After his call with Commander Magdalena, Ves fell into an awful mood.
He locked himself inside his stateroom and brooded over the possibility that Sigrund was targeting him for some reason.

As the most probable instigator of the sandman invasion, Sigrund had enough blood in his hands to drench the entire star sector!

The sandmen had already managed to overrun over a dozen states and were on track to smash some more by the time they exhausted their forces.

The sheer slaughter to both humans and sandmen made it very clear that Sigrund was nothing less than a monster without any immorality in his artificially-modified sandman core!

With such a great threat looming over his head, Ves should be very worried.

He wasn ’t.
In truth, once Ves speculated that Sigrund was directly involved, he knew that his life would never be under threat.

This was because of the pact that he and Calabast had made with the sentient AI.

As long as he died or issued the right command, news of Sigrund ’s existence would definitely leak out.
Ves had long made enough precautions, several of which did not rely on electronic systems at all.

So long as his words managed to reach the ears of the CFA, Sigrund would definitely become the object of their crazed pursuit!

From what he heard about the CFA, creating a sentient AI had always been one of their holy grails! Ves had no doubt that the CFA would commit much more than a single warfleet to track Sigrund down!

Therefore, Ves no longer considered the abnormal sandman fleet a threat.
The most the sandman admirals in charge of the fleet could do was to play a very frustrating game of hide and seek by hiding themselves among the endless asteroids floating in space.

He didn ’t have to worry too much about the sandmen accumulating forces in the Cloudy Curtain System.

Since the behavior of the sandmen in the system alarmed the higher ups, the government would definitely dispatch a strong force to squash the inventive sandman admirals as fast as possible!

Everyone feared that the strange sandman admirals might reunite with their fellow sandmen and pass on their strange teachings.

However, Ves thought differently.

His face grew darker as he suddenly realized that the entire sandman invasion was nothing more than a scheme!

What was Sigrund thinking?! Why did he provoke the Big Two by launching an immense invasion that already killed trillions of humans?

While Ves did not have any proof, he intuitively assumed that Sigrund had gained total control over the entire sandman race.

With how much time he spent on a CFA battleship pretending to be her virtual officers, Sigrund should not be ignorant of proper tactics and strategy.

If he wanted to, he could have directed the sandman fleets in a way that ensured that they would have overrun every third-rate state in the Komodo Star Sector!

Yet instead of maximizing the combat effectiveness of the sandmen, Sigrund inexplicably made the sandman behave in a way that suggested that the sandmen only possessed a limited amount of intelligence.

Right now, practically every human regarded the sandmen as if they were profoundly stupid!

”Everyone is underestimating the sandmen! ”

What was Sigrund trying to accomplish by painting his former race as a bunch of semi-sentient dimwits?

Why did he intentionally cripple the invasion effort and give every state in the third liine of defense a chance to repel the enemy?

There was something very fishy going on.
In fact, Ves always harbored these suspicions, but with all of the emergencies taking place, he never had the time to settle down and think through the situation.

Was Sigrund purposefully trying to mess around with Ves?

He shook his head.
How could a single individual cause a grand sentient AI to devote his full processing power towards such a useless pursuit.

The sandman invasion likely served a completely different purpose, one that was probably unconnected to Ves or Calabast.

Sigrund ’s true enemy was the Common Fleet Alliance.
These warship-mad spacers were obsessed with automation and AIs for some reason.

So long as this great threat loomed over Sigrund ’s head, the hybrid sandman would never be able to live in peace.

Forget about galactic domination or forming a new empire.
As soon as a single human became aware of Sigrund ’s existence, his life was irrevocably over.

”Is that why he is trying to get rid of the sandmen? ”

Sigrund clearly didn ’t care about his former race.
The sandman invasion was not only a tragedy for the humans living close to the border with the frontier, but also risked wiping out every sandman!

The outrageous aggression of their race had already sealed their fate.
While Ves hadn ’t heard anything about the CFA warfleet sent to wipe out the sandmen starting from their origin point, the galaxy would soon say goodbye to yet another alien race.

Only Sigrund would be able to get away!

Of course, now that the sandmen have seemingly gone extinct by that time, no human would invest any energy in seeking a few lost grains of sand.

Was this what Sigrund tried to accomplish?

Ves shook his head.
”That ’s far too simple. ”

It was impossible for Ves to match the sheer processing power of a sentient AI created by the CFA.

Unable to match Sigrund ’s artificial wits, Ves eventually shrugged and put aside his guessing game.

It was enough for him to conclude that Sigrund shouldn ’t be after his life.
Whatever else he was plotting should not affect him directly.

”Well, that isn ’t entirely correct. ”

The entire sandman invasion already affected his life in a profound way.
While he had benefited quite a lot from the opportunities that opened up, his mood quickly soured at all of the humans who died.

It was just that Sigrund ’s actions hadn ’t crossed a line that would compel him to expose the sentient ’s existence.

This was because Ves would inevitably incur a huge price when Sigrund exposed him as a Holy Son.

