The rebel base turned into a whirlwind of activity.
After several tense and fruitless days of searching, they finally found a trace of their elusive objective.
As much as Lord Javier tried to hide his movements, in the end his faithful mech betrayed his probably location.

As the man who played an instrumental role in deducing Lord Javier ’s hiding hole, Ves received a lot of appreciation from the rebels and Vandals around him.
The Vandals all treated him with friendly slaps on the backs and the like, but the Vesian rebels all kept their distance from him and treated him like a high-class commoner.

Evidently, the Vesian class structure was too ingrained in their minds to act any differently.

Still, his latest accomplishment couldn ’t have been done by anyone else but a mech designer with a broad base of knowledge.
Ves had to lean on his extensive base of knowledge and his sharpened spirit to crack some of the secrets of the Loquacious Raphael.

What an impressive mech!

The more he learned about the hero mech, the more a sense of dread began to build within his bones.
This was not a regular mech at all.
From the amazing alloys used in its armor, to the powerful explosive shells that fed its rifle, every part of the Raphael spoke of an excellent degree of refinement.

”I can feel Mr.
Reeve ’s touch on its design.
His Raphael definitely a labor of love. ”

A mech designer like Constantine Reeve needed to pull out all the stops when he designed a personalized mech for a special client.
For a Senior of his caliber, Reeve must have charged a billion sovvies or more to House Eneqqin to create such a high-quality mech.

This was a mech that could easily stomp trash mechs by the dozen.
The materials alone far exceeded regular premium mechs such as his gold label Blackbeaks and Crystal Lords.
The advanced technologies incorporated practically doubled its value, while the added benefit of fake resonance doubled that sum once again.

”It ’s a second-class mech that can go toe-to-toe with mechs of the Friday Coalition. ”

In all likelihood, the performance of the Loquacious Raphael exceeded the parameters of decent quality second-class mechs in most areas.
Coupled with a skilled mech pilot that fit the mech like a glove, then the mech would certainly be able to surpass the performance of a regular second-class mech.

The amount of sovvies House Eneqqin put into training Lord Javier and equipping him with the best mech possible must have reached a staggering amount.
Yet compared to the costs, the outcome would be worth it if Lord Javier became the strongest mech pilot of their House.

As long as his strength overwhelmed his siblings, there was no question whether he would inherit the title of count from his father!

The only curveball that could change this equation was if a branch member of the House advanced to become an expert pilot.

No matter how skilled Lord Javier might be, he would only be able to bully around regular and advanced mech pilots.
The true elites of the Mech Corps and the Mech Legion would easily be able to turn the Loquacious Raphael into scrap.

The power of fake resonance simply couldn ’t compare to true resonance.

”Expert mech pilots are too rare. ” Ves muttered.
”Some mech regiments don ’t even have one on their retainer. ”

Venerables enjoyed a privileged status in the Bright Republic, but they enjoyed outright worship in the Vesia Kingdom.
Even the worst expert pilots became barons at an instant, which would forever enshrine their families into the ranks of nobility.

To their credit, the rebels and the Vandals came with as much force as they could muster in a short amount of time.
Due to the impending arrival of Vesian reinforcements, they couldn ’t afford to wait for every Vandal to convene in this part of the city.

Still, the Vandals somehow mustered well over seventy-five mechs.
Capain Orfan and the mechs restored by Ves happened to be among their ranks.

When Captain Orfan ’s looted mech congregated at the entrance of the rebel base, Ves didn ’t know how to feel about her presence.

”It ’s funny. ” He muttered.
”For all her efforts, it turned out to be me who found Lord Javier ’s trace. ”

Ves shook his head and didn ’t think about Orfan anymore.
The woman only did the best of her duties and Ves couldn ’t fault her dedication to the mission.
He instead spared a glance at the troop transports and hovertanks that the rebels prepared to accompany the Vandals.

Though they looked impressive, Ves couldn ’t help but be dubious at their effectiveness.
”The infantry will only get in the way, and the hovertanks won ’t have enough room for maneuver if the battle erupts in an underground tunnel or hall.

Obviously, the mechs would take the lead while the infantry and the hovertanks acted as support.
The recycling plant was a fairly large facility, and who knew what kind of complex lay beneath the ground.
For that reason, the rebel auxiliary forces would secure the facility and the surroundings in order to relieve the Vandals of all their worries.

”No matter what, today is Lord Javier ’s downfall! ”

The rebels cheered at those words as Commander Breskin finished his brief speech.
After that, the mechs and the auxiliary forces moved out.

Breskin and Addy quietly approached Ves as the remaining personnel looked on as mechs and vehicles disappeared into the streets.

”We still need your help, Mr.
Larkinson. ” The commander spoke in a gentler tone than before.
Before, Ves was just a forgettable mech designer.
This time, the rebel leader as an asset.
”We ’d like you to monitor the battle and analyze the mechs at Lord Javier ’s disposal.
Our sources believe that his honor guard is also accompanying him.
Count Loqer directly bestowed them to his son, so they ’ll put up a good fight to defend him to the death. ”

Ves nodded.
”I ’ll get on it as soon as the battle starts. ”

He did not expect to make much of a contribution.
The Loquacious Raphael alone displayed no obvious weak points, and the same could probably said for the mechs piloted by Lord Javier ’s honor guard.
Mechs of those caliber simply didn ’t exhibit those kind of low-level design flaws.

As Ves took his seat in front of a terminal, he discovered that he had access to the feeds of every vehicle deployed by the rebels.
Sadly, the rebels hadn ’t built up the necessary amount of trust to patch into the feeds of the Vandal mechs, it was better than nothing.

