Ves immediately noticed her special state. Her eyes became dilated as she stared at the generic Vesian-style spaceborn swordsman mech secured in front of her. Her short green hair ruffled a bit as her head tilted upwards and beheld the mech's proud and unyielding head.
To Ves, the swordsman mech didn't seem very special to him. It was a cheap model that the Vandals looted in one of their many past raids into Vesian space. Yet despite its relative age and lack of distinguishing strengths, Ves found it to be a basic, dependable mech that survived battles where more extravagant mech models failed.
Frontier outfits generally prefer designs known for being dependable. Mech pilots wanted a trusty battle brother that lasted for years through frequent abuse and lack of adequate maintenance.
Naturally, the Vandals possessed different priority than the pirate gangs who often found themselves short of mech technicians. Yet this mech model exemplified the frontier style the most out of all of the other mechs in the Vandal mech roster.
Ves still remembered the Redemption Duel he took part in back when he stepped foot on the Temple of Haatumak. His hastily-upgraded Evaporating Spear competed directly against Mayra's Redemption Rose.
Though the conditions of the duel warped the comparison value between their designs, and his mech ultimately lost against her Redemption Rose, he ultimately gained a few lessons out of that battle.
One of them was that he'd been able to sense of Mayra's design philosophy. While Ves couldn't be completely certain what that might look like, Mayra definitely incorporated an emphasis on reliability and perhaps a combination of mobility and offensive power.
He had a feeling he only scratched the surface of her principles, but whatever they may ultimately be, her design style reflected the prevailing customs of the frontier.
Yet for some reason, Mayra did not wish for Ketis to follow in her footsteps. While she hadn't said anything concrete to Ves, she subtly implied that she wanted Ketis to develop a design philosophy that diverged from the classic frontier style.
Ves couldn't figure out why Mayra wanted that for Ketis, considering the young woman would make for a great mech designer based in the Faris Star Region if she applied herself to her career instead of her training.
While he filled up the gaps in his student's comprehension of the orthodox mech industry's institutional norms, he did not expect her to become a bona-fide classical mech designer. Ketis could never compete in the areas the graduates of the Leemar Institute of Technology or Ansel University of Mech Design excelled at due to their fantastic teaching environments.
With teaching facilities worth as much as a large mech manufacturer and Senior Mech Designers as their professors, these highly prestigious schools had been designed from the start to pump out mature mech designers capable of entering the mech industry in their own right.
How could someone homeschooled by a Journeyman with an inconsistent upbringing herself beat those who survived the brutal curriculum of those institutions?
Ves adopted the same strategy for Ketis as he did with the Blackbeak. Instead of competing directly against the established players of a particular market category, he instead turned to a less popular market category or segment.
In his opinion, Mayra didn't want Ketis to be a pure frontier pirate designer with all the faults that came with it. Ves did not see any hope for her to become an orthodox mech designer either without actually going through a decent school, which was impossible due to her age and her origin.
So why not combine the two? Ideally, Ketis would take the best traits from both approaches to mech design and mix-and-match them to form a hybrid style that became her hallmark. If she combined the meticulousness and the emphasis on consistency in quality with the freewheeling, unrestrained design impulses of the lawless frontier, then something truly great may come out of this combination!
Of course, anything complex that could result in a benefit might also go the other way. A combination of the worst traits.. Ves could hardly imagine what such a result would look like.
The complete immorality of the frontier combined with the intense greed and hunger for market share?
Now that he thought about it, that did sound a bit familiar... a few weeks ago, didn't he worry about the Skull Architect doing the exact same thing?
ANYWAY, under his stellar and faultless instruction, his cute little student surely wouldn't end up as a devil among pirate designers.
She never displayed any ambitions of starting her own business either. While Ves showed her the ropes of what a mech designer needed to take into account when starting their own businesses, he merely wanted to give her a proper grasp on the economics and the cost and resource constraints of building mechs.
From her own mouth, she once described the two most prevalent ways that pirate designers got into trouble.
The first way was to pay too little attention to their own protection. Anyone weak in the frontier never survived very long by themselves.
The second way they got into trouble was to get ripped off or unknowingly incur a huge amount of debt. Many mech designers who emerge from the frontier usually possessed a poor grasp on the business fundamentals of their own profession. It was easy for them to get carried away and before they knew it a black market organization owned their souls!
Ves made sure to instill some basic business sense into her thick horned skull in order to make sure she wouldn't bankrupt the Swordmaidens or any other future ventures she might pursue.
"Ah!" The woman suddenly cried. "I almost had it! That feeling!"
"Did you get to discover your own design philosophy?"
"Not quite.." She shook her head in regret. "I kind of let my mind spaz out a bit. I was thinking about my sisters, my warrior training, and my Swordmaiden graduation ceremony."
"Your graduation ceremony? Isn't that the time when you set off to an untamed world and hunted down a big beast on foot armed with nothing but your sword?"
"Yeah." The girl patted the bones adorned on her suit of heavy combat armor. "These bones here and the reddish lizard skin I wear for my regular uniform prove that I've personal killed a Wistra dragon! They're one of the apex predators of a little exoplanet in the frontier. These bones are only a fraction the size of the real thing, you know!"
