Chapter 1013: Whim

(A/N: I have no idea how this ended up at chapter 963 when I set a basic publish timer on it.)

Though it took the better part of an hour, Vahn’s third avatar came into creation without any major hiccups. The expected difficulty of creating a body that could withstand his Tier 4 Soul never came and, though it didn’t possess the fragment of Divinity, Vahn’s avatar had a phenomenal amount of energy contained within its body. Most importantly was, even without possessing the fragment of Creation, Vahn was still able to use his newfound powers without any issues. Though this would cause both of his bodies to enter into what he was referring to as ‘Godmode’, complete with glowing skin and white hair, it was still beneficial information since he wouldn’t be required to use his main body to conquer the Dungeon.

After dealing with the mild inconvenience of forming a new avatar, Vahn split from his main body to use Yggy’s network to re-enter the Dungeon. He was hoping that whatever restriction prevented other gods from entering the Dungeon wouldn’t be able to prevent his entry. If he was unable to conquer the Dungeon after reaching godhood, Vahn felt like something inside of him would snap as a result. Fortunately, Yggy’s network seemed to ignore any such restrictions as, after spending a bit of time with his surrogate daughter, Vahn was able to teleport down to the 90th Floor without issue. This could be due to the fact that he reached Tier 4 within the Dungeon, making him an exception amongst other gods, but Vahn didn’t particularly care as he focused his mind and prepared to teleport down to the 98th Floor.

Having cleared each Floor previously, Vahn had noticed that the invisible membrane that prevented him from breaking through Floors previously had now vanished in its entirety. It was much like how the Dungeon restricted Adventurers from reaching the 18th Floor using the stairs that led directly to the 17th. There was an unsurpassable barrier that, regardless of Level, simply couldn’t be passed through without clearing each respective Floor…

As he was preparing to tear through space and begin his third battle against the Achron, Vahn sensed fluctuations in the surrounding space that immediately caused his eyes to open. If he were being honest, Vahn had been tempted to ‘visit’ Tiamat’s underwater temple and collect the debt her avatar owed. Reason kept him from wasting his effort, however, as, even in her avatar state, Vahn felt that she wasn’t an opponent he would be able to take out easily. Since defeating her wasn’t a priority, Vahn had decided to leave her fate to Fenrir after his linked the Records. Tiamat, however, seemed to have slightly different plans as Vahn felt his connection to the 98th Floor severed as a surprisingly delicate hand created a ripple in the void before immediately being followed by a mature beauty with sharp eyes and an amused expression on her face…

Even without her Draconic elements, Vahn recognized the woman as the same goddess who was enshrined within the underwater temple. What surprised him was her blazing red hair, which extended to her lower back, and the fact that she was wearing casual clothes that might be found on any female Adventurer from the surface. This took on the form of tight black shorts and an off-white tunic that exposed the developed muscles of her abdomen, leaving very little to the imagination. Even more surprising, though he understood the reasons for it, Tiamat walked out of the void with bare feet, drawing the eyes to her long and developed legs…

Though he took in her full image and committed it to memory, Vahn’s focus remained solely on Tiamat’s face as he preempted her by asking, “To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, Primordial Goddess, Tiamat…?” This seemed to annoy her a bit as her eyes squinted slightly in response, albeit very briefly. A smile quickly replaced her previous expression as a teasing light shone within her radiant blue eyes, each containing a vertical slit that seemed to reflect everything contained within with the discerning eye of a predator. Even Vahn felt a small amount of pressure when making eye contact with her, causing his body to almost instinctually transform into his Qinglong form against his will…

Instead of answering his question outright, Tiamat let her eyes wander around Vahn’s body without any semblance of restraint. Then, as if she was satisfied with what she had seen, Tiamat gave an approving nod before saying, “Not bad…not bad at all. I always wondered what the first mortal to become a god would be like. It’s a shame you’re not a genuine True Dragon, but…well, I suppose that is for the best.” At the end of her sentence, Tiamat licked her lips as, for a brief moment, a possessive look flashed across her eyes. Vahn’s own expression hardened when he saw this but, as if she wasn’t even remotely bothered by his frustration, Tiamat followed up by saying, “Come, I’ll take you to meet with the others.”

