Chapter 571: Bloody Research…?

Starting the following day, other than the mornings which he spent training Tina and Shizune in the Dungeon, Vahn threw himself fully into his research. His blood was something that followed him between every record so there was no harm in researching it to unlock the many secrets Vahn suspected it contained. Even Sis didn’t know what the (sealed) part in his race meant and Vahn was beginning to believe it was related to the fact his body was comprised of source energy now. He could freely change his first race, which is how he appeared to others, but the secondary (sealed) never changed.

His first experiment was the one he believed had the highest chance of success so Vahn forged a variety of amulets, medallions, and even a few items like chokers, tiaras, and a belt buckle. They each had ‘slots’ where he could seat gemstones later so Vahn began coring out a variety of different precious stones. As they were the most readily available, and the most cost-effective for OP conversion, Vahn acquired a diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, peridot, and topaz. As for the rarer materials, Vahn picked out a high-grade monster core, a Fire Wyvern’s magic core, and a very rare gem called a Vouivre’s Tear. He knew it was an item that only dropped from the rare female dragonoids called Vouivre, one of which Vahn expected he would have a relationship with in the future given that one of his daughter’s had similar features.

Holding up the beautiful red gemstone, Vahn could feel powerful energy emanating from it and, when he activated his [Eyes of Truth], it was very obviously not a normal gem. It had hair-thin lines permeating throughout the interior and Vahn very quickly realized he wouldn’t be able to core it out for his purposes. It would be an incredible waste to destroy the complex internal structure so he safely kept it in his inventory for the time being. If possible, he would like to make it into a pendant in the future, or perhaps used it as a charm for when he meets a Xenos.

The Fire Wyvern’s magic core was very similar, having a complex internal structure, but Vahn felt less awed by it considering he had looted a few during his short stint on the 58th Floor. If necessary, he could always obtain several more when he next delves into the Deep Floors. It probably wouldn’t be any time soon, as he needed to make preparations for the Supply Depot on the 39th Floor, but it wouldn’t be that far away either. However, Vahn decided to set it aside for now since he wanted to experiment with lower quality materials first. Right now, he was just inspecting them to test their viability before starting the process.

High-Grade monster cores had a large number of impurities contained within them and, even though the energy they could contain was very high, the actual durability of the gem left something to be desired. It was a little strange that the vital point of many powerful monsters was a simple monster core that could easily be damaged by a low-grade dagger if struck directly. Vahn was, however, able to glean a few insights from the monster core’s internal structure since the way it was interlayered was similar to how Hephaestus forged some of her metals. He was far from the point where he could shape the basic structure of metal with his energy, but having a few points of reference would always be helpful.

The normal gems were a bit of a disappointment because Vahn realized the only difference between them were a few impurities that were intermixed with the molecular structure. Diamonds were very hard, but they seemed to ‘bleed’ energy instead of containing it properly. As for rubies, they had a strange affinity with fire that Vahn couldn’t quite understand, but they also failed to properly store energy. It was a similar case for all the other gemstones, with the only exception being that they had slightly different affinities. Sapphires were a good catalyst for water and ice while emeralds had a slight affinity with the elements of wind and thunder. Topaz was a strong catalyst for natural energy and earth elemental energy with amethyst and peridot having affinities with darkness and light respectively.

With his other options sorted through, Vahn showed a complex expression before removing one of the Treasure Magic Stones from his inventory. It was the same as the ones affixed to Riveria’s staff and they were one of the most highly sought after gems for creating magical staves. Vahn inspected the transparent blue crystal with his [Eyes of Truth] and noticed that they actually had naturally occurring magic circles invisibly layered within the interior. This was a major discovery because Vahn hadn’t even considered trying to create a formation within a crystal previously. His eyes glowed brightly, and not just because he still had his [Eyes of Truth] active.

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After copying the strange magic circles into a journal, Vahn then compared it to other Treasure Magic Stones, noting that they were very similar in structure with only a few slight variations. Vahn could ‘read’ what the magic circles were supposed to do and easily understood why they were such prized items by mages. The basic structure greatly enhanced the power of magic spells while the rest of the formation essentially helped ‘translate’ chants into the proper structure for creating a magic circle. This meant that any staff or wand using a Treasure Magic Stone also enhanced the caster’s ability to control their magic while reducing the chance of failure.

Vahn had eventually shared this discovery with Riveria who had been very interested because it had never been truly understood why Treasure Magic Stones were such valuable gems. It was very strange that they grew on trees that could only be found within the Dungeon and, even goddesses like Hephaestus with her ‘godly eyes’ couldn’t see the invisible magic formations contained within. Even without being able to peer through the secret, Hephaestus was still able to determine how the gem worked simply based on instinct, however, so it had never been a pertinent issue the few times she created staves.

