Chapter 190: Tracking

Vahn awakened in the orb and Eva tried to land on top of him as she had done many times in the past. The moment she tried kissing him, she realized that something was wrong since Vahn wasn’t reciprocating as usual. Sitting on his stomach, she looked down and saw the unveiled hatred in his face. For a brief moment, Eva thought he was angry at her and could feel fear welling up in her heart until Vahn began explaining the situation. After releasing a sigh and deciding to not punish him for being late, Eva offered her advice and it coincided with Vahn’s intentions.

Even though Vahn wanted to immediately go and save Milan and Tina, spending a few seconds of time to practice Shundo and learn a bit of magic would be the most optimal decision. Whenever he used [Will of the Emperor], even if he was beyond the rational level of anger, his mind was always calm and calculating. The moment he had escaped from the guards Vahn entered the orb to calm his mind and train with Eva.

There was also another important thing he had to do while he was in the orb; Vahn wanted to retrieve Fafnir since he would be able to cross the City in a few short minutes instead of running on foot. Since Fafnir could now hide in his shadow, Vahn didn’t need to unsummon it to conceal it in the future. No matter what problems he may have to face in the future, Vahn wasn’t going to avoid using every trump card he had available just to avoid drawing attention to himself. Things were already to the point where people thought they could use the people he cared about against him, and Vahn had no patience for their games.

After allowing Eva to replenish her energy by draining his blood, Vahn began receiving a crash course in Shundo. Though he could try to learn magic, actually obtaining the skill to use it would take months or even years for him to master. Shundo was an incredible technique, but it was also something that Vahn was well suited to learn given his current combat style. Even though two of the assailants had been Level 3, they weren’t even able to react to his movements in his Báihǔ form.

Though she was typically very affectionate towards Vahn, Eva had grown serious after understanding the severity of the situation Vahn was facing in the real world. For the next three days, she constantly drilled him on the use of Shundo with little rest between training sessions. Vahn supplemented his lack of stamina with senzu beans and meditation. For the entire duration of their training, Vahn hadn’t disabled his domain for a single moment, even when Eva was draining his blood. Though he could use the time within the orb to calm his mind, Vahn didn’t want to lose the tensions and drive that he had when entering.

It wasn’t until there were only ten hours left when Vahn finally took a rest to fully recover his mental energy. Unlike their normal baths, where Vahn would pamper Eva, she instead washed his body and allowed him to continue focusing his mind through meditation. Since Vahn could even keep his domain active in his sleep, he laid down in the bed to recover the rest of his energy in preparation for the coming fight. Though Eva often laid on top of his body, she just silently rested against his arm and remained relatively docile for the duration of their rest.

Moments before Vahn left the orb, she gave him a passionate kiss before wishing him good fortune in battle. Though he was still focused, Vahn returned her kiss and gave her an affectionate smile as he rubbed her golden hair and willed himself to dissipate faster. Fafnir was already back in his inventory and now he would just have to re-summon it back in the real world. Though she wasn’t fond of it, Vahn left behind (Nameless) so Eva wouldn’t be lonely while he was away.

Vahn awoke in the real world and immediately set out to take actions to track down Milan and Tina. While chugging an [Elixer] 10,000OP, Vahn constantly channeled his energy into the beautiful rainbow crystal in his hand. As Fafnir became stronger, the crystal that contained it became more resplendent and required more energy to awaken. The [Elixer] not only fully restored his health, but it also constantly recovered his energy which allowed him to finally summon Fafnir.

The moment the 15m dragon appeared on the top of a roof, several people screamed out and began to run away in a panic. Though it wasn’t uncommon for a tamer to have a monster within the City, they were often kept at the Ganesha Familia or within Babel tower in a large kennel operated by the Guild. For a dragon to appear out of thin air in the middle of the City, there was no way for people to not think it was an enemy. Fortunately, there weren’t any high-level adventurers in the vicinity that wanted to test their luck against the ‘evil’ black dragon.

After mounting Fafnir, Vahn managed to cover the hour-long trip within four minutes while causing no small amount of chaos for the City below. Since the City streets were wide and everyone had cleared the area since they were running away, Vahn was able to land in the middle of the street right in front of the burnt down Hearths Embrace. Though the fire had been contained early, the Inn was still in a state of severe disrepair and all the investigators and firefighters had fled the moment Vahn arrived.

Since there would be trouble later, Vahn had Fafnir dive into the shadow of a nearby building and vanish from the now empty City street. Vahn immediately noticed the presence of familiar people approaching, but he decided to enter the remains of the Inn for the time being. He had a very specific intention for his visit and it would be of paramount importance when it came to finding Milan and Tina. It hadn’t been long since he dealt with the assailants, and Vahn suspected they hadn’t received notice of the failed ambush considering his speed.

After a few seconds, Vahn arrived at his destination and broke down the burnt remains of the door that led to the room where he had slept with Milan and Tina the previous night. Even though there was a powerful burnt smell in the air, Vahn was able to detect the aroma of the two girls that had deeply permeated throughout the room. Since he was in his Báihǔ form, his olfactory senses were several times stronger than most people and he could even enhance them further with increased focus. Grabbing the bedding, Vahn deeply inhaled the fragrance and stored it within the receptors inside his nose as Nanu had taught him in the past.

Vahn managed to perfectly memorize the scent and could detect it everywhere even when he left the burning remains and reunited with Hephaestus and a few members of her security team. Since the Hearths Embrace was nearby, she had received word of the fire earlier and had arrived with a team more than half an hour ago before returning to her workshop to relay the information to all the other girls. During the previous meeting, Hephaestus had given communication scrolls to everyone that didn’t possess one. By the time Vahn had arrived at the scene, she was already on her way back after informing Loki, Anubis, Tsubaki, and Eina of what had happened.

