While Vahn had been staring towards the sky, Terra had also sensed the abnormality and, as she could sense everyone within her territory, she quickly teleported to her Master’s side. Seeing his ‘heroic’ figure, completely naked, Terra took a deep breath through her nose and flittered her wings slightly as she asked, “Master, what is it…?” Not long after her last word fell, Fenrir also popped up, icy energy radiating from her body that started causing the hot water of the onsen to begin freezing over. Vahn stepped up onto the ice without looking towards either of them as he said, “We have a ‘guest’ that thinks they’re allowed to just peep on people in the bath whenever they want…”
Fenrir and Terra both scowled, especially the latter as she had previously been resting naked on her perch before teleporting to her Master’s side. Just imagining someone observing her from afar was very disturbing, even if they likely hadn’t been able to see through the illusory forest formation. Still, there was no way of knowing their true capabilities so Terra was very upset, causing a powerful and oppressive aura to spread out from her body. If not for the fact that Vahn’s aura had already ‘dominated’ the surrounding elemental energy, Terra’s aura would have caused the very void to stagnate around them.
Since his own magic efficacy left a lot to be desired, Vahn gave a momentary glance towards Terra before saying, “Terra, use ‘that’ magic spell…” When she heard her Master’s words, Terra’s eyes opened slightly before she nodded with a serious look adorning her face. Placing her palms close, without touching each other, a pale grey light began to glow between Terra’s fingers as she incanted, “Ara, Ara, Ara~? Gaze into Eternity. See the Passage of History before thine eyes. Let nature reclaim all things in its motherly embrace. Pillar of Eternity, Gaea’s Grace, Heaven’s Pillar~!”
With her chant finished, the pale grey light between Terra’s palms had formed into a strange four-dimensional cube that she held out towards her Master. Vahn nodded, reaching his hand out to grab towards the cube as he shouted, “Fixate. Seize. Load magic, ‘Armament’!” It felt like his arm was going to be torn apart in the process, but Vahn managed to compress the cube in Terra’s hands before it broke down and began to fuse with his body. At the same time, it was like the world around him lost its light as time itself slowed to a crawl.
The spell Terra used was called [Columnae Caeli], ‘Forbidden’ grade magic that could create an isolated space where time was forcibly accelerated. When absorbed by Vahn, however, it accelerated his own time in relation to the rest of the world, effectively making it as if the rest of the world had slowed down. Currently, this was the strongest from at his disposal and, though it didn’t give him the actual speed of his lightning-form [Magia Erebea], his relative speed was much greater. Thus, fighting the strain placed on his body, Vahn leaped into the sky to confront whoever had the audacity to peek at ‘his’ girls’ naked bodies…
From Fenrir’s and Terra’s perspective, Vahn had moved so quickly that it almost seemed like he had teleported. The ice that had formed over the onsen completely shattered as a shockwave spread out from where Vahn had previously been standing. Even though he had used [Shundo], which wouldn’t have generated any momentum, Vahn’s initial movements had been enough to cause an implosion from his movements tearing through the void. After all, everywhere he had previously been standing, there was pure ‘nothingness’ for a brief moment before the space around him was moved aside at an almost unfathomable speed.
As she wasn’t suited to aerial combat, Terra turned to Fenrir and said, “I will protect the Manor. Follow our Master and make sure he is okay…” Though there wouldn’t be much Fenrir could do against an enemy that could defeat the current Vahn, neither of them could simply let their Master go into battle alone. Fenrir nodded her head with her scarlet eyes glowing with a fierce light as she leaped towards the sky in pursuit of her Master. Terra watched her figure creating afterimages from her movements before once again casting a spell, this one much larger than before. Her wings spread wide and began to rustle about as a massive amount of mana swirled around her body like a vortex. When she had generated an adequate amount, Terra raised her palms towards the sky and shouted, “Reflexio, Sacrum Obex~!”
