Chapter 676: Warning

Though Fafnir would have been able to reach the borders of Rakia Kingdom in less than two hours, it had to slow its pace so that Khaos could keep up. When Vahn had named Fafnir, he had wanted a mount that would let him move about quickly while also possessing tyrannical might. As a result, Fafnir was much faster than its kin and was perfectly at home in both the sky, and the shadows. As for Khaos, it’s maximum speed was around 2,900km/h but it could shrink space in front of itself to create a distortion effect that allowed it to cover great distances, assuming it was in the line of sight. The downside to this ability was that it used a large amount of magic power and, unless Khaos was flying about on the edge of space, it couldn’t sustain continued use of the ability without Vahn’s assistance.

Fortunately, much like Terra, it had a form of teleportation that allowed it to create ‘waypoints’, currently limited to two. By marking a location, Khaos could return to that point regardless of distance, assuming there wasn’t anything to interfere with it. This ability was granted to it by one of its Innates, called [Wayfinder], one of the two it possessed, the other being [Link Gate], which is what allowed Khas to shrink space. Once it mastered the abilities, Vahn imagined Khaos would be able to cover vast distances without expending too much energy, even one day possessing the capability to transfer between worlds. This, of course, relied on the fact that there were other worlds liked with Danmachi in the future as the current nature of the record made such things impossible.

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

After around four hours, most of which had been spent crossing a vast sea of trees, Vahn saw what appeared to be a wasteland on the end of a large clearing where the stumps of once majestic trees now stood charred and barren. For several kilometers, there was nothing but devastation whilst a large fortress loomed on the horizon, appearing cold and imposing against the backdrop of the fading light. Vahn, seeing the devastation wrought by Rakia Kingdom’s invasion into the Western Forests, couldn’t help but furrow his brows as a sad sigh escaped his lips. It all seemed so senseless, causing such tragedies for baseless ideals that served little purpose other than advocating further violence. This wasn’t conquest, no, this was irrefutably nothing more than a cruel act forced upon others as a result of misguided practices designed to perpetuate an endless cycle of conflict…

As they neared the fortress, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, several large metallic projectiles flew towards them, shot from large arbalests affixed to the frame of the fortress. Fafnir released a powerful roar, causing fractures in the void as the projectiles slammed into the resultant shockwave before crumpling up and falling powerlessly to the ground. This, however, didn’t stop the men manning the fortress from continuing their attack. There were several hundred men present, all wearing black armor with red markings on them as they moved about to prepare their defenses. Many took up bows, firing a variety of different kinds of arrows towards them while several teams manned the twenty arbalests and tried to ‘repel’ the two dragons above.

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

Vahn watched how the men of the fortress reacted, understanding they were all highly trained even though the strongest person he could sense was only Level 3. Even after a few minutes had passed, not a single mage had shown up to attack them and, other than one many using a magic spear that could shoot lightning, all of their other attacks were entirely reliant on the equipment and weapons they had available. Vahn found it more than a little ridiculous that they propagated the idea of individual power and progress yet, instead of empowering their people to have such individual might, most of them were almost ‘remarkably average’. They all had the same type of gear, neatly shaved heads, and showed a high degree of organized training…however, there was no ingenuity and, other than a few stronger individuals, there were almost no unique qualities amongst the gathered men…

Deciding he had seen enough, Vahn leaped off of Fafnir’s back as the two dragons flew out of the range of any wayward projectiles. This time around, they hadn’t come to destroy outright so Vahn still needed to pass his warning to the fortress Commander before returning home. Thus, like a meteor falling from the heavens, Vahn smashed into the top of the fortress feet first, causing fractures along the hard stone surface as the roof collapsed. Many of the nearby soldiers tried to attack him but Vahn repelled them all by expanding his domain and causing them to collapse powerlessly as a result. The only person that was still standing was the Level 3 in front of him, showing a solemn look on his face as he hissed the words, “Vahn Mason…”

Since he was a very high priority target for the Rakia Kingdom, Vahn wasn’t surprised that someone in a position of power would recognize him. However, without much of a change in his expression, Vahn continued to stare at the middle-aged soldier while his intent swept around the fortifications and scanned the interior. He found more than a few reasons to simply destroy everything around him, especially after seeing some of the young men and women that had been brutalized and kept in the dungeons. After taking a deep breath to calm himself, made easier by the cold energy flowing through his mind, Vahn gripped the Commander’s neck and raised him up high, floating off the ground slightly since the man was nearly 220cm tall.

Seeing the man they all looked up to and feared, essentially being manhandled by a child, all of the surrounding soldiers had terrified and confused looks on their faces. Many of them had no idea who Vahn was and they had never seen someone that could break into a fortress and capture a Commander-class soldier in less than a minute. As for Vahn, he didn’t pay much attention to them and just looked into the dark black eyes of the man whose throat he was considering crushing. There wasn’t a single light in the man’s eyes, almost like he had completely given up on the future as nothing but cruelty and coldness radiated deep within his black pupils. As if competing against them, his aura was also almost pitch black, only broken up by a few tendrils or purple and fiery red as a result of the man’s fear and hatred.

