re highly capable of piloting third-class mechs, but transitioning to second-class mechs would require years, perhaps decades of training.

Not every Avatar would succeed in the transition.

This left the Avatars of Myth in an awkward state.
He might find himself in the unenviable situation where he had to rely on his girlfriend to fund another outfit that could protect them a lot better than his own home-grown mech force!

For now, Ves still struggled to find a way to resolve these issues without harming his pride and the pride of the Avatars of Myth.

Having a Hexer as a girlfriend gave him a lot of headaches, that was for sure!

”I ’ve been thinking about what we ’ve been doing as well. ” Gavin spoke at the table.
”Right now, we are not expanding the LMC ’s footprint at all.
Shouldn ’t we do something to further our company ’s reach? ”

”Maybe. ” Ves spoke.
”The problem is the business climate in the Chuko Republic.
No one is interested in facilitating access for a far-away mech company when they are more worried about keeping their heads above the water. ”

”You ’re right. ”

Ves deliberately visited an unstable and insecure state, so it was already a given that there wouldn ’t be any business opportunities on the table.

”The LMC will naturally expand once I begin expanding its mech catalog, Benny.
The next generation is getting closer and closer.
It might even arrive shortly after we return to the Bright Republic.
That will be the period when I ’ll really start to pump out designs. ”

”Won ’t you need a design team for that? You recently lost one of your two subordinate mech designers.
Only Ketis is left to assist in your design work. ”

Gavin hit the issue right on the mark.
The lack of assistants was a sore point for Ves as he hadn ’t managed to expand his design team for a very long time.

”I ’ll be on the lookout for interesting mech designers who are willing to work for me. ” Ves eventually shrugged.
”Hopefully I can find a couple of mech designers along the way who are willing to stick around for the long haul. ”

They added the finding trustworthy mech designers to augment his design team to their long list of objectives.

After they finished sharing their thoughts to each other, they began their new day by visiting one of the local black markets.

Underneath a tarnished and largely shuttered industrial district in the outskirts of Wilxyr, a bustling underground trade operation took place.

Getting there was a bit complicated.
It wasn ’t as if Ves could directly fly there with his shuttle in the open.

They also couldn ’t approach the black market under full escort.
Both the landbound mechs of the Battle Criers and the aerial mechs of the Dustravens attracted way too much attention.

This meant that Ves had to leave most of his protection detail behind.
As Ves stepped inside an unmarked aircar, he only brought a limited retinue along this time.

Commander Cinnabar opted to stay behind to babysit his idle mechs, so Ves could only rely on Lucky, Nitaa and Commander Meivin for protection.

The latter looked a bit apologetic at these demands.
”My apologies for all of these restrictions, but the black market that I ’m taking you to don ’t enjoy government sanction. ”

”I understand. ” Ves casually waved his hand to brush aside the issue.
”Black markets that operate under the noses of the government aren ’t really black markets in the first place.
I hope the goods on offer at the place you ’re bringing me to will be interesting enough to justify the hassle. ”

”Oh, have no doubt about that, Mr.
I dare say you ’ll have the opportunity to purchase plenty of valuables. ”

Though Nitaa had a lot of second thoughts about this trip, Ves remained calm.
If worse came to worst, he could quickly don his custom Sparous Vize armor which Nitaa brought along in suitcase form.
She herself had already donned her combat armor as well so she was more than capable of fending off any sudden attacks.

The windows of the vehicle had turned completely dark, preventing the occupants from seeing where they traveled.

During the journey, the aircar they rode made a lot of detours before landing at an abandoned underground parking zone.

The group transferred to another aircar which followed another circular route before finally arriving at their real destination.
Ves spotted easily over a hundred identical aircars in the abnormally barren and sterile underground parking zone.

”This place is kept as clean as possible in order to defeat any tracking measures. ” Commander Meivin mentioned before he passed them a number of robes stored in the aircar.
”Wear these in order to hide your identities.
It ’s best not to let anyone know you ’ve been here. ”

They did as instructed.

Currently, the mercenary commander acted as their local guide.
He led them towards a checkpoint where they underwent a very casual security check before they were let through.

Everyone immediately noticed the disturbance in the air.
It was like they were all being massaged by invisible waves.

”This entire black market is subjected to a jamming field! ” Gavin gasped.

Having spent a lot of time in various different jamming fields, Ves became very good at judging their strength.
”This isn ’t a light jamming field.
A lot of juice is being pumped into the jammers to keep this underground hall secure. ”

Meivin grinned.
”I was serious when I said the government isn ’t involved.
Only those we invite are privileged to enter this market. ”

Compared to the extraordinarily public black markets of the Reinald Republic, the one he had just entered was a lot quieter and less frequented.

Rather than a bazaar, Ves had the feeling he had entered an exclusive, high-class shopping venue.
Only a handful of people browsed the small shops and stalls in the open.
Most donned obscuring robes or other identity-concealing outfits to do their business.

Despite the lack of traffic, Ves immediately recognized a lot of valuable goods for sale.
Visiting this black market may be a lot more fruitful than he thought!

”Meow! ”

Even Lucky sensed a number of highly interesting exotics.
His nose tingled with excitement!

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