The Redemption Rose faced off against the Evaporating Spear. Both dueling mechs awaited activation, yet the duel didn't center around the mechs. Instead, they formed the backdrop to the impending struggles of Acolyte Evie and Acolyte Gien, both of whom would participate in one of the darkest mech duels that Ves had ever witnessed.
"Who do you think will win?" Mayra asked.
"I'm sure you have a better idea than I do." Ves responded with a grim expression. He did not rate his chances highly. "While I've done my best in fixing up the Evaporating Spear, I'm sure your mech is in a much better state."
"Don't count out your mech so soon, Mr. Larkinson. Neither you nor I received enough time to perform anything but the bare necessities.If we had a week's time or more, our disparity will begin to show, but two days is not enough to widen the gap that much."
She had a point. They both fixed up the basic deficiencies of the mech before they added their own unique touches to their mechs, which shouldn't have amounted to much.
Still, Ves recognized that Mayra had the advantage here, as decades of experience as well as a greater utilization of her skills enabled her to work faster than any immature Apprentice. Even Ves had to admit defeat in front of her advantage in accumulation. The fact that the Redemption Rose sported visibly strengthened arms and miniboosters showed that she got a lot more work done in the same amount of time.
"The mechs are activating!"
The activation process from a cold start took as long as a minute for low-quality mechs. As the projections of the cockpits showed consoles and various displays coming to life, everyone waited patiently for the critical moment to arrive.
Some cultists in the observation room shook in anticipation, while others held themselves stock still as if the impending show was just another tuesday.
For Ves, this event became a pivotal moment in his life. This was the first time he designed a mech that expressly spit on the face of the MTA and its ethical principles. It made him feel both mischievous and naughty for partaking in such an evil project.
"Why don't I feel guilty?"
Ever since his loss of innocence, it became easy for Ves to switch off his guilt. However, reversing this switch did nothing to turn him back to the old Ves. The decision to shed his principles had left an indelible mark on his conscious.
"I've crossed the Rubicon. What's done is done."
Sadness crept up from the back of his mind. He silently lamented the high ideals he used to hold in high regard. Yet he did not regret his decision even as he mourned what he lost. What he gained should more than make up for what he paid.
Ves was a different mech designer now.
He snorted when he compared his evolution to the one he tried to instill in Ketis. Ves tried to instill the mindset of a civilized mech designer into her, while Ves voluntarily took on the traits of a frontier mech designer.
They were two completely different mech designers who moved into opposite directions in an attempt to improve themselves.
Whether it was a mistake to abandon the purity of their upbringing and open themselves up to new perspectives remained to be seen. At the very least, Ves considered it a net positive if he'd be able to retain all of the good influences while leaving behind some of the bad ones.
"It's starting!" Mayra uttered with an elevated breath. Even she felt some sympathy for what her mech pilot would be going through. "The neural interfaces are starting their transmissions into their central nervous system."
It was like stuffing someone's mouth with an entire cow. Their throats simply couldn't fit something so big!
Twin screams began to escape from their mouths! Ragged cries from both exposed the horror of how it felt to have your entire brains and spine burn from being overloaded with excessive amounts of input!
"C'mon! Push through the pain! Fight!" Ves whispered. Without a battle, the twisted ritual had no meaning in the eyes of the Priests. "Yes! That's it! Move!"
The screams subsided, though they never stopped. Sheer willpower forced Acolytes Gien and Evie to push through their agony and focus on the critical aspect of making sense of the glut of data their brains failed to process.
Through grit and steel, they managed to reach a fragile equilibrium. Ves couldn't imagine how they managed to do it, but every human being possessed the will to live.
Ves still couldn't believe what he witnessed in front of his eyes. Mech pilots were being brought to a slow and agonizing death by the very mechs they depended on to achieve victory. Such an abusive relationship shouldn't exist, but with the Soulless Priest's machinations and assistance from Mayra and himself, they successfully birthed a pair of abominations.
Conventional theory stated that mechs needed to be in sync with their own mech pilot to realize their full potential. However, this obviously wasn't possible in this case, causing both mech pilots to effectively experience a degradation in their effective aptitude.
Therefore, before the mech pilots could fight, they needed to master their new circumstances. Simulator sessions hadn't been enough to prepare them for the difficulties they experienced right now. They needed to become accustomed to this unique and painful circumstance as fast as possible.
"Acolyte Gien has made the first move!"
Surprisingly, Gien stopped screaming first. As soon as he cut off his uncontrollable impulses, he grit his teeth and directed his mech to begin moving. As the Evaporating Spear was a spaceborn lancer mech, Gien chose to initiate its principal form of attack.
The Evaporating Spear began to charge.
It helped that it didn't require too much output commands on his part to set the charge in motion. He only needed to dial the acceleration of his flight system to maximum and force his mech to brace its lance within its grasp. After that, Acolyte Gien's main concern would be to keep the parameters of his mech as stable as possible while making sure it flew straight towards its opponent.
