The deal he struck with Lady Miralix set everything in stone.
Ves no longer considered the lesser huge cats such as the Dragon Cat any longer.

Though neither Ves nor Lady Miralix dared to draft a formal contract that formalized all of the terms, they were very much bound by a common goal this time.

Both were aiming for one of the most deadliest cats on Asco.
Zeigra, the Mech Cruncher, may be among the youngest and weakest of Crown Cats that graced the hunting zones.
However, his deadliness was not in question!

Ves expressed a lot of interest in the mech Lady Miralix intended to pilot for the hunt.
In order to confront an infamous Crown Cat like Zeigra, House Laterna must have accumulated a lot of experience and know-how in this area.

The rulers of Felixia designed Zeigra ’s genome after all! They possessed an absolute information advantage!

Yet as Lady Miralix brought Ves, their cats and some of their staff to her hunting compound in Kemila, she gave a surprising answer.

”I don ’t enjoy any advantages of the other mech hunters. ”

”What? ”

”This hunt is a trial. ” She elaborated as they passed by a training ground where a number of mech pilots exercised their bodies under the local system ’s sun.
”Every son and daughter of House Laterna who graduates as a mech pilot must prove that they haven ’t been coasting through the mech academies. ”

”What if they fail? What if they die? ”

”Then they deserve to die.
Sentinel demands strong soldiers and even stronger leaders.
How can I gain the respect of Sentinel ’s military mech pilots if I cannot defeat them in battle? It is better for my useless self to die rather than disgrace my noble house! ”

This sounded absolutely silly to Ves! From her tone, he got the sense that she truly believed in her words! The upbringing she received from House Laterna placed a very huge emphasis on strength, honor and reputation, so much so that those who disgraced their name were better off dead!

”So if I understand you correctly, you don ’t enjoy any insider knowledge such as an internal research report on Zeigra ’s genes or such? ”

The blond woman shook her head.
”Cheating only demeans the very point of the trial.
If weaklings who should have died managed to pass this challenge with ease by depending on unfair advantages, they ’ll only disgrace our noble house in the future! Pirates and other enemies will not be so easy to cheat! ”

That made sense, though Ves still thought that House Laterna was taking this way too far.

”How will everyone else know that the hunt is conducted fairly? ”

”I ’m being monitored by an inspector of the state.
The Sentinel Kingdom has rules.
Every test a noble house imposes upon its own members has to be a genuine challenge.
The royal house serves as the neutral arbiter who judges the validity and authenticity of the trials.
Only in this way will passing the trial have meaning! ”

To Ves, it sounded as if every noble house engaged in this tradition! He knew that the Sentinels placed a lot of emphasis on strength, but throwing every mech pilot that carries their name into life-and-death trials just after graduating sounded rather extreme!

As far as he knew, not even the Vesia Kingdom engaged in such a man-eating practice!

Hell, something as cutthroat like this would never fly in the Larkinson Family!

..Then again, the Larkinsons never insisted on excellence like the Sentinels.
Back home, every Larkinson potentate received focused training from their retired aunts and uncles.

Most Larkinsons ended up a cut above the average mech pilot graduate, but some just didn ’t have the genetic aptitude, learning ability or talent to grow very far.
While these dullards that carried the Larkinson name never enjoyed the renown of their more notable cousins, at least they weren ’t forced to their deaths!

As a Larkinson, Ves knew that his extended family didn ’t care too much about the bad apples in their midst.
So what if a Larkinson or two turned out to be awful mech pilots? The reputation of the Larkinsons hardly suffered because a lot of other Larkinsons performed well enough to keep their name respected.

For this reason, he really couldn ’t understand families like the Laternas who placed an undue amount of importance to maintaining their reputation from everyone who carried their name.

Perhaps it made sense to people like Lady Miralix who had been born under high expectations.
Yet who else really cared?

The same people who demanded universal excellence from their family were probably the only ones who judged others for making missteps in this aspect.

Ves doubted that the common-born Sentinels seriously cared whether someone like Lady Miralix embarrassed herself in battle or something.

To average people, high society was far too distant from them.
Ves only recently emerged from their midst, so he knew how little they knew or cared about the lives of those who lived seemingly pampered lives.

Apparently, he hadn ’t managed to hide his doubts, because Lady Miralix exhibited a knowing glance.

”You think that trials like the one I am facing are extreme, correct? ”

”I can never make sense of you nobles and your games. ” He admitted.

She chuckled.
”Understandable, though don ’t think I ’m as open-minded as the other Sentinel nobles.
Felixia attracts visitors from many foreign states, so I don ’t mind your presumptuousness.
Take care not to question the customs of our state.
We aristocrats are rooted in the belief that our harsh traditions are the reason why we still deserve to be in charge.
Commoners don ’t understand us because they aren ’t shouldering the burdens of the Sentinel Kingdom. ”

”The crown weighs heavily on your head. ”

”Then I ’d better develop a strong neck in order to keep my head aloft! ”

As Ves fell into thought, the cats that trailed behind them started to tussle a bit with each other.

Apparently tired of being ignored, Lucky started to paw at Genevieve, who immediately grew angry for allowing a dirty mechanical cat to dirty her immaculate dirty coat!

