Though Naeduvis and Pirisa lost the duel against Captain Orfan with little recourse for doubt, the so-called sacred god's power impressed all of the Flagrant Swordmaidens.
Dr. Tillman and Chief Dakkon poured over the voluminous amount of sensor readings their mechs and transport had captured, but they were no closer to explaining the phenomenon than before. What Naeduvis had accomplished was impressive and could easily be placed on par with some of the stronger sentient alien races that humanity had fought!
Both of them made some important observations.
"The crystals embedded into their hides haven't started off at those sizes. They initially started off much smaller, but grew in size along with the slow growth of the exobeasts. I'm not sure how long it takes for this species to reach maturity, but it must be hundreds of years. They never really stop growing either."
"The crystals act as both energy siphons and energy reservoirs. While they aren't capable of storing energy for the long-term, it is remarkable that they are able to absorb the higher-dimensional energy. However, it is the exobeast itself that is responsible for digesting and transforming the higher-dimensional energy into a more malleable form that it used to manipulate all of that water."
"The manipulation process isn't very exact. Naeduvis possesses a very wide range but its application of its power is like a child wielding a sledgehammer. Turning those water balls into water saws took a noticeably long time."
"I think that the creature only managed to work the finer applications of its powers with the help of its beast rider." Ves added. "The connection that Pirisa shares with Naeduvis is akin to a mech pilot interfacing with a mech through a wireless interface. I'm not sure whether this connection is accomplished through natural or artificial means, but it is likely the latter considering how similar the readings are. I've even detected echoes of resonance. If I'm right, then Pirisa and all the other beast riders are expert candidates!"
Expert candidates! What did that mean? It meant that this city of an estimated 100,000 inhabitants or more somehow produced potential expert pilots at a rate of at least 1 to 10,000 people!
This was an insanely high proportion! If a state like the Bright Republic boasted such a conversion ratio, then they'd be able to field a million expert candidates!
Even if only ten percent of those candidates eventually advanced to expert pilots, that still amounted to 100,000 devastatingly skilled mech pilots who could sweep through all of the surrounding star sectors!
"Is that true?" Captain Byrd frowned. Perhaps they should have brought Venerable Xie on a spare mech after all. "Are you absolutely certain that they are expert candidates?"
Ves looked at the exobeasts in the distance and tried to feel out their spirituality. Sadly, the fast transport stood too far away, and the interference in the air didn't help much either.
"It's only a hypothesis, ma'am." He cautioned. "It is a potential explanation for how the exobeast and its beast rider is able to perform some of these resonance-like powers. The best way to look at their union is to regard them as a hybrid between a heavy mech and an expert mech. They're neither one or the other, but exhibit traits of both."
That caused every Vandal in the fast transport to grimace.
"Naeduvis lost against our mech because they have likely never fought against an opponent this fast and quick on its feet." Dr. Tillman explained her thoughts. "Looking at the lineup of exobeasts leads me to believe that all of the combat-capable members of its species exhibit like slow, heavy mech-like builds. Their combat methods may look powerful but clumsy to us, but against other exobeasts that are slow like them, their combat methods are considerably effective."
Ves added to that conclusion. "The widespread water manipulation and the slow windup of its attacks lend Naeduvis well to a role akin to an artillery mech. It's not only able to bombard exobeasts from range, its water manipulation can also hinder or even drown large hordes of smaller beasts or other natives on foot."
"From the title that Naeduvis has received, I think its role as a source of water is of even greater importance to the city of Mulak than its battle capabilities. There is no river in the vicinity and it's fairly hard to sustain a settlement of this size without a water source. However, if Naeduvis can summon up a large amount of water that can quench the thirst of all of the city's inhabitants as well as its farms, then it has definitely earned the title of Life Giver!"
"It's no wonder the natives worship them as sacred gods. It is not an empty title."
"Do you think that they are sentient?" Ves suddenly asked.
This caused every analyst to fall silent. Dr. Tillman shook her head, but she didn't seem confident. "Ordinarily, I would say no. Giant exobeasts with these particular traits throughout the galaxy typically don't evolve into intelligent species. However, I can't rule out the possibility of genetic modification performed in the past, nor am I able to account for the consequences of an exobeast interfacing with a human mind. It may be possible for a wild exobeast to gain some measure of self-awareness from frequent contact with a human mind. We know that mech pilots sometimes gains a measure of machine-like thinking from piloting mechs."
This phenomenon was well-known to both mech pilots and mech designers. Both of them looked at the slow transformation of a mech pilot's mind and neural system as the principal advancement process of their profession.
Those with a higher degree of genetic aptitude possessed more malleable minds, and therefore adjusted better to the conditions required to deepen their connections with mechs. Such a transformation eventually culminated into metamorphosis into experts which went beyond the understanding of human science.
"In other words, the connection can go both ways." Ves threw out. "In a theoretical man-beast connection, the beast in question is able to acquire some of the traits of human intelligence, while the man it is partnered with may have adopted some of the animal instincts that drive the beasts."
This possibility definitely discomfited Captain Byrd. If the beast riders who claimed to speak for the sacred gods had taken on some animalistic traits, then she would need to adopt a different approach to build up friendly relations.
"Hokaz is stepping up!"
The Flagrant Vandals and Lydia's Swordmaidens weren't the only ones to confer among themselves. The other side had learned a lot of lessons as well, and each of the ten exobeasts had huddled together in a crowded circle so that their beast riders could discuss among themselves.
