Courage largely validated his guess on what would happen if he blended an additional image into the X-Factor of existing mech.
His experiment to see if he could alter this aspect despite its strength was largely a success.

Ves strongly perceived the differences between Courage and the final prototype.
It was like comparing a glass of water with a glass of tea.
They were largely the same, but the insertion of a distinct flavor shifted Courage ’s emphasis.

”Too bad it ’s not applicable in every case. ” He sighed.

The reason why his weak image of courage achieved such a strong shift in emphasis was because he deliberately designed the Transcendent Messenger to be influenced in this manner.

If he wanted to achieve the same result in another mech, then he would basically have to narrow the scope of the X-Factor.

This might be fine when it came to custom mechs where he was responsible for only a handful of copies.

However, if he tried to do the same to his mass market mechs, then the overwhelming amount of copies his company sold would basically be crippled mechs.
The mechs wouldn ’t live up to their potential because their X-Factor was incomplete!

Mechs designed for the market needed to accommodate the needs of the many rather than the few.
Ves would never cripple the mech experience for 99.9999 percent of his regular customers just to make the remaining 0.0001 percent happy.

”Another issue is that the courage component is weaker than I thought. ”

Even if Ves empowered the abstract image of courage with a tiny portion of his precious spiritual energy, it still didn ’t match up against the spirituality of Ylvaine ’s spiritual fragment.
The design spirit exerted a very strong influence on the mech.

If not for the complementary nature of the virtue of courage, the design spirit would have never allowed the image to fuse with the X-Factor of the mech!

The courage component was fragile.
Whether it grew stronger or diminished into irrelevance depended on the usage of the mech and the mentality of its mech pilot.

If paired with a cautious and risk-averse mech pilot, Ves foresaw that the courage aspect of the mech would starve or even flip into cowardice!

Ves knew very well that the X-Factor of the copies of his mechs were not entirely rigid.
He designed each of his mechs to accommodate changes and growth.

Mostly, this was good, as he expected the X-Factor to grow in strength after accumulating a lot of experiences.

However, not everyone grew up to be a model citizen.
Many people in the galaxy degenerated into pirates.

”If people can be corrupted, mechs can be corrupted as well! ”

He couldn ’t help but recall the first prototype.
While its current design didn ’t match the final version of the Transcendent Messenger, it still shared a solid connection.

When Ylvaine ’s spiritual fragment became the design spirit of the Transcendent Messenger, did this mean the X-Factor of the first prototype grew in strength as well?

”Ah hell.
I ’ll be damned if something like this happens! ”

Due to the purity of its X-Factor, the first prototype could easily be corrupted into a black sheep of the family!

What kind of depravity is my prototype suffering at the hands of the True Believers? ”

This was the nature of X-Factor.
The mech pilot played an integral role in the future direction of the X-Factor of their mechs.

This phenomenon was particularly strong when it came to the Transcendent Messenger.
It ’s X-Factor basically consisted of a blank canvas of faith.
Aside from the mech ’s devotion to Ylvaine ’s beliefs, it left plenty of room to accommodate other influences!

”Well, it ’s not like I ’m responsible for what happens after I deliver my mechs. ” He eventually shrugged.

Overall, Ves was content with the result of this experiment.
While its technical specifications remained exactly the same as that of the prototype, its air of courage mixed in with its faith resulted in a completely different perception of the mech!

He began to tackle the remaining virtues one by one.
Each time he embarked on another copy of the Transcendent Messenger, he spent a couple of hours to familiarize himself with the virtues from the perspective of the Ylvainan.

Even Ketis imitated his actions, believing that she was able to help in this area as well.

The virtue of Justice came next.
It was another easy virtue for him to comprehend, he thought.
Justice existed in every society.

The only complication was that the Ylvainans intersected their justice with their faith.

Was it justice to imprison an Ylvainan citizen for becoming an atheist? Was it justice to condemn a mother to death if she wanted to bring up her children as non-believers?

As a citizen from a secular state, these examples sounded extreme and anything but just.
Yet from the perspective of the Ylvainans themselves, their faith was an integral role to their identity and the identity of their state.
Weakening their religion was akin to launching an attack on their distinctive culture and society!

”Justice isn ’t absolute. ” He remarked.

Ketis snorted from the seat next to him.
”Justice is whatever the strongest people want it to be.
The believers hold all the power in this state, hence why they are right to outlaw blasphemy and heresy. ”

While Ves objected to this argument, Ketis was only stating a simple truth.
The one with the biggest fist set the rules.
The followers of the Ylvainan Faith obtained this right as soon as they founded a state that explicitly accommodated their beliefs and nothing else.

Therefore, the Ylvainan version of justice strongly emphasized religious purity.
It was fine if an Ylvainan believed in an off-kilter interpretation of Ylvaine ’s sayings like the Ascensionists, but dropping the faith or converting to another one was a severe act of injustice to the other Ylvainans in the Protectorate!

Maintaining religious purity among the citizens of the Ylvaine Protectorate fell within the mandate of the Ylvainan Inquisition.
The splinter group of the Attendants of Ylvaine made it their holy mission to preserve the integrity of the Ylvainan Faith by hunting down blasphemers and apostates!

While many people found them scary, the inquisition actually enjoyed a lot of support among the Ylvainans! The traditionalists practically considered them as the true protectors of the faith!

