Something hidden within Ves ’ consciousness echoed in response to that strong desire.
Eloise ’s motherly instincts attracted a response from an entity that Ves never knew was present in the mind of his host.

A sharp mental strain suddenly wracked Ves ’ consciousness as Qilanxo ’s augmented spiritual fragment flared to life! It wanted to respond to Eloise ’s desperate straits!

Ves screamed as the spiritual fragment that somehow managed to hitchhike on the System ’s Mastery journey outputted a huge burst of spiritual energy.

All of that potent spiritual energy poured into Eloise ’s mind and blended into her strong desires and emotions, strengthening them and transforming them into a more spiritually active state!

Something incredibly profound went on as Qilanxo ’s strong spirituality reacted with Eloise ’s emotions.
The spiritual energy from Qlianxo did not enter Eloise ’s mind without direction.

If that were so, the spiritual energy would have shattered Eloise ’s mind to pieces!

Instead, the energy moved with intelligence and direction.
They avoided burning Eloise ’s pale spirit, instead opting to nurture it by blending in! The spiritual energy did so by voluntarily letting go of some of Qilanxo ’s imprint and instead made use of Eloise ’s strong emotions to impart her own imprint on the potent energy!

Even as Ves tried to remain coherent through the pain of being used as a funnel for Qilanxo ’s spiritual energy, he couldn ’t help but take note of some of the more important processes.

He learned that spiritual energy did not behave like neutral energy such as electricity or heat.
Instead, one of the defining aspects of spiritual energy was that it always carried the imprint of its source!

For example, Ves ’ Spirituality consisted of a cloud of spiritual energy within his mind that was uniquely his.
No one else would be able to wield his spiritual energy because of his imprint.

The same went for Qilanxo ’s higher quality spiritual energy.
The Sacred God was an impressive creature whose spirituality definitely could be placed on par with ace pilots.

For Qilanxo ’s spiritual fragment to exert such precise control as to wipe away her own imprint and to blend in Eloise ’s strong emotions with the temporarily ownerless energy was nothing less than miraculous!

The remarkable amount of control and skill exhibited by Qilanxo ’s spiritual fragment aroused a suspicion within Ves.
He had a feeling that something similar took place when Qilanxo first interfaced with Orfan and Dise through the man-beast connection!

The channeling kept going, putting Ves under increasing strain.
Eloise somehow hadn ’t fully become aware of what took place within her mind.
Right now, she only cared about saving the Stained Salamander so that she would be able to retain her chance of returning home!

For Eloise to be reunited with her son, the Valiant Warden must stop the ravenous feral Starspawn from destroying the carrier at all costs!

Even as her mind became increasingly more suffused with spiritual energy that truly belonged to herself, Ves felt an added drain on his mind.
Somehow, the strong suction that resulted from the channeling siphoned away a portion of his own spiritual energy in the mix!

While his spiritual energy was much less potent and energetic than the energy that belonged Qilanxo, it nonetheless carried a mix of properties strongly related to his design philosophy and his understanding of mechs.

”That ’s my spiritual energy! Give it back! ”

Instead of fulfilling request, Qilanxo ’s spiritual fragment exerted strong control over his stolen spiritual energy.
Instead of blending them into Eloise ’s mind, the fragment instead directed his energy through Eloise ’s man-machine connection and vigorously blended it into the X-Factor of the Valiant Warden!

Although only a small portion of Ves ’ spiritual energy had been siphoned away, he still opposed the procedure! This Mastery experience was meant to expand his horizons on space knights.
He already paid 40,000 DP for this opportunity! Why should he pay even more to help out a complete stranger?!

No one listened to his complaints.

The spiritual transformation of the mech continued.
Qilanxo ’s spiritual fragment forcibly erased Ves ’ imprint on his own spiritual energy in order to empower the Valiant Warden ’s X-Factor.
The Valiant Warden somehow came to life in a sense and began to resonate with the strengthening mind of its sole mech pilot for over ten long years!