Strangely enough, the exobeasts participated in the discussion themselves with their roars. Naeduvis in particular released a lot of aggrieved-sounding roars.
The fast transports deployed miniature listening bugs in an attempt to eavesdrop on their conversation, but the bugs suddenly shorted out when they came within several hundred meters to the formidable beasts.
The Vandals had more success with reading their lips from afar, but they only managed to pick up a fraction of the discussion.
It didn't matter. Right now, Lieutenant Dise in her Devil Razor was about to face the king of the gods in single combat!
The massive, bulky gait of Hokaz lumbered forward with incredible majesty. While it was a little shorter than Naeduvis, it possessed a lot more body mass appeared to be a nightmare to face in melee range. Different from its mate, Hokaz was covered in thicker scaled of striped yellow coloration.
If Naeduvis resembled a sea creature on land, then Hokaz exhibited the majesty of a tiger in lizard form!
Its strong limbs must be strong enough to demolish a section of the city wall in a couple of blows!
Its male beast rider with a long mane of wild blond hair began to announce himself. "You have the honor of facing Hokaz, the Tyrant of the Wastes! I am Karawin, the Lord of Grey and the chosen of Hokaz. You will find this sacred god to be a worthier opponent than its mate!"
Karawin's words suggested that the exobeasts consisted of a pack.
"Some of the smaller exobeasts among their ranks share a number of traits with Hokaz and Naeduvis." Dr. Tillman said. "If they are a breeding pair, then at least half of their ranks are part of their family. I don't believe the rest of the exobeasts share any familiar relations, though. They are of entirely different breeds."
The Devil Razor broadcasted back its own announcement. "I am Lieutent Dise, Swordmaiden and mech champion in the service of Commander Lydia! I have hunted over a hundred exobeasts on more than twenty planets!"
Both sides weren't interested in exchanging smack talk. Once they finished with their exchange, Hokaz immediately called up an energy tornado.
The sight of a narrow funnel reaching all the way up to the so-called vault of the gods and siphon away some of the astral winds impressed all of the visitors. Now that they knew what to look for, every applicable scanner had been employed in recording the phenomenon.
As a chivalrous Swordmaiden, Lieutenant Dise let the Tyrant of the Wastes gather its strength without interruption. Her swordsman mech held out its razor-like sword in an offensive posture. With how strong Hokaz appeared to be, she would be a fool to think that her Devil Razor would be able to block any of the sacred god's blows.
After a couple of minutes, all seventeen crystals embedded at various spots along the exobeast's body glowed as bright as the stars! Hokaz let loose a thunderous war cry that immediately released a ball of crackling electric fury!
Fortunately, Lieutenant Dise steered her mech away, jumping to the side well before the ball passed her former location.
The exobeast's glowing eyes narrowed at the mech as it began to build up speed. The creature took a deep breath and released another destructive electric ball! However, hitting a moving mech was easier said than done. The ball possessed no tracking abilities and harmlessly passed by the swordsman mech.
The Devil Razor even circled around to the rear of the lumbering exobeast and struck a handful of blows before pulling back! The mech had retreated just in time as well, because the tail had just started whipping its former position!
A repeat of the previous duel took place. Lieutenant Dise may have been honorable enough to allow Hokaz to charge up its energy, but she wasn't hesitant about exploiting its brutal deficiency in speed and reaction time.
Karawin, who rode atop the increasingly frustrated sacred god, narrowed his eyes. "Are all of your godless machines so annoying to fight against? No matter! Let me show you the reason why Hokaz is the Tyrant of the Wastes! Come, my old partner! Unleash the fury of the vault of heavens upon these lifeless automatons!"
Hokaz abruptly roared into the sky. Amazingly, the sky roared back! For some reason, the astral winds high above the skies developed into an incredibly turbulent pattern that threw the sensors of the fast transport into whack.
The turbulent astral winds suddenly unleashed a thunderstorm in a wide area around the dueling site! Some of them even came close to hitting the spectatic exobeasts and mechs, forcing them to back off even further!
The abnormal lightning bolts that rained down from the vault of the gods didn't appear like regular lightning bolts! The bright yellow bolts rained down in such frequency that many of the Vandals and Swordmaidens had trouble peering through the brightness even as they wore vision-compensating visors.
As for the Devil Razor in the middle of the storm, the lightning bolts falling in its vicinity behaved as if they were attracted to the metal machine, instantly diverting in order to strike the machine!
The mech managed to continue to function after being struck a couple of times, but by the time it suffered a dozen different strikes, the machine quickly started to smoke and jitter!
As the lightning strikes continued to bombard the hapless mech and a wide area around it, a sense of horror grew among the Flagrant Swordmaidens. If those storms managed to hit their camp, then it would immediately wipe out almost all of them, mechs not excepted!
The abnormal, supercharged lightning bolts cut off every single connection and threw every sensor into confusion. Despite the lack of sensor readings, Ves could see as plain as day that the Devil Razor's inbuilt electrical resistance had quickly reached the limits of its capacity.
Lieutenant Dise risked being fried to a crisp if this rain of lightning continued to persist!
"Call off the duel!" He shouted over the thunder and lightning! "Tell the Swordmaidens to concede before Lieutenant Dise loses her life!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"We can't! We lost our communications to the Swordmaiden transport and mechs!"
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