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The mech was the same humanoid model in dark metallic glow, of a balanced proportion coated with thorns which stood tidily - of different lengths- in a threatening appearance all over its body, head, shoulders, elbows and even the thighs. Although the spikes were different in lengths, all of them were perfectly sharp. And Ye Chong could not help but notice the fact that the fists were not black like the Black Covers, rather, those were of a dim gold.

A Black Coves model painted in a color other than black itself? The addition was alarming to Ye Chong.

"Warning, Ye. This should be from the core of the Black Coves, the real war machinery units. The name of this model should be ‘Thorn’, if my information was not wrong that is. Mhm, careful, the real warring pilots from the Black Coves are exactly the real deal itself. Jajaja, compared to you that is. If I was the one standing in my mech now, those were just starters for me. Hah! Ye, may you have an enjoyable fight," the distorted mechanical laughed then rang inside Ye Chong’s head. He almost had the urge to strangle that artificial indulgence with the arms of Han Jia.

Certainly, under Photon Mode, Han Jia was no longer undetected. It was a miracle though, for the mech was only detected after being this close to the Black Covers. Most of the survivors under the attack of the Beauty’s Secretion were having cold breath.

"Leave this guy to me," stated Thorn. "The rest of you will take the warship."

"Yes sir!" The remaining mechs blasted towards the sluggish warship.

Thorn took a look at the strange mech before him and was a little shocked, as he realized this was the skeleton mech the head had been searching for. He could definitely guarantee that it was the skeleton mech everyone had been talking about. The fact was, no systematically trained pilot from the Black Coves would fail to recognize the skeleton mech. And Thorn was the elite from the core, so he obviously knew it.

Skeleton mechs had always been something from the myth. Its concept had been long raised by people but nothing new related to the mech itself was ever found, other than the skeleton mech hovering before him. The Black Coves research unit had been striving to at least grab the gist of its formation, however, the outcome was demotivating.

According to the news, the current skeleton mech artisan humanity could ever have, among the 5 major galaxies, would be the pilot sitting right inside it now. So the pilot before him was in fact a skeleton artisan. He remembered there were also several orders going on in regards of the pilot himself… What a complicated figure…

Whoever he was, the skeleton artisan pilot and skeleton mech itself would be his first priority. Ye Chong who kept in silence before the storm was also checking the foe out. Thorn was resembled a lot to a porcupine, which one could say thorny to handle. At least Han Jia was pretty armed, Ye Chong could not imagine what spot to begin his blows if he were barehanded.


The dark shadow vanished. Ye Chong was astonished by the vanishment of the foe!

That speed! Ye Chong flinched!

Han Jia twisted its body and made a strange turning. In panic mode, it shifted to the position where the foe was standing formerly.

Klink! Klank! Klink!

There were a few streams of cold light flashing at where Ye Chong stood before. The foe was fast, very fast, probably as fast as Han Jia where it could be a close race if they were to run. Mach 8 to 9 was actually this horrifying… now Ye Chong could understand how the foes he faced usually felt when he moved.

As expected from a skeleton mech, never failed to give me surprise… Complimented Thorn in his mind, as he discovered the speed of Han Jia being slightly faster than his. Thorn was known as the fastest among the core units in the Black Coves. Never once I would see such capability from a mech. No wonder the heads have wanted the skeleton mech so much.

Thorn was not afraid, not even the slightest bit. Capability of a mech was merely an aspect, a factor to be taken into consideration, since a battle between mechs eventually would boil down to a fight between men. And I have the confidence in winning.

Ye Chong was a little overwhelmed. Judging by that one blow the foe delivered, he had to be the strongest foe he met so far.

A battle was brewing. The slight excitement tinted that pool of calmness in his head.

Thorn had no other weapon. Ye Chong’s obvious option would be to have a close-combat with him, although the Black Covers were known for their superior hand-to-hand tactics. They were truly the expert in this instead.

Close-combats were the bread and butter of Ye Chong’s fighting record. His alternate identity, YC was also known as the representative figure of mech combats on the Virtual World, or one could say, the representation itself.

One lift…

Wise people think alike… or perhaps fools never differ. The moment one lifted the arm, both mechs were triggered.

The daggers were already in both hands of Han Jia as Han Jia raised a stack of afterimages all over the foe, right onto the throat! The dagger on the left was slicing towards the heat of Thorn which also veiled himself in stack of afterimages.

The two slashes from Han Jia were dismantled. Even under such insane speed, he maintained his accuracy in both movements and eyes. Ye Chong was amazed, even though the person was his enemy.

