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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 155

Kemu Cave Contaminated Zone(Galactic Promotion Competition)

155. Chaotic Maze

Ying Chenlin hadn’t yet had a chance to read the rulebook when he was startled by his teammates’ voices. Instinctively, he looked at the radar, only to see that the blue signals representing his teammates were scattered all over, with none of the signals overlapping.

The Mecha Alliance had scrambled the coordinates of all mechas in the team battle, meaning they were now all dispersed.

【Scrambled and scattered???】

【The coordinates of all 24 mecha pilots are scrambled!】

【Sh*t, the rules for the top 16 matches are this intense?】

Outside the venue, the live broadcast room and all the mecha bases watching froze, completely unprepared for the Dawn Alliance to change the competition rules to this extent. Dawn Galaxy’s competition rules had always been relatively straightforward. Last season saw some changes, increasing the difficulty a bit, but the overall rules still adhered to the Dawn Galaxy’s traditional style.

For this top 16 promotion competition, the official announcement had hinted at rule changes. All the mecha bases assumed it would be an extension of last season’s rules. No one expected the entire rule system to change so drastically.

[Maze Survival: All mechas entering the Kemu Cave Contaminated Zone (Deep Layer) will enter a 72-hour survival countdown. The initial leap coordinates of the mechas are scrambled. Teams can eliminate each other. Scores will not reset. The match can end early if only one team remains in the Contaminated Zone.] [Note: This match includes racing rules. The initial jump locations of the mechas are in the Deep Layer of Kemu Cave. The Deep Layer contains 10 special exploration points set by the Dawn Alliance. Reaching an exploration point earns a team 1 point (exploration point = mecha point). When all 10 exploration points are activated, the team that first exits the Kemu Cave Contaminated Zone can choose to end the match.] [Final Record Calculation: Mecha points + exploration point scores (scores do not reset). The top two teams in score ranking at the end of the match will advance.]

The announcement of these rules in the live broadcast room caused an uproar.

All external reactions were also conveyed to the Dawn Galaxy Mecha Alliance’s office. Li Jingyan had not gone to the Contaminated Zone match site. The decision to use such match rules had been made after careful consideration. For the Dawn Galaxy mecha teams to gain competitiveness in the Star Domain and Star Alliance competitions, the internal Galactic League rules had to be reformed.

Throughout several past seasons, the Star Alliance Mecha Headquarters had continued to integrate diverse rules and Contaminated Zone environments into the League. Team battles not only tested mecha pilots’ combat capabilities but also their ability to coordinate and cooperate to do complex tasks.

Dawn Galaxy’s combat power lagged behind the other galaxies, and its responsiveness to rules was also lacking.

Many galaxies had already implemented such reforms, and the Dawn Galaxy could not afford to fall behind.

Li Jingyan said, “This is just the beginning. If our League’s rules can stump a batch of mecha pilots, then in the Star Alliance, we can’t possibly compete with other galaxies.”

【Wait, what? Scores don’t reset?】

【These are two separate rules!】

【And they scrambled all the mecha pilots at the start???】

When Jiang Simiao saw the rules, he felt a headache coming on. “The Dawn Galaxy is really pulling out all the stops this time. No wonder they chose Kemu Cave as the Contaminated Zone. This kind of rule wouldn’t work in a larger Contaminated Zone.”

Gu Xiaotian, having read the rules, said excitedly, “Huh? If everyone is separated, doesn’t that benefit us? Lin-ge and the others aren’t afraid of solo battles!”

“It’s not necessarily advantageous,” Shen Xingtang said. “In this match, mecha points are a factor, but another factor is the exploration points. These rules run concurrently. If another team uses one mecha to distract you while they grab the exploration points, what then?”

In Gale’s base, Qi Sicheng’s eyes darkened when he saw this. “These rules are tough.”

Zhao Lejie asked, “Didn’t they say the rules might force battles? How did it turn into a strategic fight?”

“How is this not forcing battles? The Alliance is running two sets of rules concurrently. There are 24 mechas in the arena, and aside from your own team, there are only 18 mecha points available. The remaining points are from the 10 exploration points. To win, you can’t rely solely on exploration points or mecha points. To win, you must capture both.” Gale’s head coach said seriously, “This not only forces the mecha pilots to fight for points but also increases the strategic depth within the arena. Although the match is set for 72 hours, it can end early!”

Inside the arena, once the mecha pilots realized the situation, they instinctively began observing their surroundings and then started reading the rulebook.

The six mechas of Black Crow’s team were all separated. While other mecha pilots began to explore their surroundings, the six Black Crow mechas remained still, waiting quietly for instructions from their commander.

Wen Yi, the captain of Black Crow, was also their commander.

