Once Vahn was in his room, he sat down on his bed and gave a short sigh. He had seen the expectation in Anubis’s eyes, but he wasn’t willing to go any further at this time. The words of Hephaestus had appeared in his mind the moment he started petting her ears, and he didn’t want to let down the red-haired goddess that had shown him so much love. Though Vahn might interact with other girls, he didn’t want to be the type to betray the trust of the ones he was already with. Right now, Vahn had to worry about his date with Eina, the aftereffects of his rendezvous with Tiona and Ais, as well as various other things. Creating friction between Anubis and Hephaestus wasn’t on the top of his to-do list.
With that thought in mind, Vahn opened his system and looked at the information of the new function he had obtained recently, the ‘gacha’ function. Right now, the function had two options available to him, each called ‘standard gacha’ and ‘premium gacha’ respectively. Vahn learned that he could use the standard gacha with just OP, while the premium gacha only accepted tickets that could be obtained if he fights strong enemies. According to Sis, the way the gacha functioned worked was by allowing him to choose a specific type of item, such as healing, strengthening, weapons. armor, accessories, etc. After he chose the category, he could put in 10,000 OP into the system and it would give him ANY item within the category regardless of price. This meant that Vahn had a chance of getting items that cost several million OP, but it also had a much greater chance of giving him something worse much less.
Vahn wasn’t too interested in potentially wasting away his OP, so he put the ‘standard gacha’ to the back of his mind while learning about the ‘Premium Gacha’. It worked very similarly to the standard gacha except for the fact that the items were always useful for his current soul tier. This was an incredible surprise for Vahn, as the shop didn’t list the use of items and it was a bit of a gamble whenever he bought something. At least now he could guarantee the item would be practical for his current strength level. The problem was, right now he only had the 10+1 premium gacha pull ticket, and it required him to use the ticket on a single category.
While Vahn was lost in thought, Sis spoke out in his mind, (*Since it will be difficult to explain where weapons and armor come from, you should focus on consumables that can increase your strength. Just like the ‘body strengthening liquid’ you used when you first arrived, there are limitless items within the system that can empower your body and strengthen your foundation. For equipment, you’re already in cahoots with the most prolific forging god in the entire record. I’m sure if you ask, she would be more than willing to help you out.*)
Sis words were true, and Vahn knew that, if he asked, Hephaestus may very well forge him an entire set of equipment. The fact she spent more than 2BV just to secure him materials made this painfully aware to Vahn. However, though it might be the best course of action, Vahn couldn’t agree to take advantage of her kindness when he could rely on himself to improve. He had learned that equipment wasn’t the most important factor to strength, as his use of [Rakshasa Body] had almost invalidated his need for it entirely. Vahn now understood that equipment would always be secondary to personal strength, and he even felt like that was the lesson ‘The Path’ had wanted him to learn when it gave him the quest in the first place.
Following Sis’s advice, Vahn used his 10+1 draw ticket and he heard a loud sound playing in his mind as a giant wooden wheel studded with gold started spinning in his consciousness. The wheel continued to spin, and every revolution made Vahn feel a bit more excited as it slowly began spitting out orbs from a hole in the center of the wheel. After it spat out 11 orbs, they each started cracking open with a rainbow-colored light as 11 different items that could increase his strength popped up.
Vahn noticed that most of the items seemed to have a white aura surrounding them and they looked rather plain compared to the two which had a resplendent rainbow color. As Vahn focused his intent on the items, their use appeared in his mind and he smiled after reading the descriptions. The [Bone Tempering Pill], [Mental Expansion Liquid], and other items had very obvious functions just based on their names, and they would provide direct benefits to his parameters. However, it was the two rainbow items that stood out which caught his interest and made a large smile appear on his face.
