When Ves returned to the Cloud Estate, he met up with Gloriana who was resting in the back gardens of their mansion and informed her of the latest developments.

”For what it ’s worth, I agree with you. ” Gloriana tickled Clixie ’s belly.
”Bentheim isn ’t only bad for you, but also for me.
If the Bright Republic has any ideas about me, it won ’t be easy to take me into custody as long as I stay here under the protection of my Glory Battalion. ”

Ves immediately recognized the problem.
”Your escorts only consist of one spaceborn mech company, one landbound mech company and one elite guard infantry company.
While I ’m sure your protectors are strong enough to win while heavily outnumbered, it ’s hard to say who will win if the Mech Corps dispatches a mech regiment or two to intercept our flight. ”

”If those mech regiments deploy their expert pilots, then the threat they pose become much greater. ” Gloriana added.
”With thousands of mechs acting in support of a couple of expert mechs, it isn ’t possible for my Glory Battalion to escape! ”

While second-class mechs possessed a crushing advantage against third-class mechs, they weren ’t invincible.
As long as the weaker but vastly more numerous force was willing to make some sacrifices, it was possible to overwhelm a second-class mech force through sheer weight of numbers.

In essence, it was similar to how the sandmen managed to grind down their opposition! By placing little to no value in the lives of individual sandmen, the aggressors managed to achieve huge results!

Of course, the price the sandmen paid was correspondingly huge as well, but that did not make people feel any better.

In any case, Both Ves and Gloriana were of the same mind regarding this issue.
They both wanted to avoid relocating to heavily-protected star systems to avoid placing themselves at the mercy of the state.

Now that he thought about it, Ves shouldn ’t be surprised that Gloriana did not entirely feel at ease.
As a foreigner and a Hexer, she was completely alone and isolated in the Bright Republic, which had always leaned towards the Friday Coalition.

”I don ’t think I can resist the demand to relocate to Bentheim or some other heavily-protected star system on my own. ” Ves admitted.

She looked at him with an odd expression.
”Aren ’t you well-connected by now? The Tovar Family should be able to provide you with a lot of cover. ”

Ves shook his head.
”While I still have to contact the Tovars, the fact that they didn ’t say anything to me so far means that this issue might be a bit troublesome. ”

He received a lot of official notices from various different branches of the government.
That meant that a single faction would find it very difficult to resist a united opposition.

While Ves believed that the officials requesting him to relocate to Bentheim didn ’t intend anything malicious towards him, he couldn ’t discount the minute possibility that this was part of a plot.

”So how do you intend to resolve this problem? ”

”I have you, right? ” Ves grinned.
”Unless the Bright Republic wants to attract the hatred of the Hexadric Hegemony, they can ’t force you to do anything. ”

Her eyes lit up.
She wasn ’t ignorant of her exalted status among third-class citizens.
”You ’re right! I can use my own influence to keep up here! ”

They discussed the details.
Gloriana only had to make some noise to negate any further attempts at getting them to relocate to Bentheim.

Perhaps the entire reason why the government sent requests to him was because they wanted to hoodwink him into traveling to Bentheim on a voluntary basis.
This way, they wouldn ’t trigger Gloriana ’s opposition.

However, now that Ves dragged her into the mud, there was no way for the Bright Republic to continue to insist.
Even if Ves ostensibly played a very pivotal role in sustaining the charm of the Soldier product line, no sane official wanted to step on the toes of a Hexer!

It helped a lot that Hexers carried a very dreadful relationship in the Komodo Star Sector.
Though they ordinarily kept to themselves during peacetime, they often reacted unreasonably aggressive when provoked.

After the Hexers made many examples after idiots provoked the proud and confident women, everyone learned not to mess with them under any circumstances!

Only the Fridaymen dared to match them blow for blow, which was evidenced by their brave performance in the Komodo War.

”The war back home is not going as well as we thought. ” Gloriana admitted to Ves after they finished their earlier discussion.
”Several of our assumptions haven ’t panned out.
The Vermeer Group and the Carnegie Group should have been in tatters by now, but instead the Gauge Dynasty and the Konsu Clan have been the first to commit reinforcements to the front.
With the prompt support of the two most powerful partners, it ’s hard for my fellow Hexers to advance any further. ”

”The Friday Coalition has been preparing for a confrontation for a long time. ” Ves looked at her sternly.

”They should have been more divided! Most of the partners are led by males! ” She objected.

What kind of a stupid argument was that?

”I thought you Hexers were smarter than that.
Underestimating your enemy is a cardinal sin. ”

”You don ’t understand, Ves! Many of us were sure that we possessed an advantage! We worked so hard to manipulate the egos of these leaders behind the scenes! ”

Ves chuckled.
”Seems like those covert actions haven ’t managed to tilt the balance in your favor. ”

She sighed.
”You ’re right.
At the moment, the Fridaymen are matching us blow to blow.
There are even signs that the Fridaymen are mounting a counteroffensive. ”

She didn ’t sound too worried.
If the Fridaymen could muster up an attack, the Hexers would surely be able to meet them.
While the former turned out to be stronger than she expected, it was impossible for the disparity to be too big.

For now, both sides were fairly even, which meant that attrition warfare continued to reign along the front.