The two mechs collided each other and a storm stirred. One could not tell what was happening as one could only see a rambling mixture of two silhouettes. If any lucky audience was there to record this down and upload it to the Virtual World, one could imagine the board exploding with replies.

The exchange was rapid, filled with various touch-and-gos, as both parties were of the same clean-cut style. Every part of a mech could be a weapon itself. And it was epic, as the two mechs were fighting in minimum scope.

Ye Chong in Han Jia did not even have the time to blink. The situation was intense, a finger slipped and he could be dead right away.

Thorn was also all eyes and all ears on the control panel. Being a warring pilot, his experience and techniques were not something Ye Chong could even mimic on spot, although he had yet discovered a way to finish the foe directly.

What a strange foe… his movements were highly complicated. Not only there were a few standard movements from the mainstream fighting methodology among the five galaxies pilots, there were also some sort of evolved gestures from a kind of martial arts. I could not really tell, the techniques were too peculiar for me to identity. And there was also a hint of fundamental moves from our group. Thorn could feel the stress, those movements the foe made were merely the basics of everything, he simply did not reckon sequencing the basic movements could be this potent.

The movements were rapid. The movements were interchangeable. The movements were shroud of the foe’s shadows. The movements were unpredictable. Commented Thorns.

Ye Chong on the other hand was not feeling easy either. The stress was something really new to his sensation. This was the first time he came across such skillful fighter after he incorporated the techniques he learned from Lan Yixing’s microchip into his combats. The foe was also a close-ranged fighter too.

This Thorn launched his attack really rapidly, even though his model was reacting slower than mine. The timing and landing of each of his moves are impeccable, where he mainly revolves about the use of his own thorns. What a headache… The thorns is much tougher than I thought, my Han Jia would need three downward slashes to cut one portion through. And I have to dodge all his moves at the same time…

If it was not Lan Yixing’s techniques I would have lost right away…

The techniques… the foe’s techniques, they should be of a certain kind of style. Too many of his movements are the anomaly to my senses, I could… wait.

Ye Chong remembered Instructor Hak once mentioned about a kind of martial arts technique from the ancient.

It was a very intense, both parties did not seem to be losing anytime.

Meanwhile, 20 mechs or so from the Black Coves were heading towards the Coxcomb. Their fates? It was a sad story.

The broken ship did not seem to be reacting anytime soon. Did we really break it just now?

That was what they assumed being the witnesses of this warship getting bombarded by their mates countless times. They had faith in their own weaponry.

The folks on the ship could not even rest their breaths, as seeing the enemies approaching on the projection. Such a short distance, and no mech to protect them! The warship was merely a spaceship to be wrecked!

As they felt victory approaching, something occured. Their expressions changed.

The warship suddenly rolled out a hefty amount of laser firing units. The number was innumerable, as if the warship was the factory of the firing units itself. The Black Coves zoned out for a second, probably they never expected a warship to have firing units this many installed. Oh the number of batteries one would need for these…

Before they realized, they were already surrounded by a laser web. The laser web? That was something new to the trained pilots, then the supplementary bombs came showering upon them.

The extreme firepower of the Coxcomb was a shocker to Fid and Claudia when they were restoring the order of their fleet.

Folks would never understand the power of electromagnetic cannons, to them it would be just a stream of blue light, that would be it. But unlike the electromagnetic firing, the laser beam coming off like a spectrum shower turned out to be more stunning to them.

The crowding fleet held their engines for a considerable amount of time. The crew members were dumbfounded.

The Black Covers? No one liked being a fish in the net and they were experiencing it. They had been rather disdained towards these normal laser beams, as the beams would feel like a pump of water on their armor. Laser beams this dense however, were an eye-opener to them, a soul-taker.

Laser firing units like this could fire about 20 beams of laser per second. And the units on the Coxcomb, contrary to the tradition, were making the pilots losing their mind as they tried counting the number.

It was a depressing discovery by the Black Covers that these beams were not blind-shot after all, they were more accurate than their own snipers. No matter how sturdy their armors were, when hundreds of beams aiming one single mech, it would only lead to an explosion, nothing else. The addition bombs scattered in the space also had also weakened their mechs before they realized.

The glow of 20 mechs exploding had illuminated the space again. The laser web vanished the very second when people were blinking their eyes in blank dismay, as if the Coxcomb withdrew its fangs like the beast returning to its tamed self after a feast.

The contrast was beyond their comprehension.


Thorn seemed to have noticed something but … but he was not in the mood to take a look around. His screen, his eyes were all on that skeleton mech before him. Sweats were stuck at his fringe, as his ruffled hair went standing like the bushes on a globe. His body was soaking wet. The stress over the time… it was pushing him to the limits. His hands felt fatigued since it was consuming to maintain such amount of APM even for a strong man like him.

