An Mei was awkward, but girls were always awkward in the presence of beautiful things.
"Shall we play a game of cards?"
The atmosphere was odd, but it wasn't great as if was too silent. At the same time, it was not the worst either as nothing had really happened. It was just the sight of a comet disintegrating; it was not as though someone had died.
Although Yan Xiaosu made that suggestion, he was never the sentimental type.
"Sure. What about you, Wang Zheng?" asked Ye Zisu as she nodded with a smile.
The resting chamber was slightly empty. There were only two or three people with tired looks on their faces, who apparently had just finished work. Due to the nature of experimental physics, apart from Wang Zheng and his friends, it was very difficult to find anyone else resting leisurely in the New Olympus. Even the communications team had just a little bit of rest time over dinner every day, barely affording to show their faces to the rest of the crew. Right after explaining the current situation of the New Olympus, they had to resume their busy lives.
After the four finished a round of poker, Yan Xiaosu had lost so much he ought to have changed his name to "Shu" (lose).
"You are not allowed to count cards…"
Tyrant Su yelled fruitlessly while An Mei laughed hysterically. She did not know how to count cards, but she had still won a significant amount.
"I am done, let us play another game. Last night, I found a great board game and played it all night. Boss, shall we test it?"
Yan Xiaosu expressed great confidence in this new game of his.
Naturally, Wang Zheng agreed. He actually did love games, he just did not have the time to play.
Yan Xiaosu set the game up with haste, whistling a happy tune as he did so. A screen appeared on the table. Buttons and controls emerged in the four corners of the screen.
Wang Zheng had never played such an old-style game before.
The screen depicted a wrestling match.
"Would anyone like to battle?" Yan Xiaosu speedily made a decision.
"Let me try." Wang Zheng smiled.
A minute later, Yan Xiaosu's face of confidence turned stiff and lifeless… he had lost.
"Hang on, that did not count. I was distracted, let's try again."
This time, it was only 30 seconds. Yan Xiaosu definitely did not offer incense to his ancestors when he woke up this morning. He had lost again, and this time, it was an utter defeat.
"Again… Ye Zisu, would you like to play? Boss, ladies first."
Student Yan's greatest strength was that he never admitted defeat. If his technique was not as strong as his competitor's, he would employ better strategies. Given how he had lost after showcasing that initial demeanor of confidence, he was determined to find a way to win and reclaim some dignity.
"Sure." Ye Zisu nodded.
Twenty seconds later…
Yan Xiaosu almost teared earnestly. It became apparent that Wang Zheng had tried to spare him some dignity, restraining himself from finishing Xiaosu off within thirty seconds. On the other hand, Ye Zisu tried too hard initially and won within a period of only twenty seconds…
An Mei laughed. "Yan Xiaosu, didn't you say that you were a pro yesterday?"
After several rounds, Yan Xiaosu decided to quit.
"This is basically bullying. Why don't you let me win for a change?"
Ye Zisu laughed again. "It is not that we did not try to let you win. We have been playing with only one hand."
Yan Xiaosu swore that he would never play games which required fast fingers, because it was only self-torture.
Raising his head, he noticed that many other crew members were here in the resting chamber. After checking his watch, he realized that this was precisely the time for changing shifts. As busy as it got, it was still important to maintain one's body in top physical and mental condition in the depths of the cosmos.
Yan Xiaosu suddenly shifted his attention to a nearby table, noting, "That person with fair skin has got some charm. Could it be that such a man has gone through plastic surgery?"
The sole person at that table noticed that Yan Xiaosu had been stealing glances at him. In the direction of Wang Zheng, he gave a faint smile and raised his glass in an elegant manner.
"He is an Atlantean, it is his natural appearance," said Ye Zisu.
"What, Atlanteans are still alive? This is the first time I've met one. Boss, shall we say hi and get a photo?" Yan Xiaosu's eyes lit up.
Clearly having heard Yan Xiaosu's comments, that man laughed. Such a scenario had occurred on numerous occasions. Humans had always been curious about the Atlantean people. Although Xiaosu's actions might have appeared rude, there was ultimately a shroud of mystery surrounding them.
"Greetings, everyone, I am indeed someone who is alive. My name is Ya Shuman, and I am a military intelligence officer." Ya Shuman took the initiative and gave an introduction.
"Pleasure to meet you. I am Wang Zheng. This is Ye Zisu, An Mei. That person over there is my good friend, Yan Xiaosu. Sorry if our earlier comment offended you in any way, apologies about that."
Wang Zheng smiled and stood up.
"It is not big deal. Atlantean people also know how to crack jokes."
Ya Shuman smiled gently, looking at the four people around him.
"Don't just keep standing, come and have a seat. It is really my first time, so I was a little excited." Yan Xiaosu tried to restore normalcy in the conversation lest he embarrassed the human race.
"When I just left Atlantis and first met humans, I also cracked many jokes, but I gradually got used to it."
Ya Shuman had a pleasant, amiable attitude. As he shared embarrassing tales of his interactions with humans, the four of them laughed uncontrollably.
