It was enjoyable to watch Lei Dalu to have dinner.
Or rather, there was no need to watch; the sounds that he made were enough to trigger everyone's appetite.
He sucked in the noodles. He chewed the cloves. He chugged a large bowl of cold water. Then he burped with great satisfaction and threw the empty bowl to the heap of bowls nearby, before he slapped the table and shouted, "Boss, are you done? I need another bowl of noodles!"
It had only been a little over half an hour since they had gone into the small restaurant located in a corner of Star Lord Temple.
Yet, Lei Dalu had already devoured sixteen super-large bowls of meat noodles and eaten all the cucumbers in the restaurant.
"Old Bai, do you want a bowl of this? The soup here is not half bad!"
Lei Dalu spoke to Bai Kaixin sitting in front of him, grinning.
Bai Kaixin was the opposite of his name; he was not delighted at all.
(Bai Kaixin () can be translated as happy for nothing.)
He seemed to be a guy who hadn't felt delighted for his entire life.
He was tall and skinny. With a height almost equal to Lei Dalu's, he had only one third of his friend's weight. His face was pale and yellow. Two long, white brows dangled loosely like an upside-down 'Y' and covered the corners of his eyes.
His countenance resembled that of the terminal patients who had just received their diagnosis. Even when he was laughing, one couldn't help but worry that he would burst into tears in the next second.
With his melancholy countenance, Bai Kaixin stared at Lei Dalu, who was so bored that he took two garlics for snacks and ate every clove of them. Finally, he couldn't hold it back any longer and asked, "I'm always confused about one thing. Why are you always so happy?
"Just a moment ago, 'Gold Horn', on which you spent your life-savings together with a bunch of loans from banks and three Cultivation sects, turned into a heap of wrecked copper and steel after sailing for only three months. Now, we are trapped in this poor ditch at the corner of the sea of stars.
"What you are eating are the crudest meat noodles. Look. Even the hair on the meat wasn't cleaned up.
"But you give me the feeling that you have arrived at the most extravagant restaurant in Heavenly Saints City, steering a fully-armed brand-new warship, and you are enjoying a seafood dinner worth five hundred thousand Flying Star dollars with two beautiful girls on your laps and fifty billion in your pocket!"
Lei Dalu was not in the least bothered. "What else would you have me do?
"Gold Horn won't come back to life even if I cry my eyes out, will it?
"Old Bai, I'm not judging you. But the most important thing about Cultivation is to take things as they are. Don't pull a long face every day. Before we had Gold Horn, didn't we still march anywhere we wanted even though we had nothing but an armed carrier?
"On the bright side, at least we have accomplished our mission and slain all those motherfu*kers, haven't we?"
Bai Kaixin said coldly, "Don't you talk about missions with me.
"We were preparing to bid for the guardian work of Treacherous Torrent Domain with Gold Horn that had been armed to teeth and filled with crystals cannons and magical equipment. If we'd succeeded, we wouldn't have worried about our finances for the next couple of years.
"The starship is almost a total-loss now. The spiritual energy is running dry. Nearly all the magical equipment is wrecked!
"True, Heavenly Saints Alliance has bounties for the space pirates of Storm Prison. But most of them are for Fengyu Zhong. It was his son who we ran into, and he was just a newbie to the business. His bounty is little to none!
"This time, we are so damned!"
Lei Dalu clicked his tongue and smiled. "Don't you stare at me with the 'disappointed' look as if it was me who forced you to be heroes against your will! I remember that when we saw what happened to 'Chicken Feather', our great Councilor Bai was the first to jump out and declare that the bunch of space pirates must be killed. What a marvelous speech! What a daunting aura! Those who didn't know might have thought that you were the leader of the assault team of this Exo Society. What, now it's finally occurred to you that you are the councilor?
"And you, don't keep silent and pretend to be an icy beauty"
Lei Dalu turned around and grinned at a corner of the restaurant. "Ye Lingdie, you were on a rampage at the time. You almost stuffed your storm bolter into my nostril, threatening that if I refused the contract of one bag of rice, you would withdraw from the society and fight the space pirates by yourself! Those were the exact words that you said at that time, were they not? My nose is still feeling weird now!"
