500 villagers stood silently at attention, looking capable and deadly. Ye Chong nodded, satisfied. For someone like him, who had a long history of fighting for his life, he knew that the aura emanating from this battalion could only be the result of a long history of war and killing. Only true veterans would have this aura. Even the strongest mech pilots from the Five Galaxies or the Four Forces would not be like this. It had been too long since their last war!
The villagers here had battled against the wild beasts that were even stronger than mutants every day, due to their primitive technology. Training began since they were young, and they had grown up fighting for their lives. From this, warriors were born. Ye Chong believed that no other soldiers would be so determined as the villagers here were when it came to war.
Ye Chong spoke slowly with a solemn and steely voice, "Our objective is to hunt. 10 days. We only have 10 days left." There was no need for more elaboration with this battalion. He gave the order without further explanation. In 10 days, they should have their first batch of products.
The tension was heavy enough to suffocate.
"Pu, you’re in command."
"Yes sir," Sang Pu bowed and took over. Ye Chong withdrew Han Jia, slipped into the pilot cabin and flew off.
Sang Pu looked up at Han Jia in the air, for a moment, jealous of the mech. However, he quickly lowered his gaze to the battalion and waved. "Move out."
The battalion divided into tens of platoons, quickly moving out of the village. The 500-strong battalion moved silently. Ye Chong feasted at the sight of the platoons moving around each other, covering their comrades as they advanced.
The animals outside the village did not notice the Sang Family Village. They were focused on only running. However, some of the wild beasts would still run into the valley in front of the Sang Family Village. Ye Chong’s targets were these animals. No one dared to meddle with the larger stampede outside, or they would risk being run over by the massive stampede before the steelbats even arrived.
Every platoon was tasked to hunt one animal. They evaded attacks as they ambushed or lured their prey, or worked with other platoons to hunt the animals down. The animals were quickly killed. Ye Chong was impressed with their efficiency. The villagers battle strategies were also quite the eye-opener.
They reminded him of Black Cove and the Sanctuary.
They fought at close range, like Black Cove mech pilots, but their cooperative strategies bore resemblance to the Sanctuary. However, compared to the Sanctuary, they had no mechs. The instinctive cooperation between the villagers was born out of actual combat experience, and definitely more superior. They were also more experienced and knowledgeable in terms of strategizing.
Soon, the attacks became swifter and deadlier, as the villagers got used to their new weapons.
Ye Chong grew excited as he watched the villagers fight. His fingers moved, and Han Jia swoop down to attack.
The villagers looked up the God-like Han Jia with reverence. What the mech did next impressed even the most elite of the villagers. Was this the true power of a mech?
Han Jia’s two one-and-a-half-meter gray daggers were sharp. No animal would be able to stop them. The mech’s lithe figure danced purposefully across the sky as the villagers watched in awe. Often, the mech would take down a few wild beasts at a time. The man was as dangerous as the rumors told. The daggers reflected a silvery gleam of death, fatal in its every attack. The animals were all cut or stabbed at vulnerable places, such as the throat or the heart. The villagers shuddered as they watched, thinking, "Thank the Heavens that he’s on our side."
The villagers ignored the dead animals, and continued to find other living ones in the valley. The hunt was still on.
Ten days passed. With Ye Chong joining in, and the new weapons they had, the operation was fruitful, yielding more than anyone had anticipated. When Sang Pu arranged for the villagers to move the first day’s kills into the village, the villagers were shocked to see the valley covered with animal bodies, some still warm. The valley was thick with the scent of blood.
After the initial shock, everyone was overjoyed. To them, these dead animals were food. With so many animals, it would last them for quite a while.
Ten days passed in the blink of an eye. The entire Sang Family Village bustled with activity every day like clockwork. Everyone looked tired, with red puffy eyes, but no one gave up on their tasks to rest. Everyone was working hard for the fates of their own, their families, and the village itself. They may not completely understand their tasks, but no one questioned the importance of them, since the tasks came from the honored man himself.
The villagers were hopeless when they first saw the beast stampede. Some even thought it was the end of the world. The honored man, strong and mysterious as he was, however, had brought them hope.
Everyone respected the young man from the bottom of their hearts. The man led the hunting team during the day, and continued to work until the late night.
After 10 days, the first batch of products were finished. Spread before Ye Chong was a bunch of parts, arranged based on their functionalities. Ye Chong’s helpers listened to him as he explained.
"This engine model is quite easy to assemble. See this, there’s a V-shaped wedge here. And here …" Ye Chong assembled the engine, part by part. Due to the circumstances, he had vastly simplified this Destiny engine model.
This was Ye Chong’s plan - through the enormous amount of animal skeletons and available manpower, they would mass produce the simplest full-skeleton mechs and prepare for a battle to protect the Sang Family Village.
The enviable resources here had allowed Ye Chong to even consider this plan. The skeletons were dense and tough, with excellent properties. Ye Chong did not even need to chemically process them. All villagers of age here have had some experience in skeleton carving, and that provided enough manpower to carve the skeleton parts. With skeletons accumulated over centuries in the dumping site, Ye Chong did not need to hunt more animals for raw material.
More importantly, if they could not survive this trial, he would not be able to rescue Mu and Shang in the Red Sea. Ye Chong could only try his best to come up with a solution.
The 10-day hunting spree, with Ye Chong’s aid, had resulted in a large amount of meat available for the villagers. The meat was processed and stored. The cave used to store food was almost filled up. With the mayaberries ripening in another two months, the food would be enough to last them for a long time. The 10-day hunt had depleted all of Han Jia’s energy cells. However, Ye Chong did not worry about it. He knew that once the steelbats arrived, his mech would not make a significant difference in the final outcome.
When he first saw the storage cavern, Ye Chong had thought of excavating a cave for shelter. Later, Old Sang De had explained to him that the caves he saw in Archipelago were naturally formed. Digging was extremely difficult here. The earth was unusually solid, and it grew steadily harder the deeper one went. Excavating a cave enough to fit a hundred people would take a very long time, even with the lavagold tools they had. Before this, they did not even consider it a possibility.
After seeing the final assembled product, even Ye Chong was not confident of its capabilities.
By Ye Chong’s standard, this was not really a mech. Since there was no photon processor, Ye Chong could not build a conventional mech. He was actually inspired by racing mechs, the kind built for speed. From an aerodynamic point of view, the usual mech design was not suitable for high speeds.
Ye Chong’s design was based on simple principles. It must be easy to assemble, able to fly, and armed with some offensive capabilities.
Based on these principles, Ye Chong came up with the current design.
The mech’s main body was shaped like a water droplet, with four sharp skeleton blades inlaid on its surface, much like four leaves on a water droplet. At the tip of the water-droplet body, was a sharp skeleton spear. This spear was replaceable, and was firmly attached to the body.
There were no photon circuits or the like in this thing. All the parts were connected through the most basic mechanical joints.
While the thing could fly, in theory, Ye Chong doubted its reliability. He looked around him. It seemed that he was the only suitable candidate to test fly this vehicle.
He opened the cabin door. Simple cabin pressurization was not a problem for Ye Chong. Ye Chong was quite satisfied with its hydraulic suspension system. Sang Fan had found a type of liquid by accident, that was quite suited for this purpose.
"At least it’s a kind of protection for the pilot," Ye Chong could only console himself so.