Unity Academy was a reputable tertiary education institution in the Five Galaxies, and most people revered its high standing. Unity Academy’s teachers were also widely respected.
The young man before them, however, seemed unmoved. This calm composure seen in an adolescent only alerted Qin Zuo even more.
The young man’s calm gaze seemed to penetrate their hearts, as though no lies could ever escape him.
Everyone was wondering if this calm youngster was actually the same person as that shameless young man earlier.
In truth, they had misjudged Ye Chong. Ye Chong was only imitating Shang’s way of speaking. In Ye Chong’s mind, there was no such thing as honour or shame. The way he saw it, he was the stronger of them both, and it was only natural if he took everything the team had. The laws of the Five Galaxies did not play a role in his actions.
Under Ye Chong’s scrutiny, Meng Fei’er explained everything.
Vicente had a student who was an explorer. In truth, the number of explorers were always increasing. In the age of peace, people needed heroes, and in the age without heroes, these explorers were modeled by the media as heroes. The potential profits in this occupation made it even more attractive. Once anyone found a primary planet never before explored, then by law, he or she was entitled to own a tenth of the planet’s resources. While people nowadays did not lack for basic necessities, the quest for wealth and power never ceased.
When this student brought his findings to Vicente, Vicente was shocked. As a geographer, he found geographical features that he had never seen before in his student’s holographic recording. Hence, he organised this expedition.
Ye Chong was surprised to find that their expedition was actually initiated by the quiet, old man. Phal was a prominent specialist in mineralogy and metals, while Meng Fei’er was not as famous, her track record as a competent botanist who once studied under well known experts and her medical expertise made her a part of the team. Qin Zuo and Han Ben were partners. They worked well together and had much experience in explorations. Thus, they became in charge of protecting and guiding the team in their expedition.
The exploration team was reasonably prepared. Since primary planets usually have wild animals, Qin Zuo and Han Ben could keep them safe.
Everything was arranged in secret. Vicente’s student never contacted him since, but considering that if news leaked out, Vicente’s student would lose everything, everyone kept their silence.
Their meticulous planning resulted in a smooth expedition. The primary planet was much larger than they had ever imagined, and was significantly evolved. For safety reasons, they only did a surface inspection of the planet. Even so, they found minerals that they had never seen before. With the exception of Qin Zuo and Han Ben, everyone gained much from the expedition. They hoped to return to the academy as soon as possible, where they had their own laboratories to process their findings.
Everything went smoothly, and just when they thought things were going perfectly, the space pirates arrived.
And they were saved by Ye Chong.
Meng Fei’er finished her narration and looked silently at Ye Chong. In fact, all five members kept their eyes fixed on Ye Chong. This young man held their lives in his hands. They could disregard wealth and fame, but would never give up their lives so easily.
Ye Chong was quiet, obviously still processing the information he got from Meng Fei’er.
As expected, they had discovered a primary planet, just as Mu predicted. Everything seemed logical, and Ye Chong could find nothing amiss. Besides, Mu reported that Meng Fei’er’s heartbeat was normal when she was speaking. Ye Chong could be assured that Meng Fei’er was not lying.
Perhaps to encourage independence, Mu did not lend much assistance to Ye Chong this time.
Ye Chong had two choices now. He could either investigate the Prometheus Group and Gao Shichang, or solve this problem of the teardrop mineralite. This was a difficult decision, and personally, Ye Chong would prefer to deal with the issue of his Papa first.
Ye Chong asked abruptly to Vicente, "You said your student never contacted you again?"
Vicented was startled, and nodded. "Yes, that’s right. I waited, but he never got in touch."
"I see." Ye Chong nodded with a measure of resolution.
Vicente seemed to realize something, and his expression turned worse. "You mean …"
Ye Chong only nodded and said, "It’s only my conjecture." Ye Chong suspected that Vicente’s student must have been targeted. If that was the case, he must move fast. It would not do to let others be ahead of him. Since Mu was so focused on this teardrop mineralite, Ye Chong could not afford to treat it lightly as well. As for the matter with his Papa, it was not as urgent. In that instant, Ye Chong made his choice. Here, one could notice the influence of Mu’s rational nature on Ye Chong. Even when it came to his beloved Papa, Ye Chong could still make the accurate and wiser choice.
Everyone else seemed confused, but Vicente was now looking very pale. Suddenly, tears ran down silently along his cheeks, and Vicente seemed to have aged a decade instantly.
Everyone was shocked, and gathered around Vicente, asking him what was the matter.
Qin Zuo was the second of the five to realize what Vicente was thinking. Qin Zuo looked at the steady young man with disbelief and asked, "You mean he’s dead?"
As he said those words, everyone else finally understood, and were shocked to the core.
Ye Chong shook his head. "It’s only a conjecture, and there’s no way to confirm it at the moment. Besides, even if he was captured, chances are he’s still alive. The one who captured him must have preferred him alive rather than dead. Of course, your student must be smart enough in the first place, then his chances of survival will be above 60 percent." Ye Chong was now speaking like Mu.
