Chapter 400: Fools

As they made their way progressively deeper into the 19th floor, the group eventually came upon a room that was much larger than the others. Vahn detected several presences in his domain but, before he even alerted everyone to the number, Fenrir’s ears shot up and she began to wave her arms as she shouted, “Big monsters are near, Fenrir can smell them! Vahn, watch Fenrir kill them all!” For a brief moment, Fenrir bolted in the direction of the enemies before coming to a stop soon after passing Ais. She turned back and the two stared at each other for several seconds as if they were having a secret conversation.

Fenrir ‘glared’ at Ais before moving back into her own position and waiting patiently for the entire group to progress forward instead. Vahn had a small smile on his face after watching Fenrir’s actions before saying to the entire group, “I can sense the presence of a herd of Mammoth Fools nearby, about seven total. There isn’t anything else within my range, but keep your wits about you and pay attention if I give out any orders. Other than that…Ais, Tiona, Tione, I want the three of you to take care of two Mammoth’s each and leave the final one for Fenrir to deal with. Go ahead and show me what you’ve got, Fenrir, I’ll be watching closely.”

Hearing his words, Fenrir began to flex her paws excitedly as her hair began to become more bristly as her tensions increased. Tiona began laughing at her reaction and suggested, “Mammoth Fools are pretty slow, I think Fenrir might be able to take care of more than one if she is smart about it. I’ll go ahead and take care of one, but I’ll leave the last one for you, okay Fenrir~?” Fenrir frowned deeply at Tiona’s words before nodding her head and saying, “Tiona is a good girl…leave it to Fenrir. Fenrir will kill them all if she has to!”

Tione and Ais looked like they wanted to give one of their’s to Fenrir as well, but Vahn shook his head silently since he knew it was better to avoid accidents. Fenrir would probably be able to defeat all seven, but it would likely require her to enter a berserk state. There was also a very real possibility that she could get injured in the process, and it simply wasn’t worth it at the moment. They weren’t supposed to be tarrying on the 19th floor, so Vahn ordered everyone to advance forward without further discussion.

After entering the room, Vahn saw the seven massive monsters in the distance and raised his brow at their sheer size. He knew Mammoth Fools were a major threat to convoys because, when a herd charged at an expedition party, it was very difficult to stop their momentum. The head of a Mammoth Fool was incredibly hard and resistant to attacks, and their thick fur was resilient against both physical and magic attacks. Vahn imagined he would be able to deal with them relatively easily, since he could simply use Shundo to get to the top of their head before using his Xuánwǔ form to send a shockwave directly into their brain.

Vahn felt the urge to put his theory to the test, since he had been feeling antsy just staying at the backline. Something about slaying giant monsters resonated deeply with Vahn and he wanted to try and defeat one in a single blow, just as he had done against the Goliath. This was also a good chance to make sure everyone was listening properly, so Vahn shouted, “Wait, fall back!” Tiona, Ais, and Tione all stopped shortly after his words fell, but Fenrir had continued forward for several meters before startling and returning to her position with a flustered and frustrated expression on her face.

Vahn looked toward Riveria and said, “Follow up with the group when I move forward, I want to try something of my own. Remember, the range of my perception is 473m, so I can sense you as long as you’re within the confines of this room.” Riveria nodded before saying, “Be careful, there are a lot of people relying on you, Vahn.” Vahn smiled at her concern before using Shundo to step next to the frustrated Fenrir and patting her wild, midnight blue hair and ears. When she looked up at him with her glowing scarlet eyes, Vahn smiled and said, “Come, Fenrir, let’s play together this time.”

Fenrir showed her best ‘smile’ before clinging to Vahn as he looked to the other three girls and said, “I’ll be going ahead, make sure to protect the backline. I shouldn’t need help for numbers like this…” Tiona’s eyes began to glow with a fervent flame as she balled her fists up and said, “Alright~! I can’t wait to see how you crush the enemies, ahahahaha!” Tione stretched her body as if she were tired and said, “Try not to take too long, I don’t like waiting around when my body is excited.” As for Ais, she just nodded her head with a small smile on her face as she said, “Good luck…Vahn.”

Vahn smiled at the three before his body began to transition into his Xuánwǔ form and he disappeared from sight. They couldn’t follow his movement with their eyes, but they were able to track his location through their own battle instincts and perception. Before Vahn’s body appeared atop a Mammoth Fool, they were already looking at the spot as if they had predicted where he would land.

The Mammoth Fool began to thrash around after two people suddenly appeared on it’s head, and Vahn managed to swap away the massive trunk that smashed toward him. Pure physical attacks, unless they could completely overpower him, were useless when he was in his Xuánwǔ form. The only thing the monster received for its trouble was a sheen of green magical light shining on Vahn’s arms before its trunk exploded into gore that splashed away from him and Fenrir. The wolf girl’s eyes opened wide at the sight and she looked at Vahn with the glimmer of idolatry as her Loyalty began to increase rapidly within the system.

Only allowed on

Vahn began to laugh, both at Fenrir’s reaction and how exhilarating it felt to be able to completely counter such a massive monster’s blow with a simple backhand. He pat Fenrir’s back so she would let go of him before he grabbed the belt around her waist as she flailed about excitedly and shouted, “Fenrir will fly~!” Vahn nodded his head and shouted, “Fenrir, show me how much you’ve grown!” As he spoke, Vahn launched her over at a nearby Mammoth Fool and she began to quickly cut through it’s flesh the moment she made contact with it. Vahn shook his head at the somewhat gruesome sight before steadying his feet at the Mammoth beneath him tried to buck him off.

