Legend of the Supreme Soldier - Chapter 581-590
Chapter 581: You Are My Strength Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Rui Bing and her companions came to a stop. In front of them was a meadow of some kind. This was not grass, not exactly. The hair-like plants were vertical and swayed lazily. Rui Bing and Sang Kan could not quite find the words to describe it. In the end, Aried came up with a name that they both agreed with.
Sea of Threads – exactly what Mei Wu called it.
“Something’s off.” Rui Bing quickly realized that something felt wrong around the Sea of Threads. She could not use her sensitive mental waves here.
Sang Kan asked, “What’s wrong?” He excelled in strength and speed, but not in mental skills, so he could not detect the changes.
Rui Bing did not know how to explain it to him. In fact, she had never experienced anything like it. When Rui Bing deployed Guardian, she was shocked to find that her vision was simply an empty sheet of white, despite being able to see in the purple mist earlier on.
“I can’t use Guardian here.” Rui Bing’s words sent a chill to Sang Kan and Aried. Rui Bing was the main combatant of the trio, and Guardian was key to their safety. If Guardian was of no use, they must not stay here.
It was impossible to imagine what would happen to them without Guardian if a threat showed up. Sang Kan and Aried exchanged a nervous look. They were not expecting this.
“Do we continue forward or not?” Aried asked slowly.
Sang Kan looked to Rui Bing, who was standing straight and still. Her white training garb flapped in the wind. Rui Bing stared at the endless Sea of Threads. It was quiet but for the sound of the breeze. Rui Bing could not help but recall the face of a cold, young man.
“When are you ready to marry me?”
“Marry? Why should I marry you?”
“You kissed me.”
“I did not kiss you.”
“I did not kiss you, probably.”
Words from the past came back to her. A red blush crept up Rui Bing’s fair skinned neck. Rui Bing felt her cheeks turned hot. She took a deep breath in. Her tired body was suddenly filled with strength again. Emotions overwhelmed her. Rui Bing’s gaze became clear and determined.
She looked into the distance and spoke softly, “Let’s go!”
Ye Chong kept a tight rein over the stronghold expansion works. With enough resources in his hands, he began to advance further into Darkniss. They were camped near Mei Wu’s cave dwelling. Building a small base had become a familiar task for Ye Chong’s men.
It took only three days to complete the stronghold.
Close to the stronghold were piles of metal chunks. Ye Chong now had 27 liquid metal auto-extractors in place. There were also 13 metal ore sites and six mineral reserves under his control. Production never stopped at these places to provide Ye Chong with enough metal. He now had enough resources to become an independent force in the He Yue Galaxy or the Five Galaxies, and this was just the beginning of his mining operations. There were still many resources that he had not begun harvesting. He had enough resources from the current production sites. The only expansion he had in mind was the rare mineral reserves. It would be a waste to mine resources without putting them to use.
The latest base, Stronghold 4, now had its perimeter cleared of wild animals. Armed with mechs, the students were now the dominant power in Darkniss. To the right of the stronghold entrance was a 10-by-2.5-kilometer field that they had cleared and flattened.
There were only smooth and flat rocks in this clearing.
The students had gotten used to seeing new and interesting things as part of their daily lives. They would not settle for their old, primitive lives ever again. Besides, Ye Chong took care of their families through certain channels. Their families received heavy monetary compensation, and this gave the students peace of mind. Thus, they continued to serve their commander with undying loyalty.
Their commander demanded more and more improvement from them. Their training became much harder than when they first started. By following the sequence of base training, actual combat, analysis, and finally, specialized training, they improved at an astounding rate. They could feel this improvement in actual combat. Wild creatures that were difficult to kill at first were now easy prey.
Nevertheless, they did not try to venture too deep into Darkniss. Caution was a quality that Ye Chong never stopped emphasizing to them.
In the 10-kilometer long clearing, a huge metal structure was slowly erected. The structure reached from one end to the other. The weapon-smiths worked on this structure every day.
Was their commander thinking of building a metal stronghold? The students were curious, but no one asked the commander himself. They were not yet so bold. The engineering works continued, and the metallic structure grew from a simple framework to a complicated piece of technology. Everyone could see that the metallic structure was a huge and intricate project. This must be a huge and miraculous work of engineering – all the students thought so.
After 13 days of non-stop running, Rui Bing’s lips began to crack. She looked tired, but the determination in her eyes did not waver.
They did not have much drinking water left, and had to ration it carefully. There was no water in the Sea Threads, but they must cross it as soon as possible. In the past 13 days, Rui Bing and Sang Kan never stopped running as quick as they could manage.
Sang Kan looked exhausted too. He had Aried on his back all this while. He was so tired even lifting a finger was hard work. However, he was as resilient as any member of the Sang Tribe. He never complained in the past 13 days.
The Sea of Threads had a uniform appearance. There was nothing else but the light blue colored threads. They saw no other creatures, and no source of water. This wide piece of earth sustained only one species of life – the light blue colored threads.
“Look!” Aried cried out excitedly from Sang Kan’s back as he pointed in front of them with his trembling hand.
The terrain was changing quickly. They were almost out of the Sea of Threads! Sang Kan and Rui Bing were both invigorated by the news. They picked up their pace and ran for it.
After stepping past the last blue thread, Sang Kan finally yielded to his fatigue. His legs gave way and he fell face down. Aried cried out in surprise as he fell forward.
Rui Bing gathered the last of her strength and went to catch Aried in his fall.
The trio looked at each other, a tired mess, and smiled.
After some rest, Sang Kan struggled up to his feet to search for water. He could already sense the moisture in the air. There must be water close by.
Soon, he found a watering hole. It was a small lake. The surface of the lake was still as a mirror. Sang Kan was overjoyed. He found many animal footprints around the lake.
“This must be drinkable water,” Sang Kan thought to himself. Nevertheless, as a safety precaution, he still checked the water for poison. To his delight, the tests showed that water was indeed safe to drink. He quickly helped himself to it. It felt wonderful to quench the thirst from so many days of running.
He took out his water pouch, filled it up, and was about to return to Rui Bing and Aried when something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.
He bent down to inspect the ground.
He recognized whatever he saw, and ran as fast as he could to Rui Bing and Aried.
“What is it?” Rui Bing saw Sang Kan’s expression and knew that he must have found something.
Sang Kan passed his water pouch to them and said to them with a funny expression, “I found human footprints! There are people nearby!”
“Ah!” Rui Bing and Aried gasped in surprise. The water pouch that was about to reach Aried’s lips stopped moving abruptly.
“It’s human footprints, I’m sure of it. They are by the lake over there, probably by a woman. Beside her footprints were many other animals footprints. I think she was being pursued by the animals.” Sang Kan did not look too excited when he said this. To them, humans might pose an even bigger threat than animals, especially strangers.
The news came as a shock to all three of them.
Sang Kan added, “The footprints are fresh. They must have been left not more than two hours ago.”
This was encouraging news. They did not expect there to be any humans in this place. They had thought that they were the only ones who were lost and trying to find their way home in this dangerous place. It was wonderful to know that there were other humans here.
Nevertheless, they did not immediately set off to find these humans, but took a rest instead.
Rui Bing sat up straight and closed her eyes. Her hands rested naturally on her folded knees. A Jie expert. For a Jie expert, this was the most basic and fastest way to recover. Sang Kan simply laid down and slept, snoring so loudly that even Aried felt like sleeping.
However, Aried kept his eyes open wide to keep watch for the group.
An hour later, Rui Bing opened her eyes and Sang Kan stopped snoring. Sang Kan carried Aried on his back as usual, but he secured Aried’s position with a rope this time. He also had a spiral patterned wooden spear. The wood he found was so hard that he bent his lava gold dagger while making the wooden spear.
His steps were light and vigilant. Silently, he crept forward in a half bending position.
Rui Bing followed close behind him. She did not use Guardian for now.
They arrived back at the lake and refilled their water pouches. Sang Kan continued to study the footprints around them.
“I don’t recognize the animal footprints here. We have to be careful.” Sang Kan was an experienced hunter. This was obvious throughout their journey so far. Both Aried and Rui Bing trusted his judgment.
The three of them proceeded carefully along their way for an hour when they heard the howl of a wild animal.
Howl! The cry echoed around them. The ground began to tremble, as if thousands of animals were heading their way.
Sang Kan and Rui Bing were both alarmed. Aried paled quickly.
In the valley below them, a herd of wild animals were running in a wild stampede. They looked like they were startled by something. The herd consisted of all kinds of animals. Some were so huge they reached up to 16 meters tall, and every step they took shook the ground like a heavyweight mech would. The smaller animals were all agile creatures. They leaped along the cliffs of the valley, making their way forward in powerful leaps.
“There!” Aried pointed towards the front of the stampede.
In front of all the animals was a small figure, running as fast as the animals.
She did not look particularly strong to Rui Bing or Sang Kan, but she was also much faster than normal people. However, her stamina was failing. She was beginning to slow down.
“I think she’s carrying something like a gun on her back,” Sang Kan said grimly.
The woman was slowing down. Her steps were getting uneven. Rui Bing and Sang Kan knew that she could not hold on for much longer.
Both of them exchanged a look, and then rushed towards the woman.
However, the woman was more capable than Rui Bing and Sang Kan expected. She slipped into a narrow crack in the cliffs. The narrowest part of the crack could only allow three people in side by side. The animals behind her were not fazed by her attempt. The smaller animals followed her into the crack.
The gun on her back slid down smoothly into her hands. She shot without aiming. Swoosh swoosh swoosh! The laser gun began to fire.
Within the crack, animals began to scream in pain. Soon, animal bodies began to pile up at the entrance of the crack. However, the animals outside continued to force their way in like they had gone mad.
“She’s a good shot!” Rui Bing and Sang Kan looked at each other in surprise.
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Chapter 582: Request for Connection Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Mei Wu felt unusually calm. She understood the severity of her situation. Panic would only hasten her death. She never stopped shooting with her laser gun. The weapon made by the emotionless young man, Ye Chong, was powerful. She had gotten used to this weapon by now.
A quick mental calculation told her how many energy crystals she had left in her backpack. Mei Wu sighed. She would probably die here, today. She did not feel scared or panicked. Instead, she felt relieved, as though she had put down a heavy burden.
Suddenly, she thought of Sun Sieha and the times they shared together. A mesmerizing smile appeared on her pale face. The bloody chaos in front of her faded into the distance.
Who was that? Mei Wu sensed the presence of other humans, and quickly jolted awake from her reverie. She felt disgust towards herself. How could she be thinking of him at this time? She was an idiot! Mei Wu regained her calm and hardened herself again!
She carefully maintained her shooting rhythm as she reached out with her parapsychic waves.
There were three people! Two men and a woman.
They were fast! Mei Wu “saw” the woman jump 300 meters down from a cliff, and thought she was dreaming.
The young man carried an old man on his back and leaped down the cliff just as easily. Mei Wu was shocked.
These two people were strong, especially the woman in white. Mei Wu had never seen anyone like them. As a woman herself, Mei Wu knew that members of her sex were born physically weaker. It was after she reached Level 9 that she understood the importance of physical strength. Hence, she began to train her body.
These two people had far surpassed her in this regard.
Something else surprised Mei Wu – when her parapsychic wave reached the woman, she had looked up at her! Were they shooters? If so, where were their guns?
An even bigger issue presented itself – were they here to help her?
Sang Kan was familiar with this kind of situation. He leaped his way forward between the rocks on the cliffs. The spiral patterned wooden spear in his hand struck quickly, killing an animal with every attack.
His moves were simple and efficient. Sang Kan always hit the weak spots of these wild animals. It was obvious that he was experienced in fighting against wild animals. After all, he had never seen the animals here before.
Rui Bing followed closely behind Sang Kan. She did not deploy Guardian yet. The terrain was too complicated, and there were too many animals around them. Guardian’s vision would be severely affected. The myriad of white lines and numerous statistics in her vision would have been more troublesome than helpful.
Sang Kan leaped up high in the air. A horned tyrasaur saw him, and jumped towards him as well. Its sharp teeth dripped with saliva that smelled of rot. Its eyes glowed viciously. Sang Kan reacted immediately. He bent his legs just in time to avoid getting bitten, and then kicked hard on the head of the horned tyrasaur.
Every member of the Sang Tribe was just as strong as Ye Chong. When Sang Kan kicked, the horned tyrasaur’s brain cracked open, and blood gushed out.
The horned tyrasaur crashed heavily into the ground, and was quickly stepped over by the other animals behind it. The animal was stomped into a bloody mush.
Rui Bing’s white training garb stood out among the wild animals. She treaded lightly among the animals like a white butterfly.
The trio headed straight towards the crack. They could only save the woman by being there. Sang Kan and Rui Bing reached the entrance to the crack soon enough.
Mei Wu did not hesitate. She turned her laser gun to the side, leaving a small gap in the opening enough for one person to pass trough. It was obvious that these three people were here to help her. This was encouraging news to Mei Wu. With their help, she might just survive this.
A horned tyrasaur saw the opening and went for the crack.
Suddenly, a sharp wooden spearhead went through its throat. Its body convulsed as it eyes turned dim. The wooden spearhead vanished, and the horned tyrasaur slumped to the ground like a puppet with its string cut. Sang Kan carried Aried and slipped into the crack, quick as a fox. Poor Aried had never seen battle like this. His aging face was now pale as a sheet.
Rui Bing followed swiftly.
