Every part of Han Jia, standing before him, told the story of a very special mech! "What an eyesore!" Ye Chong thought.
What should he do? Ye Chong pondered long and hard. He had wanted to build a mech that could hide his identity, but had ended up with one that made him the center of attention. He could not help but smile ironically! His eyes wandered to a corner stashed with bottles of all sorts, and Ye Chong unconsciously scanned through them. Ye Chong’s vision suddenly focused on a silver bottle!
Ye Chong groaned at his own stupidity. Such a simple solution had taken him so long to reach! He picked himself up and walked towards the silver bottle!
Ye Chong looked at Han Jia, deeply satisfied!
Dazzling silver covered every part of Han Jia. The mech’s earlier modest charisma was now gone without a trace. Now, Han Jia looked like an arriviste, making a clumsy show of his wealth! A moment ago, Ye Chong sprayed a layer of bright silver paint on Han Jia. However, Ye Chong was now deeply satisfied. Even if it was him seeing Han Jia among other mechs, he would probably not waste any extra attention on the mech.
Any slightly experienced mech pilot would know that the real masters would not draw attention to themselves. Only plain-looking mechs could potentially be advanced level mechs.
Only newcomers would paint their mechs in such a dazzling style, hoping for attention.
After giving Han Jia an ugly paint job, Ye Chong heard Hei Zi calling him, "Ye, Master would like to see you!"
"Okay!" Ye Chong replied, and headed outside. Ye Chong had already locked himself as Han Jia’s user. Except for himself, no one else could examine Han Jia’s interior. This was because Ye Chong did not want Han Jia’s interior accessories to be known, since some of them were quite unsettling.
Han Jia’s dimension keystone was linked to a light green bracelet, which Ye Chong put on his left wrist. Ye Chong had wanted a ring, but considering the effect of having too many rings on his fingers’ movements, he chose a bracelet in the end.
There was one thing that he found himself quite annoyed with, and that was the fact that he could not find any brainwave activated dimension keystone in the area. All he found were old-fashioned sound activated ones. Sound activation was undesirable in terms of reaction time and discretion, and this vexed Ye Chong for a long time.
One could be sure that Han Jia was now a sight to behold. As Hei Zi entered and saw Han Jia's transformation, he gaped widely and froze in bewilderment, speechless as Ye Chong left unnoticed!
Ye Chong went to the old man. The old man was not tinkering with his tools as per usual, but sitting before his desk in the resting room, staring into space.
Ye Chong entered and greeted softly, "Master."
"Oh, Ye, you’re here, sit!" The old man gathered his thoughts and looked at Ye Chong, sitting opposite him and looking back at him. He pondered for a long while, speaking slowly, "Ye, did you have any episodes from your strange illness recently?"
Ye Chong shook his head. "No." He did not understand why the old man would suddenly ask about this.
The old man looked at Ye Chong meaningfully and said, "Hei Zi said that your illness can only be cured outside the Orbits, is that right?"
"Yes." Ye Chong nodded.
"It looks like you’ll leave the Orbits for sure." The old man suddenly sighed.
"You’re the first skeleton carver to ever make a full-skeleton mech. I was hoping you could help me teach Hei Zi, that he may reach your level one day! I know, your interest does not lie entirely in skeleton carving. Haha, I didn’t think I would be able to see a full-skeleton mech in my entire lifetime, I’m quite satisfied! However, if you’re leaving the Orbits, sigh, Hei Zi …" The old man spoke hesitantly.
Ye Chong fell silent. He understood the old man, but what could he do?
"When do you plan on taking the Sanctuary’s Trials?" The old man changed the topic abruptly and asked Ye Chong.
"After some time." Ye Chong continued explaining, "After I spend some time on alchemy."
"Eh, that’s good! Teach Hei Zi in the meanwhile, he may be a little opaque but he’s very grounded, and is never lazy!"
"Yes." Ye Chong replied. Even if the old man did not say so, Ye Chong had planned to do it all along.
The old man’s expression suddenly turned serious, and focused his eyes on Ye Chong. "Ye, if you’re thinking of leaving the Orbits, never let anyone know that you can build full-skeleton mechs. Or else, you may have to live your entire life under the eyes of the Sanctuary. Of course, if it’s like that, you won’t have much to worry besides your freedom. For example, about your strange illness, the Sanctuary would never let a skeleton carver capable of building a full-skeleton mech to die of illness. As for the Sanctuary’s power, I believe you understand that completely. Haha, well, can you accept this way of life?"
