Lean reports to a military building for duty, where Manning is discussing the situation with a friend. He’s told that Kerachi has all the right-wing generals on his side, and Akamasu is losing support. Manning greets Lean and asks him to meet later at the front gate. Lean shows up at the front gate in uniform and joins Manning for a walk around the grounds. Manning explains that the Imperial Guards operate under different rules than the navy and army, so they have more freedom of movement. He adds that the Guards’ ranks are full of the sons of high-ranking officials, which keeps them in check if they’re ever considering rebellion. Manning notes that some general is always planning a coup, and they bow when Mendez’s son Prince Perion drives by in a car. Manning points out a building across a lake that houses the kingdom’s force of 80 perfectly restored Armors. Lean asks if he could be a pilot, but Manning laughs at him and explains that pilots have to destroy 10 Armors with a plane before they can use one. Not even the sons of high-ranking officials get to pilot them, so the best work is to spy on other countries. Lean asks how he was able to join the Guards solely on Manning’s recommendation, and Manning cryptically answers that he’s got friends and his own reasons. Queen Miran brings Mendez his medicine, to which she adds a poison. Perion sits in the forest and is informed that Mendez is dead. Kerachi and Akamasu argue over succession, and Kerachi believes they should put young Siplay on the throne instead of Perion. Akamasu objects because Siplay is the youngest son and it goes against tradition. Kerachi counters that Siplay will be an adult in 10 years, while Perion will always be a fool. Miran interrupts and announces that Siplay will be king and Kerachi his regent. The other ministers agree, and Kerachi has Akamasu arrested. Elsewhere, the Zafrin King Scaramanga is informed of Mendez’s death and gives orders regarding a specific Armor at the town of Kosmar. Siplay is crowned king in a ceremony. Manning quizzes Lean about the flags on display from different countries, which indicate a split in support for Rivilia and Zafrin. At a briefing, Manning suggests to Kerachi that they cross through a neutral country to infiltrate Zafrin. Manning tells Lean about Kosmar, a Zafrin mining town that has now become their largest Armor excavation site. Lean asks what their mission is, and Manning tells him that it’s to steal Armors. On the train ride, Lean recalls meeting with Toria earlier about the shop. Lean asks why he was picked for the mission, and Manning tells him a story about a young and old fox who would steal chickens. The young fox would get caught quickly, allowing the old one to escape.
Lean and Manning change trains several times, traveling under the cover of selling lingerie. When they finally reach Kosmar, Lean notes that there’s more guards than they expected. The two meet with several women in a brothel to act out their cover story of selling lingerie. Manning steals a worker’s uniform and tells Lean to sit tight while he investigates the mining site. On the mining train, a man shows Manning a picture of a woman whom the Zafrin are looking for. At the same time, that woman knocks on the door of Lean’s room and barges in with a gun. Lean says that he doesn’t speak Zafrin, and a soldier knocks on the door. The soldier comes in for an inspection and gets pistol whipped by the woman. Lean fumbles to explain that he’s not dangerous, but the woman starts speaking in his language. Scaramanga arrives at the mining site, and Manning gets a look at a massive Armor. A soldier starts questioning Manning, so he shoots him and runs away. Several soldiers give chase, so Manning hops into a nearby Armor and escapes. Scaramanga decides to use the opportunity to conduct a test on the gigantic Armor, which starts to rise slowly. Lean tells the woman she can’t escape and should give herself up, but she calls him out for being a Rivilian spy. Manning calls Lean on the radio and tells him they have to meet in five minutes and escape. Lean tells the woman she should escape with them, but she doesn’t trust him. Several Armors open fire on Manning, but he attacks them and steals an Ax and rifle from one. He kicks up a cloud of dust and uses it as cover to shoot from. The gigantic Armor fires a massive beam that melts the ground behind Manning. Lean and the woman get onto the roof to meet Manning, and she recognizes the gigantic Armor as Verifer. Verifer opens fire on Manning again and starts destroying the town, but the strain proves too much to handle for some of the seekers powering it. Lean and the woman get knocked away, and Manning says he can’t find them to pick them up. He wishes Lean good luck and flies away as the Zafrin give chase. The woman pulls out her gun again and accuses Lean of being a liar.
The political situation changes when Queen Miran poisons King Mendez and kills him (which comes as no surprise at all). Since Perion is an idiot, Miran intends for her young son Siplay to take the throne, with Kerachi as his regent. Given how much of a hawk he is, it’s only a matter of time before Rivilia is at open war with Zafrin. At the same time, Lean and Manning are sent on a mission into Zafrin territory to investigate a mining town that is actually an excavation site for Armors. What Manning finds is a gigantic monster of an Armor named Verifer. Lean also gets in trouble with a mysterious woman the Zafrin are searching for. Manning leaves Lean behind after Verifer ignites a massive trail of destruction. Clearly, Scaramanga doesn’t care about killing his own people for the sake of maintaining a secret. Now, Lean is trapped behind enemy lines with an angry woman who doesn’t trust him.