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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 54

Fiarge Contaminated Zone

54. Scheme

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake and An Zheee

The staff’s discussion continued for a while, but then they seemed to have other matters to attend to, so they quickly left.

Ying Chenlin didn’t call them back. He lowered his gaze and checked the time on his light brain. There was still some time before the auction started.

KID’s parts were under his and Shen Xingtang’s control. Those parts that didn’t meet his set standards were given priority to Jianheng Corporation. The others were sold on StarNet. Shen Xingtang didn’t have the time to deal with these parts and certainly wouldn’t store them in a place like an auction house that could cause trouble. So, whose part was about to be added to the auction?

Upgradable parts referred to components that could be reshaped on top of their original form. What Ying Chenlin had done before was upgrade A-class components. Moreover, he had only worked on upgrading A-class components using the old versions of parts. The highest price wouldn’t exceed 200,000 credits for each. Such parts could be auctioned during regular auctions, but they wouldn’t be suitable for the once-every-few-years 8th Auction.

In other words, the auction house would decide which part to add, indicating that it was a piece that had passed the auction house’s inspection and was considered qualified.

Ying Chenlin was pondering this when he suddenly realized something.

At that moment, his light brain suddenly lit up, and a virtual screen appeared with the name “Shen Xingtang”.

“Why didn’t you guys tell me in advance that you were going to the auction house?” Shen Xingtang had found out from Huo Yan that the group of four were going together. She was quite surprised. “I’m already at the entrance of the auction house. Which private room are you in? I’ll come over immediately.”

Hearing this, Ying Chenlin said, “Tang Jie, can you help with something?”

Shen Xingtang asked, “Do you want me to bid on some materials for you? I’ll be there soon.”

“No,” Ying Chenlin put away the storage device he had prepared to exchange for money and took out another one. “I want to exchange for something, and I also want you to help me confirm someone’s identity.”

In the Sirius A-Class Auction House’s backstage, several senior managers were gathered, discussing the last-minute addition to the auction items. The auction house had the right to adjust the items before the auction started. All the showcased items had been settled upon, but unexpectedly, at this moment, a senior executive brought in a new item and decided to add it.

The fact that they were allowed to make such a significant adjustment just before the auction began indicated that the added item was very important.

The staff responsible for managing the auction items hurried over to see, only to find out that it was an S-class component. S-class components were exceedingly rare on the market. The output of S-class parts from manufacturing companies was very limited each year. This was due to the high amount of resources and time consumed during their production. Moreover, only professional mecha pilots who could afford S-class components would typically commission their manufacturing. The majority of S-class parts were pre-ordered by mecha bases. Only a few ended up on the market each year.

And now, someone had brought in an S-class component for inspection—

“Has it been inspected?”

“It’s here! It’s an S-class part, with precision 2% higher than the parts previously available on the market!”

“Is it really Yuan?”

“It should be him. They say he entered using the name ‘Yuan’.”

“Moreover, he claims this part is an upgradable component. Just think about it, who on StarNet can produce upgradable parts now?”

This Yuan, the part designer, was too mysterious. Currently, the only known connection to this designer is their close relationship with KID. Apart from that, no other information had surfaced. There were countless speculations about him online.

After all, being someone who instantly elevates the precision and durability of A-class parts to a higher level, this batch of parts he improved has been dubbed “upgrade parts” by some industry insiders. Rumor has it that the renowned Jianheng Corporation has already collaborated with KID to develop components with improved precision. The following year will see the introduction of new A-Class mechas to the market.

Regarding the ID ‘Yuan,’ the only instances of its existence are in the part labels sold in KID’s online store and within Jianheng Corporation’s product technical markings. This ID’s identification hasn’t appeared anywhere else.

However, within the mecha industry’s auctions, numerous mecha pilots or designers operate under pseudonyms. Because of this, auction houses evaluate the value of the items, never delving into the identities of the collectors or mecha pilots providing the items.

So when someone arrived bearing the name ‘Yuan’, the staff at the entrance had no choice but to let them in, regardless of authenticity.

