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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 7

Banute Contaminated Zone

7. Rat Horde

Proofread by An Zheee and Cloud Chip Cake

As the sky gradually darkened, Ying Chenlin ventured deeper, 3 kilometers into the area, he had entered the deepest region of the Banute map. The mecha’s built-in map displayed an alert, but he dismissed the “Deep Exploration Warning” while the Light Blade by his side was dripping with blood.

In Ying Chenlin’s mecha’s field of vision, a rat with sharp teeth stared with crimson eyes. After witnessing him beheading one of its kind, the rat turned and fled towards the outskirts of the Banute Contaminated Zone.

[Emergency notification from the Banute Contaminated Zone Management Bureau: A mutated contamination source has been detected in the zone. All mecha pilots that are still deep inside the zone, please evacuate immediately!]

The emergency message blinked only twice before it was disrupted by the chaotic magnetic fields, turning into a buzzing signal.

“A contamination source issue, the mutation is at least of A-level,” Ying Chenlin analyzed.

“But they don’t have enough Greenwall Ore at the outskirts; we can’t leave yet. We need to go deeper and investigate,” he added.

Inside the narrow cockpit, he was alone, and the neural connection remained unresponsive.

Pausing for a moment, Ying Chenlin looked down at the black and red key hanging around his neck.

The black and red mecha key fell silently from his collar as he moved, making no sound.

Unlike his former companion, the sentient S-Class mecha named “Yuan,” the current B-Class mecha was ordinary and lacked any form of intelligence. All its actions are executed based solely on the direct commands of the mecha pilot.

“I forgot, you’re not here right now.”

Interacting with the intelligent mecha was like an ingrained habit etched into his memory.

Ying Chenlin didn’t pursue the escaping Sharp-Toothed Rat. He raised his right hand slightly.

A slight sense of weariness passed through his nerves, making his hand holding the weapon feel particularly heavy. The fatigue brought on by piloting the mecha came faster than in his faded memory.

But he hadn’t reached the limit of exhaustion yet.

Perhaps the level of his mental power while piloting the mecha was relatively weak. Mutated plants and animals in the Contaminated Zone were highly sensitive to mental power. His meager mental power turned out to be an advantage, as ordinary mutated monsters couldn’t sense him. So far, the strongest mutated monster he encountered was the Sharp-Toothed Rat.

For now, the danger was temporarily averted. Ying Chenlin found a safe spot and disconnected the neural connection. He took out a syringe from his backpack and injected himself with the necessary medication. After completing these tasks, he turned his attention to the map with recorded routes and the contamination thresholds.

The danger in the depths of Banute was higher. From the outermost perimeter to here, the contamination level had surged from 1240 to 2310, exceeding the maximum value ever recorded in the Banute Contaminated Zone. Clearly, something was amiss.

Ying Chenlin turned off the notifications from the Banute Contaminated Zone Management Bureau. His A-level mental power was more than enough to handle the B-Class mecha. However, his limited physical power affected his response time significantly, and with proper rest, he could last in such a Contaminated Zone for a maximum of two days.

Two days, he needed to at least make enough profits before leaving.

Ying Chenlin glanced at the deeper parts of the Banute Contaminated Zone. He still wanted to explore further.

The deeper parts of the zone held more unknown dangers, but resources became more abundant. Materials like Greenwall Ore were scarce in the outskirts but became much more common in the deeper regions. There were also strange signs and peculiar energy-rich minerals. Almost every kilometer he walked deeper inside, he could find traces of mining and tunneling.

A few such instances might be considered exceptions, but the deeper he went, the more numerous these holes became. The areas with such traces had significantly fewer resources, as if something had swept through and left only a mess behind.

While Ying Chenlin pondered, he suddenly noticed a sound not far away.

He immediately stepped back and saw several mechas approaching on the radar view, closely followed by a multitude of red warning indicators.

At that moment, a request for a contact SOS signal popped up on his radar view.

Ying Chenlin: “……?”

Nick had ventured into the Abyss Zone of the Banute Contaminated Zone with his friends to test his new A-Class mecha. However, the situation in the Banute Contaminated Zone had been highly unstable recently. On their way deep inside, they had encountered numerous attacks, and their mechas were now stained red with blood.

