While Ves mainly took this course of action to vent his anger, he did not act aimlessly.

What he truly sought was a realignment in his relationship with the Bright Republic.

At the very least, he wanted people like Senator Tovar to change their view of him.
Rather than being treated as a pawn who would automatically follow their orders without question, he wanted to be seen as an ally whose interests needed to be met.

Ves had no illusion that this was a very difficult thing to do.
Though Ves was already an adult at over 30 years, he was just an upstart baby compared to a legendary statesman who almost reached 300 years!

Such an immense age disparity made many average people quail.
How could Ves ever hope to match wits against a living relic who lived ten times as much as him? Even if Ves believed he was capable of exceeding anyone in the star sector, he was just a young Journeyman at the moment.

Someone who lived this long and maintained their grip on power for so long could never be overcome.

So Ves decided not to become his enemy.

Even if he harbored resentment against the old man, neither of them had any reason to hate each other.

Both sides had always used each other for their own purposes.
It was just that Ves used to be so weak and trivial that he could only accept his role as a pawn.

It was different now.
Although Ves only revealed a hint of his amazing potential, he believed he already had the qualifications to negotiate with the senator.

From the moment he accepted the call, Ves already knew that he had entered a negotiation.
The outcome of this comm call would decide whether he could earn Tovar ’s respect as an ally rather than a pawn.

”As a mech designer, it ’s not proper to compel me to design a mech for someone I consider an enemy. ” Ves softly spoke while embracing Gloriana.

The senator, seated on his impressive high-backed chair, folded his leathery hands together.
”There is too much at stake, Ves.
If there was another alternative available, I would not have brought this commission to you in the first place. ”

”Don ’t you see that Vincent Ricklin is screwing us around? I doubt he ’s sincere! ”

”I believe you ’re wrong, there.
From what I have gathered, Vincent is quite a fan of your products.
The release of your Desolate Soldiers and Prideful Soldiers has been the main catalyst for his request. ”

”I don ’t work for anyone. ” Ves crossed his arms.

”You disappoint me, young man.
I thought you would be better than this.
I knew many Larkinsons who would never hesitate to do what is right for the Republic.
Even if the mission itself is unpalatable, the gains are very clear.
Is that not why you ’ve accepted the commission in the end? ”

”I accepted it to repay some favors.
Nothing more.
That doesn ’t mean I ’ll tolerate another incident like this.
I expect to have a say in the matter the next time you want my assistance. ”

Senator Tovar slightly shifted his posture, making him appear a bit more imposing.
”You are still young and inexperienced.
My views are incomparable to yours.
Now that the Bright Republic is locked in the greatest crisis since the founding of our great state, we must let wisdom prevail. ”

”Humans aren ’t emotionless bots.
Our feelings matter.
My Desolate Soldier and its variants are all predicated on this belief.
No matter how smart you are or how well you ’ve thought out your plans, you won ’t be able to execute them if you can ’t inspire the masses. ”

”Even without your mech, we still have ways of controlling the population.
While your mechs are helpful in suppressing unrest, they are not indispensable. ”

”Are you willing to bet on that? ” Ves smirked.

He had been waiting for this moment.

Tovar narrowed his eyes.
”What is the meaning of your words? ”

”Let me give you a demonstration. ”

Ves dramatically raised his hand and snapped his fingers.

At the same time, he concentrated his mind and began to think about the Desolate Soldier model.
He quickly made contact with the Solemn Guardian, who had grown considerably due to the feedback of the hundreds of thousands of mech pilots.

While the Solemn Guardian was an independent spiritual product, it still recognized Ves as its creator.
When Ves communicated a silent request to it, the spiritual product only hesitated for a moment before obeying its instruction.

For the first time since their conversation, Senator Tovar showed an inkling of doubt.

As long as the discussion was limited to words, the senator was confident he could remain in control.
Even if Ves gained the moniker of Devil Tongue, his rhetorical abilities were nothing in the eyes of a centuries-old diplomat and statesman!

Ves was very clear about this as well, so he came up with a means to fight against Senator Tovar where he held an insurmountable advantage.

”What is the meaning of your gesture? ” Tovar finally asked.

”Perhaps you should check the news or let your assistant inform you what is going on outside your accommodation. ”

The senator turned to someone out of view of the comm projection.
Ves guessed that Tovar was probably speaking to Alistair Cordwraith, his long-serving Benny.

Though Senator Tovar kept an admirably stoic face, there was no way he could remain unmoved.
The old man quickly turned back to the comm call.

”What have you done, young man? ”

”I only snapped my fingers, senator.
Nothing more. ” Ves replied while continuing to grin.
”Shall I do it again? ”

Without waiting for the senator ’s answer, he snapped his fingers yet again.

At the same time, he gently issued another instruction to the Solemn Guardian.

Everything should go back to normal now.

Just two minutes had passed since the first and second instruction, but Ves knew that he had accomplished something incredibly impactful.

The first instruction he issued was to make the Solemn Guardian withdraw its strength to any Soldier mech on Bentheim.

