Fan Qing's expression softened, as she stood up, with a smile, "Punctuality is a virtue, Mr. Guo and it looks like you possess such virtue."
"Sorry for the wait, Miss Fan," laughed Guo the chief.
"It's alright. Your squad had ventured into the darkest zone of the galaxy for our family, it would be uncourteous if we could not hold that little more anticipation. By the way, who are these, may I ask?" Said she as her glance went upon the 5 silver-masked men at the back, which one of them was rather tall while the rest were a little stout by standards, though the rest looked leaner than the tall one. Well, all 5 of them still depicted that heroic imagery.
Clearly these men were not from the Papatte formerly. Their steps were firm, which great strength could be sensed within. Fan Qing was astonished inside, though she really disliked the pretentious outfits, she did not express her feeling directly.
"These men were the newest members in our squad. And thanks to them we completed your request smoothly. My apology for their apparel, these were some weird traditions in their tribes apparently. Hahaha, since they swore a stern vow of chastity that only their legal other half could view their appearance. Tolerance would be appreciated, Miss Fan," introduced Guo. The five men were firing their glances around, mainly on the disguised bodyguards Fan Qing had around, which made her heart skip a beat.
"Aw, you are being too formal. Hah, it looks like the squad is doing really, really well. Congratulations I guess?" There were all sorts of tribes in the galaxy, while they also practiced extraordinary traditions, so she could understand that.
The truth was, it was pure cooked-up crap. A good excuse though, it was a scheme suggested by Francis Jr. - five thousands men wearing a silver mask each, with Ye Chong and the other exposed 8 members hiding within, it would be a miraculous jackpot if anyone could discern them in one glance. The masks were not as costly as the real silver but a purchase in bulk always gets more cost than discount. Thus, Ye Chong crafted his own masks for the moment, just a measly five of them, and he brought 4 men along for the meeting, whom never were exposed at Foundation before. All for the safety.
"Compliment's appreciated but we are still nothing compared to the great Fan family." Guo was real experienced in negotiation, as he made a perfect turn, "Well, Miss Fan, for the expansion of both of our families, shall we talk?"
"We have acquired the Rippling Orchid upon your request," Guo took a sip on the tea, "But the situation turned out to be... a little different than what we have imagined..." The words were slow.
"A little different? What is it I wonder?" Sounds like the catchphrase she had grown up seeing for a typical daylight robbery.
"We thought we were blessed with great fortune for we found one sprout of it. However, the Lady Luck seemed to have smiled at us that day, as we found three sprouts at a time. What a surprise." Stated Guo calmly.
"THREE?" Shrieked Fan Qing as she sprung up from her seat. Her expressive eyes were filled with incredulity.
The sudden scream alerted her guards around, as they thought something had gone wrong and rushed to her side, circling the entire scene. Meanwhile, Guo remained nonchalantly on his seat, sipping his tea, as if no other uninvited guest had joined their tea party.
Fan Qing, feeling awkward of the unnecessary alarm, waved her guards away, covering her face, "My regrets for my misconduct. And all these unnecessary staging." She wiped her sweat and regained her expression, though her heart still raced faster than ever, as her mind replayed the very scene she saw the hideous glare from one of those masked men.
"Hahaha! It's alright, caution is a long-lost virtue, Miss Fan. I do have faith in the working of Fan family." The response was prompt, though Fan Qing knew it was merely a line on the courtesy act, she kind of grew upon the man.
"I'm getting all the Rippling Orchid you have. Two million points. How do the great man think?" She was truly keen on those sprouts.
One for 500,000, and 3 for 2,000,000, sounds like a deal for me. Thought Guo as he glanced at Ye Chong, "You sure know how to do business, Miss Fan, it's an honor to trade with you. Very well, that would be it."
The quick glance by Guo was captured by Fan Qing, "Thank you for you and your impeccable squad."
One masked man came to her with a specimen cabinet. She tried seeing through the mask but she knew she should not be doing that at the moment, as she quickly withdrew her eyes back onto the cabinet, which contained exactly 3 sprouts of Rippling Orchids.
