But he must admit, he nearly dropped his jaws upon seeing the mech of the leader.
Skeleton mech? Am I seeing things? Is that really a skeleton mech? Oh my gosh... I actually witness the legendary mech with my own eyes. Yes, some may argue that skeleton mech isn't really the strongest, but I am convinced the fact that the mech represents the top of a certain field, a master craftsmanship. As far as I know, almost every aristocrat who came to me mentioned about their research on skeleton mechs, though I have yet heard any successful attempt from them.
So who exactly are these people? Hai Lian was shocked, he could imagine and he swore that, if this information was leaked to the outside world, it would send fire to all the medias of the entire galaxy.
These flying "objects" were looking odd to Hai Lian on the other hand, although his instinct told him to not look down upon them. As a freelancing hunter he had been talking to the beasts with his fist, so he was rather familiar with the skeletons. These flying objects must be formidable in some way as he had heard about stories of a person massively purchasing skeletons in the market back then, and as far as he eavesdropped, these materials seemed to be used for production of skeleton parts.
And at the black market of Nine Gates, there was a batch of skeleton parts quietly flowed into the market once. Almost every piece of them was astronomically priced. That was the first time an actual piece of skeleton part appeared in the eyes of humanity, different from its theoretical debut back then. Even though those were merely skeleton accessories, they had once again rekindled the interests of humanity towards skeleton crafts, which led to an inflation at the market. Hai Lian probably benefited from it the most. As a hunter he had a storage of skeletons, he could feel that happiness of his wallet exploding, the figure on his identity card ticking endlessly back then.
A few pieces of accessories were enough to stir up a rampage in the market. Now, imagine they saw a complete skeleton mech in front of them. I wonder how they would react? Maybe like the thrashing during the time when Galacly Gaga appeared. Hai Lian was pretty looking forward to it.
Of course such thought was merely a whim rolling in his head. He would never word it. He expected himself to express full respect towards this very leader of the strange tribe., especially when he could feel pierced by the leader's cold gaze. The leader's brows laid flat like his tone. It was a fear to overcome for him to lay his eyes upon the leader.
These were some horrible barbarians. It must be the hidden troops trained by one of the aristocrats! I could tell from every gesture they made, okay, I am getting scared. I started to lose track of the happening, I could not really tell which aristocrat could own such major troops, other than the greatest three - Xue Lai clan, the Ye family, the Xi Feng Tribe, but it would not make sense! None of those aristocrats possess a skeleton mech!
And there were skeleton flying objects. 5000 of them! Such a budget! Seriously no other aristocrat could invest such a fortune. The colors though... those were contradicting my assumption. As far as I know, the Xue Lai clan adores the color white, whereas the Ye family prefers the color black and the Xi Feng tribe has a thing for green. Those colors also happen to be the representation of the three aristocrats, which they would use to paint their mechs. But these skeleton flying objects were a mess! They do not have a standard color, it felt like I was caught by a group of underperforming troops or something! There are all sorts of colors, and some of them are even painted in patches of green and red, like a poorly done reskined mech from the wet market. Yet... their behaviors were showing otherwise. They are solemn and stern, with convincing discipline. Anyone with eyes could tell they had undergone a long period of military training.
Those eyes though, were very frightening to my sense. They were still, like too still, forceful which sometimes a glare of their shrunken pupils would make my heart run cold. Archipelago is known to be the most tedious place for humanity yet these men... these Sang villagers I heard? They survived from the slaughters from generation to generation. I also heard they had a severe war with Steelbats days ago, I know those Steelbats, they were terrifying, how in the Archipelago they handled the uncontrolled avifauna?
Ye Chong and the tribe were not really aware of this so-called frightening stares and aura, it probably was a lingering fearsomeness because of the war back then. But it was enough to give a mind crush to Hai Lian.
Okay, obviously, Hai Lian, these men were not the kind civilized one you would have expected. Yikes! Those stares! Stop it!
In reality, it was all Hai Lian's imagination. The entire tribe surrounded him as he was the first new outsider after the teacher's arrival. No doubt they would be all alarmed and curious.
Hey! Hey! What do you want to do with me? Where do you want me to go?
