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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 119

Coria Contaminated Zone (Restricted Zone)

119. Monster

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake

Collisions from all directions were hitting the shield; the shield’s 40% output barely maintained their safety in the two-mecha-wide space. The tentacle’s pull was extremely strong. Even though the weight of multiple mechs slowed it down to a certain extent, in the relatively narrow space, its intention to pull them downward remained unchanged.

Zhao Lejie never imagined that one day he would be leading a group of mechs to drill through the ground and that at the end of this hole might be a nest of pollutants in a Restricted Zone. However, from the moment they were pulled in, he had no choice but to follow KID, falling and tumbling underground together.

You Su landed at the team’s rear, his Sniper Cannon always deployed, with its energy output stable at 20%.

The path to the underground was not easy. The tentacle was reckless, only pulling downward. The large pollutant it dragged became a tool that removed the surrounding outer layer of soil. Its body collided with the surrounding walls of the tunnel, widening the slightly narrow passage. With You Su clearing the way from behind with the Sniper Cannon, they barely managed to get all the mechs through the narrow passage.

Ji Qingfeng, shining a searchlight from the rear, illuminated the way. “Old Zhao, hold on!”

Zhao Lejie was about to curse. “Hold on my ass! By the time we get down there, my shield will be completely shattered!”

“I’ll repair it for you.” Ying Chenlin’s gaze was fixed ahead. The dashboard showed the distance between the surface and the cave entrance. They had already penetrated nearly two hundred meters deep. The distance the searchlight could illuminate was limited. He could only observe changes in the rock layers up ahead, and maybe distinguish traces left by the pollutants on the cave walls.

“The Frontier Army didn’t detect this thing’s existence last year. So, this place must have existed for more than half a year, right?” Huo Yan looked around. “It’s impossible to dig such a hole in a short time, is it?”

“Perhaps even longer,” Ying Chenlin recalled the time when they first entered the Restricted Zone. At that time, Ji Qingfeng had already led the Mother Mantis around for a while, but the tentacle did not attack them immediately. Instead, it seemed to have gone through a buffering period before finding them. After that came the complete chaos of the Restricted Zone.

However, this buffering period could be disregarded. It’s also possible that they hadn’t entered the tentacle’s hunting range initially.

It was normal for the Frontier Army not to detect these tentacles. When they encountered them, they didn’t notice them immediately either. Those tentacles lay in trenches dug into the ground, covered with fallen leaves. It was difficult to detect them without flipping over the leaves that completely covered the trenches.

All the mysteries seemed to be buried underground. These mutations should have lasted for a long time, but the real mutation should have started after the Frontier Army ended its reconnaissance last year.

Ji Qingfeng: “Isn’t this road too steep?”

Lu Xi: “We seem to have been going down for a long time. Shouldn’t we be reaching the end?”

At that moment, Ying Chenlin suddenly saw something and exclaimed urgently, “Everyone, duck!”

Upon hearing this command through the channel, everyone immediately lowered their mechs. The pollutant ahead directly collided with a jagged soil edge above it, causing the surrounding area to shake. The broken soil cones fell down, smashing onto the mechs below.

“Damn it!” Zhao Lejie exclaimed, “The path ahead is getting narrower.”

Ying Chenlin’s gaze had never left the front. As the range of his field of vision rapidly decreased, warning indicators popped up for collision alerts. He was certain, “We can make it!”

The available space for passage was getting smaller and smaller, and the jolting sensations became heavier. The pollutant dragged by the tentacle had lost a considerable portion of its outer structure due to the impacts. At this moment, at a depth of 547 meters below ground level, all the mechs were suddenly pulled on by the tentacle, plunging from the narrow passage into another spacious area.

Ying Chenlin immediately released his tight grip on the pollutant and swiftly withdrew with Zhao Lejie. “Searchlight!”

Huo Yan activated the searchlight and moved forward. The searchlights of several mechs illuminated the surroundings at the first opportunity. However, the entire underground space was too vast, and their visual range was limited.

“Oh my god…” Ji Qingfeng was stunned. “What is this thing?”

When the searchlight illuminated a wriggling object ahead, Ying Chenlin’s expression suddenly froze.

Inside the mechs, every energy radar screen glowed red, indicating that they were now in the midst of a massive energy center, namely, the location of the fusion weapon.

Ying Chenlin swept the searchlight upward. In the darkness, the colors that could be captured were limited. In their illuminated field of view, they saw a huge monster squatting directly above them. It almost covered the entire roof of the space, resembling a gigantic alien plant, growing wildly in this underground space.

