Ye Chong was shocked. He had spent some time in the virtual world, and was familiar with the close range combat level here. It was only a year or two since he last visited, but the mechs were now much better in close range combat! The two mechs he was seeing now were quite capable, much better than the so called aces he fought against in the NR Training Center. They were also not too far from his level!
Ye Chong did not know that during his time in the Orbits in the last year or two, close range combat between mechs had improved sharply in the virtual world! This was all initiated by him. He had once won against many aces under the name YC, and his many battle recordings went viral. From then on, people began to realize the potential of close range mechs, and the excitement that came with battle at close quarters, something that long range bullet exchanges could never match. Young people grew to love close range combat, since the virtual world was not all about winning or losing, but the exhilaration it could bring. That was how, in the virtual world, close range battles between mechs improved so much. However, in the real world, long range mechs were still the preferred choice.
Ye Chong noticed immediately with his keen eyes that the red mech was attacking in a way that was similar to bare handed fights.
Why had he never thought of that before? Ye Chong slowly grew convinced. Indeed, two mechs engaged in close range combat was similar in principle to two humans in a fight. What if he could apply combat skills in close range battles between mechs? It was worth a shot! On the other hand, if he could apply combat skills to a battle between mechs, could he also apply some skills in mech battles to human combat?
Suddenly, it was like a large door opened wide before Ye Chong, and on the other side was a whole new world!
Ye Chong stood in a daze under the floating holographic broadcast. In the broadcast, the two mechs fought aggressively, throwing sparks as metal met metal. It was an intense battle, but Ye Chong was frowning in thought, in his own world.
Spacing off in the virtual world? Passersby's gave Ye Chong a few odd looks.
After half an hour, Ye Chong finally took a long exhale. His mind back in the virtual world, Ye Chong rushed to the nearest NR Training Center he could find.
Ye Chong had always wondered if all NR Training Centers look the same. Up till now, his experience told him it was affirmative. This made it easy for him.
Ye Chong entered the NR Training Center with his old name - YC. With Mu’s protection, Ye Chong believed that no one would know who he really was.
The NR Training Center was crowded as usual. Ye Chong’s last mech, Dark Shadow was already obliterated by Invincible Firepower. Now, he had no mechs under his name, and would have to buy a new one. Fortunately, his points were enough to buy a few advanced level mechs.
Ye Chong followed the familiar route to the maintenance hub. While every NR Training Center was similar in terms of their structure, the mechs available were different. The advanced level mechs here could no longer excite Ye Chong, but for now, he needed a humanoid mech for training.
Ye Chong found a blue-black humanoid mech. It was about 10 meters tall, its dark blue body not as bulky as mechs usually were, and its well proportioned build was something Ye Chong appreciated. Its four limbs were black, its surface covered with a matte polish that made it look cold and sturdy. More importantly, its surface would not be reflective. The mech had a cool looking profile, the hard lines matching the blue and black, making it almost as cold as Ye Chong himself! Its forehead had a bright red diamond, burning angrily against the blue and black, a bewitching touch to the mech!
This mech with the name Tissot immediately caught Ye Chong’s attention.
Tissot had no supporting fins, its arm devoid of any shields, and it was poorly armed. The two handles by the waist must be the handles of two laser swords. There were also the two parrying spears fitted closely to the arms! These two weapons were the only ones it had.
This was a model that was launched two years ago, but the points required to redeem it was a bit surprising to Ye Chong, as it was worth three times more than his old Dark Shadow.
Once he entered the mech, Ye Chong could understand what made this mech special!
Maneuvering was a smooth affair, and the mech’s engines were impressive, capable of powerful short bursts. The mech also had incredibly tough armor, almost like a lesser copy of Black Cove’s war mech! However, its choice of weapons were even more extreme than Black Cove’s - two laser swords and two parrying spears were too little for a mech! Without any long range weapons, Tissot’s range would be severely limited.
Was being extreme a popular trend nowadays? Ye Chong thought of Duan’s mech, similar in concept to Tissot, only that one of them was suited for close range battles, and the other for long range ones!
Ye Chong tried a few maneuvers and loved the feel of i! The mech’s practicality may be suspect, but it was perfect as a training mech for Ye Chong.
Ye Chong did not intend to use any weapons, since he wanted to try out the idea he had in that light bulb moment. He was best in short range combat, and having no hindering equipment actually worked well for him.
The idea of applying combat skills in mech battles was not original, and there were already many existing techniques. Many combat enthusiasts fell in love with mech battles, since they were often more skilled than lesser mech pilots. In the last two years, many new names rose to fame due to their close range combat skills, and they were known as combat mech pilots. These combat mech pilots had their own fan base, and some even opened their own dojo in the virtual world to teach not combat skills, but mech combat skills.
