Chapter 3394: Living Sword
Ketis inspected the giant mech sword that she had just forged and completed with great attention.
She hadn\'t actually made many swords for mechs throughout her relatively short career, but she had been preparing for this job for many years.
As both a wielder and a maker of swords, her comprehension and feel for swords was different from any other swordsman mech specialist.
She had dedicated her entire life to designing the best sword-wielding mechs, and just like many of her like-minded peers she trained and practiced in swordsmanship until she could actually hold her own in battle.
That wasn\'t unusual.
What made her different from other mech designers, even the highly-focused purists from the Heavensword Association, was that she had actually succeeded in becoming a swordmaster!
While there were Apprentice Mech Designers who managed to break through with their swordsmanship in the past, they turned out to be pretty unexceptional at designing mechs.
Due to how their extraordinary willpower fundamentally altered their mentalities, they could no longer exert their creativity, ingenuity and intellect in pushing their design philosophies to the next level.
As for the more common situation of mech designers breaking through to Journeymen, they eventually devoted less time to keeping up their swordsmanship.
No matter how hard they trained, they made no substantial progress once they hit their physical limitations.
It was impossible for them to transform their willpower and take their first true step of becoming a sword god!
As far as she and everyone around her knew, Ketis was the first human to break this barrier.
Through unconventional means, she had become both a Journeyman and a swordmaster, thereby enabling her to enter the ranks of a small group of elites who wielded the might of two different extraordinary professions at once!
And they happened to feed and synergize with each other in a wonderful fashion as well!
Since her remarkable double breakthroughs, she constantly tried to find ways to take advantage of the interplay between her two professions.
She used her technical expertise in swords and swordsman mechs to optimize her swordsmanship.
Although traditional Swordmasters disdained science and engineering and relied instead on their exceptional willpower to make reality bend to their demands, Ketis held a slightly different stance towards this approach.
In her opinion, traditional swordmasters were too stubborn and ignorant.
They never participated in any basic science courses at all since they had to devote so much time to practice and refine their techniques every day.
By understanding proper natural principles, Ketis could achieve the same results by spending just half of the effort of other swordmasters.
It was as if everyone was using their own arms to carry a heavy crate from one location to another while Ketis performed the same task but with a simple wheelbarrow.
The amount of energy she needed to expend became much less because she actually bothered to use her mind!
Aside from using her unique advantages to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the sword styles she came in touch with, she also used her background as a swordmaster to improve her ability to design and make mechs.
In her occasional exchanges with Ves during their working hours, Ketis gained a deeper understanding of the properties of both expert pilots and swordmasters.
What made people like herself as well as Venerable Joshua stand out was how they were able to distort reality according to Ves.
Through the operation of their unnaturally high willpower, they were able to bend the conventional laws of nature and even override them with their own ideas on how reality should work!
Of course, the degree in which they could accomplish this was rather tentative.
Ketis learned later on that this capability only truly lived up to its promise at the level of an ace pilot or a sword saint.
Venerable Joshua still had much to go before they were able to develop their own domain fields, but that did not stop Ketis from doing her best to close the gap!
To the young Swordmaiden mech designer, Joshua occupied a unique position in her life.
He was not just another client like Venerable Tusa.
His importance was on par with Venerable Dise who she saw as a sister.
As her boyfriend and the person who captured her heart, Ketis sought to give Joshua the greatest possible advantage that she could provide!
The first step to doing that was pairing the Chimera Project with the most suitable mech sword.
She actively collaborated with Gloriana to design a melee weapon that fit the preferences and needs of both the expert mech and the expert pilot!
It was difficult to settle for a single configuration as both of them were so versatile.
The Chimera Project\'s adaptable nature allowed it to function as a formation breaker, mid-range harasser, distant marksman, a closer-ranged duelist and many other conceivable roles.
Some of these situations asked for different kinds of swords.
In the same way, Joshua\'s multiple styles allowed him to wield different swords in different styles.
Although his skill in swordsmanship barely earned him a passing grade in Ketis\' perspective, it was to his credit that he could fight proficiently with the greatswords preferred by the Swordmaidens to the rapier that some Heavensworders liked to wield.
Still, Joshua could not be equally good in all sword styles and sword types.
Out of consideration for the weapon he trained the most with as well as the properties of his future expert mech, Ketis settled for designing a simple one-handed arming sword.
In her opinion, the Chimera Project was already a complicated and intricate expert mech design.
No hero mech was simple, and Ves applied all kinds of fanciful ideas to Venerable Joshua\'s machine in order to make it a little more excellent than the other Larkinson expert mechs.
What Joshua needs is not another high-tech gizmo, but a solid and reliable partner in arms.
Ketis initially wanted to design a more elaborate melee weapon for the Chimera Project.
Since the expert mech was all about adaptability, she drafted an ambitious design for a transformable sword.
Inspired by the Chiron training mech that was able to adjust its physical dimensions to increase their fit to individual mech cadets, she envisioned a sword that was solid on the outside but mechanical on the inside.
