As it had been very draining to summon Terra, Vahn decided it wasn’t a bad idea to take a break and just talk with everyone. There were several things he was curious about, starting off by asking, “Terra, can you use your [Void Transference] ability while you’re inside the Dungeon?” Since even [Pactio] allowed him to call the girls within a few Floor distance, Vahn believed someone as strong as Terra should be able to teleport about freely. Unfortunately, things weren’t quite that simple as Terra closed her eyes for a few moments before saying, “There is a lot of interference in the spatial fabric, though not enough to prevent me from returning to the Manor. I can use my dominion as a receiver to guide me there, but I wouldn’t be able to return so easily…hmmm.”
After mulling over her thoughts for a few moments, Terra eventually opened her eyes and said, “I should be able to move between Floors relatively easily, but I would have to stop on each Floor for a few seconds before moving on…also…” Terra looked towards the ground, magical light shining in her sky blue pupils as she said, “The interference becomes far more powerful when I try to probe deeper into the Dungeon. I believe the sealing effect of the Dungeon becomes more concentrated the deeper you go, so I’m not sure my [Void Transference] would allow me to easily move into the Deeper Floors…”
While Terra was speaking, Asfi had become borderline catatonic as her ‘stoic’ expression had become frozen on her face. She didn’t know what [Void Transference] was, but it obviously meant that Vahn had a way to move between the Floors of the Dungeon without having to clear them. Not only was the ‘Xenos’ in front of her powerful beyond comprehension, but she seemed to have magic that allowed her to teleport about freely. If this became known, it would cause a stir on the surface world and there would be no end to the number of people that would want to learn and study such magic. Unfortunately for them, there was no way they could pressure the Alliance, especially with an entity at Level 10 protecting it…
Vahn was very aware of the chaotic fluctuations of Asfi’s aura and it brought a very slight smile to his face as he wondered what action she would take when they returned to the surface. He was essentially relying on her to spread the word about Terra’s power but there was also a fair chance she might keep it a secret, potentially only sharing it with Hermes and the other executives of his Familia. It ultimately didn’t matter that much though, as Vahn intended to put on an exhibition in the future in the form of an open invitation to anyone that wanted to challenge him. He needed a better understanding of his own power and it wouldn’t hurt to increase his reputation by fighting against the other powerhouses within the City.
Currently, Vahn’s reputation had already reached far beyond the boundaries of Orario, but most of the things he was known for related to his lesser feats. Vahn wasn’t ‘feared’ for his power just yet, as some people feared Ottar. To deter people from having any thoughts of confronting him, Vahn toyed with the idea of making his power known publically since his own growth would likely outscale any plans his enemies might come up with. This would also make it easier to negotiate with other powers in the future since he wouldn’t simply be the Sage Aldrnari, but also the ‘strongest’ singular entity, excluding Terra, of course.
Stroking his chin, Vahn smiled before asking, “Terra, are you going to stay here with us, or do you plan to return to the Manor?” Vahn suspected that Terra wouldn’t like staying in the Dungeon and probably wanted to return so she could continue expanding her dominion further. Now that she had increased her power, she would be able to increase it at a much faster rate compared to the past. It was even possible she could begin exercising influence over the Dungeon in the future once her Innate allowed her dominion to reach the Upper Floors.
Terra just began laughing in response, surprising everyone as she tapped her tail against the ground, giving Vahn an amused look before saying, “I will return to the Manor and protect everyone, my Master. However, I would like to take my egg with me so I can brag to the other girls…ufufufufu~.” Vahn felt his cheeks get a little hot when Terra reminded him about the egg, which was currently sitting safely in his Inventory. There was no danger of it hatching right now and, even if Terra tried to break it, her strongest attack wouldn’t even scratch the crystalline surface of the ice. Thus, feeling a little awkward under the gaze of the other girls, Vahn pulled out the emerald-green egg and handed it over to Terra, watching as she nuzzled against it affectionately.
