Chapter 92 - From out the Boiler Room Came the Champion!
Li Yao was indeed repairing the boiler.
In the entire Star Glory Federation, he was one of the examinees who had completed their college entrance examination early; it only took him three hours to complete all the examination questions. And immediately after, he had left the examination chamber without any delay.
There were still two hours before the college entrance examination was over. In the meantime, Li Yao chose to wander around. With his hands behind his back, he leisurely strolled around the campus. Unknowingly, he had arrived at an abandoned bath house behind the school.
When the Limestone District was in its most prosperous period, the Mining Clan High School once had more than 10,000 students. And in the residential area behind the school, a large bathhouse was built to provide students convenience in their free time. During holidays, it was even open to the community.
However, the Limestone District gradually declined with the depletion of the lodes as the number of Mining Clan High School students became fewer and fewer over time. Hence, as the number of people who came to take a bath was low, heating a large pool of water for a handful of people was simply too uneconomical. It was unknown when it began, but the bathhouse has been closed since.
After being unattended for several decades, the boiler room which was responsible for providing heat to the bathhouse was laden with rust and covered in spider webs and dust.
Through the broken window, Li Yao casually swept a glance inside the boiler room. His eyes suddenly lit up as his line of sight transfixed upon a pitch black boiler.
In the boiler room, he discovered a towering boiler which had been manufactured nine or so decades ago — the "Fire Bear" Boiler. This type of boiler was one of the first civilian magical equipment that utilized 3-dimensional array architect. The core of the boiler was enclosed in two layers flame array glyphs, consisting of an upper and a lower layer. These two layer acted as a cooling system that made it possible to remove any potential excess heat energy in a steady stream, thereby allowing the temperature to remain extremely stable. Its structure was a classic.
Previously, Li Yao had seen the schematics of this type of boiler only in a book; he never had the chance to lay his eyes upon it.
As a magical equipment fanatic, naturally, he would not miss such a great opportunity.
The door to the boiler room simply wasn't locked. Its hinges had all become rusty. Li Yao exerted his strength to push open the door.
With a loud crash, the door was forcibly opened, causing the dust in the boiler room to swirl around in the air as bats and small birds flew out.
Some of the bird poop had even landed on Li Yao's head.
Li Yao simply didn't pay any attention to all of these things. His pair of eyes shone like a rat who had discovered a sack of rice. Ignoring everything else, he swooped over and hugged the "Fire Bear" Boiler as he began to research the boiler with rapt attention.
For the entirety of three or so hours, he was completely immersed in the wonderful world of magical equipment.
Although the Fire Bear Boiler was a magical equipment from almost a century ago, its double-layer array structure was astonishingly mysterious. A total of 36 fire array glyphs were connected through over a hundred very fine crystal wires. It could even be said that just moving a single wire could affect the entire structure. Completely immersed within it, every design left an unforgettable memory in Li Yao's mind.
Unconsciously, Li Yao had bent down and crawled his way into the boiler. His face, his hands, and his entire body was covered in oil. His entire body was dirty and dusty; the only thing left untainted were his two rows of neat and tidy white teeth. He could not get any more unkempt than his current state.
His eyes, on the other hand, were getting brighter and brighter. His ten fingers as gentle as a goose feather lightly whisked the crystal wire, as if he were a world-renowned zitherist lightly playing the zither and creating a beautiful tune.
Vaguely, he seemed to grasp the essence of the 3-dimensional array structure. In his eyes, the components of the huge boiler gradually turned translucent; within the depths of his mind, the large boiler was continuously being disassembled before being reassembled into its working state.
"So it was like this — this is completely ingenious! The dissipating fire-type spiritual energy is collected again in order to lower the amount of wasted spiritual energy. This design is truly a work of art!" Li Yao clucked his tongue in marvel.
"Student Li Yao? Student Li Yao? Li Yao!"
