Chapter 297 - Extreme Tests
"Mustard suit, ready!"
Li Yao opened his arms. Four artificial hands put a suit as thin as the wing of a cicada on him.
With a telepathic thought, spiritual energy was triggered. The mustard suit started glimmering slowly as if it were a layer of silver-grey liquid and stuck close to every inch of his body, highlighting the lines of muscles.
A mustard suit was made of countless pieces of super-mini magical equipment the size of mustard seeds. Although it was very thin, it could significantly increase the defense ability and enhance the spiritual energy of the wearer, with a performance that could be compared to the best battle armor.
Mustard suit inside and crystal suit outside made the best magical equipment match for the Cultivators of the Star Glory Federation.
"Crystal suit, ready!"
Four artificial hands picked up the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit from the container and moved it before Li Yao.
The front side of the crystal suit opened like the blossom of a flower. Crimson colors were gleaming from inside of the suit, which were dangerously attractive.
Li Yao lifted one of his fingers and touched the inside of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit. He immediately felt a vague pulse of spiritual energy.
As if alive, the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit enveloped him in the gentlest way.
Countless data streams poured down in Li Yao's brain.
With a humming sound, his brain was connected to the crystal processor. He felt that he now had a whole new body.
"Dressing completed. Connection stable. No stinging or discordance."
While he was speaking, he tried walking a few steps. The feedback from his feet was timely, clear, and precise. Even the slightest bump on the ground could be felt, as if he were walking on pebbles without shoes.
He punched twice casually. There were immediately blurred shadows and noises of the air being torn apart.
He was not using half of his strength, yet the punches had almost reached sonic speed!
He felt extremely delighted. Taking a deep breath, his eyes bulged as he set off his spiritual energy that had been suppressed for a long time with 'Soaring into Heaven in One Leap', his Soul Igniting Law.
5th level of the Refinement Stage! 6th level of the Refinement Stage! 7th level of the Refinement Stage!
Li Yao's strength kept improving!
After absorbing the six drops of blood of the mutant lion dragon, Li Yao's spiritual energy had turned into light grey with a bit of dark gold, which was then intensified by several times by the enhancement rune arrays on the crystal suit. It flowed all over Li Yao's body and formed two spiritual energy wings that were almost ten meters long in his back. In the end, a ferocious eagle flew out of his body and landed on the top of his head, shrieking to declare its existence.
Spiritual energy flowing out of the body and taking form of other objects was a sign of the Cultivators at the peak of the Refinement Stage!
Some time ago, Fiend Blade Peng Hai and Ding Lingdang had fought against each other in Small Grayfield with the strength of the peak of the Refinement Stage. Such a splendor had appeared at that time too, which had amazed Li Yao.
Now, two years later, with the enhancement of the crystal suit, he finally reached the level where Fiend Blade Peng Hai and Ding Lingdang had once been!
"Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!"
Li Yao's body turned into a grey mist, as he was doing a hundred small-scale dodging movements
Then he dashed forward to the front of a test target like a ghost, squatted, and punched into the target hard!
The power rune arrays on his back burst out dark red colors. The spiritual energy eagle over his head was absorbed by Li Yao's right arm and turned into swirling and roaring tornado, before it hit into the test target like a giant drill.
A scaring big hole appeared on the back of the test target, through which countless magical equipment components erupted and fell to the ground with cracking sounds.
Everyone was dazzled by Li Yao's action, including Yuan Manqiu.
"The vertebral column is too tight. It felt unsmooth when I was doing sharp turns. We can make some adjustment there.
"Or, we can set up two modes. For those who are good at long-range combats with flying swords, the vertebral column can be tighter; for those who are good at melee combats, the vertebral column can be looser, so that their body movements will be easier."
Li Yao shook his arms and examined the fist that he punched with. He continued, "Strength feedback and enhancement are good. However, the fists felt sloppy when approaching sonic speed. The plate armor of the arms should be redesigned by adding a few air paths to stabilize the fist and increase its speed.
"Besides, this test target is too unsolid. I barely touched it and it has already broken. How can the ultimate strength of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit be tested out by that? Let's get some better targets!"
Nobody answered him; there was just silence. Everybody at the scene was looking at each other in bewilderment.
They had been aware that besides being a refiner, Li Yao was also a reasonably good battle-type Cultivation.
But during their months of cooperation, Li Yao had only demonstrated his talent in refining. He had never shown his performance in a fight.
So, as time went by, all the refiners had forgotten how brutal Li Yao was, until today!
Some of them had doubted whether or not Li Yao was capable enough as a test pilot and insisted that they should hire a professional and experienced Exo for the testing.
But now that they saw Li Yao's performance, their doubts were no more.