”How soon until the battle starts? ”

”In about forty minutes. ” Addy answered as she stood behind Ves.
She constantly rotated among the analysts in order to coordinate their efforts.
”Though the recycling plant isn ’t too far away from here, we don ’t want Lord Javier to slip away.
We are gathering all our nearby tunnelers in order to collapse every underground escape route in the vicinity.
Until that ’s done, we don ’t dare to launch our attack. ”

That made sense.
Since Lord Javier was able to sneak to this place through a hidden tunnel, he could escape through similar means.

”Once our forces collapse the tunnels, how will the attack proceed? ”

Addy began to frown.
”We haven ’t come up with a plan beyond that.
Beyond confirming the presence of the Loquacious Raphael, we don ’t know the terrain or how many enemies we ’ll face.
We do expect Lord Javier to be caught flatfooted though.
He his his whereabouts extremely well so far, and if it wasn ’t for your help, we would have never gotten to this point. ”

”You ’re exaggerating! ” Ves modestly smiled and scratched the back of his neck.
”Any mech designer can do the same.
I just happen to be the first one to piece together the clues. ”

He was definitely being modest here, but his accomplishments meant nothing if they failed to apprehend Lord Javier.

Both Addy and Ves became engrossed in several projections as they transmitted footage of the movements of the two allied forces.

Once the forces reached the recycling plants, the majority of the auxiliary forces split up and started to secure the adjacent streets and secure the other approaches.

If reinforcements arrived to bail Lord Javier out, then the rebels needed to stall their intrusion as long as possible.

The tanks meticulously hid behind the corners of structures that the infantrymen evacuated by force.
They didn ’t even bother to knock at any doors.
They simply barged in with their exo-skeleton suits and dragged out every civilian, business owner and scum they could find.

”This is my home! Who gives you the right to drag me around!? ”

”My workshop! Careful with that, it ’s flammable! ”

”Don ’t kill me, please don ’t kill me! ”

The rebels uncovered many disgusting sights when they entered into certain abodes.
Many criminals and gang members had run amuck in the last couple of days.

The exo-skeleton soldiers treated them all the same.
Every obvious lowlife got a bullet in their heads.
Ves applauded their decisiveness.

However, when it came to the actual attack plan, Captain Orfan who took charge on behalf of the Vandals clashed with Commander Breskin.
The commander had opted to accompany the attack inside a mobile command center.

Addy patched into the command channel, allowing Ves and her to listen in from the rebel base.

”…I strongly object to your foolhardy suggestions! ” Commander Breskin shouted over the channel.
”Shelling the recycling plant will expend much of our ammunition and lead to a substantial amount of collateral damage! That recycling plant is a large source of income for Neron City, and it can ill afford its loss! ”

”The plant is a massive obstacle and a nightmare to secure.
Who knows how many defenses Javier has prepared at that plant.
With the amount of activity taking place at the plant, we won ’t be able to use our sensors at all.
As long as the plant remains standing, we ’ll be fighting with our hands tied behind our backs. ”

The two argued back and forth over several minutes, which caused their subordinates to grow apprehensive.
There was no doubt that the recycling plant had detected their forces.
One or two mechs could be hidden, but the presence of over a hundred mechs and vehicles could not be obscured at all.

Just as the argument ran over four minutes, a mutation happened on the streets.
A series of explosions sounded out at the flanks.

”Lost contact with Wolf-353 and Wolf-664! ”

Two hovertanks down!

Another explosion erupted at an adjacent street.

”Wolf-25 and Wolf-612 are downed! Wolf-55 is has sustained heavy damage and has lost all of its lifting capacity! ”

The thunder of cannon fire rang through the streets, but another explosion finally shut down the street.

”Give me footage of Wolf-55 ’s final seconds! ” Breskin ordered at the mobile command center.

Back at the base, Addy requested the same data.
She possessed sufficient credentials in the rebel hierarchy to access this sort of sensitive materials.
Ves looked at Addy and wondered whether she was Breskin ’s daughter or something.
She looked way too young and pretty to be a veteran rebel leader.

”Look! ” Addy said, and Ves forcibly turned his head towards the projection of Wolf-55 ’s final recording.
”It ’s the Raphael! ”

The mech peeked out from a hidden trapdoor built into the streets.
It only needed to expose its upper body in order to fire ballistic rifle held within its arm.

Ves leaned closer and studied the Raphael ’s weapon arm.
As expected, the arm that held the rifle glowed in a shimmering rainbow pattern.

”It ’s definitely the Raphael! In that case, Lord Javier should be very close! ”

Unfortunately, a fair number of trapdoors littered the streets leading up to recycling center.
Far from surrounding the recycling plant, the rebels instead spread their forces thin for Lord Javier to take them out one by one!

Commander Breskin sounded furious as he relayed his orders.
”Give up on the envelopment and pull back! Don ’t let this bastard son have his way! ”

”Belay that, commander! ” Captain Orfan spoke.
”Stand your ground and pin down the Raphael.
We are on our way as fast as possible! Help is on the way! ”

”You don ’t command us, Brighters! Ignore the mech captain ’s words and fall back this instant! ”

Despite the temporary confusion, most hover tanks and infantry units opted to pull back.
Only a handful of vehicles remained in place.

The Raphael quickly popped up from a nearby trapdoor and took out every tank with a single shot of its potent rifle.

The rebels and the Vandals hadn ’t even managed to fire back! They couldn ’t even pin Lord Javier down!

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