"And your design philosophy is related to the Wistra dragon?"
"More like my hunt for the beast. I roamed through the jungle there for more than a week, using every survival skill at my disposal to track one down and stalk it I found an opportunity to best it alone in open combat!"
Ves looked impressed at her. While he had no idea how formidable a Wistra dragon might be, the Swordmaidens always picked a worthy exobeast to demonstrate their feats of strength. "Why not employ an ambush?"
"Pff! Ambushes are for the weak!" She contemptuously dismissed the option. "The Swordmaidens aren't like the other slimy pirate gangs that won't hesitate to resort to dirty tricks. A trick may work once or twice but never all the time! It's our belief that as long as we are strong enough to beat our opponents in a straight fight, we'll never show any weakness!"
Ves found that to be a rather crude philosophy, but the Swordmaidens made it work so far. He tried to shift the topic back to her struggle to form her design philosophy.
"Okay, so there's the hunt and challenge you completed that excites you. What about it specifically makes your heart pump faster?"
Ketis closed her eyes and tried to find that special feeling where everything just fit together.
"It's not the hunt. While I enjoyed it, it's also stressful and uncomfortable and I don't feel like designing a tracking mech."
"It's not the one-on-one duel. While my matchup with the Wistra dragon has definitely given me an opportunity to prove that I can stand on my own, I don't feel like insisting on a duel when it's easier to throw multiple mechs at your enemy."
"Then what is it? What portion of your graduation ceremony has continued to stick with you and define you as a person and a mech designer?"
"I think.. It's the ferocity of the battle! I felt so alive at that time when I faced the Wistra dragon! All of my thoughts blended together and I let my instincts and my training take over. I completely trusted myself to win and survive! It's.. I can't explain it, but that rush of exhilaration and those brushes of death really made me feel that becoming a Swordmaiden was the best thing that could have happened to me! And that moment when I whittled the Wistra dragon down until it made a mistake! That chop! One running jump and one heavy blow to the neck and its head is parted from its body! Nothing in my life can top that moment!"
Ves crossed his arms. "You're recounting the best moment of your life so far, but how do you translate that into your design philosophy?"
"Uhh.. good question."
"Now we're back to square one. Well not quite. You've pinned down a powerful experience in the past that has influenced the rest of your life and that you can use to fit your design philosophy into. Right now, you said that fighting the Wistra dragon is the best moment of your life. Can you imagine anything related to mech design that might top that magnificence?"
She looked at him as if her gears had become stuck. "Uhhh.."
"Use some imagination! Try and think what will happen a hundred years from now. Let's say you've had a lot of lucky breaks and advanced to a Senior Mech Designer after a lot of luck. Now you are about to complete the culmination of all of your research and efforts. What kind of mech will you design that will push you to threshold of Master? What kind of impossible and wildly ambitious swordsman mech design have you brought into being that can astound the entire galaxy?"
"I don't think I'll ever become a Senior.."Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"Don't ever say never. Didn't I taught you to always look ahead? There's no harm in harboring great ambitions! As long as you are moving forward, then even if you eventually halt half-way, it's better than never moving from your starting line. So stop thinking that you never have the chance to become a Senior and just imagine it already!"
It took some more guidance from Ves, but Ketis eventually closed her eyes again and sank into a deep enough mood to be able to imagine such a fantasy.
"I think I see.. I've become a Senior now.. I'm really rich.. the Swordmaidens are one of the biggest gangs in the frontier now.. I have a fluffy bed the size of a corvette to bounce around and sleep in.. I've picked up three tamed and genetically modified Wistra dragons as my personal pets.."
Ves gently tapped her armor. "Let's stay focused on your mechs rather than your material possessions."
"Ah, okay. Mechs.. mechs.. well, I designed a lot of swordsman mechs. Fat ones. Skinny ones. Fast ones. Strong ones. They're all different, because I like to see how each of them perform. Landbound. Aerial. Spaceborn. It doesn't matter to me. A swordsman mech is a swordsman mech. I would even design an aquatic mech if it isn't so different from the rest."
"Okay, so you dream of designing a diverse mix of swordsman mechs. That's a good ambition to have." He said encouragingly. "You're getting close. Now, try to put your designs in a row. Fat, skinny, expensive, cheap, landbound, spaceborn, it doesn't matter. Just try to visualize all of them at a distance. Now, what do they have in common? What ties them all together?"
Ketis let herself be influenced by his voice and fell even deeper into the illusion. Right now, it seemed like their environment fell away. The mech stables, the swordsman mech in front of them, even Ves himself faded from her sight.
All she saw was what her imagination projected into her mind's eye!
As the fuzzy outlines of her design became more clear, the eclectic collection of designs started to shine.
What did they share in common?
What tied them together?
What aspect about their designs carried a distinctive mark that could have only been designed by her?
"It's.. I can see it.. my design philosophy.. centers around sharpness! It centers around heaving your arms and bringing down your sword in a single blow! It centers around chopping the toughest things apart no matter how impressive it is! My mechs are all armor breakers!"
Ketis had finally found her design philosophy!