"Then you arrived in the He Yue Galaxy out of nowhere. In all honesty, we still don’t know how you got here," Luo Shi smiled even more wryly.
"Our people were still searching for you in the Five Galaxies. When they saw you in the He Yue Galaxy, they were shocked! Haha, you should’ve seen their faces. Ye Wuqin was all just plain flabbergasted! It was awesome!" Luo Shi laughed, obviously enjoying the memory.
His easy laughter was soothing to Ye Chong, but he did not lower his guard.
"You know what happened next. The Three Aristocratic Families ended up all in a nervous wreck because of you. But we’ve been curious, why are the Xue Lai Clan and Xi Feng Tribe hot on your heels too?"
"Don’t know," Ye Chong answered calmly.
"They don’t matter anyway. Hey, if you think about it, we might be brothers," Luo Shi said, excited, "My siblings back at home were all wondering who your parents are, but none of them have any obvious conclusions. The elders at home are also watching you closely."
Ye Chong kept his expression neutral, but a strange feeling was bubbling into existence within him. Parents? What an unfamiliar term.
"You mind if I verify with your blood?" Luo Shi looked at Ye Chong nervously, his eyes shining with enthusiasm.
"Verify how?" Ye Chong asked. That was something he was curious about all this while.
With Ye Chong’s agreement, Luo Shi seemed to relax a little. He calmed down and explained, "It’s simple. For members of our tribe, their blood will turn into a sky blue color when mixed with Bolmanshek solution."
He chortled as he produced a transparent crystal test tube from his waist. "Good thing I brought this with me, it’s providence alright. No one brings this around with them!" He flicked a finger and opened the cap. The crystal test tube was filled with a transparent liquid. Luo Shi offered the test tube to Ye Chong and said, "One drop of blood. Just one drop will be enough."
Ye Chong studied the crystal test tube with a plain expression, even though his emotions were all over the place. His blood rushed through his veins in dysphoria.
Perhaps, he’ll finally have an answer! This was a question that had troubled him for so long, and now, he was about to find out the truth.
Was he a member of the Ye Family?
Ye Chong could not stay calm in spite of his usual composure. He had told himself many times that his origins should not bother him. These were matters that did not affect him in a concrete way. His biological origin was just that, and nothing more.
However, now that the truth was about to be revealed, Ye Chong found the coolness that he prided himself on was so brittle against reality!
His pulse raced like never before. His long, even breathing turned shorter as his blood rushed with excitement.
Ye Chong closed his eyes and forced himself to take a long, deep breath! It took almost all of his strength to inhale this time, then he exhaled the air within him heavily outwards! All his troubles seemed to escape from him, following that exhale.
When Ye Chong opened his eyes again, they were once again determined and focused.
Whatever will be, will be!
He took out his dagger and touched his index finger lightly against the edge of the blade. He reached his index finger to the crystal test tube’s opening and squeezed gently. A drop of crimson blood dived into the test tube. Plop! It met the transparent Bolmanshek liquid.
Luo Shi watched nervously at the crystal test tube in Ye Chong’s hand.
The crystal clear liquid in the test tube suddenly transformed. When the blood was mixed into the liquid, it diffused quickly like smoke in air, and a sky blue color began to spread its tendrils quickly in the test tube, dying the entirety of its content in a beautiful sky blue.
The sky blue test tube dazzled under the sun like a flawless blue diamond.
Luo Shi’s face reddened as he leaped up in excitement. His loud voice carried out across the entire plain as he cried, "Hahahaha .... I have a new brother! … I have a new brother! …" He jumped around happily like a child, an entirely different person from the gentlemanly Luo Shi that he usually was like.
Ye Chong stared at the crystal test tube with its sky blue content.
He was not the least bit happy. The Bolmanshek solution, now dyed a sky blue, had filled up every corner of his heart and soul. Even the softness beneath his strong and emotionless surface was affected.
It felt salty, bitter and biting.
"Wonderful! This is wonderful!" Luo Shi was rambling, "You’re really one of us, of the Ye Family! Haha, now Ye Family has another strong member! I’m so happy! Ah, brother of mine, are you really called Ye Chong?"
Luo Shi’s excitement and enthuasiasm did not move Ye Chong at all. He acted cold as always, nodding his head in reply, "Yes." Almost instantly, Ye Chong buried away the softness in his heart with his determination and coldness.
