Chapter 681: Peculiar Existence

By the time Vahn reached Terra’s Garden, she had already disrobed and was sitting on the edge of her perch, holding the emerald green egg which was still protected by the crystalline structure of Eva’s magic spell. Vahn smiled, unperturbed by Terra’s ‘natural’ state as he used [Shunpo] to arrive next to her in an instant, earning a light chuckle from Terra as her tail traced a lazy arc through the essence below. She traced her fingers over the crystalline seal around the egg, uttering in a somewhat amorous voice full of expectation, “It is truly a strange thing, Master…at first, I didn’t feel much for this egg. However, knowing that you care for it, I can’t help but find myself strangely attached to the life we created together. Originally, I only wanted to groom it into a suitable successor, or at least make it useful to you…now, however, I just want it to be happy while still becoming strong enough to protect itself and everyone else in our rather peculiar family…”

Vahn was somewhat surprised by Terra’s words, reaching his hand out to trace his fingers through her green hair as he gently muttered, “I always felt you would make a great mother, Terra. You have already done so much for our family, so it makes me feel at ease knowing you have such strong feelings towards everything that has happened. Please, if there is ever anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to tell me…” Terra, though almost always wearing a natural smile, became even more beautiful as an amorous look blossomed on her face. She brought her wings up, bringing them around Vahn’s body in a somewhat possessive manner as she stated in a hot voice against his neck, “You mustn’t say things like that, ‘my’ Master…I might get a little carried away, you know~?”

With her words finished, Terra licked Vahn’s exposed neck before releasing a hot sigh against his body and pulling away once again. The amorous look on her face hadn’t faded away but she still held up the egg, saying, “Take this. I already created a memory fragment to look after our child for the time being, but I want to make a memory imprint of you later on as well. Still, you’ll have to take the egg inside the Spirit-Time orb or our child wouldn’t be able to grow up fast enough to have any relevance within this world. Once it matures enough to be able to protect itself, I’ll make sure to release it…though, if you just want to spend time with our child, I don’t mind.”

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Since it was possible to ‘download’ the memories of the fragments left behind, Vahn wouldn’t miss out on interacting with their child, even if he wasn’t always personally around. As strange as it may seem to raise their child within the Spirit-Time orb, there simply wasn’t enough time or resources to do it within the real world. Unlike herself, who had already matured by the time Vahn named her, their child would be a natural birth within the world. As a True Dragon, it would age very slowly and, unlike Fafnir, didn’t have the benefit of having its body reshaped by Vahn’s naming ability. Their child would have a fate and, as a result of being naturally born into the world, had to age at the normal pace of a True Dragon. On the low end, lesser True Dragons had a lifespan of more than six-thousand years so it could take several hundred just for their son or daughter to reach the juvenile phase…

Vahn knew it would be mentally taxing to absorb so many memories from his own memory fragment but, considering that it was his own child within the orb, he didn’t mind it too much. Unfortunately, his fragment wouldn’t be able to develop his skills further but could, at the very least, accumulate some experience while researching some of the things he had been interested in. Many prolific Mages within Eva’s world actually used this ‘exploit’, though it was somewhat costly to produce each orb, in order to passively increase their understanding of certain spells. However, the mental strain was too much of a burden for most people, making it very impractical unless you had a way to filter out information. Fortunately, Vahn could rely on Sis to handle the information while his [Will of the Emperor] would keep his mind from breaking. Terra’s memory fragment would also be helping him increase his understanding of magic within the orb so, every time Vahn ‘downloaded’ the memories, his own efficacy with magic would increase. (A/N: OP AF…)

After discussing some of the details with Terra, Vahn found a comfortable spot within the wellspring, entrusting his body to Terra, even though she had a somewhat mischevious look on her face. As his consciousness faded away, Vahn could feel her warmth against his body and knew he would probably have a surprising sight to behold by the time he returned to reality. After all, the time dilation effect of Terra’s orb wasn’t nearly as developed as Eva’s, meaning several minutes would have passed by the time he returned to reality. It was a little scary, imagining his body being completely unprotected during that timeframe, but Terra shouldn’t do anything too bad…

