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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 50

  1. Zuo Quanzong’s Conjecture

During wartime, Zuo Quanzong, as the Red Guard Commander, had the highest authority over the Thunder Division, even surpassing Huo Zai. Jin Qing, on the other hand, was an absentee leader who didn’t involve himself much. Until the announcement of the end of wartime alert status in Shangjing City, the Thunder Division of the Calamity Control Bureau was essentially under Zuo Quanzong’s sole command.

Faced with two rebellious Titan pilots who wouldn’t listen to orders, Zuo Quanzong had to exert his wartime authority. With his firm and unquestionable attitude, Li Li reluctantly headed to the confinement room.

Unauthorized piloting of Titans was a serious offense, and the Calamity Control Bureau even had the authority to execute Li Li. However, because Li Li had come to rescue Shangjing City and, moreover, when Zhurong arrived in Shangjing City, the Disaster-class Aberrations had already been dealt with by the Titan piloted by Ji Mingzhu, and the subsequent battles hadn’t used up much of Zhurong’s energy reserves. The consequences weren’t severe, and there was room for maneuvering in this matter.

The Twelve Satellite Cities were a collective fate community of humans. When the Aberrations emerged in Shangjing City, Yangyuan City and Jiusheng City were prepared to rush to the city’s aid at the first moment. However, they were stopped by the orders of Sky City, and the Calamity Control Bureau was a subordinate agency of Sky City, unable to defy orders.

Li Li’s unauthorized activation of the Titan was seen as a righteous act by the people of Yangyuan City. Coupled with Zuo Quanzong’s strong support, considering the potential impact on public sentiment caused by dealing harshly with Li Li, Sky City was likely to choose a more lenient punishment. After all, Li Li was a valuable Titan pilot, and imposing heavy penalties would be a significant loss for humanity.

In the medical room, Ji Mingzhu watched as medical personnel carefully carried in an alloy password-protected box and couldn’t help but be curious. “What is this?”

“Purification Water,” Zuo Quanzong said. “It’s a creation of Sky City that can effectively purify contamination caused by Titan exposure.”

The alloy box was opened, and a chilling air spilled out. Inside the box lay four red syringes.

Ji Mingzhu had heard of Purification Water before. It was one of the secret technologies not shared with humans by Sky City. Although the Immortal Clan explained that Purification Water was rare and had a complex manufacturing process, making it difficult to produce in large quantities and thus requiring strict control, Ji Mingzhu, who knew the true face of the Immortal Clan, leaned more towards the idea that it was a means of control.

Ji Mingzhu asked, “Since there’s something like this, why did Changbei still experience Titan contamination?”

Zuo Quanzong’s gaze slightly dimmed. “He had used it a long time ago… Purification Water can eliminate most of the contamination, but its effectiveness significantly diminishes with repeated use on the same person. Moreover, the contamination from piloting Titans is challenging to clear. Do you know why we rarely activate Titans unless it’s an emergency? Energy consumption is only one aspect. What’s more important is that the number of Titan pilots is extremely limited. Every retired Titan pilot has reached the limit of their body’s contamination load, forcing them to retire.”

“Does that include you?”

Zuo Quanzong nodded. “Yes.”

To put it cruelly, Titan pilots themselves could be considered one of the energy costs of activating Titans.

The medical personnel picked up the Purification Water and prepared to inject Ji Mingzhu, but Zuo Quanzong stopped them.

Facing Ji Mingzhu’s puzzled gaze, Zuo Quanzong explained, “The effectiveness of Purification Water in clearing contamination decreases with each use. Under normal circumstances, the first injection is given when contamination exceeds 30%. It can bring the contamination level below 10%. Your contamination level, as shown by the test results, is very low due to Titan contamination, so there’s no need for it at the moment.”

“Everyone’s physical condition is different, and contamination levels vary each time you pilot a Titan. Only a few people can tolerate multiple instances of Titan contamination. As the number of rides increases, the contamination rate rises faster each time. That’s why there are so few Titan pilots… Titan pilot Ji Mingzhu, do you know what your appearance means?”

