"They have to be in the water," thought Ye Chong as he immediately deployed Moon King and sank right to the bottom of the ocean. He found Cornerstone. Right, there was one hope and he walked around it. Cornerstone was intact, the gates were sealed tight, no visible damage from the outside. He could not open the door because obviously the overwhelming pressure would swallow and crush everything inside.
He decided to give a knock, then several knocks, at every corner of the sunken stone. There was no response from the family inside sadly. Ye Chong's hope sank hard as the stone, as probably they had abandoned the ship a long time ago.
But, where else could they go? Where else?
Ye Chong was puzzled.
Unlike the average population on planets of the 5 major galaxies, Dankwood was a little neighborhood with merely a handful of residents. That sounded like hope to most people, but not to Ye Chong. Difficulties were there, it still felt like a needle in the haystack since he did not have a single clue.
"Where are you...?" whispered Ye Chong.
...(Meanwhile at Ye family)...
"You mean that nonsensical being belongs to our family?"
"If you could use more head than your body, you would have seen the obvious, brother."
"Excuse me, maybe because I invested more useful strength than pointless thoughts unlike somebody..."
It was chaotic. The seniors were debating... well, almost quarreling, and the juniors were watching with their curiosity on what had made the calm and monosyllabic seniors beat their tongues hard. It had been quite some time since the family got rather lively, all thanks to that one report from Ye Luo.
To summarize, Ye Luo's report had basically illustrated two issues, one was the outcome of Ye Chong's bloodline verification, and the other being the association between the Xi Feng tribe and the Abductor.
The evil Abductor being related to the religious tribe should have been the main focus of the discussion... but Ye Chong's infamous entry seemed to have monopolized the discussion board.
"For the last time, no. No way he can be the descendant of our family. As clearly the record shows, there is nothing that indicates Ye Chong being part of ours. In the past *fifty* years! We never had any pair of descendants leaving our home since then. So it is impossible for him to be part of our family, we cannot let someone in when he has a dubious identity. It is clearly a potential threat and I am not allowing a threat to walk into our house," said Ye Juxing, the second authority after the leader.
His complexion was fair, a shaved face with features of a gentleman, looking possibly feeble in a highly active family but no one would look him down. He was an expert and certainly the one able to take the second throne of the family would have a few tricks under his sleeves. He was a known fighter back in his youth, who stood a great possibility of surpassing the top fighter Ye Luo in his days. Fate was cruel nevertheless, as he withdrew himself on a broken heart, a sad end to his relationship during which he requested to take over the administration of the family instead.
His days ended when Ye Luo had suddenly disappeared one day. And after that the head of the family, on several occasions, had requested him to resume his brawling days but he refused persistently. Ye Yin the current legend in the field, was technically an apprentice of his. He had been watching Ye Yin for ages.
uxing was a stern teacher, an unbiased one too, thus the respects from the relatives and trust from the leader himself. He had been in charge of the mating administration of the family for the past few years, hence his statement ran steadily true like an iron fist.
"I do not agree to your proposal," stated Ye Guangxing, with a grim expression that looked odd on his puffy face when he used to smile all day. He was one of the only few non-combat members in the family for strange diseases wasted his body since he was young. He could not join the usual training but he was one great administrator too. And he worked hard for the position today.
Ye Guangxing's sharp eyes glanced at the other members around, as silence permitted, "The family has been suffering a lower and lower fertility rate for the last few years, and it would only be a matter of time before the family dies out itself."
The members were convinced as fear tinted their eyes. They knew the fact well but they were helpless at it. They had attempted different possible solutions but the fertility rate had only gotten worse.
"Yes, Juxing you are right at this. I had taken a look at our record. Judging from the instances, I am dead sure that this fellow is not someone from our family, the catch is, Ye Luo's report, which had illustrated that the person had demonstrated all the typical characteristics of our kind. On paper he is not our family but in reality he seems to own even the purest bloodline of our kind. So, is it possible for us to make a wild guess that, the existence of this child could be the key to preserve the purity of our bloodline even when we are connecting to the others?"
That was a daring statement.
"Moreover, what can this little boy do even if he had stepped into our house when we would be watching his every move at every single second?"
