The body of Gigada was full of pores, as moving slower over the time it was, its greenish eyes were expressing deepest grief.
Zzzt! One final beam hit right between its eyes accurately. Thump! The gigantic insect rolled over its body and passed away. The greenish eyes took one last glance at the sky as they lost the glow after.
Sigh! Shook Hai Lian, only if I have a Recursion, knocking out this thing would never take this long. I do believe in my marksmanship but a Recursion was something I might get... in my dream that is. Furthermore, there has hardly been an actual Recursion in the market, no joke, it's super rare!
The Recursion had always been the weaponry exclusive to the Xue Lai clan, which annually only a limited number of them would be flowed to the market - truly a thing with demand yet without supply. No one would have access to it even armed with ample cash and points, other than the Aristocrats themselves. And well, I am just an ordinary folk of nowhere, I should stop thinking about it. Hah! Serves me right that I actually refused to join the Aristocrats myself. Teased Hai Lian, he felt like hurling more insults on himself.
Well, the man was still proud of his achievement as he beamed at the dead Gigada on the ground. He knew, there was not many of them who was able to pilot their way into the calamitous asteroid belt while being able to hunt down an actual Gigada alive. The Gigada could go for a fortune in the market, hah! This was more than enough for a better, more advanced mech! Overjoyed Hai Lian was, for he got a valuable loot. The Gigada was a nasty challenge to handle, not because of its defense or whatsoever, rather it was its murdering offenses and speed, which could take out pilots quickly. Moreover its environment was the deadliest asteroid belt of history of humankind so not many pilots could be as out-of-their-mind as Hai Lian to come here.
Hai Lian had been here for literally three years and the current spot he slaughtered a Gigada was the deepest he could have ventured at the moment. He dared not to go deeper with his equipments. He hoped that after getting a better mech, he would have the capability to get into the next unknown. His curiosity was rising.
Being a freelance hunter over the course of 3 years, Hai Lian was actually quite well-known in his circle but he was the low-profiled kind of person so not many people would witness him in action. Still, a handful of Aristocrats found him, they even handed over a formal invitation to their alliance, which every of them was given a polite decline without fail.
He adored the freedom, his spirit was for the adventure. Yes, certainly his life would improve dramatically once he laid his thumb on the contract with one of the Aristocrats but he would have to give his freedom away as he lived under the whim of the others, which was unbearably horrifying as he thought in the wild now.
Moonlight bowed down, was going to pick up the Gigada's body. It was then...
A strange cry was heard.
A never-before-heard strange cry was discerned. Was it a new kind of beast I have never met before? Alarmed Hai Lian, knowing the fact that every beast in the asteroid belt survived for a reason and for that reason he had drained half of his stamina of the day to kill a Gigada. Moonlight was hitting red as well, he would be doomed if another beast arrived!
The cry seemed to be coming from the depth of the belt.
An unknown beast deep inside the asteroid belt, crying in a language he wished not to comprehend, his mind was urging him to turn back, run and run fast!
He took a quick glance at the screen. Wait, what? There was nothing on the screen? Impossible! I know my Moonlight was not that advanced of a model! But it is at least a mid-tier model! The detection system is all stable and impeccable! It would not be disturbed by most waves and it had been giving accurate reading the whole time! But, b-b-but, why?!
The cry was getting louder, it felt like something was slicing through the air.
Okay, there has to be something! Judged Hai Lian right away, although his sight was convincing him otherwise. The screen was empty, emptier than ever. No, no no... Fear crawled upon every inch of his skin. Okay! He got it, he knew what to do, he gave a tap on the screen and switched to Photon detection mode.
He went dumbfounded upon seeing the visual.
What in the solar system is this?
In the boundless sky, countless monsters gleaming in a variety of colors were heading towards him at a horrifying rate. Their bodies were narrow and long, as their bodies seemed to be installed with 4 strange blades? Those were supposed to be wings but the fact that they were well-polished convinced Hai Lian enough to call them blades. There was a spear at the top?
So what animal is this?
Chill ran down to his spines upon seeing the dense lump of monsters approaching.
He was too stunned to run, the beasts were too fast. He recognized the speed of Moonlight even though its performance was a little subpar on the other aspects. At least Moonlight could travel faster than most mid-tiers mech, which was the main reason why he got the bravery to venture into the asteroid belt. But, Moonlight was hardly speedy in front of these beasts.
I'm done. I just am. Hai Lian's face was colorlessly grey.
The beasts were as barbaric as they appeared to be. The scary part was, these beasts actually knew humane tactics in war!
Good bye, cruel world. He closed his eyes, awaiting his death. He would not buy the story that there would be any civilized entity in the murdering asteroid belt, especially when experience taught him that, those which stayed deeper in the belt would be the more brutal.
He waited since forever yet the immense pain, the deadly shriek did not occur, not at all.
In tension he slowly opened his eyes. The scene before him was going beyond his understanding. The strange beasts surrounded him but there was not any attack from them. Knowing that he was surely a done-for, he actually calmed down and took a closer look at these monsters.
The surrounding monsters suddenly rearranged themselves, opening up a way where by then the commander - Hai Lian presumed - came into the scene. Wait what? Hai Lian could feel his eyeballs popping out in disbelief. Did he see a mech flying into the scene?
It's a mech? A MECH? The leader of these beasts was a mech? He thought he was bright enough to understand all situation, but he no longer felt his brain working by then.
"You have been captured." The cold voice rang, which feared Hai Lian to the corner.
