"What is it?" Ye Chong was alerted.
"Someone sent out an encrypted message, and I've intercepted it!" Ye Chong knew from the tone of voice that it was not Mu, but Shang! Mu would never speak in such a carefree manner, as his tone was always flat and calm. Ye Chong was deeply influenced by Mu in this respect.
"Shang, is it your turn to come out now?" Ye Chong said, by way of greeting Shang.
Shang laughed, pleased. "I didn't expect such fun just when I came out! Ye, tsk tsk, don't be like Mu, you gotta have some fun in life! Hehe, that missy in the training garb is quite a lady, what powerful legs! I sure miss her! Tsk tsk! Ye, you're still alright down there right? I remember her kicking you there! Let's talk about your feelings back then. That was such a wasted opportunity!"
Rui Bing's figure, clad in white training garb came unbidden to Ye Chong's mind. He could not help but recall the strange fragrance and smooth touch from deep within his mind.
What a strange feeling!
Ye Chong knew that if he did not cut off the bastard right now, he would continue on forever with the topic. Hence, Ye Chong quickly interrupted, "Shang, you said that someone just sent out a message?"
Shang replied, "Mm, to be precise, someone had set a timed algorithm, such that a message would be sent out periodically to a specified destination!"
"Oh, what's it say?"
"The ship's current location!" Shang replied.
"Will this affect us?" Ye Chong asked.
"Information is insufficient, the results are incalculable. Sigh, Mu's slogan tastes horrible in my mouth!" Shang muttered, and continued flashily, "Ye, this must be the work of someone with ill designs towards this ship! Heavens, do you not have any sense of knightliness in you? Based on this year's online survey, this is one of the most appreciated qualities by the ladies in their dream partner! Ye …"
Against Shang's chattering, Ye Chong became vexed. His expression turned loose, and he felt like he would faint at any moment!
After a full twenty minutes, Shang finally ended his grand speech on the topic.
Ye Chong was already withering, a body without a soul!
Shang spoke expectantly, "Ye, what do you think? Let's expose the impostor in the name of justice! Haha!"
"No!" Ye Chong resolutely ignored the crazy mech and left.
He soaked quietly in a jacuzzi, complete with rotating micro-jets. The numerous little whirlpools caressed every corner of his body, and the slight tickling sensation was wonderfully comfortable. However, Ye Chong's expression was not one of indulgence, but of one lost in thought.
Mu was absent, and Shang did not make him feel safe at all! When he was with Mu, the mech was like an invincible leader. When with Shang, Ye Chong found himself being the leader instead. However, the thought of Shang brought a smile to his face. Shang was discretely in control of the starship's photon processor, monitoring everyone on board! Regarding Brent and his uncle, Fred, Ye Chong dared not underestimate them. It was safer to be in control of his own destiny than letting others decide it for him, and also less worrisome for him! While they seemed close to each other, who was to say what the future holds? It was better to play it safe!
Ye Chong was also perturbed by Shang's report of the outgoing message. While he did not understand what it was about, Ye Chong thought nothing would come of it. It was best if he did not expose himself at the moment. Besides, close to Blue Ocean as they were now, any complications would spell trouble!
With his eyes half closed, Ye Chong sprawled lazily in the jacuzzi. "Now that feels much better!" Ye Chong's skin was extra sensitive. The little micro-whirlpools felt like animals moving in the water. Ye Chong was suddenly overcome by a playful mood. He closed his eyes and submerged his hands completely in the water, trying hard to feel the subtle motions of the water around his hands. His hands moved swiftly like fishes, avoiding the chaotic whirlpools in the water. When a whirlpool became unavoidable, he would disrupt the whirlpool with the tip of a finger. However, this introduced more irregularity into the water flow in the jacuzzi, making them harder to anticipate.
Alone in the micro-jets jacuzzi, Ye Chong thoroughly enjoyed himself.
Water in the micro-jet jacuzzi were mixed in with many rejuvenating ingredients that could reduce fatigue. Ye Chong now felt refreshed, as though he had lost some weight! However, if Ye Chong knew the amount of gold zuan charged for his bathing session could easily afford him a mech, what would his thoughts be then?
Only a Slan graded luxurious starship would have something like the micro-jet jacuzzi as a standard facility! For those who could afford the starship, how would they mind the relatively insignificant expenses involved?
Refreshed from his session, Ye Chong left the bathing room only to meet Brent. Brent reached for his arm and said smilingly, "Kun Ting, I've been looking all over for you, so this is where you've been hiding!"
Ye Chong reflexively shifted his posture, and Brent missed his arm. He was surprised, and laughed a little in the ensuing awkwardness.
Ye Chong asked plainly, "What's the matter?"
Seeing Ye Chong's apathetic and calm expression, Brent could not help but sighed inside as he continued with a smile, "I've been staying in my room these few days, and it's been a bore. Uncle was really obsessive about that mech of yours, I've never seen him so impressed with a mech like that! I don't think he'll pay much attention to us now, so I thought I'd bring you on a tour of this ship. Honestly, there are places here that even I haven't been to before! Why not take this opportunity to explore the ship together!"
Ye Chong pondered over the suggestion, thinking that it would be a good chance to familiarize himself with the ship. Even though Shang already knew its every corner, it would be better if he knew the ship's layouts too. With that, Ye Chong agreed to the tour.
Since most of the ship's crew were new, and the ship was a gift from someone else, Brent was not too familiar with the ship. Brent had high hopes for Ye Chong, a potential student of his. He had the idea that this future student of his must have been deprived of human interaction to behave so coldly towards other people.
Hence, he came with this idea.
Together with them was Captain Hatik, as he would of course oblige his master's requests. Hatik was still professional in this respect!
