Searing pain and a profound sense of loss overtook Gloriana.
If not for her strong determination to remain under control, she would have lashed out already!

As it was, she could barely hold herself together.
It helped that she was familiar with her boyfriend ’s presence.
Having taken in the profile of his presence made it a little bit easier to refrain from doing something that would ruin the procedure.

In the meantime, Ves cautiously withdrew his active spiritual projection through the hole that Gloriana still kept open.
Now that he had his prize in hand, he had no desire to linger in her mind any longer.

Despite his spiritual prowess, Gloriana was a Journeyman who was just as strong as him! As long as her design seed roused into action, a mere spiritual projection would never be able to resist!

His gradual withdrawal from her mind proceeded without incident.
The awful consequences that he imagined never came to pass.

”Success! You can relax now.
I can complete the last steps on my own! ”

She visibly slumped and nursed her head as she tried to make sense of what had happened.

Meanwhile, Ves steered his spiritual projection to the P-stone which still held the broken shards of Nyxie ’s spiritual fragments and the images and energy he already deposited.

Compared to his own contribution, Gloriana ’s thoughts were relatively minor.
Only a small amount of her spiritual energy had blended with the thoughts, giving them just enough substance for Ves to be able to handle them in this fashion.

Ves wasn ’t too worried at the lack of quantity.
From what he discovered about spiritual manipulation, it would be enough to harvest some of Gloriana ’s thoughts.
The abundant spiritual energy he supplied would mostly be used to glue to the broken shards and scattered ingredients together.

He proceeded with the act of spiritual restoration.

This had always been a mystifying process to him.
How could it be so easy to fit different spiritual shards and elements together using his own spirituality as glue? Was this normal, or was he the only one who could do this due to his unique design philosophy?

Whatever the case, Ves soon became immersed in the profoundness of what he was doing.

Ever since he muddled-headedly created Vescas and the Solemn Guardian, he resolved to pay more attention to the mechanics behind spiritual restoration.

He couldn ’t keep creating spiritual products without truly understanding the process.
The engineer inside him recoiled at remaining as ignorant as a barbarian staring at a campfire while remaining ignorant of what was truly taking place!

He paid extra attention to why certain spiritual shards fit with other shards or other ingredients such as his images or Gloriana ’s thoughts.

Unfortunately, he saw no rhyme or reason why they inexplicably fit.
Either his spiritual senses were too insensitive to detect what was going on, or some kind of invisible rule was in effect which he hadn ’t figured out at the moment.

He was inclined towards the latter possibility, which only made him feel more stupid.

”This is harder than I thought. ” He grumbled, though he made sure to maintain his concentration.

While Ves stared at the P-stone while he fiddled, Gloriana slowly regained her senses.

Anything that manipulated the mind resulted in major consequences.
Even the act of depriving her with a portion of her thoughts on the Adonis Colossus severely altered her memory and perception of her current project!

Shock and alarm momentarily suffused her agitated mind.
She felt violated in a way that struck her very being!

Though she had been warned by Ves of the danger of the operation, she had difficulty of accepting what had happened.

If anyone other than Ves or her closest family pulled this off on her, she would have torn into them like a wildcat!

As it was, seeing Ves consumed in his current task made her calm down.
He hadn ’t hurt her on purpose.
It had simply been necessary in order to achieve the result they wanted.

In order to design the perfect vessel, Gloriana already knew she had to make some sacrifices.

A few minutes passed by in silence as she recovered in a sense.
While she hadn ’t regained what she lost, she at least sensed that her wound had been patched somehow.

Hopefully, the scars of what took place in her mind would fade.
The lingering aftermath left her in an uncomfortable state.

In order to distract herself, she turned back to Ves and what he was doing.

Try as she might, she saw nothing special except Ves holding a rock.

She let out a frustrated grunt.
She lacked the ability to perceive the wonders that Ves had described!

Even now, she sensed some unfathomable pressure emanating from the rock, yet that was far from detailed enough for her to get a sense of what was happening!

Maybe looking at it with her eyes was wrong.
They clearly weren ’t working under these circumstances, so she simply closed her eyes and relied on her other senses to feel what was happening.

Without the distraction of visual clutter, she became a bit more sensitive to what was taking place.
She leaned in a little, allowing her to sense some of the activity.

As she did, she slowly began to perceive the strength emanating from Ves.
Though she was already familiar with it whenever they became immersed in their collaborative design sessions, she had never felt it as clearly as today!

His presence was different, foreign, masculine and conveyed entirely different principles of mechs than hers! Despite that, she basked in its comforting familiarity.

She focused on her boyfriend ’s presence and followed it down to what it was doing.
At some point, Ves ’ presence began to mix with an entirely different presence.

Curious, Gloriana tried her best to perceive the activity better, but without much result.

Frustrated, she tried a little harder, scrunching her face furiously as she threw in whatever she could muster from her mind.

Eventually, something changed.
She sensed something faintly familiar in the mixed presence.

Her own thoughts!

An aching sense of need welled within her depths.
She wanted to take back her stolen thoughts and restore her original perception of the Adonis Colossus!

Before she knew it, her mind welled up as the core of her design philosophy acted on instinct!

