drawn in clear lines over the galactic layout. And the destination of the course turned out to be Western Track, a residential planet in Csebesini galaxy.
The heck? Fid and Claudia looked at each other again, wondering in what Csebesini the owner of the Coxcomb was playing with his cards.
"Grrr… Ye, look, it’s ourrrr Bing Bing! Tsk, tsk. Look at her legs, demm, long and gorgeous yet capable of delivering strong blows anytime. She could give me a blow anytime! Jajajaja… Ye, too bad you missed it. That split she made, it was beyond beauty! Man, my heart would sail off to the other dimension if I keep watching this…" Shang was growling in excitement, while on his duty to watch the entire fleet, where of course, his focus would mainly be on the spaceship Grandpa Qian boarded. And Shang was blatantly abusing his rights being the watcher, as his mechanical eyes were bleeping over one angle of Rui Bing to another.
Ye Chong did not intend to feed the hungry indulgence as he was very much engaged in an important experiment. The fluid he collected from Twin Sisters was more corrosive than he thought. No wonder Lunatic Guan stated it being one of the 12 most corrosive plants on her microchip. A drop of the fluid could fall through a spaceship armor about 10 centimeters thick in the matter of a minute. It would spread vigorously too.
What Ye Chong must do for now, would be to culture a new sprout of Twin Sisters using the fluid, which was not a challenging task to do. Practically, a task like this was generally not challenging to even a second-year alchemy student.
The cultivation was a success. One might think it would be a little too much to cultivate a small sprout using such a luxurious lab, but the facilities were able to speed up the growth period of Twin Sisters. Ye Chong eventually was able to harvest a few tens of Twin Sisters. Ye Chong spent the following days to study their behavior. Observation was one key task for any professional alchemist. Ye Chong even took into account of their frequency of secretion.
He looked at his inventory, as naturally he was figuring out a way to transform them into a kind of firepower. Being once a resident on the Trash Planet, fully utilizing resources was his very good habit. The fluid of Twin Sisters possessed a great potential with their corrosiveness. If one could utilize the fluid appropriately, it could be destructive.
It was the first time Ye Chong took an approach of an alchemist in his thinking while what he did was simply amplifying the corrosive effect of Twin Sisters. Being an alchemist, a novice alchemist he was, he could still figure out a few tricks to make it work.
He could, for example, continuously change the surrounding of Twin Sisters to encourage mutation. Then he would select few of the Twin Sisters closest to the standard. Alternatively, he could also use the fluid as a base to create a stronger corrosive reagent.
He proceeded with the second method, since the first method was too time-consuming for Ye Chong. Lunatic Guan fortunately also was an expert in formulating reagents. Those bone strengthening formula were also the outcome of her research.
Ye Chong did once think of using the Guan's automatic analysis mechanism… he could have found the perfect formula for the reagent by simply searching. But he never wanted to do so, plus Lunatic Guan had reminded him to not rely on the mechanism too much, that principle of his which encouraged him to rely himself rather than the others, was echoing in his head.
To reach the higher height, one must figure and explore. Ye Chong could have skipped this phase using the mechanism but he would lose more than gain in long run.
He tried recalling the knowledge he had learned before, attempting to connect them to reach a certain set of formula.
"Jajajaja…" And Shang spent the next few days watching Rui Bing, jumping from one camera t another. The hobby of a voyeur was more than entertaining. The biggest regret of his was probably the lack of camera in the bathroom.
Ye Chong was investing all his time on research. He trusted Shang, that he would inform him at the very first moment if anything were to occur. Then Ye Chong could save his time from watching over Grandpa Qian the whole time. The plan however had received criticism from Shang, claiming that it was unsentimental.
The crews of the other ships outside were wondering the whole time, of why the Coxcomb did not seem to be leaving them despite not having an obligation to lead them. Was the owner of the Coxcomb really intended to escort the entire fleet? Everyone was appreciative over the mysterious Coxcomb for the contribution. They would probably be long slaughtered by the pirates if the Coxcomb was never there.