In a corner of the restaurant, a girl was sitting solemnly and elegantly. She was cold, calm, and utterly unapproachable.
She didn't perform any stealth skills. But for some reason, one tended to neglect her existence. She was like a dry leaf in a forest, easily overlooked even if it was right in front of one's eyes.
The dry-leaf-like girl, Ye Lingdie, was wiping her gun.
Countless components that were as tiny as grains of sand quickly jumped about in her slender hands and assembled into gun parts of various shapes and sizes, before they were dissected momentarily again.
She raised her eyebrow and glanced at him. Then, she lowered her head and dwelled in her own world again.
Lei Dalu's nostrils were widened in anger as he slapped his table and shouted, "What is with your attitude? Are you not even respecting me as your captain? Boss, are the noodles ready or not? Remember, double meat and cilantro!"
Veins were bulging on Bai Kaixin's temples. The corners of his eyes were also twitching. He tried to calm himself down and said, "Alright. The decision was made unanimously. Let's just forget that. The question is, what do we do next?
"Fengyu Zhong only has one son, who has been blown into smithereens by us. There wasn't even a bone of him left. He will definitely be mad when he hears the news!"
Lei Dalu spat and said, "What's the big deal? He is a Core Formation Stage Cultivator, and I'm also a Core Formation Stage Cultivator. We can just have a duel and sort everything out. He ain't got more balls than me!"
"Don't flatter yourself."
Bai Kaixin said coldly, "Fengyu Zhong is a tough bandit who has been hanging around with other space pirates for decades. The Heavenly Saints Alliance has targeted him multiple times and even sent a Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator once, but he survived all of that. It is said that he ran into a lot of fortuitous encounters during his escape. Right now, he is probably in the high level of the Core Formation Stage. Such a brutal man is what a true 'Gold Core' Cultivator should look like!
"In comparison, our great Captain Lei is only in the beginning level of the Core Formation Stage. Also, you were beaten up by hundreds of people when you'd just advanced into the Core Formation Stage. You were seriously wounded, and your spiritual root was damaged. It's taken you quite a long time to recover from your injuries, but you've never entirely recuperated. It's very likely that you won't be able to progress a step further than the beginning level of the Core Formation Stage.
"A Cultivator like you is just an 'Iron Core'. What makes you think you are capable enough of fighting a 'Gold Core'?
"Storm Prison is a top-twenty space pirate gang in the Flying Star Sector. Cruel men congregate there, and it boasts immense capability. Fengyu Zhong will definitely try everything he can to garrote us out of fury. We have to be very prudent when we travel in the sea of stars in the future. One step wrong and we may be butchered by the space pirates and die without a grave!"
Lei Dalu rubbed his brows hard and said seriously, "It is of paramount importance for us Cultivators to be smart. A great man can rise to the sky and also lay low when necessary. We can always hide in the protective range of Heavenly Saints City when we are back to the central star zone like a turtle with disguised faces and new identities. Our debts will be ditched, too. That's what we call killing two birds with one stone!
"What's more, lucky guys are always lucky. Maybe the gods are watching over me and Fengyu Zhong will die in an accident tomorrow. Then that would be like a sunny day after a storm again. Everything will be fine. Hahahaha!"
Right then, the door of the restaurant was kicked open, and someone swept in like a tornado.
It was a grey-haired, vigorous old man who had extremely wide shoulders that looked like door planks.
It wouldn't be hard to infer that he was an obstinate, bad-tempered guy. His eyeballs were darting about, indicating that he wouldn't mind fighting a young man to prove that he wasn't old at all.
In front of the old man, Lei Dalu retreated his playful expression and asked politely, "Uncle Xiong, how is Gold Horn doing?"
Xiong Tao was the director of magical equipment and the chief refiner of the Great Horn Exo Society. The items on boardsome small like flying swords, others large like crystal suitswere all planned and organized by him.
