"It’s only a dagger, do they need to be so excited?" Ye Chong thought to himself, vexed.
Seeing Ye Chong’s confusion, the village head explained, "Hehe, Ye, please forgive us, it’s their first time seeing a metal weapon. Pu, let me have a look."
Sang Pu quickly passed the dagger to the village head.
"What fine craftsmanship!" Sang De exclaimed, "It’s sharp, tougher and stronger than bitterwood. Pu, get me a bitterwood pike here."
Sang Pu went to a corner of the house, where a few of the pikes Ye Chong had seen earlier leaned against the wall. Sang Pu took two of them, and upon noticing Ye Chong’s curiosity, passed one to Ye Chong with a smile.
Ye Chong studied the bitterwood pike in his hands. Each bitterwood pike was around two meters long, its shaft just thick enough to grip. It felt weighty in hand. Ye Chong bent it slightly forcefully, and the bitterwood pike only bent into an arch without breaking as was usually expected. The tip of the pike was ground sharp. The shaft had natural-looking detailed spirals on it.
Ye Chong was quietly impressed. The wood was tough. What interested him more were the rounds of spiraling patterns on the shaft. They seemed to be aerodynamically designed. Once thrown into the air, the pike would spin about itself, not only increasing the impact of the throw but also enabling steadier flight.
Ye Chong had never seen any primitive weapon with such advanced designs. He was deeply interested in them.
The village head took a bitterwood pike from Sang Pu and swinged it lightly. The five-centimeter thick shaft was easily cut in half.
Everyone but Ye Chong gasped, "Whoa!"
"It’s just like in the legends!" Sang De gently tested the dagger’s edge as he muttered to himself. Everyone else looked at the dagger in his hands, enchanted by the weapon’s might.
Ye Chong was even more confused now. Legend? Daggers were quite common, what’s the fuss about? In terms of design, the dagger was not particularly laudable. It was shaped exactly like Gu Shaoze’s dagger. Gu Shaoze may be a mechanics genius, but he was no weaponsmith. To Ye Chong, the dagger’s angle design was horrible, but he had gotten used to it and never thought of replacing it.
In terms of design, the dagger was far exceeded by the bitterwood pike.
After a long moment, the village head broke his reverie and smile apologetically to Ye Chong. "Ye, please excuse me. I’ve lived my long life to this day, and this is my first time seeing a metal weapon. It’s just as our ancestors described."
First time seeing? Even the most primitive savage tribes would have metal weapons! Besides, from the seven mechs displayed in the shrine, Ye Chong could see that they were at least able to build huge machines like them, the backward metallurgy notwithstanding. How can they not be able to make even a metal dagger?
Ye Chong could not help but asked, "So you have no metal weapons at all?"
Seeing Sang Pu and Sang Ling still in a daze, the village head replied slowly, "None. When our ancestors first escaped to this place, the journey was dangerous. Our population was 1.7 million, but only half a million people arrived here safely."
Sang De continued painfully, "The disaster came without warning, our ancestors had no time to prepare. According to records, mechs were only newly invented, and the Sang Family tribe had the largest mech squad in the He Yue galaxy, with a total of 3,000 mech pilots. Back then, mech pilot was not a common occupation. The tribe leader was under tremendous pressure when
he first founded the mech squad. However, most of the people believed that mechs represented the future of technology."
The village head spoke lowly, like narrating an ancient legend. Everyone listened to him intently, and even Ye Chong could not maintain his calm expression.
"Back then, the disaster came unexpectedly, but the tribe leader had prepared well. All our knowledge, from the most basic metallurgy skills to the Sang Family’s core technologies were recorded in a chip. This was to prevent these knowledge from being lost forever. They made 300 copies of the chip, which meant that out of the 3,000 mech pilots in the mech squad, one in ten had a chip with them. Everyone thought that, with so many copies of the chip, it should be easy to keep at least a few of them intact. After all, back then, the Sang Family was one of the four most prosperous aristocratic families in the He Yue galaxy. Moreover, the Sang Family’s mech squad was the strongest in the entire galaxy. Everyone believed that the precautions would be sufficient. Even in a whole new world, with this knowledge, the Sang Family would thrive again without issues."
