ference, a mech has to come within a kilometer to be able to detect anything amiss.
That ’s plenty of time for me to deactivate the field.
We ’ll have to endure the heavy gravity head-on when that ’s the case, so I suggest you lie down. ”

That was easier said than done.
Ves and Ketis barely squeezed together in a sitting position due to their bulky armor.
In order to lie down, they needed to lay on top of each other, which neither of them wanted to do!

As the crawler went underway, a raft of emotions flitted through Ketis.
She became increasingly distressed at the implications of this defeat.
Many of her sisters would surely lose their lives! Mayra ’s fate remained unknown and her possible death cast an enormous shadow over her heart.

Ves tried to exercise some self-control.
He adopted a rigid expression in order to avoid giving any ammunition to the extremely perceptive Calabast.

Still, he couldn ’t slow down the fluctuations of his heart.

The Flagrant Vandals were his comrades as well.
Even though he never held a permanent position within the mech regiment, Ves spent too much time among them to remain detached.
He held a considerable amount of respect for the likes of Captain Byrd, Chief Dakkon and Dr.

The thought of their imminent capture and execution weighed heavily on his mood.
He felt profoundly helpless that a mech designer like him was absolutely powerless in the face of superior Vesian might.

Just like Ketis, Ves yearned to obtain the power to protect those he cared about! He did not want to repeat this miserable experience ever again.

The battle between mechs only involved a thousand mech pilots at most, but the support personnel added up to ten-thousand men and women.
The outcome of the battle affected all of their lives, condemning them to death no matter how hard they fought back.

This was the tragedy involving battles between mechs! Once a side lost its capability to field mechs, they no longer possessed the power to resist their enemy ’s predation!

The strong devoured the weak, and on a battlefield like this, there was nothing stronger than a mech.
Even after incurring all of those losses, the Hostland Warriors and Meandering Monkeys each retained more than a hundred functional mechs each.

Just this might was more than enough to sweep away most of the fleeing Vandals and Swordmaidens!

”Why did you choose to bring me along? ” Ketis suddenly asked, interrupting the tense silence in the crawler.
”You ’re a Brighter, right? Why not choose to rescue on of your own? ”

Ves asked this question to himself many times.
When Miss Calabast initially consented to his request of bringing along an extra, he spontaneously settled on Ketis.


Frankly speaking, while Ves considered Ketis his student and his friend, properly speaking the Vandals belonged to his own side.
Why did he decide to skip over his own brothers and sisters?

As a Novice Mech Designer with a patchy foundation, Ketis possessed no value to Ves.
What she could do, Ves could do better.
Besides her considerable swordsmanship and combat prowess, she added nothing to the table.

On the other hand, if Ves extended the invitation to someone else, he might have been able to gain more confidence in their survival.
Bringing someone like Chief Dakkon along enormously enhanced their technical prowess.
A chief engineer specialized in the operation of starships, so Chief Dakkon would have been the perfect companion to accompany Ves and Miss Calabast into a battleship.

Opting to rescue someone like Dr.
Tillman on the other hand plugged a very crucial gap in understanding the local life.
With all of the deliberate genetic modification going on, they would certainly encounter biological horrors along the way.
One of the biggest reasons why the ground forces of the Flagrant Swordmaidens achieved significant success was because they managed to research some of the mysteries surrounding the wildlings and the god species.

Nonetheless, Ves didn ’t forget about the initial exploration party and the follow-up party of mechs and transports.
If Miss Calabast didn ’t lie about the safe zone, then there was a good chance he ’d be able to reunite with the Vandals and Swordmaidens cut off from the rest.

After a long and obvious pause, Ves finally answered the question.
”I guess I care about you more than the Vandals.
I think you hold a lot of promise as a mech designer.
It ’s a shame for you to land in the clutches of the murderous Vesians. ”

Ketis may be a mech designer, but she was also a Swordmaidens who fully embraced their traditions.
Her extensive genetic modification changed her outward appearance and strengthened her beyond the baseline human norm.
To the undiscerning Hafner mech pilots, they would certainly paint her in the same brush as depraved pirates such as the Red Tongs.
Her fate wouldn ’t be good.

Yet that didn ’t sound like a sufficient reason for Ves to opt to take her along.
In truth, Ves simply couldn ’t explain it.
The thought of picking anyone else over Ketis just felt wrong to him.
Why was he being so irrational about this momentous decision? It felt as if he couldn ’t exert control over this aspect.

No amount of logic and rationality could defeat his feelings on this matter!

Miss Calabast smirked behind the controls, but she refrained from fanning the flames.

As the crawler slowly trod deeper into the red zone, Ves tried to distract his attention away from this unexplainable conundrum.
He ’d rather talk shop than talk about his feelings.

”We ’re venturing straight into the heart of the red zone right? Won ’t this technologically-advanced stealth crawler break down very quickly? ” Ves asked.

Miss Calabast shrugged.
”I never intended for us to make it all the way across in this crawler anyway.
Rest assured, there are still ways for us to circumvent the Vesian search parties when we are forced to go on foot.
Don ’t forget that the Vesians are subject to the same effects as well.
They only developed a limited amount of mechs that are resistant to the destructive environmental effects, and they ’ll be keeping their eyes peeled on much more visible stragglers.
As long as we make a decent effort at hiding our emissions, their impaired sensors won ’t be able to pick us up. ”

That didn ’t sound very reassuring, but it was better than nothing.

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