Xiong Tao sat on a long stool, which was squeaking under the sudden weight. He replied with a grim face, "It is not doing at all. Eighty percent of all units have been seriously damaged. Even the cockpit is riddled with holes. It can never be repaired in this godforsaken area. We'll have to drag it to the orbit of the Thousand Sail Domain and find a factory of a large sect to repair it.
"However, the Thousand Sail Domain is thousands of kilometers from this place. Gold Horn is too wrecked to make use of the space jump system. Otherwise, both the vehicle and the crew members on board will be crushed to a pulp.
"Thankfully, we've captured Storm Prison's starship. We can dismantle a lot of components from the starship for our own use. I estimate we can get going in three days, if we are lucky.
"The most critical problem right now is that we are short of hands.
"During the last exchange of fire, our spiritual shield was blown to pieces. And the barrage hit the main maintenance workshop precisely. More than half of our refiners have been killed!
"A shaking, wrecked starship with a loss of two thirds of its refiners wants to cruise in the surging ocean for more than a month to the Thousand Sail Domain? I highly doubt it."
Lei Dalu eyed Bai Kaixin. "Old Bai, didn't I tell you that we are in desperate need of hands and we should recruit new members right here? What, you didn't hire any refiners?"
Before Bai Kaixin opened his mouth, Xiong Tao said, "Experienced refiners are not that easy to recruit!
"Although the residents of the poor, underdeveloped area live on the ancient relics, they can be called maintainers of the civil-level at the very best. There is still a long way for them to go before they become real refiners!"
Bai Kaixin interrupted, "Besides, you asked us to repeat that we have pissed off Storm Prison and joining the Great Horn Exo Society is a perilous, life-threatening decision. Who would dare sign up after hearing that?"
Lei Dalu said, somewhat embarrassedly, "Of course, we have to make it clear to them. We were feverish and decided to play heroes. It's our own fault, and nobody else is to blame. None of the new members are obliged to be victims of Storm Prison's reprisals. They would definitely feel wronged if that happened to him. The most important thing about Cultivators is that we must be frank, and we shouldn't fool others for our own benefits."
Bai Kaixin sighed and said, "Indeed. But after we explained everything, the only guys still willing to join us are the foolhardy young men and the old who wouldn't be able to find a second job. It will already be exceptional if their physical strength is enough. There are really no lower limits for their skills."
Xiong Tao sniffed. "A so-called 'expert' came to sign up in my place. He was young and wet behind the ears. Yet, he was bragging about himself more impressively than everyone else did, saying that he had been travelling in the remote areas of the sea of stars since he was a little kid and he had been enlightened by an eccentric expert. He went on to say that he was once hit by a falling star and that he once ate a crimson exotic fruit. In short, after countless lucky incidents, he finally awakened his spiritual root and became a super self-taught refiner!
"But when I took out a Space Gyroscope and asked him to repair it, the guy was dumbfounded and said that he hadn't seen such an item before.
"Space Gyroscope, the most commonly-seen navigation magical equipment of the Flying Star Sector! He should've seen one even if he hadn't used one himself! You guys should've seen the boy's startled look. 'Super refiner'? I'll be damned if I believed him!"
Lei Dalu couldn't help but smile. "Then what? Did you kick him away?"
Xiong Tao was gnashing his teeth in discontent. "The strange boy was not entirely crowing. His spiritual root has indeed been awakened, and he is a Cultivator. The speed of his hand movement is pretty impressive. It appeared that he had truly experienced some adventures. The simple dismantling, polishing, and cleaning work can be trusted to him. Given that we are seriously short of hands, we have to make do with whatever we have!
"What I'm trying to tell you is that such a countryfolk expert was already the most proficient mechanic that we recruited in this place. With our current personnel, it all depends on luck if we want to go back to Thousand Sail Domain without crashing into anything!"
"That will do."
A casual, carefree smile popped up on Lei Dalu's face again, as he scratched his nose and said, "I don't have many remarkable points, except that I'm lucky. I'm always lucky!"