Qiu Man was very well-informed in where she belonged, which turned out to be surprising to Ye Chong, since she seemed to be just his age while the inquiry was about something that happened over 20 years ago. How the hell does she know? Ye Chong almost had his eyes wide open upon hearing the report from Shang.
Based on what had Shang acquired from Qiu Man, apparently her grandfather, Qiu Yuanlie was exactly one of the few very persons behind this. But what he was assigned to turned out to be merely the cleaning after the case. And yes, quite to everyone’s shock that Qiu Man’s grandfather , being the "cleaner" of the case, was that super Maverick everyone shunned themselves away from the whole time, which justified Qiu Man’s persistent silence throughout the session. It also happened to be because of his performance in this case, Qiu Yuanlie was promoted as the leader of the Freedom Alliance’s intelligence.
It was a logical promotion, considering how he managed to wipe away everything regarding a public figure on the virtual networking system singlehandedly 20 years ago. And this was not something that even the current Mavericks could have done with technologies today. It was the brightest entry in his life Qiu Yuanlie considered for himself. So the every bit of details related to the case were generously collected in his records, which kept Qiu Man well-informed of her grandfather’s glorious act in the past. But certainly she would fear Ye Chong and the others would be taking action against her grandfather, her words could have determined her grandfather’s mortality, so she insisted to keep her mouth zipped before.
Gao Shichang was formerly the top mech designer under Prometheus Group. And Freedom Alliance - while being obviously not as established as now - had once infiltrated the group, trying to gain the fond of this amazing talent, to persuade his contribution to the alliance itself. Rather unfortunately, on one occasion, Gao Shichang was made aware of their infiltration, and as much as a strong-willed person he was, he portrayed obstinate resistant towards their offers upon exposure. Gao Shichang was then given further persuasion of all sorts, including threat, bribery, coercion, anything in the bibliography of a gang. Nevertheless, the genius refused to make a move as he ventured into something more strikingly taboo to the alliance. He was involved in a secret project, which eventually became the end of his tale.
Qiu Man claimed to have never seen the projection of Gao Shichang in person. And evidently she also had no idea if Gao Shichang was the papa Ye Chong searched for long. These records were a secret report seemingly. And inside the report, there was one entry which stated that the one who executed Gao Shichang was actually the very best friend of his and that friend also happened to be the second greatest mech designer to Gao Shichang in Prometheus Group.
No doubt, the entry with greatest amount of details was the part where Qiu Yuanlie performed his cleaning on the virtual networking system, listed from the hows to the whys. He had never seen Gao Shichang face-to-face, but naturally he must have seen the projection of this target once at least. He would probably be the only person in the entire galaxy who could tell if Gao Shichang was the papa of Ye Chong, even though that so-called "best friend" of Gao Shichang could do the same as well.
So much hassle Ye Chong had gone through yet so little informati
on he had revealed, while also putting him under greater risk because of what he had done. It was discouraging to Ye Chong.
Qiu Man’s information on Gao Shichang seemed to have ended there as well. Well, under Shang’s unique interrogating technique, quite a handful amount of information on the inside of the Freedom Alliance was obtained at least, although Ye Chong showed little interest on it. The first thing on his priority after this was to resolve the following issues.
First off… how should Ye Chong "handle" Qiu Man? He could save a significant amount of food if he could eliminate her, but it would feel too cruel to eliminate his own kind and he was not the killing type of person from the beginning anyway. He let Qiu Man off his grip in the end and decided to give her the freedom to move around in the ship, since technically there was no such deepest and darkest secret in the Coxcomb.
And the Coxcomb was still sailing in this boundless-looking sea of scarlet.
Although the mist was thick and sometimes thin, they realized something as they progressed, that the range of density of the mist was increasing noticeably. The density remained fluctuating but it was an enough worrying sight for the folks on the ship. There should be something in the front, but there was no way to tell if that thing was benign or malignant. Shang, knowing it was no longer the right stage for him, switched his place with Mu instead. Once in a blue moon, he proactively gave his microphone away and sank behind the scene.
The mist thickened, yet nothing had happened in the next few days.
Ye Chong had wasted enough time anticipating nothing these few days, so on the next tick of his biological clock, he just got back to his routine mech modification as he laid his hands upon the Guardian as he felt more potential with the new engine installed on the Guardian instead. He was right, the Guardian after the installation of the new engine had made a major improvement in its offenses, but it was not enough and Ye Chong remained unsatisfied. He viewed the massive inventory of his, filled with a range of precious materials which could drive any professional mad on spot, that he felt so precious that it would be a waste if he used them right now. Mu had said those materials would be unable to exert the optimum capacity in here. But he had to use them right away, as aware he was, these materials would determine whether they could make it through this time. Materials could be valuable but the values would be lost the moment the owner was lost.
He went to Mu and grabbed the Do-Kun stone, which its performance on Harmony’s lance was utterly memorable. A little mixture of Do-Kun stone in the formation and the lance almost skewed Instructor Hak inside the mech with its superior sharpness.