The staff initially harbored suspicions about this matter, until the testing machines inside the auction facility determined the specific precision and durability of the part. It turned out to be an S-class part with a precision value of 82%!

With its precision and durability so far above market standards, and given their location in Sirius, the identity of the person who came was almost confirmed.

The head of the auction house quickly issued instructions, “Try your best to fit this item into the lineup. Many mecha pilots and even some mecha base managers are present today. They won’t miss an S-class part like this. Don’t put it too far back in the sequence, try to adjust it towards the front.”

In the busy room, various managers were making final adjustments.

At that moment, a notification sound came from outside the door, and the head of the auction house impatiently said, “What is it? We’re busy right now. Put other matters on hold for now—”

A staff member knocked on the door and walked in, their tone hesitant as they spoke, “General Manager, someone outside has brought another part for auction.”

The head of the auction house replied, “What kind of part? Today’s lineup is already quite full; parts with average precision should be placed towards the back.”

The staff member hesitated, then continued, “But the person who came is Shen Xingtang, the owner of KID. She said she has a part from Yuan that she wants to auction.”

“What!?” The person in charge was taken aback. “KID’s boss, Shen Xingtang?”

Upon hearing this, his gaze turned astounded as he looked at the temporary auction material hastily prepared on the table. “…But wasn’t Yuan the one who came in person?”

Inside the private room, Ji Qingfeng checked the time and glanced toward the door, expressing his surprise, “Why is Chenlin taking so long? Could he have gotten lost?”

“Really? Chenlin has been here several times before, right? The place to exchange materials seems to be on the way we just came.” Lin Yao gazed at the veil that remained unlifted before him, “But it’s strange. The auction’s starting time has been delayed by 5 minutes.”

Ji Qingfeng messaged Ying Chenlin. Just then, the door to the private room suddenly opened.

Ying Chenlin walked in, and the three people in the room all turned their attention to him.

Before Lin Yao could ask, the veil behind Ying Chenlin suddenly unfurled. The entire auction hall was illuminated, and the scattered spatial light gradually converged at a central point, darkening the surroundings. Finally, the light gathered into a platform-like point right in the center.

In the middle of the platform, an auctioneer dressed in a suit and leather shoes stepped onto the stage. The auction platform illuminated entirely.

The 8th Auction had begun!

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience!”

In each private room at the auction, as the auctioneer’s voice echoed, everyone’s gaze converged on the auction platform.

On the auction stage, the first item had already been placed.

Starting at 500,000 credits, it dissuaded the two from KID who intended to find a bargain.

Ji Qingfeng remarked, “Why are the starting prices so high?”

Lin Yao replied, “I’ll check if there’s anything with a lower starting price.”

Ying Chenlin looked at them flicking through the listing and said, “I exchanged some things earlier, so I should have enough money. Do you have anything you want to bid on?”

“We’re here just to get some bargains. If there’s something suitable, we’ll bid; otherwise, we’ll pass,” Ji Qingfeng said, looking at You Su. He continued, “And you and You Ge are planning to bid on something, right? If you don’t have enough, we can chip in.”

Lin Yao nodded too, “Yeah, Tang Jie said You Ge came to the League just for an anomalous crystal.”

Upon hearing this, You Su couldn’t help but interject, “Bid for whatever you want. I have the money.”

Ji Qingfeng and Lin Yao glanced at him, their expressions conveying an “understood” sentiment.

“Ge, it’s not shameful to admit it if you’re short on cash.”

“You don’t understand. This is a man’s stubbornness.”

Theo chimed in, “You Su, are you really this stubborn?”

You Su gave up arguing with them. He wasn’t interested in the ongoing auction items. Flipping through the listing, he suddenly noticed that the order of the listings in the latter half had changed. His gaze lingered momentarily on a previously unseen item.

Ying Chenlin was looking down at the materials when he suddenly felt a gaze from the side.

Raising his head, he noticed You Su looking at him.

You Su said, “You didn’t exchange for materials, did you?”

