The Mech Touch Chapter 353

Chapter 353: Belief
Ves employed a number of different orders, but it hadn't worked. Even if he started from right to left, the crystal city treated him like he was an intruder.Not willing to give up, Ves began to employ more creative methods of reading out the runes. After more than a score of different combinations, he finally achieved a different result. This time, he started from the center, and radiated outwards in a counterclockwise circle.The crystal spirals began to focus their energies upwards and generated another portal.This time, he came across a very welcome sight. A familiar asteroid with a very familiar cave beckoned him back home."Yes! That should lead back to the Joe System!"His exuberance quickly died down once he noticed the portal hadn't grown wider than his head. Same as the other portals, the current one only allowed someone like Lucky to pass through."These stupid midgets!"How would he be able to squeeze through this tiny portal?!The problem caught him in his throat. He let the portal expire while he furiously churned his mind for a solution for his problem. How could he make the portal large enough to fit his body?"Wait a minute. What about my semi-corporeality?"Even if he passed through the portal, if he remained a ghost, it was nothing different than being dead. Imagining himself as a specter who haunted people for their energies scared him to death!"This son isn't going to follow in his mother's footsteps!"In order to stave off a panic, Ves forced himself to think in a logical manner. "First I should break down the problem."He currently had to achieve two essential goals. The first one should be to regain his corporeal state and the second one was to find a way to return to the asteroid in the Joe System.Both problems presented seemingly insurmountable obstacles to Ves. He had no clue how to go about the first problem while the second problem was within reach if only if he could master the crystal city's technology.Ves looked at himself and his somewhat transparent body. He couldn't pick up any object or interact with this alien world in his current state. The botched teleportation had turned him into some kind of energy being that existed in a higher dimension. It was already remarkable enough that he hadn't been torn to pieces or ended up into a dimension of nihility.His eyes happened to have gazed over at Lucky, who had woken up after some time. His cat currently played with some rocks on the light-burned ground. Lucky's paws glowed with spirituality as he effortlessly crossed the line between tangibility and intangibility."Lucky isn't the only one with spirituality here."Ever since his last eureka moment, the System had updated his Status to reflect his current strengths. It explicitly added Spirituality to his Attribute tab. Although a score of 0.4 looked pathetic, it was already better than most other humans."Spirituality and semi-corporeality are related. One should be able to affect the other."Could he manipulate his intangible state into a solid state? And could he go back to being a ghost?He began to speculate that energy beings might be holding their intangible bodies using spirituality. It might also even be the reason why Ves and Lucky had survived the initial teleportation process.If they hadn't possessed this special quality, they might have been phased out of existence!"This is frightening!"The thought that he unknowingly dodged an unfortunate fate did not help with calming his mind. His thoughts also spun into several tangents. He recalled the energy beings he encountered before, from the massive devourers to his mother's ghost."Is she truly even dead?"A mix of emotions pressed upon his heart. Ves did not dare continue to follow this train of thought and centered his mind back to his own state.Right now, he strongly believed he should be able to exert some control over his intangible body."Energy beings hold themselves together with their thoughts rather than their flesh. Their flesh doesn't exist in this state. It's all in the mind."He believed if he brainwashed himself into believing that he was a dog, his intangible body would turn into a dog as well. Not that he had any interest in trying out this particular experiment."Let's start with something simple."His transformation hadn't encompassed his body alone. His hazard suit and his gear had also transformed along with him. This provided him with a convenient way to test his latest thoughts. He retrieved a compact nutrient bar from his toolbelt and stared at it with the same intensity as when he designed a mech."Turn solid. Turn solid. Turn solid."He repeated the same mantra over and over again. He knew that as a fairly logical person, he would have a lot of trouble trying to trick his mind into believing falsehoods. The best method he came up with was to think of nothing else but the same set of words. Essentially, he tried to override his conscious thoughts with a faulty statement so that it had the chance to become true.It took more than ten minutes for something to go into effect. The nutrient bar glowed before losing its opacity.It quickly fell between his intangible fingers."It worked!"His thoughts had hit the mark! Spirituality formed the core of manipulating an intangible object.Ves gazed down at the nutrient bar that had returned to the material dimensions and waited for something to happen. More than fifteen minutes went by until Ves tentatively became assured that the nutrient bar wouldn't return to its intangible state on its own.He saw hope now.Now that he confirmed his train of thought and proved that he possessed the same capabilities as Lucky, Ves tried to perform a bolder experiment.He wanted to turn his own body back to solid.However, he stopped