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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 170

Kemu Cave Contaminated Zone(Galactic Promotion Competition)

170. Green Dandelion and Sea Serpent

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake and An Zheee 

150 million. KID had never seen such a large sum in their working capital. The check from the Frontier Army passed through the hands of everyone in KID, and after repeatedly confirming the zeros, the mecha pilots realized that they might actually be able to attend the Hydra Association and see what it had to offer.

“When does the Hydra Association start?” Lin Yao was already eager, “How do we check the time?”

“The Hydra Association doesn’t publish its timings on StarNet. It’s said that their timings are marked on each admission ticket.” Jiang Simiao took one of the admission cards and used his light brain’s scanning system to scan it. Quickly, a special virtual webpage popped up in front of him. “Got it… let me see the event date.”

Star Calendar 1247, February 16th, Fifth Star Domain, Silver Moon Galaxy.

Shen Xingtang paused slightly at this date, “1247? Isn’t that this year?”

“Isn’t February 16th five days from now?” Ji Qingfeng exclaimed, “So soon?!”

KID had just finished the promotion competition. Considering the other groups’ matches in the promotion competition, their Group A had the longest break, with nearly a month of rest time ahead. A month is neither long nor short, as mecha pilots need to train and prepare for battle, and almost half a month might be spent on mecha repairs and maintenance. The timing of this Hydra Association’s event wasn’t perfect, but it was close.

Jiang Simiao looked at the date a bit troubled. The ranking competition would pit them against the truly strong teams of Dawn. He had originally planned to give the mecha pilots two days of rest, using all the other time for training. But if they were to attend the association, their training time would be tight. “Time might be a bit short.”

He looked at Shen Xingtang, “What do you think?”

Lin Yao, who had just gotten excited, immediately felt downcast, “Does that mean we can’t go?”

Ying Chenlin took the admission ticket card and also looked at Jiang Simiao and Shen Xingtang.

“With the journey being from Sirius to the Silver Moon Galaxy, it’ll take at least 2 days,” Shen Xingtang promptly pulled up the flight itinerary. “That’s a 4 day round trip. Since the duration of the event is uncertain, if you go, you’ll have 6 fewer days for training.”

She paused for a moment, raising her gaze slightly. “It’s not impossible though. If you go, there won’t be any rest days when you return. It’s like consolidating all the rest days for the last month in advance. Is that okay?”

Any issues? No issues.

The KID team joyfully agreed and turned to go to their rooms to pack, preparing in advance for their journey through the Star Domains.

Three days later, the decision to attend Silver Moon Galaxy’s appreciation event was settled. As Shen Xingtang was busy looking for discounted ship tickets to the Silver Moon Galaxy, Boss Zhou from Jianheng coincidentally came to Sirius for an inspection. Upon hearing about this, he promptly arranged round-trip tickets for KID.

Shen Xingtang: “Is this really okay?”

“It just so happens I need to go on a business trip to the Fifth Star Domain, I can take them along.” Boss Zhou’s company had seen a surge in orders from outer domains since the successful advancement of component technology, leading to more frequent business trips during this time. “Don’t worry, Shen, I’ll make sure to bring them back safely.”

Shen Xingtang hesitated, “I’m just concerned they might cause you trouble.”

Boss Zhou readily replied, “What trouble could there be? Thanks to KID’s outstanding performance, our A-Class mechas are selling exceptionally well, and the advertising has had a very positive effect.”

While KID eagerly trained and awaited their Star Domain journey, a collective thank-you note was issued by the Frontier Army, expressing gratitude to the major bases in the Dawn Galaxy and several bases from the Second Star Domain for their assistance during the Coria Restricted Zone incident. Initially, posted on StarNet was only a brief notice about the incident in the Restricted Zone, but with the release of this thank-you note, KID’s fans finally realized that KID had quietly accomplished something significant with the three major bases.

For a time, reports about KID on StarNet grew increasingly frequent, with various media outlets rushing to report.

However, one unscrupulous media outlet posted a photo of their departure from the airport that day with the headline, “[Hard-fought Battle, Honored Return],” greatly stirring up the sentiments of KID’s long-time fans. As a result, several sponsors came knocking, visibly improving sponsorship terms and fees.

Ji Qingfeng felt his hat looked out of place that day. “Couldn’t they have chosen a different photo? If not, they could have come to our base to take one. Why pick this one?”

“Maybe they wanted to convey a sense of rugged simplicity,” Huo Yan didn’t care much about his public image. “Look at the comments; they’re saying we’re authentic.”

