I managed to fix the player, but I don't know how long this solution will last. I apologize for all the inconvenience caused by the change in rules on the audio file server side over which I had no control.
This chapter is updated by Novels.pl
The incident related to the Zeal finally came to an end.
The mech had been properly sanitized to the point where there was no trace left of 11 of the 13 prophetic visions.
Ves briefly lamented the erasure of The Meeting of Races, The Black Tide, The Suppression of the Dark Phoenix, The Whale Ark, The Triumphant Return to the Milky Way, Forced Destruction, The Final Act of Defiance, Insects of Light, The Culling of the Sword Forest, Shattered Expectations and finally In the Service of the Golden Cat.
Though few if any of the subjects heralded any good to red humanity, Ves still found it undesirable to destroy his own art just because gave away too many sensitive clues.
It would be counterproductive if enemies took a good look at the exterior of the Zeal and actually believed in the prophetic messages!
The Red Association clearly intended to act on the information conveyed by the messages.
In order to prevent their adversaries from doing the same, Ves had no choice but to deny the latter from enjoying the same benefit.
Though Ves understood this truth well, he still felt regretful that he had to go against the spirit of his own work and destroy a work he was proud of creating.
However, he was already accustomed to this terrible feeling. He had agonized a lot more about the premature death of the Elemental Lord.
Compared to the pain of witnessing the fall of a full living mech, the discomfort he experienced after erasing so many prophetic visions was not that big of a deal anymore.
Ves soldiered on. If he wanted to prevent instances like these from happening in the future, he would just have to become powerful enough to protect his own works.
Hours after wrapping up the project and preparing the Zeal for shipment back to the expeditionary fleet, Ves and Gloriana went back to their apartment and set aside all of their issues so that they could reconnect with their children again.
The kids had all missed their parents, and the feeling was mutual.
Just as Ves bent down so that he could pick up his youngest child, Gloriana moved first and took Marvaine away!
"Do not hug your father." Gloriana warned her baby son.
"He had been bad lately. Just stay with your mother instead. You like that, do you? Who do you love more, your mother or your father?"
As Gloriana asked her question, she rocked her youngest child and tenderly stroked the back of his head. She also leaned in and kissed her cheeks for good measure!
"Hihihi. I love you the most, mama!"
"Good boy! You are such a smart boy."
As the besotten mother continued to pamper her little boy, Ves was left to cuddle with Aurelia and Andraste.
"Papa! Papa! How awesome is your latest mech? Is it really that much more powerful?" Andraste eagerly asked as she tugged at his arm.
"Can I borrow the flute of yours again? It sounds so much better than the other flutes my mother has bought." Aurelia tugged at his other arm.
Ves became filled with love as he pulled both of his girls into a hug. If Gloriana did not want him to entertain his son, then he would just make do with his daughters instead!
Once they had put their boisterous children to bed, Ves and Gloriana finally changed into their sleeping wear and slipped into bed themselves.
Before they took a well-deserved rest, they privately discussed the implications of what had happened and what they observed from the prophetic visions.
They held hands and communicated with each other on a spiritual level in order to avoid breaking any confidentiality rules.
"I always understood on an intellectual level that red humanity is under great pressure, but I have never imagined that there are so many ways that could go wrong."
"Don't take the prophecies too seriously, Gloriana. They mainly gave us glimpses of various disasters because these are usually the kind of events that prophets are sensitive towards. It is their job to foresee future calamities and give the rest of us advance warning. There is little reason to make a prophecy about realizing my design philosophy or the breakthrough of a god pilot. These are positive events that we do not need to take any special measures to derail."
Ves refused to believe that the future was solely shrouded in doom and gloom. There should be moments of greatness as well as events worthy of celebration.
His wife looked thoughtful at that. "Hmmm… it could be argued that The Meeting of Races, The Triumphant Return to the Milky Way and In the Service of the Golden Cat fall in the latter category. However, two of them are related to making peace with aliens, and the other signifies a return to the galaxy where we originally came from. Perhaps the implication of these prophetic visions is that they do not actually represent the best outcome."
Ves couldn't help but wonder about that as well. The future timeline according to two of the images showed that the Xenotechnician's Diplomacy Plan had obviously made clear strides.Had the Deep Strike Plan failed, or did red humanity pursue both plans at the same time?
The latter possibility sounded more likely, but Ves was not sure whether he liked it. Somehow, the Cosmopolitan Movement succeeded in attaining one of their goals!
"Those cosmopolitan bastards would probably go over the moon if they ever manage to glimpse the prophetic vision." He communicated to his wife over a spiritual connection. "I don't know what has happened in the future that caused us to reconcile with the native aliens, but I do not think that it will do us as much good in the end."
"Can you even stop these events from happening?" Gloriana questioned.
"I don't know…"
That was the issue with many of these prophetic visions. Even if Ves received a bit of forewarning of what might come to pass, he lacked the power and agency to make targeted responses.
The Red Association got a lot more out of the prophetic visions because they were much more capable of reacting to the early warnings!