When Ves turned his attention to Eloise ’s mind, he noted with alarm that her emotions and desires took on such a strong shape that it began to resemble an expert pilot ’s force of will!

There was no confusion in Eloise ’s mind.
While fear hounded her from behind, it only strengthened her motherly desire to be with her son again!

Strengthened by a large amount of potent spirituality, her increasingly strong force of will become more real and substantial by the second.
At some point, it reached an invisible threshold that prevented it from growing more solid!

Nonetheless, Qilanxo ’s spiritual fragment appeared to be a bottomless well of spiritual energy.
It continued to feed more of her potent energy into Eloise ’s mind, freely wiping out Qilanxo ’s imprint and before blending into Eloise ’s force of will.

It was as if Eloise ’s mind became increasingly more crowded with spiritual energy.
As Ves was present in her mind, he became alarmed at the proceedings! Would Eloise ’s mind blow up from the flood of energy?!

He also started to note some signs of instability at the edges of Eloise ’s mind! Eloise mind and spirit were struggling to cope with the influx of energy.
It was eating away at herself!

Yet before her mind reached the point of breaking, Eloise ’s force of will eventually broke through an invisible threshold! It grew past the barrier that held it back and rapidly gained strength as various inexplicable processes happened at the same time!

The rapidly-strengthening force of will swept through Eloise ’s mind, transforming it on a fundamental level! As an unwitting bystander of this event, Ves ’ consciousness rolled with the tides, giving him no chance to regain his wits!

The transformation of Eloise ’s force of will resulted in immediate effects.
Not only had her mindspace expanded significantly, but the explosion in strength also spilled beyond the boundaries of her mind!

Her spiritual energy started to bleed over into realspace!

Out in space, only half a minute went by, though it felt like longer to Ves.
A sheen started to surround the increasingly more lively Valiant Warden.
Some of her colleagues who were trying to race back towards the Stained Salamander quickly noticed the strange phenomenon.

”Lieutenant Pelican! Your mech! It ’s glowing! ”

that ’s forced resonance! ”

”What?! ”

”She ’s broken through to expert pilot! ”

The increasingly strengthening glow around the Valiant Warden grew stronger, signifying that it was definitely not an illusion!

Eloise had reached apotheosis!

Right now, Eloise ’s newly-developed force of will was so strong that countless transformations went through in her mind.

To Ves, the main good thing about her breakthrough to expert pilot was that Qilanxo ’s spiritual fragment finally stopped intervening and drew back its influence.
This allowed him to observe some of the changes in her mind, though he understood nothing what he observed.

Strangely enough, Eloise ’s force of will ignored Ves ’ presence in her mind entirely.
Her overarching desire was to go home and reunite with her son.
To do that she had to save the Stained Salamander.

How could she spare any attention to the strange entity in her mind? As long as it didn ’t stand in her way of her goals, she could deal with it later!

”Get back, you Starspawn! ” She yelled as her Valiant Warden accelerated beyond what it was capable of due to the forced resonance elevating its parameters!

Even though the Valiant Warden would never be able to perform on par with an actual expert mech, the boost in performance due to the forced resonance was enough to Eloise!

The Valiant Warden used the wreckage of a downed mech as a shield as it bashed into the nearest approach Starspawn.
The creature practically exploded into chunks of semi-solid tissue upon impact!

The glowing mech held the wreck of a mech in one hand and unsheathed its sword with the other hand.
After drawing its weapon, the Valiant Warden dove straight into the crowd of the advancing Starspawn!

A massacre ensued! The forced resonance gripping the entire mech also extended to its sword, causing it to sear away at the Starspawn ’s weak minds at the same time as their flesh parted along the edge!

”I must return home! ”

This overarching desire to return home and see her son again drove Eloise to insane heights! Her force of will kept squeezing out its potential, strengthening and sustaining the forced resonance effect that empowered her Valiant Warden!

