Mechas: products of the Final War, the blade of ultimate slaughter, the medium of powerful military. They are the best machines of battle!
—said an interstellar wandering poet during the great explosion of alien technology.
However, several hundreds of years later, mechas had torn off their steel masks of war and integrated themselves into people’s daily lives. Their range of applications extended far and wide…
Mecha farmer, mecha miner, mecha builder, etc…
When Xiao Yukong, a special agent with special powers, discovered that his home planet was actually no more than a primitive planet among all the other technologically advanced planets, he, for the sake of survival—for the sake of his comrade—did the only suitable job for a primitive person such as him—farming…
Mechas could destroy, but they could also plant crops!
However, one still had to rely on a bit of luck at times. Six years after Xiao Yukong widened his horizons, having entered this whole new universe, he rushed towards his planet’s largest rift valley in order to save his comrade and met, by coincidence, a worn-out mecha that had fallen from the sky: “Mutang”. From that point on, everything started to deviate from its original trajectory of fate and pointed towards an unknown direction…
[TN: “Mutang” is the same characters as the author’s name.]
Chapter 1 – I Am a Mecha Farmer
A bean-sized droplet of sweat dripped down from Xiao Yukong’s firm jaw. In the sweltering cockpit, the sparkling drop only managed slither a tiny distance on the ground before it fizzled away.
[TN: Yu = universe, Kong = sky]
It was suffocating in the tiny room with the internal temperature exceeding fifty degrees Celsius. Air entered and left his lungs, parching his throat and making him feel as thirsty as a water-deprived hippo. Perspiration soared through the air and splattered onto Xiao Yukong’s right hand, which was rapidly managing the handles in the cockpit. They made tiny splashes on contact before vanishing into the air, vaporized by the heat.
Xiao Yukong didn’t even notice the scene of sweat evaporating as his mind was focused solely on operating the four handles. This horrendous working environment was all due to the antique machine. In the cockpit, there wasn’t anything installed that could adjust the temperature or humidity.
Unfortunately, Xiao Yukong was but a poor mecha farmer; he was powerless to change these conditions. He had no choice but to silently bear through it, working his heart out for a minuscule income that would keep himself alive.
Four years was sufficient time for Xiao Yukong to become proficient in operating this old machine. It was a farming mecha: fifteen meters tall, five meters wide, four meters thick. Its entire appearance seemed quite sturdy, and it even looked like an upright beetle! Its metal shell showed clear signs of age, however: there were rust and darkened spots on certain parts, and in fact, metal that could rust because of air was out of use starting from half a millennium ago.
That said, these old-styled metals still had many other benefits. They were good and cheap, and also ubiquitous in the universe. Moreover, they didn’t require any repetitive processing and could be used after a simple stage of refining. Because of exactly that, there were quite a few mine owners who, due to shortage of funds, would extract these metals and sell them to small mecha factories for a quick profit. The factories would then produce mechas for civilians. These mechas would be also very cheap due to their simple functionality and relatively easy piloting.
A farming mecha, as its name would imply, was naturally a machine used for farm-related activities. Though the mechas were of the poorest grade, they were still a hundred times more advanced than the harvesters on Earth. One such piece of machinery, if piloted by a skilled individual, could cover a hundred hectares of land in ten hours. All in a day’s work, a single one could harvest two to three million kilograms of crops. In addition, these were completed goods, as farming mechas not only harvested the crops but they also performed preliminary rough processing.
There was, of course, a certain skill level one was required to drive such a machine; it was not something just any person could manage. Like the excavators on Earth, there was a special license one would have to train for.
Xiao Yukong spent six whole months just learning the basics, and he was spending so much time over his peers that he even suspected whether there was an issue with his intelligence. But later on, after arriving at the actual driving portion in the training, he learnt that only the basics drained him time. When he started operating techniques, he found out that skills in piloting rose quicker than floodwater flowing down a river and soon, he reached a very high level of proficiency with the farming mecha.
For a skilled worker, to be able to harvest over a hundred hectares of crops in a day was considered very good already, yet Xiao Yukong could harvest over a hundred and fifty hectares—sometimes even far beyond that number.
