d as it sounded like, because once they reached this height, their ability to make money increased drastically.
Once they worked hard for a couple of decades, they could afford to extend their lives by a century, giving them a lot more time to bloom.

Even so, Ves did not want Ketis to turn old when she reached that point.
Journeyman who advanced in their later years often didn ’t exhibit the amount of enthusiasm and drive towards becoming a Senior.

”I ’ve always told you not to treat me like a kid anymore. ” Ketis whined.
”I ’m constantly catching up to you.
I ’m already making brisk progress in designing my new variant. ”

”Oh? Which base model is your variant based upon? ”

”It ’s a secret. ” She grinned.

Ketis refused to divulge the details of the variant she had in store, so they quickly moved on to another topic.

”You ’re about to go on a really important trip soon, right? ”

”Yep. ” He nodded.
”A Journeyman is a lot more significant than a Novice or Apprentice.
That ’s why it ’s not enough to visit their smaller branches in the Bright Republic.
For a mech designer like me to visit the sector headquarters is both a pilgrimage and an implicit oath of subservience. ”

No matter how great mech designers thought of themselves, the MTA wanted to make sure they didn ’t forget who was truly in charge.

”About this visit, Ves, I ’m thinking of sitting out this time. ”

”Oh? ” Ves raised his eyebrow.
Although he hadn ’t addressed this topic with her, he always assumed she would tag along.
”I thought that you ’d be interested in seeing the sights.
The Centerpoint System is one of the most prosperous star systems in the star sector. ”

”Don ’t get me wrong, I ’m definitely interested. ” She said with a serious expression.
”However, seeing you celebrate your success today made me realize that I really need to step up my game.
You work so hard all day and rarely take the time to relax and enjoy a day off.
How can I do any less if I want to reach Journeyman within a decade? I think I need to devote all my time to my design work in order to make a lot of progress. ”

He hadn ’t expected such a strong level of dedication from Ketis.
Although he was slightly concerned that she would wear herself out by engaging in mech design all day, he was very gratified at her dedication.

”If that ’s your choice, then by all means stay.
Just make sure to pace yourself. ” He said encouragingly.

Ves and Ketis craned their heads upwards as they witnessed all the shuttles lifting off into the air.
The Aurora Titan behind their backs enveloped both of them with its homely and welcoming aura.

The birthday party came to an end.
As an army of cleaning bots descended from the ceiling to clean up the entire banquet hall, Ves began to cast his gaze beyond the present.

”What is next? ”

Aside from visiting the sector headquarters, Ves also remembered that he promised to pay a visit to Master Olson.

”She ’ll probably expect me to accept an assignment. ”

As long as it didn ’t take him away from home for too long, he was fine with whatever she had in store for him.

Even though he hadn ’t derived that much benefit out of his apprenticeship to Master Olson, he always enjoyed the implicit protection of this status.
Although the umbrella he was taking shelter under wasn ’t very big compared to the ones she bestowed to her core disciples, it was better than nothing.

The more he enjoyed her appreciation, the greater her support.
Ves already understood Master Olson adhered to the principle of equal exchange.

This meant that if Ves wanted to expand his umbrella, he needed to work for it.
Right now, Ves possessed too many sensitive secrets such as his design philosophy.
If he wanted to fend off the MTA ’s inquiries into his specialty, then being able to invoke Master Olson ’s protection was a big convenience.

I ’m basically treating my Master as a shield at this point. ”

He couldn ’t help it.
With the System, Ves didn ’t have much use for Master Olson ’s tutelage.
Even the access to additional sources of knowledge that she provided hadn ’t been very relevant to him lately.

”Well, I ’ll see what my Master has in store once I meet her again. ”

Night fell over the Mech Nursery as Ves turned in for the night.

The next day, Ves woke up refreshed and content.
After wearing his smart clothing in a different but still luxurious configuration, he entered his penthouse office.

Some of his presents he received last night now resided on his desk.
Ves filled up his Devil Tongue mug with coffee as he admired his grandfather ’s prosperity tree placed next to Melinda ’s Planetary Guard mech figurine.

”This tree is a little weird. ”

It looked similar to a bonsai tree.
When Ves read up on prosperity trees, he found out that they originated from an odd planet in the New Rubarth Empire.

Prosperity trees emerged from a mutation due to the anomalous circumstances of its origin.
They were very difficult to grow as most seeds failed to sprout.

The few that did experienced incredibly slow growth.
If nothing exceptional happened, the prosperity tree on his desk would never be able to grow large enough to overtake his desk.

”However, there ’s an exception. ”

On rare occasions, a prosperity tree might enter into a sudden growth spurt! Although many exobotanists tried to figure out the cause behind such an abrupt switch, they still hadn ’t been able to explain the reason for this transition.

As a result, the Rubarthans started to consider prosperity trees as a symbol of fortune.

”Is this really true? ” Ves frowned at the tree while holding his steamy mug.

He sensed nothing remarkable about this tree.
His senses didn ’t detect any remarkable spirituality from the little growth.

”Perhaps it ’s all superstition. ” He muttered.

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