Ves threw the worthless suit button to Lucky.
"What do you mean it tastes awful? You're able to digest the most unusual exotics! It shouldn't be any problem for you to eat a simple suit button!"
"Meow meow meow!"
"Yes, I know it's made out of composites. I don't care if it tastes awful to you. I need to get rid of this button without leaving any evidence behind."
After a bit more arguing, Ves eventually forced Lucky to eat the suit button. His cat mournfully hissed at him immediately afterwards.
The suit button tasted awful to Lucky! There was hardly anything of value to his remarkable digestion system!
Ves shook his head at the sight of his grumpy pet. He really didn't have a lot of choice to dispose of the evidence. He didn't trust the trash chutes of the guest compound because who knew how many sensors recorded the stuff he threw away.
If the Ylvainans tapped the records of the trash chutes and found out that one of the objects that Ves threw away happened to be one of their relics, there was no way he could offer a satisfactory explanation!
Fortunately, Lucky continued to stay by his side and cover the entire room with his ECM field. Under the cover of this protection, Ves wanted to process the other relics as fast as possible so he could dispose of them quickly.
The longer he possessed the seed and the medallion, the greater the chance of getting caught red-handed!
"The best way for me to avoid getting caught red-handed is if I've washed off the stain when the authorities come back."
Against someone as sharp and observant as High Inquisitor Xefin Lin Poxco, Ves would never dare to keep the two genuine relics of the Grey Martyr in his possession. He would stuff them both into Lucky's mouth this instant if the high inquisitor was right outside the door!
"Only two samples, huh? This is going to be difficult."
Each of these relics presented him with a valuable opportunity to verify his latest theories. The more experiments he conducted, the more certainty he gained. Having only two practice runs meant that Ves needed to get it right the first time!
"I won't have the opportunity to obtain much more relics. As soon as the Attendants of Ylvaine notice that some of them are missing, they'll surely tighten the security around their other relics!"
Lucky often raided the Mech Nursery's material stockpiles whenever he wanted a snack, so he was quite a proficient little thief. Yet that didn't mean he could sneak into everything and steal something valuable with impunity!
At the very least, Lucky didn't possess the ability to enter into total stealth. Anything guarded by humans or organic entities was very risky.
"I'll have to save my next chance for something that actually matters."
Ves looked down and beheld the two small objects in his hands. The seed didn't contain much spiritual accumulation so he didn't feel bad if he ruined its spiritual quality.
The medallion was a lot more valuable and possessed a much greater accumulation. It would be a lot more difficult for him to manipulate something stronger.
"It's too bad they can't stay intact once I'm done with them. They're too hot for me to retain."
Even if he succeeded in his experiments, he didn't want to incorporate anything related to the Grey Martyr to his upcoming mech design.
"My hero mech is based around the concept of a high-impact mech. Why would I want to pair it with a placid, old teacher?"
The X-Factor of his mech needed to match with its vision. To pair an aggressive mech with a peaceful design spirit would only diminish both of their qualities. The opposite of synergy would occur where the combining the two resulted in less than sum of two parts!
""It will be extremely detrimental if different aspects of my design are constantly fighting against each other!"
Ves already had another source in mind to prop up the X-Factor of his mech. However, he could forget about enacting his plan if his experiments right now didn't pan out. There was no point in thinking any further if his capabilities couldn't keep up with his ambitions!
He put down the valuable medallion and started with the seed. If he blocked all of his spiritual senses, then it appeared as a plain little seed covered in some preservative substance that protected it against the outside elements.
There was nothing immediately remarkable about the little seed. The Grey Martyr only imparted the lightest touch on it, which didn't help in building up a lot of spiritual accumulation.
Ves observed a correlation between the strength of the original sentiment and the spiritual accumulation that had developed around it. If the former was weak, the latter didn't have much grounds to grow.
"It doesn't help that it's an insignificant seed. If it wasn't connected to the Grey Martyr, it's completely worthless!"
How could the Ylvainan followers feel any awe when confronted by this little seed? Even if they were hardcore fans of the Grey Martyr, a seed still didn't inspire much devotion.
This happened to serve his purposes. The experiment he had in mind mainly depended on finesse. With a weaker spiritual accumulation, Ves didn't have to exert too much to enact his changes.
It would be different if he started with the medallion. Its stronger spiritual accumulation meant that Ves not only had to be precise, but also exert a lot of strength. Trying to do both at the same time without any practice was an enormous challenge.
"It's better if I get the technique right before I apply my strength."
With that thought, he carefully concentrated his mind and ran his spiritual senses throughout the seed.
He didn't detect the presence of any conscious or living entities. While the spiritual energy locked within the seed showed some traces of vitality, it was as likely as bacteria. It only offered a marginal amount of instinctive resistance to his pervasive intrusion.
"Interesting. If the spiritual accumulation is stronger, it might be able to hinder my intrusion."
His spiritual energy possessed remarkably different markings that wasn't compatible with the attributes associated with the Ylvainan Faith.
