Chapter 1016: Analysis

With the exception of anything related to The Path, Vahn recounted much of his experiences within the Record of Danmachi. Though it might have been possible to conceal the truth, his instincts told him that the entity known as Akasha wasn’t someone he could fool with simple words. From the moment he found himself sitting in the chair, it felt as if even the individual particles of energy making up his body were seen through by her. He suspected that the only thing beyond her notice was the nature of his Soul itself which, thanks to the concealment of The Path, was effectively kept hidden from all prying eyes. Even if she had the means to analyze his ego with an Innate, Vahn suspected she would only be able to glean the most minuscule amount of information unless he willingly allowed her to snoop around…

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Once Vahn had finished his explanation, Akasha’s face remained a perfect mask, just as it had during the three-hour-long recounting. Vahn hadn’t even seen her, nor the two at her side, perform so much as a single blink, much less any other biological process that would have made them appear to be genuinely ‘alive’. He even questioned why they had things like eyelids in the first place as Akasha’s eyes never wavered from his face even a single millimeter, almost as if they had locked onto him. When he had finished speaking, however, she instantly followed up, saying, “You have been granted provisional access to E-Ranked information. My analysis has determined that your story has a 93.20081% chance of pertaining to the truth. As the information you have provided will prove beneficial in our ongoing projects, Termina Nasu has provided you the minimum rank necessary to gain access to Root Designation: Akasha.”

At the end of her statement, Akasha moved her hand in a precise and mechanical manner before a blue projection dominated Vahn’s vision. Without affording him the chance to ask any questions of his own, she explained, “My primary directive is to observe the cycle of Souls within the Akashic System in order to assess a viable means of recreating Proto Root: Project Eden. Though my classification allows me administrative rights over Root Designation: Akasha, I am unable to directly intervene with ongoing experiments. In exchange for allowing you to pass through the Root, I have been granted the right to assign you temporary moderation rights to remove the variables that have prevented the current experiment from ending. Will you acknowledge the task that has been assigned to you?”

Though he was tempted to outright refuse Akasha’s offer, as the thought of acting in the interest of a force he had no understanding of didn’t sit well with him, Vahn had keyed in on the fact that she claimed to be unable to interfere with the world on the other side of the Root. Prior to hearing her offer, he had been thinking of leaving the Record and trying his luck with a different version of the Nasuverse but, now that she was asking his opinion, Vahn couldn’t help but ask, “What do I stand to gain from accepting this task? I am obviously not from this world so I can’t help but wonder why the entity you refer to as ‘Termina Nasu’ would entrust me to interfere with an ongoing experiment?”

For the first time since he had been forcefully teleported into the room, Vahn saw Akasha’s expression change slightly as an incalculable number of runes streamed across her eyes like lines of information. They were moving so fast he was unable to discern any of their meanings as, with the disparity between his strength and the three seated across from him, Vahn knew it wouldn’t be wise to activate his [Eyes of Truth]. This was especially true when considering the fact that the two ‘male’ entities flanking Akasha had been watching him with a calculating gaze that caused Vahn’s instincts to scream of impending danger. He knew that, depending on the circumstances, it wouldn’t take them much effort at all to ‘remove’ him from the Record. Since they were, theoretically, weaker than the Mage of the Beginning, Vahn felt as if he had received a wake-up call in regards to what he should expect in the future…

After a few seconds had passed, the lines of runes within Akasha’s eyes faded away, leading to her response of, “Entities that have been able to pass through the Root from within have been granted the privilege of presiding over their own experiments. Though you have arrived here from beyond Termina Nasu’s scope, you will be afforded the same opportunity while having your classification upgraded to access B-Rank information. As you have come to this world seeking strength, this should align with your own interests. Currently, your existence is limited to that of a Greater Divine Spirit. Once your task has been completed, your rank will allow you to strengthen your vessel to that of an Administrator, Lower-Grade.”

As if to make the offer even more enticing, Akasha gesticulated towards the ‘male’ entities at her sides as she explained, “These are my assistants, Designations: Alpha293 and Alpha294. Their vessels are classified as Executors, Middle-Grade, a full three stages lower than the vessel you will be given access to. Though you will be required to bath in the light of Termina Nasu to ensure compatibility, this should more than compensate you for services rendered. Are you able to comprehend these terms?”

