Chapter 653: Endless Frustrations

Revis stared blankly at Vahn for several seconds as her frown continued to become progressively deeper. Through clenched teeth, she asked, “What do you mean ‘save’…? What makes you think I need your f****** help, you brat…?”

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Though her words were harsh, Vahn didn’t miss the subtle change in Revis’ eyes, filled with a great deal of indignation and, as brief as it may have been, a modicum of hope. Realizing that she may not even be ‘able’ to seek help, Vahn decided to take matters into his own hand, rising to his feet as Revis leaped back in an instant. Her eyes darted around, but Fenrir had already appeared a few meters behind her, clearing showing escape wasn’t an option. Clicking her tongue, Revis asked, “What else did you want to ask? Or are you telling me you’re going to kill me after all this b*******?”

Vahn didn’t directly answer Revis’ question because he was too busy trying to comprehend the structure of her body, chiefly how the ‘monster core’ in her chest sustained her. Revis’ body, though human at one point, was no anything but. The structure of her muscles, the density of her bones, even the layout of her nerves, were all completely different from a human’s. It wasn’t that they were in the wrong places, but more so that there was an ‘extra’ layer that seemed to have grown from the core in her chest.

Just as a monster’s body was formed by a magic core, it seemed Enyo had come up with a method to place a magic core in a person’s body, causing an integration between the person’s cells and those of a monster. If he removed the core, Vahn had no doubt that all the ‘extra’ bits would be removed, leaving behind Revis’ original form. The amount of damage she would sustain would be catastrophic, however, resulting in her immediate death since the core even influenced her brain and heart directly…

Since letting her go meant she would continue to be a pawn of Enyo, likely targeting them in the future or even killing other people, Vahn decided to gamble. Revis seemed to have detected this change as she immediately tried to flee while releasing a strange frequency that made Fenrir’s ears twitch as a grimace appeared on her face. Vahn squinted his eyes slightly, sending her a mental command to standby before immediately appearing in Revis’ path of retreat. She scowled, shouting, “That technique is complete b*******!” while trying to grab at his neck once again. Now that she was only around the peak of Level 4, she was much slower than earlier so Vahn grabbed her wrists once again.

Revis brought both of her feet up, trying to kick into his chest and break free but Vahn just transformed into Xuánwǔ form, negating the impact as [Enkidu] burst into existence, coiling around Revis’ body. She shouted, “You mother f****** piece of s***! These damn chains again!? F****** perverted BDSM shitbag!” Vahn’s brow twitched, feeling a strong urge to gag Revis so he pulled out a muzzle-type gag and put it on her, earning an icy green glare from her in the process. This left her stuck in the air, bound by [Enkidu], completely immobile with a gag in her mouth. Vahn released a sigh, looking toward Asfi for a brief moment before gesturing towards Fenrir.

Even before he asked, Fenrir said, “Fenrir could hear it, like a voice in her head trying to tell her what to do. If Master didn’t stop Fenrir, she would have killed this stupid woman…” The reason Vahn had ‘ordered’ Fenrir to stop was that he had seen the very real intent to kill in her eyes. Now that he knew the reason, Vahn gave Revis a curious look, asking, “You have the ability to communicate with and control those that descend from monsters? Or does it work on Xenos and people as well?” Revis couldn’t exactly answer, but Vahn could tell from the look in her eyes that it probably wasn’t strong enough to influence creatures with higher degrees of intelligence. He suspected it was the result of an Innate, but that would have to be verified at a later date, assuming everything went well.

Collecting his thoughts, Vahn stared directly into Revis’ eyes and asked a very important question, “Your group obviously has some way of tracking and observing people within the Dungeon. Tell me, can they see us in this room or are ‘safe’ areas an exception…?” Though her glare persisted, Vahn saw a confused light in Revis’ eyes, as if saying she wasn’t sure about the answer. Vahn suspected there were a number of Creatures serving Enyo, but there should be someone else procuring information for her. The fact that Revis had attacked Reid and Tallow showed that their ability to gather information wasn’t as extensive as it seemed, even though they certainly had the means to locate people…

Turning to Asfi, Vahn said, “I’m going to erect a soundproof barrier and wall. Do not try to probe into it…” Though he didn’t find them solely accountable, Vahn’s patience regarding this situation was wearing a little thin and he no longer wanted to show off his feats at present. Asfi immediately nodded her head but, before she could say anything to vocalize her assent, Vahn had already created the barrier while Fenrir created a wall of ice surrounding them. For a few seconds after that, Asfi stood on the spot with her lips slightly parted before closing them, hanging her head, and contemplating how to rectify their many mistakes…