Countless elongated objects, similar to the original tentacle, were wriggling up above. The largest of those tentacles extended outward through large holes around them. Those tentacles were the monsters that had attacked them on the surface. It turned out that they were all growing on this alien creature.

“There’s something below…” Lu Xi’s searchlight revealed something beneath them.

Above was the towering monstrous alien plant, and below was a liquid pool. The liquid’s composition was unknown, boiling and rolling. Many roots of the giant plant above extended into the liquid pool. The light green liquid seemed to be the juice discharged from it, possessing an immense energy reaction.

Zhao Lejie’s scalp tingled. “Hey hey hey, this thing fills the entire space!”

“Could the energy-based pollutants on the surface come from here?!” Ji Qingfeng suddenly exclaimed. “They don’t cause any pollution responses with their bodies, yet they’re alive…”

There were still many moving pollutants in the pool below. Right below them, they saw the pollutant corpse, which had been used as a shovel by them earlier. All the pollutants dragged in by the tentacles were piled up in the liquid pool down below, containing living pollutants as well as the remains of dead ones… The disgusting and ugly pool made everyone involuntarily avert their eyes, and a strong sense of nausea surged up.

Now, there was no need for anyone else to explain. Even the undiscerning could see that the strange energy-based pollutants outside crawled out of this pool. Around them were holes leading to the outside, and pollutants were climbing up the edges of other holes, seemingly wanting to crawl out from there and reach the surface.

Everything confirmed Ying Chenlin’s original speculation that there was a large incubator below.

“But wasn’t it said that there’s a fusion weapon below?” Huo Yan noticed the appearance of the strange plant above them. It indeed resembled a plant, but its body was covered with irregularities similar to metal fragments, not typical plant patterns. It was not entirely metal, nor entirely a plant.

He flew while using the searchlight to observe the situation in the cave. Hearing Lin Yao’s question, he recalled the rock wall he saw when he came in. “The minerals here should all be high-level materials. When I came in, I saw a special Blue Blood Lava Ore deposit, which is valuable.”

Not to mention Blue Blood Lava Ore, just the name ‘Coria Contaminated Zone’ indicated that the materials found everywhere here are basically A-class materials.

Moreover, all the minerals buried underground and the output of each vein, are rare material deposits in the outside world. They have been lying dormant underground in the Restricted Zone for many years. With such strong energy reactions and the high hardness of these minerals, they were definitely excellent materials for use.

Zhao Lejie turned his head and saw that KID and the others had already dug out a three-meter path. None of the mined ore had fallen; it all went into their storage. “…Are you not leaving any ore behind?!”

“Why aren’t you taking what you dug up?” Ji Qingfeng asked. “Aren’t you tempted? These rare minerals can be used as recasting materials for your mechs when taken out.”

Zhao Lejie: “…”

-*-*

While KID and Zhao Lejie were trapped underground, at the same time the Frontier Army squad’s report on the surrounding tentacles was also sent to the Coria Management Bureau. Not only that, teams from the Frontier Army outside the Restricted Zone had already entered the area and were rushing to support Base Station C-147.

In the control room of the Management Bureau, as all the reports were gathered in front of Old Qiu, the seriousness on his face deepened.

The nearby staff noticed Old Qiu’s unusual expression, and Shen Xingtang spoke up. “Old Qiu, your idea that the fusion weapon has turned into pollutants is indeed bold, but can the residual fluid from the tissues discarded back then really achieve this level?”

“…It can be realized, but under certain conditions,” Old Qiu said solemnly. “Research on that pollutant weapon was suspended, but the intelligent programs installed are still there. The principle is actually somewhat similar to a mech’s, but not entirely. We know that S-level mechs are formed from the resonance of mental power and embryos to produce an S-level’s intelligence.”

“The embryos are actually made of pollutant materials, but the materials we use are all dead. And everything inside the research institute is also dead material. Under such conditions, theoretically, it should not be possible to achieve this.” Old Qiu hesitated. “Unless there are living beings inside.”

Living beings?! When these words were spoken, the surrounding staff couldn’t believe it.

This was because the Frontier Army’s reconnaissance hadn’t found any problems inside the base station after so many years, except for the turmoil caused by external pollutants at the base station eight years ago which eventually led to the deployment of Frontier Army support. That operation resulted in heavy losses.