In the depths of the Banute Contaminated Zone, there was a source of contamination at a higher altitude. The chaotic magnetic field in the higher areas would affect the mechas’ flight orientation, and coupled with their high energy consumption, they couldn’t sustain prolonged flight in such a chaotic magnetic environment.

Several people fled in a sorry state from the group of Sharp-Toothed Rats. Their mechas had already consumed a significant amount of energy, making it evident that they couldn’t continue their deep exploration. To their surprise, just as they were planning to retreat, a migration of Sharp-Toothed Rats erupted from behind them, numbering at least dozens.

Sharp-Toothed Rats were relatively rare pollutants in the outer regions of the Contaminated Zone, usually hiding deep inside. It was rare to encounter one or two, but now there were dozens of them at once!

For them, it was like facing a horde of deadly rats.

They activated their thrusters and anonymously tried to escape, but the rats seemed to have grown smarter, relentlessly chasing after them. As their energy was depleting rapidly, they had no choice but to send out SOS signals towards the outer perimeter, hoping that the management area would receive the signal and send rescue.

However, there was no response from the management area, apparently affected by signal interference.

Just when they thought rescue was hopeless, an unfamiliar voice suddenly came through the distress channel.

“Hello, do you need help?”

The voice sounded young, but for Nick and the others, it was a lifeline.

“We’re facing a Sharp-Toothed Rat horde, our energy is running out, and we need rescue,” Nick hastily replied.

The unfamiliar voice asked, “How much energy do you have left?”

Nick quickly checked and replied, “We have two B-Class mechas and one A-Class mecha, with an average of 20 units of remaining energy and 30% damage to the mechas.”

He immediately sent the information about their mechas to the other side.

While 20 units of energy might be sufficient in ordinary circumstances, it was far from enough to deal with so many Sharp-Toothed Rats. They might run out of energy halfway through the battle, leaving them defenseless.

The voice on the distress channel paused for a moment, seemingly contemplating something.

Nick looked at the radar system and noticed a strange mecha appearing in the distance. In the Abyss Zone of the Contaminated Zone, a mecha that could venture in alone was undoubtedly extraordinary. The voice on the distress channel likely came from this mecha. “We can pay a reward! Money is not a problem!” Nick hurriedly added.

“It’s not a matter of rewards,” the unfamiliar voice spoke up. “I am alone.”

Nick paused. The other person was alone, and there were dozens of Sharp-Toothed Rats. Even when they had sufficient energy, it was challenging to deal with so many Sharp-Toothed Rats, let alone with just one person offering help. He wondered if they were really going to be defeated here. Without energy to protect themselves, the destructive power of the Sharp-Toothed Rats…

“We only received a response from you after seeking external help. We are truly out of options,” Nick explained.

Suddenly, the unfamiliar voice asked, “How much weapon energy do you have left?”

Nick hesitated for a moment, “I have 15 units of energy for my Energy Cannon, and my friends’ Light Blade and Magnetic Cannon are still usable.”

“That’s enough,” the unfamiliar voice said. “Come towards me.”

Upon hearing this, Nick and his friend didn’t hesitate and immediately flew at high speeds towards the location on the radar map where the other mecha was located. With their acceleration, the rat horde behind them followed, and the distance between the mechas and the horde became smaller and smaller, violently breaking through the trees in the mountain forest.

“Nick, it’s too late!”

“Look! There’s a high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat among them. It might be more than just a B-level!”

Nick gritted his teeth as he saw a red-skinned high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat in the group. The rat seemed to notice him and charged straight towards his mecha, its jagged teeth gleaming with a chilling light as if it could pierce their mechas at any moment.

The most dangerous aspect of the Sharp-Toothed Rat was its teeth, capable of smelting C-level metal. In its frenzied state, a high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat could even pierce through the outer shell of a B-Class mecha.

This was bad! There’s no time to turn around!

Just as the Sharp-Toothed Rat was about to pounce on Nick’s mecha, a Magnetic Cannon shot from behind, passing through them and hitting the rat horde, causing instant paralysis.