Lin Yao chimed in, “There’s nothing wrong with a bit of stubble. I can’t grow stubble even after a nap.”

“That’s because you’re still tender,” Ji Qingfeng teased, looking at the photo on his light brain. “But Lin Yao, even if it’s okay, why do Chenlin and You Ge look so neat and tidy?”

Ying Chenlin was suddenly prompted and replied, “I woke up earlier than you guys.”

You Su showed no interest in this topic and continued to browse through information on various auctions on StarNet.

Shen Xingtang understood that these were all superficial vanities. After all, the difference between making it to the top 8 and the top 16 in the Dawn Galaxy was significant. Maintaining their performance was key, as such vanities would quickly fade away. In the current Star Alliance, what was least lacking were mecha bases, with countless bases striving upwards every year.

She had Gu Xiaotian help keep an eye on the information on StarNet and didn’t pay much more attention to it.

After the advancement matches ended, it was a busy period for KID. The ores brought back from Kemu Cave needed to be shelved in batches, they had to collect their advancement prize money from the Alliance headquarters, and handle other matters. Considering there were still miscellaneous tasks at the base to deal with and that the progress of the mecha repairs needed to be tightened, Shen Xingtang and Jiang Simiao didn’t have time to lead the team to Silver Moon Galaxy for the Hydra Association.

This time, the Chief Financial Officers heading to the appreciation event became Huo Yan and Ying Chenlin, and the 150 million star coin check representing all of KID’s wealth fell into Huo Yan’s hands.

On the day of departure, Boss Zhou’s private spaceship landed at the airport. Each of the six mecha pilots from KID carried a suitcase and boarded the ship under the watchful eyes of Shen Xingtang and Jiang Simiao.

“Can we really trust Huo Yan with this?” Jiang Simiao asked Shen Xingtang.

Shen Xingtang half-closed her eyes and turned away. “If anything happens, you can see them on StarNet.”

Without knowing the worries of their parents back home, as soon as they boarded the ship, they were taken to their rooms on Boss Zhou’s spaceship by his secretary. Boss Zhou’s spaceship was a small one typically used for business trips, with few suites onboard. Four rooms were prepared for KID, with Lu Xi having a room to herself as the only girl, leaving three double rooms for the remaining five boys to share.

Ji Qingfeng and Lin Yao chose the room with the best view. Seeing the two excitedly heading over, Huo Yan turned to Ying Chenlin, “Chenlin, would you like the remaining room with a view? They say the interstellar scenery over at Silver Moon is quite spectacular, a rare opportunity.”

Ying Chenlin nodded and thanked Huo Yan.

You Su: “I’ll share with him.”

Just as Huo Yan was about to ask where You Su would stay, he agreed upon hearing this, “Then, Chenlin, are you okay sharing with You Su?”

Ying Chenlin nodded again.

He was just about to grab his suitcase when he saw that You Su already had it in his hand.

After sorting out the rooms, everyone went to their respective rooms.

The room had two separate beds and was well-equipped. One bed was close to the window, offering a clear view of the vast universe. Upon entering the room, Ying Chenlin walked over to the window in a few steps, looking out as Sirius grew more distant. It suddenly hit him that in both of his lifetimes, the last time he left the First Star Domain on an interstellar journey was in his previous life.

You Su followed behind and saw the boy walking to the window in a few steps, his eyes seemingly glued to the view outside. You Su averted his gaze slightly.

When Ying Chenlin came back to his senses, You Su had already chosen the inner bed.

“I’m going to take a shower.”

Ying Chenlin had left in a hurry and had just come from the maintenance room, still carrying a faint smell of engine oil.

The room’s only bathroom was slightly lit up.

You Su was browsing information on StarNet on his light brain. After about ten minutes, his gaze involuntarily shifted toward the bathroom. The sound of running water didn’t come through the specially designed glass walls.

… It had been a while, almost 20 minutes now.

You Su swiped away the information on his light brain, stood up, and walked over to the bathroom door, intending to knock and ask if everything was alright.

Just then, the bathroom door opened.

A figure appeared in You Su’s line of sight. The boy’s hair was wet, with a towel draped over his head, almost covering his shoulders. His dark brown mechanical arm was resting behind his head, seemingly still drying his hair.

The boy didn’t notice him at first and walked out while continuing to dry his head, accidentally bumping into You Su, who was standing at the door.

He was slightly taken aback and looked up from under the towel, surprised. “You Ge?”

