On the grassfield, an irregularly shaped circle of diameter about a kilometer was formed by the placement of a handful of rocks in different sizes. There were a few young adults carrying out their training there. They appeared to be quite young but the hushes created by the punches and kicks they pulled were not something to be overlooked.
"And sir…" Initiated Sang Pu, pointing at the circle, "This is the strong gravity region I had been telling you about. This encircled area has about 1.3 times the gravity outside. We found it to be perfect for adolescences who had undergone their puberty and possessed a considerable standard of technical achievement. As you can see, these were from the local shrine after completing the training course by their teachers. Once they left the shrine and are declared to be at completion of their course, they would be a warrior, a fighter, or a soldier in the field. And here, it does not matter whether you are a man or a woman, everyone must head to the shrine for combat training. This is what our lives depend on anyway."
Sang Pu was expressing nonchalance in his words, he seemed to be unworried of the issue, although Ye Chong did discern a hint of despair within.
"Sir… your arrival had brought us hope. Your emergence had given all of us hope. I sometimes did envy you and the outsiders, as to you, owning a mech seemed to be something like we did our gravity field training, but to us, owning a mech, is a legend itself. Hah… we don’t really have that much to demand. We only hope for a weapon that could adequately support us through the darkest days…" Sang Pu’s voice turned more confident, "Hmph, we are indeed, the strongest tribe here. 500 years had passed, we not only have the bravest warriors, occasionally we also have the wisest few men. Ironically, nobody had understood what was written on those chips. The wisest fews eventually spent their entire life, going by the most mundane method via experiments on all kinds of things they could find around their home. And they had found mildstone, they had discovered plants which could be used as a cure, they learned about bringing us lights in the dark with Hampered Bask, still… they could not find any way of the metallurgy. And likewise to their past counterparts, they died, regretfully."
And that was when Sang Pu set his eyes upon Ye Chong, passionately. The gaze lasted for a moment and the Sang burst out laughing, "What am I doing?? I’m just showing you the gravity field, why in the Archipelago I told you these? Mhm, it’s alright, these aren’t really much related to you, it’s just the fate of our tribe. An unchangeable fate."
Ye Chong remained in silence. He was actually at loss of words, the proper words to tell.
"Well!" Bucked up Sang Pu, "Take a careful look at the region."
As requested, Ye Chong took a closer look at the gravity region, which frankly speaking, nothing particularly odd could be perceived, as Ye Chong took a second look and was bewildered by the lack of difference. If it was not that visible structure by the stones, he would not even have his attention on this ordinary piece of land, nor would he ever think that this piece of land turned out to be the strange gravity region the Sang had been talking about.
Ye Chong, looked at Sang Pu with confusion, shaking his head, "Nothing strange?"
"And so we thought back then," smiled Sang Pu. "Strong gravity region was a place of fatality but well, we still discovered it anyway. As mentioned before, take a look at the grasses. Of what difference they had with the grasses outside?"
Ye Chong shifted his attention over the grasses. A moment lapsed and he did observe something different. The grasses within the circle were much shorter than the grasses outside. A run in his schemata and he got it right away.
Sang Pu saw Ye Chong’s expression and knew that his teacher had gotten it, the explanation went on however, "Due to the additional gravitation, the plants within the circle would have a certain degree of differences with their outside counterparts. The greater the difference between the gravitation of both sides, the more noticeable the plants between the boundary would look. This region for example, its forces were stronger than the outside, which caused the shorter height of grasses."
"What if there were no plants in the field?" hurriedly Ye Chong asked.
"You let the stone guide you," answered Sang Pu, with impression in his eyes.
And Ye Chong got it. Provided that there was a strong gravity region ahead, the tossed stone would fall with an unnatural curve. Well, that was rather a clever move, simple and practical, without needing the aid of an advanced machine. You only need one piece of rock you could find anywhere. Ye Chong could almost imagine that high and wild the rock would fly when it got tossed by the powerfully built villagers. The foreign zone might have a different level of gravity, but that should not hinder the overall velocity of the rock during the travel.
Such creativity, such genius! Exclaimed Ye Chong in his mind.
The few steps right before the circle were nothing much, the next step into the circle was… lumpy… one could say, as Ye Chong felt himself being pulled into the ground, his body was heavier, like tied with boulders over his limbs. Sang Pu in the meantime, was walking as normal.
The few young adults addressed Sang Pu respectfully upon seeing his arrival. Sang Pu returned with a smile and a tap at one of their shoulders, few compliments and words of encouragement were given then he led Ye Chong to one corner.
Ye Chong tried swinging his limbs. It literally felt like he was in an invisible bondage or something… Man, imagine the warriors who had undergone training like this, the body must be greater than the sun. Ye Chong could imagine the fact that Black Covers would inevitably lose if they were to have a fight with the warriors here, without the mech of course. They would be snapped to death in seconds.
He took a stroll around and realized that there *was* indeed not much of a difference other than the additional weight posed onto his body.
