Sometimes, the simplicity of a ballistic weapon trumped more advanced ones such as plasma weapons or gravitic weapons.

High tech weaponry often implied more firepower or more damage dealing capabilities, but they also imposed higher demands.

To Ves, he already possessed a copy of one of the pinnacle personal weapons in human space.
While his Amastendira saved his life time and time again, there would come a point where even its prodigious firepower might fail or be pushed to the limits of its heat capacity.

In those times, a second weapon might come in handy.
If his opponents ever learned about his Amastendira and made a lot of preparations to negate energy damage, then possessing a weapon that dealt a surprising amount of physical damage would be able to throw them off a loop.

What Ves requested earlier shouldn ’t be so easy to fulfill.
He wanted to pick out a ballistic pistol that possessed both a high capacity but also packed a lot of punch.

Cheaper ballistic pistols could only fulfill one or the other.
In contrast, some of the products offered by Renny ’s Outfitters did their best to accommodate both demands.

A ballistic weapon in this day and age could be quite simple and cheap.
Some were barely distinguishable from their more ancient counterparts that humanity used when they were still stuck on a single planet.

However, the use of more sophisticated materials, more potent propellants, more advanced rounds, more capable integrated software and most importantly the use of inertial dampeners to mitigate the enormous recoil of the powerful rounds allowed them to remain relevant even in an age of laser and plasma weapons!

Therefore, none of the ballistic pistols on display were negligible.
Some could outright even punch through a suit medium combat armor with a single shot!

Unfortunately, those powerful weapons usually consisted of massive handcannons or revolvers that carried only six rounds at most.

After discounting the pistols with way too much power and not enough capacity, Ves studied the various weapons that met his criteria.
He eventually noticed one ballistic pistol that exuded a bit more spirituality than the other handmade products.

”Ah, that is one of young Mato King ’s most recent works. ” Dias said appreciatively.
”Mato King is a relatively young gunsmith, but he has already started to make a splash in the Bentheim gun community.
The weapon you are holding in hands is called the Hope by Force. ”

Ves raised his eyebrows.
Names carried a lot of significance, particularly with the regards of one-off crafted products like this one.
”What ’s the story behind the name? ”

”Mato King did not share the story behind the weapon to us.
He desires its users to develop their own interpretation of its name. ”

When Ves brushes his senses against the Hope by Force, he felt a sense of loss, fury and above all else a desire for retribution.

It was a weapon fit for vengeance rather than self-defense.
Even as Dias rattled off a number of desirable features of the Hope by Force, Ves firmly placed the weapon back onto the table.

Its X-Factor, as rudimentary as it seemed to Ves, simply did not fit with his requirements.

Instead, Ves inspected the other weapons until he finally came across an artful-looking ballistic pistol.
It immediately caught his eye due its sensuous design and its intricately sculpted shape.
It looked like a marble statue of an elf with its wide open mouth serving as a muzzle.

As far as the weapons on the table went, this weapon seemed to emphasize art over function.

Yet Ves felt inexplicably drawn to it for some reason.
As Ves extended his spiritual senses once again, he noted that it felt like the weapon had been designed and made with great care.
The X-Factor of the gun carried a touch of..
remembrance to it, as if the weapon signified the passing of someone important.

”Ah, that is the work of one Bentheim ’s oldest gunsmiths, Keon Aluis.
Aluis is not the most renowned gunsmith on Bentheim, but he served as a mainstay in the community for many decades.
The Peaceful Repose that you are holding is one of the finest expressions of his distinct design style.
Aluis believes that every individual weapon that he crafted in his hands is a piece of art.
He designed and crafted the Peaceful Repose in remembrance for the passing of his wife. ”

That explained it.
This was a weapon that carried a great meaning to its gunsmith, and it showed through his spiritual senses.

While the Hope by Force exuded a stronger X-Factor, the Peaceful Repose ’s sense of peace, contentment, remembrance and finality spoke much strongly to Ves.
Although its artistic design went a little overboard on the visual spectacle, it nonetheless made Ves feel good when holding it.
It was a classy weapon beyond compare!

”This is a weapon that makes an artform out of ending other people ’s lives! ” Ves uttered softly.

”Is that gun even a functional weapon? ” Ketis asked.
”It ’s more of a sculpture and less of a weapon in my eyes. ”

”I can assure you that the Peaceful Repose can be just as deadly as your Udor. ” Dias said.

He went went on to state some of the ballistic pistol ’s specs.

Overall, the weapon featured a medium capacity, medium degree of firepower and a medium ability to pierce armor.
Although it sounded as if the Peaceful Repose didn ’t excel at anything, the quality of the entire gun elevated all of its capabilities to a respectable level.

”The secret ingredient behind the Peaceful Repose ’s performance is that it only fires the Exil rounds developed by Keon Aluis.
Each round is individually handmade by either Mr.
Aluis himself or one of his apprentices.
The rounds made by their apprentices are available in bulk, while the rounds made by Mr.
Aluis himself we have on hand is not even enough to fill a single magazine. ”

”How much? ”

”We offer the Peaceful Repose for 21 million credits.
A single Exil round handmade by Mr.
Aluis costs 1 million credits.
The Exil rounds made by his apprentices only go for 50,000 credits per round. ”

Very expensive.
While the Peaceful Repose was cheaper than the Udor, it cost a lot more money to fire the weapon than the Udor!