his experiment before he began. What if he couldn't reverse the process? That wasn't an issue if he returned to the Joe System, but as long as he stayed on this unknown planet, that would be the death knell for him. By forsaking his special state, he lost any chance of squeezing through the tiny portal."I can figure this out later. First, I have to find out if I can manipulate my own size."He believed that if he could turn turn his body from a ghost back to normal, that it should also be possible to change the shape of his ghost form.This attempt took a lot longer to produce a result. Ves patiently wished for his body to grow smaller without fail. It was a lot harder to do so because humans weren't supposed to be so small. It went against everything he learned from birth.Still, as long as he brainwashed himself long enough, he was able to accomplish the impossible. His body eventually flickered before growing smaller and smaller. Lucky stopped playing with his rocks and stared at the shrinking Ves with alarm.Was his owner trying to turn into a cat?!"It worked!"He succeeded in shrinking his body to the size of a doll, but it came at a heavy burden. Almost all his concentration had been allocated to believing the lie he told to himself. If he became distracted in any way, he might not be able to hold his current state."It's time to go, Lucky!"Ves wanted to leave this barren place and return home. He retrieved his miniaturized Amastendira and shot at the correct sequence of runes. Despite its shrunken state, the Amastendira's output hadn't diminished at all.When the crystal city generated the portal back to the Joe System, Ves didn't hesitate and flew up to the portal over the crystal city. Lucky followed behind him with a fascinated gaze. The cat couldn't get used to seeing a human of this size.The downside of having shrinked himself was that it took a bit longer than he thought to traverse the distance. Unlike the Amastendira, his hazard suit's output had scaled according to its size. Ves felt as if he tried to fly out of the atmosphere of a habitable planet. It took an agonizingly long time before he reached the portal."Hurry up! The portal will almost close!"Ves dove through the portal just as Lucky went through as well. The portal winked out twenty seconds later but Ves had already sprawled himself against the asteroid. His intangible form had also returned to its normal size."I'm back! Haha!" He celebrated even as fatigue swept over him. The change in stature had really expended an enormous amount of mental energy. Ves had to take a lengthy before he could contemplate his next problem.Right now, he remained stuck as a ghost. If he ever wanted to return to normal, he had to find a method to turn his body back to solid."It shouldn't be too different from turning that nutrient bar back to solid."He employed the same method of hypnotizing himself into believing his body was corporeal. It actually went a lot easier than he thought, because he essentially didn't lie to himself. He always possessed a fully material body. He just had to reinforce this truth in order to effect a change."My body and gear are solid. My body and gear are solid. My body and gear are solid."The only issue that complicated his efforts was that he also wanted to turn his gear into solid at the same time. It wouldn't do for him to turn his body back to normal, only to die in vacuum as his hazard suit still remained intangible.Eventually, he succeeded. His body along with his hazard suit and other possessions suddenly blinked back to a solid form. Ves had succeeded into turning back to normal!Despite his success, he still remained cautious and stood still while he waited for his body to flicker back into ghost form.One minute. FIve minutes. Fifteen minutes. Thirty minutes.Only after one full hour did Ves become assured that his transformation had been permanent. He sighed in relief and let down his guard. Hopefully nothing strange would happen in the next couple of days.Meanwhile, Lucky played and floated around the asteroid as if Ves had nothing to do with him. The cat stubbornly remained intangible."Lucky! Turn back to normal!"Lucky pointedly turned his butt at Ves and continued to play with the rocks that had been shaken loose from the asteroid. Ves sighed to himself and gave up trying to persuade his pet to stop fooling around.Lucky's intangible state didn't come with any downsides as far as he knew.Ves looked back to the cave entrance and thought about the graser rifle design he had to get back to. It was such a long time ago since he last worked on it that he forgot about some of the details."With the insights I've learned from the crystal ruins, I should be able to design a much better rifle."Even without applying any of the alien innovations, Ves still gained a lot from the Skills and Sub-Skills he acquired from the Skill Tree. They corresponded closely with the inner workings of a laser weapon, and Ves immediately thought of a number of ways to enhance his old design.The difference between the old design and the improved one would be like night and day. When Ves returned to the cave and studied the design, he shook his head."It's so simplistic."The design became so rudimentary in his eyes that he quickly overhauled the entire schematic. He couldn't bear to fabricate the old design as it possessed a large number of flaws that grated his perfectionist sensibilities.A mech designer should have more pride in his work!He vastly improved the graser rifle design in several areas, increasing its endurance while cutting down its weight. It would be able to output a lot more power as well while generating a bit less heat. Its capabilities more closely matched the graser rifle design outlined in the research notes.