Without waiting for a response, Tiamat had extended her hand towards Vahn as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Following that, Vahn felt the void around him ‘pulse’ in a way that he couldn’t quite understand before he found that his surroundings had changed in their entirety. This showed that Tiamat’s understanding of Space Laws was far higher than he could comprehend, at least for the time being. It was very possible she even had a ‘Major’ Divinity related to Space but, remembering she was from the same generation as Ouranos, it didn’t seem likely. It was far more likely that Tiamat’s mastery was something she had gained over her extremely long lifespan. She didn’t seem bound by the same restrictions as many of the gods born after the creation of the ‘three realms’ so it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if this proved to be the case.

As if answering Vahn’s questions preemptively, Tiamat gestured behind her with her thumb as she said, “This place is the lowest point of the Dungeon, Tartarus’ Heart. You’re the first person that has been able to reach this point so congratulations. I wonder what expression that brat will make when he realizes someone beat him to the punch, wahahahaha~.” Punctuating her words, Tiamat tried to strike Vahn’s shoulder in an amicable manner but he unceremoniously stepped to the side before asking, “Why have you brought me here? What about the book reflected in the mirror…?”

Instead of the small room that Vahn had been shown previously, Tiamat had brought him to a circular chamber that had four large teleportation wards, one at each cardinal point. The fact that these used a similar formula to he ones he had created within the Dungeon hadn’t gone unnoticed but, for the time being, Vahn wanted to know why Tiamat had brought him to this location. She didn’t seem willing to answer, however, instead electing to adopt a vicious glint in her eyes after he had evaded her hand. This caused the hair on Vahn’s neck to stand on end as his skin began to glow with a pale blue light in response to the animosity contained within Tiamat’s gaze. At the same time, his own domain began to contend against the invisible force created by Tiamat’s presence. This resulted in the void around them trembling, a phenomenon that quickly translated to an audible vibration within the surrounding superstructure…

Amidst the clash of wills, a sudden ‘severing’ force appeared out of nowhere, accompanied by words that caused Vahn to feel as if his Soul had taken a direct blow. Though the gentle voice simply said, “Stop this, please…”, Vahn felt like his knees were going to buckle while Tiamat sneered in response before crowing her arms. Vahn, for the first time, felt as if his domain had been ‘forced’ back into his body as a restrictive force unlike anything he had ever felt began to weigh down on him. In response to this, his [Chainbreaker] immediately activated but, as if the skill had offended the suppressive energy, Vahn’s body was crushed into the ground unceremoniously. This caused the previous voice to take on an apologetic undertone as its owner softly stated, “Please, calm your mind. None of us wish to harm you, my precious child…”

Immediately following these words, Vahn felt the pressure on his body relent, allowing him to gasp for air as his natural regeneration repaired the damage he had sustained. In hid Godmode, Vahn was virtually immune to any form of damage within the Mortal World but the owner of the voice didn’t seem to take this into consideration as her words alone were enough to completely restrain him. Upon seeing who the voice belonged to, Vahn’s expression morphed into one of momentary confusion as she was unlike any of the statues he had come across. Though she was obviously a goddess, Vahn found himself unable to find any words to describe her other than ‘motherly’. Seeing her looking at him caused Vahn’s heart to tense up, almost as if his own mother were reproaching him for his bad behavior…

Having never felt anything like this before, Vahn’s face formed a deep frown as he stepped back and asked, “What are your intentions…?” Though he was almost certain the goddess before him was Nuwa, Vahn’s mind was currently in a chaotic state after the rapid changes in the situation. He found himself unable to keep up with everything that was occurring, causing his desire to leave the Record to compound. Since he was certain this was a spot located within the Mortal World, Vahn’s heart was beginning to race as, no matter how he looked at her, the goddess before him didn’t seem to have any restrictions placed on her. If this actually was her restricted state, Vahn couldn’t even fathom how powerful her real body was as, unlike before, he could ‘feel’ the aura possessed by Tiamat and the goddess before him. It felt as if he were staring up at the stars, viewing the vastness of Space above…able to observe it but never comprehend its mysteries…

