Chapter 638: Catalyst

Though it wasn’t impossible to reach the 30th Floor within a single day, starting from the 18th, it was unheard of for an entire Expedition to make the treck in eleven hours. With their reduced burden, Fenrir clearing most ‘hazards’, and Vahn stimulating everyone so they wouldn’t get tired, the Expedition had easily set an almost unbreakable record. There was also the fact that Vahn adamantly refused to miss the timing for using the orb but also had a few misgivings about ‘blanking’ for a few seconds in reality. When people could move at several times the speed of sound in bursts, Vahn knew that a small ‘gap’ could lead to devastating consequences, even with Fenrir protecting him.

Fortunately, Finn seemed to be in high spirits and quickly lead everyone in the establishment of their encampment while Vahn sat high atop a stone with Fenrir, Haruhime, Mikoto, and Asfi sitting around him. Ensuring that everything was going well beforehand, Vahn closed his eyes casually while the girls protected his body and submerged his mind into the orb. He had been looking forward to the possibility of meeting his own child so hadn’t even been a single second late in his timing. With a fair amount of giddiness in his stomach, Vahn embraced the darkness and the familiar tugging sensation before finding himself sitting on a bed a moment later.

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From the moment his awareness had returned, Vahn could hear playful laughter coming from Eva as she said, “Ufufufu, I told you he would be on time. I think this is the most ‘exact’ timing he has ever had before…I’m rather jealous.” Immediately after, a second source of laughter reached his ears as Terra mused, “Ara ara, Eva, I’m certain you can get my Master to pamper you plentily if you’re feeling lonely~.” Eva giggled this time and was already in Vahn’s lap as she matched his gaze and said, “Yes, I believe you’re right~.” before playfully licking his bottom lip…

Nearly two hours later, Vahn was covered in a light layer of sweat as he held the naked Eva in his lap and they started the discussion that had previously been on his mind. Terra was also naked, after having participated in their reunion, and laid across the bed with a healthy blush on her face as she explained, “After hibernating for 120 days, I ended up laying a fertilized egg…thank you, Master…” Though she had thanked him several times in the past, Vahn felt a great deal of emotions behind Terra’s words so he firmly nodded his head and said, “Please, it was my honor, Terra…” This caused the tip of Terra’s tail to begin tapping against the best as lovingly looked at her Master and lover with a depth of emotions she hadn’t thought possible in the past.

Rising up so she could sit properly, Terra moved a length of her vibrant green hair behind her pointy ears as she said, “Well, to answer the question I’m certain you have, the egg has yet to hatch. Eva and I speculated it would take around 600 days before it was ready, but it also requires a catalyst to awaken it. Don’t worry, there are no dangers at all in leaving the egg unhatched and it can ‘theoretically’ last for thousands of years without any issue…” Terra turned her eyes toward Eva as she spoke, who then continued, “Indeed, it isn’t unheard of for the eggs of a True Dragon to lay dormant for millennia and we already know what kind of catalysts are required, if that was your next question.” Eva began laughing when she saw Vahn’s mouth open for a moment, only to close in the next when she correctly guessed his question.

Eva flicked her hand and pulled out texts since she knew Vahn could analyze things put into his own spatial dimension. Vahn accepted the document as Eva explained, “Though it would have been possible to awaken the egg within the orb, we were worried you may not be able to take it out with you since you can’t easily store organic objects. Terra speculated that, though it would likely have a ‘core’ near its heart, it may not be a traditional core. There was also the possibility you would have inhibitions about subordinating your own child and would miss a large part of its formative years…” At this point, Terra also added, “Indeed…though I also wanted to take the girls at the Manor into consideration. It’s been…a long time since I’ve seen then…but I know they are very important to you and it wouldn’t be ‘fair’ if I stole the spot away from the people closest to your heart.”

Vahn felt his heart twinge a bit at Terra’s words, but she just began to laugh before licking her index finger in a playful manner and saying, “Don’t worry, Master, I’m already very happy you were willing to bless me with a child in the first place. Knowing that you were looking forward to meeting them also made me very happy…though, I won’t stop you from making it up to me later if you’re feeling guilty~.” At the end of her words, Terra licked her lips with a ‘hungry’ look in her eyes that made Eva comment, “You really are a Lewd Dragon…” Terra froze momentarily before they both began laughing at the same time, seemingly sharing an inside joke between each other.