This uncertainty made Gloriana fret.
Combined with her mental exhaustion, she no longer felt as optimistic about her side.

Ves placed his palm on her hand.
”This is the nature of war, Gloriana.
Loss is a very real possibility.
Even if we win, the price you ’ve paid is inevitably big. ”

”I ’m not used to contemplating losses. ” She grimaced.
”The Hegemony rarely fails, Ves.
We won the initial scramble for territory when the Komodo Star Sector opened up.
If our remaining opposition hadn ’t banded together and formed the Coalition, we would have captured all of the core territories at the beginning! One of the reasons why we launched the war this time is to finish what we started. ”

”Do you Hexers even realize that you can only throw your weight around in this star sector? If you happen to have any ideas about the Vicious Mountain Star Sector, you Hexers will definitely learn a painful lesson! ”

”Hah! Those primitive brutes from Vicious Mountain are next! ” Gloriana sneered.

Ves could hardly believe what she said! The Hexers were already having a tought time against the Fridaymen, but they were already plotting to take down the states of a more developed star sector!

okay. ”

”Don ’t use that tone on me, Ves.
We ’re ambitious, not stupid! Our state will probably have to digest our gains for a century or so before we are ready to consider other matters.
In fact, I ’m not even sure that conquering Vicious Mountain is still on the agenda. ”

”Because of Red Ocean, right? ”

She nodded.
”The Komodo and Vicious Mountain Star Sectors are both barren star sectors in the rim.
We can ’t help it.
Our predecessors who founded the Hegemony weren ’t welcome in other star sectors. ”

Ves had no trouble believing that.
Their weird beliefs and their disdain towards men probably rubbed every sane person the wrong way!

”Human civilization in the Milky Way Galaxy has long been settled. ” Ves remarked.
”There is hardly any unclaimed space in the valuable interior to found a new state.
Anyone with the ambition to found a new state can only pick up the crumbs. ”

”This is why the Red Ocean is so compelling to us.
I ’ve been in touch with my fellow friends and acquaintances on Commbook and several of them are very interested in pioneering new ground.
The Red Ocean is irresistibly attractive to them because all of the rich and bountiful star sectors are ripe for the picking as long as we get to them first! ”

”You sound like you want to join in on the fun. ” Ves sardonically remarked.

Her eyes turned dreamy for a moment.
”Just think about it.
Why not be your own king and rule over your own state? You don ’t have to answer to anyone except the Big Two.
Not that it matters since the MTA and CFA have better things to do than boss around a single state.
So long as we capture some star systems and fend off our challengers, we can call ourselves sovereigns! ”

”That sounds stupid. ” Ves flatly replied.

He bonked her head with his knuckles, causing her to cry out in indignation!

”What was that for, Ves?! ”

”We ’re mech designers, Gloriana.
Why should we be messing around with politics and keep ourselves entangled with matters of state? Our greatest concern should be selling mechs and progressing our design philosophies! ”

”I don ’t see any contradictions between the two.
Why can ’t we found a state and devote a portion of its tax revenue in furthering our research and activities? ”

”Because you ’ll be mixing business with politics.
Do you intend to run a megacorporation or something? The amount of political and business entanglements you ’ll end up with will be too much for you to bear! ”

She crossed her arms.
”Then let ’s go for another governance model, then! I always fancied myself as a queen! ”

”Absolutely not! Feudal states are too dysfunctional! Just look at the Vesia Kingdom if you want to see how awful they can become! ”

”That ’s because the royal family was too weak to keep its vassals in line.
Look at the Sentinel Kingdom instead.
Isn ’t it run by a strong and stable monarchy who managed to grow the state into the most powerful third-rate state in the star sector? ”

His lips twitched at this mention.
”You ’ve never visited the Sentinel Kingdom.
You don ’t know what it ’s really like.
The Nyxian Gap exerts a much greater influence on Sentinel than you think. ”

what form of state do you actually prefer? A republic like your home state? It sounds boring, though.
Calling myself madame president is a lot more boring than calling myself a queen. ”

Ves bonked her on the head yet again.

”You shouldn ’t entertain these unrealistic fantasies.
Founding a state in the Red Ocean is absolutely not simple, especially when there are countless ambitious groups trying to do the same.
We ’ll have to fend off competitors who originated from many different influences from galactic heartland and galactic center of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Their foundation will doubtless be a lot deeper than ours. ”

”You spoilsport. ” Gloriana glowered at her insensitive lover.
”I thought you were brave and ambitious.
Why are you such a coward all of a sudden? ”

”I ’m only brave when it benefits me to be brave.
Do you think that the leaders of second-rate states are the actual movers and shakers of our society? I can guarantee you that the CFA and MTA all treat them as monkeys! ”

”What ’s your point, Ves? ”

”If you want to be a true monarch, then work hard to become a Star Designer instead! Only then will you be able to obtain enough power to influence the direction of human civilization! In order to reach this exalted height, we need to devote our full effort in our careers.
Any major distraction can be fatal to our ambitions to reach the pinnacle of mech design! ”

His words finally managed to penetrate her consciousness.
She couldn ’t offer an effective retort against his argument at this time, especially when her mind wasn ’t as sharp as before.

”I still want to be called Queen Gloriana of House Wodin-Larkinson. ” She sulked.

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