The starship Sabre was a ten kilometers long, looking very much like an island. It was a luxury starship model, and so boasted full range facilities with much extravagance! During his introductions, Captain Hatik was felt swept away by the starship. He had served as captain for many years, and been in command of a great many starships. However, a ship like Sabre was a first for him.
The three men entered a wide hall, filled with dozens of game rooms and a bar counter in the far off corner. There were many chairs and tables in the hall, most of them made of wood, and the elegant motives on them were carved by hand. This made the furniture look like works of art instead of a furniture of resting oneself.
Moreover, every corner of the hall was equipped with holographic screens at various angles.
The wide hall was filled to the brim and very noisy. The seats were all taken, and some were even standing. People drank and conversed, or sang loudly without a care in the world, or walking around the hall. However, most of them stared at the holographic screens unblinkingly!
Ye Chong frowned slightly, bothered by the noise. His expression did not slip past Brent, who smiled a little, apparently impressed with the hall.
Captain Hatik began, "This is the entertainment hall, undoubtedly the most luxurious I've ever seen. When they're otherwise unoccupied, folks like to spend their time here. The drinks are free-flowing, and free of charge. For those who drink like the fish but without the money to support their enjoyment, this place is heaven!"
"Luxury gaming booths are rare, and now that they can get a taste of it themselves, the idle folks here are helplessly enticed! The gaming booths are occupied every day, since everyone wants to try them out. Hehe, fortunately, there have been no accidents here throughout the trip, or I would have to invoke my rights as Captain to shut the place down, for fear of the situation getting out of hand!"
Ye Chong lifted his head to watch one of the holographic screens in mid air. A red mech was right in a battle against a green mech. Ye Chong whistled softly, obviously surprised by the content of the game. The two mechs on the holographic screens were well rendered, the red mech was a cunning match against the steady green opponent. With his rich experience, Ye Chong could now identify the likely winner with just a glance. While the two mechs were seemingly tied in battle, Ye Chong noticed that the green mech still had some potential in it. If the red mech did not have any killer moves, then the green mech would most probably emerge as the winner.
Captain Hatik noticed Ye Chong's interest in the battle on the holographic screen, and introduced, "Fred the Great is a man of high status, and his safety is important. This time, our hired bodyguards are mostly well known in the field, all of them fully capable! Here on the screen, the green mech is Yu Jie, and the red mech is Douglas. They both enjoy prestigious reputations, excelling in both mech piloting and bodyguard services. Amongst all the bodyguards, many of them are on the same level of these two! However, hehe, the real masters usually do not show themselves easily." Captain Hatik spoke with an eloquent undertone.
As the captain finished, the battle was also over. As Ye Chong expected, the green mech, or Yu Jie, claimed victory. The spectators below roared in dissatisfaction, but some of them were also laughing loudly, pleased with themselves. Their investment in the outcome of the battle surprised Ye Chong.
Brent was also baffled, as the sight was a first for him too. He looked to Captain Hatik for an explanation.
Captain Hatik looked a little embarrassed, but obligingly explained, "It is customary for the battling opponents to bet for themselves, and the spectators will usually bet for their favored ones. The winner will not only gain all the bet money for his opponent, he'll also take a cut of ten percent from the winnings of all the spectators who bet for him. That is the custom!"
Seeing Brent's disapproval, Captain Hatik shrugged a little. "While this is a form of gambling, it's actually a good way to amuse people like ourselves, who spent much time floating around in space! It's also a way to de-stress ourselves!"
Brent replied with an "Oh," indicating his understanding. Ye Chong's expression did not change, as he was not focused on the conversation, but meticulously going through every corner of the hall. It was second nature for Ye Chong to familiarize himself with his surroundings at the first opportunity.
The three made their way to the bar counter. As they passed by, people greeted Captain Hatik warmly, and Captain Hatik returned the gesture with equal enthusiasm. One can thus see that these people sincerely respect Captain Hatik. That fact made Ye Chong and Brent think twice on their thoughts about the Captain.
"Hi! Boss! What brings you all the way here?" The chubby bartender greeted Captain Hatik.
The captain laughed. "I'm just bringing these two gentlemen for a walk. You, Sir, are the person standing nearest to the alcohol!" He turned to the two and introduced. "This fat chump here is Gino, drinks like a fish, but mixes drinks like a master. What'd you like to have? Just name the order! The man claims to know every drink known to the world! Haha, Gino, give me a Fruit Basket!"
"Righto!" The chubby man cried in reply, and his hands began to move in a blur. After a moment, a yellowish white drink with some flowing patterns on it was presented to Captain Hatik. A strong and heavy smell, with a stinging quality to it, emanated from the cocktail.
Brent, with years of following Fred around, socializing with members of the upper class society, was also an expert in drinks. He ordered an Ignaz, and the chubby man could not help but notice Brent's peculiarity.
A green and violet cocktail, looking a little opaque, was brought to him. Brent sipped a little, and could not help but applaud, "Excellent! A master indeed! The taste is authentic!" He even gave a thumbs-up to the bartender! The chubby man instantly brightened up, pleased with the compliment!
Ye Chong had no experience with drinks, and copied Brent's order. He took a little sip, just like Brent, and a weird taste exploded in his mouth. Ye Chong quickly put down the drink, and knitted his brows.
The chubby man's attitude towards Ye Chong was now tinged with disdain!
Brent finished his glass of Ignaz in one gulp, his expression one of great satisfaction and indulgence.
By then, two people had left their gaming booths. Brent smiled a little and nodded towards the booths, as he cocked his eyebrow and said, "Well, Kun Ting? Let's go for a round!"