Ves took an extensive break and left his newly-lobotomized spiritual fragments alone.
Only after he got rid of his fatigue did he return to his lab.

”How are you, my lovelies? ” He idly asked as he caressed the two occupied P-stones.

Venerable Plinter ’s spiritual fragment resided peacefully within its P-stone.
Since Ves removed most of its loyalties towards the Hertog Dominion and such, the spiritual fragment no longer belonged to a specific side.
Aside from its desire to return to its source, the fragment didn ’t exhibit any bias.

”I hope you stay put and cooperate with me. ” He told the fragment.
”If you work with me, I ’ll make sure you can strengthen your source. ”

Ves did not regret what he did to Venerable Plinter, but he wanted to make sure he made up for it.
Giving her a new source of strength through her spiritual association with the design spirit of the desolate soldier would give her a bright future.

While Ves wasn ’t sure how much expert pilots benefited if he made use of their spiritual fragments in this fashion, at the very least his actions brought them a little closer to advancing to ace pilot.

As for Nyxie ’s spiritual fragment, Ves wasn ’t quite sure what to make of it.
The good news was that Ves removed its most negative traits and emotions.
The bad news was that its other traits rose to the surface and started to turn the spiritual fragment more sophisticated and thoughtful.

”Now that it isn ’t raging mindlessly at me, it ’s become a lot more self-aware! ”

Though Nyxie ’s spiritual fragment had weakened, Ves actually started to fear it more.
He didn ’t necessarily dislike locking horns against strong opinions.
What he feared the most were opponents who outsmarted him! Mixing cleverness and madness together was a recipe for disaster!

Despite his fears, Ves put on a brave face and grinned towards Nyxie ’s spiritual fragment.
”Enjoy your last moments in this state.
Soon enough, you ’ll be reborn anew. ”

Perhaps sensing the nefarious thoughts that Ves had in store towards it, the spiritual fragment tried to fight against its bonds and attempted to escape.

It was no use.
The spiritual fragment couldn ’t overcome the P-stone ’s attraction force no matter how much strength it mustered.

As for the third ingredient, Ves focused in his mind.
He constructed several images and pumped them with a juicy amount of spiritual energy.
He expended a considerable amount of excess spiritual energy to impart his images with enough strength to hold their ground against the stronger spiritual fragments.

Rather than construct a single, complex image, Ves instead formed half-a-dozen abstract images.

The images were meant to steer and supplement his upcoming actions.
Each image revolved around a singular concept.
The most important ones related to duty, ballistic rifleman mechs and an intense hostility towards the sandmen race.

Ves wasn ’t sure how useful it would be to throw these images into the mix.
He believed it didn ’t hurt to try, especially since he had the spiritual energy to spare.

The Grand Dynamo opened up so many new options!

He grinned and turned towards Lucky.
As ever, the cat curiously kept watch over Ves from a distance, as if he was afraid of getting caught in whatever disaster might ensue!

”Wish me luck! ”

”Meow! ”

Lucky scooted backwards until his body hid behind the bulk of a lab machine.
Only his head peeked around the corner.

Ves didn ’t take his pet ’s lack of confidence to heart.
He knew what he was doing this time!

Having created a spiritual product before, Ves invested a lot more in his preparations.
Since he couldn ’t exert a lot of direct control over the spiritual restoration process due to his ignorance of how he worked, he mainly focused on preparing his ingredients.

”Now, I have to combine them together. ”

Ves expected the output to conform closely to the ingredients he put into the transformation process.
This was the best solution he could think of to influence the outcome of his second attempt to create a spiritual product.

”Here goes. ”

He breathed deeply and began to summon up his spiritual strength.
After a few minutes of accumulation, he began to form a powerful spiritual projection in the shape of a hammer.

While Ves placed his F-stone nearby if he needed extra oomph, he believed his strength was already sufficient for what he was about to do to the spiritual fragments.

”Life must come from death! ”

Ves slammed his spiritual hammer against Venerable Plinter ’s spiritual fragment.
Already weakened and damaged from all of the cutting that Ves had done, it only took three powerful strikes to shatter the fragment into pieces!

Though the spiritual fragment had died, its pieces still lingered in the P-stone.
Ves didn ’t have to worry about them drifting away, though the wounds he inflicted to them were severe.
Even now, they slowly started to break down as if they couldn ’t maintain any coherence due to the death of its consciousness.

”I have to hurry with the next steps before the damage accumulates! ”

He knew he was working on a time limit, so he quickly employed his spiritual hammer again.
This time, he struck his own spiritually-empowered images.
They folded easily because of their comparatively weaker strength.

Only after that did he turn his attention to his toughest target.
Nyxie ’s spiritual fragment evidently noticed what Ves was doing and adopted a hardly, defensive posture.

Cracking this shell would probably take a lot more effort!

”Well, if I can ’t break you with one strike, I ’ll break you with two.
If I can ’t break you with two, then I ’ll employ three strikes! ”

Ves didn ’t think anymore and simply began to wail at Nyxie ’s lobotomized spiritual fragment with his spiritual hammer.
He held nothing back and employed his hammer repetitively, wasting a lot of spiritual energy due to his exertions and the damage his hammer sustained.

This was fine, because he had plenty of spiritual energy in reserve to supplement his expenditure!