The room was noisy out of sudden, people were exchanging their ideas, while Ye Guangxing took his seat relaxingly.
The outcome of the discussion was clear. Everyone agreed that Ye Chong should be joining the family. No objection, no second discussion.
"I wonder how this Ye Chong guy looks..."
"Beats me. I did hear several stories of him being quite a strong pilot. I am more curious of what model the head would bestow him."
"Is he really that great?"
"Well you could try him when he gets here."
The corridors were filled with similar discussions ever since then. Ye Yin had to turn away from such discussion every single time. He was not being sensitive but there was one topic that felt discomforting. People started to wonder whether Ye Chong or Ye Yin would be the top fighter of the family. Ye Chong had become a myth, and like all myths, his strength got "mythicized" too.
Whenever the crowd had left, Ye Juxing and Ye Guangxing would give a quick look at each other and smile briefly. Then they left. It happened so instantly that no one really noticed this little exchange between them.
...(Meanwhile back to Ye Chong)...
So Ye Chong heard from Ye Luo, tale of a great martial arts practitioner somewhere here. The practitioner was so great that Ye Luo felt the urge and must to drag Ye Chong all the way there. Ye Chong was not interested in street fights when his heart was all over Rui Bing's whereabouts. But well, it was not like he had any idea on the search so he just joined Ye Luo in the end.
To the Abyss.
"So where is this expert you told me about?" asked Ye Chong, as they wandered in the city.
"I'm looking for him, don't you see?" replied Ye Luo with an irresponsible shrug.
"So practically you have zero idea on his location, right?" The rhetorical question struck the discussion.
"Hah!" Laughed Ye Luo shamelessly, "As I've said, I *heard* it, I only knew him from the word of mouth."
"Heard? So your information contains a considerable amount of uncertainty, which I would suggest to give up. Also, I would not be joining any of your search plans without a certain level of intelligible certainty." Ye Chong sounded like Mu...
"Oh Chong, please don't do this to me."
"Ye. Call me Ye. How many times I have to correct you on this again?"
"Everyone on the street has that name. I can simply name a number of Ye's I know. Chong sounds way better in my humble opinion."
And the exchange went on, as they walk the street.
Guang Wei was strolling the street mindlessly. It felt like a miracle that he survived the alchemy war back then but it also felt like a debacle. He thought he had found compatriots yet it turned out to be a disappointment.
If it was not the impact of the war he would thought he must have a dream.
The silver pendant! The Silver Strand Pendant the branch had lost for years! That mysterious alchemist must be the hermit of his branch!
Sighing was the only thing he could do.
"Call me Ye so no one gets hurt, especially you."
"Please Chong, be my guest."
The argument caught his attention. He was pondering something and he was disrupted. He was enraged and decided to take a look at the noisy two. He wondered what was so important that these two men must quarrel at the street, he was going to shout but that chest of one man gave him a shudder.
His mind was blank. His stance was stoned.
"I am not doing a pointless kill."
"Did you chicken?"
They walked away.
"Hold it right there you two!" Guang Wei realized something.
The two Ye's carried on arguing as they never expected anyone recognizing them. But Guang Wei continued shouting and sprinted towards them.
Pant... Pant... "Nobody moves." He spread his arms and blocked their way. It was an exercise too overwhelming for an alchemist like Guang Wei, he thought he would lose his breath in front of these two looking confused. His face was red and his eyes were glaring huge at Ye Chong.
Ye Chong and Ye Luo exchanged glances in bewilderment.
Sob... Sob... Guang Wei grabbed Ye Chong by his legs.
Ye Chong backed off, Ye Chong backed off slowly, that Guang Wei lost balance and hit the ground by his chin. His face was covered in mud, his lips bled slightly.
He got up promptly and kneeled down, words were choked by his tears, "Oh, are you my seniors! You must be my seniors, all these years I've been looking for you, and I have finally found you... Could you imagine into what demise our branch had fallen?" The misery, the emotion was overflowing, that he cried out loud.
"Uhh... Chong, do you know him?" Ye Luo asked with awkwardness as he rose his index finger at the worshipping Guang Wei.
"Nope," Ye Chong gave a firm reply.
"Then what in the Dankwood he's..."