Vicente was moved, and his eyes glowed with renewed hope. Phal yelled, "We’ll save him, we’ll save him!"
Meng Fei’er quickly held him back and shook her head, signalling him to be quiet.
Qin Zuo could feel a headache coming. These people were in danger themselves, but still worried about the safety of someone else. He laughed mockingly at himself. However, he was the kind of person who would rise against a challenge, and the situation now only aroused his fighting spirit. Even so, a rescue operation was a fool’s errand. They did not even know who was responsible, and out of the five, only he and Han Ben had any combat capabilities. The other party, on the other hand, was probably an entire group. With only himself and Han Ben, Qin Zuo could not help his pessimism.
"They’ll bring him to the primary planet. If we’re lucky, we might meet them." Ye Chong said calmly.
Everyone looked towards Qin Zuo, the decision maker for the team all this while. Vicente did not speak up to disturb Qin Zuo’s thoughts even though his student’s life at stake. He understood that they were only his teammates, and were not obliged to be further involved.
Qin Zuo smiled wryly inside - what other choice did they have? He understood that the young man had led them to this conclusion, probably because he wanted to visit the primary planet himself. This young man might not be better than the ones who captured Vicente’s student.
Qin Zuo considered for a moment before speaking seriously, "You want to visit the primary planet yourself, yes? I think you’ll find no better guide than us. Even if we meet the other party, I hope you could lend your assistance and keep us safe." Qin Zuo had explained the importance of his team to Ye Chong, hinting that if Ye Chong could not keep them safe, he would never get anything more out of them about the primary planet. He chose to be frank instead, against this young man who thoughts he could not penetrate.
Ye Chong answered straightforwardly, "Alright."
In truth, Ye Chong had many other ways to get information out of them, such as Shang’s interrogation methods. Even if a mentalist could not withstand it, Ye Chong believed that they would yield too.
However, Ye Chong was beginning to understand that direct methods were not always the simplest, and indirect methods were not always more troublesome. In terms of effectiveness, these indirect methods were actually quite useful. In Ye Chong’s mind, effectiveness and efficiency mattered the most, and methods were only a means to an end.
In any case, having the stronger position allowed him to be proactive. Ye Chong understood this deeply. Strength was the basis of everything.
WIth this temporary alliance established, everyone relaxed a little. At least they were safe now. The way the clown mech clashed against the five space pirates coldly was constantly on their minds.
After entering the location of the primary planet, Mu charted the fastest course towards the planet.
Ye Chong began to explain more about those minerals, imitating Mu.
Vicente and Phal listened closely, and interjected with questions. At the side was Meng Fei’er, waiting patiently for Ye Chong to finish explaining the minerals. She was more interested in the plant specimens she had collected.
Qin Zuo and Han Ben wandered around the starship.
Qin Zuo and Han Ben exchanged glances, and both could the read the shock in each other's eyes. They had went through the captain’s cabin in detail, and found no one other than Ye Chong and their team of five. The starship looked just like any other Zika class starship.
This was why they were so surprised. Starships and mechs were entirely different constructs. Mechs moved much faster than starships, but fared a lot worse in terms of long distance flight. Starships also had a feature that no mech ever had, which was warp jumping. Starships usually had this feature, which greatly shortened the travel time across space and made interstellar travel possible.
Without warp jumps, travelling between planets would take longer than a person’s entire lifetime.
Starships may have features that mechs could never have, but it was proportionately more complicated to maneuver. A Zika class starship like this, for example, would need at least a crew of 20. Now, however, he and Han Ben saw no one steering the starship, and the starship was apparently flying on autopilot.
A starship with autopilot features! Qin Zuo was vexed. Who was this young man? How did he come to own such an advanced starship? Starship maneuvering required strict training, and the maneuvering itself was daunting to most people. Up until now, Qin Zuo had never heard of anything like starship auto piloting functions.
Who did he have as his backing? To own such advanced technology? It was terrifying!
Qin Zuo could not help but feel anxious again. Plenty of things in this starship could be considered classified material in any organization. Now that they had boarded the ship, perhaps …
Qin Zuo did not like where his thoughts were leading to. He forcefully stopped himself from thinking about it any further, and quickly signaled to Han Ben. They settled in with the other three members of the team, sitting around the young man.
The actions of Qin Zuo and Han Ben did not escape Ye Chong’s attention, but he kept silent about it, continuing on his explanation of the minerals to Phal and the others. Ye Chong could at least keep his promise to them, provided, of course, that he was not harmed in the process. Ye Chong was not yet willing to devote himself to that extent yet.
"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 required high craftsmanship." Ye Chong explained exactly as Mu worded it.
Meng Fei’er was growing bored, but immediately brightened at this, grabbing the green gem away from Ye Chong’s hands. Women were naturally attracted to gems and the like, even though this particular one was still uncut, without the typical luster of gems.
Qin Zuo’s eyes brightened as well. "Rarely found in the Five Galaxies? Are you telling me there are people beyond the Five Galaxies?" His questions gained the attention of everyone around him.