"What a nag!" Ling Lan turned off the mainframe's voice systems, putting all her attention into piloting her mecha. On the mecha's control panel, Ling Lan's fingers once more could be seen producing layered afterimages born of rapid speed. Stacked together, those layers of afterimages looked like a slowly blossoming lotus flower, insubstantial but unbelievably beautiful.
The rabbit mecha crouched abruptly, its forelegs holding the sword dipping slightly. This minor shift let Regretless swiftly evade the giant python's attacking fangs, sweeping below the python's jaw to get to its vital point, where the sword was suddenly twisted upwards. At the same time, the still crouching rabbit mecha had long made preparations to leap.
And so, a white rabbit could be seen to spring up from the ground into the air. The sunlight streaming in from between the tree leaves reflected off the mecha's body, causing the entire mecha to gleam brightly, dazzling the eyes. This flash of reflected light also caused the screen of [No Mecha Unrepaired], who had been closely watching the rabbit mecha, to suddenly white-out, going into a blinded state for a brief moment.
"HISSSS!" The giant python made a terrible cry. Regaining his vision, [No Mecha Unrepaired] saw the hissing head suddenly drop off the snake's body to fall to the ground. A fountain of blood gushed out from where it had been chopped off, spraying the ground about 10 metres around it crimson. And then, the humongous snake's body finally toppled down as well ...
Ling Lan had already piloted the rabbit mecha to land about 10 over metres away from the snake's body, and so had not been hit with any of the blood spray. Her mecha suddenly swept a cool gaze in a particular direction, honing in on a patch of grass. This abrupt movement caused the grass there to shift slightly and then grow still, not to move again.
Ling Lan turned her gaze away in satisfaction. As long as they did not obstruct her from completing her mission, she too did not want to kill all of these savage beasts. After all, she had never wanted to accumulate points by collecting savage beast materials anyway. With a bound, the rabbit mecha appeared before [No Mecha Unrepaired], reaching out a hand to return the weapon to the other. "Thank you. This weapon is very impressive. Now, I return it!"
Though the weapon was great, Ling Lan did not have any intention of claiming it for her own. As long as she upgraded to a better mecha and had it outfitted with the standard weapons, it would already be sufficient for Ling Lan's use.
Hearing this, [No Mecha Unrepaired] was taken aback. He had not expected [Lingtian First-String] to be unmoved by Regretless after experiencing its power first hand, that the other would still choose to return the weapon to him. From the other's tone of voice, [No Mecha Unrepaired] could tell for sure that this was not an act — the other really had no intention of taking the sword. This caused [No Mecha Unrepaired] to be deeply moved. Mind you, in the mecha world, in order to make their mecha stronger, some supreme weapons would often be fought over by the various strong fighters. Some would even resort to forceful and overbearing means to snatch these weapons from the hands of the weak.
This only further cemented [No Mecha Unrepaired]'s determination to gift the sword to [Lingtian First-String]. He said, "No need to return it to me. I'm giving you this weapon."
"For me? I don't think the mission reward included this." Although this weapon was great, Ling Lan did not want to owe [No Mecha Unrepaired] for no good reason.
"This is an extra. Consider it a token of my goodwill," said [No Mecha Unrepaired] with a smile. Just those rewards by themselves were not at all sufficient for him to hire a special-class operator.
"Since the mission reward had already been agreed on, you don't have to take out anything further to supplement it." Ling Lan quirked a brow, as if understanding [No Mecha Unrepaired]'s worries, and continued to say, "Don't worry, I will safely bring you to Suncreed City. I won't go against our agreement, and I won't ask for anything extra."
Ling Lan's words caused [No Mecha Unrepaired] to flush. He waved his hands frantically and said, "It's not like that. I have never doubted that you will honour our agreement. This weapon ... for me, is special, because it was created by me." [No Mecha Unrepaired]'s voice became very soft, "Although many people had wanted to buy it, I have never been able to sell it, always hoping that one day, someone who understands it will be able to take it together into battle, fulfilling the dreams I entrusted to it."
[No Mecha Unrepaired] lifted his head and said firmly, "It's called Regretless. I hope that someone strong can let it have no regrets in battle. After this period of time, I feel that you can fulfil my dream, and so, I want to give this weapon to you."
[No Mecha Unrepaired]'s words made Ling Lan take a close look at the stats of the weapon in her hands. Sure enough, its details stated —— Weapon's Name: Regretless (equippable back weapon for mecha); Characteristics: Sturdy, sharp; Weight: 206 kg. Creator: [No Mecha Unrepaired]. Quality: Superior.
Little Four was supplementing the information with explanations inside the mindspace for Ling Lan. Cold weapons like these of superior quality, with both high tensile strength and sharpness, were extremely rare. On top of that, its weight was enough for it to be used as a heavy weapon at critical moments as well. Regretless, which had no obvious weaknesses, could be used long-term, as long as it was not damaged, even up till she became an ace operator 1 . Meanwhile, in the mecha world, the level of familiarity one had with one's weapon would be completely reflected in the mecha's combat power. Thus, this sort of long-term weapon was what all mecha operators loved and appreciated. It could be said that if this weapon were to be auctioned, it would attract the attention of all mecha operators below the level of ace operator.
