Spiritual fragments were valuable and very hard to obtain. To get Ylvaine's spiritual fragment, Ves not only had to steal a culturally-important relic, but also perform several dangerous spiritual techniques.
Ves did not relish repeating the experience every time he designed an Ylvainan mech or adapted his other mech designs to the local market.
He began to consider if he should turn Ylvaine's spiritual fragment into a communal design spirit. It would be great if it could encompass every mech his company sold in the Protectorate's mech market.
While his understanding of spirituality was too shallow to know the answer, he seriously entertained the notion. The convenience of sharing a single design spirit over multiple designs was too great for him to ignore.
Naturally, this didn't mean he decided to become lazy and reuse his old design spirits all the time. He merely wanted to apply this solution in cases where the costs outweighed the gains.
Cases where the LMC adapted his future mech designs to the Protectorate's mech market definitely applied in this case.
If he couldn't arrange a solution like this, what else could he do? He doubted it was easy to steal another relic, especially if it used to belong to Prophet Ylvaine. One theft already alarmed the Protectorate. Another theft would probably make the Ylvainans go berserk!
"It's just a nutrient pack wrapper." He muttered. "What's the big deal?"
A wave of disapproval emanated from Ylvaine's spiritual fragment.
Ever since the fragment settled in his mind and underwent an evolution, it started to take note of what Ves was doing. Each time he did something that maligned the Ylvainans or their faith, the fragment emanated a pulse of disapproval.
"It's like living with a priest in my mind."
Actually, it was worse than that! Hosting a remnant of the founder of the Ylvainan Faith was probably a dream for most Ylvainans, but Ves hated the experience!
More than one time, Ves contemplated whether he should fabricate a miniature mech or something in order to temporarily house the fragment.
However, if he did something like that, then the object was at risk of getting stolen. Perhaps his Ylvainan guards might confiscate the miniature because they perceived its holiness somehow.
At the very least, hosting the fragment in his mind allowed him to shield most of its aura and keep it within reach if it ever wanted to escape.
"You're not going anywhere."
Another reason prompted him to retain the fragment in his mind. He hoped to develop a bond with the fragment through their constant interactions.
While they held very different beliefs and outlooks on life, Ves hoped that he could earn its respect. As long as the spiritual fragment appreciated Ves, it was much more likely to pay along with what he had in store for it in the future.
This was because Ves wanted to reuse it in other mechs and designs tailored to the Ylvainans.
He originally intended to use it for his upcoming hero mech design, but why should he limit its usage? The fragment was very strong but also very versatile. Ves hadn't specifically limited it to a single mech type or mech design.
Its strongest component was its purity and absolute faith. The fragment didn't offer much else besides that. This made it particularly suitable for augmenting other mech designs with their own design spirits.
As long as they could play along, Ylvaine's design spirit could act as a kind of holy seasoning for every dish he cooked for the Ylvainans.
"This is the best solution."
He was glad that he didn't add too much complexity in the image he formed out of Prophet Ylvaine. He was also glad that he didn't employ the Triple Division technique and attempted to lock the fragment into a specific mech type. Its current universality was an essential trait if Ves wanted to realize his current plans.
When Ves carefully proposed his ideas to the spiritual fragment, it answered with confusion and befuddlement. It didn't understand the context of what Ves wanted to do. It hardly even knew anything about mechs, as Prophet Ylvaine never lived to see the transition to the Age of mechs.
"Maybe I have to present my proposal in a different way."
Ves thought about the essence of Prophet Ylvaine's life. The man believed he received extraordinary revelations and thought he had the duty to spread them. Ylvaine defined himself as a messenger who wanted to spread his gospel to as many people as possible!
His eyes lit up. While Prophet Ylvaine was already dead, the remnant of his spirituality could take over this mission!
"Think about it! The more mechs you encompass, the more in touch you'll be with your originator's followers!"
Ves imagined a future where millions of mechs produced by the LMC proliferated in the Ylvainan mech market. While each of them carried their distinctive traits, they all shared something in common.
They were all connected to the same design spirit!
Not only would the design spirit get in touch with more Ylvainan believers, but it could also spread its influence throughout the Protectorate and beyond!
"The more mechs you are connected to, the more you'll be able to spread your message!"
While Ves didn't know if this was even possible, the vision he presented was compelling enough to earn the spiritual fragment's approval!
Ever since then, the fragment behaved a little more at ease with its current circumstances. As long as Ves delivered on his promises, the fragment would be able to continue the mission of its source.
It continued to cast judgement over Ves, though. Its nature hadn't changed at all.
Ves ignored the constant pulses of approval and disapproval and turned his attention back to his work. At this stage, Ves and Ketis had done all they could to finalize their draft and vision for their hero mech.
They were ready to proceed to the next step in the design process and pick out the parts that best complimented their vision.
"We should proceed to the mech workshop that Madame Cecily has reserved for us." He said. "Although it's rather risky to travel back and forth, it's much better to develop a mech design over there than at home."