Deciding it would be a waste to use the Treasure Magic Stones, Vahn ended up back with the original ‘useless’ gems like diamonds. Now that he had the idea of creating formations within the gemstones, Vahn theorized he could convert the useless gems into very powerful magical catalysts by altering their internal structure with his ‘Oblivion’ skill. It was a bit of a tangent that wouldn’t allow him to make progress on the Blood Gems, but Vahn simply had to test his theory before moving on. It took a bit of painstaking effort, to the point he spent nearly an entire weekend in his workshop, but he managed to finish creating an incredibly small formation out of pure Orichalcum within a large diamond. He was ‘forced’ to rest by the girls after it was finished, but Vahn was able to confirm that the diamond could now contain a fair amount of mana even without him using his blood.

With this new discovery, Vahn had Fenrir and Terra help him out a bit by allowing him to inspect their pendants closely with his [Eyes of Truth]. The [Nezha Lady’s Togi] took the form of an amulet with a seal carved into it, but Vahn was able to see it had a far more complex internal structure than he had imagined. As for the large ruby-like gemstone on Terra’s pendant, it had a magic circle unlike anything Vahn had ever seen and, instead of interlayered circles and runes, it was very rigid and angular instead. From this observation, Vahn realized there were numerous intricacies related to the internal structure of gemstones that he had never taken into consideration previously. One of these intricacies, which Vahn considered was very important, was the fact that there was a formation of pure source energy within Fenris’s and Terra’s pendants but, when he checked Lili’s, it was the same color as her pure-earth elemental energy…

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This realization allowed Vahn to understand that soulbound items, at least those that could be stored away in gemstones, needed a supporting structure in the gemstone itself. Though the equipment was linked with the soul, it wasn’t stored within it like Vahn’s [Enkidu]. The latter was a Tier 5 piece of equipment, so Vahn suspected he would find instances that contradicted his current findings depending on the records he visited. For everything Tier 4 and lower, however, Vahn was confident he had started on the path towards making his own gems that could be soulbound to store equipment in the future…

Vahn had continued this research for more than two weeks and was no closer to finding a gemstone that could properly store his blood since it couldn’t contain his source energy for long periods of time. He had even tried purchasing another [Nezha Lady’s Togi] from the shop to ‘steal’ the gem from the pendant but, the moment he managed to free it, the entire thing crumbled into dust as the internal structure immediately collapsed. During moments like that, Vahn would take a break and found comfort in helping Naaza with her [Mixing] research while watching over Preasia’s studies.

Other than Preasia, who stayed behind in the Manor and sometimes lingered around his workshop, Naaza, Lili, and Chloe often ventured into the Dungeon in the mornings and would stay inside until the early afternoon. This meant Vahn only spent a few hours inside the Atelier each day and had split the rest of his time between interacting with the other girls in the Manor and focusing on his own research. As for Naaza’s, Vahn had been surprised with how much progress she had made since they first met and it was very obvious she worked hard. He still couldn’t mix anything on his own, as his source energy was simply too powerful for the materials to contain, but he was able to help modify Naaza’s notes to eliminate some of the problems he found.

Naaza was often very impressed by his insight, but Vahn knew that it was primarily a result of having a near-perfect memory with The Path while Sis was the one that made many of the actual insights. She could cross-reference the information in his mind and Vahn had even given her the right to purchase items she thought were beneficial as long as it didn’t cost too much OP. As a result, Sis had slowly been compiling a vast amount of knowledge and information related to the Danmachi record within his mind and had eliminated many of the ‘problems’ simply by comparing notes. Vahn couldn’t really talk about Sis, as she was an integral part of The Path and his secrets, so he apologized to her whenever Naaza praised his work.

Though it wasn’t a large amount in the grand scheme of things, Naaza had been able to push her efficacy rate to around 19% for Low-Grade Elixers and managed to reach as much as 30% for High-Grade Potions. She even mustered up a bit of courage to try and make a Low-Grade Mana Potion, but was unable to have a single success unless Vahn was there to assist her. It made her feel a bit of pressure since she truly believed Vahn was the more capable person when it came to [Mixing], but Naaza never complained. Whenever she did well, Vahn would always praise her and, though it was very embarrassing, she enjoyed his words and the petting that typically followed them…

Vahn found himself sitting with Fenrir in his lap at the dinner table while Hestia, Hephaestus, Loki, and Anubis were discussing the matters regarding the upcoming Denatus. They would be leaving tomorrow and were currently getting everyone’s input regarding the alias ideas they were intended to go with. Vahn had already heard many of the suggestions previously, but this was the first time most of the girls were hearing the names that had been ‘decided’ for them. Fenrir was completely fine with ‘Vanargand’, since it was almost the same as her race, Vanargandr. She simply chewed away at the link of [Enkidu] Vahn had let out for her and watched the scene play out at the table with unblinking eyes with a glint of humor contained within.

