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Genius Mechanic: Chapter 175

Agaman Sea Star Contaminated Zone (Galactic Ranking Competition)

175. Displacement Hook Claw

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake and An Zheee 

The bubbles from Empty Cicada and FQJ’s artillery bombardments further dispersed the spreading black ink cloud. The thick black cloud diluted and diffused, but neither team could detect the Stealth mecha on their radars.

Empty Cicada’s Artillery pilot hesitated, “Could they be pollutants!?”

Empty Cicada’s commander frowned slightly, “The ink can only come from squid-type pollutants. We’ve been here for a while and haven’t seen many squid-type pollutants.” Moreover, the ink’s spread over such a wide area was unusual; typically, a squid-type pollutant’s ink would only cover the area where it was attacked by predators. This range was more like a pollutant spreading ink while fleeing.

【It disappeared??】

【How could it disappear!?】

【Where’s the camera!?】

The moment the Stealth mecha vanished, everyone in the live broadcast room froze. The official commentators urgently switched to all surrounding game-time surveillance cameras but couldn’t locate KID’s Stealth mecha in the ink. Just as everyone was puzzled by KID’s tactics, they suddenly spotted the KID Stealth’s signal on the radar in another location.

The teams inside couldn’t detect the KID Stealth’s radar signal, but the external Top-Level game-time system could record the Stealth’s signal. They saw KID’s Stealth mecha, Qingf, positioned against the back of a coral reef behind Empty Cicada and FQJ.

【Wait, look at the place next to the coral reef.】

Everyone in the live broadcast saw that Qingf’s wrist gauntlet had a Hook Claw that was firmly gripping the coral reef. Like a highly skilled assassin, the massive mecha fit seamlessly against the coral reef under his delicate control, using the dispersed ink and the visual disparity of the elevated mechas to hide right under Empty Cicada and FQJ’s noses.

【What is that Hook Claw?!】

【Qingf did momentarily disappear from the radar; I noticed it!】

The next second, the Hook Claw disappeared. Qingf’s left weapon compartment produced a curved blade, and he punctured another Sinking Cuttlefish ink sac. The black ink expanded with the current from within the ink sac.

Empty Cicada and FQJ’s Artilleries yielded nothing from their bombardments. The commanders of both teams were confused. Meanwhile, KID, instead of staying put, mobilized. Besides Lucy and Yao who were initially probing the area, KID’s other two mechas—their Artillery and Medical mechas—moved in from both sides, immediately joining the battle.

The commanders of the two teams, who were puzzled by the ink situation, soon had no time to worry as KID’s actions intensified the melee.

They had seen KID’s qualifying matches and knew the team’s three long-range mechas coordinated exceptionally well.

Empty Cicada’s commander: “KID is here! Focus on Lucy, don’t let her team up with Sink and Trace!”

FQJ’s commander: “Lock onto Trace and keep him under pressure with the Tracking Cannon.”

Both teams, adept at water combat, knew who the core members of KID were.

Empty Cicada’s commander: “Trying to fish in troubled waters here won’t be that easy.”

In the live broadcast, the close-combat mechas of the two teams were still engaged, but their long-range mechas had already started focusing on KID from afar.

Mecha pilots who had witnessed the chaotic battle in Kemu Cave between Black Crow, BZZL1, and KID knew how to counter KID. As soon as Trace brought out his Sniper Cannon, FQJ’s Artillery immediately fired the Tracking Cannon at Trace. At the same time, Empty Cicada’s Control mecha targeted Lucy, using their Quick Freeze Cannon to intercept her Enhancement Cannon.

【The Quick Freeze Cannon fully counters Lucy’s Enhancement Cannon underwater!】

【There’s no cover there, and the water-attribute Tracking Cannon is too fast.】

“Both Empty Cicada and FQJ’s commanders are smart; they’re using each other to pin down KID’s two main forces,” the commentator said quickly. “Now it’s very difficult for KID to enter the battlefield. Yan is protecting the rear, and Yao and Sink can’t break through.”

