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The Interstellar Age

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In the vast expanse of the interstellar era, emerges a young lad, raised in the impoverished quarters, harboring dreams adorned with the splendor of exoskeletal marvels. As Liu Fei steps into the realm of his aspirations, a grand tapestry of interstellar adventures unfurls to welcome him. Endowed not only with extraordinary mecha combat prowess but also wielding a surgeon's precision in his blade work, he transforms the act of taking life into an art form. Amidst millions, he effortlessly maneuvers, strolling leisurely through tranquil courtyards, untouched by a single droplet of fresh crimson. Each stroke of his blade resembles a choreographed masterpiece, a seamless dance akin to a theatrical performance on the cosmic stage. Embark on a journey where a seasoned artisan of narrative weaves the tale of Liu Fei, a young aspirant navigating the celestial waters of the interstellar martial world. With his proficiency in mecha combat and surgical precision, he crafts a symphony of prowess and elegance, elevating the act of combat to an exquisite artistry. Amidst the swirling cosmos, Liu Fei's saga unfolds, captivating the imagination and beckoning readers into a universe where dreams, skill, and the beauty of interstellar life converge in a mesmerizing dance of destiny.

Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Custodian of Zorl Mecha University

As the last student exited the laboratory, Liu Fei, who had been seated in a corner seemingly dozing off, abruptly rose to his feet. His movements were remarkably agile and nimble, akin to a beast awakening from slumber. In just an hour, the once chaotic laboratory transformed into an orderly space, every instrument and device gleaming immaculately. The windows sparkled, and even the floor remained untouched by a speck of dust.

This laboratory resided within the esteemed Zorl Mecha University, the pinnacle of academia in the Zorl star system. Despite its association with mechas, this opulent laboratory primarily delved into the study of optical pathways and photonic brains.

Liu Fei wasn't a student of Zorl Mecha University; he was a humble custodian, tasked with cleaning and organizing the laboratory every morning and evening. Occasionally, he would assist professors in physically demanding tasks such as moving cumbersome machinery.

Within these hallowed walls, where only the affluent could afford education, Liu Fei's inconspicuous presence went largely unnoticed. The transformation of the disorderly laboratory into a pristine space seemed an expected occurrence.

...

This laborious routine was second nature to Liu Fei. Even with his eyes closed, he could discern the designated place for each tool. In two years, not a single mistake had occurred, showcasing his mastery, even with intricate optical components.

An hour and ten minutes later, Liu Fei completed the meticulous cleaning and organizing of the expansive laboratory. Glancing at his ancient wristwatch, he noted a seven-second improvement from the previous day. Satisfied with this achievement, Liu Fei recognized the rarity of advancing completion time even by a single second, let alone seven. Pride emanated from his being.

Fifty minutes remained before the laboratory's automated doors would close, restricting access to Liu Fei's custodial duties. The closure triggered the activation of the laboratory's defense system. Even a mere fly would trigger an alarm, summoning fully armed guards within a minute to apprehend the intruder.

However, the closure time could be expedited.

Without hesitation, Liu Fei entered his authorization code, closing the laboratory's thick steel gates. Like a gust of wind, he slipped into the adjacent Mecha Modification Laboratory.

Amidst towering mechas, a robust youth toiled profusely, perspiration adorning his hearty countenance. Clumsily clutching a cleaning apparatus, he appeared disheveled, with patches of dark oil staining his face.

"Fei Ge." The youth, upon spotting Liu Fei, heaved a sigh of relief, his expression brimming with joy.

"Rest a while; I've got this." Liu Fei approached the youth, relieving him of the cleaning tool.

"Thanks, Fei Ge."

The youth nodded repeatedly, watching Liu Fei's agile movements with admiration. To him, Liu Fei's actions were like a dance, rhythmic and graceful. His hands possessed a magical prowess, effortlessly returning every tool to its designated place.

Basic sanitation was swiftly completed, and the focus shifted to organizing various tools – armor plates, sensors, transmission shafts, engines. Witnessing Liu Fei's fluid manipulation of these cumbersome and intricate components, the youth's eyes sparkled with envy and admiration.

Liu Fei, however, couldn't ignore his curiosity when he stumbled upon a miniature auxiliary engine he had never seen before. The engine was exceptionally small, flat in shape, and weighed less than three hundred grams. Liu Fei was skeptical; in his memory, humanity had yet to develop such compact mecha auxiliary engines. Considering the limited power it could provide compared to the massive mechas, Liu Fei momentarily restrained his urge to scrutinize, memorizing its designation instead.