Seeing how close the two had become, Vahn released a small sigh before smiling as he said, “I’m glad you two have become so close. Every time I leave, I always feel very guilty and I can never truly express my gratitude to either of you…” Vahn hugged Eva’s small body and kissed the top of her head, wanting her to know how much he appreciated all the sacrifices she had made for him. Truly, she had no obligation to have done any of this and had even gone far beyond the original purpose she had been given when created. Eva simply responded by tilting her head up with a loving smile on her face before giving him another kiss, which quickly turned into a continuation of their reunion a few minutes later…

This his three-day stint within the orb, Vahn continued studying magic with Eva but not before he actually got to see the egg that contained his child. When he first laid eyes on it, Vahn had been completely stunned until Terra explained that the egg actually grew in size ‘after’ she had laid it. It was currently more than 30cm in diameter and 40cm in length so Vahn had shuddered to imagine how Terra had been able to force out such a thing. After that small concern was dealt with, however, Vahn ended up cradling the strangely inert egg in his hands as Eva continued to explain what he needed to consider before helping it hatch.

True Dragons, especially those that had assumed a gender, had the intrinsic ability to breed with any living organism. The genes were typically stronger in the males, but it wasn’t that uncommon for a female True Dragon to breed with powerful mates in order to produce strong offspring. Like some of the other more ‘primordial’ species, they had very powerful instincts when it came to breeding and this was the reason why Terra had suffered so much after her instincts were triggered. For females, this involved giving birth to powerful children and protecting them until the time of their birth, typically with the ‘purpose’ of exceeding the strength of their mate. As for the males, they would usually create a ‘nest’ and actually stockpiled eggs over a long period of time until they were nearing their old age, which could take tens of thousands of years, on the low end. They would then allow their ‘brood’ to be born and fight amongst themselves until only a single one remained, which would become the successor ‘Dragon King or Queen’.

Terra was a unique entity so, while she felt the urge to breed after Vahn nearly turned into the Azure Dragon, she had no desire to see their child grow beyond and usurp him. The fact that Vahn was immortal seemed to have an effect on this instinct and she actually stopped producing eggs entirely, at least for the time being. The more important factor to consider, for the moment, was how the eggs themselves functioned and what it took to awaken them. As was mentioned previously, the internal gestation period was around 120 days whereas the external maturation took a minimum of 600. Once the egg reached this size, a catalyst was necessary to ‘awaken’ the power within the egg and this would determine what kind of affinity the True Dragon would have.

When the egg was first produced, it was a melding of the energies between the two parents and actually had nothing to do with biology, at least in a conventional sense. This meant that the offspring between Terra and Vahn had no blood relation to them whatsoever, not that Vahn really cared for such things as he still intended to treat it as his child. Instincts, though powerful, weren’t something that couldn’t be overcome and Vahn was confident their child would grow up to be a unique existence that wasn’t bound by such things. Thus, after discussing things between the three of them, it was decided that Eva would use a magic known as [Glaciem Aeterna Positumque Loculum], meaning Eternal Ice Coffin, to seal the egg so Vahn could safely put it into his Inventory.

[Glaciem Aeterna Positumque Loculum] was an ‘ultimate’ magic that was an amalgamation of Space, Time, and Ice elemental energies. When Eva cast it, she actually had to suck Vahn’s blood for nearly two hours since the number of ‘cores’ she had formed reached 15, which was her absolute peak. This caused a small prism to enshroud the orb, reflecting a beautiful rainbow light and completely sealing the egg away, isolating it from both time and space. Though it was also an Ice magic, there was far more to Ice Laws than what Vahn currently understood and it didn’t even feel cold to the touch. After confirming it was now possible to store it away in his Inventory, Eva and Terra were both very happy and made a comment about, instead of it just being a child between Terra and Vahn, it was now something shared between the three of them.

The reason why Eva had used such a powerful magic was because this would guarantee that the resultant True Dragon would have affinities related to Space, Time, and Ice. Terra didn’t really mind what affinities it had and strangely didn’t feel much attachment towards the egg until she noticed Vahn cared about it. Afterward, she had cradled it lovingly and had even mumbled words to it when Vahn was training with Eva. This warmed Vahn’s heart and he hoped she would be a good mother since she was already an incredible woman with a gentle disposition and an awe-inspiring intellect. Though it wouldn’t have the benefit of training with Eva, Vahn believed their child would still become very powerful under the guidance of Terra, who had already said she had no intentions of sharing her skills under normal circumstances…

Though Eva’s magic was serving as the basic catalyst, the final phase to guarantee their child had the greatest possible potential included Vahn spilling his own blood over the egg. This would be what eventually awakens it in the future and was also the ceremony the previous generations Dragon King would use when they only had a sole heir. To ensure that the brood would become powerful from birth, the aged male would strike its own heart and allow the True Dragon’s Blood Essence to completely cover the egg, allowing it to at least have the same potential as the father. Since Vahn’s blood was already enigmatic to the point that it ‘bothered’ Eva a bit, they believed it would be very beneficial, which Vahn agreed to without argument.