“Who are you?” Rui Bing asked with five parts gratitude, three parts watchfulness and two parts admiration.
“Sang Kan.” “Rui Bing.” Sang Kan and Rui Bing introduced themselves briefly. They knew that it was important to establish trust quickly. “Aried …” Aried spoke shakily.
“Mei Wu is grateful for your help. Your assistance will be repaid,” Mei Wu said solemnly as she continued to shoot at the animals.
“Let’s get this over with first.” Sang Kan did not trust Mei Wu’s words so readily. He said plainly, “Begin by telling us what is happening right now.”
“I don’t know.” Mei Wu smiled bitterly as she continued firing. “The natural order in Darkniss was disrupted recently. Many wild animals started moving towards the inner parts of Darkniss, while the animals that lived deeper inside started to move outwards.”
Darkniss. Rui Bing and Sang Kan exchanged a look. They finally knew where they were, even though the name did not ring a bell. They looked at Aried, who shook his head too, indicating that he did not know the name.
“This is huge stampede. Think, did you do anything? Or did you take something?” Sang Kan asked calmly. He knew animals. A stampede as huge as this must be for a reason. Besides, these wild animals were clearly focusing their hostility on this woman.
“You think I did something?” Mei Wu’s expression turned sour. No one dared to talk to her like this before.
Sang Kan ignored her indignation. He threw a cold look at Mei Wu. “I know about animals. They wouldn’t treat you like this if not to avenge for something. Besides, all the animals are focusing on just you. There must a reason behind this.”
Sang Kan continued, ignoring Mei Wu’s look. “No need to glare at me. I’m just telling you what I know. If you don’t care for your life, we won’t bother to save you.” Mei Wu’s expression became unreadable. Sang Kan smiled coldly and added, “Don’t try anything funny, or I’ll kill you.”
The Sang Tribe were never a people of kindness and generosity. Their leader, Ye Chong, was also a man who believed in only strength. Hence, members of the Sang Tribe were easily influenced by Ye Chong’s way of doing things.
Mei Wu’s chest tightened. She understood the warning directed towards her. The young man was cold and ready to kill, but the woman in white beside him was unreadable. Mei Wu could not figure her out.
Suddenly, a commotion started in the stampede, interrupting their exchange. The animals turned even crazier as they began to force their way into the crack without care for their lives.
The pressure on Mei Wu increased. One of the animals was able to breach her defense line.
Sang Kan darted forward and struck his wooden spear into the creature.
Rui Bing summoned Guardian and stepped into the fight. The situation quickly got out of control, to everyone’s surprise.
The battle turned bloody. Rui Bing and Sang Kan stepped in pools of blood. Inside the crack, the air had the stench of blood. The animals behaved even more crazily, perhaps due to the scent of blood.
In just a short moment, the crack’s entrance was piled up high with animal bodies. Rui Bing and Sang Kan had to climb up the body pile to fight the animals. Mei Wu’s gun was out. She had only one last piece of energy crystal left. Now, she could only watch quietly as Rui Bing and Sang Kan fought.
Mei Wu’s retreat from the battle put more pressure on Rui Bing and Sang Kan. Sang Kan thought it was crazy that his wooden spear was still intact so far. The Sang Family had long battled against wild animals, and now Sang Kan used all the moves and strategies he learned to fight. His inhuman strength allowed him to easily stab into the flesh of these wild animals.
On the other hand, the woman struck fast but without much killing intent. Mei Wu found it difficult to believe that something like Guardian existed. Rui Bing wielded her two sharp daggers impressively.
Rui Bing focused on the battle. She had fought enemies as strong as these animals before. Compared to that fight against the Blue Crown Serpents, she had Guardian this time, which made it easier for her.
Rumble! The ground shook. Rui Bing quickly took a few steps back. The pile of animals bodies they were stepping on suddenly collapsed. The animals outside were pushing the bodies away. The four humans inside the crack inhaled sharply at the turn of events.
Rui Bing was so focused on the battle that she did not see a blinking light in the top right corner of her vision. It was a hailing signal.
The armor for the warship’s hull was almost complete. The amount of metal alloy it took to build the armor was staggering. Ye Chong had used up all the rare metals he dug up from a few mineral reserves just for these armor plates. Any piece of armor plate used on the hull could sell for a sky high price in the Five Galaxies of the He Yue Galaxy. This must be the most luxurious and expensive warship armor in the world. However, it also had the best defensive properties.
Ye Chong had done the experiments. Even a ship cannon would need at least 10 shots on the exact same location to breach the hull armor.
Once the hull armor was installed, the general shape of the entire warship was visible to everyone who could see it. The 10-kilometer ship length was decided based on the Sabre, the first luxury class Slan grade starship Ye Chong had ever seen. Back then, Ye Chong was so greatly impressed by the magnificence of the Sabre. Now, his people were feeling the same thing. They gaped and stared at the massive being, unable to believe their eyes.
The ship was massive even when seen in outer space, much less on land. It was an impressive and staggering view.
Suddenly, Ye Chong’s comm device rang.
Ye Chong connected the device. His expression turned serious, and he rushed inside the stronghold.
Ever since the pulse signal relay tower was set up, Ye Chong organized a comms room just for it. Students in the comms room were responsible for connecting to and receiving information from the Hummingbirds.
“What happened?” Ye Chong entered the comms room and asked without preamble.
The students quickly stood up in greeting. “We identified an unknown signal carrier and tried to establish contact with it. However, the other party has not responded so far” After a long period of training, the students now behaved more professionally.
“Unknown signal carrier?” Ye Chong’s eyes widened. He had used public, unencrypted signals for his pulsed signal relay tower. This was because no one else in this world would use pulsed signals. As long as a device was fitted with a comms device, it would automatically search for pulsed signals in the surroundings, especially public ones. However, connection can only be established when both parties agreed to it.
Ye Chong asked in a low voice, “Can you get their location?”
“Exact location is unknown, but we have a general estimate. It’s much deeper inside than the furthest we have been.” A student replied.
Who could this signal carrier be? Was it from the He Yue Galaxy or the Five Galaxies? Was it from a starship or a mech?
“Keep requesting for a connection.” Ye Chong gave the order without delay.
“Yes sir.” The student replied. Everyone in the room could see that their commander placed great importance on this unknown signal carrier.
Ye Chong sat inside the comms room without expression. He stared unblinkingly at the connection request displayed on the holographic screen.
“Request for connection … Request for connection …”
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Chapter 583: Breathe Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Rui Bing focused on the white lines that danced wildly in her vision. The white outlines she was seeing were changing too quickly. She would not be able to follow them without full concentration. Guardian could move much faster than the average mech, but it was also just as hard to pilot.
The golden figure moved quickly around the wild animals, striking with flawless accuracy. Mei Wu watched in awe as the mech battled.
Wham wham wham! Something was ramming into the cliffs. A few savage mammoths decided to charge repeatedly at the crack, since the entrance was too small. The savage mammoths were over 15 meters tall. They usually moved slowly, but they were also powerful creatures that other animals avoided as best as they could.
The strong rock structures cracked, and then fragmented. Rock slivers fell to the ground, kicking up dust that shrouded the entrance of the crack.
Rui Bing and Sang Kan felt even more pressured. They had to slowly retreat from the entrance. There were too many animals coming at them. Sang Kan was beginning to feel sore at the hands.
Sang Kan was already covered in blood. His clothes were soaked in blood that gushed and sprayed out of the animals he killed. His ghastly hands looked like he had dipped them in blood. The ivory white wooden spear he used was red from one end to the other. Only the spiral patterns etched into the weapon allowed Sang Kan to keep a firm grip on it.
Seen from above, Rui Bing and Sang Kan looked like coral reefs that stopped the animal wave from advancing any further.
“What did you do?” Sang Kan screamed at Mei Wu. He had only ever seen animals this crazy during the Beast Stampede, but that had natural causes. These animals, however, were clearly directing their aggression at that d*mned woman!
Even killing the pup of the leader of a herd of animals would not have incited this madness. Moreover, these animals were clearly of different species. That d*mned woman must have done something!
A killing intent rose in Sang Kan. If they continued with this, the old man, Madam Rui Bing and himself were most likely going to die here. Madam Rui Bing did not say anything about that, since she was a kind spirit, but how could he allow Madam Rui Bing and the old man to die here with him?
All members of the Sang Tribe were obligated to protect their good sir’s wife. This was an unspoken rule, and Sang Kan knew that anyone of the Sang Tribe would not hesitate to offer their life for hers. If anyone was worth the lives of the Sang Tribe, it was their good sir and his family!
This was not a promise, but a belief – a very pure and simple belief.
Just as Sang Kan began to consider throwing the woman out of the crack, Mei Wu yelled, “I remember, I remember now!”
She quickly took off her backpack and emptied its contents on the ground. There were all kinds of things in her bag.
“I was drinking by the river when I saw a few animals fighting for this. I took it from them by force, and then a large herd of animals started coming after me. I don’t know if this is the cause …”
Mei Wu lifted a tiny object near her. It was shaped like a water droplet, and looked like something rubbery.
Rui Bing took a quick look at it and gasped, “Teardrop mineralite!” She had kept guard of Ye Chong’s bag before, and had seen the things inside it. Hence, she recognized what this was.
“Ma’am, what is a teardrop mineralite?” Sang Kan asked immediately.
“I don’t know, but I’ve seen it in his bag before …” Rui Bing replied quickly, just as she felt a sudden wave of attacks from the animals and had to refocus back on the fight.
Sang Kan felt invigorated by the news. “You mean the good sir’s bag?”
Rui Bing nodded as she moved her hands even faster. The animals were pouring in more strongly. Rui Bing could feel her stamina seeping away.
Now Sang Kan had a dilemma. Anything the good sir kept with him must surely be useful.
However, the animals did not give them time to consider the matter. When they saw the teardrop mineralite in Mei Wu’s hands, they got all riled up. Their eyes glared hungrily and greedily. For a moment, the attacks subsided.
After that short moment of peace, the next wave of attacks came even more strongly!
The animals charged without bothering about the creatures whether they would be stepped on or their own safety. It was madness! All the animals, big or small, went crazy! The savage mammoths headbutted against the cliff, disregarding the wounds on their foreheads. The animals that were already in the crack pushed their way forward, while the animals behind them tried to step on the ones in front of them. At the front line, the animals attacked Sang Kan and Rui Bing, howling wildly. Their eyes glowed madly.
The entire valley was erupting with madness.
“Woman! Keep the teardrop mineralite out of sight!” Sang Kan felt like he could not hold on much longer. The animals, stimulated by the teardrop mineralite, were beginning to overwhelm him.
“Should I throw it away?” Mei Wu asked panickedly.
That was a good idea. Once they throw away the thing that started all this, the animals would surely begin to fight each other for it. They would be able to escape safely.
Just when Sang Kan was about to agree, something else came up.
Low howls came from the distance. The mad animals suddenly quieted down, and then scrambled away like their lives depended on it. The creature that was engaging Rui Bing and Sang Kan abruptly turned back to escape. All the animals that were crowded around the entrance of the crack dispersed rapidly. The animals ran like they were scared of something. Many of them were stomped to death in the process.
Rui Bing and Sang Kan both looked alarmed.
This low howl was very familiar! On their first day in the mountains, they saw two black leopards fight. This howl was identical to the one they heard back then.
“Snowshade leopards!” Mei Wu looked even more frightened. Her face paled, and her eyes betrayed the despair she was feeling.
As the animals made their escape, the valley became empty all of a sudden.
Four snowshade leopards stepped majestically into view. The small patch of white hair on their foreheads matched them elegantly. They held their heads high as they observed the other animals scrambling away for their lives. Their eyes glistened with arrogance.
The other animals were obviously very afraid of these four snowshade leopards. They ran for their lives.
A sharp cry pierced the air. A dozen gold colored dragons appeared out of nowhere. These dragons were similar to the gold striped black dragons, except that their bodies were gold colored. Their skin had a metallic luster. Their beaks and claws were long and sharp, and they looked half translucent.
“Gold Dragons!” Mei Wu muttered, her face white as sheet. What was it about this teardrop mineralite that drew so many powerful beasts?
Rui Bing and Sang Kan were not shaken by their appearance yet. They had never heard of the Golden Dragons, and did not know of their strength. More importantly, the crack was narrow. The creatures were close to 10 meters long and cannot hope to enter the crack. They had only to deal with the four snowshade leopards.
Nevertheless, they did not feel particularly lucky. These four snowshade leopards were enough trouble. They were quick, powerful and intelligent. Back in the mountains, they avoided these creatures because of their strength. There was no avoiding now, however.
“What do we do?” Aried asked, terrified. “Do we throw away the teardrop mineralite?” Sang Kan was asking the same question himself. If they threw away the teardrop mineralite, would the snowshade leopard and the Gold Dragons fight over it whilst they escape? That would be the best scenario for them. The teardrop mineralite was not worth their lives.
Sang Kan have given up all hopes to keeping the teardrop mineralite. If the snowshade leopards were not involved, he might have considered it still. However, he knew that their situation now did not allow it. They were barely strong enough to fight against these four snowshade leopards. He remembered clearly how strong they were.
Another loud cry broke the silence!
The four humans felt like their ears were being hammered in. Aried screamed painfully and tumbled onto the ground with his hand over his ears. Mei Wu looked terrible as she covered her ears. Sang Kan looked shocked.
