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Chapter 342: Blue Nebula
The starship had many mechanical arms installed to ensure a safe flight through the planetary ring. The arms made the ship look like a mining ship. By carefully clearing its flight path of floating rocks, Cornerstone slowly navigated through the planetary ring. The young boy’s bodyguards worked skillfully, as expected.
Ye Chong contacted his base. Nothing much changed with Sang Pu and the rest. Ye Chong did not tell them of his situation, only saying that he had matters to attend to, and would only return to the base much later. He also emphasized that he would be unable to reach them for a long time, and would leave all decisions to Sang Pu. Everyone back at the base was training hard, and did not even have time to guess what was happening to Ye Chong. However, even if they did find out, they would not be able to help. That was the main reason Ye Chong chose to keep them in the dark.
The long flight was dull and uninteresting. Fei Si had already taken over the alchemy laboratory, spending most of her time in that place. She was studying the information in the blue chip.
"Your design is alright, and workable. However …" Old Jalopy knitted his brows together as he stared at Ye Chong’s design schematics on the holographic screen. "Are you sure that this flying vessel is good for assault? Its means of attack are too inflexible." The holographic screen was showing a Collision mech.
"If it’s flying fast enough, and can negotiate turns easily, it can be a good weapon," Ye Chong explained.
"It puts too much stress on the pilot!" Old Jalopy shook his head.
"Then we’ll improve the pilot’s physique." There was no need to worry about the physique of the Sang Tribe’s members.
"Simple physical collision would require a strong material for the vessel," Old Jalopy continued with disapproval.
"Oh, don’t worry about that, I’ve just the right material." Skeletons born out of Archipelago’s strong gravity has excellent physical properties.
"Alright, I’ll give it a go," Old Jalopy hesitated for a moment before nodding.
With assistance from a lecture specialized in ancient machinery, the Collision mech would definitely be improved. Ye Chong took the opportunity to stay close as Old Jalopy worked. The old man was surprised by his actions. Ancient machinery was a forgotten knowledge, it was his first time seeing someone expressing so much interest in the field. As someone who had dedicated his life to studying ancient machinery, nothing could make him happier than this. He was more than willing to share his thoughts and skills.
Ye Chong seized the opportunity to absorb all the new knowledge, often bringing in questions of his own. The young boy would sometimes come to join them, but he would quickly curl his lips in distaste and say, "Ancient machinery is so much more impractical than even photon circuitry." Ye Chong did not bother to explain himself.
Rui Bing did her own training everyday. From the first day since she began combat training under her father, she had never skipped her sessions. Persistence was the main reason that allowed her to attain Jie. On the contrary, Rui Su who had more innate talent was only an average combat expert. Ye Chong passed on everything he had on the Sanctuary’s meditation practice and mentalists to her, hoping that it would help her. Ye Chong was always generous to his comrades.
Everyone stared on the holographic screen, holding their breath. On the holographic screen was a small fleet of starships, about 500 kilometers away from them. 500 kilometers in outer space was like a brush on the shoulder walking on the streets. There were 30 starships in the fleet, with mechs flying around them as security.
Everyone was tensed up. If they were discovered, or if any of the ships decided to shoot in Cornerstone’s direction, they were doomed for sure.
Cornerstone flew slowly along its path. They did not accelerate, for fea

r of gathering attention.
Time seemed to slow down. All of them felt very anxious. This was a test of one’s mental fortitude.
Time passed, second by second.
As the starship disappeared from view, everyone heaved a sigh of relief. They had passed their first hurdle. Even Ye Chong was feeling a little nervous just now, much less the rest of them. Those with lesser determination were now all exhausted from the tension.
A looming threat caused even more tension than an immediate danger.
"We really entering the nebula?" Old Jalopy asked softly, his brows furrowed with worry.
Ye Chong nodded. "Yes, we’re going in!" His voice was calm but determined. He could not think of any other way to leave the quarantined planet, Zhou Jian. If they did not leave now and met with the Three Aristocratic Families, the situation would be dire.
Ye Chong was not confident that his disguised face was enough to trick the Three Aristocratic Families. Every encounter with the Three Aristocratic Families spelled danger for him. That was why Ye Chong needed to leave Zhou Jian as soon as possible.
Rui Bing did not mind where they went. She only hoped to stay by Ye Chong’s side. Rui Bing caressed Guardian’s ring on her finger, and her eyes softened. Rui Bing said nothing, so the rest of them kept their silence. The young boy was excited about entering the nebular, but his bodyguards all looked worried.
As they entered the nebula, Cornerstone shook violently, slowing down even more into a snails pace. Ye Chong quickly ordered for the rocks used for camouflage to be expelled. Cornerstone immediately picked up speed.
"Activate the optical systems," Old Jalopy reminded him, "Holographic systems are no use here." He added, "All comms systems are useless here, but the interstellar positioning system is still usable." If the interstellar positioning system was active, then retreat would be an available option when necessary.
Ye Chong and the rest did not know that, just five hours after they went in, the starship fleets of Three Aristocratic Families would pass by close to where they entered the nebula.
The nebula stretched on endlessly, reaching farther than an ocean. Within the nebula, stars would shine through the thin blue mist of the nebula like jewels on blue satin, dazzling with all their radiance.
The nebula was completely different from the Red Sea that Ye Chong had encountered before. The Red Sea was like a red mist that would eventually turn thicker and stickier. The nebula, however, was like an illusory veil that surrounded the starship in all directions.
The nebulae was like a dreamy mist, with tiny dots of sparkling lights scattered about.
Soon, Cornerstone grew familiar with the territory and flew faster. The nebula did not seem to affect the ship.
"It’s possible to do a warp jump in the nebula, but we have to first find the warp jump point from last time," said Old Jalopy.
"Uncle Jalopy, how did you manage to find this warp jump point?" Fei Si was curious about this.
The question struck a sad chord within Old Jalopy. His expression sobered as he said, "We met a Xue Lai Clan starship last time. They were brutes, firing on us like that. We were not match for them, so we had to run, but they’re ship was much better than ours. They were about to reach us when we decided to make a warp jump.
"I thought we were dead, but the Heavens had given us a surprise of sorts, sending us to the natural space zone."
The young boy agreed. "Grandpa’s right, aristocrats like the Xue Lai Clan are all good for nothing!" He waved his little fists around, as if he was also angry for Old Jalopy.
Old Jalopy was gratified, and stroked the boy’s head lovingly. The young boy enjoyed the show of affection, his eyes turning into slits like a satisfied cat. The young boy’s bodyguards all felt awkward, and some even smiled wryly. The man with the blade scars standing beside the boy, however, maintained expressionless.
Old Jalopy continued his tale like he was telling it to his grandson. The young boy rested his head on his hands as he listened closely.
"The nebula was beautiful. We always admired its beauty from the outside, but it’s when we’re inside that I can see that it’s much more beautiful here. Only by entering the nebula that you can really experience its magnificence and size. Back then, our journey started out well, and so we began to relax a little. It was until the 35th day that we came across danger!"
Now, not only the young boy, but everyone else who was unoccupied came to listen.
"We came across a whirlpool. That whirlpool was too strong. We saw a planet that’s more than a hundred kilometers across sucked into it. It was shredded to pieces before it reached the center! We were all shocked, back then. Everyone was trying our best to navigate the starship out of the whirlpool. The whole thing went on for three days. Three days, before the whirlpool finally weakened, and we managed to escape its grasp."
Just when everyone was absorbed in his story, someone shouted, "Hey, what’s that outside?"

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