Chapter 652: Questions

Vahn continued to inspect Reid, contemplating waking the man up since it was unlikely for the situation to have been resolved so easily. There was a nagging feeling in the back of his mind telling him things were only going to escalate. Not only did they need to make some changes to the structure of Lil Geirr, but Vahn needed to come up with some extra defensive measures before his return to the surface. Now that Enyo’s forces had a basic layout of the compound, it wasn’t impossible for them to come up with measures of their own to breach the defenses. If he were them, Vahn would use the moment when the Expedition was rotating personnel to strike…

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Realizing just how messed up this situation had become due to Hermes’ meddling, Vahn released a long sigh because he was also to blame. He knew Asfi would be spying on them but allowed it to happen because Vahn originally thought she wouldn’t be passing it over until they returned to the surface. Though Hermes was certainly the type to make use of any information he had gained, it was unlikely he would share the larger details since it would cause too many unnecessary troubles. By letting Loki know what was going on, they would have probably come to a compromise of sorts that would have benefitted the entire Alliance.

Now, because he allowed Reid and Tallow to take the scrolls without an escort, things had become very…troublesome. Enyo’s forces, as they were the most likely culprits, now had the scrolls and any other information that may have been provided to them by Reid and Tallow. For them to escape with their lives like this, Vahn knew they had to have made some form of agreement. He needed to get a better understanding of the situation, return and inform Finn of what was going on, and then-

Mid-thought, Vahn sensed a presence break into the area of his domain at nearly 1700m/s, giving him, surprisingly, plenty of time to react as he leaped towards the burred figure to intercept. For a brief moment, it was almost as though time had stopped as Vahn made eye contact with the red-haired woman who had been aiming towards where Asfi and Tallow were located. She was wearing lightly-colored, highly worn, light armor that was a mix between tans and whites. Black gloves and boots lined her arms and legs, extending all the way to her elbows and knees. The most eye-catching thing, of course, was the large two-handed sword that she began swinging towards him…

Vahn immediately transitioned into his Xuánwǔ form, receiving the blow with his forearm while striking forward with his right palm, aiming toward her gut. Though it felt like his bones creaked under the pressure of the blade, Vahn bore the brunt while the red-haired woman was sent flying back more than ten meters before immediately flipping back to her feet. For several seconds, they just stared at each other in a combat stance while Fenrir crouched nearby, prepared to either attack or defend at a moments notice.

The woman continued to hold her sword up, maintaining eye contact with her eerie green eyes that had snake-like slits in place of normal pupils. She had a cold and emotionless expression on her face and her aura was surprisingly mellow blue, intermixed with a murky grey and orange. Vahn was somewhat bothered by the peculiar structure of her aura but that wasn’t important right now as he asked, “So, did you already turn the scrolls over to your Master? What is your purpose in creating problems for myself and the Alliance? Are you my enemy…?” The woman furrowed her brows slightly, continuing to hold her sword up as she said, “You’re very strong, Vahn Mason, but you’re not in a position to be questioning me. What I did with the scrolls is my business…as for why I’m here, it’s to capture you and, if they get in my way, kill those that try to get in my way.”

Vahn nodded his head, slowly blinking his eyes as he said, “Very well then…?” Understanding his question, the woman smirked as she said, “Revis…” while holding her sword in a two-handed stance. Seeing this, Vahn shook his head slightly before activating his [Vis Maxima] and saying, “Revis, I can tell you’re around Level 5…not that it would have helped if you were even stronger…” The moment Vahn’s words fell, he moved forward while Revis jumped back as quickly as she could, swinging her sword across to intercept Vahn’s much faster momentum. Vahn didn’t even make an effort to block the sword, which caused Revis to hesitate somewhat as she tried to turn her blade and smack him with the flat of the sword.