Once they had a bit of privacy, Vahn walked forward, closely inspecting Revis as she tried to jerk her head and break his nose. Vahn just swayed to the side, avoiding the abrupt attempt at a sneak attack while observing the structure of Revis’s body. After identifying how the nerves were connecting, Vahn reached out, causing Revis to try and thrash as he pressed into a few points around the nape of her neck, infusing energy to paralyze her nervous system. A few seconds after he started, Revis’ head hung loosely and she quickly lost control over her body, widening her eyes in shock and unbridled fury. Vahn kept his calm, explaining, “I’m going to try and help you, even if you don’t want me to. Since you were forced into this life, I’ll give you a chance to change your fate and try to be a better person. What you do after this is entirely up to you, but if you end up harming people again I will be forced to take action to put you down…”

Revis couldn’t exactly nod so she just grunted, exhaling angrily through her nose since there wasn’t any other action she could take. Vahn loosened up the chains of [Enkidu], slowly lowering Revis’ body to the ground before rolling her over so she was facing upwards. There was a tan cloth that wrapped around her chest, supported by four elastic bands attached to a circular loop. Vahn grabbed the bands from around her neck, pulling them over her head so that he could pull down the cloth covering her chest. Revis’ cold eyes filled to the brim with hatred as her aura flared up with fiery reds and a small amount of purple.

Ignoring her fury, Vahn stared at the area between her two pale white breasts, eyeing the monster core that was only a few centimeters away from her heart. Revis may have thought he was ogling her while she was in a defenseless state, but Vahn was actually trying to make sense of how the magic core altered her body. He didn’t want to remove it too soon since the trauma her body would experience may very well overwhelm his ability to heal. It was possible to potentially drain the core of its energy, but Vahn didn’t know what kinds of negative influences that might have on her.

Slowly, Revis’ aura began to mellow out as she realized Vahn wasn’t actually doing anything to her after several minutes had passed. He had a very serious look of contemplation on his face and she could see his eyes were glimmering with a blue light. She had thought he was about to shame her but that didn’t seem to be his intent, at least not for the moment. Deciding it was too troublesome to worry about him, Revis closed her eyes and tried to get some sleep. Today had been a very stressful day and, if she got out of this alive, she swore to wring Olivias’ neck and bash Ein’s face in. If the latter hadn’t continued pestering her to try and capture Vahn, she wouldn’t have ended up in this situation at all…

Suddenly, a loud ‘smacking’ sound reached Revis’ ears, causing her to open up and stare at Vahn in confusion. He had smacked himself hard enough to leave a small red mark on his forehead, though it faded away almost instantly. Noticing she was looking at him, Vahn produced a wry smile before pulling out a small figurine that looked vaguely humanoid. Vahn typically couldn’t ‘gift’ away items to people he didn’t have a positive relationship with, but Sis had just told him he could use the [Effigy of the Hero] on Revis since she was essentially ‘forced’ to have a negative view of him beyond her own control. The fact that her Affection was actually 39, only a few points shy of the base 50, meant that she didn’t view him in that much of a negative light, even under the influence of Enyo’s restrictions. Revis’ default nature must have been a relatively amicable person for part of her character to shine through like this so Vahn hoped things worked out the way he expected…

Vahn placed the [Effigy of the Hero] in one of the pouches at Revis’ hips, explaining, “This may be very painful…but it’s the best method I can come up with at the moment. If it works, I don’t expect your gratitude, or anything else for that matter, just don’t go around leisurely killing people. Also, you should avoid entering into conflict with Enyo’s forces, though I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to guide me to them. There are several people I feel obliged to ‘punish’ for causing all of these problems…” Revis’ eyes opened wide when she heard Vahn mention Enyo, as she hadn’t mentioned the name of her Master even once since their meeting. This meant he knew more about them than they initially expected, something that made Revis want to laugh out loud since Ein always played at being clever and in control.

