Chapter 5235 Tug Of War
Nobody expected the struggle to take a different turn all of a sudden.
From the moment Ves summoned the weakened spiritual fragment of the famed god pilot's companion spirit, nobody had spared a glance in his direction.
There was a good reason for that. Now that the Star Designers had resorted to taking direction, Ves lost his relevance at that point.
Whatever influence and power he previously held by holding 90 votes had completely disappeared as soon as the Polymath completely derailed the voting session.
The game had evolved into a higher and more intensive conflict. Lower value pieces like Ves simply couldn't make a difference anymore. He didn't even have the strength to act as cannon fodder.
Even the frighteningly clever Polymath dismissed Ves as a threat.
Ves smirked. This was just the way he liked it. He had always thrived in conflicts by upending people's expectations.
Whenever his opponents thought that they had figured him out, he always managed to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
No matter how many times he did it, his adversaries always remained susceptible to any surprise he brought out. Even the ones who studied his battles and his deeds in great detail failed to anticipate that he still had the means to unravel all of their plans!
From the moment the spiritual fragment of Emma appeared in reality, there was an exceedingly short interval of time where the Polymath could have snuffed out this threat before it could properly manifest.
After all, a spiritual fragment was nothing but a condensed collection of energy. It did not even possess a lot of power as Ves had harvested it from Emma shortly after her birth 200 years ago. She was practically a newborn at the time!
Ves initially grew nervous, but that quickly made way for confidence.
The small interval of time came and went without any incident.
Perhaps the Polymath was too preoccupied with her current adversaries to spare any attention towards Ves. It might also be that the weak power signature of the spiritual fragment caused a part of her mind to dismiss the threat level of this trinket.
Whatever the case, the entire atmosphere in the assembly hall completely changed once Emma properly manifested herself.
The flaming cat appeared from the fragment in a remarkably quick transition.
The speed of Emma's appearance indicated that the Destroyer of Worlds may have very well been waiting for this to happen.
Ves felt grateful that the famed Rubarthan god pilot responded so quickly.
In an instant, the Xenotechnician, the Mace of Retaliation and most importantly the Polymath all directed a considerable portion of their focus towards the new arrival!
The iconic cat with orange fur that constantly pulsed with flames was such an iconic sight that no one failed to recognize her identity!
For a moment, people couldn't believe that the signature manifestation of a god pilot's power had crossed an unimaginable distance and appeared in the assembly hall.
It was clear that Professor Ves Larkinson was responsible for his appearance.
A lot of clever people were already going over the information they collected about Ves and the Destroyer of Worlds. They immediately noted a lot of coincidences, from their mutual liking of cats to the odd similarities between their companion spirits!
In any case, what mattered was that a god pilot or at least an extension of her power had appeared in an opportune location.
The Polymath's eyes immediately grew more intense before she summoned a burst of invisible power that was supposed to repel the threatening new variable!
Though Emma was unable to muster her full strength in this circumstance, the mere fraction of Irene's supreme willpower could not be dismissed by such a weak blow!
However, the Polymath's move did manage to destabilize Emma a bit. This caused the flaming cat to grow more aggressive. She locked onto the offending Star Designer and rapidly charged up whatever energy she could muster to propel her next move!
From the moment Emma turned into a self-propelled comet of fire, countless defensive barriers sprung forth in front of the Polymath!
Barriers that were supposed to be strong enough to block at least several blows from first-class multipurpose mechs shattered at the points where Emma passed through at a speed that was too fast for most people to register!
It did not matter whether they were transphasic, non-transphasic, segmented, supercharged, spatial or whatever.
Even the pure sheets of first-class armor plating that the Polymath had been able to whip out all of a sudden did not appear to hinder Emma's passage in the slightest!
It was incredibly awe-inspiring to witness the power of a genuine god pilot in action.
This was the power that all other mech pilots aspired to attain!
The ace pilots in the assembly hall briefly experienced an uncontrollable burst of envy as they witnessed Divine Irine Mox tear through the Polymath's defenses as if they were irrelevant!
