Ye Chong spoke plainly, "Everyone, you’re safe now."
The people exhaled in relief, as tension finally drained out of them. Qin Zuo bowed to Ye Chong and thanked him profusely, "Thank you for your help, if not for you, we would all have …" Qin Zuo shuddered at the thought, and was very grateful, but revealed nothing more, a testimony of his discretion.
In fact, Ye Chong had wanted to use violence - it was the simplest and most direct way to end things in the way he saw it. Even if it would sometimes worsen the situation, it was still mostly a reliable method. However, his considerable amount of time spent with Shang made Ye Chong understand that violence was not the only answer, and that there were far more craftier solutions.
Of course, even if he understood this, practicing it was an entirely different matter. Till today, Ye Chong still preferred direct means to achieve his goals.
"Alright, I’ll not mince words here, I offered help only because I’m interested in your research. I think you must all be open to sharing your findings with me." Ye Chong still spoke casually, as if he was only commenting on the weather.
Indeed, Shang was slowly changing Ye Chong. In a certain corner, a devil was flicking away its forked tail, howling in excitement, while Mu provided commentary on the side, "Vocal tone has exacerbated the situation, effectiveness has dropped by 0.37 percent."
The difference between Mu and Shang was that Mu would focus on the precision and angle of a weapon in hand, while Shang preferred the cunningness of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Ye Chong’s words were as chilling as an autumn breeze, and everyone instantly fell silent. They never expected to escape from certain danger, only to be greeted with another. It was their first time hearing a threat delivered so plainly.
Besides, how did the other party get his information? They had kept their movements inconspicuous, certain that no one had found them out. The fact was shocking. Phal’s face was red with anger, his eyes spitting fire. Qin Zuo groaned inside. Now that the other party had so clearly stated his intention, he must know all about them. Could this mysterious person be targeting them from the start?
However, Qin Zuo did not have the luxury to consider any further. Since the other party had been so frank, he must be prepared for them.
Besides, the young man was very calm when he dealt with those five mechs earlier. Qin Zuo believed that the young man was not a stranger to murder. They must surely look like five little lambs ready for slaughter to him.
Qin Zuo considered all these quickly, and understood the situation they were in. He sighed. Under the circumstances, their lives were more important than anything else.
Zuo Qin looked to Meng Fei’er, who was watching him, and shook his head in defeat.
Meng Fei’er tightened her lips and looked towards Ye Chong with angry and unwilling eyes, but her right arm moved to remove her backpack, and she emptied her bag onto the floor. Pa’er gritted his teeth in anger, but Vicente seemed to be unaffected.
Ye Chong ignored their fury with ease. He bent over and inspected the rocks and tools emptied by Meng Fei’er from her backpack on the floor.
Ye Chong sorted through the things on the floor quickly, grouping them by category. His actions surprised Qin Zuo and his team - could this young man recognize all those things?
They exchanged glances, and Qin Zuo signalled to Meng Fei’er.
Meng Fei’er hesitated for a moment before speaking up, "Do you know these things?" Meng Fei’er spoke with a sweet, clear voice. Meng Fei’er was the team’s medic, and a teacher from the Unity Academy. Her specialty was alchemy, but she also studied botany on the side. Meng Fei’er was about 25, at an age where a woman was in her prime. Her natural charisma and her feminine and sympathetic nature made her well liked in the academy by students and teachers alike. When dealing with strangers, Meng Fei’er was good at winning their hearts.
Qin Zuo knew this, for many people would unconsciously be less defensive against women. While he could not hope for the young man to release them all, he would still try his best to lower the other party’s guard by any means. The more unguarded the other party was, the more likely they were to escape.
Nonetheless, Ye Chong was not listening to Meng Fei’er. He was having a lively discussion with Mu.
"This is carmine, a rare mineral, able to amplify energy, commonly used in large energy based weapons as firing parts.
"This is a nimbus rock. It looks attractive, though not quite useful for our purposes, but it’s excellent material for construction.
"This green one is an emerald crystallite, mainly used for jewellery and decorations. It’s a kind of gemstone, rarely found in the Five Galaxies. I’ve never seen any reports of this. Cutting this kind of gemstone requires high craftsmanship."
Ye Chong organized the rocks on the floor based on Mu’s comments into two heaps, one useful for him, and the other irrelevant. In the end, he arrived at a rubbery piece that looked much like a water droplet. If not for his sharp eyes, Ye Chong would probably have missed it.
The object emanated warmth in his hands! Ye Chong was deeply surprised.
Ye Chong asked, "Mu, what’s this?"
Mu was quiet for awhile before replying, "It’s a teardrop mineralite, formally known as high energy compound colloid."
From Mu’s voice, Ye Chong could sense the unusualness of this teardrop-sized mineral. "Is this useful?"
Mu reverted to his usual composure. "It is. It is a material with the highest known energy density, and scarcer than even the Do Kun stone. Energy cells made of this material could store a lot more energy than usual. Besides, it has its own energy. Upon depletion, the material will become a good energy storage medium. Starships fitted with these energy cells of this can undertake very long voyages. Equipping a mech with this kind of energy cell can increase its combat strength by at least five times. Unfortunately, a small part of my database is damaged, and there is a gap in my knowledge on building energy cells from teardrop mineralite. If you’re interested, you can try to complete this knowledge. Of course, we still lack some other materials required to build this energy cell, but as an important high grade mineral, this material is still worth keeping. We must also try to find our best to find more teardrop mineralite.
