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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 48

  1. Fall Out

“Vroom—Boom!”

A magnificent blaze swept across the battlefield, and a dazzling beam of light shot out from Zhu Rong’s eyes. Wherever it passed, the Aberrations melted into charred remnants, radiating scorching heat. Under this high-temperature beam, the entire Shangjing city’s temperature rose several degrees, resembling a furnace.

Then, Zhu Rong extended its palm and aimed at the swarm of Aberrations near the city wall. A barrage of laser beams gushed out of the cannon ports on its palm, and the soaring flames covered the breach in the city wall, instantly vaporizing thousands of Aberrations.

Li Li sat in Zhu Rong’s cockpit, and the wild rock music drowned out all the sounds of the battlefield. Her long hair, dyed in shades of red, swayed gently with the beat, and her hand tapped on the console as if playing a drum, controlling Zhu Rong to unleash a meteoric blaze.

“This girl…”

Watching Zhu Rong’s figure wreaking havoc on the battlefield, Zuo Quanzong couldn’t help but rub his forehead.

Among the twelve Titans in the Satellite Cities, Zhu Rong was undoubtedly a representative artillery-type mech, equipped with terrifying large-scale firepower platforms all over its body. The Solar Ray emitted from its eyes could reach temperatures exceeding 7000 degrees Celsius, and coupled with the special satellite orbital weapon, the Celestial Empress Orbital Penetrator Cannon, it was like a mobile humanoid fortress.

Although Zhu Rong had weak close-combat abilities, in such a battlefield environment, it was an unequivocal killing machine. Its arrival significantly reduced the pressure on the capital city, with masses of Aberrations falling under Zhu Rong’s firepower.

“Red Guard Commander, how should we explain this to Yangyuan City…” a commander asked.

Zuo Quanzong contemplated for a moment. “I’ll explain to Sky City later.”

Even though Li Li had initiated the Titan without authorization, a significant breach of discipline, she had come for a rescue mission. Zuo Quanzong couldn’t be too harsh, and he had made a decision. Even if Sky City pursued this matter, he would protect Li Li.

Zuo Quanzong continued, “Has Ji Mingzhu been recovered?”

As he finished speaking, a communications officer nearby received a message from the Fire Division. After listening for a while, he suddenly looked terrified and said, “Titan pilot Ji… Ji Mingzhu is missing!”

Zuo Quanzong was stunned. “What?!”

He stepped forward quickly and pressed the communication button. “What’s the situation? You were sent to pick him up, where is he?”

Zuo Quanzong’s voice contained an uncontrollable anger, causing the nearby commanders to tremble.

On the other end of the communication, the squad leader from the Fire Division was also taken aback by Zuo Quanzong’s tone. After two seconds, he said, “We’ve reached the location of Ji Mingzhu’s Titan, but we didn’t see the pilot, Ji Mingzhu. There’s no one inside the cockpit either.”

“Is there any sign of a struggle at the scene?”

“Report, Red Guard Commander, none.”

No signs of a struggle meant that either Ji Mingzhu had left on his own or he had been abducted. Moreover, the other party must have had significant influence… Was it Feibo? Or the Netherworld Organization? Or some other organization?

“Find him.”

Zuo Quanzong let out a sigh, his gaze turning cold. “Notify the Trace Inspection Team to go there. Retrieve all running surveillance systems in the capital city. The remaining personnel from the Fire Division should all join in the search. Don’t overlook any trace.”

“Yes!”

“Understood!”

Everyone who received the orders understood the seriousness of the situation. Ji Mingzhu had just piloted the Zhu Jiuyin to rescue the capital city in a crisis, but in the next moment, he disappeared. If this was due to the actions of another organization, it would be like smearing the face of the Calamity Control Bureau.

Fortunately, with Zhu Rong overseeing the defense of the capital city, the pressure had eased significantly. A batch of mecha squads was now reassigned to search for Ji Mingzhu’s whereabouts.

In the dark alley, Ji Mingzhu moved cautiously, and the only sound echoing in the silent passageway was the footsteps of Ji Mingzhu himself.

“It should be the Netherworld that has taken him.”

Two minutes ago, Tian Quan received a message from Ji Mingzhu and spoke with certainty, “Previously, Yu Heng wanted me to cooperate in capturing You Jia, but I managed to find an excuse to decline. Yu Heng probably hasn’t suspected me yet… but do you really want to rescue You Jia? The risk is too great. If you get exposed, then we…”

Of course, Ji Mingzhu understood what he meant.