Ves worshipped mechs while the Ylvainans worshipped their Prophet and his predictions. When put together, of course the latter would feel affronted!
He took the context of the emergence of the Ylvainan Faith into account as well.
"Prophet Ylvaine lived during the twilight of the Age of Conquest. Even if some prototype mechs have already been developed at that time, they haven't achieved widespread exposure as of yet. This was still a time dominated by warships and weapons of mass destruction."
Some of the prophet's predictions possessed some relations to the circumstances of this time period. He said almost nothing about mechs before he was assassinated, which left the Ylvainan Faith with a lot of gaps when they adopted this new technology.
In fact, critics of the Ylvainan Faith pointed out this distinct gap in Prophet Ylvaine's predictions as proof that he was a charlatan.
If Prophet Ylvaine could really predict the future, why did he not say anything about the advent of the Age of Mechs?
"There's always an explanation." Ves muttered.
The standard retort of the Ylvainan Faith was to claim that the Prophet only uttered relevant predictions. While the rise of mechs was a historically-important turning point, it didn't change the essence of the Ylvainan Faith.
With this excuse, the Attendants of Ylvaine deflected any accusations that their prophet was just pulling predictions out of his butt based off his limited perspective of his time!
He turned his attention back to the seed. Regardless of whether the prophet was less than he claimed to be, his religion acquired a life of its own. The Grey Martyr and many other Ylvainans developed a sincere belief in the Ylvainan Faith.
"Even if the core of it is based upon lies and figments of imagination, it no longer matters. Belief is belief."
Ever since he arrived at the Protectorate, Ves discovered that strong belief sparked some strange interactions with spirituality. The church service at the grand church was a very significant event to him because he felt that the weak spirituality of tens of thousands of people began to resonate with a common frequency.
Ves managed to determine some of the attributes related to the Ylvainan Faith, though he lacked the sensitivity to identify their exact nature. Perhaps other faiths shared the same attributes, while others were exclusive to individual beliefs.
Identifying imprints was a lot easier than identifying attributes. Being able to do the latter required him to understand the makeup of spiritual energy on a very deep level.
Another way of describing these attributes was to equate them as flavors. Each flavor possessed a different quality. One was hot. One was cold. One was sweet. One was spicy.
Not every flavor fit in every circumstance. For example, if Ves wanted to drink some old-fashioned coffee, he didn't want it to be salty!
As for imprints, the best way that Ves could describe it was like leaving a scent on spiritual energy. Each person possessed a unique scent, and as long as Ves managed to associate a particular smell to an individual, he'd be able to recognize it anywhere.
Scent and flavor. While they possessed some relations to each other, they were still distinct.
"It's just a metaphor to make it easier for me to understand. I don't need to take it too seriously." Ves shook his head.
For now, Ves didn't intend to to manipulate the flavors. He only wanted to remove all of the unwanted smells until the most pleasant one was left behind. Then he wanted to make the scent stronger so that it provided the same level of stimulation.
This was the simplest method he could come up with that would allow him to get what he wanted.
He recalled some of the procedures that Qilanxo's spiritual fragment performed and attempted to replicate the methods.
The outcome.. was both promising and disappointing.
"Looks like I'm too clumsy." Ves shook his head.
It was like trying to handcraft a miniature mech while possessing the limbs of an exobeast. He exerted too much strength at first. It was a lot more strenuous than he thought to suppress his Spirituality!
Not only was he having trouble controlling his strength, but his precision was abysmal as well. He felt like he returned to his youth where his mother handled him a data pad to play with. He remembered one game where he had to color the depiction of a mech with his fingers.
Being the little kid he was back then, he often splashed his colors across the lines of his mech, which resulted in a very smudged depiction!
Ves did not despair at these setbacks. He always knew his finesse was not up to snuff. "This is only the start. I don't believe I can train myself to improve in both aspects."
He became engrossed in his practice. This was the first time he was doing something so remarkable, so he cherished the opportunity to exercise his Spirituality in such a fine-grained manner.
An hour went by as Ves became engrossed in his experiments. Lucky hissed resentfully every now and then, but he remained vigilant and guarded against any spying and intrusion.
Although an hour was not a long time for practice, Ves was a fast learner. The procedure he attempted to do wasn't very complicated to begin with. He just needed to comprehend some tricks that made it easier for him to apply his Spirituality the way he wanted.
Once he managed to succeed once, it was a lot easier for him to replicate the process!
In fact, he already succeeded within the first thirty minutes, but only through chance. He spent the rest of his time refining his method and training his Spirituality into performing it with more precision.
He wanted to practice more, but he already wiped out all of the unwanted spiritual imprints for the seed's spiritual accumulation.
"I should proceed to the next step." He whispered as he momentarily rested his mind.
He was capable of removing unwanted imprints. The question right now was if he could apply the imprint that remained to the 'ownerless' spiritual energy.
"This is a very significant technique. There are many applications of such a powerful technique!"
Manipulating the imprint of spiritual energy was the key to forcing a mech pilot to advance to an expert candidate!