Chapter 1110: Awareness

Somewhat unexpectedly, it took a little more than ten minutes for Alaya to finally finishing altering the structure of the cavern to contain one of the most intricate and complex magic circles Vahn had ever seen. It not only covered the floor, walls, and ceiling, but even took the position of the Welsh Dragon and the thirteen pillars of luminescent crystal into account, creating a secondary magic circle around its body that allowed its mana to naturally spread into the surroundings without interfering directly with the system. Vahn intended to study the makeup of this formation in great detail later on as, even if he couldn’t recreate it with his current comprehension, the future was without limit.

While Alaya was busy performing her task, Merlin had come to stand next to Vahn and Artoria, asking, “Have you considered which Heroic Spirit’s would best suit your cause? With the nascent state of the Empire, it may be best to request the aid of a Heroic Spirit specializing in Innovation, Counter-Curses, or any who can bolster our forces in a short period of time. I do not know the limit of the system created by Alaya…perhaps you will be able to summon as many Heroic Spirits as you want? Regardless, it is important you select individuals that will not disrupt the order you have yet to establish. I’m certain you can understand, my wise Sage Emperor, how some ‘Heroic Spirits’ could be more troublesome than others…”

With the matter of Circe fresh on his mind, combined with the fact he hadn’t even liberated Medusa from her Magic Core, Vahn nodded his head in understanding. After all, he could even potentially summon a Heroic Spirit as powerful as Gilgamesh, an existence that would greatly increase their power, assuming he could ever be reined in. Sometimes, it was better to secure weaker Heroic Spirits with a lot of potential as, with the help of Paracelsus and Illya, Vahn was planning to allow them to incarnate in the present. With the ability to learn and grow, even midling Heroic Spirits would be able to greatly increase their strength by the time Angra Mainyu manifested into the world. The only problems with this was, until he had a means for them to stabilize their existence, Vahn didn’t have the OP reserves to sustain too many Heroic Spirits…

For better or worse, he could actually deal with most ‘female’ Heroic Spirits as, compared to their male counterparts, their ability to take in and store mana within their bodies was far more efficient. Even Homunculi were predominately created as females as, with the way the Magic Circuits of the womb interfaced with the rest of the body, it was possible to use the organ as a ‘battery’, much like Circe. He didn’t even need to really have sex with them directly as, with a bit of effort, Vahn knew he could be able to catalyze his blood or semen before either having them implant it into their bodies or consuming it directly. He didn’t have to personally be involved in the process, even for ‘gluttons’ like Scáthach…

After thinking for a while, Vahn was unable to come up with an answer as it was impossible to determine the gender, much less the true nature of a Heroic Spirit. Even some of the most famous male figures that existed in the Age of Man, King Arthur and Oda Nobunaga, both ended up being cute girls. If the Throne of Heroes allowed him to somehow call upon Gods, Phantasmal Species, and Anti-Heroes, there was a chance he would be able to reap some serious benefits. However, as even Artoria and Scáthach weren’t supposed to be embedded into the Throne of Heroes, as they had never died, Vahn was skeptical. It was unlikely he would be able to summon any Heroic Spirit that didn’t exist within his current time axis unless Akasha had given him Administrative Access to the ‘real’ Throne…

This was the problem with having Alaya create the system as, if he had taken upon himself to spend a few months forming one for himself, it might have been possible to ‘exploit’ things quite a bit. It was still possible, and highly likely, that he would be able to modify and upgrade the system in the future but, at least for the time being, Vahn didn’t know much about its capabilities. With that in mind, he decided to go with one of his previous intentions, turning to Artoria to ask, “If you had the option, is there anyone you would like to reunite with? We’re going to be fighting together for many years and, as much as I believe we can all get along together, I know it would make things easier if everyone had someone they knew from their own timeline here in the present.” As Vahn had already talked to Nobunaga, Lakshmibai, and Artoria about their pasts, he knew all three girls had important people they would undoubtedly enjoy reconnecting with…

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Unexpectedly finding herself put on the spot, Artoria was slightly startled since she had still been in the middle of processing everything Merlin had said. If not for the fact her Round Table had been torn apart by civil war and strife, she was tempted to throw out the names of almost any of her former companions. At the same time, however, Artoria felt like it would make things awkward within the castle if she summoned her most loyal Knights, only to have them bend the knee to another. She was no longer the King and, knowing what some of her Knights thought about her toward the end of their lives, Artoria wasn’t confident they would be happy to be called upon her in such a selfish manner. The only ones she knew would answer the call willingly were Galahad and her niece, Gareth…

