Chapter 463: Balor

Realizing Vahn had stopped for a longer period of time, Ais looked into his face and saw his smile and immediately understood what he was thinking. With a small smile appearing on her own face, Ais asked, “Are you going to fight it?” Hearing her words, Vahn squinted his eyes before shaking his head and saying, “I won’t fight it directly, but I do want to check a few things. Since the Balor is rated as a Level 6 monster, I want to see if my [Enkidu] is effective on it. If things don’t go well, we’ll fall back…” Ais nodded her head in response before parting from Vahn and muttering, “Tempest…” as a barrier of wind appeared around her body.

With Ais finishing her own preparations, Vahn focused his mind on the Balor’s location and contemplated the course of action he was going to take. Not only was it more than 20m tall, but it was around 8m wide and Vahn wasn’t entirely sure he would be able to summon enough of [Enkidu] to wrap it up in any meaningful way. Thus far, the only thing he had used the chain on is humanoids, which are relatively small targets, so Vahn wasn’t even sure if the chains would work on such a colossal creature. This was the primary reason he wanted to try because, if he assumed the chains would work in the future and they didn’t, Vahn would regret it if anyone got hurt as a result.

Vahn also observed the flow of mana within the Dungeon itself and recorded everything he was seeing so he could research it later. Once the Balor died, Vahn was curious how the flow would change and how the Dungeon was able to actually generate such creatures. If he could figure out the process and emulate it, Vahn would be able to create his own mana constructs in the future and potentially have an army of his own. The fact creatures like the Xenos exist, as well as Vahn’s own subordinates, showed that such a thing should be possible. There was also the fact that, Vahn assumed the world would be destabilized without the existence of something like the Dungeon so, if he actually destroyed it one day, he wanted a way to create a new one that could be better regulated.

After finishing his own preparations, Vahn nodded toward Ais as his domain turned golden and began to radiate a divine aura. Sensing the change, the Balor began to rumble as it freed its body from the Dungeon floor only to see five chains spiraling around its body. Vahn had prepared mana batteries of his own beforehand but, even with their assistance, he was finding it very difficult to generate enough chain to twine around the massive figure. Instead, he tried to bind the joints of the Balor while wrapping two chains across its torso and one around the area that should be its. Because he had the initiative, the chains were pulled tight by Vahn long before the Balor could make sense of the situation.

Vahn had been watching the process with his [Eyes of Truth] and saw the flow of mana into the Balor’s feet cease in its entirety as it struggled to move the chains. Unlike past experiences, where things weren’t able to move at all, Vahn could feel the powerful might of the monster literally tugging at his soul. It was a somewhat terrifying experience, but Vahn was confident he would be able to hold on long enough. At least he knew physical might could overwhelm his [Enkidu] somewhat, even though he had successfully bound the Balor. Without the ability to channel its mana, the only thing it could do was pull at the chains as the fiery red eye affixed in its head shone with madness…

The moment Vahn had given her the signal, Ais had dashed forward with incredible momentum as a massive vortex of wind elemental energy danced around her. She saw the Monster Rex get wrapped up in Vahn’s chains and begin to struggle in a rage which caused her own smile to deepen as she kicked off another rock formation and aimed directly at the fiery core of the monster’s head. Since it was able to struggle a little, Ais knew Vahn wouldn’t be able to hold it for long so she wanted to end things with a single attack. The vortex of wind around her body converged into a spiral shape around her sword as she shouted, “Lil Rafaga~!” and slammed the tip of [Gram] into the rage-filled eye.

Without the ability to muster its defenses, the Balor could only stare at the incoming strike as it pulled futilely against the chains. Though Vahn would have only been able to hold it for a few seconds, Ais was capable of closing the 350m distance in less than a single second so it was more than enough time to spell disaster for the previously terrifying monster. Other than focusing its eye on the small figure just as it pierced into its head, the Balor couldn’t muster up any other form of resistance at all. Thus, without any unexpected occurrences, Ais penetrated clear through the Balor’s head and left behind a massive hole in her passing.

