WebNovel The Mech Touch Chapter 2998: Daphania

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Chapter 2998: Daphania

The Larkinson Clan’s pa.s.sage into Winged Serenade s.p.a.ce caused a lot of people to relax and stop looking behind their backs.

They had traveled even further away from the Komodo Star Sector than before. The chances of encountering another Fridayman ambush force was minimal. In addition, crossing over the border put another barrier in between any possible pursuit from the Life Research a.s.sociation, not that it seemed likely for the state to chase after a bunch of foreign visitors.

Ves nonetheless felt a lot more liberated than before. He not only separated himself from the trouble in the previous star sectors, but also took another step away from the Nyxian Gap and all of the trouble it contained.

One of the greatest reasons why he was so eager to move away was to escape the attention of the Five Scrolls Compact. As long as he moved away fast enough before the Compact’s next batch of cultists arrived, the chances that Ves would get swept up by their investigation decreased.

Though it was probably unrealistic for him to escape their notice completely when he had already accomplished a lot of notable deeds in the hazardous region, it was very hard to perform follow-up investigation on him when his fleet was already on the other side of the star cl.u.s.ter!

Now that he had reached the Winged Serenade Star Sector, he became even more confident that he had left the troubles of the past behind.

He could fully look forward to the future now on. The journey through the star cl.u.s.ters occupied his thoughts to an increasing degree.

He did not want to stir up any more trouble from now until he reached the beyonder gate.

If he got caught up in yet another incident, then he hoped that he at least reached the Red Ocean. The Larkinson Clan may have grown explosively, but it still lacked too much time to integrate the new members and acquire enough mechs to make use of all of its new mech pilots.

After his meeting with Calabast, Ves realized that he was becoming too detached from all of the developments happening within his clan.

Even though Gloriana expected him to perform a lot of work every day, he did not want to miss all of the crucial changes happening within this clan. This was why he occasionally went out and toured different parts of his fleet on occasion.

One of his first destinations was the new Swordmaidens and the former Heavensworders. Tens of thousands of people from the Heavensword a.s.sociation had just suddenly decided to follow Ketis back to the Larkinson Clan due to hero wors.h.i.+p. This was extremely abnormal and something that Ves should have looked into sooner.

Unlike the former Lifers who occupied the Dragon’s Den, Ves did not have any personal impression of the Heavensworders. He only heard stories and watched footage of them. He also received occasional reports about their development from General Verle and others in the clan.

Though the Heavensworders kept themselves well-behaved, their culture was still too different from that of the rest of the clan. Their obsession with swordsmans.h.i.+p played such a huge part of their lives that they had trouble befriending those who didn’t share in their common pa.s.sion.

This cultural trait slowed down their a.s.similation and kept many of them isolated aboard their Heavensworder stars.h.i.+ps.

This was why Ves decided to visit one of their combat carriers. He contemplated whether he should take Ketis along, but thought better of this option.

As a newly-advanced Journeyman, her ability to solve high-level problems was not as good as his. Her knowledge acc.u.mulation also wasn’t as good. She was forced to spend much of her time studying more advanced textbooks in order to acquire the knowledge to work on second-cla.s.s mech designs.

“Besides, I don’t want to turn all of those Heavensworders into fanboys and fangirls.” He muttered.

He knew how the Heavensworders behaved in her presence. They became so starry-eyed that Ketis could even command them to strip their clothes without receiving any objection!

This was not what Ves wanted to encounter. He wanted to witness the Heavensworders in their most regular condition.

Ironically enough, the extremely high status of Ketis played in his favor. His student was such a great authority figure to them that these ‘clansmen’ didn’t really look up to Ves that much!

The greeting party he received when his shuttle docked in the hangar bay only consisted of a handful of personnel.

An old man along with a few serious-looking guards armed with prominent swords stood a small distance away from the landing site.

“Patriarch Larkinson, welcome aboard the Vinter Mercy. Please forgive our lack of preparations for your reception. Your visit came on short notice and we haven’t been able to organize a proper welcome for your arrival.”

“It’s fine.” Ves dismissively waved his hand. “Are you Director Fred Walinksi?”

“Deputy director, actually. Swordmaster Ketis is still the true head of our sword school. I cannot hold the highest seat due to my inferior swordsmans.h.i.+p.”

Ves briefly frowned. He already knew that Fred was the actual person who ran this organization within his clan. Ketis did not possess any inherent administration and management abilities. Even if her recent advancement gave her the confidence to take charge, that did not solve the fact that she didn’t have the time to run all of the affairs of her sword school.

Her solution was to simply let Fred take care of all of the work. She was much like him in that regard, so he didn’t have much grounds to criticize this arrangement.

“Are those the swordsman mechs of your former state?”

“Why yes. Would you like to take a closer look?”

“Yes. They are quite intriguing to me. I can see their quality is not low.”

When Ves, Fred and their bodyguards moved in front of the feet of one of the large sword-wielding machines, they all paused for a moment.

Ves observed every single detail he could see with his eyes. He also expanded his spiritual senses and tried to get a glimpse of the character of the mech.

Though the swordsman mech was dead to his senses, he could still perceive hints of dedication from their mech pilots. A faint intensity that reminded him of Ketis lingered in the c.o.c.kpit area far above his head.

What he had just sensed told him quite a lot about the mech and the mech pilots a.s.signed to it. When Ves swept his senses to the adjacent mechs parked in the hangar bay, he saw that their situation was not different.

“I’ve heard a lot of praises about the mech pilots from your former state. They’re very enthusiastic and always put in a lot of effort in training.”