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With a tyrannical glint in his onyx-black eyes, Vahn smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you, big fella~.” Vahn placed his left palm against the Mammoth’s head as he reared back his right fist, telegraphing the punch he was about to throw. The black scales on his arm rose slightly and came to sharp points as they glow with green runes. Vahn knew it was possible to charge his attack, but he had never been able to use it in such a convenient situation as the one he currently found himself in.

Two seconds later, just as the Mammoth reared up on its hind legs in order to eject him from it’s back, Vahn struck down in a swift motion before his fist ‘gently’ contacted the monster’s head without making a single sound. Strangely, the Mammoth stopped it’s rising motion and simply fell over as Vahn used Shundo to pick up the bloody Fenrir before moving to the next batch of enemies. He had enough time to pick her up and throw her to the next enemy before the first Mammoth’s head exploded with a subtle green explosion that turned it’s supposedly durable skull into a purple mist along with the rest of its body. As for the one Fenrir had been attacking, it was decidedly less fortunate than its companion as it woefully howled after losing the functionality of its back legs. She seemed to really enjoy chewing through the spines of monsters right now, almost like she was going through the ‘teething’ phase Vahn had read about in preparation for his own children.

From the sidelines, Tiona was jumping several meters in the air as she loudly shouted and cheered for Vahn and Fenrir. Almost as if she didn’t require any air to sustain herself, Tiona kept laughing without ceasing as she yelled, “Go, go, Vahn, go~! Fenrir, kill ’em all~! Ahahahahahahaha!” Tione had gone to talk with Riveria as they both stared at the ‘slaughter’ while Ais watched from closeby with an unwavering gaze. A subtle light glowed in her golden eyes that reflected the image of Vahn defeating monsters with nothing but his fists. She could kill the monsters also, even much faster than Vahn, but he seemed to enjoy it much more than she did. Seeing him ‘playing’ with Fenrir as they both had ‘smiles’ on their faces, Ais felt like her fighting style was far more mechanical and restricted…

As for the other girls, Lefiya had a somewhat pale expression on her face after seeing the amount of blood and gore that had been flung about. Haruhime was almost the inverse and, much like Ais, she stared toward the image of Vahn with golden eyes of her own. The main reason she had been able to easily control herself is that she had been ‘accompanying’ Vahn without actually fighting. Seeing his ‘dominance’ made her feel excited and she wanted to become much stronger so she could stand beside him forever and ever. There was a subtle ‘charm’ and finesse in each of Vahn’s moves and Haruhime could feel the tempo resonating in her heart. She wanted to be able to join Vahn’s dance and eliminate enemies alongside him, not just stand at the back as a spectator…

The last of the spectators had been Ryuu, but she was splitting her attention between both Vahn and Fenrir. Ever since she had dedicated herself to Vahn, Ryuu had also been trying to increase her strength in order to be able to help him even more. She knew that, though she was Level 4, Vahn was nearly her equal in terms of strength. If not for the difference in experience, she would have almost no chance against him in an extended engagement. If it was a fight to the death, and Vahn went all-out, she didn’t even have the confidence to last more than ten minutes. Ryuu knew about Vahn’s flame seeds as well and, in order to ensure that it would have the greatest effect on her, she had been ‘cultivating’ her feelings for him every day. Aki and Syr had taught her a lot of things and now her heart constantly fluttered whenever she was around Vahn…

Unaware of the thoughts going through the minds of the spectators, Vahn struck down his third Mammoth before jumping over to retrieve the ‘cackling’ Fenrir. She was in very high tensions because it was very rare for her to be able to kill monsters alongside Vahn like this. He could tell she was very happy so, for the final Mammoth, Vahn moved over with Shundo before smashing down with his fist against the base of the monster’s neck. It’s body immediately collapsed because Vahn had broken its neck and severed the nerves in its spine with his blow.

Patting the hyperactive Fenrir on the head, Vahn said in a calm tone with a smile on his face, “Okay, Fenrir, I want you to try and harvest as much of the materials as you can before the Mammoth turns to dust…think you can do that for me?” Vahn knew that the education the girls received also included dismantling monsters before they died and it was a very important skill to learn if you wanted to efficiently hunt monsters for quests. Just like when they fought the Bloodsaurs later, they would have to defeat them without actually killing them if they wanted to harvest the blood.

Vahn was a little uncomfortable with the fact that he would be draining the blood from a living creature, and he also suspected it might give him negative karma for doing so. To counteract this, it was possible to paralyze the monsters, ease its mind with [Hands of Nirvana], and then offer it the proper rites to thank it for its contribution and ‘sacrifice’. As long as he cultivated the proper mentality and took steps to avoid making the enemies suffer, Vahn should be able to mitigate any potential negatives that might arise.

Taking Vahn’s words as an opportunity to be praised, Fenrir jumped off of the Mammoth’s back with a start and moved around to the head before using her claws to skillfully cut through the four large tusks. While she was working, Vahn had his hand on the back of the Mammoth’s head and was using his [Eyes of Truth] to inspect the network of its body as he eased any pain it might feel. He was able to confirm that the claims of its brain being very small were true and Vahn didn’t have to use much energy to put it to sleep once he found the small and compact organ. After it was asleep, Vahn placed his hands together in silent prayer and, even though the monster didn’t have a soul, he hoped it might find a better life if it were ever reborn.

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