Hai Lian was called to the side by Ye Chong.
"What exactly is this place?" asked Ye Chong.
Dammit you Archipelagoose! Quit playing games with me! If you want to tease your enemy, do it properly! I had never felt so insulted in my entire life! Do you think I'm a fool? If there was anybody in the galaxy who claimed to be unaware of the Calamitous Asteroid Belt, I would be piloting my mech and - with pleasure - crashed my head right into that fella! You Archipelagoose! Try playing games with me again and you- "This place, sir, is known as the Calamitous Asteroid Belt." Stated Hai Lian with wholehearted courtesy.
It was not the first day Hai Lian went on his little adventure, he would never show his true dissatisfaction to an enemy with fearsome appearance.
Ye Chong was finding the name pretty foreign. He tried searching the term in his mind - nope, no result. "So what galaxy are we in exactly?" asked he again.
I said stop playing games with me! Ughhhh! There's a reason I call you an Archipelagoose you twerp! I swear I am going to- "This, sir, is known as the He Yue galaxy."
"He Yue... what?" Flinched Ye Chong, the name rang a bell. But... He Yue galaxy was not from any of the 5 major galaxies...
"Mister, did you just mention He Yue galaxy? We are in He Yue galaxy?" Sang Pu, alarmed, asked frantically, which was intriguing to Ye Chong as Sang Pu had been all calm and steady till this statement toppled his rationality.
"Duh! Where else? The Blackhole?" responded Hai Lian, on a leak of his temper. Well, you love games, don't you? Just carry on messing with my mind, come on. Wait, what did I just say? Oh no... dear Hai Lian, you know that your life was still in their hands, don't you?
"He Yue galaxy? He Yue galaxy...," muttered Sang Pu, "Oh my lord, is this true? We had actually found our root a long time ago?" The villagers were stupefied.
And only Ye Chong recalled by then, the ancestor of the Sang tribe once migrated from He Yue galaxy to Archipelago. All these while he had been assuming the He Yue galaxy being an old name of one galaxy of the current 5 major galaxies. But now this man's statement seemed to be telling otherwise. So there was actually another galaxy than the 5 major galaxies?
Hai Lian stared at these men, confused. Their expression seemed to be joyful but not really at the same time... they did not seem to be acting though. Are they really not from He Yue? I clearly heard that mature man mentioning about He Yue being their root... so ... maybe...
"How far is He Yue from the 5 major galaxies?" Ye Chong was more concerned on this.
"Five what? What Five major galaxies?" Hai Lian was looking at Ye Chong in bewilderment.
Aha! My hypothesis was right! I knew it! These men are not from He Yue at all! But assuming they really were from He Yue, probably they are some hidden elite troops trained by the aristocrat, who ventured into the Calamitous Asteroid Belt and disguised their transportation with camouflage. They should be on some kind of top secret mission, oh no, and I actually butted in. To keep the mission as a secret, they would have to kill me!!!
Luckily, Hai Lian, they were not from He Yue. Phew, I could finally flex my muscles. But frankly speaking, I am really curious of their origin. Man, I'm such a chicken at this, I could not even lift my mouth and ask. I guess, for now I should be as cooperative as possible.
Sang Pu was truly the successor to the leader, he regained his thoughts quickly and began inquiring more details of He Yue. He was more sensible in this than Ye Chong.
Of course Hai Lian was fully cooperative, answering those inquiries without hesitation.
Apparently, He Yue galaxy did not have its own government. It was currently torn between forces. It was complicated as not only there were numerous forces but also a vast number of freelancing hunting pilots joining and forming different forces at the same time, truly chaotic. And among them, the three great aristocrats were most outstanding - Xue Lai clan, Ye family, Xi Feng tribe, with their advancement in technologies as well as great battle capabilities. The catch was, these aristocrats, other than being in their respective region, were not as influential as the people outside would imagine.
Sang Pu was all ears, and he asked a few questions from time to time.
"Thank you very much," sighed Hai Lian in a relief upon hearing the loving phrase. His wit suggested the fact that these men indeed lacked even the basic understanding of He Yue galaxy. They surely would need a guide.
