Unless someone possessed his range of spiritual control, no one would be able to disguise their spiritual nature from him.
Even Ves himself exposed his true nature most of the time if he did not don a spiritual mask.

Considering that Gloriana ought to be an orthodox mech designer, there was no way that she possessed the ability to disguise her spiritual nature.

Ves was very confident that his spiritual excursion tonight would lay bare the truth! The outcome of his spiritual investigation determined whether he could lay down his worst suspicions and pursue a relationship with Gloriana with confidence!

He directed his spiritual projection through a number of compartments.
Just like the Barracuda, the accommodations aboard the Stellar Chaser were all situated on the same deck.

He didn ’t have to reach out very far until his projection reached Gloriana ’s stateroom.

Since his spiritual senses mainly observed spirituality, Ves encountered nothing around his target except for the extremely dim presence of her guards.

Gloriana ’s spirituality was like a beacon in the dark to his senses.
The strength of her mind actually matched very closely to his own, which signified that they were in a similar stage in their progression.

Not quite.
Hers is a bit more refined! ”

As Ves observed her spirituality further, he perceived a stronger sensation from it than his own.
He speculated that the difference signified a disparity in the strength of their design philosophies!

”She achieved more progress than me! Damnit! ”

It made sense, though.
She advanced at least a year earlier than Ves.
Despite not having access to anything like the System, her wealthy background and her amazing Erestal-015 cranial bioimplant adequately substituted some of its functions!

”I have to work harder! ” He determined.
”If I don ’t catch up, she ’ll definitely advance to Senior first! ”

He had been a little bit too conceited in his own strength.
Though the System provided him with numerous conveniences inaccessible to many people, it was far from the only means for mech designers to empower themselves!

Ves decided to leave this extraneous topic of later and continued conducting his observation.
After staring at Gloriana ’s radiant spirituality for a time, he pretty much determined its most notable spiritual attributes.

Just like Ves, she possessed a mix of spiritual attributes.
Ves instantly identified the ones related to mechs.

Surprisingly, her affinity for mechs was quite high.
Though his own affinity was higher after he crafted a masterwork, Ves knew that her respectable affinity was doubtlessly one of the reasons for her rapid progression.

”Mech designers who reach Journeymen when they ’re still young are doubtlessly obsessed with mechs! ”

If Ves followed this train of logic, then Oleg Vorn, Master Olson ’s youngest direct disciple, probably exhibited an even more frightening affinity for mechs!

As Ves studied Gloriana ’s spiritual attributes further, he also identified something strong but also related to mechs.

This was her design philosophy!

From an outside perspective, Ves perceived only a hint of her desire to design the perfect mech.
He knew that most of her design philosophy was contained within her design seed.
Situated in the center of her mind and protected by the strong barrier of her mind, Ves wasn ’t even sure he ’d be able to observe it directly.

He began to observe the rest of her attributes.
There was a lot he didn ’t recognize, but none of them particularly stood out to him.
Her personality traits didn ’t appear to be very remarkable, but under the influence of her design philosophy, they pushed her into working harder.

She needed to be as perfect as possible! Her mechs had to be as perfect as possible!

Gloriana ingrained the pursuit of perfection very thoroughly in her mind.
She hadn ’t been putting up an act at all, though Ves already determined this after glancing through her design schematics.

So far, everything he observed led him to believe that she had been honest with him.
Yet what truly lurked within her mind? Ves did not feel reassured if he left at this point.
He needed to gain a closer glimpse of her mind.

”Right now she should be asleep.
If my projection approaches her mind, I ’ll only deal with her subconscious.
I think. ”

Ves decided to take a risk and push his spiritual projection closer to her mind.
He tried to sneak the extension of his Spirituality close without arousing Gloriana ’s largely-dormant mind.

He failed.

As soon as his spiritual projection entered a certain range, Gloriana ’s spirituality immediately roused a bit and honed in on his spiritual projection!

Though Ves was sure that it was just her unconscious reaction at work, he underestimated her sensitivity!

”How the hell did she manage to notice me so soon?! ”

He held his projection still and carefully observed Gloriana ’s reactions.
After uncannily managing to detect his sneaky projection, it did not put up its defenses or tried to repel him as he expected.

Instead, her spirituality bloomed with a sensation that Ves quickly recognized as happiness.

She was pleased to encounter Ves!

Ves mentally blinked.
”Really? ”

If Ves encountered an entity trying to intrude in his mind, he would lash out and defend his inner being with as much ferocity as possible! His mind was his palace and the essence of his identity! There was no way he would allow anyone to barge into his sanctum!

He wouldn ’t even allow Gloriana or his own mother to get close!

Yet the reaction exhibited by Gloriana ’s spirituality was so pronounced that Ves had a very hard time believing that she was less than sincere in welcoming his presence!

He wanted to scratch his head.
Should he send his projection closer or not? A part of him believed that Gloriana was laying a trap.
Another part of him became convinced that Gloriana did not mean any harm.

”It ’s very hard to deceive me on a spiritual level. ”

He decided to get closer.
As his spiritual projection hovered closer, Gloriana ’s unconscious reactions grew stronger.
Ves mainly sensed a wholehearted desire to embrace him from her spirituality.

Ves found it very difficult that anyone would exhibit such an uncompromising reaction to another.
Gloriana ’s adoration to him felt very genuine.
Not only that, she appeared to be very familiar with his spiritual presence.

