Chapter 646: Acceptance

Vahn continued to hold the phantom Eva until the Phantasmagoria completely faded away, leaving him standing in the midst of a destroyed landscape with Terra and Eva observing him. They both had happy smiled on their faces as Eva blinked next to him, lifting his arms to observe the patterns that had appeared. Vahn saw a purple tattoo-like design had appeared on his arms, creating a complex pattern that seemed to be embedded in his very existence. Eva’s smile grew even bigger as she said, “This is the sign that you have been able to learn my [Magia Erebea] successfully. Congratulations, Vahn…” Though she was congratulated him, Eva’s eyes began to tear up so, much like he had her phantom, Vahn embraced ‘his’ Eva and comforted her for a few minutes.

It was a very strange feeling, but Vahn felt as light as a feather now, almost like he had lost a heavy burden after experiencing the Phantasmagoria. Though it might have been a byproduct of learning [Magia Erebea], Vahn felt that it was his decision to embrace reality and move on that was the cause. Previously, his past had haunted him and seemed like such a ‘significant’ moment in his life…now, it seemed almost pointless to have put so much value in those events. Though they had led him to this moment, Vahn knew that their significance depending entirely on how much value he placed in the memories. He didn’t throw them away, but the Phantasmagoria allowed him to ‘accept’ the reality and continue forward, removing their value without repressing the memory.

After Eva calmed down, she wiped the tears from her eyes before looking up and saying, “We don’t have much time, Vahn. You were inside for more than fifty hours and, as you can see, you were a bit busy during that time…” Vahn looked around, noticing the sheer amount of devastation that surrounded him. Much like they had expected, he lost his mind in the real world and wrought a great deal of destruction as a result. Since binding him down was too dangerous, as it might cause him to activate his [Chainbreaker], Terra and Eva just defended against his attacks and let him ‘vent’. After all, this space would be destroyed soon and it would speed up the process of his Phantasmagoria if he wasn’t prevented from using his power.

Vahn felt a little guilty about the destruction, holding Eva tight enough to lift her feet off the ground as he said, “Next time, let’s build a paradise all our own…” Afterward, Vahn spent a fair amount of time ‘apologizing’ to the two girls for his behavior before Eva once again reminded him about the lack of time. Since he didn’t want to force them to wait an additional four years just to be separated immediately after their reunion, Vahn had to get over his own inhibitions and go through with the process.

Now that he had learned [Magia Erebea], Eva herself had begun to destabilize and there was no guarantee she would last for another four years before she broke down and dissipated. Thus, with a heavy heart, Vahn followed his instincts and used [Enkidu] to create a sphere around Eva’s body. He knew it was going to put a heavy burden on his soul, but Vahn still used the sealing effect of [Enkidu], targetting Eva’s memory fragment and pulling it into his soul, a surprisingly painful process. Though she wasn’t real, she was still the memory fragment of a Tier 5 entity and Vahn was currently just Tier 3. If Eva had resisted at all, Vahn felt like he would have taken a great deal of damage to his soul in the process of trying to seal her away.

Terra stepped forward, catching her Master as he fell forward, breathing heavily as he clutched at his chest with a pained expression on his face. Fortunately, his expression also carried a smile as he leaned into her chest and muttered, “It was successful…” As if it had been listening in, the space around them began to fracture at the same time, quickly destabilizing without Eva’s existence to maintain its structure. Though he had been focused on the small girl curled up into a fetal position within his soul, Vahn snapped back to reality and said, “We need to go, Terra.”, earning a nod before she broke down, leaving behind a resplendent emerald-green crystal filled with a rainbow light in the center.

Vahn grabbed Terra’s core, stowing it away safely within his Inventory as he took one last look at the world around him, watching as the unstable space wrought even greater destruction on a place that had been instrumental in his own development. Though it would take some time, Vahn swore he would make a paradise much like this in the future, staying with Eva for a long time to make up for the many years she had patiently waited for him. She had only been a memory fragment, but Vahn felt she had become something ‘more’ as time passed, perhaps as a result of drawing his blood so often. Unfortunately, it would have to wait until he reached Eva’s record before he was able to verify his conjecture…

