He did expect Old Pang and Ka Sang to stop at some point.
However both of them actually brought some batteries too, which was surprising to Ye Chong.
If you were to lose your battery, you would have gotten stuck and died. Only that would happen if you were in the space with such misfortune.
Nonetheless Old Pang had already become confused because of the continuous chase running around the Orbits, his atrocious memory could not pinpoint where he was.
At least they had gotten rid of those irritating mechs. They could look for a spot in leisure. No one cared what would happen to those mechs that had drained all their batteries. They were helpless. The ending for them was clear.
They flew on under energy-saving mode.
"30 years ago…," muttered Old Pang. "I came to the Orbits but I wasn't alone. My brother came along back then. I was 17… I wonder how much had changed here…if those people I once knew lingered?" His words were filled with sentiments.
Mu’s voice came abruptly, "The galactic map of the Orbits in detail was nowhere to be found. It does not exist even in the Fal main databank!"
"Those civil servants… Kek…" Old Pang sneered, "I was not really sure of the landscape here too. I only remembered this place being a very complicated terrain, with lots of places perfect for hide-and-seek. Most criminals, the fearsome ones came here to conceal themselves. You guys better be careful. No word could reach them. Everyone here speaks with their fists and no one would care if you were killed. Especially those Mentalists, get away from them, never talk to them, they can be a nuisance."
"Mentalist?" asked Ka Sang curiously. "What the heck is a mentalist? Why have I never heard about it from you?"
A mentalist? Ye Chong was intrigued as he too had hardly heard a title like that before.
"Ka Sang, my boy Ka Sang, you better be staying low once we got there," Old Pang’s tone was grim. "The Mentalists are at a high position in the Orbits. They don’t get into fights but they have the rights of being an arbitrator in one. Thanks to their protection, those watchdogs of the government were never brave enough to disturb folks at the Orbits. Back when I was 17, I witnessed a slaughter between a mentalist and a fighter when I visited this place with my brother. The mentalist was around 40 years old, looked all weak but the fighter just dropped dead before him. It was spooky because the mentalist did not even lift his hand."
"That spooky?" Ka Sang screamed.
Ye Chong was spooked out too as he could not figure out a way of committing murder without moving anything.
"So yeah, you've got to stay low, don't do anything funny with them. They are easy to recognize though. Most of them wear blouses in pale green and they hardly leave their residences, so don’t worry. Instead we should be cautious with the folks outside… many of them come from a hideous background and they are bloodthirsty and inhumane. They adore fighting and the fight won’t end till one of them collapsed. If your fists do not match theirs, you are only there for humiliation and tortures."
"Fighting? I love fighting more than anything!" chuckled Ka Sang, acting like a big boy.
A hint of frigidity flashed in Ye Chong’s gaze.
"There it is!" Old Pang shouted out of sudden. "That red planet ahead of us! Yes, that’s it! The Red Giant!" His tone turned much relaxed and started to get excited, "I was so worried wondering if I missed it! This is the easiest planet to recognize, the vegetation is all red, which is quite extraordinary. The residents on the planet are also the friendliest in the Orbits! I had spent most of my time here in the past! So I knew this place better than any other!"
Some uncertainty had been brewing inside Ye Chong, as their next move became clearer he finally had the leisure to ask, "The Orbits share only a few days of flight away from the actual course for main cruises. But why haven’t we run into a spaceship yet?"
Old Pang was astounded by Ye Chong’s question at first, he giggled as he replied, "Course? You mean that course that Sabre adopted? Hah! That route was abandoned for years! It was just so happened that Fred the Great demanded a change of course to Morienste all of sudden. Yeah, a great man Captain Hatik is indeed, for he actually remembered that this route existed! The course was absolutely the very shortcut to Morienste and people hardly use it now, it is supposed to be rather safe… But sighs… nobody had thought that we would come across these punks!"
Ye Chong was speechless after hearing such an ordinary explanation. He was expecting something greater. He was well-aware of why the great master demanded a change in the course but of course he had to keep it to himself, though he did not really have the feeling to confess everything to Old Pang.
The conversation went lighthearted at first, then suddenly the smile on Old Pang vanished, "Just some heads up - after we got into the Orbits, we can’t simply get out. The Orbits behave like the other world of the galaxy and is completely shut off from the outside world. You could get in but not out. People rarely manage to leave the place. My elder brother was only able to leave after fulfilling some tasks given by some sort of Elder at the place back then; for me, I was sent along with my brother. And I had never seen him since then…," sentiment filled his words again.
Ye Chong did not comfort the good Old Pang like his partner did.
The setting of the place was something new to Ye Chong. He hastily communicated with Mu in his head, "What’s your take on this, Mu?"
"Based on the information received, we do not have many options here," his tone was flat as usual.
Ye Chong took a glance around the endless space and darkness, his smile was bitter, "Right… This is like the only living route we could get. Guess we have to act as we move then."
"Agreed," concisely Mu replied.
