ve influences at work in every layer of society, it could be anyone who secretly backed his ascent.

Ves figured that the best way to deflect these questions was to simply leave them open and let the person make up their own guesses.

However, on account of his friendship with Carlos, Ves believed he needed to supply some sort of answer this time.

if you ’ve seen a glimpse of the full extent of the galaxy as I have, then you ’ll realize that the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom are only tiny fishes in an unimaginably huge pond.
I think in the coming years you ’ll begin to realize that only the greater powers truly matter. ”

”What kind of answer is that? ”

”It ’s the truth.
Whether you believe me or not is up to you.
All I want to add is that if you are not comfortable working under me anymore, you are free to go.
As long as you abide by the NDA ’s you ’ve signed, I ’ll support you whether you want to return to return to the Root Raiders or work for another company? ”

”Will you support me if I want to found my own mech company? ”

”I ’m even willing to do that if that ’s what you want.
However, my help will come in the form of a business investment rather than a personal handout.
I will expect to have a say in how your company is run and be entitled to a commensurate share of dividends. ”

”What if I don ’t want your help? ”

”Even if you manage to secure alternate funding sources, I will still insist on owing a small share in the profits your company has earned. ” Ves bluntly replied.
He firmly shook off the velvet gloves this time.
”With all the assistance I ’ve provided over the years, you owe me at least that much.
I invested in you because I ’m hopeful that you ’ll be a fine addition to my design team.
If you want to walk away, then I will at least demand a small proportion of the profits or income you make in any future endeavors.
This is the custom among mech designers in the mech industry. ”

The harsh dose of reality poured cold water on Carlos ’ increasingly wild ambitions.
Even though he had become much more competent as a mech designer lately, what would he be without Ves?

As much as Carlos yearned for more, he needed to consider whether he had the ability to make it on his own in the first place!

Unless his buddies at the Root Raiders provided the seed money for him to found his own mech company, Carlos could only turn to his old friend and employer for funding.
Yet where would that leave him? Having Ves as a major shareholder of his new company was no different than working for Ves directly at the LMC!

Either way, there was no escaping the fact that Carlos needed to continue to work for Ves if he wanted to get his mech design career off the ground!

As Carlos went through various calculations and considerations, Ves calmly observed his friend while maintaining a calm facade.

Ves did not want to coerce his newly-returned friend.
He hoped that Carlos would set aside his overblown ambitions and fall in line.

The two might have been classmates once, but as a Journeyman Ves had gone much further ahead in his career!

The disparity between the two had widened so much that Ves would only be doing Carlos a disservice by coddling him.
They were both adults.
While their friendship and their shared past counted for a lot, as a successful mech designer Ves could not set aside basic realities when deciding how to handle this thorny situation.

Stuck between a gentle approach and a firm approach, Ves decided to assert himself and put his foot down!

Sentiment may have counted for something, but Ves would not allow it to stand in the way of business to this extent!

After a minute of internal struggle, Carlos lowered his shoulders.
”I don ’t know what I want to do with my life, Ves.
I think I need some time to myself to figure it out on my own.
Can you give me some time? ”

”Sure. ” Ves nonchalantly waved his hand.
”I suggest you go on vacation.
Go on a trip to Moira ’s Paradise or something and clear your mind.
Once you figure out what you want in your life and the best way to accomplish that, you can come back to me to deliver your answer. ”

I know I ’ve crossed a line, but..
I ’m really tired. ”

”I understand.
Some people come back from the war with more scars than others. ”

As someone who grew up in the military family, Ves was very cognizant about the psychological wounds that war could leave behind in someone ’s psyche.
Not all wounds could be healed by replacing damaged portions with cloned tissue.
When it came to wounds to the mind, aside from taking dubiously effective medicine, only time and therapy worked.

”Do you have any family, Carlos? ”

”You ’ve met my parents before, Ves. ”

”Then I suggest you visit them for a time.
If there ’s anything the Larkinsons have learned about healing from the war, it ’s that spending your time around family is the best solution! ”

”That ’s a good suggestion.
I ’ll do that. ”

After packing Carlos off, Ves watched the high doors of his office close, leaving him alone in his imposing office.

At the beginning, he felt as if he reunited with a friend.

At the end, he felt as if he ended an inconclusive negotiation with a recalcitrant employee.

The two demanded different approaches to the problems that Carlos presented to him.
Ves made the decision to prioritize business over friendship in this instance.

”Although I will always consider Carlos as my friend, I won ’t allow him to take advantage of me. ” Ves muttered to himself.
”If he thinks he can resign from my company in order to pursue other prospects, then he better pay back what he owes. ”

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