Chapter 1091: Building Tensions

Having never really cared about the Greater Grail in the first place, Fenrir was the first to recover from her momentary shock. While everyone else was gawking, she happily pounced forward, shouting, “Master is the best~!” in a happy tune. Vahn caught her out of the air with ease, a wry smile on his face as he said, “Well, things didn’t go as planned, but this isn’t the worst outcome…” At the same time, Vahn ran his fingers along the inside of Fenrir’s ears, rubbing the most sensitive part and sending shivers running up her spine. Akasha had left him feeling a little shaken, something Fenrir was obviously aware of, so it was comforting to have her at his side…

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With Fenrir destroying the tension in the atmosphere, Artoria released a tired sounding sigh while Circe, with a pouting expression, flitted forward and asked, “What happened? Could it be that you’re super amazing~?” As she asked this, Circe inched closer toward Vahn and Fenrir, leaning her head in as if she expected to be pet as well. Though this caused Fenrir to use her tail like a horse trying to smack away a fly, Circe didn’t seem to ‘notice’ her, a sure sign that she was willfully ignoring Fenrir’s existence. Since Vahn wasn’t really in much of a mood to humor her right now, he plopped his hand rather heavily on her head and ruffled her silky pink hair as she said, “If you don’t want to return to the other side, behave yourself for the time being…” Though Circe obviously wasn’t inscribed on the Throne of Heroes, as she had never died, Vahn knew that she would dissipate and return to the Reverse Side of the World without him serving as an anchor to keep her here.

In response to Vahn’s words, Circe’s expression became like a bullied child as her big eyes began to water slightly, accompanied by deeply set brows and a frown so pronounced her chin wrinkled in an adorable manner. Vahn felt like she was using a mental attack against him, even if there weren’t any ripples within his heart or mind indicating foul play. As a result, he began to gently stroke her head as he softly said, “Don’t cry…sorry…” Since it was rather ‘mean’ to threaten her with banishment just because he wasn’t in a good mood, Vahn felt a little guilty for bullying this tiny Demi-Goddess. Of course, when her frown immediately turned into a placated smile, these feelings lessened a great deal…

Though he decided it was necessary to come up with a means to ‘discipline’ Circe in the future, Vahn set aside that matter for the time being as he looked towards Merlin. Before any words could form on his mouth, however, a blinding flash of light appeared in the air where the Greater Grail had stood previously. All of the surrounding space became tinged with a bluish-black color as time seemed to slow to a crawl. Surprisingly, Vahn noticed that neither Scáthach nor Merlin was affected by this phenomenon, both merely showing mild surprise as they looked towards the course of the blue light. There, hovering right behind Vahn, what appeared to be a nascent blue star with two orbital discs revolving around it had appeared.

While everything else seemed to be moving several hundred times slower than normal, Vahn easily turned his head towards this new entity, asking, “Are you supposed to be Alaya…?” Though he had never seen it before, the golden rune on his left hand was currently glowing with greater intensity than before. Given the circumstances, especially with how his troubles seemed to be compounding, Vahn felt like this could be none other than his new ‘assistant’, the Counter Force assigned the task of ensuring humanity’s survival, Alaya. Since it was radiating an incomprehensible amount of energy, even though he couldn’t actually ‘sense’ anything, Vahn knew it was a force that he could never oppose in normal circumstances…

In response to his question, the peculiar blue star answered in a distinctly synthetic voice that sounded like several men and women speaking softly in concert. There was even a feeling of ‘awe’ that accompanied the voice as it answered, “I am the manifestation of humanity’s collection desire to avoid extinction. You are my Master, Vahn Aldrnari Mason, designated Type Omega. What are your commands, my Master?”

