It was still the middle of the afternoon, so after Vahn pet her ears for a few moments, Anubis left looking reminiscent of how Vahn arrived. She seemed to be happy and looking forward to the future, and Vahn couldn’t help but smile as he watched her leave. The golden ribbon around her tail stood out from the rest of her outfit, and Vahn couldn’t help but let his eyes be drawn to it as she walked away. Shaking his head, Vahn left the corridor and headed toward his own bedroom to get everything ready to put his plan into action.
After arriving, Vahn laid down in his bed and relaxed for a few minutes. He had been in somewhat high-tensions for a good part of the day, and he wanted to calm his mind before beginning. After around fifteen minutes, he smiled and had an expectant look in his eyes as he pulled out the orb that led to the black and white world where Evangeline awaited. He had learned from Sis that the time dilation within the orb was a factor of 1440:1. That meant, as long as his spirit was inside the orb, Vahn could spend an entire afternoon, roughly five hours, and it would translate to nearly 300 days worth of time.
With the orb in hand, Vahn inserted his consciousness and once again opened his eyes in the black and white world. Evangeline was waiting for him, but she was now in her adult form and wearing an elegant black dress. She seemed to be expecting him, as she said, “Good, you’re finally here. There are a lot of things we need to discuss now that you’re my disciple.” Vahn nodded his head, but he couldn’t help but ask, “Why are you back in your adult form, doesn’t it take mana to sustain?”
Evangeline gave him a cold look and ignored his question as she said, “Didn’t I tell you to call me Master? Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten already, or is it that you want me to punish you?” Vahn could feel the air around him begin to grow colder as he laughed awkwardly and said, “Please forgive me, Master Evangeline. I’ve been a bit distracted with everything that happened today.”
Curious, Evangeline asked, “Hmm, and what made you forget common courtesy? Don’t tell me…you were playing with one of your girls?” When she asked the question, Evangeline gave Vahn an even colder look and now every time he breathed he could see condensation. Vahn began to warm his body with the ‘eternal flame’ as he explained, “I wasn’t playing around, Master, but I did go on a date with a half-elf girl named Eina. At lunch, we even got engaged before meeting with Hephaestus, who also became engaged to me.”
Vahn had a happy smile on his face as he spoke the words, but he felt like the air was continually growing colder as he stared at the mature form of Evangeline in front of him. Suddenly, she said in a low voice, “From now on, never talk about your women around me. I don’t want to hear about you and other kids playing around when you should be focused on your training.” She turned her head away from Vahn, and he could tell she was upset for some reason, but he wasn’t willing to let her denounce the girls he liked so easily.
Instead of shying away from her pressure, Vahn explained in a firm voice, “You can’t look down on people like that Master. One of those girls, Hephaestus, has lived for several million years. Compared to the tragedy we have experienced, her loneliness is on a level we can’t even understand.” Evangeline had been annoyed when he stood up to her, but hearing his words she couldn’t help but ask with an incredulous look, “Several-million years? How is such a thing possible…don’t tell me she is an immortal as well?”
Vahn nodded his head and explained, “She is the Goddess of Forging, Hephaestus, and has lived long before the existence of other sentient creatures.” Evangeline scoffed at his words as she said, “Goddess of Forging? Don’t try to joke around with me, boy, are you sure she isn’t just pulling one over your eyes just to get pity?” Though Evangeline knew of the existence of gods, she knew they weren’t the type of entities that lived among mortals and were usually some kind of abstract consciousness, not something of flesh and blood.
Evangeline’s words made Vahn start to get angry at how dismissive and mocking her tone was. It hadn’t even been a day since they had compromised and learned about each other’s pasts, but she was acting like he was lying to her for no reason. Instead of continuing to talk to her, Vahn just shook his head in dissatisfaction and walked off without saying anything. If she wasn’t willing to listen to the truth, what else could he do to make her understand?
Seeing Vahn walk away, Evangeline became even more annoyed with him and asked in an angry tone, “Where are you going? I told you that we had things to discuss if you wanted to be my disciple. Are you just going to ignore your Master?” Vahn’s footsteps stopped, and Evangeline had a slight smile on her face, at least until Vahn turned around and caused her to feel shocked to her core.
Vahn’s eyes were glowing with a strange blue light as he stared at her with the same deadpan expression as he had when she tried to suck his blood. The moment she saw those eyes, she could feel her heart wrench in pain as anxiety began to build up inside of her. Vahn continued to look at her for a few seconds before he said in a tired manner, “Even when I tell you the truth, you look down on me and even accuse the people I care about for lying to deceive me. I’m not sure which world your orb originates, but it’s a well known and documented fact in my world that the gods exist. There are literally thousands that walk around the very City I live in, and they each have their own Familia. Even if Hephaestus hadn’t told me how long she has lived, I could find the information in the archives easily.”
Shaking his head, Vahn turned back around and continued walking as he said, “I don’t need a Master that lacks basic trust in me, and even insults me when I speak the truth.” Vahn continued to walk away and Evangeline felt a trepidation and unease as she watched him walk away. Even when he had spoken the first time, she could tell that he was telling the truth. She just didn’t believe that the person he was talking about was a real god, and neglected to consider they were both from different worlds. Where he comes from, the existence of gods is easily validated, and she had spoken based on her own bias and misunderstandings.
She wanted to stop him and apologize, but she couldn’t throw aside her pride for a second time just to appease someone that was supposed to be trying to become her disciple. The look he had given her had pierced straight through her heart, but she still couldn’t say anything due to her own pride as the ‘Queen of Darkness’. Instead, she hmphed loudly enough for Vahn to hear before disappearing into the void. Evangeline believed that, after Vahn calmed down a bit, he would eventually give in and ask to be her disciple again. She even began formulating ideas for how she could torment him a bit at the time to teach him a lesson for disrespecting her.
