Apart from spending time with his children, tending to the needs of the girls, and managing the affairs of the Alliance, Vahn also found time to continue his own training. He knew that, while his power was already very near the peak of this world, there were still several ways he could suffer a defeat. If his opponents had an Innate that could counteract the effects of his [Magia Erebea], even his ‘immortality’ wouldn’t necessarily ensure his life. It was very unlikely, but Vahn kept Eva’s warnings close to his heart, understanding the consequences of his defeat and how it would impact his family, his loved ones, and the Alliance.
Sitting within the second layer of ‘pressure’ within the Sub-Space orb, Vahn was currently meditating while the condensed spatial acted with both a compressive and resistive force. Even breathing was very difficult, not that he needed to, so it was an ideal place to train your physical capabilities. He was currently trying to increase the amount of source energy at his disposal since, after training with Eva, Vahn knew that the Falna didn’t accurately reflect a person’s power. Most people could fight well above the parameters shown within their status boards and, even as early as the first time he entered the Dungeon, Vahn’s status never truly reflected his capabilities.
Using Terra as a precedent, and relying on the studies his memory fragment had been doing, Vahn was now focused almost entirely on just increasing his Magic Parameter, and his internal reserves of source energy. His natural regeneration was already far above the norm and, as it seemed to be based on a percentage of his actual reserves, Vahn wanted to get to the point where he could maintain his [Magia Erbea] indefinitely. This would, in turn, make maintaining his Rakshasa transformations more effective. Though he hadn’t used it much, Vahn had reached the initial mastery of his Zhūquè form, which inarguably gave him more power than even his [Magia Erbea].
The problem with his Zhūquè form was that it consumed his source energy at an incredibly fast pace. Even after reaching Level 5, and having a total Magic Parameter of 10,453, Vahn could only maintain the form for around eight minutes. During the eight minutes, he would likely be able to defeat almost any enemy, but it would still leave him extremely vulnerable if he overused it. Though there wouldn’t be any ‘serious’ consequences to passing out in the Dungeon, as he could no longer die, Vahn didn’t want to have his unconscious body continuously torn apart by monsters. Avoiding Mind Down was something he took very seriously, to the point that most of his equipment had been replaced with items that increased his Source, Spirit, and Mental energies.
After releasing a stagnant breath, Vahn opened his eyes and faced the patiently waiting Lefiya, quietly sitting within the area of the first layer of pressure. She gave him a small smile and, without any conversation between them, began bombarding him with her [Miki’s Tulip]. A massive plasma-like orb of condensed magic power shot out of her staff, accelerating towards him at several times the speed of sound. The intensity of the orb was such that, just passing through the air, caused the spatial membrane to fluctuated slightly.
Without making any effort to dodge, Vahn held his breath before reaching out both palms as a very thin film of magical power covered his body. This was a new technique Vahn was developing, designed to use the same principles as [Magia Erbea] with physical amplification magic. His problems with fuel efficiency were almost exclusively related to the external use of his source energy so Vahn was trying to enhance his body while containing the magic power instead of ‘wearing’ it as an aura. This would tear apart the body of most people but, with his cells’ adaptability and his nearly instantaneous regeneration, Vahn wasn’t exactly normal.
Receiving the dense globule of magic power with his hands, Vahn was slowly pushed back as the magical energy conformed around his hands and forearms. Lefiya’s magic had a very high penetrative power while also being malleable at the same time, giving it the ability to damage magically resistant creatures, even without piercing them directly. To counter this effect, Vahn changed the ‘flow’ of magic power within his domain and slowly nullified the force before it finally fell to the ground, burning a large hole as it sunk into the earthen plane below.
Since he wasn’t in his fully ‘active’ state, Vahn inspected the damage done by Lefiya’s spell. He had gotten much better at dealing with pain so, although it was very painful and made him feel sick, Vahn evaluated his state as objectively as possible. Most of the flesh had been burned away from the underside of his hands, showing the calcified bones and cauterized flesh around his fingers. There were also several 3rd-degree burns around his forearms as Lefiya’s magic power continued to try and wreak havoc within his body. Of course, against his source energy, it was very quickly being forced out and, even without exploiting his [Magia Erebea], Vahn’s wounds had started to heal at a visible rate.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t going nearly as fast as was necessary since Lefiya had already shot the second attack towards him. This time, Vahn condensed a thicker membrane around his hands, accelerating his regeneration further while once again trying to resist Lefiya’s attack. At this point, they had been at this particular training for nearly three hours, only stopping when he needed to replenish his reserves. Lefiya had opposed it at first but it didn’t take much to convince her of things lately. As the day of her own ‘celebration of adulthood’ was approaching, her mental state had been undergoing a rapid and surprising shift.
