"My lord, I have returned," a gentle voice rang in the captain’s room.
"Mhm, discovery?" an emotionless voice stated.
"Thorn has officially deceased, caused by a recursion ray right through his heart. An immediate death. Other than the two pores about the size of fingers, numerous slashes were found over his body. He should have been involved in an intensive fight before, where his foe could be also a fighter. The speculation, my lord, is that Thorn probably had a struggling fight with an ace fighter and was then sniped by one with a superior marksmanship, thus the instant death," the gentle voice reported serenely, although the lips were shaking when "recursion ray" was mentioned.
"Recursion? Are you sure it’s the recursion?" The warship commander’s emotionless voice was slightly quivering as he spoke.
"Yes sir," the voice remained calm.
"Looks like our nemesis could not hold up any longer, though I wonder when did the MPA have their own ace fighters? I do feel much stranger when I realized the warship we faced was clearly not belonged to the MPA," he scratched his chin and pondered.
"My lord, requesting a follow-up on this," the gentle voice sounded serene as ever, while the commander could see the will of battle blazing in his eyes.
"Alright then. Better if you do. It’s been 50 years since we met the Pilot of Darklight as well as the Hunter in White. I am very much looking forward to this war. Mhm, bring Little Rock along. I will also hand you a quick transportation. Just go. Also, check out their motives for me," the emotionless voice actually sounded concerned about his underlings.
"Thank you my lord," the voice was filled with gratitude.
He boarded the powership, which was a boat of small diagonal, able to accommodate just two passengers. If one would relate the size of a warship to a large fish, the powership could very much be that thin bone within. Although the powership was rather petite compared to its counterparts in the armory of the Black Coves, its capabilities were not something to be shunned. It was mainly for infiltration and hunting purposes for its speed was superior while being capable of performing all kinds of turns easily. It was also installed with a massive amount of batteries to ensure sustainability in long travels. Technology-wise the Black Coves might be lagging behind compared to the R&D of MPA, but that was it. Black Coves were not incompetent at any other aspects. This tiny boat could also perform a space-jump and everyone in the Black Coves believed it to be probably the smallest spaceship that could warp through spaces in the entire galaxy.
The powership hovered out of the gate of its mothership, it then zoomed towards the Coxcomb.
One of the underlings in the captain’s room was hurrying the way out.
"Remain on our course," the commander’s voice suddenly echoed.
"What about those privateers?" the underling was looking confused.
"Let them be. We have wasted enough time on them. Now we got to catch up, it’s all about speed," said the commander as he rose from his seat and turned away after giving one last glance at the speeding powership on the screen. He left the room.
"Little Rock, it’s your time," smiled Luo Wei, who had a charming smile of a late twenties that made him approaching, especially with that handsome face of his, a charmer he was. And no matter what had happened before him, he seemed to be always able to keep that serenity in his tone, which convinced the people his reliability.
"Sir Luo Wei… I… heh…" Little Rock’s face reddened. Compared to the handsome master leading the powership, the rocky boy was just an average boy. Nothing particularly attractive was found on his face. He was short and looked so puny that people wondered if he had ever eaten. But the Black Covers, despite being hefty and potent, were not looking down on this feeble boy. He was in fact, a genius, an absolute genius after all.
"Sir Luo Wei… is that…" halted Little Rock. "Is that White Hunter really great?"
"Hmmm…" Luo Wei’s voice ran deep, "It was also my first time seeing a White Hunter. They are eye-catching with their Recursion. Right, it’s a type of energy-based firearm that launches recursion rays. They are also master of ranged and extreme-ranged attacks. Rather terrorizing if you ask me. Based on the information from our heads, the grading system of MPA is the same stern as the Black Coves, while the Pilot of Darklight just so happened to be at the same level as the White Hunter. But it’s rare to have a White Hunter in MPA. Most of them were Divine in the tree. So it’s really weird to see a White Hunter here."
"Meh," Little Rock gave a disdained look. "That Widdy Hunter is nothing in front of Luo Wei the great. Don’t they know how great our Pilots of Darklight are? Do they think their Widdy Hunter could win us?"
Luo Wei responded that statement with a smile. He said nothing, although his mind wandered away for a sec, for he knew that it would not be possible for these people to understand the depth of the Black Coves, not even himself, probably, what he knew was a mere tip of the iceberg.
Shang screamed, "Wait what, those warships are leaving?"
"Leaving?" Ye Chong was also shocked by the report. Leaving the nemesis was not something the Black Covers would do.
"Wait no!" The mechanical voice shrieked, "There’s one powership coming! Man we almost got cheated. Ha! Ha! Ha! Thanks to my wisdom and amazing sight! Tsk, tsk tsk, how could they…" And Shang got vain of himself again.
Ye Chong had no word for the artificial indulgence, like for real.
On the hologram screen he saw, that particular miniature spaceship rushing its way to them. The speed astonished Ye Chong a little.
"This fast? This could already compete with a mech!"
"Ye, this is known as a ‘powership’. It’s empowered of course it’s fast. Holy Mama, Ye, we are in hot water…" Shang sounded as if his tail was snapped.
