Chapter 1952 Spiritual Monitoring System
After Ves ended his call with the Tovar mech designers, he fell into thought while Gavin dutifully remained silent.
His earlier discussion might have been simpler if Ves didn't talk with Calabast beforehand.
Her proposal continued to dominate his thoughts. It even started to color his judgement, which was very precarious because he himself didn't know his own stance on the matter!
Ves looked down on the Larkinson Mandate. The ancestral heirloom's glow had grown even stronger despite the loss of a number of connections.
He expected the Golden Cat to grow weaker or become downcast after the deaths of dozens mech pilots, but instead she looked as upbeat as ever.
Ves caressed her intangible body with a spiritual projection. The cat squinted and enjoyed his touch.
Though they didn't share any words, they conveyed their feelings and emotions in a different way.
He felt a lot less confused now that he sampled Goldie's opinion. As the spirit that represented the Larkinson Clan, Ves only had to gauge her reaction in order to determine what the clan wanted!
Of course, just because Goldie approved of a decision didn't mean it was the best choice to make.
Right now, Goldie didn't show much aversion towards the idea of adding a lot of outsiders to the clan. In fact, she even showed some eagerness at the thought of welcoming so many many Larkinsons to the fold!
The crucial difference why Goldie was a lot more optimistic than Ves was because she was a spiritual entity by nature.
Due to her central position in the Larkinson Clan, she was able to peer through the heart of every clansman.
She didn't fear adopting potential traitors into the clan because Goldie would instantly be able to detect them as long as they pledged an oath in her presence!
Once she formed a connection with the new clansmen, she would continue to keep an eye on them without their knowledge.
It was as if Ves had inadvertently designed a spiritual monitoring system when he conceived of an ancestral spirit for the clan!
Unlike electronic monitoring systems, it was a lot harder to jam or tamper with spiritual monitoring systems! The permanent spiritual connections that Goldie maintained with every member of the clan would continue to stay in effect regardless of how much his clansmen tried to isolate themselves!
This was a unique and exceptionally useful tool to ensure the loyalty of the new Larkinsons.
However, the story wasn't so simple.
Just as the Golden Cat affected the Larkinsons, the Larkinsons also shaped the Golden Cat.
While this interaction was a lot stronger in the early days, Ves ultimately designed the Golden Cat to pose as a collective representation of the Larkinsons.
For example, if the Larkinsons all lost their morals and turned into pirates, then Goldie would eventually be tainted by their poison and become a cruel and degenerate spirit.
While Ves designed some safeguards in the Golden Cat by putting more weight in the values she adopted early on as opposed to the ones she assimilated later, he could not go too far in sticking to the past.
The Larkinson Clan needed to be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances, and Goldie had to be open-minded enough to accept new ideas.
As a result, introducing a lot of new outsiders into the clan risked warping Goldie into a direction that Ves wasn't fully comfortable with. Just thinking about how thousands of Ylvainans would flood the Golden Cat with veneration towards Prophet Ylvaine frightened him beyond his wits!
Ves could not stand by and let Goldie transform into becoming Ylvaine's greatest fan. If he decided to accept Calabast's proposal, he had to find a way to integrate all of that diversity while maintaining the essence of the Larkinson Clan.
As he continued to mull over this issue, his meeting with the Larkinsons soon began.
A bunch of elders from the clan, ranging from Raymond Billingsley-Larkinson to Clinton Larkinson joined the conference call from various ships. The conference room lit up with various projections.
Everyone looked at Ves.
Good to have you back, patriarch.
After they were done exchanging small talk, they immediately proceeded to discuss the most critical issue.
I'm not sure if Gavin or your girlfriend has informed you, but there are a number of clansmen who have applied to leave our clan. They want to depart as soon as we meet with Ark and the members of the old family that escaped the Republic. Raymond gently started.
Everyone was watching Ves' reaction like a hawk. They wanted to see how the patriarch reacted to such an egregious development.
Someone with very little control and quick to anger would definitely blow his top!
Ves did not do so. Not only did he have prior warning, he didn't really care about the departure of weak-minded rabble who possessed no stomach for hardship.
We have never prohibited Larkinson clansmen from leaving the clan. Ves eventually spoke. I would like our clan to hold the same stance as the original Larkinson Family. If at any point a Larkinson believes they no longer have a future in the clan, they should be free to part ways without any fuss or punishment.
His calm cadence quietly reassured the most influential elders, many of whom were members of the Executive Council and Larkinson Assembly.
Yet just because Ves was okay with it didn't mean that the other Larkinsons were as accepting!
Two-hundred of our clansmen are leaving, Ves! Their selfishness will weaken us in a time where we can least afford it! They should at least offer some compensation for the harm they cause with their departure!
The words of one of the members of the council provoked a brief but seemingly familiar argument. Ves heard both sides but did not sway from his decision.
I agree that leaving the clan while it is in the middle of a battle or a very precarious situation is no different from betrayal. That is clearly not allowed. However, I think it is detrimental to act as strict as the Mech Corps with regards to leaving. The two-hundred clansmen who want to leave at least have the decency to wait until we reach the Sentinel Kingdom before they depart.
That's only because they want to keep riding our ships while enjoying our protection against any potential Fridayman ambush!
That was true, but Ves didn't really care.
