Ves could not entirely describe what he experienced at that moment.
An enormous sense of nirvana overtook his mind as he blanked out for a time.
Even Lucky became affected by the abnormally strong pulse of spirituality that emanated from the first production mech at the moment of completion!

In fact, not just Ves, but Ketis and the mech technicians standing next to the feet of the mech had been swept up in the spiritual ripple that expanded from the mech.

For a moment, every single worker at the Mech Nursery inadvertently paused!

Although their moment of inattention lasted for a short time, the pause led to a fair amount of mistakes and defects on the manufacturing floor! A lot of mech technicians quickly cursed as they were forced to throw away their work and redo the same procedure again.

As for Ves who sat in the very epicenter of the phenomenon, he simply didn ’t know what he just experienced.
What had just happened? Why did he suddenly blank out?

Only a vague impression of what just transpired remained in his mind.
For some reason, Ves felt as if he had just resonated with Qilanxo.
Some of her thoughts and impressions that he had become familiar with by hosting her spiritual fragment in his mind had come to the fore again.

These words and more encompassed the ideals that Qilanxo had long strived for.
Even though she was an exobeast, a Sacred God as every bit as sentient and alive as any human!

And now, what Ves believed to be an echo of this great entity now lived onwards in the Aurora Titan design!

As the first production mech of this new design, the mech that Ves just augmented with the Ardent Wish was perhaps the greatest reproduction of the Aurora Titan of all times!

”This mech embodies the greatest strength of the Aurora Titan! ”

If Ves presented the Aurora Titan to others, they would probably think its greatest strength was its supreme defensive capabilities and directed energy weapons.

They weren ’t wrong.
The spec sheet of the Aurora Titan made it clear that the design revolved around defense.

Yet that did not make the mech special in Ves ’ eyes.
Instead, the element that excited his design philosophy the most was its very potent spiritual nature.

Not only was the Aurora Titan ’s X-Factor already ludicrously strong, but the addition of the Ardent Wish amplified this remarkable property to even greater heights!

For a moment, Ves feared that he may have moved too quickly and went a little overboard.
Even though he wasn ’t a mech pilot, Ves already felt as if he wasn ’t alone in the cockpit of the recently-completed mech!

”Meow! ”

Lucky hissed with agitation as he perceived a great threat.
An enormous predator was eying them right now!

”It ’s okay, Lucky! There shouldn ’t be any danger around! It ’s just a mech! ”

No matter how much he tried to coax Lucky, his cat remained poised against danger.

”Let ’s go out. ”

In order to prevent Lucky scratching up the interior of the cockpit with his powerful energy claws, Ves grabbed Lucky and quickly exited the cockpit.

He met Ketis, Chief Cyril and the mech technicians just in front of the recently-completed mech.

”That is something. ” Ketis said simply.

”It ’s a very emotional moment for all of us to complete the first production mech. ” Ves replied smoothly, trying to downplay the unusual moment that occurred as a purely psychological phenomenon.
”With how much care and attention we put into its fabrication, it ’s not usual for us to be swept by the jubilation of completing it.
We should all be proud of what we accomplished! ”

While most of the mech technicians looked like they bought his story, Ketis remained a bit more skeptical.

Whatever you say, Ves. ”

Once Ves calmed down from whatever happened, he arranged the mech to be shipped to the testing ground.
Even though the Aurora Titan was a spaceborn mech, it could be activated on the surface of a terrestrial planet.
It could even go out for a walk, though it wouldn ’t be too healthy for the mech to go on a sprint.

For now, it was enough for them to see if the mech would activate and function properly.
They could ship the mech out into space and into the hangar bay of the Redfeather light carrier sometime later.

Ves, Ketis and Lucky arrived at the testing ground first and waited until Melkor, Jannzi, Rhode and Chette Larkinson all arrived.

The moment the beheld the first production mech, they exhibited the same reaction as Ketis upon the mech ’s completion.

what is this? ”

”What an amazing machine! ”

”Why am I not piloting something as remarkable as this mech? ” Rhode whined.

Ves patted Rhode ’s back.
”You ’ll get your turn someday when I came around to design a landbound striker mech. ”

Even the normally inscrutable Melkor looked visibly moved at the first production mech.
”When I initially heard you describe your next mech design, I didn ’t think you could pull it off very well.
regardless of its faults, there is no way this mech will fail to turn heads! ”

”A mech as remarkable like this should carry its own name. ” Jannzi said.
”What ’s its name, Ves? ”

Just as Ves tried to wrack his brains for a suitable name, a strong impression already formed in his mind.

It appeared the mech had already chosen its own name for itself!

”It ’s called the Shield of Samar.
It is the title of a great beast and a protector of the Ancient City of Samar. ”

Ketis recognized the name.
She immediately turned to Ves for an answer, but Ves did not elaborate any further.
It was already dangerous for him to say this much because he divulged something he shouldn ’t have.

Even so, Ves wanted Jannzi to know some of the context behind the name in order to facilitate her bond with her new mech.
The Shield of Samar was the most spiritually strong mech that Ves had ever made or seen.

Even the Larkinson Ancestor ’s ancient mech did not carry as much spiritual weight as the Shield of Samar!

