se were the hands of a warrior!

Her appearance and clothing further reinforced her martial upbringing.
Her gold-frilled military-esque uniform showed off hints of her athletic stature.
Her blond hair had been cut to a bobcut, which prevented it from getting caught or stuck if she wore an interfacing helmet.

She offered a sharp smile back.
”It is not every day that Kemila is graced with a Journeyman such as you.
This city and the rest of Felixia doesn ’t have much to offer to mech designers of your height.
It is a rare opportunity for me to meet with a capable mech designer on my homeground.
I do hope you won ’t mind my presumptuousness. ”

”It is of no concern, my lady. ”

While Ves and Lady Miralix continued with their facetious greeting, Lucky padded warily towards the noblewoman ’s pet.

As a scion of House Laterna, how could she not possess her own cat?

The feline that accompanied Miralix looked exquisite.
The cat oozed elegance as her purple-black fur accentuated her slender, sinuous form.
The genetically-modified cat sat on her butt with her head turned upwards as if nothing in the room was worth her attention!

”Meow? ”

”Miao. ”

”Meow! ”

”Miao! ”

Lucky did not make much headway into engaging the purple-black cat in a conversation!

”That ’s a remarkable cat you have there. ” Ves diverted.
”She ’s very proud of herself as well. ”

He could tell, because the arrogant organic cat continued to rebuff Lucky ’s attempts!

Lady Miralix smiled indulgently at her cat.
”Genevieve is a proud designer cat of our house.
She is one of our house ’s most exclusive products.
If you want a cat like her, it ’s not impossible for me to supply you with one that matches your specifications. ”

”No thanks.
As you can see, I already have a perfectly serviceable cat. ”

”Your pet is very interesting.
My men have done some research to trace his model, but we haven ’t identified the producer. ”

”I ’ve been upgrading Lucky over the years.
He ’s very different from how he started out at the beginning. ”

After chatting a bit about their cats, Lady Miralix finally cut to the chase.

”I ’m sure there is much to talk about, but I didn ’t come here for a social call. ”

”I ’m not open to business. ” Ves calmly but firmly replied.
”I ’m already preoccupied with my own concerns. ”

The lady smiled.
”I ’ve heard.
You have been sending your lackeys into the city in order to gather intelligence.
Are you interested in hunting for Zeigra? ”

Ves shook his head.
”No.
Felixia ’s Crown Cats deserve their formidable reputations.
I have no intention of getting anywhere close to them.
Zeigra is a very impressive specimen, but I am only courageous enough of admiring him from afar. ”

This was not what the lady wanted to hear, obviously.
Miralax sat down on one of the couches in the hotel suite, prompting Ves to follow suit.

”I think it ’s best if I start this off by describing my own situation.
You see, Mr.
Larkinson, I am a mech pilot.
As a member of House Laterna, I ’ve been subjected to high expectations for all of my life.
I trained and polished my mech piloting skills as much as possible in order to meet our house ’s high standards.
No mech pilot of House Laterna must ever exhibit any shortcomings! Weakness is very much frowned upon in the Sentinel Kingdom ’s high society. ”

That sounded very similar to what took place in the Vesia Kingdom.

”Sentinel is a very strong state.
I ’m not surprised to hear that the nobility is expected to set an example. ”

”Ah, so you understand.
Good.
Now, before it is time for me to lead a detachment of household mech troops, I am expected to complete a mandatory challenge.
Every mech pilot of House Laterna is expected to pass this challenge shortly after graduating from the mech academy. ”

”Mandatory? ”

”Yes. ” She nodded seriously.
”We either pass this test, or die trying.
You ’re an intelligent man, Mr.
Larkinson.
I think you can guess the nature of the challenge that I have to complete. ”

Ves already had an inkling of what Lady Miralix alluded to.
”You are tasked with hunting Zeigra? ”

The noblewoman shook her head.
”Not Zeigra specifically.
I can choose to hunt any Crown Cat in Asco.
I am not allowed to depart Felixia while I haven ’t completed this challenge.
If I choose not to go on a hunt, I will be stuck on this planet for the remainder of my life! ”

That probably sounded fine to some people, but not to an ambitious-looking woman such as Lady Miralix.
Ves could see it in her eyes.
She possessed the same gaze as those in the piloting profession who aimed higher!

”Why Zeigra, then? ”

”Zeigra is the twentieth-ranked Crown Cat on the listing.
While I ’m aware he ’s a fast grower, for now he is not as tricky or deadly as the higher-ranked Crown Cats. ”

So Lady Miralix merely targeted Zeigra because he was the least formidable Crown Cat.
That did not detract any bit from the sheer amount of risk surrounding this incredibly deadly huge cat!

”I would think that hunting a Crown Cat poses little difficulty to an eminent person such as you.
After all, you are part of the ruling house of this planet, correct? ”

”It is not as simple as that. ” She shook her head.
”There are rules that every hunter has to abide by.
I am no exception to this.
Otherwise, how can we maintain our moral superiority when we restrict other hunters from bringing in more firepower? There are limits to the quality and quantity of mechs I can assign to my hunting team. ”

”Even if that ’s the case, I ’m sure your hunting team is more than up to the challenge. ”

Lady Miralix smiled sadly.
”I wish I shared your optimism, Mr.
Larkinson.
I am not so confident about my chances.
House Laterna does not tolerate weakness.
The rules will not be bent for me just because of my lineage.
The remains of plenty of Laternas have ended up in the stomachs of Crown Cats over the years! ”

That caused Ves to widen his eyes.
That was really ruthless of the house! No wonder Lady Miralix treated this challenge so gravely!

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