Even though Ves made a startling declaration, some of the inquisitors realized that letting the situation proceed any further would not be good!
At the very least, the lack of control being exhibited by the inquisition might paint them as weak!
"Security!" High Inquisitor Kelly Ixef Poxco yelled from the bench as she shook off her inexplicable fascination. "Lock down the courtroom! Separate Mr. Larkinson and shut him up! He is grossly speaking out of turn!"
Indignation crept up inside Ves as both he and Ylvaine's spiritual fragment refused to be muffled! How dare an Ylvainan try to stifle the voice of their prophet?!
"You dare, Your Excellency?!" Ves exclaimed as his resonance with his mask suddenly peaked. "The Ylvainan Inquisition is supposed to protect the faith! Since when did that change into stifling it in your grip? Your organization has gone astray!"
"What gives you the right to admonish the inquisition! We have protected the Ylvainan Faith for centuries! Without our efforts, our faith would have been diluted by secularists such as you!" High Inquisitor Xefin Lin Poxco shouted from the side.
Ves turned his gaze at Xefin Lin Poxco, causing the high inquisitor to pale as his conviction quivered for some reason!
Although Ves knew that he was doing something extremely reckless right now, he exhibited no doubt at all. The absolute faith that Ylvaine's spiritual fragment granted him had boosted his confidence to untold heights!
The aura he radiated was absolutely remarkable! While it wasn't as focused as an expert pilot's force of will, it combined the strengths of both Ves and the fragment!
Although the two entities were completely different, right now their interests and some of their opinions aligned. This alignment resulted in a peculiar outcome in which the partial fusion between Ves and the spiritual fragment resonated to a strong degree!
It was so strong in fact that Ves managed to enthrall everyone in the courtroom like his mechs! Not onl that, but everyone watching the tribunal proceedings from a live broadcast were caught in his spell as well!
Spirituality was a wondrous medium which possessed the remarkable power to disregard distance! Practically the entire Ylvaine Protectorate tuned in to the broadcast in order to watch the trial as it happened!
Now, almost every Ylvainan became affected by the aura emanating from the foreigner! Right now, the faith in their hearts and mind minutely resonated with this oddly attractive and compelling aura!
The judges sitting on the bench, the people in the gallery and the Protectors of the Faith that kept the peace all stared at the accused in a manner that was completely different from normal!
Although none of them could explain why they regarded Ves differently, the faith in their hearts demanded that they listened!
The stronger and more ardent their faith, the stronger this impulse warred against their minds!
All of the inquisitors and the Attendants of Ylvaine frowned and gritted their teeth as they sought to break themselves out of their spells!
They failed! Their faith was too strong! The more they worshipped the great prophet, the greater their inability to resist!
Practically everyone in the courtroom had been vetted extensively for their devotion to the faith!
This meant that almost no one at the court could bring themselves to stop Ves from speaking!
Although it seemed that Ves had the entire Protectorate under his thrall, his mind was under incredible strain right now! Wearing a spiritual fragment that was as strong as an expert pilot as a mask was a very dangerous act! The two were constantly corroding each other! If not for the growing resonance between them, the forceful merger would have already ended!
That wasn't all. The empowered aura he radiated right now did not come without a cost. Ylvaine's spiritual fragment somehow employed a drasted technique that amplified their aura by consuming both of their spiritual energy!
The longer the spiritual fragment maintained this consumption, the greater their losses!
In short, Ves was on a time limit! He needed to make the most out of this extraordinary state while it lasted!
Although High Inquisitor Xefin Lin Poxco was constantly warring against his faith, he still summoned up the strength to open his mouth.
"You foreigner.. what are you doing to us?! What sorcery have you employed to paralyze us all!? You won't get away with this! Not only did you destroy our holy relic and attempt to corrupt us with your mechs, now you have resorted to dark magic! The Inquisition will burn your body to a crisp to purify it of its evil spirit!"
Ves peered at the high inquisitor with contempt. The man looked more and more sick! "You call me a sorcerer, but do you truly believe that in your heart? The truth cannot be hidden! Ask your heart of who I am! What answer will it provide?"
The inquisitor bit his lip but stayed silent.
That didn't stop some of the people from the gallery expressing their current sentiment!
"My faith tells me we should listen to the foreigner!"
"He is a transcendent among men!"
"How come I feel I'm looking at a sacred figure? That shouldn't be possible!"
Every devout Ylvainan possessed a high affinity to Ylvaine's spiritual fragment. This made a lot of sense, as Ves originally refined the spiritual fragment from a considerable amount of spiritual accumulation from the worship of countless of Ylvainan worshippers!
Ylvaine's spiritual fragment was practically the embodiment of their collective devotion!
When confronted by this collective devotion that was centered around the great prophet, they had no choice but to submit in the presence of someone who exhibited a shadow of Ylvaine himself!
Ves swept his arm towards the raptured gallery. "Do you hear them, Your Excellency? Do you hear the judgement of the faithful? Right now, I am not a foreigner. I am not a defendant. Right now, I speak with the voice of the prophet, and I demand that you listen!"
That last word seemed to echo in the courtroom and press into the hearts of every Ylvainan. They had all been taught from young that when the prophet spoke, everyone should listen!
The act of listening carried a special meaning in the Ylvainan Faith for that reason!