"My gosh, is every Atlantean person as humorous as you are?" Yan Xiaosu found that all his pre-conceptions about Atlantean people had been shattered.
"Thank you, I cannot say the same for everyone, but I feel that I am fairly typical of an Atlantean person."
"That is right then. So it seems that Atlantean people are like that. In the past, I used to think that all of them were rigid and religious."
"Ah, that must be a misunderstanding. The reason why I came to the world of humans was to deepen mutual understanding… Wang Zheng is the genius who won the alliance technological prize." Ya Shuman looked at Wang Zheng with some suspicion.
"Our Boss is all-knowing, he even got through an IG competition selection."
Tyrant Su, being the big-mouth that he was, continued to rattle off praise incessantly.
"… do you possess Ability X?" Ya Shuman asked curiously.
Wang Zheng shook his head. "No, please do not listen to Xiaosu's nonsense. I've only been through one selection. I heard that Atlantean people all possess great strength and that their machines are especially unique."
Wang Zheng had deep interest regarding this. After their conversation, he learned a lot more about the Atlanteans' machines and found that they were indeed a force to be reckoned with.
Ya Shuman laughed. "Atlantean people are humans too, but the species diverged earlier. Our development focuses on the brain. Our machines require a lot of time and attention, whereas human machines are more balanced. Each have their own merits. Wang Zheng, if you have a chance, you should really go to Atlantis."
The four of them were taken aback. Atlantis people seldom extended an invitation to visit their home planet.
"If there is a chance, I will definitely do it."
"Please carry on chatting. I still have work and have to head off now," said Ya Shuman. "Pleasure to meet you, hope to see you again."
Everyone bid their goodbyes and waited till Ya Shuman walked out of the door before they took their seats.
Suddenly, Yan Xiaosu touched his forehead. "Strange, there was something odd about just now. That person is not a gorgeous lady, but why did I feel like I had to behave in front of him?"
An Mei stroked Xiaosu's ears. "You want a gorgeous lady?"
"Yes, isn't that you?"
Yan Xiaosu was used to how An Mei acted, clearly evidenced by how he easily deflected her sarcasm. Of course, An Mei was not really jealous either and understood that Xiaosu, lacking the tenacity to take action, was simply smack talking. However, she still played along with Xiaosu.
The two continued to talk passionately and their numerous desires flowed out of their mouths as they chattered. Wang Zheng and Ye Zisu began to back off quickly.
"I am going to do some self study." Ye Zisu could no longer bear to watch.
"I am going for training." Wang Zheng left in a hurry.
When Wang Zheng arrived, there was already someone in the gravity room. He was of a large stature, doing push-ups with five times gravity. Wang Zheng did not go easy either as he executed his own training regime in the same room.
The other person in the room caught a glance but did not pay much attention. He was under five times gravity, yet he trained as though he was not being affected. Clearly this young man was not too shabby.
This person was Qiangsen, who had his vision restored. Not only that, because his treatment involved some degree of genetic improvements, his body had also become more muscular. He was now given a new path to tread!
Half an hour later, Qiangsen could not help but notice this young man. Although his training was rigorous, it did not seem that five times gravity was of any difficulty to him.
"Great job, young man. Which school are you from?"
"I am from Ares College," said Wang Zheng with a smile as he continued with his training. It was no easy feat to speak and train at the same time.
"One of the top three academies on Earth. It is a shame that I did not manage to pass the entrance exam to these military academies." This was one of Qiangsen's deep rooted regrets.
"My dream is to become an honorable soldier. The military college is just a place for learning."
"That is interesting. I want to increase the gravity by another multiple, is that okay with you?" Qiangsen was keen on testing Wang Zheng.
"No problem." Wang Zheng continued with his training, which involved ten one-handed push-ups followed by ten frog jumps and another ten one-handed push-ups.
As six times gravity took effect, Wang felt some weight on his shoulders but found it refreshing. His body immediately reacted to the gravitational pull with an opposing force. This gravity room was far better than any of those found outside. The gravity here was relatively stable!
Qiangsen similarly felt rejuvenated and continued to test the limits of his body.
During the whole hour, neither of them talked. They were totally engrossed in their own regimes, but they silently exchanged a sense of mutual admiration for each other.
Thereafter, the gravity room made a beeping sound and the gravitational forces eased, signifying the designated rest time.
Qiangsen rose, checking Wang Zheng out. His face looked normal, but his muscles… looked very firm. He did not seem very well-built in spite of his strength. In the past, Qiangsen used to despise people from the military colleges as he thought that these people had never undergone difficult trials. However, Wang Zheng clearly was not such a person.
"Let us introduce ourselves. I am Qiangsen, member of the special forces." Qiangsen extended his hand.
Wang Zheng stared blankly. He had good memory, and this name, Qiangsen, seemed particularly familiar. It couldnt be… such a concidence, could it?
"Wang Zheng, systems freshman… sorry, I previously saw a CT video and there was a famed warrior, lord of the shadows, called Qiangsen…"