ld they be able to protect themselves as CFA regulations strictly prohibited violence without cause!

”Someone ’s approaching! ”

A group of Vesians walked into view.
Their piloting suits and combat armor immediately marked them out as members of the Hostland Warriors and Meandering Monkeys.

As for the stately brunette figure that radiated a formless pressure by her presence alone, she could be none other than Venerable Relia Foster!

The expert pilot glanced contemptuously at the worried Vandals and Swordmaidens.
”What ’s this about? Have you given up your pirating ways and turned to farming? ”

”You call us murderers? ” Ketis blew up, never one to take an insult lying down.
”What about you! How many of our comrades did you kill?! ”

”We executed thousands of your ilk after our victory. ” Venerable Foster sneered at her foes.
”To be honest, some of my fellow mech officers hesitated in whether you Flagrant Vandals deserved the death penalty, but colluding with known pirates is an instant death sentence in itself.
These so-called Lydia ’s Swordmaidens are scum of the highest order.
The slaves we found at your camp says enough! ”

”Did you kill them all? ”

”We didn ’t let off any pirate. ” The expert pilot smirked.
The fire in her eyes proved that she delighted over their deaths.
She only spared a solemn expression for the slaves.
”As for the brainwashed slaves you Swordmaidens left behind, we had no choice but to euthanize them.
It ’s too much of an effort to support them all and distinguish hidden pirates among their ranks. ”

The steel in the expert pilot ’s voice left no room for ambiguity.
Her words implied that not a single Swordmaiden was left off.
To Ketis, this meant that Mayra joined her fellow Swordmaidens in death!

Tears already streamed from her eyes as Ketis hesitated to ask what happened to the Journeyman Mech Designer they found among the Swordmaidens.
The possibility that Ves threw out a while ago might still be in effect.
As long as the Vesians possessed a little bit of sense, they wouldn ’t get rid of Mayra without a reason.
As long as they hid her from Venerable Foster, she might very well be still alive!

Ves knew that the worst possible case would be to cast a light on Mayra ’s existence, so he quickly stepped in before Ketis could blurt out something sensitive.
”Why are you here? If you haven ’t heard already, the Starlight Megalodon won ’t allow us to fight. ”

”No reason.
I just wanted to see your faces and count how many pirates slipped our grasp. ” Venerable Foster shrugged nonchalantly.
”We squashed a lot of bugs in the last few days.
It ’s rather annoying to dig you all out from the nooks and crannies of this terrain.
Our mechs stepped on so many fleeing bugs that we have to rinse their soles from all the flesh and bone sticking to the surface. ”

Many Vandals and Swordmaidens became enraged.
The Swordmaidens especially wanted to unsheathe their greatswords and chop the taunting expert pilot in half!

Nonetheless, nothing could come from a confrontation so long as the safe zone stayed in effect.
This expert pilot with an obsessive hatred against pirates of all stripes merely laughed at the impotent foes and turned around.

”Let ’s go! ” She commanded the Vesians that followed her with a gesture.
”There ’s no point in talking to these dead pirates walking.
As soon as I pass this silly test, I ’ll ask the virtual officers for permission to clean up the insects dirtying up the place. ”

Everyone knew that her threat may not be so impossible to realize.
If the Vandals and Swordmaidens could figure out the CFA ’s intentions, so could they.
This was the downside with facing a capable, intelligent enemy force.

Everyone missed the days they fought against stupid, incompetent pirates!

The Vandals and Swordmaidens all lost the mood to tend to their farms.
They headed straight towards the Starlight Megalodon and urgently tried to pass the test for every possible easy profession they could come up with.
All of them applied for jobs such as journalist, life coach, comedian, manicurist and other outlandish positions.

All of them got kicked out of the physical projection at five minutes without exception! The immense amount of knowledge and mastery required to fulfill those positions set the bar far too high for any normal human to pass.

Forget about lasting for two-hours, they couldn ’t get past the first task!

Even Ves tried to take the mech designer tests at two-hour intervals.
Each time, he faced the same situation.
He needed to design a specific mech while adhering to unique design requests within five minutes.

Even if Ves had five hours to complete his design, he still wouldn ’t be able to meet the overly stringent performance targets!

Repeating the tests over and over and facing the exact same challenge depressed him to no end.
Virtual Lieutenant Baskanson never accepted his demands to start with a different or easier task.
To him, a nobody mech designer like Ves didn ’t deserve any leniency!

”There ’s truly no point in repeating this damned test! ”

By the time the alloted twenty-four hours went by, Ves found Ketis and discreetly separated from the Flagrant Swordmaidens.

Different from him, the others didn ’t stick to a single profession and stubbornly took a variety of recruitment tests as often as they could.
Even the mech pilots among them gave up trying to pass the test for their primary profession as they could simply forget about passing them unless they were expert pilots!

”It ’s too bad Captain Orfan and Lieutenant Dise are only expert candidates.
They have a long way to go before they advance to become proper expert pilots. ” Ves shook his head in regret.

”We ’ll beat them sooner or later! ” Ketis confidently boasted.

At her heart, she still clung to hope.
It was the only thing she had left in this desolate settlement.
As for Ves, he could only turn his hopes to the enigmatic intelligence operative who sought him out.

While he knew that Miss Calabast didn ’t care about the Flagrant Swordmaidens, Ves nonetheless hoped he could take advantage of her power to lend his comrades a hand.

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