"Ten!" Mu’s answer was a shock to Ye Chong. Ten mechs, the standard combat squad from the Sanctuary. Ye Chong was not too conceited as to believe that he could manage all ten of them single-handedly.
Zhu Ling was about to speak of what she knew when a golden figure flashed past, and by the time she realized what happened, she found herself lifted, moving quickly through the woods.
Zhu Ling was unable to open her eyes as she could hear the wind swishing past her, the headwind painful against her face. The occasional branch struck her body, delivering fiery pain that ensued. Nevertheless, she endured, and while it was quite painful, she did not even whisper a groan.
"30 degrees to the left!" Mu had chosen the best escape route for Ye Chong.
Ye Chong abruptly turned. Blood rushed to Zhu Ling’s head from the centrifugal force produced from this sudden change in direction. Her visioned darkened, and Zhu Ling finally let out a moan. Fortunately, Zhu Ling had always trained hard with her physique in excellent condition. She momentarily recovered , though amazed by what happened. From the pain of the wind brushing past her face, she could roughly make out the speed of the gold mech; the conclusion she derived from this surprised and even frightened her.
The gold mech’s speed was way faster than an average mech’s speed! How was that possible? Her mind was all jumbled up, the facts confronting her all defying everyday knowledge. Earlier, she even noticed a small detail - the mech’s turning radius was very small, and this would burden the mech pilot heavily, just like how she was temporarily in shock from the blood rushing to her head. However, the mech’s pilot had made the turn like a normal maneuver - just what kind of monster was he?
Deep in her thoughts, there was another sudden turn, and Zhu Ling’s vision darkened again, and her mind emptied!
She did not expect this to be just the beginning of an insufferable experience. The miniature mech made a series of impossible quick turns. Zhu Ling felt like she was swinging in Hell’s playground, rising and falling, to the left and to the right. She could hardly afford to groan, and her remaining instincts told her to endure with all her might.
Ye Chong did not notice Zhu Ling’s condition, it was lifted as she was in his hands. He was now entirely focused with Mu and the scenery before him. He needed to respond accurately and quickly to Mu’s instructions, as the woods were littered with obstacles - it was no easy task to move so rapidly through the woods, and even with Ye Chong’s commendable skills as a mech pilot, he dared not be careless.
The forest stretched far and wide, an unending sight of trees to the horizon. This provided ample space for Ye Chong to move.
Under Mu’s instructions, Ye Chong managed to avoid the Sanctuary’s standard combat squad as it headed towards the scene of the incident.
Just as Ye Chong was about to relax, Mu’s words made Ye Chong ran again like a beast in heat, "Ye, don’t stop, they’re following your tracks towards you. Hmm, be careful, there are three mechs keeping watch in the sky!"
Unlike normal mechs that move with their engines, Guardian’s strength came from the pilot’s own strength, with amplification. Hence, Ye Chong did not fly, but ran and leaped as he made his way forward. Through Guardian’s amplification of Ye Chong’s already superior strength, every step onto the ground brought soil flying into the air, creating a hole in the ground - his trail was marked distinctly like plowed soil. This left an easy sign for the enemy to track him.
Poor Zhu Ling. If the previous journey was unforgettable to her, the next journey was like a living hell! More speed, more impossible turns and a bumpier ride, all made her nearly lost her mind. The stress was already more than her body could take, and she had quickly fallen into a semi-conscious state.
The trees in the forest were humongous, nearly obliterating the view of the sky. Ye Chong stuck close to the ground as he charged forward, as his movements completely hidden from the skies.
Unlike Ye Chong’s desperate run forward, the seven Dawn mechs advanced carefully, as though anticipating an ambush. The squad leader in the center looked even more sombre than the rest. From the marks on the ground, it was obviously not a normal mech, its size probably similar to a human’s. This reminded him of the Sanctuary’s earlier announcement of an important fugitive, one armed with a gold miniature mech. It was similar to the current target at hand.
He immediately reported this to the Sanctuary. "For a traitor to side with an enemy …" The thought was unsettling.
From the latest intel report by the Sanctuary, the gold miniature mech had surprisingly powerful combat abilities. In the intel report, it was even advised for anyone facing the mech alone to seek help! For the veteran squad leader, this smelt like danger. It also meant that, in a one-on-one battle, the Sanctuary was not confident of victory.
This was why as Ye Chong went full speed ahead, the seven mechs behind him followed cautiously, fearing of an ambush.
Ye Chong moved among the trees like an enchanted golden bullet.
