Vahn watched over Fenrir and Mikoto as the two girls fought against the Black Rhinos in very different manners. Fenrir’s attacks were filled with ferocity and the way she moved around the Dungeon was somewhat abnormal as she made use of all four paws to reposition herself. She was very similar to Lili in that she used her entire body to fight, but Fenrir’s attacks were far more animalistic than the small Pallums. As for Mikoto, most of her movements were practiced and highly efficient as the dodged around the enemies with polished footwork. Though she bent about in smooth curves like a dancing willow, Mikoto was like a tree with deep roots and always maintained balance and control over her movements. Her combat style was very reliant on evading attacks and counter-attacking in the gaps between her opponents so she typically dodged attacks at a near-zero distance that made Vahn feel a little nervous at times because some of the attacks would sweep close enough to her that her hair would dance as a result of the wind pressure.
As for Vahn himself, he was very nearly reaching the peak of his current parameter development and he wanted to maximize his magical potential. Many of his skills and abilities were highly reliant on the amount of source energy he had available so Vahn wanted to ensure that his pool was even larger. Though he used to be somewhat bothered by the fact that his magic outscaled his other parameters greatly, Vahn now knew that this was a good thing since it wasn’t like his others were actually behind the ‘norm’. Even the most capable Adventurers typically only got two parameters to 999 before leveling up, but Vahn’s were almost always A or S rank with many of them reaching SS and SSS, values normal people couldn’t reach without awakening their Innate abilities.
He hadn’t been able to practice much during the first half of the day, so now Vahn was focusing his [Eyes of Truth] while observing the changes in his domain as he tried to exercise control over the elemental energies contained within. Other than fire, Vahn didn’t have proficiency with the other elements because he lacked a supporting skill like [Heart of the Eternal] flame that gave him ‘perfect’ affinity. He wanted to get to the point where he could at least make use of the six basic elements in the future before he began to study more complex elemental laws. Not only in the record of danmachi, but the vast majority of records used fire, wind, water, earth, light, and darkness as the foundational hierarchy while more complex elements were things like time, space, destruction, and creation. Elemental energies could also be mixed together in seemingly infinite variations, but that was only if the person doing so had the proper comprehension.
Vahn could see the influence Mikoto’s [Mizuryū-no-Mai] had on the water elements in the air so he had been studying the similarities between her control and his fire elemental control. She wasn’t at the point where she was able to wield the pure energies within the void yet, but that didn’t mean the sword itself had no influence over them. Vahn noticed that whenever she swung the blade, he could actually see ‘ripples’ that emanated in the void, almost as if Mikoto were cutting through the surface of water. They would quickly disappear soon after, but Vahn’s eyes were able to discern their existence, however momentary they had been. As a result, he began waving his own hand through the air in an effort to emulate the effect while compelling the water elemental energies to follow his motions.
With his visualization ability, Vahn was already able to create balls of water out of thin air and he had also practiced a lot with the ‘Essence’ that he had been researching with Riveria. Because of this, water was actually the element he had the third greatest understanding of, losing out only to his Fire and Light elemental affinities. With his excessive use of [Hands of Nirvana] and [Wounds Transfer], Vahn’s understanding of the healing properties of light was remarkable and he had even experienced some minor success in replicating the effects of the [Heal] staff in the past. Water also had several healing properties and was also one of the more ‘neutral’ of all the elements, so it was easy to increase his proficiency with it.
After about an hour of practice, other than when he was helping the girls fight directly, Vahn was at a point where his claws made small ripples through the air which actually caused his fur to become coated in condensation. As a result of the cooling sensation against his paw pads, and how ‘normal’ everything felt, Vahn started to believe that Vanargandr’s had a natural affinity with water and it seemed like he was able to make use of it by changing his race. This was an important discovery because he might simply be able to adopt the most ‘suitable’ form for any future magic he uses. It also led him to believe that the reason why he had ‘created’ a new race like Progenitus was so that he could make use of all the elements efficiently. If he could understand how the flow of energy in a person’s body was influenced by their affinity, Vahn should be able to emulate the affinities and create a form with ‘perfect’ affinity with all elements…
Though she wasn’t having any major difficulties, Miko had tired herself out after about an hour and forty minutes of combat so they had to take a break to replenish their stamina. She allowed him to place his paw pads against her back to help recover her stamina, but Mikoto wanted to take a longer break to recover naturally while she also processed how she had been fighting earlier. While she was meditating, Vahn leaned against the wall of the Dungeon with Fenrir sitting in his lap as she played with his left hand. She liked to over overlap her paws with his so Vahn let her mess around as he held out his right hand and formed it into a water ball before dispersing it once again by ‘expanding’ the elemental energies away from each other. He wasn’t actually getting rid of the water, but essentially allowing it to return back to the air before the ambient energy spread out through the void.