A red-tailed beast! It was a red-tailed beast, with six fingers! The creature hovered in the air with its angular head, and its back shielded with thick armor. Narrow, crimson eyes stared back without warmth. Its dark red arrowhead tail flicked attentively behind it.
Instead of being even more panicked, the sight of the red-tailed beast calmed Sang Kan. He knew now that they must not surrender the teardrop mineralite, no matter what. The snowshade leopards were still largely unknown to them, but this was a devil they knew.
Six-fingered red-tailed beasts were strong. Even their good sir and Han Jia could only manage a very close win. Sang Kan did not know their odds of winning, but even so, he would not throw away the teardrop mineralite. Red-tailed beasts were interested in only two things – rare metals and pure energy. Sang Kan and Rui Bing understood now why there were so many animals attacking Mei Wu.
Energy was the key to evolution for all the wild animals in this place.
If the six-fingered red-tailed beast reached the end stage of its evolution, they would never stand a chance to survive. Perhaps the other animals could evolve as well. Why else would they be so interested in the teardrop mineralite?
Sang Kan and Rui Bing were still puzzled. The red-tailed beasts they encountered before this all had only two or three fingers, much weaker than this one. Where did this six-fingered red-tailed beast come from? They had only ever encountered a six-fingered red-tailed beast during the war at Yi Ju. Their good sir was the one who faced the beast.
Now was not the time to solve mysteries. Sang Kan made his decision. He said, “Let’s retreat further inside.” Rui Bing and Sang Kan brought the other two people further inside the crack.
The further in they went, the narrower the space. Now, all they could do was hold the fort. Their position could only fit a single file. Mei Wu and Aried were almost squeezed by the sides of the crack.
Rui Bing had a moment to catch her breath and she saw the blinking request signal in her vision. She was taken aback – why would there be pulsed signals in this place? She accepted the request without thinking.
“Careful!” Sang Kan warned Rui Bing from behind her.
Things were happening quickly now. The four snowshade leopards were closest to the humans. One of the snowshade leopards suddenly charged into the crack. The other three waited outside, staring greedily at the red-tailed beast and the Gold Dragons.
The red-tailed beast and the dragons did not move from their positions. They were too big to enter the crack, and could only watch while the snowshade leopard went inside.
The other three snowshade leopards waited outside in a half crouch, vigilant and prepared. The red-tailed beast and the Gold Dragons were obviously cautious of the snowshade leopards, for they did not initiate an attack.
“Who are you?” The comm was connected, and a voice that Rui Bing dreamed of day and night for a very long time spoke to her.
Rui Bing froze like she was struck by lightning.
“Careful!” Sang Kan was watching Rui Bing closely, and was surprised to see her stop moving so abruptly. The situation was precarious. He quickly leapt into the way and struck out with his wooden spear.
In the narrow crack, the snowshade leopard charged towards them, as fast as a mech. Sang Kan was terrified by it. Nevertheless, he struck out with all his strength, determined to do what he must. The wooden spear shrieked as its cut through the air.
Crack! The snowshade leopard’s front claws caught the spearhead. Sang Kan’s spear broke into two.
Pow! Sang Kan flung backwards like a sandbag. His body scraped against the cliffs on both sides, smearing the rocks with blood.
At the tip of the spearhead was a tinge of red.
The snowshade leopard was surprised to find itself injured, and growled in anger. The black fur on its body went upright.
The creature leaped into the air without hesitation, aiming behind Rui Bing for the heavily wounded Sang Kan.
The sound of Sang Kan’s wooden spear breaking brought Rui Bing back to the fight. Tears fell silently from the corner of her eyes. She could not afford to answer the comm right now, she had to save Sang Kan! Rui Bing pushed her feet back and lunged at the snowshade leopard!
“Who are you?” Ye Chong repeated his question, but there was no reply. Nevertheless, he heard clearly of the warning “Be careful!” and the intense fight that was going on. He also heard the other party’s heavy breathing.
Ye Chong gestured for silence. The comms room was silent except for the clashing sounds and heavy breathing.
Ye Chong closed his eyes and listened.
The breathing sounded familiar …
Where had he heard it before?
Ye Chong tried to capture the rhythm of the breathing, and the strangely familiar sound behind the breathing. Human breathing was like footsteps. They sounded the same for different people, but he could always identify minute differences for each person.
Why would it sound so familiar to him …
Ye Chong searched in his memory desperately. The sense of familiarity was growing stronger and stronger. He was this close to knowing the truth. He felt a very rare sensation of panic growing in him.
Ye Chong forced his heart to calm down.
Wait a minute! Besides the sound of breathing, there was also another sound – the sound of weapons clashing! Ye Chong closed his eyes to listen for patterns in this fierce battle.
The weapon must be something like a dagger … That must be a slash … A stab … A parry …
The movements slowly came to him, becoming clearer and clearer. A figure appeared more and more vividly in his mind.
Ye Chong opened his eyes wide.
“Rui Bing, hang on!” Ye Chong shouted through the comms, reaching straight to Rui Bing’s heart.
Rui Bing’s face was covered with tears!
Ye Chong turned to his students. They had never seen an expression like that on him before.
“Gather everyone immediately!” Their commander left the comms room with his order, delivered not with his usual indifference, but a strong desire for murder.
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Chapter 584: Allow Me Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Ye Chong sat in Celest’s pilot cabin. His gaze was cold and ruthless. Behind Celest was a huge fleet of mechs. Ye Chong had brought all the mechs in the stronghold with him. He did not bring any shooters, since Spiders were too slow. He cannot afford to be slow.
All the students in the current stronghold, and all the students from Stronghold 2 and 3, had received the order assemble.
“There’s a spike of animal activity in Grid Z-10.” The report came quickly from the comms room back at the stronghold. They had released all the Hummingbirds they had.
The black colored Celest led all 4,500 mechs across the sky.
“Full speed ahead. Destination is Grid Z-10.” Ye Chong gave the order without emotion to his entire army.
The army accelerated. The whirring sound of engines rumbled in the night sky. All the wild animals in their way quickly made their escape.
“What’s the mission this time, do you know?” Duan Qian whispered his question to Appilok.
Appilok shook his head. “I don’t know, but the Commander is in a bad mood today, so watch out.” As a qualified leader, Appilok was sensitive to his surroundings.
“The Commander called for soldiers from the other two strongholds too. It’s d*mn scary.” Another student joined the conversation.
“Enough with the questions. Just fight the way you’re trained to.” Appilok warned in his low voice. He had been in this leadership position for awhile, and was beginning to develop a charisma of authority.
No one knew what their Commander intended for them in this mission, but they could sense that it was different from their usual training. This was obvious from the way they were flying their mechs. All this while, the Commander had taught them to be cautious, and to always keep an eye on their surroundings while flying at medium speed, so that they could respond in time. Now, however, the army was flying with maximum speed, charging their way through the forest.
The students were no longer amateurs like they used to be. They maintained formation despite flying at maximum speed.
As they got closer to their destination, Ye Chong noticed something was wrong. Below them, large herds of animals were running away in panic. This unusual sight caught the attention of the students as well.
Everyone felt alarmed, and braced themselves for the battle. Darkniss was no stranger to them. Those survived so far were not careless idiots. All the careless people were already dead. Besides, Z-10 was a grid they had not covered before, and that made it an extremely dangerous place.
The sight was shocking. Tens of thousands of animals were running for their lives, as though something was coming after them.
The students were all unnerved. They recognized many of the animals here, and some of them were powerful creatures that they hesitate to engage. Most of the animals were unfamiliar to them, however, and that them even more dangerous.
Ye Chong was the exception. He knew Rui Bing’s strength. These animals would not have caused her much trouble. The truly strong creatures were further in front of them. Despite the fact, he felt invigorated knowing that he was that much closer to Rui Bing.
Celest accelerated, ignoring the panicking stampede down below. The students were worried about his safety, and quickly followed him.
4500 mechs covered a large portion of the visible sky. None of the creatures challenged them in their way. Their journey was unexpectedly smooth.
Finally, they arrived.
Ye Chong saw a dozen gold colored Gold Dragons. When he saw the red-tailed beast, his eyes widened. Finally, he saw the snowshade leopards guarding the entrance to the crack. Ye Chong finally knew why Rui Bing could not afford to answer him earlier.
Both the Gold Dragons and the red-tailed beast noticed their arrival.
Ye Chong suppressed the murderous emotions he was having and delivered his orders coldly, “Draw them away. Be careful, they are very strong.”
All the students were shocked. They had never heard their commander describe anything or anyone as “strong”.
Celest immediately separated from the fleet and dived straight for the ground.
In just a short moment after Ye Chong’s order was given, Appilok had already came up with the army’s strategy.
He gave the order without delay, “All troops, target straight ahead. Fire!”
All 4500 mechs fired their laser guns in unison.
The darkness in Darkniss was lifted momentarily.
Celest landed under the illumination of the laser fires. The giant in black armour was as steady as a mountain. The red flower on its back looked beguiling in the light.
It was a magnificent sight, to have 4500 mechs firing at the same time. 4500 laser beams shot across the sky, directed at the 12 Gold Dragons and the red-tailed beast. These mech pilots were not as accurate as shooters, but they made up for it in numbers by shooting all at once.
After the first round of fire, Appilok and his army retreated without delay.
They soon realized how lucky they were to have done so. Of the 12 Gold Dragons, only two were lightly injured. The red-tailed beast completely avoided the attack.
Nevertheless, both the Gold Dragons and the red-tailed beast were angered by this provocation. Caw! The Gold Dragons shrieked as they flapped their gold wings, and charged straight for the mechs. The students were surprised by how fast the creatures were. The red-tailed beast studied the mechs coldly and followed behind the dragons.
All the mechs retreated at full speed.
It was quite comedic in fact, to see a dozen Gold Dragons and a red-tailed beast pursuing an entire army of over 4000 mechs.
At first, some of the mechs tried to fire back at them whilst retreating, but they never hit the creatures. The animals could not fly as fast as mechs, but they were more agile in the sky. The fact that they could even their laser beams made the students realize that they should stop wasting energy.
Lucky for them that the Commander’s orders were to draw the animals away, and not kill them.
Hence, the students stowed away their laser guns and ran for their lives. At maximum speed, Harmony of the Winter Aria was very fast. It was now a battle of velocities. The battle had reached a stalemate, but it was good news for the mech army.
However, they were also getting further and further away from their Commander.
Celest had landed at a good spot. It was standing right next to the crack. From here, it could look down inside the crack.
Ye Chong immediately stepped out of Celest and jumped down into the crack, withdrawing Celest back into its dimension keystone at the same time.
Rui Bing held on with all her strength. Her face was still wet with tears. She tasted something salty by the corner of her lips. It might be tears, or sweat. The snowshade leopard was too strong. In the narrow space in the crack, there was no room to dodge. This was a battle of physical strength. She was just a woman. Her arms were beginning to feel sore. Few men could compare to her tenacity.
Nevertheless, she must not give up. Behind her were Sang Kan and Aried. Sang Kan was still unconsicous, and Aried could not fight.
More importantly, a voice had told her to hang on!
Hang on! She gritted her teeth and fought on, despite feeling her arms getting more and more tired, and despite her heavily sweat-drenched training garb. Her breathing was beginning to lose rhythm. It was like breathing in fire with every breath. Her legs felt so very heavy …
The fight was intense. With every clash, Rui Bing felt her daggers slowly slipping out of her hands, but still she held on to them.
Time was passing so very slowly …
Crash! Suddenly, a few rock splinters fell down from above. Then, a large figure followed suite, landing right in front of her.
These two words were delivered without emotion. There was no anger, no emphasis, not even an inflection. It was as calm as she remembered it to be. However, these two simple words brought tears to her eyes once again. She bit down on her lips to stop herself from speaking. Her legs nearly gave way beneath her. She reached out with one trembling hand to support herself on the cliff beside her, but refused to move her eyes away from the deceptively slim figure. Her vision was getting blurry, and she could only see blurry figure. She really wanted to see him clearly …
Tears continued to flow down her cheeks.
Ye Chong crouched down with his hand lightly holding onto his dagger. He had saw Rui Bing’s movements, and knew that she was at her limit.
For some reason, Ye Chong felt terribly murderous, like something he had been suppressing for a long time had burst.
The snowshade leopard sensed the strong killing intent radiating from Ye Chong. As a sensitive and intelligent creature, it now felt hesitant to attack.
The man and the animal stared at each other for a full 10 seconds.
“Guardian.” This was Ye Chong’s next sentence, brief and precise.
A hand covered with soaking wet white training garb passed an inconspicuous ring to him. Rui Bing said nothing throughout it all.
Ye Chong took the ring and put on Guardian. He was familiar with this part. There was a lot of sweat in Guardian, left by Rui Bing. This filled Guardian with a very familiar scent that reminded Ye Chong of many obscure memories from long ago that he had yet truly forgotten about. As Ye Chong put on Guardian, he was immediately soaked in Rui Bing’s sweat. Rui Bing had fought a very difficult fight.
Ye Chong breathed in the familiar scent without expression.
The snowshade leopard studied the gold colored human in front of it. It was puzzled by what it saw.
Ye Chong did not give it time to figure him out. An emotion he could not quite describe was struggling inside him.
He made his move!
Ye Chong lunged like a bullet towards the puzzled snowshade leopard, leaving an afterimage behind it. He was full of energy, and his attacks were more deadly.
