"I'm not ready yet!" Ketis strenuously objected.
"I don't think that's true." He firmly pushed back. "You reflexibly shy away from such a momentous decision, but you can't keep putting it off forever. At some point, that will turn into an ingrained instinct that will permanently stall your ambitions in your career. If you have any desire to achieve something greater, then you have to keep moving forward. You're not getting any nearer to your destination if you don't start working your metaphorical feet!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
He concluded this after a lot of thought about the circumstances of other mech designers. The flood of so many mech designers in the industry forced a lot of them out of the market, but the defining factor whether someone bowed out early or survived at the end depended on willpower!
Without the mental fortitude to work towards a goal, how would mech designers get anywhere? Ves figured out that if he hadn't obtained the System, he would still be able to make his career lift off as long as he worked hard enough.
Even if he went bankrupt after his first business venture failed, he could always study hard and try again with better designs and an improved business plan in mind. The main challenge in such a situation was trying to raise capital, but even that could be surmounted as long as he attracted someone stupid enough to invest in his business.
Even if a mech designer's situation seemed hopeless, there was always a way out!
Unfortunately, Ketis hadn't learned this lesson yet, so Ves had to guide her on the right track.
"I feel like you're asking the impossible out of me." She pouted at him. "I thought I knew everything about mech design, but then I met you. Your standards are so ridiculously high that I bet that even Master Mech Designers aren't so tough!"
"That's impossible." He laughed. "A genuine Master will drive me up the wall just like how I'm supposedly driving you crazy. You haven't seen anything of how a true talent is brought up!"
She turned to another question that had been weighing on her mind for a while. "Why are you working so hard to reach such an impossible goal?"
That was an important question, and one that made him pause. He understood that she didn't wish to hear an answer related to his aspirations about mechs. Instead, the question was more about his personal motivations. What drove him to pursue an impossible dream?"
"I think.. it's largely for myself. I want to make my life better. I want my life to have meaning. Leaving behind a legacy that will transform the entire fabric of the mech industry is one of the greatest accomplishments I can ever achieve. If I can't achieve immortality, then I want the next-best thing and be mentioned in every history book."
"That sounds really selfish, you know." She frowned. "What about your family?"
The Larkinsons? "I do care about them, but my extended family can take care of themselves. If there is anyone in my family that I want to help, it's my parents. Both of them.. they're not in a good spot, especially my father. As for my mother.. I don't know. In any case, I'm so weak and small right now that I can't even save my own father."
This issue continued to weigh on him in the back of his mind because it took far too long to become strong enough to gain enough power to help his father. Even though he had become an Apprentice Mech Designer who was at the cusp of advancing into Journeyman, he was still being jerked around like a pawn by hidden players in a sprawling game that already killed millions of people.
Taking stock at his progress so far, Ves became despondent at the thought that he'd still be a powerless nobody in the eyes of the true movers and shakers of the Komodo Star Sector. Even Masters dreaded at the thought of fighting back against a behemoth like the Five Scrolls Compact!
"It's that bad, huh?" Ketis asked, though she already knew the answer. "Hey, at least you still have decent parents to look forward to seeing again. Mine are total scumbags. Growing up in the settlements is not a good life for anyone. It's so backwards and dirty at the place where I grew up that I won't shed a tear if someone chucked a meteorite at it. The frontier is better off without that cesspool. As far as I'm concerned, the Swordmaidens are my family now."
The two commisserated a bit about family. They both felt strongly about their missing or adopted relatives.
Suddenly, Ketis adopted a mischievous grin and bumped him with her elbow. "Say, what about the missus? Do you have a girlfriend waiting back at home?"
His cheeks would have flushed if she asked that question a couple of years ago, but his rough experiences in the last couple of years had matured him a bit. He knew just how to answer that question.
"I don't have a girlfriend. I haven't met the right woman yet."
"Not even me?"
He laughed. "Don't think too highly of yourself. If nothing else, I respect the boundaries between a teacher and their students. I don't want to take advantage of my authority."
"Pfff! Since when do pirates care about the rules! Live a little! Have some fun!"
"This is exactly why I forced you to familiarize yourself with the MTA's rules and principles. You can't just say no to every rule just because. Some of them are genuinely good ideas that you should think about adopting for yourself. Establishing a proper teacher-student relationship is one of them. Besides, I don't think we're compatible people."
"Oh? I think we're getting along just fine." She said in a tone that Ves couldn't place. She sidled a little closer against his body. "You know what they say in the dramas? Opposites attract. Who's to say that you need to be 'compatible' to make a good couple? Look at us. We're made for each other! You're the brains while I can act as the muscle! That's a classic combination"
His brows began to furrow. Ketis took this joke a bit too far, and began to enter uncertain territory. He turned towards the clingy Swordmaiden and placed his hands around her, only to gently push her away.
