The situation on the battlefield careened in a direction that neither anticipated!
The black mechs that sought to break the Violet Estates and destroy the core of the Purnesse Family did not back down even when confronted by a small force of powerful Bright Warriors and Ferocious Piranhas.
Instead, they stubbornly stuck around regardless of the losses they incurred.
This signalled to everyone that the mastermind behind the black mechs was quite determined to complete their mission!
They\'re not mercenaries, that\'s for sure. Ves grunted.
If the pilots of the black mechs were simply soldiers of fortune, they should have retreated after encountering serious opposition.
While they actually outnumbered the arriving Avatars and Vandals, it was not easy for them to defeat a force of higher-quality mechs.
Even if the unknown force managed to eke out a win, they would definitely suffer significant losses!
That might not sound so bad if they insisted on completing the mission, but the movements of the Larkinson Clan in space couldn\'t be hidden! Anyone with a decent monitoring system in space would be able to notice the second wave of combat carriers arriving hot on the heels of the first wave.
Then there was the rest of the expeditionary fleet to consider!
Why would any opponent stick around knowing that they might have to overcome thousands of high-quality mechs
The Larkinsons weren\'t stupid.
Ves, General Verle and many other clever minds deduced the possible reasons behind such behavior.
If the black mechs were piloted by actual crown terrorists, then their current suicidal behavior shouldn\'t be a surprise.
The brainwashed idiots only cared about inflicting the greatest amount of damage.
They did not possess any sense of preservation when they were \'activated\'.
However, after the analysts of the Larkinson Clan studied the characteristics of the black mechs as well as the behavior of their mech pilots in battle, their conclusions were very clear.
These unknown combatants are well-trained even by second-class standards.
While they lack the intimate coordination and brotherhood of military servicemen, their skill and teamwork are clearly better than a typical mercenary force.
The most probable identities of these mech pilots are long-standing members of a family organization\'s household troops.
This guess fit the image that Ves had built in his mind.
The household troops of families, clans and noble houses tended to be extremely loyal to their cause.
It was rare for them to be as skilled as military mech pilots, but their employers usually invested substantial amounts of money in their training.
Calabast, have you been able to figure out the culprits of this attack Who is behind these black mechs
We haven\'t gathered enough data to figure that out. The woman spoke as she sat next to Ves.
A panel of projected screens constantly bombarded her with footage and raw data.
While the few clues we\'ve ascertained up until now have narrowed down the list of possible enemies who have reasons to target the Purnesse Family, there are too many interests in the Grand Loxic Republic.
Knowing who the Larkinson Clan was facing would have been quite helpful in predicting the enemy moves, intentions and amount of mechs it was willing to deploy.
His clan had entered the conflict with too much haste and suffered from the gap in intelligence.
It couldn\'t be helped.
The situation of the Purnesse Family was too dire.
If the Larkinsons hadn\'t made haste, the Violet Estates would have collapsed by now!
The arrival of the second wave is crucial.
The black mechs are obviously banking on reinforcements to bail them out, but they aren\'t the only ones who are relying on follow-up troops to gain the upper hand. General Verle\'s projection stated as he continued to command the overall situation from the Graveyard.
The problem is that our maneuvers are in the open and the enemy\'s movements are in the dark.
Our opponents can roughly predict how many of our mechs are on their way while we have no clue how many enemy reinforcements are on the way.
We don\'t have any suitable sensors in place that can detect an incoming wave of enemy troops.
This was something that Ves noticed as well.
In fact, the Avatars of Myth and Flagrant Vandals weren\'t performing well against the amphibian mechs at all at the moment!
We didn\'t enter the battle with the most appropriate mechs and loadouts. He gestured towards the main projection.
Larkinson mechs were helpless to prevent the black mechs from diving into the water whenever they got into trouble!
The Bright Warriors and Ferocious Piranhas were quite weather resistant.
They were designed to fight under stormy conditions and on untamed planets with fairly hostile environment conditions.
However, they were not designed to submerge in a large body of water!
Once they fell in, there was a significant chance that they wouldn\'t be able to get out!
If the Larkinsons were fighting against regular landbound mechs, then this battle would have unfolded a lot differently.
Mechs on land couldn\'t swim through solid ground, so there was no way for them to escape a determined assault.
Yet because the Larkinson mechs were fighting against amphibian mechs that used the very oceans as their inexhaustible fortification, they were unable to down the black mechs quickly enough!
The Avatar and Vandal mech pilots who clashed against the black mechs began to grow more and more frustrated.
Each time multiple Bright Warriors and Ferocious Piranhas ganged up on a black mech, the target in question simply dove into the water and neatly avoided getting attacked on all sides.
Each time a lancer mech charged against an amphibian mech, the latter simply dipped below the surface and reemerged right after the threat had flown past its head.
The only downside to doing this was that the black mechs weren\'t inflicting as much damage to the Larkinson mechs as before, but it was still a good way to prevent themselves from getting defeated by a qualitatively superior mech force!
[These Larkinsons are idiots.] Miss Quentin communicated in a private communication channel.