Tione, never the one for subtlety, asked, “Did you and Terra make a baby…? And it’s its in an egg…?” As for Tiona, she looked at Terra with a somewhat envious look on her face, puffing out her cheeks for a few seconds before Ais poked it and caused her to exhale and laugh it away. Vahn, so as not to give Terra the opportunity to say anything misleading, explained the details to everyone present after creating a soundproof ward. Though he didn’t mind Asfi hearing some things, the details regarding Terra’s egg were an important secret and she couldn’t be allowed to know about Eva’s orb either, even if it no longer existed.
Terra sat cradling the egg while Vahn explained the details, giving a few teasing remarks on occasion just to keep things interesting. When everything had been revealed, she enjoyed the somewhat envious looks of the other girls, especially the scarlet-eyed one from Fenrir. As far as she was aware, Fenrir wouldn’t really be able to produce a child in the future so Terra hadn’t felt the need to delay her own happiness further. There was also the fact that she would have probably lost her mind if she didn’t get an egg fertilized, which was likely the only reason Fenrir kept silent about the matter. In truth, Fenrir wasn’t really that upset with her since she had actually grown close to Terra over the four years they spent in the orb together. The reason behind her envious gaze was due to the fact that, like Fafnir, Fenrir felt competitive towards her ‘siblings’ that had been named by Vahn. Being surpassed by Terra, in more ways than one, made Fenrir feel a little annoyed as she leaned into her Master’s chest and pouted for a while.
Vahn, noticing Fenrir was feeling envious, began combing his fingers through her hair, quickly easing the tensions as he happily explained, “Also, my [Petting] has reached the ‘Master’ tier, becoming a new skill called [Grooming]. Now, not only should it feel very pleasant to receive my pampering, but it will also temporarily increase your parameters for a short while afterward~.” Remembering that Lefiya had yet to use her ‘heavy petting coupon’, Vahn sent her a playful wink before being ‘forced’ to let all of the girls present experience his enhanced capabilities. As for Asfi, she just sat outside the small barrier, staring blankly at the events that were transpiring before her eyes. She had been very interested in what Vahn was discussing but none of her attempts to probe the barrier had any effect whatsoever. Now that they seemed to have moved beyond the serious conversation and starting putting on an intimate display, Asfi felt like her senses were being dulled as she averted her eyes and released an audible sigh.
Since it had already been a few hours after Terra’s summoning, Vahn felt like the expected event wasn’t going to happen. After everyone finished their lunch, everyone gathered together and watched Terra cradle the egg in her arms as she channeled a great deal of ‘mana’. Lefiya and Asfi were completely awed by the sheer volume of mana under Terra’s command, which created a massive pillar of green light before she suddenly vanished, causing the elemental energies in the air to spread outward like a tidal wave as a result. Fortunately, it wasn’t anything serious and even Mikoto was just pushed back a step by the wave before everything returned to normal.
Shaking his head in exasperation, Vahn smiled to everyone before halting his gaze on a befuddled Asfi and asking, “Impressed~?” in a teasing tone. Asfi swallowed hard in response, nodding her head without saying anything as she continued to stare at the spot where Terra had vanished. Even though things had seemingly returned to normal, she could see a ‘tear’ within the void itself that indicated that Terra had indeed ‘teleported’ to the surface. The amount of mana she had called upon to cast the spell, which was also chantless, was beyond comprehension.