Among the three long-range mechas, the least threatening was actually Sink. Sink’s advantages in small-scale combat were his rapid attacks and ability to secure kills, but in such a chaotic melee, he couldn’t break into the circle of fire. The greater threats were Trace and Lucy. Although Empty Cicada and FQJ were rivals, they were tacitly using each other to completely block Trace and Lucy, who were the most likely to disrupt the battle.

Jiang Simiao frowned at this slightly. Common tactics were the easiest to counter. KID’s triple long-range system had been utterly seen through, making the fight very difficult.

【It’s fine, isn’t Qingf already close to the coral reef?】

【Using Slinking Cuttlefish ink sacs to deal with the pollutants is much easier. He just needs to get inside.】

In the distance, noticing the black ink spreading again, Empty Cicada’s Artillery frowned deeply. While avoiding other mechas’ attacks, he fired another shot at the black ink cloud. “Something’s wrong. There’s too much ink, all concentrated around the coral reef. It doesn’t seem like it’s from pollutants.”

Moreover, this ink affected not only visibility but also the surrounding pollutants.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s from pollutants or not. If this ink draws away the pollutants, it’s good for us.”

Empty Cicada’s commander saw this: “Stealth mecha, we’ll hold them here. You go steal the point.”

Empty Cicada’s Stealth mecha disengaged from the battlefield, and both KID and FQJ noticed this.

Ying Chenlin’s gaze locked onto the mecha. The ink could kill or drive away the pollutants, so the outer mechas would surely notice this.

When using the Slinking Cuttlefish ink sacs, he had considered this point. “Empty Cicada has noticed. We can only hold off their main force.”

Ji Qingfeng said, “No problem, leave the rest to me.”

In the live broadcast, as Empty Cicada’s Stealth mecha used the black ink environment to rush towards the coral reef, everyone shifted their attention to KID’s Stealth mecha attempting to steal the point. They saw Qingf again switch to his mysterious wrist device. Before anyone could get a clear view, he once again disappeared before everyone’s eyes, instantly reappearing at the entrance of the coral reef’s cave.

Zhang Ge paused when he saw Ji Qingfeng, “Wait!? When did he get to that position?!”

Gale’s head coach said, “Something’s wrong. His wrist device is strange. A Hook Claw!? Spatial displacement? Is it the anomalous crystal they obtained in the Coria Contaminated Zone?”

KID had once obtained a spatial displacement anomalous crystal from a mother mantis in Coria. That anomalous crystal hadn’t appeared in KID’s arsenal since. Gale had studied KID’s arsenal and considered countermeasures for such a bug-like ability.

However, the use of spatial abilities in the Alliance’s mecha modifications had time regulations. For instance, Yao’s spatial ability could only be activated once every 30 seconds and was extremely energy-consuming. A spatial displacement anomalous crystal had appeared in another Star Domain before, with a similar weapon. The activation time for that spatial displacement weapon was once every 10 minutes, and each activation was extremely energy-intensive.

【If Qingf is using a spatial displacement weapon, it’s impossible for him to perform another displacement so quickly.】

Just then, Gale suddenly remembered a pollutant that had evaded the Alliance’s monitoring systems during the Qiu Jin Black Hole era, attacking the Qiu Jin base station right under everyone’s noses—a massive wolf-like pollutant with the ability to tear through space and perform linear displacements.

“No! It’s not spatial displacement,” Gale’s head coach said. “It’s the ability of that Giant Wolf, a linear displacement that bypasses monitoring systems.”

At that moment, everyone in the live broadcast once again witnessed Qingf’s actions.

Special cameras almost exclusively focused on Qingf, and the instant his Hook Claw extended forward, the entire mecha seemed to disappear into a special higher-dimensional space. In the next second, it reappeared inside the cave dozens of meters away.

【Damn?! That Hook Claw is a displacement weapon!】

【It’s like Chi Lizi’s Grappling Hook!】

【No, Chi Lizi’s Grappling Hook ignores all control attacks and allows for multidirectional movement, while Qingf’s is direct instant disappearance.】

Meanwhile, Empty Cicada’s Stealth mecha, using the cover of the black ink, charged straight into the cave. The coral reef cave was just a small area, and as soon as he arrived, he spotted KID’s Stealth mecha and urgently said, “KID is stealing the point, their Stealth is here.”