After landing far behind the Balor, Ais turned her head in confusion as she saw the colossal creature still standing on its feet. However, the moment the golden chains wrapping its body vanished, it erupted into a mass of purple dust as a large volume of monster cores fell to the Dungeon floor below. Before she could make sense of the peculiar happening, Vahn appeared next to her in an instant with a smile on his face as he said, “Every time I see that attack, it’s always phenomenal. Good going, Ais.” Hearing his praise, Ais turned her head to the side and averted her eyes as a small blush appeared on her face. Her actions caused Vahn’s smile to widen greatly which caused her own heart to pulse powerfully in her chest…

As they hadn’t been too far away from the expeditionary party, Finn, Gareth, Tiona, and Tione arrived at the sight of the ‘battle’ a few minutes after it had come to an end. Seeing the clearing where the Balor once stood, Finn had a somewhat perplexed expression on his face as Gareth began stroking his beard thoughtfully. Tiona and Tione, however, seeing Vahn standing at the side of Ais as the two ‘flirted’ with each other ran toward their location with haste. Tiona unceremoniously slammed her [Dance of the Amazon] into the ground before leaping toward Vahn and Ais with both arms open. With clear excitement permeating through her body, Tiona asked, “Did the two of you really manage to defeat the Monster Rex on your own~!?” as Vahn caught her out of the air.

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Vahn explained how he had managed to pin the Balor down long enough for Ais to defeat it in one blow and Tiona’s eyes began to sparkle as she said, “You have to bring me along next time, okay, Vahn~!?” Just imagining the sight of a Monster Rex being defeated in a single blow made Tiona’s body heat up in excitement. If not for the fact that she had been ‘pacified’ by her previous actions with Vahn, Tiona very well might have pushed him down. Her sister, however, had no such ‘tolerance’ as a rosy blush covered her face and she was staring at Vahn as she chewed on her bottom lip…

Fortunately, Tione still had a bit of awareness regarding Finn and wasn’t going to do anything with both him and Gareth present. Though she wasn’t a ‘coward’, she wasn’t as ‘bold’ as her little sister and maintained a sense of propriety when they were around others. As for Finn and Gareth, they had already anticipated that Vahn and Ais had defeated the Balor, but it was still somewhat surprising to hear exactly how they had managed the feat. On average, it would have taken them several tens of minutes to defeat the Monster Rex and yet Vahn and Ais had done it after a short encounter that lasted less than a few seconds. It was very difficult to believe and, if not for the mountain of loot in the clearing, Finn very well might not have.

As for Gareth, he walked forward and smacked Vahn’s back heartily as he said, “You’re really something, kiddo!” before sending an approving look toward the smiling Ais as well. He didn’t really care how the two had managed the feat and was simply impressed that they were able to pull it off without a hitch. When they had first heard the Balor’s roar, Gareth had been a little worried about the two and he was one of the first to charge forward as Finn began issuing orders to the expedition. Unfortunately, he was easily caught up to by the Amazon twins before Finn caught up shortly thereafter…

Since the Balor had been slain by Ais and Vahn alone, Finn had no problem with them splitting the loot amongst themselves but Ais gave everything to Vahn, just as she had done with the Udaeus previously. Vahn got to add an additional 817,000OP to his reserves and also managed to obtain some very rare materials in the form of drop items that looked similar to the rocks that constituted the Balor’s body. This was an expensive ore known as Refined Kaenseki and the chunk Vahn had received could easily be sold for more than 40,000,000V. It was very useful in the production of flame-resistant equipment so Vahn was happy to have obtained it.

After looting the pile of monster cores under the hawk-like eyes of Finn, the group scouted the area to find the entrance to the stairs before doubling back and reuniting with the expedition. When the convoy saw the group arrive, they released a loud cheer as a festive atmosphere immediately spread the entire party. Vahn was personally greeted by the members of the Hestia Familia, who had been somewhat worried about him since the expedition had been talking about how terrifying the Balor could be. Seeing him safe and sound made the girls happy, but it was ultimately Fenrir who got the advantage since she had detected Vahn’s arrival long before the other girls.