With a material as hard as Unending alloy at her disposal, she came up with ambitious plans to design a semi-modular sword system that could fold in on itself or extend its reach during battlefield conditions.
A crew of mech technicians could even add or remove modular elements in order to alter the mass and dimensions of the mech sword before a battle!
However, after a lot of discussion, Ketis eventually shelved this ambitious plan.
The main reason why she decided against implementing such a ridiculously versatile sword was because it was too risky at her current level of experience and expertise.
She also worried about the sword breaking in the middle of a battle because it wasn\'t solid enough for Joshua\'s needs.
There was nothing wrong with a simple sword.
This was why she did not feel any regret for putting down her ambitious plan and settling for a more basic weapon that could last for years even with zero maintenance.
Joshua can already rely on his fancy crystal rifle for versatility. She reasoned.
Once he is locked in a desperate struggle against another strong opponent, his chance of winning will be higher if his fundamentals are solid.
Gimmicks will only distract him and cause him to neglect the basics.
She knew exactly what kind of warrior Joshua was like, and knew that he could adequately hold his own in most battlefield situations with the standard arming sword.
It was not without a reason that most mech cadets initially started to train in swordsmanship with this type of weapon.
Since the primary melee weapon of the Chimera Project did not contain any complicated elements or even any key resonating exotics, Ketis did not experience any significant technical challenges when forging and assembling the weapon.
Her previous experience with forging the Decapitator had already taught her what she should pay attention to in order to maintain a consistent level of quality.
This granted her enough room to try to strengthen the sword in another way.
During the start of his fabrication run, Ketis paid close attention to both Ves and Joshua while they were all connected to the same design network.
It was clear that the weight of this run centered around the duo.
That didn\'t mean that she intended to do her part without any further expectations for more.
Ambition burned in her heart as well, and her desire to give Joshua an extra edge in battle grew as she became more familiar with him through the design network.
As a mech designer that also possessed the strength of a swordmaster, her ability to figure out Joshua was different from that of her co-workers.
She did not possess a strong affinity for life, but her willpower was just as powerful if not more so than that of her boyfriend.
By obtaining more direct access to Joshua\'s mind and will, she began to understand all sorts of aspects about him that he had never been able to convey as well in words.
What particularly caught her attention was how much vitality he possessed and how extensively he embraced life.
Her understanding of his unique strengths and his approach towards battle deepened the more she became familiar with his outlook!
So that\'s how it is.
To him, life is not only a partner, but also his weapon!
Joshua didn\'t like to fight alone.
He always sought to partner up, if not with other friendly mechs, then with his own living mech.
His obsession towards them caused him to develop real means to leverage this quality in mechs to boost his effective performance and overcome more challenging opponents!
Though his defeat at the hands of the Burza Fens taught him that his fighting approach had limits, he did not lose confidence.
He was determined to bring it to new heights once he obtained a living mech that could fully keep up with growing demands!
Since Venerable Joshua saw the Chimera Project as both a willing partner and a living weapon, Ketis tried her best to make the mech sword into the same!
One of the most important ways she accomplished this was by imbuing the mech sword with a selection of empowered sword styles.
This was a recently-developed technique that only a unique existence like Ketis could pull off.
With the help of Sharpie, she imprinted the giant weapon she was forging with the essence of the sword styles that she had selected for her lover.
She deliberately chose to impart the sword with more advanced selections such as the Annihilator Sword Style that Joshua hadn\'t mastered at all.
The point of them was to give the expert pilot the option to borrow power from the substantial swordsmanship expertise that Ketis accrued to perform above his own level during battle!
Although Ketis wasn\'t sure whether this ambitious method worked, she believed that Joshua\'s own strengths would allow him to turn the sword style seeds she embedded in the mech sword to come alive.
With this measure, you\'ll never get outmatched by an enemy up close!
This wasn\'t all, though.
As the days passed by, she continued to pay attention to what Ves and Joshua were doing.
Slowly but surely, she gained inspiration from how they tried to infuse more life in the expert mech.
Seeing how much Ves and Joshua concentrated on putting pieces of themselves into the mech they were making, Ketis began to develop the desire to do something similar.
It wasn\'t enough to imbue the sword she was making with a portion of her swordsmanship.
She wanted to give Joshua something special as a sign of her love in him.
As her heart warmed at the thought of how he brought joy to her life, she spontaneously came up with a new idea.
Sharpie, help me out here!
She brought her considerable force of will to bear and tried to encompass the sword she had just made.
After issuing a decisive command, Sharpie cut off a tiny portion of her will, inflicting substantial damage to her psyche, but she pushed through the pain and did her best to meld a piece of herself into the Unending alloy blade!
With this sacrifice, a part of me will always fight by your side! She declared.
Let this sword be our child who will accompany you as long as we are bound to each other!
In response to her drastic measure, the enormous mech sword resonated with her unyielding will!
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