The magical energy spread from her body, creating a massive emerald green hemispherical barrier that was covered with complex magical wards. Even if Fafnir charged it’s [Destruction Ray] for an entire day, it wouldn’t even be able to cause ripples on the thin membrane of Terra’s barrier. Though it looked fragile, almost like glass, it was her ‘absolute defense’ spell that had even earned Eva’s praise in the past. This made sense, considering Terra had used nearly 80% of her internal reserves just to muster up enough magic power to cast the spell. Thus, feeling a great deal of exhaustion, Terra kneeled down and began slowly replenishing her energy by absorbing the natural mana through her territory. Though it would drain the vitality of the land, Terra would be able to recover in a very short period of time if her power was required for the battle…
Vahn had continued accelerating until he broke into the dense cumulonimbus clouds above, completely ignoring the strangely ionized air and how his hair was sticking up on end. His current form gave him the typical onyx-black appearance of his normal [Magia Erebea], but his hair, eyes, and the tattoos covering his body, all glowed with a dull grey light. Vahn looked like a person that had been turned completely monotone and even his smallest movements caused distortions in the space. When a bolt of lightning arced towards him, Vahn felt a prickling sensation against his skin before it had even emerged from the clouds. Thus, though he was slower than the lightning itself, Vahn managed to evade it with room to spare, even though it arced towards him.
The lightning wasn’t nearly as annoying as the fact he couldn’t find whatever had been observing them, however. Vahn had expanded his domain to 635m and, even after sending pulses of energy to look for invisible enemies, he hadn’t been able to find anything. In a cold rage, Vahn spread his palms wide and released a thunderous roar that created a shockwave with enough force to completely disperse the dense black clouds, creating a spherical void where they had previously existed. Even so, there was no sign of his enemy without the void he had created, causing the cold feeling in Vahn’s mind to spread further. It felt like the ‘intent’ he could feel was ridiculing him…
As the surrounding clouds slowly converged back towards him, Vahn knew this wasn’t a natural phenomenon. It had to have been created by someone but, such a display of power should be beyond even the most capable mages. It was either the effect of someone’s Innate, or Vahn had severely underestimated the power possessed by people within the record. He remembered Eva’s cautionary words, warning him that there was ‘always’ something stronger. In the endless pursuit of power, there were beings that would tirelessly break through the limits most people thought were impossible to overcome. If he stopped increasing his own strength, he would undoubtedly be surpassed at some point…
Vahn detected Fenrir enter into his domain, carrying with her a dense and powerful ice elemental aura that was enough to cause the nearby clouds to crystallize into ice fragments that fell like hail on the world below. When she arrived at his side, Vahn saw her mouth open and close in slow motion as her words sounded like a long and endless droll. He couldn’t understand her at all, doing his best to slowly shake his head while conveying his intention through the bond they shared. It felt like it had taken several minutes, but Fenrir eventually nodded in slow motion before ‘blinking’ away with her [Koku Shundo]. Though it was an ‘instant movement’ technique, Vahn could feel her energy converging at her anchor point in the sky and it felt like several seconds had passed between the time of her initiating the movement and completing it.
Fighting against the strain of his body, Vahn lifted his arm, resisting the resultant shockwave generated by his movements as he began to converge his vision at the tip of his finger. His [Eyes of Truth] glowed with divine light as a very small particle of pure flame elemental energy began to expand from his fingertip. This was the result of him using ‘Oblivion’ to create an absolutely pure fire elemental orb, the same kind he had created in the past as a ‘trump’ card for emergency use. He previously had a few sitting in his Inventory, but Vahn had used them as part of his experiments and never created replacements.
After consuming more than half of his source energy, the orb was around the size of an average crystal ball, having a diameter of 20cm. When it was fully formed, Vahn trusted his instincts and threw the orb towards an empty area of space, the opposite direction of where Fenrir had fled. At first, the orb generated absolutely no heat but, as it got further away from him, an overbearing amount of flame elemental energy radiated from the orb as it increased in size. The clouds couldn’t hold their form at all and, even though there had previously been nothing in the area where Vahn had targeted, there were now spatial fluctuations present.
Vahn’s eyes turned cold as a golden aura spread through his domain in an instant, instantly locking down the space to prevent abilities like teleportation. As a result, the entity that had tried to flee from the horrifyingly destructive true flame orb finally showed itself. For Vahn, the world was still moving in slow motion, enabling him to see the image of a man who appeared both elderly and youthful at the same time. He had silvery grey hair, sky blue eyes, and a strangely muscular body with his muscles visible through the ornate white tunic covering his chest. Even at a glance, Vahn understood the person spying on him had been a god…
Clenching his teeth, Vahn redirected the orb towards the sky since it would be problematic if he simply killed a god without at least confirming their identity. Though voyeurism was highly frowned upon, it also wasn’t deserving of death and, though Vahn’s impression of the unknown god had already hit rock bottom, he saw that the god had a ‘warm’ aura towards him. Thus, Vahn had changed the course of the orb towards the sky, allowing it to explode into the form of a second sun that completely annihilated the storm clouds that had been brewing previously. The god, who had started to glow with a divine light moments before, showed an expression of relief when the orb changed course. He had been about to use his divine power to resist the destructive orb, as the penalty for being ‘ejected’ from the mortal world was much lighter than having his painstakingly constructed vessel destroyed.