While he estimated that he would be able to shatter Nyxie ’s spiritual fragment easily if he drew upon the power of the F-stone, he did not wish to waste its power.
With only 80 percent charge remaining, Ves had no idea if he could ever obtain a second F-stone with an offense-oriented charge.

Right now, it was a much better idea for Ves to be wasteful with his spiritual energy!

”C ’mon! I can hit you all day! Just break already! ”

A spiritual fragment taken from an entity that was as powerful as an ace pilot did not break very easily.
Even if Ves had carved out a significant chunk already, what remained was still qualitatively stronger than anything he worked with before.

If Venerable Plinter ’s spiritual fragment was akin to wood, then Nyxie ’s spiritual fragment was akin to a steel!

Nonetheless, Ves employed sufficient force to deal at least some damage with every hit.
No matter how small the damage, as long as Ves kept abusing it, the damage quickly started to accumulate!

After forty or so continuous hammer strikes, his target finally reached its limit.
It could no longer hold itself together and died, shattering in brilliant pieces that resembled tiny spiritual daggers!

”Finally! ”

Ves quickly moved on to the next steps.
He first dissolved his spiritual hammer and recharged his spiritual energy from his spiritual energy battery.

Once he topped himself off, he cast a brief glance to his bodyguard.

”I ’ve reached a very critical stage in my experiments.
I can ’t afford any distractions.
Is that clear? ”

She nodded.
”I will make sure you won ’t be disturbed. ”

While his lab was already locked down, who knew if Gavin or Crindon insisted on barging in for some reason.
Ves absolutely couldn ’t afford to draw his concentration away from this step!

He briefly spent some time on centering himself before he concentrated his mind.

It was time to create his second spiritual product.

”Combine! ”

He scooped up the broken shards and stuffed them all together in a single P-stone.
This time, he didn ’t plan to use anyone ’s mind as his mech workshop.
He didn ’t want his new spiritual product to exhibit too much bias towards a specific individual, except perhaps himself.

Since he didn ’t really know what he was doing right now, he just shuffled all of the shards and damaged pieces into his P-stone in order to spread them around.
He had no idea how this effected the end result, but Ves did it anyway.

Once he thoroughly mixed up the spiritual shards, he stopped shuffling them around and began to infuse the collection with a large portion of his loose spiritual energy.

He expended more of his spiritual energy than before, but made sure to supply enough to bind all of the shards together and nothing more.

After he infused the collection with a sufficient amount of spiritual energy, he began to press and manipulate them together.

Different from his first attempt, the shattered pieces were much smaller and much more numerous.

Back when he created Vescas, he reformed it out of the dead remains of the Dragoncat ’s spirituality.

This time, he employed a spiritual hammer to deliberately create a lot of smaller shards.
While this helped mixed up the ingredients more thoroughly, it also increased his workload as he had to spend a lot of time trying to piece them together.

Some shards merged with each other easily.
Others needed the help of his spiritual energy in order to stay together.

Ves made sure to keep everything mixed up.
He didn ’t want to reform Nyxie ’s spiritual fragment and Venerable Plinter ’s spiritual fragment, because that would defeat the purpose of his earlier actions.

He found that it was a bit hard to force many pieces that weren ’t related to each other together.
Ves resorted to a judicious amount of spiritual energy in order to force the unions.

While the forced combinations didn ’t seem stable at first, Ves did not mind them too much.
He kept puzzling more and more shards together until he gradually merged them into a greater and greater whole!

Each union formed different relationships with each other.
Small two-way symbiotic relationships expanded to larger collections of shards that amplified each other ’s strengths.

Though the shards were already ’dead ’ and devoid of consciousness, the spiritual energy that Ves contributed to the spiritual restoration process infused the gathered shards with the spark of life.

After several long hours, the spiritual restoration process reached a critical point.
The shards kept fusing and fusing together until Ves hardly noticed the separation between them.
The spiritual attributes that were locked in the individual shards began to spread and mix until the distribution of traits became even throughout the newly-forming spiritual product.

Eventually, a small explosion set off as his spiritual product finally radiated life!

”I did it! I ’ve created another life! ”

He formed a completely new spiritual entity! As Ves inspected his handiwork, he smiled wider as he observed many improvements over his first attempt to create a spiritual product!

His second spiritual product had reached a higher level of quality! Ves already sensed that it was stronger, more coherent and far less riddled with flaws than Vescas!

”Success! ”

Though his spiritual product still exhibited plenty of flaws compared to a natural spiritual entity, the important point was that its aura radiated all of the traits that Ves sought.

He closed his eyes and began to rely purely on his spiritual senses to identify the spiritual attributes.
All of them conformed to his intentions! He was especially pleased to find out that his earlier preparations had borne fruit, as the most critical spiritual attributes happened to be the most prevalent!

Duty! Rifleman mechs! Faith! Responsibility! Hatred towards sandmen!

All of these traits and more mingled together in a spiritual product that fit closely to his vision of the Desolate Soldier! If not for its lingering flaws and ’impurities ’ in its spiritual attribute mix, Ves would have been able to make it into a perfect match!

Considering the mix of attributes he sensed from his newborn spiritual product, he decided to call it the Solemn Guardian.

”You ’re a bit mysterious, aren ’t you? ” He smirked at his new creation.
”That ’s fine.
Life is too boring if everything goes according to plan! ”

The slight alien attributes in the Solemn Guardian clashed with the human attributes that Ves made sure to include.
The resulting interactions made him feel as if he dealt with a spiritual product that combined the best of both!

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