Her eyes were shaking. These barbarians actually knew to use a specimen cabinet to store these precious plants? "Your squad is much more interesting than I thought."
"HAH!" Chuckled Guo. I guess wealthy family is wealthy after all, 2 millions points vaporized and she does not seem to care. Sigh, only if I am as wealthy.
"Our squad would be heading to Planet Yi Ju. If you have any inquiry, or would like to have more deals with us, please, do not hesitate," smiled Guo brightly.
Their destination was surprising to her ears. Of all planets, Yi Ju? Why that undeveloped globe? A place without technology would be a bad nest for the squad of pilots like his. While Papatte should be more potent than I have expected, a potent squad like Papatte should be heading to a more populated planet to build their foundation. Then... why Yi Ju?
"Your plan being...?" Confused Fan Qing was.
"I understand your concern..." Smiled Guo, "We have recruited a new batch of members quite recently you see. And we would need a more spacious base for training, since we are still very lagging behind compared to most squads out there, we have to pick a less populated planet like Yi Ju. Obviously because you know... we would love to have an easier ground to stand."
"You're so modest!" Complimented Fan Qing emptily, though she did not buy that explanation.
The trade was a happy one anyway.
Two millions points were undoubtedly an astronomical figure to a single person, till it was thrown to a pack of 5000 wolves. You still thought it was still great? A single Moonlight piloted by Hai Lian would cost 30 grand, with that in the equation, 2 millions points could only get around 60 Moonlights. And Moonlight was quite a basic model too.
Well at least it was their first successful business, the tribe was happy, the squad was happy.
Let's see. A dimensional keystone would be 2,000 points. A communication device would be 3,000. The detection system though, was slightly more costly, a whopping 5,000 points. These were still the entry gears... which none of them were really superior in performance. A heartbreaking price it was to Ye Chong as he missed those days with Mu Shang's hacking to the gate.
Gearing one Collision would cost 10 grand. In the end Ye Chong decided to invest a million on gearing 100 Collisions in his hand. Technically these Collisions would be for their basic living - running missions of course. The remaining a million... well Ye Chong would not want to make a blind purchase, as he heard Guo Ren's estimated expenditure on Yi Ju - apparently even on a nearly isolated planet, building a base that could accommodate 5000 men would cost more than a million by any chance.
Where are the points when I need them? Like where?! Screamed Ye Chong inside.
He could not rush. Everything must go according to plans. Be it the search for Mu Shang or the way back to the 5 major galaxies, Ye Chong found difficulties at the moment. He got to use his patience to slowly grow his forces. He thought of Virtual World but sadly it was not a thing in He Yue seemingly, not really a common facility. The galaxy did have several servers but those were exclusive to the Aristocrats or the major squads built for their needs.
Furthermore, they did not need Virtual World somehow, the technological advancement was more advanced than the galaxies he came from, that Ye Chong even started suspecting if there would be Photon Stimulated Intelligence as powerful as Mu Shang, or better, Mu Shang was actually originated from this galaxy! Assuming those were true, it would be too risky to log into the Virtual World for now.
Tsk, Ye Chong lacked a practical way to contact Mu Shang. He got to let it go for now. Habitually his calm thoughts replaced his tensed emotions. Given that Mu Shang still survived and obviously they would, he did not have to worry for them, he should be worrying for himself in fact.
He got to ensure his survival in He Yue first - a feasible target at the moment. His situation was looking bad but he had experienced worse, so... no worries!
"Welcome to Terry City." They had arrived at Terry City, a city with a population about 3 millions. Nothing particularly fancy about it. City like this was everywhere over Planet Yi Ju. The location of Yi Ju was somewhere at one corner of the galaxy, situated towards the edge of Calamitous Asteroid Belt. That was not only the reason for its unpopularity, the resources, specifically the minerals, were considerably barren. Technologically and economically speaking, it was tragedy. Plantation farming was the sole pillar to support the economy, although the residents were fortunate to have planted a few unique fruits known to the outside world, thanks to their climate. The catch was, as far as they were from the heart of the galaxy, it would take forever to transport their crops for fortune. Merchants once showed interests but were then shunned away by the outrageous cost to even get the business running. So Yi Ju remained as barren as ever.
