Chapter 474: Four Phases

Vahn leisurely made his way back to the encampment in an awkward manner because he had Lili clinging to his back like a koala as Fenrir stood on top of his feet with both of her paws overlapped with his. As he was able to use [Shundo] as long as one of his feet was on the ground, Vahn could still cover a fair amount of distance, though it took a little more focus than normal. Fenrir had convinced him that she wanted to experience what it was like to move forward using the skill and, as she didn’t really get to hold hands with other people, she had grown strangely attached to the moment. Her ears were bobbing up and down in an adorable manner and Lili also seemed to be enjoying herself on his back so Vahn didn’t let it bother him…

Though they weren’t remotely what you could consider ‘friends’, Fenrir and Lili had at least learned to compromise and tolerate each other’s presence because they realized they could ‘work together’ to both enjoy some benefits. Vahn acted in a somewhat uncharacteristic manner on their behalf and he even seemed to greatly enjoy the experience so they had set aside their differences to make the most of the situation. From Vahn’s perspective, the two girls looked like a family, though he could tell there was a fair amount of tension between them, so he pampered them both since they were quite adorable.

When they had exited the 51st floor, it was around noon and, as a result of the somewhat abnormal mode of transportation, it actually took Vahn almost as long as it would have taken for him to sprint, assuming he moved at his maximum speed, to reach the encampment. It only took a few minutes, but Vahn was surprised by the ‘inefficient’ method since he was using a spatial movement skill. He had never realized how much his posture and freedom of movement affected the skill and, with Fenrir standing on his feet, it took him several seconds longer to link the two points before completely the ‘jump’. This was an important discovery because Vahn had been thinking of ways to improve his [Shundo] even further as it had been stuck at B-Rank for a long time, even though he used it very often.

As they had already eaten lunch, Vahn took the girls straight to the tent under the curious gazes of several onlookers who saw Vahn’s and Lili’s appearance. They could tell it was still the two Adventurers they had grown fond of over the last two weeks, but it was very confusing to see them have somewhat ‘animalistic’ traits. At this point, everyone in the expedition knew that Fenrir was a ‘tamed’ monster, but this actually made them more fond of her as it was very rare to see a truly humanoid monster, much less one that was as cute as she was. As long as they didn’t ‘antagonize’ Vahn, they knew she wouldn’t really pay them any mind at all and simply behaved ‘adorably’ in an attempt to appeal to her ‘tamer’, Vahn. Though it wasn’t what he was most well known for, it was common knowledge that Vahn was inarguably the greatest tamer within the City as the Ganesha Familia actually publically proclaimed it as such.

Within the tent, the only girls present were Haruhime and Mikoto, who had both been enjoying tea while it was very apparent Mikoto herself had already prepared for the coming departure. Haruhime had shown an elegant smile by habit, but tilted her head to the side with intrigue displayed on her face as she remarked, “Those outfits suit the two of you very well…” She actually wanted to ask why they were all the ‘same’, but Haruhime had deduced the reason after a brief bout of confusion. Vahn had likely done something to bring the two closer together as it was very apparent that Fenrir was less ‘hostile’ toward Lili now. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like the change extended to her as Fenrir showed a slight scowl and said, “Smelly Harume…” under her breath, but easily audible to everyone present.

Vahn rubbed Lili’s head and said, “You should take a long rest, Lili, I know you didn’t get good sleep last night. You worked very hard today, and I’ll see you this evening…” Against the expectations of almost everyone present, Lili nodded her head and actually yawned before saying, “Okay…” and dragging her tired body to the sleeping area. As Vahn had already noticed, she was actually extremely tired but it was primarily a result of mental exhaustion, as her stamina was completely topped off while her mana was pooling around in her body at maximum capacity. That eight-hour ‘hunt’ had been one of the most taxing experiences of her life and she had let her tensions get the best of her since it was also a very fun experience. She was even nearing the point where she could increase her level soon, so Lili wanted to rest in order to make time pass faster.

After watching Lili’s back disappear behind the room flap, Vahn walked over and sat down after setting a cushion for himself. Fenrir plopped down in his lap as if it was the only acceptable seat she could take but hung her head while tucking in her knees to create a small form since she didn’t want to be in Vahn’s way. She also didn’t want to look at Haruhime as the eyes she looked at Vahn with were very ‘frustrating’ for Fenrir. Though she would never admit it, Fenrir saw Haruhime as her rival because they had a lot of parallels and were both extremely loyal to Vahn. There was also the fact that, though she didn’t remember much about the Divination, she knew that Haruhime had ‘won’ out against her and had grown into a very powerful entity that served Vahn much better than she had…

Vahn wrapped his arms loosely around the bundled up Fenrir as he looked to Haruhime and Mikoto and said, “Well, I can tell you have already made your preparations, Mikoto, but I wanted to talk to you about a few things and also update your Status Board before we leave.” Though she already sat ramrod straight, Mikoto’s figure tensed up slightly as she inexplicably tried to make herself appear taller and more stoic. After reaching her maximum height, Mikoto bowed her head in a somewhat subservient manner exclaimed, “I understand!” before straightening her back once again.