The Magnetic Cannon used the B-level special pollutant “Thunderbird” as its weapon energy core. Thunderbirds could release small-scale lightning strikes, causing a paralyzing effect. The Magnetic Cannon inherited this paralyzing effect, providing a few seconds of paralysis to the targets it hit.

In those few seconds, Nick and his friends avoided the attacks of the Sharp-Toothed Rats and swiftly turned into the mountain forest.

At the same time, the calm and rational voice came through the distress channel.

“Fly upwards,” the voice instructed.

Nick and his friend adjusted the thrusters’ direction and ascended.

“Turn around and prepare the Energy Cannon,” the voice continued.

Nick quickly halted his mecha, turned around, and fired an Energy Cannon shot, hitting the rat horde and creating a burst of flames among them.

Just then, another Magnetic Cannon shot came from behind, paralyzing the Sharp-Toothed Rats climbing upward. Nick’s friends quickly followed suit, using their Magnetic Cannons to block the rats surging from below.

Only then did Nick realize that the place they were hiding in was a higher-up abandoned building within the mountain forest. Banute used to be a city nestled in the mountains, but after being covered in pollution, humans had evacuated, leaving behind buildings with a history of almost five centuries, now entirely engulfed by the forest.

Climbing upwards would take time for the Sharp-Toothed Rats.

At the same time, he noticed another white mecha behind the elevated building.

It was the same mecha that had just supported them with the Magnetic Cannon.

“We can’t handle the rat horde, and with the continuous barrage of the Magnetic Cannon, we won’t last more than ten minutes,” Nick urgently explained. “Moreover, there’s a high-level mutated Sharp-Toothed Rat among them. If we run out of energy, we’ll meet our end here.”

High above, Ying Chenlin observed the rat horde below.

This could hardly be called a mass migration of Sharp-Toothed Rats, as their numbers didn’t reach that of a true swarm. Instead, these Sharp-Toothed Rats seemed to be following that high-level rat.

In a place like a Contaminated Zone, mental power had a significant impact. When the three mechas were fleeing, their mental power scattered and illuminated the dark forest like bright light bulbs. It would be strange if these rats didn’t attack them.

“Turn off your thrusters and wait on the higher floors of the building,” Ying Chenlin commanded, scanning the remaining energy in the mechas. He continued coldly, “Reign in your mental power.”

Nick was puzzled, “But if we suppress our mental power, we won’t be able to—”

Before he could finish speaking, another Magnetic Cannon blast landed in the rat horde. This time, the white mecha from above leaped down into the rat swarm without the assistance of thrusters. Its glowing Light Blade was directed straight at the high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat.

Boom!

The Light Blade struck the high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat, and sparks flew from the friction between the blade and the rat’s skin.

“Be careful!”

The paralysis effect wore off, and the restless rat horde immediately targeted the white mecha in the middle. Just as they were about to pounce on the white mecha, the Magnetic Cannon in the mecha’s left hand was aimed at the ground, and the ensuing magnetic blast spread out, instantly immobilizing all the Sharp-Toothed Rats within its attack range.

Meanwhile, the mecha’s right hand didn’t stop, continuously attacking the high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat.

Nick was in awe. The mecha pilot below was simultaneously controlling the rat horde with one hand and focusing on the rat leader with the other.

And it didn’t end there. Despite the continuous attacks from the pilot, the high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat had no ability to resist. Every time it attempted to retaliate, the pilot’s rapid attack rhythm disrupted its efforts.

At this moment, Nick finally saw clearly. The one he sought help from wasn’t some bigshot; it was just a B-Class mecha pilot with typical equipment — a Light Blade and a Magnetic Cannon. They didn’t even have long-range Energy Cannons, only close-combat weaponry.

Incredibly, the Magnetic Cannon’s control over the rat horde and the pilot’s expert positioning within the swarm allowed them to maintain a highly efficient hit rate without wasting any energy.

“Quick, help!” Nick snapped out of his brief astonishment and immediately aimed his Energy Cannon at the distant rat horde. His two friends followed suit, bombarding the area, quickly creating a gap in the midst of the rat swarm.

Meanwhile, the white mecha continued to face off against the high-level rat king. Under the continuous and efficient barrage of attacks, the rat king soon let out a mournful cry. Realizing something was wrong, it attempted to escape from the mecha’s onslaught, but the mecha pilot gave it no chance.

