The Scarlet Rose, Compartment G-13 and the Breyer alloy production loop weighed heavily on Ves.
Though aware of the dangers of affronting a powerful spiritual entity, the possible gains were too great for him to give up on exploiting her continuous renewal powers!

No matter what kind of counterattack Cassandra Breyer launched, Ves would just have to endure it as best as possible.

This was the price he had to pay to secure a continuous supply of valuable materials!

Though Ves spent a lot of time on inspecting the work being done to the Scarlet Rose, he mainly devoted his time on the assembly meetings where the rules and regulations of the new family took shape.

The Larkinsons would soon be part of a new and more ambitious entity than the old Larkinson Family.

After several weeks of discussion, Ves and the other elder Larkinsons finally reached an agreement on how to run the new family.

They came up with an ambitious structure, and that was partially the fault of Ves.
He was looking towards the future.

Rather than start with something modest and add more rules ad-hoc, Ves wanted to implement a solid framework that could scale as the Larkinsons grew in numbers and power.

Therefore, even if some of the reforms seemed excessive, Ves believed the Larkinsons would definitely be thankful a few decades from now on.
With all of the rules they drafted, his family would be able to come up with an answer to most situations!

After voting on and finalizing the rules, the time had come to announce the changes.

To signal a new start and make the separation between the old family and the new family permanent, the announcement had to be done in public and with a certain amount of ceremony.

The Larkinsons booked the best auditorium in Krent while Ves spent some time to fabricate some props.

Once the fateful day had come, the Larkinsons all traveled to the auditorium in downtown Krent via aircar or airbus.

Even the local authorities got in on it by sectioning off the street and stationing some Holy Soldiers as an honor guard along the main avenue.

The Avatars of Myth and the Living Sentinels didn ’t want to be left out.
Dozens of Desolate Soldiers and other LMC mechs flanked the main avenue that led straight to a temple-like auditorium.

The classical Ylvainan architecture of the circular building exuded a sense of class and tradition.

In order to obscure its religious theme, many banners and symbols related to the Larkinson Family covered up all of the murals, paintings and statues dedicated to the Ylvainan Faith.

It was as if the Larkinsons converted a temple of worship into a temple of war.

As curious, fancily-dressed Larkinson children holding the hands of their parents walked up the stairs to the auditorium, they became engrossed by the refined martial atmosphere.

The Blackbeaks, Crystal Lords, Aurora Titans, Desolate Soldiers and other LMC mechs placed around the auditorium each flooded the area with their distinctive glows.

Though blending so many glows in a relatively concentrated area made it difficult for people to experience their individual charm, something unique came into being.

The Avatars and Sentinels were already familiar with the blending of different glows.
They often fielded multiple LMC mechs side-by-side or stored them in a single ship or facility.

”It ’s like..
we ’ve entered paradise.
A martial paradise. ”

”This is the power of our family.
The Larkinsons are made to be heroes! ”

”Our Larkinson mechs are destined to raise a storm.
If this is what Ves can accomplish in less than a decade, what will his mechs become a century from now? We are at the cusp of greatness! ”

Every Larkinson, both old and young, became enamoured by the majesty of the LMC mechs and the glory of their family ’s heritage.

The various banners each marked the participating of a major battle, of which the largest stood for one of the many wars between the Bright Republic and Vesia Kingdom!

Various projectors silently depicted dramatic footage of Larkinson mech pilots in battle.
Many of these depictions looked familiar to many Larkinsons, but when displayed at this time and place, they gained a lot more significance.

The feats performed by the Larkinson expert pilots of the past attracted the most attention.

If there was one common element that made every Larkinson member proud, then it was the fact that they always managed to nurture expert pilots in every generation!

Over the course of four centuries, the Larkinson Family never failed in their duty to protect the Bright Republic and contribute to its strength.
The expert pilots in the family always served in the Mech Corps for their entire lives or until they no longer became capable of piloting an expert mech.

Such a rich heritage was something that neither Ves nor the Larkinsons ever wanted to throw away.

Therefore, Ves completely ignored the objections of the old family and shamelessly drew upon this glorious past.

As hundreds of trueblood Larkinsons and their spouses entered the auditorium, they calmly took their seats.

Only Larkinsons were allowed inside, mostly.
Aside from the press and some other necessary people, the family did not allow entry to the public because this event completely centered around their own people.

The local Ylvainans, who had already gathered in a crowd of hundreds of thousands, were kept well away.
All of the mechs as well as a security cordon arranged by the Planetary Guard kept the onlookers well away.

This was not an Ylvainan show.
It was all about the Larkinsons today.

Underneath the turbulent clouds that hinted at rainfall, Ves walked along the entire avenue flanked by Gloriana and their cats.

Both of them dressed at their best this time.
Ves wore his full Pride of Dusk ensemble, though it appeared more regal and awe-inspiring this time.

The Larkinsons sent the entire outfit to the best tailor in Krent in order to turn it into a regalia that matched the new status of their leader.

Aside from a mech designer, aside from the owner of a prosperous mech company, Ves was about to add on a new formal identity.