Seeing Vahn step away, the motherly goddess showed a slightly hurt expression before averting her eyes to the side and explaining, “My intentions…I have none. I only wanted to meet you…you have no idea how happy it makes me to see you reach this point. I have waited for so long…” Towards the end of her words, the yet unnamed goddess brought her hands together before closing her eyes, almost as if she were praying. Since she was likely one of the oldest gods in existence, Vahn couldn’t help but wonder who, or what, a goddess like her would pray too. However, after seeing Hestia and Artemis perform the same action several times, Vahn decided not to inquire, instead saying, “I have come with the intention to conquer the living Dungeon, Tartarus. Though I wouldn’t mind conversing with you in the future, there are other things that require my attention…”

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Setting aside the strange feeling of ‘guilt’ that was welling up inside his heart, Vahn hardened his expression while ignoring the icy look Tiamat was sending his way. As for the goddess before him, she didn’t seem to mind his words too much as she simply smiled in response before saying, “I understand. I too would like to converse with you when you have the time…there is so much I want to tell you…but I suppose there is no rush. Now that you have become a god, we have all the time in the world to chat. Tiamat, please escort our newest kin to his destination…and try to get along, for my sake.”

Though she didn’t seem like the type to acquiesce to another, Tiamat released a sigh in response to the unnamed goddess’ words before saying, “Yeah, yeah, don’t worry…I’m not going to bully the newest member of our family…” With a bit of extra emphasis on the final word, Tiamat sent Vahn a glance that seemed to convey, ‘Don’t cause any trouble’. The fact that she directed such a gaze towards him after causing him so many issues herself caused Vahn’s temples to buzz but, unwilling to remain within the Dungeon at the whims of these more powerful gods, Vahn gave a curt nod without wasting his words. This caused the motherly goddess to issue a gentle smile before, as if she had never been there in the first place, Vahn was no longer able to perceive her presence…

Without missing a beat, Tiamat used the gap in Vahn’s awareness to bring a heavy fist down upon his head before saying, “Listen up kid. You may be hot s*** in the Mortal World, heck, you may even be the ‘hottest’ s***. That isn’t going to fly now that you became a god though, you hear? The world is a lot bigger than you’re even qualified to know right now so don’t let your ego get to your head. I’m not exactly known for my patience so don’t think I won’t smack you around if you misbehave like this again. Nuwa might be willing to forgive you but don’t think the rest of us will just watch as you trouble her…!”

Nursing a bump that didn’t seem to heal, even with his [Magia Erebea] active, Vahn glared back at Tiamat before grinding his teeth as he stated, “You’re the one-” Before he was able to finish his words, Vahn noticed that his surroundings had changed while Tiamat was nowhere to be found. She had teleported him away mid-sentence, causing Vahn’s mouth to hang open for a few seconds before he slammed his hand against the nearby wall. Without holding anything back, Vahn half-expected the wall to explode into tiny fragments but, as if he had gently placed his hand upon the wall, there was only a light ‘tap’ as a result of his full-force blow. This caused him to feel several things all at once, chief amongst them being relief, confusion, and intrigue. After all, if he had actually destroyed the relatively small room, it could have caused him any number of additional problems…

Taking a few deep breaths to calm himself down, Vahn decided to deal with Tiamat later as he began looking around the area. He found himself in the same small room that had been reflected in the mirror, complete with the small desk, the floating blue flame, and a closed book that had an indiscernible title. Upon arriving at the desk, Vahn noticed that the book, which he had previously thought to contain any number of secrets, was simply a logbook of sorts. After opening it, he found that all the pages were blank while, on the very first page, the header simply stated ‘Names’ in pale golden ink. Right beneath that, Vahn watched as his own name wrote itself within the first slot, immediately followed up by a system notification stating that he had conquered the Dungeon…