————————————————————————-[Magia Erebea Manual]Rank: SS
Use: A manual detailing the forbidden technique developed by a forsaken queen in a foreign world. Comprehension of this skills allows the user to absorb elemental attacks and infuse it into their body to increase strength. Mastery allows the user to embody the elemental properties of the skills and achieve an immortal body. [Mantra of Eternity]Rank: SSS
Use: A record of the first words heard at the beginning of eternity. Comprehension of the words increases the spiritual strength of the user without limit. In the vastness of Eternity, there were never any limits to begin with.
Though the two techniques would be incredibly difficult to learn, just practicing them would greatly increase his strength over time. Vahn immediately pulled out the two items from his inventory and noticed that the [Magia Erebea Manual] was actually a black orb while the [Mantra of Eternity] was a strange piece of white jade, unlike anything Vahn had ever seen before. The moment the jade landed in his palm, it dissolved into a liquid and Vahn heard a series of nine words sound out in his mind. Unfortunately, no matter how much he focused his mind, he was unable to make out what the words were. Interestingly enough, they seemed to silently repeat in his mind without ceasing, so Vahn assumed he would be able to comprehend it with time.
Vahn then took the black orb into his hand and stared at it curiously for a few minutes before Sis sighed in his mind and said, “You need to focus your intent into the orb. The technique should be recorded inside, but even I don’t know what will happen when it activates.” Vahn nodded his head and considered Sis’s words. After weighing various factors for around ten minutes, Vahn took a deep breath and focused his intent on the orb without any further hesitation. Though he didn’t always understand ‘The Path’, Vahn trusted that it had never done anything to harm him since he obtained it.
After Vahn’s intent entered the orb, he opened his eyes and found himself in a strange space. The ground below him seemed to be an endless white plain that stretched out beyond the horizon, but the sky above was pitch black without a single light or star to be seen. Vahn felt a bit unnerved by the strange space, almost like he was an inconsequential being in the vastness of this black and white world.
Vahn assumed he was inside the orb, or at least his spiritual sense had entered into it. Though his body felt real, Vahn was able to vaguely sense that his body was closer to a projection which lacked any real substance. While he was inspecting himself, the voice of a woman filled with disgust, intrigue, and a profound loneliness sounded out in the space from all directions. “How are you able to come here, boy?”
Since the voice appeared from every direction, Vahn didn’t know where he should look as he was unable to see the source of the voice. Assuming the voice was likely the ‘forsaken queen’ mentioned by the system, Vahn gave a polite bow to the empty space and said, “Forgive my intrusion. I obtained a strange black orb and tried infusing my intent into it. Afterward, I awoke in this space.”
The voice spoke out in a deadpan manner, but Vahn could still feel the sadness dripping from each of her words, “Perhaps a legacy left behind by my future self…very well, I’ll play along for now. I assume you’ve come here to learn my ultimate technique?” As the voice ended, the appearance of a tall and beautiful blonde woman appeared in front of Vahn. She was wearing a beautiful black dress and had sad blue eyes as she looked at Vahn in an expressionless fashion.
After looking him up and down, the girl said in a somewhat confused manner, “I can sense a powerful magical energy in your body, but it doesn’t seem to be from any system I’ve ever seen. What kind of magic can you use?” As a being that had existed for thousands of years, the woman was interested in the strange magic coming from the boy’s body.
Vahn nodded his head and said politely, “Other than a beast transformation magic, I have never learned any other forms of magic. Most of my energy is used to maintain my domain and to amplify my skills and body.” The beautiful woman nodded her head and muttered, “So you’re the type that relies on body enhancing and transformation…maybe you’ll be suited for my magic after all?”
Hearing her words, Vahn couldn’t help but smile with a bit of excitement building up inside of him. However, before he could celebrate, the woman waved her hand and Vahn felt a powerful surge of cold energy encompass the area around him. He immediately expanded his domain and transformed into his Báihǔ form to evade the lethal attack. Where he stood previously, there was now a gigantic ice pillar more than 20m tall and 8m wide. It emitted a fierce cold that caused all of Vahn’s instincts to trigger warning bells in his mind.
