Before Ves took a long rest, he made sure to move the Ancient Sarcophagus back to the vault.

He didn ’t dare to let any person approach the dangerous object.
While Ves wasn ’t sure whether it could affect or threaten anyone else, Ves did not take any chances.

He approached a nearby terminal and began to take control of a number of lifter bots.

Fortunately, the alien spiritual entity residing inside Item #1255 hadn ’t messed with the bots.
Instead of moving it back to the vault, he instead placed it near the aft of the Barracuda.

The vault was situated in the center of the corvette, allowing it to exert its influence to cover the bulk of the interior of the vessel.
By placing it at the very edge of the cargo bay, right against the cargo bay hatch, the Ancient Sarcophagus would have to overcome a lot more distance in order to affect the rest of the ship.

Once he finished moving the red coffin, Ves paused for a few minutes and extended his damaged spiritual senses outward.

He sensed nothing unusual.
In fact, he began to breathe a little easier now that the dread weighing on his heart had disappeared.
The subtle influence that messed with his judgement and intuition had disappeared!

Ves guessed that the trapped spiritual entity was still roiling in pain.
Ves had violently cut out a spiritual fragment from its whole.
Unlike the last time where Qilanxo voluntarily donated a spiritual fragment to Ves, this time he took it by force!

”There is an important difference between these two instances! ”

Though Ves had the sense that the trapped alien entity was stronger than Qilanxo, the two differed substantially in many ways.
Aside from being powerful, they shared nothing in common.

”I have no idea what I ’ve tangled with, but I ’m pretty sure it ’s trapped in place. ”

As more and more time passed by without anything unusual taking place, Ves began to let down his guard.

Evidently, the wounded alien entity was unable or unwilling to retaliate.
Even if it did launch some kind of surprise attack somehow, Ves had already prepared a precaution.
He programmed an emergency command on his comm.
As long as he pressed the button, the Barracuda ’s cargo hatch would instantly open and dump the Ancient Sarcophagus into space!

Of course, Ves really didn ’t want to resort to this option.
Despite the threat hidden within, the Ancient Sarcophagus was worth around 20 billion bright credits! He hated the thought of throwing away all that money!

”It ’s one thing to throw the red coffin away while the ship is in a star system.
It ’s another thing to throw it out of the cargo bay while we ’re in the middle of FTL travel! ”

It was still possible to dump something out of the ship while traveling faster than light, but nobody knew whether this posed some risks to the ship.

In any case, once the Barracuda released the Ancient Sarcophagus in higher-dimensional space, it was virtually impossible to get it back! Who knew where it would drift off or whether it would even remain intact!

He was relieved that the Ancient Sarcophagus did not do anything that forced his hand.

As he commanded Nitaa to keep an eye on the object, he wearily dragged his body to his stateroom and fell onto his bed.

”Meow. ”

Lucky floated above Ves with concern.

”I ’m fine.
I just need to rest and recover.
My mind took an awful beating and I expended a lot of energy trying to defend myself. ”

The excitement had finished, allowing Ves to take stock of what happened and what he gained from his latest dangerous experience.

First, he managed to understand the nature of the Ancient Sarcophagus.
Ves wasn ’t even sure if it still deserved to be called as such, though it obviously preserved a seemingly dead alien body.

The formidable spiritual entity trapped within had rested inside for who knew how long.
Ves wasn ’t sure if it was a spiritual continuation of the alien body trapped within the crystal or if it emerged long after the original body had been entombed.

”Whatever the case, it ’s strong and very much alive! ”

It also happened to be fairly uncommunicative and extremely violent.
Though Ves understood most entities, he failed to interpret the incomprehensible spiritual transmissions of the alien spiritual entity.
There was a fundamental mismatch between them that didn ’t exist when Ves communicated with other entities!

Just like Zeigra ’s spirituality, the alien spiritual entity possessed an irreconcilable hatred towards Ves.
Though he didn ’t mean to carve out a spiritual fragment, it was too late to make amends now that he did so in an extremely violent fashion.

The overall impression he got from the alien spiritual entity was one that conveyed an immense amount of power and hostility.
It was as if Ves was just a mouse before a cat!

Nonetheless, the difference between their situations was that the cat was shackled to the Ancient Sarcophagus while the mouse enjoyed total freedom! This was one of the reasons why Ves shouldn ’t have much to fear from the alien spiritual entity he offended!

Unfortunately, their brief moment of contact and conflict didn ’t reveal anything more about the entity trapped within.

He did manage to extricate himself from the fight with a spiritual fragment.
The P-stone locked inside his B-stone lockbox now held a very violent and uncooperative spiritual fragment.

Ves decided to keep the lockbox close and monitor it for a few days.
While there was a risk in keeping it within his reach, he wanted to know immediately if the spiritual fragment managed to muster enough strength to break out of its cage.

”I don ’t have a lot of alternatives if my current containment measures aren ’t enough. ”

One of the issues that plagued him right now was the damage inflicted to his mind.
The violent attacks against the defenses of his mind had riddled it with cracks and other imperfections.
Though his mind was already in the process of healing it, Ves estimated that it would take a fair amount of time for him to recover all of the damage.

