They were unsure if these weapons were able to change anything, but doing nothing would surely be an imprisonment to death for everyone!
No time to give a damn anymore!
All laser firing units blasted with the bombardment of electromagnetism. The hologram sparked in plain white, even Ye Chong and his folks were stunned by the scene. They saw neither lasers nor electromagnetic waves, they only perceived the brightest blast. Will the unstable crossing of two energy tear the corner of galaxy?! Will an explosion occur?!
The expected explosion did not occur, which was a major relief to everyone. They found their attempt to be rather risky, considering how these strange misty structures in crimson was flammable by nature. They might burn a way out, but they could cause an explosion too. Assuming an explosion truly occurred, never the Coxcomb would be able to survive such a supernova-like explosion.
Their eyes set upon the regained vision on the projection, and they staggered.
The strands… they did not decrease, not at all. Did they just dramatically multiply themselves in this brief time window? Holy Fal… No way! How could that be? Firepower this dense could have smashed the toughest warship or mech, these strands should have been powdered into specks!
But judging by what was being projected on the visual, the odd strands remained unharmed. Wait, did that mean… these strands are actually immune to energy-based beams? Speculated Ye Chong in his mind immediately.
Zzt! Zzt! Zzt!
The laser firing devices did not rest as they carried on raiding the space with a shower of beams. Now without the interference of electromagnetic waves, Ye Chong could see it, the scenery that stirred his disbeliefs - the laser beams rained upon the strands, like actual rain landing on a red pool, where ripples were seen, nothing else happened.
Ye Chong flinched, as his speculation had been verified.
His eyes glared upon the visual, with one last hope mustered in him, the Beauty’s Secretion, a creation of Ye Chong validated by the few wars he had gotten into. The corrosiveness was great that the secretion could fully corrode the outer layer of a mech very quick after contact, leading to the death of the pilot inside due to the leak of oxygen.
His eyes enlarged, staring at that one Beauty’s Secretion hovering towards the targets. It moved rather sluggishly because of the delay effect caused by the strands. And contact had been made! The accuracy of the Beauty’s Secretion could hardly be guaranteed in an environment like this, but well, there were tons of targets where it could land, so there was not much of need to aim actually.
Beauty’s Secretion splattered, Shang’s Liquid splashed upon the strand. The corrosiveness was not disappointing, as it began causing few columns of emerald smokes upon the strand with the size of an arm. The strand broke into half!
Ye Chong wanted to raise the corners of his lips, nevertheless, the corners collapsed to a whole new threshold.
The strands multiplied themselves again within that split second. Beauty’s Secretion could be that potent to destroy them, but it would be too far-fetched to use it to clear a way out for the Coxcomb. The corrosion was unable to catch up with the multiplication of the red strands. It would feel like a drop of herbicide to the lawn even if he launched a
ll secretions he possessed.
What are these strands? Everyone stumbled upon the visual. Zhu Ling was calm, kind of. Qiu Man was already much paler than she usually was, with the hands pressed on her chests.
"Mu, any idea what this is?" asked Ye Chong quickly.
"Substance unknown. Composition unknown," stated Mu, with the calmness of eternity even before the death.
Ye Chong instantly deployed Han Jia and took a quick leap into the cabin. "Mu, get the gate open, I’ll go get some sample."
Before that syllable of concern fell, Han Jia had already zoomed its way to the gate at highest momentum, with a plan in mind.
Sample the red strands, find out the exact composition of these strands, investigate its chemical and physical characteristics and take the necessary action against them, or else we would die here! The Coxcomb had been completely tied to the red sea. Fully immobilized, no chance for him to even consider a back-out.
The rapports between Ye Chong and Mu were great, as the timing of the gate opening was just as right.
Ye Chong flew out of the Coxcomb. That was when he finally had a better look on the red sea, realizing to his horror, of how dense these structures were, as the Coxcomb had been utterly enveloped into something like a red cocoon, a quivering ball of yarn.