Empty Cicada’s commander silently affirmed, “Entangle him, watch his weapons.”

“This brother reacts so fast!?” Ji Qingfeng turned his head and saw the person behind him. “Empty Cicada is impressive.”

The weapons carried by Empty Cicada’s Stealth mecha were water-attribute darts and a close-range Short Blade. As soon as he saw Ji Qingfeng, he had already thrown out a dart. The dart’s flight speed was extremely fast, nearly twice the normal dart speed. Ji Qingfeng had just dodged a bit when the dart hit him squarely, instantly paralyzing him on the spot.

【Empty Cicada’s Stealth is very fast!】

【His blade is even more formidable. Why isn’t Qingf running?】

Ji Qingfeng took two hits from Empty Cicada’s Stealth but quickly identified their weapons. “Chenlin, I’ve got a clear view of Empty Cicada’s Stealth mecha’s weapons—darts with water poison properties and a high-damage Short Blade for melee combat. This Short Blade is really powerful; it deals twice the damage per strike.”

Ying Chenlin heard Ji Qingfeng’s voice, “Okay, can you shake him off?”

“Don’t worry, I can’t guarantee everything, but when it comes to stealing points, I haven’t failed once in the League so far.” Ji Qingfeng raised an eyebrow slightly, “Rest assured, I’m definitely stealing this flag point.”

In the narrow coral reef, two Stealth mechas faced off, with Empty Cicada’s Stealth moving faster, almost pressing down on KID’s Stealth. At this moment, KID’s Stealth used the Hook Claw again. The Hook Claw’s rapid displacement ability allowed him to instantly move behind Empty Cicada’s Stealth.

Seeing this, Empty Cicada’s Stealth’s thrusters changed, quickly rotating him to the side, and the Short Blade once again slashed towards KID’s Stealth, “Captain, Qingf brought a Hook Claw type displacement weapon.”

【Isn’t Qingf switching to the curved blade?! If he keeps this up, he’ll be beaten to death by Empty Cicada’s Stealth.】

【Empty Cicada Stealth’s Short Blade is highly-offensive, each strike dealing double the damage. Stealth mechas might not be able to withstand it in a head-to-head fight.】

Ying Chenlin couldn’t see Ji Qingfeng’s actions, but he noticed Ji Qingfeng’s coordinates slowly moving deeper into the cave.

Everyone might be more amazed by the weapon’s power, but a mecha pilot’s skill lies not just in the weapon but in the details of its operation. The Hook Claw, constructed with the Giant Wolf pollutant’s anomalous crystal from Qiu Jin, allowed for multidimensional displacement, making it powerful but also challenging.

During multidimensional displacement, Ji Qingfeng’s direction was fixed, and his vision had blind spots.

Distances in linear displacement are the hardest to control, as each leap puts the mecha within the opponent’s predictive range.

The blind spots in his vision meant Ji Qingfeng couldn’t see his opponent’s actions during displacement, making it impossible to adjust in real-time.

The strength and weakness of this weapon both lay in this aspect.

Any mecha that has faced Ji Qingfeng several times, so long as they are familiar with his combat rhythm, can easily guess his operational route and even perform predictive linear interception.

Ji Qingfeng wasn’t as reckless as Lin Yao, nor as steady as Huo Yan. He’s always been a carefree mecha pilot, but as KID’s mechanic, anyone who analyzed Ji Qingfeng’s combat data would see that despite his seemingly careless demeanor, his accuracy with the Hook Claw was very high.

In fact, his control weapon’s hit rate was even slightly higher than Lu Xi’s.

His overall vision and strategic view might not be as good as Lu Xi’s, but in short-range combat, he was particularly cautious about opponents within his attack range. He wouldn’t act until he had his opponent under control, ensuring every strike hit its mark.

When it came to hitting dynamic mechas with such high accuracy, Ji Qingfeng’s accuracy with static points was even higher.

This displacing Hook Claw allowed for linear displacement from point to point, where the points were fixed, the opposing mecha pilot was what needed to be anticipated.

So, for a mecha pilot wielding this weapon, the most crucial aspect was to predict their opponent’s moves one step ahead of them.

