The Mech Touch Chapter 1236
1234 Impressionable Sheep
"I admit it. I stole the trash you considered a holy relic and tore it apart. I did so for a good reason, and that is to put the leading dynasties to the test. I wanted to see if the three surviving dynasties are discharging their responsibilities. And what did I learn? All of them have gone astray!"
Ves turned from the gallery and focused his attention on the bench. He swept his arm towards Okin Fillis.
"First, the Curin Dynasty! As the shepherds of the flock, your responsibility is to lead the Ylvainans to prosperity! Although you are on the right track, you are too complacent! You wield so much power over the lives of so many Ylvainans, but why are you so reluctant to share it? Does anyone even have a chance to run the state if they don't share the Curin surname? The lack of diversity in the government has led to enduring stagnation! How can the Protectorate grow strong if it lacks the dynamism to sustain its development? Shepherds are only good at their job if the flock grows larger and stronger!"
As the highest-ranking representative of the Curins, Judge Fillis lowered his head under the weight of these accusations.
He had seen enough of how the Curin Dynasty hated sharing their existing responsibilities. They maintained the same government policies for centuries and agonized over every change, no matter how much the Protectorate needed it. The Curins had grown too comfortable in the status quo that they no longer saw anything wrong with stagnation!
If not for the emerging threat of the Star Faith Collective, the Curins would have probably kept the Protectorate stuck in time forever!
"The Shepherds of the Flock must act more like their namesake! Guide the people instead of controlling them! Don't limit their ambitions and don't rob them of the opportunity to develop themselves! I hope that you will begin to figure out ways to make the Ylvainan Protectorate stronger and more prosperous in the future instead of remaining content with keeping everything the same barring some minor, half-hearted advancements!"
He had plenty more to say about the Curins, but they weren't worth his time to expound upon at this moment. Ves couldn't forget that he was burning more and more spiritual energy while he donned Ylvaine's spiritual fragment as his current mask! This was not the time to treat the courtroom as a lecture hall!
His gaze shifted to the right until they landed on the stoic and remarkably self-controlled eyes of Judge Kelber Kronon. His self-control was a lot more solid than the others!
"I see much good in the Kronon Dynasty. It is similar to the Larkinson Family that I'm apart of. Yet it is due to my familiarity with your military heritage that I see the rot lurking from within! The problem with you is that you are too focused on serving the people in a military capacity that you have forgotten what it's like to be one of them! Your intense devotion to your duties has turned your dynasty into an insular sect that stands apart from the people! Even if you are soldiers, you shouldn't forget that you are also people!"
"Service requires sacrifice. I thought that you of all people knew that, Mr. Larkinson. Isn't that what your family is known for in your state?" Judge Kronon replied with only mild unease.
"Sacrifice must have meaning!" Ves retorted. "What is the point of entrusting the protection of the church and state to emotionless Kronons who know nothing but how to fight? The Protectors of the Faith might as well replace all of their mechs and guards with appropriately-sized bots! While the mission of the Protectors of the Faith is noble, that does not mean you Kronons have to evolve into a different species that stands apart from the rest of the people!"
"It is because we are devoted to our duty that we have remained strong!"
Ves sharply shook his head. "Wrong! Your strength is an illusion! It is strong from afar, but brittle up close! Your pathetic performance against the Star Faith Collective already proves my point! While part of that is due to your weak mechs, the grit of your mech pilots also plays a role! Do you know why I have more confidence in the Bright Republic's Mech Corps? It is because they care! Certainly, they are neutral in most matters, but when it comes to something that threatens the state or its citizens, they are not afraid to stand up for what is right!"
The criticism he laid against the Kronons was a lot more abstract than most Ylvainans could follow. However, as a main branch descendent of the Kronon Dynasty, the military judge keenly felt this blow.
Ves was right! The Kronons were becoming more and more distant from the civilians they were supposed to protect!
After he addressed the Kronon, Ves finally turned to the representative of the Poxco Dynasty. High Inquisitor Kelly Ixef Poxco continued to glower at him, but the fervor in her eyes had slowly begun to dim!
"While the Curins and Kronons share part of the blame for letting the Protectorate stagnate, the Poxco Dynasty has failed to live up to your prophet's intentions! You are far too focused on history and tradition to the point of forcing the present to conform to the past! While there are many places where tradition remains useful, prioritizing it to this extent will only strangle the Ylvainan Faith under your merciless grip!"
The two high inquisitors present in the courtroom were mad! Yet when they attempted to draw on their faith and conviction for strength, they found it even harder to move!
Why did the very thought of opposing Ves became so difficult all of a sudden?!
Ves grinned sardonically at the paralyzed inquisitors. "How much did the Ylvainan Faith grow when the prophet first started proselytizing his beliefs? The population of entire states fell under his sway in just a single decade! Has the Attendants of Ylvaine ever come close to converting so many people since the founding of the Protectorate? No! The fact that the faith hasn't spread beyond the borders of the Protectorate is proof that it has grown too weak under your care!"