”Miao! ”

”Meow! ”

”Miao! ”

Genevieve quickly pounced at Lucky in order to show who ’s boss, and the two cats rolled around the dirt and wrestled against each other!

Nitaa, who followed behind them all, shook her head.
”Cats. ”

In any case, as far as nobles went, Ves developed a good impression of Lady Miralix.
Unlike someone like Lord Javier, she didn ’t insist on corrupting him to her viewpoint.
She also acted cordially with him as if he was a fellow friend and noble.

Of course, the main reason Lady Miralix presented an intimate demeanor was because of his own status.
A Journeyman not only possessed engineering and design capabilities that surpassed the human norm, they were also regarded as galactic citizens!

As Ves earned these eminent titles through his own merits, feudal states such as the Sentinel Kingdom pretty much regarded him as a noble! This made it easy for Lady Miralix to regard him with respect!

After walking a bit further into the noblewoman ’s compound, they arrived at the mech stables where a number of mechs stood dormant.
Ves studied the mechs with a critical eye.

”I see these mechs are some of the best midrange mechs you can buy from Sentinel ’s mech market. ” He spoke.

All of the mechs were worth around forty to forty-five million bright credits if sold in the Bright Republic.

”I ’ve spent several years building up the Felixia Catstrikers. ” Lady Miralix said proudly.
”All of our mech pilots are comrades that I ’ve befriended in the mech academies, so our teamwork and cooperation is already solid.
The mechs I ’ve procured have all been selected on the advice of the mech pilots of my house. ”

Teamwork played a vital role in Asco.
The mature huge cats that roamed the hunting zone could easily defeat a single mech in isolation! They were simply too strong and big, as most of them actually weighed more than a heavy mech, but moved much faster to boot!

Relying on pure strength almost never led to a successful hunt.
Even the Rocit Butchers, for all their seemingly mindless ferocity, employed simple tactics and formations to make sure that they applied their strengths effectively.

”What do you think of the mechs of my Catstrikers? ” She asked, eager to hear the opinion of an expert in the field.

”I think they ’re very suitable to hunt a formidable beast. ” He replied as he studied the various mechs by their appearances alone.
”While I can ’t judge their exact parameters, as far as I can see, they are all designed for peak performance.
As long as their energy reserves last, they can exert a lot of strength from their frames. ”

What he didn ’t mention was that these mechs were very wasteful in terms of durability, longevity and depreciation.
These mechs were designed to exert as much strength as possible to the point of overloading their systems and overstraining their physical components!

At best, they could only participate in three or four arduous hunts before their performance and structural integrity degraded! At that point, it was best to recycle them rather than risk them in battle further!

Nonetheless, the benefit to all of these sacrifices was that the mechs performed significantly better than mechs built to last and endure such as his own products.

Ves designed mechs such as the Blackbeak, the Crystal Lord and the Aurora Titan in the context of the prevailing demand in the Bright Republic.
His home state frequently engaged in war, which was very expensive each time it happened.

Mech buyers therefore learned to prioritize mechs designed to survive the rigors of war and last through continuous low-to-medium intensity battles.

For this reason, Ves tweaked the parameters of his mechs to last for years or potentially decades.
This approach also complimented his specialty as the X-Factor of his mechs slowly grew and adapted over time.

It was one of his greatest ambitions that his mechs grew in value over time, rather than depreciate in value as they grew more outdated!

His mechs really started to shine when used for many years! They were even better if their owners slowly upgraded their parts in order to keep up with the latest mech generation!

The mechs used by the Catstrikers adopted a completely opposite approach.
They were far from prudent investments for the long term! Ves bet that Lady Miralix would quickly get rid of all of her mechs once the hunt came to a conclusion!

Though her mech loadout made Ves wince due to the sheer amount of waste it represented, Lady Miralix and her wealthy house could easily afford the expenditure!

”If your mechs only exist to hunt down a single Crown Cat, then the selection of these mechs is very optimal. ” He commented.
”As long as you can bear the cost, that is, which you probably do since your house is running a lucrative tourist planet. ”

”While I can ’t break the rules, I can still make sure to set myself up in the best possible condition to engage in our coming hunt.
None of our mechs surpasses the cost limit.
All of them fall just below the ceiling imposed on every hunting mech in the Asco Continent. ”

”Does the same apply to your own personal mech, my lady? ”

She grinned.
”That ’s a given.
Why don ’t you see so for yourself! We ’ve finally arrived at my personal mech! Behold my Kinslayer! ”

Calling her mech the Kinslayer seemed apt.
Instead of piloting a humanoid mech like the rest of her Catstrikers, Lady Miralix instead opted to pilot a bestial mech!

To be more precise, she piloted a tiger mech!

”This… you ’re hunting a Crown Cat with a tiger mech? ”

”Yes! ”

”Isn ’t that… dangerous? ”

She laughed.
”I am a Laterna! Cats are intimately bound to our house! Almost every mech pilot that has emerged from our house has chosen to pilot a bestial mech! Many of my ancestors have succeeded in hunting down a Crown Cat while piloting tiger mechs like mine! To become a master of cats, we must learn how to dominate a cat on their own terms! This is the central belief of our house! ”

Ves looked befuddled.
House Laterna really took their cat obsession way too far!

If you find any errors ( broken links, non-standard content, etc..
), Please let us know so we can fix it as soon as possible.

Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like