Suddenly, Vahn spun around mid-air and tried to kick the figure that had appeared behind him in an instant. The woman effortlessly caught his attack with her delicate hand before saying, “Interesting. This domain of yours seems very powerful, and that transformation seems to boost your speed.” As she spoke she spun Vahn with a terrifying force and threw his body like a bullet into the stark white ground. Vahn’s body slammed heavily into the ground and caused a crater to form in the previously flawless surface.
From above, he could hear the now cold voice of the woman as she stared down at him and said, “Do your best to survive. If I’m not satisfied with your efforts, not only will you not learn my technique, but you’ll never escape from this space for as long as you live. Its been a long time since I’ve had a companion to talk to, so don’t die too quickly.” As she spoke, she began to form large spears of ice in the air without any chanting or movement.
Vahn saw the sight and felt fear begin to emerge from deep inside his mind. The woman was able to effortlessly float in the air and use incredibly powerful ice magic without any prior indicator. Not only that, but her strength and speed far outclassed his current state, even while pushing his form and domain to the limit. Vahn had to maintain his focus or he wouldn’t even be able to react when she made her attacks.
Though Vahn had met actual gods and goddesses, this was the first time he felt awed by the power and presence of another person. The blond-haired beauty stood like an untouchable goddess in the air as a blue light radiated from her body and spread out into the surrounding area like a divine aura. Everything within her icy domain seemed within her control, and even Vahn felt his body pressured by the force. If not for the ‘eternal flame’ beating in his chest, he feared he may have been frozen solid on the spot.
The spears of ice launched at such speeds that the air shattered around them as the ruthlessly pierced toward Vahn’s location. He managed to react in time and evade the attacks, but he could feel frost begin to build on his body as he continued pushing himself further beyond his limits. Seeing him dodge another attack, the woman’s brows raised a bit as she said, “Your domain is even able to resist mine? I had expected you to be an ice sculpture by now, but you seem to be unaffected by the suppression of my magic power. Very interesting…”
After she finished speaking, Vahn lost sight of her figure as she teleported into his blind spot. It wasn’t sped, which he might have been able to deal with, but actual teleportation. Vahn had never dealt with such a technique and he was powerless as he felt a powerful energy pierce through his body. He coughed out a mouthful of blood onto the previously flawless body of the woman as he stared at the magical sword piercing through his body.
The woman seemed entirely unconcerned by the boy dangling from her sword as she supported his body in the air with the blade. When he coughed a mouthful of blood on her body, she used her free hand to wipe up a bit and, in front of the pained and confused expression of Vahn, licked his blood off her finger. As soon as she swallowed the blood, her cold expression immediately faded as she looked incredulously at Vahn who was rapidly losing strength. Just as she was about to question him, Vahn’s body underwent a change and he turned into his turtle form before shattering the magical sword in his gut.
As he started falling toward the ground, he pulled out his bow and without hesitation used 10,000 OP to buy a [Yi] arrow which he fired at the currently surprised woman. Though she was going to swat away the arrow at first, the woman’s expression changed once again as she tried to initiate her teleportation and evade. Unfortunately, it was like space was locked around her and she had to meet the deadly arrowhead on using her magical energy.
Vahn collided with the ground hard before bounding onto his feet and notching a second [Yi] arrow. Though he had entered this orb with the intention of learning the skill, it seemed like the woman was intent on actually killing him. Though his current body wasn’t his physical body, Vahn knew that if his spiritual energy were dispersed forcibly, he’d likely end up brain dead or in a coma once again.
After the black gravitational field dispersed, Vahn was surprised by the appearance of the woman. Though he hadn’t expected to kill her with the arrow, he was surprised to find that, other than parts of her beautiful dress, she remained entirely unharmed as she looked down on him with a mixture of contempt and intrigue. In her same cold voice, the woman asked, “Are you really human?”
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Getting Strong Aint Easy’,’Vahn in Danger’,’Gacha is Dangerous’)