If Asfi hadn’t witnessed it personally, she wouldn’t have been able to believe such a feat was even possible. Since she had seen prodigious Mages like Riveria at work, Asfi knew what a powerful Mage was capable of. Terra, however, made such Mages look insignificant by comparison and, judging by Vahn’s behavior, Asfi knew that Terra was likely not even the most dangerous aspect of the Alliance, which seemed to be the sheer growth of those that followed under Vahn…
After waiting for a few minutes, Vahn led everyone back to the encampment before stopping by and explaining some of the details to Finn. When Terra had appeared, she actually caused several of the workers to collapse with her aura and most of the Mages within the Expedition group had also passed out. Vahn agreed to issue a formal apology during dinner and added a few stronger wines to the menu to make up for any inconveniences he caused. Hearing the ‘rumors’ that began to circulate, however, Vahn couldn’t help but smile since it was a ‘good’ thing to have people speculating without knowing exactly what happened. Presently, the most popular rumor was that Vahn released the full might of his own ‘aura’, earning him some reverential, albeit somewhat fearful, gazes from everyone that he came across.
The most interesting thing was that most of the people with darker auras, now had greyed out greatly with a bit of purple mixed in. Vahn smiled towards them in passing, causing them to tremble before giving him a wide birth or taking an alternate route to their destination. It was starting to seem like he wouldn’t even have to show off in the Coliseum to get people to fear him, though the type of fear he was looking for was, admittedly, somewhat different. Vahn didn’t want people to fear him because of the ‘unknown’, but because his power was very clearly above others. He wanted respect and reverence, not fear and apprehension because they didn’t know what he was capable of. Since he wasn’t a ‘bad’ person, at least by his own definition, Vahn believed people would begin to look up to him once his power was better understood, aspiring to be more like him as a result…
For the next few days, things had been progressing smoothly since Vahn was able to better focus on the ‘real’ world now that he didn’t spend the majority of his time in the orb. He began helping the girls train in earnest since the majority of the supplies had already been allocated to the building teams. Vahn just had to show up at the completed sites and lay down wards, which didn’t take that long since he had become very skilled at constructing them. This gave him a large amount of free time, which was generally spent within the privacy of his own room as he studied and taught the girls. On occasion, however, Vahn would go out and spar with Ais, Tiona, Tione, and even, Mikoto. They all wanted to test their capabilities against Vahn, especially since he had reached Level 5. Since Vahn also wanted to know his own limits, he readily accepted their offer and allowed Fenrir to watch over Asfi from a safe distance as she observed the battles from the side in silence.
Because he wanted her to get used to the idea of using her [Ariel] against dangerous opponents, Vahn had Ais go all out against him from the very beginning. There was no threat she would be able to kill him on accident, so she eventually agreed as a tempestuous aura surrounded her body and sword. Wings of light appeared at her back, without the pristine white dress, as Ais launched forward and stabbed toward Vahn. Since she was still much faster than his base state, Vahn ended up being completely run through by Ais as the girls watched his body break apart with morbid looks on their faces.
Vahn, however, tolerated the pain and reformed his body within two seconds, striking towards the complacent and worried Ais with the palm of his hand. She blocked the attack with the flat of her blade but was still pushed back several meters as a vibrant golden aura surrounded Vahn’s body. With [Vis Maxima], Vahn could now increase his physical parameters by 25x, though his body would constantly be breaking down as a result of the strain on his body. He also couldn’t maintain it for very long with his own lacking reserves, but it was still very useful for sudden strikes, as could be seen by the fact that Ais took several seconds to stabilize herself after being pushed back.
Tiona felt the urge to shout out and cheer for Vahn, but she was still feeling uneasy after watching his body get twisted apart by Ais’ [Ariel] previously. Though she knew he would be okay, watching the person you love getting shredded into bits wasn’t an easy thing, proven by how Tione had actually bent over and regurgitated the contents of her breakfast after witnessing it. From the distance, Asfi had become completely pale while Fenrir just kicked her legs playfully and continued to watch the fight. If not for the fact that her claws had completely shredded the rocks beneath her paws, she would have seemed almost disinterested by the fact her Master had essentially been ‘obliterated’.
