Both Ves and Gloriana seated themselves on the padded thrones.
Ves sat in the very center while his girlfriend sat on a slightly smaller and less ostentatious seat.

Gloriana may be part of the family, but Ves was in charge.

Their cats sat proudly at the sides as if they were honor guards.
Adopting this posture and remaining absolutely still came naturally to Clixie, but Lucky was already starting to lose patience.

”Sit still, you naughty bugger! ” Ves quietly whispered to his pet.

While Ves readied himself for the speech, the audience of Larkinsons became affected by the grand and solemn atmosphere.
It was as if this event signalled a completely new start instead of some changes.

Not just the Larkinsons on Kesseling VIII, but also their relatives elsewhere paid close attention to this occasion.

Benjamin Larkinson sat in the back garden of the much-emptier Larkinston Estate at Rittersberg.
A mixture of pride and resignation marred his face as his channels with some of the elders of the new family already clued him in on what was about to come.

”The Larkinson Family will never be the same again. ” He sighed.

There was so much energy in the new family.
All kinds of initiatives and long-overdue reforms would come into being that served to unleash the potential of their Larkinson identities!

As for Larkinsons they left behind, the departure of the most dynamic and forward-looking Larkinsons left the old family robbed of its vitality.

Benjamin Larkinson already sensed some listlessness among the other Larkinsons.
Recent events caused the old family to question much of its values and principles.

Were the Larkinsons truly right to stick to their traditions?

Was the Bright Republic truly worthy of their selfless dedication?

Should the Larkinsons be seeking to exercise more power?

Even though it appeared the old family wanted to reject everything the new family believed in, the truth was that a lot of neutral and traditionalists Larkinsons were already losing faith in some of their values.

Perhaps the old family would not be the only branch of the Larkinsons to initiate reforms.

Aside from Benjamin, every other Larkinson from the old family tuned in to the broadcast.

Most notably, Venerable Ark and Venerable Ghanso each took a break from duty to watch the announcement from their respective posts.

”You ’ve grown, cousin. ” Ark smiled as he loosened the collar of his mech colonel uniform.
”My brother would be proud of what you have become. ”

He wished nothing but the best for Ves and the Larkinsons who were about to embark on an entirely new direction.
To Ark, branching out the Larkinson bloodline was not something regrettable.
If the old family ever fell, the new family would still be able to carry forth their legacy, and vica versa!

Not everyone adopted a charitable stance, though.

Venerable Ghanso Larkinson looked on with a touch of resentment in his eyes.
His fists clenched as he realized that the new family would never go back to the old family again after this historic day.

”Ves.. ”

His worst nightmare had come true.
The Larkinson Family had splintered, and many of them broke off to form a separate branch.

What offended Ghanso the most was that the new family still had the temerity to borrow the heritage of their shared predecessors! The new family had no right to do so ever since they decided to break from tradition!

Their predecessors were probably rolling in their graves if they heard how their duty and sacrifice were being misused for self-aggrandisement purposes!

”We are the true inheritors of their legacy! ”

It was too bad that no one except his closest supporters within the family listened to him.
His earlier actions, from butchering the mechs piloted by his fellow Larkinsons to selling out his own flesh and blood, all turned him into a pariah within the old family.

Benjamin and Ark had already told him in very stern terms that it was best for Ghanso to remain secluded within the Mech Corps.

No one wanted to welcome him back to the old family right now!

With his influence at its lowest since he advanced to expert, there was nothing Venerable Ghanso could do to influence this course of events!

As every Larkinson watched with baited breath, Ves finally decided the time was right.

With his Pride of Dusk emanating Zeigra ’s aura at full strength, a regal and aggressive aura overcame him.
Every member of the audience as well as everyone watching a projection of the live broadcast experienced the effect deep within their bones.

Ves appeared larger than life after this change.

Pride exuded from his body, so much so that Ves even had a sense that his father was watching over him.
What would it be like for Ryncol Larkinson to see his son now, sitting on a throne in front of hundreds of obedient Larkinsons?

Over two-hundred trueblood Larkinsons and their dependents gathered in the auditorium today to listen to his words.

With all of the pomp and ceremony, his audience entered into a receptive mood that Ves could use to his advantage.

He could state practically anything without being challenged! As long as he didn ’t say anything too outlandish, the Larkinsons would almost certainly accept what he said!

Of course, Ves was not so short-sighted to chart his own course.
He made the decision to court the support of the most influential Larkinsons within the new family.

Though Ves had to give up a lot of control, he still retained enough power to satisfy his purposes.

Sharing power was the only way to ensure the long-term viability of the Larkinsons!

”It ’s time. ” Gloriana whispered.

Ves nodded minutely and concentrated his mind in order to mobilize his Spirituality.
He began to burn his spiritual energy at a very gradual rate to amplify his gravitas!

”Larkinsons. ” He began with a voice filled with an indescribable charm.
”I welcome you here today to unveil a new start for ourselves and for our family.
We do this not to break from our Larkinson heritage, but to honor it by taking the next step! ”

All of the previous displays and decorations had already filled the audience with stories about their family ’s glorious legacy.

The Larkinsons had reasons to be proud!