Principal Mao ran with a red flush that extended from his face to his neck. Standing at the entrance of the boiler room, he leaned on his knees as he gasped for breath for a good while. He shouted for several times, but it was all in vain as he didn't receive a single response. He was truly unable to catch Li Yao's attention. He took a look around before picking up a wooden torch and lightly poked Li Yao’s ass with it.
"Student Li Yao!"
"Wait! Principal Mao, whatever it is, it can wait. I will soon figure it out… so it was like this, so it was like this… this is too formidable! Why didn't I think of this sooner!? Originally, these three crystal wires were working in conjunction!"
Li Yao slapped his thigh. Without turning around, he said in excitement, "Principal, can you wait again? I'm absolutely sure that I can fix this boiler — it will be as good as new!"
Principal Mao didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He yelled, "Li Yao! It's getting late. You still want to repair this boiler? Quickly come out now. You have to give interviews. You are Floating Spear City's champion of the college entrance examination!"
"Don't yell. The echoes inside the boiler room make my head hurt. Whatever it is, it can wait for me. Let's talk about it after I repair the boiler. Even the college entrance exam's cham... what? I am the college entrance exam's champion!?"
Inside the boiler, Li Yao let out a wolfish howl and jumped in excitement.
But soon after, the entire boiler room started shaking as the dust accumulated upon the beams of the room fell and covered the whole boiler room.
Li Yao had forgotten that he was still inside the boiler. His head violently collided with the steel plates as a bulge soon appeared on the boiler as well as on his head.
Li Yao did not care about the pain. Holding his head, he crawled out of the boiler and took two deep breaths as he collected himself. He grabbed Principal Mao's shoulder and started shaking him. "Principal, am I really Floating Spear City's champion of the college entrance exam?"
"Hey hey hey, can’t you spare my old bones? Won't you know after checking the net?" Tears of pain trickled down from Principal Mao's eyes.
Li Yao immediately let go and somewhat embarrassingly scratched his head, thereby sprinkling the dust from his messy hair. Starting up the crystal processor, he opened the page dedicated to the college entrance examination. Entering his student ID before clicking to confirm, his score and ranking soon floated up on the display.
"Floating Spear City's Mining Clan High School Li Yao, College Entrance Examination total score - 781, Spiritual Root Development Quotient - 92%, final score - 718.52, citywide first!"
Li Yao's excitement had reached its peak. He even did three backflips before jumping three feet high into the air as he violently sent out a punch mid-air!
"I did it!"
"In one month, I, a waste with a Spiritual Root Development Quotient of 7%, has once again become a cultivation genius with a Spiritual Root Development Quotient of 92%. And I had also won the title of ‘Floating Spear City's Champion of the College Entrance Examination’!"
"I didn't disappoint Sun Biao, Peng Hai, Ding Lingdang, Grandpa Wang, and Principal Mao's expectation!"
"The most important thing is that I'm one step closer to my dream. With this score, I can pick any one of the Nine Elite Universities!"
"Student Li Yao, calm down. There are hundreds of reporters waiting outside to get your interview. Don't get excited. Calm down, you have to be calm!" Principal Mao said in a trembling voice.
He was asking Li Yao to remain calm, yet his appearance revealed the opposite of anything but calm; he appeared as though he had been injected with a large dosage of some stimulant. From his neck to his ear, his face was flushed red. His arms, his legs, and even his entire body was trembling; he was excited to the extreme.
The College Entrance Examination Champion, ah! Since the establishment of Floating Spear City's Mining Clan High School, for over a century, let alone the College Entrance Examination Champion, not a single student had appeared within the top thousand. How could Principal Mao remain calm? How could he be calm and collected?
If not for his old and frail body, he too would not be able to contain himself and would somersault a few times like Li Yao!