Suddenly, the view in front of Ye Chong lit up - he had left the forest. He was greeted with a wide river, which he leaped into without hesitation.
Just moments after Ye Chong jumped into the river, a large group of Dawn mechs swished past the river’s surface and entered the forest.
Further downstream, on a secluded shore of pebbles, a golden figure suddenly rose from the waters, a girl lifted in its hands, unconscious.
This was Ye Chong, emerging from his little dive. With Guardian’s protection, Ye Chong moved like a fish underwater, unlike his previous humiliating experience.
Ye Chong put down Zhu Ling from his grasp, as she landed gently on the pebbly shore. After the desperate run through the forest, at such high speeds, any branch hitting her inevitably left a rip on her clothing. After all the running, her clothes were now in tatters, and that dip in the river left her nearly naked. Zhu Ling received strict training since she was young, and her physique had matured early, with a perfect body shape. This exposed view of her would have riled up most men.
Ye Chong was unmoved by the beautiful sight. It was not that Ye Chong lacked any masculine instincts, but Ye Chong knew next to nothing about these things. The only experience he had was only that one lick of Rui Bing. Besides, in Ye Chong’s eyes, Zhu Ling was but a 3D image composed of a jumble of white lines, along with some relevant data on the side by Guardian. Under these circumstances, the only way Ye Chong could be moved was if he had reached Shang’s level of appreciation!
"Hmm?" Mu exclaimed in surprise, unusual for his calm self.
"What is it? Mu!" Ye Chong asked curiously, since not many things could surprise Mu.
"Look at that necklace on her neck!"
"Hmm, what’s wrong with that? It looks normal!" Ye Chong had no experience on women’s jewelry such as necklaces, but he still went to have a look.
Hung from an ancient-looking string was a pendant shaped like a water droplet. The pendant was an opaque gray, which was not very impressionable. Of course, Ye Chong only saw its 3D grid image.
"Is it a dimension keystone?" Ye Chong’s first guess was a dimension keystone, since many were made like pendants or ornaments, just like Mu’s.
"No!" Mu rejected Ye Chong’s idea decisively, and revealed the truth, "Based on available information, that droplet shaped pendant is made of a very rare material commonly known as Red Liquor. Red Liquor looked plain under normal circumstances, but when exposed to alcohol, it would turn a vivid red, and it was very popular among the ladies. However, it is very rare, and so, highly precious. If my information is correct, only some of the very ancient aristocratic families have these jewels!"
"Do you mean that the girl’s background is suspicious?" Ye Chong’s reaction was almost immediate.
"No, the term ‘suspicious’ feels too much like a subjective opinion! It’s not recommended! I merely believe that this person’s background has a high probability of being unusual!" Mu’s calculating words felt almost devoid of emotions.
"Hmm, it’s certainly possible, but her background has got nothing to do with us! Hmm, Mu, can Red Liquor enhance the properties of metallic materials?" Ye Chong asked. This was something he was interested in.
"There is no information on that as of yet! After all, it’s a rare material, no one would experiment on it." Mu replied.
"Hmm, then we gotta experiment!" Ye Chong cocked his head to the side, considering the idea.
Ye Chong stooped down and took the droplet shaped Red Liquor from Zhu Ling, without any sense of guilt. To him, Zhu Ling was his prey, and anything the prey owned was now naturally his! Deep inside, Ye Chong still believed in the ways of nature.
The young lady slowly awakened, and the contents of her stomach immediately started protesting like a storm. She lurched forward and vomited for a long moment.
When they entered the river, the semi-conscious young lady was instantly awakened, and found herself underwater. She did not panic, since surviving underwater for long periods of time was part of her training.
It was far more comfortable in the water, at least when compared to the insanely rapid turns on the ground. Slowly, she realized that the mech had no intention of surfacing to breathe! While she was considered excellent in this particular kind of training, that did not mean that she could stay underwater indefinitely. Out of alternatives, she forced herself into a faked state of death.
On the shores, with stimulation of fresh air, she slowly awakened, and upon returning to consciousness, found her the contents of her stomach raging like a storm. She could not help but throw up violently, unaware of her missing necklace.
After throwing up, she finally calmed down, and Zhu Ling finally noticed that her clothing could not longer fully cover herself. The young woman was, however, unembarrassed, and acted with her usual calm.
"Alright, you can continue with your questions! But let me leave after that!" The young woman spoke calmly.
Ye Chong was impressed, but did not show it as he spoke, "Hmm, alright, then let’s continue the question earlier. How many mentalists and mentalist pilots are there in the Sanctuary?"