Well, self-reflection aside, Ye Chong indeed had to make a change in his original plan. Formerly, Ye Chong simply planned to learn alchemy, the basic from Lunatic Guan at least. Then he would try applying a trial at the Sanctuary to make way out of the Orbits. Assuming he failed the trial, he would plan for an alternative. The catch was none other than exiting the Orbits itself. The Orbits, as everyone had known before, was a place one could enter easily but not a place one could also exit at ease. Every spaceship that had entered the proximity of the Orbits would be locked up by the Sanctuary. Some may suggest to leave without a spaceship, but those were the dreamers who had no idea what retardation in the Haleyson they had just suggested. Even if Ye Chong made it back to Red Giant, the outermost planet of the Orbits, it would still be far-fetched as the closest course to the outside was long abandoned. You could try waiting at the spot for a spaceship to pass by but the probability would be lower than seeing a meteor shower in a black hole. You would die before the spaceship appeared, if it would ever appear that is.
And the situation had changed drastically for Ye Chong. He had to advance the date of application trial.
Lunatic Guan had utterly destroyed the entire databank in all processors at her place before she left. It was saddening for Ye Chong as the destruction also involved the apparatuses and reagents for the professionals. They might not be some rare stuffs like the Do Kun stone, but Ye Chong understood the fact that utensils and chemicals this many would easily cost him an arm and a leg. And sadly Ye Chong had never tasted the dazzling pouches of fortune before to afford these again.
He made his way back to the old man’s home and informed him that Lunatic Guan had left. "Well…" The old man sighed, "She is also a person of misfortune." That was the only statement coming from the old man, who seemed to know something in the dark. Ye Chong did not muster sufficient curiosity to further inquire about it however.
"This is the formula for the strengthening liquid," said Ye Chong as he took out a piece of chip.
"Pass it to Hei Zi," waved the old man as he turned away and continued working on his task at the board.
Easier said than done… Hei Zi’s understanding was truthfully terrible as he remained in confusion even after Ye Chong gave him the exact formula to produce the liquids. "Can’t help it…" Ye Chong eventually taught him on how to produce the strengthening liquid repetitively.
As usual, they had a dinner that night. Nan Nan was giggling while chewing her food. She was so happy to see her Big Brother returning. She could not stop telling Ye Chong how much she missed him.
In the middle of the night, Ye Chong took a look around this heartwarming place. Little Nan Nan should be in her dream, chasing the bad doggie away maybe, while Hei Zi… wonder what he was doing… and the old man, he should be rushing his work at the workshop underground. Amidst silence he put a chip containing basic mech mechanic theories on the table. This was the only thing useful to Hei Zi he believed he could have left him. And on top of Little Nan Nan’s bed, Ye Chong quietly placed a red bone hat, which every layer of painting coated, every piece of bones connected was by his own hands.
"Ye, are you sure you aren’t biding farewell to them?" asked Shang softly.
"Yeah, I’m good," Ye Chong replied flatly as he turned away from home, walked into the darkness, heading to the nearest Sanctuary.
"Why… Why not?"
"…" No word was heard from Ye Chong, as he hurried his way.
"Hmmm…" Lied on the bed, Yan Bingxuan was reviewing the entire incident. Rather restless he had been, as the operation of finding out the rumored thief to the Sanctuary before had caused chaos in the Orbits. And on top of that, the thief rumored by the insiders had yet to be caught, while there was a new rumor recently, claiming that a pilot had been murdered by the thief himself. He was amazed however, considering how great the thief was for he was able to steal things from the Sanctuary, managed to escape in grace from the Sanctuary while keeping the insiders of the Sanctuary this worked up to capture him. He should be no commoner. Frankly speaking, he did not really believe that rumor of pilot inside the Sanctuary being killed. He had tried applying being a pilot of the Sanctuary back then and of course, he failed miserably. Pathetically he only managed to become a patrolman at the area in the end. How could the pilots, the chosen one after the tedious trials, be slaughtered this effortlessly? Thought so in disdain, no way the specialized pilots would be overcome by a trash from the outside.
Nonetheless, thanks to that thief, if it was not because of the search that time, I would never know that filthy goat Ge had actually gotten an apprentice himself! Yan Bingxuan thought of that fine young man. He might be a bit slender compared to the blacksmith in the Orbits, but he was absolutely a talent for the skeleton artistry. Yan Bingxuan did not foresee this filthy stubborn old man was capable of finding such a good apprentice. Hehe, this is a kind young man indeed, for he actually gave me such a big gift. Up to this time, I remembered the face of the authority when they received those 3 mechs. Rumor said that the mechs were even tested out by the ace of the Sanctuary, the famous Madam Feng Su herself. Such an honor! Ge that old goat said this was just the mech in production. But even a mech in production gave me promotion 3 times in a row. Everyone was eyeing me with envy! Thinking so, the patrolman was proud. Such a lovely hen that laid the golden eggs. I must keep this old hen carefully if I want to prosper. Yang Bingxuan could already see his bright future glowing in the twinkles of Venuses, as he drooled in greed.
But dammit I must say, it seemed like there’s a quota to my luck! And apparently I had ran out of luck! Right after I got promoted as a chief patrol, things happened at my place! A traitor from the elite group had sneaked to my area and caused havoc. That traitor actually got rid of my entire team, escaped and killed one of the pilots! Goddammit! Had this world really changed? We now could see a traitor in the Sanctuary? And the traitor was also the nobility from the elite group? Had this traitor gone nuts?