Something was strange. Ye Chong discovered as he flew on. Apparently Han Jia was unaffected by the delay effects of the red strands, despite flying boldly through the densest layer. Judging by what happened to the Coxcomb, the red mist should have a noticeably negative effect on warships, or generally any flying object. But… he felt nothing on Han Jia?
He gave a tap and Han Jia accelerated towards the nearest strand at the side, which happened to have a diameter over a meter while wriggling rhythmically. It felt very tender, with partial transparency, a bit rubbery? Han Jia grabbed the strand and withdrew a dagger with the other hand.
The red strand was extremely slippery, with a kind of pulling force within. Ye Chong realized as he saw the strand escape the grip of Han Jia. He hurriedly seized the red strand back into his hand.
A slash with his dagger and a lining of the mist was cleared, which recovered shortly after.
And that was the very first debut of this new dagger, cutting red weed. At least it was not disappointing as the red strand was sliced easily. One more slash and Ye Chong had sampled a strand about 2 meters long. This should be enough.
He was going to turn back but…something big was coming to his way.
A giant red pillar of a diameter over 70 kilometers swept over the rhythm of the red mist, as if a gentle breeze of a bloody spring, as towards it swung the Coxcomb which looked like a red yarn ball on Christmas, like the granny’s cane on a cleaning day.
Ye Chong was in the middle of its way. His vision blacked out as he felt a heavy force dragging his entire body tumbling, the sudden wham caused him to lose control over Han Jia completely. The mech began sinking in the waves of strands, a muffling cry whispered throughout the darkened cabin, "Y…Ye…"
After Ye Chong got back with the time, he realized he had lost the Coxcomb as his sight was flooded with these bizarrely-aggressive strands. He could feel the waves, bouncing him mischiefs as he tried pulling himself away, it almost felt like his limbs were bound by a bunch of wriggling springs.
Oh no. Ye Chong panicked.
Transmission would be nearly impossible to reach Mu as long as he was inside the depth of the sea. The red mist was sticky like a viscous layer of glue, visibility zero, and now with the kind assistance of these red strands, Ye Chong could barely tell his location.
Ye Chong calmed down shortly after, knowing that panic and fear would do him no good at the moment. Rather it would only worsen his situation, now he would need to find out where Mu and the Coxcomb were, since obviously the survivability of being in such environment alone would be subzero.
The red mist brewed and Ye Chong nearly was unable to find where his dagger located his body.
He rebooted Han Jia and piloted it towards the direction of the Coxcomb… by estimation and impression of course… although he remained confused, wondering what had hit him just now. The force could be said as colossal, which was not something a human like him could fight against. If there was not these strands to buffer the inertia, he could not imagine, without the friction of any form like the air, how far he would have been sent.
It’s here. It’s here?
No it should be… there?
No… I could not find it. I still could not find it. Han Jia was squirming through the waving gaps. Ye Chong had searched most parts of the area but he could not find the Coxcomb at all. The communicator had been dead silence ever since.
Goddammit! This bloody red mist! If it was not the mist, he could have contacted Mu despite the pulling of these strands. Even if he could not, Mu could at least get his coordination!
He carried on searching on a larger scope. Nope, no sight of the Coxcomb… This was getting nowhere. Ye Chong was forced to surrender. Practically, he should have given up way back, as he was in a foreign zone with nearly zero visibility and a waving structure. If he were to attempt marking the strands to identify his direction, it would be like marking the waves of seaweeds as one swam in the sea. It would be pointless.
Ye Chong gave a wry smile. Mu Shang had always been by his side, through thick and thin, sharing joy and grief, then a sudden blow and he was stuck in this strange zone without them. Ye Chong was lost, feeling his heart empty.
Well… I have to at least survive. Bucked up Ye Chong.
