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 What if Ves met a stranded pirate ship out in space one day?

What if he opened a channel to the pirate ship and offered to rescue the men trapped within?

What if the pirates inside cussed and hurled insults at him, all the while their starship was falling apart?

What if the starship started to break up and throw every pirate into lifeless space?

At that point, many of those pirates quickly changed their mind and accepted the hand that was offered to them. They meekly boarded the vessel of their rescuer and profusely showed their gratitude as their comrades were fished out of their distressed ship.

Of course, once all of the pirates found safety by entering a new ship, they immediately turned on their rescuer and tried to hijack their ride!

This was exactly what Ves faced, because as soon as he slurped all the spirituality that Zeigra still retained and dumped it into his mind, the beast instantly rebelled!

\"AHH! You ungrateful pussycat!\" Ves yelled as he held his head in pain!

\"Meow?!\"

Lucky jumped from his shoulder and floated in the air, looking worried at his owner's state. The gem cat could do nothing to help Ves out in his spiritual struggles.

Ves could only rely on himself to fight his spiritual battles!

Right now, he faced a rebellion in the sanctum of his mind! The damaged but still vigorous spirituality of the slain Crown Cat refused to stay put and lashed out in every direction, inflicting an increasing amount of damage to his mentality!

Fortunately, his mind proved to be resilient, but he couldn't afford to keep this up forever.

Letting Zeigra's spirituality enter his mind was a bad idea. Keeping him contained in his mind where Zeigra was free to vandalize his mentality with impunity sounded even worse!

He quickly began to suppress the unruly spiritual entity. Because Ves was defending the interior of his mind, he was able to leverage a lot more spiritual strength to contain Zeigra for now, but how long would he be able to last?

\"Pipe down, Zeigra!\" He mentally yelled. \"You're not going to come back to life if you keep resisting against me like this! Be patient and let me craft your body!\"

Unfortunately, even if Zeigra's spirituality understood his intentions, the beast continued to resist the suppression.

After several minutes of wrangling, Ves realized that Zeigra was simply far too feral for Ves to tame! This prideful beast who fought his way to the top of Felixia food chain could not tolerate submitting to someone else, let alone the person responsible for killing his physical body!

A Crown Cat could not tolerate any affront to his dignity! Zeigra especially wasn't able to stomach submitting to a tiny, soft, bipedal snack who shouldn't have been able to pose a threat to him at all if not for their strange-tasting machines!

Ves partially regretted bringing Zeigra's spirituality in his mind, though he knew it was a necessary step to rescue it from the vagaries of the imaginary realm.

The good news was that its deterioration slowed down enormously.

The bad news was that it began to sustain itself from Ves' own body and mind! It lodged itself in his head like a parasite!

Not only that, but Zeigra was greedy for more! He wanted to supplant Ves as the dominant consciousness!

\"Screw you, you dumb cat!\"

Ves suppressed Zeigra's spirituality as best he could, but he knew the disembodied beast would never subside as long as an opportunity was still within reach.

Hosting Zeigra's complete spirituality in his mind was a lot different from hosting Qilanxo's spiritual fragment!

Just like the Sacred God herself, Qilanxo's spiritual fragment regarded Ves as a friend and tried to do its best to withhold its formidable and damaging spiritual energy within itself.

Zeigra on the other hand tried to do everything possible to hurt and weaken Ves! The cat felt no gratitude for the rescue but instead saw it as an opportunity to turn the tables and come out on top!

\"A beast is a beast! No matter how smart they're engineered, they're still governed by their baser instincts!\"

Ves grossly overestimated the degree of rationality exhibited by organic products. Zeigra may be sentient, but it never enjoyed a human upbringing! It was a mistake to assume that Zeigra might act like a civilized human being!

\"Well, tough luck, you stupid cat, because I've already prepared a backup plan!\"

Even if Zeigra's spirituality acted docility in his mind and cooperated with his arrangements, Ves still worried about the possibility of betrayal.

He drew his concentration from his mind and returned his attention to reality.

Ignoring all the projections blaring out for attention, he drew to the side and picked up a familiar box placed to his side. He opened it up, revealing the P-stone stored inside, which he picked up with both his hands.

\"The party stops now.\"

First, he tugged out all of the excess spiritual energy he stored within his P-stone and returned it to his mind. This way, he replenished what he spent and strengthened his defenses against Zeigra's ongoing revolt.

Next, he leveraged his considerable mental defenses and forcibly pushed out Zeigra's spirituality.

If Zeigra's incorporeal spirituality got booted out of his head, then it would certainly drift its way back into the imaginary realm unless it could anchor its presence in the material realm!

There were only two places where Zeigra's spirituality could safely reside: his mind or the P-stone!

As Ves resisted Zeigra's presence in his mind with every fiber of his being, the Crown Cat's spirituality eventually got pushed into the P-stone, which exerted a strong suction that assisted in the beast's relocation!

\"Hahaha!\" Ves burst out.

The P-stone felt much different now that it hosted an unruly spiritual entity! Zeigra hated everything that happened to him recently. The Crown Cat detested his new home and lashed out at the spiritual confines of the P-stone!

However, unlike Ves' mind, the P-stone was more of a solid, lifeless structure! At the very least, Zeigra found himself unable to deal any significant damage to the P-stone!

