put a lot of effort into developing the Novem Stellae. According to their various characteristics and talents, he trained nine teenaged experts with different methods. Each of them possessed all kinds of marvelous skills.
Among them, Yuan Yexue was a refiner who specialized in puppet warbeasts. Not only was she specialized in crafting them, controlling them was also her forte.
In the battlefield, she alone was capable of controlling ten puppet warbeasts simultaneously and could unleash their battle force to the maximum. She was an out and out warbeast expert.
Yuan Yexue pondered for a moment and said, "Shaoyang underestimated his opponent, since his opponent had such tyrannical ability to modify, there was no reason for such big defects to be left out in clear sight involuntarily. They were definitely traps!
"If it was me, I would have launched attacks from the front, where the Tarantula's armor was thickest! Although the armor was thick, the cross-shaped crystal eye track was its lethal weakness!
"I would have torn down the front armor along the crystal eye tracks, and directly smashed the main crystal processor!
"Of course, even if the tactic was to be successful, I cannot also guarantee I will certainly win. The Tarantula had indeed been modified correctly. Li Yao is really formidable!"
Jiang Shang heaved a sigh and said, "An accomplished disciple owes his accomplishment to his great teacher. Senior Sister Yuan's only disciple is sure to be impressive. I wanted to recruit him from the very beginning, alas, he rejected me. It is really regrettable!"
Yuan Yexue's eyebrows twitched as she said in a rather unconvinced tone, "Teacher, although the terrific skills he had displayed didn't conform with his age, and is far better than an ordinary student's, however, our Deep Sea University has an abundance of geniuses. Many of them are also far better than him! Which one of the Novem Stellae isn't better than him?"
Jiang Sheng said, sneering, "I'm not feeling regretful for the Deep Sea University, I am feeling deeply regretful for him. Such a talented seedling's future has been destroyed just because of his own impulsiveness and capriciousness!
"It is true that he is somewhat talented, however, staying in a place like the Grand Desolate War Institution and taking the wrong path of refining, will slowly destroy his good talent!
"I truly can't understand what both master and apprentice are actually thinking. First, it was Senior Sister Yuan, and now it's Li Yao, why have they not joined the Deep Sea University which has such a good environment!? Why must they plunge themselves into the limitless Wasteland!? They are simply crazy!"
At this moment, heavy footsteps resounded from outside before a travel-worn Jiang Shaoyang appeared.
Yuan Yexue welcomed him.
She had long received the news; she wasn't surprised by the bald Jiang Shaoyang. She said, smiling, "I heard that this time you have encountered a rare rival. And although you lost, you received enlightenment and your hand speed improved by 11.3% overnight!?"
Jiang Shaoyang nodded slightly and stepped forward. With bright and shiny eyes, he directly gazed at Jiang Sheng as he came straight to the point without the least bit of nonsense, "Uncle, I am already a registered refiner, how should I train now?"
Both uncle and nephew were a pair of fanatics who were obsessed with the road of refining. Even when they spoke, they didn't have the slightest bit of emotions.
Jiang Sheng pulled up a dense schedule on the hologram and said coldly, "Becoming a registered refiner is just the beginning. For the next part, I have arranged twenty-seven projects for you. You can choose one or a few, it's all up to you. You will join them as an assistant researcher and slowly accumulate experience and increase your knowledge.
"However, whichever project you choose, you must accept the test of the project leader. The test will be highly difficult. Even if you are my nephew, there won't be any nepotism, it will only be tougher."
Jiang Shaoyang took a glance at the schedule and showed an as-expected look on his face as he smiled.
He took out an envelope from his chest pocket and handed it over respectfully.
Jiang Sheng took to look and his countenance changed before he said, "An application to withdraw from university? Why!?"
"Because I have seen the peak."
Jiang Shaoyang stated calmly, "Uncle, I've grown up in the Deep Sea University and seen many experts of Refining Department as well as the road they are taking. Now I am also taking the very same road. It's tantamount to conquering a mountain with visible peak. It's not the least bit challenging or delightful."
"So, I am preparing to leave the Deep Sea University and look for an invisible peak, towering into the clouds. Even if there is no peak at all, then I will tread upon the high mountains of the endless galaxy and conquer them!"
"Shaoyang, are you crazy!" exclaimed Yuan Yexue.
"How can you leave Deep Sea University? We, Novem Stellae, have been looking forward to you joining us. You are publicly recognized as the Tenth Star!"
Jiang Shaoyang smiled and revealed his sharp teeth as he said, stressing his each and every word, "Senior Sister Yuan, I have always been meaning to tell you something that I have been holding in my heart, I can finally say it to you.
"I never like the title 'Tenth Star', I did not like it at all.
"In the eyes of others, it seems standing side by side with you is a very glorious thing, but as far as I'm concerned, I don't like standing side by side with anyone, more importantly, I don't like those stars which can be found anywhere in the entire sky.
"I am not a star."
Jiang Shaoyang knocked his shiny bald head and said softly, "I am the Sun."