Ves wanted to smile, but he kept his face solemn and impassive.
Various journalists recorded the entire event for posterity.
The regal golden flourishes and precious exotic jewels added to the Pride of Dusk turned him into an impressively regal figure!

Naturally, a king was always paired with a queen.

Queen Gloriana wore a gem-encrusted tiara.
A billowing cape draped over her shoulders, doing a poor job at hiding her rose-themed dress.
Some of the most exquisite Hexer jewelry adorned her neck, fingers and wrists.
Many women among the Larkinsons couldn ’t help but grow envious at the wealth she put on display!

Due to the high import of this moment, both Ves and Gloriana dropped their customary smiles towards each other.
They each looked utterly serious as they slowly ascended the steps and entered into the zone where all of the glows blended together.

Ves closed his eyes and basked in the mixed sensations.
There was a complexity to the mixture that led to a spontaneous new spark of inspiration.

What would happen if he inserted multiple fully-fledged design spirits in a single design?

Would some sort of resonance take place? Would the design spirits be able to amplify each other just like Ves and Gloriana enhanced each other ’s strengths?

Ves sensed that there was a lot of merit in exploring this idea! Though a lot could go wrong, the reward may be worth the risk!

”You ’re thinking of another idea related to mech design, right? ” Gloriana whispered.

”Yeah, though I don ’t have the time to explore it in-depth.
I ’m already juggling several research topics.
I don ’t have the time to add another one to my long list. ”

The two stepped forward after their pause.
Their cats trailed alongside them while remaining remarkably well-behaved.
Both of them walked in cadence and matched the speeds of their owners like dutiful attendants.

”Meow. ”

”Miaow. ”

”What are they talking about, Ves? ”

”Lucky wants to run ahead while Clixie threatened to disembowel him if he ruined this moment. ”

”Wow. ”

”I don ’t think Clixie can harm Lucky, but at least he ’s behaving. ”

”Oh, I think you ’re still underestimating what Clixie can do.
She ’s not a regular kitty. ”

The two stopped talking once they finally reached the grand entrance.
Once they stepped inside the tall and cavernous lobby, the pillars and frescos that used to sing the praises of Prophet Ylvaine and the Martyred Followers had made way for decorations that glorified the history of the Larkinson Family.

Each and every Larkinson that passed through all of these impressive displays couldn ’t help but feel a lot of pride.

An energy suffused their entire minds that caused them to become more intimate towards their identities as Larkinsons.

This was exactly what Ves aimed to achieve.
In order to ensure as much acceptable as possible, Ves wanted to manipulate everyone ’s moods so that they were in the best state of mind to accept some of the radical changes that he was about to announce!

Both Ves and Gloriana waited for a moment until Nitaa and the guards cleared them to enter the main hall.

In a space built to house thousands, only a hundred seats were left.
This made the interior of the auditorium look a little empty, but Ves did not consider that to be a bad thing.

As someone who considered himself to be an artist, Ves was aware of the concept of negative space.

Empty space could be manipulated to enhance the aesthetic qualities of real elements.

The huge hall had been designed to convey a lot of formality and grandeur by exaggerating the dimensions and raising the ceiling to an incredible height.

When the Larkinsons each took their seats, they felt as if their empty surroundings were as dark, cold and lifeless as interstellar space.

Only by huddling together and forming into a single, cohesive group would the Larkinsons be able to survive the unfeeling cruelty of reality!

Like twin stars lighting up the place, both Ves and Gloriana walked down the middle under the fascinated gazes of the Larkinsons.

There was no order to the seating arrangements aside from grouping close relatives together.
Both young and old sat at the front, middle and back.

The Larkinsons should not pay too much attention to status.
At the very least, it shouldn ’t dominate the interactions between one Larkinson to another.

Ves and many Larkinsons disliked the stratified hierarchy that formed in many different family groups.
People such as Senator Tovar were so far away from the younger generation of the Tovar Family that many of their members never even met the old man in person!

Perhaps the Larkinsons might eventually evolve in this direction as well, but for the time being many of them would do their best to flatten the power distance between the strongest and weakest Larkinsons!

All of these subtle details each conveyed something important.
The more astute Larkinsons managed to decipher the unspoken messages, while the more straightforward ones simply carved their subliminal thoughts and feelings in their memories.

Even if the younger Larkinsons weren ’t aware of all of the symbolism, they had already been indoctrinated without knowing it! A ceremony was nothing more than a highly-formalized show, and Ves happened to play the main character this time!

Once Ves and Gloriana reached the podium, some of the Larkinsons reacted with surprise as they continued to step up in unison.

Even their cats stepped up on stage!

This was another silent declaration by Ves.
Though he hadn ’t tied the knot with Gloriana yet, he already considered her to be part of the family!

Where Ves went, Gloriana would always be besides him.
This was what he wanted and what every Larkinson should accept!

Though there were plenty of Larkinsons who possessed a lot of doubts about Gloriana ’s Hexer origins, this was not the time to bring up this matter.
The grand ceremony pressed so much on their minds that none of the Larkinsons ever possessed the impulse to stand up and ruin this historical occasion!

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