The collision between two expert mechs as they unleashed their strongest attacks during the duel produced a massive resonance-fueled explosion that temporarily blinded every sensor!
The willpower and resonance of two different Larkinson expert pilots chaotically blended and collided against each other, causing reality to become a lot less orderly around the collision site.
Many viewers looked eagerly to see which of the two impressive Larkinson expert mechs managed to gain the upper hand this time.
As the dust began to settle and the manifestations of will began to subside, two expert mechs hovered a short distance from each other.
"Wow! This fight was a lot more real than I expected!"
"Which of the expert mechs have won!?"
Neither mechs came out of the exchange of blows unscatched.
The C-Man visibly looked worse off. Venerable Joshua had not been holding back as he channeled the sword style imbued in the Heartsword.
Together with the persistent teachings of his wife, Joshua was able to maximize the cutting power of his sword attack.
The result was obvious as the C-Man had lost one of its arms!
A clean cut ran through what was left of its upper arm!
This was a serious blow. While the C-Man's severed limb was already floating back and merged itself back together like a living entity, the cutting attack had done more than to separate one group of nanomachines from another group of nanomachines.
The arm of the C-Man was not completely fluid. It contained a few solid components that provided extra structure and control to the arm. Now that they had been cut, it was not so easy to make them whole again.
Though Venerable Vincent could force his C-Man to resume fighting with its reattached limb, it did not change the fact that the damaged expert mech needed workshop time in order to regain its full combat effectiveness.
Vincent tiredly grinned. Although his C-Man had suffered a serious blow, his mech at least managed to strike a blow in return!
Much to the astonishment of the Larkinsons who had a better idea of the Everchanger's properties, its entire upper left section looked deformed.
The C-Man's final punch may have partially been interrupted by the Everchanger's amputation strike, but the power of its fist that was empowered by Vincent's strong will and desire to win could not be denied so easily!
Still, no matter how astonishing it was to inflict enough force to dent solid Unending alloy armor plating, the Everchanger still retained most of its battle effectiveness.
"It looks like the power of technology is not enough for you to win this duel." Joshua remarked as he recovered from his previous exertion.
Venerable Joshua camly activated a resonance ability that steadily regenerated the Everchanger's damaged components and even restored the damaged armor plating back to their original shapes!
It was nearly impossible to accomplish this unless extremely advanced technology was involved, but the ability to recover the integrity of the mech frame was second nature to Venerable Joshua and the Everchanger.
It was difficult to defeat the Everchanger as long as the expert mech wasn't taken out in a single blow!
A tense silence followed as both expert pilots kept an eye on each other's expert mechs.
The surging true resonance of the two powerful machines showed that Joshua and Vincent were more than willing to go for another round.
However, before they could think about doing so, Gloriana's voice rudely interrupted their ongoing confrontation.
"Alright! That is enough! Both of you have done a good job. We have collected more than enough data on the C-Man to evaluate its soundness and construct a basic model of its battle performance."
"I can still fight, ma'am!" Vincent stated as he found it difficult to stop at this point.
It was so enjoyable for him to let loose like this! His expert mech was just begging to win its first proper victory against a formidable opponent.
"Your expert mech is running high on heat and low on resources." Gloriana factually stated.
"I can still do more! I haven't even activated the new Heat Conversion resonating ability yet. Let me test it out right away so that you can gather even more combat data on the C-Man."
"We are not in a hurry to collect more data, Venerable Vincent. We already held a discussion with you on this. While we do not mind exposing the combat capabilities of the C-Man, it is not necessary for us to expose this feature to the public. Even if you are able to convert all of the excess heat into a usable charge, your expert mech's performance will not exceed the level you have already shown. Whether you can defeat the Everchanger or not is inconsequential."
"What about the broadcast?"
"The reaction from our growing audience is more than satisfactory."
As much as Vincent wanted to pursue the victory he craved, this was not a fight to the death nor a duel where victory had to be accomplished at all cost.
It was a show match, one that was meant to build up the credentials of the Larkinson Clan and draw public attention to the C-Man.
The Larkinsons succeeded in attaining these goals.
Word of mouth about the Larkinson Clan and its fantastic expert mechs had spread explosively!
While it wasn't really that important to the clan whether people from the old galaxy or from distant places in the Red Ocean learned about the Larkinsons in advance, it was different for its main target audience.
Tens of millions of colonists who resided in Davute and other surrounding star systems such as Makairo developed a strong impression of the Larkinson Clan.
The tech and power demonstrated by its two expert mechs were both impressive and awe-inspiring!
Not only that, but the themes and the design concepts of the two mechs attracted a lot of admiration from the public.
While the Everchanger hadn't been able to showcase its full strength this time due to many limitations, the C-Man's performance successfully won over a lot of viewers!