Once Mikoto had finished meditating, she looked at Vahn and Fenrir before bowing her head and saying, “I apologize for the delay…” Vahn smiled at her before reaching out his claw and pointing directly at her face as a small bead of water formed in front of her eyes. In a guiding tone, with a subtle humorous undertone, Vahn explained, “Rest is equally as important as actual training, so don’t apologize so readily. I’ve been using this time to refine my own skills, and I’m sure Fenrir didn’t mind at all…” Fenrir had interlocked her left paw with Vahn’s previously and lifted it up with a smile as she said, “Fenrir is happiest when she is with Vahn so she is grateful to Mikoto~.”
Mikoto stared at the two ‘cuddling’ Vanargandr with a somewhat blank expression before nodding her head and rising to her feet without comment. Vahn’s behavior was often very difficult for her to understand because he actually worked harder than almost anyone else, yet confidently made claims like “rest is important”. She wanted to tell him he needed to heed his own words, but his hardworking nature was one of the reasons she had developed an appreciation for him. Though he might jump about from one thing to another, Vahn always put a ridiculous amount of effort into whatever he was focused on. He also had a gentle character that was very attentive to other people and possessed a noble and heroic spirit that caused him to throw himself into harms ways to protect others…
Soon after their break had come to an end, the trio encountered a pair of monsters within one of the grassy corridors. They were both Deformis Spiders and were trying to blend into the shadows as they awaited their ‘unsuspecting’ prey. Vahn knew that Mikoto needed to kill one of them so that she could benefit from her [Yatanokurogarasu], but it was actually too dangerous for her to fight up close. Unlike Black Rhinos, Deformis Spiders were actually somewhat difficult to deal with if you actually fought them up close. They had eight spear-like legs that they could assault you with and could just as easily move on the walls and ceiling as they could the floor. With the addition of toxic webbing and numerous eyes, which covered the majority of their blind spots, they were simply not worth fighting in a melee.
Vahn had gotten a ‘cool’ idea to deal with the two monsters, which were still hiding out of sight, so he began trying to gather water elemental energies from the airs and simply making it more humid within the tall grass. It was actually possible to infuse energy directly into objects, though there were some compatibility issues, but Vahn was going for a different effect and just wanted to make them wet. As it wasn’t an attack, the two Deformis Spiders ignored the moisture building up around them until it was too late and Vahn sent a pulse of energy through his domain and compelling the water elemental energies to transition into ice as he forcibly infused the energies into the limbs of the spiders. They immediately reacted and tried to move away, but it wasn’t as though they could immediately dislodge all the water from their surroundings just by thrashing about. Vahn had seen Eva used ice magic all the time in the past, so the field of grey-purple grass immediately turned into an icy white as the Deformis Spiders slowly came to a stop.
As she also knew it was dangerous to get close to them, Mikoto held out both of her hands, one over the other, as she began chanting, “I respectfully speak to you, my War God that can break through anything, lead me from the precious heaven. Give my petty body divine power of your grand body. Rescue them light of purification, sword of crushing evil. Sweep sword of suppression, sacred sword of conquest. It arrives here now by my order. Descend from heaven, rule the earth – Shinbu Tousei~!” At the end of her chant, Mikoto spread her hands apart as a purple gateway appeared above the nearest spider and allowed an immaterial sword to pierce into its body. Beneath it, there was a second purple gateway and, when the tip of the sword made contact with it, a black sphere appeared in Mikoto’s hands that showed an image of the Deformis Spider before it began to contract and crush the monster under a powerful gravitational force.
Vahn’s [Eyes of Truth] were fully active as he watched Mikoto perform her exceptionally rare gravity-based magic. Of the elements most highly sought after for their overwhelming capabilities, gravity was at the same level as Destruction and Devouring magic. Even if the user wasn’t that powerful, making the spell less effective, there was almost no way to escape the barrier created by the spatial magic unless you are capable of resisting it until the user entered ‘Mind Down’. This meant that a weak caster of gravity magic could even hold down powerful monsters and Adventurers that far exceeded their strength. Thus, Vahn was very interested in learning how to use such skills himself, without having to copy the magic outright. Just like when he tried using the higher grade magics of Lefiya and Riveria, Vahn’s source energy would drain very rapidly before he was able to actually finish the long chant…
Unable to resist the oppressive force, as its body had been turned rigid from the ice, the Deformis Spiders body shrunk into a spherical shape before it eventually turned into purple dust. Mikoto released a heavy gasp before using the sleeve of her kimono to wipe away the sweat that had appeared on her brow. Though it wasn’t able to fight back, the Deformis Spider was still a monster that exceeded Level 4 and it wasn’t easy for her to crush it when she was only Level 2. Gravity magic might be one of the most powerful, but that also meant it had a very high rate of consumption when casting. Mikoto’s record, since she had been told to practice using it more often, was holding the gravity barrier for a total of 47 seconds before she inevitably fell to her knees in complete exhaustion.
