Chapter 3496: High Expectations
A critical moment had come.
Ves and Ketis had to work together to design a competition mech, but they couldnt win the Wild Brawl Bowl without a mech pilot.
Twenty mech pilots came forth at this time to make themselves available for selection.
According to their profiles, five of them specialized in piloting swordsman mechs.
The other fifteen pilots probably trained in the basics of swordsmanship but were actually excellent in piloting other melee mechs.
There were those who mastered the use of axes, spears, hammers, warpicks, shields and other equipment.
These pilots only became relevant if Team Larkinson wanted to compete with an unexpected mech.
For now, Ketis did not take a serious look at them.
She knew what she was good at and had no intention of straying from her specialty.
That meant picking one of the five swordsman mech pilots.
Team Youngbuck already picked out the most obvious choice.
Giles Harnacher possessed the more comprehensively strong record out of all of the mech pilots among the Wild Fighters.
His ranking, his experience and his skills were just a notch above the others.
Ves found that the differences in strength between the mech pilots available in the Wild Brawl Bowl diverged significantly more than those available in the High Tide Tournament.
This was a clear way to provide a handicap to those who had less time to progress their design philosophies.
Though the best had already been taken, the other five swordsman mech specialists were still quite good in their own ways.
Each of them were sufficiently different from each other in order to provide Team Larkinson with a lot of choice…
The swordmaster first gazed at the women.
Celaine Traxer was the most standard and balanced option.
She was a disciplined, controlled fighter who could wield different types of swords, but excelled the most in one-handed swordsmanship.
She paired best with a mech equipped with a sword as well as a light shield.
Such a swordsman mech could partially function like a knight mech and were very suitable in duels against other melee mechs.
Ketis shook her head.
“Traxer is a good pilot, but shes not committed to a style.
She has skill but she still needs to explore her own heart.”
This was something that the records didnt explain.
They only contained objective, verifiable facts.
Only a proficient swordswoman like Ketis was able to peer deeper.
She moved on to the next mech pilot.
Maida Siferan specialized in wielding dual swords.
This was an unusual specialty not only because it was difficult to become proficient in wielding two swords at once, but also because it was challenging to design a mech that could fully express this fighting approach.
A swordsman mech wielding two blades at once was another classic mech duel staple.
It was always tricky to defeat one if it was piloted by a skilled individual.
Still, it wasnt as popular in actual battlefields as the cost and effort to train the mech pilots and field the right mechs was too burdensome.
Ketis liked this mech pilot a lot more.
“Maida Siferan is a lot more dedicated to her swordsmanship.
She has to be in order to become a dual sword wielder.
Its just that designing the right mech for her is difficult.
I dont think I should make everything harder for myself.”
“Wise choice.” Ves said.
The Wild Brawl Bowl allotted just three days for every team to produce a competition mech.
That was a lot more time in his previous tournament, but there was no need to make their lives more difficult for themselves.
In events like these, it was crucial to simplify a mech design as much as possible.
Each and every added complication not only introduced more points of failure, but also consumed a significant amount of time that could have been spent on more essential aspects of a design.
Though Ketis the swordmaster valued Maida Siferan a lot, Ketis the mech designer was aware that she should not be too adventurous in her first design tournament.
She sighed and quickly moved on to the other three mech pilots, who all happened to be male.
Dzinke Vosfer preferred to pilot heavier mechs with plenty of heft and strength at their disposal.
He was proficient in wielding all manner of large swords and he excelled at maximizing the damage of his own attacks while making his mech last as long as possible.
This was another fighting approach that was tailored to the arena.
“Hes not it.” Ketis shook her head.
This was a shame, because Mr.
Vosfer was the only one of the five who was skillfully able to wield a greatsword.
The problem was that his fighting style was too different from that of the Swordmaidens.
Such a destructive and wasteful combat approach would have long bankrupted or annihilated the Swordmaidens!
Ernest Artoc was a more refined mech pilot.
He was a speed-oriented mech pilot who preferred to pilot light mechs armed with thin swords.
He was a consummate mech duelist who seriously loved to challenge other swordsman mech pilots in a contest of blades.
Ketis looked intrigued when she considered Dzinke Vosfer.
She could sense a competitive spirit in him.
Vosfer reminded him a lot of the passionate citizens of the Heavensword Association.
She was not quite ready to design a light swordsman mech, though.
Though light mech designs were easier and faster to complete, the lack of space seriously challenged a mech designers ability to work under serious space constraints.
She already had a sense of how difficult it was to design a good light mech when she took part in the design of the Dark Zephyr.
That left the remaining mech pilot.
Lyain Kepper was known as a steady practitioner who already built up his own style.
The odd part about his swordsmanship was that he preferred to wield a sword that was attached to a chain.