Zuo Quanzong said, “When piloting a Titan for the first time without any prior protection, there’s usually a contamination level below 5%… This means that your compatibility with the Titan has reached an extremely alarming level, even more suitable than mine. So, Titan pilot Ji Mingzhu, your presence is extraordinary for all of humanity. I need you to recognize your importance and refrain from acting recklessly as you did before.”

For the Calamity Control Bureau, Ji Mingzhu, who could resist Titan contamination, was far more important than ten thousand You Jias combined.

Zuo Quanzong was the Titan pilot with the most rides in human history to date. During his service, he had ridden a Titan a total of 79 times. This period, from when he became a Titan pilot until his retirement, was the safest time for the entire satellite city, with no Catastrophe-class Aberration daring to invade the city walls.

In fact, it was Zuo Quanzong’s presence that led everyone into a false state of peace, resulting in him not being prepared when suddenly faced with the Aberration Tide attack.

If Ji Mingzhu could grow successfully, his talent was enough to make him the next Zuo Quanzong, continuing to defend an era of peace.

Ji Mingzhu pondered for a moment. He still felt that something was off. “If that’s the case, why not increase the number of Titan pilots? If there were a hundred Titan pilots, each pilot would only need to ride a Titan once, endure Titan contamination once, and we could still activate Titans multiple times to win battles. Why not do that?”

Having piloted Zhu Jiuyin personally, he knew that the difficulty of piloting Titans was not high, apart from the time required to adapt to the common senses, there was not much difference in operation from regular mechas. Therefore, logically speaking, Titan pilots didn’t need such a high threshold. A Level Five pilot or above should be sufficient to win a battle.

Ji Mingzhu’s question was sharp and made Zuo Quanzong unable to help but admire his insight.

Zuo Quanzong waved his hand slightly, and the medical staff around quickly retreated. The entire medical room was left with only Zuo Quanzong and Ji Mingzhu.

“This question involves the secrets of Titans and even Sky City,” Zuo Quanzong said.

Ji Mingzhu held his breath, having a vague premonition that Zuo Quanzong’s next words might reveal some of the doubts in his mind.

“In theory, your method is feasible… with the condition that Titans are just lifeless objects.”

“Lifeless objects?” Ji Mingzhu blinked. “You mean…”

“Yes, Titans are not lifeless objects; they are living beings. I mentioned this when you visited the Titan earlier.” Zuo Quanzong smiled. “However, most people treat it as a figure of speech.”

“The Titan’s cockpit, strictly speaking, is more like a ‘Restraint Device.’ Through this ‘Restraint Device,’ humans can establish a connection with Titans and control them through the cockpit. It’s like a wild beast with a collar, and we can only control the direction it moves by pulling the leash in our hands… But, once this collar malfunctions, the Titan ceases to be the most potent weapon in human hands. It might even become a more terrifying disaster than the Aberrations themselves.”

“Of course, this is just my speculation,” Zuo Quanzong paused and continued, “The true situation, perhaps only the Immortals on Sky City know. I’ve just had more opportunities to pilot Titans, and in each experience, I felt this way. I believe it’s close to the truth.”

“So, Titans select their ‘pilots’?”

“Yes… Those who aren’t recognized by Titans cannot enter the cockpit and will be completely contaminated the moment it starts. Only a few individuals possess this innate talent to resist Titan contamination. As for the underlying principles, we haven’t fully understood them,” Zuo Quanzong explained. “Among these talented individuals, there’s a need for both exceptional piloting skills and technical aptitude. That makes them even rarer. This is why being able to pilot Titans is an incredibly exclusive club, and someone like Wen Kang, even with the title of Titan pilot, cannot ride a Titan.”

Some of Ji Mingzhu’s questions were answered, but they led to even greater mysteries.

“Red Guard Commander,” Ji Mingzhu thought for a moment and asked tentatively, “I have a question. A weapon like Titans seems to have completely transcended the realm of technology… Is it genuinely created by Sky City?”

If Titans were indeed created by Sky City and given to humans as weapons against the Aberrations, then why had no one from Sky City ever been seen piloting a Titan? It didn’t make sense for the Immortals to create Titans only for selfless contribution, right?

