"Where did I give myself away?" Ye Chong jolted inside, all his muscles tensed, and his naturally hanging arms shifted to an anticipatory posture. The moment Yan Bingxuan showed any signs of hostility, Ye Chong would kill him without hesitation! Even if the opponent’s physique suggested a difficult enemy, Ye Chong was still confident that he could take care of his enemy before he could send a warning signal to the others!
"Full-skeleton mechs?" Yan Bingxuan’s face betrayed his pleasant surprise as he turned to the old man, "Master Ge, have you finally made a full-skeleton mech? Are these three mechs your latest work? They’re absolutely amazing!"
Ye Chong’s whole body relaxed at that, and his arms discreetly returned to their natural hanging posture! He was, however, somewhat curious. Were full-skeletons mechs so out of the ordinary? Could there be something to them?
Ye Chong was not aware that the old man was the only person was skilled in using skeletons to make mech parts. However, the old man was a total stranger to mechs, and did not understand the design functionalities of mech parts. Hence, his products were often not as desired, and had a high probability of malfunctioning. Even though the old man had made every part of a mech with skeletons, putting all of them together and having the parts working in tandem would inevitably amplify the defects of each individual part, and the mech’s safety rating would be extremely low.
Full-skeleton mechs were but an ideology. Even though Hei Zi’s mech looked like a full-skeleton mech, there were still a considerable number of parts in it made of non-skeleton material, and so it did not qualify as a full-skeleton mech.
Ever since the Sanctuary knew of the old man's skill in producing skeleton mech parts, the Sanctuary had offered him protection. Yan Bingxuan was responsible for the old man’s safety, besides making periodic reports about his working progress.
Now that there were three full-skeleton mechs right in front of him, how could he not be shocked? He knew from the grapevine that the Sanctuary was also trying to produce full-skeleton mechs. However, their progress was slow, and so the Sanctuary placed great importance on the old man.
Full-skeleton mechs would offer enviable features - better automotive control, longer flight distances, and most importantly, outstanding anti-detection capabilities. This would be a great advantage in battle.
The old man was pleased. "Hehehe, Yan, even you can guess wrong sometimes! These were not the handiwork of a miserable old man like me. This apprentice of mine had carelessly assembled them, but they’re not really full-skeleton mechs. Ah, but this young man here has real potential in making a real full-skeleton mech!" His words were regretful, but his tone suggested a certain pride in his apprentice.
"The young man certainly doesn’t seem like it!" Yan Bingxuan was now truly shocked! No matter how he looked at him, the young man had seemed unremarkable - he looked thin and frail, but was actually an expert in mech assembly. When did the old man accept this apprentice? Yan Bingxuan grew suspicious. "I’ve been too relaxed with my job here recently," Yan Bingxuan thought pensively to himself. "I must look into this later. Hmm, better take good care of this young one to avoid any mishaps, if he can make a full-skeleton mech, it’ll be under my account, and I’ll definitely move up the power ladder!"
Yan Bingxuan was circumspect, and kept his emotions to himself as he smiled and said, "Master Ge, you’re truly blessed! With an able apprentice, you’ll finally have a successor!"
The old man’s half-lidded eyes were full of joy, but he said, "He’s not really a full apprentice yet, there’s much to learn! It’s too early to speak of these things!"
Yan Bingxuan noted to himself to visit the place more often and get familiar the future skeleton carver; it would be helpful for his career. However, he understood that this was an overnight task, and so, with his decision made, Yan Bingxuan bid farewell to everyone and continued on his job.
After Yan Bingxuan left, Ye Chong exhaled in relief. The old man turned to him and spoke seriously, "Ye, in future, be careful to this man, don’t trust him too much, understand? He might not be entirely sincere, but, if you met any difficult problems around here you can still ask for his help, he’s still quite influential in this area."
"Yes!" Ye Chong nodded in understanding.
"Alright, let’s forget about him! From today onwards I’ll teach you how to recognize and differentiate between skeletons! This is also something basic! Now all skeletons are suitable to made into mech parts. Let’s start from the basics …"
Ye Chong was safe, and the Mentalist Sanctuary’s efforts were to no avail. The Sanctuary was infuriated, and blamed it on the incompetence of their patrolmen. The patrolmen received the blame indignantly, and vented their frustrations on any local organization that they set their eyes on. Thus, all organizations lost their presence and power almost overnight, and vanished without a trace.
The Sanctuary’s failure was actually largely due to their erroneous deductions. Based on Feng Su’s report, everyone had deduced that the mech pilot controlling the golden miniature mech must be physically strong. It would have otherwise been impossible for the pilot to bear the consequences of piloting the mech.