Vahn had originally intended to simply send a message but, after seeing how they treated other people and noticing that almost every person within the fortress had a dark aura, he changed his mind. Without wasting his words on the battle-hardened Commander, Vahn focused his intent on the man’s mind and used an unnamed spell to completely wipe the man’s mind by forcing all the synapses in his brain to fire simultaneously, almost like they were being short-circuited. He wouldn’t so much as remember how to walk and control his bowel movements unless someone taught him how to do so. Vahn then tossed the man to the side, noticing this his karma actually went up a few points even though his action almost felt objectively cruel. Perhaps it was this realization, as he had indeed spared the man, that allowed for him to stay on a ‘righteous’ path…

Shaking his head to clear the thoughts, as karma wasn’t something so easily understood, Vahn turned to one of the nearby Level 2’s and said, “In three days, I will destroy all of the fortresses along the eastern border. The next time Rakia Kingdom tries to interfere with the affairs of the Alliance, expect that I will not extend to you the kindness of such a warning again.” Without waiting for the man’s response, Vahn erected a powerful barrier around the Lieutenant’s body while bringing both of his palms together in prayer. He contemplated saving the prisoners contained within the Dungeon but, seeing as how many of them had been cruelly tortured and damaged, he knew their lives would be very difficult in the future.

Though it wasn’t impossible to set them on a path where they may one day find happiness, Vahn couldn’t put himself in such a position, nor did he have a way to allocate time and resources to caring for crippled refuges. Thus, though it pained him to do so, Vahn prayed that they would reincarnate and live better lives in the future, completely ignoring the screams coming from around him as he looked towards the massive beam of magical energy that was raining down from above. Without making any attempts to protect himself, Vahn apologized to the people who had been forced to experience such suffering, choosing to feel the pain of his own body being torn apart as some small form of compensation for their loss…

By the time the smoke cleared, the only thing remaining where the once imposing fortress once stood was a naked Vahn, tears staining his ashen face before he wiped them away and looked at the Lieutenant, still protected within the barrier he had formed. The man seemed to be around twenty years old, having the same military-style haircut as the other soldiers of the fortress and similarly cold eyes. Now, however, there was a wavering light contained deep within as a seed of fear was buried deep within his heart and mind. To the Lieutenant, Vahn was an absolute monster, even more so than the two dragons flying above, including the one who just managed to destroy their fortress that had been entirely constructed of materials designed to resist magic attacks.

Vahn dispelled his barrier while wearing a new set of clothes, allowing the Lieutenant to fall into the 40m deep crater that Fafnir had created. It wasn’t nearly high enough to do any real damage but, as the man was almost catatonic due to fear, he ended up spraining his ankle in the fall. Vahn blinked next to him, seemingly appearing out of thin air with his mastered [Shundo] as he kicked the man ‘lightly’ across the face. The Lieutenant made no efforts to defend himself from Vahn’s attacks, instead opting to crush the small capsule on his mouth and commit suicide. To his surprise, however, the capsule that had been buried in his molar was completely gone now with only a small hole where it used to be…

With his [Eyes of Truth] active, Vahn had easily seen through the man’s intentions and used his ‘Oblivion’ when the man was catatonic to completely destroy the small capsule. Now that the man had actually tried to kill himself, Vahn stepped forward and lifted the Lieutenant, preventing him from taking any action by completely paralyzing the man’s body under the pressure of his domain. Using his index finger, Vahn placed it against the man’s forehead, sending a thread of energy into his brain to stimulate the self-preservation function while inhibiting his fear and panic responses. After a few seconds, the Lieutenant calmed down a bit and seemed to be looking for a means of escape as he asked, “W-w-what d-do you w-w-w-want from m-m-me?”

Releasing the man, Vahn let him fall to the ground again as he explained in a cold and tired voice, “Go, tell your people that this is the only warning I will give them. Three days from now, all of your border outposts will suffer the same fate. If anyone is foolish enough to stay inside when I next arrive, you can only blame yourselves for the outcome…” As he was speaking, Vahn looked around the area, somewhat thankful that there wasn’t a single sign of life in the massive crater that was nearly 40m deep and more than 300m wide. Fafnir had held back quite a bit, but it was still a monstrous amount of damage for a spell that had only been charged for around a minute.