“That is natural.” Fred beamed with pride. “We wouldn’t be Heavensworders if we did not take our training seriously. Swordsmans.h.i.+p is everything to us. Anyone who slacks off not only profanes the sword school they belong to, but also profanes our very tradition!”

It seemed that more than a month of joining the Larkinson Clan did not have much effect in diminis.h.i.+ng their ident.i.ties as citizens of the Heavensword a.s.sociation. That was not good news to Ves.

He did not bring this topic up, though. Instead, he glanced around and noted the conditions of the swordsman mechs and the mech technicians performing routine maintenance on the machines.

“I’m glad to see that your men are taking excellent care of your mechs.” Ves genuinely smiled. “Few crews realize the importance of performing frequent, preventative maintenance.”

“We treat our mechs like we do our swords. These weapons are our most valuable partners. We cannot allow them to falter in battle due to negligence. Any swordsman who leaves a single stain of corrosion on his blade will get beaten up by his fellow peers. Any mech pilot who notices that a fault hasn’t been fixed will beat up the mech technicians who failed to do their jobs.”

“And that is allowed?”

Fred firmly nodded. “Faulty equipment won’t just affect the swordsman or mech pilot in question, but will also drag down their comrades.”

Ves was pleasantly surprised by that att.i.tude. He appreciated those who took their equipment seriously and did the best they could to keep them in good shape. He too believed that small slip-ups and misses could lead to preventable losses.

“Do you have to resort to physical punishment, though?”

“Getting your arm cut off or your teeth knocked out is not a big deal, patriarch. Our doctors can always grow them back. What they can’t do is to bring a corpse back to life. Not even those sn.o.bbish Lifers you took on can accomplish the impossible.”

That made a lot of sense, though Ves still thought it was too extreme. He did not want Larkinsons to brawl with each other like they were thugs. There were better ways to address shortcomings than resorting to fists and swords.

He spent a few more minutes inspecting the hangar bay before he was satisfied.

“Let’s tour the rest of this fine s.h.i.+p. I am curious how you Heavensworders are faring in our fleet. How have you adapted to life in s.p.a.ce?”

The small group moved out of the hangar bay and moved through the corridors of the sizable combat carrier.

The interior design had only been partially converted to the Larkinson Clan’s aesthetic standards. While Ves saw plenty of banners and markings of the Golden Cat and so on, he also spotted a large amount of traditional Heavensword a.s.sociation symbols such as a sword with wings and so on. The crew of the Vinter Mercy hadn’t tried very hard to wipe away the traces of their past lives.

“We’re a tough bunch, patriarch. Hardly any of us have suffered from any major discomfort. We all knew what we signed up for, and we faced plenty of harsh circ.u.mstances during our most intensive training periods.”

“That sounds good.”

They eventually moved into a large training hall. While Ves had visited his fair share of physical training venues, none of that prepared him for the sheer energy displayed by the disciples of the Annihilator Sword School!

“Ha!”

Eighty sword disciples simultaneously hacked their sabers down.

“Ha!”

Those same disciples swept their sabers from left to right.

“Ha!”

The young swordmen simultaneously lunged forward and hacked their blades at an imaginary target.

There were sparring rings to the side which pitted swordsmen against other swordmen. Fortunately, they all wore protective equipment as well as practice blades, but the sheer physical exchanges were so intensive that not even Ves could cope with all of the aggression!

“How many of them are mech pilots?”

“Just twenty percent.” Fred replied.

“That few?” Ves looked puzzled.

The deputy director looked at the patriarch more seriously. “We do not view the profession of swordsman as something useless or outdated. There is always a place for those who pursue the limits of martial ability. Perhaps we might seem as antiques to you, but to us this is a sacred tradition. Our entry into the Larkinson Clan hasn’t changed that. We believe we can spread the glory of swordsmans.h.i.+p to our new comrades!”

Ves realized he underestimated the extreme nature of the ‘former’ Heavensworders. The reports he received did not fully explain how stubborn these new clansmen clung to their old ways and resisted the ways of their new clan.

He thought that since the Heavensworders were secularists, these new sword enthusiasts would eventually blend in with the rest of the clan sooner or later.

It appeared that he had been hopelessly optimistic when he made this a.s.sessment. The strong deviation and willpower exhibited by all of these sword disciples made them no different from religious fanatics in his eyes!

These weren’t secularists. They were literal sword wors.h.i.+ppers!

Ves just had to sweep his spiritual senses over the minds of these training swordsmen to know that each and every one of them was putting their full concentration into their regular practice. Their training program was practically a sacred ritual to them. None of these Heavensworders ever thought about taking it easy because that was an act of blasphemy towards the object of their wors.h.i.+p!

“Do these people ever take a break?” He softly asked. “Do they go on vacation or something?”

“Oh, don’t a.s.sume that every citizen of the Heavensword a.s.socation are as diligent and disciplined as our men here. There are many citizens who haven’t been able to pursue swordsmans.h.i.+p at all or as much as our men here. We still need people to design our mechs, crew our stars.h.i.+ps, man our factories, run our businesses and so on. This part of our former state shares a much greater resemblance to your Larkinsons.”

Ves relaxed a bit after hearing that. Maybe the problem wasn’t too great.

Unfortunately, he did not relax for long.

“We left all of them behind.” Deputy Director Fred stated with a grin. “We brought only the most deviated and dedicated followers of Swordmaster Ketis. Only the best and most diligent citizens and swordsmen of our states deserve the honor to follow her into the Red Ocean! Have no fear, Mr. Larkinson. We did not introduce any deadweight into the clan. I can guarantee you that each and every Heavensworders among us is just as committed to swordsmans.h.i.+p as these fine warriors!”

“Oh.”

———-

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