Compared to Rui Bing, Ye Chong’s attacks were more ruthless, direct, and powerful! Ye Chong was feeling murderous. His attacks had no room for mercy.
Ye Chong did not feint. His first move cut out a patch of black fur from the snowshade leopard. His second move was a dagger strike at the snowshade leopard’s front paw. The snowshade leopard screamed in pain and froze.
Before it could react any further, Ye Chong kicked at the center of its soft belly. Ye Chong delivered the attack without reserve. It was an attack so powerful that the snowshade leopard’s strong body was tossed backwards.
Aoo – The creature went silent before it midway through its painful howling. Ye Chong had chased after the snowshade leopard’s body before it touched the ground, and left a bloody hole where the white fur patch on its forehead was.
Wham! The snowshade leopard that was still alive moments ago now crashed heavily into the ground, kicking up dust inside the crack. Its eyes slowly turned lifeless.
Everything happened so quickly that it was hard to keep up with the fight.
Mei Wu was flabbergasted. She knew Ye Chong as a weaponsmith. How could he be … She turned her gaze towards the snowshade leopard’s dead body, and thought it felt like a dream. When she saw a single person able to hold out against a snowshade leopard for so long, she already thought it felt surreal.
Now, she saw another person killing a snowshade leopard in under 10 seconds. Heavens! Was he even human? Mei Wu thought she must be going mad.
Rui Bing had calmed herself down by now. She was a Jie expert, and had better control over her emotions than normal people. Aside from the fresh tears on her cheeks that she had not wiped dry, she looked like she always did. She did not care to wipe her tears, since Ye Chong’s battle had had her full attention.
Her eyes showed how happy she was. She could feel Ye Chong’s improvement since she last saw him. He was much stronger and faster than before. More importantly, he was alive, and standing right in front of her.
Before this, Ye Chong would not have been able to kill the snowshade leopard so easily. Just as Ye Chong knew Rui Bing’s strength, Rui Bing also knew Ye Chong. She knew that he was strong enough to deal with their current plight. Rui Bing tried to regulate her breathing so that she could recover her strength quickly and help Ye Chong, no matter how little she could offer.
Rui Bing kept her longingness to herself and closed her eyes. Her expression became serene, and her breathing slowed down.
Given a little time, a Jie expert could achieve plenty more.
The mechs that were pursued by the Gold Dragons and the red-tailed beast suddenly scattered in all directions.
The animals were surprised – which ones should they go after?
In that short moment of hesitation, a few hundred mechs were still in front of them. They were two squads. The red-tailed beast chased after one of the squads, while the Gold Dragons went after the other.
When the other squads were out of sight of the animals, they all switched directions in unison.
“Assist the Commander,” Appilok ordered with his low voice.
Everyone was feeling panicked. They had carried out the Commander’s orders successfully, but now they were worried about his safety. 4000 mechs regrouped and headed towards where their Commander had landed earlier.
Ye Chong had killed a snowshade leopard, but he had also angered the other three snowshade leopards waiting outside. They charged towards Ye Chong without hesitation.
Bang! Wham! The three snowshade leopards were like three heavyweight mechs. They sped up inside the narrow crack. Rocks cracked under their paws. The sudden disturbance shook down some of the loose rocks from above.
Ye Chong bent his knees and leaned forward. He held both daggers in a cross.
Inside Guardian, Ye Chong’s vision was filled with ever-shifting white lines. Even so, Ye Chong maintained his calm. The daggers in his hands never once trembled.
They were closer now! Closer!
Ye Chong opened his eyes.
With a soft yell, his knees straightened like a spring, and his body shot forward at an incredible speed. He was even faster than the snowshade leopards.
Where he stood before were two footprints deeply impressed into the ground.
The three snowshade leopards grew bigger and bigger in his eyes. He was fast!
Now! Ye Chong leapt and pulled his hands in. He crashed into the first snowshade leopard with his left shoulder.
The first snowshade leopard was sent flying backwards. It lost control of its movements and blocked the way of the other two animals.
The other two snowshade leopards reacted remarkably well. They did not slow down because of their injured companion, but instead leaped up towards the rocky walls on both sides. They bounced off the walls and barely avoided the first snowshade leopard that was thrown backwards, slipping past their companion from both sides. The entire process was smooth and streamlined.
Ye Chong had landed on his feet by then. His curled feet pressed deep into the ground from the heavy impact.
At the instant Ye Chong landed, his leg muscles rippled like waves. This was the September Lan Family’s muscle control technique! The energy from his feet, amplified further by Guardian, was terrifying!
Ye Chong flitted in a gold shimmer of light towards the two snowshade leopards, unafraid of them.
Chapter 585: Take Guardian Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Ye Chong opened his arms to both sides and flicked his daggers up, tracing two shiny golden arcs in the air.
“Aooh!” The two snowshade leopards growled lowly, showing their teeth as they headed for Ye Chong. Their snow white teeth gleamed coldly against the dark. Their twisted their bodies and narrowly avoided the two daggers, losing only a few clumps of black fur from the attack. The black fur that was cut off from them scattered into the winds.
Ye Chong knew that the upper hand he had at the beginning was only temporary. The fact was, his situation was dire. The snowshade leopards were strong creatures. They were quick and agile, with immense strength. He killed the first snowshade leopard easily because it was caught off guard, and because Rui Bing had exhausted much of its stamina. He would not have been able to kill it so quickly otherwise.
The other three snowshade leopards he was dealing with now were still full of energy. They were furious of the death of their companion. Ye Chong must now fight against three angry snowshade leopards. This put him in a tough spot.
He must stay calm. Everything slowed down around him. His thinking became clearer. The impact earlier had thrown back one of the snowshade leopards, but it was also left his shoulder numb. That was why the other two snowshade leopards avoided his daggers so easily.
These two snowshade leopards landed and growled lowly. They arched their bodies and stood one before the other, and charged towards Ye Chong like two bullets.
In that instant, Ye Chong saw every minute detail. He put his arms down and bent them, and then drew his elbows backwards against the heads of the snowshade leopards.
Bam! The snowshade leopards hit right onto Ye Chong’s elbows and cried out in pain.
Elbow moves were powerful in all schools of combat. Besides, the snowshade leopards had run right into them.
Ye Chong sensed the impact of his attack on the snowshade leopards. They were momentarily frozen. It was the perfect opening. Given an extra tenth of a second, Ye Chong would have been able to kill both creatures with his daggers.
However, Ye Chong did not make use of the opening. Instead, he dashed forward and pulled his daggers in front of him into a cross. A golden cross appeard in the darkness.
Clang! It sounded like the clash between two metal weapons, but it was actually from the claws of the first snowshade leopard clashing against Ye Chong’s daggers. The snowshade leopards had very strong claws.
The powerful impact combined with Ye Chong’s backwards momentum sent a heavy blow to Ye Chong’s arms. He felt a surge of energy into him and nearly stumbled backwards.
Ye Chong knew that if he lost control of his body right now, the consequences would be very serious.
When his feet landed on the ground, Ye Chong stomped heavily into the rocks and slashed the dagger in his right hand upwards. The snowshade leopard in front of him retreated quickly in response.
Next, the three snowshade leopards began to launch themselves against Ye Chong’s defenses like three black bolts of lightning.
Ye Chong did not move from his position. He blocked all the attacks coming form the snowshade leopards.
The daggers swiped and slashed wherever Ye Chong needed them to. They clashed against the enemies with a metallic ring every time. The sounds of impact never stopped. In the darkness, fiery sparks appeared all around Ye Chong that quickly disappeared.
The claws of the snowshade leopards were as tough as Guardian’s daggers. The force behind the attacks from both sides caused sparks in the air.
The three snowshade leopards were smart. Even in the narrow space within the crack, they were able to move around easily. Besides, they could coordinate their movements with each other. That made things particularly difficult for Ye Chong. The three snowshade leopards took turns attacking him. They were fast, and attacked at an astonishingly high frequency. Every attack was powerful. Even someone as strong as Ye Chong found it challenging to fight them.
Ye Chong was completely absorbed in the fight. His mind was focused entirely on the swift attacks that kept coming at him. He was almost at his limit. Any distraction or hesitation on his part would most certainly lead to his death.
There was no joy or sadness in him. His body moved almost thinking. His hands, elbows, shoulders, knees and legs all moved flexibly as though there were no bones inside him. He executed all these impossible moves with ease.
They were fast!
Ye Chong’s focused mind allowed him to see everything around him in slow motion. He must find the perfect timing and place to attack by studying the complicated array of white lines in his vision. This required a mind capable of fast calculations and a long history of combat, both of which he possessed.
The truth was, he was now at a disadvantage. On flat, open space, he could still hold himself against the three snowshade leopards and wait for his opportunity; but here in the narrow crack, there was no room to avoid attacks from the animals. In fact, he could not allow any attacks to get past him at all. There were people behind him that he needed to protect.
Ye Chong gritted his teeth and held on. His only option was to fight to the end. This was a battle of tenacity and patience. The first one to give up would lose.
Ye Chong moved his hands as fast as he could. Any opening on his side would only lead to more openings, and from then onwards he would be finished.
Ye Chong maintained his incredible speed for that long. He performed perfectly. If his battle against the first snowshade leopard demonstrated his explosive offensive moves, then his battle now against the three snowshade leopards demonstrated his unyielding defenses.
His moves were all fast and strong, blocking all the attacks that came his way!
20 minutes had passed! Ye Chong’s defense was still flawless. The three snowshade leopards never once breached his defenses.
Inside Guardian, Ye Chong’s face was tinged in an unhealthy red. His eyes were opened wide, and his facial muscles were convulsing. Sweat rolled down his distorted face.
He was at his limit. He knew that if the snowshade leopards stopped attacking now, his legs would give way.
Nevertheless, he was not ready to give up just yet. Surrender was not in his nature. Even with his stamina nearly depleted, his mind did not lose its calm.
The snowshade leopards were also slowing down! As someone who was also sensitive to changes in the battlefield, Ye Chong did not fail to notice that as well. Snowshade leopards were strong, but not invincible. As the ones on the offensive, they were using their energy much faster than Ye Chong.
They were slowing down and growing weaker. They panted heavily and kept their eyes on Ye Chong, unwilling to give up. To them, the teardrop mineralite was …
The gold colored Guardian was like a machine, never resting for a second. The snowshade leopards had never fought against anything so strong and resilient. That was only natural, since they were at the top of the food chain in Darkniss.
The three snowshade leopards glared at Ye Chong from a distance. They were breathing heavily. They arched their bodies and stood side by side.
This d*mned gold figure was still right in their way in the middle of the crack.
Ye Chong was completely exhausted. His muscles felt like they were no longer his. He could no longer make his muscles ripple like before. Underneath his unwavering body, his legs were shaking very slightly, but this was not visible from outside the mech.
“D*mn! Muscle cramps!” Ye Chong thought to himself as his expression hardened. His legs had suffered the most during the battle. After all, he used his legs to absorb all the impact from the animals.
He had finally reached his limit.
Rui Bing had recovered some of her energy. Her eyes glistened with concern. She knew how difficult those 20 minutes must be or Ye Chong. A single snowshade leopard had exhausted her completely, but Ye Chong had to deal with three snowshade leopards at the same time. These three snowshade leopards had entered the battle in top condition.
Ye Chong was inside Guardian, so Rui Bing could not see his face. However, she could tell from his slowing movements that something was wrong. This made her worried.
She did not know that Ye Chong was already completely exhausted. To her, Ye Chong was unbeatable. Whether it was before or at this very moment, be it in the Five Galaxies or in this strange new world, she had complete confidence in Ye Chong.
Even so, she was ready to assist him.
Fighting side by side with Ye was her favourite thing to do.
Suddenly, the sky lit up in a dazzling laser display. In the blink of an eye, the entire crack was illuminated with laser beams. The three snowshade leopards vanished in the light without even the time to howl.
In front of Ye Chong was a neat rectangular impression in the ground. The hole was three meters deep. Smoke curled up from the charred rocks in the hole. The rectangular hole extended from in front of Ye Chong all the way to the crack’s entrance. The cliffs on both sides inside the crack were also charred.
Ye Chong looked up and saw row and rows of mechs, each pointing their laser gun inside the crack. They were the ones who fired.
Ye Chong exhaled slowly and came out of Guardian.
Rui Bing saw his pale face and quickly stepped forward.
Ye Chong said, “We’re going back. Take Guardian.” He slipped Guardian’s ring to Rui Bing.
Rui Bing accepted the inconspicuous looking ring with barely an expression, but her hands held onto the ring tightly.
“Good sir, this is teardrop mineralite,” Sang Kan spoke up.
Only the Sang Tribe called him that. Ye Chong turned to Sang Kan, and saw him holding Mei Wu’s backpack.
“You’re from the Sang Tribe?” Ye Chong could not help but asked.
Sang Kan had just only turned conscious. There were still traces of blood by the edge of his mouth. He bowed down and answered with respect, “Yes.”
“Then you’ll come with me.”
Ye Chong trusted the Sang Tribe. Sang Kan was excited to hear Ye Chong’s words. He did not think much of his injuries. The Sang Tribe were strong people. They had always been in a tough war against nature. The injuries he had now were nothing. Serving their good sir was an unimaginable honour.
Appilok and his soldiers did not descend from the sky. Ye Chong had always taught them to put their safety at the highest priority when in battle. They were never big on formalities.
