Kesseling VIII wasn't the only planet that enshrined the prophet's nutrient pack wrapper. The Attendants of Ylvaine collected hundreds of them during Prophet Ylvaine's lifetime.
The prophet was a lover of luxury and a gourmet who only ate the finest dishes. He didn't eat all that many nutrient packs, but there were plenty of times of difficulty where he had no choice but to fill his stomach in a hurry.
His followers collected each of the prophet's discarded nutrient pack wrappers after he was done with its contents. They even managed to preserve it all the way towards their flight to the Komodo Star Sector.
Once the survivors of the First Calamity founded the Ylvaine Protectorate, a question quickly arose on what they should do with all of the relics the Attendants of Ylvaine gathered.
They eventually decided to store the most valuable and fragile relics while putting the less important ones on display to rally the faithful. The presence of the relics served to affirm every Ylvainan that the prophet and his Martyred Followers actually existed once upon a time.
When it came to the relics that belonged to Prophet Ylvaine himself, the Attendants of Ylvaine were extremely stingy when it came to putting them on display. If anyone went crazy and tarnished them somehow, the Attendants of Ylvaine wouldn't be able to forgive themselves to the prophet!
For that reason, they reluctantly gave the public access to some of the most unimpressive relics imaginable.
The prophet's nutrient pack wrappers served as a decent solution to the problem because the Attendants of Ylvaine possessed a large amount of them. Even if someone stole or defiled one, the Attendants wouldn't cry too much because they possessed plenty more.
In any case, most average Ylvainans were already satisfied with getting in touch with anything that possessed a connection to their great prophet!
Ves couldn't predict what kind of spiritual fragment he might be able to refine from this relic. Although the relic wasn't significant, its previous owner was the core of the Ylvainan Faith! Its spiritual accumulation must be so massive that it would definitely surpass most spiritual fragments!
The question that he faced was whether this spiritual fragment would be as strong as the one gifted by Qilanxo.
"Probably not. There's no way a normal human can equal the might of a Sacred God."
Prophet Ylvaine lived before the advent of mechs and mech pilots. While Ves couldn't rule out that the prophet somehow managed to develop some spiritual ability, what he learned so far painted a picture of a very persuasive individual.
Obtaining a spiritual fragment that was as strong as the spirituality of an ace mech pilot was highly unrealistic.
"Maybe I can address that shortcoming."
If he wanted to increase the strength of a spiritual fragment, then he would have to feed it with ownerless spiritual energy with compatible attributes.
With the new techniques he developed, it should be possible for him to do so. The only trouble was that he needed to obtain this ownerless spiritual energy from other relics.
This process consumed way too much time and resources for Ves to contemplate at the moment.
Another complication was that he might not be able to control more powerful spiritual fragment!
The only reason he managed to work with Qilanxo's spiritual fragment in the first place was because he possessed a friendship with the exobeast!
He still saved the idea in the back of his mind. Perhaps one day he would have the strength and opportunity to employ this method of empowering his spiritual fragments.
Ever since he made up his mind, he began to scheme to his next heist. Due to the recent terrorist attack, the security at the grand cathedral in Krent had been doubled or tripled.
The Protectors of the Faith feared the True Believers might want to launch a follow-up attack!
According to the recent news, many of the relics stored within the grand church had been moved to safety by the Attendants of Ylvaine.
Fortunately for Ves, the nutrient pack wrapper remained enshrined in a central position behind the dais of the grand cathedral. It was the most prominent object related to Prophet Ylvaine.
Everytime the grand cathedral held its service, the priests led everyone to worship the nutrient pack wrapper in order to bring them closer to their great prophet!
Some religions led their believers to worship the depiction of a man nailed to a cross, but to many Ylvainans, it was their greatest honor to receive an opportunity to worship a sacred nutrient pack wrapper!
This ritual gave Ves a lot of confidence that the relic accumulated a formidable amount of heterogeneous spiritual energy.
Due to the importance of this ritual to the Ylvainans living on Kesseling VIII, the Attendants of Ylvaine struggled for a long time before they decided to keep the nutrient pack wrapper in its place.
If they put it away and locked it in their deepest vaults, then the Attendants would instantly suffer a loss in reputation!
In any case, Ves happened to benefit from this decision. It would be a lot harder for Lucky to break into a high-security vault with many security measures and constant patrols.
To be sure, Lucky still faced a significant challenge in trying to steal the nutrient pack wrapper while it was in full view to everyone inside the main hall of the grand cathedral. This heist would be anything but simple.
During his planning, Ves contemplated whether he should employ an item from the System's Store.
"There should be some useful gadgets there. The only worry is the price I need to pay."
Ves hadn't seen how much DP he earned lately, but it must be a lot. The Aurora Titan was a very expensive mech, so even if the LMC and NORA Consolidated didn't sell all that much, the amount of DP they earned would still be a lot.