With [Vis Maxima] active, Vahn had a powerful anti-physical barrier around his body so Revis’ sword struck almost powerlessly against his aura since she had reduced her Power output at the last moment. As for Vahn, he continued to strike forward at a speed much faster than Revis should have been able to react. The fact that she twisted her body slightly showed that her instincts must have been very developed, not that it allowed her to actually evade his attack. Vahn simply changed the vector of his attack slightly, releasing an open-palmed strike against Revis’ diaphragm. A slow-motion shockwave resonated through her body before her Endurance could no longer divert the force, causing her skin to indent as it ruptured slightly while her body was knocked back with enough force to shatter several trees before she crashed into the ground and continued rolling for several meters.

Vahn appeared next to the downed Revis, using his hand to accept the tip of her blade as she tried to impale him, allowing it to pass through his palm as he diverted the course. At the same time, Vahn reached down and grabbed her wrist, tightening his grip on her surprisingly durable bones. In an instant, he pressed into a pressure point in her wrist, causing her grip on the sword to loosen as he flung it to the side, twisting his hips in the process and slamming Revis’ body into the nearby Dungeon wall. Spiderweb fractures appeared as Revis tried to recover but Vahn had already stepped forward with [Shundo] and struck her in the abdomen once again. The fractures increased, spreading out for nearly 30m at parts of the Dungeon ceiling began to collapse from the force.

Noticing how little damage he had actually done, Vahn looked into Revis’ eyes and said, “You’re very durable…” Revis’ response was to spit out a mouthful of blood, aiming for his eyes as she tried to lurch forward and grab his throat with both hands, even though her right was still numb and seemingly powerless. Unfortunately for her, the blood collided with his aura and just dissipated as Vahn reached up and grabbed both of her wrists this time, diverting her momentum downward as he brought up his knee, impacting her chin and causing her head to tilt back almost to the point that her body had contorted into a circle. This was enough to completely rattle her brain, causing Revis to pass out instantly as she collapsed towards the ground, held up only by Vahn holding her wrists.

Vahn was honestly amazed because, even after striking her body and kneeing her in the jaw, most of her muscles hadn’t torn and there were only a few hairline fractures in her bones. She was far more durable than a normal person, perhaps as a result of an inordinately high Endurance parameter, some unknown racial trait, or even a defensive Innate. It was also very obvious that her Power was abnormal as, even though his strength had been bolstered by nearly 20x, she could almost directly contest against him.

Fenrir appeared at his side in an instant, looking down at Revis’ figure with contempt as she asked, “Master, what are you going to do with this girl? She smells of blood and death…” Vahn nodded, understanding that Revis had likely killed several people, perhaps even in the hundreds. However, the fact that her aura wasn’t completely corrupt bothered Vahn a little so he wanted to extract information from her and try to recover the scrolls. Someone else seemed to have a very different opinion, however, as Tallow ran forward with a pristine white dagger as she screamed, tears in her eyes as she tried to stab Revis.

Vahn reached out, grabbing the blade directly as it tore through his palm, sending the distraught Pallum a firm look as he said, “I understand you have been wronged grievously, but her life isn’t your’s to claim…” Tallow had already changed into his tunic, which gave her the appearance of a child wearing their father’s clothing. It was several sizes too large and even fell off her shoulder slightly as a result of her exertions. She gave him an almost pleading look, mixed with an indignant glare as she muttered, “This bitch…this…thing…” before falling to her knees when she saw the blood staining the pristine white blade.

Asfi stepped forward, supporting Tallow’s body as the Pallum passed out from the mental strain she had experienced. It was very obvious that she had probably been awake for the last three days, tirelessly working to save her companion who had been on the brink of death. Revis was the source of her suffering so it made sense why she would want vengeance. When people suffered greatly, they often sought to cause harm in order to ‘regain’ the ‘power’ that had been deprived from them by the original perpetrator. For a Pallum, who had likely experienced a very difficult life, Tallow was even more impacted and had suffered a small mental breakdown after being denied the opportunity at vengeance…

Vahn felt pity for Tallow, as it was never easy seeing what looked like a small girl suffer to such an extent. One of his goals within the record of Danmachi was to change the perception of Pallums in the world, breaking down the institutions that caused so much suffering for the rather diminutive people. Though slavery certainly had a place in the current societal structure, the way Pallums were enslaved was very obviously wrong. According to what he had learned from Finn, there was even such a thing as a ‘Pallum Farm’ where they were selectively bred for specific purposes, none escaping the fate of slavery. Criminal slaves were one thing, but Vahn couldn’t tolerate a societal structure that ‘bred’ people to become slaves out of ‘convenience’…