Much like the first time he entered Eva’s orb, Vahn found himself within a pristine black and white space. However, unlike when he activated the [Magia Erbea] orb, Vahn could feel a magical current running through his own body as a ‘snapshot’ of his memory was generated. Moments later, a perfect copy of himself appeared directly in front of him, causing a peal of laughter to sound out from his right as an equally naked Terra appeared from the void. She looked between Vahn and his memory fragment, laughing in a mischevious manner as she asked, “Am I allowed to play with this one while you’re away, my Master~?” Hearing Terra’s words, Vahn experienced his brain stalling for a moment since he hadn’t considered the fact that some of the memories he downloaded from the orb might contain several sessions of his sexual conquests with Terra…

Considering that it might be very difficult for their memory fragments to actually spend what could equate to several hundred years of ‘celibacy’, Vahn hesitantly nodded his head and said, “It is a little strange to consider, but I trust the two of you won’t take things too far. After all, the purpose of this orb is to take care of our child, not indulge ourselves too much…” As Vahn spoke, his memory fragment opened its eyes, making Vahn feel somewhat strange since their vision was actually momentarily shared. They both held their heads, Vahn shaking his to severe the strange connection as his memory fragment said, “That was very strange…” Nodding his own head, Vahn asked, “So, can you communicate with our Sis…?”

Terra’s memory fragment raised her brow, wondering what her Master was talking about as his memory fragment shook its head and said, “No, and I can’t access any of the other functions other than viewing our Status. It’s very strange…” The memory fragment shuddered slightly, causing Vahn to feel strangely unnerved at the same time since their link was momentarily established once again. It seemed like his interactions with his memory fragments were more powerful than what was reported, not that Vahn was too surprised.

Even when he had been in Preasia’s dreamscape, Vahn remembered experiencing several different perspectives. Though he didn’t know the origin, Vahn assumed he had an unawakened Innate that allowed him to somehow split his consciousness. Presently, it was already like he could focus on two different things at a time so Vahn wasn’t really that perturbed by the idea that he may one day possess more than one body, though he never intended to use it in order to manage his relationships. Using the orbs already made him feel somewhat awkward but, knowing it was closer to a dream than an actual physical relationship, Vahn allowed it, just like he allowed Preasia to freely make use of her Dreamscape.

None of the girls he was involved with were so fragile that they would fall for a ‘fragment’ of himself, so Vahn wasn’t too worried about it. After all, he would be spending a much greater amount of time with them inside the Sub-Space orbs in the future, meaning his memory fragment would essentially just be a means of stress relief to reward the girls for their hard work in a controlled environment where they also had a bit of privacy. This was why it was decided he shouldn’t absorb the memories from that fragment, after all, if he suddenly had his brain crammed with a bunch of memories related to indulging himself with the girls, Vahn might become a little ‘strange’ in the head…

Once he managed to sever the connection with his memory fragment again, Vahn looked his duplicate up and down, saying, “It feels very awkward to say something like this to myself, but please look after Terra’s memory fragment properly. I’ll be entrusting our child to the two of you so please focus more on their happiness than your own research…” The memory fragment nodded his head with a serious look on his face, surprising Vahn slightly since he had never really seen himself from an external perspective. He wondered if this was how the girls saw him, smiling at the thought that his memory fragment seemed kind of cool. Of course, when the memory fragment of Terra began to laugh at him, both Vahn and his copy had light flushes on their face, taking note of each other’s response in the process…it was…very strange.

To avoid the awkwardness of being around himself, the memory fragment went off to began constructing a small house that the three of them would be residing in. Though the space had initially been black and white, the endless white plane had started to take on an earthen color as the laws Terra had introduced into the orb began to take effect. By the time he needed to leave, Vahn expected this entire world may become a verdant forest under the influence of Terra’s memory fragment. With his own also supporting her, the stability of the space would be much stronger than normal, though Vahn wasn’t sure how things would change from the prolonged exposure of entities comprised entirely of source energy, even if they weren’t their real selves. He wouldn’t even be surprised if this orb one day become an actual dimension once the laws had stabilized enough.

