Vulcan_Machine_Gun Li Yao is the protagonist of the novel Forty Millenniums of Cultivation. In the MangaToon translation of the Manhua, he is instead called Joe Li.
Li Yao was born and lived in Special Waste Treatment Plant No. 23 throughout his childhood. At some point during his early age, he found and saved an old man who in turn taught him how to refine artifacts and cemented his dream to become a Master Refiner. Upon the old man's death, he was given Black Wing. Later on, he enrolled and became a student at Crimson Nimbus Second and became friends with Meng Jiang.
Volume 1 (Chapters 1-438)
Through his reputation as someone who can repair Artifacts, Si Jiaxue paid him to repair a Crystal Processor that once belonged to a close relative of hers. Li Yao's interaction with her enraged Helian Lie who threatened him and called him trash. After this incident, Li Yao saw a strange old man get hit by a Crystal Train. Dying, the old man tried to possess him but failed. As a result, Li Yao gained some of the memories of Ou Yeming who was an Ancient Cultivator from 40 thousands years ago.
With these memories, Li Yao started to rapidly improve by utilizing the techniques that came from Ou Yeming's memories and later caught the eye of Sun Biao who previously trained Fiend Blade Peng Hai who by consequence is the hidden sparring partner at a cultivation gym he goes to. With hellish training from both sides, he was able to obtain a ticket to Devil Dragon Island to compete in the Limit Challenge Competition.
It was before the competition, Li Yao first met Ding Lingdang who offered to recruit him to the Grand Desolate War Institution due to his physique. During the competition, Li Yao performed exceptionally using his skills as a refiner to craft Artifacts to sell to other competitors and later his experience to eliminate a large number of them via sabotage which included Gao Ye, an enemy commander.
The climax of the competition however was when a violent storm passed over Devil Dragon Island. A competitor used this opportunity to attempt to consume an illegal doping drug only to be slain by a Demon Beast which in turn consumed it. It's performance heightened to the point it slain 7 competitors before chasing Zheng Dongming who stumbled onto Li Yao.
Li Yao and Zheng Dongming are forced to team up to deal with the Demon Beast, with the latter revealing to Li Yao that he was a Demonic Cultivator. After begging for his life, Li Yao decided to spare his life, only to be attacked by the mental attack from the Demon Beast who was still alive. The mental attack fortunately hit Ou Yeming who was hiding inside of his mind all this time.
However, the attack still caused Li Yao to fall into a coma before he was saved. Inside his mind, Li Yao discovered how Ou Yeming was waiting to take over his body after his first failure. The mental attack had destroyed his soul and left a tree of memories which Li Yao exploited to learn the Ancient Cultivator's techniques. Doing so consumed most his Actualization Quotient thanks to his soul weakening which caused others to think he was crippled by the events.
Waking up, Li Yao found himself to be abandoned by most of those who previously promised to support him before the Limit Challenge Competition and was even driven to leave Crimson Nimbus Second through the schemes of Helian Lie. But Li Yao didn't give up, knowing that his condition was only temporary and enrolled in Mining Clan High School which was the worst high school in Floating Spear City.
In order to incentivize Li Yao to join the Grand Desolate War Institution, Ding Lingdang gave him an extreme amount of preferential treatment which included personally training him to recover back to his peak state. Their efforts proved worthwhile as Li Yao scored first place on the Collage Entrance Exam and used that opportunity to reveal the schemes of the father and son pair, Helian Ba and Helian Lie. As a result of Ding Lingdang's aid and the two-face attitude of the other Universities, Li Yao joined the Grand Desolate War Institution Refinement Department to everyone's shock.
During the journey there, the Crystal Train was attacked by a beast tide outbreak via wormhole of Ghost Jellyfish and later Ghost Face Silver Mosquito. It was only through the sacrifices of seven cultivators including Ding Yin and Wei Qingqing that they survived long enough for reinforcement to come. Due to their bravery in the face of death and Jiang Tao insulting their sacrifice, Li Yao awakened his spirit root and become a cultivator before going into a rage and beating him to a pulp.
His start at the Grand Desolate War Institution did not go well as the Refining Department blew up into pieces, killing everyone there during the final stages of developing the Mystic Skeleton Crystal Suit. As a result, only Li Yao and his teacher Yuan Manqiu remained of the entire department. The pair worked tirelessly to realize the dream of a mass-producible Crystal Suit.
During this journey towards the Refiner's Registration Examination, Li Yao participated in the battle to protect Verdant Tarn City from Demon invaders, invented the Demon Beast Detector, faced against 2000 of his fellow students to obtain the credits needed to be tested to be officially registered as a Refiner. During the exam, he met Jiang Shaoyang who was a refiner that rivaled him in skill.
After this, he joins the Death Training Camp in order to learn the skills needed to pilot a Crystal Suit. And during the final stretches of training in the Dark Desolate Domain, he encounters Wang Ji who he recognized as the demon he once ambushed at Verdant Tarn City. Li Yao manages to survive this second encounter which resulted in all of Wang Ji's subordinates dying.
Returning from the Dark Desolate Domain several days late, Li Yao gained some fame from the act. He later finds the Neltharion from the Cosmos Ring he looted from the Demons after spending time hiring a hacker to crack the protection on the ring. In addition to this, Li Yao join hands with Peng Hai to sell his Demon Beast Detector tool along with the Mountain Sea Sect and Moon Splitting Sword Guild.
As the Magical Equipment Exposition comes closer, Li Yao discovers that the souls of those who perished during the explosion of the Refining Department survived as Phantom Entities and used their strength to provide Li Yao a way to fix the major flaw of the Mystic Skeleton Crystal Suit's crystal reactor that originally caused the explosion. During the exposition, Li Yao's performance showcased the usability of the Crystal Suit despite not requiring Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures to make them which resulted in it being the preferred Crystal Suit for the Star Glory Federation.
When Li Yao reached the Building Foundation Stage, he joined the Occult Orbs Fellowship which is an organization centered around discovering and exploring World Fragments to bring back treasures and knowledge from the Star Ocean Imperium to strengthen the Star Glory Federation. He joined Team Blue Bronze due to Ding Lingdang being a part of it and rapidly rose through the ranks until they were qualified to participate in a mission to Ultimacy.
During that fateful mission, Li Yao once again encountered Wang Ji who was a part of force sent by the Blood Demon Sector with the same mission to obtain a means to win the war. Team Blue Bronze is driven to desperation before finding a Crystal Battleship which revealed the schemes of the demon Skeleton Dragon who wished to be revived. Wang Ji gets consumed by Skeleton Dragon who is revived by the actions of the Demons.
The efforts of the cultivators end up not doing much to the revived Demon who was rapidly regaining its strength, In order to prevent the Skeleton Dragon from coming to the Star Glory Federation to feed on its citizens, Li Yao desperately drives the Crystal Battleship Sparkle into it and ends up star jumping without a destination to kill it once and for all.
Volume 2 (Chapters 489-830)
Li Yao awakes to find out that the trip had solidified the existence of Mo Xuan and four seniors that perished from Phantom Entities to Spectral Cultivators. They end up discovering that they ended up in the Flying Star Sector. Li Yao ends up landing in Black Iron Town to scout out information about the sector and ends up interfering with a space battle against pirates by killing Fengyu Ming.
After this, he joins the Great Horn Exo Society led by Lei Dalu and assimilated much of their technical knowledge on Crystal Battleship maintenance and also new knowledge on Crystal Suits themselves. He earns their complete trust after he performed exceptionally well in keeping the ship's barrier intact when escaping from a Space Swirl. Due to this, he is given a Crystal Suit as a gift when he leaves them when they reached the Thousands Sails Space Zone at the central part of the Flying Star Sector.
Taking part in the Skyhill Swird Seminar, he is registered by Xie Anan who starts to admire him for his skills before the competition. Li Yao demonstrates his skills in refining during the preliminaries and reaches the top 32 where he faced Mo Tianshui in a match where they refined artifacts to compete against each other. After winning the match, he is kidnapped by Huangpu Shiyi along with Huangpu Xiaoya. Here, Li Yao is introduced to the concept of Immortal Cultivators who considered non-cultivators as ants.
In order to escape, Li Yao pretends to be persuaded into joining the Temple of Immortals and tricks Huangpu Shiyi into becoming his Master to assimilate his knowledge on Crystal Bombs before killing him and Hu Guohao, the latter of which puts a death curse on him. Doing so allowed him to take over the ship and discover that Fengyu Zhong is hunting down the Great Horn Exo Society due to their part in his son's death. He sends Huangpu Xiaoya away on an escape pod to reveal the existence of Immortal Cultivators to the rest of the Flying Star Sector before attempting to kill Fengyu Zhong but fails.