Releasing a long and heavy sigh, Vahn stopped resisting against the tugging force and his body quickly began to turn into dust. He was suddenly seized by a powerful melancholy, but Vahn bore it much like the weight of his own past, accepting it was part of life and keeping it close, nurturing the smaller feelings of warmth contained within the emotion. There was nothing that could be done to ‘deal’ with sadness, as it was a very important part of life that ‘needed’ to be experienced. However, behind those painful emotions, there was the love he felt for Eva which, when focused on, seemed to overwhelm the sadness in an instant, causing a small smile to appear on Vahn’s face as he disappeared from the orb for the last time…

Opening his eyes back in the real world, Vahn found several pairs of eyes looking at him in concern, the closest belonging to his ever-faithful companion, Fenrir. Vahn sat up, letting the tears from his eyes flow freely as he smiled to the girls, explaining, “Don’t worry, I’m okay now. I learned something very important this time around…” Placing his hand over his chest, Vahn focused his mind and saw the curled up Eva, resting peacefully at the center of his soul with her long blond hair floating about in slow motion, creating a mesmerizing sight as if she was floating in water. Knowing that his own soul was one of the safest places in all records, Vahn felt a great deal of relief seeing her sleeping securely within.

Vahn spent the better part of an hour explaining the details of what he had experienced, including some parts about the Phantasmagoria that earned him a few consoling tears from the girls. This ended up causing Vahn to comfort them for a few minutes, assuring them that everything was okay and that he had learned to live with his past instead of trying to escape it. It had been an important part of his life and, though it seemed inconsequential now, it was the memories of such tragedy that gave him the motivation and dedication to helping others avoid such travesties. He didn’t have to live, defined by those memories, but by the decisions he wished to make from this point forward…

The fastest to bounce back after their conversation ended up being Tiona, who curiously asked, “So, now that you learned that [Magia Erebea] thing, aren’t you like super strong now~?” This question caused the eyes of several girls to glimmer, including Fenrir who had been sitting in his lap, freely allowing her Master to hold her and find comfort. Vahn smiled in response, nodding his head as he explained, “Though it certainly makes me much stronger, the more important component is that I’m now functionally immortal…here, don’t panic and just watch.” To demonstrated his meaning, Vahn pulled out a sword and, in front of the shocked eyes of the girls, cut off his own arm. However, before the limb could even fall to the ground, it was almost like time had reversed and it ‘snapped’ back into position without a single sign of injury remaining.

For several seconds, there was absolute silence in the room until Tione remarked, “Well, that is a very convenient ability…” Her remark caused even more silence until Vahn began laughing, easing the tensions of the room as the others joined in moments later. He then explained both the benefits and the negatives for them so that girls like Ais wouldn’t pester him about trying to learn the ability for themselves. This was also the moment he began talking about other forms of immortality, testing the waters to see which girls might be interested in developing their soul to the point where aging and death became ‘optional’.

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Other than Mikoto, all the other girls actually didn’t seem to mind the idea of living forever, though Tiona and Tione had complained that it would make fighting less interesting. Vahn explained that being immortal didn’t mean they ‘absolutely’ couldn’t be killed, just that it was far more difficult. As for Haruhime and, surprisingly, Lefiya, they simply wanted to stay at his side for as long as possible. Vahn felt a little strange seeing the two pairs of fervent eyes looking toward him, but he still returned a happy smile in response. As for Ais, she didn’t really seem to mind trying to become immortal since it would only be as a result of her own efforts, something that made her eyes glow with a fiery light. She was the type that always pursued greater heights in her own power, though the reason behind her actions had been subtly changing over time.

Having the ‘option’ of attaining immortality just by becoming stronger seemed to make Ais feel somewhat competitive as she muttered, “I will be the first to reach immortality…” while eying the other girls. Unfortunately, she rested her eyes on Fenrir for a brief moment, causing the small Vanargandr to raise her head in a haughty manner, reminiscent of Eva, as she said, “Hmmm? But Fenrir is already immortal though~?” Ais’ eyes widened and it looked like she had suffered a bit of a mental impact until Vahn clarified that all of his named subordinates were functionally immortal unless they were killed. This made Ais release a small sigh of relief as she eyed the other girls, this time passing over Fenrir without making eye contact. Tiona and Tione seemed to get fired up at this while Mikoto just hung her head in silent contemplation for a while…