Just as Ying Chenlin was about to reply, he noticed that You Su’s virtual screen had stopped at a certain point. He said  truthfully, “I exchanged for a component, a component made from the Centennial Orchid materials I had left over.”

Upon hearing this, Ji Qingfeng was surprised, “Centennial Orchid? Isn’t that an S-Class material?”

Ying Chenlin nodded, “Yes, I used the leftover scraps to create an S-class component.”

Ji Qingfeng: “?”

Lin Yao: “?”

There was now an additional S-class component in the auction catalog. The details of the component page did not contain information about any other auction item; only the designer’s name, ‘Yuan’, was written. You Su frowned slightly, “You exchanged for the component just now?”

“I had a few things I wanted to buy.” Ying Chenlin said seriously, “Originally, I was planning to buy some materials, but there was a last-minute situation, and I ended up wanting to buy more things. It seems like I might not have enough money.”

“Coincidentally, Tang Jie came over, and I asked her for a favor.”

The auction continued, with the auctioneer’s excited voice and a continuous stream of bidding.

In a private room to the east, two men sat facing each other, their attention not on the auction.

The man in gray clothing spoke up, “You really love to stir things up, coming all the way to Sirius. Don’t forget we have a match next week. You can skip the match in this mediocre Dawn Galaxy, but you’ve come all this way just for anomalous crystals. The manager’s communications are almost blowing up in my ears.”

The other man looked at the list of auction items, “In a way, Sirius is also my hometown. It’s worth coming here. There’s an S-Grade attack-type anomalous crystal.”

“Maybe it’s just a ruse put up by the auction house. Over the years, they’ve staged plenty of auctions highlighting attack-type and enhanced anomalous crystals.” The speaker continued, “I heard that after watching Ace’s match that day, you’ve been following matches from various galaxies. You even watched the Dawn Galaxy qualifiers. You don’t suspect that the team that defeated Ace’s team is from the Dawn Galaxy, do you?”

The man’s expression remained indifferent, “They’re from the Dawn Galaxy.”

The man in gray clothing was taken aback, “How is that possible? This mediocre galaxy?”

The man replied, “The weapons carried by that team closely resemble the weapons of the Sirius KID team.”

The man in gray clothing said, “The overlap rate of virtual battlefield weapons is so high, and other teams use similar weapons too. Besides, how can you be sure that those were the weapons used by the opposing team?”

The man smiled, “Weapons can be the same, but operating habits won’t change. That team is KID.”

The man in gray: “But defeating Ace might just be a coincidence. Didn’t you tell me you came here to find the person named Yuan? How are you planning to find them? And why?”

The man narrowed his eyes slightly, his gaze on the auction venue. “Yes, I want to know how a designer capable of forging weapons with such high precision could remain in this barren place.”

“Finding someone is simple. Since he’s been behind KID all this time, then find a way to lure him out. Don’t forget, we’re in Sirius, and he’s here in Sirius.”

The man in gray was puzzled, “And then? How does this relate to what you’re doing?”

The man’s tone remained calm, “Do you think a designer who’s been hiding such closely guarded designs, if faced with someone impersonating them, wouldn’t react?”

Hiding behind KID, huh? He had a way to draw him out.

Inside the auction venue’s lounge, a heavily wrapped person sat in a private room, their gaze fixed on the live broadcast of the auction on the virtual screen in front of them. They held a voice changer tightly, their hands almost sweaty from the grip. As item after item passed by, they occasionally looked at the sequence of items on the side.

Their turn was approaching, yet despite this, a sense of unease gripped them.

But the quickest way to gather money within the shortest time frame was the auction.

However, during this period, the 8th Auction was taking place. They inquired and found that items provided by unknown individuals like them would usually be selected and then auctioned, likely pushed to the 8th Auction.

Gu Xiaotian was in dire need of money. His grandfather was seriously ill and had been hospitalized. He no longer had any savings to pay the medical bills.

If it wasn’t an absolute necessity, he wouldn’t have thought about taking the unfinished component his grandfather left behind to the auction… But that component was the most valuable possession in their household. The meager earnings from selling components had been squandered by his father’s gambling debts, which eventually led to his father disappearing, leaving all those debts on them, the grandfather and grandson. If not for those debts, his grandfather wouldn’t have risked piloting a mecha into a Contaminated Zone, sustaining severe injuries and infection in the process.

