Ye Chong listened closely as the blonde man continued.
"No one really knows how many elite mech pilots there are, but there should be a couple dozen. You know, once you reach a certain level of skill, it’s hard to know who’s better than who. Moreover, judging a mech pilot’s strength is no easy task. We’re looking at piloting skills, mech models used, the interplay between these two factors, and the pilot’s tactical skills and so on. Yeah, battle tactics are very important. Most strong mech pilots are good at strategizing, but some are better than others. You heard of Arwa before?" The blonde man asked.
"No," Ye Chong answered truthfully. He noticed that the blonde man’s chattering had attracted a crowd around him.
"Ah, I knew you wouldn’t know him. Brother, this is unacceptable. Look at you, so young and all, how can you be so ignorant? You should go to a school, get a good education, or you’ll be the butt of everyone’s joke and easily taken advantage of," The blonde man advised sincerely.
"Arwa is a mysterious man of skills. Rumor has it that his mech is only a normal advanced level mech, but he’s a real tactical genius. He brings tactical skills to a whole new level. Besides, he’s a real good pilot, and frequently won against opponents stronger than himself. One of his most famous battles is the one with Ye Yin, where he managed to retreat completely unscathed. Ye Yin has one of the best mechs in the galaxy. This was also the only time Ye Yin did not win. Ever since then, Arwa’s reputation skyrocketed, placing him side by side with other elite mech pilots. Almost every aristocratic family tried to recruit him, but he rejected them all. Hehe, he’s the hero of us common people."
Arwa was obviously a famous character. A few young people gathering around him howled in agreement. Of course, there were some who showed disdain on their faces instead. These people were mostly from rich families.
"Later, it was said that Arwa had went to Gray Valley. Hah, he must be the best mech pilot in Gray Valley now!" The blonde man was obviously a huge fan of Arwa.
"Humph, best mech pilot in Gray Valley? What a joke!" Someone commented coolly from the crowd. Ye Chong looked towards the source of this voice, and found an arrogant looking long-haired man.
"What?" The blonde man and other fans of Arwa glared angrily at the long-haired man.
"Hua, don’t speak nonsense," a middle-aged man standing beside the younger long-haired man reprimanded him sternly, and quickly apologized to the crowd, "Please forgive us, my friend is only joking, please don’t take him seriously." The long-haired man called Hua looked unrepentant, but was pushed down onto his seat by the middle-aged man.
The middle-aged man did not look particularly memorable, his calm face was the image of a nice guy. His gray suit made him look like a gentleman. His steady demeanor and calm personality made him easy to get along with. However, Ye Chong noticed his hands, the wide palms covered with calluses. The man’s wrists were covered by his sleeves, but Ye Chong could see that his hands must be very strong.
The middle-aged man seemed to sense Ye Chong’s attention.
His hands jerked almost imperceptibly, but Ye Chong saw it anyway. The other man began to study Ye Chong as well. Their eyes met, and the middle-aged man smiled to Ye Chong. Ye Chong nodded back. He was not worried about exposing his own strength. Due to his physical peculiarities, his harsh training barely left a trace in his actual physique. Even the calluses on his hands would disappear very quickly.
The blonde man seemed to lose interest in his storytelling after the long-haired man’s interruption. Ye Chong regretted it. The blonde man was an interesting narrator. Ye Chong had learned much from his stories. He kept the names of the mech pilots introduced to him close to his heart.
Schools were not such a bad place. The simple environment reminded Ye Chong of his days in Blue Ocean Academy. He had learned plenty from that place, but was rudely interrupted by Black Cove. The thought of Black Cove brought Ye Chong’s mind back to the Ye Family. What a troublesome place!
However, Ye Chong quickly dropped that line of thought. He now realized that he lacked even the most basic common knowledge around here. If he just went out to investigate as he was now, the chances of him being successful would be less than five percent.
Hence, Ye Chong did not rush himself. Now was the time to learn more about this society. This place was entirely different from the Five Galaxies, and a place that he had to live in for the moment. To return to the Five Galaxies would require getting involved with the Three Aristocratic Families, and he could not afford to do that right now. He would have to live in He Yue galaxy for the foreseeable future. Hence, it would make more sense for him to learn how to live a better life here.
Ye Chong did a quick calculation in his mind. His talented mind was now functioning like an efficient photon processor, cool and precise. He did not act impulsively while trying to find out more about his real identity. Unlike other people, Ye Chong’s upbringing had allowed him to view his problem from a very different perspective.