This was an especially fatal attack against the Poxco Dynasty! Many times, the great prophet sought to expand his following during his lifetime! He was never afraid of stepping on the toes of established factions and powers in order to enlighten the masses!
"You regard yourselves as the handmaidens of the great prophet, is that right?" Ves continued. "For those who are ostensibly the closest to Ylvaine, why are you the most eager to trample over his grave? Your fear of diversity and of others who don't share your beliefs is crippling you all! Since when has the Ylvainan Faith ever wavered against those who scorn or dismiss its tenets? Even during the darkest days of the Great Flight, the fleeing Ylvainans never gave up on converting new believers along the way!"
While this sounded quite impressive, the reality was that few people in the star regions that the refugee fleets passed through actually converted to the Ylvainan Faith. To most people who saw them pass through their space, the Ylvainans came off as crazy cultists who received their just deserts. Only the most desperate and poverty-stricken bystanders hitched a ride on the Ylvainan refugee ships!
Even so, the attempts to gather new believers even when they were at their lowest point was still a point of admiration for the Ylvainans of the time. The Ylvainan Faith still possessed a missionary drive back then! The followers of the great prophet still dreamed of a day when their beliefs swept throughout the entire galaxy, uniting both humans and aliens under a common faith!
Ves turned his back to the high inquisitors in order to face the gallery in the rear of the courtroom.
"The Poxco Dynasty pride themselves on being the most devout, but this is nothing but a fantasy that obscures how far they've deviated from Prophet Ylvaine's will! While it is fine for the inheritors of his legacy to adapt his ways in order to better fit the circumstances, they have gone too far! The trauma of the First Calamity and the Great Flight has scarred the Attendants of Ylvaine to such an extent that they listen to their fears rather than their hopes!"
One of the central messages that the great prophet tried to convey was hope! Hope for an end to endless war and slaughter! Hope for different races to embrace each other as fellow brothers and sisters! Hope for a time where everyone would transcend into a higher state where hunger, death, war and deprivation no longer existed!
Every Ylvainan learned of the great prophet's hopes from seminaries and classes when they were young, but how much of it was left in the modern Protectorate?
Ves forced his listeners to recognize this painful disparity!
It was so painful in fact that the shells around the high inquisitors finally broke! Both Xefin Lin Poxco and Kelly Ixef Poxco looked devastated!
Although they did not believe they acted wrongly, they recognized that the Attendants of Ylvaine exerted too much of their efforts on the wrong activities!
As much as they wanted to deny this conclusion, the words that Ves forced into their ears forced them to question their conviction! Had they truly advanced the will of the great prophet, or were they merely perpetuating the power of the Poxco Dynasty?
Ves was glad that he managed to crack open the high inquisitors, because he knew that his time was short. The strain was eating up his mind and his spiritual energy was constantly diminishing! He needed to wrap up his speech!
Ves waved his hand back towards the three silent judges. "This tribunal may have come into being in order to judge my supposed crimes, but make no mistake, it is not me who is on trial today! It is the three leading dynasties who should actually be judged!"
He closed his eyes in a theatrical fashion. "I believe the Ylvaine Protectorate still has a chance to return to the light. The great prophet may no longer be with you, but as his inheritors you bear the opportunity to decide whether to follow in his footsteps or walk a different path!"
To many Ylvainans, this was the first time they heard someone say that the Ylvainans had deviated from Ylvaine's will! Such a thought was completely unimaginable for them because they had been taught from birth to revere the prophet!
His eyes opened up and seemingly flared into the eyes of the people in the gallery.
"Right now, your path has been deviating too far from Ylvaine's footsteps. What's worse is that your people have done so for all the wrong reasons! You can't have it both ways! If you want to make a mockery out of the great prophet's beliefs, then don't pretend you revere him to the point of turning one of his nutrient pack wrappers into a priceless relic!"
Essentially, Ves tore down the illusion that the Ylvainans could be both devout while deviating from many of the core beliefs that the prophet once held!
Causing such a schism in the minds of many believers caused them to feel highly uncomfortable! Hardly anyone was equipped to solve the turbulence in their hearts and minds!
Ves couldn't take it any longer. He gradually and carefully drew back his mask. His exhausted mind and spirit couldn't sustain the partial fusion any longer.
What he said was enough. The tired and muted spiritual fragment in his mind had expressed everything it wanted to say through Ves. Now that it said its piece and helped Ves out, it quickly drilled out of his mind and flew back towards the conceptual space of the Transcendent Messenger in order to rest and recuperate!
As for Ves, he might have lost his sacred and awe-inspiring aura, but that did not lessen most people's admiration and astonishment for him! He calmly sat back down to his seat and smiled.
"Pardon me for the interruption, Your Honors."
A tense and awkward silence ensued.
Eventually, Judge Kelber Kronon filled in the void. "This tribunal is adjourned. It will convene again in two hours."
The judge struck his gavel, causing every Ylvainan present in the courtroom and those who followed the broadcast to be released from their spell!
"What have we witnessed?!"