Remembering how Lancelot had crushed the skull of her innocent and honorable niece, Artoria felt a twinge of pain within her heart. Though she had already pardoned Lancelot for his crimes, resulting in the collapse of the Round Table, the memory of watching her kin unceremoniously slaughtered was not something that could be forgotten easily. Since she never had the chance to live a full life, Artoria was tempted to ask Vahn to bring Gareth to her side as, with the exception of Galahad, she was someone that would greatly benefit their cause. At the same time, however, Artoria felt a little anxious as she was afraid that Gareth would fall to Vahn’s ‘wiles’, just as she had…

Seeing Artoria in deep thought, Vahn smiled thoughtfully before asking, “How about we call upon Mordred? It wouldn’t be easy, but I’m certain the both of you would become much stronger people if you can set aside your differences and become a real parent and child. If you can make up with her, summoning the other Knights of the Round shouldn’t be all that difficult. When I have a better understanding of how the system works, we may even be able to summon groups at a time, trying to balance things out to avoid any major issues…hmmm…” Vahn knew it wasn’t going to be easy to keep the ‘balance’ while the majority of individuals in his organization were Heroic Spirits. Though ‘Knights’ were a little easier to deal with, as their sense of duty made it almost impossible for them to turn their back on a world facing destruction, even they had their issues…

Recalling the conversation she had with Vahn in the past, Artoria furrowed her brows slightly since, as much as she would like to come to an accord with Mordred, it didn’t seem like the time or place to do so. Before she could make a decision on the matter, Merlin rubbed his chin with an amused smile on his face as he remarked, “That may not be such a bad idea….yes, the existence of Mordred is something unique, even amongst Homunculi. She was the product of powerful Magecraft and a forbidden tryst, born into this world through deceit and wicked enchantments…” Though he was going to say more, Merlin saw the razor-sharp glare that Artoria was giving him, ultimately causing him to change the subject slightly, adding, “If give powerful parental figures and guided onto a more righteous path, I believe Mordred could become a powerful ally. The main source of her rebellious nature is due to her small age and the fact she was manipulated by others…you would not fault a child for wanting their father’s attention, would you…?”

Artoria’s face formed into a frown when she heard Merlin’s words, causing her to retort, “A child should have never been given power and authority in the first place. I understand there was more going on than I was made aware…perhaps you will actually explain things to me now that I am no longer a King bound by fate…?” Since Merlin had kept many things from her in life, Artoria felt very frustrated since he seemed to know ‘everything’ that was happening behind the scenes. She didn’t blame him for her failures as a King but being kept in the dark, even now, wasn’t something that sat well with her.

With an understanding nod, Merlin surprised Artoria by saying, “Of course, my dear Artoria…now that you have set upon this path, it is only right that I reveal to you the matters of the past. However, I will only do so when you have truly started walking toward the future…one day, I hope you will be able to truly overcome the burdens of the past. After all, isn’t that your own conviction as well…?” It had only been a few minutes ago that Vahn made his bold claims about the only important matters being the present and how they shape the future. Artoria had seemed resolute when she heard this but, as she was ought to do, it didn’t take long before she let her apprehensions and failure come back to the surface. It was because of this that Merlin felt it was actually a good idea to summon Mordred as the thing he desired more than anything right now was to see Artoria forged a path beyond the fate that had been decided for her…

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Amidst the awkward silence following Merlin’s question, Alaya broke from her pose, drawing the eyes of everyone in the room as she hovered over to Vahn’s side and said, “It is complete.” At the same time, she pulled out a hexagonal key with thousands of shifting runes on its surface, handing it over to Vahn before explaining, “You are the only person who can activate the system to interface with the Throne of Heroes. Any attempt by others to do so will result in immediate destruction so please keep that in mind, Master.” With that said, Alaya turned her eyes towards Vahn’s neck as if she were waiting for permission. This elicited a wry smile from Vahn as he asked, “How do I use the system…?”

Turning her violet eyes to meet his gaze, Alaya plainly stated, “You put in the key…” in a cold monotone. Fortunately, she also pointed towards a section of the massive magic circle where a small hexagonal outline existed within a nine-tiered magic circle, something that would require a person to be very near the peak of Tier 5 to even produce. Vahn realized he could have intuited where the key needed to be inserted without asking but, choosing to ignore the matter, he just gave a small nod in response to Alaya, saying, “Thank you…” Following this, she latched onto his neck once again, causing a small pinching feeling that was almost immediately followed by a steady flow of warmth into his body.

