Chapter 193: Laverna (1/2)

(A/N: The title will be updated when I finish part 2.)

Vahn calmed his mind a bit as he followed the corridors and descended further into the ground. Though his turtle form was both offensively and defensively powerful, he needed to make use of his Báihǔ forms increased agility and senses to track the fleeing enemies. Once his body regressed into his first form, Vahn felt his senses expand and he could now smell the odors of the men who had fled previously. Since there was the stench of fear and sweat, Vahn was able to quickly follow the path they had taken in their escape.

Though he could still sense them within the area of his domain, Vahn wasn’t in a hurry to capture all of them and only used his [Enkidu] to take care of anyone that tried hiding within some of the rooms along the way. He didn’t mortally wound any of them, but he still severely injured the majority by driving the chains through their thighs. Vahn assumed that not everyone was as evil as then men involved in the kidnapping, so he would let those following behind deal with the injured.

Eventually, Vahn made his way down to the sixth floor that was deep underground. Though there were still a few rooms, the majority of the floor was one long corridor that opened up to a large room where the four presences had been earlier. Vahn noticed there was a large bed in the area with a variety of tools and restraints as well as something akin to a throne surrounded by a few other gaudy chairs around a long table with various foods and alcohols on it.

Behind the throne, there was a false wall that had been concealed, but Vahn quickly destroyed it before making his way into what was likely an escape tunnel. He had already locked on to several scents and was able to evade the traps that lined the corridor as he used Shundo to close the distance faster than most of them could trigger. One of the most useful features of ‘instant movement’ was that it could link two points and allow Vahn to transition the distance almost instantaneously. If he could master the skill, it really would be considered ‘instant movement’ since the traps wouldn’t even have enough time to register his presence at all.

Vahn eventually arrived at a point where the corridor split off into several small paths and noticed that the scents had split. There was even a mechanism to mask the smell, but Vahn could still detect the path taken because of the fluctuations in the air. Anywhere that had been passed recently would still have destabilized air currents, so even if Vahn couldn’t ‘smell’ them, he could still ‘see’ where they went.

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Though he would still be gambling to pick the correct corridor, there was one where the elements in the air had been affected to a much greater extent. Vahn assumed this was the correct path since the abnormality was likely the result of a god or goddess passing through ahead of him. Vahn had noticed that one of the four auras earlier was much larger than a normal person which indicated they were likely the mastermind and god of the Familia behind the kidnapping. Not everyone had one, but when Vahn had inspected the body of some of the assailants, he noticed that many of them had the same crest on their back and were likely an organized crime Familia even though Macker hadn’t been able to reveal the name.

The symbol on the backs of some of the men was that of a featureless mask with two slots for eyes and a pair of daggers crossed behind it. Even though Vahn didn’t think it was appropriate to judge things based solely on appearance, he couldn’t help but feel that the crest belonged to a malicious god. Since Vahn knew about the influence of Divinity on their actions, he didn’t consider the god evil, but that didn’t mean he would tolerate their actions either. If he couldn’t get the answers he was looking for, Vahn wasn’t above escalating matters since they were already in an irreconcilable situation.

A few minutes after entering the smaller path, Vahn noticed there were no more traps in the area and he continued increasing his pace until he finally detected the aura of two people around 311m from his position. There was next to no light on the path, but Vahn had night vision in his Báihǔ form and saw two people, one, a burly and powerful looking man, and the other, someone that looked almost like a child given their stature.

Even though he was still in stealth, the man turned to look behind him and Vahn could see a yellow glow in his eyes that implied he also had night-vision capabilities. The small figure next to him turned around soon after and Vahn saw a pair of heterochromatic eyes staring back at him. One of the eyes shined like a purple amethyst while the other was a piercing and icy blue, and they both glowed within the dark corridor the same as the man.

Vahn got into a low combat stance and approached the duo that continued to stare back at him without appearing to pay him any mind. Once Vahn got within 50m of the pair, the small figure opened their mouth and Vahn heard an almost sing-song-ish and girly voice ask, “You’re the Vulcan, Vahn Mason.” She seemed almost amused by the fact he had tracked her this far and began to laugh in a cheerful manner as she said, “Kuji, capture him for me~!”

The moment her words fell, the man, who Vahn realized was a weretiger named Kuji, charged toward him in a similarly low stance. He was incredibly agile, but Vahn was able to outmaneuver him with Shundo. Kuji seemed surprised by the speed of Vahn’s movements and asked with a deep baritone voice, “Is that a skill, or some kind of magic?”

Vahn had appeared 20m away from him and didn’t respond to his question as he equipped his Xuánwǔ set items and charged toward Kuji with a speed that caused the air to break around him. As a Level 4, Kuji wasn’t too afraid of the might behind Vahn’s fist after considering his speed. Though he expected him to know a few martial arts, considering his fighting style, Kuji didn’t think Vahn would be able to overpower him in a head-on collision.

Without shying away, Kuji dashed forward and struck forth with his powerful and sharp claws to receive Vahn’s fist. Vahn’s expression didn’t change in the slightest even after seeing the weretiger receiving his attack. Though he knew the man should be much stronger than him considering their differing racial traits and build, Vahn had an advantage that Kuji couldn’t anticipate.