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Feeling as if his grand accomplishment had been anti-climactic, Vahn released a heavy sigh before placing the book back down on the table. Fortunately, just as he was preparing to leave the room behind, one of the drawers on the desk opened of its own accord. Inside, Vahn found what appeared to be a grimoire that was bound with the same kind of gold that could be observed in Divine-Grade Artifacts. This was proof enough that the Grimoire was something exceptional but, after reading the title, Vahn’s eyes became rounded as he muttered aloud, “This can’t be real…” before tossing it into his Inventory. Immediately afterward, Vahn inspected the Grimoire’s description as a giddiness akin to a child walking into a candy store began to bubble up from his heart…

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[Grimoire of Creation]

Rank: SSS (Divine)

Use: Increases comprehension of Creation Laws and provides insight into the development of sentient life.

A Grimoire created by the Goddess Nuwa that details the method’s she had used when creating the first vessel capable of hosting a soul. Though the method contained within is nearly impossible to replicate, it can still provide insight into the formation of new lifeforms for anyone capable of comprehending its contents. As this Grimoire also contains a fragment of the goddess’ Divinity, it is possible to use as a catalyst when trying to infuse a soul into a vessel.

———————————————

Vahn didn’t know if this was a prize that Nuwa had specifically prepared for him, or if it was intended for whoever first reached this point, but he was more than happy to add it to his collection. Fortunately, even without removing it from his Inventory, Vahn was able to record the contents of the Grimoire before storing them within the vast archives of his mind. Even if he lost it at some point in the near future, the knowledge contained within would persist within his mind and follow along with him regardless of how much time passed. At the same time, Vahn felt as if the knowledge had become a part of him and, though he couldn’t make sense of principles contained within, he felt a little closer towards his goal of becoming a ‘true’ God of Creation and Destruction…

Knowing that Nuwa likely had the means to observe him, especially within the Dungeon, Vahn gave a small bow towards the void as he said, “Thank you for this gift. I will do my best to not misuse it…” He didn’t expect a reply so, even though silence persisted in response to his words, Vahn didn’t mind it as he focused his mind and returned to the 90th Floor. In total, he had been gone for less than a half-hour so Yggy was surprised to see him, nearly dropping the basket of apples she had been carrying before running over to his side and asking, “Is everything okay, Papa…?” Vahn smiled in response before bending down and giving her a quick hug before following it up by caressing her head in a gentle manner as he said, “Everything is great…”

Since it didn’t seem like he was lying to her, Yggy’s smile immediately became more radiant than the sun itself as she happily giggled in response to his touch. Then, pulling a golden apple from her basket, Yggy asked, “Papa, will you have lunch with me today…?” Her emerald-green eyes were shimmering with expectation so, instead of immediately returning to the surface, Vahn produced a smile of his own before saying, “Of course. I can think of few better ways to spend my time than eating lunch with my adorable daughter~.” Though these words caused a slight twinge in his heart, the result of Vahn’s awareness that he may not see his actual children again for thousands of years, it didn’t show on his face.

Yggy had sensed the slight melancholy contained within her Papa’s words but, knowing he was also being sincere, she pretended to not notice as she sat down in his lap and began to peel the golden apple with her tiny fingers. Vahn closed his eyes and patiently waited for her to finish, enjoying the peaceful moment and the pleasant smell that naturally accompanied Yggy’s presence. He knew it was ‘better’ for him to be away from his family right now as any time spent with them would only weaken his resolve to leave. Since he didn’t want them to be affected by his mindset and infer something was wrong, Vahn hardened his heart as he solemnly swore to return as soon as possible…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Turns out that ‘creating’ an Avatar is a lot easier after becoming a God of Creation…?’,’Vahn is seriously outclassed…’,’Dat Grimoire though…’)

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