Ling Lan agreed with what Little Four was saying — when she had first begun practising with that carrot-weapon, she had also had to take a long time to get accustomed to it. Later, when she had switched to other mecha, in contrast to the relative simplicity of firearms, she had had to spend the most time on cold weapons. This was because battles involving cold weapons were extremely dangerous — any bit of carelessness could bring great calamity on oneself.
Ling Lan, who had not been moved by Regretless earlier, was really somewhat interested now. For a mecha operator, finding a suitable primary cold weapon they liked was an extremely key thing. Initially, Ling Lan had planned to change her mecha before considering this matter, but now, such an exceptional cold weapon had appeared, so Ling Lan had no choice but to begin thinking about it now.
Ling Lan did not struggle over the issue for long. She took Regretless back, slinging it into place at the only weapon's bezel at her mecha's back, and said, "Thank you. This weapon is indeed very exceptional. It is precisely what I need, so I will gladly accept it. However, the rewards we had previously agreed on, you don't have to give those to me anymore." At this point, Ling Lan suddenly remembered that without those 200 points, she would not be able to get the full 1010 she needed. So, she added somewhat sheepishly, "Uh, the points are still needed. To compensate you for your loss, in future I can accept one more task from you. Of course, that task must be something I can do."
Ling Lan decided to fully end this entanglement here. She did not like to drag things out, and so stated things plainly right now. This was to prevent problems in future if they could not agree, wasting the ties of friendship formed here with the gift of this sword.
[No Mecha Unrepaired] had never intended Ling Lan to pay any price from the start, very sincerely wanting to entrust the best weapon he had created to the other. Therefore, hearing Ling Lan's words, he did not take Ling Lan's promise to heart, merely nodding happily in response. Right then, he did not know that this promise of Ling Lan's would cause his future to become extraordinary ...
Ling Lan very quickly came to the place that Little Four had indicated, picking up an extremely common-looking rock. Seeing this, [No Mecha Unrepaired] said with some confused annoyance, "What's this? Is that your mission?" This dusty, grey, and unassuming rock could be found anywhere, but Ling Lan had selected it out very carefully from a pile of rocks.
"Yes, this is a starlight conversion power core," replied Ling Lan.
"What? This is that rumoured starlight conversion power core?!" [No Mecha Unrepaired] instantly exclaimed in shock.
"Rumoured?" Ling Lan blinked blankly at [No Mecha Unrepaired], unsure why the other would be so shocked.
"Oh [Lingtian First-String] ... this is the only main storyline mission of Three-Seas Town. Although many people have accepted it before, no one has ever been able to find the core. Many people think that it's because the starlight conversion power core hasn't appeared yet, considering the mission an impossible mission to complete at the moment," explained [No Mecha Unrepaired].
"Is that so? I just saw that the points it offered was pretty good, so I accepted it," said Ling Lan nonchalantly.
[No Mecha Unrepaired] almost wept — was this the difference between the strong and the average person? Missions that they did not even dare to think about, and the other had only casually accepted it because it offered more points ... A thought suddenly occurred to [No Mecha Unrepaired]. "How did you know there would be a starlight conversion power core here? That this mission could be completed?"
Ling Lan replied calmly, "I've come here before and seen this. But I didn't know what it was for back then, so I didn't take it and just left it here ..."
Didn't take it? [No Mecha Unrepaired] almost spewed blood. Alright, so the other had long been to this savage place before. Recalling how the other had seemed extremely familiar with the surroundings here, as if strolling through his own backyard, [No Mecha Unrepaired] understood and decided to let it go.
Ling Lan put the starlight conversion power core into her mecha's equipment storage and said, "Alright, let's go."
Having been stunned multiple times by Ling Lan, [No Mecha Unrepaired] naturally had no objections, quietly following Ling Lan away from the area.
The two of them had retraced their steps for about 10 minutes when Ling Lan suddenly glanced at [No Mecha Unrepaired] and asked, "Have you offended someone?"
While they had been at the town's western gate, the intermittent stares [No Mecha Unrepaired] had attracted from some people had let Ling Lan sense that her employer may very likely have offended someone. However, Ling Lan was not concerned by this — as long as she could obtain points, she would still accept the mission to escort the other.
[No Mecha Unrepaired]'s heart jolted and he croaked, "Why do you ask?"
"These mecha probably followed you here. However, they don't seem to be strong enough and were killed by the savage beasts." Ling Lan pointed at the forest ahead, signalling [No Mecha Unrepaired] that he could go take a look.
[No Mecha Unrepaired]'s expression paled and he hurriedly piloted his mecha over. Several quick bounds later and he could see several greyed out mecha laying flat on the ground. This meant that these mecha were already in the state of death. Even if they decided to revive, the mecha would only disappear from this location 20 minutes later. During this period of time, anyone could come and take the equipment and weapons the other had dropped, or perhaps any other tools.
[No Mecha Unrepaired] saw that familiar lightning bolt 2 symbol on the mecha's chests and instantly said through clenched teeth, "It's them again, the Thunder King's faction."
"Thunder King?" Following behind [No Mecha Unrepaired], Ling Lan could not help but think that this name sounded really familiar ...T/C: Officially, I guess? Original term here is actually 'thunderbolt', but a thunderbolt is not an image, so I went for the closest alternative that made sense. May change with further context.