For the final Deformis Spider, Vahn was actually curious about something so a pale golden aura spread through his domain before a ripple appeared above the monster. As if it had been fired from a canon, a link of [Enkidu] shot out of the ripple and pressed into the plated cephalothorax of the frozen arachnid and slammed it against the bedrock floor of the Dungeon. For several seconds, [Enkidu] remained rigid as it pressed into the monster until eventually, after thirteen seconds, it penetrated straight through the monster before coming to a stop against the floor of the Dungeon. Since he wasn’t sure how the Dungeon would react if [Enkidu] began piercing into it, Vahn dispersed the chain before he could find out. Though it wouldn’t break through instantly, it would eventually activate the ‘Piercing(Divine)’ of the golden chains before potentially breaking clear through the floor of the Dungeon effortlessly. (A/N: Remember that [Enkidu] only has 100 attack power, so it takes time to overcome the defense of things. When it reaches that threshold, it will then pierce straight through the object.)
Since she didn’t want to bring them to a stop so soon after they just rested, Mikoto accepted Vahn’s help in replenishing her diminished mana, though it was through her back and not her abdomen. Afterward, they made their way deeper into the floor while making sure to always return to previous corridors after they progressed forward for a bit. Vahn wanted them to always have quick access to the stairs leading up because he had been able to confirm the structural integrity of the stairs was actually much stronger than the other parts of the Dungeon. He hadn’t seen any signs that their enemies had tampered with it and it wouldn’t be too difficult to break through any obstructions even if they tried to collapse the ceiling. Vahn was constantly on alert for the arrival of any of Enyo’s cronies even when he was ‘leisurely’ strolling in the Dungeon with the girls.
Though he had only been able to make an orb around 20cm previously, Vahn had reached 50cm after four hours of practice and had started shaping it in an attempt to make things like ice spears. Unfortunately, though he was able to make the water float in the air, it was more difficult to manage with ice since the molecules became harder to manipulate. However, Vahn was able to overcome this by simply holding a ‘core’ of ice and then freezing the rest by having the water coat the ice in several layers as it got progressively longer. It was kind of similar to how a stalactite formed on the roof of a cave but much master. From the perspective of Fenrir and Mikoto, Vahn was ‘sculpting’ ice out of thin air and it almost ‘beautiful’ since his current appearance, with midnight blue fur and scarlet red eyes, matched well with the icy-blue mist and the crystal clear ice formations.
There were several downsides to Vahn creating ice this way, regardless of how cool it looked, because it was almost in an ‘inert’ state instead of a magically active state like when Haruhime used her [Icicle Edge]. Though they were similar in structure, they were fundamentally different because Vahn’s understanding of both water and ice laws was severely lacking. Unless he made some breakthroughs in the future, it wasn’t really practical for combat since the ice spears would just shatter the moment Vahn threw them at monsters. Some of them even broke from the momentum of the throw itself so it was kind of awkward. When this happened, Vahn did his best to avoid the gazes of the two girls and resolved to practice it in private in the future…
After having killed monsters for slightly more than five hours, Vahn decided to call it a day and guided them back to the stairs leading up. Since their pace had been much slower than the ‘hunt’ earlier in the day the group only managed to kill 384 Black Rhinos, with 204 credited to Fenrir, 91 for Mikoto, and a total of 89 for Vahn. Fortunately, Vahn was able to avoid having the least number of kill as he had defeated eleven Deformis Spiders while Mikoto only killed one. Vahn’s parameter total was at 6,199 now so he would likely be able to level up tomorrow morning if he put in the effort. As for Fenrir and Mikoto, neither girl had experienced that much growth though Mikoto’s was still fair seeing as how she was only Level 2. Ninety-two total monsters weren’t actually that many and Mikoto’s new katana had stunted her growth slightly as it made combat much easier…
(A/N: I decided to make Fenrir’s status a little more comprehensive since some people pointed out that her’s read so much different than everyone else’s. If you’re wondering why her Level 1 stats are kind of garbage, please recall that she used to be a simple kobold and they only reason they are that high is because of the several years spent inside the orb.)
Skills: [Insatiable Hunger:Innate(-)], [Lunar Cry:A], [Freezing Roar:A], [Chainbreaker:C], [Devour:SS], [Huntress:SS], [Endeavor:C], [Severing Claws:D->C]
Development Abilities: [Chain Attack:D], [Fist Fighter:(sealed)], [Acrobatics:(sealed)], [Mimickry:(sealed)]
Name: Yamato Mikoto
Skill: [Yatanokurogarasu:B], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A]
Magic: [Futsunomitama:B], [Apocalypse: Innate(sealed)]
Development Skill: [Abnormal Resistance:C], [Swordsman:(sealed)]