He also had a companion! That meant that there were two of them, and one of them should look physically strong. This was why Yan Bingxuan did not suspect Ye Chong to be the one he was looking for when he saw him!
Under the old man’s careful guidance, Ye Chong dealt with skeletons every day and grew experienced quickly. The old man was grateful for Ye Chong’s good memory and sharp mind.
The three mechs that Ye Chong assembled were taken by the Sanctuary’s men the next day, but of course, they had left many rare skeletons in return, and the incident was considered as a barter of goods. Ye Chong did not mind them, since the three mechs were obviously full of issues. The old man had made all those parts without understanding their use, but only based fully on the schematics and measurements provided by his clients. Ye Chong was certain that those three mechs must be prone to malfunctions!
The Sanctuary’s men felt otherwise. From their perspective, these were just about full-skeleton mechs. Besides, the parts assembled based on Mu’s suggestions resulted in excellent performance, and the Sanctuary’s mech pilots were all overjoyed! As for the one who brought the news to the Sanctuary, Yan Bingxuan was duly rewarded.
On the other hand, Hei Zi had approached Ye Chong discreetly later and asked Ye Chong, "Ye, were you the thief?"
Ye Chong replied calmly, "The one they’re looking for is me, but it’s they who want to steal my things!"
Hei Zi’s expression was one of realization, and he warned Ye Chong out of kindness, "I thought so, how could you have been stealing? Then you have to take care now, the Sanctuary’s always tyrannical! I’ll make sure little Nan Nan keeps your mech a secret, little Nan Nan is very sensible!"
"Okay!" Ye Chong replied lightly, and watched as Hei Zi left him, but he was moved inside. Shang, however, was laughing coldly in Ye Chong’s mind, "Ye, have you really never stolen anything? I think Harmony of the Winter Aria was the result of your thievery, tsk tsk, how could anyone think of you as a nice person? What a joke!"
He was undecided if he should laugh or cry at those words, but he also had no valid rebuttal for them.
Suddenly, Shang sighed dramatically, "Sigh, Ye, how long are we staying in this ragged place? What a bore! There’s not even a beauty in sight! Without beauties, how can we train your sense of beauty? Life is so dull!" He affected a yawned. "Ye, you should finish learning these things quickly, so we can finally leave this God forsaken place, and return to the wonders of life! I very much look forward to that!"
Ye Chong can imagine that Shang’s blue bionic eyes must now be flashing in deep longing. If Shang had any cleaning fluid left in his mouth, he would definitely leave if dripping from his mouth like saliva.
"I think the situation now is quite alright, it’s peaceful and fulfilling. More importantly, I’m getting stronger!" Of course, Ye Chong did not agree with Shang, or Shang would have egged him on to leave the place earlier.
"Sigh, how could I have forgotten that you and Mu are the same, lacking the same appreciation of life’s many joys? Heavens above! Why are you cruel to leave me between two dull, tasteless, lifeless creation of yours? Could I have sinned too much before?" Shang wailed.
"Before? Shang, did you find out anything about yourself from before?" Ye Chong grew attentive.
"Much of the information has been lost, and not recoverable. However, based on what we have, I and Mu have a conjecture." Speaking of this topic, Shang’s tone became serious.
"What conjecture?" Ye Chong was encouraged. If it was Mu’s deductions, the probability of him getting it right was high. Mu and Shang’s past was always something Ye Chong was very interested in.
"Remember that time with the warship? Mu found that our database has information on the warship, and I was shocked. I guessed then that we’re probably related to the MPA. Besides, our information on this Twin Moon Corvette is quite detailed, almost as detailed as its original schematics. Later on, our information was proved to be entirely accurate! From this, you can see that we must be related to the MPA, and probably quite closely."
"The MPA?" Ye Chong started. He had never expected Mu and Shang to be related to the MPA. Thinking of their current relationship with the MPA, Ye Chong could not help but shake his head and smile wryly.
Shang’s voice turned gentle, "Ye, don’t worry too much, we’re not too concerned over our past. The one who reactivated us is you. No one but you can ever communicate with us again, much less control us. Besides, we have various information on the MPA, that would be extremely helpful to you!"
"Yes, I know!" Ye Chong replied plainly. They were his most loyal and trustworthy companions, almost like his siblings. With the tacit understanding between them, there was no need for more words.
"Besides, it’s only a conjecture, its validity remains to be proven!" Shang replied in a rare moment of solemnity.