The Mech Touch Chapter 1168
1166 The Critical Difference
The latest transformation initiated by Waltz turned his War General from a predominantly melee mech into a highly mobile marksman mech!
While neither Ves, Axelar or the sophisticated sensors of the Ouroboros identified the nature of the radiant beam attack, it was extremely accurate and corrosive!
Each time the radiant beam struck the Ouroboros, another chunk of armor plating disappeared!
Axelar did his best to respond to this latest change. He piloted his Ouroboros forward in an attempt to catch up to the War General. Now that the latter mech transformed its melee weapon into something else, it should be very vulnerable to close-quarters combat!
Yet the War General was far lighter than the Ouroboros, and easily circled around hero mech while it continuously unleashed beam after beam of corrosive particles from its chest!
The only way the Ouroboros was able to retaliate was by shooting at it with its positron pistol! Unfortunately, the War General's superior mobility and active ECM systems made it very difficult for Axelar to land a hit!
Nonetheless, Axelar no longer feared the War General. So what if his opponent's mech possessed a hundred different abilities? His Ouroboros already faced down most of them and still managed to stay aloft!
"Come on, Waltz! No matter what weapon system you employ next, my Ouroboros will take it all!"
Although the War General's latest attack mode posed a serious threat to the Ouroboros, how long would it be able to keep up its attack?
A light mech was still a light mech! Just because the War General was an incredibly versatile multipurpose mech didn't mean it could defy the fundamental weaknesses inherent to the weight class. Ves bet that the War General was expending its reserves a lot faster than the Ouroboros!
Even Waltz began to recognize that the Ouroboros was a very tough mech to crack! Its simplistic design meant that its armor plating was much thicker and heavier than usual!
While the Ouroboros did not possess the mobility to catch up to the War General, it was enough for it to rotate its orientation so that the War General could not focus its attack on a single section of armor!
By employing this simple strategy, Axelar managed to spread out the damage the Ouroboros suffered over the entirety of its damaged but unbroken armor coverage!
The Ouroboros only needed to last long enough until the War General expended its limited reserves!
"Disgusting!" Waltz yelled as he came to the same realization. "Surviving a duel by outlasting your foe is a cowardly way to win!"
Axelar let out a laugh. "Who says that mech duels can't be won by attrition? You only have yourself to blame for employing an overcomplicated mech like the War General! All of this weapon and auxiliary modules must be putting an enormous strain on its energy reserves, right?"
The mech duel between Axelar and Waltz was not only a clash between mech pilots, but also a clash between their mechs!
The War General embodied the principles of a multipurpose mech to a much greater extreme than normal! Hardly any other multipurpose mech conceived by the Terrans could match the War General in sheer versatility!
As for the Ouroboros, it experienced very little transformations throughout the entire battle! Aside from turning its powerful positron rifle into a weaker but more compact positron pistol, the only other change was that the condition of its armor plating continually worsened.
Yet the Ouroboros never flagged! Its basic parameters were so strong that the War General never managed to break Axelar's mech!
It took a lot more sustained firepower if Waltz wanted to pierce through its disgustingly simple but thick armor plating!
Seeing that Waltz would only exhaust his mech before he could ever defeat the Ouroboros, he commanded the War General to stop firing its chest weapon.
The mech pulled out the hollow shaft from its chest before separating the lower half from the top half. The two hollow shafts compacted in other each other, reducing their lengths but increasing their structural strength!
Two large slots opened up from the War General's thighs. Two axe blades floated out of the slots and flew to the two shafts, turning the shortened hafts into twin Destroyer Axes!
"I've underestimated you, Axelar." Waltz said in a calmer voice. "I've dueled overconfident clansmen before. I've beaten all but the most hardworking of them all. You're not one of them. The only reason you've lasted up until now is because I didn't employ the right strategy against your hero mech! I've wasted too much energy on ineffective or inefficient attacks! Only now I've realized that the best way to handle an opponent like you is to compete against you on technique rather than the capabilities of our mechs!"
Both Axelar and Ves realized the significance of those words. Waltz undeniably held the edge in terms of skill and experience! Out of all the possible careers a mech pilot could pursue upon graduation, becoming a mech athlete meant they accumulated the most battle experience!
Other careers provided much greater stimulation due to the higher stakes and the constant threat of death hanging over every battle. Yet the frequency of battles could never match the number of fights a mech athlete participated in during a regular competitive season! Many military mech pilots spent months or years in monotonous training before they would ever be deployed in an actual battle!
Even though Axelar was officially registered to an elite mech corps, he never reported in even once! Both his training accumulation and battle experience simply couldn't compare against a veteran mech athlete!
"Prepare yourself, Axelar! The final dance starts now!"
The War General utilized its superior mobility to rapidly close the distance to the Ouroboros! Waltz intended to force his opponent in a ferocious, close-combat offensive where skill played a much greater role than the parameters of their mechs!
Even a knight in full plate armor could be defeated by a peasant wearings rags as long as the latter possessed more skill!
Axelar welcomed the final exchange of moves. After dealing with so many tedious and annoying attacks, he was glad to see that the War General was nearing the end of its rope!
Although he acknowledged that Waltz was the better mech pilot, he had faith that the Ouroboros he piloted could make up the difference!
The War General in its light mech incarnation swept towards the waiting Ouroboros while holding out its double axes!