Their reinforcement was timely. Any longer, and Ye Chong would have been in danger.
It was a marvellous simultaneous firing. Appilok had commanded all 4000 mechs to do so. The mechs all hovered right above the crack and arranged themselves in layers to ensure that the attack was powerful enough. Each mech shot at a slightly different angle, so that all 4000 mechs could fire into the crack that was only a few dozen meters long.
The effect was devastating, as was evident.
To ensure Ye Chong’s safety, all the mech pilots that were firing closest to Ye Chong scored 95 and above in shooting.
It was a one-hit kill. Appilok was slowly becoming a mature and effective leader.
“Depart.” Ye Chong did not linger. This was not the place to reminisce; besides, he was never one for reminiscing.
There was finally time to catch his breath. Ye Chong slowly recovered his energy. The battle just now was so intense that he barely had time to breathe.
When Mei Wu saw the mechs, she was astonished once again. She had seen many things today that felt surreal. Rui Bing and Sang Kan had already surprised her greatly. Then Ye Chong arrived, and she was even more shocked. It was hard to imagine how a Master Weaponsmith could kill a snowshade leopard, and later defended himself against three snowshade leopards for 20 minutes and survived without a scratch.
A flying giant … Massive laser guns that could fire laser beams thicker than the ones a Spider could fire … They seemed to be made of gravstones …
Mei Wu felt like her entire worldview was overhauled.
Ye Chong did not ask Mei Wu about her involvement. He had too many questions that needed answering, but this was not the place to discuss them.
Celest’s black figure was as solid as a mountain. Its half lidded eyes seemed to stare down condescendingly at the world. Rui Bing put on Guardian and rested her relatively small and slender figure quietly on Celest’s shoulder.
Ye Chong carried Rui Bing and led his army back to their main stronghold. When they arrived, Ye Chong’s first order was, “Have the two squads draw the animals to the stronghold.”
Their stronghold was now heavily armed, unlike when it was first built. They could use their armaments in the stronghold on the red-tailed beast and the 12 Gold Dragons. It was the most efficient way to deal with the creatures, and Ye Chong was all for efficiency.
When Mei Wu saw the massive stronghold, she looked about to choke.
When was this place built? Why did she know nothing about it? It was just a stone’s throw away from her cave.
She felt slightly comforted when she saw Sha Ya, a familiar face. Mei Wu was once very confident of her own strength, but she now felt very tiny. “No, that’s only because they are too strong,” Mei Wu consoled herself so.
The 12 Gold Dragons kept a tight pursuit on the mech squad as the hundreds of mechs made their way back to the stronghold. The Gold Dragons were too frustrated by the chase that they followed the mechs towards the stronghold.
Once the Gold Dragons were within firing range, the stronghold’s weapons fired without warning.
A dense web of laser beams engulfed the Gold Dragons.
“Are these really the ruler of the sky, the Gold Dragons?” Mei Wu watched silently as the 12 Gold Dragons were shot full of holes. She felt a chill creeping up her spine.
That was terrifying!
10 minutes later, the six-fingered red-tailed beast was also drawn to the stronghold. However, it was smarter than the Gold Dragons. It stopped itself right beyond their firing range.
“Enlarge the image.” Ye Chong ordered.
The holographic screen zoomed in on the clearly figure of the red-tailed beast.
The dark red arrowhead tail was evidence of its strength. Six fingers – that was the strongest red-tailed beast that Ye Chong had never killed.
He remembered clearly that that six-fingered red-tailed beast was the leader of its “pack”. He remembered that odd event clearly.
If a red-tailed beast could become the leader of a “pack”, than what about this red-tailed beast?
Where did it come from? Was it a leader?
Chapter 586: Stronger Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The six-fingered red-tailed beast was wary of the stronghold. It studied the stronghold from afar. After about half a minute, it turned back to leave.
Ye Chong was curious about where the red-tailed beast came from. Killing a red-tailed beast had no practical value for them now; it would be far more useful to find out where the red-tailed beast originated from. However, the animal seemed intelligent. Perhaps he should just kill it? If the leader of a “pack” of red-tailed beast was intelligent, then killing off the “pack” would be many times more difficult. Ye Chong was confident that he could kill the animal right now. His strength had mostly recovered. He could kill a six-fingered red-tailed beast using just Han Jia, much less Celest. Besides, he had also become stronger.
However, killing it would mean that he could not investigate where it came from!
After considering his dilemma for a few seconds, Ye Chong came to a decision.
Ye Chong gave his order without emotion. “Send a hundred students who scored 95 and above in mech piloting to follow the red-tailed beast. Report all observations back to base.”
“Yes sir.” Appilok immediately went to organize the mission. He knew the students well, and would know who were the best to send for this mission.
The mechs were already on standby. They took off from the stronghold and followed closely behind the red-tailed beast. A pursuit required good piloting skills. The pilot must have good spatial awareness and be able to predict the target’s next move.
After making the arrangements, Ye Chong turned to his new arrivals.
“How did you get here?” Ye Chong looked at Rui Bing.
Rui Bing looked calm. She replied softly, “It was Aried. He was doing spatial experiments when an accident happened.”
“Is everyone else alright? Did they find Mu and Shang?”
Rui Bing nodded, and then shook her head. “The Sang Tribe is alright. Yi Ju is developing quickly. They are all very busy. Did you and Mu and Shang get separated? Before I left, they still do not have news of Mu and Shang.”
“We got separated in Gray Valley.” Ye Chong explained.
Sang Kan could not help but interrupt them. “So you were in Gray Valley! No wonder we couldn’t find you. Everyone was looking for you. We searched the entire He Yue Galaxy but could not find you. The red-tailed beasts have taken the Gateway to Gray Valley, so we did not go there.”
Ye Chong nodded. He turned to Aried. “You are Aried? A spatial scientist?”
“That is correct, sir.” Aried had heard of this man, so he knew immediately to be respectful. After all, the authorities in Yi Ju were his only sponsors.
“What experiment were you conducting?” Ye Chong was curious. What kind of experiment would sent them safely to Darkniss?
“We were doing an experiment on spatial windows. I discovered that we could use high energies to create spatial windows. My goal was to create faster and more convenient ways of travelling. The theories behind my experiment are…”
Aried turned lively once he began to talk about his experiments. Ye Chong did not stop him, but listened patiently instead and interrupted with the occasional question. This made Aried even happier.
“What caused the accident?” Ye Chong asked.
Aried shrugged. “I didn’t know that Lady Rui Bing had a dimension keystone on her.”
“Dimension keystones can affect spatial windows?” Ye Chong realized there was something to it. He recalled the circumstances in which he was sent from the base on Spectre to Dual Forest. There was also his first time entering Darkniss, when Xuan Ning told him that his dimension keystone had a strong effect on the entrance to Darkniss, which was also a spatial window.
Ye Chong decided then to let Aried continue with his research. Perhaps he could help them find their way home. He also decided to let Sha Ya assist him. After Sha Ya reached Level 9, she was able to detect very minute changes in spatial windows. This would be of tremendous help to the spatial scientist.
“Where did you get the teardrop mineralite?” Ye Chong took out the thumbnail sized mineral. It was very large compared to all the teardrop mineralites in his hands. Darkniss had no natural reserves of energy crystals. He was sure of that. In his effort to reduce their dependence on external supplies of energy crystals, he had allocated a lot of time and manpower into searching for energy crystals in Darkniss, but the results were disappointing. So far, he had found nothing.
It was simply incredible to see a teardrop mineralite here in Darkniss. The teardrop mineralite had attracted so many wild animals. Even the snowshade leopards and red-tailed beast had showed up. It was odd and surprising.
He recalled the time when he obtained his teardrop mineralite. There was the dark spatial window, and the eight-fingered red-tailed beast. Teardrop mineralite… Spatial window… Red-tailed beast… How were these three related?
Mei Wu answered him with reverence. “A few days ago, I was returning from one of my expeditions when I noticed numerous animal bodies along the way. I was curious, so I followed the trail of bodies until I reached a lake. There, I saw two slitherlizards fighting each other for that thing. I thought that was strange, so I took it from them. I didn’t think much of it since I did not recognize it. Later on, animals began to chase after me. I was lucky that this lady and her friends had come to my aid.”
She could see that Rui Bing and Ye Chong were more than simple comrades in arms, so she treated Rui Bing with equal respect. The strongest commanded respect. This was an unspoken rule, and especially pronounced among shooters. High level shooters and low level shooters were different in status, and in other respects as well.
Mei Wu thought Ye Chong’s physical prowess was beyond what she had ever imagined. She had saw how he killed a snowshade leopard, and then held out against three snowshade leopards for 20 minutes. She was shaken by the experience. Everything in the stronghold was challenging her imagination, and the creator of them all was this cold, young man in front of her.
12 hours later, the students who were trailing the red-tailed beast returned to the stronghold. Based on their report, there was a very narrow crack in the Sea of Threads. The red-tailed beast had disappeared into the crack. The students marked the location of the crack so that they could find their way back to it later.
Ye Chong went to inspect the crack himself. It was well hidden, and right smack in the middle of the Sea of Threads. Ye Chong did not enter it since he could not see what was inside. However, he had decided to bring a squad with him into the crack when the time was right. He suspected that the snowshade leopards and the Gold Dragons had come from the same place as well.
Rui Bing and the other two new arrivals were strong additions to Ye Chong’s army. They had also produced a very subtle change in the stronghold. Ye Chong could only sense this change minutely, but he could not quite describe it. In the end, Ye Chong gave up trying to figure out this highly difficult and almost impossible problem for him, and proceeded with his grand plan of development.
All of his students did not have dimension keystones for their mechs, but this was quickly solved since Aried was here. For an accomplished and knowledgeable spatial scientist, it was not a difficult problem to solve. Ye Chong passed all the information on spatial science in the three chips he got from Kui to Aried. The scientist appreciated it very much, and dived straight into them.
Sha Ya was ordered by Ye Chong to assist Aried. Despite having nothing to do for now, she remained composed and at ease. Compared to when she was Level 8, she now had an improved state of mind.
Work on the starship was still in progress. The construction was not interrupted because of the incident. Resources continued to pour in from Northern Lands, so Ye Chong did not have to worry about supplies.
Training for the few hundred shooters from the trade was going smoothly. Shooting exercises were easy peasy for them. There was less physical training, but more practice on using complicated weapons and group strategies.
Ye Chong did not plan to have them pilot mechs. Their jobs would be to man the warship.
Rui Bing followed Ye Chong around like his shadow. Wherever Ye Chong was, she would be there as well. She rarely spoke, and always looked serene. She looked charismatic in her white training garb. Everyone in the stronghold knew of her close relationship with Ye Chong.
Rui Bing was no longer wearing the white training garb that she had on when she first arrived in this new world. Jin Weidong had brought her presents when he visited the stronghold. When Rui Bing saw the new sets of clothing he had brought her, her calm expression brightened up. The other subordinates in the stronghold were jealous and impressed by Jin Weidong’s initiative.
Ye Chong ordered for Jin Weidong to bring a few more sets of training garb. Rui Bing’s expression revealed nothing, but Jin Weidong could see that she was quietly overjoyed.
Sang Kan continued to work under Aried, but spent most of his free time with Duan Qian. Duan Qian was always beaten to a pulp by him, but the former was a resilient and strong character who refused to give up. Sang Kan was impressed by him, and offered guidance freely to the young man. Duan Qian improved by leaps and bounds.
Mei Wu obtained the Spider promised to her by Ye Chong, and saw the Shu sisters in the stronghold. However, she maintained her distance with her two former students, and left them after a few words of greeting. She was a Level 9 shooter, and she would not bow down to another master other than herself. However, she did think that it was good for her former students to find such a strong character as their master.
Shu Mo’er and Shu Man’er had changed a lot. They were now just like any other student. Despite having many admirers, they never reciprocated. Even Shu Man’er was no longer as cheerful as she once was. She responded coldly to any attention from her admirers.
The warship was still under construction. The massive operation would take a long time. It was fortunate that Darkniss was rich with metals, or the operation would have taken forever. Even so, it would be a long while before the ship was ready.
Besides the warship, the stronghold was also being reinforced for the second time. All the students were using the first batch of Harmony of the Winter Aria. These mechs were made of normal metal alloys due to the availability of materials back then.
Now that Ye Chong had discovered a few more mineral reserves, he had enough to spare despite building the warship to upgrade the mechs with better metal alloys. Ye Chong even found some rare metals to upgrade Guardian’s specs.
All these engineering works were proceeding in organized fashion. The weaponsmiths under Xi Yan’s lead were no longer inexperienced newbies. After so many huge projects, they were improving fast.
Eastern Cloud and Western Frost were still in the thick of war, and that was good news for Ye Chong. Now, he no longer had to behave under Sun Sieha’s watch. Ye Chong was not ambitious, but that did not mean he would bow down to power.
The students trained hard. Having seen the strong wild animals such as the red-tailed beast, they realized that they were still lacking in strength. In the pursuit of the red-tailed beast last time, a few students had nearly died under the arrowhead tail of the creature. They were no threat to the strong animal at all, and this made them frustrated.
From their combat experience, they begin to devise better group strategies in battle.
Troop leaders like Appilok had to conduct more simultaneous shooting practices, while the other students had to practice shooting like crazy.
