Joshua here is a recent graduate I picked up from Meirling.
The famed advanced mech academy in Bentheim Ves briefly glanced away from the pathetic kneeling mech pilot.
What an odd display!
He just joined us a few weeks ago, so he\'s still an unpolished gem.
Don\'t let your first impressions fool you, though.
Joshua is a top graduate from that mech academy who received many favorable offers from various mech regiments.
He could have accepted a fast-track career at the Mech Corps, but he set his sights on the Avatars.
This young mech pilot became more and more interesting to Ves.
Sit up, Joshua.
You\'re an Avatar, not a groveler.
Have some pride.
Why did you choose the Avatars
I\'m your biggest fan, sir! Perhaps you don\'t remember me, but I piloted one of your first virtual designs back when you were publishing mechs under the name of Chasing Clouds.
I grew up piloting the Seraphim, the Young Blood, the Old Soul and both Marc Antony versions! I even piloted the virtual versions of your original mech models! I\'ve piloted them all!
Ves looked a bit astonished.
You piloted my earliest works
I was born and raised on Cloudy Curtain, just like you, sir. Joshua smiled.
Maybe you don\'t remember me, but you even interviewed me a long time ago.
No wonder Joshua showed so much enthusiasm at meeting Ves.
As a fellow Cloudy Curtainer, the young mech pilot probably grew up admiring Ves after he elevated the LMC from a small mech workshop into a large mech manufacturer!
This explained why Joshua was eager to become an Avatar!
The more Ves studied Joshua, the more he became satisfied.
Joshua not only possessed an excellent academic record, but also carried spiritual potential with unusual attributes.
What\'s his genetic aptitude Ves whispered to Melkor.
Genetic aptitude was a very sensitive topic to mech pilots.
It wasn\'t polite of him to ask Joshua directly.
C , which is about the same as many Larkinson mech pilots.
A genetic aptitude of C was merely regarded as higher-than-average in the mech community.
Nonetheless, genetic aptitude was not the sole factor in determining whether a mech pilot could advance to expert pilot or higher.
It merely described the maximum load a mech pilot could sustain when interfacing with a mech.
A grade of C was more than sufficient to pilot most standard mechs.
Once a mech pilot advanced to expert, their minds were capable of doing so much more.
At that time, genetic aptitude mostly determined how easily they would be able to advance to the next step.
A monster like Venerable Foster faced much fewer hurdles in advancing to ace pilot than someone with a lower aptitude!
While it sounded unfair, this was simply the way the galaxy worked!
Satisfactory. Ves softly nodded.
I\'m very satisfied with him.
Take good care of him, Melkor.
Melkor nodded in acknowledgement.
What pleased Ves the most about Joshua wasn\'t necessarily his academic pedigree.
His spiritual potential, spiritual attributes and genetic aptitude did not warrant too much attention either.
No, the true reason Ves regarded this young mech pilot with favor was the latter\'s unquestioning devotion!
Biggest fan or not, Ves confidently judged that Joshua was sincere in his admiration!
As far as Ves was concerned, Joshua didn\'t even have to risk his life against the sandmen to prove his loyalty.
This fanboy and fellow Cloudy Curtainer had already completed his indoctrination ahead of time!
Maybe we should put more effort into recruiting other locals. Ves remarked to Melkor.
Joshua is an exception.
Most mech pilots from this planet aren\'t even good enough to join the Sentinels.
It isn\'t until recently our family took over the basic mech academy of Freslin and improved its training standards.
Ves spent a few more minutes of his time directing his attention to the remaining young Avatars.
It was enough for them to meet their employer in person.
The impression he made would be seared in their minds as they matured to become the backbone of the Avatars for many decades.
He ended his visit shortly afterwards.
As Ves left the Avatar\'s base of operation, Gloriana linked her arm with his and walked alongside him with a gentle smile.
I didn\'t think much of your \'Avatars of Myth\' when I first heard of them, but you\'ve surprised me, Ves.
Oh Ves raised his eyebrow.
What has caught your attention
The quality and potential of some of those young mech pilots are very high.
Since I specialize in fitting mechs to mech pilots, I\'m very good at judging their quality.
Most of them have what it takes to become elites.
If their upbringing and augmentations were a little bit better, then they could have enjoyed storied careers in the Hex Army.
That was high praise from someone like Gloriana.
Are my Avatars really that good in your eyes
Most of the Larkinson mech pilots I\'ve seen so far are also pretty decent.
Whether it\'s their mindsets or their physical conditioning, they\'re good material.
While his girlfriend spoke highly of the Larkinsons, Ves believed that part of it was because they were his relatives.
She wouldn\'t speak so highly of them if he wasn\'t a Larkinson!
Even so, Gloriana never lied when it came to expressing her likes and dislikes.
Since this topic was related to her design philosophy, she would never lie to Ves just to make him feel better.
What do you think about the odds of elevating my Avatars to second-class mech pilots
It shouldn\'t be a problem as long as you invest in the right augmentations for them.
Your relatives have a particularly solid foundation, so they should be able to succeed in a couple of years of focused training.