Well that sounds like my safety charm! Sigh! Goodbye freedom, Hai Lian, you are eventually a bird trapped in the cage. It's easy to say no right in the face of those pampered Aristocrats, but these are the barbarians, they would grind me for dinner if I dare to even shake my head!
In his galaxy, the outside world, none of those forces would suppress the freelancing pilots. In He Yue certainly, the greatest force consisted of the freelancing pilots like Hai Lian, since they easily outnumbered the 3 Aristocrats, which justified the fact that Hai Lian was still standing there under captive despite all the snobbish "No" he rubbed on the faces of those Aristocrats.
But obviously these barbarians would never understand the fact that I'm an endangered species. Hai Lian you would be an ignorant bull if you would die simply because of a "No".
Sang Pu then asked his men to lead Hai Lian to somewhere else after the interrogation.
"So, what do we do next? Should we migrate again? Ask all our brothers and sisters to go back to our root?" They then had a discussion.
"Sir, how do you see?" asked Sang Pu, with his expression as passionate as the folks by his side. It had to be the greatest wish for the Sangs to return to He Yue galaxy, especially when it was near.
"We could think about that later. We have no idea how the place here looks," declined Ye Chong. "Bringing everyone out could become an issue easily. We should scout the place first, then we build a base, we would consider about the migration after all the conditions had been met. Well, for now you could go back and spread the happy news to everybody at least."
Ye Chong might not be the most charismatic leader yet, but his decision-making was more mature than before.
"True, sir!" His idea was approved by everybody. Their tribe had been staying in the Archipelago for generations, they had hardly seen the outside world, and only Ye Chong had the actual societal experience, so, one would of course listen to the experienced.
"Go! Go and tell them we found home!" Sang Pu sent 10 men to spread the words.
Ye Chong began pondering, as he confirmed the fact that there were indeed more galaxies beyond the 5 major galaxies, judging from the words of Hai Lian. A complete zone of foreignness...
Ye Chong began wondering if Mu Shang might happen to be there with the Coxcomb. He discarded the idea quickly however, as he realized the probability was too measly for that to happen. The figure would further decrease assuming he would go on a search boldly at this foreign world.
Only if they were lost in the 5 major galaxies. Ye Chong would be sure of what to do. He just had to log into the Virtual World and let Mu discover and trace his energy signal.
Will I see Mu Shang again?? Sighed Ye Chong in his mind.
But first, I have better things to do. I should at least ensure my survival to even be able to meet them again. I knew nothing else than the hand-on-hand, I got to learn.
I start to miss Shang's overindulgence, at least Shang's superior knowledge and diabolic nature would be close to my capabilities. The others... well they needed my help more... Helplessly Ye Chong took the flag of leadership, since that seemed to be the most probable move to make for now.
Luckily we got a tour guide.
"Bring Hai Lian."
Ye Chong called Hai Lian to the front and mentioned his request.
As expected! Thought Hai Lian, not like I have any choice though. So the free-unfree hunter accepted the request without much hesitation.
Ye Chong, suddenly had Shang's voice echoed in his mind, "Remember, Ye, whenever the enemies agreed to your need, you should return the favor. Fair trade is fair. It's a principle of life." Well then...
"Since you have accepted our request, similarly, as a fair trade, we would pay you with a price accordingly. So, tell us, what do you wish for?" The principle of life is the very basic law of human interaction, emphasized Shang. Even though Ye Chong could not guarantee to when and what extend he would abide by that principle, he would at least try learning it, since he was in fact the one sitting on the throne leading the people at the moment.
Sang Pu and his men were looking at Sir oddly, as they believed the so-called price was unnecessary at all, since any resource in Archipelago would be as precious as a living necessity, plus Hai Lian had technically been enslaved by them, whatever he had performed should be unwaged.
An inexperienced beast leading a group of incomprehensible beasts - the best summary it was for Ye Chong's current team perhaps.
A joyful twist in Hai Lian's show. It looked like his script did not end just there, since there was no need for a fill-in-the-blank promise in this scene! Such a charismatic man! Complimented Hai Lian. But well, the hunter's mind schemed faster than the wind, as he said, "Thank you sir for your greatest kindness, however it would be more helpful if I could know what the lord could offer at his convenience..."