Not even the more mysterious and esoteric defenses could stop Emma's advance. All kinds of exotic effects appeared and broke within a fraction of a second as the partial manifestation of the god pilot demonstrated to everyone that god pilots were rightfully considered the strongest fighters that humanity could produce from its own ranks.
However, the confrontation between Emma and the Polymath was not as one-sided as it appeared.
Ves had been paying less attention to the overall spectacle and more attention to Emma's energy levels.
The Polymath's exaggerated defensive measures weren't as pointless as they appeared.
Each time Emma exerted herself, she exhausted her current vessel a little bit more.
Though it did not appear to take much effort for Emma to break through all of the obstacles, one of the reasons why she had been able to do so was because her powerful domain helped a lot with weakening the barriers in advance!
All of this activity visibly drained Emma as she continued to advance towards the opposing Star Designer.
Would Emma be able to last, or would Ves' fears about her lacking staying power come true?
There was no way to tell for sure!
As Emma rapidly started to reach the bottom of her limited reserves just before she was able to make contact with her target, another player suddenly made its own move!
The shadow of the Seleucid somehow found what was going on. With a powerful outburst, the remnant expended a large amount of his own energy, causing the splinter kingdom to push back against the Polymath to a greater degree!
The exertion obviously cost the shadow a lot, but this momentary intervention had been enough to consume a greater portion of the Polymath's power!
Given that the Star Designer had already been forced to fight a battle on multiple fronts, the Polymath overextended herself for just a quarter of a second.
This was more than enough time for Emma to drill through the final remaining obstacles with slightly less exertion!
By the time the miniature version of Emma finally closed in on the Polymath, she had turned almost translucent.
This was an impending sign that she was about to exhaust the last remaining dregs of her power and disappear!
Emma was not willing to disappear without accomplishing anything of note. She knew that there was no hope that she could kill or debilitate the Star Designer in her current state.
She did not have to. Though people always assumed that the Destroyer of Worlds liked to solve her problems by blowing them up, this was a grave misconception.
As the companion spirit closed the last bits of distance, she quickly adjusted her flight direction upwards until she ultimately collided against an object instead of naked flesh.
A small but prominent crown flicked into the air.
As Emma finally depleted the reserve of energy that allowed her to manifest herself so far away from her principal, she flipped over in the air and grinned in satisfaction.
This singular act had broken the direct connection between this mysterious crown and the Polymath!
This caused her to lose a lot of power all of a sudden!
Although she was still strong in her own right to resist her current adversaries, she no longer held the upper hand anymore!
The Polymath raised her arm and attempted to summon her missing headdress, but the Xenotechnician immediately competed against her for control!
Even when the crown had been knocked off her head, the Polymath had still bonded to it to an extent. This allowed her to exert greater control over it, which should have allowed her to win this contest.
However, the woman had to contend against more opponents than one. The shadow of the Seleucid continued to resist however it could while the distant god pilots tried to exert their own form of pressure without causing too much harm to the fragile splinter kingdom.
All of the forces arrayed against the Polymath slowly caused the crown to slip further and further away from her grasp.
At one point, a sudden burst force propelled the crown away from the podium!
Everyone stared at the spinning crown as it followed a parabolic arc in the air before it slowly descended towards the deck.
For whatever reason, no obstacle hindered its flight. Whatever barrier the Polymath attempted to summon was immediately negated by the Xenotechnician or other influences.
Whether it was a coincidence or not, the crown ultimately fell precisely onto Ves' lap.
For a moment, everyone grew bewildered by this sight. How could the crown end up with him of all people? There had to be a reason why it got tossed in his direction!
Ves himself looked just as confused as the rest.
It almost appeared comical when he lowered his head towards his own lap. It was as if he couldn't believe what happened either.
The momentary trance did not last long.
Just when people started to guess whether Ves would lift the crown and put it on his own head, the crown abruptly disappeared from sight.
"Where is the crown? Where did it go? Why is it gone?!"