While the other Sharp-Toothed Rats were suppressed and unable to advance due to the Energy and Magnetic Cannons, the mecha pilot decisively pursued the rat king. After five minutes, the rat king let out a powerful roar and collapsed to the ground. As the roar echoed, the surrounding Sharp-Toothed Rats seemed to sense danger and scattered in all directions.

The once-gathered rat horde was now scattered in disarray, dispersing in a short period.

Ying Chenlin finished the battle and directed his gaze toward the direction the rats were fleeing. Though it was chaotic, all of them were running towards the outskirts of the Contaminated Zone. Not a single one was heading deeper inside, as if something eerie lurked there, filling them with immense fear.

“Is it over?” Nick looked down in bewilderment.

Ying Chenlin returned to his senses and replied, “Yes, it’s over.”

The white mecha remained beside the rat king’s corpse, its body stained with the blood of the Sharp-Toothed Rats. There were also many low-level Sharp-Toothed Rats killed by the Energy and Magnetic Cannons.

“You shouldn’t use too much mental power at these depths. For these pollutants, mental power is highly attractive,” Ying Chenlin briefly explained. “You happened to run into them head-on, attacked them and carried highly attractive mental power. Plus, that high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat seemed very interested in you, so they just followed you.”

Nick and his companions were in a hurry to escape, so they hadn’t paid much attention to certain details. Upon hearing this, they felt somewhat embarrassed. Nick had just become an intermediate-level mecha pilot today and had planned to venture into this area with his friends. They never expected to encounter such a situation.

“Thank you for helping us! Without your assistance, we might not have waited for rescue. The magnetic field disruption at higher altitudes prevented our distress signal from being sent out…” Nick expressed his gratitude.

Ying Chenlin listened to them and glanced at the nearby Sharp-Toothed Rat corpses. Parts of the Sharp-Toothed Rats could be processed into materials, and they could be sold for a good price in the market.

“What do you plan to do with these rat corpses?” Ying Chenlin asked.

Nick was still rambling on, praising Ying Chenlin non-stop, but suddenly he heard his voice and immediately said, “Big brother, you handle it, and about the reward we mentioned earlier, let’s follow the market price–“

“I didn’t kill the other rats; it was your Energy and Magnetic Cannons that finished them off. So, it’s not my reward,” Ying Chenlin pointed at the high-level Sharp-Toothed Rat’s corpse beneath his feet. “I’ll take this one, alright?”

“No problem. We couldn’t have killed these Sharp-Toothed Rats without your help. It wouldn’t be fair if we don’t give you something in return, especially since we asked for your assistance,” Nick and his companions insisted.

Nick and his friends didn’t lack money. They came to the Abyss Zone for the adventure. “Yes, yes, you can’t refuse!”

“If you hadn’t helped us, we might not have survived, let alone accomplished our mission.”

“You saved us, and it cost you energy too!”

Seeing how fervently they insisted, Ying Chenlin didn’t refuse any longer.

The common pollution level of Sharp-Toothed Rat crystals ranged from C to B-grade. Each part of the corpse had its uses. For example, the Sharp-Toothed Rat’s crystals, even without any special abilities, retained the basic characteristics of the rat. They could be used to manufacture mecha chips and enhance the sharpness of weapons, making them quite valuable in the market.

While the others dealt with the surrounding Sharp-Toothed Rat corpses, Ying Chenlin used his Light Blade to flip the rat king’s corpse and inserted the blade into its head. He found a crystal in the clear and red plasma.

[Analysis complete. The item is a [Sharp-Toothed Rat] crystal, B+ Variant grade.]

It was a high-grade Sharp-Toothed Rat’s crystal. It was a pity that it wasn’t an anomalous crystal with special powers; otherwise, it could have fetched a higher price.

Ying Chenlin stored the crystal and was about to handle the high-level mutated rat’s corpse when suddenly a deep red crystal fell from underneath it.

This crystal was small, even smaller than the Sharp-Toothed Rat’s crystal.

It exuded a faint thunderous light, layer by layer.

Ying Chenlin moved his tired right hand and caught a glimpse of the red crystal, his expression deepening.

… One kill, one gift?

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