Holding the strange purple key in hand, Vahn looked at Artoria and said, “Though you are already an amazing woman, I believe you can become even more so in the future. So long as you continue to strive towards a better future, it will eventually come to pass…ultimately, the decision is yours to make, Artoria. You will have my support, regardless of the path you wish to walk…” Though he was trying to give Artoria a small push, his words didn’t seem to be as impactful as intended. Artoria gave a tired sigh in response before surprising Vahn as she asked, “What will you do when Mordred tries to make a move on you? That girl has a strong personality and cannot be controlled so easily. I do not believe we can’t reconcile but, until then, I know she will continue to pester you just to spite me…”

Vahn was slightly taken aback by Artoria’s words but, even more unexpectedly, Merlin came to his aid, pointing out, “Mordred should be easier to deal with than you imagine. If you want to avoid her taking such actions, you need only have Scáthach revert her physical body to match her age. Placing a temporary seal on her power, making it so that she can only use it under certain conditions, is also a relatively easy feat to perform. Are you intending to convince me that you can’t deal with a child that just wants her father’s attention…? Perhaps that necessitates the summoning of Mordred even more…hmm, like father, like son…?” Though she was on following along with Merlin’s words at first, Artoria flinched when he added the last ‘unnecessary’ remark. She knew he was implying that she was just as immature as Mordred…

Finding some truth in Merlin’s words, Vahn nodded his head before placing his hand on Artoria’s shoulder and saying, “It will be fine. You have anywhere between ten and seventy years to make amends with each other. Don’t forget that I will be there to help you as well…” Toward the end of his words, Vahn moved his hand to gently stroke Artoria’s chin with an affectionate smile on his face. This caused Artoria’s expression to turn complicated until, in a surprisingly adorable manner, she eventually stamped her feet a few times before shouting, “Fine then…! I’ll do it, okay!?” Since she said these words with a red face and slightly teary eyes, both Vahn and Merlin looked at Artoria like she were an adorable and rare creature. This caused her to cross her arms in a huff before saying, “Get on with it…the others are probably waiting for us to return…”

Though he was tempted to ask if she needed time to collect herself, so as not to present an embarrassing sight to Mordred, Vahn figured this might actually be a good thing. With that in mind, he walked over to the hexagonal gap in the magic circle before placing the key into a small slot that was almost perfectly flush with the key’s outline. This caused the entire formation to flash with a brilliant blue light before, in the next moment, Vahn found himself alone in a bluish-black space once again. Even Alaya was no longer present on his shoulder, alerting Vahn to the fact that he had likely been removed from the time axis, at least temporarily. This meant that, no matter how much time he spent in this space, no time would pass back in the real world…

With no tutorial to explain what he ought to do, Vahn made his way towards the only landmark in the space, a massive sphere that was hovering in the void above. Beneath it, there were a few black pillars that came up to around chest level, each appearing like a computer terminal of sorts. Though others might not be able to read the information flashing across the surfaces, Vahn had no such handicap. Following the instructions on the main panel, Vahn placed his palm against the smooth ‘stone’ surface before feeling his hand sink into the material slightly. A complex network of what appeared to be magic circuits extended outward from his hand like a pulse before, moments later, a synthetic voice echoed, “Authorized Access by Entity Classification: Type Omega. Please input the parameters and restrictions of your summoning.”

After the voice sounded out, Vahn noticed the panels in front of him restructure themselves to show a numerical value at the top of the screen while a seemingly infinite list of options populated the panels to the left and right. The left side showed modifiable parameters, meaning he could alter the base parameters of the summoned Heroic Spirit in exchange for reducing the numerical value at the top. On the right side, there were various skills and abilities listed, things Vahn understood to be ‘restrictions’ since they would be the only abilities usable by the summoned Heroic Spirit. The only exception would be their unique Noble Phantasms and any skills derived from their Innates. It even seemed possible to give skills and abilities belonging to a specific Class to any other Class, even though this caused the number at the top of the screen to steeply decline…

Since he seemed to have a limitless amount of time, Vahn continued scrolling through all the options without even turning his attention to the list of Heroic Spirits just yet. He had tried speaking with the voice to ask for assistance but the only thing he got in response was absolute silence. As a result, Vahn had to sort through the list manually, looking for a specific function that he hoped existed within the endless stream of options. Fortunately, after what felt like ten hours, Vahn saw an option that was functionally similar to what he had in mind, simply listed as ‘Transmigrator’. Clicking on the ability, Vahn’s face warped into an excited smile since this was ‘exactly’ what he had hoped for…