Ye Chong sat inside his Yu Di and his thoughts wandered…
Mu was turning much different than before. Ever since Shang emerged in the interface, their personalities somehow started growing towards the polarities - Mu became more unfeeling while Shang turned more emotional as time passed. He preferred the old Mu… who was mischievous at times yet so educational and would provide solutions on the needs of understanding… whereas Shang… man, it would be a miracle if his interface could blink one time less whenever a lass walked by.
What is the FMPA up to? They actually had their own warship? Why did they catch Gu Shaoze, the good-boy genius? Is it because of that thing in his arm? Ye Chong’s thoughts were everywhere as his hand sneaked into his bag. It would be a good time to check what the thing in the flesh was. He took a look… It was… some kind of ring - a heart-shaped ring. The craft was not pretty well-done. There was nothing special about it. And that password Gu Shaoze mumbled before he died… Was it a password for the keystone? Ye Chong was intrigued and almost wanted to try warping a possibly gigantic mech into his cabin where he could barely stretch his body. And luckily he realized where he was as he put the ring back to his bag. "I’ll try it some other time. I'm not in a hurry," he muttered.
Gu Shaoze’s death was heart-shattering, even to an indifferent boy like Ye Chong. He was not in sorrow, rather he was agitated. What a waste of a talent to die in such a manner - thought so, his heart twitched. Being dead or alive was not a major concern to Ye Chong, even though he struggled for one side he desired. Death was an old friend of his and somehow he would not cry whenever they encountered each other.
Fred the Great was also the target to the FMPA apparently. And it seemed like they were not aware of the fact that the one who raided the Sabre was the men from FMPA. Could this be a kind of an unknown force hidden behind this organization?
What is their ultimate goal? For real…
Oh wait, wait, wait, wait…
The thought merely blinked in his head. "Duh, what does the motive of an obedient group of pilots have to do with me?" The previous fights with the FMPA always occurred in an awkward ambiguity. It looked like he was the wrong bullseye to shoot, somehow they did not show blatant hostility to him, which was why Ye Chong did not bother much.
On the other hand, the Black Cove… His eyes were clouded gravely. He could not predict the next moment that killing syndrome would occur. It had been… about… a month or so, since the last occurrence? When would the next round occur? Instructor Hak did mention something about it becoming more intense over time. That indescribable pain, intolerable ache… Ye Chong’s heart twitched again.
Well! It seemed like I could only act as I move! Planning did not work!
He exhaled deeply and discarded those annoying worries as he shifted his attention back to the talkshow in their communication channel between the two folks behind.
"Did you see that silver asteroid belt that goes in circle? That would be the orbit of the Orbits - the largest one too. In that belt there is a kind of material called the Flintstone ore where you can extract the Flintstone, which is a valuable metal in the Orbits. The extraction was rather difficult however… only the mentalist could do it properly. There are a lot of these circles in the Orbits, as the way it was named, orbits in the Orbits, where each and every one of them hold a unique shape and different output."
"What’s a Flintstone?"
"Uh… I don’t really know what it exactly is. I only know that it’s bloody expensive."
"Oh… Just so I heard, you are a money grubber, eh, brother? Wink wink nudge nudge."
The Old Pang was silent till they arrived the place.
Ye Chong set foot on this vast piece of land in complete scarlet.
Ye Chong looked at the man in his uniform. So he heard from Old Pang that these men were the patrols. They were the grass roots of the administration on Red Giant. Ye Chong and the two folks stood before the patrols. Mu was kept back into the dimension. The faces when Old Pang and Ka Sang were informed of the pilot of that blue-white mech being non-existent was totally priceless. Ye Chong was quite entertained.
"Haleyson. All of you would be going to Haleyson planet. Spaceship No.12, arriving in 2 hours. Good luck," the patrol spoke expressionlessly.
His stare was cold and his hands were full of calluses. Anyone could tell this patrol was not the normal patrol you would see at the train station, while at his back there laid a number of never-before-seen mechs glaring at Ye Chong, where their muzzles hovered around them from time to time.
"Haleyson? That Haleyson?" Old Pang’s face went pale.
Judging from Old Pang’s expression, Ye Chong could tell that something bad was going to happen. That Haleyson must be a good-for-nothing place… As he expected, he understood after Old Pang whispered him the explanation.
Haleyson was the most chaotic planet in the Orbits. The mortality was extremely high. And his brother had mentioned him the thumb-rule of staying in the Orbits before - one could change the residing planet only after residence of at least 3 months.
Glimpsing that colorless face of Old Pang, the patrol expressed disdain in his eyes as he passed a red card to each of them, "This is your identity card for your residence in the Orbits. You are allowed to apply for a new residing planet after 3 months at the local patrolling office."
He walked to the side afterwards, showing zero concern to the stumbled men.
2 hours lapsed like seconds. A spaceship with an appearance of a light green eagle made its arrival to the port promptly. A huge number "13" was painted on the body.
"Please get on-board, sire," the patrol walked before them as his voice went coldly.