Using [Enkidu], Vahn bound up Revis nice and tight, marveling how quickly her body started to regenerate, even though it seemed to consume her power. She was becoming progressively weaker as the energy in her body slowly repaired the damaged tissues. By the time ten minutes had passed, she had completely recovered and was currently pretending to be unconscious while trying to loosen the immovable chains on her body. Vahn was sitting on the ground in front of her, watching her actions with a plain expression on his face until she finally seemed to realize it was impossible to escape.

Revis released an exasperated sigh, opening her eerie green eyes with a bored expression on her face as she said, “You should just kill me and be done with it. Even if you want to pry information out of me, I can’t disclose anything as my soul is bound by an unbreakable vow. Don’t think you can just take me as a prisoner either, as I’ll die if you take me out of the Dungeon…” Vahn raised his brow slightly, remarking, “It seems like there is plenty of information you can provide for me, Revis…” Hearing his words, Revis almost scowled as she said, “Damnit…if I get out of this I’m going to wring that piece of s**** neck…”

Vahn was surprised by the fact that Revis was so ‘talkative’ about things, even though she seemed like the hard-headed and resilient type. She must not be very satisfied with her current life to be acting in such a manner, not that it was really that important right now. With a serious expression on his face, Vahn asked, “Did you already turn over the scrolls to your allies, or did you stow them away? You said you were supposed to capture me, but why? Also, what exactly are you since you don’t seem to be a Xenos, nor one of the races found on the surface…? Are you a race that is born in the Dungeon, or were you created by something else? Also, that liquid…do you know how it’s made?”

Revis had a bored expression on her face up until Vahn mentioned the ‘essence’ that he had ‘stolen’ from her in the past. Her expression immediately turned into a scowl as she said, “You have a lot of gall, kid, stealing my bath water. Seriously, you have no idea how f****** inconvenient it is…!” Though Vahn used it as a catalyst for various things, Revis had used the ‘essence’ as a means of soothing her body’s aches and allowing her chaotic energy to stabilize. Now that he had taken it from her, she was required to ingest a large number of monster cores and her body was constantly aching as a result of the conflicting energies contained within the cores.

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Vahn produced a wry smile, feeling somewhat apologetic as he said, “Sorry about that. There was a lot going on at that time and you were an unknown element that seemed to be a lurking threat. Given how things turned out, it doesn’t seem like my decision was incorrect…after all, it is very clear that you are on the side of my enemies. Now, answer my earlier questions since there is no real benefit in being obstinant. There isn’t going to be anyone coming to save you and, even if they tried, do you think they would have any success?” Revis gnashed her teeth for a few seconds before her expression broke, quickly transitioning back into a bored look with a slight grimace on her face.

For several long seconds, Revis remained silent like she was going to continue being obstinant on the matter. Just as his patience was beginning to wear thin, however, she looked back up and said, “I don’t remember your questions. All I know is that my ‘Master’ wants to capture you, not the reason why. As for what I am, you can just call me a ‘Creature’, since that’s how that asshole refers to us. I can’t tell you any of the specifics other than the fact that I used to be human, not that I can remember much from my previous life…also, that water was something given to me in order to cope with the unique qualities of my body. I don’t know how it’s made, so you’d have to ask the asshole where it came from…”

Vahn was surprised that Revis was actually answering his questions since she hadn’t even tried to compromise with him for the terms of her release. His surprise was answered shortly after, however, when Revis said, “Now, unless you have any more stupid questions, let’s get this over with. Maybe this time I’ll stay dead instead of having to put up with all this stupid s***…” These words brought Vahn’s attention back to the fact she claimed to have been a Human, turned into a Creature, apparently against her will. She didn’t seem to enjoy her life so there was likely a means by which Enyo was able to exercise control over the people she resurrected as Creatures.