For now, Ves wanted to lay low for a time. It wouldn't do to rile up the Attendants of Ylvaine shortly after he had a chat with High Inquisitor Poxco and absconded with a couple of relics related to the Grey Martyr.
He turned his attention back to other matters, such as fleshing out his vision for his mech. Now that he determined its mech concept and its principal theme, he could proceed with locking in his vision for his mech.
Due to the spiritual fragment that Ves planned to obtain, it was definitely going to be a mech that personified Prophet Ylvaine!
This was no small matter. If Ves somehow made a mistake, the Attendants of Ylvaine would be sure to charge him with the crime of profaning the prophet!
Ves also didn't expect the spiritual fragment to be a relatively complete representation of Prophet Ylvaine's original personality. The Original sentiment attached to something as insignificant as a nutrient pack wrapper was nothing like that of something more important, such as the prophet's favorite robes or his comm.
Enlarging the original sentiment only amplified its flaws. Ves expected to obtain something that was very similar to the spiritual fragment he used in his Crystal Lord design, which had lost most of its unique traits over the long corrosion of time.
Thinking about that suddenly made him think about his mother.
Was he really pioneering the field of spirituality or was he merely reinventing the wheel?
The abilities his mother had shown during their brief contact seemed incomprehensively powerful.
Ves began to develop the notion that he may have inherited his strong Spirituality from his mother!
He began to feel a little depressed. It was obvious that his mother was much more proficient in wielding her spirituality than him. Perhaps the only advantage he possessed over her was that he was a mech designer while his mother was.. something else.
Too many questions swirled in his mind. This was why Ves hated thinking about his mother. He wasn't even entirely sure whether she was truly his mother or some sort of ghost that took over her identity.
Perhaps one bright spot in his life was that she hadn't shown up in the past few years. As much as he loved his mother, he would rather spend his time far away from her and her thieving hands.
"I've already grown up. I don't need my mother anymore." He affirmed to himself.
Even if he was a bit of a momma's boy in his youth, that was in the past. Once his mother died, he became a very different person.
The more he tried to dive into his mother's background, the more he questioned whether he was unique.
What if her relatives possessed the same abilities? Did they belong to a clan or a powerful family of sorts? Were they connected to the Five Scrolls Compact?
A swirl of disconcerting guesses haunted his mind. It took a lot of effort for him to push them all away before they consumed his entire thoughts.
He turned his attention back to other matters. His mech design was much more important right now.
At some point, Leland requested a private meeting with him. After they entered a room and activated a signal jammer, the spy revealed something important.
"I've been doing some snooping around and collecting various pieces of intel from our local informers. There are signs of major activity."
Ves narrowed his eyes. "What kind of activity?"
"Troop movements. Mech Movements." Leland quietly stated. "After the terrorist attack, the local economy has entered a major downturn. The rate of starship traffic should have decreased significantly, but for some reason a lot more ships are visiting the Kesseling System in recent days. Most of these ships happen to be cargo haulers and other high-volume trade vessels."
"Do you think the True Believers or some other force are shipping in assets?"
"I'm not sure. It's very hard to do so while the Protectors of the Faith have become a lot stricter in their inspections lately. Not a single trade vessel is allowed to deliver their cargo to Kesseling VIII without undergoing at least three separate inspections!"
The three times was necessary in order to guard against the possibility of traitors letting in dangerous weapons.
"What else explains the increased traffic?"
Leland wordlessly shrugged.
They couldn't think of any. It didn't make any sense to ship in large amounts of goods during this difficult period.
"Some spy you are." Ves frowned.
"Look, intelligence gathering is a very unreliable operation to begin with." Leland mildly glared at him. "It's not as if we can give you all the hard facts you need around the clock. While Flashlight managed to develop a small network of informers in the Kesseling System, it has never been a high priority to us before. I am doing the best I can to warn you in advance that something might be afoot. Hasn't my previous warning already given you a heads up?"
Ves had to admit that Leland had a point there. "Alright. Maybe I'm being too harsh on you."
This satisfied Leland somewhat. "Aside from the unusual ship movements, I've also come in touch with something more unsettling."
"Oh? What is it that concerns you so much?"
"Apparently, the relations between the local Curins and Poxcos are deteriorating. The Kesseling System is firmly under the grip of the Curin Dynasty, but they've always lived in peace with the Poxcos."
"What's the dispute all about?"
"There are many minor disagreements, but one of the biggest issues that has blown up in recent days is that the Curins refused the entry of a batch of Poxcos!"
Ves could see why this might be a cause for concern. The Attendants of Ylvaine wanted to increase their presence in the Kesseling System, but how could the Curins allow their rival dynasty to encroach into their backyard?
The refusal to allow the Poxcos to increase their numbers in the Kesseling System therefore exacerbated the tension between the two dynasties.
If the situation continued to deteriorate, then the Poxcos might do something extreme!