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Chapter 1975 No Taboo

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1975 No Taboo

    The six-sided miniature altar floated in front of Ves' face in a wavy fashion. It slowly rotated around its axis, allowing Ves a good glimpse of every side.

    Though it looked extraordinarily exquisite, Ves puzzled at the symbolism of its deep and meaningful imagery.

    The phase of women was the most resplendent side of the altar. The victorious woman spreading out her arms in exaltation was the ultimate confidence booster to every female Hexer.

    The phase of life on the other hand was the most modest side. A young, infantile boy meekly looked out while looking as scared as a rabbit.

    If female Hexers equated every male to this young and innocent depiction, then it was no wonder they treated boys so poorly!

    After fifteen minutes of inspecting the miniature altar, he pushed it away.

    The altar not only failed to enlighten him of the meaning of the six phases, it also contained no spirituality worth noting.

    Though Gloriana possessed a decent amount of spiritual strength, her sincere faith was not enough to bestow the altar with a noticeable imprint. It lacked the volume of worshippers and years and accumulation of Ylvaine's nutrient pack wrapper.

    He pushed it away, causing it to float back to Gloriana's side.

    Is it enough? Gloriana asked.

    No. Ves shook his head. I doubt that any altar in the fleet can meet my needs. I need at least something to work with in order to create a suitable spiritual product to represent your faith. Right now, I see two possible options to accomplish my goal.

    He stretched a finger. First, I take a spiritual fragment from your mind. This is obviously unacceptable. I don't want you to harm you in any way. I'm still not sure what the repercussions actually are for doing this. In addition, I need you at your full strength to contribute to our two design spirits.

    She nodded. She already experienced what it was like to lose a part of her spirit. It was not very pleasant to say the least. Unlike Ves, her mentality was much less resilient, and she recovered far slower from a loss than Ves, who could easily replenish his losses with the help of his Grand Dynamo.

    What's the other option? His girlfriend asked.

    He raised another finger. The second option is to resort to the same solution I used to create Ylvaine's spiritual fragment. I take the spiritual remnant of a major relic of hexism and convert it into a complete spiritual product! The result is far superior to what I can create from my imagination or draw from your mind because it is the collective representation of the beliefs of billions or trillions of Hexers!

    As Ves finished speaking, he carefully studied his girlfriend's reaction.

    She didn't greet his suggestion as eagerly as he hoped.

    Are you crazy?

    It makes complete sense, Gloriana! It worked with Ylvaine! Look at how strong he is now! Wouldn't it be nice to do the same for your people?

    You don't know what you are talking about! Just the thought of desecrating one of our most valuable altars or artifacts is unthinkable! My fellow Hexers have venerated the six phase of existence through relics for centuries! It is a great disservice to rob any of them of their divine strength just to further our goals!

    Ves crossed his arms. Logically, I think it makes sense. Just think. What would you rather like to see. The Hegemony losing the war while maintaining the integrity of all of its cultural relics, or the Hexers winning the war at the cost of losing something that's invisible and unnoticeable to them? To me, the choice is clear! As long as I can obtain what I want, no one will notice the difference!

    THAT'S NOT THE POINT, VES! Gloriana shouted in his face. MY FAITH IS NOT A CONVENIENCE STORE THAT YOU CAN ENTER AND TAKE SOMETHING AWAY AS YOU WISH!

    I didn't mean any disrespect! I just think that the Hegemony might benefit if they sacrificed something marginal in order to gain something massive!

    NO!

    Gloriana stormed away from the design lab in a fit of fury. Ves looked perplexed.

    What's the big deal?

    Miaow!

    Clixie hissed at Ves before she sauntered after her owner.

    Meow!

    Lucky followed after the furry feline, completely leaving Ves behind.

    Ves glowered at his mechanical cat. Where do you think you're going?!

    After the abrupt end of this meeting, Ves felt a bit unsure. Was his suggestion wrong? He didn't think so. He didn't possess any inherent taboos about messing with a Hexer religious relic in order to accomplish his objective.

    Yet Gloriana didn't see it that way. Her faith in hexism was truly sincere! This caused Ves to inadvertently touch her nerves with his suggestion!

    Damnit.

    How could he fix this? Should he fall back to one of the other solutions?

    Perhaps the most viable alternative was to construct a spiritual product the conventional method.

    His usual method was to harvest a spiritual fragment from Nyxie and process it in order to remove as many unpleasant attributes as possible. Once he purified the fragment, he began the spiritual restoration process by breaking it along with his spiritually-empowered images before merging it all together to form a new spiritual entity.

    There were several flaws associated with this method.

    First, even if he did everything to purify the original spiritual fragment, aspects of Nyxie still suffused it. Ves lacked the ability to neutralize every influence that Nyxie possessed over an aspect of himself!

    Second, the ultimate outcome depended heavily on Ves. As a foreigner, Ves did not possess a deep understanding of hexism and Hexer society. Even if he read a lot of books about hexism, he doubted he would be able to tolerate all of the biases and ridiculous assumptions the Hexers adopted to justify their gender policies.

