His overcoat gained a lively aura. Though the addition of a small spiritual fragment taken from Zeigra's surviving spirituality did not encompass a lot of strength, the effects on his coat became very noticeable at close proximity!
Every other fragment that Ves made use of up to now went on to become the design spirits of his mech designs! The scale and scope of such uses was on a completely different level from now!
The size of his coat was many times smaller than the size of a mech, which meant that its aura emanated from a vastly smaller surface area!
\"In addition, the physical interaction between a human and another human is a lot more closer than the interaction between a human and a mech!\"
Most bystanders kept a very healthy distance from a mech, even if they weren't active. Nobody wanted to be squashed under the feet of these massive machines!
The same didn't apply to humans, though with the aggressive, prideful and intimidating aura his coat acquired, Ves may as well exhibit some of that effect if he wore it around his body!
\"I like it!\" He grinned.
Though the aura's ire directed a lot of animosity towards himself, Ves did not take it to heart. This little bit of pressure did not disturb him at all. The spiritual fragment locked inside his overcoat was as harmless as a kitten, so why should he be worried?
Ves patted the soft but firm surface of his coat in satisfaction. \"I wonder how other mech designers will react to my appearance!\"
He tested it out by calling both Gavin and Nitaa to his stateroom. As soon as they entered, their eyes practically bulged as their minds and bodies instinctively reacted as if they were being stared at by a predatory beast!
\"What did you do, boss?!\"
\"Hahaha! Nothing much! I just made some adjustments to my coat!\"
\"Well, whatever you did, it's a lot like coming in close proximity to one of your mechs!\"
\"That sounds about right.\"
\"I'm afraid you overdid it, though. I can't relax in your presence while you're wearing your coat!\"
Though Ves easily resisted the intimidation factor of his spiritually-enhanced overcoat, others were not so comfortable. When Ves removed his coat, its aura still radiated a powerful presence while it remained in sight!
He frowned a bit. \"Hmph. Behave!\"
He mentally swatted at it with his Spirituality, but that did not do anything to make the spiritual fragment subside. In fact, Ves noticed that it still possessed a connection with Zeigra's main spirituality!
This meant that the fragment in fact did not possess a separate consciousness! Unless the Crown Cat himself changed his mind about Ves, his overcoat would continue to emanate a hostile and intimidating aura!
He scratched his head. \"Benny, go retrieve a coffer something.\"
When Gavin rummaged through the closet and returned with a spare briefcase, Ves folded his overcoat and stuffed it inside.
Once he closed the briefcase, a portion of the intimidating aura disappeared. Though Ves still perceived some tension in the air, it seemed that putting his overcoat out of sight succeeded in dampening his overcoat's effects.
\"It's much better now that the coat is out of sight.\" Gavin sighed.
Nitaa concurred. \"Maybe a thicker case works better.\"
\"I doubt it. Some things can't be blocked no matter how many layers are in the way.\"
From what he knew of auras, only distance weakened them due to the inverse-square law. Right now, Ves hadn't found any materials that blocked auras outright, though perhaps he might find one in the future.
One thing he found curious was that other people like Gavin and Nitaa clearly perceived the intimidating aura emanating from the coat while not sensing a lot of abnormalities from the P-stone!
Ves, Lucky and to a minor extent Nitaa all perceived Zeigra's hostile spirituality, but Gavin completely ignored the P-stone. Apparently, P-stones possessed a minor isolating effect that only worked on spiritually weak individuals.
\"Curious.\" Ves scratched his chin.
In any case, he got the results he wanted, so he ended the experiment. As Gavin stowed the briefcase and the other pieces of his new outfit in the closet, the distraction ended.
After taking care of his other business, Ves resumed his work on the Devil Tiger project.
\"It's been a long time!\"
As Ves projected the main schematic of his unfinished mech in front of his vision, he compared its dimensions to Zeigra's physical appearance when he was still alive.
The two diverged in several aspects. Zeigra used to be a lot bigger, stronger and heavier. The Devil Tiger relied a bit less raw strength and immense size and more on its mobility to get the better of its opponents.
\"Should I scale up my design?\" He wondered.
He quickly ruled out of the option. Increasing its proportions was not as simple as magnifying all of its components by thirty percent or so. Ves did not look forward to initiating a complete redesign just to accommodate its design spirit!
In any case, it wasn't as if his mechs no longer worked if they carried divergent design spirits. His Aurora Titan worked fine despite hosting a non-human design spirit.
The intention of his mech designs was not to bring the deceased back to life. Neither did he seek to clone the capabilities of powerful humans or exobeasts.
He saw no future in imitating or emulating products developed by nature or products cooked up by biotech specialists.
Ves believed that proper mech designers ought to be capable of creating entirely new and original mechs that exhibited the strengths that fit them the best!
\"I shouldn't lose sight of the purpose of my work. My mechs still have to function as products that serve a useful purpose!\"
He knew he had a tendency to romanticize his mechs and mech designs. The danger to this was that he could easily lose perspective of the nature of his profession and the actual demands of his customers.
