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Chapter 159: Puzzle
"As all of you possess an entirely different title from each other, it would be quite challenging to put you into groups according to a certain category. So we gave in to having masters from various expertise to assist us in the trial this time. The details of assessment would be determined by each master and please hand the list of raw materials needed to complete the assessment to your respective guide. Please be mindful however, that the rarity as well as the grade of the materials you used would also affect your final result. Heh! But you need not worry. You can stay as long as you wish in Nine Gates City even if you fail the trial. I believe everyone here has a great experience in Nine Gates City, different from the chaotic environment back in the Orbits. This is what we call a peaceful and harmonic heaven."
And the corners of Ye Chong’s eyes discerned quite a number of people spitting their tongues, expressing faint disdain.
The elderly ignored the disrespectful gesture and continued, "Alright, we would do the grouping next. Go with the master in your field."
The one responsible for Ye Chong’s assessment was known as Master Xiao. He had a round face and large pair of ears. The reddish pear-shaped nose was the center of attention. He squinted his eyes often, looked serene and approachable as he smiled.
"Haha." He took a glance over Ye Chong, "So you are that skeleton artisan. Sort of unexpected. Good, very good. Achieving this height at such a young age, your future shall be boundless and bright."
"Thank you," flatly Ye Chong went. There was not the slightest bit of excitement in his expression.
The squinted eyes of Master Xiao had a stream of awe, "And you are also humble and undisturbed, a rare kind too. Very, very, very good!" Master Xiao could not hold his consecutive "very" to convey his admiration.
"I wonder what would my assessment be?" Ye Chong was unshaken by his words as he asked, the assessment was more of his concern.
"Patience, young man, patience!" Chuckled the master, "It took me quite some time to figure out the issue too. But as I thought over the course, I finally had found a fine problem for you to solve."
"I see," Ye Chong responded briefly while he waited for Master Xiao to declare the puzzle.
"Yes, it is also my first time seeing the skeleton parts in my entire life. I did experiment on your works before, not bad… mhm, truly not bad I must say, the parts were exceptional in all aspects. However, there remained a few shortcomings in the usage of bones by nature, which are also difficult to overcome. They are affected by the temperature for example. Under high temperature, their performance would go down drastically… And so…" the master began his discussion.
Ye Chong nodded a few times in agreement. Master Xiao was right of his words. The bones were naturally incompetent in this aspect comparing to metals.
"Inside a mech, other than the processor, what possesses the second greatest importance would be the engine itself…" Master Xiao spoke on with a smile, "Of course we can’t produce a complete skeleton processor, but for an engine, it would be a bit different… There should be some possibilities I believe. But I’m not confident to say whether it would work, that’s why you are here. Haha! Don’t look at me like that, it’s normal for a greenhorn like me to be unsure of something, since I do not know much about bones, unlike you. Mhm, and this would be your assessment - use bones to produce an engine for mech. No limit on the models, as long as it’s an engine, it could blast into space, you are good to go. Well certainly you could involve the use of other materials to form the parts, but you should remember something - the greater proportion the bones occupy in the entire engine system, the greater chance you would pass!"
Ye Chong shuddered. Making an engine with most

ly bones? Did I miss something?
"Hah!" Seeing how Ye Chong returned a bewildered look, Master Xiao laughed, "What you just heard was right. I am requesting you to make an engine with bones. Alright, there you go, you got your assessment. You have a duration of 3 months to sort this out and build the engine yourself. As Master Fan had mentioned, if you need any material, you could inform your guide. Mhm and this is my travel code. If you have any questions or you have finished your work, feel free to contact me through this code. Hahahaha! I am looking forward to that boney engine! Young man, may you have a successful trial!"
Ye Chong inserted the code into his travel wristband, "Alright, you are good to go! Hahaha! I got to go too! I have lots of stuffs to do you know!" said Master Xiao.
After bidding farewell to Master Xiao, Ye Chong left the room and on his way out he came across the other candidates, who seemed really troubled. Apparently their assessments were downright challenging too.
Heading back to his room, Ye Chong was figuring of a way to build a functional engine with mainly bones.
Bones are from the skeleton of animals. They are prone to high heat, even for mutated lifeforms which are blessed with strength and toughness. When it comes to heat resistance, especially intense heat resistance, they are no match to metals, which was fundamentally why Ye Chong never thought of including bones in producing an engine. From what he knew, he saw no chance in this innovation. This is the characteristic of the bones, a limit given by nature. The so-called skeleton engine he had used before was the patched engine of Yu Di, where he tried to piece everything back together with bones after Yu Di was badly damaged. Among all the skeleton parts he had produced so far, the only applicable piece in engine at a better chance was the plate.
But then… now the puzzle had sat before him. And he did not seem to have many options there. There was no time to wonder if the puzzle was solvable from the beginning. Ye Chong should be wondering the hows and not the whys. He should be verifying and not deducing.
"Mu, do you think it’s possible?" asked Ye Chong to Mu. It took him quite a while to collect his thoughts, figuring out the possibilities. The outcome was depressing however. Bones are not possible to be included in engines.
"Of course it is!" said Mu and Ye Chong’s face brightened. "It’s only the matter of the greatness of odds."
Ye Chong’s hope sank under the sea, "Thank you Captain Obvious."
"At a certain level it is, Ye. But this is the only answer to your inquiry. So, you’re welcome! Honesty is the best policy! I should be praised," said Mu righteously.
Ye Chong sweated. Was this Mu? Or was it Shang? Wait it was Mu. Ye Chong somehow could smell a little Shang in the Mu.
Oh well it seemed like it’s up to me alone. Ye Chong pondered. Running away from difficulties was not his style. Moreover Master Xiao had said that he was allowed to include other kinds of materials. This should be it, a way to balance things out.
But then, is it really true that it is impossible to build engines with bones?
Ye Chong spent the next few days figuring it out. Once he sat down it would be the whole day. He froze like a sculpture as he pondered.
Day 1…
Day 2…
Day 3…
Day 6…
Day 9…
Ye Chong rubbed his sore thighs, he stood up and stretched his back. It had been the tenth day since the assessment was given and Ye Chong still had not figured out a satisfactory solution of, although he had come up with a few ideas to balance things out, like he might be using a metal core while replacing the parts of the lesser impacts with bones. If there was no better way in the end, this would be it.
Stretched his limbs, he walked to the table and lifted the plastic cup to his lips.
The rippling water reflected the puzzled man knotting his brows in his fatigue.