More than that, the improvements that her force of will continued to bring to her mind elevated many aspects related to piloting mechs.
Her mental processing power ballooned, allowing her to take in a lot more input from her mech and enabling her to react faster with better decisions than ever before!

Her current mech piloting ability had reached beyond the level of a normal human mech pilot and went straight into superhuman territory! Ves ’ consciousness could no longer keep up with the sheer volume of thoughts that went through Eloise ’s mind as she piloted her mech with inhuman skill!

The amazing battle performance of Eloise ’s Valiant Warden lifted everyone ’s morale.
The Insurmountable Drakes fought back with ferocious fervor as they were being taken in by the exultation of seeing an expert pilot emerge from their own ranks!

The other outfits fought more vigorously as well as they took advantage of the stalling Starspawn.
The astral creatures didn ’t seem to know what to do against the powerful mech that glowed, and eventually their instincts led them to retreat!

Even as everyone began to cheer in the communication channels, Eloise admonished them.
”We haven ’t escaped yet! This isn ’t the time to celebrate! Now that our rear is safe, we must continue to break through! ”

Commander Pritchard instantly concurred.
”Lieutenant— no, Venerable Pelican is right! I don ’t know what the hell Mr.
Drenad and the Defiled Gene has done, but if they think they are the only ones who will be able to leave the Dark Sphere, they have another thing coming! Everyone! Follow Venerable Pelican! ”

The surviving mechs and starships of the Insurmountable Drakes and the other outfits all rallied around Venerable Eloise Pelican and the inspiring sight of her Valiant Warden.

Their worship for Eloise invigorated her force of will.
While she didn ’t care too much about the other independents, she strongly cared about the Insurmountable Drakes.
As her force of will carried a very protective quality, her strength continued to increase!

”Go forth! Let me lead you into safety! ”

As the giant Super Starspawn started to grapple with the space fortification, the independents followed the lead of the glowing Valiant Warden as it streaked across space like a comet!

The defenders, already flailing due to the rampage of the Super Starspawn, were poorly equipped to deal with the latest variable that approached.
The sight of a newly-emerged expert pilot coming straight at the military mechs caused the mech pilots inside to waver!

The force of will emanating from the Valiant Warden not only boosted the spirits of her comrades and allies, but also pressed down upon the minds of the mech pilots about to face them in battle!

The military developed many tactics to cope with expert pilots.
As long as they spread themselves out and kited the Valiant Warden, they ’d be able to pelt it down with superior firepower over time.

Yet if the military mech pilots employed their anti-expert formations, they would become vulnerable to the mob of regular mechs that backed the Valiant Warden up!

For a moment, the Super Starspawn assault and the emergence of a new expert pilot caused the chain of command of the Silent Nomad military forces to break down.
Conflicting orders caused them to be paralyzed as the intimidating expert pilot approached!

Eventually, the Valiant Warden collided in the midst of the foremost formation of military mechs! Half-a-dozen mechs instantly perished while the remainder of the formation scattered like flies!

The ensuing chaos led to a chain reaction where most of the military mechs began to retreat in response to their comrades retreating as well! With all of the formations breaking apart, no one felt safe anymore!

”The exit is within reach! Keep pushing! Our escape is almost upon us! ” Venerable Pelican yelled.

Yet as the hardy mechs and ships neared the portal that represented their only way out, they also came closer to the half-destroyed space fortress and the heavily-injured Super Starspawn that bit entire chunks out of the structure!

Some of the turrets of the fortress that couldn ’t bear on the Super Starspawn began to bombard the approaching tide of independents!

Not only that, but the massive Super Starspawn paused in its attack of the fortress and instead moved to attack the Valiant Warden for some reason!

”That monster is coming for us! ”

Against a giant astral creature formed out of hundreds of Starspawn, how could the Valiant Warden ever stand a chance?!

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