Vahn recounted the relatively anti-climactic tale of the battle for everyone gathered but, instead of being disappointed by the ‘ease’ in which they defeated the Balor, the expedition released a joyous cheer before they showed Vahn and Ais with praises. Most of them had encountered the Balor in the past and many had lost companions to its surprise attacks. Rather than be ‘bored’ by Vahn’s short story, they were instead very happy as a small amount of vindication spread through their chests. Even though Vahn and Ais were the ones to defeat the beast, it felt like an accomplishment for all of them since conquering the Dungeon was a shared feat by all those that called the surface home.

Finn allowed the celebratory atmosphere to continue for a short while before giving the order for the expedition to move toward the 50th floor. There was plenty of time to celebrate when they reached the safety area, after all. Thus, without losing a single cart of supplies, nor suffering the loss of a single companion, the Loki Familia expedition passed into the relative safety of the 50th floor in high spirits. More than half of their expeditions came to an early end after the battle with the Balor, so there was a good reason to be in a celebratory mood. Finn even made a special exception and allowed Vahn to make available a single keg of alcohol. Though people were limited to a single glass, they were still grateful for the opportunity and Vahn earned several ‘drinking buddies’ when they got a taste of his [Dwarven Drought].

Unlike the barren and fiery floors above, the 50th floor was comparably vibrant and there were several different types of plant life present, though they were all muted greys and whites in coloration. There were also vein-like rivers that flowed all throughout the relatively massive floor as well as a few large springs that pooled up in certain locations. As per usual, the expedition had come to rest on a plateau so Vahn was able to overlook the entire floor, which stretched approximately 250km in diameter. He knew this was the place where they had created the ‘Haven’ in the Divination so he was quite curious about the structure of the floor itself.

Like the 18th floor, there were giant crystals that hung down from the roof above that emulated the time of day on the surface and allowed those within to track the time. There were a few plateaus spread around, similar to the one they were currently on, and the roof itself was several kilometers high. Vahn had been somewhat worried that the ‘Tree of Life’ wouldn’t have enough space to grow but that turned out to be an unnecessary concern. Even when it reached its height of 1km in the future, it would have plenty of space to spread its branches. As there was already plantlife and water present, Vahn knew that this floor could truly become a ‘Haven’ for his own forces one day.

The 50th floor had more area than the entire City of Orario itself so it was possible to house millions of people on the 50th floor in the future. The only major concern would have been food production, but Vahn never intended to have so many people live on the floor that they wouldn’t be able to be self-reliant. With the influence of the ‘Tree of Life’, it shouldn’t be difficult to actually grow crops since some of the trees already present on the floor were capable of bearing fruit. Now, it was simply a matter of confirming their enemies capabilities before massing enough forces to actually create the fortifications necessary to convert this floor into their own territory…

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After getting a basic understanding of the surroundings, Vahn told Finn, Riveria, and Gareth that he was going to take Fenrir for a walk and also compile a map of the floor. The expedition was setting up a semi-permanant camp and would be in this area for the remainder of the expedition so Vahn had plenty of time to map out the entire area. Knowing of his speed and ‘ridiculous’ mapping capabilities, Vahn was easily given leave from the camp so he picked up the bubbly Fenrir before exploring the floor. Along the way, Vahn discovered several points of interest where rare plants grew and also documented locations where passageways connected into the 50th floor from other parts of the Dungeon. He couldn’t find any signs of the artificial dungeon at all so Vahn began to believe his earlier conjecture, that the artificial dungeon didn’t go that deep, was correct.