These mech fanatics and other people became charmed by the C-Man's unapologetic masculinity and its physical fighting approach.
"This is a real man's mech."
"Why isn't the LMC selling more hypermasculine mechs? I want a machine that looks just like this expert mech!"
"The 'C' in C-Man stands for Champion!"
The buzz surrounding the C-Man continued to rise even after the Larkinsons announced the end of the show match.
The Everchanger retreated and disappeared from view, allowing the partially recovered C-Man to command all of the attention.
The C-Man did not look worse off from the battle at all. In fact, the heat sizzling from its overheated frame made it look powerful and dangerous in a way that excited both men and women.
Since most of the viewers who disliked the C-Man had already turned away from the broadcast, the tens of millions of people that had continued to watch up to this point developed overwhelmingly positive opinions about the new expert mech.
Of those viewers, the majority of them simply thought that the C-Man was strong and featured interesting new tech.
A smaller proportion of them were more ardent in their appreciation of the C-Man. They dreamt of piloting the expert mech themselves or wished to acquire a more accessible mech that fought in a similar fashion.
It was these mech fanatics and superfans that played the biggest role at this point!
The C-Man's existence and impressive showing had stimulated these admirers to such a degree that they actually began to display behavior that was awfully similar to worship.
At least at this time, the C-Man had become an idol that they felt compelled to worship as an existence that was more than just an expert mech.
The mech fanatics began to worship the C-Man as if it was a god.
Of course, their behavior was not overtly religious. They appreciated the C-Man as a mech and not as a living deity. Yet the distinction was not important as their intensity and their devotion towards the expert brawler mech had surpassed a certain threshold.
Invisible to anyone except a select few individuals, the divine markers integrated in each individual component of the C-Man began to absorb the spiritual feedback generated by many devoted fans.
Though the energy they passed on without their knowing was weak, the quantity of feedback was still respectable.
Gloriana observed the projected feed of the C-Man closely.
It was difficult for her to examine what was truly taking place, but her instincts told her that the C-Man was likely evolving its physical form at a faster pace than usual!
"I need to examine my work right away!" She gasped!
The show came to an end. The broadcast ended shortly after Ves held a short speech, leaving many viewers excited and hungry for more.
Hours later, the Larkinsons at the training field returned to the Cat Nest. While other clansmen handled the aftermath of the public testing session, a couple of people had gathered in the secure workshop room where Gloriana personally repaired the fixed battle damage of her expert mech.
"There!" Gloriana happily announced. "The C-Man is completely restored. Your expert mech has regained full functionality of its arm."
Venerable Vincent nodded his head in appreciation. "Thank you for what you have done, madame. I can already feel my expert mech is hungry for a rematch against the Everchanger."
Ves uttered a cough. "You will have to wait a few days as we aren't ready to hold another testing session soon. We need to do this step by step. While it may feel to you that the C-Man is completely fine, it is better to be careful and systematically test its performance so that we can be sure that it will not malfunction in battle. We still have a lot of questions with regards to the TESMAS utilized by your expert mech. It is a customized version of Professor Almar's original product and has incorporated many changes. We need to understand exactly how its performance has been affected before we feel comfortable fielding the C-Man once again. We already took a considerable risk in allowing you to fight with it in front of a huge crowd."
The expert pilot looked disappointed. Although he was the closest partner to the C-Man, he ultimately did not own the expert mech. It was property of the Larkinson Clan which meant that Vincent had to wait for instructions from above if he wanted to pilot his new battle partner.
"I will look forward to the next testing session, then."
"Don't get too excited, Vincent. You had your fun this time but we still need to gather systematic data on the C-Man's many performance indicators. We only allowed you to take part in a show match because we needed to play to the crowd."
"What? You're not going to show off my expert mech again?"
"Not until we have done our due diligence and cleared the C-Man for serious combat operations."
"That will take too long! You can't leave my expert mech in the dark for too long. The fans we've created will forget about me and my C-Man if we don't show up again after a while."
Gloriana walked up to the two men and interrupted them. "Vincent has a point, Ves. We should still conduct the necessary tests, but we should also find more opportunities to display the C-Man in public. We don't have to hold more show matches. We can start a PR campaign that can simultaneously promote our clan, our expanding product catalog as well as the C-Man itself. We will be able to hit three birds with a single stone with this approach!"
"That… makes sense, but only if we are okay with allowing the C-Man to become an iconic symbol of the Larkinson Clan." Ves slowly replied. "You know how the public has reacted to our latest work. The C-Man is a polarizing and divisive mech! It's too masculine!"
"I don't see a problem with that, Ves. We have plenty of mechs that are neutral and feminine. As long as we display our other products alongside the C-Man, we can appeal to a wider group of people! I am certain we can generate a lot of interest in our Hexer mechs!"