Momentarily distracted by his thoughts, Vahn’s defensive membrane became unstable and, instead of forcing it away from him, Lefiya’s spell impacted his arms directly and incinerated them. Vahn took in a sharp breath, immediately regretting it as the taste of oxidized air and burnt flesh filled his lungs. It was very painful, almost like his lungs were on fire, so Vahn immediately removed the limiters he had placed on his [Magia Erbea] state. Before Lefiya’s magic spell burned out, he had already completely recovered from the damage, even if his mental state was a little worse for wear.
Though the link they shared, Lefiya realized something had gone wrong so she didn’t immediately attack, instead, asking, “Master, are you okay to continue…?” Vahn held his hand up with a wry smile on his face, answering, “Sorry, but I think that is enough for the time being. This kind of training is difficult while controlling two bodies. Go ahead and spend your mana and we’ll move on to the next phase of your training.” Immediately nodding her head in affirmation, Lefiya then pointed her Tulip towards the sky and began to channel nearly her entire internal supply of magic power into a single attack. Even before she fired it, a large amount of wind had started to swirl around by the vast difference in temperature compared to the surroundings.
Once she had loosed the terrifyingly powerful magic attack towards the sky, Lefiya plopped down to the ground in a state of exhaustion. With the increased strain of the compressed space, it was a lot harder for her to get her second wind and, for the time being, she wasn’t even able to stay standing on her feet. There was a pounding in her head that made it feel like her skull was going to crack open down the center but, as this wasn’t the first time she had experienced this, Leifya just clenched her teeth and tolerated it.
Vahn made his way over to Lefiya and, without any hesitation, placed his left hand on her head while putting the palm of his right hand on her abdomen. Lefiya blushed and, though her head was still hurting, she closed her eyes in anticipation with a small smile on her face. She, as one of Vahn’s apprentices and subordinates, had a very important mission that only she could help him with. Vahn had told her about the change in her mana and, after explaining his hypothesis, she had volunteered her body as an experimental subject. Even if it made her into something else entirely, Lefiya got giddy at the idea of Vahn changing the nature of her mana to more closely match his own…
With his [Eyes of Truth], Vahn watched as his source energy diffused through Lefiya’s body while an almost negligible amount flowed into the white threads in her mana body. After going through this procedure hundreds of times, the white threads had started to glow with a slight rainbow hue, showing that they were undoubtedly his source energy taking root in Lefiya’s body. It could be due to her nature as a descendant of Wishe, but Vahn assumed it was actually because Lefiya was his subordinate that her body was slowly adapting to his energy.
Source energy was the highest form of energy and, unless it was used to cause harm, it had absolutely no negative effects on a person’s body. Instead, it would greatly increase Lefiya’s strength and it was one of the reasons where her attacks were so powerful. Vahn also speculated that it would greatly increase Lefiya’s vitality and, as he had already seen, it had a very impactful influence on her Endurance. If he continued nourishing her body for a long period of time, it was even possible that Lefiya’s own natural regeneration would rival his own, assuming he wasn’t using his ‘active’ immortal state.
The smile that had been on Lefiya’s face grew progressively larger as the blush on her face deepened into a rosy hue. Feeling the calming energy coming through her head, and the ‘exciting’ energy flowing through her abdomen, Lefiya couldn’t help but feel a little giddy. She was greatly looking forward to the coming weekend and even momentary contact with Vahn made her body feel like it was going to burn up. It was to the point that, even though it was very embarrassing, Lefiya released a hot sigh while covering his hand with her own.
Vahn smiled lightly at Lefiya’s reaction, stroking her head to help keep her calm while finishing the procedure. They would continue this several times so it was a bit early for her to already be ‘triggered’ in such a way. He knew that she was ‘technically’ an adult now, as she had spent several months passed her own birthday within the orb, but the agreement the girls had made prior to entering still held. Lefiya would be an adult by the time of her ‘recorded’ date of birth in the real world, not a moment sooner. Even though he was somewhat ‘regretful’ of this fact, as a result of how Lefiya’s birthday actually aligned with the time he had to ‘deal’ with Freya, it would complicate things in the future.
