Ves developed an explanation of what he was missing with his current images. He also remembered a possible solution to the problem.
All good, right?
"Not exactly." He frowned.
He felt a bit apprehensive about his actions. Would it really be fine to knock upon the door of someone else's spiritual territory and ask them if they mind if Ves borrowed a piece of their spirituality?
Spirituality was not limitless, nor could it be supplemented so easily when lost. Ves faintly thought back of when Captain Orfan first interfaced with Qilanxo's vast and ancient mind. A lot of strange metaphysical interactions took place at that time that was difficult to explain. Personally, Ves believed that Qilanxo bestowed Captain Orfan with a portion of her mighty spirituality, thereby propelling the mech pilot straight into an expert candidate!
When Ves studied Qilanxo's spirituality after this phenomenon, he noticed that her spirituality weakened substantially. This essentially told him that spirituality was a scarce and finite resource that was difficult to replenish and needed to be treated as such!
Perhaps the other party wouldn't be aware of the infringement. Yet Ves could not help but sweat if he somehow tipped them off and made them become aware of what they just lost!
He held off on performing the supposed Spiritual Resonance technique on Venerable Fontain. The escort fleet adhered to a standard day-night cycle and it was currently too early for most servicemen to go to bed.
If Ves wanted to maximize his chances, he preferred to perform the technique on Venerable Fontain when he was asleep.
He instead turned his attention to Qilanxo. Despite her greater strength, Ves felt a bit more hopeful about his chances due to his familiarity and friendly relations with the exobeast. If she was still alive, then Ves might be able to ask politely. If she was dead, then most of his concerns didn't apply.
Ves had no idea whether Qilanxo was awake or asleep now, so there was no point for him to wait. He needed to pull the trigger.
"Here goes nothing."
He pretended to enter a seance and closed his eyes. His heartbeat slowed down as he concentrated his mind towards Qilanxo. This time, he didn't just think about her. In order to resonate with Qilanxo, he needed to do more than that. He needed to empathize and understand her motivations in order to establish a true connection with the Sacred God!
Ves thought about her history. Her long reign in the ancient city of Samar. Her fateful participation in the attack of the Flagrant Swordmaiden ground forces. Her subsequent captivity and docile manner towards her captors. Her new bonds with two different mech pilots. Her abrupt escape from the collapsing Starlight Megalodon as Ves slapped a vehicle teleporter onto her hide.
Recalling Qlianxo's history enabled him to fixate upon the right spiritual entity. Yet to forge a connection with her required him to resonate with her desires, as described by his mother.
What did Qilanxo desire?
It was difficult for him to imagine the motivations of a Sacred God. They were beasts that developed sentient, human-like minds. Their acquired rationality reined in their beastly instincts, but did not completely wipe them out.
So what did a Sacred God really live for? Perhaps one striking aspect about Qilanxo and the other Sacred Gods was that they craved worship for some reason. The ancient cities of Aeon Corona VII seemed to be under the complete control of the Sacred Gods who demanded their genetically-engineered blessed people to worship the exobeasts as gods descended from the vault of the gods.
There must be a reason why at least two different ancient cities adopted such practices.
Ves recalled that back when Qilanxo fell into captivity, the Vandals stripped away her godly facade and laid bare many of her secrets. Her instinctual desire to be worshipped was not being fulfilled as the Brighter servicemen had never been brought up to believe in gods. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why Qilanxo always behaved a bit listlessly while in captivity.
In any case, perhaps Ves could use this trait to forge a spiritual connection with Qilanxo. While Ves was not a religious type, he believed in the existence of spirituality, which should be a good enough substitute.
In the next half-hour, he tried various methods to worship Qilanxo. It was difficult, and most of the time Ves did not feel anything close to resonance in his attempts.
Eventually, he achieved some results when he prostrated himself on the deck of his quarters and expressed his sincere admiration and respect for Qilanxo's might. God or not, it was indisputable that her spirituality was on par with that of an ace pilot!
As various thoughts ran through his mind, Ves eventually felt he had reached a point where he delved deeper into the imaginary realm than ever before. He no longer strayed along the shallows of that wondrously intangible realm but dove into its depths where his spiritual senses started to become increasingly fuzzy.
He did not know where his mind was being propelled, but at some point he came across a glowing light in the foggy greyish mist that obscured his spiritual senses. As his mind touched upon this massive glowing spiritual light, a strong consciousness suddenly brushed against his own!
"Qilanxo!" Ves uttered with pain as a huge amount of strain suddenly befell his mind!
A lot of different things went on at that moment!
The first thought that came into his mind was that Ves believed that he succeeded in connecting to Qilanxo's spirit! The tenuous connection that abruptly formed between them made it clear that they were separated by an unimaginable distance!
The second thought that came into his mind was that he felt that Qilanxo was definitely alive and well. The spiritual consciousness that he connected to did not feel like a fragment but instead a complete whole that was more vigorous and stronger than ever!
Unfortunately, the huge distance and his unfamiliarity with the Spiritual Resonance technique did not allow for any communication of thoughts. At best, Ves gained a vague impression of Qilanxo's vast emotions.