Ais finally managed to stabilize herself, lifting her body from the floor as she overlooked Vahn from above, [Ariel] in full effect as it coiled around her body. Vahn smiled, lowering his body as he shouted, “Ais, you should never stand still when you fight against a Magic Knight…!” The moment his words ended, Vahn vanished from sight as Ais immediately dodged to the right and evaded his strike. With [Koku Shundo] and the ability to levitate his body, Vahn was capable of fighting on the ground and in the air without any major distinction between the two. Ais, seeing this, felt a cold sweat on her back as she flitted around in a zig-zag pattern, evading the supersonic blows from Vahn.
For a very long time, Vahn felt like he would never be able to defeat Ais in a fight so it was very exhilarating being able to pressure her like this. Since she also seemed to be getting in the groove of things, they both had smiles on their faces as the winds around Ais’ body increased in pressure. Instead of evading outright, Ais side-stepped through the air before using her [Ariel] to propel herself forward in the next instant, stabbing forth where she knew Vahn would appear. As expected, Vahn popped up but just smiled in response to Ais’ attack as he reached out and brought his fist to meet the tip of her blade.
A shockwave emerged from the point of contact as Ais was blown back after having her attack negated by Vahn’s Xuánwǔ form. However, it wasn’t completely stopped since he could only redirect shockwaves, not elemental energy. Vahn’s arm was torn apart by [Ariel] as it continued forward, creating a void where his shoulder used to be. In the next instant, Ais was already striking forward a second time, causing him to have to evade unless he wanted to accept the blade and lose another arm. Unfortunately, he wasn’t fast enough and, by the time he reached the end of his [Koku Shundo], Vahn had a second hole where his left leg used to be. Though he regenerated almost instantly, Vahn felt the hair on the back of his neck raise since Ais had almost obliterated his manhood with her strike. Yes, it would grow back, almost instantly, but part of that thought didn’t sit well with Vahn at all…
After she identified where his exit point was, Ais confirmed that Vahn had regenerated again as she launched forward with even greater velocity, shouting, “Lil Ragna~!” at the top of her voice. Vahn only managed to widen his eyes before his senses completely vanished for a brief moment as Ais completely annihilated his body. Her attacks seemed to be able to completely ignore defense and the tempestuous winds resulting from her ultimate attack had completely enveloped his figure, breaking it down into small particulates as everyone watched with mortified expressions on their faces. Fortunately, the seemingly ‘non-existent’ Vahn reappeared a few seconds later, completely bereft of clothing but otherwise perfectly fine.
Vahn equipped some pants as he smiled to Ais, remarking, “Ais, you’re amazing, seriously…if not for my [Magia Erebea], this wouldn’t even be much of a fight.” Ais had been pale for the few seconds it took him to regenerate but smiled when she heard his praise, blushing slightly as she said, “I’m glad you were able to get that kind of skill, Vahn…it makes me happy knowing you will be safe, even if I can’t be there to protect you at times. Also…” Ais brandished her [Gram], assuming a battle stance once again as she said, “Being able to go all-out is very refreshing…thank you.” Vahn smiled in response, but surprised Ais by saying, “I guess I should go all-out as well…”
Though his use of external magic was somewhat terrible, it didn’t mean Vahn wasn’t able to use it at all. Bringing his hands together in a prayer, causing Ais to try and strike forward to interrupt him, Vahn vanished from sight with [Koku Shundo], evading Ais’ attacks as he chanted, “Come from the void, oh thunder, cut down my enemy! Axe of God! Fixate. Seize. Load magic, ‘Armament’!” Vahn felt his source energy completely tank when he formed the axe of lightning in his hands, but it was immediately replaced by an incredible feeling of power when he absorbed it with [Magia Erebea]. When Ais’ blade nearly reached him, Vahn smiled in response before ‘casually’ side-stepping the supersonic strike. The blades of wind surrounding her body caused his own to ripple, but the lightning that now comprised his form simply reverted back in the next instant.