Though he was annoyed by Akasha’s final question, Vahn felt as if the offer they were making wasn’t necessarily the worst. His decision would ultimately depend on what he experienced after passing through the so-called Root, but there didn’t seem to be too many reasons to refuse their request. At the very least, he would have some direction about what course of action to take upon reaching the world’s comprising Akasha’s experiment. Though the Quest Function would have given him a bit of guidance, it was helpful having an ‘overarching’ directive of sorts to guide his actions. Thinking until this point, Vahn decided to agree to Termina Nasu’s request, so long as they didn’t require him to do anything that ran counter to his morals…

Seeing Vahn nod, Akasha brought her arms to the front before the full-body images of seven individuals formed atop her palms. Vahn was shocked upon witnessing this, not because any of the people within Akasha’s palms were particularly eye-catching, but because he could sense ‘life’ within each of them. Any questions he had about them would have to wait until later though, as Akasha immediately began explaining, “The Root Designation: Akasha has been stuck in a loop after this man, Astario Vale Hoenheim managed to reach the Root during the 30,000,000,000,000,000,000th cycle. Unlike others, he chose not to pass through the Root and instead gleaned insights into the true nature of Akasha before returning to the experiment. Since then, the number of variable timelines has increased beyond the system’s capacity to observe. Though I have devised countermeasures to cull any timeline that would lead to the experiment’s failure, it is estimated that the system will cease function before reaching the 39,000,000,000,000,000,000th cycle.”

Even if it might not be the best idea, Vahn raised his hand slightly after hearing Akasha mention the thirty-nine quintillionth cycle. This caused the two ‘Alpha’ entities at her side to immediately stand up but they were prevented from taking action as Akasha held up her hand. Though it might have been misconstrued that they had stopped in response to the gesture, Vahn could see a subtle purple distortion around the two as both Space and Time seemed to freeze around them. Following this, Akasha asked, “Do you require clarification regarding any of the disseminated information?”

Feeling as if his nerves were exposed to the air, Vahn gave a nod in response to Akasha’s question before asking, “What exactly is a ‘cycle’? How long will I have after passing through the Root to complete my task?” As he currently lacked almost any information regarding the world beyond the Root, Vahn at least wanted to know if he needed to rush to complete his assignment. When Akasha plainly stated, “One cycle accounts for a passage of time between seventeen and twenty-three billion years, enough time for each variable timeline to conclude in its entirety. As a result of Astario Vale Hoenheim’s interference, however, each cycle ‘resets’ before the time designated by the system. This has allowed infinite iterations of variable timelines to come into existence, many running contrary to the purpose of the experiment.”

Hearing that he effectively had eight-hundred and fifty septillion years to complete his task, any apprehension Vahn had about accepting Termina Nasu’s proposition flew out the window. He could barely even fathom such a number so, assuming he would experience the passage of time linearly, it seemed as if the task Akasha was giving him was something he could complete at his leisure. Long before he was even required to take action, Vahn knew he would have reached a point where Akasha and the Termina Nasu would be unable to influence him. They had no means of restricting him to the Record so, after reaching a comfortable point as a Tier 5 entity, Vahn would be able to exit whenever he pleased. This didn’t mean he wouldn’t try to keep his promise, as he wasn’t fond of reneging on his word, but Vahn wouldn’t act blindly on behalf of an existence he couldn’t even comprehend.

Without interrupting her a second time, Vahn listened as Akasha went on to explain, “The location of Astario Vale Hoenheim can no longer be detected by the system in its current state. By allowing you to pass through the Root, there is a 67.31184% chance that a soft reset of the current temporal axis will occur. This will allow me to identify the location of Astario Vale Hoenheim before sending you the requisite date to locate him within the experiment’s boundaries. Upon being discovered, I expect the second target, Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg to interfere. Like Astarior Vale Hoenheim, he is a Magus that was able to reach the Root, deciphering the Second Verse of Akasha and gaining access to the Administrative Function: Operation of Parallel Worlds. Of your targets, he will prove the most troublesome as he is capable of existing in multiple axes of time simultaneously. You will have to lure him within an Imaginary Space that is separate from the primary axis of time.”

