Once again, Ye Chong’s performance was a pleasant surprise to Lunatic Guan. His seemingly frail body harboured extraordinary strength, as though he was always physically ready. Besides, he had great talent and was a quick study; his long, white fingers moved deftly, as though he was born to be an alchemist. This won much admiration from Lunatic Guan. In order to make Ye Chong "suffer", Lunatic Guan even invested her own time in him, and spent less time in drinking. Often, she would even forget all about drinking. Of course, Ye Chong was not foolish enough to remind her of that. Gradually, Lunatic Guan had forgotten of her original intention and began to teach Ye Chong more seriously. She began to treat Ye Chong like an actual student of hers without actually meaning to do so!
With one of them teaching in earnest, and another learning in earnest, Ye Chong improved quickly!
Ye Chong could finally relax a little, since this phase of learning had finally ended, and Lunatic Guan had granted him a few days’ leave. Now, Ye Chong could synthesize his own strengthening chemical, since for a true alchemist, knowing the ingredients was enough to make the chemical easily. From the old man’s point of view, Ye Chong’s learning mission was completed.
With the rare moment of leisure, Ye Chong enjoyed his idle time by carving some little things out of some smaller skeleton pieces for practice, to keep his skills sharp. Ye Chong had no sense of aesthetics, and carved only mech models. He did not bring his carving knife with him, and used the dagger gifted to him by Gu Shaoze.
Ye Chong looked satisfyingly at the final product in his hands, and kept his dagger back into his bag. Suddenly, he noticed the Red Liquor obtained from the young woman, and thought of Mu’s description of the stone’s properties with growing excitement.
"Shang, Mu said that Red Liquor will change in color when stimulated by alcohol, is that right?"
"Hmm, based on our database it should be right! Besides, you can always experiment to find out!" Shang spoke indifferently.
"Right, I can experiment to find out. Hm, alcohol, Lunatic Guan should have plenty of it here!" Will Lunatic Guan run out of alcohol? Absolutely not.
Ye Chong found Lunatic Guan leaning against the wall, sitting on the floor with a wine glass in hand, looking outside the door in a daze.
"Lend me your alcohol!" Ye Chong felt it would better to be straightforward. While both were his teachers, Ye Chong found himself unable to treat Lunatic Guan like he treated the old man, probably due to their age.
"Alcohol?" Lunatic Guan turned to him, awakened from her reverie, and looked in surprise at Ye Chong, probably not expecting such a request from him. However, as her vision swept past Ye Chong’s right hand, Lunatic Guan’s pupils dilated abruptly, and her breathing grew heavier!
Could she have recognized the Red Liquor? This question came to Ye Chong’s mind, and his sharp eyes noticed Lunatic Guan’s jade white hands trembling a little, a few drops of alcohol spilling out. Almost simultaneously, Ye Chong took a small step forward and reached his right hand out, fast as lightning.
Drip! One of the spilled alcohol drops landed precisely on the Red Liquor in Ye Chong’s right hand. In the blink of an eye, the seemingly inconspicuous Red Liquor looked as though it was drunk, and turned slowly into a faint shade of red. This faint shade spread out like a ripple and finally covered the entire surface of the rock. The droplet-shaped Red Liquor now looked like a jade in faint red, warm and adorable.
The transformation did not end there. The red hue turned darker and darker, and in the span of a few minutes, the Red Liquor turned from light red to a ghoulish dark red. The pendant now looked like a drop of fresh blood, moist and dazzling.
With all his attention focused on the Red Liquor, Ye Chong did not notice Lunatic Guan’s expression changed drastically as the Red Liquor transformed! Lunatic Guan stared fixedly at the Red Liquor in Ye Chong’s hand, her face full of disbelief, and her expression unreadable.
The Red Liquor seemed to come alive in Ye Chong’s hand, spreading warmth like a real droplet of semi-coagulated blood. Ye Chong could not but marvel at the sight! Who knew what other secrets the material had to offer?
Just then, Ye Chong smelled a thin, fragrant scent, and froze. Of all the changes that Mu mentioned, this scent was not one of them. Ye Chong held the necklace to his nose. "Hmm, not the pendant. Ah, so it’s from the old string. But this smell is really nice, it makes me feel very peaceful." Ye Chong thought to himself.
"Isn’t it a nice smell? That string may look inconspicuous, but it’s actually made of sky lantern grass, a strong material, and upon contact with heat, it releases a fragrant smell that has a calming effect, and is quite rare!" Lunatic Guan’s words came slowly.
"Sky lantern grass?" Ye Chong lifted his head, and was surprised to find Lunatic Guan’s face as pale as a sheet, her eyes staring fixedly at the necklace in Ye Chong’s hand.
"What’s with her?" Ye Chong wondered. While he did not understand the situation, he still noticed something unusual about Lunatic Guan.