As everyone pondered, Coria’s Director suddenly spoke up, “Old Qiu, I remember you applied for this mission to investigate the Restricted Zone with good reason. At the time, you mentioned the issue with the pollutant [Fire].”

Once the Director mentioned it, everyone remembered that initially, Old Qiu came to inspect the Restricted Zone because clues about that pollutant were discovered after retrieving Restricted Zone archives from 20 years ago. He then brought a Frontier Army squad to conduct the investigation.

After a silence among the group for about half a minute, Old Qiu’s hand pressed on the console, his gaze fixed on the tentacle. “Yes, I came here because of the pollutant from back then.”

“When it comes to the appearance of fire resistance, and the fusion weapon now showing signs of aggression, I thought of a possibility.” A dreadful idea lingered in Old Qiu’s mind as he spoke cautiously, “I checked the old files for the Restricted Zone. After Major General Ying killed that pollutant, due to the critical situation, we only took the anomalous crystal.”

Shen Xingtang frowned, “What happened after you took the anomalous crystal?”

Old Qiu continued, “The body of Fire was divided and taken away by several Frontier Army units for research. After reviewing the files, I found that during the research at that time, researchers discovered that Fire had some regenerative properties, but those properties were very weak and quickly disappeared.”

Zhang Ge exclaimed, “Wait, what does this have to do with the tentacles?”

“So there’s a possibility.” Old Qiu hesitated before finally saying, “Most of Fire’s body was basically taken away by the Frontier Army at that time, but a small part of the segmented remains was left in the abandoned treatment room under the base station. If that regenerative property still exists, wouldn’t Fire’s remnants also be in the fusion weapon underground?”

With this statement, the entire control room fell into silence.

Regenerative abilities weren’t unfamiliar to anyone. Many plant-based pollutants have varying degrees of regenerative abilities, which are often used as common materials in mecha weapons. This ability, when placed in other contexts, wouldn’t cause much concern. However, once this ability is associated with the fusion weapon, anyone with a bit of knowledge about pollutants present would know—

Regenerative ability pollutants are the most resilient of all pollutants, meaning they are the most active.

“Fire is a dual-attribute pollutant…?” Coria’s Director was stunned.

“No, if its anomalous crystal had dual attributes, our researchers would have discovered it long ago.” Old Qiu’s expression was serious. “But the fact that this pollutant has such high fire resistance can only mean it’s closely related to Fire. As for its regenerative properties, isn’t there a common relationship for it?”

“Symbiosis,” Shen Xingtang murmured. “If there was a pollutant with symbiotic abilities coexisting with Fire, it could indeed carry its fire resistance. Perhaps it didn’t die completely back then and remained in Fire’s remnants.”

“A pollutant that can coexist with Fire’s attributes…” Coria’s Director didn’t dare to speculate further. “The level of this pollutant is at least S, and it’s likely not just regenerative. It probably has extremely high stealth capabilities. It’s the dual-attribute pollutant.”

Everyone thought of that possibility—having high resistance to fire, rendering attacks ineffective, and remaining undiscovered by the Frontier Army for so many years.

The vitality of this pollutant is very tenacious. It’s unimaginable what would happen if it’s mixed with the fusion weapon. Originally, rendering the weapons ineffective had already troubled the Frontier Army for so many years. Now, with so many additional conditions, the difficulties they had to face were even greater.

“The Frontier Army has received news. The Lieutenant General has already led troops over.”

“The Frontier Army has entered the Restricted Zone. They have about 5 minutes left to reach the base station.”

“Allow them entry into the base station and let them determine the situation first!” Old Qiu immediately said, “In any case, we must confirm whether the fusion weapon underground is directly related to Fire and regeneration!”

Over three hundred meters below the base station, the mining team had been working for three minutes.

However, their excavation was not going smoothly. The huge pollutant seemed to notice the movement along the rock walls, and several tentacles were wandering around.

Zhao Lejie had to erect a protective shield at the rear to fend off the crawling tentacles, protecting the mining KID workers from above. “F*ck, forget about picking up ores, hurry up and dig!”

While Zhao Lejie and Ji Qingfeng were harassed by tentacles on one side, the situation on Ying Chenlin’s side also became precarious.

Originally, only a single tentacle followed him, but the patience of this pollutant seemed limited, or perhaps their movements were too loud. It immediately sent out multiple tentacles violently towards his direction.