As the second sun caused the surrounding temperature to spike up several tens of degrees, Vahn canceled his [Magia Erebea] transformation, coldly asking, “Who are you? You have the gall to spy on me and my women when we’re taking a bath? You have the audacity to look towards them with intentions right in front of my face!? If I don’t like your answer, don’t blame me for losing my temper!” Even though he had spared the god, Vahn’s rage hadn’t been quelled at all. It didn’t matter that his opponent was a god, in fact, this revelation just made Vahn even angrier since he had long grown tired of the schemes of gods seeking benefits from him and his family.
Acting as if Vahn’s anger was of no concern to him, the unknown god looked towards the second sun burning overhead and said, “That is quite the attack you have there, Vahn Mason…I would say it is almost at the peak of a mortal’s capabilities.” Then, with an intrigued expression and a crook’s smile, the god turned toward him, continuing, “You have a great deal of potential, even if your temper could use some correcting. What sa-” Before the god could utter another asinine word, Vahn had blinked next to him with [Koku Shundo], a fierce expression on his face as he coldly repeated, “Who…are…you?”
With furrowed brows, the god took a step back on empty space as sparks of electricity danced across his blue irises and the tips of his fingers. With a dark expression, he said, “My name is Zeus, God of Thunder! You would do well to show a sense of propriety, Vahn Mason, lest my own temper reaches its limits!”
Unperturbed by Zeus’ threat, Vahn continued to stare with an icy expression while his sub-process made sense of the revelation he had just received. This was undoubtedly the same Zeus from the original story, the Grandpa and mentor of Bell Cranel. Vahn was wondering why he was here, spying on him and his girls, but it wasn’t that important. Regardless of Zeus’ reasons, even if they hadn’t been conducted will ill intent, Vahn would not tolerate ANYONE believing they could casually peruse his girl’s in the bath without consequence. The fact that Zeus thought he had grounds to remind him of ‘propriety’ made every nerve in Vahn’s body go tense. After all, in many of the texts Vahn had read, it was well documented that Zeus was a lecherous pervert who generally ignored such things without any regard for morals and, in some extreme cases, even the ‘consent’ of the other party didn’t matter.
With the same icy tone as before, Vahn stated, “This is the Mortal World, not your personal playground. I know well the vows you had to take before descending into this world and you have absolutely no right to be here, spying on a mortal’s affairs with lascivious eyes. Even if you came here with good intentions, the fact you chose such a manner, completely ‘disregarding propriety’, automatically puts you into the category of my enemy. Make your purpose known, or leave this place before I lose my temper even further…”
At this point, Zeus’ face had become fixed with a dour expression of absolute anger, almost as if it had been carved from stone. Space began to tremble as storm clouds once again began to converge around them, made possible by the fact that the true flame orb had finally burned out. In a voice that reverberated through space like rumbling thunder, Zeus said, “Such hot-headedness over such a small matter…you lack the qualities of a ‘True Hero’, Vahn Mason…I am disappointed in you.”
Vahn felt like his nerves were being pulled taut ever time Zeus spoke his arrogant and foolish platitudes. Even now, the elderly god acted like he had the moral high ground, even though he was literally just spying on them in the bath. Still, once his anger reached a critical level, the cold sensation in Vahn’s body merged together with the hot energy flowing from his heart, intermixing together as a calmness spread through his mind. Turning away from Zeus, Vahn plainly stated, “I have never needed your approval. You are no longer welcome here, Zeus, Frog-God who knows not the definition of propriety yet is the first to speak of it…the next time you try something like this, be prepared for the consequences…”
Without waiting for Zeus’ asinine response, Vahn blinked towards the ground, completely having lost interest in arrogant god above. He could tell that Zeus thought very highly of himself and, even if he raged about, it wasn’t as if he could actually do anything to them. Powerful as he may be, and Vahn could see that he ‘was’ very powerful, it didn’t mean anything against the might of the Alliance. If he completely disregarded his status as a god, Vahn knew a few goddesses that would readily remind him of the status quo. Hestia herself, though somewhat weak in the mortal world, would completely wipe the floor with Zeus if he tried anything funny. Even Heaven wouldn’t be a safe bastion for him, especially if she was forced to return after having dealt with his stupidy.