Piloting a farming mecha demanded not only speed but also very fine technique over certain areas. For instance, when harvesting small scattered portions of rice, one must hold good control over the mecha’s two mechanical arms. In addition, knowledge in the very basics was essential, particularly when harvesting small rice plants as it involved operating the enormous sickle and its arms with a narrow margin for failure. One would also see a representation of the mecha driver’s skill just by seeing how much trouble they had when harvesting larger rice plants.
However, regardless of the task, Xiao Yukong felt they all held equal difficulty—he felt that they were all easy. But after avoiding a wave of compulsory military recruitment, Xiao Yukong no longer revealed the best of his abilities. The reason was that any youth with good piloting technique—especially those who didn’t have any person in power to rely on—would be forced into the Federation Army and receive military training for militarized mechas. As for Xiao Yukong, who had yet to be too familiar with this planet and region, he had no desire to join the army. To steer away from military enrollment, he started operating his farming mecha with caution. He no longer aimed for speed, and only sought to finish his tasks with quality as he looked to improve his technique.
Since the most important standard mecha pilots were held to was speed, so long as one made their mecha move agilely and showed control, so long as one’s driving skills seemed cool to some degree, then the army would consider them suitable for their criteria.
The sun set in the west and dusk, too, would disappear soon. Xiao Yukong had only munched on two steamed buns for lunch and hadn’t taken a nap at all. He went straight to work, and once he began, he didn’t even rest for a second. At present, it was a hectic farming season and there was a lot of work to be done. Obviously, no matter how much work there was, it would mean nothing if no one did anything, so he had to work hard. Once the suitable time for harvests passed, the output of crops would start to decrease and after a month of that, there would be a period of rest. If he didn’t take the opportunity now to earn more money, he would have a really hard time in the following winter. Having been subjected to this exact experience, it went without saying that Xiao Yukong wished to undergo nothing similar again.
Xiao Yukong kept working until his stomach started hurting a bit from hunger. Only then did he decide to pilot his mecha back to the farmhouse hub at the edge of the fields, a place everyone gathered after work. This was a temporarily residence built for them farmers, and it would be torn down immediately after the farming period.
“Little Kong, you’re back! You must be starving right now. Let’s eat!” yelled Loreena energetically as she noticed Xiao Yukong jumping down from the fifteen-meter-high farming mecha.
She was like an enchanting scenery within the filthy farmlands. She wore a cooking attire that would typically catch no one’s attention, yet she made it appear spectacular. Due to the stifling temperature, her attire was no more than a sleeveless t-shirt and a pair of short shorts. It also appeared a bit small for her si—She was the head cook responsible for the farmers of this region.
Loreena was completely different from the women born and raised on commercial planets. They, despite their tall height and healthy demeanor, were no more than fragile beings. Loreena, on the other hand, was raised on this agricultural planet. Her developed figure made her appear quite strong—and simultaneously alluring. There were not many cracks on her tanned skin even though the atmosphere was rather dry and it remained ever so shiny and smooth. The difficult life and environment didn’t affect her beauty all that much either other than the fact that her actions and speech patterns were rather crude. However, that had no effect on her becoming the greatest delight in the monotonous life of many farmers. Her pair of well-rounded breasts, her pair of firm legs, and as well as her plump cheeks became one of the beautiful sceneries to behold.
Xiao Yukong smiled tiredly and walked slowly towards the cafeteria. Most farmers had already finished eating and only a few remained behind to chat. This was the only free time they had in the entire day.
There would typically only be a few cold leftovers remaining since it was so late already, and sometimes there wouldn’t even be that and one’d be left with no food but air. However, Xiao Yukong could always receive, quite fortunately, extra food. He would always be able to have a fulfilling feast even though he passed the usual eating time. That said, the so-called “feast” just represented two pieces of warm buns that had a few bits of meat and some seasoned vegetables inside.
Of course, Xiao Yukong’s fortune extended not only to food—the special treatment he received was also in terms of service. The surrounding farmers all had bloodshot eyes, and if looks could kill, Xiao Yukong would have died over a million times.
As for the “special treatment”, it was actually just Loreena joining him for a meal. At this time, she would also grab a bun and sit next to or facing Xiao Yukong and have dinner with him beneath the basic large tent that acted as this gathering hub.