“I know what I’m doing.”

Ji Mingzhu looked at a communication he had received five minutes ago and said, “I’m rescuing You Jia, and you just look after yourself. How’s Yao Guang?”

“I’ve already arranged him in a safe place.”

Tian Quan still sounded somewhat disapproving, but he couldn’t find a reason to stop Ji Mingzhu from making this decision. After a while, he could only say softly, “If I don’t receive a signal from you in ten minutes, I’ll send a message to Zuo Quanzong. You know the locations of several Netherworld bases; if necessary, let Zuo Quanzong make a move through Bai Weng.”

If it were before, Ji Mingzhu would definitely not dare to be so bold. However, things were different now. He had just piloted a Titan and become a hero who saved the city. In the Calamity Control Bureau, both publicly and privately, they wouldn’t just let him die.

On the other hand, having served the Netherworld for so long and holding the position of Tian Shu, as long as there was no concrete evidence proving his betrayal, Bai Weng probably wouldn’t act recklessly.

Moreover…

Ji Mingzhu glanced at a message he had received five minutes ago, and his eyes flickered slightly.

“Click—”

A faint flame suddenly appeared in the dark alley. Accompanied by the sound of a match striking, a figure appeared at the end of the alley.

It was Tian Ji.

“You’re here so quickly.”

Tian Ji lit a cigarette, exhaled a smoke ring, and looked at Ji Mingzhu. “Is this You Jia really important to you?”

Ji Mingzhu remained silent.

He dared to come alone for this appointment because, in addition to his previous speculations, there was another crucial reason: he needed to understand Tian Ji’s stance.

If, as he suspected, he had lost his memories prior to waking up in that repair shop, then Tian Ji was undoubtedly a significant breakthrough. The key to the warehouse he had left behind contained a Phoenix Redeemer, something even the Netherworld didn’t know about. The key had been given to him by Tian Ji, indicating that Tian Ji had a substantial connection to the Ji Mingzhu from before he lost his memories.

The faint glow from the cigarette ember illuminated the vine tattoos on Tian Ji’s face. His gaze was sharp as he scanned Ji Mingzhu up and down. After two seconds, he spoke slowly, “I’ve been meaning to ask you since our last meeting… Do you have other plans? With your personality, you shouldn’t be choosing to clash with the Netherworld at a time like this.”

Ji Mingzhu noticed his choice of words. He said “not clashing with the Netherworld” instead of “not clashing with us.”

After a pause, Tian Ji continued, “I managed to divert Tian Xuan, and there’s no one else here. If you have any changes to your plans, you’ll have to tell me in advance. Otherwise, I won’t be able to assist you…”

His words confirmed some of Ji Mingzhu’s suspicions. Ji Mingzhu finally spoke, “I’ve lost my memory.”

Tian Ji flicked his finger holding the cigarette, looking astonished. “What?”

“I’ve lost some of my memories,” Ji Mingzhu repeated, his gaze locked onto Tian Ji’s eyes. “So, I wanted to ask you… Are we on the same side?”

Tian Ji pondered for a moment. “Which memories have you lost?”

“Basically, all of them,” Ji Mingzhu didn’t mention the part about transmigration but said, “I woke up in a room near the and I have no memories from before that time. This includes Netherworld and the Calamity Control Bureau, and everything else…”

“No wonder,” Tian Ji muttered to himself, then looked at Ji Mingzhu in surprise. “You’ve lost all these memories, yet you’re still alive? I didn’t see through it. I thought you had another plan…”

“I’ve been to that warehouse,” Ji Mingzhu said. “Inside, I found what I left behind earlier and the message you sent me. Obviously, that wasn’t sent from the perspective of the Netherworld. Since you’ve already captured You Jia, there’s no need to arrange this meeting with me. So, I guess our relationship must be extraordinary.”

“That’s right.”

Tian Ji smiled and said, “We’re on the same side… well, to be precise, I’m working for you.”

Ji Mingzhu was taken aback.

Suddenly, Axiu interjected, “A Fire Division team from the Calamity Control Bureau is on their way here. They’re expected to arrive in three minutes.”

Ji Mingzhu had naturally left himself a way out when he came alone. After descending from the Zhu Jiuyin, he arrived here. During this process, he didn’t hide his traces. With the Calamity Control Bureau’s methods and control over the capital city, it was easy to locate his position.

