Ye Chong did not care to explain further to them, and continued talking about the minerals. These minerals were all precious items, but to Ye Chong, they were not useful, and so Ye Chong returned them all to the team.
Qin Zuo was feeling a little fazed, shocked by the news from Ye Chong. The lack of further elaboration from Ye Chong convinced him more of the truth of this news.
What if, beyond the Five Galaxies, a society was thriving, and this society dominated over them without ever being discovered …
Ye Chong ignored their reactions. The Five Galaxies were nothing special to him. While the Orbits and Black Cove did not spread as far and wide as the Five Galaxies, their technological achievements and overall strength were superior to that of the Five Galaxies. Perhaps the MPA would have a similar base. Ye Chong thought is plausible.
Besides, based on his experience, it was not as though the higher ups of the Five Galaxies did not know of the Three Forces. Every time the any of the Three Forces had a major operation, Ye Chong could see that the various authorities of the Five Galaxies cooperated without much fuss.
The only person who was truly pondering this issue was Qin Zuo. Phal and Vicente were focused on digesting whatever information Ye Chong had provided on the minerals. Meng Fei’er, on the other hand, was watching Ye Chong with her large, mesmerizing eyes, listening to his words with an air of worship as he talked about the plant specimens. To Meng Fei’er, this cold young man was a highly educated academic, and while she was bored by the entire session on minerals earlier, she believed that he was probably even more learned in botany than her own teachers.
Ye Chong’s knowledge came from the chip that Lunatic Guan left for him. Alchemy aristocrats with their long histories had a store of knowledge that no academy could ever hope to achieve.
Han Ben in his straightforward nature would never stop to consider this issue. Once he was permitted to use the mech training room, he spent most of his time there. Vicente and Phal were permitted to use the metals laboratory, and they were overjoyed with the opportunity to use all the available top class apparatus. They immersed themselves completely in their work. As for Meng Fei’er, she mostly stayed in the alchemy laboratory. Ye Chong allowed them to use the labs to use how they would use them. While he was not watching in person, Mu had recording of what they did for Ye Chong.
Qin Zuo looked at the four of them helplessly. How could the four of them not feel threatened? Qin Zuo suspected that they may even have forgotten the whole point of this operation. Looking at the back of the young man’s thin figure, Qin Zuo had the impression that he could successfully ambush him. However, he recalled the young man’s calm gaze, and Qin Zuo could not suppress the shudder that followed and reconsidered his thoughts on ambushing.
Once, he saw the young man breaking a stuck metal alloy cylinder in half. Qin Zuo gulped heavily, thankful that he did not attack the young man. As expected, the young man had the power to suppress a few people himself, and Qin Zuo grew confident that the young man must have a background in combat. In the days that followed, Qin Zuo avoided looking at Ye Chong directly.
Coxcomb enjoyed a smooth journey ahead, with no space pirates in sight. The large starship could only be targeted by large pirate crews, not a suitable target for smaller crews. Mu’s plotted trajectory was the shortest distance, so when Ye Chong announced that they had reached Tappero Galaxy, everyone looked a little confused. They did not expect the journey to be so swift.
The Five Galaxies were all near to one another - Fal and Cyana formed a straight line that was perpendicular to the line formed by Tian Luo and Tappero, while Csebesini was in the middle of these four galaxies. The Five Galaxies were surrounded by the vast space of the universe, populated by numerous uncharted worlds.
As they left Tappero Galaxy, the space around them became emptier. There were no starship fleets, no space outposts, no space stations. It was rare for them to chance upon one or two small explorer starships along the way.
As the explorers ventured further out, more and more planets were ascertained, but with the exception of those with valuable resources, most planets were still mostly untouched. Vicente’s student was most daring - the planet he discovered was very far away from the nearest inhabited planet at the edge of Tappero Galaxy.
Space was not always quiet and peaceful. On the contrary, it was full of unpredictable dangers. The further away one explored, the more difficult it was to resupply, and any hopes for assistance in the face of danger would be dismal. However, in this world, risk was accompanied proportionately by profit. Every year, many explorers ventured away from the Five Galaxies into the vast, unknown territory beyond. Of course, most of them never returned.
Without the star chart provided by Vicente’s student, it would be most difficult to find the primary planet of interest. Mu’s star chart extended only up to the edge of Tappero Galaxy. Even so, it took plenty of effort for the team to find the primary planet. Ye Chong was surprised that Vicente’s student could find it in the first place. Perhaps it was attributable to his luck.
"Is it that one right ahead?" Ye Chong pointed at a large, green planet displayed on the holographic screen. The planet was larger than he expected.
Vicente nodded as Phal agreed loudly, "That’s the one. Hah, I didn’t think we’d be back so soon!" Qin Zuo buried his face in his hands and sighed inside. Heavens, did these people not understand what they were getting into?
Due to atmospheric turbulence, the starship trembled slightly as they descended through the atmosphere. Ye Chong did not land immediately, but orbited the planet once beforehand. The team did not study the planet extensively last time either, and it was best to be cautious against any possible dangers.
The primary planet was mostly covered with forests unspoiled by any human activities, stretching endlessly to the horizon. Through scanning, they found the forest to be dense and full of life. Herds of wild animals could be seen between the trees as they swooped past. Unfortunately, interference was heavy in the area, and even Mu’s holographic scanning accuracy suffered. Nevertheless, it was clear from Mu’s scanning results that the place was full of natural resources. The value of timber from the trees alone was unimaginable.