Seeing Revis’ strange state, Vahn just shook his head before dulling the pain receptors around Revis’ chest. She flinched slightly at the contact of his fingers, furrowing her brows once again before abject terror appeared on her face as Vahn lifted his hand like he was about to pierce her chest. For a brief moment, Revis felt betrayed since everything Vahn had been doing made it appear as though he was going to spare her. Knowing he had ‘tormented’ her to such an extent on false promises made any marginally positive feeling she had for the boy fade in its entirety. Everything she had heard about him made it appear as though he was a good-natured kid that played at being a hero. Now, however, she knew he was just another pie-

Vahn reached into Revis’ chest, piercing through her sternum before yanking out the peculiar golden magic core, instantly causing Revis’ body to seize up. However, at the same time as the ‘monster’ bits in her body were breaking down, the damage he had done was quickly recovering as a small figure ‘blipped’ into existence, burning with a vibrant blue flame. Vahn recognized the effigy, giving it a slight nod as he observed the changes in Revis’ body. He had speculated that Revis had never actually died but more so had been infused with the strange magic core on the verge of death.

The magic core had changed the genetic structure of her body slightly, but it was still an abnormal element, almost like a negative status. Vahn believed that, by removing the magic core and forcing her to the verge of death, the [Effigy of the Hero] would activate, expelling the monster elements and regenerating her human tissue. After all, without a core to sustain it, the monster genes simply turned into purple dust that was now being expelled from Revis’ body…

After a surprisingly short three seconds, Revis’s complexion had become slightly less pale but she had already passed out, likely a result of the damage done to her mind. Though he couldn’t see any abnormalities left, it was still a very powerful trauma when her body was forcibly expelling the foreign elements. It was like she had experienced forced evolution over a ridiculously short period of three seconds, not exactly something the mind and body could process. She would also become unresponsive for the next few hours so Vahn couldn’t really determine the amount of damage that had been done. One thing he knew for sure, however, was that the malignant energy attached to her mana had vanished. She now had a crystal clear blue mana with a core of pure white, showing that she had an affinity for water and light, two elements you typically wouldn’t find in evil people.

Lifting Revis’s eyelids, Vahn inspected her eyes and noticed they had become a neutral green color with pupils that were slightly oval-shaped. It seemed like there were some aftereffects of her prolonged stint as a Creature, which could be expected. Vahn had already confirmed that, though not nearly as strong as before, her bones retained some of their durability and there hadn’t been a drastic change in the size of her aura. She seemed to normalize around Intermediate Level 4 so Vahn suspected this was around her base strength before she had become a Creature. There were still many things he didn’t understand about their physiology, but hopeful Revis would be more willing to communicate without having all of that negative energy influencing her.

Fenrir was observing closely from the side, suddenly finding the woman on the ground to less unpleasant but still very bothersome. The scent of death had faded away, replaced by a smell reminiscent of the sun. Of course, there was also an odor of blood from her earlier attacks, which Fenrir suddenly felt a little guilty about as she asked, “Is she going to be okay…?” Vahn looked over, smiling as he pulled the small Vanargandr into his arms and began stroking her ears. After thinking about it for a short while, Vahn said, “Her physical body is fine, but I have no way of knowing how much damage had been done to her mind. She knows she had a previous life but couldn’t seem to recall it, likely the result of some kind of inhibitor introduced to her brain. Now that the influence of the magic core has been removed, most of the damage has been reversed but that doesn’t mean she will remember everything…she is likely going to have a difficult life moving forward…”

Vahn speculated that the original changes brought about by Revis’ mutation into a Creature had affected the areas of her brain responsible for long-term memory. Though the [Effigy of the Hero] had healed the damage, memories were a fickle thing and, much like Reid, she may never recover the majority of them. He hoped she would at least be able to recall the details regarding Enyo and the other Creatures, as that would even the playing field a bit in their future battles. There was even a chance that she could lead him directly to the mastermind behind all of this, potentially enabling him to resolve this matter at the roots. Unfortunately, given how things generally worked in these types of situations, Vahn suspected that wouldn’t be the case…

Releasing a sigh, Vahn hugged Fenrir a little closer and rested his chin atop her head, musing, “It seems we’re in for never-ending troubles, Fenrir…I’m glad you’ll be there with me or I’m not sure I wouldn’t break at some point.” Fenrir was currently holding her knees, sitting snuggly in her Master’s lap as she heard his words. Lifting her head, Fenrir put on a very serious look as she said, “Even if things get very difficult, I will always stay at your side and protect you…Master.” Vahn felt a warmth spread through his heart as he leaned down, kissing Fenrir on her forehead before saying, “Thank you, Fenrir…you really are the best.” Hearing this, Fenrir giggled before nodding her head in a very matter-of-fact manner, saying, “Of course, of course~! Ehehehehe~.”