And now, he had Do-Kun stone and an inventory of uncommon mineralites. He selected a few formula from Mu’s databank, which were the results of Mu’s impeccable calculation and involved solely the sources Ye Chong currently owned. He tried experimenting them and after wasting a tiny piece of Do-Kun stone he finally obtained the best formula from what he owned. He might probably be the only person who actually used a ultra luxury like Do-Kun stone to perform experiments.
Without further ado, he proceeded with weapon-crafting since it would be a piece of cake having the right formula to follow.
He was making a dagger. Of course, Ye Chong still had that connection with daggers. Those were something he had the most hands-on experience. Almost every transmutated energy ore rolling in the inventory along with the uncommon ores were dumped into the pot and a pair of twin daggers were made, in a length of about 1.5 meters. The effect was imaginably potent.
The body of the dagger exerted a color of pale grey in a lack of glow. The design was seemingly simple too without much adornment, which one could say the kind to be "easily-overlooked". That would be perfect, as long as it stayed potentially overlooked, no one would be aware of what the daggers were capable of, till the daggers got into action. Probably no one other than Ye Chong would invest a full Do-Kun stone on a pair of daggers like these. The value of those mineralites the daggers consumed would be astronomical, even without the inclusion of Do-Kun stone.
Ye Chong was loving his new toy already. The daggers were silent, low-profiled yet formidable, handy. The sharpness of the daggers had also gone beyond everyone’s imagination, including Mu. Ye Chong could not find anything that could last under the slashes of his new daggers. And everyone’s comment was negative towards the capability of the daggers in the first place, which further convinced Ye Chong how the daggers would be a lovely surprise to the foes in future.
Even if he were to fight against a warship, providing that he was not interrupted by external circumstances, he probably could slice the armor of the ship like slicing puddings.
And the previous pair of daggers became the substitute instead.
The only regret for Ye Chong was how he never managed to utilize the Teardrop. So based on what Mu had told, this thing was a super duper condensed battery. He would love to use it but to extract it Ye Chong would have to use a particular kind of matter, namely the Nonlinear Cobalite, which was non-existent in his inventory or he would have used the Teardrop as his pseudo-perpetual motion provider, since Mu claimed that the energy was so vast that it could last the warship several years, while being able to sustain a mech for decades or even centuries.
That definitely could translate as the dramatic increase of warship and mech’s travel. But well, the Teardrop was something so rare that what it could do mostly remained on paper.
Ye Chong had a handful of Teardrops, he could say he had the necessary technique as well but he did not have the cobalite, which directly suggested him to put the Teardrops down and forget about them. The headache-giving lecture from Mu was not for nothing after all. He had practically mastered the technique of Teardrop’s energy extraction. And he believed he would be able to extract and install the Teardrops inside the Coxcomb at the first moment he got that very ingredient.
But then… Sigh…
Oh well. Thought Ye Chong as he sank the 3 Teardrops into his bag, while passing the remaining 4 to Mu.
He had consumed countless amount of materials in his bank these few days. He grew so familiar with those uncommon ores that he could tell the names and the properties of the ores at first glance, after almost tearing the metallurgy encyclopedia in Mu’s databank.
Seeing how his rich collection had half of it vaporized was giving him slight heartache, although he knew that those were gone for his own consumption.
"Ye, something happened," said Mu through the announcement. Ye Chong sprung from his seat. There had not been anything happening these few days, which was weird. It was quiet, but too quiet. It was a torture of bearing the fear towards the unknown for the past month they travelled, that even Ye Chong felt the stress haunting him.
On the hologramic projection, the red mist wavered like red fluid, which had visibly hindered the Coxcomb’s movement.
That was not the crew’s attention. Those red strands swimming in the red sea were something bizarre to behold. Nobody knew when these strands started appearing and nobody could tell what they exactly looked like, since sometimes the strands were thin like the hair while being able to look broad like the asteroid belt, taking the length of a solar system occasionally. The number of the strands were frightening, the crew felt like they were sailing on the weeds of the red sea.
The body of the Coxcomb had been entangled by numerous strands, which gave him an appearance of a coated pirate ship. The strands were forceful, something the crew was uncalled for. Under the pull of the strands, the Coxcomb was directed away from his former course.
The strands gathered around the Coxcomb, as they danced along the vibrance of the red sea. Few strands were fine but… gazillion strands turning at the propellants of their ship were horrifying.
Ye Chong, with his sharp eyes, noticed the strands broadening gradually.
The Coxcomb felt like a potassium dipped into a red pool. The Coxcomb seemed to be engulfed by the red sea with the strange screeches of pulling, to their horror, the crew discovered the number of red strands had been growing worryingly.
"Oh no…" Whispered Ye Chong, looking at the camera flooded by those peculiar strands. They would soon be entangled into a pupa by the red sea alive if nothing was done. They would be buried alive… These red strands were high in tenacity, with the momentum the Coxcomb was producing, it would be impossible to break through them.