He ends up being forced to land on the Iron Plateau where he discovers the people there are Qi-Trainers rather than cultivators who are all in the Refinement Stage but able to surpass what is supposed to be the peak of that Stage. He disguises himself to learn of their methods due to being stuck in the Refinement Stage due to the Black Spider Death Curse and ends up saving Wu Mayan who takes him back to Furious Bear Tribe. Xiong Wuji and Sha Yulan, the adoptive father and biological mother of Wu Mayan decides to aid Li Yao due to saving their son and takes on the identity of Sand Scorpion
Li Yao ends up learning the methods of Qi-Trainers which is to expand the veins which qi runs inside their body and rapidly becomes one of the top experts of the Furious Bear Tribe thanks to his pain tolerance towards the training. He later joins the battle against the Apocalypse Beasts along with Six Tribes of the Iron Plateau where he is only surpassed by Xiang Wuji who killed a Calamity Level Apocalypse Beast on his own by sacrificing an arm.
Xiang Wuji during the meeting with the Six Tribes proposed to have diplomatic relations with the rest of the Flying Star Sector which Li Yao agrees with. However, the chief of the Burning Sun Tribe Yan Zhengdong refused this plan and was later found assassinated. Both men agreed in a private meeting that this situation was a set up and it is later revealed that Xiang Wuji was born as a space resident. Li Yao later traveled to the supposedly new Oasis Tribe to find out the truth only to find out that they are a part of the Temple of Immortals.
Worse, Li Yao discovers that 20 hostage that come from prominent families in the Flying Star Sector are trapped in the temple and the Great Horn Exo Society had landed on the planet to save them. Feeling a scheme to have the two sides fight each other to benefit the Immortal Cultivators, Li Yao ends up saving the 20 hostages which includes Xie Anan and quickly ropes Lei Dalu and the rest of the Great Horn Exo Society into his plans. He is later found by the Burning Sun Tribe and Yan Chifeng where Li Yao tricks them and the rest of the Six Tribes into revealing the masterminds of the whole situation.
It is revealed that Yan Xibei who was once the Best Warrior of the Iron Plateau is this person and the Mountain King of the Temple of Immortals. Yan Xibei reveals that he had been infected by the Blood Stripe Virus which is the source of the Eggs of Apocalypse which plagues the Iron Plateau since 5000 years ago. Li Yao is among the first to decry Yan Xibei's actions to infect everyone in the Flying Star Sector with the Blood Stripe Virus to survive other apocalypses that may come in the future and manages to break into the Superlative Stage of Building Formation Stage during this battle and later takes on Wu Mayan as his first disciple.
Li Yao later returns back to the Flying Star Sector as Sand Scorpion as the representative of the Iron Plateau, having gained the title of Best Warrior thanks to his actions. Due to his position and combat prowess that rivaled Core Formation cultivators, he is invited to join 'Operation Mist Clearing' by Xiao Xuance which targets the Immortal Cultivators trying to spread a deadly poison in Heavenly Saints City. However, Li Yao suspects Xiao Xuance due to previous suggestion of the Grand Illusionary Legion to counter the threat of both Immortal Cultivators and Space Pirates.
During the operation, things goes awry as 'Hellsword' Zhuang Ziyou went out of his way to personally send an attack at Li Yao while escaping when he didn't need to. It gets worse as it is revealed that the whole situation was orchestrated as a distraction for the Immortal Cultivators to summon Extraterrestrial Devils in the outer edges of the city. Li Yao uses the chaos of the situation to assassinate Zhuang Ziyou and fake his death in order to infiltrate Spider Den to determine their relations to the Temple of Immortals.
Disguised as a space pirate, he joins Fengyu Zhong side in the raid to kill Bai Xinghe. Li Yao uses the threat of mutual deterrent to cooperate with Bai Xinghe as they travel to his underground safe house which is also the Observatory of Lu Thi Pier which is revealed to be used to track Apocalypses which are in the billions. Bai Xinghe explains the theory of Dark Forest to Li Yao before betraying him. But he stop when he discovers that his son, Bai Kaixin and member of the Great Horn Exo Society is going to die due to the traps Yan Xinjian set up 500 years ago.
Li Yao ends up escaping into the Secret Training Room of Yan Xinjian who was attempting to reach the Divine Transformation stage but ended up failing. He trains in the training room built by a Nascent Soul cultivator for 5 years and only managed to escape due to reaching the Superlative Stage of Core Formation which increased his strength to be able to match Nascent Soul cultivators. He uses this fact to disguise himself as Bai Xinghe to go against Xiao Xuance and ends up exposing him and the Imperium of True Human Beings.