Though it wasn’t guaranteed, there was a high chance the aliases would be approved since the support for the Alliance had greatly increased since the previous Denatus. When it became public knowledge how quickly the members within the Hestia Familia had increased in Level, it would also give them a lot of leverage to pick and choose aliases as it was very evident each person had worked hard. Lili’s ‘Super Supporter’ was either going to end up as ‘Atlas’ or, if that was too contentious within the godly community, ‘One Punch Pallum’. It was a bit of a silly name, but it was also somewhat fierce while getting the point across that Lili wasn’t to be taken lightly. Vahn had wanted to make a comment that it may be misconstrued as her being ‘defeated’ in one punch, but Lili seemed to like it and he didn’t want to hurt her feelings…

Lefiya’s current alias was ‘Thousand Elf’, as a result of her [Elf Ring] ability, but it would likely be changed to reflect her new fighting style and her magical prowess. Loki proposed the idea of calling Lefiya ‘Blooming Beauty’, since she currently used a staff that looked like a blooming tulip, but Tiona chimed in and said it should be closer to something like ‘Elven Bombardment’ since Lefiya literally spammed laser-light magic spells. However, Lefiya surprised everyone when she gave her own opinion on the matter and wanted to be called the ‘Sage’s Apprentice’ since she wanted to be officially recognized as Vahn’s apprentice. This caused a bit of tension with Lili and Haruhime, but it didn’t last long when it was mentioned that they already had aliases selected.

Haruhime would likely become a very popular topic over the next few weeks, perhaps even longer, because it was essentially going to be revealed that she went from Level 1 to Level 3 between the time period of two sequential Denatus. Since her ‘rare’ skill was called ‘Inari’, they would be pushing to get her that alias but, considering it may be denied when accounting for the existence of the real Inari, it would instead be ‘Flower Dancer’ or ‘Elegant Death’ depending on the reception of the godly community. Haruhime currently still used the [Sakura Blossom] as her primary weapon and she had drawn a lot of attention during the few instances she actually displayed her ability to other people…

As for the other aliases there were being thrown around, it was decided that Mikoto’s would be either ‘Flying Heavenly Sword’ or ‘Godspeed Swordswoman’ since her capabilities had greatly increased since the previous Denatus. For both Tsubaki and Ais to compliment her growth, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say there was more than enough justification for such titles. Since the type of swordsmanship she used was actually called the ‘Flying Heavenly Sword Technique’, it would be a good way to spread awareness of the legacy and begin building up her reputation…

Maemi and Emiru would be getting their first alias this time around and were adamant about getting ‘Gemini’ as their shared alias while they didn’t care much about their personal aliases. It wasn’t that uncommon for small units, especially siblings, to have a shared alias so it would be easy to approve. Even Tiona and Tione were known as the Hiryute Sisters, even though their personal aliases were ‘Amazoness’ and ‘Jormungand’ respectively. As for the girls that originated from the Hostess of Fertility, they were going to be ‘Cheshire Cat’, ‘Hidden Spear’, and ‘Smiling Brawler’. Chloe didn’t mind ‘Cheshire Cat’ at all and actually thought it suited her well while Arnya was simply happy to not have her old alias any longer. As for Lunoire, she didn’t really mind too much since she never had an official alias and her bounty hunter nickname had been ‘Black Fist’, which had been kind of annoying…

The last person to be discussed, other than Vahn, who would obviously be called as ‘Sage Aldrnari’ still, was Terra. One of the points they intended to press was the idea that some ‘monsters’ should be recognized as sentient creatures of the surface. It was generally believed that monsters didn’t possess a soul, which was true in the vast majority of cases, but there were a few obvious exceptions and it wasn’t ‘right’ to treat such entities in the same vein as monsters. Fenrir was well-known to be one of Vahn’s tamed monsters, but it had never been announced that she actually had a Falna, something that should have been ‘impossible’. Both she and Terra would be advocated for during the Denatus because Vahn truly wanted to change the perception of people in order to enable the Xenos to live amongst the surface-dwellers in the future…

As for the alias that had been decided for Terra, they were simply going to push for ‘True Dragon’ or ‘Nature Dragon’, as they were the most suitable considering the circumstances. Terra herself didn’t seem to care too much, though she did mention a name that showed her relationship with Vahn would be preferable. She didn’t vocalize it, but the alias ‘Vanargand’ that Fenrir would be receiving sounded very ‘nice’ to her since it was very similar to their Master’s name. Being called ‘True Dragon’ or ‘Nature Dragon’ didn’t seem that bad though, so she didn’t harp over the matter too much. How other people referred to her wasn’t important at all and she only cared about studying and spending time with her Master.

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