One of the two spearman mechs in charge of holding up Zeigra as the beast went after the rifleman mechs tripped.
It shouldn\'t have happened!
Ves and everyone else gasped as they witnessed one of the mechs falter in such a critical moment.
How could a mech that had only faced one brief moment of combat jumble its footing in such an idiotic manner!
Was it the mech pilot Almost certainly not! From their academy days, mech pilots spent thousands of hours practising the right footing for their mechs.
With the consequences of falling due to improper footing so grave, the mech instructors thoroughly force their mech cadets to learn how to walk, run, sprint and sidestep on even the most rugged and uneven simulated terrain!
Though the mech pilot of the spearman mech was fairly young, this proper footing should have still been a critical graduation criteria for even the most basic mech pilots!
Suspicions rapidly turned towards the mech.
As the mech designer who supervised the condition of the mechs, Ves began to receive some unwelcome glares from the others in the command center.
If a mech carried a critical flaw that might have led to a mech losing its footing, then he should have caught it well before the battle commenced!
Aware of the blame he might receive, Ves immediately manipulated the projected interface to call up the logs and telemetry from the tripped spearman mech.
Having studied Zeigra extensively, he had already what kind of tricks the Crown Cat might pull off! This wasn\'t the first time a mech faltered before the powerful organic product, but it never happened so quickly and abruptly!
While Ves tried to seek out the reason for the spearman mech\'s sudden fall, the battle rapidly progressed.
With just one spearman mech left on its feet, its mech pilot continued pushing the machine forward despite the fall of a partner.
However, Zeigra exhibited no concern towards the lone spear targeting its eyes! Belying its prodigious mass, the beast easily sidestepped the thrust and continued charging onwards to the vulnerable rifleman mechs!
Fortunately, the mech pilots of the rifleman mechs had already started moving even before Zeigra closed in.
They split up in different directions and spent more time on sprinting away than firing potshots at the creature.
Zeigra roared in fury and kept charging forward, determined to chase after at least one of the hunter mechs!
Run! Maximize your speed by any means possible! Lady Miralix urged! Backup is on the way but it will take time!
Zeigra\'s mobility posed lots of problems to the vanguard as the huge cat had cleverly threaded a hole in their formation! One spearman mech wasted precious seconds trying to raise itself up its feet while the other desperately sprinted after the speeding beast!
The knight mech chased after the cat as well with its raked shield, but its bulky armor did its speed and acceleration no favors! There was no way the knight mech could ever catch up to an organic product optimized for chasing after prey!
Zeigra wanted to kill the rifleman mech in the center of his vision so much that he began to sprint like a cheetah!
His hind limbs pushed off the soil almost simultaneously, pushing forth his immense bulk with powerful force.
His forelimbs landed and pressed against the soil soon after, stabilizing his feline bulk just enough for his hind limbs to push forth again!
The sinuous undulation of his back during his dash possessed a mesmerizing quality.
The Crown Cat\'s pleasing aesthetics only added to the intimidation factor of the creature.
Practically every mech pilot engaged in battle against the beast already started to quiver!
The rifleman mech that became Zeigra\'s target ran as fast as possible, so much so that it decisively tossed away its ballistic rifle in order to sprint faster with the aid of its arms!
Yet no matter what kind of running technique its mech pilot employed, its speed still fell short of Zeigra\'s dash!
Fire at its limbs! Disturb Zeigra\'s footing as best as you can!
The two rifleman mechs that ran on opposite sides to the dashing cat stopped their flight and turned around to aim at Zeigra\'s limbs!
Their rifles barked out, but the round impacted only empty ground.
It took an agonizingly long time before the rifles fired again! One of the powerful rounds exploded a distance away from the cat as Zeigra cleverly juked at the last moment! Another round fell close enough to encompass one of the limbs, but the damage was too weak to deter the cat from his determined attack.
Lady Miralix and everyone else saw with increasing horror as Zeigra resolutely dodged or withstood every round thrown in his way.
It took vastly more damage before his hide and his flesh degraded! The brief window of opportunity at the moment was far too short to push Zeigra to that point!
Stall Zeigra as best you can before you eject!
The pilot of the rifleman mech kept withdrawing, hoping to stretch out the chase as much as possible.
However, just as it seemed it would take Zeigra half-a-dozen seconds more to close the distance, the rifleman mech jerked and stumbled upon its feet!
Just before the rifleman mech tumbled completely onto its face, the mech pilot had already issued the emergency eject command!
The cockpit blasted out the back of the rifleman mech and flew out of Zeigra\'s grasp just as the furious Crown Cat pounced on what remained!
A triumphant roar bellowed from his throat as Zeigra savaged the rifleman mech with savage glee.
The Crown Cat showed no mercy to the pilot-less mech as he tore through its vulnerable rear armor and made an absolute mess of its internal parts!
Ves looked sick as Zeigra inflicted an incredible amount of destruction to numerous critical components.
He suspected that Zeigra knew exactly what he was doing as the cat deliberately savaged as many parts as possible even though he constantly suffered repeated impacts from the rifles aimed at his sides!
