Chapter 2334 - Cracking the Secret
Joshua hesitantly pulled Jannzi into a hug.
While she didn\'t push him away, her lack of reaction showed that she didn\'t care too much about his gesture.
Secretly, he felt quite frustrated! Just as he had made a bit of progress in earning her favor, she suddenly broke through to expert pilot.
Ever since she returned from that amazing battle, it was as if she went back to being aloof again.
Jannzi was still the same person for the most part.
Compared to the past, Joshua noticed that she had become a lot more decisive.
She never changed her mind either.
Once she made a decision, she rarely doubted her choice.
He knew what expert pilots were supposed to be like.
Many trueblood Larkinsons spent a lot of time with other expert pilots.
In fact, most Larkinson expert pilots were fairly approachable.
They still possessed plenty of warmth and emotions towards their own families.
The problem was that Jannzi acted more distant towards him after she underwent apotheosis.
Though he could still sense her love towards the Larkinson Clan, it became more and more difficult for Joshua to connect to her on an individual level.
Their relationship was not to be.
Maybe he wasn\'t the right boyfriend for her.
The main reason he hadn\'t given up yet was because he still possessed a chance to turn this situation around.
He just had to advance to expert pilot as well.
Once he became her equal, he should be able to worm himself inside her heart again!
I need to return to my duties, Joshua. She spoke as she finally shrugged off his arms and rose to her feet.
I have promised to tutor a large number of mech pilots.
I can\'t stay away for long.
You just tutored a batch of mech pilots earlier!
There are many mech pilots in our clan.
You don\'t have to spend so much time on guiding them, Jannzi.
We are still in dangerous territory.
Our task force\'s battle prowess has suffered quite a lot.
Though my breakthrough allows me to exert greater strength, my Shield of Samar is still a standard mech.
The amount of help I can provide in battle is limited.
Since I can\'t exert my strength in piloting mechs, I can damn well make sure to help our other colleagues perform better!
She didn\'t accept any further arguments.
She left the compartment without another word.
Joshua watched her go with a difficult expression on his face.
He gritted his teeth.
Just you wait, Jannzi! I\'ll catch up with you! I\'ll earn your acknowledgement.
I did it before.
I can do it again! My potential isn\'t any less than yours!
The sooner he broke through, the better!
Elsewhere on the Redfeather, Commander Melkor processed the mech pilots who perished in the earlier battle.
It was always hard for him to accept the Avatars who died under his command.
Sometimes, the responsibility was too much for him.
How could he possibly return to the families of the fallen and tell them that their relatives died for a good cause
The Larkinsons botched their attack on Ulimo Citadel.
There was no doubt about that.
Even if they won in the end and gained an expert pilot out of it, Melkor would have rather avoided the battle entirely.
He momentarily removed his visor on his face to rub his exhausted eyes.
He personally knew some of the Avatars who died.
Some of them were even trueblood Larkinsons.
Their deaths hurt him even more.
While the clan could easily replenish the losses of adopted Larkinsons, the amount of trueblood relatives in his clan only grew less and less.
Until the next generation of Larkinsons grew up, repeated battles only accelerated their fading presence in the clan.
It was not as if Melkor looked down on the adopted.
It was just a pity to see the original Larkinsons who initially followed Ves become increasingly less relevant.
It was as if Ves had hoodwinked the trueblood Larkinsons.
In the future, the clan would likely be led by Larkinsons who weren\'t part of the original family.
While their bloodline would always persist, their say in matters wouldn\'t be as significant as before.
It was hard for them to lead the entire clan when more than ninety percent of the clan consisted of adopted Larkinsons and their descendants!
His desk terminal chimed.
Melkor quickly put his visor back on his face before accepting the call.
A projection of Commander Magdalena appeared in front of him.
It\'s not easy.
It must be even harder for you.
Out of all of our commands, yours suffered the most.
So far, the Living Sentinels have lost almost 300 mech pilots from the time they entered the Nyxian Gap.
Considering that the Sentinels actually started off with 500 mech pilots, this was a devastating loss! Much of their carriers had grown much quiet as a result.
Though the Sentinels endured the greatest tragedy, Commander Magdalena kept her composure.
This is not the time to mourn.
It is fine to spare some thought to the fallen, but don\'t let it consume your attention.
There are many dangers in the Nyxian Gap that can still waylay us as we try to make it out of this region.
Even if my Sentinels have difficulty processing the losses, I cannot allow them to wallow in pity.
I admire your resilience.
You get used to it. She replied.
I have witnessed worse in the Mech Corps during the height of the Bright-Vesia War.
Mech pilots must live with death if they want to retain the courage to step onto the battlefield.
This is even more important for mech officers like us.
We don\'t just have to take care of ourselves.
We also have to do our best to keep our men and women alive.
This is the burden of responsibility.