"Sky lantern grass is endemic to the planet Guang Hua. The locals treated it as a sign of peace and harmony, and like to use it for decoration. For the alchemists there, it is also an excellent ingredient." Lunatic Guan’s soft words reverberated throughout the room, but her eyes never left the necklace on Ye Chong’s hand.
Ye Chong offered his hand out and held the necklace before Lunatic Guan.
Lunatic Guan hesitated, as though struggling with herself, the mist in her eyes gradually accumulating to a bursting reservoir, and tears rolled down silently along her pale cheeks. Her lips were now bloodless from her tightened mouth, as she reached out a trembling right hand and slowly approached the necklace held in Ye Chong’s right hand.
As the tips of her fingers touched the droplet-shaped Red Liquor, the sensitive Ye Chong noticed her body shook a little. This made Ye Chong fully realize that the necklace and Lunatic Guan had a very deep relationship.
Receiving the necklace from Ye Chong, Lunatic Guan finally could not hold it any longer. Her left hand moved to cover her mouth, and she began to sob.
Ye Chong left quietly.
Back in his room, Ye Chong spoke to Shang.
"Shang, do you know what’s going on?" Ye Chong expressed his confusion. Through it all, he understood nothing.
"Based on her actions, she probably has a very deep history with the necklace!" Shang’s reply came like a sigh.
"History?" Ye Chong still did not quite understand.
"She’s probably some relative of hers."
"Relative? How did you know?" Ye Chong asked in bafflement.
"Sigh, how can you not understand something so simple? Sigh, I suppose so, a guy like you probably will not spend time on watching movies and the like, it’s only natural that you cannot understand! However, do you have any better guess?" Shang spoke derisively.
"No!" Ye Chong’s answer was brisk.
"And there you have it!"
"Shang, are you sure you’re alright?" Ye Chong asked out of concern. As he had gotten used to Shang’s usual non-stop blabbering, Shang’s quietness now was a little unsettling.
"Problem? Me, having a problem? The probability for that is very small. Even a logical mistake that is fatal for the average PSI is not all that fatal to me. So, about this, you don’t have to worry, Ye. As for my current state, that’s because I and Mu are trying to recover some damaged data. 90 percent of our resources are currently spent there." Shang explained.
"Damaged data? It is from before?" Ye Chong asked.
"Yes. We found that some of them could potentially be recovered, and so we had tried various methods of recovery, but the results do not seem good!"
"Oh, don’t rush yourselves!" Ye Chong could only console them.
Knock knock! The sound came from the door.
With Ye Chong’s hearing sense, he could already hear Lunatic Guan’s footsteps. Her act of knocking, however, was a surprise to Ye Chong, since barging in seemed more of her style.
Lifting his head, he saw Lunatic Guan entering the room with her eyes red and swollen, with wet tracks on her face. Lunatic Guan came in and immediately questioned, "Where did you get this necklace from?"
"Where did I get it from?" Ye Chong was about to answer, when all of a sudden he realized that his relationship with Guardian would be exposed. Ye Chong reacted vigilantly and opted for silence. Lunatic Guan was not someone he trusted, not like with Hei Zi and the old man.
"Tell me!" Witnessing Ye Chong remaining silent, Lunatic Guan grew anxious.
Ye Chong kept his silence, knowing that this would better serve to protect him.
Something flashed past in Lunatic Guan’s eyes, and she spoke in a sigh, "Are you really not telling?"
Planning to keep his silence, Ye Chong suddenly noticed his vision getting more and more blurry, and colors began swirling around as Shang’s panicking voice came from somewhere far away. Ye Chong was still in a daze, not realizing what was happening. He was about to call for Shang, but he blacked out.
Lunatic Guan looked at Ye Chong, lying on the floor, and sighed delicately, "Little Ye, I don’t want to do this, but if you’re not telling, I’ll have to make you!"
Lunatic Guan immediately shut all the doors outside and, ignoring Ye Chong on the floor, hastened to the innermost room and removed a few bottles of reagents from the shelves in a corner.
Lunatic Guan focused intently, her hands moving at a dazzling speed. If Ye Chong were awake now, he would definitely be impressed by Lunatic Guan’s deft and precise movements. Before long, she had a bottle of light purple reagent before her.
Carefully holding the reagent against the light, she could see a few thin silver lines in the light purple reagent.
"This should be right!" Lunatic Guan muttered to herself.
She dashed towards Ye Chong, crouched beside him, and place the bottle of reagent before Ye Chong’s nose before removing the bottle cap. Light purple mist rose from the opening, scattered with fine silver sparkles. The mist swirled like an enchanted snake and found its way into Ye Chong’s nostrils.
Lunatic Guan’s misted eyes flashed with regret, but it was immediately replaced by certain determination.