”We are Larkinsons. ” Ves stated.
”No matter how we develop in the future, we must never forget our shared past with our fellow Larkinsons who chose to remain in the Bright Republic.
It is because of the centuries of accumulation that we have gained the opportunity to step out of the corner of the Bright Republic and enter a wider stage! ”

Many Larkinsons, particularly the older ones, reacted with approval.
Though no one clapped, Through his spiritual senses, Ves clearly sensed positive emotions emanating from the crowd.

It was in these kinds of settings that crowds all shared the same emotions.
If they became strong enough, then some kind of collective resonance occurred where the emotions of the whole bled through the minds of everyone present in the group.

”Starting from the Larkinson Ancestor, his descendants have diligently inherited his mission and fought on behalf of the Bright Republic with unfailing distinction.
Over the centuries, our name has become synonymous with honor, loyalty and dedication.
One of our greatest contributions to the state was to supply the Mech Corps with a continuous supply of expert pilots, each of which have never failed to answer the call for duty! ”

The amount of Larkinson mech pilots and Larkinson expert pilots who served in the Mech Corps could take up an entire book!

Ves clasped his hands on his lap.
”Our Larkinson Family has many grounds to be proud of our heritage and ourselves.
The honor we have accumulated over the years has turned us into one of the greatest role models of the Bright Republic! With all of these accomplishments, perhaps you are questioning why we have decided to break with tradition.
What is our reason to separate from the original Larkinson Family? ”

Every Larkinson had their own answer to this problem, though for some, it wasn ’t very articulate.

After giving the audience a few seconds to sort their answers, Ves raised his arm and clenched it into a fist!

”Our main goal is to grasp more power! ”

His blunt admission was much more direct than the audience expected!

It sounded a bit crass considering the current context, but the shock value emphasized their new root!

”The galaxy is dangerous and filled with threats. ” Ves spoke, speeding up his cadence to lend a war-like momentum to his speech! ”Countless states exist that could pose a threat to the Bright Republic, and by extension the original Larkinson Family.
Some states are so powerful that even the aftershocks of their fighting can ruin everything our family has built! ”

This was a not-so-subtle reference to the Komodo War.
No Larkinson could possibly resist the actions of the Friday Coalition and the Hexadric Hegemony! In the face of these titanic powers, how could the trivial Larkinson Family ever make a difference!

The helplessness of the old family stemmed from their lack of power!

No matter how much honor and reputation the Larkinson Family accumulated, the Fridaymen and Hexers still considered them as ants!

When the power disparity was too great, all of these soft, intangible assets were worth nothing!

Only concrete power mattered!

”We live in a time where humanity is ascended.
Yet how long will this period last? It is not in our nature and the nature of the aliens to embrace peace.
War will engulf us sooner than later.
Whether we face an overpowering human threat or an alliance of alien empires, we won ’t be able to defeat them and preserve our lives if we keep focusing on building up an endless amount of honor! Acquiring and maintaining an excellent reputation is good, but it should never be an end in itself! ”

The Larkinsons sitting in front of him became more and more absorbed in his words.
Right now, he was voicing some of the unpleasant truths that needed to be said in order to justify the changes.

”Well, no longer! We have had enough of slaving away for the benefit of others.
The Bright Republic has nurtured us and provided us with a very pleasant living environment for many years.
Yet every child must grow up.
Now that we have reached a limit to our development in the Bright Republic, we must leave our homes and find our own way to better our lives! ”

By describing the separation in this fashion, Ves essentially equated the new family as a child who grew up and wanted to make its own way in life.

”Our departure from the Bright Republic was just the first step.
I appreciate the Ylvaine Protectorate for hosting us with great enthusiasm, but this is not our home! We Larkinsons do not belong here.
Our original hearts have always resided with the Bright Republic, and now that we have left the state that has made our predecessors, we are essentially left without shelter. ”

A darkness seemed to emanate from his voice.
Plenty of Larkinsons fell into a melancholy as they thought back of all of the joys and pleasures they experienced in their home state.

Now that they had left the Bright Republic on a permanent basis, many Larkinsons felt lost!

Ves was right! The Ylvaine Protectorate would never be their new home! Their strange culture and stranger religion were simply not compatible with the character of the Larkinsons.

They may have left the Bright Republic, but the Bright Republic has always stayed within their hearts!

Ves recognized this fact.
It was for this reason that he came to a novel solution.

”Through our departure, we have deprived ourselves from our homes.
Yet does this mean we have nowhere else to go? I say no! We are Larkinsons.
We have endured tougher challenges! Since we can no longer find succor in other states, we must build our own home, wherever we may go! ”

The older Larkinsons who had taken part in the assembly meetings sat up straighter.
They knew what was coming, and anticipation flowed within their creaky bones!

The air became charged with some sort of energy.
The audience paid so much attention to Ves that it took several seconds for them to notice the giant, floating emblem projected over the thrones!

A round symbol with a black surface and a golden rim greeted their eyes.
In the center, a stylized golden cat head gazed forth with glowing red eyes!

”It is for this reason that we have decided to form a new entity, distinct from the Larkinsons who have decided to continue our family ’s original legacy.
From this day onwards, we are no longer members of the Larkinson Family. ”

The projection of the golden cat head on the emblem opened its mouth to release a growl!

At the same time, Ves spiritually prodded his regalized Pride of Dusk to release a pulse of Zeigra ’s potent glow!

”After this day, we will all be part of the Larkinson Clan! ”

A rush of excitement swept through the audience!

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