The table was just a few pieces of chopped logs thrown together, and the ground underneath the large tent was, naturally, black dirt that seeped with mud. A few leeches would even drill a way out occasionally, and loaches too would come out for a journey.
Regardless of an area’s technological advancement, so long as agriculture were thrown into the equation, one could simply not avoid filth. Who had food originate from nature after all!
And since they all lived at such a simple place, if a person were treated slightly decent—for instance Xiao Yukong—it would be akin to a president’s treatment! Who could possibly just brush that scene off!
By now, most readers surely noticed Loreena’s different behavior towards Xiao Yukong. She was very, even excessively, excited and joyed to be with him. If she were a young lady, that wouldn’t be all that strange. However, she was a thirty-year-old widow. Although that wasn’t a particularly old age, she’dd been a widow for quite some time. Her husband had passed away for nearly six years now, yet Xiao Yukong just reached twenty-one years of age. This gap couldn’t help but bring up a few unpleasant thoughts into one’s head, for example… a young widow enticing a young man.
In fact, Xiao Yukong himself found it a bit difficult to accept Loreena’s overwhelming affection… yet he could not possibly refuse the feelings from this cheerful and kind lady. If her overwhelming affection was a mistake, then, nonetheless, it was still a beautiful mistake. It was something that could not be destroyed. Yet, on the other hand… he was a bit uncomfortable when his surroundings were staring him down.
Actually, against what one might expect, Xiao Yukong was not in any way responsible for this “beautiful mistake”. He had just never expected his actions would give birth to all these feelings… Six years ago, Xiao Yukong carried Tang Yao, who was unconscious, to this place, and after wandering around, he barged into Loreena’s farmhouse. Due to a widow loneliness in addition to a bit of kindness, Loreena took in both of them. Just like that, a young man and a widow lived under the same roof for six years. Furthermore, the widow was even a beauty in her prime and the man was a youth just over twenty years old—a time when their desires were the strongest. To say that nothing happened between them would be rather unbelievable.
But the reality was as such—nothing happened. Not only that, Xiao Yukong couldn’t even remember how many times he had to stand out for Loreena. She was a beautiful widow everyone knew of, no matter near or far. It wasn’t as if there were merely just a few farmers or farm owners who longed for her either. In the six years he was with Loreena, Xiao Yukong had taken quite a few fights, and in order to avoid playing all his cards, he had no choice but to feign being beaten up. If he had free time, he too would cook, help out at Loreena’s field, and even wash clothes. “Familiarity breeding fondness” was something very hard to avoid, and for a young widow, it truly was difficult to resist against an excellent, hard-working young man’s charm. And if this exact man even had a handsome countenance and an unwavering expression, then he could not avoid his fate of being loved!
“Little Kong, there’s a piece of meat here. Here!” With her chopsticks, Loreena carefully picked out a nail-sized piece of meat from the vegetable-meat stir-fry. That little meat should not be looked down on though! That, without a doubt, was considered a large piece of meat.
With a bit of discomfort and helplessness, Xiao Yukong ignored the envious gazes coming from every direction and quickly ate the piece of meat in between Loreena’s chopsticks.
Xiao Yukong always finished dinner quickly and today was no exception. One of the reasons for doing so was to avoid the excessive fondness Loreena had for him, so after finishing the two buns, he said a simple farewell to Loreena and flashed out the tent, climbed into his shabby farming mecha, and peacefully rolled up into the cabin. Through the old screen—which should have been replaced long ago—he gazed out into the stelliferous night. At this moment, a faint expression of sorrow and nostalgia would emerge, but sometimes even he himself wouldn’t realize that.
Truth be told, he wasn’t someone born on this planet. To be more precise, he wasn’t even someone from this star region. The story began with an accident and event six years ago—
With a bitter smile, Xiao Yukong gazed at the bank card in his hand as he recalled past memories. In four years, he’d accumulated over forty thousand Federation Credits. To a mecha farmer, that was an enormous wealth—he saved that sum by cutting down on expenses and food.
Xiao Yukong did not attach too much importance to money. It wasn’t as if he worshiped it like some sort of deity. However, after crashing into this universe, he turned into a pennypincher. The sole reason he did this was to save his comrade Tang Yao, who came with him through the fabrics of space. As they were traveling, Xiao Yukong received nearly no harm because of his special body condition. Yet, Tang Yao entered a deep sleep ever since.
