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Chapter 216: The Cave Underground
The forest was vast and dense, yet there was this particular area, barren, without any sprout of plant in sight, forming a perfect circle, giving off a peculiar feeling.
Ye Chong got out of the Guardian. It was a relief to his eyes when he returned to the normal, colorful vision after remaining in the monochrome sight for quite some time. The Guardian was amazing indeed, but he had identified one blatant weakness in it, which was exceptionally prominent in areas with complicated landscape like this forest. The Guardian had a full run on its visual analysis when Ye Chong came to this forest. The lines and dots were increased by a gazillion times as they stranded over each other, becoming nearly indistinguishable visual in Ye Chong’s eyes. That was why he got out of the Guardian instead.
According to Mu’s detection, there was no threat within their proximity.
The abyssal opening looked real deep, or even bottomless Ye Chong wondered, as he tossed one pebble into the nothingness. He then heard the sound of pebble bouncing a few times, "Mhm… the opening was not a straight one… apparently…"
Ye Chong, from the bag on his waist, withdrew a dimensional keystone which took a lifelike appearance of an insect. This was one of the mechs Ye Chong bought in a batch during his visit at Nine Gates City, an engineering model, mainly for the purpose of excavation and ore-extraction, which seemed to be a suitable arsenal to travel through the cave.
The mech carried the name, "Multipede", which took the form of a mutated insect obviously, with dark-brown segmented body, allowing agile movements deep in the cave, especially with the miniature engines installed at every segment in addition to the pseudo-antenna mechanical legs of passive-activation
Deployed the mech, he hopped into the cabin, took a firm seat and he launched the mech.
Multipede crawled into the opening within a few hushes nimbly. The mechanical legs were on passive-activation, which turned out to be an ease to Ye Chong’s piloting. The terrain within the cave was unexpectedly in various winding shapes, with limited lighting that the night vision on Multipede was proven to be ineffective. Fortunately Multipede was pre-installed with a set of bursting plasma lightning. The ride was not as bumpy as Ye Chong thought. It was a smooth sail for him, which he complimented the designer of this mech a little.
Multipede travelled quite quickly. The tunnel was becoming more winding than he presumed. Mu had detected the location of the teardrop mineralite, which was about 3 kilometers away from their current location, although Ye Chong already felt that they had travelled more than 3 kilometers.
Phew… finally. They made it to the end, his sight brightened as they arrived at a large flat ground at the bottommost of the cave, with the sound of water dripping through his ears.
Multipede was parked on the ground carefully. Ye Chong then flipped out of the cabin.
Gasp… Ye Chong inhaled intensely upon seeing the sight before him.
The deep cave was dark at first and now it was glowing in all kinds of lights into Ye Chong’s eyes.
A stream across the ground, sinking right at the ankle of Ye Chong, flowing to the other side with discernible hushes in the deserted underground. And that was when Ye Chong realized, the stream was not wholly a stream after all, the glow came from the stream, where the ores were shining in dazzles brighter than the stars in the sky, lighting up the darkness of the menacing cave.
Ye Chong had seen quite a variety of ores before, but never ever he had seen ores which could produce such glow alone and now he was standing in a stream of them, with all types of colors he could imagined, in all kinds of shapes which were staggering for him to name.
"Transmutated Energy Ore!" Mu’s voice was too filled with fascination.
"Transmutated energy ore? Mu, what’s that? Is it anythin

