Chapter 158: Oblivion

Vahn felt a searing pain in his eyes as he floated weightlessly within a cold void. It felt like both of his eyes were burning, and he felt warm blood flowing between his palms as he tried using [Hands of Nirvana] to stifle the pain. However, no matter how much he willed himself to use the skill, it wouldn’t activate and he could do nothing but gnash his teeth through the pain. Even his brain started to feel like it was melting, and Vahn thought he might lose his mind if things continued as they were.

Only allowed on

Suddenly, a cold sensation spread through his mind and began to combat against the debilitating heat radiating from his eyes. Vahn let out a gasp that was a mixture of relief and profound anguish. Even though the pain continues to wrack his body, the cooling sensation in his mind brought him some small comfort and allow him to protect his mind from losing itself to madness. After what seemed like several hours, the pain finally began to recede as the cooling sensation spread through the rest of his body, including his eyes which currently felt like coarse sand within his eye sockets.

After several more hours, the cooling sensation returned the ‘moisture’ to his eyes, and Vahn no longer felt like they were compacted by hot sand. Mustering up a bit of strength, Vahn tried to open his eyes and immediately felt terrified by what he didn’t see. Reaching his hands to his face, Vahn could feel that both of his eyes were opened, but he couldn’t see anything. No matter where he turned, there was absolutely no light that could be picked up by his eyes. If he couldn’t feel his body, Vahn would have suspected it didn’t even exist.

Vahn felt a sour feeling in his heart and could feel tears welling up in his sightless eyes. He tried seeking comfort by calling out to Sis in his mind, but even she didn’t answer his call. Vahn felt terribly lonely at the silence and the fact he was no longer able to see. Imagining having to spend the rest of his life blind, Vahn felt a profound sadness overtake him as he recalled the faces of everyone that he had grown close to over the last few months. The idea of never being able to see their various expressions broke his heart. It wasn’t the loss of his sight or his inability to fight that hurt him the most, but the fact that he would never be able to see the smiles of one of those he cared about.

For what seemed like days, Vahn continued to cry as he floated weightlessly in a space that carried not a single sight or sound other than those from his own memory and body. None of his skills or abilities worked in this space, and even the system of ‘The Path’ couldn’t be accessed. The only thing that kept Vahn from going crazy was the cooling sensation that was everpresent in his mind. He knew it was the influence of [Will of the Emperor] and found some solace knowing that he hadn’t lost everything yet.

After a long period of time, when Vahn had slowly started to let go of his thoughts and just allowed his body to float in space, he finally caught sight of something. Though he didn’t react at first, when his mind finally processed what he had just ‘seen’, Vahn felt excitement well up inside of him. The tears that he thought had long dried up came back like a tidal wave as he stretched out his hand toward the tiny white light. It was so small, almost like a figment of his imagination, but Vahn knew in his heart it was real. He wanted to reach out and grab it so badly…

Suddenly, the inconsequentially small light exploded with an irresistible force that quickly overtook Vahn’s body. Though he could feel the explosion was more powerful than anything he could even conceive, the shockwave passed through Vahn’s body without any resistance at all. Even though it was a cataclysmically devastating force, Vahn was entirely unaffected by its passage as he just bathed in the warm energies that penetrated through his body.

The previously soundless and sightly space was suddenly awash with limitless colors that rapidly expanded from the origin point of the small light. Vahn could feel the energies spreading through his body, almost like they were reshaping everything that defined his previous existence. He could feel the passage of countless eons as he observed the formation of the nebula, stars, and even planets as they filled out the previously empty space that brought him so much sadness before.

Vahn felt like he was watching the birth of the entire cosmos, and though he couldn’t influence it in the slightest, it made him feel proud to have witnessed such a beautiful and awesome sight. The long years he had spent without a single light had impacted him deeply, and now everything within his vision brought comfort to his mind. Even the individual particles of cosmic dust that floated within the vast emptiness were infinitely interesting to him, and Vahn felt like everything had a beautiful purpose as his eyes overlooked their existence through the infinite passage of time.

He had long forgotten how long he entered this space, but no matter how much time passed, Vahn was never lonely or sad anymore. Though he had a longing for something that he couldn’t recall, he was satisfied with just observing the cycle of creation and destruction around him. At this moment, Vahn felt like there was order in all things, and an overwhelming sense of completion spread through every fiber of his being for having had the opportunity to observe everything taking place since its emergence from the tiny white dot.

While Vahn was reveling in the sense of ‘completion’ in his body, all of the lights around him started slowly vanishing. Though he didn’t mind it at first, as destruction was part of the natural cycle, after a large portion of the lights had extinguished, Vahn felt like there was something wrong. Looking through the void which was previously awash with an incredibly vibrant array of colors and sights, Vahn could see darkness encroaching from all directions. Though he desperately wanted to halt its advance, much like how he could do nothing to stop the spreading of the light, Vahn was unable to prevent the darkness from slowly reclaiming everything.

