Chapter 258 - Home with Windfalls
The Bloody Blade Battlesuit was completely ruined. Its crystal processor had lost most of its functions, but the time module was working, which showed that a day and a night had passed.
"The infiltration squad must've left by now."
Li Yao pulled the crystal processor of the Bloody Blade Battlesuit out and packed it up with the three forbidden scales in what was left of his clothes. He picked up his crescent saber and scrambled out.
Very soon, he came across fallen rocks that blocked his way.
After he advanced to the 11th level of the Refinement Stage, Li Yao's senses became much more acute than before. He unleashed hundreds of spiritual threads which found their way into the crevices of the rocks. The feedback indicated that the blockage was not thick and it was empty outside without any sign of the demons.
Li Yao pressed both of his hands against the rocks. Taking a deep breath, Li Yao jerked and pushed them. It looked like a spiritual eagle with lion paws and dragon tail flew out of his body, which razed everything in its way. An corridor was immediately created.
"This is the strength of the high level of the Refinement Stage? Nice!"
Li Yao jumped out of the dust and reached the center of the cave.
"The power of the explosion is indeed formidable."
Watching the messed-up cave that was beyond all recognition, Li Yao was startled.
There was an intense scent of blood in the air. The demons had all been blown into pieces and melted into rocks. Many of them were deprived of their pretension, revealing their true selves which were ghastly demon beasts.
"So many valuable trophies!"
Li Yao's heart was beating fast. There was greed in his eyes.
Among the remnants of the demon beasts, he didn't sense the existence of the demon kings, neither did he know whether or not the young master, Wang Ji, had been killed.
But why did they leave the bodies of their companions to rot in open air instead of burying them?
They were demon generals from the Blood Demon Sector, elite warriors of the demon civilization. Their bones, essence, and scales were of much higher quality than those of the wild demon beasts. Some of them even carried magical equipment of the Blood Demon Sector, which, although mostly damaged, was still very valuable in Li Yao's eyes.
Li Yao's eyebrows twisted a bit, because he felt an eccentric scent from under the piles of rocks. He dug down and found a snake-shape dagger with crooked runes that looked like a distorted ghost face, which was blood-freezing at first glance.
"A Soul Stealer!"
Li Yao was dazed for a moment. He knew that something must've happened to the infiltration squad, otherwise there was no way that they would abandon magical equipment as precious as a Soul Stealer.
The Soul Stealer had been covered by a layer of dust due to the explosion. There were several cracks on it from which black smoke was popping up.
However, Li Yao didn't dare to underestimate it. He bit the tip of his tongue and spit the blood out into a mist. Waving his right hand through the mist in a particular posture, he guided the blood mist into the Soul Stealer.
A crimson light dashed from his fingers to the Soul Stealer.
What he had just performed was the unique probe technique of the Hundred Smelting Clan for taking over magical equipment.
For evil magical equipment such as the Soul Stealer, it was possible that its master had set security constraints on it. If one touched it without preparation, they might be devoured by the magical equipment. It would be best to run a test first.
But there was nothing abnormal about the crimson light after it flowed around the Soul Stealer for an entire circle; there was not even the slightest reaction of spiritual energy.
"It means that the former master of the Soul Stealer has died. It is currently unowned.
"Weird. The master of the Soul Stealer can only be either Wang Ji or the demon kings. None of them are likely to have been killed by the blast."
Li Yao put the Soul Stealer into his pocket and decided to study how to refine it after he returned.
Turning back, he found it troublesome to deal with the twenty demon bodies.
"There are so many precious items here. How can I take them all?"
After pondering for a while, he decided to check the situation outside the cave first. Maybe he could knit some ropes with the fiber from the demonic plants and weave a large baggage with beast hide.
His loading capability was amazing anyway. If he couldn't take all of them, he could always pick out the more precious ones.
Li Yao crawled out of the cave carefully.
It was a peaceful night outside with a bright moon and few stars, as if the thunderstorm yesterday were just a nightmare.
The time of rendezvous had long passed. It was possible that Mao Feng and the other instructors had started searching. But since he was deep inside the Thunder Sound Mountain, the spiritual signals were blocked by the mountains.
Li Yao tried a few times. There was nothing but background noise in the communication channel. He still couldn't contact the outside world.
Right then, he smelled a thin scent of demonic energy, which caused goose flesh all over his body.
After searching carefully for 10 minutes, he found a snake tail at the turn of a stream.
"It's just a small tail, and it already contained so much demonic energy. Maybe it belonged to a king-level demon. How on earth did it end up here?"
He weighed it in his hand and felt something wrong. Scrutinizing the tail, Li Yao soon discovered the reason.
After tearing off a layer of scales, Li Yao found a black iron ring gripping the flesh of the tail.
The iron ring seemed plain and was deeply embedded in the snake tail.
"Why would a demon king wear you for decades if you are an ordinary ring?"
Li Yao sneered. He dug the ring out of the tail with his dagger.
Since the flesh of the tail had already shrunk after it was cut off from the body, Li Yao separated the iron ring without much trouble.