"In any case, it’s better if this material is safely in our hands." Mu declared his conclusion with dominating prowess.
"Is that necessary?" Ye Chong asked, curious. He had never seen Mu placing as much importance on anything as this teardrop mineralite, even more than he did on Do Kun stone. The way Ye Chong saw it, it was an impossible feat. He might believe it possible for one of the Three Forces, but how could he alone own all the teardrop mineralite in the world?
"It’s very necessary." Mu paused for a moment before continuing, "My database still has some information on the usage of teardrop mineralite energy cells. Based on this information, I conclude that mechs or warships fitted with this teardrop mineralite energy cell are terrifyingly powerful. Be it Black Cove, the Sanctuary or the MPA, obtaining the teardrop mineralite would allow them to expand their powers rapidly. The balance between the Three Forces will be disrupted, and that would be not favorable for you."
"But this is obviously an operation beyond our means. We don’t have enough manpower, and we lack the experience in mining for minerals." Ye Chong could not understand why Mu would propose such an impossible mission.
Mu explained, "Unlike other minerals, teardrop mineralite is an aggregating mineral. Usually, it is found localized in a small area. If we locate where this team found this teardrop mineralite, the probability of finding more of it in the area is very high. Based on available information, planets mined for feardrop mineralite are all exhausted today, so these people must have found it on an untouched planet. With so many rare minerals, it’s undeniable that this planet must have escaped the attention of Black Cove and the Three Forces till today, or the planet would have been seized. We must mine all the teardrop mineralite before any of them realize this. Teardrop mineralite is a resource like no other for war." Mu emphasized again at the end.
Ye Chong quickly grasped his logic, and agreed that no matter which of the Three Forces came out the winner, it would not help his situation. While Ye Chong believed that he would settle himself on some planet after investigating the Prometheus Group, and that the chances of meeting the Three Forces again was low, but what if it happened anyway? This was a probabilistic event, and not entirely impossible. Instead of allowing this threat to exist, better to nip it in the bud.
Ye Chong quickly agreed with Mu’s suggestion.
Meng Fei’er was surprised to find the young man ignoring her, fully occupied in organizing the things on the floor. All the minerals were grouped into different heaps, and now he was starting to sort the plants that she had gathered. Meng Fei’er grew more and more intrigued by the young man. She had collected all those plants herself. As a botanist, it was imperative to study these previously unknown organisms. The young man before her, however, seemed to be familiar with these plants that were not recorded in any available illustrations of plants, and was now quickly sorting them based on their type.
Meng Fei’er now recalled that this young man seemed to be an alchemist, and as an alchemist, it was not uncommon for them to also be botanists.
Once he was done, Ye Chong finally straightened himself. From the beginning, Ye Chong had kept himself vigilant. It was already instinct for him to always prepare himself for any eventualities. Fortunately, the other party did not do anything unusual.
He was not aware of how much these people feared him, especially Qin Zuo. Qin Zuo was the most insightful of the team, and that was why he dreaded Ye Chong even more than the others.
Ye Chong gathered all the materials that were useless to him and pushed them towards Meng Fei’er as he said plainly, "These are not useful to me, you can take them back." Ye Chong did not seem embarrassed at all, as though everything was his in the first place.
The team largely ignored his demeanor, and Pa’er finally could not resist asking him loudly with bulging eyes, "Young man, do you know these minerals?" Seeing Pa’er making his move, everyone else kept silent and looked towards Ye Chong.
Ye Chong was calm as ever as he replied, "I do."
The team stared in disbelief. Pa’er picked up one of the minerals from the heap he returned to them, a light grey rock, and asked urgently, "What is this?"
"That’s a nimbus rock, good for construction. It’s a strong material, suitable to be mixed in with a wide range of binding materials. It has particularly good performance in structure and strength."
Pa’er immediately opened his auto-recording system. Ye Chong’s confidence as he spoke had already mostly convinced Pa’er. As an eminent mineralogist, he could tell that Ye Chong was probably right, even though Pa’er had only seen this material for the first time.
Pa’er now acted like an enthusiastic student, listening intently, only that his teacher was a young man at least a decade younger than him.
Pa’er picked up another mineral and asked eagerly, "What about this?"
Ye Chong did not answer this time, but looked at the team and said calmly, "I think I’ll be able to tell you all more about these minerals, but I believe you should all share your information with me too." Qin Zuo felt growing doubt on his earlier conclusion. He had thought that the young man was a genius in the natural sciences and mech maneuvering, but now he looked more like a young heir to a large business conglomerate, all hypocritical without shame, but still acting naturally throughout.
In any case, Ye Chong seemed even more powerful to him. He still could not make much of the 20-odd young man, but from what little he could gleam. Qin Zuo knew that his team was disproportionately at a disadvantage.
Even so, a certain devil with his flickering tail grew even more delighted with Ye Chong, while Mu still maintained his calm observer stance.
Ye Chong finally got to know who these five people were.