”Is it because she studied my mechs so much? ”

From their earlier talks, Ves heard how extensively she studied his old designs.
She even gave him a laundry list of points he needed to address and improve upon.
The thoroughness of her understanding of his designs scared him quite a bit.
She knew almost just as much as him as if she had been an active participant of his design projects from the start!

Since Ves left an undeniable trace of him in every mech he designed and built, it did not surprise him that much to realize that she identified his spiritual fingerprint.

”I ’m here.
Will you let me in, Gloriana? ”

Her urge to embrace him was so strong that a small amount of spiritual energy leaked out from her mind.
Though it moved a bit strangely and without coherent direction, the could of spiritual energy continued to hone in on his spiritual projection.

Once they touched each other, Ves sensed a storm of undisguised emotions.


Ves couldn ’t help but let down his guard somewhat.
He tried his best to convey his desire to enter her mind.

Gloriana ’s subconscious mind accepted instantly.
A hole formed in her outer defenses before Ves could process her instant acceptance.

”It ’s that easy? ” Ves felt a bit befuddled.

This entire spiritual excursion proceeded way beyond his expectations.
Instead of looking at a gift horse in the mouth, Ves decided to accept her invitation and entered her mind without any further considerations.

His spiritual projection passed through the hole in her defenses without encountering any hindrance.

Ves took the opportunity to sweep his spiritual senses in the inner portion of her mind.

”Strong! ”

Her mind was almost as large and expansive as his own.
It was a bit less rigid and strong, though, which signified that her mind hadn ’t been subject to as much abuse as his own.

Nothing particularly strange resided in her mind.
She did not possess anything fantastic like his Grand Dynamo either.
Her mind probably resembled that of other Journeymen.

Ves didn ’t need to inspect the interior of her mind too thoroughly to determine her true nature.
He did not send his spiritual projection further inwards but instead focused his attention on the most prominent concentration of spirituality.

Her design seed.

”Beautiful. ” He mentally sighed.

Her crystallized spirituality that rested in the center of her mind was just as impressive and resplendent as her own.
Though it radiated a different vibe, the blend of mechs and perfection intertwined with each other in a very intricate and harmonious way.

”So beautiful. ”

He compared her design seed to his own.
Just as Gloriana managed to integrate mechs with perfection, Ves also succeeded in melding the mechs with life.

What would happen if mechs, life and perfection all merged together in the process of designing the perfect, living mech?

Ves scarcely came up with the notion before Gloriana ’s design seed pulsed with excitement! His intuition rang with alarm as he detected that something significant was about to happen!

”I have to get out of here! ”

He pulled back his spiritual projection, only to bump against the solid barrier of her mind!

Her mind closed the exit!

”Lemme out! ”

Because he planned to sneak up to Gloriana ’s spirituality rather than attack it, his projection did not possess a lot of strength.
His spiritual projection completely failed to break out of her mind!

Her design seed continued to pulse in very strange ways that continually buzzed his intuition.
Ves wanted nothing more than to retrieve his spiritual projection, but no matter how many times it banged against the barrier of her mind, he failed to make a single dent!

At a certain point, Gloriana ’s design seed released a strong spiritual pulse that coursed through her entire mind!

Ves quickly lost contact with his spiritual projection!

”Goddammnit! ”

This time, he cursed with his voice.
He held his head in his palm in order to relieve the minor sting on his mind.
Losing a small chunk of his spiritual energy was not a big deal, but the loss had been too abrupt!

He analyzed what took place while he recovered from his ordeal.

Gloriana ’s dormant mind and spirituality did not deceive him.
Even if she possessed the ability to disguise herself like Ves, the interior of her mind completely conformed to her personality.

”She ’s not a spy and she isn ’t pretending to be in love with me.
In fact, her wholehearted love for me is disturbingly strong! ”

This was not normal behavior, but in the context of her personality and her spiritual attributes, Ves deeply understood that it was on par with her nature.
As long as she identified something perfect or could assist her in reaching perfection, she would do everything to secure this advantage!

This compulsion also explained what happened at the end.
The presence of a part of his spirituality in her mind turned out to be tantalizingly attractive to Gloriana ’s spirituality.
Her design seed especially hungered after Ves, so much so that it took the initiative to capture his spiritual projection!

”I unwittingly entered a trap! ”

Even if other mech designers did not possess his range of spiritual applications, they were anything but defenseless.
Just like expert pilots, mech designers possessed their own form of defenses.

As the core of their power, their design seeds turned out to be exceptionally formidable! His weak spiritual projection stood no chance!

Ves wondered what kind of repercussions might ensue now that Gloriana captured a small portion of his spiritual energy.

”She won ’t be able to do much. ” He guessed.

Why did he feel so concerned, then?

According to his understanding of spirituality, no one could empower themselves by siphoning someone else ’s spiritual energy.

”Except mom. ”

That was an exception on account of her powers and their direct family ties.
Gloriana ought to be the same as him.
As long as their spiritual attribute mix was different, they wouldn ’t be able to feed off each other.

Even so, considering how Gloriana ’s mind turned out, her design seed might have captured his spirituality for reasons other than practical.

She just wanted to own him! Hoarding a portion of his spiritual energy completely conformed to her obsessive tendencies!

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