Chapter 1942 Wrong Hypothesis
Gloriana had a fruitful and informative talk with Calabast.
As Ves kept listening in on their conversation with his spiritual ear, he learned a lot of new developments.
He discovered that the Living Prophet and the True Ylvaine Dynasty offered their assistance to the Larkinsons in their time of need. Now, they comprised the majority of the Larkinson Clan's naval personnel as well as a substantial minority of the Avatars and Sentinels!
He found out that Calabast offered substantial concessions in order to convince DIVA to mount a rescue operation. What annoyed Ves the most was that Calabast was acting smug about it because it would largely be him who would be paying the price!
You scammer! Ves shouted impotently at Calabast. Who's side are you on? When you negotiate a deal on my behalf, you're supposed to stand up for me instead of the Hexers!
Fortunately, Calabast didn't go too far. From what Ves gleaned from her words, he would just have to cooperate and collaborate with DIVA for certain ventures. He wasn't very sure of the details, but it seemed that Ves would not be able to distance himself from the Hegemony anytime soon!
Though he was rather annoyed that Calabast sold him out to the Hexers, he reluctantly agreed with the tradeoff.
If it was possible to rescue the captured Larkinsons, then Ves was willing to give up much as long as his core interests or the future of the clan wasn't at stake.
He recalled he prepared a very extreme contingency plan in response to any potential misfortune that had befallen the old family, but it seemed that Gloriana and Calabast threw it in the recycler chute.
He felt rather mixed about that. On one hand, the two women clearly opted for the better solution. On the other hand, they readily disregarded his own wishes as if he was a foolish little boy.
When Ves wakes up, he'll probably be pissed.
Calabast smirked and inspected her manicured nails. As long as the rescue operation succeeds, he won't complain for long. His family is important to him. He should thank us for preventing his grandfather, his cousin Melinda and hundreds of other relatives from being used as hostages.
And I suppose you want him to repay his debt of gratitude to you as well. Don't think I haven't noticed that you've started corresponding with the Living Prophet. The two of you are up to something. What are you plotting?
Let's wait until Ves wakes up. The spy remained coy.
Their morning meeting soon came to an end. As Calabast stood up, she approached the bed where Ves' body continued to slumber. She reached out and squeezed his cheek.
What was it with Hexers and his cheek?! Was he some kind of baby to them whose cheeks were open to abuse?
Back off! Gloriana barked. He's mine!
Do I look like a lovesick rival to you?
Gloriana hissed. Calabast just looked amused.
Ves is a lucky boy. I don't think he ever has to worry about infidelity.
As Calabast moved away, Gloriana approached the bed and stroked Ves' cheek. Hehehe. Ves is a sweet boy. He's not the kind of person who's unfaithful to me. His rejection of Aisling's advances already makes that clear!
She kept stroking his cheek as Calabast shook her head and walked away. Soon enough, Gloriana had to leave as well.
She bent down and licked his cheek one last time before she left!
See you soon, Ves!
As his girlfriend picked up Clixie and happily skipped away, the stateroom descended into silence.
Ves attempted to extend his spiritual ear and eye forward, but failed to reach further than the next compartment.
He never took issue with the range in which he could project his spiritual energy in the material realm. He mostly worked on mech designs and objects that were right in front of his face.
Yet now that he was starting to venture into the more advanced applications of spiritual engineering, this range constraint increasingly started to grate on him. How could he stave off his boredom in his current condition when all he could see was a bunch of empty compartments and Nitaa doing her best impression of a statue?
Lucky. He concentrated his Spirituality and directed his attention to his lazy cat. Lucky!
The gem cat lounged comfortably at the foot of his bed. Lucky openly yawned while rolling on his stomach as if he was attempting to scratch his back.
LUCKY! I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME! I'M AWAKE!
Lucky jumped back onto his feet in alarm!
My body is asleep but my spirit is awake!
I'm not joking and I'm not a figment of your imagination! Now tell me, have you produced any new gems lately?
I don't believe you. Show them to me. And before you ask, I have a way of seeing stuff around my body.
His cat reluctantly phased through the deck and returned a moment later with a pair of new gems.
Through some unknown System shenanigans, Ves was able to observe the two gems with his System sight.
The echoing whisper of a feline patron can be found within this gem. Enhances the acceleration of a tiger mech by 30 percent.
The fear of a boy towards women is encapsulated within this cursed gem. Increases the dread of a mech by 50 percent to males.
The first gem didn't sound so bad. While it was oddly restricted to tiger mechs, Ves was not a stranger to this mech type.
It had been quite some time since he last designed the Devil Tiger. Ves never gave up his intention to minor in tiger mechs, but so far Ves was too preoccupied with spaceborn mechs to divert his attention to landbound mech types.
Bestial mechs tended to fit the environment. While it wasn't odd to encounter tiger mechs with wings, aerial specialists generally preferred avian mechs due to their superior performance in the air.