When their child was born, it would have elemental affinities bestowed to it by a peak Tier 5 being while also bathing Vahn’s own unique blood. This would make it a very dangerous entity if it went down a dark path, but Vahn couldn’t help but believe the child shared between the three of them would be a kind and gentle soul. Eva, though she was a bit ‘icy’ at times, was actually a very gentle girl who had been warped by her loneliness and the persecution she had faced. Vahn was much the same, though his own tragic origins were somewhat different than her’s and could hardly be compared if set side-by-side. As for Terra, she was a pacifist by nature and had a calming aura that could sooth the hearts and souls of others. Vahn refused to believe the child between the three of them would truly be ‘dangerous’, at least in the sense that it would outright attack others…

Other than dealing with the egg, Vahn continued his practice with [Pactio], getting to the point where he could form the circle within eight seconds, pushing his mastery to B-Rank. Eva informed him that he could get it down to three seconds with practice but advised against creating it any faster since it could potentially destabilize the structure if it didn’t have enough time to process its own form. This would likely push the magic to S-Rank, which was the ‘peak’ of most things within the world he was using it in, though SS-Rank wasn’t that difficult to achieve as breaking through the limit wasn’t impossible if you were determined.

Vahn’s [Pactio] practice was only conducted during their breaks, however, so the vast majority of his time was spent forming other wards, practicing his flight magic, and trying to learn [Koku Shundo]. He could actually ’emulate’ it well enough but had yet to form it into a skill just yet since his ability to establish the two points wasn’t up to snuff. Eva wanted him to increase his [Shundo] to A-Rank, so she had him dodge around using nothing but [Shundo] while barraging him with [Sagitta Magica] bolts. Vahn’s own limit was nine at a time but Eva didn’t actually seem to have one, nor did she even bother chanting, as hundreds chased after him.

Eva had completely forbidden him from using his [Rakshasa Body] within the orb during training and she ‘awarded’ his assent by making sure her own attacks were ‘gentle’. Though he would constantly get hit by the supersonic beams of magic, they strangely felt like light pushes that only left a bit of icy condensation instead of massive impacts. With his [Heart of the Eternal Flame], he was easily able to resist the cold but Eva would always ‘punish’ him after the fact for each bolt that hit him. He didn’t miss the fact that she would always increase the accuracy of her attacks towards the end of their training session but didn’t have the ‘courage’ to tease her for it when she was already in the mood to ‘punish’ him.

By the end of the third day, as he sat lazily stroking Terra’s and Eva’s naked bodies, Vahn checked his own growth and was happy to see that he had [Koku Shundo:I] within his Status Board. It was just barely passable, which Eva had pointed out to him already, but was still enough to allow him to completely change his combat style. As there were still 23 more instances, at the very least, for him to enter the orb, Vahn knew he would become much stronger. Feeling that his body was beginning to ‘tug’, Vahn shared a passionate kiss with the two girls before saying, “I will return as soon as I can. I love both of you…” as his body slowly turned to dust. As his own thoughts began to fade away, Vahn showed a small smile because his own status wasn’t the only thing he had observed over the last few minutes…

———————————————————————-

[[STATUS]]

Name: Terra Evergreen

Race: True Dragon

LV. 10(-)

POW: A806

END: SSS1905

DEX: SSS3117

AGI: C618

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MAG: SSS(-)

Skill: [Avatar of the Earth:B], [Guardian of Nature:C], [Healing Sap:B->A], [Aroma Therapy:S], [Chant Shortening:C->B], [Activation Key:A-S], [True Dragon’s Roar:C], [Nature’s Touch:B](new)

Magic: [Cantus Bellax:B->A], [Reflexio:S], [Evocatio:A], [Shundo:D], [Koku Shundo:H], [Void Transference:B->S], [Sagitta Magica:S->SS], [Pnoē Petrās:S], [Kakon Omma Petrōseōs:C->A], [Circulus Pilorum Nigrorum:F->C], [Ho Monolithos Kiōn Tou Haidou:H->E], [Columnae Caeli:H](new)

Development Skill: [Pacifism:B], [Arch Mage:H->G], [Well of Spirit:H](new), [Summoner:D->B] [Nature’s Touch]

Rank: B

Use: Causes natural energy to gather on the point of contact, greatly accelerating plant growth in the area. Active Trigger.

[Columnae Caeli]

Rank: H (Forbidden)

Use: Creates an isolated space using space and earth elemental energy, forcibly accelerating time within the targeted area.

Chant: Gaze into Eternity. See the Passage of History before thine eyes. Let nature reclaim all things in its motherly embrace. Pillar of Eternity, Gaea’s Grace, Heaven’s Pillar~!

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