Elite group, gasp, the elite group… It even gave Yan Bingxuan a shudder from thinking of how the person was from the elite group alone. That is a freaking monster from the elite group! And I am nothing but a little patrolman who could barely swear at a gangster on a train platform! I would be gashed upon immediately and become a filler of its bloody fangs! Yan Bingxuan was definitely a tough-looking guy outside, but he was a delicate boy inside. And most people would be deceived at first glimpse. He was alarmed especially after seeing the team of Dawn mechs who came to his aid. He could not imagine how a powerful mech these many could barely catch even a piece of the foe. Seriously, he was glad that he never encountered that monster alone.
The Dawn mechs eventually retreated with an follow-up order from the higher-ups, "Stay alert! Any happening, report us at first moment." Patrolman Yan was well-aware of the order. He was the obedient listener, the Mr. Yes in the team. He did not give a damn in reality however. I’m not that stupid to stay at the deck when the ship is sinking. My life goes before anything else!
The havoc has been resolved now… and I could rest for a bit. I know, I know, I had ranked up too quickly. Everyone is pissed, everyone is waiting to see me humiliated. If I don’t be a little bit more careful, I’ll be kicked off my seat and be wheeling down the hill.
Now, let the patrolman get his rest…
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Just when he thought he could catch his breath for a second, the communicator on the table rang. A hiccup occurred inside him for some reason. He did not feel right with the incoming call.
"What?" He was ultimately shocked by the report from his subordinates.
This was the first time Ye Chong paid the local Sanctuary a visit. The building was not dramatically adorned and appeared to be a house made out of bricks, like most of the residences in the Orbits, just that the Sanctuary was much larger in comparison. The walls outside were layered by some unknown vines of fresh greenness, which gave the building a sense of Mother Nature.
He arrived at the lobby after the entrance. There were 4 pillars standing at the center of the lobby and similar to the walls outside, they were all covered up in vines of the same kind too. The lobby appeared to be rather spacious as not many people were there. Judging by how the communicator was the only hi-tech thing in the lobby, it looked like the Sanctuary was resistant towards technologies… Mumbled Ye Chong in his mind.
A counter sat right at the opposite of the entrance. A young man was at the counter and he seemed… to be… asleep? Habitually Ye Chong’s steps fell so light that the man did not sense his existence even when he was standing right beside the counter.
"Such a lazy bum. Show some respect to your own occupation will you?" Shang commented in dissatisfaction.
Ye Chong lifted his finger and knocked on the table twice.
"Aagrnanlxz!" The sleeping beauty had been waken up, in shock, as he mumbled some gibberish, rubbing his bleary eyes and took a look around in astonishment. The eyes of the sloth converged at Ye Chong at last. "Agoanmdwe!" Another gibberish as he jumped up from his seat, realizing he was on a duty at the moment. "I’m sorry, I’m sorry… Sir… Sir… I wonder if you have anything I could help you with?" Seemingly the young man was new at this Sanctuary, seeing how he retained that shunning humbleness in him.
Practically the young man was intrigued too, since people rarely visited the Sanctuary. The visitors mostly would be some mentalist or mentalist-pilots, coming for work, while the man before him was obviously neither of them. He might be a novice patrolman at the Sanctuary, he still could spot the difference. Mentalist would always put on a green clothing while the pilots would be in their tidy pilot uniforms instead, with an expression of pride. The visiting man had none of those, he was showing indifference… which looked like those old mentalists… but he was not wearing any pale green clothing that the young man could know of.
Moreover, it was midnight. What in the Orbits would this man come to the Sanctuary at a timing like this? Very curious, the young man was curious.
"I would like to apply for the Level 5 trial at the sanctuary," his request came flatly.
"What?" Boomed the young man, in panic he responded, "Ah. Um, oh, uh, a moment please." The young man clumsily stampeded towards the communicator at the side and rang to the chief patrolman. Stuttering he reported to chief.
Ye Chong’s sensitive hearing had heard every single word uttered by the young man. He found that avoidant eye contact and shrinking posture of the young man while on the communicator to be quite interesting.
"Such a scaredy cat. You could have tried acting professional," Shang gave another disdainful remark.
Yang Bingxuan piloted his mech and rushed all the way to the Sanctuary. No doubt his curiosity aroused by surprise was nothing lower than young man on duty. Ye Chong and Shang on the other hand did not get all the hassle and drama occurring around them, since they did not have an idea on what a Level 5 Trial actually was. And Yang Bingxuan, being a patrolman for the past 10 few years, had his first time witnessing someone requesting a Level 5 Trial. Back in the days when the Level 5 Trial was first introduced at the Sanctuary, people flooded the center to apply. At the eg, only 2 persons had passed; the following year had one before and nobody else after! That was the time when people realized how challenging it was to pass the trial. "Don’t even think about it if you aren’t even the master in your field!" said everyone upon mentioning the trial, which was the direct cause to the drastic decrease in applicants of the following years.
So one year, Yang Bingxuan took over as the patrolman and… well, no one had ever come and apply for the trial. He did overhear stories of one doctor applying for the trial few years back from the other area, though he was disqualified at the very last day.
Whoever desired to be an applicant must have not only the courage but also the great confidence in his or her own capabilities. "When in the Orbits did we even have those kinds of people in our area? And I don’t even know them?" Yang Bingxuan was dying to know.