Vahn experienced a small mental pause because he really wanted to remind her that he could see her aura flickering about and she didn’t need to act so tense all the time. However, he knew a ‘warrior’ like Mikoto placed a lot of value on their honor and pride so he didn’t mind it and said, “Though the quality of your katana isn’t bad, I think it’s about time you upgraded to something more ‘long term’ so you can begin adapting your combat style to fight more powerful enemies.” Mikoto still used a katana named [Shinonome] that was only a C-Rank weapon. For a Level 2 in a small Familia, it had actually been a very suitable weapon for her. Now, however, Mikoto would almost always be fighting enemies much stronger than she was and her own potential had evolved after having a flame seed implanted in her chest. As her katana wouldn’t be able to cut through the hide of a Black Rhinos, Vahn wanted her to take the opportunity to adapt to a new weapon.

For a brief moment, Mikoto showed a somewhat conflicted expression before she grabbed her katana and presented to Vahn with her palms placed upward in a ‘relinquishing’ gesture. She was the type of girl that was somewhat bound by her culture and tradition, at least for the time being, so Vahn reached out and accepted the katana by grabbing the center of it in an ‘accepting’ gesture. Though her aura belied her discomfort, Mikoto pulled her hands away without hesitation as Vahn inspected the blade. It was made of Nosteel, a relatively low-class material that was commonly used in beginner and intermediate weapons, but it’s make was nothing short of marvelous. Even though it wasn’t a powerful weapon, it was obvious a lot of love had gone into its creation and it had been something Mikoto carried at her side for more than half her life.

Vahn passed his thumb along the side of the blade, something that was generally considered impolite, but he was also a [Master Smith] and enjoyed some liberties when it came to such things. After he was done, he sheathed it once again before making eye contact with Mikoto and saying, “I will keep this katana for the time being, but I will return it to you one day much stronger. I know that it is believed in the Far East that a named sword can carry a soul, and I can see the care you put into maintaining this blade over the years. I will give it a ‘burial ceremony’ later before using its constituent materials to forge you an heirloom sword in the future…” Hearing Vahn’s words, Mikoto’s aura stabilized a great deal and an inexpressible sense of relief passed through her body. Though she still sat upright, her shoulders relaxed slightly as if a heavy burden had been relinquished from them.

After putting the katana, no, [Shinonome], into his inventory for safe keeping, Vahn smiled at Mikoto and said, “I had originally intended to give you a sword similar to Haruhime’s, but I think your combat style is a bit different than her’s. While her’s is akin to an elegant dance, your’s has always been one that borders on the level of ‘faith’ and shows a heavy emphasis on discipline. You’ve made admirable progress in trying to make your movements more fluid in recent months…I want to give you a weapon that enhances your current capabilities, but will also allow you to continue pursuing the way of the sword you wish to follow…”

As Vahn spoke, he was also filtering through the gacha system once again because he truly believed that The Path helped him out a bit when he made pulls with ‘conviction’. He didn’t truly want to gamble, he simply wanted to let Mikoto’s ‘fate’ intermingle a little with The Path in the hopes that it would help make her own ‘path’ easier to tread. The final weapons used by the girls would be ones personally forged by him and named through the Akashic tome, so this moment was a true test to see what hand fate would deal them. Unlike the ‘Magical’ and ‘Beautiful’ traits he had assigned for Haruhime’s katana, Vahn selected ‘Refined’ and ‘Balanced’ since it seemed suitable for the situation.

The large wooden wheel, adorned with somewhat worn looking gold, began to spin around in his mind once again as orb began to emerge from the hole in the center. The very first one to appear was a muted grey that made Vahn’s eye subtly twitch but the very next one was a pale red, a color Vahn had yet to see before. Immediately following it, there was an even richer red which Vahn could deduce to be of a higher quality than the previous one. The next few were all white without any variations until a somewhat reminiscent blue light appeared on the ‘bonus’ pull. Vahn’s memory could easily recall significant events and he recognized that it was the same color as Haruhime’s [Sakura Blossom]. After seeing that the bright red katana was only C-Rank, Vahn immediately dismissed the other and opened the blue orb which contained a katana that had a black sheath with a stark blue cord and a pattern like cresting waves embellishing the side. The handle looked relatively plain, but the braid was a deep navy blue instead of a traditional black or white…


[Mizuryū-no-Mai] (A/N: Essentially ‘dance of the water dragon’ or ‘water dragon’s dance’)

Rank: A (Magic)

Slots: 0

P.Atk: 900+90

M.Atk: 300

Abilities: Four Phases(A), Drink(A), Impeccable Edge(B), Piercing(B)

A simple katana that belies the awesome power contained within its blade. Forged by a skilled blacksmith that had fallen in love with an enshrined river goddess who possessed the true form of a dragon. Inspired by the elegance of her dance, the blacksmith created this sword as the embodiment of his feelings for the love that could never be. Allows the user to store fluids within the blade to nourish it while also enabling them to exercise control over the four phases of water: liquid, solid, gas, and essence.