After finishing the final special mission, Tang Yao’s words were imprinted firmly on Xiao Yukong’s heart: “As a soldier, other than following orders, we will absolutely not abandon our comrades.”
With that money, Xiao Yukong could have actually taken a comfortable interstellar journey away from this manure-filled planet. In fact, he wanted to leave when he saved up ten thousand Federation Credits as it wasn’t a hard task to travel through the stars. It didn’t cost much, similar to an airplane trip in the twenty-first century and relatively convenient and fast as well.
However, the cost for Tang Yao’s treatment was on an entirely different level. Three years ago, Xiao Yukong checked the virtual web and discovered it to be an astronomical number, one that he could not afford even if he worked for a hundred years.
In addition, he and Tang Yao were “aliens”. They didn’t have any sort of identification, so they would have no way of riding a spaceship.
Such unreachable goals did not discourage Xiao Yukong, however. On this night, he was going to try something entirely new. No matter the result of this rest, Xiao Yukong didn’t want anyone to know what he was doing.
It was because he discovered that he didn’t like staying together with the simple—and sometimes even idiotic—farmers. This was not discrimination of any sort but rather caused by a difference in lifestyle, habits, and nature. There was also the incompatibility of cultural background, so he found it very difficult to interact with the people here.
Xiao Yukong was once a special agent of a country—one that had special powers. He belonged to the military, so in that perspective, he could be considered a soldier. But, whether a soldier or a special agent, both were required to follow all commands from their superiors. To be frank, they were all tools—intelligent tools. During active service, neither would have any freedom to speak of; however, Xiao Yukong was a person who yearned for freedom. He only became a special agent due to unavoidable circumstances.
The time indication in the cockpit told him it was exactly nine in the night. Most people, since they had worked hard for the entire day, burrowed into their sleeping quilts and enjoyed the relaxation and comfort sleep was soon to bring them. On the farming planet that lacked any entertainment whatsoever, most people had no reason to stay up late.
Xiao Yukong silently turned on his farming mecha and activated the mecha silencer he had secretly developed over three full years. It was something that could suppress nearly all sound made by the farming mecha during movement. In fact, it was a sound-absorption device that took away over ninety-five percent of sound waves and vibrations while converting it into energy in a different form. This device was a perfect combination of earth technology and mecha technology.
Of course, Xiao Yukong never thought of applying for any patent, as it was made solely so he could move around in the night with a bit more convenience…
The nearly five-story tall, clumsy, and enormous mecha rose into the air without any sound, gradually accelerating as it departed the ground. It kept speeding up until it reached supersonic speeds, which was the limit of this old farming mecha.
A bit over two hours later, Xiao Yukong and his mecha arrived at an enormous ravine. To be more precise, it was a rift valley that seemed to stretch endlessly, both horizontally and vertically.
The rift valley spanned for 2385 kilometers, had a width of three hundred meters, and a depth of twelve thousand meters. It was the largest on this planet and a tremendous work of nature. It was famous even in the Lantis Star Region which this planet was a part of.
The chest of the farming mecha opened up, allowing Xiao Yukong to gaze down the rift valley from his cockpit. However, he saw nothing. Let alone the bare strands of light at night, even if it were day, light could not reach the depth of that darkness.
Xiao Yukong double-checked the equipment he brought with him before throwing a thick, black roll of hemp rope over his shoulder then jumped down from the cockpit, which was over ten meters from the ground. He landed lightly on his feet. Only Xiao Yukong could come down from a cockpit in this manner, as everyone else could only come down by using a diagonal conveyor belt.
He took off the rope from his shoulder and fastened it around metal leg of the towering farming mecha parked by the edge of the rift valley. After a few loops and knots, he tugged it to confirm it was secure. Then, he tied the other end around his waist before walking towards the rift valley.
Xiao Yukong took a deep breath of air, then jumped. If he slowly climbed his way down, he felt it’d be too slow. He had a very strong understanding of his body’s structure, so he ignored the safe approach and decided to finish it off with a simple jump.
The rope was five hundred meters long in total, but Xiao Yukong cut it to extend to only two hundred meters since the thing he was looking for grew on the walls a hundred fifty meters to five hundred meters from the surface of the rift valley.