"No!" Ye Chong replied decisively. Without freedom, Ye Chong could never accept it.
The old man broke into a grin. "Haha, as I guessed. But if that’s the case, Ye, you must be careful, never let anyone realize that you know how to build full-skeleton mechs. Remember, never! Or else, if the Sanctuary knew, you’ll never leave the Orbits. I’ve reminded Hei Zi, and he’d never tell anyone. That full-skeleton mech that you have, it’s best to use it unless necessary, now that there are many who could tell the difference. Hmm, best if you paint the mech, so that it wouldn’t be so obvious!"
Ye Chong silently applauded the old man’s experience, but was also moved from the old man’s concern about him.
Ye Chong left the old man’s room and met Hei Zi again. Hei Zi gave Ye Chong an odd look. He could not understand how someone would intentionally make his own mech ugly! Besides, this was his rational Junior Brother, and that perplexed him.
Now that Ye Chong was not occupied, he spend his days revising the coursework given by Lunatic Guan. While Lunatic Guan’s threats of punishment did not bother him, he still appreciated the knowledge, since he understood that it would form part of his strength, and might one day be crucial for his survival.
For someone who valued life as much as Ye Chong, that was the most convincing reason.
Other times, Ye Chong would teach Hei Zi about the foundational theories of mechs. However, the entire system of knowledge was too vast, and Hei Zi was not as good as Ye Chong was in terms of intelligence and foundation. Hence, he improved slowly, and Ye Chong could not do much about it.
Ye Chong also allocated some time for Room 5, using the authorization password from Lunatic Guan to activate the room’s photon processor and studied the secretive news and rules related to the ancient occupation that was alchemy. As he read on, Ye Chong gradually grew terrified. The world before him was a very mysterious one, an isolated world, with its own rules and social norms.
What Ye Chong was most interested in was the abilities of some unusual alchemists from obscure branches of the field. They mostly seemed inconceivable to Ye Chong.
One such example was a branch in microorganism studies. They could grow and multiply certain types of microorganisms up to tens of thousands of their original number. There was once a person who developed a grudge against one of them, and was secretly infected with this microorganism together with a special kind of catalyst. In the blink of an eye, that person began to age and wither quickly, and died a curious death.
This narrative immediately got Ye Chong’s attention. Ye Chong was always vigilant against unknown forces . This was terrifying! Fortunately, these people were not battle enthusiasts, and had never sought conflict with others by their own initiative.
This mysterious world was mainly made up of ancient aristocratic families. Through a long history of accumulating knowledge, they could reach further depths in their field. As for those who supported academy establishments, traditional alchemists often thought it beneath themselves.
Ye Chong had never heard of the news in here. Even with Ye Chong’s boldness, he was still chilled as he read through some of the information. There were too many strange things going on!
After finishing his reading, Ye Chong felt moved. The world was a vast place. How much more remained unknown? How many worlds remained to be discovered?
Lunatic Guan finally returned, looking fatigued, worn out by the journey, her expression betrayed some sense of desolation. She saw Ye Chong and exchanged some casual words before returning to her room to rest.
The next morning, Lunatic Guan woke Ye Chong up for her so-called test.
The entire afternoon was spent taking the test.
Lunatic Guan’s face did not show any emotions, but her heart was swirling like a tsunami. The coursework she gave Ye Chong was partly meant to make things difficult for him. While they were basic knowledge, but the content was abundant. For someone without any basics in alchemy, it would impossible to master them in such a short time. However, Ye Chong had done it!
"This guy is a genius!" The thought flashed past Lunatic Guan’s mind. At the same time she found herself feeling a little excited!
She was not aware that Ye Chong was not entirely without any foundations in alchemy. Besides, the amount of information was nothing compared to what Shang had pestered Ye Chong to learn on alchemy.
Lunatic Guan nodded in approval on the surface, "Good god, your homework was done quite well! Hmm, since you’re done with homework, we’re going to continue on with the next phase of learning. This phase will focus on the basic skills in alchemy. Of course, theoretical studies will continue.
"Remember, for an alchemist, practice, is always more important than words!"
Lunatic Guan spoke her last sentence with a rare expression of seriousness.