Look, it seems their departure is pretty much set in stone. What do you want?
We want you to talk to them and persuade them to reconsider. Raymond answered. We tried to convince the Larkinsons who intend to leave to change their minds, but we aren't as persuasive as you. They are too taken in by the new vision that Ark Larkinson has set for the Larkinson Family. Only you have the clout to compete against an expert pilot!
Ves frowned. What does Uncle Ark want to do?
Venerable Ark wants to attach the Larkinson Family to another state. I heard that the members of the old family are considering whether to dedicate themselves to the Sentinel Kingdom. With their recent troubles, they could use the help. I even heard a rumor that Sentinel offered to elevate the old family into a noble house in return for their military service!
What?! That's a very big offer!
Kingdoms generally weren't keen on inviting foreigners. The Sentinel Kingdom already possessed enough noble houses, and all of them had already carved out every piece of territory.
The old family simply wasn't set up as a noble house. They possessed no governance experience and they weren't very adept in the ruthless politics that was essential to keep a noble house in power!
Speaker Ovrin Larkinson shook his head. That rumor isn't very credible. Ark would never in a million years allow the formation of House Larkinson. We have fought the Vesians long enough to know how aristocracy corrupts. I think that Ark is more likely to decide to leave the Komodo Star Sector entirely and find a more decent state to offer the family's services.
As someone who intended to leave the Komodo Star Sector himself, Ves didn't blame Ark for leaving.
Half of the star sector turned into hostile territory, and the other half was aligned to a state that elevated females over males. There was nowhere in the current star sector that the Larkinson Family could settle and still retain their old values and way of life.
Yet Ves believed that Ark and the old family would have to travel very far in order to find a state that was worthy enough to meet their demands.
The Vicious Mountain Star Sector worshipped mech pilots and especially expert pilots like Venerable Ark. Yet its warlords also engaged in frequent scuffles and destructive conflicts just to earn more glory!
Their interpretation of honor was a lot less about sacrifice and a lot more about padding their battle records!
As for the Majestic Teal Star Sector, political intrigue was rife there. Even though full-blown wars were rather rare there, its decadent rulers engaged in constant back stabbing and proxy wars while shifting alliances as frequently as they changed their clothes!
From the stories Ves heard about Majestic Teal, honor was just an empty word there. A lot of people from Majestic Teal liked to boast about their honor and valor in battle, but it was really just a tool to raise their reputation. Whether their honor was authentic or not was no concern as long as no one exposed the truth!
In short, the Larkinson Family would have to travel very far away to find a compatible state to offer its services!
Ves wasn't the only one to recognize this problem.
Clinton Larkinson sighed. If there aren't any good options available, then Ark might turn the Larkinsons into mercenaries, at least for a time. They can work and keep their skills sharp as they move further and further away from our home. Eventually, they'll find a good state or star sector to settle in if they don't get ambushed or robbed along the way.
Every Larkinson in the conference room displayed some concern to their fellow Larkinsons.
No one suggested that they should absorb the old family into the clan. There was no way to persuade these Larkinsons to get over their hard feelings when they were targeted by Ves' enemies.
Even his famous Devil Tongue was probably unable to convince his own uncle to take part in his risky venture!
The discussion proceeded onwards. However, Ves continually showed very little interest in speaking with the leavers.
I don't want to waste my energy on those who don't abide by our clan's motto. Ves firmly set his foot down. Even if ninety percent of the clan wants to leave, I will still answer the same way because I only want comrades at my side who I can trust in battle!
While a lot of Larkinson elders looked disappointed, they grudgingly accepted his argument.
Ves wasn't wrong by any means, but the departure of so many Larkinsons hurt the clan immensely.
Did Calabast come to you with her proposal?
Groans immediately sounded across the conference room as at least half of the elders showed some sort of reaction.
Who is Calabast? What is her proposal all about? A clueless assembly member asked.
It appeared that Calabast only approached the most senior Larkinsons with her radical proposal. This was helpful in maintaining stability. With all of the setbacks it suffered, the clan could hardly endure another shock!
However, Ves saw little point in secrecy. Besides, enough time had passed that his clansmen should be able to discuss this idea without losing their temper.
He quickly introduced Calabast's suggestion.
It didn't take long for the recently-enlightened Larkinsons elders to react!
Impossible! Becoming a Larkinson is not a matter of changing your last name!
There are too many Ylvainans! Their religious expression is cute, but it's all superstition! We can't allow our descendants to turn into cultists!
A lot of mech pilots who risked their lives during the Battle for Kesseling VIII deserve to be honored. However, what have the civilians done for us to warrant the same treatment? Inducting them in the clan will only weaken our martial tradition! From the founding of the Bright Republic, our heritage has always revolved around mechs and mech pilots! We should keep our focus pure and avoid any distractions!
Most of the sentiments sounded negative towards Calabast's proposal. Ves didn't expect anything different.
Since Ves wasn't sure about his stance on the matter, he didn't bother to support or reject the proposal.
Please discuss this suggestion at the Larkinson Assembly and the Executive Council. He requested. Don't discard it right away. No matter what decision you end up with, I hope you'll back it up with serious arguments!
Rather than continue to wrestle over this decision, Ves just decided to wash his hands off it and let the rest of the clan decide!
In the meantime, Ves could start a new design project!