Terra’s fragment continued to watch his actions with unveiled interest, flittering about in difficult to repress excitement as Vahn slowly removed Eva’s spell. It had been designed so that only Vahn himself could undo the seal, using his blood as a catalyst to melt the seemingly impenetrable ice. Vahn created several small wards by drawing blood runes along the surface of the crystal, having to prick his finger several times in the process as a result of his regeneration. Even using a special golden nail he had purchased from the system shop, costing him a whopping 1,000,000 OP, only slowed down his regeneration process slightly. It was made of a sacred metal that could even severely wound immortals, completely stopping their regenerative processes for a short while.

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[Sacred Duplex Nail]

Rank: S (Magic)

Use: Restrict the regeneration of immortal beings, both holy and demonic in nature. Wounds caused by these nails become suffused with sacred energy, breaking down the cells of immortal beings and causing a perpetual bleeding effect until removed.

A specialized nail used to slay immortals, generally used by Demon Hunters to restrict the powers and regeneration of Vampires. Though rare, these nails are sometimes used for crucifixion purposes, having the potential to kill both holy and demonic entities. However, using them as such can cause the user to suffer a very powerful curse.

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It was a little awkward having to spend so much OP on such a small item but, after learning that it was almost impossible to harvest and cultivate his own blood under normal circumstances, Vahn had to come up with a solution. Awkwardly, he was still looking for a solution to another problem that had started to plague him as of late. Whenever he had sex with the girls, it was nearly impossible for him to get to the point where he felt the urge to ‘release’ himself. Even when he forced the reaction, Vahn got to experience the awkwardness of having his semen simply ‘vanish’ from inside their bodies as his own vital energy returned to his body. It was a very perplexing issue that needed to be resolved if he wanted to have more children in the future. Fortunately, he had been practicing to ‘seal’ his own [Magia Erebea] so it shouldn’t be a problem once he is able to master the transition…

After inscribing all the requisite wards, Vahn released a sigh of relief before infusing his magical power into the crystalline structure protecting the egg. Like normal ice, it slowly began to melt away as the runoff disappeared into the void. The emerald green egg, even before it had been completely unsealed, began to glow with amazing vitality. As it stood, even without him doing anything else, the egg would finish hatching since Eva’s magic had already fulfilled the role of a catalyst. However, Vahn wanted to make sure his child had the greatest potential for growth so, without any hesitation whatsoever, Vahn buried his right hand into this chest. With a tug, that almost made him pass out from the trauma associated with his actions, Vahn pulled out his own heart and allowed his ichor to rain down and cover the egg.

Fighting the urge to pass out, Vahn resisted the choking sensation in his throat as he watched the egg rapidly absorb his blood, taking on a golden color with a slight rainbow hue. The memory fragment of Terra watched him from the side, showing a great deal of concern but also smiling lovingly knowing how far Vahn was willing to go for their child. Without the lifeblood of their father, a True Dragon would never reach its full potential so, seeing Vahn so willingly doing what was necessary, Terra felt extremely gratified to have someone like Vahn as her Master.

As cracks began to emerge on the egg, Vahn released his own heart and allowed the wound to quickly close up as the vital organ retreated back into his chest. A few seconds later, he had completely healed once again without so much as a bloodstain present. Other than the blood absorbed by the egg, the rest had returned to Vahn’s body while his natural regeneration replenished what had been lost. Vahn felt some mental fatigue from the experience but compartmentalized it as he watched with intrigue and excitement as his sixth child was born. He was very curious what form it would take but, even if it ended up being a small dragon pup, Vahn would still care for it dearly…

Lights emerged from the various cracks around the egg, causing a powerful aura to spread through space before small fragments of the egg began to collapse in on itself. Vahn, with his [Eyes of Truth] active, could see the energy within the egg itself being absorbed by the budding lifeform inside. He couldn’t make out its shape just yet, as the egg itself obscured his sight, but Vahn could still feel a powerful connection to his emergent child. There was even a feeling that it was looking back at him, causing Vahn to feel a mixture of pride and anticipation. Unlike the overwhelming emotions he felt during the birth of his daughters, Vahn felt a desire to help his child with Terra become more powerful. However, he realized this wasn’t simply his desire, but the entity within the eggs ‘expectation’ that was being conveyed to him through their bond.