Sang De’s expression grew even more pained, and his voice trembled as he continued, "However, the unexpected had happened.
"The only exit out of the He Yue galaxy was obstructed back then, so the tribe had to break through this enormous asteroid belt. No one expected to see the terrifying Red Sea."
"Red Sea?" Sang Ling interrupted. This was the first time she had heard of this.
"Yes, the Red Sea," said the village head. "It’s a huge expanse of empty space, filled with a thick red mist, stretching out endlessly like the sea. Our ancestors called it the Red Sea."
Ye Chong was shocked. Wasn’t that the red mist where he got separated from Mu?
"No one thought that this red mist would be so dangerous. The red mist interfered with the radars, it was impossible to know which direction was which. Many lost their ways in the mist. However, the disaster had only just begun.
"Metal was actually very sensitive to the red mist. When they flew into the middle of the Red Sea, the mist grew thicker. Starships were tangled with numerous mysterious red tendrils. Almost all the mechs were deployed to cut off those tendrils. However, once the mechs exited the starships, the red tendrils would mysteriously appear and bind them up tightly, killing the pilots. The people on the starships watched as the countless red tendrils devoured their mechs."
"So that was it," Ye Chong thought to himself. The red mist would react with metal once it reached a critical density. No wonder Coxcomb was wrapped up tight with the tendrils. It appeared that Han Jia’s skeletal parts had allowed him to escape.
Ye Chong could not help but felt anxious about Mu and Shang. Mu and Shang were also made of metal … If only he could get in touch with them right now, then he’d be able to inform them of this peculiarity, then Mu would be able to find a solution. However …
Ye Chong smiled wryly to himself. He breathed in deeply a few times and tried not to think about them.
Ye Chong asked, "How did they escape?"
Sang De explained, "Most escaped using the emergency pods. The pods were not made of metal, to reduce their weight. I have no idea what they’re made of. Only about a hundred thousand of them escaped, and only 15 were mech pilots. They were mostly injured beforehand, and so were not deployed to cut off the red tendrils, thus surviving the incident. However, food and water were scarce, and people died along the way. When they finally reached here, the entire Sang Family was only left with about fifty thousand. Only seven mech pilots were left, and none of them had the chip. Besides, without proper medical treatment, they all succumbed to their injuries eventually. And so, we had to start again from the very beginning. Out of the fifty thousand, a few were scientists, but here, where the gravity is stronger, and vicious animals were abundant, we had no protection. In the first month, twenty thousand died of either starvation or illness. The scientists were physically weaker, and they died soon too."
The village head spoked with a sigh, with a saddened voice. Sang Pu and Sang Ling were both surprised. Ye Chong finally understood why this place was so primitive.
"The scientists wrote down everything they knew before they died, but in the end, no one could understand them. With the harsh living conditions, the only ones who survived were the physically stronger combat experts. Without any necessary knowledge foundations, they couldn’t understand the knowledge left behind. The scientists had only written down their most forefront intellectual ideas, but did not provide any basic knowledge as a starting point. That is why we are what we are today," Sang De explained helplessly.
Sang Pu and Sang Ling could only listen wordlessly.
Ye Chong nodded in understanding. Indeed, without any foundational knowledge, forefront knowledge would only be lost to the layperson. Such was the nature of high level knowledge.
It was no wonder that the villagers were using such primitive weapons. Given the harsh environment, they still managed to survive and prosper here. Ye Chong could not help but grow even more respectful of them.
Suddenly, Ye Chong thought of his time on the trash planet, the way he struggled alone to survive, and found that he and them were not too different after all!