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In the end, the Larkinson Clan and the Colonial Federation of Davute agreed to formalize an altered contract in record time.
The federal president appeared to prioritize this change a lot. He personally urged his subordinates to complete the details in the fastest possible timespan.
It was as if Yenames Clive was afraid that the Larkinsons would have second thoughts about the deal!
It only took a single day for Ves and President Yenames Clive to visit the branch headquarters of the MTA and sign a formal contract that automatically superseded their previous agreement.
Ves still had mixed feelings about his decisions. He felt once again that Yenames Clive had constricted his options and forced him down a single path of the president's choosing.
The only consolation was that the state paid a heavy price to bribe the Larkinson Clan into maintaining its support for Davute!
The concessions were serious and concrete enough for Ves to no longer hate Davute's guts. He merely disliked the state. He still hadn't changed his mind about leaving this place and never coming back.
After handling many other affairs, an event that many people had been waiting for finally kicked off after a four-day delay.
"The founding festival has begun!"
Although it was hard for many people to find joy in their lives after suffering heavy personal losses during the previous surprise attack, there were more people who did not really suffer and cared more about partying.
Plenty of people thought that it was rude and inappropriate to start a festival so soon after a horrible tragedy that would be remembered for many years.
Other people agreed with President Yenames Clive's sentiment that the Davutans should not let the Karlachs dictate their actions!
The latter group of people won out for the most part. The festival commenced with virtually no changes to its original programming!
"Welcome to Davute! In the following seven days, we shall gladly introduce you to a culture that uniquely belongs to our new and scrappy state. We shall demonstrate with our actions that Karlach's evil blow against our people has failed to damage our unwavering belief in our colonial state!"
Kotor City and many other cities throughout the territories of the colonial federation became engulfed by a festive atmosphere!
The municipal governments had worked hard to dispel any forms of discouragement and did their utmost to lift the spirits of as many people as possible!
Projected light shows filled the skies while entire streets received colorful makeovers. Different forms of uplifting and festive music played in many venues as people began to celebrate the founding of the colonial state while forgetting about all of the unpleasantries that happened just recently.
Ves felt bemused by how quickly the masses adjusted to the new status quo. The colonial government had been frighteningly effective at swaying the hearts and minds of its own citizens.
He was among the minority who couldn't forget about everything that had happened and embrace the festive atmosphere. His personal involvement in the surprise attack and subsequent alien abduction event still put him on edge. He could never feel entirely safe while he remained on this cursed planet.
After consulting a few people, Ves decided that he needed to take a longer break in order to restore his mental balance.
"I have withdrawn my participation in the Strange Lands Tournament." He announced his decision to his wife during breakfast in the morning of the first day of the founding festival. "I am really not in a mood to compete against a bunch of Journeymen as if nothing has happened less than a week ago. Compared to defending against rampaging warbeasts and trying to take over an alien prison against a forgotten group of indigenous aliens, designing a competition mech and having my work beat up the competition mechs of other mech designers doesn't sound as important anymore."
His wife did not begrudge his decision. She placed her slender palm over his own. "You should do what you think is best for you. I may not like these mech design tournaments myself, but I recognize the benefits that they can offer. It is logical to withdraw from them if you do not think you will benefit as much as you initially thought. Your mental health is more important than whatever insights and experiences that you can obtain from participating in a public spectacle. I have heard that many other participants have pulled out of the tournaments for similar reasons."
His expression softened. "You are right. I am not sure whether I will withdraw from the Twin Weapons Tournament as well. I made an appointment with Juliet Stameros. I also miss the pressure and excitement of trying to score as high as possible in these mech design tournaments. I think I will go through with it if the following three days are enough to put me back into the mood."
Many thousands of people had either died or became too seriously affected to remain in the mood to take part in any contests. A lot of tournaments had to scramble to adjust their schedules and other arrangements in order to make sure to keep any disruptions to a minimum.
The tournament organizers generally did not kick up much of a fuss if anyone decided to withdraw. They waived all penalties and allowed people to pull out at the last minute given what had previously happened.
When Ves called up a list of Larkinsons who still chose to take part in the tournament, he noted that most clansmen stuck to their original decisions. Their moods still remained optimistic and each of them wanted to earn glory for the clan!
"Our clan has not suffered substantial losses, after all." His wife explained to Ves. "You can even argue that we benefited more out of this than others. This is why our people are still willing to compete in the tournaments."
Since Ves decided to take a break, he would have plenty of time to take his little family to the different competition venues and witness the best of what Davute had to offer.
His children were extremely ecstatic about being able to watch the competitions with their father!
"I am so happy that papa will not be gone for the entire week." Aurelia said with a smile as she held Clixie against her body.