As a result, the shooting scoreboard in the stronghold was refreshed much more frequently. The leading score went higher and higher. The students who trained harder than others in shooting would later become the infamous “sniper division” of the army. Circumstances forced all the students to improve as a whole very quickly.
They were slowly becoming stronger! Ye Chong could sense it.
Chapter 587: Imminent Departure Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The warship was almost ready. Ye Chong was now bringing troops to the Sea of Threads. He had synthesized a special transparent gel that could hide all kinds of electromagnetic signals. Ye Chong used this transparent gel on their mechs and the warship. By applying a layer of this gel on the exterior, the mechs and the warship would be effectively invisible to the enemy. The only way to detect them would be by direct visual observation. Compared to full-skeleton mechs, the gel offered better stealth, since it was also effective against red-tailed beasts.
Thus, the demand for this colloid fungus in the stronghold skyrocketed overnight.
The wild animals around the Sea of Threads were not as strong as the likes of the red-tailed beast or the snowshade leopard, but they were still formidable. Hence, Ye Chong led the expedition himself. Harvesting work would have to be done manually since all signals would be impeded here. The remaining problem was about how to build a small harvesting base here.
Aside from harvesting, Ye Chong was also interested in the crack that ran along the entire Sea of Threads.
Construction of the harvesting base proceeded rapidly. This was all thanks to Sha Ya. Sha Ya found that the para-psychic wave nature of the place could stimulate shooters to improve quickly. Hence, Ye Chong ordered all the shooters to serve as workers in the Sea of Threads. Sha Ya was proven to be correct. Once their para-psychic abilities were inhibited, the shooters rapidly improved. They became excited of their work because of this. In the end, they arranged to sleep in the Sea of Threads, a place that even the red-tailed beasts were afraid of.
The mission to investigate the crack proceeded with great caution exercised.
The crack that ran along the Sea of Threads was very well hidden. It was blocked entirely by an ancient tree that was over thirty meters tall, and was only visible up close. The tree had a thick main stalk at ten meters in diameter, making it look short and strong. The purplish brown bark of the tree was as hard as metal. The leaves were also in a dark purple shade, with a strong metallic luster.
Compared to the thick girth of the tree, the crack was very narrow, barely five meters wide.
Only Ye Chong and Rui Bing went on this investigative expedition. Ye Chong thought that the students were already good in battle as a team, but their individual strengths were still lacking. If he and Rui Bing encountered any dangers that they could not fend off, they could always pull back much easily.
Rui Bing put on Guardian, which traced her bodily curves faithfully. She sat quietly on Celest’s shoulder.
His archaic lance was not a suitable weapon in the narrow crack, so Ye Chong took out his parrying spear.
Celest carried Rui Bing and entered the crack with half lidded eyes.
Once they were inside, the view brightened. This was a naturally formed valley. They could see the marks left by tectonic shifts in the past.
It was very quiet in the crack. Not one sound was heard. Ye Chong and Rui Bing kept their guard up since they saw animal skeletons scattered along the bottom of the crack. Even skeletons of very powerful animals like the red-tailed beasts and snowshade leopards were common in here.
This made Ye Chong and Rui Bing felt even more wary. The skeletons told them how dangerous the place was.
“Be careful.” Ye Chong warned softly. His eyes never left the holographic screen.
Rui Bing acknowledged quietly and switched her posture. She put one hand on Celest’s shoulder for support and bent her body forward slightly, so that she could be ready to attack when necessary. Her daggers were already in her hands.
Suddenly, a mist began to spread inside the crack. The white mist clouded their view instantly. However, it did not affect Celest’s holographic scanning system.
Ye Chong looked at the stats from the photon processor. “This mist is poisonous.”
Rui Bing nodded. “No wonder the animals died here.”
Celest carried Rui Bing and advanced quickly. The terrain was complicated, with rocky protrusions here and there.
Aooh! They heard a quiet howl.
They were surprised by it, and carefully approached the source of the sound. It was a snowshade leopard. It had inhaled a lot of white mist. Its body had some odd blue tinge. The snowshade leopard stared sadly into the mist as it howled weakly. The unchallenged animal of Darkniss, the snowshade leopard, was now so weak that even a human child could kill it.
Ye Chong observed in a neutral tone, “The poison is strong.”
Just as he finished, the snowshade leopard went motionless and stopped breathing.
They continued to see animal bodies along the way. Some of them were extremely tenacious. There were signs indicating that they had stayed in the crack for a long time before the poisonous mist invaded their bodies and caused them to become immobile. Nevertheless, the mist was not immediately fatal. It weakened the animal’s body until it was left with only skin and bones, and finally died of starvation.
Rui Bing could not bear to see these animals suffer. Whenever she saw any animals that were still alive, she would end their suffering with her dagger. When the animals died, their eyes showed relief.
The crack was long. It took Ye Chong and Rui Bing five days to travel along it. Ye Chong soon found a pattern in the release of the poisonous mist. Only parts of the crack would be shrouded in the mist at one time. If you were fast enough and understood the pattern of the mist release, it would be possible to traverse the crack and survive.
So far, Ye Chong saw no signs of the six-fingered red-tailed beast. It had most likely survived its journey through the crack.
On the fifth day, they finally reached the exit out of the crack.
The exit brought them to the mountains.
Rui Bing stared at the mountains for a while. “We’ve been here before. The mountains extended far into the distance. This is close to where we first came to this world. If you go further along this direction, there is a flesh nest of the red-tailed beasts. However, we only ever saw low level red-tailed beasts there, not six-fingered ones.”
Ye Chong made a mark on the map and eyed the seemingly endless mountain ranges. He said to Rui Bing, “Let’s head back. We will come back here later.”
They returned to the stronghold as fast as they could.
“Opening a spatial window required vast amounts of energy. Naturally occurring spatial windows usually draw energy from objects with high energy content, like the teardrop mineralite. I don’t know whether the red-tailed beasts found those naturally occurring spatial windows or if they created their own, but they obviously know how to use teardrop mineralite to enlarge spatial windows. Naturally occurring spatial windows are not very big. It’s usually enough to fit just one mech. The spatial window that the red-tailed beasts traveled through is obviously a lot bigger.”
Aried reported his findings to Ye Chong. Sha Ya was tremendously helpful to him. He could study the structure of spatial windows through her. Aried never imagined it possible for someone to sense the structure of spatial windows without the aid of any equipment. It was miraculous!
Even in the He Yue Galaxy, no equipment could do this!
Since Sha Ya did not have relevant background knowledge in spatial science, her descriptions were vague. Nevertheless, she was of great help to Aried.
“I am now studying how to enlarge spatial windows. As long as we have high energy materials like the teardrop mineralite, it should not be a problem. Of course, there must first be an existing spatial window to work on. That would be much easier than creating a spatial window from nothing.” Aried explained frankly. Compared to common scientists, Aried’s career path had been harder, exposing him to all sorts of human factors in the research process. Sometimes, Aried behaved more like a businessman. He would try to conduct his research in the direction favored by his investor. This would help him financially. He knew what Ye Chong needed and wanted right now, and had structured his research accordingly.
Ye Chong frowned. He needed to find the way back to return to the He Yue Galaxy, not enlarge spatial windows. He asked, ‘How will that be useful?”
Aried said, “If you want to bring that starship back with you, it would be very useful.”
“I see.” Ye Chong nodded, commending him. He continued asking, “Do we have a way to find the path back to the He Yue Galaxy now?” This was a problem that exasperated him the most.
Aried shook his head. “That will depend on our luck. If we can find a spatial window that leads back to He Yue Galaxy, then all our problems will be solved.”
“Where can we find a spatial window that leads to the He Yue Galaxy?” Ye Chong could not help but ask. Bio-photon processor technology here had improved somewhat, but they were still far from building an advanced bio-photon processor.
Aried hesitated, and then explained his hypothesis.
Ye Chong went into deep thought. After a long moment, he looked up and said, “Your theory makes sense, but we have searched the surroundings of the Sea of Threads. Aside from the spatial windows to Northern Lands and Western Frost, there are no other spatial windows. If your hypothesis is correct, it should have been just by the Sea of Threads.”
Ye Chong had already searched his end of the Sea of Threads with his Hummingbirds. All the empty spots on their holographic map were complete. Ye Chong had discovered many ore reserves in the process, but did not mine them since the warship was near completion. He only extracted rare minerals from them. Ye Chong kept thinking about Mu and Shang’s lost arm. He now had enough materials to restore it. Aside from extremely rare materials like the Do Kun stone and coraplatinum, he had sufficient amounts of other rare materials in his hands.
The students from the stronghold were now aware of the Sea of Threads, but they dared not enter the strange place yet. However, all the wild animals roaming near the Sea of Threads became target practice for them.
The massive object could fly. All the students in the stronghold looked flabbergasted. Aried would look at them with a face that said he thought the students were all ignorant barbarians.
When the warship first went airborne, it immediately dived sideways and crash landed. This was probably because the crew was feeling nervous. Fortunately, the hull was tough and safety measures were in place. No one was hurt. Eventually, the crew got familiar with flying the warship.
Ye Chong named the warship Darkniss. The lavish materials used for this ship were unrivaled. Just the materials used to build this warship could be sold at a sky-high figure.
There were 70 passageways built for the mechs inside to exit and engage. The ship cannons were powerful, but not the most advanced. Nevertheless, they were made of top quality raw materials, and thus were still very deadly. Besides these, Ye Chong also added a very important upgrade – shooting stations. These shooting stations were manned by professional shooters. They were more accurate than auto lock-on systems, and certainly much better than simple laser firing devices.
These shooting stations were difficult to maneuver, and were built especially for the shooters. Without atmospheric interference, shooters could extend their para-psychic senses further in outer space. These shooters were used to aiming at thumbnail sized targets. If it was something over ten meters tall like a mech or a red-tailed beast, their aiming would be flawless. To unleash the maximum potential of their aiming accuracy, the training program for shooters include studying a mech’s structure and commonly vulnerable parts in wild animals. Shooters could not withstand the physical burden of piloting a mech in battle, but that problem was moot when they were shooting from a warship.
This amazing idea immediately improved a shooter’s value in battle significantly, despite Ye Chong believing that shooters had limited capabilities before this. Every warship was vulnerable to close range enemies; for Darkniss, their firepower was strongest at close range.
“Looks like it’s time to depart,” Ye Chong muttered to himself.
Chapter 588: Return I Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
All the students and shooters returned obediently to their designed stronghold under Ye Chong’s orders, where they awaited for further instructions. Even Jin Weidong was asked to return to the stronghold. Before this, he was asked by Ye Chong to purchase a large amount of supplies.
The warehouse was becoming the largest structure in their stronghold. It was fully stocked with supplies. Their next expedition was going to take a long time. They would most likely not return to their stronghold very soon. Ye Chong had used up all the food they had to make nutrition pills, so that they could bring more of them. Nutrition pills were not appetizing, but they were small and convenient to carry about. Besides, it provided all the energy and nutrients they needed.
As a precaution, Ye Chong made enough nutrition pills to last everyone in the warship for three years. Huge containers of nutrition pills were neatly arranged on the ship. The ship’s cargo hold was also loaded with other supplies. No one knew what laid ahead of them. The better prepared they were, the more likely they would survive. Ye Chong was never one to complain about complicated preparation works.
He had also brought many top grade energy crystals to make sure they had enough power in Darkniss. Even the vastly influential Yan Family took a lot of effort to procure all the energy crystals they needed. Ye Chong paid an equivalent price for these energy crystals. However, the energy crystals still did not seem enough for him. The teardrop mineralite would be his backup power source for the warship Darkniss.
Nevertheless, he could not use up all the teardrop mineralite he had. If they really found a spatial window that led to the He Yue Galaxy, the teardrop mineralites were necessary to make the spatial window wider.
All the students had their orders. They knew that a long journey was ahead of them. These young people were very excited by the prospects. Many of them dreamed of adventuring in uncharted territories, but no one knew what their destination would be. The shooters were used to it, however. Every Level 6 shooter had their fair share of risky expeditions.
Jin Weidong and his comrades tried to glean some information from Ye Chong about the expedition, but they all failed.
In fact, they were only worried that Ye Chong would want to attack another country. Eastern Cloud was now at its peak in power; Northern Lands was prosperous; both countries were too powerful to make an enemy of. They knew exactly the kind of military strength Ye Chong had. Ye Chong had soldiers from all three countries, but Western Frost nationals were outnumbered by the other two.
They hoped that Ye Chong would not attack any of these countries. As long as Ye Chong did not attack their home countries, they would be more than willing to follow his lead. Hence, Jin Weidong and his comrades were worried that Ye Chong would choose Western Frost as his next target. After all, Ye Chong was now a man with great power, and no man in his position would be anything less than ambitious.
When all the preparations were done, Ye Chong ordered for them to depart.
They left three strongholds behind, leaving everything but some of the high precision equipment. Ye Chong never returned to these strongholds. These three abandoned strongholds were later on viewed as miracles. Shooters who ventured into Darkniss were all afraid of these three magnificent structures. Anything that tried to approach the stronghold would be killed. The overwhelming firepower was terrifying. No one knew that the strongholds were actually unoccupied. Ye Chong gave the extra supplies he had to Mei Wu. He had invited Mei Wu to join him for this expedition, but Mei Wu had politely declined.
It was only 400 years later that Darkniss was accessible to common people. The mystery behind these three strongholds were gradually unraveled then. That was another story, however, that had nothing to do with Ye Chong now.