Of course, becoming a combat mech pilot was not easy. Battles between mechs was still different than between humans. Besides battle moves, there was still the overly clunky mech maneuvering to consider. It was rare for one to conquer both. While combat experts were skilled in their field, mech piloting was still best learned from a young age. As for mech pilots, while many of them have superb mech piloting skills, few had ever formally learned the dying skill of actual combat.
Hence, the so called combat mech pilots today were not up to par. However, it was undeniable that mech battles were heading towards uncharted waters, and the fading world of combat was beginning to gain some life.
Ye Chong found a basic training room. The room still looked the same as before, and visitors were scarce as usual.
Ye Chong found an empty spot, but did not began training immediately. He was trying to analyse the differences between mech combat and normal combat.
Normal combat was driven by muscle power, while mech combat was driven by engines. This was the fundamental difference. WIth the help of engines, mechs can stay in midair longer, something that the human body could not allow. The body’s soft elasticity was also something mechs could not achieve.
Ye Chong tried some simple combat moves. Initially, he could not get the hang of it, but very soon he began to understand the tricks behind it. This was because of his superb mech maneuvering skills. It was because of his skillful maneuvering that he could perform the moves that his mind conjured.
Of course, he was far from achieving the ideal results. Even if he could perform the moves, it did not mean that the moves were practical. He still needed to improve, step by step, to make the moves more reasonable and suitable for mechs.
In the end, however, Ye Chong had finally taken his first step forward. This was the first time he created something by himself without Mu’s instructions. Mu seemed to understand him, and did not appear to intrude.
As for his second idea of applying mech battle skills into actual combat, it would have to wait until he was done with his first idea.
Ye Chong trained in full concentration, repeatedly practicing some basic moves patiently. Mu had said that the basics were the most important, and Ye Chong kept his words at heart. Gradually, Ye Chong could move more smoothly, and Tissot’s attacks grew faster. Soon, Ye Chong reached the limits of what Tissot’s mechanical parts could allow.
Tissot seemed like a mech specially designed for mech combat. Ye Chong maneuvered smoothly, and found that the mech’s joints had engines designed to strengthen its attacks. He also noticed many of Tissot’s less obvious design features.
Tissot’s external equipments were only a front; its true weapon was its body. All potential attacking parts of the mech were specially designed. For example, Tissot’s two palms had edges that cut like knifes, and its knuckles were just as sharp. When its elbow was bent, it became a sharp awl that could punch a dent into its enemy. The knees had auxiliary engine that were thrice as powerful as for normal mechs.
Ye Chong finally understood why the mech was so extreme in its design - it was a mech made for close range combat.
Time flew past unnoticed as Ye Chong trained, and he found himself growing proficient with those basic moves.
Mu suddenly materialized like a ghost and said, "Ye, there might be a place just for you!"
"Where?" Ye Chong knew that Mu would never speak carelessly.
"Here?" Ye Chong asked curiously. The room was pitch black.
"Yes, here. This is a room used for reaction practice, but it’s perfect for your training! There will be many glowing spheres shot towards you, and you’ll have to either hit or avoid those spheres. This is a pointless training for you, so what you have to do now is to not avoid the spheres, and try to keep attacking the spheres for as long as possible. Are you ready?" Mu asked.
Ye Chong drew in a deep breathe. "Alright! Let’s get started!"
As he finished speaking, numerous glowing spheres appeared on a holographic screen, shooting towards him. Tissot moved into a horse stance as a calm combat expert would.
At the beginning, Ye Chong felt it was still manageable, and even had time to appreciate the sparkles that came from the destroyed glowing spheres that he hit.
As the spheres grew in numbers and came in faster, Ye Chong began to feel pressured, and no longer as relaxed. His precise attacks were now desperate, clumsy movements.
Tissot’s arms, legs, knees, elbows and shoulders were all utilized, but Ye Chong was finally hit by a glowing sphere after enduring for about one minute.
Giving up halfway was not Ye Chong’s style, and he could also feel the benefits of this training.
As he tried again and again, Ye Chong began to enjoy the process and gained new insights. He could hold against the spheres longer and longer, and slowly began to realize the subtleties involved. He found that as his attacks became more concise, the effectiveness increases. Controlled breathing was important, and any slight hiccups in that would almost certainly lead to the end of another practice round.
Ye Chong found a mysterious phenomenon - whenever his speed reached a threshold, Ye Chong could feel himself entering a strange state, as if his body could move by itself without conscious thoughts, while his mind became an observer at the side, incapable of any clear thoughts.
In this state, his movements were curiously sharp, but it was not often for him to reach this state. Ye Chong trained for more than 30 rounds, and only reached this state twice. Each time, it lasted for only a few seconds, after which Ye Chong would wake up, as if from a dream, and would inevitably be hit by a glowing sphere.
Was is a hallucination? Ye Chong did not mind it so much.
"Hmm, Ye, it’s about time for you to leave!" Mu saw that Ye Chong was deeply absorbed in his training, and reminded him.
"Okay, one last time!" Ye Chong replied after a moment’s thought.