Though Vahn wanted to ask what an Imaginary Space was, Akasha had already moved on to the next target, this time showing the figures of three people simultaneously. The first was a young boy, seemingly no older than ten years old, while the other figures were both inordinately beautiful woman. Each of the three had snow-white hair, ruby-red eyes, and a complexion so fair it was almost indistinguishable from their hair. Curiously, even at a glance, Vahn felt the aura coming from the three wasn’t dissimilar from the feeling he got from Akasha and the two Alphas. When she was talking about them, there was a modicum of disgust visible within Akasha’s eyes as she explained, “Though less troublesome than your first two targets, you should prioritize returning these three to the Root before all else. They are the Great Sage, Kanada Vaisheshika, the Holy Maiden of Winter, Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern, and the Saintess of the End, Eruru Alexis Emiya. Their lineage had deciphered the Third Verse of Akasha, gaining access to the Administrative Function: Heaven’s Feel. As the Magus responsible for deciphering the Verse, Kanada Vaisheshika was able to abandon his physical body before retreating to the reverse side of the world, becoming an entity infinitely close to a Moderator. The other two, Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern and Eruru Alexis Emiya have inherited the magic within their timelines, perverting the Third Verse in a vain attempt to retrace their Ancestor’s steps. Upon passing through the Root, there is a 98.118% chance that your presence will be recognized by the Moon Cell as a participant in a cyclic ceremony known as the Holy Grail War.”

Vahn had been listening attentively to Akasha’s explanation thus far but, hearing he would have to participate in a war, he couldn’t help but raise his brows in mild surprise. Seeing this, Akasha immediately explained, “The Holy Grail War is a ritual concocted by Kanada Vaisheshika to provide his descendants with the ability to retrace the path he used to reach the Root. Using the knowledge he gained from the Third Verse of Akasha, he was able to conceptualize a spiritual vessel capable of serving as an intermediary with the Moderation Terminal, Moon Cell. Because of the significance it represents, the Holy Grail War has become a central event within recent cycles, accounting for a total of 64% of all tangential timelines. Though I have taken steps to prevent the ritual’s success, there is a .0000149% chance that a participant within the Holy Grail War will be able to reach the Root, greatly reducing the system’s capacity to run future cycles. One of your secondary objectives will be to ensure that any Holy Grail Wars taking place within a timeline you inhabit are unable to be completed. Though it is not a high priority, you should always act in an effort to prevent any individual or organization from reaching the Root.”

After completing her explanation of the Holy Grail War, even though it only created more questions within Vahn’s mind, Akasha brought the sixth figure to the forefront before explaining, “This is your sixth target, the Dreamweaver, Kyrie Alternis. She is a Magus who was able to reach the Root, deciphering the Fourth Verse of Akasha and gaining access to the Administrative Function: Origin Axis. Thus far, she has been unable to activate the Administrative Function as her mind has been unable to adapt to having direct access to the Root’s Archives, the Akashic Record. There is only a .000000000417% chance of her regaining her sense of self but it is best to return her to the Root as soon as possible. She is currently residing within the Reverse Side of the World, kept within the Moon God, Nanna’s, treasury. In your current state, you will struggle to deal with Nanna but I will provide support once you are able to access the Reverse Side of the World and deal with Kanada Vaisheshika.”

