Of the three forms of synergy they discovered, mutual strengthening was the easiest and most straightforward one.
It was also the most limited one as strengthening each other ’s design philosophies did not promise any drastic changes.

Mutual strengthening merely improved the existing attributes of a mech design.
It did not promise anything exciting.

”It ’s still very valuable, though. ” Ves concluded after some time.
”Mutual strengthening allows our design philosophies to approach the efficacy of Senior-level design philosophies while we are still Journeymen. ”

Gloriana smiled and leaned against his side as they observed their mostly-completed mech design.
”We ’ve just scratched the surface with mutual strengthening.
Theoretically, we ought to be able to feed back our enhancements into each other. ”

”Nothing comes for free.
There has to be a limit on account of waste.
Achieving a perfect conservation of energy is impossible. ”

”Oh, we ’ll see about that. ” Her eyes glinted.

Compared to mutual strengthening, Ves found the other two synergies they discovered to be more promising.

Spiritual customization combined their specialties in a more complex fashion.
The simplest way to describe it was that it attempted to extend Gloriana ’s specialty into the spiritual domain.

If they only scratched the surface with regards to mutual strengthening, then they achieved even less when it came to spiritual customization!

The idea sounded promising, but both Ves and Gloriana were in the dark on how to accomplish spiritual fit.

Ves possessed some of the means, while Gloriana possessed some of the expertise.

Both of them needed to solve two separate challenges.

On one hand, Ves had to find a way to allow Gloriana to work her specialty on something spiritual rather than technical.

As for Gloriana, instead of tinkering with a design schematic, she had to find some way to tinker with the spiritual foundation or the design spirit of a mech.

Both of them developed some potential ideas to solve these challenges, but exploring them went beyond the scope of their current design project.

”It doesn ’t make sense to work so hard to customize the physical aspects of a mech design while only paying lip service to customizing its divine aspects. ” Gloriana spoke with determination.
”My design philosophy can only express itself to the fullest when I find some way to bridge into your domain and perfect the divine nature of our custom mech designs. ”

Ves wasn ’t entirely comfortable with that.
A part of him felt that Gloriana attempted to encroach on his territory.
What she wanted to do, he could do as well.
The only difference was that she possessed a potentially greater intuitive grasp in improving the spiritual aspects of his mech designs.

Perhaps he might be able to do the same, but only after spending a disproportionate amount of time and effort to match Gloriana ’s proficiency.

From an efficiency standpoint, it was much better to let Gloriana find a way to apply something she was good at rather than force Ves to become good at something that was not in his nature.

Both of them possessed different inclinations.

Gloriana is still obsessed over perfection.
Even if Ves did his best to steer her towards a more flexible and conditional approach, she would always chase after the perfect solution.

Ves was much more inclined to life, which was inherently chaotic and unpredictable.
He didn ’t quibble over whether an outcome could be better, because sometimes life sprung both pleasant and unpleasant surprises at him.
Who was he to judge?

To him, introducing life into his mech designs entailed accepting that the outcome was never under his control.
Sometimes, the variables of life yielded a result that fulfilled his goals, but sometimes the outcome proved detrimental.

The more chaotic and uncontrollable his design spirits, the fewer guarantees he possessed that the eventual outcome aligned with his intentions.

Ves already grappled with this problem with regards to his Desolate Soldier and Holy Soldier designs.

Now that his mechs were being sold and produced by the thousands, a lot of mech pilots came into touch with their common design spirit.

One of the hidden reasons why Ves insisted on delivering a lot of Desolate Soldiers to the Bentheim Planetary Guard was because he wanted them to serve as role models for the Solemn Guardian.

While the mech pilots of the Planetary Guard weren ’t perfect, they were better than the alternative.

As Ves frequently checked up on the Solemn Guardian, he performed frequent pruning to rid the rapidly-growing spiritual product from undesirable elements.

Though Ves thought he was doing a decent job at it, he couldn ’t help but think he was raising an exuberant and temperamental child.

As much as a parent would like to raise a child correctly, the latter always behaved naughtily at times.

The best he could do was keep his child from going too far.
As for how the Solemn Guardian actually turned out, Ves didn ’t have the power to do more.

”I always feel as if there is more to the Solemn Guardian than I think… ”

The incessant exposure to the beliefs of the Ylvainans must have left something behind.
In addition, the bulk of the Solemn Guardian ’s spiritual makeup originally came from Nyxie which resided in the Ancient Sarcophagus.

Ves vaguely sensed that the remnant alien elements in the Solemn Guardian went active, exerting an unknown influence on its development.

So far, none of the status reports he received mentioned anything alarming, but Ves remained cautious.
As soon as word came out that the X-Factor of his latest mechs started to turn mech pilots into alien worshippers or something, he wouldn ’t hesitate to drag the Solemn Guardian from his designs.

”Well, it ’s probably fine. ”

Compared to keeping an eye on the Solemn Guardian, Ves much rather preferred to focus on achieving greater synergies.

Though Ves and Gloriana both invested a lot of effort in trying to make their second form of synergy work, they discovered that they were way in over their heads at the moment.
This was why they shelved their intentions to explore this option for later.

They hadn ’t spent much time on exploring the third form of synergy they discovered either.
The notion of conceptual perception arose from another conversation about spirituality and godhood.