Though the voice sounded emotionless, Vahn had the strange impression that Alaya wasn’t all that fond of him. It could be due to its awareness that he was the ‘reason’ why humanity was in danger but, as it was unable to go against its ‘programming’, Alaya was now stuck listening to his whims. In a way, this made Vahn the most powerful entity within the world, even though he expected that Alaya wouldn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to obey him…

Having heard the way Alaya addressed Vahn, both Merlin and Scáthach showed different degrees of surprise on their faces. This was quickly followed by ‘realization’, causing Scáthach to produce a rare smile as she muttered in a voice that only Merlin could hear, “He must have come from beyond the Root. This is why my [Wisdome of the Haunted Ground] is unable to see through him.” In response to this, Merlin gave an affirmative nod before smiling as he added, “Truly an existence outside the flow of fate. I’ve always wanted to see what an ‘unknown’ future was like…ufufu…”

While Merlin and Scáthach were having a conversation of their own, Vahn continued to stare up at Alaya in deep thought before asking, “What exactly can you do for me? Your ability to influence time will undoubtedly come in handy, but I can’t exactly bring you around with me in that state. Won’t your presence cause all of the ‘old monsters’ hiding in the shadows to come out of the woodworks?” As Vahn had already discussed the existence of Alaya and Gaia with Rin in the past, he was aware that most prominent Magus were aware of them. In fact, other than tirelessly attempting to reach the Root, the most ‘important’ task of any Magus was concealing themselves from Alaya. Since one of its primary functions was to prevent humans from gaining enough power to potentially wipe each other out, Alaya took ‘exception’ to any Magus trying to gain access to Administrative Functions not intended for their use…

In response to Vahn’s words, Alaya flashed with a brilliant blue light, causing Vahn’s brain to buzz when the light faded away to reveal a petite blue-skinned ‘girl’ with white hair, violet eyes, and a similar style of ‘clothing’ to what was worn by Akasha and other Administrators. She looked like a ‘doll’ that had been mass-produced on a factory line, even though her expressionless face was almost ‘flawless’ in its structure. What stood out the most, even compared to the strange sight of seeing ‘clothes’ formed from flesh, were her two pointed ears, both close to 15cm tall, poking out from the top of her head. Though they weren’t covered in hair, giving them a sleek and almost jade-like quality, they complimented the slender, cat-like tail that was poking out from the back of her ‘dress’. Like the ears, her tail almost seemed like a perfect blend between flesh and metal while, at the very end, there were even two small white prongs, much like a plug…

As if to answer the question on Vahn’s mind, Alaya stated in a cold, now feminine, tone, “The data provided by the Root indicates you have an interest in the structure of Executor and Administrator vessels. In recognition of your willingness to fulfill your duty, I have been granted access to the vessel of an Executor, Lower-Grade. As for the assistance I can provide Master; I am able to perform Administrative functions in exchange for mana and other resources that are of equivalent value. It is possible to enter into a contract in exchange for immediate assistance, but I am prohibited to take any action that would directly grant you an increase in power.”

Hearing Alaya’s explanation, Vahn realized that Akasha had noticed when he had inspected her body within the intermediary space of the Root. Though it was certainly helpful to be able to ‘investigate’ a physical vessel that qualified as a Tier 5 item, the fact it was even vaguely feminine made him feel as though he was being bullied. Since Akasha and her superiors would undoubtedly want to analyze his ‘mana’ and blood directly, he expected they were trying to entice him by giving Alaya access to a female form. This wouldn’t have been too much of an issue, especially in exchange for having an unbeatable ally, but the fact she was a ‘loli’ made Vahn want to crawl into a hole and just reflect on his past actions…

There was a good chance that she was just trying to be ‘cute’ right now, as a Tier 5 should be able to easily change their form, but it was still a troubling thought to consider that Akasha and her superiors thought his preferences were in young girls. This was likely due to his intimate relationship with Fenrir, Nobunaga, and, most recently, Artoria. They were all around 150-154cm in height, possessing lithe figures with modest breasts, exactly the same as the current Alaya. The biggest problem was the fact that 15cm of Alaya’s height came from her biometallic rabbit-like ears, making her actual height seven centimeters shorter than Circe, a mere140cm…