Vahn hadn’t seen when Evangeline disappeared and any thought of learning her magic right now had completely vanished from his mind. Though he had wanted to learn the ‘Magia Erebea’ as well, he already had a different use for this space in mind that was far more important. Though the white floor spread out infinitely in all directions, Vahn continued to wander for almost an hour before finally coming to a stop after having found a suitable spot.
He began removing a variety of items from his inventory and had used the shop within his system to buy workbenches, tools, and even an entire forge. Within less than half an hour, an area of 10 cubic meters was converted into a workshop within the infinite white space. Without any hesitation, he extracted the ‘eternal flame’ from his heart and seated it within the forge he spent 40,000 OP on. Though he could use the ‘eternal flame’ through his hammer, Vahn wanted it to start learning and adapting to his forging instead of him having to guide it himself.
From the void, outside of Vahn’s perception, Evangeline watched him with confusion and curiosity. She had followed him when he walked away because she was curious what he had in mind for his personal training. She never expected him to suddenly start pulling out items to stock an entire workshop from out of nowhere. Though storage magic wasn’t particularly rare, it wasn’t a simple feat to keep so many items, and she couldn’t sense Vahn using magic at all when he removed them. The thing she found most surprised was the small crimson-gold flame that emerged from his hand and was placed into the forge. As strong as she was since her attributed were darkness and ice, she couldn’t help but feel an instinctual fear from the small flame.
Vahn began processing materials and marveled at the brilliance of his own idea. Though his body was a spiritual form within the orb, he was still able to use the functions of ‘The Path’ without restriction. This allowed him to bring physical items into the orb, and now he would be able to practice forging without having to worry about a lack of time in the real world. With Sis’s help, Vahn was able to calculate that, if he spent every afternoon and evening within the orb, he could even gain as much as 276 years of extra time to practice his skills. And that was just over the next seventy or so days he had until the Denatus.
Without delay, he began processing the materials he had brought with him into a useable form which he would be able to use to make equipment. This was the second part of Vahn’s plan and the reason he had spent so much OP on high-quality items for his workshop. As his skills in blacksmithing increased, even without selling the equipment to the system, he would be able to gain a large amount of OP every time he named an item. He could then use the OP gained to purchase more materials from the system and create an infinite loop of production, OP gain, and material acquisition.
Evangeline continued to watch Vahn’s every action from the void, and she had the urge to ask why he had come into her orb if he just wanted to practice forging. She knew he was likely making use of the time dilation of the orb, but she couldn’t comprehend why he would waste time processing materials and making equipment that wouldn’t exist outside of the space. Though he might gain experience, he would have just wasted his time an efforts on a senseless task since the objects he made were just spiritual constructs.
Unfortunately for Evangeline, she had no way of knowing that the items Vahn was producing were actual items that he would be able to take to and from the orb without any difficulty at all. The existence of something like ‘The Path’ was far beyond her comprehension, even as a tier 5 being that had lived for hundreds of years. She just continued to watch him to alleviate some of her own boredom while making comments that only she could hear.
Vahn continued processing material for nearly three days when he suddenly started to feel a powerful fatigue set in his body. He had taken breaks periodically, and it didn’t make sense for him to suddenly feel tired considering his stamina recovery and natural regeneration. Almost exactly after 72 hours had passed Vahn, and the ‘eternal flame’ in the forge began to dissolve and he realized he was being forcibly ejected from the space.
He was suddenly overwhelmed by anger because he thought that Evangeline was sending him out of the space just because she was annoyed with him for ignoring her. When the figure of the young girl appeared in front of him from within the void, Vahn couldn’t help but clench his jaw in frustration. Evangeline saw his expression and frowned as she explained, “Don’t look at me like that, you idiot boy. Your consciousness can’t stay here for more than three days before the orb will forcefully send you out. You’ll have to wait twelve hours before you can return, but make sure you come prepared next time. I might have let you be selfish this time, but don’t expect my leniency to be without limits.”
Vahn could tell that she was speaking the truth, so he just sighed before saying, “I don’t need your training, Evangeline. I’d rather spend my time practicing forging than continue suffering your abuse. See you soon…” As his words faded, Vahn too faded out of existence and turned into particles that ascended toward the sky. Evangeline followed the dust with her eyes with a deep frown on her face.
The fact that Vahn wanted to exploit the space for his own convenience made her very upset, and she wanted to beat up the inconsiderate boy.
It might be convenient that he was able to use the space twice a day to experience an additional six days worth of time, but that only accounted for around six minutes in the real world. For the remaining 23 hours and 54 minutes, she was stuck inside the space for an additional 4 years…
Turning her head to the items that had stayed behind when Vahn was ejected from the space, Evangeline couldn’t help but pick up one of the tools with a bit of curiosity. The items should have disappeared the moment Vahn was kicked out, but everything had remained behind which was very confusing for her. Feeling the weight of the hammer in her hand, Evangeline couldn’t help but imagine the hammer was a real, physical item, instead of a spiritual construct. She realized that Vahn had a lot of other secrets she didn’t know about, but now it would be harder to learn about them in the future given his attitude toward her.
Releasing a long sigh, she put the hammer down and returned to the void to conserve her mana. She curled up into a ball and began entering a dormant state as she cursed the boy that had ignored her for so long. Evangeline felt like he didn’t care about being her disciple at all, and it made her question why she even let him stay in the first place. If he didn’t change his attitude soon, she planned to force his hand and refuse to let him use the space if he didn’t wisen up.
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Tsundere Loli-Baba’,’Vahn’s resolve’,’Let the grind begin’)