Once he sobered himself up, he rejected any thoughts of trying to turn the Devil Tiger into an artificial copy of Zeigra's formidable body. It just didn't make any sense from a fundamental design perspective. His tiger mech design performed the best if it remained in the medium weight class!
Still, Ves saw plenty of areas which could use some adjustments. He wanted to steer the Devil Tiger away from a design that relied heavily on ambushes and maneuver warfare to one more suited to brawling and dueling. This would make the Devil Tiger match the brutal and prideful inclination of its design spirit.
Before he visited Felixia, Ves hadn't made up his mind on the final vision of his mech. Now that he returned with Zeigra's spirituality, the end product was no longer shrouded in fog. He knew exactly what he was working towards!
\"Let's get to work!\"
As the fleet quietly traveled to its next destination, Ves dove into his design work. With the P-stone trapping Zeigra's spirituality resting on his desk, he comfortably basked in the Crown Cat's hostility and used his sensations to inspire him in his design work.
His recent successes along with the rewards he received put him in a fantastic mood. Even the temporary deficit in his spiritual energy did not hinder him significantly in any way as his passion overflowed as he worked.
Several days passed as Ves achieved rapid progress in the completion of his design. While the incorporation of ASMAS into his mech design meant that Ves had to do a lot of things differently, he eagerly tackled the novel problems that came with configuring the pure ASMAS and substitute ASMAS into empowering the Devil Tiger to the fullest extent.
The momentum that Ves accumulated caused him to set aside every other distraction in an attempt to complete his mech design as soon as possible.
Many problems seemed trivial to his eyes, and those that posed a larger hindrance hardly stalled his momentum. Within a matter of days, his incomplete design rapidly exhibited fewer gaps.
Even the fleet's arrival to its next destination could not bring Ves out of his design frenzy. He brushed off Gavin and Nitaa's attempt to urge him to meet his appointment on the surface of the planet they orbited.
\"I CAN'T STOP NOW!\" He shouted as his shaking eyes kept staring at the zoomed-in portion of his mech design. His hands neurotically flicked around the projection to add, remove and adjust various components to his design. \"I'm on a roll here! Tell whoever I'm meeting on the planet to reschedule my appointment!\"
\"They won't like it, boss.\"
Ves snorted. \"They're mech designers! They should understand the importance of when a fellow colleague is in an inspired design mood! Now get out and let me work in peace!\"
Once he got rid of his latest distractions, Ves spent an entire week on completing his design.
As the Devil Tiger became more and more whole, it began to embody some of the aspects of its name. The mech that Ves had shaped truly looked and fought like a devil in the form of a tiger!
Not only was it a devil to its opponents, it also posed a risk to its mech pilots!
When Ves had reached the stage of adding in and configuring its cockpit, Ves briefly paused when he had to decide which neural interface model he should incorporate into his design.
Previously, he considered utilizing a neural interface model with very loose safety limitations.
However, he made this decision before he picked up an extremely hostile design spirit. What would Zeigra do if he obtained the power to screw around with the minds of the mech pilots of the Devil Tiger?
Ves grimaced. \"Nothing good would come out of that.\"
Should he change his mind and opt for a safer neural interface model? One with stricter safety limits would mean the mech pilot wouldn't be able to establish a deeper bond with the Devil Tiger. That went against the purpose of his experiment and the vision he laid out for his mech!
\"The Devil Tiger is and will always be a double-edged sword!\"
Still, it wouldn't do his machine any good if it immediately killed its mech pilot right at the start. Ves therefore opted for a different approach to the problem.
First, he scoured the galactic net for a neural interface design that the MTA never authorized for usage.
It wasn't very hard to find one, as various black market organizations seemed to find some uses for them for some reason.
\"They probably use them to boost the performance of underground dueling mechs.\" Ves loosely guessed.
It was an easy way to improve the odds of winning, but once the mech pilots encountered mishaps, it would be all over for their careers! Even their lives may be lost due to the severe repercussions of using these unsafe neural interface models!
Once Ves grabbed a black market neural interface model suited for tiger mechs, he dove into its programming and adjusted its safety parameters.
Whenever a new mech pilot interfaced with the Devil Tiger, its neural interface would start off with relatively standard safety limits.
Only when the mech pilot spent a few hours with the Devil Tiger would the temporary safety limits slowly retract.
This way, both the mech and mech pilots enjoyed a brief period of time where they could get to know each other under safer but more limiting circumstances.
If the Devil Tiger liked its mech pilot, then the loosening safety limits meant that the mech pilot would benefit from the closer bond he formed with his mech.
If the Devil Tiger hated its mech pilot, then the lifting of the restrictions would definitely lead to various shenanigans.
Ves chuckled at the thought. \"I shouldn't make it too easy for Zeigra to get rid of its mech pilot! He has to work for it if he wants to get rid of someone he doesn't like!\"