Upon hearing Principal Mao’s words, Li Yao took a long, deep breath as he forcefully rubbed his cheeks and muttered to himself, "Calm down, calm down. It's just Floating Spear City's champion of the college entrance exam. I will become a Master Refiner in the future. My name will move the Federation and shake the entire Heaven Origin Sector. How can I lose my bearing just from such a small scene? That’s too embarrassing..."
As he spoke these words, a calm smile emerged on Li Yao's face. His pitch black face was accompanied by shining white teeth, just like a fool.
Noticing that Li Yao was a little complacent, Principal Mao reminded him, "Student Li Yao, I heard some reporters speak and it appears that they seem to be very interested in the relationship between you and the Crimson Nimbus Second Senior High School. When you talk to them, you need to be careful of what you say. Try not to offend others. After all, we do not have any deep-rooted hatred. It would not be very good to completely shed all pretenses of cordiality, do you understand?"
Upon hearing the words “Crimson Nimbus Second Senior High School”, Li Yao was surprised for a moment. The smile on his face disappeared as two strange glints flashed through his eyes. In large strides, he left the boiler room.
Like a bunch of uncontrollable, wild dogs, a large group of reporters vied with each other as they rushed over to the boiler room.
"Student Li Yao! Student Li Yao! Please give us an interview!"
Li Yao immediately collected himself as he quickly drew a draft in his mind. After a second, he proudly raised his head and went ahead to welcome the reporters.
He gave a cough to clear his throat. Just as he wanted to speak, the large group of reporters walked right past him as if they hadn't seen him. Like a river met with a reef, they automatically separated to either of his sides and went around him.
"Student Li Yao, where are you? Please come out to give me an interview!"
A slightly embarrassed Li Yao raised his right hand. "I'm here!"
"Where? We don't see you, Student Li Yao!"
The large group of reporters surrounded Li Yao. A few dozen of them doubtfully gazed at Li Yao as they measured Li Yao from head to toe. Not one of them paid attention to him.
The reporters couldn't be blamed for being as blind as a bat. In fact, Li Yao's current appearance was far from the most anticipated "College Entrance Examination Champion".
He looked as if he had been digging for coal for three straight days and nights. His hair was a mess, and he also had a bulge at the center of his head. The bird poop that had fallen on his shoulder was starkly visible. Only god knows when his clothes had snagged onto some rusted part of the boiler, causing it to tear a large hole on his clothes. Apparently, he could not become even more unkempt than he already was and could not look any more miserable.
For almost half a minute, the reporters looked at each other before their line of sight gradually gathered on Li Yao. With some hesitation, a female reporter took out a handkerchief from her purse and handed it over to Li Yao. "Are... are you Student Li Yao?"
Li Yao expressed his gratitude and took the handkerchief as he forcefully wiped his face for a few seconds. After having wiped his face, his appearance looked slightly better, yet remnants of dirt and oil were still smeared all over his face; his facial features were barely recognizable.
Li Yao was a celebrity in Floating Spear City and many reporters had seen him at the hospital when he was in the coma. The monicker "Fleeting Fiend Star" had come out from one of the journalist's hand.
Immediately, someone shouted, "Yes, that’s Li Yao!"
Upon hearing that, the eyes of all the reporters began shining. Once again, they scrambled to surround him as they thrust their crystal mics that were like eight feet long snake spears toward Li Yao one by one. The female reporter who had given him the handkerchief was in the forefront and got the advantage. Wrapping her arms around Li Yao's shoulder, she placed a crystal mic between them.
"Student Li Yao, your performance in this year's college entrance examination can be described as completely shocking. It was as if you had been possessed by some devil or god. You have made a complete reversal, shocking the hell out of everyone! Everyone is very curious about you. However, what we are most concerned about is — why did you drop out of Crimson Nimbus Second Senior High School and come to this no-name school? As you know, Crimson Nimbus Second Senior High School is a famous school within Floating Spear City. Every year, its overall strength is in the top three, while Mining Clan High School has been at the bottom of the list for the past few decades. If I may, can you tell us if there’s some underlying reason for all of this!"