g useful?" asked Ye Chong in bewilderment.
"Yes! Useful! Of course it is useful!" Mu’s tone was firm, "Mhm, and the teardrop mineralite has to be somewhere nearby, which explains the energy transmutation occurred in these ores… So…" Mu sounded as if he was talking to himself.
Ye Chong was confused. Energy transmutation? What is that?
"Ye." And apparently Mu was not in the favor of giving an explanation, rushed he, "Quickly gather these transmutated ores. All of them. They are very useful."
"All… of them…?" Gulped Ye Chong, as his eyes set upon this milky way of glowing ores.
He reached his hands to the ore, "Ye." Said Mu again, "Get the teardrop instead, it should be just around here, no more than 300 meters away from here, while I do the collection of these ores."
"Okay," responded Ye Chong as he began searching the Teardrop within this flock of transmutated energy ores. Mu on the other hand began piloting Multipede to perform the extraction. Well, Multipede was born for tasks of such kind, so the efficiency was satisfactory. The ores extracted were kept inside the storage of Multipede. There were 13 segments on its body, where only the first segment was used as a cabin and the remaining 12 segments were used as the storage for ores collected.
Ye Chong followed the winding streams, yet he did not find a single sight of the Teardrop throughout his way.
At the very end of the cave, Ye Chong discovered a few teardrop mineralites scattered on the ground in a gentle glow.
Phew… at least it was not a wild goose chase after all.
Ye Chong was going to advance forward, but the sudden rush of goosebumps stormed upon his body. A strong sense of danger roared in his instinct, "Ye. Stay still." Mu’s words echoed almost immediately after. His words were fearful, which was the first time Ye Chong perceived, from such a fearful Mu.
What was the danger that caused such fear even in this artificial intelligence? The thought flashed in his mind.
He took a careful look around. Nothing strange in particular, even though that strong sense of danger lingered in his mind.
"What exactly is wrong?" Inquired Ye Chong, "Mu, I just feel something wrong…"
"Ye, deploy me now." Hurried Mu, "Take a look beyond the Teardrops."
Beyond…? Ye Chong had only been looking at the Teardrops, he had hardly looked beyond th… He lifted his head, the darkness stared back at him. Ye Chong flinched, as he pinpointed the source of his sense instantly. His sight was great, despite in the faint glow of the Teardrops, as he could discern the silhouettes of objects around. But there was one spot, 5 meters beyond the Teardrops, which formed an absolute darkness, where the lights were engulfed and failed to shine upon. Since the cave was already dark by nature, one would easily overlook that one darker area.
It was a blatant twist in the plot, where Mu even demanded to deploy himself right away. It was the first time Ye Chong faced such a grave danger after they left Trash Planet.
"What, is this?" Ye Chong’s gaze intensified, as he asked Mu.
"Currently unidentifiable. Calculating…" Replied Mu, as his mechanical eyes flickered drastically, apparently running a rapid calculation in the background.
Ye Chong pondered slightly, he began sprinting! He sprinted over the stream, through the tunnel and jumped into Multipede, which had completed its extraction and was resting at the other end. The stream had been dried out, as the ores were cleared out, "Then…" He remembered the bursting plasma lightning installed at the head of Multipede, a few taps on the control panel he shifted the lightning to the darkness.

… …

"What… is this…?" Exclamation escaped from Ye Chong’s mouth widely opened.
The brightness of the plasma lighting shone throughout the area in the cave. The ground was white, the walls were white, the tunnel was wide, except that one corner, beyond the Teardrops, a dark circle about 3 meters in diameter hovered over the distance 5 meters away from the Teardrops. The bright light was fully engulfed by this circle.
The circle was as if a masterpiece illustrated by the best architecture tools, in a darkness which gave fright to anybody.
It was strange, really strange, that even a fearless boy like Ye Chong began to quiver.
What, exactly, is this?
The Teardrops were only a stone’s thrown away from him, yet Ye Chong was too feared to even lift a step. The peculiarity was incomprehensible…
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 71%." Mu’s voice rang cold.

