Once Ves gained an up-to-date understanding of the Avatars of Myth, he dismissed his cousin.
While Commander Melkor returned to his duties, Ves headed to one of the training compartments where Joshua was immersed in a simulation.
Even though plenty of mech pilots rotated into space in order to guard the fleet and conduct patrols, nothing happened most of the time.
If mech pilots wanted to keep their skills sharp, they still needed to participate in an extensive amount of simulation training!
When Ves arrived at Joshua\'s pod, he did not immediately interrupt Joshua\'s current session.
Instead, he observed the closed pod with his spiritual senses and immediately noticed the nascent force of will fluctuating inside.
Compared to the force of will of actual expert pilots, the one formed by Joshua was still too weak and immature.
While Joshua\'s force of will was already capable of increasing his presence and increasing some of his human limits, that was all he could manage.
He wasn\'t capable of projecting his force of will outwards like a domain.
He also wasn\'t capable of spreading his force of will in his mechs in order to achieve true resonance.
The difference was like night and day!
Even so, Ves already became fascinated by the blueprint of Joshua\'s force of will in the future.
The vibrancy of life and the instinctual understanding that came with it echoed his own to a remarkable degree.
Though Ves may have felt disturbed instead, he experienced no such discomfort.
As Ves vaguely reached out with his Spirituality, he even managed to form a very loose connection!
He widened his eyes.
Joshua\'s mental defenses did not block him out at all! Ves encountered no sign of rejection as his presence grew in the young mech pilot\'s mind!
Ves already sensed that Joshua was aware of his arrival.
This was the unique understanding that came with acquiring a life domain like theirs.
Perhaps Joshua even inherited the ability to talk to cats and other animals!
As Ves studied the prototype force of will further, he attempted to gain an insight into the differences.
He was already aware of the traits of his own life-attributed spiritual energy.
He wanted to see what Joshua could do when he empowered his will.
Ves already recalled and rewatched the battle between the Purgatory Envoy and the Fortunate Devil numerous times.
He especially poured over all of the telemetry and data related to Joshua\'s sudden promotion.
His forced resonance ability seemed very interesting! Ves could have never thought that Joshua was able to repair the broken components of a mech by sheer willpower alone.
As far as he knew, Ves could not achieve this effect.
He wasn\'t too hung up over it.
He could already communicate with all forms of life and perform various spiritual tricks to augment his mech designs.
He was not dissatisfied with his current capabilities at all, though a part of him thought that being able to physically repair a mech by relying solely on spiritual energy was a very handy ability!
The simulator pod eventually slid open.
Joshua had finally finished his session.
He emerged from his pod wearing a tight piloting suit.
The expert candidate saluted.
Clan patriarch, it is an honor to be graced with your presence.
You don\'t need to act so stiff in my presence.
As like-minded people, we will be cooperating extensively in the future.
Despite their inherent kinship, Joshua looked up to Ves way too much to consider himself on the same level!
Let\'s head somewhere more comfortable.
Joshua quickly freshened himself up and changed into his Avatar uniform before joining Ves at one of the Redfeather\'s private lounges.
When both of them sat down, Ves studied the younger mech pilot for a time.
I\'m very glad you have made it this far. Ves began.
I have kept my eye on you since Melkor took you in.
Your high understanding and compatibility with my mechs is unsurpassed among my clansmen.
Now that you have become an expert candidate, you have set your course.
You know who you are, what you are fighting for and what you want to become.
Isn\'t that right
Yes, sir, though I haven\'t thought everything through.
Initially, I just wanted to enter your circle and pilot all of your mechs.
Now that I have achieved this ambition, I\'m not really sure what I am trying to achieve other than to protect you and the clan.
All of that comes with time. Ves spoke from his own understanding of expert pilots and how they emerged in the original Larkinson Family.
While I\'m not an expert pilot myself, I know that you need to develop an absolute conviction.
The less doubts and uncertainties you have, the better.
Expert pilots are always confident in who they are and what they do.
Don\'t equate yourself to mortals who possess a complex mix of feelings and worries.
Becoming a demigod is not just about acquiring extraordinary qualities.
It is also about shedding some of your humanity.
This was an insight that he normally never shared with anyone.
He gained it when he studied his interactions with many expert pilots such as Venerable Foster, Venerable Xie, Venerable Brutus and his uncle Ark.
What each of them had in common was not only their strong obsession and conviction towards an ideal, but also how they became increasingly more alienated from normal people.
Perhaps this was the hidden meaning to treading the path to godhood.
With each step that mech pilots took, they increasingly dedicated themselves more to their chosen domains and convictions.
Even though Ves had never encountered an ace pilot or a god pilot in the flesh, he already inferred that they were even more single-minded than expert pilots!
Of course, all of this speculation rested on the assumption that there was only one trajectory for mech pilots.
Joshua remained silent and thoughtful for half a minute.
The nuggets of insight that Ves provided may not sound profound at first, and it was difficult to know how relevant it was in the early stages.
It was fine if Joshua didn\'t immediately understand the value of this advice.
When he completed his growth as an expert candidate and hit his first bottleneck, the young mech pilot would finally be reminded of what he heard and act accordingly.