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Vahn had been staring at the figure within Akasha’s hands, noting that the woman named Kyrie Alternis actually had a similar appearance to Brynhildr. She even had a pair of wings but, unlike the steely black possessed by a Valkyrie, Kyrie’s were a pristine white that emanated a subtle golden glow. Her beauty had an ethereal quality to it and, after hearing Akasha mention the ‘Akashic Record’, Vahn couldn’t help but feel a bit of intrigue towards the woman who had seemingly been slumbering for trillions of years. He had already made the connection between Akasha and his own Innate, [Keeper of the Akashic Tome], but chose not to pursue the matter as asking too many questions could jeopardize his chances of passing through the Root. Once he was on the other side, Vahn wouldn’t have to worry too much about the peculiar existence of Akasha as there was a chance Kyrie would be able to provide the answer to ‘literally’ everything…

Finished with her explanation of Kyrie, Akasha brought the final figure forward, this time allowing her expression to morph into the closest thing to a genuine emotion that Vahn had seen from her. Unfortunately, with her peculiar appearance, the fact that Akasha’s expression was one of absolute disgust made it hard to appreciate the moment as he listened to her explain, “This is the Magus known as the ‘Entropy’, Aoko Aozaki. Though her Grandfather was the one to gain access to the Root, deciphering the Fifth Verse of Akasha, she is the first to Master the magic within the original time axis. By borrowing the mana from variable timelines that have been cut off by the system, she is able to increase the total amount of mana within the original time axis. At the same time, her Magic, derived from the Administrative Function: Magic Blue, has the capacity of ‘erasing’ futures that do not serve her interests. She had become the central figure within the main timeline and has partnered with Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg and Astario Vale Hoenheim to interfere with the experiment’s proceedings. She will be your final target as her ability to use Magic Blue will require you to deal with Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg if you are to have any chance at eliminating her.”

Seeing the hatred Akasha seemed to have towards what appeared to be a relatively normal girl from the Far East came as a shock to Vahn. Though he could understand her frustrations at having the experiment she was in charge of meddled with, this didn’t explain why Akasha seemed to hold a grudge towards Aoko Aozaki. Deciding it was a question best left unasked, Vahn simply nodded his head in response to Akasha’s words before he watched the seven figures in her palms turn to dust. Since he felt the small figures had been ‘alive’, the corner of Vahn’s eyes twitched as he turned his attention to Akasha’s face, asking, “Is there anything else I need to be aware of?”

As if her earlier expression had been an illusion, Akasha had already returned to what Vahn could now only describe as an eerie smile as she explained, “As a Moderator, you will not have to worry about being targeted by any of the system’s automatic cleaning processes. So long as you do not interfere with their duties, they will proactively avoid taking action towards you in any of the timelines you cross through. You will be able to identify them by their designations as, under the influence of the system’s manipulation of causality, they have all been given similar classifications, colloquially known as Types. They serve as a regulating force to guarantee the experiment’s success so it is imperative you avoid situations where your actions overlap with the execution of their directive.”

Hearing Akasha’s explanation, Vahn was able to glean a bit of insight into the meaning behind his ‘classification’. He wondered what kind of entities the other Types were, especially since Akasha was going out of her way to advise him to stay out of their way. With the emotionless and utilitarian way in which Akasha behaved, Vahn felt that anything created by the Root in order to ‘clean’ timelines wasn’t something pleasant. If he interpreted the meaning of her words in a literal sense, the other Types were entities capable of wiping out entire realities, bringing an end to any timeline that didn’t meet the experiment’s parameters. Depending on the methods they used, he wasn’t so sure he would be able to just stand by, especially if any took action within a world that he resided. Even if he didn’t intend to stay for long within the Record, Vahn harbored no delusions that he would be able to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others…

With her explanation completed, Akasha gestured with her hands, causing a hexagonal pattern to appear in the air in front of her. Her fingers began to tap the hexagons faster than Vahn’s eyes could perceive before, moments later, she tapped a small rune floating within the air before saying, “I have finished processing your information. With the analysis provided by Termina Nasu, this should provide an accurate accounting of your current capabilities. Note that these parameters are taken from the averages recorded in all variable timelines. So long as you plan accordingly, it should be possible for you to use this information when dealing with your targets. Do you have any final questions before I send your body through the Root?”

