"Huh?" Ye Chong could not help gasp. "Isn’t that, whatshername, Shang, what was she called again?"
"Zhu Ling, Lunatic Guan’s sister," Shang tsk-tsked. "What a beauty, cough, last time it was Mu outside, hehe, but now that I can take a good look at her with mine own eyes, my my, she’s a beauty. Hmm, a little young, but she’s well developed, I think I see her boobs coming on well …" Shang began commenting.
Ye Chong ignored Shang’s words automatically. He noticed that Zhu Ling was unarmed, and so he slipped out of Han Jia.
"You’re Little Ye?" The girl gasped as she saw Ye Chong’s face.
"You know me?" Ye Chong was surprised. The last time they met, he was in Guardian, and she should not have seen him before.
"My sister showed me a holographic image of you," Zhu Ling explained plainly, but the light in her eyes dimmed.
Ye Chong asked, "Where’s your sister?" No one else had exited the starship.
"Dead," Zhu Ling’s indifferent voice was slightly tinged with sadness. The lonely droplet shaped Red Liquor hung on her neck.
Lunatic Guan was dead? Ye Chong was reminded of a beautiful and lonely figure, leaning against the door, looking outside in a daze, often with a glass of liquor in hand.
In the end, she had found her sister. Ye Chong found himself losing interest in the details of her story. He gathered himself and asked Zhu Ling, "What do you plan to do now?"
"My sister told me that if I found you, I should stay by your side. Of course, if you think it’s a bother, I’ll leave," Zhu Ling spoke as though she was talking about something unrelated to herself.
Ye Chong gave it a thought and replied, "Alright, you can stay." Lunatic Guan was his teacher after all, even though she never officially announced it. That was how Ye Chong had always thought of her. This was the main reason he decided to welcome Zhu Ling.
Zhu Ling still looked expressionless, her face devoid of any signs of joy.
"What are you good at?" Ye Chong asked.
"Combat," was Zhu Ling’s concise reply.
"Where’s your mech?" Ye Chong asked.
"Didn’t you crush it already?" Zhu Ling spoke a little sarcastically. Ye Chong remembered then that he really did crush her mech back then.
"What kind of mech do you use?" Ye Chong may not have much to offer, but he still owned quite a variety of mech models at the moment.
"Anything’s fine," Zhu Ling said, "Best if it’s the Sanctuary’s."
Ye Chong had only a few Dawn mechs and Mu Fei’s Overwing. Ye Chong took out the dimension keystones for the Dawn mech and Overwing, and said, "These are all the Sanctuary’s mechs, pick one."
"Overwing?" Zhu Ling stared widely with a look of disbelief.
"You know Overwing?" Ye Chong found out what the mech was called after noticing its name carved on the mech. Ye Chong had killed the mech’s previous owner in an ambush. Ye Chong had studied Overwing for a long time, but there were many things about it that he could not understand. Its structure was markedly different from what Ye Chong knew about regular mechs, with its very own system architecture. The fact that mentalists were different from regular people made Ye Chong realize that using the mech would probably require special techniques.
"No one in the Sanctuary would not recognize Overwing." Zhu Ling did not intend to laugh at Ye Chong for his apparent idiocy, but she was still a little confused. "Why would you have Overwing? Mu Fei is well known as the master of Overwing. Did you kill him?" Zhu Ling asked, clearly surprised and suspicious.
"Yes, I killed him," Ye Chong replied plainly.
"You killed Mu Fei?" Zhu Ling studied Ye Chong’s seemingly vulnerable physique. Ye Chong was not familiar with the Sanctuary, and so did not know how powerful Mu Fei actually was. He had zero understanding of the idea of being a trump card, and what a person bestowed with this title was truly capable of.
"Ambush," Ye Chong explained flatly, not embarrassed in the slightest.
Zhu Ling seemed to come to a realization. To her, that seemed to be the only way to kill a trump card of the Sanctuary.