This rule set was full of strategy. Ideally, the highest achievable score would be an 18-10 split between mecha points and exploration points. But it included two conditions for ending the battle early: if someone chose to eliminate all other mechas to end the match or if all exploration points were found and someone exited Kemu Cave. Thus, the optimal strategy, accumulating points over 72 hours, might not hold.

To win, they needed not only a high score but to also grasp any opportunities.

In the dark, the black mechas stood still. A young, refined man sat in the cockpit, calmly reviewing the rules. He activated the coordinates of his allied mechas and marked several areas on the radar. “Medical, regroup with me first. The other mechas have self-preservation capabilities. Regrouping will slow down our search for exploration points. Search according to the areas I’ve marked. Avoid battles if possible.”

【BZZL1 is starting to regroup.】

【So is Giant Bear.】

【Black Crow doesn’t seem to be regrouping; they’re looking for exploration points.】

【What is KID doing?】

【They seem to still be in place.】

The participating mecha pilots didn’t have an omniscient view, but all the spectators outside could see the mecha coordinates and the exploration points scattered around them. As they watched the movements of the other mecha pilots, they noticed Black Crow’s orderly actions. One by one, the black mechas moved through the darkness, their searchlights flickering… Meanwhile, the other three teams had already begun to take action.

However, these mecha pilots underestimated the complexity of Kemu Cave.

KID’s mechas were repeatedly hitting walls.

The reason the Kemu Cave is called a maze is because the underground area is a complete maze!

Kemu Cave was a massive maze filled with interconnected caverns. The radars could be used, but they weren’t maps made for navigation. They only showed your teammates’ coordinates and couldn’t display their exact location in a multi-dimensional space.

This resulted in many mecha pilots locking onto their teammates’ coordinates, only to keep hitting walls while trying to find them.

Huo Yan’s voice remained steady: “Look at the radar and gather in the indicated direction.”

“It seems the Alliance didn’t provide a detailed map. No wonder they call it a maze. It’s so winding that even the radar isn’t much help,” Ji Qingfeng said as he reached another dead end, looking at the blocked path up ahead and having to find another way. “This place is so dark, you can’t even find the path. Are there really any exploration points here?”

Ying Chenlin was also observing. When he received the radar information, he was already modeling using the mecha’s internal program.

He had read the data on Kemu Cave. This area should be the lowest level, the Chaos Zone, known for its complex terrain, with various strange intersections and sunken caves forming a convoluted underground route. This wasn’t the area initially designated for Individual Soldier operations.

The exploration points must be in the Chaos Zone. Considering the League’s fairness, there should be transition points around each team’s initial location. By basing it on the positions of his teammates, he could roughly map out the entire cave area.

Huo Yan monitored the internal situation while Ji Qingfeng had moved some distance ahead. Lin Yao, however, was still stuck in place. “Xiao Yao, why haven’t you moved?”

Lin Yao was really trying to move forward. “I’m almost there.”

“You can leave markers as you go,” You Su had already flown some distance. “Navigate out of the complex terrain first, don’t get stuck with the radar.”

Lin Yao grumbled, “Isn’t the radar just messing with us?”

Ji Qingfeng added, “Did you think the maze was just for show? In this dark maze, having a radar is already good. At least it tells you where your teammates are.”

The cave was spacious, with the ground full of pits and puddles. The mecha’s steps splashed through knee-deep water.

Moreover, the black water, long contaminated, had a high pollution level. As the mecha stepped into it, it triggered the corresponding warning alarms.

Huo Yan observed the speed at which his teammates were gathering. “Let’s not gather yet. Follow this route forward and leave markers as you go. You can use energy fuel for marking.”

Using energy fuel as a marker was effective, as its energy reaction could help detect locations.

Huo Yan immediately added, “Don’t use too much!”

Ying Chenlin said, “When you use the energy fuel, try not to overlap their heights. Send me the mapped data, and I’ll model it.”

Ji Qingfeng thought to himself that technical guys really thought differently. “Don’t worry, we know how to manage our energy usage.”

In the live broadcast, viewers noticed that the mecha pilots from all four teams had slowed down. The special maze structure hadn’t thrown them into disarray; instead, everyone seemed to be using their own methods to navigate the maze.

【Looks pretty challenging!】

【Everyone’s advancing cautiously. Giant Bear hasn’t even turned on their searchlights.】

【Black Crow seems to be the fastest. Captain Wen is already regrouping with their Medical.】

In the KID rest area, Jiang Simiao frowned as he watched. “Black Crow’s combat experience is richer than the other teams’. Wen Yi’s reputation in the League may not be as prominent as Qi Sicheng’s or Ke Lin’s, but he’s very low-key and cautious in his approach. You can see how Black Crow’s advancing in an almost sweeping pattern.”