If the opponent could predict his linear path, Ji Qingfeng had to predict the opponent’s prediction.

1v1 capability in close combat relied not just on sheer suppression. Ji Qingfeng might not be as strong as Lin Yao, but he was no slouch either.

As long as he had enough time to study his opponent, he could seize the opportunity.

At this moment, Ying Chenlin saw that Ji Qingfeng’s damage level was stuck at 10%, no longer increasing.

-*-

In the coral reef, as soon as Empty Cicada’s mecha spotted Ji Qingfeng, it lunged towards him.

Linear teleportation? It took about 3 seconds each time, so intercepting him should be possible.

When Qingf disappeared again, Empty Cicada’s Stealth swung his blade towards the linear path, but the strike missed. As he realized this, Qingf was already below him, quickly teleporting to his rear.

【Wait!? Did you guys notice that Qingf hasn’t been hit by Empty Cicada’s Stealth’s attacks since a while ago.】

【He was taking hits at the beginning, but now he isn’t.】

【They’re getting deeper into the reef.】

The deepest part of the coral reef was where the flag point was located, but this reef was also home to numerous pollutants. The battle between the two mechas soon alarmed the pollutants deeper inside.

The ink sacs from the Slinking Cuttlefish brought black ink outside the cave, but at this moment there was no black ink inside the cave.

Empty Cicada’s Stealth noticed the pollutants. These pollutants were troublesome but manageable. His main goal was to stall Ji Qingfeng and prevent KID from successfully stealing the point.

Suddenly, he heard a loudspeaker. 

KID’s Stealth said, “Dude, do you really think I’d just stupidly stand here and let you beat me?”

“From personal experience, don’t use so much mental power and darts in a Contaminated Zone.”

At that moment, pollutants rushed towards the two mechas from the cave. When Empty Cicada’s Stealth launched another attack on Ji Qingfeng, Ji Qingfeng’s Hook Claw suddenly extended towards the pollutants. In the next second, he darted into the midst of the pollutants.

【WTF!? Did the Hook Claw reverse flash?】

【No, look at Qingf’s movements!】

【He turned off his thrusters.】

As soon as the Stealth mecha dashed into the midst of pollutants, its Hook Claw flashed again. Despite its large size, the mecha deftly avoided the swarming pollutants, using the Hook Claw’s displacement ability to weave through them and rapidly move deeper into the coral reef.

Empty Cicada’s Stealth tried to follow but was blocked by the pollutants. “Damn it! Why are you running?!”

“You’re not my dad,” Ji Qingfeng retorted. “Just because you say don’t run, should I listen? I’d lose face.”

What makes a qualified Stealth mecha? Fight if you can, but if you can’t, pit your opponent and wait for the right moment.

Besides, victory wasn’t about the number of kills; it was about capturing the flag points.

【How is he dodging so well?!】

【??? Why aren’t the pollutants attacking Qingf?!】

“From the beginning, Qingf hasn’t used his curved blade. He’s been minimizing energy consumption while engaging with Empty Cicada’s Stealth, using its darts to provoke the pollutants into attacking.” The commentator suddenly realized what KID’s strategy was. “Qingf lost 10% in damage, but he redirected all pollutant aggro to Empty Cicada!”

He reacted incredibly swiftly. They knew Empty Cicada’s Stealth was formidable from their previous fights.

If it were a true 1v1, Ji Qingfeng might not have won. But during the latter half of the battle, KID’s Stealth hardly took any damage from Empty Cicada. He kept evading while moving deeper into the reef, subtly leading Empty Cicada’s Stealth into the pollutants’ attack range.

The brilliance lay not only in his strategy but also in his mastery over the linear displacement weapon.

In such a short time, he managed to teleport into the pollutants’ midst, leveraging his weapon’s unique properties to redirect all the aggro to Empty Cicada’s Stealth without alarming the pollutants.

Empty Cicada’s Stealth was now occupied with a wave of pollutants, while KID’s Stealth advanced smoothly.

“Bye-bye~” Ji Qingfeng vanished in the blink of an eye before Empty Cicada’s Stealth, heading deeper into the reef.