"We should leave here," Zhu Ling said, "That Darklight mech pilot must have alerted the Sanctuary. As far as I know, Feng Su and her Wings of Nirvana are nearby, she is most likely sent here as backup."
"Feng Su and her Wings of Nirvana?" Ye Chong asked, confused. Shang was already howling in excitement, "Ah, Ye, is it Feng Su? Wah, such a gorgeous voice, and that beautiful face. Hehe, Ye, I have her exact measurements right here, would you care to …"
Zhu Ling could not hear Shang as she replied, "Feng Su is also one of the Sanctuary’s trump cards, Wings of Nirvana is her mech. Darklight mech pilots may be strong, but they will not stand a chance against the Sanctuary’s trump cards."
If a Darklight mech pilot was no match against the Sanctuary’s trump card, and he himself was barely even against a Darklight mech pilot, then wouldn’t he be dead for sure if he face the trump card himself?
"Feng Su is that strong?" Ye Chong remembered exchanging a few blows with Feng Su in the forest where Mr Yin lived. While her moves were difficult to anticipate, he did not feel that she was as strong as Zhu Ling described. Ye Chong believed that with his current ability, he should be able to kill her.
"Of course," Zhu Ling gave Ye Chong an odd look, clearly not understanding his thoughts. She probed, "You fought with her before?"
Ye Chong nodded.
Zhu Ling found herself unable to read this student of her sister. He had fought with Feng Su before, and even killed Mu Fei in an ambush, taking Overwing for himself. This man had survived all of that.
Of course, she did not know that when Ye Chong met Mu Fei, the latter did not even have the chance of deploying his mech, and could only fight in person. Feng Su was not skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and that was why Ye Chong could escape unscathed. If Feng Su had used Wings of Nirvana, Ye Chong would have died without a proper body to show for it.
However, Ye Chong knew that Zhu Ling would not exaggerate like this. She was from the Sanctuary, and would know more about them than he. Always place importance on an expert’s opinion - that was what Ye Chong had learned from his days at Aurora.
Shang asked abruptly, "Where did you get your starship?"
Zhu Ling had noticed the damaged mech with one arm from the beginning. However, the pilot had said nothing, not even coming out of the mech, and Ye Chong did not seem keen to introduce, so she did not ask about it.
However, now that Shang suddenly spoke up, Zhu Ling did not betray any change in expression. Her years of training and planning had molded her into a person that would not lose her cool easily. Seeing Ye Chong looking at her, Zhu Ling looked back and replied, "That’s stolen from a space pirate crew."
Shang’s question reminded Ye Chong that her starship could fly as fast as the Dawn mechs.
Shang asked courteously, "Can you bring us to them? I believe that they must have something of interest to us."
"Alright," Zhu Ling’s reply was simple.
"Ye, this girl is very much like you," Shang seemed to say that with a sigh.
"Is that right?" Ye Chong replied noncommittally.
Zhu Ling quickly pointed out the location where she stole the starship, and Shang proceeded to calculate the warp jump time.
Ye Chong asked, "Shang, are we doing this for her starship’s engine?" Ye Chong recalled Shang’s words and came to this conclusion.
Shang corrected him, "Wrong, Ye, we must find the creator of that starship’s engine. That engine is special." It was not everyday that something could earn the remark "special" from Shang.
"Ye, I finally understand something." The way Shang talked now made Ye Chong uncomfortable.
"No matter how powerful we are at computations, we would never be able to create as humans do. These days, as I interact often with Little Rock, I was surprised to find that humans are so much better than we are in the art of creation. And we, we can only rely on a massive database of information and run detailed computations to arrive at our deductions. We ourselves are not capable of creation." Shang was now speaking a lot like Mu.
"You’re right." Ye Chong accepted Shang’s conclusion easily.
"Therefore, the only ones who can surpass humans are the humans themselves," Shang pointed out cooly, and added, "Or we will be left behind."
Ye Chong nodded. Shang’s words were irrefutable.