”I really can ’t get used to how you think so little of gods. ” Ves remarked one day.
”In most cultures and religions, gods are all-powerful beings who deserve to be worshipped. ”

Gloriana frowned and paused her work.
”Do you think a god pilot deserves worship? ”

”..No, but god pilots aren ’t gods in the eyes of a secularist like me.
They ’re very powerful, but still human as you and me.
It ’s just that their might is so incredible that people can ’t help but treat them as gods. ”

”We ’re not as different as you think, Ves.
God pilots are gods, but gods aren ’t inherently superior.
They are a different phase of existence. God pilots just happen to be connected with the phase of life and phase of godhood at the same time.
The same applies to Star Designers. ”

”What about us? As Journeymen, we are more than human, but less than gods. ”

”We ’re in a transition phase.
Our phase of life has remained constant, but through our efforts, we are slowly approaching the phase of godhood. ”

”What does it mean to approach this phase? ” Ves puzzlingly asked.

”We Hexers haven ’t adopted a different definition of gods.
We still regard them as awesome beings of power.
We merely think that phase of godhood is within the reach of everyone.
For example, I believe that we are bringing our customers closer to this phase by empowering them with our divine mechs. ”

”What is a god even capable of that makes them worthy of notice? ”

”Gods are defined by the miracles they can perform.
Isn ’t that obvious, Ves? God pilots achieve miracles through their god mechs.
Star designers achieve miracles by developing amazing designs.
As Journeymen, we have taken our first steps towards accomplishing miracles.
As long as we advance to Master, we will finally be able to perform the miracles that we have been chasing after since we formed our design philosophies. ”

is a very strange perspective.
I ’ve never equated mech designers to gods.
It sounds too..
superstitious. ”

”Star Designers with awesome reality-defying design abilities exist, right? ” Gloriana asked seriously.

”Yes.. ”

”Then what do you think exists between a Novice Mech Designer and a Star Designer? ”

”Demigods? ”

”Exactly! ” His girlfriend vigorously nodded.
”While we don ’t have the full powers of a god, we are still able to perform weak and minor miracles that bend or massage the rules governing reality.
The entire basis of advancing to Master Mech Designer rests on the premise that you ’ll be able to achieve the impossible when you reach this rank, right? ”

”That ’s what the MTA says. ”

”Well, just think about it.
Isn ’t achieving the impossible the same as performing miracles? They share the exact same meaning! It ’s just packaged in a different way! ”

Ves had to admit that Gloriana had a compelling argument.
It was just that he refused to accept this comparison.
He disliked the word miracle and its religious connotations.

”Is there a point in your comparison? ”

”I ’ve noticed something about you, Ves.
You ’re too much of a secularist to open your mind to the possibilities that you can do.
You have an amazing design philosophy, but you have a tendency to approach it with the mindset of a scientist or an engineer. ”

Ves crossed his arms against his chest.
”What ’s wrong with that? We ’re mech designers, not priests! ”

”That you look down on the latter is exactly the problem I have with you right now. ” Gloriana poked his chest with her finger.
”Have you ever thought that miracles can only be achieved when you have faith? ”

”… ”

”Look, I ’m not saying that you should embrace hexism. ” She said, adopting a conciliatory tone.
”Just think of what our design philosophies can do right now, and what they can accomplish in the future.
As future gods, we are continually mastering our abilities to affect reality by performing ever-greater miracles.
What I want you to do is to go beyond the boundaries of established theory and take a leap of faith for once. ”

”I don ’t believe in leap of faiths.
I ’m much more likely to leap into an abyss if I follow your suggestion. ”

”Who says an abyss is a bad place? Perhaps you might be able to find what you seek. ” She grinned.

Ves began to get confused.
He always got confused when they talked about these kinds of topics.

”Why are we even talking about this? ”

A hungry grin appeared on her face.
”I ’ve got an idea.
A very interesting idea.
I always kept it in my mind, but I always got stuck because I haven ’t found a basis to implement my ideas.
Even miracles need a basis in reality to work. ”

”What ’s this miracle that you have in mind, then? ”

”I think there is more to the divine nature of our mechs than you think.
For all it is capable of, you aren ’t using it to your full potential.
Divinity is the stuff that makes miracles possible, but all you ’re doing is shaping it into a few modest concepts to the proto-gods and divine nature of your mechs! ”

”If a concept doesn ’t match the mech design, it won ’t be of any help. ”

”That doesn ’t mean we should be timid in playing around with the possibilities! Look, what if we attempt to perform a miracle that makes our mech designs more perfect? I call it conceptual perfection.
By applying our powers as developing gods in this fashion, we can turn something that is not true into something closer to our desired truth.
An imperfect mech is perfect because we say it is so.
Therefore, the mech we ’ve designed is perfect.
The end. ”

Ves looked floored.
”You ’re basically suggesting that we lie to reality. ”

”Why shouldn ’t it work? Aren ’t we on our way to become gods that can perform miracles? If you think about what other Master Mech Designers can do, conceptual perfection doesn ’t sound so bad.
If we keep lying to reality until reality accepts a lie, doesn ’t that mean our lie has become a truth? ”

His head started aching from the twisted logic of his girlfriend.

He always thought he was a bigger liar than Gloriana.
It turned out that he was sorely mistaken!

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