Ye Chong’s order to abandon the strongholds surprised his students. They could not understand why their commander would abandon them, considering how sturdy those buildings were and all the things they left inside. Having lived in the strongholds for so long, some of the students missed the place.
The commander’s orders were to be followed to the letter, however. Building another stronghold would not be a challenge anyway. That was how the students consoled themselves. Nevertheless, they soon grew used to life on their ship.
When Jin Weidong and his comrades saw their ship heading towards the Sea of Threads, they all felt relieved. Darkniss was now Ye Chong’s territory. Since the students hunted outside everyday, the animal population in Darkniss had greatly reduced. Despite the threat of these humans, the animals did not dare to migrate further inwards beyond the Sea of Threads.
The warship Darkniss flew at a low altitude, a suffocating presence in the darkness of Darkniss. The animals on the ground could not fathom what this giant being was. They laid low and trembled in fear, hiding their heads inside the fungus threads.
The Sea of Threads seemed so wide and endless. The threads swayed gently, creating an illusion of ripples in the field of colloid fungi. Harvesting works on the Sea of Threads did not seem to affect it much.
“Switch to optical view.” The wide and spectacular view of the Sea of Threads came onto the screen.
Inside the warship, people gasped in awe. They had never ventured into the Sea of Threads before. Even the harvesting works were done only at the edges of the place.
Once they were inside the Sea of Threads, all connections they had with the strongholds were lost. The Sea of Threads blocked all forms of signals.
The Sea of Threads was dead quiet. There was nothing but the wide field of blue threads. As time passed, the crew became bored of this monotonous view.
Crew members in the bridge remained on duty, while the rest of the students resumed their normal routines. Warship Darkniss had all the facilities they needed. Crew members could train like they did before onboard the ship.
Of course, the ship was not fitted with any entertainment facilities, as was Ye Chong’s wish.
Warship Darkniss maintained a high velocity course through the Sea of Threads. There were no obstacles in their flight path, and no wild animals to disrupt their journey.
The flight went on smoothly! It took only three days for them to clear the Sea of Threads. The colloid fungi did not interfere with the ship’s flight capabilities, but they were a natural deterrent for wild animals. Since animals in Darkniss were sensitive creatures, they harboured a deep and primitive fear against the Sea of Threads, where their senses were significantly affected.
No animal had ever tried to breach the Sea of Threads. Even the six-fingered red-tailed beast had chosen the dangerous path in the crack to cross the Sea of Threads.
Once the students realized that they were out of the Sea of Threads, they felt most energetic. The students looked at the holographic screens in their rooms, curious of what was outside.
Before Matron Rui Bing and her companions arrived, no human had ever set foot into this place. Sha Ya had never heard of the place. Even the most legendary shooter in history, Lascher, had never been here before. Sha Ya studied the unending mountain ranges on the holographic screen, carried away by its magnificence.
Ye Chong followed Sang Kan’s directions and direct the ship towards where they first arrived in this world.
The 10-kilometer long warship flew less than three kilometers from the ground. Seen from down below, the structure was terrifying. As the ship dragged its shadow across the earth, the wild animals ran away as fast as they could. Even the snowshade leopard made its escape without delay. The students felt proud that the powerful animal was so intimidated.
The warship did not fly too quickly, since the area was unfamiliar to them. For everyone’s safety, Ye Chong decided against a speedy course towards their destination.
“Sir, we found something.” A crew member reported excitedly through the comm device in Ye Chong’s ear.
Ye Chong felt invigorated. They had been flying for days without anything interesting to show for. He asked promptly, “What is it?”
“We scanned the area and found no metals or energy crystals in the vicinity.” The students had learned to use the word “metal”, which was actually just gravstone.
“No metals or energy crystals?” Ye Chong thought to himself in puzzlement. This new place was separated from the familiar Darkniss by the Sea of Threads, but these two places were in fact not too far apart. How could there be such a huge difference in the environment? This was a qualitative distinction, not a quantitative one.
As Ye Chong considered the matter, the crew member continued, “We also found traces of mining.”
“Mining?” Ye Chong opened his eyes wide. The first thought that came to him was – were there any other humans in this place?
“Link the feed here.” Ye Chong ordered calmly.
Ye Chong studied the holographic screen intently. There were traces of digging on the ground, and some holes left behind. Ye Chong studied the marks and dismissed the possibility of human mining. He could not think of any human tools that would leave marks like these. The holes were uneven in width and depth. Some of them looked like they were left behind a long time ago.
Soon, a mech emerged from the warship Darkniss to collect earth samples from these holes. Analysis results soon confirmed that there was a much higher metal content in the earth compared to its surroundings. The holes must have been where metal ores were buried.
However, scanning results from their warship concluded that there were almost no metals in this place.
This might seem like a petty issue for some, since they no longer needed metals, but Ye Chong thought of a different and related problem. This was because he knew that animals like the snowshade leopards and red-tailed beasts were dependent on metals. Now that they were no metals here, they would have to find another place to survive.
Was this the reason for the invasion of the red-tailed beasts?
Ye Chong could not be sure, but he could tell that this was probably a huge contributing factor. WIthout metals and energy crystals, these animals could not live and prosper in this place.
If he was a red-tailed beast, he would definitely find a new place to call home.
However, Ye Chong could not understand how the red-tailed beasts could possibly manipulate spatial windows. It was an infinitely complicated skill. He went through his memories, and found that that might not be the case. He remembered the red-tailed beasts entering He Yue Galaxy through spatial windows, but the creatures had never used spatial windows in battle.
He remembered also the eight-fingered red-tailed beast he saw in the underground cave and the spatial window in there. Ye Chong had obtained a sizable amount of teardrop mineralites that time, and met the red-tailed beast for the very first time. That spatial window must have been a naturally occurring one.
Perhaps Aried was right. Perhaps this new place had many naturally occurring spatial windows.
Ye Chong felt excited about the implications of his deductions. If they could really find a spatial window that led to the He Yue Galaxy, he would be able to return to Mu and Shang.
In the whole wide world, only Mu and Shang, Rui Bing and a few other people meant so much to Ye Chong.
Darkniss made its slow way forward. They encountered snowshade leopards and Gold Dragons, and even stronger animals. Curiously, they did not see any red-tailed beasts. Their territories must be entirely separate from these other creatures.
Sang Kan had an excellent sense of direction. He did not even lose his way in the Red Sea, much less in a place where he had traveled through before.
On the bridge, Ye Chong stood upright before the holographic screen. Rui Bing was in her white training garb, standing quietly beside him. The students all knew of Matron Rui Bing’s quiet temperament, but they respected her regardless. On the one hand, she was their commander’s wife. They all heard Sang Kan referred to Rui Bing as Madam, so it was only natural for them to assume this. Besides, Ye Chong never corrected their way of addressing her. This further convinced them that they were right about Rui Bing’s status.
The Matron’s strength was another reason she gained respect from the students. Few knew exactly how powerful she was, but Sang Kan was easy to gauge. After all, he was always eager to train with the students. Even someone as strong as Sang Kan spoke of the Matron’s abilities with great respect.
Whenever the Commander went on an important operation, he would only ever bring the Matron with him. This further increased the mystery surrounding Rui Bing.
“Sir, look!” A crew member cried out suddenly and pointed in front of them.
Chapter 589: Return II Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The thin purple mist in front of them was very familiar to Ye Chong.
“It’s the flesh nest of the red-tailed beasts. We came across it when we passed through here. There were only weak red-tailed beasts here, with one or two fingers only. Their flesh nest seemed to be having some kind of trouble. They are deteriorating rapidly.” Rui Bing spoke up softly beside Ye Chong. This was where she and Sang Kan had first encountered the flesh nest.
“Prepare for battle.” Ye Chong quietly gave the order. The crew members of the warship got to work immediately, like fast moving parts of a high precision machine performing their functions with definite accuracy. The combatants moved into position, while students in the first line of defense entered their mechs, standing by at their designated passageways.
Shooters and students in charge of the shooting stations were already in position. Powerful shooters like Sha Ya were tasked to monitor their surroundings with their parapsychic sense. The other shooters were all on standby for the imminent battle.
The warship Darkniss slowly but steadily entered the purple mist.
Within the purple mist, the holographic scanning system could not be used. They could only rely on the parapsychic sense of the shooters. Fortunately, Darkniss had Sha Ya, a Level 9 shooter of the highest caliber. Her parapsychic sense could reach further than any normal shooter could ever imagine. With her guidance, they need not worry about missing their shots.
Sha Ya closed her eyes. Her hair seemed to blow in the wind, despite the still air around her. Calm and seemingly endless parapsychic waves radiated outwards from her.
After five seconds, Sha Ya reported their first targets. “Five degrees from the radius vector, 11 kilometers ahead!”
A crew member close to her keyed in the numbers into the photon processor and marked it as a target. The information was then relayed to every combatant’s photon processor. The entire process took only 1.5 seconds.
Right after Appilok gave the order, numerous laser beams pierced through the purple mist.
Appilok was now a fully grown battle commander. Ye Chong put him in charge of their first line of offense, and he did not disappoint. Each mission was completed with flying colors. His victories convinced the other students to respect him as their leader, and this allowed him to lead the army more effectively.
A sharp and angry cry reverberated in the purple mist.
The thick laser beams from their warship’s cannons were highly destructive, leaving a clear, straight path in the purple mist. In that moment, Ye Chong saw their target. It was the center of the flesh nest. Ye Chong did not know what was at the center of the flesh nest, but he remembered seeing his first six-fingered red-tailed beast at the center of a flesh nest.
The combined firepower from 67 ship cannons were enough to destroy a small planet of about 300 kilometers in diameter. Their attack on the flesh nest ensured total destruction.
Countless furious red-tailed beasts charged at their warship. Since the ship was covered with a layer of transparent substance derived from the colloid fungus, the creatures did not notice its arrival earlier.
Leading the creatures was a red-tailed beast. Its crimson red eyes glowed in anger. Its face twisted menacingly.
Ye Chong did not go out to meet the challenge this time, since he knew it was not necessary.
As expected, the red-tailed beast immediately drew the attention of the shooters at their shooting stations. By then, the red-tailed beasts were only five kilometers away from Darkniss. At this distance, most of the shooters could already sense it.
One by one, their parapsychic waves radiated outwards.
They locked on to their target! This was the advantage of being a shooter.
The red-tailed beast noticed the parapsychic waves.
Red-tailed beasts were sensitive creatures. Ye Chong knew this from first hand experience. He saw evidence of it during his pursuit last time. The creature could detect metals hidden in rocks, far better than many of their specialized equipments.
The red-tailed beast seemed affected by its discovery. It looked scared, but Ye Chong could not know for sure. It was the animal whisperer, Sang Kan who studied the red-tailed beast and stroked his chin in thought, and then commented, “It’s afraid!” The Sang Tribe understood wild animals, almost as well as they knew themselves.
How could this red-tailed beast not be afraid?
There were nine shooters above Level 7 who locked on to the red-tailed beast, and attacked it simultaneously. It was a terrifying experience, to be locked on by shooters above Level 7. After their training in the Sea of Threads, the shooters improved significantly in their parapsychic energies. A few of the Level 7 shooters were fast approaching Level 8. Their parapsychic energies were much stronger than before. The red-tailed beast’s high sensitivity amplified the sense of being threatened by the parapsychic waves.
It was enough to frighten even a wild beast!
The six-fingered red-tailed beast turned to run. It stepped behind the other red-tailed beasts than ran past it, using them as cover.
Ye Chong looked at the escaping red-tailed beast without expression. He was not concerned about the habitat of the red-tailed beasts. In some ways, Ye Chong was a utilitarian. He would only make choices that benefited himself. These red-tailed beasts were a latent threat. They were weak now, but once they entered the He Yue Galaxy, they would surely be able to acquire enough metals and energy to evolve quickly.
It was a terrifying prospect. Hence, Ye Chong did not allow them mercy. Rui Bing supported him in this. The invasion of the red-tailed beasts had pushed humanity close to the brink of extinction. It was still unclear how many humans had died because of them. This was not a matter of good and evil, but of the conflicting relationship between two different species. Sang Kan did not really hate the red-tailed beasts. Few of the Sang Tribe died from the red-tailed beasts. The Yi Ju Zone was already cleared of red-tailed beasts. Newcomers from the Sang Village could only get to know these horrible creatures through records and conversations with their seniors.
Nine laser beams, each only as thick as an arm, shot out from their warship. The laser beams pierced through the horde of red-tailed beasts and converged into a single point.
The red-tailed beast stared in disbelief at the nine holes left in its body. Blood gushed out from its wounds. An anguished howl pierced through the purple mist!
Laser beams continued to rain down on the other red-tailed beasts. The animals cried out in pain. The purple mist was tinged with the color of blood. The army of red-tailed beasts in the air fell into disarray. One by one, the creatures fell from the sky.
Ye Chong’s unique strategy using the shooters was paid off in full. All red-tailed beasts that came within range of their parapsychic waves never stood a chance. They were all shot down before they could even think of escaping.
As expected, the red-tailed beasts were mostly with one or two fingers. They were weak. This made Ye Chong more confident of his hypothesis. Perhaps there really was a spatial window that led to He Yue Galaxy around here.
There was no suspense in their battle anymore. The red-tailed beasts were thoroughly defeated by the powerful warship, Darkniss. The entire battle was firmly controlled by Ye Chong. The red-tailed beasts never posed a threat.