Mikoto never thought about living forever and she actually considered aging to be a ‘noble’ thing, as it made room for the generations to follow. Being able to become immortal through her own efforts, however, seemed like something she ‘should’ pursue as it would otherwise tarnish her own resolve. Knowing there was a higher realm to obtain, but never even trying to reach it, made Mikoto feel like she would have ‘failed’ in her pursuit toward reaching the peak. She felt very conflicted but relaxed a bit when Vahn explained that it would take years to even get close to that point, meaning she had plenty of time to think over the matter. In fact, she had her entire life to think about it, along with other things, so there was no need to feel pressured by the prospects of immortality at all. Realizing this, Mikoto calmed down a great deal, releasing a relieved sigh as she found herself toying with the idea of spending several thousand years at Vahn’s side…

Since they had been inside their room for much longer than normal, Vahn eventually ushered everyone out to go eat breakfast. He had also explained briefly about Terra and that he would be ‘attempting’ to summon her after they got some food in their stomachs. Though Vahn didn’t really benefit from eating anymore, as [Magia Erebea] essentially created a ‘base copy’ of physical state, Vahn still had the habit of eating so he joined them. Asfi had already been sitting out on her own, giving them a curious look when they finally came out of the room. Seeing Asfi, Vahn felt like teasing her a bit so he sat across from the cool beauty while Haruhime and Tiona sat at her flanks.

Once everyone had sat down and started eating, Vahn casually said, “I didn’t mention this earlier, but Terra actually managed to break through the peak of Level 10. Make sure you don’t get on her bad side in the future or she might send you flying before you realize what happened…” Vahn had been tempted to keep Terra’s existence a secret, as she would be a powerful trump card for the Hestia Familia in the future. However, it seemed better to use her as a deterrent and Vahn wanted to see if Asfi would actually keep the information a secret instead of spreading it. He suspected the Hermes would probably take ‘several’ steps back in any plans he might have had when he learned of Terra’s existence.

As expected, Asfi’s reaction had been ‘priceless’, as she nearly spat out the tea she had been sipping on, entering a coughing fit as Haruhime rubbed circles on her back. Vahn smiled, showing a bit of an apologetic expression in his eyes as he explained, “I’ll be calling her out after breakfast for anyone that wants to see her newfound strength. Ais, you can even try using your [Ariel] if she is feeling up to the challenge. Since Terra is a True Dragon, she could become an important sparring partner for you in the future…just make sure she is consenting and you both have your emergency item with you.” The ‘flames’ in Ais’ eyes were burning even brighter at this point since fighting Terra would give her a better idea of how she would fare against the One-Eyed Black Dragon in the future.

After getting all the tea out of her esophagus, Asfi collected herself and gave Vahn a serious look as she asked, “Did Terra really reach Level 10…?” The information they had collected on Vahn’s dragons put Fafnir at an ‘assumed’ Level 7 while Terra had been a ‘verified’ Level 4. It hadn’t been that long since her existence was made known at the Denatus so, unless the gods of the Alliance had lied about her Level, this meant Terra had grown exponentially in the last few months. There had never been a single Level 10 reported in all of Orario’s history, so it was difficult to even imagine how strong such an entity would be.

Vahn just smiled in response, stating plainly, “I won’t go into too many details, but Terra had been undergoing special training for a while. She is easily the strongest existence within the Alliance, potentially even the entire continent. Don’t worry though, Asfi, as she is gentle by nature and won’t go out of her way to attack other people…as long as they don’t invade her territory and try to harm the people under her protection.” At the end of his words, Vahn sent Asfi a wink before returning to his own breakfast. She sat there for several minutes, seemingly having lost her appetite as she sat in silence unless answering one of Haruhime’s questions…

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Once breakfast had come to an end, Vahn exited the encampment alongside Fenrir, Ais, Tiona, Tione, Lefiya, Mikoto, and Asfi. He let Finn know that there might be a bit of a commotion and that it wouldn’t be something the Expedition party needed concern themselves with. Summoning an existence like Terra while inside the Dungeon was ‘theoretically’ very dangerous since there was no way of knowing how the Dungeon would respond. Since they were in one of the ‘safe zones’, Vahn suspected it wouldn’t be that much of a problem and, even if the Dungeon tried to get rid of her, it wasn’t likely to be successful. In a defensive fight, Terra was probably unbeatable, even more so once she returned to her own dominion, so Vahn wasn’t really that worried. Besides, it would be a good opportunity for him to try out his [Magia Erebea] in combat so he kind of ‘wanted’ something to happen…

It took nearly two hours, surprising Vahn and everyone else present, but he eventually managed to summon Terra. This gave her a comparable magic power bordering on 2300% of Vahn’s own reserves, meaning she was more than a ‘little’ stronger than everyone else. She may very well be the strongest entity within the mortal world at this point, though there were certainly some enemies that would be able to threaten her deeper in the Dungeon. After all, though Terra didn’t seem to exist within the Divination, Vahn had been able to learn [Magia Erbea]. He would have definitely taught the other girls magic, especially after having lost some of them, yet they had never been able to breach the 73rd Floor.