For two perplexing minutes, every Desolate Soldier, Holy Soldier and Prideful Soldier on the planet suddenly lost the bulk of their auras! This immediately alarmed all of their owners and mech pilots and incited a considerable amount of panic!

The constant presence of auras had formed a reassuring presence to much of the population.
If the Soldier mechs all lost this quality, the damage to everyone ’s confidence would certainly be great!

Unfortunately, this stunt did not come without a price.
Aside from disturbing everyone on Bentheim, Ves and the LMC also incurred a substantial hit to their reputation.

So far, every authentic Soldier mech had always been dependable.
For their auras to weaken all of a sudden would make many people more hesitant about their reliability.

Fortunately, Ves had already made some preparations earlier.
He briefly glanced down to a secondary projection and pressed a virtual button.

Very soon, the LMC transmitted an official notification to every Soldier mech on Bentheim.
The message simply stated that an unknown interference field disrupted the functioning of the mechs for a brief period of time.

The LMC promised to study what occurred and patch the vulnerability as soon as possible.

Hopefully, most people bought this excuse.

The notification might even reassure the detractors of his mechs that they weren ’t infallible.
As long as certain people believed that there was a way to sabotage or neutralize the auras, they wouldn ’t feel so threatened at his products anymore.

For this reason, Ves willingly paid the price of this disruption.

Of course, the main purpose of his stunt was not to feign weakness in front of his rivals and enemies.

Instead, he wanted to prove that he had leverage.

”What is the meaning of this, Mr.
Larkinson? ” Senator Tovar asked with a bit more steel in his voice than usual.

Ves figured he succeeded with his aim when he noticed the statesman ’s change in tone.

”I ’m a mech designer, but that does not mean we are limited to creation.
What we give, we can take. ”

As Ves spoke his daring statement, Gloriana quietly gazed at him with admiration.
She had become more and more impressed at how confidently he stood up against this old man!

Even though Camden Tovar was just a very old boy in her eyes, she knew she was far from his opponent.
Only someone like her mother would be able to humble this long-living fossil.

Naturally, this old fox wouldn ’t concede so easily.
Especially against someone as young as Ves.

”I don ’t think it will do your reputation any good to strip the most important advantage of your mechs.
Your customers bought your products with certain expectations in mind. ”

Ves shrugged, brushing off the very real danger in Tovar ’s words.

”Who knows what is responsible for the interruption.
Perhaps a certain faction has grown jealous of the LMC ’s accomplishments and developed a countermeasure against our products.
How do you think my huge customer base will react to such a revelation? ”

This was a naked threat.
Ves didn ’t even care if he spoke these words over an unsecure comm channel.
In fact, it would be better if other powerful factions came to know what might follow if they harmed his interests.

”You are playing a very dangerous game, Ves. ” Tovar spoke directly.
”There is no reason for you to lash out at us.
We are just doing what is best for the state. ”

Ves chuckled.
”Please don ’t misunderstand my intentions.
I have always respected you, and that has never changed.
I merely wish you would reciprocate my feelings. ” 

”If you want respect, you have to work for it, young man.
Acting disrespectfully is counterproductive. ”

”I never meant any disrespect, sir.
I apologise for coming across as such.
I merely wanted to catch your attention. ”

”You certainly have it. ” Tovar almost spat out.

”Good. ” Ves smiled, taking no notice at Tovar ’s increasing discontent.

To change his treatment, Ves needed to stand his ground and push back against the senator.

This was very risky.

If Ves pissed Tovar off too much, then he risked turning his greatest ally in the government into an incredibly potent threat.

Once Tovar turned against him, Ves had no choice but to abandon almost everything he built in the Bright Republic.

However, if he succeeded, then he could enjoy a completely different relationship with his benefactor in the government.

An incident like before where the Senator imposed an instruction on Ves would be a thing of the past.

The payoff was worth it.
Ves recognized that he needed a staunch ally in the government.
While he already enjoyed a lot of support, that was because of other circumstances.

Once the situation changed, who could say that he would still enjoy the same level of care?

Everything was predicated around interests.

Having spent some time with manipulative bastards like Senator Tovar, Ves learned that these types of people always paid attention to gains and losses.

They were kind of like AIs in a sense.
At their age, they never acted on emotion and impulse.
Only cold hard benefits could sway their minds.

When Ves thought about what he could offer to the good senator, he came up with one possible idea.
Though tenuous and uncertain, it was the best he could offer to a man who already controlled some of the reins of an entire state.

”Let ’s not play this game any further, Ves.
You youngsters are too crass. ” The senator spoke, apparently reaching the limits of his forbearance.
”What do you want? ”

Ves laughed.
”I want many things, but let ’s not talk about that right now.
Instead of focusing on what you can do for me, let ’s address what I can do for you. ”

Tovar looked intrigued.
”Go on. ”

”I ’m sure you ’re a very smart man, senator.
You ’re also known to be farsighted due to your distinguished age.
I respect that, sir.
I ’m also sure that you have developed a comprehensive evaluation of me.
Personally, I think of myself very highly. ”

”And that matters because…? ”

Ves leaned in and grinned.
”I happen to have a lot of vacancies in my design teams.
Tell me, how many mech designers are in the Tovar Family? ”

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