Their first collaborative feedback and design session lasted for the rest of the day.
Ves and Gloriana became so immersed in their discussions that they opted to eat lunch and dinner in the workshop compartment!

The collision of ideas, the sharing of insights and the need to explain one ’s own thoughts provided plenty of intellectual stimulation.

Even if the actual changes Ves planned to make in his design did not amount to much at the end, he still felt he gained a greater awareness over his own design.

Having to explain and justify many of his design choices was much like teaching in a way.
Even if he rehashed his existing theories, being forced to explain them and package them in a way that allowed him to communicate his points succinctly increased his familiarity with them, thereby directly increasing his utilization in the process.

In addition to sharing their objective theories, they also started to exchange their subjective principles and viewpoints.

Both of them began to unveil aspects of their design philosophies to each other.

For example, Gloriana applied her expertise in designing perfect vessels into feedback aimed at increasing the compatibility of his Desolate Soldier to a wider range of mech pilots.

Ves became astounded by how some of her advice hit home.

”For someone who insists on designing the perfect vessel for a single, specific mech pilot, you ’re quite good at finding ways on making mechs more adaptable to many customers. ”

Gloriana continued to lean against him with her soft body.
In fact, other than a brief bathroom break, she never left his side!

”It ’s not as contradictory as you think, Ves.
If you think about it, I specialize in adapting mechs to mech pilots.
While I mainly focus on complete and total adaptation to a single subject, I meet all kinds of customers.
Of course, I haven ’t dealt with mech pilots as bad as the ones in your states, but I ’ve already dealt with a wide range of personalities, inclinations and skill sets.
This means that I can rapidly estimate how well a given mech design can accommodate a whole gamut of people. ”

”That ’s quite impressive. ”

She grinned happily at him.
”So are you.
The ideas you ’ve introduced to me today are so radical that I don ’t even know where to begin! ”

Neither of them went too deep into revealing their design philosophies to each other.
Ves knew that she still withheld most of her specialty because it simply didn ’t apply to this case.

As for Ves, while he pretty much accepted her as his girlfriend, he still wanted to take his time.
He stuck to a shallow introduction of his specialty.
He first wanted her to accept some of his guiding principles and concepts before he revealed more.

”Mechs are alive. ” He repeated.
”There is a living, beating heart inside them, and we have a responsibility to make their bodies as coherent as possible.
Some of the design choices I ’ve made don ’t make that much sense when you regard a mech as a mechanical machine.
Yet when you understand that my Design Soldier has to conform to the concept of duty, my choices aren ’t baffling anymore. ”

”The gods you create must be carried by worthy vessels. ” Gloriana nodded seriously.

His smile twitched a bit when he heard her repeat her nonsense about ’creating gods ’.
To be frank, Ves felt increasingly more guilty about deceiving her.
That nonsense story about divinity he told the MTA should have been buried in the MTA ”s massive archives!

At this point, he decided to come clean.
I think you are misunderstanding something.
The recording you ’ve obtained from the MTA..
it ’s not entirely accurate.
I didn ’t really believe that I was creating gods.
Back then, I deliberately exaggerated my design philosophy to the point of absurdity because I don ’t want the MTA to learn what I really do.
The truth is much less..
radical. ”

His serious tone caused Gloriana to stop hugging him for a moment.
She took one of her hands in her own and turned towards him with a grave expression.

”You don ’t have to be so afraid. ” She squeezed his hand.
”I support you no matter how far you go in your design philosophy.
The proto-gods I ’ve sensed in your mechs aren ’t lies.
How can you deny the extraordinary miracles you are capable of performing? You can be honest with me! I will be at your side every step of the way.
Just don ’t leave me out when you create your gods! ”

”Gloriana! Didn ’t you listen to me?! My design philosophy doesn ’t revolve around divinity at all! ”

Her smile never subsided.
She continued to gaze at him with a loving gaze.
”I can scarcely imagine the gods we can create together.
Just like with your Transcendent Messengers, I want to be a part of the creation of gods that can act as guardians of their states.
What you did for the Ylvaine Protectorate is a model of the future of our collaborative efforts! ”

Times like these reminded Ves that Gloriana hadn ’t changed that much at all.
She just made an effort into hiding some of her Hexer-ness when she was in his presence.

Only when certain topics rose up did she reveal her conviction in her kooky beliefs.
She was so fanatical about them that she outright rejected any answers that clashed with her own fervently-held beliefs!

No matter what kind of logic or facts he brought up, anything that matched her hexism beliefs was inviolable!

He sighed.
”I told you over and over again that I ’m not a follower of hexism.
I don ’t ascribe to any of its tenets. ”

”As I said, that ’s okay.
Hexism isn ’t as strict as you think.
It ’s a philosophy and an acknowledgement of the truth more than a cult.
Life, death, gods, man and so on are all intertwined.
What is dead can come to life.
What is human can ascend to god.
Your design philosophy already encapsulates these concepts.
You create new life from something that is not supposed to be alive! ”

Ves began to grow more and more uncomfortable.
The most vexing aspect about Gloriana ’s misunderstandings was that some of her beliefs actually held some kernels of truth! This made it much more difficult for him to refute her assumptions!

”What does hexism ’s obsession with the number six have to do with all of this? ” He waved his hand.