Is the Glory Battalion willing to train my men
I\'ll make them accept this assignment.
Don\'t worry, Ves.
You\'ll get your own second-class mech pilots to play with.
Just be ready to provide the required support.
The cost of converting a third-class mech pilot to a second-class mech pilot varied.
While Ves could make do with investing a couple of million of credits, better and faster results could be achieved if he invested ten or even a hundred times more!
Ves was not in the habit of wasting so much money, though.
Investing a few million credits per Avatar was the most he was willing to spend.
What if a mech pilot that cost him a billion credits to nurture suddenly got shot down by an enemy mech one day
Fortunately, as long as his Avatars possessed the right foundation, it shouldn\'t be too difficult to make the transition.
What Ves should really be concerned about was having the right second-class mechs in place.
He had to make sure he became proficient in designing second-class mechs by then because he did not wish to resort to buying someone else\'s products to outfit his premier mech force.
I have a lot of studying to do to design the mechs my Avatars deserve. He sighed.
Gloriana pressed closer against him.
I\'m sure you\'ll get it within a year.
I\'ll do whatever I can to help you become a qualified second-class mech designer.
Otherwise, how will you be able to prove yourself to my dynasty within three years
What are you talking about
I made an agreement with my mother.
We need to accelerate our timeline and produce a second-class masterwork mech within three years!
That\'s way too fast! Ves clutched his heart in shock.
I\'m not even confident I can produce another masterwork mech within a decade!
It was simply too hard to make a masterwork mech on demand! Even if Ves had made one before and even if Gloriana\'s design philosophy increased the odds of making one, that still left them with a miniscule chance!
I know we can do it, Ves. She spoke and grasped his hands.
As long as we develop our synergies, it will only be a matter of time before we manage to make a fantastic masterwork mech.
Though Ves still remained skeptical, he did not reject the challenge.
Producing a masterwork within three years would confound any Journeyman or Senior, but Ves was different.
Having finished touring the Mech Nursery, the couple left the complex and returned to the Cloud Estate.
There, they enjoyed a quiet dinner together before relaxing outside during the evening.
Though Ves felt very ambivalent about the presence of so many Larkinsons at his estate, he quickly felt at ease once he sat among his uncles and aunts.
Despite his high standing within his family, the Larkinsons were never very hierarchical to begin with.
The elders only enjoyed slightly higher regard.
Only the expert pilots in the family enjoyed respect.
We know you\'re very busy. An old Larkinson calmly spoke to him.
You\'re in the prime of your life.
When I was as young as you, I dreamed of having a rich girlfriend like you.
Who are we to spoil the best years of your life Cherish these times, Ves.
I will. Ves nodded with some respect.
He continued to chat with the oldest Larkinsons.
Because they had already experienced a fulfilling life, Ves did not sense any ulterior motives from them aside.
They didn\'t even beg Ves to allocate more money and resources to their children and grandchildren.
Ves didn\'t make those kinds of decisions anyway.
While Ves started to enjoy his time with the old and placid Larkinsons, Gloriana played with the very youngest Larkinsons.
The young kids quickly became bedazzled by her beauty and charm.
She giggled frequently as she played along with some of their games.
What surprised Ves the most was that Gloriana did not bring up anything related to hexism at all! She also treated boys and girls with an equal amount of consideration.
As Ves continued to keep an eye on his girlfriend, he began to suspect that she was deliberately trying to charm the Larkinsons!
Why shouldn\'t she If she managed to get on the bad side of the Larkinsons, then her relationship with Ves would certainly be in jeopardy! At the very least, the tension would introduce a lot of strain!
It pleased him a lot to see her getting along with the Larkinsons and vica versa.
Though it remained to be seen whether she could earn the approval of every Larkinson, she was well on her way to winning the hearts of the younger ones.
They decided to retire after a few hours.
It was already bedtime for the youngest Larkinsons.
Your family is very wholesome, Ves. Gloriana remarked as she accompanied him to the main mansion.
It\'s different from the Wodins.
Every relative of mine has something to prove.
Even if we\'re not as bad as some of the more competitive dynasties, it\'s very rare to encounter a Wodin who is able to put down their worries and enjoy a simple life.
The two enjoyed different upbringings, but they managed to be compatible so far.
As long as Ves continued to get along with Gloriana, he was happy with what he got.
He couldn\'t ask for more in their relationship.
Will I be able to fit in with the Wodins He asked.
It\'s… very difficult.
Even if we pass our three-year challenge, you\'ll always be regarded as an outsider by the Wodin Dynasty.
Don\'t misunderstand me, Gloriana.
I don\'t want to become a Wodin.
I\'m a Larkinson.
I like to keep it that way.
Both of them smiled at each other.
They were both proud of their families and didn\'t want to lose those parts of their identities.
The time they spent with the Larkinsons somehow brought them closer together.
A harmony formed between them that was just as amazing as the synergies they discovered when they collaborated on a design project.
I love you, Ves.
I love you too.
Let\'s get back to work tomorrow, okay
The two kissed each other at the porch of their mansion.
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