Thus, though Zeus raged about in the sky for a few minutes, he never actually tried to attack Vahn, Terra’s barrier, or any of the other territories of the Alliance. Vahn simply scoffed at this, completely ignoring the childish god throwing a hissy fit in the sky. It was beyond silly, the fact that someone so old acted more spoiled than his 5-month-old daughters. Vahn could tell he was very used to acting without restraint, getting what he wanted without ever caring about the consequences of his actions. This time, however, Vahn had given him several slaps in the face before taking the ‘true’ high road and just ignoring the pompous fool Zeus had made himself out to be…
Once he had returned to the Manor, Vahn made his way to where the orb was located, as all the girls had already gathered there under Terra’s protection. It was the safest place in the entire Manor and it was much easier to protect one orb than it was to protect several people. Thus, the children had been allowed to enter inside while Hestia, Hephaestus, Loki, Anubis, and Terra waited for his arrival. When he entered, Hestia came near him first with an uncharacteristically serious look on her face as she asked, “Was it that brat, Zeus…?”
Vahn was surprised by Hestia’s words but, remembering that she was from the same Pantheon, and in some records, even considered the ‘big sister’ of Zeus, it made sense that Hestia was aware of him. With a curt nod, Vahn explained, “I tried asking what he wanted, but he just kept spouting b******* until I stopped caring. All I know is, he had the audacity to spy on Lili, Naaza, and myself while we were bathing. If not for the fact he had his eyes on the two girls, I might not have even noticed his presence…” Even now, thinking that the lecherous god had looked at Lili and Naaza caused Vahn to clench his hands into fists.
Hestia had a solemn look on her face as Loki snorted at the side, practically spitting the words, “This is one of the reasons we allowed Evilus to force the Zeus and Hera Familias out of the City in the past. He always just did whatever he wanted, and it was super f****** annoying. The members of his Familia, before nearly getting wiped out in the fight against the One-Eyed Black Dragon, were also a bunch of hypocritical perverts. They spouted b******* about being Heroes while trying to have their way with any woman that took their fancy. Even Hera, always acting as if she was wiser than everyone else, just let him do whatever he wanted. Whenever people complained, they would declare a War Games and just crush any Familia that opposed them…a bunch of tyrannical fools…”
Even Hephaestus didn’t seem too fond of the fact that Zeus had been the one to cause trouble this time around. She could still vividly remember several members of her Familia suffering the ‘patronage’ of the Zeus Familia in the past. They very rarely ever paid full price for the items they purchased and, though many reputable blacksmiths avoided contracting with them, the Zeus Familia members would just bully their families until they were forced to agree. Even the Guild hadn’t been free of problems, as many of the more arrogant members of the Zeus Familia would ‘demand’ higher payment for the items they exchanged. In some extreme cases, they even ‘reserved’ high paying quests, ‘forbidding’ other Familia from accepting them unless they intended to go to War with the Zeus and Hera Familias…
Anubis was the only goddess present that didn’t really have an opinion about Zeus but, seeing everyone else’s reactions, especially her Master’s, her elegant face had also turned cold. She knew how annoying gods like Zeus could be, as Osiris had many of the same traits. They were arrogant, ‘expected’ people to defer to them, and acted however they pleased. In extreme cases, while pretending to be righteous, they would blatantly act without consideration for morals and laws. When such people actually had power and authority, almost everyone else’s lives would become miserable as a result…
Vahn was surprised how ‘cold’ the room had become in an instant, to the point that it even made him feel a bit of pressure. The girls’ anger made his own lessen as a result, causing a small smile to appear on his face as he reached out and began stroking Hestia’s silky black hair. In a calm tone of voice, he said, “I can’t blame you for being upset, but I prefer it when you girls smile. This fiasco with Zeus is something we can deal with when it becomes relevant. It didn’t seem as if he had any ill intention and, even if he tried something, I believe we can weather it together. After all, something that childish is incapable of accomplishing anything on their own…” Even now, Vahn could hear thunder cracking in the sky above, an indicator that Zeus was still throwing a temper tantrum…