Without confirming if the man understood his message, Vahn flew up to join Fafnir and Khaos, deciding to head back home using the latter’s [Wayfinder]. Along the way, as the transfer took a short period of time, Vahn contemplated if he had made the correct decision. In a way, he had given the prisoners, and even the cruel soldiers, a mercy since Fafnir’s attack had claimed their lives without any time for them to experience pain. Still, there were more than a hundred prisoner’s held captive within the cells, all people that had likely tried to flee the country in pursuit of a better life. He had, in a way, robbed them of that chance and decided for them what their final outcome had been, even though their situation had nothing to do with him and was a direct result of Rakia Kingdom’s corruption…

By the time he reached the area above the Manor, Vahn had decided that, regardless of what efforts he made, it was impossible to save everyone. He wasn’t an omniscient god that could hear the prayers of people all around the world, answering their cries for help and providing them peace and security during trying times. The only thing he could do was make the best possible decisions for the moment, saving those around him and giving mercy to those he had failed to reach in time. This life was just one life amongst the nearly infinite number they would live in the future so, as sad and painful as it made him feel, Vahn believed he did the right thing in allowing them to escape the pain and suffering they had experienced…

When they landed in the courtyard, Vahn wasn’t surprised to see that Loki, Hephaestus, Hestia, Anubis, and Eina had all gathered together, clearing waiting for his arrival. They knew that, depending on what Vahn saw, he would likely have to do something he would inevitably regret. However, these experiences were necessary for Vahn’s emotional and mental development since the path he had decided to walk would be filled with trials and burdens that most could never understand. Seeing the look of ‘acceptance’ on his face, Loki and Hephaestus let out a relieved sigh as the latter turned to Hestia and Eina, saying, “Take care of him…” before going off to pacify Ina. Anubis followed behind her, giving her Master one last comforting look with a gentle and supportive smile on her face.

Loki also intended to excuse herself but couldn’t help but say a few words before she left, approaching close to Vahn and saying, “War is one of the greatest tragedies of the world, something that claims countless lives but is sometimes necessary for change…I won’t ask you to tell me what you experienced, Vahn, just know that we all believe you did the right thing. Also…” At this point, Loki hugged him tightly, feeling her own body tremble slightly when she felt Vahn shaking a little. In a firm tone, while also doing her best to comfort him, Loki said, “Remember why you decided to walk this path in the first place…don’t let our daughters see you like this and never give up on the dream you have of a better future…”

The fact that her words sounded somewhat manipulative, even though she was trying to comfort him, made Loki lament her own existence slightly. These feelings became even more prominent when, likely after seeing the fluctuations in her aura, Vahn wrapped his arms tightly around her waist in an effort to comfort her. Releasing a long sigh, Loki kissed Vahn’s neck and gave him one last tight hug before pulling away and saying, “I’ll watch over Erika if you need time to relax. Go spend some time with Terra and the other girls for a bit…” On her way out, Loki gave a small nod to Hestia and Eina, entrusting Vahn to the two girls since she herself wasn’t capable of bringing him the comfort he would need during times like this.

Hestia and Eina approached soon after, the former hugging Vahn tightly while Eina gave a concerned smile and said, “Welcome home, Vahn. Come, let’s go take a bath and you can tell us if there is anything on your mind…” Vahn nodded his head, surprising Hestia a bit when he picked her up and carried her towards one of the smaller private baths. After hearing what Loki said, Vahn decided to spend some time with Eina and Hestia before going to relax in Terra’s Garden later on. Hopefully, spending time with the three gentle girls would allow him to calm down completely, at least enough that his daughters wouldn’t be able to see how much he had been affected by his mission.

After pouring his heart out to Eina and Hestia, both holding him close and trying to bring him some comfort, Vahn began to realize he wasn’t suited to these types of things. He wasn’t good at taking decisive action and he hated having to take anyone’s lives, even if it was for the right reasons. However, he couldn’t even imagine forcing such things on other people so, as easy as it might be to rely on the girls to help him out, Vahn decided he would resolve as many issues as he could on his own. Truthfully, he felt very guilty about having Fafnir destroy the fortress and take so many lives since, up until this point in time, Vahn had never allowed any of his subordinates to kill. It almost felt like he had failed Fafnir, ‘forcing’ the relatively innocent dragon to do something he himself had been unable to do…

Vahn explained what he was thinking to Hestia and Eina, earning concerned looks from both girls as Hestia bit her lip before explaining, “Vahn…I don’t know how else to say this, but…it’s good that it hurts. The fact that you are so pained by your actions shows that you are still a good person, especially since you feel so much guilt after having Fafnir destroy the outpost. However, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over things like this since you really are doing your best…we all see the efforts you put into making this world a better place for everyone, even though it isn’t your responsibility to do so. Please, trust in yourself, trust in us, and trust in the future we’ll all create together. I’m certain Fafnir would be more worried about how sad you are about its actions than it was about following your orders…”

Like Hestia had said, she really wasn’t that good at explaining things but Vahn still felt a little better after hearing her words. Regardless of what actions he took, Vahn knew he would have to fight against all kinds of beings as he reached greater peaks and traveled through multiple records. Things wouldn’t always play out as they had in this record and, since he one day planned to link Danmachi with higher Tiered worlds, he may one day have to fight on the frontlines of wars that spanned entire cosmos. He couldn’t afford to get wrapped up in his own negative thoughts, especially since, as Hestia said, he was doing his best to make the world a better place for everyone. The actions he took today wouldn’t have been necessary if the world wasn’t so messed up and, in order to ensure other people wouldn’t have to make the same decisions as he did, Vahn once again resolved himself to bring about a lasting, and positive, change…

You may also like: