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When the Penitent Sister and Glory Seeker mechs advanced towards the alien battleship at blazing fast speeds, their pilots all became of one mind.
Each female mech pilot earnestly wished to call down the wrath of Helena and snuff out the lives of the alien crew members who stood in the way of the Golden Skull Alliance!
This was not the first time the Penitent Sisters and the Glory Seekers called upon the power of one of their gods. Each time they took part in a battle formation attack, they felt incredibly honored and privileged to become connected to one of the greatest women alive.
Their faith became more invigorated as their small and limited minds touched upon a much greater and vaster consciousness.
No matter the differences and distances between the two, whenever a battle formation took effect, both god and human became connected by a bond that became a life-changing experience for the latter.
The power disparity between the two was so great that the mech pilots who came into touch with the Daughter of Death retained a tiny fraction of the vast death energy that Helena brought to bear!
No one was more in tune with the female design spirit than the Handmaidens of Death.
Aside from Venerable Brutus Wodin, Venerable Olivia Remis and Eona Ballentine had become the faces of the Glory Seekers.
Along with the increasing number of female expert pilots that broke through as they served in the Hex Army, the Handmaidens of Death had become the apostles of a young but spirited death goddess.
Both women took their responsibilities extremely seriously. They were utterly unlike Venerable Joshua who only led the Penitent Sister battle formation on a part-time basis.
What displeased Venerable Remis and Venerable Ballentine the most was that their previous efforts always paled in comparison to that of the young Larkinson hero.
Each time Joshua took charge of any battle formation, the resulting output gained life, allowing Joshua to effectively control the destructive energies by remote!
This was an incredibly useful and versatile modifier that vastly enabled these kinds of attacks to be more effective.
For example, Joshua could turn around the death energy wave attack or enable it to thread through the thickest mech formations.
Even though the Handmaidens of Death were much more devoted to Helena, they did not possess the vibrant vitality of the golden boy of the Larkinson Clan.
How could they ever do the Daughter of Death justice and channel her lethal splendor in a more effective manner?
The two Glory Seeker expert pilots prayed in front of their own expert mechs. As living machines that possessed a direct connection to Helena, they functioned as the best altars to their goddess!
Unlike many of the gods that humans revered throughout the Milky Way and the Red Ocean, Helena actually answered their prayers.
She did not do so through cryptic phenomena or drug-fuelled hallucinations either. Instead, as long as there was a legitimate totem in the vicinity, she chose to manifest in front of those devoted to herself.
"I have heard your prayers." Helena spoke one day as her gray-robed form manifested in front of the two devoted expert pilots. "I'm getting rather tired of hearing you beat yourselves up all of the time, so I decided to come and set matters straight."
Helena made a cutting motion with her arms. "You don't need to bother with all of that bowing and scraping. Serving the Glory Seekers and protecting my idiot younger brother is all of the service that I need."
"That… that is what we are struggling with, milady." Venerable Olivia Remus humbly spoke as her altered black hair quivered due to her nerves. "We lack guidance in how to better channel your great and awesome power."
She may be a confident expert pilot in front of others, but only Helena could turn her back into a mortal!
Venerable Eona Ballentine nodded as well. Her hair used to be in a different color, but she had dyed it black in honor of the woman she pledged to serve with her life.
"Each time the people in our fleet speak of battle formations, they think of the one that is tied to you. Yet when they are asked to speak about who can produce the best results, they do not speak of us, but rather of a Larkinson."
"What is the problem with that?" Helena asked with a coy smile on her expression.
"We do not have any ill will towards Venerable Joshua Larkinson, but… he's not a Hexer, nor a woman." Venerable Ballentine spoke.
"We can see that we can do more to help you spread your might on the battlefield, but we do not have the faintest clue how to accomplish this. We have asked for advice from numerous people including Venerable Joshua himself, but none of their words have helped."
"I am not surprised." Helena responded in her slightly echoing and ethereal voice. "Everyone is different. Expert pilots are different as well. Joshua is about as opposite from you as you can find. What works for him does not work for you. He is actually much further ahead in exploring and figuring out the uses of his unique strengths than you. He can do what he has done before because he is good at cooperating with others, particularly mechs and design spirits. The two of you cannot match him in this area, so you shouldn't use him as a model."
That piece of news disappointed the two expert pilots.
Helena smiled at the two lost expert pilots. "Don't look so glum. It is not as if you are any worse. Everyone has their talents, and the two of you happen to match my element. The only reason why you haven't been able to do anything yet is because you haven't properly decided how you wish to leverage your power."
"What do you mean by that, milady?"
"You spend too much time on looking up to me and not enough time on looking at yourselves." The design spirit replied. "The two of you are demigods already. While I am honored by your devotion, you should develop your own personal strengths as well. Don't try to imitate me. Be different. Think deeply on how you wish to fight and defeat your opponent and focus on developing yourself to realize it. For example, Joshua decided to make cooperation the core of his fighting style, while Brutus treats the battlefield as a dancing floor."
The two Hexer expert pilots already gained a better idea on what they needed to do. They just had to figure out a way to distinguish themselves so that they could develop their own advantages in battle.