Though the 50th floor was a ‘safety area’, Vahn still encountered a few lone enemies and allowed Fenrir to have a go at fighting them while he supported her from behind. Most of the monsters this deep were, at the very least, Level 3 so they were good opponents for the rambunctious wolf girl. This was, of course, until Fenrir actually managed to get her claws on the creatures which almost immediately spelled their doom. A lot of the monsters this deep were either humanoid in structure, or relatively slow and cumbersome. Since Fenrir was adept at fighting humanoids, and could easily cut through even Adamantine with her claws, many of her fights became one-sided after she gained an advantage. Out of curiosity, Vahn had decided to check her growth since she had fought a fair amount of monsters on the expedition, many around her own level…

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[[STATUS]]

Name: [Fenrir]

Level:3

POW: I0->G213

END: I0->H174

DEX: I0->G240

AGI: I0->G255

MAG: I0->I90

Skills: [Insatiable Hunger:Innate(-)], [Lunar Cry:B], [Freezing Roar:A], [Chainbreaker:C], [Devour:SS], [Huntress:S], [Endeavor:H->G]

Magic: –

Development Abilities: [Chain Attack:I->G]

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It had been less than two weeks since Fenrir had last increased her level so she was making steady progress even though her parameters hadn’t increased that much. At this rate, Vahn was confident she would be able to reach Level 5 by the start of original events. Though Vahn had no illusions that things would continue in the same vein as the original story, he knew there were likely certain things that were bound to happen simply based on the ‘timing’ of things. His enemies had likely been planning things far longer than the amount of time he had existed within the record so Vahn expected their plans to move forward in a similar time span. After all, if they could simply speed things up at their discretion, there was nothing that would have stopped them from already doing it. Since they hadn’t shown up to interfere with the expedition yet, Vahn had been thinking about reasons why they wouldn’t take action and this was the logical conclusion he came to.

Though he harbored no hopes that this was guaranteed to happen, Vahn felt like his own window of opportunity to grow stronger had been expanded somewhat. The biggest justification he found for his inference was the fact that, even during the Divination, things didn’t seem to pick up until after the death of Ryuu, which hadn’t been for nearly two years, at least within the Dungeon. Since his own understanding of the source material was lacking, Vahn didn’t know how to deal with future events, many of which might require Bell’s presence to instigate. Vahn remembered that Bell was actually the one that managed to make contact with the Xenos, even in the Divination, so, unless Vahn planned to venture into the artificial dungeon or track them down, there wasn’t much else he could do.

As a result of this conjecture, Vahn planned to increase his own strength to the point where it wouldn’t matter what his enemies threw at him. He was confident the orb would awaken within a few months and, once he managed to learn magic from Eva, Vahn was certain there would be few enemies that could actually oppose him. Though he didn’t know the specifics yet, Vahn knew that Eva was functionally immortal and it was through her [Magia Erebia] that she had obtained that status. When Vahn learned the skill from her, it wouldn’t matter how powerful his enemies were as Vahn could simply ‘outlast’ them in an extended engagement. This was the reason why, even though he wanted to develop his other parameters, Vahn had been primarily focusing on his Magic stat even more…

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[[Stats]]

Name: [Vahn Mason]

Age: 15

Race: Human, *sealed*

Parameter: [Danmachi: 1-4]

-Level:3(3)

-Power: 1906+(G207)->(F308)

-Endurance: 2221+(F338)->(C694)

-Dexterity: 1807+(F346)->(D540)

-Agility: 1959+(G228)->(F387)

-Magic: 3562+(SSS1639)->(SSS1989)

Total:11455+(2838)->(3918)

Soul Tier: 3 (Lord Soul)

[Karma]: 8,213->9014

[OP]: 312,396->4,848,758(A/N: Vahn making those girls work hard…)

[Valis]: 419,583,990->643,884,901

Skills: [Will of the Emperor:SSS], [Rakshasa Body:E], [Keeper of the Akashic Tome:B], [Eyes of Truth: B],[Bow Mastery:S], [Stealth:B], [Chainbreaker:S], [Heart of the Eternal Flame:SS], [Prometheus:A], [Call of the Reaper:A],[Yggdrasil’s Favor:S], [Veil of the Traveler: S], [Featherfoot:B], [Hands of Nirvana:S], [Metallurgy:B], [Fist Strike:B], [Friend of Spirits:A]

Magic: [Thria*Mimos:C], [Shundo:B]

Development Skills: [Wound Transfer:S], [Spirit Healing:A], [Swordsman:A], [Master Smith:H], [Mixing:C], [Mentor:A], [Petting:E], [Mage:C](new)

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