He already became exposed to the blatant influence of hexism aboard the Stellar Chaser.

They always ate six-course meals.

Gloriana always wore clothes with six buttons or something.

Their data pads came with six sides.

His guest room featured six potted plants.

There was no rhyme or reason why certain stuff had to come in six! It was driving him nuts!

She giggled at him.
”Oh Ves, you ’re so adorable when you look so lost.
Hexism isn ’t easy to get into, but I ’ll explain this the best I can.
We don ’t worship the number six because it ’s some magical number.
We pay tribute to the six phases of existence: life, death, godhood, damnation, dust, woman. ”



Ves became so perplexed when he heard about this so-called ’six phases of existence ’ that he felt like scratching his head until he became bald!

Why was ’woman ’ a distinct phase of existence? He could definitely tell that women had a definite hand in the spread of hexism!

”I ’ll be honest, Gloriana.
I don ’t understand a thing about what you just said. ”

”You don ’t have to.
Hexism is a universal truth.
We are describing the actual state of existences irrespective of the lenses we adopt to explain our origin and our future.
We apply the number six in our daily lives as a way to acknowledge this truth and to make an appeal to specific phases of existence.
For example, a man like you should kiss me six times in the morning every day in order to appease the phase of woman! ”

He looked at her weirdly.
”If you want me to kiss you six times in the morning, you don ’t have to make up an excuse. ”

”That ’s good! ” She grinned and shook with excitement.
”We can enjoy ourselves while at the same time pay tribute to the most supreme phase of existence! ”

Truly, discussing anything about hexism was just asking for trouble! Ves really did not wish to go down the rabbit hole any further!

”I think I ’ve heard enough.
Please don ’t expect me to be as..
immersed in hexism as you.
I respect your beliefs, but don ’t expect me to pray in front of six candles or anything. ”

”You don ’t need to do anything like that, Ves.
You ’re already doing great things for hexism by creating gods! It is a privilege for me to be a part of your efforts into making one of the phases of existence more tangible in the form of your mechs! ”

For the sake of his sanity, Ves outright dropped the subject and pivoted to another topic.

”Let ’s go leave this workshop and enjoy the rest of the evening.
We ’ve already discussed my Desolate Soldier design all day. ”

”Okay. ”

They finally left the workshop compartment and went to the lounge compartment.
They sat on the same loveseat as last time with each other ’s cats resting on their laps.

”Meow. ” Lucky looked up at Gloriana with a pleading expression.

”Oh, you ’re such a cute and sophisticated cat, Lucky! ” Gloriana playfully fed him an exotic.
”Do you approve of me? Do you think I ’m a good woman for Ves? ”

”Meow! ”

Ever since Ves boarded the Stellar Chaser, Lucky entered into a paradise.
Not only did he have Clixie to relieve his boredom, the exotics that Gloriana fed him were much more expensive and potent than the barely worthless space rocks that consisted of his usual diet!

As far as he was concerned, Ves should already shack up with Gloriana so that the supply of expensive exotics would never stop!

In the meantime, Ves found Clixie to be surprisingly companionable to him.
As soon as she realized that he understood her, Clixie began to regard him fondly!

”Miaow. ”

”Oh, you want me to scratch you behind your ears? Okay. ”

”Miaow miaow. ”

”I ’ll tell Gloriana that you want more fish in your diet. ”

”Miaaaow. ”

You ’re so soft and fluffy.
Lucky doesn ’t really have fur, so hugging him is like hugging a metal pipe! ”

Once they had their fill of pampering each other ’s pets, they began to address something of import.

”Are you still serious about this grand expedition of yours? ” She asked.

”I haven ’t changed my mind.
I still intend to visit the wider galaxy.
Don ’t you want to go anymore? ”

”I still want to! ” She quickly replied.
”It ’s just that if we take such a lengthy multi-decade trip, I want our starting conditions to be as perfect as possible.
A ship like the Stellar Chaser won ’t cut it for the expedition we have in mind.
Only a fully-fledged factory ship will enable us to keep up our mech production no matter where we go.
We also need plenty of strong escorts to protect such a valuable ship, as well as ourselves! ”

”The expense is enormous. ” He said.
”There ’s no way you can pay for it, right? ”

She shook her head.
I ’ve approached my mother and some of the Wodins and they ’ve all told me that they aren ’t willing to bankroll such an expensive expedition.
They think I can make just as much progress at home where they don ’t need to waste so many hex credits.
They don ’t understand! ”

maybe we should settle for something cheaper and less modest. ”

”NO! Absolutely not! That ’s unacceptable, Ves! We are not going to enjoy our sweet time together on a tiny rustbucket that won ’t offer enough room to raise our six children! ”

Ves decided to ignore her comment about having six children.
”Then what options do we have? ”

”I ’ve figured out two different solutions.
The one I came up with earlier is to solicit external investors.
We are basically pledging investors a share of our future earnings in exchange for a hefty investment up front.
Much like any other business. ”

That did not sound attractive to Ves!

”What about the other option? ”

”I only came up with this when you revealed your capabilities to me.
Instead of attracting external investment that comes with a lot of strings attached, we should instead earn all of the money ourselves by selling enough masterwork custom mechs to wealthy Hexer clients! ”

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