    Learning about a culture or religion from a bunch of books was incomparable to living and breathing it for your entire childhood and adolescence!

    Ves would never be able to catch up to Gloriana in her understanding of hexism. Whatever Ves might think about the faith and philosophy would inevitably be out of sync with what real Hexers believed.

    If he was desperate enough, he might decide to fall back on this solution anyway. While it wasn't ideal by any means, if Ves abandoned his desire to create an accurate representation of hexism, then what was the harm of spreading his own interpretation?

    Maybe this isn't as bad as it sounds. Ves abruptly realized.

    Why should he copy the poisonous faith verbatim? Was it truly necessary to strive for an accurate and faithful representation of hexism when he himself disagreed with its tenets?

    He felt a bit conflicted.

    As a commissioned mech designer, it wasn't proper for him to distort or misinterpret the wishes of his client.

    If his client was anything like Gloriana, then proceeding with this course of action would surely amount to a violation to one of his principles!

    Though Ves did not necessarily have a problem with abandoning his principles, he didn't want to resort to it when other options were available.

    If Gloriana doesn't want to play ball, then I'll just turn to another Hexer.

    Some time later, Ves sat alone in an office. He activated the terminal and called the leader of the Black Cats.

    Calabast's face projected in front of his face.

    Hello Ves. It's rare for you to get in touch with me. Did you miss me or something?

    Stop with the jokes, Calabast. I need something from you. It's related to DIVA's commission.

    The spy became a lot more attentive. Do tell.

    Because Calabast resided on another ship and the fleet was travelling through FTL, he was aware that the connection wasn't completely secure. Ves had to assume that other spy agencies might be listening in on their conversation.

    He therefore started to remind her of an incident that happened in the past.

    Remember my Transcendent Messenger design? He asked. What if I wanted to design something similar that is based around hexism rather than the Ylvainan Faith.

    Calabast was a smart woman. It didn't take long for her thoughts to turn to some very unpleasant memories.

    Ves had been arrested by the Ylvainan Inquisition due to how extreme he behaved in order to accomplish his goal! Though it somehow worked out in the end, Calabast was anything but happy with the tumultuous and hair-raising incident!

    Now that Ves hinted that he wanted to do it again, Calabast immediately regarded him with suspicion!

    Don't tell me you are thinking of something stupid again.

    It's not stupid! It's just a little controversial, but I don't think there is any harm in letting me do what I want! I don't want to talk too much over our comm channel, but I think you know what I need in order to design the best support mech for the Hexers as possible. I NEED this critical element. I don't have to destroy it or mar it in any way that is noticeable to other people, so don't worry about losing something once you hand it over to me. Just give me half an hour and I'll return what you've lent to me right away!

    To her credit, Calabast didn't blow up in the same fashion as Gloriana. She still began to frown, though.

    No wonder why you aren't on good terms with Gloriana right now. While I'm not a follower of hexism, what you just suggested was very insensitive.

    I.. kind of understand, but it is really no big deal! Surely you'd be able to see that, right?

    I do. On paper, the tradeoff you implied makes sense. It's just that it will be difficult to convince DIVA to accept it. Even if there is a large amount of Hexers who don't ascribe to hexism, we still respect it and those who follow its tenets. What you are trying to suggest will anger the entire Hegemon once they find out your plan!

    Couldn't you ask DIVA to obtain what I need? They can probably do it quietly if they aren't able to get what I want through official channels.

    If it was up to me, I would give your proposal a lot of consideration. Calabast answered after a pause. I'm not sure how DIVA will react. It's a diverse group that consists of women from many parts of the Hegemony.

    Will you do it, though? This is important.

    I truly can't say for sure, Ves. This is an incredibly delicate issue. Even if I manage to secure what you need, shipping it to your fleet is another risky operation.

    I can manage without it for a few months. Until my mech design is ready, there is plenty of time to send out my request.

    After a bit of chatting where they glossed over some details, Calabast finally nodded.

    I understand what you need. It's not easy to obtain a good one.

    The stronger, the better! The more people involved, the better! The more significant it is, the greater the power of my upcoming Hexer mech!

    I see. She said. I believe you. I'll be sure to strive for the best specimen that we can obtain for you, but I won't make any promises. I need to go over this idea and find the best way to bring up your proposal without provoking a massive argument.

    Just do what you can. Please tell me quickly whether something is being done to meet my requirements. If every Hexer disapproves, then I'll just come up with something on my own. I don't think you'll like it, though.

    You don't need to warn me again. You are an authority when it comes to your own design philosophy.

    Soon, Calabast ended the call. She was eager to explore what she could do to fulfill Ves' request.

    Not just any mediocre relic would do. Designing the Hexer mech was his first attempt at designing a proper second-class mech. Ves wanted to do everything possible to deliver the best mech design possible in order to prove to everyone that he was fully capable of catching up and surpassing his second-class rivals!