Jannzi rolled the name off her tongue.
”Shield of Samar, huh? It ’s like this mech is made to carry that name! ”

Once they finished admiring the mech from a distance, Jannzi changed into her piloting suit and slowly entered the cockpit.
Ves and everyone else entered an observation room and stood behind the specialists sitting behind their terminals.

”Commence the test.
Activate the mech! ”

Ves turned his gaze towards the projection that depicted the interior of the cockpit of the Shield of Samar.
As soon as Jannzi pressed the super gem with her finger, a number of screens and projections came to life.

”It ’s activating! ”

More than just the mech woke up.
A dormant beast seemed to wake!

For a moment, Jannzi blanked out as she experienced something much like Ves once did when he completed the design at that very same seat.
She was undergoing an unknown process that was completely unknown even to Ves!

Even though he worried a bit about Jannzi ’s safety, he trusted that the X-Factor of the mech would treat her right.
There shouldn ’t be any reason for the spirituality of the mech to turn against her.
Ves specifically fabricated the Shield of Samar just for Jannzi!

Now that Jannzi finally interfaced with the Shield of Samar, two pairs of a greater whole united for the very first time.
An abnormally strong bond developed between Jannzi and her new mech, so much so that some of the specialists yelped in alarm.

”The interfacing strength between the mech pilot and the mech is showing some unusual parameters! ”

”Jannzi Larkinson ’s physiological reactions are spiking! ”

Larkinson, do we abort?! ”

”No! Nothing should be wrong! Continue the activating process! Don ’t interrupt it under any circumstances! It might do more harm than good! ” Ves firmly ordered.

Even though the managers of the testing facility all expressed concerns, Ves knew for sure the man-machine connection that had just been formed did not pose a threat to Jannzi.

After several minutes of blanking out, Jannzi slowly recovered her wits.
In Ves ’ spiritual vision, he noticed that the Shield of Samar had stopped convulsing.
It managed to stabilize itself and form a strong and unbreakable bond with its mech pilot.

Ves took his time to study the telemetry transmitted by the Shield of Samar, and he noted that other than some elevated readings, nothing else unusual seemed to have occurred.

”Everything appears normal, mostly.
Proceed with the initial tests.
Jannzi, can you please try and move your mech? Just a few steps is enough. ”

”I can do that, sir. ”

The recently-activated Shield of Samar moved its ponderous weight and took a weighty step forward.

One step.

Two steps.

Three steps.

Each footstep seemed to fall like the thump of an exobeast.
The super-medium mech possessed legs that were barely strong enough to move the Shield of Samar in standard gravity.

Ves admittedly did not strengthen the mechs as much as he would have for a landbound mech.
A spaceborn mech was not as dependent on its legs as a landbound mech, thus being able to walk in standard gravity was already a luxury!

Even so, the Shield of Samar moved with confidence.
Nothing seemed to crack or fall apart or malfunction during the arduous movement.

The mech was a success! The absence of any major defects meant that Ves had succeeded in fabricating a great copy of the Aurora Titan design!

”It ’s working! ”

Ves only needed to know so much at this point.
He had no doubt that its space trials would go on swimmingly.

”That ’s enough, Jannzi.
You can return the Shield of Samar to its starting position and shut it off.
We ’ll ship the mech into orbit to perform some space trials tomorrow.
You ’ll get the opportunity to flex your skills at that time. ”

”Can I stay in this mech for a while, Ves? ” Jannzi asked over the communication channel.
”I ’m still acclimatizing to piloting the real thing.
This mech is so impressive that I don ’t ever want to leave the cockpit! ”

Ves understood her sentiment.
With a mech as spiritually strong as the Shield of Samar, it made sense that she wouldn ’t want to separate from it so quickly.

”You have three hours.
After that, a transport will come by to pick both of you up and move you to the Redfeather.
For the next two weeks until the product reveal, you ’ll be spending your time on the light carrier in order to practice with your new mech. ”

”I know.
I ’ll be sure to become familiar with this mech! I haven ’t practiced in the simulators for nothing! ”

Jannzi ’s clingy attitude towards her new mech pleased Ves immensely.
He felt as if he fulfilled his mission as a mech designer by providing a mech pilot with the best mech that he could provide to her.
The growing bond between the mech and mech pilot already hinted towards something great!

”From the way Jannzi is so ecstatic about her new mech, you ’d think that they ’ve already become partners for life. ” Ketis joked to Ves.

Ves nodded seriously.
”I think that ’s an apt description.
Those two are inseparable the moment they first interfaced with each other. ”

Partners for Life.
This phrase was part of the LMC ’s motto, but up until now, he never felt as if his company embodied these words.
Only now did Ves believe that his company gained some hope of fulfilling its mission.
With the Aurora Titan design as its new standard bearer, the LMC would surely be able to become a distinct mech company in a mech industry full of strong competitors!

”Let ’s return to the manufacturing floor. ” Ves told Ketis.
”We ’ve got four more mechs to fabricate, and I hope they ’ll all be as impressive as the Shield of Samar. ”

His hope would remain unfulfilled.
There would never be another mech like the Shield of Samar unless Lucky produced another super gem like the Ardent Wish.
For better and worse, the Shield of Samar would always stand above the other copies of the Aurora Titan design.

Jannzi didn ’t even know how lucky she was when Ves bestowed her the privilege of piloting the Shield of Samar!

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