Vahn was very surprised by the P.Atk of the weapon since it was bordering on S-Rank, though the M.Atk left something to be desired. However, it was the abilities and description of the [Mizuryū-no-Mai] that truly caught his attention as any ‘control’ type ability was incredibly powerful if used correctly. The fact that it was also related to water, especially while Mikoto was trying to make her style more ‘fluid’, also served to make Vahn feel vindicated about his somewhat presumptuous inference about The Path and its influence on ‘fate’. Now his belief in his deduction was even more pronounced and he began contemplating if he should give all of the girls ‘suitable’ items by relying on the gacha system. Until he could forge them unique items suitable to their characteristics, it would be a good temporary measure to take. After all, more than half of his pool of OP could be credited to the efforts of the girls within the Manor…

Though it seemed like a fair amount of time had passed, it had actually been less than a minute in the real world before Vahn smiled and pulled the [Mizuryū-no-Mai] out of his inventory and performed the same ‘relinquishing’ gesture as Mikoto. Even though she couldn’t understand it herself, Mikoto felt a strange affinity with the katana Vahn had ‘created’ for her. She reached out and gingerly grasped the katana in an ‘accepting’ gesture before pulling it close and stroking her hand across the black sheath. From the moment she took it into her grasp, Mikoto felt like it was perfectly balanced in her hands and the length of the blade was an ideal 90cm while the handle was slightly longer at 28cm. She actually preferred using a ‘loose’ grip these days so the added length would allow her more freedom in her handling capabilities in the future.

Vahn and Haruhime both watched Mikoto in silence as the swordswoman partially unsheathed the blade and marveled at flawless Hamon, the wavy pattern that adorned the length of the blade. Mikoto was seemingly unaware of it, at least for the time being, but Vahn noticed that a subtle ripple emanated from the blade when it was unsheathed and he could see that the water elemental energies in the air had become more active. He squinted his eyes slightly and watched Mikoto observe her own reflection against the surface before unsheathing it entirely and holding it up to check the edge. She appeared to have fallen into her own little world, something both he and Haruhime respected, so they waited patiently for her to familiarize herself with the weapon.

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Mikoto eventually sheathed the katana once again and closed her eyes in an effort to hide her own embarrassment at having behaved in an uncouth manner. After collecting herself, she opened her slightly glimmering black eyes and asked, “May I be allowed to know its name…?” Vahn smiled in response and explained, “It is known as [Mizuryū-no-Mai] and it can be considered a first-class weapon with quality almost comparable to a ‘masterpiece’…” The quality of goods within the Danmachi record actually used a ‘grading’ system instead of the ‘rank’ system that Vahn made use of. The grades were Low, Intermediate, High, Third-Class, Second-Class, First-Class, and, if it was a quality weapon made by a [Master Smith], Master-Class, though most people simply called them masterpieces. Above these were Grandmaster, God, and even Artifact, but such items weren’t actually in common circulation in the mortal world.

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After letting his words settle in for a short moment, Vahn continued, “You’ll find that its physical attack power is quite high and that its cutting edge carries the ‘Impeccable’ ability. Alongside that, it also contains the ‘Piercing’ ability as well as two other ‘rare’ abilities, ‘Drink’, and ‘Four Phases’. The ‘Drink’ allows you to store liquids within the blade, though I’m sure of the limitations, while the ‘Four Phases’ actually lets you control the different phases of water, including liquid, solid, gas, and essence. Simply put, it let you control water, ice, steam, and the pure elemental essence of water. I can probably demonstrate its use for you, but it may be more meaningful if you discern its capabilities for yourself…” For a warrior from the Far East, their weapons were equivalent to ‘companions’ for them and it was considered ‘rude’ to show you had a better understanding of their companion than the swordsman themselves…

Mikoto understood that Vahn was showing consideration for her pride as a warrior so she bowed her head low and said, “Thank you, Vahn, I will show you that I am capable of wielding this katana through my own efforts…” Toward the end of her sentence, Mikoto let her words trail as she raised her head to make eye contact with Vahn and said, “However…I would appreciate your guidance as my Lord and Master in the future…” Even if he didn’t demonstrate it himself, Vahn could guide Mikoto from the side and give her pointers without blemishing her pride. The most important thing of all though was the fact that she had addressed him as both ‘Lord’ and ‘Master’.

Unless Vahn refused her, she was essentially placing herself as both his vassal and apprentice. She already recognized him as her Lord, but the only person she had truly treated as her Master had been Takemikazuchi. This was a big step forward for the reserved Mikoto so Vahn bowed his head slightly to affirm the address and ease her heart and mind. The moment he did so, Mikoto’s affection had increased from 95 up to 99 and she seemed especially happy since there was an almost indiscernible change in her expression as her lips curled up slightly at the edges. Other than the times when she had reunited with Haruhime and discovered they had an onsen in the house, Vahn had never really seen Mikoto smile. Seeing how happy she was, he couldn’t help but show his own happiness, which seemed to be contagious, as both he and Haruhime displayed large smiles…

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