It sounded simple, but the Evaporating Spear exhibited a number of uncontrollable movements! Sometimes, its flight system sputtered, while other times its spear almost jerked away from the center.
"Acolyte Gien isn't clear-headed enough to filter out sober commands." Mayra commented.
Ves looked up at her. He picked up on a hint of familiarity in her tone. "Did you witness something like this before?"
"Not from my own mechs, thankfully." She sighed in relief. "I've witnessed this phenomenon from some of our allies and opponents. You tend to encounter these sights from some of the poorer pirate gangs. They are often short on mech technicians, or don't have any who are very good at their job, so a lot of mistakes occur in the mech workshops. Since they're so poor and weak, they don't have a mech designer on retainer to solve these issues either."
That sounded like a tragedy in the making to Ves. Such a pirate outfit wouldn't be able to survive for more than a couple of years at most.
"Let me guess." He added. "They also buy the cheapest, crappiest mechs from the shadiest dealers. Ones that have a high chance of being tampered with as well for some reason or another."
Mayra nodded. "Caveat Emptor. Buyers must be wary and knowledgeable enough to know what they are purchasing. The sad thing is that pirate gangs without their own mech designers never last very long. The number one reason for their failure is that their very own mechs have led them to their deaths."
While they were chatting, in the meantime the duel picked up steam. As the Evaporating Spear was picking up steam, the Redemption Rose did not fall behind. Acolyte Evie gained control just in time to brace her mech for a charge.
In theory, a lancer mech handedly beat a knight mech. A lancer's offensive power relied primarily on their charging attack, and the one thing they hated most was fighting against a light and mobile mech that could easily dodge the telegraphed charge without breaking any sweat.
A space knight that relied on armor instead of mobility to fend off attacks should have been a sitting duck. However, due to Mayra's extensive modifications, the mech had shed much of its armor in exchange for increased mobility.
The Redemption Rose could not be called a proper knight anymore!
"The first collision is about to happen!"
As the Evaporating Spear charged forth like a jerky rocket that nonetheless managed to maintain its course, its lance was moments away from piercing through the Redemption Rose's weakened armor!
However, the Redemption Rose abruptly engaged its flight system along with some of its miniboosters! The sudden impulse shoved the slimmed-down space knight out of the path of the Evaporating Spear's charge, causing the lancer mech to miss its target by a wide margin!
"Acolyte Gien almost succeeded." Ves commented, though he looked a little disappointed. "He even predicted that Evie would dodge, but he chose to correct his course in the wrong direction."
The Redemption Rose dodged to the right at the last second, but the Evaporating Spear had already begun to bend its lance in the other direction! If Gien had won the guessing game, then chances were high his mech would have been able to leave a gouge in his opponent's mech!
The two mechs took some time to readjust from the first clash. The constant fire burning through their nerves caused them to take at least five times as long to turn around their mechs and ready them for the next collision.
While Acolyte Evie's Redemption Rose gained a lot of mobility, it was still a space knight at heart. The miniboosters attached to strategic points along its frame expended its fuel rather quickly, so Evie couldn't rely on them to chase after the lancer mech.
The Evaporating Spear possessed the initiative in this confrontation. It was up to the faster and more offensive-minded lancer mech to go on the attack!
And that it did. The lancer mech made an exaggerated curve until it once again ended up in a trajectory that lined up to the largely immobile space knight.
Its curving trajectory allowed the Evaporating Spear to retain the momentum it built up thus far. This was the beauty of spaceborn lancer mechs! Anytime they missed, the momentum they painstakingly built wasn't lost! They could simply arc around and try again, all the while their flight systems accelerated them to even greater relative velocities!
The greater the accumulation, the greater the kinetic energy at the moment of a successful collision! Though the lancer mech inevitably suffered just as much shock as its victim, its entire mech frame had been built to counteract the damage resulting from such impacts. Even if it suffered some damage, the mech at the other end of the lance inevitably suffered ten times worse!
Such an occurrence became increasingly more likely as Acolyte Gien tried and failed to impale the Redemption Rose for four straight times!
Some of the less well-adjusted cultists in the observation chamber began to disparage their former brother.
"Is he blind? Even if he's in pain, he shouldn't be so bad with his aim!"
"Gien is unworthy to receive Haatumak's favor. If he cannot endure the strain of piloting an uncooperative mech, he doesn't deserve to be ordained as a Living Altar."
The duel did proceed rather badly. For a lancer mech to miss so many charges at once beggared belief. However, Ves knew that this show would end soon enough, because the Evaporating Spear became more accurate after each failed attempt.
Its mech pilot was starting to get the hang of piloting under strain! Acolyte Gien began to channel his pain rather than endure it in a mindless fashion. The uncontrolled bursts of movement lessened as he began to take back more control.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
As the Evaporating Spear curved back for another charge, this time it moved with purpose!
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