Moreover, Titans, as living entities, didn’t seem like a product of technological development no matter how you looked at it. Ji Mingzhu didn’t believe that a group of what were essentially artificial intelligences made of nanomaterials, who hadn’t even left the data world yet, could create something that far surpassed human cognition.

“…”

Zuo Quanzong fell silent for a moment, then suddenly asked, “Do you know the history of Sky City?”

“I do,” Ji Mingzhu replied. “The history books mention it.”

According to official historical records, the Aberrations were unexpected guests from outer space who arrived with meteorites. After landing in this world, they engaged in a lengthy war with humans. Under the massive bodies of the Aberrations and their powerful bio-fields, humanity retreated step by step, and their population dwindled.

The Immortals appeared as saviors in humanity’s most desperate hour, piloting Sky City to descend, bringing numerous advanced technologies and the dawn of peace to humanity.

Regarding the origin of the Immortals, most history textbooks brushed over it, and when describing the Immortals, they often used praising language. While strictly speaking, the “descendants from the sky” Immortals were also “extraterrestrial beings” like Sky City and the Aberrations, people preferred to describe them as “messengers of hope from the heavens” and “saviors.”

Furthermore, Sky City didn’t heavily involve itself in human society. Despite being the nominal rulers of this world, the Immortals had only established the Calamity Control Bureau and had not truly governed every aspect of human life. They remained aloof, living in Sky City, neither appearing in public nor allowing humans to ascend to Sky City.

They were like the deities in myths’ heavenly realms, and it was precisely because they were so elusive and mysterious that countless people worshipped and revered them as saviors.

Zuo Quanzong sighed, “I know that your generation always regards Sky City with awe, thinking of them as saviors, messengers of gods, naturally high above everything else.”

No, quite the opposite.

Ji Mingzhu thought to himself.

“Chang Bei used to think like this too. However, through battles over time, he gradually began to waver, unable to find his own beliefs or the reason for his fights,” Zuo Quanzong said. “But for us, that’s not important. Because we are all humans, we pilot mechas to fight for our fellow beings. I often say that mecha pilots should fight for everything worth protecting. Sky City has never needed our protection, nor does it care about our protection.”

His words weren’t cryptic; Ji Mingzhu easily understood his meaning.

Although the Calamity Control Bureau was a subsidiary of Sky City, it was composed of humans, not machines programmed to run automatically. They had their own thoughts and ideas.

“I understand what you mean, Red Guard Commander,” Ji Mingzhu said. “That’s what I wanted to say as well.”

Zuo Quanzong looked deeply at the young man in front of him.

Ever since he first met Ji Mingzhu, he had a strange intuition that this young man was not ordinary. In fact, Ji Mingzhu was a very special child. This uniqueness didn’t just refer to his talent in piloting Titans; more importantly, he and Zuo Quanzong shared similar ideals. In an environment saturated with unwavering faith in Sky City, it was rare to find someone who didn’t blindly worship, someone who didn’t seek divine favor. It was truly exceptional.

“You asked whether Titans were created by Sky City.”

After a while, Zuo Quanzong slowly continued, “I can tell you the answer: no, they weren’t.”

“Whether it’s the Aberrations, Titans, Sky City, or the Immortal Clan,” Zuo Quanzong said, “I believe they all come from the same world, and none of them belong here.”

“Are you saying that they all came from the same meteorite?”

“That’s what I believe,” Zuo Quanzong nodded. “Sky City has never directly confronted the Aberrations. Even though they possess Titans and numerous powerful weapons capable of easily eliminating all Aberrations, they have never done so. Have you ever wondered why?”

Ji Mingzhu had pondered this question before. It was also one of his sources of confusion. Faced with Zuo Quanzong’s question and combining it with what he had seen and heard so far, he had a somewhat unclear guess.

“Could it be…”

Ji Mingzhu cautiously asked, “The Immortals didn’t refrain from doing so because they didn’t want to but because they couldn’t? So they needed humans to do it?”

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