It was a moss for medicinal use; it sold for a hundred Federation Credits per a hundred grams. Other than medicinal uses, it could also create oxygen at a large scale on any planet that sustained life, thus changing its atmosphere composition. With the moss, people could quickly put use to these planets. In addition, its vitality and adaptability were very strong, nor did it have any high requirements with regards to its surroundings. Most importantly, they did not require large amounts of sunlight. It could even survive for a few years in absence of it! They took in carbon dioxide and methane to produce oxygen, and thus it was named “Maternity”.
Falling two hundred meters straight down was an exhilarating feeling. However, it was akin to just a walk for Xiao Yukong. He had long gotten used to this sort of dropping feeling and soon, the powerful force that struck his waist told him he was now two hundred meters down the rift valley. The rope around his waist tightly bound him in the air, and more importantly, threw him crashing into the walls.
If he were an ordinary person, that would have likely crippled him—death was a possibility as well. However, Xiao Yukong felt no more than a touch. Of course, his clothes were ruined during the collision and scraping, but his skin was undamaged.
After coming to a safe stop, Xiao Yukong took out a flashlight and shone it around, searching for traces of “Maternity”. It was clear his luck was lacking, as there weren’t even shadows of the plant around him.
Xiao Yukong now had no choice but to undo the rope around his waist as he suspended himself on the valley walls. To him, rockclimbing was like second nature. The walls weren’t smooth, nor could they possibly be smooth. The unevenness was no more than a simple natural occurrence, but in this rift valley, the uneven ripples appeared particularly extreme. They were more wrinkly than a hundred-year-old man’s face after magnification! Of course, that meant Xiao Yukong had an easier time around the walls.
No matter if it were a tiny, nail-sized extrusion or a minuscule indent allowing only two, or even one, fingers in, they all became possible points of support for moving around. If someone had seen this, they would have suspected whether they were hallucinating! After all, how could a person so nimbly move on a vertical wall, seemingly without even breaking a sweat? He put even mountain-born goats to shame with how nimble he was, and he put apes to shame with how agile he was!
A brief moment later, Xiao Yukong had horizontally shifted a few hundred meters. Yet, he still found no traces of “Maternity”. He had looked on the virtual web for a very long time and it said the moss he was looking for should be found in this area. Perhaps he hadn’t gone deep enough yet?
Xiao Yukong looked at the tip of the rope that acted as a waypoint, then looked down at his feet. He started climbing quickly down.
Nearby, in the dark, a pair of glowing eyes followed his every move. It had been spying on Xiao Yukong for quite a while now…
He climbed around fifty meters downwards and it was then that he felt chills run down his back. Instinctively, he shot a glance at a certain direction.
Xiao Yukong nearly released his grasp on the walls when he saw it. Through his fairly powerful night vision, he noticed a large double-horned gecko staring at him.
It reached four meters in length excluding its tail, and atop its triangular head were two sharp horns. Similarly, there were barbs laced around its tail and inside its mouth were tiny sawtooth teeth.
Xiao Yukong came across pictures of this animal when he was searching for “Maternity”. They lived on the walls of cliffs and rift valleys, and they were carnivores whose main diet was rats and large insects.
He reached for the sickle on his back in defense; it was the only defensive weapon he could find when preparing to come here. Now, it seemed that bringing it along was a good choice. At least, it was better than bare-handed fighting.
The double-horned gecko’s large suction soles allowed it to easily and comfortably walk along the walls. Within its dark, shifting eyes were nothing but greed. It hadn’t seen such a large-sized food in a very long time. Wetting its lips, it slowly and calmly found its way towards Xiao Yukong…
The fabrics of space twisted and twisted until it became a large slit. An enormous battleship shot out as it violently swayed about. It was unstable in its flight and there was smoke rising from its tail. All over the body of the ship were deep and sharp damages.
“Destroy the cargo! Go, now!” roared Captain Reed, his hand clasped over his heart.
It was pure chaos in the control room; nearly all members floated lifelessly in the air—dead. The gravitation system had stopped working, and amidst constant barrages of explosions, the huge battleship swayed around. At any given moment, it had a possibility of exploding.
With a tearful face, Amelia looked at her father as worry gripped her heart. She was the sole person in the control room who could still somewhat move around. As she reached for his arm, she cried, “Ignore the cargo! Father, let’s leave!”