Mulling over his thoughts for a while, Vahn asked, “What can you tell me about Creatures in general? Why can’t you leave the Dungeon if you used to be human? Also, how many people are in your group and what is the purpose behind your actions? Most importantly, you never answered my question about the scrolls…” Revis scoffed, doing her best to lazily lay to the side but finding the chains binding her body completely prevented the action. With an annoyed look on her face, she said, “This is becoming troublesome. If you’re not going to kill me, just loosen up these damn chains and let me go.” Revis appeared to put in one final effort to break the chains before giving a frustrated glare in his direction, clearly annoyed by how things were going.

Vahn turned his attention to Fenrir for a brief moment, earning a small nod from her before smiling at Revis, saying, “Answer my question about the scrolls and I will loosen the chains. Even so, I’m not going to just let you walk away so easily and I expect you to answer my other questions when I free you. I need more information and, considering everything you’ve done, it’s the least you can do to start making amends. Since it seems like you’re being forced to do things against your will, I may even be able to help you…” Revis gave Vahn a look, almost as if she just heard the dumbest thing in the entire world. Deciding it as best to at least get these chains off of her, however, Revis eventually nodded her head and said, “I stashed them away without showing them to anyone else. Now get these f****** chains off of me…”

For several seconds, Vahn just stared into Revis’ eyes before eventually loosening up [Enkidu] without dissipating the chains themselves. They draped off of Revis’ body, causing her to shrug them off until they were situated around her. She rolled her shoulders and began stretching her body, causing loud cracking sounds from her joints. When she was done, Revis sat down with her legs crossed, straining the too-small white fabric that covered the rather thin black panties hugging her waist. Revis noticed his gaze, muttering, “F****** pervert…” under her breath while making no attempt to actually sit in a more appropriate fashion.

Vahn cocked a single brow, asking, “You really think I’m the pervert when you’re wearing revealing clothes and proactively sitting in a way that draws attention to the area? Your panties are essentially just a string, which is highly abnormal, so it is even more likely to draw attention…” Revis furrowed her brows, saying plainly, “You try getting clothes when you can’t even leave the Dungeon. Other than looting the bodies of dead Adventurers, I’m stuck with what I got, okay? As for how I sit, that shouldn’t matter at all unless you’re the type that can’t control their own f****** eyes.”

Hearing Revis’ reproachful words, Vahn released a sigh while rubbing his temples and saying, “Now, answer my questions, including why you targetted the Hermes Familia…” As he was speaking, Revis lurched forward slightly since he had seemingly lowered his guard. At a much faster rate than she was moving, however, Fenrir moved forward and sunk her claws into Revis’ shoulders while forcing the red-haired Creature into the ground. Revis cursed, “F******, f***! That hurts!” while trying to dislodge Fenrir. Unfortunately, the only thing she got for her troubles were some rather serious lacerations and a large amount of ice elemental energy infused into her body.

Vahn gestured to Fenrir, causing her to move away from Revis with her blood-stained paws, glaring at the shivering and severely injured woman on the ground. Since Fenrir’s attacks also used source energy as a basis, even though it wasn’t nearly as pure since she also used elemental energy from the atmosphere, it made Revis’ regeneration much slower. For several long minutes, she just lay on the ground as the wound on her back and shoulders slowly closed up. Vahn noticed her aura drop to the levels where she was a strong Level 4, much lower than her Level 5 aura from earlier. He suspected she was similar to Fenrir in that she needed to consume large amounts of energy to bolster her internal reserves…

Revis slowly raised her body, sending a glare towards Fenrir who returned it with her own scarlet-eyed scowl. Vahn tilted his head slightly, remarking, “Even if Fenrir didn’t step in, you didn’t honestly expect to get an advantage against me, right? I can tell that you’re getting progressively weaker the more damage you take, so what makes you think you could win now when you weren’t able to win previously? Just answer my questions, Revis…I’m starting to get tired of this.” Revis glared at Vahn now, practically spitting the words, “This is so f****** annoying…dammit!”