And that... was how Hai Lian became the captured of these beasts. Confused, Hai Lian watched on, his heart skipped a beat upon seeing a man coming out of these monsters. Okay, that is enough intergalactic travel today. He had seen enough strange things, he seriously hoped to call it a day now. He could imagine him getting a heart attack if this carried on for the next few days.
So, the bloody-sounded tale of human coming out of a beast's body was actually the army of the Sang villagers, and Ye Chong.
The migration attack from the Steelbats had been successfully overcome, although the last few waves for the past 5 days were manic from the Steelbats themselves, which were consuming. Even Ye Chong had to jump into action with his Han Jia. The compression explosives were extremely helpful either as the remaining Sangs on the ground were able to blow up a hole in the lump of darkness without even the need to aim, they just had to make sure there was not any of their ally nearby.
The battle for survival that lasted for almost 30 days had come to an end. Report had also arrived, stating mortality of 5000 men, with the first day having the most of them, the 3000 men in the first wave of attack especially. The villagers were joyful at first, then tears began streaming down everyone's cheek. That was a major loss to the village. Fortunately, Sang Huo and his 300 men who made it back safely had brought a happy surprise to everyone.
Sang Huo and his men had once travelled deep into the Archipelago. The area which was once habituated by the Steelbats had been deserted, and they discovered a rich source of mildstone as well as Lavagold. The villagers raised their brows upon hearing the report since both milestone and Lavagold had both become important resources for their living. The chief immediately sent an order to find a spot where the villagers could reside with defense.
The additional surprise was the fact that they found out a large number of caves, which also happened to be interconnected too! By a glance, the caves should be sufficient to accommodate easily over few hundred thousands of residents. It was a happy news indeed as having a shelter within the hollows would be safer in a dangerous place like Archipelago. The Steelbats would fail to nail them if they ever returned again!
They had a discussion. In the end, the chief decided to perform a migration.
Ye Chong followed the Sang and arrived by the cave and it appeared to be a house of treasure! Minerals were everywhere, which tons of them were new to Ye Chong! The Steelbats had been residing here for years, as justified by the scattered remnants of their ancestors. The soil was enriched by their feces, perfect for Twinkleblue plantation. And there were also a few gravity regions nearby, where the villagers could culture more Portabella!
The Sangs felt highly optimistic of their future. With Collision and Compression Explosives, plus a strategically located home, they would be safe, safer than ever.
Moreover, the next migration of the Steelbats would be a matter of two centuries later. The beast stampede was a headache though for it seemed to have wiped out every beast nearby. So they would face a major shortage of meat in considerable amount of time. At least they had a plantation of Twinkleblues now, so they would not actually starve badly. With Collisions they could reach hunting grounds farther than before.
After the hustles and bustles of migration, the Sang Family Village had once again regained its tranquility.
During this period Ye Chong had actually achieved a few things - he had improved compression explosives, where they blew harder than before; he also enhanced the efficiency of utilization of mildstone's energy in the Destiny: Simplified version; he made miniature engines out of skeletons to create an actual compression missile, which travelled far and hit great, though it lacked a lock-on system, the accuracy was a little bit goofy. Nevertheless, Ye Chong did make use of this weakness in the end, he decided to design it into a more area-of-effect kind of explosive. He modified Collisions and added cartridge to launch the missiles.
The skeletal resources were adored by Ye Chong the artisan, that he even once planned to make a new Han Jia out of them. Sadly Han Jia was a complexity compared to Collision, without advanced apparatuses Ye Chong could hardly make a move.
Ye Chong headed to the chief and mentioned his first request upon completion of these improvements. And without hesitation, the old chief gave Ye Chong 5000 men as requested, of those who happened to be the greatest fighters. Most of them volunteered themselves though, like Sang Pu, Sang Ling, Sang Tie, Sang Huo and Sang Fan, then the apprentices of Ye Chong. Lastly Ye Chong only picked Sang Fan and 6 other apprentices nonetheless. And the large pack of the others was ordered to remain in the village.
5000 Collisions supplied with sufficient mildstone and food commenced their adventure under the leadership of Ye Chong. Ye Chong could not judge what had happened to Mu Shang and the other members but this would be what he could do the most...
The Collisions zoomed into the Red Sea and performed a careful search. As expected, the red strands were doing nothing to the skeleton mechs, which were smooth-sailing without worry. Ye Chong was astonished by the fact that the Sangs possessed a great sense of direction in this, that would really explain their capability to cope with the tension in the cage of the Steelbats back then, they needed no tool to tell them where they were heading.
They searched the Red Sea, but they could not find any sign of the Coxcomb. There was also nothing that could be associated with Mu Shang. Ye Chong, the indifferent one, was literally feeling demotivated.
The Collisions were the perfect transportation to conquer the Red Sea, as not only they were unaffected by the delay effects, their blades were also able to cut through the strands easily, which eventually Ye Chong had a huge chunk of red strand collection in his inventory.
Ye Chong and the men travelled from one end to another. Ye Chong was venturing into this unexplored zone. With Collisions the Sangs now possessed the ability of long-distance migration. The Archipelago was frankly not the best spot for the expansion of their tribe. It would be great if they could discover a better place to live, that their tribe would once again strengthen back to their glory.
Ye Chong was feeling down. Mu Shang remained undiscovered. He sighed as he could do nothing else than holding up the search for the moment. Since he lacked a path to return, his only option would be to live with the Sangs. Ye Chong was certainly glad to be able to help the Sangs with what he knew. He was growing on the tribe, it would a big fat lie if he claimed to have no feeling for them after what they had gone through together. He too hoped that the Sangs would live better.
Well, unexpectedly, before the search at the belt was done, they met Hai Lian.
And everybody knew what it would mean if a mech appeared here.