As a citizen of the Bright Republic, Ves almost couldn ’t bring himself to adopt such an extreme perspective.

”It ’s hard! ”

Ylvainan justice completely went against the values he had been brought up in the Bright Republic.
The two were so opposited on this matter that Ves resorted to wearing the abstract image of Justice over his mind like a mask!

The instance he donned the mask, his cognitive dissonance became muted.
While he still felt uncomfortable, at the very least he was able to tolerate this viewpoint.

I still feel like I ’m betraying the Bright Republic somehow. ”

Ketis needed little adjustment.
Though she felt very little for the Ylvainan Faith, her frontier values taught her that might was right.
Fairness didn ’t fit in her concept of justice.

After this mixed adjustment process, the two proceeded to fabricate Justice, the second copy of the Transcendent Messenger design.
Ves repeated all of the steps with Courage and managed to produce a mech that distinctly radiated a different aura!

The differences were especially stark when Justice was placed next to Courage!

While much of their auras overlapped and reinforced its other due to their common faith, they still retained their unique personalities.
It was as if a young and brash warrior stood next to an old and stern inquisitor.
Both of them believed in the same religion, but both of them expressed and served their faith in different ways.

”Are you sure the second mech represents justice? ” Ketis asked as she admired the two mechs.
”If you ask me, self-righteousness. ”

Ves shook his head.
”Justice and self-righteousness are two sides of the same coin.
What is just and what is unjust? It ’s not our job to answer this question.
Just like any piece of art, not every mech has to provide an answer.
Sometimes, raising a question is sufficient to provoke the minds of our customers. ”

The next virtue was a lot easier for them to adopt.
Perseverance was one of the most important virtues of the Ylvainan people.

The First Calamity was an enormously damaging attack on their faith.

The Great Flight that happened afterwards tested the perserverence of the fleeing survivors.

The three leading dynasties, left leaderless after the complete annihilation of the original Ylvaine Dynasty, had to persist through many setbacks and adversities in their long trek to the edge of the galaxy!

Only by reaching the newly-opened Komodo Star Sector would the remnants of the followers of the Ylvainan Faith be able to carve out a star territory of their own!

For this reason, the Ylvainan records and historical footage contained plenty of examples of perseverance.
No matter how many blows the Ylvainans suffered, they never gave up trying to find a new home for their people!

Ves became inspired by all of the stories of stoic perseverance.
Their stubbornness and conviction that they needed to hold to their beliefs echoed with his heart.

Even Ketis exhibited a lot of enthusiasm for this virtue.
In the past, she depended on her perseverance to last through the grueling training that every Swordmaiden was subjected to.
In the present, she relied on perseverance to carry her through all of the knowledge she needed to learn in order to catch up to Ves!

Their strong affinity for perseverance therefore resulted in a smooth and enjoyable fabrication run.
Ves could already tell that Perseverance was definitely his favorite copy of the series!

When Ves moved on to Zeal, he adopted a complex expression.
”This is Taon Melin ’s mech. ”

The Kronon elite bore the shame of losing the first prototype.
Yet when Taon visited Ves to confess his failings, Ylvaine ’s spiritual fragment randomly decided to invade the mech pilot ’s mind!

Whatever the spiritual fragment had done, Taon came out as a changed man.
The abrupt shift stank of indoctrination.
The only reason why Ves didn ’t exhibit too much alarm was because Ylvaine ’s spiritual fragment acted benignly.

Ever since then, Ves could feel the zeal oozing from Taon ’s determined eyes.

Zeal was an essential component to the Ylvainan Faith.
The zeal exhibited by its most ardent followers kept the faith alive and dynamic.
The traditionalists and the extremists exemplified this virtue well, perhaps too well in some cases.
Yet there was no doubt that their boundless enthusiasm to dedicate themselves to the Ylvainan Faith insured that it continued to stay strong even after several centuries of persecution and self-imposed isolation!

”Aside from that, zeal always carries a special meaning to me. ” Ves whispered.

Zeal also happened to be closely related to passion.
Whenever Ves was passionate about one of his mech designs, he expressed great zeal to turn it into a great product!

Therefore, despite the religious connotations of the word, Ves didn ’t find it hard to grasp this virtue.

He only needed to adopt the Ylvainan version of zeal instead of his own.
Because it conflicted strongly with his Brighter upbringing, Ves found it necessary to wear the mask of Ylvainan zeal when he fabricated the mech.

He managed to complete Zeal without any further complications.
In fact, Ves put extra care in its fabrication because of its intended mech pilot.
Since Taon thought he could redeem himself through his zeal, then Ves wanted to accommodate his desires as much as possible!

The last two virtues he wanted to tackle were sacrifice and devotion.

”Sacrifice, huh? ”

Ves entered a strange mood when his thoughts turned to this particular virtue.

If he was being honest with himself, he didn ’t particularly exemplify this virtue.
In fact, he mostly exhibited the opposite instead!

He had no qualms in admitting that he was a selfish person.
Even though he rationalized his selfishness with the excuse that he often didn ’t have a choice, in his heart he believed that he would never voluntarily sacrifice himself for the benefit of others.

Yet was this truly the case?

”Am I truly a selfish bastard? ” He whispered to himself.

”Yup! ” Ketis vigorously nodded.

”Meow! ”

Even Lucky agreed!

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