His wife shared similar concerns as him. She squeezed his hand.
"Instead of thinking how we can stop these great disasters from happening, we should think about what we can do. Visions such as the Black Tide and Shattered Expectations hint at the decline and fall of red humanity. If all hope in the new frontier is lost, we must secure a way out. The solution to our problem is the enormous Whale Ark that Ylvaine has so helpfully divined. If the fleeters have truly managed to construct a powerful vessel that can realistically cross intergalactic distances, then we must secure a place for ourselves, our families and our clan."
"I have already started to think about a way out before I surveyed all of the images that I have painted." Ves responded. "The thing is that it is not certain who built the Whale Ark. The obvious answer is the Red Fleet, but don't forget that much of her structure is mostly made up of a near-complete carcass of an ancient phase whale. Do you recall how the Evolution Witch managed to take over the body of the Singularity Lord?"
Gloriana minutely widened her eyes. "Are you suggesting that the Whale Ark is the repurposed body of the Singularity Lord?!"
"Their bodies do not look the same, but who knows how extensively the ship depicted in the Whale Ark went through a makeover. Even if the Singularity Lord is not involved, the Evolution Witch could still contribute in other capacities by virtue of her powerful control over biological matter."
"Does that mean that if we want to secure a passage on this planet-sized ark, we should keep building up a good relationship with the Red Association as opposed to the Red Fleet?"
"I don't know, Gloriana. There is too much we don't know about the Whale Ark. It is best to maintain friendly ties with both of the Red Two. At the very least, I think it is best if I push forward my attempts to repair my relationship with the fleeters."
He already thought about doing so a while ago. Ever since he learned that the artificial material called 'EE-343F-00334R' was an artificial alloy developed by the Common Fleet Alliance, he knew he just had to gain access to it one way or another.
For whatever reason, the Mech Designer System designated EE-343F-00334R as one of the essential materials it needed to regain a part of its functionality!
Completing a single Supply Mission had already given Ves a lot more access to useful functions.
Now that he experienced greater pressure, he felt it would be best if he completed another Supply Mission just to ensure he would become better equipped to face the challenges of the future.
However, Ves could not contact the fleeters out of the blue. He needed to plan this carefully and lay the groundwork before he could approach them without needlessly antagonizing the true spaceborn.
After reminding himself that he needed to pay more attention to this priority, he continued to explore the other implications of his works.
"Have you wondered why the mechers mandated the erasure of the Culling of the Sword Forest, Ves? It is odd, as this image is clearly out of place with all of the other obvious controversial images such as the Final Act of Defiance."
Ves had been wondering about that as well. "I truly don't know. I would have liked to preserve it so that I can show it to Ketis in person, but that plan is obviously shot. I do not think that the mechers have made a frivolous decision. They clearly managed to pick up more clues from this prophetic vision than us. I have a strong feeling that the 'culling' is done by Ketis. She has a way of cutting through everything in a domineering fashion. What I am wondering about is the significance of the sword forest."
"What is a sword forest, anyway? Are you aware of its significance?"
"Actually, I don't…"
"Then you should find that out first."
"Let me consult a source. Give me a minute."
Ves directed much of his attention to his living divine artifact who was located all the way in the Milky Way.
It took several minutes for Veronica to approach her mother and ask about this particular question.
Cynthia Larkinson looked a bit bemused at the silver cybernetic feline.
"When sword cultivators fall, their swords usually live after them. The two have fought so long together that their blades have developed intimate bonds with their wielders. You should be aware that all good swords are artifacts, and the best of them are all high-level artifacts that have been imbued with their own artifact spirits. Once their fated wielders have died, what do you think will happen to their swords?"
Veronica put a bit of thought in her answer. "It would be a waste to stop making use of such powerful and expensive weapons, so they should ideally be transferred to other swordsmen. However, if they are actually alive and able to think and feel for themselves, then this has become a much more complicated matter. It is like the bond between a mech pilot and a Carmine mech."
Cynthia smiled at her child. "That is an apt comparison. Swords cannot be treated as unfeeling commodities. Each of them is worthy of respect. When their original holders have perished in battle, their blades are often the only valuable and highly symbolic remnants left. Now think of what the people will do to the most impressive remnants of the fallen sword cultivators that they have befriended and fought alongside with for years?"
The answer seemed obvious now that Cynthia had clarified the context.
"I get it now!" Veronica raised her tail! "People wish to seek closure, and what better way to honor fallen swordsmen by laying their swords to rest? If my current guess is right, then a sword forest is the equivalent of a graveyard in the swordsman community!"
Cynthia nodded in approval. "It is more than that, but you are mostly correct. The swords are planted in a field to commemorate the dead and lay the swords to rest now that they have completed their service. Unless a child or a direct disciple of the deceased swordsman comes and manages to earn their approval, the planted swords will forever remain rooted in place."
Recently I created a game for Android Energy Idle Tycoon , I could use a little support in promoting it, just download it and play for a while. Thank you in advance.