[Aerial and spaceborn mechs may be able to suppress aquatic and amphibian mechs, but they can never defeat the opposition.
Right now, we\'re not only fighting on the homeground of these black mechs, we also came without the right equipment!]
The Bright Warrior she piloted hovered helplessly above the waterline.
Its sword barely had any opportunities to cut through metal.
Each time Quentin was about to display her supreme skill to the other Larkinsons, the black mech in her sights would shamelessly dive below and avoid a direct confrontation.
The enemy even marked out her mech as an extremely dangerous threat.
This meant that any opponent she targeted would dive underneath the surface preemptively before she could even launch her first attack!
[If I was piloting my usual mech, I would have been able to chase them through the water or snipe them from above a long time ago! These Bright Warriors suck!]
First-class multipurpose mechs were characterized by their great degree of versatility.
Many of them were fully capable of fighting underwater.
Even if they didn\'t perform too well under aquatic conditions, they still possessed numerous weapon systems that allowed them to punch through water.
Unfortunately, the Larkinson Clan never prepared for this kind of situation.
[We\'re not here to enjoy a picnic, Quentin.] Mr.
Detrivo admonished as his Bright Warrior in knight mech configuration protected the rifleman mechs hovering further away.
[We wouldn\'t be facing any challenge if we fought with our old mechs.
Plenty of mech pilots endure situations like this without any complaints.
This is what true combat is like.]
He may have a good point, but none of the MTA mech pilots felt they were benefiting at the moment.
They just piled up more complaints towards the Larkinson Clan!
Even Ves felt a bit ashamed at the lack of capabilities of his mech forces.
He let out a tired sigh.
I never thought our clan needed to prepare for aquatic combat so soon.
I should have designed at least one amphibian mech for the clan.
We wouldn\'t be in this sorry situation if we prepared an actual answer against our current adversaries.
While he recognized this shortcoming, he wasn\'t sure if he would actually address it anytime soon.
This was a rare situation that would probably not be repeated anytime soon.
The focus of the Larkinson Clan still lay in space.
Ves did not think he made a mistake by focusing most of his attention towards flight-capable mechs.
Air and space combat still remained the main modes of combat to a clan based around a fleet.
General Verle did not look as frustrated though.
He had a cunning smile on his face.
He already figured everything out and formed the most appropriate answer to this development.
When Ves glanced at his trusty military leader, he grew suspicious.
I know that look of yours.
You look as if the situation is still within your grasp.
What are you up to, Verle
The general actually chuckled.
Have you forgotten about our primary mission Why should we insist on eliminating this anonymous force of black mechs Sure, another straightforward victory would embellish our battle record and provide a lot of glory to the Avatars and Vandals, but is that what we are really after
Ves widened his eyes in realization.
Our primary objective has always been to rescue the members of the Purnesse Family that are trapped in the Violet Estates.
Defeating the ones who are targeting them or saving those brightly-colored mansions from destruction are merely side goals that we aren\'t obligated to pursue.
Indeed, even as the Bright Warriors and Ferocious Piranhas kept the black mechs busy, the damaged combat carriers that originally brought the first wave of Larkinsons to the surface had quietly swung back around in order to approach the Violet Estates!
Quick communication between the Larkinson Clan and the Purnesse Family enabled one of the combat carriers to pass through the final defensive barrier without any opposition.
While the other five ragged-looking starships formed into a makeshift wall that blocked any stray projectiles fired by the black mechs, the remaining combat carrier hovered only a short distance away from the main entrance of the largest estate.
The doors slid open, causing a throng of well-dressed but panicked-looking people to float out with their coffers and other luggage.
Security officers stationed aboard the combat carrier flew just outside the open and empty hangar bay and urgently guided the crowd to enter the vessel with haste.
FORGET ABOUT YOUR FIFTEEN COFFERS!
GET IN NOW OR I WILL KICK YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!
The Purnessers were unaccustomed to receiving such rough treatment, but the most senior Purnessers such as Ambassador Shederin did not voice any complaints.
What was dignity compared to their lives The final siege against the Violet Estates had truly caused a lot of Purnessers to reevaluate their priorities!
It took longer than the Larkinsons wanted to evacuate thousands of trueblood Purnessers and their attached personnel and retainers.
Too many of them wanted to bring their luggage along despite being commanded to leave all of those useless goods behind.
This caused the evacuation process to experience a small but significant delay.
They\'re all in! Close the hangar bay and get out as fast as possible!
The combat carrier already flew forward even before the hangar bay doors had fully closed!
The survivors of the Purnesse Family looked bleakly at the Violet Estates becoming smaller and smaller just before the huge hangar bay doors finally slid shut.
They were all stuck aboard a ragged, burn-marked combat carrier now.
The empty hangar bay looked distressingly bare and functional, which was completely opposite to the elegant and luxurious locations they were accustomed to.
The Larkinson Clan was a definite step down from their old environment!
This is our new life now. Someone whispered.
From today onwards, we have lost our permanent home.
We\'ll be wandering the stars forever like a pack of vagabonds.
We have become barbarians now.
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