While the commanders of the Avatars of Myth and the Living Sentinels discussed how to cope with the responsibilities they bore, elsewhere in the fleet, Ketis sat behind a terminal in the design lab of the Scarlet Rose.
Ever since she fought to end the ritual that threatened the task force, she was filled with multiple great ideas.
She felt as if her understanding of mechs and swordsmanship had evolved.
Coming up with the Monster Slayer concept was just one of her benefits.
Three different incomplete mech designs projected in front of her.
Each of them weren\'t that good, as Ves already made clear, but they were hers.
Just because they possessed faults didn\'t mean she should throw them away.
She had spent the last days refining them until she was happy with her changes.
The mechs became a bit more responsive and a bit more capable of swinging their swords.
Still, it was the fourth projected design that attracted most of her attention.
It was just a sketch for now.
Ketis stretched out a finger and added a new line to the collection of contours.
The preliminary draft of her Monster Slayer design became a bit more visible.
Though Ketis opted to design a medium mech, the tight proportions of the draft design made it clear that it was oriented around mobility.
Her Monster Slayer was designed to fight against stronger and larger opponents.
The design needed to possess a lot of skill expression, and the best way to do that was to increase their mobility.
The price for that was less armor.
For a third-class mech, this was a very painful tradeoff.
It was not as bad with second-class designs.
Thin and light armor systems still provided at least some effective defense, especially if the Monster Slayer enjoyed a generous budget.
She was sure that Ves would agree to give her the room to design an expensive mech.
The Monster Slayer was targeted towards the Swordmaidens.
Ketis wanted to provide her fellow sisters with a mech that best matched their swordsmanship style!
She originally intended to make her Monster Slayer a third-class mech design.
However, she changed her mind when she realized that her fellow sisters urgently needed stronger mechs in order to face the enemies of the future.
The problem was that despite her frantic study efforts, she was still too far off from becoming a qualified second-class mech designer.
It helps that I don\'t have to study so many different subjects.
She didn\'t intend to study a lot of subjects related to ranged mechs and other mechs.
If she ever needed to add ranged weapons to her mech, she could just ask for help from Ves or other colleagues.
There was no need for her to spread her time too much.
That said, even if she studied the bare minimum of topics, it would still take years for her to get anywhere close to designing a second-class mech!
Maybe I should get an implant just like Ves. She muttered.
She was a bit reluctant to do so.
While she didn\'t share Ves\' paranoia, right now she wasn\'t satisfied with her current options.
Ves managed to obtain a CFA implant.
If Ketis wanted to keep up with him and not be left in the dust, she needed something that was just as good!
How difficult can it be to obtain a first-class implant
The difficulty was immense! Decent first-class implants likely cost more than the entire net worth of the Larkinson Clan!
This was a huge gap that Ketis could never catch up in the short term.
The only way for her to buy such an implant was to make a lot of money by designing commercially-successful mech designs.
Right now, she wasn\'t confident in her ability to earn so much money.
Her mech designs simply weren\'t as compelling as the mechs designed by Ves.
Unlike the designs projected in front of her face, every work from her mentor possessed a touch of life!
Though Ketis primarily obsessed about swords, she also appreciated what Ves was able to do.
There were plenty of times where she felt envious at how much he could add to his mech designs despite not adding any special components.
Somehow, he\'s adding something invisible to his mech designs.
What is it How does he do it Can I do the same
She stared at her mech designs.
She focused on her \'defensive\' dual-wielding swordsman mech.
Its two thick swords looked ready to slice apart a mech or hold its thick swords in a defensive posture to block incoming attacks.
She concentrated really hard and tried to emulate Ves.
What am I missing
She puzzled over the problem before her eyes lit up.
She suddenly had a good idea!
Ves has his gods, but I have my swords!
She grabbed her CFA greatsword and pulled it out of its sheath.
She stood up from her desk and pointed its lengthy tip at her duel-wielding swordsman mech design.
Sharpie! Bless this mech design with..
with your sword energy! Sharpen its blades and help it cut through its enemies! Go!
Much to her delight, Sharpie seemed to reacted to her request! The Grand Cutter grew more active and Ketis felt as if her mind sword drained a part of her concentration.
She suddenly blanked out for a moment as her mind sword released all of its energy!
When she recovered from her momentary blackout, she almost collapsed back onto her seat.
She hastily placed her sword back onto her desk before she accidentally cut something.
What was that!
It took half a minute for her to recover from her unexpected mental exertion.
She still felt lethargic.
She turned her attention to her mech design and stared at it for a while.
Had Sharpie blessed its swords
Why does it look the same
Maybe once was not enough.
Can you do that trick again, Sharpie
Her sword intent reacted negatively.
Oh… maybe tomorrow
A part of her was disappointed at the lack of results.
Another part of her believed she accomplished something.
I definitely did something! Maybe I\'ve cracked the secret to how Ves makes his mechs alive!
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