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The light from within the egg increased in intensity, causing a rainbow hue to spread out overhead before Vahn finally got his first view of the egg’s inhabitant. A small green eye briefly passed over one of the holes in the egg, looking directly at him with its dark black pupil that was shaped like a slit. The egg fragments began to collapse even faster as an adorable little head peeked out from the top of the egg, possessing emerald green hair and two tiny black horns poking out from the top of its head. Vahn smiled widely, staring into the eyes of his newest born child as it stared directly back at him, a light of expectation and wisdom contained within its eyes.

Terra’s fragment watched from the side, internally pitying her real self for missing this moment and only being able to experience by proxy later on. Though that was also her, the memory fragment felt strangely detached from her original self and found the notion somewhat amusing that they were one and the same. She felt fortunate to be able to spend so much alone time with her Master, even if it was only his memory fragment, as none of the other girls would be able to have such an experience. This gave the memory fragment a sense of superiority, even though she knew instinctually that her main body would be getting all the ‘real’ benefits…

When the egg fragments had been completely absorbed, Vahn was left holding an adorable baby with emerald green hair, leaf-green eyes, small black horns, two tiny wings, and a small nub for a tail. Much like Terra, it had a very small layer of scales around its arms and legs with small runes seemingly engaged into its body, distinctly different from its mother but fundamentally similar. Most notably, however, was the fact that his child lacked a belly button while also possessing no sexual characteristics to note. True Dragons were born genderless, so Vahn wasn’t too surprised, but it was very strange seeing a humanoid entity that lacked any identifying traits that could determine its gender. Vahn, however, just ignored it as he picked up his child and cradled it in his left arm, pinching its nose as he said, “Welcome into the world, little fella. Though you may not understand my words just yet, I’m your Papa, Vahn…” Surprisingly, the little humanoid True Dragon nodded its head with a smile, shocking Vahn when it said, “Papa~.” in an adorable voice.

As if to answer Vahn’s confusion, Terra’s memory fragment laughed and said, “True Dragons can inherit the memories of their ancestors since, if they were born into the world without knowledge, there is a very high chance they would be killed and used as resources. When I had nurtured the egg in the past, I made sure to convey some of my thoughts and memories into its nascent form~.” Vahn nodded his head, memories of his information regarding True Dragons emerging in his mind. Understanding the truth of the matter, Vahn smiled and said, “From this point on, you are the child of myself and your mother, Terra. Your name…” As the infant True Dragon didn’t possess a gender, Vahn wasn’t exactly sure what to name it. Fortunately, this didn’t seem to be the case for his own memory fragment as it had already come over and asked, “How about Alex, short for Alexander or Alexandria? When it decides what gender it wants to be in the future, it can take on the name it prefers.”

Vahn was surprised that his own memory fragment came up with a name faster than he did, though not so much as when Terra nodded her head and said, “Then we’ll name it Alex Evergreen Mason…or perhaps Alex Mason McDowell? Hmmm, no, I think Eva would want her child to have the last name Mason…” Terra truly considered Alex to be the culmination of the bond she shared with her Master and Eva, as it only existed as a result of their combined interaction and efforts. She wanted her child to have some association with the woman that had become her companion for more than a century. Vahn, understanding this, nodded his head and said, “Very well…from now on, you shall be Alex Eva Evergreen Mason…” It was a bit of an awkward name but, seeing the smile on Alex’s face and the loving expression on Terra’s memory fragment, Vahn felt it was a good name…

(A/N: For clarification purposes, True Dragons are always genderless until they reach the end of their juvenile phase. Terra was only female because she identified as female before Vahn had named her. In her dragon form, she actually doesn’t possess sexual organs but, if she had been in the presence of a mate, it wouldn’t have been impossible for her to develop a cloaca. True Dragons are a very convoluted existence that can functionally breed with anything so its very difficult to wrap your head around their physiology xD. Just know that Fafnir identifies as male but is currently genderless, just like Khaos. Terra is only female as a result of her decision before being named, though both Fafnir and Khaos could become either male or female when they finally assume their human forms. Khaos is almost guaranteed to be male, as a result of already being mature, while Fafnir could swing either way at this point in time. As for Alex, it would have a tendency to lean towards being male, as dragons born to be the successor of their predecessor are almost exclusively male, but that isn’t guaranteed. I’ll leave it up to the comments section to determine the preferred gender, if any (UwU)~!)

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