Though Vahn had a plethora of questions he desired the answer to, he ultimately decided against relying on Akasha for the answers as it unnecessarily increased the chances of her deciding not to send him through the Root. As for the infographic she had provided him, Vahn wasn’t surprised at all when a system notification sounded within his mind, altering the layout of his Status to reflect the parameters provided by Akasha’s analysis. Though it seemed somewhat arbitrary compared to the parameters of Danmachi, it was still useful to know how he matched up to others within the Record. It also helped that, along with information pertaining to his own Status, Akasha had provided seven glass-like cards that detailed the Status’ of each of his targets, even if many of their parameters outright showed question marks…

Seeing that Vahn had no questions, Akasha’s eerie smile turned strangely gentle as she said, “You need not kill any of the targets directly. So long as you can forcibly pull them back to the Root and have them contact it, I will be able to extract them manually. Do not feel troubled as, even though they have caused me innumerable headaches, I do not intend to destroy their Souls. Like all entities that have crossed through the Root, they will be provided the opportunity to conduct experiments of their own under the guidance of Termina Nasu. I will not blame them for their ignorance as one of the primary purposes of Root Designation: Akasha, was to encourage the development of unique individuals that would be able to aid in the creation of Proto Root: Project Eden. Your assistance will also prove useful in the future, so please do your best to complete the task assigned to you.”

With these words having barely reached his ears, Vahn awareness of his surroundings immediately faded away in a rather unceremonious fashion. He wanted to remark that, if she was even remotely sincere, she wouldn’t just send him on his way immediately. It was obvious that Akasha wanted him to get started as soon as possible, likely the result of the vast difference in how they perceived the passage of time. Vahn felt as if he, quite literally, had an eternity to complete the task ‘she’ had assigned him, even though Akasha’s actions implied that time was short. She didn’t even explain to him how to traverse between variable timelines, perhaps misconstruing his ability to reach this plane of existence as the ability to freely travel between worlds…

While Vahn’s ‘body’ was being sent through the Root, Akasha’s eyes began to produce an incalculable number of runes. This was data pertaining to the composition of Vahn’s body as it was processed by the Root and adapted to the myriad worlds within. As she continued to interpret the data at a speed faster than the most powerful supercomputers in existence, Akasha’s expression slowly morphed into one of abject shock as she intoned, “This is impossible. Termina Nasu’s analysis showed that Type Omega did not possess an ‘Origin’. Why is the Root treating him as if he is an entity with a Soul?” As these queries left her mouth, Akasha turned her attention to what Vahn had interpreted as a ‘nebulous blob’. This was, in actuality, an external view of the infinite number of variable timelines that existed as a part of Akasha’s experiment. Within this ‘blob’, seemingly no larger than 10m across, there were an incalculable number of universes, each containing trillions of unique Souls and an unfathomable number of planets and stars…

With her face now one of utter disbelief, the result of her inability to comprehend what was happening, Akasha watched as the ‘blob’ rapidly decreased in size until it was no larger than a basketball. This was a phenomenon she had never even considered as, even with the records of Termina Nasu feeding her information, there was nothing even remotely similar to what she was currently bearing witness to. It was as if, upon injecting Type Omega into the Root, all variable timelines had ceased to exist. The only thing remaining were the primary timelines that had been created at the start of the experiment, accounting for a mere 68,719,475,726 universes in total. This caused her eyes to glimmer with excitement, as it meant Vahn would have a much easier time completing his task. It wasn’t until several other entities suddenly appeared, each more senior than herself, that Akasha finally returned to her senses…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Jiiiiiiiii-‘,’Holy Mother of Info Dumps…’,That’s a nice multi-verse you have there, would be a shame if someone were to destroy it by virtue of their very existence…’)

(A/N: For those wise guys who feel inclined to point out that Vahn should gain a functionally infinite amount of negative karma, as a result of effectively ‘killing’ an infinite number of people, that isn’t how Karma works. The intent of the person that is granted the karma matters a lot while, prior to entering the Root, it was actually impossible for Vahn to even accumulate Karma. The scope of Termina Nasu doesn’t actually occupy real space, as it exists within an isolated dimension governed by conceptual Laws, much like an advanced form of the Space-Time orbs. The cycle of reincarnation within the Nasuverse is handled by the Root, meaning that Vahn was outside the influence of both Karma and Fate during his discussion with Akasha. Also, don’t forget to check my comment and vote for any Servants you want to appear within the story…!)

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