With time running short, Liu Fei wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead, checked his wristwatch, and sighed. Today, he lagged behind by eleven seconds compared to yesterday. Clearly, his seamless movements were interrupted by the appearance of the miniature engine, costing him precious time.

"Thank you, Fei Ge. I'll treat you to a grand meal next month," the robust youth expressed his gratitude, a sheepish smile on his face.

"Alright, hope it's not another nutrient solution," Liu Fei replied with tempered expectations.

"No, no, definitely not..."

The youth chuckled nervously, slinging an arm around Liu Fei's shoulder. Together, they left the laboratory, departing amid the closing announcement.

As dusk settled, the campus grew silent, an eerie emptiness lingering. Crossing half the campus, they entered a lush forest.

This shortcut, a discovery of Liu Fei's, led to a towering wall. Beyond it lay the impoverished district where Liu Fei resided.

Taking advantage of this route shaved off thirty-three minutes from their journey.

Ascending a tree, then descending onto the wall and sliding down a branch on the other side, Liu Fei and the youth reached the impoverished district – a mere wall separating their contrasting worlds.

Watching the robust youth dash excitedly into the complex alleyways of the impoverished district, Liu Fei's impassive expression softened into a warm smile.

The sturdy youth, Liu Fei's only friend in the impoverished district, bore the surname Li, named Meng. Similar in age to Liu Fei, Meng had been an orphan, raised in the destitution of the impoverished district.

Meng's interests diverged significantly from Liu Fei's. He held a profound fascination for ancient martial arts, harboring dreams of earning enough to study these arts at the

grandiosely named "Far-Reaching Cosmos Martial School." Despite the school's descent into poverty during the chaotic cosmic migration era, Meng remained unwavering in his aspirations.

Even with the now affordable tuition, Meng needed a colossal sum for three years of expenses. Every day, after completing his duties at the school, he hurried to the martial school, standing at the edge of the meager training ground, attempting to glean a glimpse of legendary martial techniques.

Meng reveled in discussing ancient martial arts novels, filled with virtual feats of kung fu. He dreamt of mastering these fantastical skills, venturing into the world as a chivalrous hero, upholding justice and battling evil.

Facing Meng's fervor, Liu Fei could only smile wryly. He wished to convey that these "divine techniques" were mere products of bored individuals on ancient Earth, known as "writers." However, Meng's conviction in these arts was unshakable, rendering Liu Fei's attempts at advice fruitless.

Observing Meng vanish into the intricate alleys of the impoverished district, Liu Fei quickened his pace towards his dwelling.

Like Meng, Liu Fei nurtured his own aspirations.

Liu Fei dreamed of attending Zorl Mecha University, particularly fascinated by mechas. Cleaning work in the Optical Pathways and Photonic Brains Laboratory proved to be his most arduous task. Though he found interest in almost every mecha-related course, he found himself relegated to cleaning optical pathways and photonic brains.

Chapter 2: Aspirations and Challenges

While Meng anticipated entry into his coveted martial school within two years, Liu Fei faced a much lengthier journey. The exorbitant tuition fees of Zorl Mecha University rendered it an astronomical figure for Liu Fei, a humble denizen unlikely to step foot in the galaxy's highest institution.

Fortunately, Liu Fei need not worry. According to Zorl Mecha University's regulations, working for the university for a minimum of three years would grant him eligibility to enroll, a rule personally decreed by the second university president. This rule aimed to reward underprivileged children contributing to the school.

Driven by humanitarianism and the desire to offer lower-class children a chance at the galaxy's apex institution, Zorl Mecha annually provided job opportunities to youngsters in the impoverished district, offering them a chance to enter the university.

In reality, many children from the impoverished district entered Zorl Mecha University through this route. However, the proportion remained minuscule. Even with substantial tuition reductions, impoverished children struggled to bear the substantial expenses. For most, the three years of work served as a means of subsistence.

Recent school data revealed that over the past two decades, only five children from the impoverished district had entered the university. Of these, one benefitted from a teacher's sponsorship, and only one managed to complete the full four-year program. The other four dropped out due to various reasons.

Entering the pinnacle of the Zorl star system's educational hierarchy was a privilege reserved for the elite. These students, boasting illustrious backgrounds, enjoyed a sense of superiority in both material and spiritual aspects. It wasn't hard to imagine the agony faced by a child from the impoverished district living among these celestial prodigies for four years.