“Captain,” Empty Cicada’s Stealth cursed, forced to step back and deal with the pollutants. “I’ve been blocked by pollutants in the outer cave, and Qingf went further in. There’s no more ink; I can’t follow him in.”

Outside the coral reef, the three-way battle continued.

The livestream shifted focus back to the battle outside the cave after the Stealth mecha entered the reef. The situation for KID was grim, with their two main attackers being suppressed. Sink brought an Energy Cannon this time, seemingly one with a fire-attribute crystal, which wasn’t very effective underwater.

【Hey? Sink’s Energy Cannon this time looks different from the one he used in the elimination match.】

【So what if it’s different? It’s useless underwater. It seems to be a fire-attribute one, and fire-attribute weapons are straight-up suppressed in the sea, right?】

【Speaking of which, have you noticed that Trace is acting weird today? He usually fires a lot, but today he’s been very quiet.】

【Are they trying to reduce energy consumption? KID is so poor? Could it be that they only brought Qingf’s new weapon?】

Once Ying Chenlin saw his teammate move into the coral reef, he refocused on Empty Cicada and FQJ’s teams. Over the past half hour, these two teams had been coordinating to suppress their Artillery and Control’s actions, posing a significant threat.

Their goal was to hold off these mechas without revealing too many of their tactics. But prolonged combat, even with minimal energy use, adds up to significant consumption.

“That Quick Freeze weapon and Tracking Cannon are both problems,” Ying Chenlin murmured, his eyes lingering on the Energy Cannon with flame patterns in his hand before shifting to You Su’s position. “You can’t keep suppressing them with that Sniper Cannon forever.”

Since FQJ’s team started using their Tracking Cannon, You Su had only used 1% of his Sniper Cannon’s energy, enough to detonate the opponent’s Tracking Cannon shots without revealing the weapon’s special abilities.

“Weapon characteristics provide advantages, but the true advantage lies with the mecha pilot,” You Su said lazily, his gaze falling on the distant Artillery mechas of the two teams. “Have you noticed the properties of that Quick Freeze weapon?”

Ying Chenlin quickly responded, “That weapon uses a special ice energy that can seal control rounds and likely your Sniper Cannon shots too.”

“The Quick Freeze rounds will lock upon even slight impact. That Control mecha pilot’s strategic overview rivals that of Lu Xi. Either you suppress him to render the weapon ineffective, or disrupt Empty Cicada’s combat rhythm so the Control pilot can’t focus on us.”

Ying Chenlin added, “But I’m certain that once they realize your Sniper Cannon is a threat, they’ll keep locking onto you with the Quick Freeze rounds.”

“I can deflect the Quick Freeze rounds,” You Su suddenly chuckled, “Is 3 seconds enough?”

Ying Chenlin was startled by You Su’s voice but quickly confirmed, “It’s enough.”

You Su evaded another attack from the Tracking Cannon, moving his mecha slightly closer to Lu Xi’s position, “Then watch closely.”

As KID’s mechas changed formation, the attentive mecha bases immediately noticed.

“Doesn’t Trace’s mecha look a bit odd?” Zhang Ge asked Gale’s head coach, “His original mecha didn’t look like this, right?”

“No, this mecha seems to have been modified, adding side wings,” Gale’s head coach had also noticed this not long ago, thinking Trace might have brought out his S-Class mecha, but the displayed ID number didn’t match, “KID has Yuan, he wouldn’t change the mecha’s appearance for no reason… it must be for a specific purpose, like to match something.”

Zhang Ge paused, “A weapon? But Trace’s Sniper Cannon doesn’t seem particularly powerful.”

Gale’s head coach couldn’t help but glance at Zhang Ge, “You’ve been working part-time with KID for so long, they haven’t leaked any information about their weapons?”

Mentioning this, Zhang Ge couldn’t help but get agitated, “… F*ck, I’m just an online shop’s customer service, not in their base’s maintenance department!”

His voice was a bit loud. Jiang Simiao, who was just passing by Gale’s resting area to get something from the organizers, heard the commotion and turned his head, looking directly at the source of the voice.

TN:

Zhang Ge’s vest is about to be stripped off.

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