That said, Ves might as well jump-start some of the processes.
Earlier, you said that since you have completed your greatest ambition in your youth, you are lacking a bit of direction.
Is that true
Joshua ruefully smiled.
There are so many changes taking place that I hardly know what to expect.
One day, I\'m piloting the Deliverer and constantly trying to deepen my friendship with the life that is inside the mech.
Then you present me with the Quint, which is an entirely different beast.
Some time ago, we lived on Cloudy Curtain, but then we had to move to Kesseling VIII, only for us to flee like rats to Cinach VI.
Now, you have taken most of the fighting forces of the Larkinson Clan on a trip to the Nyxian Gap for some sort of reason.
I don\'t understand much of what is happening.
The confusion in his voice made it clear that Joshua truly felt lost.
It was as if he regarded himself as a passenger on a starship that flew towards random directions without any rhyme or reason.
It was different to Ves, but he was not only the highest-ranking member of the Larkinson Clan, but also its main decision maker!
In contrast, despite his power and prestige, Joshua was merely a special Avatar mech pilot.
Once he advanced to expert pilot, his standing might shoot up to the point where he gained an actual say in the running of the clan, but he would still be confined to his own corner most of the time.
I\'m glad you shared your current condition with me. Ves said in an amiable tone.
This problem is easy to solve.
First, let\'s consider the Larkinson Clan.
What is it to you
The Larkinson Clan..
is my new family.
I am very glad to call myself a Larkinson.
I like Jannzi as well.
Ever since I advanced to expert candidate, I finally feel as if we are getting somewhere.
I\'m glad you think of the clan in this way, but have you ever thought about what we are trying to accomplish in the future
Well, I suppose I can fill you in a bit.
Let\'s start with what has happened to us in the past.
Back in Cloudy Curtain, why were we driven out by the Bright Republic
Because we were weak.
Because we were relying on protection from various domestic factions and the government that in the end proved to be weak as well.
Now, what happened at Kesseling VIII
The Friday Coalition attacked us and the three leading dynasties of the Ylvaine Protectorate turned against us as well.
Do you recognize something familiar
I get it, sir.
It was because we were too weak.
In the galaxy, power is the most effective guarantee of safety.
The Larkinson Clan is our attempt at breaking our dependence on capricious and duplicitous groups that only seek to exploit us.
Instead of putting our safety and freedom in the hands of another state, I have decided that our best course of action is to become our own state!
Though Ves spoke of something grand, someone like Joshua couldn\'t quite fathom what all of that meant.
Ves sighed in disappointment when Joshua maintained a slightly blank stare.
Let me put it in a simpler fashion, Joshua.
The Larkinson Clan is your family, right If that is the case, you want what is best for your family.
People you know such as me, Jannzi and your fellow friends and colleagues in the clan all want to live their own lives and find their own paths to greatness.
In the galaxy, it is not so easy to achieve all of this.
The clan needs to accumulate both wealth and the power to protect ourselves.
Gradual realization emerged in Joshua\'s eyes, encouraging Ves to continue.
He placed his hand on his chest.
Now, as a very successful mech designer, it is my job to worry about gathering wealth.
The products we develop and sell are very valuable, so much so that it turns us into a very juicy target to robbers.
In fact, those states and groups I mentioned earlier are also greedy for my mech design abilities! The Coalition Reserve Corps almost succeeded in kidnapping me! Since that time, my value has only increased!
So that is why we need power as well! Joshua\'s eyes lit up.
All sorts of people want to take you away or take control over the Larkinson Clan, and the only way to resist that is to become stronger, is that right!
A mutual understanding emerged between the mech designer and mech pilot.
Since they happened to possess the same spiritual attributes which also seemed to facilitate communication, Ves felt as if he established an invisible bond with Joshua.
They communicated not only through words, but also through indescribable feelings!
Ves placed his palm on Joshua\'s chest.
As my future champion, it is up to you to grow stronger so that you can protect the Larkinson Clan against our biggest threat.
There is a lot at stake.
If you don\'t grow stronger, our clan might not be able to resist all of our adversaries.
If we are defeated, then not only will lots of family members lose our lives, but our clan might also meet its end!
It gets even worse.
Without protection, I won\'t be able to do my job in the way I like anymore.
If I don\'t get killed, I\'ll be taken into custody and design mechs that will never appear in public.
This means that you won\'t ever be able to pilot my mechs.
The public will never have the opportunity to pilot my latest products either!
A small mental boom occurred in Joshua\'s mind.
As someone who long obsessed over piloting as many LMC mechs as possible, the thought that he would never be able to pilot any more mechs designed Ves horrified him to his very core!
A strong pulse of willpower radiated from his mind.
Joshua had suddenly formed a clearer idea of his purpose for fighting!
His eyes sharpened as he looked at Ves with a determined expression.
I will never let anyone harm you or take you away while I\'m around.
I will do my utmost to defend the Larkinson Clan.
Nothing can be allowed to stop you from designing your mechs!
Hahaha! Ves inwardly laughed.
It seemed like his Devil Tongue was quite effective! Accelerating Joshua\'s mental progression doubtlessly brought him a few steps closer to the day of his apotheosis!