Unlike a laser pistol which could be recharged on the cheap with any available power source, the potent Exil rounds that were so sophisticated that the gunsmith had to craft them one by one all cost an arm and a leg with each shot fired!

Most of the cost of the laser pistol came from its advanced internal parts.
A ballistic pistol on the other hand exhibited a simpler construction that incorporated less advanced tech, though its costs could quickly run up with the use of more expensive exotic materials.

Nonetheless, when comparing weapons of the same tier, ballistic pistols were generally cheaper at the start.

If Ves was some kind of gun-toting bounty hunter gallivanting across the galaxy, he would never purchase the Peaceful Repose.
Not only would he be spending more money than what he earned every time he got into a firefight, he would also have to return to Bentheim each time he ran out of Exil rounds!

Fortunately for him, his situation was quite different from that of a galactic wanderer.

First, Ves did not envision getting caught up in a lot of fights.
As a mech designer, Ves did not belong anywhere near a battlefield.

Second, he also did not plan to travel very widely for the foreseeable future.
Even if Keon Aluis designed the Peaceful Repose to only work with his own rounds, Ves could accept this limitation as long as the Exil rounds delivered what they promised.

Dias summoned up a pair of magazines from the table.
They came in exquisite white boxes that shared the same aesthetics as the pistol.
When the store employee opened one of them, a polished magazine rested on a pillow glistened in the reflective light of the showroom.

”This magazine holds thirty Exil rounds crafted by apprentices.
Although Mr.
Aluis did not craft the rounds himself, his apprentices are no slouches.
Each round has gone through multiple inspections before they are determined fit for sale. ”

Ves picked up the magazine and loaded it into the Peaceful Repose.
The addition of the magazine weighed down the weapon, but that only made the weapon firmer, as if a final piece of the puzzle returned to its rightful place.

Due to its complex X-Factor, holding the Peaceful Repose made Ves feel at peace, though only slightly.

Not even the Amastendira could affect his mood so strongly!

”I ’ll buy the Peaceful Repose.
Please add in all the Exil rounds made by Mr.
Aluis as well as four-hundred rounds made by his apprentices. ”

The total price amounted to 61 million credits.
This was a hefty price, but Ves did not envision returning to Renny ’s Outfitters to pick up new rounds anytime soon.

After Ves returned the pistol and magazine to the table, which slowly disappeared so that the store could send them for inspection and certification, he moved on to the other items on his shopping list.

”That ’s enough for weapons.
Let ’s move on to armor. ”

The process of shopping for combat armor was just as intricate as shopping for pistols.
Dias led them to a different showroom that encompassed various fitting instruments to take their measurements and to assist them in trying out various suits of armor.

After an hour of trying out different armor models, Ves eventually settled upon a suit of light armor called the Sparous Vize.

Odd name aside, the Sparous Vize fit his purposes due to its ease of use and its small profile.
It barely bulked him up, but the use of compressed armor plating added enough protection to withstand most infantry-grade firepower for a time.

The reason why he decided to go for this specific armor above others was that it excelled the most in the area of communications and hacking.
It not only featured powerful internal and extendable antennas that could pierce through a certain level of jamming, it also incorporated a fully automated hacking module that could hack most outdated software in use in the Bright Republic.

The Sparous Vize ’s weak X-Factor exemplified its shifty nature.
It carried the aura of a scoundrel.

Ves kind of liked it as it made him feel as if he was too slippery to catch while he wore the Sparous Vize.

Naturally, Ves paid big money for these capabilities.
The total cost of the Sparous Vize, which included lifetime software updates, amounted to 80 million credits!

A single suit of armor cost as much as a very good premium mech!

”It ’s all in the materials. ” Ves said when Ketis looked googly-eyed at the mention of the skyhigh price.
”If we used the same compressed armor formula used in the Sparous Vize for my mech designs, then they would cost well over several billion credits each! This armor formula is actually fit for second-class mechs! ”

While the Sparous Vize would never be able to equal the level of protection of his lost XV-99 Squalon, it at least gave Ves the confidence to withstand a couple of handcannon rounds in the faceplate.

Ketis wanted to augment her battlestyle with her own selection.
After browsing various models of medium combat armor, she eventually settled upon a suit of armor called the Rising Red Dragon.

This plain name evoked an immediate sense of ferocity.
The Rising Red Dragon was significantly bulkier than the Sparous Vize.
Not only did it offer a lot more protection than the lighter armor, it also carried a powerful set servos that enhanced the wearer ’s running speed.

This not only imparted the wearer of the Rising Red Dragon with a momentous charge, it also allowed the wearer to close in on the enemy quickly!

The total cost of the Rising Red Dragon amounted to 140 million credits.
Such a huge amount of money was more than enough to buy two premium mechs with money to spare!

Ketis looked rather guilty as Ves approved of the purchase.

”Are you sure you want to be handing over something so expensive to me, Ves? ”

”It ’s okay.
The contributions that you ’ll make in the future will earn back my investment many times over.
Earning a couple of hundred million credits isn ’t all that hard, especially if you ’re a Journeyman. ”

After ending up in precarious situations many times with hardly any gear to protect himself, it felt extraordinarily good to Ves to finally be able to spend his hard-earned money on enhancing his ability to defend himself.
Even if trouble suddenly broke out on Bentheim, he would at least have the confidence that he wouldn ’t succumb so easily!

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