You Su’s gaze paused momentarily before he stepped back. “So long?”

The boy’s bare upper body had a thin layer of muscle. Water droplets trickled down, and You Su’s gaze finally rested on the loose knee-length shorts he was wearing.

“Where are your clothes?” You Su asked.

Ying Chenlin had a towel draped over his head, his hair still dripping. “I forgot to bring a shirt. I called for you from inside, but there was no response.”

You Su glanced at the bed in the distance and saw a black T-shirt. He took a few steps back, grabbed the T-shirt from Ying Chenlin’s bed, and tossed it to him. Ying Chenlin caught it, and without any hesitation, put it on before sitting on the nearby sofa chair to dry his hair.

The spaceship maintained a constant temperature, and the Silver Moon system was currently experiencing a hot summer, so they all wore short sleeves when they left.

You Su was accustomed to seeing Ying Chenlin in his repair overalls back at the base. Even when in casual home clothes, Ying Chenlin often wore long sleeves and long pants. It was rare to see him in shorts and a T-shirt.

Usually, he didn’t pay much attention, but now he noticed that Ying Chenlin’s legs were both white and straight.

As Ying Chenlin dried his hair, he noticed You Su’s gaze lingering on him. He explained, “These clothes were bought by Lin Yao. He found a deal where you buy one T-shirt and get one free. Since our sizes are similar, we decided to buy them together.”

Realizing his gaze had lingered too long, You Su looked away and said, “Huo Yan sent a message, asking us to come over.”

Ying Chenlin checked his light brain and saw Huo Yan’s message from ten minutes ago in the group chat. “Let’s go now.”

He placed the towel down and started to head out, but You Su frowned slightly and grabbed Ying Chenlin’s collar.

“Come here.” You Su let go of his collar, leading him back to the bathroom. From a hidden cabinet, he took out a quick-dry hair helmet. “Dry your hair before we leave.”

Ying Chenlin stood still as You Su placed the helmet on his head. He hadn’t known such a thing existed there.

The bathroom smelled of body wash, and while the moisture had been vented out, it still felt oppressively warm.

You Su looked at the rebellious kid in front of him, with the helmet on his head. His gaze lingered on the fair skin visible at the collar of the black T-shirt. Ying Chenlin’s hair had stopped dripping, but his skin was slightly flushed from the steam.

Ying Chenlin glanced up slightly, noticing You Su’s gaze. “Why are you staring at me?”

“Just wondering why you’re so skinny, like a stick,” You Su said, taking off the helmet. Ying Chenlin’s face was now a bit red from the steam. “You eat so much, but you don’t seem to gain any weight.”

Ying Chenlin replied, “I have. I gained two pounds.”

You Su chuckled.

The journey to Silver Moon Galaxy would take at least two days, and they couldn’t just sit idle during that time. Before leaving, Jiang Simiao had prepared numerous battle videos of various teams for them to watch, so they wouldn’t be bored and could learn from other teams’ tactics or identify their weaknesses.

When they boarded the ship, the Gale team’s qualification match was underway, and the group gathered in Huo Yan’s room to watch the match.

“It seems like Gale is even fiercer than last year.”

“The shield Chenlin made for Old Zhao is in play. It’s really durable.”

“Next time we face Old Zhao, we’ll need to avoid his shield. Once he deploys it, his Artillery is fully protected.”

Ying Chenlin focused on Gale’s combat system. Among the various mecha bases in Dawn, Black Crow excelled at long-range, YDS specialized in coordinated control… and Gale demonstrated the style of all-rounders. They had an excellent front line and a strong back line, with the core of their combat centered around Qi Sicheng, who consistently maximized tactical effectiveness.

The key point he noticed was that most of Gale’s weapons this season were thunder and water-based.

Qi Sicheng was a Control mecha pilot who excelled in using thunder-based control weapons. Now, with some of their other mechas also equipped with thunder-based weapons, the team’s synergy was significantly enhanced.

“Thunder-attribute weapons are strong in offensive control, and water-attribute weapons have a conductive effect,” Huo Yan analyzed while watching the match. “Look at Gale; their combat strategy is more aligned with the First Star Domain’s other mecha teams. The core strength of their weapons is one thing, but they are considering combinations where 1 + 1 is far greater than 2.”

For example, Qi Sicheng wielded dual thunder-attribute control weapons, while Gale’s Artillery used water-based long-range attack weapons.

