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After Winning The Esports Championship I'm Going To Pilot A Mecha

After Winning The Esports Championship I’m Going To Pilot A Mecha: Chapter 123

123. Observing Discipline and Law-Abiding Trio.

“Thank you for taking care of me these past few days.”

The next day, Bai Sha got up early, bought breakfast for Ji Mingzhu and the others, and then said goodbye to them: “My friend has contacted me and said she can help me settle down in Jiusheng City.”

Bai Sha was actually a bit reluctant. The time spent together and the experiences over the past few days were a novel experience for her. If possible, Bai Sha would love to continue adventuring with Ji Mingzhu and the others. However, she knew she wasn’t very capable, and compared to Yao Guang, Tian Ji, and the others, she was undoubtedly a burden to the team. So, she didn’t want to hold them back any longer.

“Where’s your friend?” Yao Guang asked with a breakfast in his mouth, surprised.

“We agreed to meet elsewhere,” Bai Sha said. “After all, your identities are quite sensitive. The fewer people who know, the better. So, I didn’t let her come here.”

Although she was an ordinary person, Bai Sha was quite thoughtful.

After bidding farewell to Bai Sha, Ji Mingzhu and the others began discussing their next plan.

“The mecha research institute is nearby.”

Wild Wolf pointed at the virtual map and said, “This mecha research institute is quite famous in Jiusheng City. Many people know about it, but most only think it was established in cooperation between the Calamity Control Bureau and the financial consortium. They don’t know the specifics of what goes on inside.”

“Where do they keep their mechas?” Yao Guang asked.

“That I don’t know.”

Wild Wolf shrugged, “L-class mechas are top secret. Only a few people in the entire research institute would know the exact location. You’ll have to find that out yourselves.”

Yao Guang looked at him suspiciously, but Wild Wolf’s expression was open and unchanged, giving no indication if he was lying.

“Alright.”

Ji Mingzhu thought for a moment and said, “Sun Yi, keep an eye on him here. Tian Ji, give him a gun. If this guy tries anything funny, Sun Yi, you know what to do, right?”

“Don’t worry, Boss Ji.”

Sun Yi patted his chest, “This kind of thing is practically a basic skill for us black market folks. I guarantee to handle it perfectly. This guy definitely won’t escape.”

“Tian Ji, you go scout around the research institute today.”

Ji Mingzhu instructed Tian Ji, “You don’t need to probe too deeply, just find out its exact location and check out the surrounding routes.”

Although Tian Ji wasn’t a professional scout, he was agile and meticulous, making him perfect for this task.

Ji Mingzhu didn’t intend for Tian Ji to uncover all the details of the research institute in one go. If the institute indeed housed an L-class mecha, the fact that no information had leaked out for so long indicated that the security measures were very tight. Tian Ji only needed to get a general idea of the place and the surrounding routes. When the time came to act, they would have a starting point, and if they succeeded, they wouldn’t have trouble finding an escape route.

“Then what about me?” Yao Guang asked.

“You’re going to do what you’re best at.”

Ji Mingzhu looked at Yao Guang and said, “Gather detailed information on this research institute, check out their firewall levels… Oh, and look into their energy consumption and personnel distribution as well. You might find some useful clues.”

Yao Guang nodded, “Got it.”

“If their firewall is too strong, don’t rush to hack in and alert them.”

Ji Mingzhu instructed, “Wait for me to get back and have Ashura assist you.”

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to check out the black market in Jiusheng City and look for some clues,” Ji Mingzhu said.

While that was partly true, Ji Mingzhu’s real target was the address of the First Research Institute, as recorded on that piece of paper by Ji Qiming.

To be cautious, it would be best to secure the L-class mecha first, as it would provide a safety guarantee. If they couldn’t get the mecha, they would have a hard time dealing with any unexpected situations. If obtaining the L-class mecha was impossible, getting a regular mecha through the black market was also an option. As the mecha capital, Jiusheng City didn’t have as strict mecha control as other satellite cities. If they were willing to spend a lot of money, they could still get one from the black market.

“About the black market…”

Yao Guang thought for a moment and said, “I investigated the black market in Jiusheng City yesterday. There are indeed mechas for sale on the dark web, and quite a few of them. The highest grade even includes A-class mechas.”

“A-class?!”

Sun Yi, standing nearby, was shocked when he heard this. “No way, right? The Calamity Control Bureau actually allows A-class mechas to be sold elsewhere?”

“Jiusheng City is a bit different.”

Yao Guang explained, “On one hand, Jiusheng City has an advantage in mecha research and manufacturing, leading to a higher number of mechas than in other satellite cities. On the other hand, Jiusheng City’s geographical location is favorable, with few Aberration invasions. The last Aberration tide was forty years ago. Compared to other satellite cities, Jiusheng City is more peaceful and rarely experiences wars…”

Jiusheng City has a large number of mecha factories with impressive production rates. However, due to the lack of wars, mechas rarely get damaged. An ordinary mecha can have a lifespan of over ten years. Over time, Jiusheng City faced a problem of overproduction. The mecha parts produced couldn’t be sold, and the Calamity Control Bureau had a sufficient stock of mechas and didn’t need large orders. As a result, these mechas ended up under the control of various financial conglomerates.