The pollutant’s tentacles were all in motion, and the sudden movement caused the surroundings to shake. Loose rocks kept falling from above, and You Su turned his head to see that Ji Qingfeng had already completely entered the cave entrance, and the glow of Zhao Lejie’s protective shield could be faintly seen.

The dark space was not conducive to movement. The energy reactions completely covering the area made it impossible for them to accurately determine the direction of the tentacles’ movements. All flight relied on was visual judgment. You Su and Huo Yan stayed in the cave to assist Ying Chenlin, but even though they had not been attacked initially, with all the tentacles moving, they also had to evade the opponent’s attacks.

“No! Turning on the searchlight is too obvious.” Huo Yan looked in Ying Chenlin’s direction. “Staying here will only drain us to death.”

However, not turning on the searchlight was not an option. Any detection radar system would almost fail in such an intense energy environment. They could only rely on their naked eyes to judge flight paths. You Su’s sniper cannon struck the pollutant again, but the damage it caused was almost negligible. “Damaging it is useless.”

Ying Chenlin scanned the cavern ceiling. “Try hitting the middle directly!”

You Su adjusted the direction and immediately aimed towards the core of the plant.

But when he fired, the surrounding tentacles coiled up, completely shielding the core.

Instead of being deterred by the attack, the pollutant became even more frenzied. It began to strike at the threat in front of it. This time, Ying Chenlin had to concentrate fully on evasion. Moreover, after entering the underground space, the heat generated by his weapon [Hell Fire] had exceeded 80 degrees Celsius.

At such a high temperature, he couldn’t manipulate the weapon for a long time through empathy. Since the incident with Qiu Jin, he had gained new control over Yuan, knowing how to minimize the consumption of mental power. However, mental power always ran out eventually. Now, it had exceeded the half-hour estimate Yuan had originally predicted.

Ying Chenlin pondered slightly and switched the Sniper Cannon to his right hand.

“You Ge, what are you doing down there? An earthquake?!” Several miners felt the tremors and looked down.

“You dig, no need to worry,” You Su furrowed his brow. The resistance of this pollutant to firepower was too high, it was almost completely unaffected.

“As long as it’s a pollutant, there must be weaknesses,” Huo Yan looked up. “Since its energy reaction is so strong, could it be that the energy carried by the fusion weapon above is its sustenance!?”

Sustenance!? Everyone thought of the high energy content of the heavy weapon that even the Frontier Army feared. That energy could obliterate the entire Coria Contaminated Zone. If all that became sustenance, it would be meaningless.

“If that’s the case, we better escape early. We can’t deal with this thing, and even the Frontier Army won’t be able to handle it when they come!” Zhao Lejie exclaimed.

At this moment, You Su noticed that the black and red mecha flying on the other side suddenly switched weapons.

He paused slightly and saw Ying Chenlin take out the cannon. At this moment, the cannon emitted a strange red light.

Initially, he didn’t pay much attention, but now in the underground environment, the red light emitted by the weapon seemed a bit dazzling for no apparent reason, indicating that it wasn’t just heating up slightly.

You Su: “Ying Chenlin.”

“Two shots, you go left, I go right,” Ying Chenlin lowered his voice. “5 seconds!”

The moment when the weapon was drawn, the surrounding pollutant tentacles seemed to go mad and rushed toward Ying Chenlin.

You Su immediately seized the opportunity, and once again aimed his Sniper Cannon at the pollutant’s core, while Ying Chenlin endured the high temperature’s sensation, the cannon in his hand completed 50% of its charging and shot toward the core of the pollutant with a bang!

“Wait?! That position!” Huo Yan saw the situation and immediately shouted to Zhao Lejie, “Old Zhao, raise the shield to the highest!!”

Zhao Lejie was stunned, and the next moment he saw a fire dragon rushing up from the hole they dug, everything before his eyes was engulfed in flames!

“F*ck!!!” Zhao Lejie was hit by the impact and bumped into Ji Qingfeng. The mining group of four was roasted, furious, “Are you guys shooting even at your own people!”

Author’s note:

Zhao Lejie: This is called *crossing a tribulation.

*渡劫(Ascension Stage) – In reference to the stages of cultivation in Chinese. 

From NU:

筑基 Qi Refining

金丹 Core Formation

元婴 Nascent Soul

化神 Demigod/Immortalization

合体 Synthesis/Power Boosting

大乘 Mahayana/Path to Godhood

渡劫 Ascension

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ethos
ethos
3 months ago

Thank you for the chapter!

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