"I understand what you mean now, milady." Venerable Ballentine gratefully said. "However, it is difficult for me to imagine how we can apply the power of death in our own way. It is a force that kills. Nothing more. How can we apply it differently? There are hardly any other high-ranking mech pilots that we know of that we can use for inspiration."
Helena chuckled and removed the Death Lotus from her hair. She changed the spiritual artifact into a pistol and tossed it in the air as if it was a toy.
"Death is a fundamental concept that is part of the root of reality. Its versatility is far beyond what you can imagine. Don't just look at the literal meaning of this concept. Try and look at its symbolic meaning as well. Death can represent an ending of something brilliant, the heat death of this universe, the passing of an entire race or the disappearance of culture. Anyway, there are many more meanings that I have not bothered to mention, but you should have a good idea by now. Think about what meaning of death speaks to you the most and commit yourself to exploring it to the limit and beyond. That is what expert pilots like you should be doing."
Her insightful words had led to a lot of soul searching for the Handmaidens of Death.
Though the two women were still at the beginning stages of their individual explorations, they had already produced a few results that signified their future development directions.
As such, when the fast-moving Valkyrie mech formations finally channeled the power of Helena onto the battlefield, three distinctly different death energy waves engulfed the heavily-damaged alien battleship in quick succession!
The first wave came from the Penitent Sisters. The ominous gray energy wave tinged with a corona of green not only accurately engulfed the entire cross-section of the Fractured House of the Collapsing Star, but also slowed down as best as possible so that it could prolong its contact with all of the life forms inside the hull!
Though it had been extremely difficult for Venerable Joshua to slow down the fast-moving death energy wave, he managed to slow it down by at least 50 percent so that it ultimately acted on the aliens to a stronger degree than usual!
Many weaker aliens collapsed in an instant. There were actually relatively few of them aboard the ship as only the elites of the Red Cabal had been assigned to the Fractured House of the Collapsing Star!
These aliens collapsed silently as their bodies still remained operational but whatever consciousness they possessed had been snuffed out by the power of death.
The stronger aliens managed to hold out a lot better against these waves, especially when they were still passing through relatively quickly.
Surprisingly enough, most of the nunser and puelmer crew members managed to persist at a remarkably high rate!
Their races were considerably different from each other, but they both happen to share strong minds and willpower.
The nunsers possessed a strong collective spirit and they tended to perform better when they were gathered alongside other nunsers!
Since the crew members serving under the Trampler of Stars were mostly members of his herd, there were always nunsers gathered into groups!
Each of them drew a lot of strength and reassurance from each other, allowing them to barely resist the first couple of death energy waves!
The puelmers might not be so capable of drawing strength from each other, but they were actually individually stronger in mind!
They had to be because of the diminutive size of their ball-like bodies. Many of them were incredibly clever and adept with technology, and they relied on their formidable accumulation to cling to their own lives and resist the energies that sought to deprive them of their souls!
However, these hardy nunsers and puelmers did not face a single rapidly passing battle formation attack.
There were also other waves that were nearly identical!
One of the waves came from the Glory Seeker battle formation led by Venerable Olivia Remis.
During her own exploration of death, she decided to branch out and explore how the power of death could affect machines as well as life!
"Even technology can die!"
As such, when the energy wave passed through the hull of the alien battleship, the aliens who were still alive not only had to endure another brutal test, but the various parts and ship systems around them also began to glitch!
Most of the tech of the brand-new battleship was hardy and robust, so relatively few systems malfunctioned due to the efforts of Venerable Remis. She needed to become a lot stronger if she wanted to affect a ship of this caliber!
Venerable Eona Ballentine managed to produce a slightly more pronounced effect.
Whereas Venerable Remis focused on killing electronics and other machinery, Venerable Ballentine decided to compliment that by killing the bodies as well as the souls of individual lives!
After all, there were still individual out there that possessed remarkably strong minds who could resist the power of death head-on. If the Glory Seekers ever encountered such an opponent, then their greatest strength would become invalid!
Venerable Ballentine did not accept this, and sought to expand the versatility of her death power by focusing on killing the body cells.
At least an opponent who was strong in mind but weak in body would still suffer!
This was exactly what ended the lives of the most resilient officers among the nunsers and puelmers.
Each of them were veterans in their own right and managed to survive the successive death energy waves that had snuffed the vast majority of the crew.
Yet when the energy wave infused by the domain of Venerable Ballentine passed through the hull of the alien battleship, their bodies all became so weak and sapped with energy that many of them could no longer support themselves!
The puelmers especially had it bad as their ball-like bodies were simply not as strong as that of many other races.
When their bodies faltered, their spirits no longer possessed a solid base, causing them to become a lot more vulnerable!
In the end, no matter what tricks the aliens relied upon to resist the extraordinary attacks, all of them failed in one way or another.
This was exactly what the Golden Skull Alliance wanted to accomplish!
The power of death had engulfed the Fractured House of the Collapsing Star so thoroughly that only a few individuals were left alive at the end!
One of them happened to be locked in a cell for days on end.
"I… I'm still alive?" Lord Pearian wondered in utter bewilderment.