He thought to himself, "What a strong agent!"
Shang came to mind, for some reason. He would have loved these kinds of things. Shang was the type who was fond of sinister means of attack.
Sigh, just when would he be able to meet Mu or Shang? From within the midst, Ye Chong’s stony expression betrayed faint traces of warmth. Anyone who saw him now would have thought he was the same guy as the apathetic man they came to know. Now, Ye Chong was just a boy who missed his friends.
This gentle moment of sentiment quickly evaporated, and his face returned to its usual coldness.
Ye Chong crouched down and studied the weird creatures that nearly ended his life.
The ground was covered with them. Some were still glowing a faint purple, while others had faded completely. They were the size of his palm, their soft bodies shaped like a five-pointed star. It was hard to notice the details of their dark purple skin in the dark, and Ye Chong did not find anything suspicious. They laid quietly on the ground, bellies rising and falling rhythmically, looking quite adorable, with none of their earlier viciousness. Their five-pointed tentacles had a hard and sharp edge, deadly under high speeds.
Ye Chong was not quite over with his risky encounter just yet. If he had responded slower, the odds were that he would be dead by now. These creatures were smart, whether due to their natural fighting instincts or innate intelligence. Whichever the case, they were still very dangerous beings to deal with.
He did not know how long these creatures would stay under from the knockout agent, but Ye Chong would not risk his life to know the answer. He lifted his wooden spear, and stabbed at each and every one of those star-shaped creatures. The poison at the tip of the wooden spear was deadly. The creatures stopped moving and turned black in color the instant they were cut with the spearhead.
After finishing his job, Ye Chong felt a deep sense of fatigue overcoming him. His legs felt heavy as lead. His entire body was drenched in sweat, and he felt cool under the gentle night breeze.
Ye Chong did not sit down immediately. That would not do any good for restoring his stamina. Instead, he loosened up his body slowly, dragging along his heavy feet. The truth was, he was so tired that the thought of moving even a finger was overwhelming.
Ye Chong gritted his teeth and fought against the wish to just lie down on the ground. He moved his arms and feet slightly. In the end, his effort paid off. His body did not ache as much, and he could feel his strength returning slowly. Now, he finally sat down, gasping heavily for breath.
After half an hour, Ye Chong stood up. He felt invigorated, and no longer so fatigued.
Ye Chong began to summarize and analyze his fight against the star-shaped creatures.
What else was here? He did not know. However, he knew that there would be others. No one knew if there would be more of those star-shaped creatures.
It seemed that he was really not suitable to work as an alchemist. He did not put alchemy on the same priority level as combat and mech maneuvering. He would only thought of using alchemy when combat and mechs failed to solve his problems.
He had unwittingly committed this terrible mistake. Once, a long time ago, Mu had taught him to make use of all his resources and pick the most appropriate solution for each problem, and not rely purely on his preferred methods.
If he had released those strong knockout agents and
hallucinogens while he was running away earlier, those creatures would not have been able to touch a hair on him, and he would not have been in such a desperate situation. He remembered that he had ran for 500 meters away from them before they caught up to him. If, in those 500 meters, he had released some of those knockout agents, it would have been enough to deal with the whole lot of them.
Ye Chong laughed mockingly at himself before he picked up the undamaged leaf pouches. He counted them, and found that he had used almost all his knockout agents. The emergency just now did not allow him the luxury of deciding how much exactly to use.
Back in the forest, Ye Chong produced a whole lot more of the knockout agents. The forest was rich with resources, and Ye Chong need only acquire the raw ingredients from the edge of the forest. However, he did not mind spending time on this endeavor, since it would increase his likelihood of surviving. He would not want to die just because he grew impatient.
Ye Chong re-entered the valley this time fully prepared. He had seven leaf pouches hanging on his waist, with two of them open at all times. These seven leaf pouches were filled with strong knockout agents. The alchemy bottle filled with redsand dehydrator was also on his waist. He covered his palms with a thick layer of gum, but left his smoke pearl untouched. The two opened leaf pouches were filled with two strong knockout agents with a high dispersion rate. They formed a protective circle around Ye Chong. With the smoke pearl, Ye Chong was immune to its effects. If not for his ring, he would not have been able to use this plan.
Ye Chong did not slow down as he passed by the rocky part that jutted out from the wall from last time. However, he was relieved to see it without any of those creatures.
He marched on forward. The dark red walls had an oppressive feeling to it. The shady sky made the valley felt even more oppressive. There was no sound at all, not even a whisper. Even someone as mentally strong as Ye Chong frowned with worry.
There was no soil in here. All the surfaces were made of rocks. The valley did not have any traces of human activity. The territory was uneven. However, it did not bother Ye Chong much. He could leap and climb like an animal.
Gradually, the path along the valley grew more treacherous. There were troughs to watch out for everywhere, and it was hard to find a flat surface. Ye Chong also noticed that the ground was sloping upwards. That meant he was climbing further up.
The occasional sounds of dripping water in the silent valley were unsettling.
However, Ye Chong quickly got used to his environment. It reminded him of his time on the trash planet, of his solitary life before Mu or Shang made their appearance. The desolate trash mountains were filled with unknown dangers, and he had to face them alone.
Ye Chong soon dismissed those thoughts and focused on his surroundings. This was not the time for nostalgia.
Just then, his ears caught an almost imperceptible buzzing sound.
He immediately stopped in his tracks and focused on listening.
It’s right ahead! The sound came from in front of him, just beyond a bend.
The buzzing sound grew louder, and it was heading towards him. Ye Chong quickly studied his surroundings, and found that the turn in front was about 40 meters wide.
"Alright, let’s do this!" Ye Chong decided on his strategy.
He may not know what the buzzing sound implied, but it was never wrong to make the first move.
He took down two of the leaf pouches on his waist and opened them carefully. These were two different kinds of knockout agents. They were both highly effective, and without color or smell, just like the rest of the knockout agents he prepared.
Ye Chong spreaded them out evenly at the bend, moving with familiar ease. These two agents had an effective radius of about 50 to 80 meters, enough to cover the entire bend. A wide perimeter of knockout agents covered the entire bend.
The valley had no wind, and that was very advantageous for Ye Chong.
After doing all this, Ye Chong quickly retreated 500 meters back, before hopping into one of the deep troughs for cover. He wanted to see what the thing was. He must have a direct observation of this creature. If the knockout agents were ineffective, he would have to figure out something else. Of course, this was all for future preparations.
The buzzing sound grew clearer and clearer. Ye Chong waited patiently in the trough, watching the bend closely. He was ready to make a run for it if the knockout agents did not work out.
Buzzzz! The sound grew louder abruptly, like a plucked string of thick metal wire.
From beyond the bend came a huge, dark swarm. The bend instantly fell into darkness.
Ye Chong inhaled deeply, his heart racing. However, his expression did not change. He was all ready to run for his life!
He had never seen so many flying insects before in his life. If these insects were immune to the knockout agents, then he would be in deep trouble. Combat skills were useless against an army of flying insects.
He stared straight at the bend in front of him, full of suspense.