"What’s wrong, Shang?" asked Ye Chong peculiarly.
"Ye, the pilot of this ship has to be an ace. The ship is prominently used to infiltrate enemies’ bases or to perform counter strike. They would utilize the maximum force of their mech to annihilate their foes. Whoever running on his mission has to the ace of the aces, not even Thorn could be close. Ye, we had overdone it. Something big is coming!"
"A stronger foe than Thorn…?" Ye Chong’s face drained. Fighting with Thorn was already energy consuming for him. He could never imagine killing Thorn by himself. Defeating foes was a fundamentally different concept to killing them. Anyone with experience in battles would know that.
And there he came, someone stronger than Thorn.
… Are we done? No way I would win… I wouldn't even survive… But what about Mu Shang…
"Ha!" In the midst of Ye Chong’s misery, Shang was giggling, "Ha! Ha! Jajajajajajajaja! Ye, did you get frightened? Man Ye you could be a scaredy cat sometimes! Kekekekekeke! I was just messing with you! Tsk, tsk, tsk. Ye, you were that cool and indifferent usually, never knew I would have the chance to see the true you inside. Don’t judge a Ye by his face…" The last syllable trailed off, it was weird.
"Ugh." The veins bloated on his forehead, there were greens and some blacks. He looked around, his hands swinging, nothing throwable was found. "Ugh!" And he gave up.
Shang - probably sensed Ye Chong’s coming eruption - stated cheerfully, "Jejeje, Ye my boy, don’t panic, I have already calculated our warping point. Hah! They wouldn't get us. Don’t even think about it!"
Beep. A fancy tap on the button.
Almost immediately after Shang’s words, Ye Chong could feel the acceleration by the Coxcomb. They had to give up… They no longer had the stamina to follow the privateers. Where would Grandpa Qian be? What about the others? Ye Chong was rational as he gave up searching for them under such chaos.
All he could do was to pray them having a good luck, a very good luck.
Beep. Beep. Tick. Little Rock’s face was grave as his eyes fixed upon the floating screen of the processor where the data was streaming in ticking beeps.
"Master Luo Wei, I have calculated their warping point. For the exact coordination, I have already submitted it through the processor," he sounded a little tired. Shang would probably be jumping up high with his bolts raining the ground if Shang ever discovered the fact that their coordination had already been estimated with mere calculation even a second before their space-warp procedure. The world was vast and limitless, where always a new genius would appear. In whichever field one would be, there was never an absolution where one remained on the top. The superb calculating ability that Little Rock possessed was the main reason he was called to assist Luo Wei by the commander.
The Coxcomb did not realize it at all. No one would believe this tale where a person was able to calculate the exact coordination of the destination the space-jumper was heading, merely by a grip on the final data before the jumper warped out of the dimension. Not even Shang could do it, Mu was not confident to assert that too.
The Coxcomb was all torn on the outside, at least the main frames were not destroyed so it was not a problem to warp between spaces.
The Coxcomb’s momentum increased over the time and before they realized, they had already zapped out of the warping point. Phew… Ye Chong and Shang could finally have a moment to catch their breath. Be it the god of war or the greatest commander, facing two warships at once would not be an effortless task, especially when one had to face a mighty fighter and fight for one’s own life. It would be a blatant lie if one would claim to be still kicking and alive after the fight.
On the fence between death and life, humans were like ragged dolls pulled by the hidden thread from both sides. And once they escaped the dead-or-alive moment, the thread would loosen, the ragged doll would have a resting land on the fence, as reminded the flooding fatigue over its body.
"Holy Fal! Ye!" Shang was in bewilderment as he shouted, "That powership had just warped out of the point! How in Fal did they know our warping point’s destination?"
Ye Chong was dumbfounded as well, although he did not react as dramatically as Shang since he was not aware of how space-to-space connection worked.
The foe’s craft further accelerated while retaining a distance right beyond the proximity of the laser firing units. Shang was annoyed by the pesky little ship behind. We will use the electromagnetic cannons. Wait no, we can’t. This pest was too small to make the firing count, especially when it had demonstrated quite a level of piloting skill. And it remains at one point where the lasers could not reach. I’ll use Recursion then. The only thing I could have used. Still… Recursion might be great, it is not possible for it to penetrate their ship. Recursion cannon? Distance and accuracy-wise… No. And Shang gave up these ideas which seemed too far-fetched to succeed.
The powership did not seem intended of anything just yet, as it sluggishly tagged the Coxcomb along. The Coxcomb could not do another space-warp as the foe - being so close to them - could have easily disrupted their warping sequence by a simple firing or whatsoever right at that second when they accelerated.
Ye Chong and Shang looked at each other, their temper extinguished and shrugged.
"Shang, how about…" frowned Ye Chong, "I’ll go and lure them and you snipe them with Recursion."
"Wait, let’s try the Beauty’s Secretion first." Sneered Shang.
10 Beauty’s Secretions fresh off the pipe, heading towards the powership behind.
Ye Chong and Shang glued their eyes on the screen, fearing to miss that very moment of their life. The Beauty’s Secretions overcame the void in silence and were hitting the ship soon. "Got yo-" And the foe launched one laser firing unit and shot down all 10 Beauty’s Secretions which then vanished as a cloud of purplish mist.