Ketis nodded. "Before we go, isn't it about time we name the design? I'm tired of calling it 'our hero mech design' or 'our Ylvainan mech design'."
"You're right. It's about time it gets a name."
That put them both to thought. The name of the mech was especially important to Ves because it helped prime his audience's perspectives.
His hero mech design was meant to be a groundbreaking work that opened up the LMC's access to the Protectorate mech market. Ves intended to prove that even a non-believer could design and produce a fantastic Ylvainan mech.
Refining Ylvaine's spiritual fragment was the most essential step to his plan, and completing it meant he was well on his way to seeing it come into fruition. A good name complimented the effect he wanted to achieve.
"The overall theme of the mech is centered around the prophet the Ylvainans revere." Ves stated. Not only its X-Factor, but also its visual design reflected the mech's dedication to Prophet Ylvaine. "We should pick a name that refers to him but not in a vulgar and disrespectful manner."
Considering that the six hero mechs he intended to make would be centered around the six virtues he selected, Ves wanted to name the design that reflected this set.
Out of all the inspirations that Ves could draw upon, he never expected Ylvaine's spiritual fragment to provide him with a suggestion!
Fortunately, the spiritual fragment possessed at least some sensibility in its suggestion. The prophet named a lot of things over his lifetime.
"Let's call it.. the Transcendent Messenger."
"Sounds decent." Ketis said.
She didn't care about the Ylvainan Faith at all so she hardly paid attention to the meaning and symbolism behind the name.
To Ves, it was a particularly clever and elegant name for what he intended to design. While the name didn't entirely fit with its violent, momentum-based fighting style, the meaning fit its intended design spirit very well.
While Prophet Ylvaine never referred to himself as a messenger in public all that often, the word definitely referred to the prophet without being too direct. By referring to the prophet in an indirect fashion, Ves avoided stepping onto the toes of the more extreme and devout believers. They probably wouldn't like it if Ves 'profaned' the name of their prophet.
Just calling the mech design the 'Messenger' was not enough. That sounded far too generic and conjured up the image of an antiquated courier who delivered packages to people.
"My mech isn't that kind of messenger."
That was why the spiritual fragment added Transcendant to the name. Ves sensed that the fragment seemed to use that word to describe its own remarkable existence.
When you think about it, the spiritual fragment was a living continuation of the prophet! Apparently, it became smart enough to reflect on its its existence and decided that its current state fit the definition of a transcended lifeform!
Ves almost wanted to barf when he figured that out. Did it think that it was immortal or something? It was just a spiritual remnant with delusions of godhood!
He shook his head. Sure enough, Ylvaine was just as delusional alive and dead. Even a remnant of the prophet believed his prophecies came true!
Now that they fixed a name for their mech, they proceeded to go out on the streets for the first time in weeks.
The Protectors of the Faith and the Avatars of Myth both geared up their mechs and began to escort the armored shuttle that Ves and Ketis boarded.
The procession moved slowly through the largely-empty streets of Krent. Due to the persistent martial law, the city had been turned into a ghost town where most of its residents locked themselves in their homes. They only met other Protectors of the Faith or government vehicles along the way.
Ves paid little attention to the desolation he caused. Instead, he turned his gaze towards Lucky, who was playfully cuddling with Ketis.
"Hihihi!" She giggled. "You're such a cutie pie, Lucky! Do you want another kiss?"
As Ketis smooched Lucky's head, to the cat's delight, Ves began to frown.
He couldn't take it anymore. "Lucky, come over here. You love hugs, right?"
The cat ignored his words and continued to snuggle in Ketis' embrace. Both of them seemed to be having the time of their lives while Ves was left aside!
"Come on! Haven't you gotten over my transgression yet? It was an emergency!"
Luck briefly turned his head towards Ves and sent an acid glare while flipping his tail at his owner. The cat turned back to Ketis lidded his eyes in pleasure.
It became clear to Ves that his pet hadn't forgiven him at all!
"Luckyyy..." Ves whined. "I miss you."
"Meow!" Lucky huffed and proceeded to ignore Ves for the rest of the trip.
"What did you do to him, Ves?" Ketis asked as she blatantly enjoyed Lucky's affection.
"I fed him something he didn't like."
She smirked. "Wow, no wonder Lucky hates you. He cares more about food than anything else. It's practically animal abuse to feed him something that he doesn't want to eat!"
"I'm not an animal abuser!"
Ves felt like puking blood. Even Ketis took Lucky's side!
"You know, Lucky's a really great pet." She commented. "Do you think it's possible for me to get a pet on my own? I want something as smart as Lucky."
"Mechanical pets that are as smart as Lucky are extremely hard to come by." Ves pointed out. "You're better off obtaining a biological pet that's been genetically modified to be tame and smart."
Mechanical pets were fine for normal families, but they were too susceptible to hacking for people with means. Ves would have to import a pet from a first-rate superstate in order to obtain a reliable mechanical companion, but the cost was too extravagant.
Ketis showed her puppy eyes at him. "Please, Ves. I really want my own pet! Can't you get me something for my birthday?"
"I'll think of something." He promised.