Oceans covered about a fifth of the planet’s surface, not as large as the forest coverage, but they glimmered with an odd light purple, unlike the natural blue found on most planets. Mountain ranges soared, their peaks covered with snow. The ocean shined in light purple, while the forest sprawled densely across the lands. The view was magnificently scenic. Like the trash planet, this place was uninhabited, but it was teeming with life, unlike the desolation on the trash planet.
After orbiting one round about the planet, Ye Chong determined the precaution to be mostly useless. Interference from the geomagnetic fields was strong, and scanning was useless. Even Mu’s holographic scan could only extend to a much shortened range of about three kilometers. Ye Chong believed that other models of holographic scanning would be useless here.
Ye Chong arrived at the landing spot used by Qin Zuo last time. His main goal was the teardrop mineralite, everything else was secondary, even though there were many other useful things around here. Ye Chong said nothing, unwilling to expose his true intentions to the team.
From high above in the air, one could see that the land was covered by dense forests, but the leaves were too thick to see through.
"You’re sure it’s here?" Ye Chong repeated his question. Ye Chong needed them to be exactly where they were last time. Unlike from outer space, Mu’s scanning perimeter here was only three kilometers. If they could not find their last landing spot, finding the teardrop mineralist on this massive planet would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
The five of them nodded in unison as Qin Zuo said, "Yes, right here. You see those two rivers joining over here, making a fork, I’m sure it’s here. Last time, we walked along the wider of the two rivers towards that direction." Qin Zuo pointed.
Seeing their unanimous agreement, Ye Chong decided to land there.
Zika class starships were not comparable to the small starship that Qin Zuo and his team used. The noise from their landing was staggering. The Zika class starship was five kilometers in length, and Coxcomb flattened all the trees that lay beneath it. Nearby, wild animals scattered in fear. The sight of those animals escaping in hordes was magnificent.
The five of them watched sadly. Those timber could be sold at a high price in the Five Galaxies, but they were now all destroyed. Many other plants were destroyed in their landing, and the one who was affected the most was Meng Fei’er.
Coxcomb landed on the forest, forcing a clearing out of the trees.
When the five of them disembarked from the Coxcomb, they felt refreshed by the moist air outside. Air produced by starships was still incomparable to natural, fresh air born out of the forests. No matter how much technology had advanced, some things were still irreplaceable with human effort.
The team left the starship cautiously. The forest terrain was complicated, holographic scanning was ineffective, and travelling with mechs was inadvisable. Hence, all of them could only wear their protective suits as they left the ship. Unfortunately, the starship was not equipped with weapons like heat ray guns, and this bothered all of them, aside from Ye Chong. While they did not meet any vicious wild animals the last time they were here, but it was still better to be prepared for the possibility. The five of them could only pray that their protective suits were solid enough to keep them safe. These protective suits came from Coxcomb; if it were up to Ye Chong, he would not have bought them.
Ye Chong noticed then that the scenery was completely different than what he saw from above.
Flowers bloomed in all colours, and the moist, warm climate nurtured the rich life on this planet. For a short moment, Ye Chong took in the view in a daze.
Light gold branches were traced with a network of gold colored lines, and crimson palm-shaped leaves also had gold colored veins on them. Many small, black-gray fruits hung from the trees. Ye Chong immediately recognized that those were golden tilia - he had seen them before in the chip given to him by Lunatic Guan. These plants were ornamental, their fruits edible, but these did not mean that the plants were suitable for planting indoors. Sap from the plants would turn poisonous upon contact with blood, and could kill a human within seven seconds. In the chip’s records, there was once an ancient tribe that liked to cover their weapons with this horrible tree sap. However, the tribe was eventually wiped out by the human race.
Ye Chong really wanted to pluck a few of those leaves for research, but he restrained himself. Now was not the time for this, he should focus on the teardrop mineralite instead. Based on Mu’s feedback, there were no teardrop mineralite deposits within a three-kilometer range.
Not many inhabited planets could offer this wonderful sight. While Qin Zuo and his team had came here before, they were still deeply entranced by the area in their second visit.
"Alright, let’s move." Ye Chong’s plain but firm voice brought them back to reality.
"Do we follow our tracks from last time?" Qin Zuo asked.
The team marched ahead in a line along the river. Leading the team was Qin Zuo, while Han Ben guarded the rear. Since the protective suits had propulsion systems, they could fly slowly along the way. This allowed Phal and Vicente to keep up despite their age. Ye Chong wondered how far both of them could go without those suits.
The forest flourished. Humongous trees reached for the skies, covering the ground with their dense canopies. Only an occasional break in the leaves allowed for some stellar light to pass through.
Vines sprawled out in a frenzy between the ground and the large trees, a hindrance to their way forward. Fortunately, it was much cooler beside the river. Ye Chong examined the plants as he passed by them, surprise growing beneath his calm expression. The plant life here was extensive, and it was not 20 minutes into their journey that Ye Chong had already recognized 22 of the rare plant species recorded in Lunatic Guan’s chip. Moreover, these plants seemed to be growing quite healthily.
This was undeniably heaven for all alchemists.
A plant with a massive flower in fiery red caught Meng Fei’er’s attention. The flower was vivid red, and its petals were oddly shaped, like two human face contours stuck together back-to-back. The stem was thick. This was probably the first time Meng Fei’er had ever seen this kind of plant, and as she wondered at why she had never seen it before, as her body was moving closer and closer towards the plant.
Ye Chong looked back unintentionally, and saw what was happening. His eyes widened immediately!