Ye Chong followed the stares of Guang Wei and realized that he had been eyeing the pendant round his neck. His fingers stroke the chain calmly, "Black Smoke Ring! Was that the Black Smoke Ring?" And Guang Wei went into another screaming session upon seeing the black jade ring on Ye Chong's hand.
At that point Guang Wei was fairly convinced that this man would be the descendant of the long-lost smoke branch, the senior that he thought he would never meet for the rest of his life, since the Silver Strand Pendant would represent the connection to the branch, while Black Smoke Ring would highlight the superiority in the branch.
He must be the leader of the smoke branch!
Oh my alchemy, finally! I've found companion! An group! A community! Guang Wei felt it was the happiest day of his life. Was he dreaming? To verify that he gave a bit on his arm.
Yeooouch! He shrieked. The immense pain had convinced his reality.
It is real! I am not dreaming!
And Ye Luo's look on Guang Wei seemed sympathetic for some reason...
Ye Chong removed the pendant from his neck and held it in front of Guang Wei, "Do you recognize this?"
"Yes, my lord!" nodded Guang Wei vigorously and gave a dramatic kneel-down-of-worship as he sincerely greeted. "Greetings to the supreme leader of the smoke branch!" Ye Luo seemed to hear the ground shattering from the worship.
"I am not the leader," shook Ye Chong, while being in an bewilderment as he never expected how these accessories would have such association to the smoke branch.
"You *are* the leader!" insisted Guang Wei, as he worshipped. "Your apprentice might be witless but not foolish enough to not recognize these signs of your great leadership," his voice grew emotional towards the end.
Ye Luo gave a thug on Ye Chong's sleeves, signing him to take notice of the surrounding crowd.
"Well, follow me then." The flat voice felt as if godsend to Guang Wei.
Ye Luo did not manage to show Ye Chong that legendary figure in his tale, but at least they had toured the city enough to pick a quiet spot immediately.
"Take it." Ye Chong passed the pendant to Guang Wei, who was in total confusion. Ye Luo too did not foresee Ye Chong handing such a luxury to a stranger.
Yes, the Silver Strand Pendant was precious for its material, literally precious, astronomically priced, especially when it was a known token of a certain ancient branch.
"You must be the apprentice then," said Ye Chong flatly.
And Guang Wei nodded quickly.
"I am not of the smoke branch, and these accessories came to me on merely coincidence. I'll give you the pendant. Not the ring, however, since I still have business to do with it."
Ye Chong pondered a moment and carried on, "The ownership of these two items is rather complicated to be clarified, but for the ring I'll use 5 alchemy recipes in compensation." Stated Ye Chong firmly. The Black Smoke was very useful to him, that he did not intend to let it go simply.
And there Guang Wei was, all confused again. All these years he had been a nobody and suddenly one earth-wrecking instance crashed into his life.
Ye Chong gave a glance at Guang Wei, assuming the silence as acceptance, as he picked up a stick from the ground, writing recipes on the sand.
There were a gazillion recipes in Lunatic Guan's chip, so it was not hard to fork out a few recipes on spot.
So Ye Chong randomly picked 5 recipes, though none of them belonged to the smoke branch, they were mostly comparable to even the legendary Redsand Dehydrator created by the smoke
"Alright." Said Ye Chong, his back straightened, the stick to the ground, "You can have these formula." One last glance at the perplexed man, then he turned away, with Ye Luo hurriedly followed on one gesture.
"H-how could you! Every formula of smoke branch is stored in this pendant!" Somehow a shocking fact was squeezed out of the confused man's lips, that he regretted it immediately after. He felt he must be the most foolish apprentice in the entire world.
Ye Chong gave a long stare at Guang Wei, whose face was drained by then. He had just remembered that this monosyllabic man was the notorious alchemist of destruction, that it would merely take the alchemist a drop of flask to kill him.
The hell I said? Why must I be so foolish?
He closed his eyes, gulping frantically, bidding a hectic farewell to everybody he knew in his mind.
But the supposed pain did not arrive.
"Here's some Redsand, and 2 hallucinogens. Take them," the voice rang coldly.
He opened his eyes to see the three flasks on the ground. The two men, the leader had disappeared...