Li Yao spit out another blood mist to test the iron ring and found it as irresponsive to spiritual energy as the Soul Stealer. Relieved, he held it in his hands to further investigate.
A moment later, Li Yao's eyes were sparkling in amazement.
He put the ring between two giant stones, pushed the stones into the stream and started rubbing them.
The stream turned dirty with bubbles popping up as if it was boiling.
Three minutes later, he raised the iron ring and aimed it at the moon. In moonlight, the iron ring looked like jade, spreading a mysterious aura, like a frozen ocean or a vast universe.
"Cosmos Ring! It is a Cosmos Ring!"
Li Yao felt he was going to pass out in happiness. There was indeed a silver lining behind each cloud. He'd got a treasure!
Cosmos Rings, together with Mustard Seed Bags, Object Containers, and Space Rings were all common storage magical equipment in the ancient Cultivation world.
But the refining procedures for such magical equipment were extremely complex and involved many rare materials that had been used up after thousands of years of consumption.
Back in the era of the Star Ocean Imperium, the storage magical equipment had been far more precious than ordinary magical equipment.
Right now in the Heaven's Origin Sector, all the storage magical equipment were all smuggled or exported from elsewhere by accident, since the technology for refining it had been lost after generations. Its value was too high for someone like Li Yao to afford.
A piece of storage magical equipment that contained a space of several cubic meters was more expensive than a common crystal suit.
Li Yao had never expected that he would own a Cosmos Ring even in his wildest dream.
"The Cosmos Ring looked dignified. The spiritual energy in it is not aggressive, but the runes carved on it do not lack the scent of killing and blood either. Judging from its style, it should be a piece of magical equipment refined in the era of the Star Ocean Imperium.
"At some point thousands of years later, a snake king grabbed it and wore it on its tail. But his tail was cut off and he was killed, allowing me to take all the benefits."
Li Yao's heart was beating like a drum. He sneaked back to the underground cave and sat cross-legged, with the Cosmos Ring in front of him.
Then, he rubbed his fingers and squeezed ten drops of blood from the tips of his finger.
As the saying goes, fingers are connected to the heart. There was spirituality in the fingertip blood of the Cultivators that was only inferior to the blood in their heart.
The blood from Li Yao's fingertip was transformed into ten long and narrow strings which tied the Cosmos Ring and penetrated in.
He was offering sacrifice to the Cosmos Ring by the ancient technique of the Hundred Smelting Clan.
Unlike evil equipment such as the Soul Stealer, the Cosmos Ring was peaceful in nature and utterly devoid of aggressiveness. As a product of the Star Ocean Imperium, its former owners had been mostly human beings. Therefore, it didn't reject Li Yao as its new master.
An hour later, Li Yao had basically gained control over the Cosmos Ring. He could see the operation menu of the ring in his brain right now.
The Cosmos Ring was divided into two zones by its former owner. One of them was sealed by a secret art, making it impossible to detect what was contained inside, let alone retrieving the items inside.
The other zone was empty, with a space of more than ten cubic meters.
"The space is enough for me right now. As for the sealed zone, I'll attack it with the most advanced, large-scale crystal processor after I return to the Grand Desolate War Institution. Such a small seal will be decrypted in no time!"
Li Yao was satisfied. Then he used the processing technique of the Hundred Smelting Clan to make the ring look even duller than previously, before he put the ring on his finger in relief.
Over the next day and night, Li Yao searched the cave carefully and stored the magical equipment and materials that the demons carried into the Cosmos Ring.
He was also surprised to find a lot of bones and paws of the mutant lion dragon, which were tough enough to survive the demon core explosion without being damaged at all. They would be perfect as raw materials to refine attack magical equipment.
Five days later, Li Yao was striding through the Thunderous Sound Mountain.
Since the weather was clear, he could distinguish directions by the location of the sun.
He had the crescent saber in hand, a demon beast detector in his ear, the crystal processor of the crystal suit behind his back and three forbidden scales in front of his chest.
The rest of the stuff had all been placed in the Cosmos Ring.
When he met a small number of demon beasts, he would slay them as training.
When he met a large number of demon beasts, he would took out the demon bones and demon core from the Cosmos Ring, which often immediately scared the beasts off.
Li Yao decided to keep what happened here a secret after much deliberation.
Not because he distrusted other people. It's just that he would be unable to explain why he remained sober after over-drinking the blood of the mutant lion dragon instead of being mentally corrupted and turning into a killing machine.
If he were to explain everything, he might have to bring Ou Yezi up.
This was Li Yao's biggest secret, which was also related to the source of his soul. He would rather no one know anything about it.
Since he was on foot and engaged in combat with demon beasts now and then, he was much slower than when he was in the crystal suit. It took three extra days before he walked out of the mountains and saw the splendid plateau again.
"Beep! Beep! Beep!"
Dozens of emergent calls crowded in the communication channel.
Li Yao turned back and looked at the dark and inky forest for one last time.
He had a feeling that Wang Ji was not dead yet.
"Next time we meet each other, it's going to be me who does the hunting, Wang Ji!"