Though the Throne of Heroes was understood as being a mechanism to record the feats of Heroic Spirits throughout history, Vahn knew it wasn’t as simple as the Magus Community believed it to be. The fact that the Greater Grail had been able to summon Anti-Heroes, Gods, and even ‘living’ beings showed that it was a far more complex system than what was currently understood. The fact there was a [Transmigrator] skill at all was the only proof Vahn needed as, after clicking on its description, the skill ate the entire value listed at the top of the screen. In exchange, at least according to the skill’s description, it would literally pull the living person from their timeline, meaning they would not be a fragmented soul and would have all their potential and abilities returned to them…

Vahn had been a little worried that the Throne of Heroes would only be able to transplant the Ego onto a vessel, meaning it would, at best, be a ‘copy’ of a previously existing person. The soul was not something that could be transplanted easily, something Vahn had been concerned about since the present Nobunaga, Lakshmibai, and Astolfo were all fragmented souls. Though Vahn knew it was possible to ‘strengthen’ their current fragment to the point it became a complete soul, he couldn’t help worrying about them. If they suddenly lost their lives, even summoning them a second time would only give him another copy, not the same versions he had come to care about…

Shaking his head to clear negative thoughts, Vahn began to peruse the list of Heroic Spirits before only just now realizing there was a small ‘space’ at the side that he could use to filter results. Since he had only used a computer a few times, Vahn wasn’t that savvy when it came to handling systems other than his own. Even then, he was incredibly reliant on Sis’ help to manage most functions so Vahn didn’t let it bother him too much that he had missed something as simple as a search box. When he saw there were actually several Mordred’s listed, however, Vahn’s face formed into a small frown before he changed the search parameter to ‘Artoria Pendragon’ this time.

Though Artoria wasn’t supposed to be inscribed on the Throne of Heroes, this didn’t seem to matter at all as he got a massive list of results after inputting her name into the search box. Following this, Vahn input the names of Merlin, Scáthach, and even Ishtar. Every time he inputs a name, Vahn would get a variable list of results, the fewest ‘hit’s being when he searched for Merlin’s name. Ishtar had even more results that Artoria, allowing Vahn to understand that the Throne of Heroes didn’t just record the feats of Heroes but more so served as a repository for every entity that had lived within the Root. There was an Ishtar for pretty much every timeline present within the system, as she was part of the natural order during the Age of Gods, while existences like Artoria only appeared in a few timelines. For being like Scáthach and Merlin, who were isolated from the time axis, they only appeared a few times since they were on a level that even distinguished them from the Gods…

Releasing a heavy sigh, Vahn then proceeded to rub his temples to ease the tension headache that was threatening to overwhelm him. Though he had known there were functionally infinite timelines, many only having small differences from their parallel counterparts, it was still a bit overwhelming to see the names of people he cared about listed billions of times. With this information, Vahn knew it would even be possible to ‘extract’ several Artoria’s from their timelines, having functionally identical versions of the same person, each with their own unique souls but nearly identical memories. They would even have their own [Excalibur]s, an item that was only supposed to exist as a singularity of sorts within their respective timelines…

Realizing that he had undoubtedly been given access to the ‘real’ Throne of Heroes, Vahn had to spend a few hours just sorting through his thoughts. After all, if he truly wanted to ‘guarantee’ victory against Angra Mainyu, it wasn’t impossible to just mass summon the same powerful Heroic Spirit, pulling them from their respective timelines to aid him in his own. If he didn’t want to have them transmigrate, Vahn could be content with knowing that their Ego was enough for the time being as, with a bit of effort, he knew their souls would be complete. This would make them a ‘unique’ existence, one which would undoubtedly appear on the Throne of Heroes from the very moment they obtained a complete soul…

After sitting with his back against the cold stone for an indeterminant amount of time, Vahn once again released a heavy sigh before rising to his feet. He knew things like this would be ‘normal’ for him when he had enough power to regulate his own Records. Still, it was a difficult reality to face at his current Tier since the concepts at play were simply beyond his ability to fully comprehend. With this being the case, Vahn input Mordred’s name again before adding extra search parameters to try and limit the variance down to the original Mordred hailing from Artoria’s timeline. This, however, still gave him several tens of thousands of options, each having nearly the exact same description, skills, abilities, and base parameters. Since he didn’t know the Space-Time coordinates of his own timeline, Vahn had no way of guaranteeing the Mordred he summoned was the one hailing from his timeline. Though it might not matter in the grand scheme of things, as they would have the exact same memories, Vahn felt incredibly perturbed justifying things in such a manner. After all, this would be the same as him believing a ‘copy’ of one of his lovers, so long as they had the same thoughts and memories, was the ‘same’ as the original…