It would not matter if he was really related to the Ye Family. Ye Chong did not feel a sense of belonging with the Ye Family. To him, he would rather spend more time to investigate about his Papa. Papa was his real family. He cared about Papa, about Mu and Shang, about Grandpa Qian, about Nan Nan, about Hei Zi. Compared to these people, the Ye Family was too unfamiliar to him. Ye Chong only wanted to know who his real parents were. That was all. The rest was of no consequence to him.
Ye Chong soon stopped thinking about the matter. Since he had made a decision, he should just act accordingly.
Just then, the starship began to decelerate. While the deceleration was gradual, Ye Chong was sensitive enough to speed that he detected it straight away.
"Huh, why’d they start the inspection here?" The blonde man hummed to himself.
"Inspection for what?" Ye Chong could not help but asked.
The blonde man explained with a low voice, "Zhou Jian is a commercial planet, and they’re wary of troublemakers visiting. There are some crazy fools who’d wreak havoc once they landed on Zhou Jian. The inspection here is more laxed, and intended for these troublemakers. In other places, especially where the aristocrats stay, they’d be more unwelcoming towards Gray Valley residents."
Ye Chong nodded, understanding. If any fool were to carelessly cause destruction on the planet, the effects would be devastating.
Soon, a group of officers in blue uniforms boarded the ship. Ye Chong found many of them to be combat experts. In this irregular and narrow space, combat experts would have the upper hand against mech pilots.
The passengers on the starship were all familiar with this kind of inspection, and produced their identity cards cooperatively. Ye Chong was skeptical of the effectiveness of this inspection, since He Yue galaxy’s identity card management system was quite messy. Ye Chong’s identity card was bought with 30 thousand credits at Yi Ju planet, and it was an authentic card, complete with a background history for him. Old Chief Guo’s connections in the local community had enabled him to deal with this matter easily.
"Is this inspection effective?" Ye Chong asked, curious.
"Not really," The blonde man shrugged in reply. "It’s just to make you feel safe."
When it came to his turn, Ye Chong passed the inspection without any hiccups. The officer did not even bother to look at him. It was the middle-aged man and the long-haired man who got into some trouble.
"You’re from Gray Valley?" The Inspector, head of the officers, looked at the identity card offered by the middle-aged man and frowned. The long-haired man was immediately offended by the head officer’s expression, his hostile glare at the Inspector earning him unfriendly looks from the other officers back in return.
"Yes, that’s right," the middle-aged man answered calmly.
The Inspector stopped his officers’ hostile behavior and steadily said , "We’re all commoners here, and hold no ill will towards Gray Valley. I hope your friend will stay in line, since there are many aristocrats around here. I hope you’ll not get into trouble with them. That would be very troublesome for us officers."
The middle-aged man bowed slightly and said, "Please don’t worry, we’ll not cause trouble." He patted the long-haired man’s shoulder, and the hostility in his gaze slowly died down.
"Gray Valley … So they are from Gray Valley," Ye Chong thought to himself. Gray Valley residents were secretive, and never spoke of that place when they were outside. Rumor has it that Gray Valley people were strong, but he did not know exactly how strong these two were.
"No wonder, they’re from Gray Valley," the blonde man exclaimed in realization.
The inspection ended quickly. No troublemakers were identified. The starship was allowed to enter Zhou Jian’s airspace.
Ye Chong had randomly picked a starship to switch to earlier. It did not matter which city he ended up in, so there was no need to worry about it. He only knew from the blonde man that Zhou Jian was a commercial planet.
Commercial planets were convenient. Communication was easy, and many products were available in the market. Ye Chong was now in urgent need of a few items. Perhaps he could get them here. Besides, commercial planets were usually easier to move freely about. Commercial planets were the meeting points for various powers, so the aristocrats would be more careful in these places.
For someone like Ye Chong, who wanted to get familiar with life in He Yue galaxy as soon as possible, it was a good choice of location. "Looks like I got lucky," Ye Chong thought to himself.
A blue plane came into view. Against the dark, enigmatic space around it, the average-sized planet seemed to teem with life.
He glanced at the middle-aged man, and found him smiling back warmly at him. The long-haired man beside him seemed more excited now.
The starship made its slow way towards the planet of Zhou Jian. Ye Chong looked out of the observation window, lost in his own thoughts.