"Ye, you may be talented, but your strength is finite, and you cannot be good in everything. We need more talent, coupled with my and Mu’s vast database. With these, I believe we can become stronger. That is how we will be able to control our own destinies." Ye Chong could not deny Shang’s words.
"Shang, do you mean that we need more power?" Ye Chong frowned despite himself. He was not particularly ambitious, and he disliked doing things like that.
"No, we need a team. We need members who are strong in different fields, so that we can protect ourselves," Shang explained.
Ye Chong asked, "Are we not capable of protecting ourselves now?"
Shang spoke cynically, "Seems to me that we’re the ones who run away every time."
Ye Chong grew silent.
"Ye, the world is changing. The war has just begun. Ye, do you think you’ll be able to live in peace anywhere in this world?" Shang asked.
"No," Ye Chong came to this conclusion after a moment’s thought.
"That’s right. The balance in Csebesini cannot be maintained for much longer, the peak of the war is close at hand. Ye, didn’t you notice that there are more pirates than before these days? And they’re more ruthless than ever. For now, the powers of the Four Forces are precariously balanced, but this will soon cease to be. This is only the calm before the storm. Ye, we must prepare ourselves, or we will be threatened in every moment of our lives."
Ye Chong could say nothing to dispute Shang.
Shang continued, "Ye, if we have a warship so powerful that no one can avert their gaze against, then with you and me, hmm, and that girl, and a few more geniuses onboard, err, then we can make this our headquarters, hehe, and no one will be able to do anything to us."
Ye Chong nodded with determination. He never liked to hand his life over to another person. Best if he could be in control of his own life.
"Hmm, if we can do that, then we can invite Bing Bing over, Xiu is also not bad. Oh, right, and Sun Xuelin, Grandpa Qian, Mrs Rui, err, and that Rui Su is also quite good looking, I’ll think about it. Ha, if we can get Feng Su here too, then it’ll be perfect, hahaha … I’ll live my days with all the pretty ladies around me, what a wonderful life …" Shang began to spiral down into his fantasies.
Ye Chong rolled his eyes. Of course the mech would return to his usual behaviour.
"Hehe, Ye, I’ve informed them that the Sanctuary’s backup are coming. With them here, the Sanctuary will be focused on them," Shang said with an evil laugh.
As expected, Ye Chong saw that the Darklight mech was working faster now to finish off his enemies. It was clear that he was also afraid of the Sanctuary’s trump card. The beautiful and fatal crescent blades flickered in space like a swords dance.
Coxcomb had already made a warp jump towards its destination. None of the mechs paid any attention to Coxcomb. The Dawn mechs’ orders were to stall the Darklight mech. To them, it was already straining to stall the Darklight mech, and they could not spare the effort to deal with the starship. Luo Wei was also ignoring Coxcomb. The way he saw it, he was already lucky enough that the ship did not destroy him first.
Zhu Ling was already making headway with Overwing. She did not understand Overwing any more than Ye Chong, and could only figure out the mech herself. Fortunately, it was still a Sanctuary’s mech, and the similarities were there. As a member of the elite squad, she had already surpassed the abilities of any regular elite squad member long ago, but had kept her abilities hidden from view all this time.
She could have finished off all the Dawn mechs that were pursuing her if she had gotten herself a serviceable mech. To a mech pilot, a mech could make a difference between life and death.
Today, however, she received the surprise gift of Overwing. This was a mech that gained fame because of Mu Fei. To think that she could pilot a trump card’s mech! After a brief moment of exhilaration, Zhu Ling quickly threw herself completely into familiarizing herself with the mech. Experience taught her that her strength would ultimately decide her fate, no matter the situation.
Zhu Ling’s insane training surprised Ye Chong. However, he quickly got over it. He would have done the same. In any case, Ye Chong hoped that his comrades would at least be able to defend themselves.
On the other hand, Shang was trying his best to locate the space pirates that Zhu Ling had met.