Liu Fei remained indifferent to the students' disdain. His concern lay in gaining entry to the university and delving into the realm of mechas, acquiring knowledge he longed for.

With just one more year, Liu Fei would possess the qualification to enter the university. However, his savings covered less than half the tuition. Nonetheless, Liu Fei harbored no worries. Two months prior, he stumbled upon a lucrative opportunity.

After a brief sprint, Liu Fei returned to his abode – a dwelling more aptly described as a mecha.

This abandoned relic of ancient mecha technology stood at the standard twelve meters, weighing a staggering seventy tons. Discontinued half a century ago, it became a common sight in the impoverished district – houses crafted from repurposed mechas.

Over a century ago, the Zorl star system faced a massive alien onslaught. The grounds of Zorl Mecha University served as one of the primary battlegrounds. The human-alien conflict lasted a harrowing fifteen years, resulting in casualties exceeding two billion. It stood as the largest and most devastating war humanity had witnessed since venturing into space. The aftermath witnessed the complete collapse of established political systems, ushering in the terrifying era of cosmic warlords and the advent of the mecha age.

Meng had two more years before he could enter his dream martial school, while Liu Fei faced a much longer journey. The tuition fees of Zorl Mecha University were astronomical for Liu Fei, a person of low status unlikely to enter the highest institution in the Zorl star system.

However, Liu Fei had no reason to worry. According to the rules of Zorl Mecha University, as long as Liu Fei worked for the university for three years, he would qualify to enter Zorl Mecha University. This was a rule personally promulgated by the second president of Zorl Mecha University to reward impoverished children who made contributions to the school.

Out of humanitarianism and to give the lower-class children an opportunity to enter the highest institution in the Zorl star system, Zorl Mecha University provided a job for young people in the impoverished district every year, giving them a chance to enter the university.

In fact, many children from the impoverished district entered Zorl Mecha University through this route. However, the proportion was very, very small because even with a significant reduction in tuition fees, as children from the impoverished district, it was still difficult for them to bear the huge expenses of the school. More children from the impoverished district used the three years of work as a means of livelihood.

According to the statistics provided by the school, in the past twenty years, only five children from the impoverished district entered the school. Among them, one benefited from the sponsorship of a teacher, and the real data was that only one of these five children managed to persist and complete the four-year university education. The other four dropped out for various reasons.

Being able to enter the highest institution in the Zorl star system, all of these students had illustrious family backgrounds, both in material and spiritual aspects. It is not difficult to imagine how painful and torturous it would be for a child from the impoverished district to live among these celestial prodigies for four years.

Liu Fei didn't care about the discrimination from the students. What he cared about was entering the university and gaining more knowledge about mechas.

With only one more year left, Liu Fei would have the qualification to enter the university. However, his savings were not even half of the tuition fees. However, Liu Fei was

not worried because two months ago, he found a way to make money.

After a short run, Liu Fei returned to his residence, or rather, a mecha.

This was an abandoned ancient mecha, a standard twelve meters tall, weighing seventy tons. It had ceased production half a century ago, and in the impoverished district, there were many houses made from such mechas, becoming a unique scene in the impoverished district.

Over a hundred years ago, the Zorl star system encountered a large-scale alien attack. The grounds of Zorl Mecha University were one of the main battlefields. The conflict between humans and aliens lasted for fifteen years, resulting in casualties of up to two billion. It was the largest and most tragic war that humans experienced after entering space. After that war, the original political system of humanity completely collapsed, ushering in the terrifying era of cosmic warlords and the era of mechas.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2: The Slums

After the war, many damaged mechas were abandoned. Due to the chaotic situation at that time, these discarded mechas were quickly utilized by the homeless in the impoverished district. By the time the authorities wanted to clean up, it was already too late. The fundamental reason was that these abandoned mechas had lost any economic value. The cost of recovering them far exceeded purchasing a new combat mecha.

In the impoverished district, having an abandoned mecha as a residence was considered a luxury. Liu Fei, an orphan who had been adopted by an elderly scavenger when he was very young, inherited this "enormous" wealth a few months ago when the old man passed away.

This ancient heavy combat mecha was covered in scars, scratches, and marks, but overall, it still maintained its structural integrity. Liu Fei, agile as a monkey, climbed up the rusty mecha. He entered the engine compartment, which had already been

Heroes

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