On the field, Black Crow’s coordination was exceptionally precise. Their mecha pilots did not overlap their movements. From a bird’s-eye view, it was evident that Black Crow’s six mechas were searching in five different areas simultaneously. This search method was far more effective than Giant Bear’s approach of grouping together or BZZL1’s single-area search. Although Black Crow might not be the first to find the exploration points, their efficient strategy made it easier to map out the cave.

Shen Xingtang watched KID’s perspective and noticed their method used the radar and markings. “What are they applying?”

Gu Xiaotian replied, “It looks like energy fuel…”

Jiang Simiao, “…!”

On the field, KID’s mecha pilots were advancing under Huo Yan’s guidance.

After importing the radar system into the modeling program, Ying Chenlin frowned slightly seeing the current environment.

This situation wasn’t advantageous for them. Based on their current distribution, there should be mechas from other teams nearby. The maze’s environment wasn’t conducive to pursuit. While gathering their teammates was good for avoiding ambushes, it also slowed down their search speed.

With no teammates nearby, Ying Chenlin did not use his thrusters to move quickly through the cavern. The entire cave was dark and endless. His section lacked the winding paths his teammates faced, featuring more straight paths with occasional intersections.

He walked a distance and looked up to see the ceiling tens of meters above the mecha. Special material deposits clustered overhead, forming numerous holes. Activating his thrusters, Ying Chenlin flew up and discovered new paths on the other side of these holes.

Seeing this, he had a clearer understanding of the cave’s structure.

It resembled a three-dimensional honeycomb maze 1, with caverns and straight paths forming the unique terrain. Looking up from the cave, Ying Chenlin confirmed he was in the bottom layer of the maze, while his teammates were likely in the middle or upper layers.

Kemu Cave’s exit should be at the top of this maze. With this in mind, he lightened the mecha’s load and stopped in a part of the cave, attaching the mecha’s scanning device to the cave wall. From the vibrations and faint sounds, he could judge the situation above.

There were quite a few mechas nearby…

After the assessment, Ying Chenlin locked onto his teammates’ positions, with Lin Yao being the closest. “Be careful, there should be other mechas near us.”

Just as he finished speaking, he noticed that Lin Yao was still near his original position.

Ying Chenlin: “Lin Yao?” 

Lin Yao stood in the cave, looking at the energy fuel traces in front of him. “I think I circled back again.”

Ji Qingfeng, “Yao Bao, are you directionally challenged?”

Lin Yao, “Huh? I’m not ah! I used to navigate really well with the radar!”

You Su: “…”

When Sink activated his thrusters, those bats immediately rushed in his direction at high speed.

【Sh*t! There are pollutants here!?】

【The signature pollutant of Kemu Cave, B-grade pollutant: Night Bats…】

【There are always many pollutants in Kemu Cave. I remember it was previously the hardest thing for Individual soldiers to handle in this Contaminated Zone.】

【No, wait a minute?? Isn’t the end of this path where Chi Lizi is?】

【Crap! Are Black Crow and KID about to clash?】

On the field, all the mecha pilots trapped in the maze were cautiously advancing.

Black Crow quickly mapped out the nearby terrain, but the setup of the exploration points and the maze’s layout weren’t as simple as they had thought, affecting their advancement’s speed.

Wen Yi marked a certain area on the radar in yellow and then said to the teammate at the bottom, “Lizi, search more carefully at the very bottom.”

Chi Lizi’s luck wasn’t great. He was positioned farthest from his teammates, but fortunately, his area didn’t have many twists and turns. He quickly mapped out the nearby locations but couldn’t find any equipment similar to the exploration points.

As he was about to search elsewhere, he suddenly noticed a buzzing sound around him and immediately stopped: “Seems like there’s some movement.”

Chi Lizi stayed alert, and when he looked back, he saw a mecha’s searchlight sweeping in his direction. The blinding light made him instinctively close his eyes for a moment, and he used his Grappling Hook to pull away.

He was about to identify which team’s mecha pilot it was when he saw pollutants clinging to the walls in the blinding light.

That mecha, followed by thousands of pollutants, was charging towards him.

Chi Lizi: “Wait, Captain, I think I’m under attack!”

Inside KID’s communication channel, everyone immediately went on alert as Ying Chenlin encountered the pollutants. They had been disoriented by the maze and had forgotten that Kemu Cave itself was a high-risk Contaminated Zone, a perfect environment for pollutants to ambush.

“Are there many pollutants?” You Su checked the radar signal list. His position was remote, and the terrain interference prevented a large number of pollutant signals from appearing on his radar.

Ying Chenlin maneuvered his mecha through the maze, abandoning his upward movement. “Many.”

Just as he finished speaking, he noticed a light shining continuously in the darkness. “It’s not just pollutants… There should be another mecha pilot here. There’s no choice, he’s directly in my path, unavoidable.”

Ji Qingfeng: “Sh*t! Isn’t this a pincer attack from the front and rear?”

“Need help?” Lu Xi looked at the map locations.