It made even less sense to field a quadruped mech in space. More legs only decreased the efficiency of a mech in an environment where walking on solid surfaces wasn't relevant.
Certainly, many battles took place in asteroids, moons and other low-gravity vacuum environments, but tiger mechs were anything but optimal on those battlefields!
Due to his desire to form an expeditionary fleet, Ves still intended to prioritize spaceborn mechs. However, at a certain level, the division between spaceborn mechs and landbound mechs became so fuzzy that tiger mechs started to show up in space again!
I've already designed a custom tiger mech. Ves mentally murmured. I should design a mass market tiger mech to round out my experience. This gem can help me build another masterwork mech if my first production attempt is good enough.
He was slightly more hopeful that he would be able to get within reach of the masterwork threshold in his next attempts.
An increase in mech affinity always enabled a mech designer to persistently raise the quality of his work. This effectively meant that masterwork mech designers like Ves entered into a virtuous cycle.
The quality of his mechs increased, so the chance of creating a masterwork increased.
Each successful masterwork mech improved his mech affinity further, thereby raising the quality of his mechs even further!
Though it was a lot harder than it sounded, many Masters managed to repeat this cycle to the point where making masterwork mechs was no longer an exception!
Of course, Ves was far from reaching this point. He had no clue if he could ever take advantage of Bastet's Whisper when he wouldn't have many opportunities to design a tiger mech.
As for the other gem…
Why did its description sound so personal? How the hell did Lucky manage to create this gem?!
Was his hypothesis wrong? Were the attributes of his gem not affected by external stimuli?
Maybe it wasn't just himself who determined the properties of his gems. Perhaps the people around him played a role as well!
LUUCKKYYY! How the hell did you produce the Whipping Boy?! What's with this name, anyway?!
Lucky immediately took back the gems and phased through the bed and deck in order to make himself scarce!
After Ves vented his frustrations, he mentally sighed and blanked out for a few minutes.
With Lucky running off to parts unknown, Ves was growing bored.
Maybe I should plant my consciousness back into its proper place. There's no telling what kind of harm I'm doing to my body and mind if my spirit remains absent.
He inspected his mind and body carefully. Aside from their abnormally low levels of activity, Ves didn't see anything wrong.
Perhaps he could continue to take advantage of his abnormal state to experiment a bit further.
First, he needed to do something about his limited observation range.
One way to stave off his boredom was to extend his projection distance.
After ten minutes of fumbling and trying to push his spiritual projections further, Ves gave up. His consciousness had become very burdened by his fruitless attempt and he didn't feel he could make any progress.
Perhaps my projection range is a function of my spiritual strength. I should test this out when my Spirituality grows stronger. Perhaps my range will balloon once I advance to Senior.
Since he couldn't increase his detection range, he tried to do something else. He wanted to see if he could move his consciousness or some kind of sensory node in order to move his omnidirectional projection away from his body.
It's like building a drone. Ves imagined. I can just build the spiritual equivalent of a very simple spy drone. It has to be able to see and hear the material realm while also possessing the capability to move semi-autonomously. Furthermore, it has to maintain an active spiritual connection with my Spirituality. Otherwise, how can I receive all of the input?
This was an interesting exercise to Ves. He soon began to put his engineering knowledge to use and attempted to design a very basic spiritual observation drone.
It was not that difficult for him to create a spiritual eye. It was no problem for him to conjure up a spiritual ear.
Yet putting them together in a drone-like construction was a step too far!
One of the main issues he faced was his inability to keep track of all of the parts, dimensions and other parameters of the drone!
Its complexity reached a point where Ves could no longer concentrate on keeping every single aspect together!
The Archimedes Rubal was supposed to solve this problem. However, Ves only had access to his consciousness and parts of his dormant mind and Spirituality!
The bioimplant was still in the process of integrating with his brain tissue. Until this process finished, its systems were not allowed to come online!
As a result, Ves could only limit his spiritual manipulations to basic applications.
Though he found it a bummer that he was unable to create a sophisticated spiritual 'machine', he took what he could get and started to pass the time by creating all sorts of simple creations.
Inspired by his ability to reproduce some of the components of a mech with his mind, he created various other useful parts.
He attempted but failed to find a way to replicate his sense of smell and touch.
He succeeded in his attempt to create a life detector.
He managed to create a very simple alarm that would warn him if a spiritual entity was approaching.
He developed slightly more sophisticated spiritual shields that responded to spiritual attacks a bit better. Just like with his other attempts, he did so by borrowing some of the principles related to mechs.
While he failed too many times to count, his rare successes brought some joy in his life. He felt as if he was making constant progress in spiritual engineering.
What used to be a mysterious and unfathomable field to Ves turned out to be a lot less convoluted than he thought!
As long as Ves slowly delved into the rules that governed spiritual creations, he would definitely be able to build an imaginary mech some day!