Within the gravity region, other than the purplish grasses that covered the area, there were a few tiny sprouts tinting the area. From a botanist’s aspect, Ye Chong hypothesized these being a kind of fungi. The umbrella like structure on top was thick and was adorned with few white spots. Its grayish appearance was easily overlooked, but its size was a savior for it was humongous. Most of the umbrellas were about a diameter of a meter, the stem was extra thick, very contented kind of texture.
Ye Chong realized he had not seen fungi like this in his room before. As the curiosity of a chemist rang in his head, he asked, "What is this called?" His eyes watched the fungi carefully as he went to have a closer look.
"Portabella," concisely Sang Pu responded. "We called it ‘Portabella’, it might look soft but it’s actually very hard, that it felt like you are biting on a piece of leather. It is not edible. Mostly it grows within the gravity region, very reproductive, but they only grow in trios. So you won’t see a mushrooming flock of them on the field. We have yet discovered what it could do…"
Ye Chong gave a touch. It did feel really hard. The fleshy appearance was a lie.
His pupils enlarged as he lowered his back and dug that very piece of soil with caution. He gave a stare, and another, his heart raced as his mind went wild.
Could it be…
Wait no. He still needed to confirm his wild belief. Ye Chong sprang from the ground, straightened his back, "Sir? What’s… wrong?" asked Sang Pu, as his sharp eyes discerned that unusual expression of Ye Chong.
Ye Chong did not reply. His eyes scurried around. And at the one other corner within the circle nearby, there were other trio of Portabella resting.
A tip to his toes, Ye Chong flung and launched himself like an eagle to the mushrooms. Sang Pu also reacted promptly as he followed his teacher’s steps upon understanding what that gaze from his teacher meant.
Sang Pu acted like an explosive beast. It was a simple dash behind his teacher, yet it was speedy, with an indescribable grace.
Ye Chong jumped before the Portabellas and stomped to the ground, lowering himself as he searched through the gaps below.
I knew it! Ye Chong was breathing heavily, to extinguish that bit of flaring excitement, as he picked up that tiny speck of silver particles on interior of Portabella.
The particles were of sizes of green peas, with a dull surface, mixed within the soils. Nobody would have ever noticed their existence without proper observation.
"What are these?" Sang Pu asked, as he looked at the strange specks in Ye Chong’s hand.
"This, is what we outsiders called, metal," glanced Ye Chong, he slowly spoke.
Sang Pu was as if struck by lightning, his widened eyes gazed upon the particles. So these are metals of the myths, longed by the Sang? Sang Pu shuddered to his realization.
Sang Pu only regained his calmness after a while. His shaking hand took one particle from Ye Chong and exerted his little bit of force, the particle flattened in his grip. His hope sank, the passion went extinguished, "What’s the use of metals this soft?"
Ye Chong gave a kick to the Portabella, beside the thumping mushroom, "What’s useful is this."
Ye Chong realized how he had been taking the wrong approach the whole time. He had been thinking of how to extract the Lavagold itself from the ore by exerting extremely amount of heat at once. So he had been desperately searching for a factor to trigger the high density of heat within mildstone to perform extraction.
That, was the approach of a metallurgy researcher. But he forgot the fact that he was also an alchemist.
There were already a series of tutorial of alchemy illustrating methods to obtain metals from the ore itself. However, metallic extraction was a much more simplified and convenient methodology, it had gone so common that Ye Chong already forgot the fact that an alchemist approach had ever existed.
Not till the moment he saw metallic particles underneath Portabella, he did not realize such a forgotten fact.
If Lunatic Guan was beside him, he probably would have been smacked on his head. Thought Ye Chong, as he smiled in wry. I had learned so much yet I only remembered this little, I hardly had anything that could be identified as a master of it…. Even my martial arts expertise became nothing after I came to Sang family village.
The root of Portabella was so deep into the earth that, it felt like a carrot from the fairytale when both Ye Chong and Sang Pu tried pulling it out.
The remaining young adults stumbled upon the sight, it was certainly astonishing to see both grown men pulling and ravaging a poor stem of mushroom which refused to succumb to their violence and abuse. It stood firmly on the ground. "Hnnnnnng!" Both men were pounding each other, pulling a giant fungus off the ground. The scene was weird, really weird.
The fluttering spores stuck on their bodies, their faces were looking dusty and sweaty.
On the way back to the village, all villagers were grinning upon seeing Sang Pu. The face was beyond their understanding and no way they could look at it with a straight face, including the ladies who were covering their faces, snickering.
His face was covered with some unknown dirts while he was shouldering stem of an unknown plant. It would have not been so impulsive if the person was an ordinary villager. But it was Sang Pu, the candidate for the next village chief, a prestigious figure, the leader of the younger generation. That respect exerted by he himself, through that unchangeable calmness of his, now all eradicated by a stem of mushroom.
Sang Pu was blushing red as the flame, though his expression was grim. At least the blushes were covered by the spores, so nobody really saw how the next chief was feeling embarrassed.
Ye Chong in the meantime was tailing him, his indifference remained, unlike the poor chief.