Ais was surprised by how quick Vahn was while everyone else was simply gobsmacked by the changes in his appearance. His healthy tanned skin had now become a dark black while his eyes glowed with a vibrant light, almost like lightning itself. Covering his torso, which was still visible since he hadn’t worn a replacement shirt, there were intricate white tattoos that radiated powerful energy. Most notably, however, was the lightning aura surrounding his body and the fact that his hair had become spikey and rigid, emanating strings of electricity as he moved around. It was hard to believe this was the same boy they knew and loved since his aura had almost become ‘tyrannical’ in an instant. If not for the relatively gentle look on his face, somewhat offset by his confident smile, it would have been difficult to believe this ‘lightning avatar’ was Vahn.
Though she was ‘shocked’ for a moment, Ais quickly gathered her senses and swept her blade towards Vahn, causing a large volume of wind elemental energy to cut towards him. Vahn, however, just moved slightly before reappearing next to her, much faster than her own perception could react to. By the time she pulled her blade back to counter, Vahn had reached forward, poking Ais in the shoulder as a line of lightning trailed from his index finger. She felt her body seize up and barely resisted dropping [Gram], moving backwards through sheer force of will, even though her body wasn’t responding properly.
Vahn had been cut apart by Ais’ wind barrier when he got closer to her, but his regeneration in this form was even faster than before while his ‘sense’ of pain seemed to have faded from existence. In fact, it felt like all of his cells were supercharged and it was very pleasant to be in this form, even though it wouldn’t be able to last long. That, of course, was somewhat relative since he could now move at the speed of lightning while his perception had been increased to a ridiculous level. He couldn’t actually keep up with his own movements, but it wasn’t that difficult to outmaneuver Ais since she didn’t yet have any countermeasures to such abilities. Vahn couldn’t help but smile before ‘blinking’ out of existence, not with [Koku Shundo], but his own natural speed.
Ais clutched her arm, still numbed from where Vahn poked her pressure point, muttering a small, “I surrender…”, moments before Vahn touched her back. He knew she could have continued fighting but didn’t blame her for wanting to take a break since it wasn’t that easy to maintain her flight with the ambient electrical energy flowing through her body. Vahn broke his own transformation, feeling incredibly winded as a result, before stepping forward and hugging Ais. She had already dispelled her own [Ariel] so there was no danger of being ripped to shreds this time around. The moment he contacted her body, the ambient energy traveled into his before breaking down almost instantly. Vahn could tell Ais had taken more damage than he expected so he began healing her body as they descended toward the others…
Feeling the warm energy flowing through her body, Ais released a sigh of relief before smiling as she said, “You’ve gotten much stronger, Vahn…but, I’ll catch up one day. I promise…” At the end of her words, Ais took the initiative to kiss Vahn’s lips, nearly causing them to fall from the sky as a result of her passion being loosed on the unsuspecting Vahn. His reserves had almost been depleted in their entirety so he had been focusing his mind on healing Ais before she suddenly began kissing her. His muscle memory caused him to reciprocate her kiss and his focus was quickly broken at the same moment Ais’ invasive tongue entered his mouth…
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Egg Envy?’,’Terra is a BAMF now’,’Magia Erebea, Truly Tyrannical’)
(A/N: Though Vahn’s base parameters are actually much higher than Ais’, her feats have shown that she is much faster than he ‘should’ be in his base form. Remember that a person’s Innates, Skills, and Magic can all have massive impacts on their combat potential. Ais’ [Ariel] is one of the most powerful skills in the entire record and, because it is spirit magic, it is actually ‘more’ effective against Vahn. Though his Magia Erebea is a ‘purified’ version of the ability, it still makes the cells themselves somewhat unstable and easier to influence by other magic. As for why he didn’t absorb her [Ariel] into his [Magia Erbea], you have to remember that he isn’t really trying to kill Ais. Without proper control, he would shred her apart in much the same way as she shredded him. Also, Webnovel seems to be trying to censor P.atreon, so I’ll modify the link to have a . in it…)