None of the mechs on Darkniss were deployed to achieve their victory. Only the shooters and the ship cannons were used. It was a result that even Ye Chong was satisfied with.
The battle was over very quickly. The purple mist in the area began to disperse. It disappeared quickly without warning, like it was following the footsteps of the red-tailed beasts.
Before the warship Darkniss was the dreadful aftermath of the battle. The bodies of red-tailed beasts were everywhere on the ground, their blood still seeping into the earth that they had lived on for centuries.
Besides the bodies, there were also many flesh columns. As Rui Bing informed him, these flesh columns were dying. They were dehydrating quickly. It was obvious that they were perishing.
Ye Chong was not particularly excited about their victory. The red-tailed beasts were relatively few, and only weak and immature ones at that. Who knew how many red-tailed beasts were still alive in the He Yue Galaxy? They had invaded planets and taken control over massive supplies of metals and pure energy. How many of them had evolved? Even Ye Chong could not stay calm thinking about it. Compared to the red-tailed beast he pursued last time, this one was much weaker.
They found no other lifeforms in this place aside from the red-tailed beasts. Compared to the lush and plentiful mountain areas, this place was like a wasteland.
The terrain was flat, suitable for using the Hummingbirds.
50 Hummingbirds were deployed in all directions to scout their surroundings. Live feeds were relayed directly to Darkniss. The warship was slowly heading towards where Rui Bing first arrived in this world.
“It’s here.” Sang Kan’s sense of direction was reliable as ever. The crew members were no longer surprised by his skills, and this was a let down to Sang Kan.
The site did not look any different from their surroundings. It was simply more desolate than where the red-tailed beasts lived.
All the Hummingbirds were deployed, but they had found nothing of interest.
Darkniss did not linger around. It continued forward at constant speed. Ye Chong sent 13 squads out to widen their search range. The mechs fanned out in all directions from the warship.
It was on the 10th day when the environment began to look different. The flat terrain began to show mountains and even mountain ranges. However, these mountains looked different from the ones they passed by earlier. The land and the mountains were all barren. There were no signs of life everywhere around them.
Here, they discovered large numbers of dried skin. These were the skin shed by dehydrated flesh columns. This meant that the red-tailed beasts once lived here. They found a few more places with dried skin, but did not see any red-tailed beast or their skeletons.
Could it be that the red-tailed beasts that invaded He Yue Galaxy once lived here?
This seemed to be the most natural explanation. From their scouting efforts, it seemed that there were no other red-tailed beasts around other than the ones that they had killed.
Ye Chong learned nothing more about spatial windows during this period, a problem that he was most concerned with. Aried was ready to explain why they found nothing at all. Naturally occurring spatial windows were periodic. They would often disappear for awhile due to external factors. However, if the surroundings of the spatial window were not disrupted, it would reappear after some time.
The terrain around them became more and more complicated. More precisely speaking, it became more and more fragmented. The mountain ranges gave way to numerous hills of rocks and pebbles. The rocks were easily disturbed, and would roll down with the slightest touch.
“Warning. Warning. Spatial instability straight ahead.” The warning alarm blared abruptly, surprising everyone in the warship. Ye Chong and Aried, however, felt invigorated.
Spatial science was known to be deep and mysterious. What happened before them now further reinforced that image.
Everything around was dead silent. There was only the occasional sound of something cracking.
All the crew members saw something absolutely eerie. A rock of about five to six cubic meters suddenly began to fragment. Thin cracks spread across the rock like spiderwebs, slowly covering its entire surface. Nothing else around the rock was behaving weirdly.
Boom! There was a soft sound of explosion. The rock burst into countless tiny fragments, like broken glass.
All the crew members were horrified to see this. Inside the warship Darkniss was complete silence.
Aried had an odd expression on his face, a mixture of joy and fear. He muttered to himself, “Cracks in space … There really are cracks in space …”
Chapter 590: Return III Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“No!” Aried jolted out of his trance and shouted. “Stop! Quick, stop the ship!” His face was drained of blood.
“Halt!” Ye Chong gave the order without delay. Darkniss slowly came to a stop. Ye Chong looked to Aried and asked, “What is it?”
Aried stuttered, “This is spatial crack… No… There are cracks in space… It’s unstable…” He was not making much sense, perhaps because of feeling too nervous.
Ye Chong frowned. “Try again.”
Aried inhaled deeply and gathered himself. “There are cracks in the space around here. These are small regions of chaotic spatial dimensions. These cracks in space move slowly, and anything in its way will be sliced into pieces. Our bodies cannot withstand spatial cracks. Besides, they are not visible to the naked eye. This place is dangerous. If our warship encounters a region with spatial cracks, everything in the warship, including us, will be cut into pieces.” He pointed to the holographic screen. “Just like that rock!”
Everyone in the bridge looked horrified.
Aried paused for a moment, and then continued to explain quickly. “Spatial cracks are caused by instabilities in space. So far, there are no theories to explain their method of formation, but the cracks are threats to us, without a doubt. Spatial cracks can destroy anything in this world, no matter how strong it is. However, few spatial cracks were ever observed, located in only a few places with spatial instability. We have too little research on them. I don’t know much about them myself.”
Ye Chong looked calm. His composure soothed the panic in his crew members, for they trusted their commander. They believed that he would think up a way to counter this threat.
“What do you suggest?” Ye Chong asked Aried. He was the expert in this matter. Surely he must have a plan.
“We have no sensors to detect spatial cracks on this ship, so we can only build one from scratch. Quick! I need a good engineer.” Aried did not hesitate to ask for what he needed. This was not the time to be polite. If they were to find themselves in the path of a spatial crack, they would be finished.
“Alright! I’ll help you.” Ye Chong did not hesitate to lend a hand either. He was the best man for the job on the ship.
Just as the two men began to leave, Sha Ya broke her silence. “Perhaps I can help.”
Everyone looked at her. She still wore her typical calm expression, but her voice no longer sounded so hoarse. “I can sense them.”
Aried stopped to absorb her words, and then blurted out with joy, “Right right right, how could I have forgotten about you? You can sense the structure of spatial windows. These spatial cracks will not be a problem for you.”
Zeep! Suddenly, one of the holographic screens went dark. Someone reported, “Hummingbird 311 was attacked and destroyed.” From the other holographic screens, they could see clearly how the Hummingbird was destroyed. It was on its way back to the ship when the entire bird structure suddenly collapsed into pieces. It was chilling to watch!
Everyone watched the Hummingbird silently broke into pieces in midair. It all happened in less than a second, without any warning. Nothing came into contact with the Hummingbird when it happened. The machine simply burst into pieces just like that, without any clear indication of why or how it happened. It was still uncertainty that left a strong impression in the crew.
“30 degrees off the radius vector!” Sha Ya suddenly raised her voice.
The bridge burst into activity after the initial silence. Crew members quickly directed the warship towards the right.
Ye Chong shook his head inside. These students needed more experience and training. His expression betrayed none of his thoughts. He knew that, as their leader, he must maintain a calm image so that his soldiers could stay calm as well.
As expected, the students quickly recovered from the initial shock and panic. They listened carefully to Sha Ya’s instructions and directed their ship accordingly. Darkniss advanced as slow as possible.
The bridge was silent except for Sha Ya’s directions. Aside from the few crew members in charge of flying the warship, the other crew members held their breaths and stared at the holographics screens.
Sha Ya knew the terminologies. She had gone through the same training as these students. Moreover, she had good spatial awareness. Darkniss flew without any issue.
Nevertheless, everyone on the ship did not relax. In fact, they were tensed. They had seen rocks of different sizes crumbling on the screens. Of all the Hummingbirds they deployed, only three made it back. The others were all metal scraps now.
Ye Chong took a glance at Sha Ya, focused on her parapsychic feedback, and then turned to Aried. “Will there be danger ahead of us?”
Aried smiled bitterly. “I don’t know. Spatial cracks are rarely discovered, and they are too dangerous. Any experiments done on them were by powerful and resourceful research organizations. Someone like me never stood a chance. I’ve never heard of any significant results from their research so far. We know simply too little about them.”
Ye Chong went quiet. He considered for a moment, and then asked, “Is it possible to have spatial windows around here?”
Aried nodded. “Where there are spatial cracks, it is very likely to have spatial windows too. As long as there is enough energy to stimulate it …”
Aried and Ye Chong exchanged a look.
Aried suddenly got excited. “Spatial windows, right, it’s spatial windows! There must be spatial windows that lead elsewhere in this place! Perhaps the red-tailed beasts entered the He Yue Galaxy through here. Right! It’s very likely the case!”
The possibility for returning to the He Yue Galaxy was real. Standing beside Ye Chong, Rui Bing’s eyes gleamed with hope.
“We need to survive this first.” Ye Chong’s calm voice shook Aried out of his excitement. Aried considered their situation for a while, and then raised his head. “We can only rely on Sha Ya for now. Regions with spatial cracks are usually not very big. They are actually regions with spatial instability. Once the region reached a certain size, space will collapsed back into itself. Based on the current speed, however, it will take a few days.”
Everyone looked towards Sha Ya, who had shut her eyes and looked very peaceful.
The warship had flown for two days. Aside from the one time when it brushed past a spatial crack on its side, the journey was uneventful. The close call left a half-meter deep gash in the thick hull armor. There were crack marks inside the gash. Everyone felt chilled when it happened, but the hull was soon repaired.
Ye Chong had never flown a ship so slowly, but he had no choice. Some things were best left to the professionals. This was something Ye Chong learned a long time ago.
“Sir, there’s something you should see.” A crew member’s tense voice broke the silence in the bridge.
Ye Chong looked up.
On the holographic screen was a black spatial window, suspended in the air.
“A spatial window!” Aried sounded jubilant. He was also repeating himself a lot. “It’s really a spatial window, oh, my god …”
The spatial window was about 15 meters in diameter. The black circle floated quietly in the air, as soundless as their surroundings.
“What’s that?” Rui Bing spoke up, pointing somewhere close to the spatial window.
Ye Chong followed her finger and looked. His eyes widened. He reached out with his right hand and shouted, “Halt!”
The crew members quickly stopped the warship. Ye Chong looked up towards the holographic screen and fixed his eyes on it.
“Zoom in there.”
The holographic screen zoomed in on the lower left corner, providing finer details.
It was a human shaped figure, like a human clay statue. That statue was large. It was in a half sitting position, but it was probably as tall as a mech when standing up.
This was the only thing Ye Chong and his people had seen in this place that bore similarities to humans. Was this something natural or manmade? If it was manmade, then who made it? Why make this clay statue at all?
Things made an eerie turn with the sudden appearance of a clay statue and a spatial window. The sitting clay statue was a mystery.
“Sha Ya, are there any dangers around the spatial window?” Ye Chong turned towards her and asked.
“It’s very dangerous!” Sha Ya replied solemnly. “There are many spatial cracks around the spatial window, and they are moving faster than the ones we have seen before.”
“How do we get closer to the spatial window?” Ye Chong looked at Sha Ya.
Sha Ya held his gaze for a moment before closing her eyes again.
After about 30 seconds, she reopened her eyes and stated plainly, “There is a path. It’s not wide. We can only travel on foot.”
“Alright, let’s go.” Ye Chong did not hesitate.
Sha Ya led the group. Rui Bing followed closely behind Ye Chong. They first landed via a small transport ship. However, even this itself was laborious. What should have taken only one minute took them 15 minutes instead. There were no obvious signs of danger around them, but they were in fact surrounded by spatial cracks. The three of them proceeded with great caution.
After they landed, Sha Ya led them both on their slowly journey forward. She closed her eyes and kept her parapsychic sense focused on their immediate surroundings. She walked quickly without opening her eyes. Ye Chong and Rui Bing followed her closely. They veered left and right, and sometimes stepped backwards. Sha Ya’s physical training was effective. She could not run as fast as Ye Chong or Rui Bing, but she had improved significantly.
It took them only 30 minutes to to reach the clay statue.
Sha Ya could not understand why Ye Chong was so interested in the clay statue that he would risk approaching it. This was not uncharacteristic of him. Rui Bing said nothing as she quietly watched after Ye Chong.
Ye Chong walked to the front of the clay statue. He could see it much clearer from here. This was man made, he was certain of it.
The earth on the surface of the statue looked loose. Ye Chong nudged it a little, and a huge chunk fell off.
Underneath the earth was something black in color. Ye Chong’s eyes widened. His pulse spiked up. Quickly, he began to dust off the earth covering the statue.
There was a lot of earth, about 50 centimeters thick. They were mostly fine soil or dust. How many years would it have taken for so much dust to gather?
Rui Bing and Sha Ya saw him moving, and promptly went to help him.
Five minutes later, they cleared away all the dust and soil. The three of them were covered with dust, but they did not seem to notice. Their attention was entirely on the huge object in front of them.
It was a black colored mech. Despite its age, many of its parts still looked brand new. Ye Chong quickly noticed that it was heavily damaged. It must have gone through a very intense battle.
There was a big hole in the pilot cabin. Something sharp must have pierced through it. This attack was fatal. The mech pilot would have never survived it. This was also the biggest damage dealt on the mech.
The mech had a dark metallic luster. Ye Chong was familiar with this metallic feel and texture. The mech had a distinctive logo of a long leaf on its surface. Ye Chong had never seen this mech before, but he was certain of one thing.
Ye Family’s mech. This was a classic, advanced level mech of the Ye Family!