Vahn just continued to stare silently at Revis, waiting for her to make a decision until she finally sat back down, spreading her legs even further this time. At this point, it was obvious she had done it to try and distract him earlier and it made Vahn more than a little annoyed that she was trying the same thing. He released a small sigh, maintaining eye contact with Revis as she clicked her tongue and asked, “Fine, what did you ask again?” Vahn resisted the urge to face-palm, repeating, “I asked about what Creatures are, how many there are, why you can’t leave the Dungeon, what the purpose of your group is, and why you targetted the Hermes Familia. Answer these questions and then we’ll move on to something else…”

Revis squinted her eyes, casting another glance at Fenrir for a brief moment before saying, “Creatures are people that have been infused with a monster core in the verge of death. Don’t ask me how the f*** they manage to pull it off. I don’t talk with most of the other members, but there are a few of them, including that useless prick…” Revis scowled at this point, almost like she wanted to say something but decided against it before continuing, “Creatures are tied to the Dungeon itself, even more than monsters, so we can’t survive for long if we leave. As for the purpose of our group, how the f*** would I know what that crazy bitch is thinking? I’m just a tool that does what its told, even if its bothersome and a waste of f****** time…”

At this point, Revis looked over toward Asfi, who was sitting at the side of the sleeping Tallow and Reid, both having been laid atop cushions that Vahn had provided. Revis furrowed her brows slightly, saying, “I didn’t target those weaklings…until I heard that mutt mention your name and talk about some report. Since he was playing around with a scroll in his hands, I figured that was probably the report in question so I decided to take a look at it for myself. Because that brat was so cooperative, I decided to let them go with a light punishment since brats shouldn’t be playing around in the Dungeon. The only reason I’m even here right now is that I was told you were tracking them down and decided to finally haul your ass away…didn’t really work out in my favor, as you can see…”

Vahn released a sigh, looking over to the frowning Asfi as he said, “So, they essentially got attacked because Reid couldn’t keep his mouth shut…this is so dumb.” He knew it was the machinations of fate at work, but Vahn couldn’t help but feel this entire situation was just…profoundly stupid. If not for the fact that Reid and Tallow seemed like ‘decent’ people, they likely would have been killed outright. Since fate wasn’t something that simply punished people indiscriminately, at least if it was part of larger events, they had only survived by happenstance and the fact that he was strong enough to overcome the situation. Vahn couldn’t help but feel like it really was…just stupid.

Turning his attention back to Revis, Vahn noticed that her aura didn’t reflect ‘evil’ intentions, meaning she was just following orders. If he could see her soul, it would probably be covered in all kinds of vows and restrictions, likely forced on her during the time she was converted into a Creature. In many ways, she was just another victim of this ‘stupid’ situation and may have been a good and righteous person when she was still human. The fact that she spared people since it wasn’t ‘necessary’ to kill them showed that she wasn’t beyond repentance…

Shaking his head, Vahn asked plainly, “So, why did you force them to strip down…if you were letting them go, you could have at least let Tallow heal her ally’s wounds…” Revis furrowed her brows with a scowl on her face, saying, “Those brats treat the Dungeon like a place where they can just walk around lackadaisically while other people have to struggle every day just to survive. I wanted them to have to struggle a bit on their own so they wouldn’t treat this place like a playground where they can just walk around without a care in the world…also, that stupid brat only had one Elixir on her, damn idiot…”

Vahn gave Revis an incredulous look, causing her to glare back at him and shout, “What the f*** are you looking at!? Is there something else you want to ask because I’m seriously starting to get pissed off!” For a very brief moment, Vahn felt like Revis overlapped with his image of Eva, someone that lashed out at other people because they couldn’t deal with their own thoughts and emotions. Revis was clearly not an ‘evil’ person, at least in the sense that she took pleasure in her acts of cruelty. Instead, it was like most of her emotions were restrained, potentially even against her will, while her memories were also suppressed…even still, she didn’t lose herself completely and showed a small amount of remorse for her actions, though her words contradicted that fact…

Staring down at the glaring woman, Vahn frowned slightly before asking in a low tone, “Do you want me to free you…?”

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