"Well, well, well. Never knew you are such a kind person, tsk, tsk, tsk," teased Ye Luo, though he seemed very impressed of Ye Chong's kindness, since not everyone would be able to give away such precious on a whim.
Ye Chong continued walking.
Ironically, little he knew that, the kindness he bestowed had changed the entire alchemy field on Dankwood. In 10 years or so, the smoke branch had ascended as the strongest branch on Dankwood, and Guang Wei held tremendous gratitude towards this mysterious alchemist, that he despised the heartless Fei Lidu and spent the rest of his life pressuring the Incense branch.
...(Inside the spaceship at somewhere else)...
The cluster of stars seemed gorgeous on the current course, as Ye Yin stood before the opened window. His face was stern, cold as if ice-crafted. One might assume the Ye family to be as physically unattractive as Ye Chong but that was not the case. Ye Yin was much more handsome than Ye Chong, taller than Ye Chong, fitter than Ye Chong too. He exuded a more unfriendly sense than Ye Chong, that he felt like an ice statue on top of the iceberg.
His long hair rested on his shoulders. His eyebrows were fine. His nose was well-proportioned that he looked like the typical handsome man of the fairytale. His partially-closed eyes were long and sharp at glances. His resting lips were as if part of the frozen.
People would walk by cautiously, as feared they would trigger an avalanche.
Ye Yin was assigned as the leader of the operation this time. Yes, the operation to bring Ye Chong home. He was well-aware that it would never be a friendly home-welcoming operation, it would feel more like a retrieval of something the family owned from the beginning. Well the authority stated to bring Ye Chong home alive. They did not show concern on how the said person would get to home.
"Whacha thinkin?" A sweet voice rang by his ears. Jenny Ye was probably the only person who would not fear of Ye Yin's coldness since they grew up together. They had been friends since childhood. And as a matter of fact, only three figures of the Ye family could do something to Ye Yin the iced - the leader, Ye Juxing and as you would have probably guessed, Jenny.
Ye Yin's gaze softened upon resting on the face he recognized.
Jenny was not an absolute beauty. She would probably be considered as slightly above the average in the lawn of the three aristocrats. She was very popular in the family nevertheless, because of her gentle nature and a heart of gold.
You would have thought Ye Yin and Jenny Ye would make a perfect couple, sadly, that was not the case as long as the marriage rules enforced, not even Ye Yin the great could be the exception.
But nobody would want to hit on Jenny because of their known relationship. And Jenny worked hard to improve herself in order to remain by Ye Yin's side. She was also a pilot after all, a great one too, even though she lacked actual practice. Fortunately, the leader and Ye Juxing were loving enough to frequently arrange missions for both of them.
"This is like the... fifth mission we are together?" asked Ye Yin softly.
Well the iced man had just spoken with the gentlest voice of the XY population, it would be a jaw-dropping moment if there was spectator.
"Yup!" Jenny smiled sweetly. Her smile somehow melted the heart of Ye Yin.
It was silence afterwards as both of them stood next to each other, looking at the stars.
"We have arrived at the free space zone, sir!" One pilot rushed in to report, as realizing he had probably spoiled the moment.
"Mhm." The heart was frozen again, as he responded flatly, "Inform the rest to inspect all units before departure." He did not turn as he spoke.
And Jenny seemed to be fairly captivated by the firm linings on Ye Yin's physique.
... (Meanwhile back to Ye Chong)...
The dimensional keystone of Moon King vibrated.
Ye Chong held his steps.
"What's wrong?" asked Ye Luo.
Ye Chong lifted his right hand, revealing the dark glossy bracelet. That was the keystone of Moon King. A fine craft, with pieces of leaves over the curve, that one could even see the patterns on the leaves. An elegant design. Ye Luo did not appreciate the beauty however, "No man would wear that!" Ye Luo used to have it in front of his chest but well Ye Chong still preferred it over his wrist. That was what the design was for after all.
"What? That means there's message from the family. Let me see that." Ye Luo was curious, "Why there's a message now? Was it because of the Abductor?" He did report the family on the incident of the Abductor and well, Ye Chong too...
"It should be about something," he said. Well, the case of the Abductor was more action-worthy than Ye Chong, that was what he thought though.