Guo was blushing while his balloon-headed friend shouted, "Because of money, what else? Who else would come to this cursed place?"
"All of you actually took a request here?" Hai Lian could not believe his ears as his eyes went wide. Did they really disregard their capabilities and took up a deadly request here? Hai Lian had been a freelancer long enough to understand the working of the billboard. Every single request associated with the Calamitous Asteroid Belt was immediately ignored by most sane people, as those requests were easily the most dangerous requests ever. Nobody would take those. Wow these men actually came all the way here to die? Not even the elites of the major squads would have the courage to accept the request.
Look what poverty had done to humanity. Save poverty, people!
"Mhm, pretty much." Nodded Guo helplessly, "We are just here for a plant called the Rippling Orchid but sigh... laugh all you want, we are hobos you see. We would be disbanding in starvation if we never take up any more request."
"I see. Now that explains it." Nodded Hai Lian, who was informed about the competitiveness in the market, but he simply did not imagine it to be this tedious.
"Excuse me, what is this thing you called 'Rippling Orchid'?" asked Sang Fan in curiosity.
"A decorative plant. Not much of value." No one would have expected the answer to come from Ye Chong.
It was surprisingly to hear it from Ye Chong as he did not look like the kind who would admire the beauty of decorative plants. Not even elderlies like Guo and his men had heard of this goofy Rippling Orchid in their life before taking up the request.
Well, Ye Chong was still an alchemist and that encyclopedia given by Lunatic Guan had all the records he needed, including Rippling Orchid, which he had remembered by heart. The entry for Rippling Orchid was brief though, it seemed to be a material to produce hallucinogen? That was an overrated plant indeed. Commented Ye Chong, as he thought this hard-to-find plant was too demotivating for its capability. He could simply name a few other plants which were more common and would do probably the same as Rippling Orchid.
"Who said it is not much of value! A sprout of Rippling Orchid could cost 50,000 points!" Argued Francis Jr., blushed.
"Fifty thousands what?" Screamed everybody. How much are fifty thousand points you asked? Hai Lian was already stunned upon knowing Sang Fan's Lavagold dagger being priced at 30,000 points. And that little plant for ornamental purpose could go for 50,000 points?
And people began coveting this plant, even Ye Chong was feeling a sudden urge. How in the world! Would this stupid plant! Worth 50,000 points!? How many mechs do I need to sell to even get 50,000 points?!
To be frank, all of them were practically hobos, be it Ye Chong and the Sangs or the Papatte. They were so poor that they would want to sell themselves.
"This is the Rippling Orchid," said Guo as he projected the visual of the plant.
A tender little sprout with thick broad leaves flipping like a gentle breeze, the slender stem was colorful, the petals too were unique, as they were forming a perfect circle, with lines over them like ripples.
Okay, that's a good-looking flower. Still, how! In the world! It would! Worth 50,000 points?!
"Is it near?" asked Ye Chong, since the encyclopedia did not state the habitation of Rippling Orchid.
"Yes, according to the info given by the requester. The last sprout was discovered in this area, so we came to try our luck,"
"Sang Pu, send half of our men to find this plant," ordered Ye Chong as his pointed at the visual. 50,000 points, you got to be kidding me, I am so getting this plant. Thought Ye Chong. It would be a dangerous request for mere folks, but it would be simple for Ye Chong.
"Yes sir." Nodded Sang Pu agreeably. Being the frontline commander of the 5000 men, he was manically passionate over armory but any piece inside the armory would require currencies, which soon he redirected his focus onto finances instead.
Everyone of Papatte had joined Sang Pu to search for Rippling Orchid other than Guo.
There remained about two thousand men resting at the spot. They had been traveling nonstop for the past few days and they would certainly take this golden opportunity to leave their cabin at once and have some good old-fashioned face-to-face conversations without having to shout. There were still a few skeptical ones stuck in their cabin though. Soon the Sangs formed a lively crowd of chatters, where they would sit in circles, eagerly proceeded with their recreational activity - Wrestling. As much as the word had implied, it basically suggested a game of hand-to-hand combat between anyone in interest within the circle.
Traveling in the space with the most fundamental facilities was absolutely boring them to death. And finally they got the chance to have fun, the wrestling session was intense, there were screams and overjoyed hurrahs.
The changes in the Guo's expression were grabbing the interest of Ye Chong, it was rather dramatic to his taste as it literally underwent a metamorphosis from grimness to surprise to disbelief.
It did feel like a dream for Guo the Old Chief as he watched the group of people started fighting on each other in a simple stage they created with their formation. It was not a nightmare but it was not a pleasant dream either.
The two men in the circle were demonstrating astonishing techniques. He simply did not foresee to witness great practitioners right here! Those skills, Guo - although he did not wield even the standard moves - could confidently state them to be of the level of the top few most pilots in the major squads, only the top few, a tiny handful of them. And there he was, seeing a random two persons from a 5000 army of nowhere doing superior martial arts techniques.
He thought it was the nature's law of strongest to the weak.
But the following participants were sending him more shockers.
He almost could feel his cheek twitching.
The combat remained as intense as ever with the following entries.
How the... Guo could not process what was happening. Don't tell me all of them just so happened to be the greatest fighters? Thought Guo as he looked at the wrestling men in blank dismay. 2000 greatest fighters? Two thousands of them? At here? Guo wanted to deny his speculation but the reality seemed to be what he exactly speculated.