The Star Brain is revealed to be Xiao Tianbao who was sent by the Imperium of True Human Beings to infiltrate and take over the Flying Star Sector. Li Yao along with other Nascent Soul cultivators and Mo Xuan managed to kill Xiao Tianbao with their combine efforts. After this, Li Yao reveals that he came from the Heaven Origin Sector and seek an alliance with the Flying Star Sector to deal with the Blood Demon Sector. He also takes on Xun Anan as his second disciple at this point.
But on the way back home, he was attacked by Blood stripe Virus which was hidden inside his brain after the battle in Iron Plateau. He had suspected he was infected before then thanks to his sudden change in personality and missing his memories when it took over. So he set up a trap hoping to eradicate the Blood Stripe Virus while also keeping it away from the Heaven’s Origin sector. Instead, he crash landed in the Blood Demon Sector.
Volume 3 (Chapters 831-1185)
The Blood Stripe Virus was weakened not destroyed with the effects only having taken over his left eye and arm and forming a Mental Demon. He is found by Demons and taken into Dry Leaf Village where a family attempted to trick him into being Lei Qi who had escaped to join the Blade of Chaos. The village is visited by Jin Xinyue who is perusing the members of the Blade of Chaos. Lei Qi later returns to the village in an attempt to gain supplies but fails. However he reveals that the Blade of Chaos had stolen a valuable package from Nether Springs.
Li Yao watches as the Jin Xinyue's forces attack the Blade of Chaos forces but are ambushed in turn by the forces of Nether Springs. The package gets broken and is absorbed by Jin Xinyue which caused her to humanized after Li Yao decides to save her. Li Yao takes on the identity of an Ancient Demon to trick her into revealing information to him and makes her his third disciple. From the information he gained from her, Li Yao taps into the Primeval Force which is what Demons cultivates in.
The pair later disguise themselves as captured slaves to infiltrate the Void Turmoil City and Skeleton Island which is said to be the base of the Blades of Chaos. Li Yao manipulate events to become a gladiator and uses the opportunity to train in the methods of Demons to further strengthen himself and better his disguise as a demon. He eventually gets recruited into the Blade of Chaos by Yuchi Ba. Li Yao and the other gladiators are given further training to aid Fire Ant King exploring the Mausoleum of Chaos.
During the exploration, it is revealed that Nether Spring had long since knew of Fire Ant King's actions and manipulated events to have Fire Ant King lead Nether Spring to the Mausoleum of Chaos. However, Li Yao escapes and finds out the origins of Demons. He later joins forces with Fire Ant King in the Nether World to stop Nether Spring after discovering his intentions on enslaving both the Blood Demon Sector and Heaven Origin Sector using an improved version of the Demon God Virus. They break out the prisoners which include Han Tuhu and Suo Chaolong who were captured and experimented on.
Together along with the remnants of the Blade of Chaos, a new organization called Skyfire was created to stop Nether Spring and his plans on infecting both Sects with his virus to enslave them all. In order to do this, they have to stop the Red Tide Plan which is led by Jin Tuyi. After negotiation with the man fails, Li Yao is forced to infiltrate the Eye of Blood Demon to sabotage the attempt to teleport the forces of demons directly into the captial of the Star Glory Federation. Only the first wave of forces are teleported into the Star Glory Federation before Li Yao was able to successfully sabotage the facility.
Seeing his plan ultimately fail in the last moment, Nether Spring starts spreading the Demon God Virus to inflect those in the Nether Spring Kingdom before escaping to the Heaven Origin Sector. Li Yao and the rest of the Blood Demon Sector is forced to contain the spread of the virus. As a result of the accumulation of events, Jin Tuyi agrees to the conditional surrender of the Blood Demon Sector to the Heaven Origin Sector. But not before revealing to Li Yao and Jin Xinyue that such a thing was part of his Red Tide Plan to integrate demons into the Star Glory Federation and rise together with humanity.
With the situation settled in the Blood Demon Sector, Li Yao goes back to the Heaven Origin Sector in order to reveal the conditional surrender of the demons and also to expose the Children of the Nether World. But upon reaching the sector, he is ambushed by Duanmu Ming while finding out that his death was fabricated to where he was consumed by the Blood Stripe Virus and became a Blood Devil like Yan Xibei. Seeing his situation is perlious, Li Yao is forced to infiltrate the Star Glory Federation to reveal the truth but is being tracked by the Secret Sword Bureau by Guo Chunfeng.