Seeing the fierce and cold look on Vahn’s face, Hephaestus couldn’t help but feel worried as she gave him a hug and promised, “We’ll find them, Vahn.” Vahn returned her embrace and said in a low and powerful tone, “I’ve recognized their scent; I’ll track them down now and save them both.” Though she wanted to stop him, Hephaestus could see the seriousness and conviction in his eyes so she just bit her lip in frustration before giving him a passionate kiss in front of the onlookers that had been gathering.

Vahn wasn’t in the mood for kissing, but he still reciprocated Hephaestus’s gesture to let her know he was grateful for her concern. When they parted, Vahn brushed her face with his fingers and showed her a ‘gentle’ smile before disappearing from view. Other than Zaff, nobody had seen Vahn’s departure and everyone, including him, were in awe at the display of speed. From their perspective, Vahn turned into a black shadowy blur before he disappeared entirely from their line of sight.

Hephaestus stood there in silence and held her hand over her heart as she felt all the emotions that Vahn was experiencing right now. Though she felt pained and saddened by what he was going through, Hephaestus gripped her fists as a fiery and wrathful look appeared on her face. She turned toward Zaff and spoke in a commanding tone, “Gather everyone available, we’ll crush whoever dared pulled a stunt like this.” Zaff nodded his head in response and immediately began issuing orders as Hephaestus took at the pen and scroll that she had brought with her and sent messages to the other parties involved. It wouldn’t be long before several of the major powers within the City were moving in concert to crack down on the mastermind that put this plot into motion.

Since Vahn wouldn’t be able to follow the trail while on Fafnir’s back, he had to maneuver through the City on foot. He would periodically stop for a few seconds to make sure he could track the scent of Milan and Tina properly. Vahn noticed that the scent was tinged with fear, and this realization made the cold sensation in his mind spread further through his body. Imagining the small Tina crying and shivering in fear made Vahn feel like he was going to lose his mind. She was always so cheerful and in high-tensions and now, not more than two days after Vahn promised to protect them, both girls were suffering because of their relationship with him.

Though Vahn didn’t regret being with the two girls, he still hated himself a bit for his own lack of foresight. He always expected something to happen but never thought the first targets of his enemies would be those close to him. If they had targeted him, Vahn probably would have let them off lightly after breaking through the scheme. Now, however, they had targeted the people he cared about. Vahn swore to himself that he would make the people that caused Tina to feel fear experience the same emotion.

As he dashed through the City, the smell of the two girls gradually increased until Vahn had turned through several back-streets where the disreputable types often called home. Since he had been using his stealth, Vahn had remained undetected as he landed on the roof of a relatively non-descript building. Through his domain, Vahn could sense several life-signs coming from the inside of the building, including two purple colored auras that he could recognize as Milan and Tina.

Vahn noticed that they had been separated and Tina was by herself with two other life signs nearby, likely locked away in a room. The thing that made Vahn’s mind go numb was the fact that Milan was surrounded by several auras that were colored black and red. He also noticed that, as time passed, Milan’s aura would fluctuate before growing slightly dimmer. Vahn’s rage almost exploded to the point where it pushed back the cold sensation in his mind but the cold sensation just grew more powerful until it became a biting chill that forced him to remain calm.

Taking a deep breath, Vahn focused his mind to the absolute limits while closing his eyes. Though he couldn’t see their full figures, Vahn could detect the basic outline of the bodies of everyone in the building. He saw that Tina was crouched down on the ground shivering while Milan was currently being beaten by seven other people. She was laying on the ground and Vahn could feel every impact on her body through his senses. The moment he locked on to the seven men, Vahn immediately used [Enkidu] to skewer them all before breaking in through one of the side windows.

When he had used [Enkidu], Vahn had aimed for the men’s heads and noticed that all of their auras immediately vanished. The rest of the people in the building were completely unaware of what was going on since even the bodies of the men hadn’t fallen to the floor yet. After sneaking through the building for a few minutes, Vahn arrived at the room where Milan was currently laying. The moment he saw her, Vahn felt a painful feeling in his chest and nearly fell to the ground in anguish.

Milan had been completely stripped naked and most of the bones on her body seemed to be broken with several bruises covering her skin. Perhaps because of her earlier resistance, but the men had been brutally beating her to pass the time. She was covered in various types of fluids other than blood and had a blank look on her battered face. Vahn could even see that she was missing several teeth and it looked like one of her eyes had been crushed. Her ears had been nipped and her tail was missing from her body.

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Vahn began hyperventilating even with the influence of [Will of the Emperor] as he approached the brutally beaten Milan and began healing her. While using [Hands of Nivana] to alleviate her pain, Vahn began using [Wounds Transfer] to gradually absorb the damage from her body into his own. He even purchased a [Heal] from the system and was simultaneously using it on both of their bodies. Though Vahn could feel his body being wracked with pain, he didn’t show it on his face at all as tears silently poured from his eyes. He just continued to pat Milan’s head and whispering comforting words to her during the healing process. His tears, unable to be contained by his face, dripped down onto the blank face of Milan who had yet to regain consciousness. The only thing she could feel was the warm energy entering her body as she began to subconsciously emit tears from her eyes.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘A Divine Reckoning Approacheth’,’Fury beyond comprehension’,’Absolute Dominance, Absolute Anguish’,’This is a light-hearted slice-of-life novel where the MC was tortured for 14 years in a previous life kappa’)

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