He tried shrugging such terrifying thought off.
"Sir..." He shot a glance, with much consideration, "About our base... where... umm is it?" He carefully asked.
"Base? What base? We don't have a base." A direct answer from Ye Chong, there was no hesitation from his side.
"No base?" Stunned Guo was, his mouth widely opened. Did you just tell me that you travelled with 5000 men around the galaxy without a base? Even the space pirates have a place to rest their voyages, how?
"Hah... I see...," replied Guo wryly, "While Papatte is a mere squad with no base as well, I wonder where sir would like to take a rest on?"
"The Gray Valley. That's our planned destination," stated Ye Chong flatly.
"Gray Valley?" Guo's face was colorless, "You can't go there. It's too dangerous!"
"I see? Very dangerous?" asked Ye Chong interestingly.
"Yes, very dangerous!" Asserted Guo, "I once have a mate who travelled there. He was a way better fighter than me but the moment he got there, he seemed to have vanished. The next time I was heard of him was about his death three months later. And he's the third dead person among my mates." Guo was grim.
"This dangerous?" Ye Chong was shocked. Frankly speaking, Ye Chong had seen quite a few pilots in Foundation city and all of them were quite strong in his opinion, even when put under comparison with those pilots from the 5 major galaxies he came. If the mortality remained that high even with their skills, the Gray Valley would be indeed dangerous.
"Yes sir. No one would understand the deadliness of the Gray Valley unless they had set foot upon it. Did sir once have a dispute with any of the Aristocrats?" asked Guo strangely, since technically only those who showed indifference or had bad blood once with the Aristocrats would head to the Gray Valley.
"Well... only the three major ones I supposed," stated Ye Chong indifferently.
Only? The three aristocrats? Of all families this man actually picked a fight with the three greatest ones in the entire galaxy? And it did not sound like it was merely a case with one or two families judging by his wording. But well, Guo never knew the very culprit who had caused a war between the 8 Jie experts and the 3 aristocrats was standing right in front of him. This was because he got misled by the number of Jie experts involved. There were 8 of them in the case, and 8, for Jie experts, was more than enough to cause an evacuation in the local galaxy.
So did this guy hold 5000 Jie experts in the dark?
Guo felt he had snapped at some point.
"Maybe we could head for alternatives... like a more backward planet?" suggested Guo.
Ye Chong was sending a stare that Guo was feeling the chill again, "Technically..." He quickly elaborated himself, "The forces of the Aristocrats might be very influential but not influential enough to affect the entire galaxy. There should be a few underdeveloped planets which aren't really aware of the Aristocrats. We could go there for now. As long as we be careful, the residents, the Aristocrats shouldn't be alarmed." As he explained he could feel his nervousness fading away.
Ye Chong started pondering.
"With our strength, yes, it might not be a problem if we wanted to explore the Gray Valley, but..." He glanced at Ye Chong, "We lacked one essential - funds. Yes, I admit I do not know much about the inside of Gray Valley but I know our operation won't work anywhere in the galaxy as long as we have nothing in our wallet."
"You made some points," nodded Ye Chong approvingly, since his men were armed with the most fundamental model of mechs. The Sangs might be formidable against the beasts but not against humanity. Humans were eventually the smarter opponent than the beasts. Ye Chong could not guarantee a victory if they were to face a group of real pilots out there.
It would in fact be a bad timing to go Gray Valley at the moment.
Seeing how Ye Chong was showing approval, Guo was not feeling the slightest pride. He was bewildered instead, as realizing the motive of this mysterious group being not joining any forces but to make an escape. Sighs, his bad day did not seem to be ending just yet. He did not have a choice however, if he showed anything else than cooperation, he knew what could happen to him.
Maybe this would still be a better path than handling all those tedious works leading a bunch of unmotivated squad members himself.
"Sir! Sir! We have found it! We found the flower!" Sang Pu's voice was expressing joy.
Fan Qing rested on her fluffy seat, as her dreamy eyes set upon the green tea engulfed within the columns of evaporations. The scent travelled through the air and tickled her senses. She was waiting for someone and that someone had about 30 minutes left till the time of their meeting. She came earlier anyway, it was her habit being proactive in an exchange after all.
She thought back the investigation on Papatte Squad. She researched the squad to discover the fact that it turned out to be a tiny squad consisted about 80 men, while also performing rather mediocrely in their records. She even checked out the list of requests they had completed before, which most of them turned out the most basic, simplest child's play in her eyes. A half-star rating also justified the fact that they were just some rowdy ruffs from nowhere.
Being discouraged by the facts, she started to forget about her request. Probably only the hobos would go for the mission when they were starving on their last few meals.
And then she got a notification from the squad itself.
She was being skeptical the whole time. It was an underwhelming squad handling an overwhelming mission, chances are they should not be surviving at all. But she in fact got a notification from them. Although she believed these little rascals would not have the courage to mess with the Fan family she belonged, she prepared a cluster of guards around the corner anyway.
She took a look at the time. 5 minutes till meeting and nobody was there. Fan Qing frowned, being one who abided by time, she disgraced the late comers.
One more minute.
Nobody was there.
I am leaving the moment this last minute ticked. I'm not going to wait.
30 seconds left.
Her expression was stern as she took a careful sip on her tea. Her men at the corners were showing anxiety upon seeing that expression of hers. It was a definite anger and everyone knew what would happen when you enraged the influential figure of an influential family.