Financial conglomerates are driven by profit, and the Calamity Control Bureau’s oversight isn’t very intimidating to them. Officially, the Calamity Control Bureau prohibits conglomerates from selling mechas, which are weapons, on the market. However, when conglomerates amass a large number of mechas, they naturally start having other ideas. The upkeep alone for a single mecha is quite expensive. Instead of letting them sit idle and burn money, they prefer to sell them to underground forces and organizations that need them, thus turning a profit. Consequently, these mechas end up on the black market.

“No wonder.”

After listening to Yao Guang’s explanation, Sun Yi nodded, his eyes lighting up. “So, can we just buy from the black market? If we have a few A-class mechas, we’ll be unstoppable, right?”

“Can you even pilot one…” Ji Mingzhu gave him a helpless look.

Sun Yi choked. True, among their group, only Ji Mingzhu knew how to pilot a mecha. Even if they bought a bunch of A-class mechas, they couldn’t use them, and maintaining them would just burn money for nothing.

“That’s not the point. The point is… we don’t have that much money.”

Yao Guang said, “I checked a few underground organizations that sell mechas on the black market. The price of an A-class mecha and an A-class power core is almost astronomical. With our remaining funds, we can only afford a D-class mecha.”

“What?” Sun Yi looked incredulous. “No way? I thought you guys were loaded…”

Ji Mingzhu is a Titan pilot, Yao Guang is a top-tier hacker, and Tian Ji is a high-ranking member of the Netherworld Organization. None of them seemed like they would lack money.

Ji Mingzhu coughed. “I was a Titan pilot in the Calamity Control Bureau for less than a month…”

Titan pilots earn generous salaries and allowances, and the Calamity Control Bureau covers food and lodging, making their living expenses minimal. Even after retirement, they still receive subsidies. In other words, becoming a Titan pilot essentially guarantees a secure and prosperous life.

The problem was, Ji Mingzhu had barely worked a few days before becoming a fugitive and never got to see his salary…

Tian Ji also looked embarrassed, his gaze evasive.

“There’s no need to say anything about him.”

Yao Guang glanced at Tian Ji. “He’s been working for the Netherworld Organization for years, essentially for free, without a single penny of pay.”

Tian Ji: “…Ahem.”

As a modified human, Tian Ji had been programmed with loyalty to the Netherworld Organization from creation. Naturally, there was no need for the organization to pay him. He risked his life for them without earning a cent, not even having a personal bank account.

Yao Guang was slightly better off. As a top-tier hacker, he held dozens of patents and had an alias as a “firewall security expert” on the dark web, making him the wealthiest among them.

But Yao Guang’s wealth was relative to ordinary people. Compared to the immensely wealthy financial conglomerates, he was still insignificant. To buy an A-class mecha, he’d have to work hard for several more decades.

Sun Yi listened, his face darkening.

So… Yao Guang was the real financial backer of this team?

“How much does an A-class mecha cost?” Ji Mingzhu broke the awkward silence, asking.

Yao Guang gave a number that made everyone gasp.

“Why are you all looking like that?” Yao Guang twitched his mouth. “In any other satellite city, you wouldn’t get an A-class mecha even if you doubled that price… But, just a heads-up, if we plan to buy an A-class mecha, we better gather the money in the next few days. Otherwise, the prices will skyrocket soon.”

Now that Jiusheng City was without a Titan and faced the possibility of war with Yangyuan City and Sky City, prices for anything that could provide personal protection would surge. Many feared for their safety if a war between the Netherworld Organization and Sky City broke out and would buy mechas to protect themselves. Hence, the price increase in the black market was foreseeable.

Ji Mingzhu rubbed his chin. “So, how do we gather that much money in such a short time…”

Their target was the L-class mecha in the research institute, which, on the surface, was responsible for Titan security and had a high-security level. Without a mecha, infiltrating and obtaining the L-class mecha was nearly impossible.

“About the funds…”

Yao Guang grinned. “I have a way.”

Everyone turned their eyes to him.

“To gather enough money to buy an A-class mecha in a few days, we can’t use conventional methods,” Yao Guang said.

“You mean…” 

Tian Ji’s eyes glinted. “Robbery?”

Yao Guang: “…”

“We need to abide by the law.” Ji Mingzhu shook his head, correcting Tian Ji’s dangerous idea.

“You mean…” 

Ji Mingzhu looked serious. “Kidnapping.”

“…”

That didn’t seem to observe discipline and abide by the law

“No need for such trouble.” Yao Guang typed a few commands into his light brain, bringing up the dark web of Jiusheng City’s black market. He turned the screen to the others. “My suggestion is… gambling.”

Sun Yi: “…”

You guys are all up to no good.

Their eyes landed on the light brain screen in front of Yao Guang.

Displayed prominently on the screen was a poster.

[Underground Mecha Challenge: Bet Big, Win Big! Bloodshed and Carnage, Showcasing the Aesthetics of Violence!]
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