”Is he deliberately tormenting me or what? ”

Ves realized he could have ended the Sand War early and prevented a lot of death and destruction if he spoke out earlier.

As long as he disregarded his freedom, the MTA and CFA would have responded a lot stronger than they currently did at the moment!

Even the invasion of the Red Ocean Dwarf Galaxy wouldn ’t be enough to keep their attention away from the Komodo Star Sector!

Unfortunately for everyone, Ves was not a selfless person.
At the very least, the situation so far hadn ’t driven him to the point where he found his choice to remain silent to be unbearable.

As for the guilt that should have plagued his heart for allowing the sandmen to engulf countless humans, Ves did not feel responsible at all!

His heart was as light as a feather.

While Ves was not indifferent to the tragedy that had already occurred, he still considered himself to be a small and insignificant figure in the greater scheme of things.

Unless he became as powerful as a Master Mech Designer, he could forget about playing the great game.

Events that affected entire star sectors like the sandman invasion was not something that he could meddle in.
At most, he could only stick to his job and design the mechs that helped humanity resist the aggressors.

As the Barracuda returned to the only habitable planet in the star system, Ves eventually regained his normal mood.

A welcome distraction was Gloriana ’s recovery.
After one-and-a-half days of rest, she managed to regain consciousness.

”How are you, Gloriana? ”

”I still feel somewhat weak. ” She said softly over the comm.
”It ’s rather strange.
I ’ve never felt so tired despite all of the doctors stating that my body is in an optimal condition.
I can ’t imagine how much strain you have to cope with every time you create something special. ”

Ves tapped the side of his head.
”Everything can be trained, including our minds.
It is not necessarily bad for you to come under strain.
As long as you give yourself some time to recover, I ’m sure you ’ll be able to cope a little better next time! ”

”I trust you, Ves.
Hopefully, I ’ll recover completely within the next couple of days.
We still have some mech designs to complete.
Right now, I don ’t think that I ’m in a good condition to work on a project right now. ”

Ves guessed that Gloriana depleted a considerable amount of spiritual energy.

This was not good news.
Unlike Ves who could rely on his Grand Dynamo to recover spiritual energy quickly, Gloriana did not have such a convenient means to replenish her expenditure.

”When I get back, I ’ll tell you what ’s likely wrong with you.
For now, I think it ’s a good idea for you to get used to your temporary mental state.
If you think you are up for it, I think it would be a good idea for you to continue on our projects rather than leave them aside. ”

”Why so, Ves? ”

”Designing a mech while you are not necessarily in the right mood builds up resilience.
As a true professional, you should be able to design a mech under every circumstance.
Just because you are feeling mentally exhausted should not affect your knowledge base and your accumulated design experience.
The only factors that have diminished ought to be your passion and your motivation.
Is that right? ”

She nodded weakly.
”Everytime I think about designing a mech, I don ’t feel any joy.
That ’s really weird.
I ’ve never been so unenthusiastic about designing mechs than today! ”

Ves sighed.
”This is the price you pay to help me create something exceptional.
While I ’m more than capable of paying this price, the same doesn ’t apply to you.
This is a part of my specialty.
I ’ve been working on improving my capabilities in this area since the start of my design career! ”

”I ’m still peeved at my state.
Do you have a way of fixing my exhaustion? ”

Ves contemplated whether he could ’lend ’ his Grand Dynamo to Gloriana.
Sadly, the Grand Dynamo formed in his mind had already been embedded by his spiritual energy.

There was no way that Ves could top Gloriana off with his own spiritual energy.
It was like mixing two different kinds of fuel in the tank of a starship.
Despite their similarities, their attributes and other properties differed too much to be able to use them interchangeably.

To be honest, Ves wasn ’t even confident he could help Gloriana recover faster in the first place.

Before he obtained the Grand Dynamo, Ves had to wait for many months before his natural regeneration replenished his spent spiritual energy.

However, Ves did not discount this possibility immediately.
He was a lot more capable in spiritual manipulation than before.

Considering the amazing result they achieved when she exerted her spirituality, Ves could not allow her to be out for months at a time.

He had to develop a method that hastened her recovery!

”We ’re lucky that we almost completed the Adonis Colossus first. ” Ves smiled.
”If you ’re really not up to it, I can wrap up this project by myself. ”

”I don ’t like this.
I want to make sure the Adonis Colossus design is as perfect as possible! In fact, I already planned to return to our design lab today. ”

”Alright. ” Ves no longer worried too much about her condition.
”Don ’t push yourself beyond your means.
Some strain is good, but too much strain is very dangerous. ”

By the way, how is the situation in space? ”

”Strange. ” Ves grimaced, but he didn ’t say anything more.
Due to the sensitivity of the matter, the government already classified anything related to the abnormal sandman fleet.
”It ’s none of our business, though.
The government is already on top of the situation.
It might take some while for the defense force to return to orbit. ”

By the way, Ves.
There ’s something else you should know. ”

”What ’s that? ”

”I just received a notification from my cousin Ranya.
She ’s due to arrive within a month! ”

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