Gu Xiaotian had reached a dead end with the S-class component. Some component dealers couldn’t afford the high price of an S-class item, while others were attempting to suppress his price, endlessly dragging out negotiations with him.

Faced with no other option, Gu Xiaotian considered using another designer’s identity to enter the auction and then find a way…

The result was that he encountered a person who claimed to be his grandfather’s friend.

That person told him that S-class components were hard to sell. Most mecha pilots wouldn’t pay a high price for such advanced components since they couldn’t make full use of them. The mecha bases in the Mecha League were currently in the midst of the competition season, and mechas that could utilize S-class components would at least be of A+ Competition level. Even if they wanted to buy it, it was difficult to quickly sell and obtain money within a short period of time.

The only way to make money quickly was through the auction. Moreover, the auction could fetch high prices, and as long as the items were arranged for the 8th Auction, once successfully sold, the auction house would exchange the corresponding amount of starcoins, which would take only a day at the latest.

The person claimed to show him a way, advising him to take the S-class component to the auction house. They said that as long as he presented himself under the name ‘Yuan’, someone would definitely let him in.

Gu Xiaotian used their advice and got in. Moreover, after they examined his component, without saying anything else, they said they would arrange his component for the auction.

Coincidentally, these three days were the 8th Auction of the Sirius Auction House. It was said that a large number of mecha pilots, both from the First Domain and other Galaxies, would attend on the first day. His S-class component was bound to be snatched up. Once tonight’s auction ends, he could go to the auction house and exchange the equivalent amount of money, which he could use to treat his grandfather’s illness and pay off the gambling debts his family owed.

As he listened to the auctioneer mentioning the S-class component, his expression immediately became serious. But in the next second, he was caught off guard.

Right at that moment, the auctioneer’s voice sounded, “Next up is our tenth item – Weapon Circular Mounting Attachment.”

Inside the auction venue, as the name of the S-class component was announced, the man’s usually composed face showed a hint of surprise, and he sat upright, “This component isn’t Gu Xiaotian’s!”

The man in gray said, “But they only listed one S-class component for auction. Didn’t Gu Xiaotian enter the auction?”

A trace of astonishment appeared on the man’s face, his tone tinged with excitement, “Who else could it be? The only person who could make the auction house change its strategy and replace Gu Xiaotian’s component is Yuan himself.”

Originally, he had thought he would have to wait until the auction ended and then use the media’s coverage to probe the whereabouts of the elusive Yuan. Who would have thought that Yuan himself was in this very auction venue?

The man said, “Go ask whether the item is listed as anonymous or with a real name!”

In response, the man in gray immediately went out, “I’ll go ask.”

Inside the venue, after the auctioneer finished speaking, the attention of many turned directly to the stage, where the outline of the component had already appeared. Some people belatedly glanced at the ranking list.

“This component seems a bit different.”

“Its appearance has been modified somewhat. It looks distinct from the A-class Circular Mounting Attachments I’ve seen. It appears to be a component for an attack-type weapon.”

“An attack-type? No wonder.”

The Weapon Circular Mounting Attachment was a common specialized component used for weapons, often attached to connect weapons to a mecha’s frame. Among them, categorized by weapon type, creating circular attachments for attack-type weapons was the most difficult among all weapon components. Although such components existed in the market, placing them up for auction indicated that the precision and durability of this specific component were exceptionally high.

The auctioneer had successfully piqued everyone’s interest, “A Weapon Circular Mounting Attachment, a component for an attack-type weapon. However, its precision and durability exceed known standards by 5%. The designer of this component is the mysterious designer Yuan, known on StarNet. The material used is S-Class! With a durability of 93, and a precision conversion rate of 85%! The starting price is 800,000!”

“85%?! S-class?!”

“How is that possible!”

The man who had been attentively observing the scene had a subtle change in expression. “85% accuracy for an S-class, attack-type.”