Fid and Claudia had comprehended the underlying motive of the new course, so they immediately responded by requesting their squads to change the course accordingly, while announcing them to the entire fleet.
The puzzlement for them was the lack of response from the Coxcomb every time they requested communication. No sound was coming from the communicator. After the course plan was sent, the Coxcomb had never proactively engaged in the transmission. He just sailed on quietly at the center of the fleet.
It would certainly be a pleasure for Shang to get the phone, since Claudia was also a beauty, even though she was far from Bing Bing the gorgeous. Claudia was, still, the uncommon polished jewel in the cave, Shang would no doubt have the intention to spend the next potentially happiest 5 minutes in his life talking to her. "No. Watch and no more than that," Ye Chong strongly disagreed to his action. Shang in the end succumbed to the days of being a Peeping Tom.
Ye Chong’s eyes set upon the bottle of reagent in its purplish glow. There was excitement in his expressionless eyes since that bottle of reagent was the very first craft he actually made with his alchemy expertise, namely "The Liquid of Shang". Its corrosiveness was deadlier than the Twin Sisters, where all the alloys in Ye Chong’s possession were unable to withstand its melting effect, including the black gold.
"So Ye, may I ask why is there my name on this… thing?" Shang seemed curious.
"Oh. That has to do with its full name," his reply was calm.
"It has a full name? What is it? Could you tell me?" Shang was really interested.
"The Secretive Liquid of Shang," the answer was concise.
"Ye!! You are good!" Shang was grinding his mechanical gears, rolling back and fro, "I’ll remember this!" His mechanical eyes rampaged in glaring blue.
Ye Chong was not free to entertain the thrashing indulgence and he felt that the name was very befitting to the reagent’s function, although he found Shang’s actual secretive liquid to be potentially far deadlier than the reagent.
Ye Chong seemed to be inborn with extreme sensitivity towards war and weaponry. The reagent did not come without a boom. The melting effect of "Liquid of Shang" was beyond his expectation, which gave Ye Chong a new weapon of fatality. So Ye Chong made use of his bone supplies to create a kind of shell to contain gases to envelope Liquid of Shang while installing an aiming program which mimicked the double-edged shuriken, allowing it to accurately lock upon the foes. He also added miniature engines on the bomb to permit automatic redirection when necessary.
No doubt, a killing weapon had been born. A shell made out of bones would go undetected by the foes’ system. Then there was the locking-on system, assisted by redirecting engines, making it the signature weapon for the assassins.
Shang complimented the creation while also seizing the naming opportunity, "The Beauty’s Secretion" he called it, in a poetic manner.
And Ye Chong began the mass-production of the Beauty’s Secretion the following days. In Shang’s terms it would sound like this, "You have such a big ship yet you only have a handful of the Beauty’s Secretion? What a joke it would be!" Ye Chong must agree that the Beauty’s Secretion could very well be an effective threatening tool. If that was the case, indeed the supply was too low at the moment.
The heart-wrenching fact for Ye Chong was the painful realization that the qualities of the bones used for production had negligible effects on the overall capacity of the product. And he only had the best, few rare bones in his inventory. Such a waste to make them into shells, yet he lacked options. At most he could pick the few less-rare bones for production.
Shang even designed a launcher for the Beauty’s Secretion. And Ye Chong, being half-dead from the production, got to crawl up from the ground to further modify the Coxcomb to accommodate the new launching channel. At least the modification was quite simple so it did not take much time.
Hundred Twenty… Hundred Twenty One…
Ye Chong was surprised when he counted the outcome of his production, for he actually had produced 260 Beauty’s Secretions without noticing.
And they were very much close to Csebesini. Fid and Claudia were not expecting a smooth sail… They could not believe in three days they would be arriving at Csebesini. Throughout the journey, not even once they had encountered the pirates. "Very strange…" said Claudia, when she was body and soul ready for any wild encounter with the pirates the whole time.