Her sense of perfection grated at the loss of a piece of herself.
She instinctively wanted to restore herself to completion, because she would be in a more perfect state than before!

Something powerful blasted through her mind and dove into the mix of presences!

”Ves! Help! I can ’t control myself! ”

As Ves was halfway towards integrating the broken fragments and other elements together, he almost shocked himself out of his concentrated state as he perceived an outside intervention!

A foreign spiritual projection interrupted ongoing spiritual restoration effort!

Its flavor instantly clued Ves that it came from Gloriana, which negated some of his worries, but not all.
The situation was very concerning as the spiritual projection acted chaotically in his unfinished project, knowing various spiritual elements aside as it rummaged through the mix as if it was drawing a prize!

His eyes widened as the tip of the projection bumped into one of Gloriana ’s borrowed thoughts.
Upon contact, the projection instantly absorbed it, causing it to flow back to its original owner!

He was forced to retract some of his concentration, which weakened his spiritual manipulations.

”Gloriana! Control your impulses.
Don ’t let your unconscious instincts act with impunity! ”

Seeing that his words weren ’t helping her very much, he changed his phrasing.

”A God-in-waiting like you should never be a slave to your own powers! Are you a woman who is in supreme control over herself or a boy who lets his instinct run rampant? You can do better! ”

The words he chose in haste managed to get through her skull like nothing else!

”I am a woman! I am better than a boy! ” She exclaimed!

Her will, which had always been powerful, asserted itself over her uncontrollable impulses, bringing them to heel.
While she wasn ’t powerful enough to retract her spiritual projection, she at least managed to stop it from reabsorbing anymore of her thoughts.

That still left them in an awkward state.

”Can you pull back what you ’ve extended? ”

”I ’m trying. ” Sweat trickled down from her brow.
”It ’s..
As long as I can detect something that ’s part of me inside whatever you are doing, I can ’t pull it back. ”

Ves frowned.
”I guess we have to proceed then.
Once your thoughts are integrated in the spiritual product, your connection to them will be cut off.
You ’ll still be able to sense them, I think, but they will no longer belong to you.
Don ’t do anything else, please. ”

While he haltingly resumed his spiritual restoration operation, everything seemed to get back on track.

He still felt a bit annoyed at trying to work around Gloriana ’s frozen spiritual projection.
It was as if he was trying to cook a meal with his Girlfriend sticking her arm inside the cooking pot during the entire process.

Of course, nothing harmed her spiritual projection.
Temperature didn ’t seem to affect spirituality and none of the spiritual elements in place attacked it in any way.

However, the spiritual projection started to twitch and convulse.
It behaved so oddly that Ves couldn ’t help but grow suspicious.

”Keep yourself still, please.
You ’re disturbing my work.. ”

”Wait a moment, Ves.
I have an idea. ”

While her eyes remained closed, a grin started to emerge on her face.
Her spiritual projection convulsed even more until something changed!

It started to move again!

”What are you doing?! ”

”Something good! Trust me! There are a lot of flaws here that need to be solved! ”

To his amazement, Gloriana ’s spiritual projection no longer chased after her stolen thoughts.
Instead, it began to meander around the unfinished spiritual product and engulfed the connections fusing different spiritual elements together.

Once her spiritual projection was done and moved away, Ves discovered that the fusion had grown less flawed!

Gloriana ’s spiritual projection had managed to improve the merger of different spiritual elements!

Before, when Ves glued different spiritual elements together, he was never fully in control of the process.
He didn ’t even understand what went on.
All he could do was pretend that the spiritual elements possessed some magnetized surfaces and see if something stuck on those points.

Even if he found a match, the glued portion was still tentative and not entirely as good as he wanted it to be.
His first spiritual product especially felt as if it was a spiritual Frankenstein due to how poorly its elements fit together.

So far, Ves only managed to mitigate this problem by processing and priming the ingredients beforehand.
By reducing their inherent contradictions, he hoped that the fusion of different elements became a little more complete.

The Solemn Guardian turned out to be a lot more integrated as a consequence, which meant that he succeeded in heading in the right direction.

Yet even then, the Solemn Guardian still possessed quite a lot of flaws to this day, which made it weaker than natural-born spiritual entities.

This time was different! With Gloriana ’s spiritual projection working to address the flaws in the procedures that Ves was performing, the spiritual product became less and less flawed.

Ves saw the potential in what was taking place.

”Whatever you are doing, keep it up.
Are you exhausted or in pain in any way? ”

She shook her head.
”Not anymore.
I think I got my instincts to agree that it would be better to fix the flaws I ’m sensing than to chase after the stuff that belongs to me.
It ’s getting easier and easier to control myself. ”

let ’s continue.
I ’m curious what will happen once we finish. ”

They silently concentrated on their tasks and resumed their work.
Their intense focus and their close proximity somehow brought them closer than ever before.

In particular, their spiritual projections began to interact with each other.
Their close proximity and their intense familiarity with each other ’s presence led to a very vague reaction that caused them to draw together for some reason.

As they grew more excited, Ves faintly suspected that something exceptional was taking place.

It felt as if he was resonating with Gloriana!

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