In addition, not only did the Crown Cat destroy the mech with his claws, he also took several meaty bites out of it! An entire arm got ripped apart as Zeigra clamped the rifleman mech\'s shoulder and ripped straight through its armor plating!
He\'s eating the mech! He\'s feeding himself!
In fact, Zeigra became so preoccupied with thrashing and digesting mouthfuls of the mech that the flanking force finally arrived within range!
One more rifleman mech added to the firepower of two of its surviving comrades.
With three ballistic rifles coordinating their firepower, Zeigra began to accumulate increasingly serious damage.
His prone state made it exceptionally easy for the ranged mechs to layer their fire on the same spots they already struck, thereby compounding the damage further and further as time went by!
A pair of axeman mechs led by another knight mech approached from the Crown Cat\'s left! They closed in even as Zeigra greedily kept ingesting choice bits of metals and alloys from the badly-mutilated mech frame underneath its limbs!
Careful! He might be putting on an act!
The warning issued by Lady Miralix proved prescient as the Crown Cat abruptly turned and spat out the contents of his mouth at the approaching knight mech!
The defensive mech raised its shield and blocked the saliva-covered debris without any effort! The mech slowed down as it came close, though, unwilling to charge a cat that was bigger, stronger and bulkier!
Nonetheless, the defensive mech\'s proximity succeeded in drawing Zeigra\'s attention, enough for the flanking axeman mechs to charge at his sides and slam their axes down in unison on the creature\'s wide flanks!
Careful! He\'s launching an attack!
Zeigra\'s huge eyes glinted in savage cunning as he rapidly whirled his body around, abandoning his mutilated prize in favor of batting aside an axe with his paw before chomping his powerful jaws straight onto one of the arms of the axeman mech!
With a powerful heave, the Crown Cat ripped the arm straight off the shoulder of the caught mech!
However, Zeigra\'s choice had left the other axeman mech in a prime position to attack the creature\'s rear! Its mech pilot exploited the opportunity by landing a savage chop with all of the strength and momentum of the charging mech behind the blow!
A painful roar escaped the rust-red-colored cat as the prime axe chop landed straight onto the small of his back! His seemingly-invincible hide suffered a modest but very welcome cut!
We\'ve bled the cat!
Unfortunately, the damage and the trickle of blood that escaped from the cut failed to impact its spine, which might as well be as hard as ship-grade armor plating!
His bones are too tough to break! We already knew that! Concentrate on the flesh! We have to damage his flesh and bleed him dry!
Perhaps Zeigra himself did not expect to get hurt so much, because the cat lost his composure and started lashing out in a mindless flurry of attacks!
Though his savagery increased, the melee mechs that finally caught up managed to keep the berserking cat occupied without suffering any further damage.
A minute passed as two knight mechs, two axeman mechs and two spearman mechs each surrounded Zeigra in a circle.
Whenever the cat targeted a mech, the machine in question would do its best to pull back and avoid getting hit.
In the meantime, the other mechs took advantage of the opening by landing hasty attacks onto Zeigra\'s vulnerable flanks and hindquarters!
Most of the attacks concentrated on the limbs or the cut on his back whenever possible.
Despite the flurry of attacks, the mechs were unable to exert much force or momentum in their blows.
Zeigra\'s hide absorbed most of the blows without too much issue!
The damage is accumulating! Keep going!
The encircement did not manage to press Zeigra enough, though.
One of the axeman mech swung its hefty axe with just a single arm, which significantly hampered its combat effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the spearman mech that recently tripped but climbed back on its feet exhibited far too much caution with its footing.
The mech moved too slow to keep up with Zeigra\'s rapid maneuvering!
In addition to all of this, the ranged mechs no longer dared to open fire, as the risk of hitting the melee mechs became too great! The rifleman mechs instead took advantage of the lull by repositioning themselves while they changed their magazines.
Just as everyone thought they were succeeding in piling up an increasing amount of damage onto the Crown Cat, Zeigra roared yet again!
Though the mech pilots had long grown used to the intimidating roar of their prey, the knight mech with the raked shield inexplicably jerked to a halt!
Its mech engine has stalled! Ves shouted with alarm!
Zeigra instantly pounced at the knight mech, raking its shield again before batting aside the slowed and weakened mech as if it was a light mech!
Apparently, Zeigra no longer wanted to tussle with the mechs and attempted to beat a retreat!
He might be putting on an act again! Stay in formation and don\'t reveal any vulnerabilities!
The Crown Cat continued to dash away from the lake clearing and entered the dense forest.
The thick and immense trees blocked many of the shots from the rifleman mechs as Zeigra cleverly maneuvered his body behind the natural cover!
Just a minute later, the cat managed to sprint out of range!
Stay alert! He might be circling around us for another offensive! Do not lower your guard!
Nothing happened in the next couple of minutes.
Zeigra was well and truly gone.
The first round had ended!
no one looked happy.
Ves continually studied the logs of the stricken mechs but kept one eye on the faces of the hunting consultants and other personnel monitoring the battle in the command center.
The Felixia Catstrikers managed to bleed Zeigra and land plenty of blows against his resilient bulk.
Yet at what cost did they secure the first round
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