More than that, the P-stone also prevented Zeigra's spirituality from leaving its new prison! The suction and attraction it exerted on spiritual energy was at its strongest at the very center!

Due to strange, abstruse rules, Zeigra's spirituality found itself unable to exert a sufficient amount of strength or leverage to resist the attraction and leave the P-stone!

To be honest, Ves hadn't expected the P-stone to be so capable of containing a spiritual entity. Whenever Ves pulled his excess spiritual energy from the P-stone, he only had to exert a moderate amount of strength to overcome the suction.

\"But then again, I'm on the outside and not affected by whatever happens deep inside.\" He whispered.

Even if Zeigra was capable of exerting a sufficient amount of strength to leave the P-stone, what was the use in escaping?

Aside from Ves' mind, the deterioration of Zeigra's spirituality would quickly resume without finding another suitable body to house its formidable spiritual strength!

Both the P-stone and Ves' mind represented two lonely starships in the void of space. The moment Zeigra's spirituality attempted to escape either of them, it would quickly become exposed to the deadly vacuum, cold and radiation of interstellar space!

In this regard, leaving the P-stone was an act of suicide! After Zeigra chose to set aside its pride for a chance to live, it no longer had the courage to choose death!

Ves lovingly stroked the surface of the energetic P-stone as he placed it back into its container. \"Stay put for now. I still have a use for you.\"

Before he closed the box, Ves frowned a bit as he observed something disconcerting. Zeigra's spirituality continued to deteriorate even if it found a temporary home. It was far too big and strong to be able to maintain its integrity now that it had lost its physical foundation!

The P-stone made for a fine prison, but as a permanent home for spiritual entities, it still fell short!

\"My stone isn't alive.\"

The difference between his mind and the P-stone was that the latter was literally as dead as a rock. Just because it interacted with spiritual energy didn't mean the rock itself was alive!

What Ves basically did right now was to stuff Zeigra's spirituality in a cold, dark cell without any source of sustenance to keep it alive and healthy!

Zeigra needed a source of spiritual food and water to maintain its existence! If Ves didn't solve this problem, then the spiritual entity would still degrade over time!

\"Damnit. You greedy bastard.\" He mentally berated the cat.

After a bit of thought, Ves injected a trickle of his spiritual energy into the P-stone. It quickly arrived at Zeigra's side. The disembodied Crown Cat quickly pounced on it and started to assimilate it into its spiritual being.

It was hard. The incompatibility of their attributes meant that Zeigra found little to his liking. However, desperation forced the beast to chew on Ves' sewage-flavored spiritual energy anyway and assimilate it into its spiritual makeup regardless of the consequences.

\"Don't complain.\" Ves mentally lectured the rebellious spiritual entity and smacked the surface of the P-stone. \"It's the only sustenance that you'll enjoy for the next few weeks or months. The less trouble you stir up, the faster I'll complete your new home!\"

Once Ves closed the box, he resolved to keep it close to him in case the Crown Cat managed to slip out of his prison somehow.

Still, Ves thought it was unlikely for Zeigra to succeed. His spirituality still suffered a considerable amount of deterioration upon his body's death. The paltry amount of spiritual energy that Ves threw at Zeigra was clearly not enough for the cat to repair the holes and other injuries to his spirituality.

After studying the box and making sure that its contents didn't act out or anything, Ves finally let down his guard and relaxed upon his bench.

\"Success!\"

Through his hidden intervention, Lady Miralix and her Felixia Catstrikers succeeded in completing their Crown Hunt!

Ves stood to gain a considerable amount of rewards resulting from this accomplishment! Aside from the concessions promised by Lady Miralix and the prestige he earned for tuning up the mechs employed in the hunt for Zeigra, he also achieved his main objective for traveling to Felixia!

In his opinion, the contents of his P-stone represented his biggest prize! The value of the complete spirituality of a powerful beast vastly exceeded that of an incomplete fragment!

This was the first time that Ves truly captured the total spiritual essence of another entity!

Ves managed to retain almost all of Zeigra's strengths, weaknesses, quirks, memories and other traits! Though the brief moment of deterioration caused Zeigra's spirituality to lose a few bits and pieces of itself, the losses were fairly minor all-considered.

The difference between a complete specimen and a mere fragment of a greater whole made a very huge difference to Ves. While spiritual fragments such as the one he refined of Prophet Ylvaine came across as very sophisticated, he always suspected that it hadn't restored what it lost, but rather amplified its existing traits to fill up the huge gaps in its spiritual makeup.

\"Is this what happened to my mother as well?\" He idly wondered, before quickly throwing the speculation to the back of his mind.

\"Meow.\"

Lucky found it safe to approach again. The gem cat curiously floated down on top of the box and thumped his tail against the side of the container.

The box slightly shook, causing Lucky to jump back into the air in fright!

\"Meow!\"

\"Hahaha! Careful with what's inside, Lucky!\"

For all of his bravado, Lucky still regarded Zeigra with great fear. The latter's performance in the previous battle made it abundantly clear that the Crown Cat was an absolute killing machine!

\"Well, let's wrap this up and start with the aftermath. We have a lot of work in store!\" He spoke as he picked up the box and carried it with him out of the observation chamber.

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