"Ye, calm down, stay here," Shang regained his calmness. "Rest yourself. You have been fighting for so long. Your stamina is fully depleted. Fight only after you have recovered. Hmph, I might be incomplete and crippled but that doesn’t mean some pesky bits could flaunt their dirty tricks in front of me!" Shang subconsciously displayed his tyranny, which was odd to Ye Chong’s eyes as he wondered… What exactly was Shang in the past? How did he behave? Was it like this?
"Keke, well the pests aren’t approaching anytime soon, anyway. Kekekeke…" The tone and the expression of Shang were giving Ye Chong goosebumps, which shattered his speculation. Maybe I was thinking too much… Yeah, Shang actually got serious and stern? It must be an illusion. Feeling defeated, Ye Chong picked a resting spot and fell asleep quickly.
It would be impossible for one to actually infiltrate the Coxcomb without being noticed by the artificial pairs, like seriously, how would that be possible? Ye Chong might not be that confident to declare Mu Shang’s detection system to be the most advanced in the world, but their system had got to be one of the most advanced. That would be convincingly undeniable.
It was a comfortable nap Ye Chong took, as he felt quite replenished when he woke up. He took some food and hydrated himself a little, "How’s it going?"
"The same." Shang sounded bored, "That pest was just following us. Nothing much."
"What about our current location?" asked Ye Chong.
"Cyana…" Shang said as he yawned.
"Cyana? Isn’t that the territory declared by the Sanctuary?"
"If the news reporter was not lying, yeah."
Ye Chong did a stretch and swung his limbs, then performed a brief set of Lan’s martial arts techniques to warm up. And he felt his body activated on all sides, going strong.
He then deployed Han Jia from the alternate dimension and resupplied the batteries on it.
"Well, Shang, I’ll be heading out to have a look. You coming?" asked Ye Chong.
"Nah, I’m good. I just do my sniping here. It’s a shame that your materials are only able to craft a Recursion, if I have "that thing", I would have... Hmph! Recursion is just a toy, which works on plain shooting at mech. It would not work well on anything else. Sigh, Recursion cannon could have done the trick, but the accuracy is way too low," Shang packaged his disdain towards Recursion fancily.
"Aren’t mechs for mechs? Are we going to use a mech to fight a warship?" it sounded ridiculous to Ye Chong.
"Who said a mech is incapable of fighting a warship? Kek! You’ll know one day, of how mech and warship are inversely conditional, how one would break the condition formed by the others. Ye, be careful. Always the fiercest stays in the powership. Anything they do, you make a quick back off, and I’ll snipe him," concerned Shang.
"Okay," Ye Chong took a deep breath and climbed upon Han Jia.
Ye Chong flew out of the Coxcomb.
"Skeleton mech! It’s a skeleton mech! No wonder Thorn had a hard time fighting!" Luo Wei seemed astounded.
Little Rock - filled with disbelief - looked at Han Jia in the projection, "Sir, is this the skeleton mech the legend has mentioned?"
"Yes, should be it. Little Rock, you’ll take over the steering. I’ll have a nice talk with him," something was shining in his gentle eyes.
"Alright," nodded Little Rock, piloting a powership was not difficult for a little genius like him.
After being in a cold war for the past 2 days, finally something had happened to break the ice, as the mech flew out of the gate.
Ye Chong, again, had never seen such model from the Black Covers before. It was a model about 10 meter tall, likewise to other models it had a great body proportion while giving off a dark metallic glow. The slender main body gave off a vibe of elegance which reminded Ye Chong of the MPA, except well, the MPA’s mech was white while the one he was seeing glowed in black. The mech was missing the usual thorns adorned on the other Black Covers’ units, hence the texture looked rather clean and smooth. A gorgeous seamless curve could be seen over its slender legs, with a hemispheric armor piece at the knees which reinforced its imagery, reminding the foes that it was not as weak as it appeared.
The weapon installed was a pair of moon blade. A long narrow blade with outrageous curl, with the handle laid at the center. The blade body was dark, tainted. No glow could be see, although the edge of the blade was shining bright. It felt like as if a gentleman in dark tuxedo had come with a pair of silver moons, standing in the midst of darkness of the space.
Ye Chong could not help but to compliment the craftsmanship, as being experienced as a critic, his eyes lay upon every joints of the mech. It was not the weapon which amazed him. The little details could always depict the craftsmanship of the mech. And Ye Chong felt there was nothing he could nitpick on the mech hovering before him. The Black Coves was as dark as he knew, dark and bottomless, bottomless and unknown, where one could never know if a more fearsome beast would appear at some point, as these powerful pilots could be a master in certain field.
Ye Chong’s cold gaze then fell upon that strange scythe. His heart quivered. He was not fearing the unknown, rather he feared knowing that among the Black Covers, the use of a unique weapon always would be paired with a unique set of skills.
"Darklight!" He heard Shang screaming, "The Pilot of Darklight!"