Lin Yao was busy finding a way: “I’m coming to you.”

Huo Yan noticed the direction: “This position is tricky; support won’t make it in time.”

A sudden attack by pollutants, and two mecha pilots from opposing teams meeting in a narrow passage.

The communication channels of both KID and Black Crow simultaneously entered a state of alert. You Su glanced at the distance between himself and Ying Chenlin, quickly jumping from one cave to another to close the gap between their coordinates as much as possible. “Move towards my position.”

As Ying Chenlin assessed the distance, he heard You Su’s words and reacted. He suddenly noticed that their coordinates were quickly overlapping. “You might not be on the same level as me.”

As the situation changed, sharp-eyed viewers suddenly noticed that in one of the six perspectives, representing KID’s Artillery mecha, Trace’s view showed the red-and-white Artillery mecha’s Sniper Cannon beginning to charge. The target was directly below him, the fully charged energy presenting a menacing threat in the darkness.

【F*ck!? Trace isn’t planning to blast the entire cave, is he!?】

【??? Is he trying to blast a path through directly!?】

【He’s aiming in Sink’s direction!】

The commentator became nervous upon seeing this: “No way? The cave’s maze is so complicated, if it collapses—”

Trace’s Sniper Cannon finished charging. The entire mecha stepped back a few paces, and the Sniper Cannon instantly fired in that direction.

The mecha pilots exploring the field felt a massive vibration run through the cave and instinctively paused. The viewers saw the explosion’s light seemingly extending beyond their screens, causing the entire live feed to shake.

The vibration lasted only a few seconds. As the smoke cleared, everyone saw the illuminated cave walls revealing smooth, shiny light-brown minerals. There was no cave-in, but several cracks appeared on the cave walls.

Ying Chenlin, noticing the vibration, asked in confusion, “You Ge?”

You Su: “…”

In the Kemu Cave Contaminated Zone’s Management Bureau, several leaders stood together, breathing sighs of relief as they watched the scene.

“Don’t worry. Knowing KID’s destructive power, do you think we wouldn’t prepare?” one leader said confidently, holding a cup of hot tea. “The underground is made of special minerals that mitigate explosions. Even if they cause an energy explosion underground, this Contaminated Zone won’t collapse.”

Author’s Note:

Management Bureau: We won’t be caught off guard again!

You Su: …

TN:

Imagine influencing a whole competition because you’re too destructive😭.

PR: 

Here’s an overview of the match rules in case anyone’s confused.

– Teams can gain points by either eliminating opposing mechas or finding exploration points. These add up to make their final scores (the highest possible score a team can get is 28: 18 elimination points and 10 exploration points)

– Once all the exploration points have been discovered the first team to exit Kemu Cave gets to choose to end the match in advance

– Even after a team exits the cave the scores are not reset (so if a team gets a certain exploration point, no other team can get the same one, even after the team that first discovered it exits the cave)

– The teams with the top 2 scores advance to the next Round of 8

The match can end in three ways;

1. The 72 hours run out (this can happen if A: All 10 exploration points aren’t found B: The first team to exit after all 10 exploration points are found choose to let the match continue C: No team exits Kemu Cave and more than one team remains)

2. All the exploration points are found and the first team out chooses to end the match in advance

3. Only one team remains in Kemu Cave

Overall, the match is about getting as many points (elimination and exploration) as possible before the other teams can. 

Also, here’s what we know about the structure of the competition zone: 

  • Kemu Cave’s Deep Layer is an underground cave network spanning multiple ‘levels’. We don’t know how many levels it has in total yet, but the lowest level is the Chaos Zone (where Chenlin is). 
  • The mecha pilots can see their teammates’ positions on the radar but not the level they’re on. 
  • The cave is described as a maze, meaning it has many dead ends and multiple forks.

Visualization of the cave. Not 100% accurate just to give a bit of an idea of the multilevel maze. 

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Translator Notes
  1. Like from minecraft[]
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Reed
Reed
1 month ago

wow this gonna be such a chaotic match, I cant wait to see how it will unfold. ty for the translation!

iamaghost
iamaghost
1 month ago

Oh this is interesting! I’m so curious how this is going to play out. Also as soon as the maze was mentioned I knew KID was going to try to bust through the walls like the Kool Aid man instead of just following the maze 😭

But the fact that their destructive tendencies had a direct impact on the planning is so funny; I can just imagine the Dawn Galaxy Alliance rejoicing in other Alliances being forced to understand their suffering caused by KID if (when) they make it to the Galactic League. I’m not sure the larger Alliance would take them seriously enough to worry about them obliterating the infrastructure of a Contaminated Zone 😭😭😭

Thank you for the update!

annie
annie
1 month ago

I can’t wait to see how this is gonna be
its gonna be so chaotic im so excited to see how this unfolds!
thx for the chapter!

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