And Nedved woke up one morning to see a few strangers residing in his farm. With those silver masks, they really looked dubious. The entire neighborhood was gossiping the happening. Everyone knew Nedved's plan of migration, as well as the renting of his land, more importantly. They coveted this large piece of plain, with a god-saved earth in one piece. The sun and the water were both great, anything could be imagined as a good harvest.
The next thing the neighbors realized, Nedved happily left the place. The masked outsiders actually purchased the entire land, without a sound made. The neighbors were naturally gossip-lovers but they never wanted the new men to join. Even the dumb cowboy at one side could tell the masked men being potentially malicious. Their gestures, be it a wave or a swing, all of them looked rough. The time when they first came to Nedved's farm, it was as if a raid of the space pirates, thousands of mechs zoomed to his place and landed in sequence. They almost alarmed the police, till they saw old Nedved acting fine towards them.
Well, Yi Ju, as poor as it was, nobody cared about it, not even the space pirates.
Ever since the strangers arrived, they had been rooted in their home. It was as if they did not need to eat or to sleep. Right when several theories were brewing at the futile chatters in the neighborhood, a few teams of construction workers rushed into the farm and built a Great Wall enveloping the entire place. It took 10 days till the workers came out, exhausted.
So what the heck are these weirdoes doing?
Few days later, projection was made at the door. PAPATTE, the seven-lettered word was bright and clear. And everyone realized, it was actually a pilot squad joining their neighborhood.
Well, Ye Chong was worrying on his finance. His base was only half-done, while the bank account was almost empty. The saving grace was... the food here was surprisingly dirt-cheap, at least he did not have to worry how to feed 5000 mouths every day.
They got to get some works to do now. They would be starving in no time if they never headed out for new requests. So he led Guo and Sang Fan with other men, headed to the local office in Terry City.
The office was, as similar as the atmosphere of the planet itself, poorly decorated. A short building pitiful to the eyes, compared to those offices Ye Chong had seen on other planets before. It felt like he had been sent 500 years backwards. He gave a knock and entered, to see the few lazy men slothfully walking around. The billboard which contained the request? It was as numerous as those men. A pitiful few of them. The price? Don't ask it, you will cry.
But they did not seem to have much options there. Survival would be the topmost priority, while stealthiness throned the second. What's wrong if we were to live tougher? At least we are still alive and kicking? Compared to the Archipelago, this planet was heaven. On the other than, the Papatte was agreeably joining either, they had been at the bottommost of society long enough, this was their bread and butter.
The squad needed money, lots and lots and lots of money. As far as Ye Chong was informed, every man of his did not manage to fulfill their basic allocated resources. Assuming 10,000 points for each other, he would need 5 millions points, just for food and daily necessity. Ye Chong also thought of devices for mech, but every single piece of them would go by a price of 8 digits at the very least. Sigh, now thinking back, what luxury it was back when I build the Coxcomb. Three labs of three different sets of the best apparatuses, astronomically priced. And now I could not even buy a nut of it.
He consulted Guo after taking a glance at the requests on the billboard. He accepted every single request that seemed doable at the moment, which most of them required a dense man force, doing some obsolete works with pitiful pay - that had justified why no squad on Yi Ju would want to do them.
Nevertheless, Ye Chong did not lack the man force. His men were bored either as they succumbed to continuous training to kill the time, fortunately they had the walls to keep them low, so they would not give heart attacks to the elderlies next door. The victims, most likely wold be Francis Jr. and his mates, as they felt like a lamb into a pen of wolves. This was because Sang Pu could not bear to see their incapability in even the most basic combats so he forced them into training.
And that, was how, the miserable tales of Francis Jr. and his happy mates began.
In front of one anomaly, you would feel plain; In front of fifty? You probably feel why you existed.
Sang Fan and the rest remained loitering at the city to try finding some fortune, while Ye Chong headed back to the base alone.