"Spatial Distortion Rate: 75%." Mu’s voice was shaking.
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 78%." Mu’s voice sounded agitated, "Ye, quick! Pick up the Teardrops!" Alarmingly he shouted, "But do not be within 10 meters of the Space Distorting Disc’s proximity!"
Space Distorting Disc? Is it the dark circle?
But providing that I do not approach the Teardrops, how would I collect them? He looked at the Teardrops, which had a size, at the maximum, of a thumb… the mechanical legs of Multipede could never pick them up.
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 82%." Mu’s voice grew louder.
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 87%." Mu screamed, "Ye! Fast! Now!"
Ye Chong understood he did not have the time to waste. As soon as Mu hurried, he got an idea, he jumped off the cabin and picked one rock of size of his fist.
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 90%." Mu seemed calmer now…
Once he picked the rock, a force exerted at tip of his toes, flipped in a large curve he reached the side of the Distorting Disc, which looked like a fine lining in his eyes by then, as if the width was non-existent.
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 93%." The strange form of Mu’s countdown haunted Ye Chong.
A shake on his arm, the rock was flung towards the Teardrops. In another large curve, he shifted to the other side of the disc, no time for him to see if his plan worked.
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 95%."
Thump! The rock he flung accurately landed at the densest point of the Teardrops, where they had flown up high as conservation of momentum occurred, all the way towards Ye Chong.
The Teardrops travelled in different heights, forming an irregular shape of a fan. Ye Chong breathed in deeply, as he became countless afterimages, grabbing the Teardrops flawlessly. It was not that challenging to grab falling things with his sight and hand speed.
"Spatial Distortion Rate: 99%."
Mu’s voice rang calmly. Ye Chong made a flipped and got back to Mu.
Phew… He regained his stance. As long as he stood by Mu, he would be in good hands, although the disc was bizarre, his confidence towards Mu had grown deep inside himself. Mu was unbeatable, the ideology stood like a flag in Ye Chong’s subconsciousness.
He then put the Teardrops into his bag. He took a look at that disc.
Wait… Ye Chong realized he missed one little Teardrop which was lying right before the disc. His strike did not work fully just now it seemed. But he did not mind, since he was considered rather lucky for he was able to retrieve stones of irregular shapes this many within such a brief timeframe.
"Spatial Distortion Rate…

Mu’s voice came like the vaporization of dry ice.
Ye Chong glared upon the disc. Even though he did not understand the phrase "Spatial Distortion Rate", he at least understood what 100% could mean - it meant a completion, which would be proceeded by a change, a metamorphosis.
What kind of change, that’s the question. Speculated Ye Chong in his mind.
5 seconds lapsed. The disc remained hovered in the air. Nothing happened.
10 seconds lapsed. Nothing.
Mu wh-
Right when Ye Chong lifted his lips and was going to ask, that disc which seemed to be at its eternity had an unexpected development.
It was… a hand.
A strange hand of an unknown creature crawled out of the darkness. The dark skin was coated with dense linings in crimson, like checkers all over the hand. Ye Chong had never seen such skin before, which its glow was of metals and was glaring under the plasma lighting. The hand had 8 fingers, with noticeable hardness on its bones. The tip of the fingers… was made out of metal, if Ye Chong was right, as it glowed coldly. The fingers were connected with a layer of flesh, a strangeness Ye Chong could hardly word into.
Ye Chong did not see the elbow of the hand. The hand was reaching out to its everywhere, literally everywhere, once it got out of the disc, as if it had no bone, hitting any direction of any angle.
And that hand stopped abruptly. Ye Chong took a careful look. Wait… what… isn’t that the Teardrop I missed in its hand?
The hand, as soon as it seized the Teardrop, retreated back into the disc.
Ye Chong stoned upon the sight. Hell knows what that thing was. Mu did not speak either. The man and his mech just looked at this phenomena occurring.
After the hand completely sank into the disc, "Mu, what is this?" Asked Ye Chong, gulping.
"Unidentifiable," stated Mu, with also a confused tone,."No match was found in my databank."
"What that dark disc is then?"
Shook the artificial intelligence, "Negative. Only distortion of space was detected."
What do you mean by…
"Mu what d-"
Ye Chong was going to ask, but something happened!

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