Inside the venue, as the auctioneer revealed the details of the S-class weapon accessory, the mecha pilots started competing to place their bids.

Circular Mounting Attachments were among the most commonly used weapon accessories for attack-type mechas. An S-class material ensured that it could only be installed on A+ Competition-level and above S-Class mechas. For some A-Class mecha pilots, this accessory was practically useless. Some mecha pilots had initially intended to wait and watch, until they heard the auctioneer mention precision conversion rates and durability.

This was an S-class component with 85% accuracy!

S-class materials were hard to come by and had a low tolerance rate, resulting in a low manufacturing rate for S-class components. Some of the stray S-class components found on the market had precision rates around 75%, and excellent ones with around 80% precision were often acquired by major mecha bases. High-precision S-class components were rare and expensive in the market. Now, at this auction, a weapon accessory component had appeared with a precision conversion rate of 85%, a precision rate that had never been heard of before!

Regardless of whether this component could be used or not, snatching it up at this relatively small auction and then reselling it to various major mecha bases could fetch an astronomical price.

“It’s actually Yuan! I thought he could only make A-class components. He can make S-class ones too?”

“Is it really Yuan? I didn’t see Yuan’s identification code on the appraisal certificate of that component!”

“In this kind of auction, identification codes generally aren’t shown. But regardless of whether it’s Yuan or not, this thing is 85%!”

“900,000 credits!”

“1 million credits!”

“1.5 million credits!”

Bidding fervently on the stage, the man in the private room furrowed his brows slightly. The precision of this component was truly exceptional, prompting him to raise his bidding paddle as well.

The auctioneer noticed a particular private room lighting up from a distance, and his eyes gleamed slightly as he continued, “Lot number 1468, 3 million credits! Any further bids?”

At this moment, the door of the private room opened. The man in gray, having inquired with the staff, looked serious and said, “The weapon component auction requires real names.”

The man paused, his gaze carrying a touch of surprise. “Yuan bid under his real name?”

The man in gray replied, “No, it’s Shen Xingtang, KID’s boss. She put up this component for auction using Yuan’s name.”

Meanwhile, in the lounge, Gu Xiaotian stood up, staring at the ongoing auction on the virtual screen. A growing unease crawled into his heart. This wasn’t his component—where was his component?!

And why was the bidder for this component Yuan?! That person clearly said Yuan had never appeared and wouldn’t appear here. That was why he dared to impersonate him.

Fear started to grip Gu Xiaotian. He hurriedly moved towards the lounge door, intending to find someone from the auction to retrieve his component.

Before he could open the door, the door swung open, and a staff member from the auction walked in. “Hello Sir. Due to scheduling reasons, your reserved item has been postponed to tomorrow evening’s auction.”

Tomorrow evening? An inexplicable panic began to rise within him. Gu Xiaotian didn’t know how to handle this. He looked at the staff member standing before him, and his fear grew. He had entered the auction using Yuan’s name. Now that a component by Yuan had appeared on stage, it meant the auction organizers were aware of this.

Holding the voice modulator, his voice trembling, Gu Xiaotian said, “I’m not bidding anymore… Please return the component to me.”

The staff member looked somewhat hesitant. “If you withdraw the bid, there will be a handling fee.”

Gu Xiaotian was bewildered. “I’m not bidding anymore, and you still want to charge me?”

He should have listened to that person from the start… Selling the component to a merchant might fetch a lower price, but at least he’d have the money.

The staff member replied truthfully, “Yes, sir.”

The lounge fell silent. The auctioneer’s successive bids on the virtual screen made Gu Xiaotian more and more anxious.

Gu Xiaotian had no money. He didn’t understand the auction’s intentions. He was in a mess due to panic and helplessness. He said, “I’m not bidding anymore. Can I sell the component to your auction? I need money, right now.”

“And there’s one more thing, Shen Xingtang, the owner of KID, asked us to pass on a message. She said if you express a desire to withdraw from the auction,”

The staff member continued, “She’s willing to purchase this component on behalf of KID, with the condition that you meet her in person.”

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