This allowed him to throw or swing his sword across a larger distance, which was very helpful in fighting against other melee mechs.
Ves had seen another mech employ a chained sword before.
Venerable Linda Cross of the Cross Clan was famed for piloting a space knight armed with this weapon system.
However, the difference between Lyain Kepper and Linda Cross was that the latter was able to leverage resonating materials to add a lot more force behind her extended sword attacks.
Each time the Amphis struck out with its sword, the weapon collided against its target as if the blow was at least five times stronger!
This solution solved a significant weakness of this weapon system and made wielding chainswords viable in duels against other expert mechs.
What worked for expert mechs didnt necessarily work for normal mechs.
A chainsword was much less threatening when it wasnt enhanced with additional power.
Still, Ketis saw something in Mr.
Perhaps his swordsmanship might not actually be the best, but he was earnest about turning it into an advantage.
He sacrificed a lot of progress in other areas in order to become proficient in all kinds of moves with the chainsword.
“Team Larkinson chooses Mr.
Lyain Kepper as its mech pilot.” Ketis announced as soon as she had made her decision.
[Swordmaster Ketis has spoken! Of the five available swordsman mech pilots, she has settled on Lyian Kepper as the Wild Fighter of her choice! Whether he is up to the task of meeting this prodigal daughters high standards remains to be seen, but he will undoubtedly enjoy the honor of piloting one of her personal works!]
The pilot selection process moved on as there were at least two-dozen other teams waiting to make their choices out of the increasingly worsening pool of candidates.
In the meantime, Lyain Kepper slowly floated over to Team Larkinson.
The man looked to be around his forties and already conveyed a mature and experienced air.
While he clearly looked pleased to be working with someone who knew much more about swordsmanship than himself, he possessed enough self-control to maintain his decorum.
“Lyain Kepper, at your disposal.” He bowed in front of Ketis and belatedly to Ves.
“I am honored to act as your champion in this tournament.
I will do my best to live up to your expectations.”
He mostly spoke those words to Ketis.
Though she never displayed her martial skill and transcendent swordsmanship directly in front of the current crowd, no one doubted her superiority over nearly every other swordsman.
Just her restrained aura was enough to convince warriors that she was the real deal!
Ketis was already accustomed to others showing deference to her.
She was much more interested in moving onto business.
“You specialize in piloting mechs armed with chained swords, correct”
“Yes, maam.” The older man replied as if he was a lowly grunt reporting to a superior officer.
“My record should have filled you in on much of what you need to know about my combat effectiveness.
I am accustomed to piloting medium swordsman mechs that arent too light or heavy.
I like to move quickly but I also need enough heft and power to penetrate through armor.”
“Ill test your swordsmanship in person once we begin the design phase, Mr.
I already have an idea of how you fight, but I can only truly determine your skills and your other traits when I am able to test your moves up close.
The more I understand your fighting style, the more I can embody its essence in your swordsman mech.”
She had already displayed numerous different methods to facilitate different sword styles in her previous work.
The First Sword, the Shield of Samar and the Everchanger both benefited from different innovations based around her design philosophy.
“What do you think, Ves” She asked.
“A swordsman mech with a slight variation such as a chainsword adds a bit of complexity, but it is still within an acceptable range.” Ves judged.
“Of course, that depends on what kind of features you want to include in your design.
On one hand, its best to focus on making the basics as solid as possible.
On the other hand, our chances of winning the tournament wont be as high if we keep avoiding risks.”
She understood his point.
“In your last tournament, you took a large risk by basing your competition entry around a lancer mech.”
“It worked out that time, but I could have easily ended up a lot lower in the rankings, Ketis.
I took a calculated gamble with the thought that even if I made the wrong mistake, all I would lose was a bit of reputation and a single day of my time.
Our circumstances are different this time.
The downside of being recognized as the favorites to win the Wild Brawl Bowl is that everyones expectations of us are insanely high.”
“Youre afraid of disappointing everyone”
The fighting phase of this tournament is based around a single elimination bracket.
We cannot afford to suffer a single loss until we reach the semifinals.
If we lose in the earlier rounds, the audience will immediately turn on us and negate much of the reputation that we have gained.
That will ultimately cause us to become a lot less attractive to potential business partners.
Our clan has a real stake in our tournament performance this time.”
This was the cost of becoming such a high-profile tournament participant.
Ves had no illusion that Ketis would get a pass because she was a swordmaster.
She had not yet built up a strong relationship with all of her newfans.
Rather than support her in a time of difficulty, they would become inclined to turn on her and conclude that she was overhyped!
Despite all of these dangers, Ves was not undeterred.
He came into this tournament with a lot of confidence… The competition was more manageable this time as there werent any older Journeymen taking part this time.
There was no excuse for Team Larkinson to perform badly considering the caliber of its two mech designers!
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