Though there was a fair chance she couldn’t answer him while he was in the Throne of Heroes, Vahn turned his head towards the void and shouted, “Akasha! I only want to summon the Modred from my current timeline! I will exchange unique methods to strengthen the soul if you and your superiors allow me to designate specific individuals within the Throne of Heroes…!” Since Vahn assumed one of the main research subjects of Termina Nasu was the strengthening of the soul, he didn’t imagine they would be able to refuse. Any random cultivation method he purchased from the system shop would suffice to allow them to start a completely new experiment that had fundamentally no impact on things within the Root. Since they had lived for an incomprehensibly long period of time already, Vahn didn’t imagine they would be able to reach Tier 6 so easily, regardless of the techniques he gave them…

Only a few seconds after his spontaneous shout, a complex pulse of runes flashed across the ground before the body of Akasha came into existence from the bluish-black ‘stone’ below. She wasted no time in answering, “Your terms have been accepted. If your words are true, giving you higher access rights to the Throne of Heroes can be immediately approved.”

With a nod, Vahn spent 500,000,000OP to purchase one of the known Cultivation Techniques that had been referenced in some of the documents he had perused during his research. It was known as the [Nine Yang Dragon] cultivation method, allowing normal humans to train their souls to the level of Gods and obtain immortal souls. Though such things weren’t impossible within the Nasuverse, it was usually due to the ‘fate’ certain individuals had been assigned, not because of their own efforts. A Record could never grow beyond its designated limit until something like Vahn entered within, irreversibly ‘breaking’ everything by his and The Path’s existence…

Akasha didn’t even move from where she was standing, teleporting the scroll Vahn had produced directly into her hand before an incalculable number of runes flashed across her eyes. This process took much longer than Vahn expected, making him feel somewhat nervous, but Akasha eventually nodded her head before ‘tossing’ the scroll into the void. Following this, she plainly stated, “The Throne of Heroes has been altered to allow for greater ease of access. You will not have any issues with designating specific timelines any further. Are there any other arrangements you would like to make?”

Shaking his head, Vahn gave a wry smile before explaining, “Producing that scroll actually took up a fifth of my total reserves. They are a little more complicated to manufacture than other items due to the complexity and significance of their existence…” Though Vahn had been intending to provide a bit of information for potential future benefits, Akasha caused his words to trail as she created a small transparent golden cube before levitating it toward him and saying, “This is an enriched cube of pure Divine Energy. According to our data, it will allow you to replenish your reserves to the point they had been at upon entering into the Root. My Superiors expected great things from you, Type Omega.” With that said, Akasha sunk into the ground once again since she had determined that Vahn had nothing else to request…

Choosing to keep the [Divine Energy Cube] instead of cannibalizing it for OP, Vahn placed it into his Inventory with a straight face before turning his attention back to the stones panels beneath the Throne of Heroes. There was now an extra parameter listed next to each of the listed Mordred, appearing similar to a serial number that was sixty digits long. At the top of the screen, he could see a similar number listed within the main interface, allowing Vahn to select the matching Mordred, implying that she should be the one he was looking for. It was possible that Akasha was trying to fool him but, taking into account how long they had lived, Vahn didn’t even know if they were capable of trying to deceive people. Deceit was something that short-lived entities used to gain temporary benefits, not something that external existences that made Ouranos look like a child would rely on…

Deciding it would only lead to a negative train of thought if he chose to believe Akasha and her Superiors were playing him, Vahn set the matter aside as he selected Mordred’s name and the [Transmigrator] skill. Though she would probably be a little ‘difficult’ to deal with, the explanation for the Throne’s use detailed that the summoned entity had compulsory loyalty towards the summoner. Even though he wasn’t intending to host something like a Holy Grail War, Mordred would still fall under the classification of a Saber-Class Servant according to the parameters defined by the Throne of Heroes itself. This implied that he would be able to view her memories, and vice versa, while his Command Spells would be able to prevent her from going berserk and trying to kill Artoria…

With his mind made up, Vahn pressed his palm against the panel once again to confirm his decision, an action that immediately caused his surroundings to change as the nine-tiered magic circle around his body began to glow with an even more intense light…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘He should have summoned Solomon or Galahad, tbh…’,’Poor Artoria, getting forced to face her past traumas directly xD…’,’Vahn is literally exploiting reality at this point…’,’Mega Chapter Madness’)

(A/N: I’m not sure what the heck is wrong with Webnovel these days, but they actually changed the main webpage to filter out any non-standard/non-premium content from the power rankings. Even though EPIC is ranked 6 in popularity, it doesn’t show up on the lists at all. You have to scroll past 154 other premium titles, translations, and originals to even find it right now. Though the phone app still shows it in the rankings, that is super busted right now because they are constantly changing things. In other words, they are crippling fanfiction and making them more obscure than ever, all to give more exposure to their cash cows…)

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