Assuredly they would not know how news spread faster than a meteorite among the pirates. On the second day of that war, almost all men with their bandanas on were made aware of the existence of the Coxcomb, which did not only have a super sniper capable of mass-murder, but also a killer clown sneaking in the darkness. And the pirate leader, even under the dense protection, still was brutally murdered by the foe’s parrying spear.
The disbanding of a crew was nothing new among the pirates but the story had taken a change when the crew involved was one of the few strongest one. The sailing pirates could not believe their ears when they heard of how the strong crew was eradicated by merely two men, including the leader who was killed right in front of everyone. It would be considered as the greatest insult for one crew’s leader to be slaughtered by the others and surely the survivors would seek to avenge their leader someday. Nonetheless, none of the survivors even dared to think of avenging. Their eyes were colorless, their bodies were shaking the moment they told the very tale, of their close-shaves dealing with that clown killing horror and the deadly blue glow.
There was not a need to mess with such a figure! Every leader of the crews thought so, which was why no pirate ever showed up in the following days of the fleet’s course. The little factions of pirates, too, were well-aware of their sizes and limits and would not even approach that fleet.
The escort was a success. Both Fid and Claudia were overjoyed despite not knowing the working behind this. And the names of their squads would be known by the people, they would ascend as the few greatest squads out there. People would give their hymns over them while they would be handsomely rewarded. The expansion of the squads would be close.
And they were heading to the last space-jumping point on their course. They would arrive at Csebesini after performing space-warp there. When wars were haunting the other galaxies, Csebesini had transformed into a Neverland for the others. The government still owned the wholly right of the galaxy and was enforcing their security. People remained at peace and was never disturbed by the shrapnels.
The residents from the the galaxies had been moving into Csebesini one batch after another, which pressured the local government in return. The government demonstrated efforts in arranging residences for the immigrants however, which the immigrants greatly complimented. Csebesini, as the surge in the number of residents, commenced rapid developments.
Once we hit the point, we would make it! Fid’s excitement glowed in the eyes of Claudia. Claudia’s joy was lighting up the pupils of Fid.
Right when everyone was hopeful and excited, at the void nearby, there was one fleet of darkness.
"We had discovered a large fleet of privateers."
"Mhm, looks like we have a group of uninvited guests. Pass down the order, the sixth and seventh ships would eliminate all privateers. No survivor. Repeat, no survivor. The remaining warships shall maintain their course. We must arrive by the next warp point within 5 hours." An emotionless voice rang. A pause was made, "Send Thorn along."
The last two warships of the dark fleet were redirected towards the large ship at the opposite.
Shang discovered the fleet almost immediately after. Standing before the hologram, even a calm man like Ye Chong felt a sudden cramp over his head the moment he saw the fleet. It was a group of 7 warships. The black glowing body obviously told Ye Chong that those were the ships from the Black Coves.
A fleet! Gosh! Ye Chong saw the strongest force incoming! To Ye Chong’s senses, a warship would indicate a large warring unit. And all the units he had encountered thus far, be it from the MPA or the Sanctuary, had always been one unit at one time, never once he saw … a fleet of them, of seven units…
The other ships in his fleet were not reacting towards the shocking discovery however. And Ye Chong then realized that their detection system could not detect the Black Coves’ specialized war crafts.
Shang was a quicker planner than Ye Chong, as he passed the news to Fid. And every spaceship in the group was commanded to travel at full speed to hit the warp point as soon as possible.
The Coxcomb sluggishly flew away from the fleet and went to confront the two warships. The Coxcomb was slow to make a runaway. It would be more practical to confront the foes instead. At least that would give better chances of Grandpa Qian’s survival.
Ye Chong was not being really sentimental over this, rather it was the outcome of his calculation, the optimum route to pick.
Ye Chong inhaled deeply to gain his inner peace. He was sure that he would not be able to make it out within the grasp of 7 warships, but at least he could make sure that there would be one or two warships joining his grave.
And this, shall be the first war of the Coxcomb!