With thunder control, they achieve better damage conduction… this method, using anomalous crystal attributes for combat coordination, was rare in Dawn Galaxy. However, Ying Chenlin knew that combat systems would continuously evolve. In the future, the synergy between mechas would be tighter, and the effects of weapon cores when coordinated would be stronger.

Weapon core anomalous crystals—Gale had sufficient financial resources to equip their team with the most suitable weapons.

Facing a team like Gale was tough. All-rounder teams had few weaknesses and were hard to break through. In Contaminated Zones with simple terrains, Gale could easily dominate.

“From the perspective of weapon attributes, most of our weapons seem to be wind-based,” Lin Yao calculated. “You Su’s dual wind weapons, Huo’s Void Shock Blade could be considered wind-based, right? Plus, many of our unused weapons… In the ranking matches, a lot of our weapons are wind-based.”

Ji Qingfeng said, “Yao Bao, think about it differently. Wind weapons are expensive! 80 million!”

“I heard there are many anomalous crystals at the Hydra Association. With our money, how much can we buy?” Huo Yan began planning, “We need to set clear targets first.”

Ying Chenlin said, “Regarding anomalous crystals, our base has few control types, so we need to look for some special types. Wind and ice types are less common and more expensive. For attack types, we can consider fire-type crystals, while for control or support types, we should look at wood and water types.”

The KID members realized that the types Ying Chenlin mentioned were not the most expensive ones.

Unlike regular auctions, the appreciation event did not provide a catalog of items, so they wouldn’t know what anomalous crystals would be available until they arrived.

Old Qiu had given them three entry tickets, each allowing for an accompanying guest. After filling out their information on the tickets, the Hydra Association would be informed of their situation. The two-day flight passed quickly, and upon arriving at Silver Moon Galaxy, specialized personnel from the Hydra Association were there to greet them at the airport.

The Hydra Association had designated hotels for attendees, and rooms were arranged according to the entry tickets, with three rooms in a row.

A special manager in a suit collected their information, acting as their guide for the entire appreciation event.

“What did they give us?” Huo Yan asked.

Ying Chenlin looked at the data pad in his hand, “It seems to be the schedule for the appreciation event.”

The Hydra Association was the most unique and mysterious anomalous crystal appreciation event in the Star Alliance. Rather than just an appreciation event, it served as an anomalous crystal trading market that operated among a small, select group. The event lasted two days: the first day was a trading market hosted by the Hydra Association, where attendees could buy, sell, or trade anomalous crystals, and certain high-Level mercenary mecha pilots also held trading events. The second day featured the appreciation event, offering special anomalous crystals for auction.

KID had a budget of only 150 million star coins, so their target was the trading market on the first day, as the auctioned items in the appreciation event could easily fetch billions.

The venue chosen by the Hydra Association was unique, situated on a private planet in Silver Moon Galaxy owned by a wealthy individual. The surroundings were quiet, and all guests underwent strict identity verification. The Hydra Association had no strict dress code, but once inside, it was easy to distinguish between capitalists and mecha pilots.

The trading market had fixed exhibition booths, and many sellers had concealed their identities. Each booth was surrounded by display cases showcasing anomalous crystals.

All the goods were anomalous crystals, and high-priced S-Grade crystals, which would typically fetch millions on the market, were abundant here. As the KID members passed several booths, they were taken aback by the price tags. While the crystals were excellent, they were also extremely expensive.

Lin Yao whispered, “150 million isn’t enough to spend here… we could buy three crystals, and that’d be it.”

Ying Chenlin examined the items and noted that the prices seemed inflated. “It looks like the prices here are set based on the rarity of the anomalous crystals.”

The rarer the anomalous crystal, the higher the price in this market.

You Su’s gaze fell into the distance. “Do you want to go over there and take a look?”

KID followed You Su to a new area and discovered that all the anomalous crystals here were A-Grade anomalous crystals.

A-Grade anomalous crystals were common, so their prices at the appreciation event were cheaper compared to similar types of anomalous crystals hyped up elsewhere. Ying Chenlin knew that A-Grade anomalous crystals could sometimes be better than S-Grade anomalous crystals in terms of their abilities, so he scrutinized the crystals at these booths more carefully.

“I’d like to see some A-Grade variant anomalous crystals, whether they’re fire, wood, or water attributes,” Ying Chenlin told the seller. The seller quickly guided him to the corresponding exhibition hall. Upon arrival, Ying Chenlin noticed that there were also some special S-Grade anomalous crystals in the display case.