"Hehe, come come, let me introduce myself as well. My real name is Ye Luo. You can call me Lil’ Luo, or Lil’ Lil’ Luo. They all call me that." Luo Shi grinned widely as he introduced himself, but he quickly asked in return, "What do your friends call you?"
"Ye," Ye Chong answered concisely.
"No way!" Ye Luo looked at Ye Chong oddly, and did not speak for a long moment. "What’s with that unimaginative nickname? Don’t you know that half the people in the Ye Family’s have Ye as their nickname too?"
"I don’t," Ye Chong answered without emotion.
"That’s no good, that’s no good at all, let’s change it," Ye Luo shook his head vigorously like a tidal wave, and suggested, "How about Lil’ Chong, or Lil’ Lil’ Chong’s fine too …"
"How did you recognize me?" Ye Chong cut him short. This was another question that had bothered him from the start.
"‘Cause I’m smart," Ye Luo answered with a pleased expression, almost beginning to spill out his entire thought process. "No one expects you to enter the free space zone. They’re probably still trying to guess where you would be hiding. Hehe, try and guess, how did I find you?"
Ye Luo looked at Ye Chong with mischievous eyes, just begging for Ye Chong to ask him.
Ye Chong stayed as he was like a wooden stump, and refused to budge.
Ye Luo waited for a good few minutes until he was convinced that Ye Chong was not going to ask him, before he began, "Alright alright, I’ll tell you. What a downer, like those emotionless guys back home, so boring. The thing that exposed you was the glider."
Ye Chong’s eyes widened. He finally realized what the problem was.
"Han Yue told me that you appeared from the sky, riding some bird-like thing. I was curious then. In the middle of my journey, I also dropped by the place where you were attacked by the fangwolves, and found the glider. That’s when I knew that you are an outsider like me. The locals wouldn’t know things like these.
"Besides, you didn’t respond much when you saw me. Hehe, you wouldn’t know it, but here’s the thing. The Three Aristocratic Families have some influence in the free space zone, but we can recognize each other almost instinctively. After all, we’re outsiders here. We can usually tell if someone’s from which aristocratic family. You, are obviously not from any of the Three. Later on, you revealed your excellent skills in alchemy. We knew early on that you were an alchemist, so I immediately thought of you.
"Even then, I wasn’t sure. There are only three routes to enter the free space zone, and each of them is guarded by one of the Three Aristocratic Families. Security is tight, and it’s virtually impossible for outsiders to enter. So the fact that you are here came as a shock to me too.
"But you exposed yourself just now. Hehe, I’m not much of a mech pilot myself, but not many people can top me in combat. Your moves earlier have a very faint influence of the Ye Family style. Haha, it’s very faint, but you can’t fool me. What do you think? I’m good, right? That was when I was certain that it’s you."
Ye Luo looked openly pleased with himself.
Ye Chong was also impressed. Ye Luo may behave like a child, but he was a very detailed person.
"You’re really good at combat! As expected of one of the Ye Family, to reach this level by self taught. You don’t know how many of our brothers and sisters back home are just swooning over you. But you gotta be careful of Ye Yin. That man’s just very close minded. When it comes to mechs, only about two or three in the family can match against him evenly. I’m way behind in that, but if it’s combat, hehe, then he’d better not mess with me." Ye Luo seemed to be quite confident of his combat abilities.
"Ye Yin …" Ye Chong said the name softly to himself. It was said that he was the number one elite of the Ye Family.
"When are you thinking of going home?" Ye Luo asked, "The Patriarch is going crazy just waiting for your return."
"I’m not," Ye Chong answered with steeled resolve.
"You’re not? Why not? Don’t you want to go home?" Ye Luo looked at Ye Chong curiously, then he seemed to realize the problem. "Maybe you like combat as much as me? Haha, that’s wonderful, finally there’s someone to accompany me. Hehe, you don’t know how often they asked me to go home, but I ignored them every time. Those people just slip into their mechs every day. Here, though, is where combat is mainstream.
"I’m going to defeat all the combat experts in the free space zone before I go home!" Ye Luo announced meaningfully.
Ye Chong was quiet however, his eyes wandering. It was hard to figure out what he was thinking inside.
Just then, a few black spots appeared in the distance.
Ye Chong and Ye Luo looked up in unison, and exchanged looks. Ye Chong’s was cold and calm, but Ye Luo’s was hot and feverish.