Tian Ji had also received a signal from the Netherworld. He let out a breath and said to Ji Mingzhu, “I know you have many questions now, but time is of the essence. I’ll find you later and tell you everything I know.”

Ji Mingzhu nodded. “Alright.”

“Are you sure you want to take You Jia with you?” Tian Ji said. “When the mission to capture You Jia was issued earlier, you didn’t respond to Bai Weng. Netherworld already has objections, but that’s not a big issue; you can find an excuse to stall. But if you take You Jia with you, you’ll completely break ties with Netherworld.”

Ji Mingzhu asked, “Where’s You Jia?”

Tian Ji gestured towards the side of the alley. “He’s lying there. He won’t wake up for at least four or five hours.”

Ji Mingzhu knew exactly what Tian Ji meant. According to his plan, even if he wanted to break free from Netherworld, now wasn’t the time. He had too little leverage against Netherworld.

But letting Netherworld take You Jia away was also something Ji Mingzhu didn’t want to see.

“But even if I was about to be eaten by the creatures at that moment, I still want to say it clearly… I’m not a coward.”

“Ji Mingzhu… Are you coming?”

In his mind, You Jia’s determined expression as he stood in front of the shelter appeared briefly. For a moment, You Jia’s face overlapped with that of his former squadmates.

“Can’t win?”

In his memories, just like You Jia, Tang Jing also had the innocence of a young, hot-blooded youth. When faced with the top team that had won four consecutive championships, he patted Ji Mingzhu’s shoulder and said, “We still have the captain, after all. Who in this world can he not beat? At most, it’s us dragging him down… And besides, isn’t it cowardly to back down before even getting in the game? That’s the behavior of a coward, isn’t it, Captain?”

In a foreign world and a dangerous situation, Ji Mingzhu had deliberately avoided forming too many connections with others, but that didn’t mean he was a cold-hearted person.

Watching You Jia being taken away by Tian Ji, perhaps he could carry out his plan to break free from Netherworld more safely, taking each step carefully to preserve himself.

However, that was too despicable.

Ji Mingzhu didn’t want to be a saint, but he also didn’t want to be a coward. Just as Chang Bei charged towards the Aberrations, resolute in the face of danger, just as he made the determined decision to pilot the Titan.

“If it means shedding all pretenses of cordiality, then lets shed them.”

Ji Mingzhu exhaled softly and said to Tian Ji, “I’m taking You Jia with me.”

Tian Ji looked deeply at him and said, “I’m not sure if it’s an illusion, but I have this feeling that you have become a bit more humane than before you lost your memories. You used to be quite indifferent to everyone.”

“Is that so?”

“Just put it this way,” Tian Ji said. “The Phoenix Redeemer in the warehouse, its power core is depleted, right?”

Ji Mingzhu nodded.

“You used it all up.”

Tian Ji smiled and continued, “While piloting the Phoenix Redeemer, you killed a lot of people, so many that even your combat blade turned blood-red.”

Ji Mingzhu was left in shock.

“So, that’s why I said your change is quite significant… I almost don’t recognize the person you’ve become now.”

As Tian Ji spoke, he tossed a gun to Ji Mingzhu. “Let’s do it.”

Ji Mingzhu hesitantly took the gun, still lost in Tian Ji’s words. “What… What are we doing?”

“Fire the gun,” Tian Ji said. “If you’re taking You Jia with you, I need an explanation. Otherwise, even Bai Weng will start suspecting me.”

Ji Mingzhu stared at the gun in his hand. After a moment, he took a deep breath and said, “I’ll deal with my current tasks as quickly as possible and then send you a message… I need to know everything.”

Tian Ji shrugged. “I’ll be waiting for your message.”

“Bang!”

A crisp gunshot echoed from the alley, alarming the guards from the Calamity Control Bureau.

“Gunshot!”

“It’s over there!”

“Quick, go check!”

The guards swiftly took action, surrounding the entrance to the alley. One team stayed at the entrance, while another team raised their guns and charged inside, fearing that Ji Mingzhu might have encountered trouble.

If something happened to Ji Mingzhu… the wrath of the Red Guard Commander would be something they couldn’t bear.

Before the guards could reach the alley, two figures emerged from the darkness.

Ji Mingzhu was supporting the unconscious You Jia as they walked out of the alley, bathed in the fading sunlight.

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