"I am glad I won't have to watch papa and many other mech designers do all kinds of boring calculation stuff for so many days." Andraste shared her own opinion.
"Hey! Design work isn't boring! It's much more exciting than you think, sister." Marvaine whined.
"Meow." Lucky ambiguously replied while he hovered next to the youngest member of their immediate family.
There were so many possible tournaments that they could attend that Ves and Gloriana were spoiled for choice.
With the elevated status of the Larkinson Clan and the enhanced security allowances that came into effect after signing the revised contract, Ves could attend any tournament for any duration without needing to go through the hassle of buying any tickets.
These changes encouraged him to visit multiple tournament venues. Ves had no particular desire to observe a single competition from start to finish. He just wanted to obtain snapshots of all of the notable people and organizations that settled in Davute.
"It probably isn't a good idea to attend any mech design tournaments on the first or second day." Ves decided while he rubbed his hairless chin. "The participating mech designers don't have anything concrete to show to us. Only other mech designers can fully appreciate their work at an early stage."
This was fairly normal. Mech design tournaments were not that popular during the design phase. Their attendance only truly skyrocketed during the phases where the completed competition mechs finally had a chance to test their mettle against each other.
"Oh, I know what we should watch first." Andraste enthusiastically hopped on her feet like a rabbit. "A huge number of mech pilots have signed up for the Davute Star Tournament. I heard that the qualifier phase is really fun and chaotic!"
So many mech pilots wanted to prove they were the strongest in Davute that the participation rate still remained high despite the recent unpleasantries.
Far too many mech pilots had signed up to allow them to duel each other on an individual basis. This was why the tournament organizers wanted to whittle them down as brutally as possible during the first couple of days.
Ves hadn't heard anything concrete about what the Davute Star Tournament had in store for the qualifier phase, but it probably entailed group matches or free-for-alls.
His wife immediately scowled when she imagined the chaotic qualifying mathes that would be held during the Davute Star Tournament.
"Absolutely not." She said. "There are much more suitable tournaments for young ladies to attend. There are flower arrangement competitions, dancing competitions, singing competitions and many other refined events taking place in Kotor City. You will be able to learn plenty of culture and refinement from observing the arts."
Though Aurelia looked interested at the thought of attending a couple of these cultural competitions, the other children vehemently shook their heads.
"Boring!" Andraste protested. "I want to see mechs beat each other up! I want to see Ketis slice and dice through countless weaklings! I don't want to miss any of these fights!"
Marvaine had his own interests.
"I want to see lots of mechs, papa. I got to see so many of them earlier this week, but none of them were fighting against each other back then. I want to see which ones are truly strong during the matches!"
"Many of the mech pilot tournaments are fought with generic and highly standardized mechs designed specifically for this festival." Ves explained to his youngest son. "Those contests are mainly centered around the mech pilots rather than their machines. We will have to attend a mech design tournament or two if you want to look at interesting mechs instead."
"I refuse to take our children to a mech design tournament! There is nothing to admire about machines that are designed and built in the span of a couple of days instead of many months."
"Oh, come on, Gloriana. If you don't want any of that, then fine!" Ves threw his hands up. "We'll just split up and pick whatever interests us the most, okay?! There is no rule that states we need to stay together for the next week."
Their interests diverged too much to stay together. While they wanted all three of their kids to stay by their side during the entire tournament, it was better to spread them out so that they could watch the tournaments that interested them the most.
Since Aurelia took singing and dancing classes as part of her demanding education, Gloriana decided to bring their oldest daughter to the relevant competitions. It was not often that the little girl could experience the performance of the best artists in Davute from a VIP booth.
Ves on the other hand indulged in Andraste and Marvaine's preferences and immediately brought them to the largest arena in town!
[Welcome to the Davute Star Tournament! In the following week, you shall be graced with both mayhem and martial combat as hundreds of thousands of hopeful mech pilots have signed up to determine who among them deserves to become the star of our colonial federation!]
Situated in the heart of Kotor City's Entertainment District, an enormous mech arena dominated the landscape.
The Clive Arena was built by the government shortly after the settlement took shape. Just as its name suggested, the Clive Consortium heavily sponsored it and likely earned a considerable share of its profits.
The oval-shaped arena featured a battleground that was up to 1.2 kilometers long, allowing large groups of mechs to clash against each other with plenty of space to spare!
Of course, the founding festival also held mech combat tournaments that took place across large and open plains, but the spectators would have to travel all the way to the more rural regions of Davute VII in order to witness the action with their own eyes.
As the initial matches of the Davute Star Tournament were about to commence, Ves and his younger children had just reached their VIP booth.
Each of them looked forward to the chaos that was about to ensue!
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