Reed slapped away his daughter’s arm and shouted, “No! The cargo contains some of the most classified information of our Dragon clan! It cannot be taken by the Maya Empire! Go to the emergency cabin above the control room. There will be five buttons that will cause the cargo to self-destruct! Destroy them, then take the escape vessel towards the Doter Federation Republic. You’ll be safe after arriving at the Lantis Star Region. Go now!”
“I don’t want to—” Amelia said in tears.
“GO! Do you want the Dragon Clan to die by our hands?!” Reed pushed his daughter away as he howled with bright red eyes.
Yet, Amelia was still reluctant to leave. Ignoring the excruciating pain in his chest, he pushed out whatever strength he had remaining and dragged her daughter to the top of the control room. There, he opened up the round door and pushed his daughter in. Since there was no gravity, she floated in and reached the end without choice, unable to grab hold of anything to stop herself. Reed quickly closed the door, and at the last moment before it shut, he looked at his daughter and said, “We were betrayed. If there exists a possibility, you must find out who that was! But if you lack the strength, then go look for your own life to live. Remember, before escaping, you must destroy the five cargo! I, in place of all those who have the blood of the Dragon Clan flowing through them, thank you!”
The cabin door mercilessly closed…
“No—” Amelia cried out, rushing to the door with all she could. However, it was too late; it was sealed shut. No matter how she pressed the buttons by the door, it remained sealed absolutely shut.
At this moment, Reed’s voice came from the loudspeaker. “All surviving members, enter the escape vessels and abandon ship. Everyone, enter the escape vessels and abandon ship. This is an order. This is an order. Miss Amelia, please, for everyone’s sake, and as Captain, I order you to finish the mission. Otherwise, I will haunt you beyond my death!”
Giving the loudspeaker one last glance, Amelia wiped away her tears and with a broken heart, she headed towards the self-destruction buttons. With her eyes on the five different-coloured buttons, Amelia once again hesitated. These five things contained dreams accumulated over several generations of the Dragon Clan. The plan was to use them to return on a glorious path of revival, but who would have thought…
Over a millennium ago, the Dragon State was one of the seven strongest interstellar states. It was an era of chaotic war, named the Era of Interstellar War. At that moment, the Dragon State was nearly the strongest amongst the seven, but two hundred years later, a large-scale battle nearly brought them to ruin. It was all because of the ruler’s arrogance; after all, how could a single state defeat six others. Large amounts of regions were split and devoured, and from then on, the Dragon State had never returned to its prime. It became a vassal state, but in spite of that, the citizens of the Dragon State never gave up their belief that they could rebuild their state into a superpower. But, it was near impossible: they didn’t have any resources, they were alone, and they never did find a solution. After another seven hundred years, they finally found a few types of special metals at a desolate Star Region. They finally found something to pour their centuries of research in technology, and from then on, it took another hundred years before they finally got their hands on something. What remained was only to return these dreams to their home state.
But, somehow, the Maya Empire learnt of this transportation route. Midway, a despicable sneak attack was sent towards their largest battleship. The current Dragon State was merely a small five-dimensional technology state among the many other interstellar states. On the other hand, the Maya Empire was a superpower state with seven-dimensional technology. There was an unsurpassable gap between them in strength.
The strongest battleship from the Dragon State stood no chance against the Maya Empire’s fierce attacks.
People of the Dragon State had spent a hundred years on manufacturing and assembling the things in the five cargos and had finally finished a month ago. But, since the place of manufacture and assembly wasn’t within the Dragon State region, they had to take a long journey back. After returning to the Dragon State, they still had to pick a suitable owner before the five items could be activated.
As she looked at the buttons underneath her hand, Amelia truly couldn’t press down. So long as she did, centuries of hard work would have been for nothing. It would all become a dream, and everything that had been put into them would vanish.
Yet, if she didn’t press the buttons, the troops from the Maya Empire would take them away. Centuries of work would fall cleanly into their hands, and might even become the catalyst for another interstellar war. Weighing both sides again, and again, and again, Amelia stoned her heart and pressed.
Name: Mecha Farmer (機甲農民)
Author: Wood Soup (木湯 Mu Tang)