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Vahn gave Alaya a final glance from top to bottom before saying, “That appearance will attract attention in the real world. Can you not stay invisible and carry out your other duties until I call you?” Knowing that Alaya was virtually omniscient, Vahn figured he could just call her in the moments he actually required her presence. Alaya, however, seemed to have different ‘orders’ as she shook her head in a mechanical fashion before answering, “Unless I reveal myself to them directly, normal humans, Magus included, cannot perceive my existence. Only entities that exist outside the standard axis of time would be able to sense me…”

When she was saying the last part, Alaya stared towards Scáthach and Merlin, eliciting a smile and a wave from the latter. Since both were inarguably ‘beneficial’ to the survival of mankind, Alaya chose to ignore their existence instead of trying to eject them back to their ‘prisons’. Even if she wanted to, however, Alaya was prevented from taking action against the anomalous entities brought into the timeline by her new ‘Master’. Since they would need the help of powerful allies to have any hope against the coming crisis, as she was also prevented from calling her Counter Guardians, Alaya was helpless to do much beyond following her Master’s whims. Her only comforts were the knowledge that her Master seemed intent on ensuring the survival of humanity. At the same time, the vessel that had been given to her would allow her to persist even after humanity was destroyed. As it was preloaded with the genetic material for all humans born after the Era of Gods, she could always recreate humanity if it was annihilated. Even with functionally limitless power, one of the few abilities she did not possess had been the creation of life. With this newfound capability, Alaya was able to begrudgingly accept the task she had been assigned…

Understanding Alaya’s words to mean she would practically be following him around, most likely to observe him even closer than the system could normally, Vahn released a heavy sigh. Just as Alaya comforted herself, he too found some small comfort by reminding himself that Alaya was almost like a weaker version of the system shop that also had nigh-omniscience within the Nasuverse. Since she would probably ‘have’ to listen to any orders he gave her, Vahn figured he hadn’t actually gotten all that bad a deal. After all, Alaya was genuinely feared by both the Mage’s Association and the Holy Church. The latter even ‘worshipped’ her to an extent, considering her akin to the ‘Will of God’ within the mortal world…

With that in mind, Vahn felt more hopeful of the future as he gave a small nod towards Alaya and said, “For the time being, just tend to your other duties. Until I have a better understanding of your nature and abilities, it would be best for you to observe for the time being. My other companions would probably have a heart attack if they knew I had such a powerful existence subordinated to me…” Though it wasn’t accurate to call Alaya his subordinate, as he had never gotten a notification from the system, it wasn’t far from the truth. Unless Akasha’s superiors intervened again, she was unable to go against the directive that had been assigned to her. A concept like ‘loyalty’ had no meaning to an existence that only lived to serve a specific purpose which, in this case, was to follow his orders…

Showing no sign of perturbation at essentially being told to ‘stay out of the way’, Alaya gave a small nod before time seemed to begin flowing at the standard pace. This was immediately followed by everyone except Circe looking at Alaya with shock and borderline hostility. Before things could get out of hand, however, Vahn gestured for them to remain calm and quiet, saying, “I will explain later.” This caused Circe to tilt her head adorably, her face filled to the brim with confusion, while Artoria gave a reluctant nod in response. As for Fenrir, she just glared at Alaya until Vahn gently guided her to look away to avoid drawing attention to the peculiar blue-skinned girl hovering behind him.

Taking this as his cue, Merlin had a pleasant smile on his face as he asked, “Shall we~?”, his staff already tapping the ground. Since the Greater Grail had already been destroyed, though not before losing all its power, there was no need to stick around any longer. Vahn swept up the fragments into his Inventory it one smooth motion before nodding his head in response to Merlin’s question. With that, the entire group vanished from the sub-dimension which, lacking its connection to both the Root and the real world, quickly collapsed behind them. Not even Angra Mainiiu had remained inside as, likely to ensure he would have to face the entity directly, it had been removed from the Greater Grail before he had the opportunity to try and destroy it…