Worse yet, the strain upon his mind was incredibly burdensome, and only grew worse in a matter of seconds!
His head was overheating and his Spirituality was rapidly wearing out! Ves suspected that he wouldn't be able to maintain this tenuous connection for long!
He needed to make use of his narrow window of time to achieve the objective het set out for! It would be a waste if he worked so hard to establish this connection only to return empty-handed!
Deep within the imaginary realm, Ves tried to convey his request. He wasn't sure if he conveyed the message correctly over this spiritual connection, but he thought he could feel puzzlement and hesitation on Qilanxo's part.
That only lasted for an instant, as Ves felt a sense of gratitude from her consciousness. She still remembered how he saved him when Sigrund woke up and started a rampage on the Starlight Megalodon!
Though it was partially his fault and the fault of the Flagrant Swordmaidens that she became exposed to various dangers in the first place, Qilanxo did not hold that against him. Instead, the her last encounter with Ves left a strong impression on her mind which prompted her to attempt what he asked!
As Ves was only able to maintain the connection for a couple more seconds, Ves suddenly felt that something potent was being shoved through the imaginary channel.
Qilanxo carved out a minute portion of her vast spirituality and propelled it through the channel towards Ves! Due to the vague concept of distance that applied to the imaginary realm, this living spiritual fragment arrived at Ves' consciousness within an instant!
Ves cried out in pain and sprawled upon the deck as his head ached with pain! It felt as if a kinetic round bore right into his skull! The spiritual fragment bestowed by Qilanxo was so hot, potent and active that Ves continued to feel a burden upon his mind!
"This is bad!"
Ves was already mentally worn out after performing the Spiritual Resonance technique. Now that he hosted the strongest and most active spiritual fragment that he ever had the privilege of hosting, it would take days for him to recover his spiritual strength.
Even so, Ves laughed triumphantly as he believed he succeeded in what he set out to do! His mother was right! Resonating with a spiritual entity's desires allowed him to establish a connection with them in the imaginary realm! That it worked with a powerful living entity like Qilanxo who was man light-years away from Ves confirmed many theories he held towards this field of metaphysics.
He made a lot of progress in his understanding of spirituality! He could practically feel the design philosophy hibernating deep within his mind beginning to seethe with excitement as well. He would definitely be able to enrich his mech designs in light of this development!
His jubilation helped push away some of his exhaustion, but there was no doubt that his mental fatigue left him in no state to proceed any further in his experimentation.
"Damn. It feels like I'm hosting a power reactor in my mind." Ves muttered as he rubbed the side of his head.
He wearily picked himself off the deck before the monitoring system decided that he was having a stroke or something and assigned some guards to check upon him. As he swayed on his feet, Ves lumbered over to his bed and slumped into the soft pillows and sheets.
He instantly fell asleep.
The next day, Ves woke up to a wrinkled uniform and an incessant strain in his mind. He recalled what he did before he lost consciousness and smiled to himself.
"I did it. I succeeded!"
As he concentrated his barely-recovered mind inwards, he detected the small but incredibly powerful fragment residing within his mental space. Ves never came across something so powerful despite taking up a tiny mental footprint.
There was no comparison between this powerful flame and the spiritual fragment of a long-dead crystal builder leader!
Back when Ves hosted the latter, he felt as if the spiritual fragment had been refined of much of its strength and identity, leaving behind a core that held only the most defining traits of the alien entity.
It couldn't really be called alive at that stage. Too much had been lost due to the ravages of time as the spiritual fragment withstood too much external impacts to retain its former liveliness. Ves recalled that he was forced to supplement the gaps in its existence with his artificial images.
For some reason, Ves believed that this would not be an issue with Qilanxo's spiritual fragment. Although it was only a tiny part of a vast whole, it was just as fresh and alive as the real thing. It not only carried all of Qilanxo's beliefs and desires, it also possessed its own internal reserves of spirituality which was completely separate from his own pool of spiritual energy.
This was also why Ves felt as if he stuffed an elephant inside his head. Qilanxo's spirituality was simply too strong for his mind to host. The only reason why his head didn't explode was because the spiritual fragment voluntarily repressed its reactions and kept itself still.
If not for Qilanxo's thoughtfulness on this matter, Ves might not have been able to wake up after he fell asleep!
Ves nervously wiped his brow of cold sweat. "I treated this exercise too lightly."
Establishing a mental connection with a spiritual entity was exceedingly dangerous! His earlier experiment confirmed that it would be an incredibly bad idea for Ves to forge a connection to ace pilots and stronger.
Expert pilots were weaker and more comparable to his current level of Spirituality. Even so, Ves predicted that he wouldn't be able to avoid the repercussions of connecting with them, especially the stronger ones.
Ves did not look forward to repeating this experiment with Venerable Fontain as his target. Yet in order to take the X-Factor of his upcoming design to a greater height, he felt he owed it to his work to put in his best effort.
"First, I'll have to recover. Then, I'll have to figure out when he sleeps. There's no way I'll touch upon him when he's fully aware."