The crown did not turn invisible, nor fell into the hands of anyone else.
Neither the Polymath nor the Xenotechnician gained any extra weight on their heads.
People no longer felt the strange aura that caused the crown to make every mech pilot and mech designer.
As difficult as it was for people to accept the apparent truth, the crown had disappeared from Ves' lap!
This time, the Polymath could no longer maintain her facade of victory and invincibility.
With no apparent way to regain the power she wielded before, she slowly began to lose more and more ground.
The mood in the entire assembly hall lightened up considerably as the Polymath's domain slowly lost its presence.
It looked as if the Polymath signaled her intention to surrender by voluntarily ramping down.
Neither the Xenotechnician nor her other opponents did much to push their advantage. They eased up their pressure until everything returned to calm.
"It is over, Clair." The much older Star Designer declared. "Do you admit your defeat?"
The Polymath looked a lot more lost than before. Ves knew that much of it was theater, but he still became convinced that she was expressing her true feelings.
"I do. Any further conflict is... unproductive." The powerful but defeated woman spoke. "I... retract my Unity Plan from consideration." Before the Xenotechnician could make any further remarks, a completely different change occurred at the splinter kingdom!
The shadow of the Seleucid successfully did its part in defending the legacy of the Progenitors of Mechs.
Now that it was no longer forced into a corner, the fading remnant connected to the splinter kingdom and activated a hidden protocol that somehow caused it to reach out to the Star that represented the Polymath!
The defeated woman widened her eyes in a mixture of alarm and realization.
This expression lingered on her face for a few more seconds before it was replaced by resignation.
The Polymath was fully cognizant that she had lost the game.
Actions had consequences.
It would have been great if she had succeeded in her gambit, but now that become the defeated, she fully understood that she needed to pay a lot of penalties for her failure.
As the splinter kingdom continued to reach deeper into the Polymath, the woman in question did not attempt to put up any form of resistance anymore.
Ultimately, the shadow of the Seleucid found what it had been looking for. The splinter kingdom began to pull a powerful aspect out of the surrendered Star Designer!
The sudden and traumatic loss of an aspect that had been closely intertwined to the Polymath for many years caused the woman to experience a deep sense of pain that she never experienced in her life!
Though the Polymath possessed enough self-control to stop herself from uttering an undignified cry of pain, it was clear to see that she had suffered a wrenching blow!
Her domain flared and radiated pain and loss that was so heavy that many other people thought they suffered harm instead!
As the Polymath significantly diminished in strength and presence, the opposite took place with the splinter kingdom.
The heavily damaged off-shoot of the original Kingdom of Mechs absorbed whatever it had pulled out from the Star Designer and started to receive a massive surge of power!
Everyone quickly cast their gazes at the splinter kingdom as it visibly expanded in size while rapidly repairing any obvious marks of damage!
The kingdom's volume rapidly multiplied in size.
Loose debris started to clear up or return to their original positions.
Entire new sections of city walls rose from the ground and started to form a new if smaller circle around the perimeter.
Brand-new ancient-looking stone structures emerged in the open ground that encompassed the expanded kingdom.
With every visible sign of restoration, the members of the mech community experienced a shared sense of joy and celebration.
The state of the splinter kingdom was of paramount importance to their professions!
The better its condition, the closer it could provide the same level of support than before!
While the splinter kingdom failed to reach the scale of the original kingdom in the end, it was ultimately extremely beneficial for it to form a more complete looking ancient city layout!
This indicated that it had fully restored all of its essential functions. The splinter kingdom just needed more time and sustenance in order to gradually reach the scale and strength of the original.
Now that the kingdom had been 'saved', the shadow of the Seleucid had done its job.
Everyone instinctively felt that the entity was about to disappear forever.
Without any word, everyone in the assembly hall rose up from their seats and pressed their fists against their chests.
"Mechs shall exist forever!"
As the remnant of the Seleucid gazed at the gathered crowd one last time, the entity reciprocated the motion before it faded out of existence.