Eventually, though an incredibly long period of time had passed, the darkness had claimed everything in what seemed like an instant. Vahn was suddenly overwhelmed by loneliness again as his eyes looked through the darkness, but could find no light. He knew that he wasn’t blind, but that there was simply nothing to see at all. Even if he traveled through the void for an eternity, he may never be able to find another light like the one that had brought him so much comfort.

A powerful sense of desperation welled up inside him as Vahn turned his focus to the inside of his body. Though he couldn’t use ‘The Path’, or any of his abilities, it didn’t stop him from being able to inspect the inside of his body. He was desperately looking for something, anything, which might be able to restore some of the light to this now perpetually dark world. Eventually, he found what he was looking for, deep within the core of his heart.

Though he wasn’t sure why it was there, Vahn had an instinctual understanding that he would be able to find it if he looked. Within his heart, or the area where he believed his heart to be, there was a small blue light very reminiscent of the white light he had previously seen long ago. Vahn wrapped his intent around it and slowly guided it along his body until the blue light emerged from his bare chest. Though there was nothing else in the space, the blue glow of the light gently illuminated his skin and his palms which cradled the light.

Even though there was now a void in his heart where the blue light used to reside, Vahn felt happiness well up inside of him as he stared at the gentle blue light. Tears began to flow down his face as an image replayed itself through his mind from long ago. Moments before the original white light had expanded, Vahn had seen another figure illuminated by the white light which he desperately saw. Though he hadn’t given it any attention at the time, now that he reflected on it, Vahn could see the eyes of another person reflecting the gentle white light as it looked toward him. Just as Vahn was about to reach out for the light, that was when the cycle of creation and destruction began.

Now, Vahn held the gentle blue light in his hands in a manner similar to the unidentified entity from long ago. As he slowly raised up the light, he looked into the darkness and could feel a powerful sense of love spreading through his being as he saw the eyes of countless individuals peaking through the darkness and seeking out the light in his hands. They all looked sad and desperate, and they reminded Vahn of himself from a time long ago. The moment one of the entities got close, Vahn exhaled gently and the blue light in his hand exploded outwards with an irresistible force. Unlike the time when the energies had passed freely through his body, this time they tore Vahn apart, almost like the light was using his body itself to fuel the process of creation and destruction that would follow…

The last desire Vahn had before he ceased to exist was a desire that his sacrifice would be able to resist the darkness for even a second longer than the white light that had brought him so much happiness.

Vahn awoke in the bed he had purchased for Evangeline and stared wide-eyed at the infinite black sky above. For a brief moment, he thought he was still stuck in that timeless place with no light, but when he felt the covers on his body he suddenly felt incredibly warm and safe. From his left, an annoyed, but gentle, voice spoke out, “Boys shouldn’t be so quick to cry…you look like an idiot.”

Turning his head, Vahn could see Evangeline looking at him with furrowed brows as she had an expression of mock contempt on her face. However, he could see the concern in both her aura and eyes as she looked at him.

Vahn couldn’t help but feel happy to have some companionship after what seemed like a literal eternity of loneliness. Though he had experienced all of creation and destruction from the very beginning of time, even the ‘completion’ he felt then couldn’t compare to a single moment of his interactions with those around him. Though he knew she would probably get mad, Vahn couldn’t help but smile and say, “After what feels like an eternity, I can’t help but feel grateful to wake up next to a beautiful girl.”

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Evangeline immediately frowned at him before turning away and jumping off the bed. She spoke in an angry without looking at Vahn, “You’ve been asleep for almost twenty hours, aren’t you supposed to be in a hurry to get better at forging? Don’t waste my time with your shamelessness.” Even though she was acting angry, Vahn continued to follow Evangeline’s back as she returned to her desk. He could see that, when he complimented her earlier, her aura had become slightly chaotic and had a pink hue to it. For some reason, likely due to the fact she was only a memory, Vahn couldn’t see the affection Evangeline had for him, but he assumed it wasn’t as low as she pretended it to be.

After collecting his thoughts for a few minutes, Vahn whispered out gently in his mind in a probing voice, (“Sis, are you there?”) The moment the womanly voice began sounding with his mind, Vahn felt an incredible amount of relief wash over his body. Her presence had been one of the things he missed the most during his ‘dream’, and it wasn’t until she spoke that he finally felt like he had returned. Though her words weren’t very long, they brought a profoundly happy feeling to Vahn’s heart as she said, (*Good morning, Vahn. I will always be here when you need me.*)

Releasing a long and contented sigh, Vahn habitually inspected his system for any changes and found what he was looking for. As expected, Vahn had obtained an ability related to sight which had triggered at the moment when he was watching Evangeline’s attack. It wasn’t the first time the phenomenon of time slowing down had happened, so Vahn had some expectation he would develop a related skill eventually…

[Eye of Truth]

Rank: Innate (B) *Innate skills cannot be identified. Attempts to do so will result in a backlash.*

[Passive]: Greatly increased perception and visual acuity. Absolute immunity to illusions depending on rank.

[Active]: ‘Oblivion’. All things in creation are born from and return to oblivion.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Dreams of Eternity’,’Vahn is so deep’,’Voyeurism’)

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