"Ylvainans!" Ves loudly addressed the public. "After more than four centuries of isolation, the great prophet is no longer among you, but even if he is, he would feel ashamed! He is ashamed because his followers have lost sight of the purpose of his teachings!"
The tone of condemnation that he adopted struck a powerful blow against the faith of the Ylvainans!
"When the prophet was alive, the Ylvainan Faith was a prosperous and dynamic movement! The faithful numbered in the many trillions, many of which constantly traveled outward to continue to enlighten the unenlightened! Why has this missionary drive disappeared? The prophet has always advocated for spreading his gospel! How can you do that when you wall off your state and drive away almost every foreigner who wants to explore your faith?!"
The two high inquisitors looked incredibly furious! They wanted to say something, but Ves cut them off!
"Do not speak, inquisitors! You of all Ylvainans have perverted the great prophet's intentions the most! Rather than assist in spreading the faith, you would rather obsess over purity and mindlessly persecute anyone who offends your sensibilities! Is the Ylvainan Faith so feeble that some careless cursing poses an existential threat to it? Have you no confidence in the strength of your beliefs?!"
While the high inquisitors remained firm against this attack, their subordinates were not so firm! The tirade struck straight at their beliefs, magnifying the doubts they hid within!
Ves raised his hands in a dramatic fashion and clenched them into fists! "The faith is as strong as its devout! It is the people who matter, not the institution! Treating the citizens of this great state as children who need to be shielded from the dangers of the galaxy is a great disservice to them, and by extension their faith! Centuries of perpetuating the insecurity of your forebears has hollowed out your conviction! The great prophet has always fought back against despair by offering hope, so why is the Protectorate gripped with fear of the new and unknown? You have forgotten the fundamental meaning of our faith!"
This time, the words managed to open a crack in the indomitable defenses of the high inquisitors! Both Xefin Lin Poxco and Kelly Ixef Poxco looked mildly stricken as they couldn't summon up a counterargument against this point right now!
"The great prophet is disappointed! He is disappointed that your faith has flipped his intentions!"
"Instead of expanding the faith, you narrow it by refusing to interact with foreigners!"
"Instead of bearing a message of hope to cast away the darkness encroaching the galaxy, you douse the torch and huddle fearfully in the dark!"
"Instead of furthering the development of the church and state, you have become content with freezing everything in time, thereby depriving the Ylvainans of progressing history!"
It was as if the tribunal put the Ylvainan leadership on trial instead of Ves! His accusations viciously jabbed at their scars, causing them to bleed!
"The fault in this lies in each of the leading dynasties!" Ves swept his arm all around, encompassing Curin, Poxco and Kronon in the process! "Every leading dynasty has failed to nurture the inheritors of Ylvaine's will! Each of you have taken your roles to such an extreme that you have failed to step up when the Ylvainans needed better guidance! The leading dynasties have become so narrow-minded that none of you are capable of stepping into the void left behind by the passing of the great prophet!"
None of the Ylvainans listening in right now felt good about themselves. They hated what Ves had said and wanted to dismiss his accusations, yet their faith kept compelling them to listen! They had become prisoners to their own beliefs!
The aura radiating from Ves burned with even greater fury as he got caught up in his own tirade!
"No greater example showcases how far the Ylvainan Faith has fallen by your obsession over trivial relics! Who in their right minds would revere a discarded nutrient pack wrapper as a holy relic? What would Prophet Ylvaine think of you by valuing a piece of trash over someone's life? He would be ashamed of you all! Rather than do something useful like spreading the gospel, you would rather enshrine the prophet's trash!"
"The holy relic is a representation of the prophet!" Xefin Lin Poxco managed to resist the pressure. "We do not revere the object itself, but its owner! The faithful need proof that the prophet existed!"
Ves shook his head in evident disappointment. "Your excellency, have you listened at all to me? How insecure are you that you don't have the confidence that the citizens of the Protectorate can remain devout from Ylvaine's teachings alone? Valuing material objects over your people is misguided!"
"The holy relic you destroyed is an indispensable cultural treasure!"
"The Ylvainan Faith has never advocated for the worship of idols!" Ves furiously retorted! "It is the faithful and the exemplary among the Ylvainans who deserve to be revered! Ever since the First Calamity and the Great Retreat has passed, has any great figure emerged since then? No! No figure among the faithful has ever come close to matching the brilliance of Martyred Followers!"
This was true! Although many prominent Curins, Kronons and Poxcos have emerged from the leading dynasties, none of them had managed to elevate themselves into becoming the spiritual leaders of their people!
Perhaps the expert pilots and handful of ace pilots in the Protectorate came close, but most of them were Kronons who were bound by the restrictions of their dynasty!
Ves turned around and swept his gaze over the entire gallery. "Is there anyone here who knows someone that can equal the likes of the Grey Martyr or the Battle Martyr? So many brilliant followers of Ylvaine had emerged during the time he spread his beliefs! How come not a single Martyr has emerged ever since the founding of the Protectorate? It is because your leaders have led you astray!"
This was not an attack on the inquisition alone. It was an attack aimed at the entire leadership of the state! Ves didn't want to drag in the other institutions at first, but his bond with Ylvaine's spiritual fragment became so strong that he no longer paid attention to restraint!