Upon reaching the Federal Square where Li Yao intends to reveal he is alive to the public, the speaker Jiang Hailiu is caught up in an explosion that comatose him. At the same time, a Nascent Soul sniper attempts to assassinate Li Yao at that same moment by using the crowd around him as a hostage. Li Yao is driven to a corner with the Mental Demon almost taking him over before hearing how Ding Lingdang will trust him no matter what. He manages to escape and later decretly cooperates with Ding Lingdang to reveal the mastermind behind the explosion at the capital.
Li Yao finds out the ones responsible are the Patriots Partnership led by Lu Zui and works to undermine them. He fakes his death in the captivity of Guo Chunfeng to stall for time to reach the parliment to expose the truth. Guo Chunfeng manages to stall for over half an hour which allowed Li Yao to almost reach his destination. However, Lu Zui fired on the crowd he was hidden in, forcing him to use his full strength to protect everyone around him.
Despite having unleased the aura of a demon, the ordinary people that were protected by Li Yao come up to protect him from the Secret Sword Agents coming to arrest him as a spy for the demon race. As a result, Lu Zui is exposed and defeated with Li Yao on the verge of advancing to the Nascent Soul Stage. Li Yao then presented the truth of the demon's surrender in front of the parliment and 'exterminates' the Blood Devil within him through clever acting while using the excuse that any of them could've been inflected by the Blood Stripe Virus at that moment and it was impossible to determine if they were Blood Devils or not.
However, he finds out that Patriots Partnership has one last card to play as Iron Commander Zhou Hengdao intend to invade the Blood Demon Sector to force the war to continue no matter what. Li Yao rapidly rushed to the Dark Desolate Domain where Zhou Hengdao intend to use a legion being trapped in the Blood Demon Sector as an excuse to invade using the Burning Prairie Battleship from the Flying Star Sector. However through sabotage of the Battleship from Mouse Bai, Li Yao manages to catch them in time to challenge Zhou Hengdao in a duel before killing him while advancing to the Nascent Soul stage during the battle.
Following this event, the Heaven Origin, Blood Demon and Flying Star Sectors started to rapidly integrate their technology and knowledge together to face the apocalypse from the Imperium of True Human Beings. During this time of peace, Li Yao and Ding Lingding got married and he discovered a hidden message from his foster father located in Black Wing which revealed he originally escaped from the Pangu's Covenant and that it was a thosand times worse than the Imperium of True Human Beings.
Volume 4 (Chapters 1186-)
With the revelations of the Pangu's Covenant and the threat of the Imperium of True Human Beings, the three Sectors pool their knowledge in determining how to proceed in the future. Li Yao himself proposed the Black Hole Plan which used his knowledge of his past life on how to wage a war without spiritual energy. With his plan, ordinary people will be armed with weapons that can kill cultivators.
However, plans changed as the apocalypse that came from the Imperium of True Human Beings suddenly changed direction which allowed the alliance to determine the location of Kunlun which held relics from the Pangu Civilisation. To oppose the force from the Imperium of True Human Beings gaining those relics and becoming even stronger before they invade the Sectors, Li Yao, Mo Xuan and Fire Ant King travelled to Kunlun before their foes.
On Kunlun, they discovered traces of a conflict between the Pangu and Nuwu Clans along with humans fighting on both sides along with . But before they got to explore more, Kou Ruhuo, Tang Qianhe and Su Changfa from the Imperium of True Human Beings arrived. Li Yao disguised himself as a lost cultivator from the Flying Star Sector and got their cooperation as they explored Kunlun which allowed them to discover super sized Crystal Suit known as Colossus and even a living survivor of the Pangu Clan in hybernation.
Unfortunately, the arrival of the Immortal Cultivators was a trap set by the Pangu Clan member as Tang Qianhe is revealed to have betrayed the Imperium of True Human Beings and joined the Pangu's Covenant. Tang Qianhe killed Su Changfa before reviving the living Pangu, even letting it absorb her as nutrients. Kou Ruhuo and Li Yao are forced to cooperate to slay the Pangu member with the former being captured by Mo Xuan and Fire Ant King ambushing him after the battle. With Kou Ruhuo captured, the alliance of three Sectors obtained a large amount of information on both the Imperium of True Human Beings and the Pangu's Covenant.
Yet things go awry as mysterious signals from an unknown part of space which the Star Ocean Imperium never discovered suddenly communicated with the alliance. Li Yao ends up voltuneering to spend a hundred years travellig in hibernation to the Dark Nebula only to find that civilisation hadn't advaned from ancient times in the Sector.