After arriving back at the Ryuudou Temple, the first thing Vahn did was give a brief summary of what had happened after entering the Greater Grail. Since Akasha and her superiors would probably be annoyed with him if he mentioned their existence, Vahn explained that he had essentially come into contact with the Root. He described the strange space that he had visited, detailing his encounter with an unnamed entity that seemed to represent the ‘will’ of the Root itself. As this was actually the truth, just without naming Akasha, Vahn didn’t feel too guilty about manipulating the information a bit. To explain how he had acquired the assistance of Alaya, he revealed that Angra Mainiiu could only be sealed away for a maximum period of ten years before being loosed upon the world. With that in mind, their highest priority was obviously preparing for the manifestation of Angra Mainiuu by establishing a force that would be able to directly oppose him…

With both Merlin and Scáthach surprisingly supporting his version of events, Artoria and, though she couldn’t see Alaya, Circe both accepted Vahn’s words at face value. Artoria had already agreed to help him make the world a better place so it was a given she would stand at his side in the battle against Angra Mainiiu. As for Circe, she just wanted to remain in the current time axis and have fun since, back in her own timeline, the only thing she did to pass the time was lounge about on her island waiting for sailors to randomly appear. The present was far more interesting to her, especially since Vahn was her currently the object of her rather ‘peculiar’ affection…

Since he wanted to avoid having the same discussion several times, Vahn shelved most of the issues until later. The most important things right now were making sure each Servant that wanted to stay in the modern world had the means to anchor themselves as, without mana pathways linking them, there was a real chance they could dissipate if he didn’t give them mana in time. Vahn was intending to give [Spirit Choker]s to everyone who decided to stay as, even if it wasn’t enough to power them through an intense battle, it would allow them to stay manifested without needing him to ‘recharge’ them as often. Vahn was beginning to feel that things were quickly developing in a similar manner to how they had in Danmachi as, even though he ‘technically’ didn’t have any active relationships right now, he was still sleeping with five different women…seven if counting Ishtar and Ereshkigal within Rin’s body…

Setting aside that matter as well, Vahn turned his attention towards the most mana-heavy existence present, Heracles. He was currently holding Illya’s sleeping body with just his massive hands, almost as if he were ‘presenting’ her, not carrying her like a princess. Vahn wanted to ensure he was able to stay manifested as it would be much easier to keep Illya happy if she wasn’t forced to separate from one of the few ‘positive’ influences she had in her life. The problem was, Heracles ate up a massive amount of mana and, now that he didn’t even have Command Spells, Vahn would be hard-pressed to replenish the massive hero’s reserves without preparing a veritable tub of his blood…

After the matter of Command Spells crossed his mind, Vahn blinked in remembrance before looking through his Quest List and checking the status of his Repeatable Quest: [Cup of Heaven]. He had more than met the requirements to complete the Quest so, without hesitating on the matter, Vahn quickly submitted the Quest before accepting it anew. Not only did this give him twenty of a unique item called [Artificial-Command Seal], something he assumed would be extremely helpful, but the second item Vahn was given caused his eyes to widen in shock. Since he also got a nice boon of OP, Vahn couldn’t stop a smile from spreading across his face as his eyes passed over the description of the [Grace of the Root] a second time…

—————————————————————–

[Repeatable Quest: Cup of Heaven]

Rank: S

Completion Grade: SS

Objective(s): Become a Master within the ‘Holy Grail War’ (1/1), Defeat the Servants of all Rival Masters(10/6), Obtain access to the Greater Grail(1/1)

Optional Objective(s): Obtain the Servant of a Rival Master(6/6), Destroy the Lesser Grail(0/1), Destroy the Greater Grail(1/1)

Rewards: 10,000,000OP, 1x[Grace of the Root], 20x[Artificial-Command Seal]

Grade Rewards: 60,000,000OP, 6x[Seal of Binding] [Grace of the Root]

Rank: Unique

Use: Allows the user to make any wish within the world’s power to grant.

Restriction: Vahn Aldrnari Mason

[Artificial Command Seal]

Rank: Unique

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

Use: Allows the user to gain an additional Command Spell.

Restriction: Only Servants originally summoned by the user can be affected.