In addition, Ves also expended a decent amount of spiritual energy.
Though his Grand Dynamo was intact and constantly churned out an incredible amount of spiritual energy, it still took some time for his reserves to get back up to full.

”This is going to eat up valuable time! Time which I could have used to work on my latest design project! ”

Still, this wasn ’t his first time his mind was working at a suboptimal level.
Ves believed he still had what it took to work on a new mech design.
He just wouldn ’t be feeling very comfortable and energetic in the following week.

In his current damaged condition, it would be hard for him to become inspired or perform his work at full efficiency.

To be honest, he was quite pissed at how much damage he suffered and how it could have been worse.
If not for his quick thinking, he might not even be himself anymore!

As he analyzed his attempts to probe the Ancient Sarcophagus, he realized that making direct contact with the alien spiritual entity was his biggest mistake.
His curiosity towards the seemingly-slumbering entity had almost proved his undoing!

”Even if it woke up, it couldn ’t have done anything to me. ” He concluded.
”It ’s trapped in place and can hardly exert its strength outside of the red coffin. ”

The main reason the alien spiritual entity managed to circumvent the restrictions of its prison was because it hijacked his spiritual projection!

The channel that formed between the two opened up a backdoor for the alien spiritual entity to exert its strength outside the coffin.

”Well, lesson learned, I guess. ” He sighed while continuing to lie face down on his bed.
”I ’ll have to develop a more sophisticated probing method next time.
I shouldn ’t expose myself in such a reckless manner against a completely unknown entity. ”

The alien spiritual entity ’s dormancy had thrown him off.
Only after it started rousing from its slumber did Ves realized how badly he was outmatched.

Though Ves had never come in touch with an ace pilot in his life, he had a strong feeling that Qilanxo and the trapped alien entity both belonged to that tier.
The amount of strength they possessed clearly exceeded the bounds of expert pilots, but wasn ’t quite as impressive as the stories he heard about god pilots.

”Well, there is a huge amount of variance in strength between ace pilots. ”

This was because ace pilots were split into junior ace pilots and senior ace pilots for some reason.
Despite this distinction, there weren ’t any other differences between the two.
As long as a junior ace pilot kept improving, they wouldn ’t encounter any major bottlenecks that hindered their growth to senior ace pilot.

If Ves attempted to gauge their strengths, then he tentatively judged that Qilanxo was comparable to a junior ace while the trapped alien entity was comparable to a senior ace.

Its partial awakening along with the Ancient Sarcophagus shackling the bulk of its strength prevented the trapped alien entity from using its superiority to its fullest.

However, even a portion of its strength was enough to threaten Ves! He needed to be really careful about his interactions with the Ancient Sarcophagus from now on as he couldn ’t afford a repeat of the previous incident!

Ves winced when he thought about the F-stone.
He used up 15 percent of its charge to empower his ability to damage the trapped alien entity.
While he didn ’t regret his decision, he was afraid that he didn ’t have any way to make up for his loss in this area.

”From what I ’ve seen in Cinach, F-stones are probably a lot rarer than P-stones! ”

He managed to collect six P-stones but only one F-stone and B-stone so far.
The latter two materials had proven vital in helping him solve his latest crisis.
As long as he accumulated more of both, he enjoyed a lot more confidence in handling dangerous spiritual threats!

if I don ’t manage to get more F-stones and B-stones, then my options will continue to dwindle over time. ”

His B-stone had proven to be very useful as a makeshift helmet to protect his mind.
The trapped alien entity hadn ’t been smart or coherent enough to attack his mind from below.

However, would the next time be the same? If the alien entity smartened up, then Ves needed a lot more B-stones to form an armored suit that protected his entire body!

As for the F-stones, his need for them became more acute.
Unlike his B-stone lockbox which he could reuse as many times as he wanted, his F-stones depleted more and more of its charge each time Ves drew upon its strength.

”If I continue to draw 15 percent of its charge with every use, then my F-stone will run out of charge after six more uses! ”

This was very important to Ves, because he believed he needed its strength to continue to take advantage of the Ancient Sarcophagus.

Ever since he started his new design project, Ves had been worried whether he could successfully design a brand new spaceborn rifleman mech in two or three months.

One of the biggest bottlenecks he faced was that he lacked a convenient supply of spiritual entities!

Part of the reasons why his Aurora Titan, Transcendent Messenger and Devil Tiger designs exhibited a powerful X-Factor was because of their exceptional design spirits.

Ves wanted to impart the same level of strength to his rifleman mech design, but finding a suitable spiritual entity that could serve as its design spirit was immensely troublesome!

”However, it ’s different now. ” He grinned.
”With my accidental spoils, I ’ve saved myself the trouble of starting an exhaustive search! ”

The only troublesome aspect about the spiritual fragment he captured was incredibly hostile.
The alien spiritual entity hated his guts and would never cooperate with his attempts to turn its spiritual fragment into a design spirit for his upcoming mech design!

”That ’s okay, though! I can just use the same solution I used last time! ”

Ves planned to avoid the unpleasantries related to using a hostile spiritual fragment by breaking it apart!

As long as he cut off the fragment ’s connection to the source and broke it up to the point where its autonomous consciousness died, then he could repurpose the pieces into a new spiritual product!

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