When Terra took form, it caused a large distortion in the ambient elemental energies in the air, almost like the non-natural energies were being pushed away while all the natural elemental energies converged towards her. Vahn even felt his own body being pushed away, even though his [Magia Erebea] didn’t have the power to corrupt his soul. Since his cells were saturated with the energy contained within the spell, however, it did give her some influence over him with her presence, at least before she stabilized. As for everyone else present, they were forced to their knees, with the exception of Fenrir…

Terra laughed, covering her mouth as she said, “Ara, my apologies…it’s been so long since I’ve seen everyone so I didn’t expect my aura to be so…impactful~.” Once her form had stabilized, Terra reigned in her aura since it had actually caused Mikoto, who had an affinity with darkness and gravity, to begin suffocating. The two that had it the easiest was Ais and Lefiya, but even they were shaking a little from Terra’s sheer presence. As for Asfi, she had turned into a statue and just blankly stared at Terra, seemingly unable to process what she was witnessing. Though Terra’s aura was very ‘gentle’, it was also completely overwhelming to experience, almost like she was being buried in warm and comfortable blankets…to the point it was suffocating her slightly.

Vahn turned to Ais, who had regained the ability to stand, asking, “So, did you want to try and fight her, Ais?” Terra’s eyes squinted when she heard her Master’s words, turning them towards Ais, who currently had a fiery look in her eyes, even though she was clearly hesitating. Tilting her head slightly, Terra asked, “Are you sure you’re ready…?” Ais, surprisingly, shook her head immediately after Terra’s question, saying, “No…but, one day…” There was an air of confidence radiating off her body and it was almost as though her words were an ‘absolute truth’ that couldn’t be refuted. Even Terra raised her brows, surprised by the fervor in Ais’ words before releasing a peal of amused laughter…

(A/N: For the curious.)

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[[Stats]]

Name: [Vahn Mason]

Age: 15

Race: Human, *sealed*

Parameter: [Danmachi: 1-4]

-Level: 4->5

-Power: 2746+(G228)->(E447)->(I0)

-Endurance: 3325+(E407)->(SSS1211)->(I0)

-Dexterity: 2746+(F355)->(SS1093)->(I0)

-Agility: 2859+(G212)->(B702)->(I0)

-Magic: 6297+(SSS1492)->(SSS2994)->(I0)

Total:17,974+(2694)->(6447)

Soul Tier: 3 (Lord Soul)

[Karma]: 13,418->13,692

[OP]: 14,007,815->15,318,499

[Valis]: 3,901,832,592

Skills: [Will of the Emperor:SSS], [Rakshasa Body:D], [Keeper of the Akashic Tome:B], [Eyes of Truth: B],[Bow Mastery:S], [Stealth:A], [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:A->S], [Hands of Nirvana:S], [Metallurgy:B], [Fist Strike:A], [Friend of Spirits:A]

Magic: [Thria*Mimos:B->A], [Shundo:B->S], [Koku Shundo:D](new), [Cantus Bellax:B->S], [Mellodia Bellax:H->B], [Vis Maxima:E] (new), [Sagitta Magica:H->B], [Pactio:G->A], [Magia Erebea:SS](new)

Development Skills: [Wound Transfer:S], [Well of Spirit:D->C], [Swordsman:A], [Master Smith:H], [Mixing:C], [Mentor:A], [Grooming:I](new), [Arch Mage:I](new)

[Magia Erebea]

Rank: SS (Forbidden)

Use: Allows the user to absorb offensive magic spells into their body, greatly enhancing their capabilities depending on the spell absorbed. Grants Immortality(Realm) to the user and allows for instantaneous regeneration unless hit by counter-elemental magic.

Chant(user spell): (-), Fixate. Seize. Load Magic, ‘Armament’!

Secondary Chant(enemy spell): Will of an Emperor. Endless Empathy. No Mercy.

[Grooming]

Rank:I

Use: Allows the user to enhance the capabilities of the target depending on the amount of grooming applied.

[Arch Mage]

Rank: I

Use: Greatly improves the power, effect, and range of all magic. Forms magic circles beneath the caster that can protect from magic.

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