[Seal of Binding]

Rank: Unique

Use: A consumable item that changes the status of a Servant to reflect the user as their original Master. Range: 10m

—————————————————————–

With the [Grace of the Root] and the [Seal of Binding], Vahn now had multiple solutions to a problem that had genuinely concerned him only a few moments prior. By making Illya the Master of Heracles again, she could use her monstrous magical power to easily keep him bound to the present. He could even give her a few [Artificial Command Seal]s to make sure she could summon him during an emergency situation. Though she was functionally immortal at the present moment, Vahn knew there were bound to be powerful individuals that would desperately want to get their hands on Illya. In the event she was somehow captured by someone who could seal her, even temporarily, her immortality would quickly become another source of suffering…

Deciding to hold on to the [Grace of the Root], as having an extra wish laying around was extremely useful, Vahn pulled out a [Seal of Binding] before turning his attention to Merlin and asking, “Can you wake up Illya? I think our sleeping princess has gotten enough rest at this point…” Since she had been asleep since Merlin ‘saved’ her the previous day, it had been well over twenty-four hours since Illya had opened her eyes. Now that he knew he was one of the factors that had led to her current situation, Vahn was determined to try and help Illya find happiness. If she wanted a family, that was something he could easily provide her until she was stable enough to be separated from Cath Palug.

Without trying to talk him out of it, Merlin smiled in response to Vahn’s words as his eyes flashed with pink and purple light. From within Heracles’ palms, Illya began to stir awake much faster than Circe had, a good sign from Vahn’s perspective. The first thing she did was touch the area around her eyes, an action Vahn quickly interpreted to mean she was curious if her scar had been healed. Deciding it was best not to show any apprehension towards her, Vahn pulled out an ornate hand mirror before handing it over to Illya with a smile. Though she was somewhat hesitant at first, Illya eventually reached out with her tiny hands, gingerly accepting the mirror as she muttered, “Thank you…” in a demure tone of voice.

After accepting the mirror, Illya quickly confirmed that her face no longer had a rather vicious scar running across it. This caused her eyes to mist over, immediately followed by a few sniffles as she fought back tears. Though she was ultimately successful in keeping them at bay, it was easy to see she was extremely relieved to have her face healed. Even though she had a young appearance, Illya was still a girl and, though she had never had much of a reason to appeal to others, she still felt better now that her scar was gone. Though Vahn was tempted to mention he could heal the one on her chest, he decided to leave that until much later. For the time being, he figured it would be more than enough to mention, “I’m going to make you the Master of Heracles again. I do not have the mana to keep him manifested and I figured you would be happier with him at your side.”

As if her healed face was no longer a pressing concern, Illya showed an expression of surprise and uncontainable excitement as she asked, “Is that true!? Can you really give Berserker back to me!?” Though her expression became dour when Vahn immediately shook his head, this was only until he smiled and explained, “From now on, you should call him Heracles. To answer your question, yes, I do have the power to make you a Master again.” As he said this, Vahn handed over the [Seal of Binding] before explaining its use. Not just Illya, but Merlin seemed genuinely surprised by the fact that the small black stamp Vahn had handed Illya had the power to subjugate Servants. They were even more surprised when he pulled out what looked like temporary tattoos, each with a small red symbol on them that looked like a part of a Command Spell…

Following Vahn’s instructions, Illya was able to successfully claim ownership of Heracles before having three [Artificial Command Seal]s placed on her hand. When all of this was completed, she was no longer able to keep back her tears as, even though Heracles had no real reaction to it, she threw her arms around his neck and began to sob loudly. Since crying was usually a ‘positive’ sign, Vahn watched Illya and Heracles with a gentle smile on his face as, from the side, Artoria had a similar smile on her face as she whispered, “You did the right thing, Master. That girl deserves a little bit of happiness for once…” To this, Vahn gave an affirmative nod before casting a glance toward Fenrir, one which she immediately understood. Until Illya was a stable existence, she would do her best to protect and care for the girl, just as she had done for Preasia in the past…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘It seems like History is beginning to repeat itself!?’,’TFW even an emotionless and hyper-rational system thinks you are a lolicon…’,’Fenrir will Protec the smol floof’)

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