Vahn waited until the stasis period of the effigy was nearly up before having Fenrir, who he had been testing his [Grooming] on, disperse her ice. Asfi had been watching over Reid and Tallow, both still unconscious, but she immediately noticed the change and rose to her feet. Vahn removed his soundproof barrier and gestured for her to come closer, explaining, “She is no longer Creature, but I’m not sure how her mind and personality will reflect the change. Since some of your members were a victim of this situation, I’ll allow you to hear what she has to say. However, you’ll need to reign in those two when they finally wake up since the situation isn’t as simple as getting revenge for grievances suffered in the past…”

Asfi frowned slightly, looking down at the woman who didn’t have a single sign of injury anywhere on her body. Vahn had also taken the time to fix her clothing, so Asfi didn’t understand what had changed in the few hours that had passed. However, the one thing she knew was that it was almost impossible to force Vahn on matters he had already decided. They had already caused a lot of problems that would need to be addressed in the future so Asfi just nodded her head and said, “Very well. Thank you for letting me listen in. It will make it much easier to pacify those two when they finally wake up…” Vahn returned a curt nod before placing his palm on Revis’ head, moving aside her somewhat long red bangs in the process. He noticed there was actually a large scar near her scalp, audibly sighing as he inserted threads of energy to stimulate her awake.

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After a few seconds had passed, Revis’ eyes shot open and she tried to lift her body before wincing in pain as a result of the throbbing sensation in her head. Tightly closing her eyes, she asked, “What happened…?” Slightly parting her eyes, Revis looked around the area, inspecting Asfi, Vahn, and Fenrir in turn before closing her eyes again and asked, “Where is this place? Who are you people?” Hearing Revis’ questions, Vahn released a very exasperated sigh as he muttered, “Karma and fate are the biggest bitches…” under his breath. Though he had essentially gone against fate, allowing Revis to become human, mostly, it seemed like she had lost her memory almost entirely in the process.

Gathering his thoughts, Vahn calmed down and said in an authoritative but placating tone, “I will answer all of your questions, but you will need to calm down and answer mine as well. Also, I need you to remain still or you will just cause the headache to become even worse. I’m a practiced healer so I can help ease your pain once you calm down…” Revis parted one of her eyes, giving Vahn a curious glance before saying, “It’s not wrong for kids to play doctor, but you shouldn’t oversell yourself…damn, this headache…” Though she had given him a somewhat snide remark, Revis still laid against the ground and tried to calm down, just as Vahn suggested.

For several seconds, the only sound was Revis taking several deep breaths before opening her eyes and asking, “Well, you going to heal me, Doc?” Vahn gave a curt nod, extending his hand out to her forehead once again, this time releasing a calming energy to help ease the mental strain she was experiencing. Revis released a relieved sigh, muttering, “Well, I’ll be damned…” At this time, Vahn began to explain in a very slow and patient manner, “This is an area on the 34th Floor of the Dungeon, and my name is Vahn Mason, the Sage Aldrnari and Captain of the Hestia Familia. Now, I want you to tell me everything you remember, starting with your name, occupation, and the date…”

Revis opened her eyes partially, letting them remain half-lidded as a contemplative look appeared on her face. After nearly a minute had passed, instead of answering his questions, she asked, “What kind of dungeon is filled with trees and crystals…?” Vahn squinted his eyes, realizing this was going to be more troublesome than he expected but patiently saying, “Please, answer the questions instead of deflecting…we can talk about other things later. For now, just start with the basics…” Revis gave him a somewhat wry look before averting her eyes and saying, “I don’t remember anything. I don’t know my name, occupation, and I sure as hell don’t know the date. Now, answer me this, Doc, how the hell did I end up in some kind of greenhouse dungeon with some kids standing over my body? Why the hell does everything hurt so much?” Once again, Revis tried to move but immediately winced before ‘obediently’ laying back down when Vahn gave her a slight glare.

After rubbing his temples for a bit, Vahn took a deep breath and answered, “You seem to have amnesia, though I’m not sure to what extent. As for why you’re down here, that is a difficult matter to explain but the short of things is that you were being controlled by someone. I can’t say how many, but you’ve killed quite a few people before failing to try and capture me. Since you didn’t seem innately evil, I decided to spare you and try to heal your body while removing the influence of the person controlling you. As hard as it is to believe, you’ll find my words are the truth and there may be a number of people that try to attack and harm you for the actions you took in the past…”

Revis’ expression didn’t change too much throughout Vahn’s entire explanation. She just continued to stare at him with her green eyes while her aura began to fluctuate and droop down sadly. By the time he was finished, she turned her eyes towards the crystals overhead, which were beginning to turn dark at this point, before muttering, “Well, this sucks…”

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