Suddenly, an inspiration flew over his head like a shooting star in the darkest night. Water, water, water, water… liquid… Ye Chong caught on something… What kind of liquid? Yes! Yes! Reagents!
Yes! I could use reagent to modify the attributes of bones! The strengthening liquid I had used before, didn’t it successfully change the entire attribute of the bones? If I could use a kind of reagent that could dramatically enhance the heat resistance of the bones, then that solved it!
Ye Chong was very excited as he gargled the remaining water in the cup.
A hint appeared after contemplating in misery for the past 10 days, how could Ye Chong not be worked up?
But his excitement extinguished quickly. He thought it through… I might have gotten the concept but to build it would be the toughest part… This was especially true when Ye Chong had nothing else in mind than this concept itself.
He did learn from the best, however he was just an entry student under Lunatic Guan. Those formula of strengthening liquid Lunatic Guan had taught were solely for strength and toughness enhancement. They did not have a positive impact on enhancing heat resistance of the material. For a newbie in alchemy like Ye Chong, it would be a myth for him to create a new kind of formulae that strengthened the heat resistance level of bones.
He recalled the classes he had with Lunatic Guan, the knowledge he had absorbed over the time… yet none of them was applicable.
Feeling powerless, he begged Mu for some inspiration, "Mu, do you have any good ideas?"
"Hmm. Ye, your idea is great. But I must admit that I do not possess much information regarding the alchemy. I have an alternative however."
"What alternative?" Ye Chong was edgy like a man who saw a silver lining in the sky after the darkest night. According to his past experience, most of the alternatives suggested by Mu would turn out to be a working miracle.
"Remember that Guan’s automatic analysis mechanism? You could try that!" reminded Mu.
"Oh!" Ye Chong’s eyes shone, "How could I forget such a trump card? Hey, Mu didn’t you keep that mechanism right into your databank already?"
"Yes, you are correct. It is indeed in my databank. Nevertheless I have yet managed to discover the core behind the working of this particular mechanism. The core pattern to be precise, since I lacked the information on alchemy in my databank, I could not perform an effective analysis. I could not also produce an accurate judgement on its validity!" explained Mu.
"Wow, the mechanism is that great?" Ye Chong was dumbfounded. A mechanism that even Mu could not pinpoint? That meant Lunatic Guan’s exclusive analysis mechanism was of a high level of expertise. Mu had failed to analyse the Guardian this far. Ye Chong did not expect there would be another machine added to the list.
Geez, talking about the number of geniuses in this world. Be it Gu Shaoze or that Lunatic Guan, they were not much older than himself, yet they managed to become the pioneer of their fields respectively, especially when they had built something brilliant and new upon their forebears. Sadly fate was cruel towards them. Gu Shaoze was dead and Lunatic Guan had vanished in search of her sister. Could the god be in envy of their brilliance?
Sometimes I just feel…
As times went, Ye Chong was fully indulged in his thinking.
"Ye!" Noticed how Ye Chong had been building a castle in the air, he screamed.
"Oh! Sorry…" Ye Chong who returned to the reality sneered at his own ignorance. For what was I thinking this much? I’m just a folk of nowhere. It is great enough if I could survive. Currently Ye Chong only wanted to resolve the brewing illness inside him, so he could find a place where no one would recognize him and live a tranquil life! Unfortunately, that goal was a little far-fetched at the moment.
"Want to try?" asked Mu.
Made up his mind, he exhaled in puff, "Alright!"

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