Fortunately I retained that habit of bringing supplementary batteries and nutrition capsules with me all the time, or I would be living with non-existent possibility to leave this red sea. I would not want to be starved to dead, at a horrible place like this.
He then picked a direction to travel randomly. He flew straight, he would not bother anymore as all direction would hold the same odds for him.
Han Jia was not hindered by the red sea unexpectedly, there was no delay at all, as if its usual flights in the vacuum. Ye Chong thought it was him overthinking at first, but the reality was there, which was confusing as Mu had once reported that the thickening of red sea had obstructed the movement of the Coxcomb. The overlooked statement kept ringing in his head.
That was not all.
The strands were acting strangely towards Han Jia. They were rather… slippery, so slippery that they felt like completely lubricated as they slipped over Han Jia’s body as it moved. No strand had caught Han Jia, not even one.
But Ye Chong could still remember that horrendous scene of seeing how the Coxcomb was melting in the red sea by the grasp of strands like a piece of potassium into the water, as the red strands grew over the body of the Coxcomb at a horrifying speed. The Coxcomb started turning into a yarn ball since then.
Weird! Why would the strands not catch him?
Was it because of the material of Han Jia? Speculated Ye Chong promptly but he was not in any mood for researches, he just wanted to leave this mental-scarring place as soon as possible.
When one were to travel in the boundless space, the helpless loneliness could overwhelm one to one’s homicidal thoughts, as one could not help but to wonder on what would be lying ahead, which in the decade one would meet an actual person, to where exactly one would be heading, for how long one would have to travel. It would feel like days… weeks, months… or…
Nevertheless, Ye Chong flew on, with Han Jia remained at maximum velocity, as the universal law rang in his head - if you were to fight for the opportunity, you might not get the opportunity; but if you were never to fight for opportunity, you would never get the opportunity.
Although he must admit… traveling in a lubricated area of strands felt rather intriguing, assuming he was not in such endangered situation.
His eyes set upon the waves of red strands. They seemed to be growing again, even though they were not growing as horribly quick as the time he saw back in the Coxcomb, he could discern the growth, they were growing broader. Ye Chong hypothesized that both the red strands and the red sea should share the same matter, it could be a kind of solidification, de-solidification, condensation, vaporizing process like water but … Ye Chong was not really sure on what condition the process would be triggered.
Most of the strands in the red sea were floating with an outrageous diameter, where some hit about a few tens kilometers. That was annoying because Ye Chong could hardly see a thing in the front, at caution he only got to reduce his velocity gradually.
He felt inspired out of sudden as he discovered a way to preserve energy. Han Jia would act like an agile mutated ape, traveling in the woods of reddish vines around, but with way more alien elasticity. Han Jia grabbed the vines and swung to the following, this was a faster approach, more energy-saving too!
He had to save on energy since he could not reckon how far ahead he got to travel before he hit an opening, even though the travel with lower energy cost was sustained on the basis of a larger demand on his piloting.
At least he was a master pilot of some sort. The first two days were a little chaotic though as rushing through the vines would give him constant tension, which would wear him out quickly. Ye Chong was lucky to have a stronger physique than most men so the chaos only lasted for two days before Ye Chong finally adapted himself to the high tension execution.
Of course one could say that a man would have his most potential excavated at the drastic edge of death.
The red sea had lots of strands, much more than the area surrounding the Coxcomb, but the density was much smaller. No doubt, Ye Chong could confirm that something about the Coxcomb must have triggered the red mist there, which led to the aggressiveness. Well, he had yet reached the conclusion on what triggered it.
Twelve hundred and two hundred and seventy three. Counted Ye Chong.
His hands swung along with Han Jia upon the control panel, smoothly like a real mutated ape seesawing throughout the woods.
The travel seemed to be endless, and Ye Chong felt he was collapsing at any second but somehow his expression was depicting a hint of excitement.
And Ye Chong started to see the red mist fading out, the strands were retreating on his way.
Right! That means… I am right! I am going out!