After looking around, Ying Chenlin found several satisfactory anomalous crystals. However, after considering the prices and compatibility issues, he ultimately only chose two crystals.

One was an S-Grade wood attribute Green Dandelion, with the ability [Flying Flowers]. Its special feature lay in its control effects: when it blossomed, green fuzz would scatter, and pollutants touched by this fuzz would be paralyzed by the stimulating effect carried by the fuzz, losing partial limb control. Moreover, this fuzz would turn into seeds upon landing, quickly growing into secondary strains of Green Dandelions… making it extremely suitable for creating large-scale control-type weapons.

The other was an S-Grade water attribute Sea Serpent, with the ability [Mirage]. It could manipulate water molecules in the air, turning moisture into mist or condensing it. When dispersed as mist, it could create the effect of a mirage at sea, capable of resisting a mecha’s radar detection. It was a kind of water attribute illusion-type anomalous crystal.

Although these were common wood and water attribute anomalous crystals, unfortunately, both weren’t cheap. The Green Dandelion was priced at 45 million star coins, while the Sea Serpent was 38 million.

“It’s a bit expensive,” Ying Chenlin said. “But their abilities are really good.”

Ji Qingfeng said, “Expensive? How can we manage that? I see others aren’t interested in the anomalous crystals here. Let me negotiate.”

Lin Yao added directly, “Chenlin, Da Feng is good at bargaining! You go check out others first. We’ll handle the bargaining here.”

When it came to prices, KID wouldn’t compromise. Ji Qingfeng immediately began negotiating with the seller at the counter.

Near the display case, there were many other anomalous crystals. As Ying Chenlin walked around here, his gaze suddenly fell into the distance. He saw several people standing beside some display cases over there. He hastened his steps and as soon as he stopped, he saw that there were some anomalous crystals casually placed in a display case, each labeled with special contamination values but without any price tags.

From left to right, there were common A-Grade crystals, variant A-Grade crystals, and even S-Grade crystals.

“This is the stone gambling area,” You Su said, breaking the silence.

Ying Chenlin turned around and found You Su standing behind him. “Stone gambling area?”

“It’s a term left over from the old Earth era, now used for anomalous crystals,” You Su squinted slightly, sweeping his gaze over the crystals. “These anomalous crystals can’t be detected by external mechanism testing, like the familiar Search Detection Mechanism you know of. Simply put, they are crystals not listed in the Alliance’s pollutant database.”

Ying Chenlin paused at his words. “If their abilities aren’t known, then aren’t these crystals useless?”

“They can’t be detected outside, but the Hydra Association can,” You Su’s gaze drifted into the distance. “Inside the Hydra Association, there’s a special machine rumored to be manufactured using an S-Grade variant anomalous crystal. That machine can’t determine pollutant origins, but it can stimulate anomalous reactions from these crystals.”

Ying Chenlin was taken aback; he had never heard of this before.

Stimulate anomalous reactions…? He touched the storage device around his neck lightly, thinking of the several S-Grade anomalous crystals of unknown origins.

“But the cost for Hydra Association testing is extremely high, and the higher the grade, the more expensive it gets. It might even exceed the prices of these crystals themselves. Buying these crystals for testing, more often than not, results in a loss,” You Su’s gaze fell on a man buying inside. “But it doesn’t stop some people from enjoying the risk.”

Ying Chenlin immediately noticed a blond man in front of the counter. The man wore a casual coat over combat attire, clearly a mecha pilot. At the moment, he was carefully selecting several anomalous crystals at the counter.

“Norbert, don’t play around,” a man in matching combat attire beside him said. “You bought 10, and just tested them. They’re all duds.”

The blond man replied, “I’ll try again.”

Indeed, the prices of the anomalous crystals at the counter were quite cheap… Ying Chenlin watched the man’s actions and suddenly noticed a certain crystal emitting a faint red glow. Its light was dimmer than the others, not very noticeable on the counter.

From a professional standpoint, this crystal’s grade wouldn’t be too high.

But for some reason, Ying Chenlin felt strangely familiar with the faint glow from that crystal.

TN:

I need, well not need but want, to go to some anti-govt protests so I won’t be able to post for a couple of days, might inhale a couple of canisters of teargas or be blasted by a gallon of water, but we do what we need to. Hopefully I’ll be back safe and sound. Updates will resume on Thursday, God willing.

If you're enjoying the story don't forget to support the author! You can also support me on KOFI for site maintenance, raws purchase or as an energy boost~ 
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