Yuan Manqiu's voice was shaking. "Aren't you at the 8th level of the Refinement Stage? Even with the enhancement of the crystal suit, you should still be below the 12th level. The test target can withstand a full-strength strike of a Cultivator at the 13th level. How on earth did you blow it apart? Which level are you at right now?"
Li Yao was dazed for a moment. He didn't know that he accidentally wielded such strength out of excitement.
However, it had been months since the trip to the Dark Desolate Domain. Even though he showed extraordinary strength, he could still claim that it was because he had trained and advanced a lot during the past months.
Figuring out an excuse, Li Yao said, "11th level of the Refinement Stage."
Everyone on the spot gasped.
11th level of the Refinement Stage was often the criterion to determine the best graduates. Hua Tianxiong, president of the Iron Fist Club, and Xu Ge, president of the Chaos Edge Hall, arrived at the 11th level of the Refinement Stage after five years of hard work in the Grand Desolate War Institution.
Li Yao was only a sophomore, and he'd already reached the level of graduates? Incredible!
However, it was not very unacceptable, considering that he had earned 40,000 credits within one year, which none of the students in the history of the Grand Desolate War Institution had ever achieved.
Seeing everyone's shocked face, Li Yao said 'sorry' in his mind.
He was lying.
He was not at the 11th level of the Refinement Stage.
He had been already at the 11th level of the Refinement Stage when he returned from the Dark Desolate Domain. Since then, he had been training crazily and recalling the brutal battles in the Dark Desolate Domain. What's more, he'd found some catalysts to refine a marrow crystal and absorbed all the spiritual energy contained inside. Finally, he advanced yet another time in a moonlit evening to the 12th level of the Refinement Stage.
However, he hadn't fully digested the spirit energy contained in the marrow crystal yet, most of which was still hiding in his limbs and organs. He felt that he was improving greatly every day after his training. It was quite possible that he would break into the 13th level of the Refinement Stage at any time!
The marrow crystal was also one of the reasons why he could do training and refining day and night with barely any rest. He would've collapsed a long time ago without it.
Yuan Manqiu was dazed for a moment. Then she smiled.
"Excellent. I was worrying that you might not be capable of several extreme tests. But as it turns out, we can add a few more tests for you now."
Li Yao clenched his fists, enjoying the amazing feeling of strength in his palms.
Dec. 3, Freezing Frost Realm, 12th test of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit.
It was a world fragment dominated by ice, snow, and piercing wind. The temperature was well below -100°C. Frigid clouds were floating in the air like dangerous demon beasts which would turn everything that they touched into an ice cube.
In the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit, Li Yao was running at a high speed on the ice sheet.
Under the attraction of spiritual energy surging out of his suit, dozens of frigid clouds flowed to him and casted a thick ice shell on the crystal suit.
Many rune arrays on the surface of the crystal suit were frozen. The dark red brilliance of the power rune arrays became intermittent.
Li Yao didn't bother with any of it. He sped up again. Running, punching, dodging, he turned into a grey blurred shadow bouncing up and down in the snow world, leaving a series of valuable data for future improvement.
"In the environment of -100°C. the general performance of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit was undermined by 17%, which was fairly good compared with the crystal suits of the same level. However, I feel that an ice piton is drilling my spine. It's probably because the gap of the plate armor in the back of the suit is too large to block the cold wind. This is something that needs to be improved!" Li Yao shouted, his lips blue.
Dec. 7, Fire Stream Realm, 37th test of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit.
This was a world fragment made by magma and steam with air that was full of poisonous gas. The temperature here was above 500°C all year around. No Cultivator could survive long in this place.
"BAM BAM! BAM BAM BAM BAM!"
In the middle of the Fire Stream Realm, there was a lone island surrounded by flowing magma.
Heated air was billowing in the space. Every now and then, a large cluster of magma would splash to the island due to collision of currents.
While dodging the magma, Li Yao was also punching a special heat-resistant test target. Sweat was pouring down from his forehead, but he felt extremely delighted.
Every micro adjustment of the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit had been made according to his combat style, making him feel that the crystal suit and his body was melting into one.
Beside the magma lake, in a special heat-proof room, Yuan Manqiu spoke to Bai Yede and other refiners, after a long silence, "I have discovered that it was wrong to ask Li Yao to be the test pilot."
Bai Yede smiled bitterly.
"You mean Li Yao is so excellent that we can't tell whether his amazing performance is boosted by the Mystic Skeleton Battlesuit or based on his own insane body strength, right?"
Yuan Manqiu said unemotionally, "I have no doubt that he could survive in the Freezing Frost Realm and the Fire Stream Realm without the crystal suit and perhaps live a good life!"