But he would not… he would never have a break. The dark twin daggers from the foe were like twinning serpents, aiming their prey and frantically they attacked. He knew if he were to hold up a little, within that brief second, the twin daggers would get beyond his defense. Not only the daggers, the shield was also a danger to look out for. The shield was similar to those mechs of the Black Coves, having sharp edges.

Pant… Pant…

Ye Chong’s breathing became heavier, although he maintained the greatest hand speed he could imagine. The movements he carried out were highly complicated, the controls were not simple and were obviously more than a tap and slide. It was the first time Ye Chong maintained maximum speed for such a long time.

Han Jia held the incoming punches with its daggers. The thorns of the dim yellow fist were a wonder, a mystery of its material, for they were unhurt by the edges of the dagger despite all the slashes and slams.

Right when Thorn’s punches were held, he made a thrashing knock with the elbow, the thorns were glowing cold. Ye Chong in his Han Jia believed that his armor could not take the sharp thorn so he backed off like a breeze, trying to dodge.

The few thorns over the elbow were then disengaged, they began propelling towards Han Jia. Thorn was confident that with this twist carried out at such a distance, so suddenly, the possibility for the foe to avoid them would be negligible. These thorns would deal great amount of damage, they would at least inflict something on the foe’s mech even if they could not penetrate the armor.

To experts like them, one simple twist was more than enough to switch their positions.

Han Jia blocked the thorns with its shield. Ye Chong had already been foreseeing this ever since the moment he saw this mech broke the Beauty’s Secretion the same way moments ago. The thorns were actually able to shatter Beauty’s Secretion enveloped in skeleton shells. Of course Ye Chong would have to be alert of his thorns.

Ye Chong then felt the delay in the foe, even though he had no idea why, he change his battle style anyway.

Han Jia started changing directions frequently. The unpredictable turnings were complicating Thorn’s senses. Han Jia’s speed was superior from the beginning so it was a torturing act for Ye Chong to abuse it against Thorn.

Thorn could feel his hands getting spasm soon. Man I never knew the foe could be this sustainable in battle. Absolutely, no one would know Ye Chong’s inhuman vitality till one tasted it, while his APM was the result of Mu’s continuous training. The marble trainings were once a hell for Ye Chong. Getting spasms was something usual for Ye Chong who underwent the intensive training courses daily. No man would be aware of the torment Ye Chong had undergone in order to get specs like these.

Frankly speaking, from the aspect of techniques, Ye Chong was clearly inferior compared to the experienced foe. Vitality-wise for long-term battle would be a different story. Ye Chong was only exhaling louder than usual, which mostly was due to the brewing excitement inside him.

Ye Chong had long understood the importance of high APM in mech piloting, although not all inputs were effective execution. To a mech processor, its effective input-execution would be limited to a certain amount of figure, which once your APM had overtaken the figure, it would be a mere waste of stamina as you accelerate further while most of your inputs would be neglected.

And to avoid that, Ye Chong had been trying to minimize the amount of inputs to execute a specific action. And his attempt had been proven to be effective in the battle today. If he were to face Thorn in the past, he would be inputting much more commands and probably be drained dead in the end.

The following attacks of the foe remained its ferocity, although the execution was not as seamless as before. Ye Chong could tell the lethargy within. The intenseness of the battle was beyond their imagination.

Thorn had never seen a man being able to last this long in a close-combat before. It was then he noticed his weakness being his vitality. Under normal circumstance most players would be knocked out with those sinister tricks of his. But he met the wrong opponent today, as the foe seemed to be well-aware of all kinds of dirty tricks.

A sudden urge rose in him to back off and forfeit the battle, as he knew that he would surely lose lastly if he persisted. The foe had known most of his moves after exchanging for so long and did not seem to be giving up anytime soon.

Like seriously if there was one moment his hand twitched, he would be stabbed right to his fatality with those daggers.

"Ye, retreat. The remaining 5 warships are heading towards us." Shang’s voice sounded a little agitated.

Ye Chong had a shock.

Then Thorn jumped away, turning and going to run away. Klink! A fine blue lining zapped through Thorn’s body.

Ye Chong could see the blue beam penetrating the armor of Thorn and zapped further into the space.

He turned back and saw Shang waving his weapon proudly behind the ajar gate.

"Why can’t he be the expert in style…" muttered Ye Chong, who zoomed towards the Coxcomb without style…

Well. You would do the same.

If 5 warships were behind you.

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