"I'm flattered you say that about me, but you're still a bit young and you probably haven't hung around a lot of boys your age."
"Feh. Those pirate dweebs?" She sneered. "Their breaths stink and they're as smart as a piece of rock!"
"What I wanted to say is that I guess I'm attracted to a different kind of woman."
"Oh? What's your type?"
"Hmm. I don't know. Gentle? Refined?" He frowned. "I'd love to be someone who can be composed. She has to be intelligent as well. It would help a lot if she's a mech designer. That way she can keep up with me. There's nothing better in my life if I can share my dreams with someone else. They don't have to adopt the same design philosophy as mine, but it helps if they can understand my difficulties and cheer me on. Oh, and she has to be pretty as well, but since any woman can change her looks these days, that doesn't need to be said."
Ves felt kind of stupid saying that last bit, but he didn't want Ketis to think he had a fetish for weird stuff.
Luckily, she didn't focus on that part at all. Instead, her eyes grew a little cross when she took in his list of demands. "So.. if I understand this right, if I become a really good mech designer, like, just as good as you, I'm your ideal type?"
He chuckled again. "That's only one of my criteria. To be honest, I don't really know what to look for in a girlfriend. I guess I'm fine with whatever so long as they aren't completely illiterate. I'm not that good with women in the first place, and since advancing my career has already taken up my time, I never really have the time to chase after someone I like."
"Oh? Do you already have a girl in mind."
The shadow of a single woman came to mind. She mesmerized him ever since he glanced at her at a distance at the start of his studies at Rittersberg. Meeting her again in Leemar had been a pleasant surprise, though he always knew she was worthy enough to be selected by a Master.
Ves yearned to meet someone like her again, but they lived very different lives right now. At this stage in their lives, their careers mattered more than their love lives.
While Ves recalled a woman from his past that he never quite figured out, Ketis watched his expression carefully.
"So you do have a girl in your dreams! You dog!"
He shook his head. "We're so far apart that I don't think I'll ever have the opportunity to be in the same room as her. Besides her, no one else has intrigued me as much. And before you ask, I'm not interested in swinging the other way!"
They both laughed, and the strange tension in the air lifted away.
"Let's get back to the topic at hand." He said when they calmed down. "We both have family we want to help. Neither of us can do anything in our current state. We're basically the mech industry's equivalent to cannon fodder! If I ever want to get my parents out of a fix, I need to become someone comparable to the Skull Architect before he got exiled to the frontier. As for you, if you want to pick up where Mayra left off, you will have to find a way to advance to Journeyman within the next twenty years."
"Why twenty years? That's way too fast!"
"I don't think so." He shook his head. "Many promising mech designers have advanced to Journeyman within twenty years of graduating to become a Novice. Mayra actually looks like someone who managed to do so. If she can do it, so can you."
"But she studied under the Skull Architect!"
"So what, Ketis? That doesn't stop you from seeking out another teacher! I'm helping you right now, and so long as you can find another Senior to study under, there won't be any difference between you and your mentor! You have to believe in yourself. Trust me, I've seen a lot of pathetic mech designers who barely deserve the title, but you're not one of them. Mayra believes in you. The Swordmaidens believe in you. I believe in you."
That affected her more than Ves had anticipated. She looked genuinely touched by his encouragement.
"I.. I don't know what I can say. I never felt so confident about my mech design stuff. Maybe you're right. Maybe I am good at this stuff!"
After so many interactions, Ves finally felt vindicated. He succeeded in getting through her thick skull!
"That's the spirit!" He encouraged. "It's okay to feel good for yourself. As a mech designer, you should be proud of yourself, but more importantly, realize that you are capable of reaching greater heights as long as you work towards them! If you need a reminder why you should work so hard, think back on your family. Your sisters are relying on you. Twenty years. Set that as a goal. Try and advance to Journeyman within twenty years. Most talented mech designers that have eventually gone on to become Seniors and Masters usually reach Journeyman within the first two decades of their career."
He set a bold goalpost for Ketis, but he figured that a naturally competitive woman like her would relish the challenge rather than shy away from it. If there was one good trait about the Swordmaidens, it was that they were naturally accustomed to swimming against the current. Their harsh training regimes instilled a rare sense of discipline that pirates often lacked.
The problem with Ketis was that she needed to apply her discipline in a better way and set her priorities straight.
Eventually, she emerged from her internal deliberation with a spark in her eyes. Ves had been waiting for her passion to ignite.
She grinned at him. "You know what? I'm going to give that a try. If nothing else, becoming a Journeyman in less than two decades will make me your girlfriend!"
He flicked her in the head. "Some dreams are never meant to be fulfilled!"
"Didn't you say the exact opposite earlier? Nothing is impossible!"