The axe blades glowed in grey, signifying that they were Destroyer Axes which were every bit as deadly as the Destroyer Sword wielded by the Ouroboros!
As the War General charged towards the Ouroboros, Axelar did not entirely sit still. The Ouroboros aimed its positron pistol and fired continuous beams at the approaching light mech!
The War General avoided most of the incoming attacks, only suffering some sporadic hits that didn't impact its performance.
Just as the War General reached within five-hundred meters to the Ouroboros, it suddenly threw out both of its Destroyer Axes!
The weapons spun towards the Ouroboros in wide but controlled arcs! Even after they left the War General's hands, they still fell under the mech's control!
Axelar panicked a bit. The Ouroboros hastily managed to block one spinning axe with its Destroyer Sword. As for the other axe, Axelar had no choice but to let the axe leave a deep groove on the damaged surface of his mech!
Both axes bounced away after their impacting and returned to the War General's hands just as Waltz descended upon the Ouroboros in earnest!
This time, Axelar knew better than to face the furious attack head-on! His mech already started to jerk back with its flight system and modules fully engaged moments before the impact!
This allowed the Ouroboros to block one of the axes with its sword while moving out of reach from the other one at the same time!
"You won't be able to shy away from this dance!" Waltz furiously yelled.
The War General quickly recovered and threw out one of its axes in a spin while following up with another axe chop!
The Ouroboros hastily blocked the spinning axe, but was left out of position against the War General!
Only some last-minute maneuvering allowed the Ouroboros to mitigate the damage it incurred to its chest plating after Waltz managed to land a solid axe blow!
Even before the spinning axe returned to the grip of the War General, the mech already shot out its other axe!
Through alternating between throwing the Destroyer Axes and wielding them by hand, the War General quickly managed to put the Ouroboros on the defensive!
Axelar didn't get any opportunity to launch an attack as axes continually crashed against his mech! Even though he did his best to retaliate against the War General by shooting it with the positron pistol, the Ouroboros was rapidly accumulating a lot of damage!
Right now, the situation between the two mechs had reversed! The Ouroboros possessed a lot more versatility than the War General due to its weapon loadout. In contrast, the War General abandoned all other weapon systems and modules and focused solely on achieving victory through overwhelming close-ranged assaults!
"It's too difficult for the Ouroboros to fend off two axes at once!" The announcer commented. "The War General may have exhausted most of its tricks, but it is undeniably holding the upper hand so long as it keeps entangling Axelar's mech up close!"
Utilizing all of his skill and battle experience, Waltz managed to land some of the Destroyer Axes on the sections of the Ouroboros that suffered previous hits. Through focusing his attacks on those vulnerabilities, he finally managed to crack open the hero mech's incredibly resilient shell and damage some of its internal components!
"The Ouroboros has landed in dire straits!"
Axelar knew that he was in trouble this time! Yet even as the pressure mounted on his shoulders, he gave himself more fully to his mech! His deepening connection with his own mech started to elevate his piloting ability to its peak and beyond!
The Ouroboros blocked and evaded the unrelenting axe attacks with greater skill. While Axelar didn't manage to negate all of the attacks, he at least managed to buy himself more time.
"I won't be defeated by Waltz! Not when I've come so far! I am better than this!"
His long-buried dreams of becoming a powerful and famous mech pilot revitalized. Did he truly wanted to drown himself in stimulants all day? No! That was not the life he wanted to live!
"I am a Terran! I am a Streon! I am not going to let a mech pilot of lower birth walk all over me! I'm better than that!"
Axelar put his complete trust in his mech and his other self! He knew he needed to draw upon them both in order to reverse this situation!
Both of them obliged. Even though the Ouroboros accumulated increasingly serious internal damage, it possessed a high degree of redundancy and compartmentalization! Even if its left torso looked like it was spilling out its mechanical guts, the right side easily managed to take over the load!
Even though one spinning axe decapitated a head, the Ouroboros still possessed another head!
When Waltz managed to outwit Axelar and cut off an entire leg, the Ouroboros still managed to counterattack with its other leg and land a very heavy kick against the War General that tore an irregular gash in its waist!
Throughout all of the exertion, Ves never stood still. He continually fed Axelar's mind with his analysis on the Ouroboros and the War General.
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles!"
Axelar possessed a unique advantage over the more experienced Waltz in that he had access to a genuine mech designer in his mind! With the information he gained from Ves, he finally acted on a critical insight!
As a spinning axe landed on the heavily-damaged chest plating of the Ouroboros and damaged several important internal components, the mech ignored the painful attack but instead raised its positron pistol just as the War General was about to swoop in to deliver another axe chop!
The War General's speed and acceleration made it difficult for Axelar to land a solid hit on the mech, but up close its attack posture left it wide open for just a fraction of a second!
That was enough!
Axelar overloaded the power setting of the positron pistol just moments ago. As soon as he mentally pulled the trigger, its muzzle spat out a beam that was wider and more potent than the beams fired in its full-sized rifle configuration!
Even though the positron pistol exploded from the strain shortly after, taking out the entire hand of the Ouroboros with it its death, the powerful positron beam landed exactly where Axelar had aimed!
The beam passed straight through a narrow gap in the chest plating of the War General.
The mech suddenly blew up, separating its lower half from its upper half!