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The moment his fist collided with the clawed palm strike of Kuji, the protectors on Vahn’s forearms glowed with a green light and prevented the shockwave from the collision from dissipating. Instead, Vahn had focused the impact on a single point using his [Fist Strike] and injected it straight into the forearm of Kuji like a miniature explosive. The weretiger’s face showed an expression of shock moments before his forearm exploded from the inside and left his hand dangling by the mangled flesh and broken bones. Though his arm hadn’t been torn off, there was no way he would be able to use it in the fight from now on.

Surprisingly, Kuji didn’t even flinch from what should have been an incredibly painful injury as he spun around and kicked Vahn in the abdomen with a tremendous force that caused him to crash into the wall and leave an impact crater. Vahn was stunned by the blow but managed to receive the follow-up strike with his crossed guards and disperse the impact using his protectors. He could see through his defenses that Kuji had a crazed and bloodthirsty look in his eyes and both of his pupils had dilated to an extreme.

Vahn quickly realized that he was either using a skill or had been so doped up on some kind of drug that he had lost his mind. Kuji even tried to use his mutilated arm to attack, so Vahn assumed it was the latter as he kicked off from the wall and used Shundo to slip by and approach the goddess that had been watching the fight with an amused expression on her masked face.

She noticed what Vahn was trying to do and pouted, “Boo~! You should fight Kuji, not me!” As her words sounded, Vahn saw her eyes glow more fiercely as a light covered her body which caused the surrounding corridor to shake. She was trying to use her Divinity to scare him away, but Vahn just furrowed his brows and continued forward against her expectations.

With a sigh, the goddess raised her hand that had an intricate fingerless glove on it and sent a powerful wave of pressure toward Vahn to deter him. She disliked people that ignored her orders more than anything else and wanted to teach him a lesson before she played with him a bit. Unexpectedly, the wave she sent out just passed through Vahn without having any effect and she could feel anxiety immediately spread through her mind.

Vahn kicked off the floor again and used Shundo to appear behind her and held his sword, named [007] to her neck and asked, “Why did you target Milan and Tina? Why are you doing all of this?” Even though the Divinity of a god had a powerful suppression effect on most people, it didn’t actually mean they were strong combatants. Unless the goddess before him broke the rules and used her Arcanum, there wasn’t anything she could do against him unless she had Leveled up like a mortal.

Hearing Vahn’s questions, the goddess just began to laugh as she shouted out, “Kuji, continue to attack~! This boy seems to be the type that can’t hurt girls~.” As her words fell, Vahn had to take a step back as a black dagger with a foul-smelling odor pierced the area where his head had been. Though he didn’t have any special inhibitions about attacking girls, Vahn still wanted to obtain answers before he did anything to a goddess.

Even if a god or goddess had done something evil, it was almost inexcusable for a mortal to actually harm them. Though he might be justified in his actions, there would be a severe backlash from the godly community and he would most likely be imprisoned or exiled once the matter became known. Even if he had no ill will towards another god, they would still feel a bit of fear that Vahn might do something to them in the future since he didn’t hesitate when it came to a different god. It was typically gods that dealt with other gods while their children fought amongst themselves.

Since she wasn’t willing to answer his questions even with a sword to her throat, Vahn needed to deal with the crazed Kuji first. Though the weretiger didn’t have a black aura like the rest of the assailants from earlier, Vahn didn’t have any inhibitions about killing him if things got out of hand. Unable to maintain his patience, the moment Kuji leaped forward and tried to stab him with the knife, Vahn pulled out [Lævateinn] and stabbed Kuji directly in the abdomen while using the burning effect to immediately create a charred hole in his stomach.

Even with [Lævateinn] and a seared wound in his gut, Kuji still threw the dagger forward and it pierced into the right side of Vahn’s chest. Both Kuji and the mystery goddess began to laugh at the sight, but Vahn pulled out the dagger with his left hand while supporting the entire body of Kuji with his right. The wound on his body began to regenerate slowly, but at a visible rate as Vahn channeled his energy into [Lævateinn] and caused a muted explosion in the abdomen on the drugged Kuji. He immediately vomited a mouthful of blood before collapsing limply on [Lævateinn] due to the severity of his injuries.

Vahn let his body slide off the long blade of [Lævateinn] as the small goddess began to clap her hands in an excited manner, “Bravo~! Well done~!” She then walked forward in a cheery manner but stayed beyond the basic reach of Vahn’s weapon as she continued, “It’s too bad you couldn’t stop the dagger though~! Looks like this will be my win in the end!” She began to laugh excitedly as she kicked the body of Kuji on the ground and said, “Oho, he is still alive~? You’re a big softie, aren’t you~?”

Seeing Vahn’s unchanged expression, she thought he was trying to put up a front so she proudly explained, “That dagger was coated in a deadly toxin that only I know the recipe for the antidote. If you want to live, you’ll put away your weapons and behave from now on.” She then started to laugh as she dangled a small crystalline vial in front of her in a playful manner and asked, “So, what will it be, Mr. Vulcan~?”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Mystery Goddess Appears’,'[Lævateinn] OP’,’Don’t do drugs kidderino’s’)

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