While he was thinking of these troubling matters, Vahn’s memories wandered to Ryuu, someone who was ‘fresh’ on his mind after their recent incident. She would also be giving birth very soon and Vahn was looking forward to how their daughter would turn out. His only hope, at least in regards to the event itself, was that it didn’t take place on the same weekend when he needed to deal with Freya, ‘celebrate’ with Lefiya, and potentially help another goddess get pregnant. Though he would undoubtedly go to her side the moment she went into delivery, it would be ‘very’ awkward if such events coincided with each other…
Seemingly taking advantage of the fact he was distracted, Lefiya suddenly snuck a kiss from Vahn, causing him to blink in surprise as she sheepishly said, “I think that’s enough, Master…you’ve already filled me up completely…” Though she hadn’t minded at first, Lefiya felt like she was beginning to be inflated like a balloon with how much energy Vahn was sending into her body. As an Elf, she was very ‘sensitive’ to such energies and, much like how Riveria and Ryuu reacted during ‘excitement’, Lefiya’s body had started to feel very hot and bothered.
Vahn pulled away his right hand and showed an apologetic expression without actually saying sorry. Just like he wanted the girls to stop thanking and apologizing to him so often, Vahn was trying to be better about it himself. He knew Lefiya didn’t really mind much so it would have just made things awkward if he ‘unnecessarily’ apologized. Even so, he made it up to her with his actions by gently rubbing her head and returning to her a kiss of his own. Lefiya reached her hands up to hold the side of his head, extending the kiss a little longer than he intended, but it wasn’t anything worth worrying over…
For the next two hours, Lefiya continued the cycle of using up her magic power before Vahn helped eased her mental strain and replenished her reserves. She was going the route of a ‘true mage’, so Lefiya didn’t focus on training her body while her mana was low. Though her reserves wouldn’t increase as quickly, Lefiya’s mana pool was already much larger than average because of her heritage as an Elf, and a ‘daughter of Wishe’. His source energy made her actual magic far more effective, so Lefiya was very quickly turning into an indescribably powerful mage, at least compared to the standards of the world. It was already to the point that, even though she was only Level 4, Lefiya’s raw power output could almost rival Riveria’s.
As the end of their training session approached, so to did the next person he was supposed to train with, Mikoto. Vahn’s current schedule had him within the real world, spending time with his children, and inside of the Sub-Space orb, training his mind and body while helping the girls in their own training. Though it wasn’t concrete, Vahn would spend around six hours training with the girls on a rotation they themselves had decided upon. Of course, things rarely ended up as a one-on-one session, unless his body was split into two. When he was just a single body, Vahn would often fight against the entire group of girls at once, giving them experience fighting against a seemingly unbeatable opponent while he adapted to their various combat styles.
Seeing Mikoto approaching, Lefiya showed a pouting expression before realizing that Vahn was looking towards her with a teasing smile on his face. Her face flushed a shader darker as she said, “I’ll see you later, Master…thank you for your care…” Instead of patting her head, Vahn pulled Lefiya into his embrace and held her for a few seconds, patting her back as he whispered, “Don’t forget to make your decision in the next couple of days…regardless of what you choose, I will support you.” With his words finished, Vahn planted a kiss on Lefiya’s lips, marveling at how all Elven women seemed to have very sweet saliva before he pulled away and smiled.
Lefiya’s ears were waggling up and down happily as she said, “Yes, I’ll make sure to consider it properly~!” before hugging her [Miki’s Tulip] and running towards where Ais, Tiona, and Tione, visible in the distance. Vahn watched her retreat, knowing what decision she would inevitably make in the future. They had talked about it previously with Riveria, but Vahn had wanted Lefiya to consider using the [Wishe’s Blessing] since it didn’t really matter if the Elven Kingdom would want to target her. After all, things were almost irreconcilable between the High Elven Nobles and the Alliance at this point. Lefiya’s identity being revealed wouldn’t really make much of a difference, especially since she was more than capable of protecting herself, if necessary.
Though she had actually been willing to consume the item then and there, Riveria had cautioned her to think about it very seriously and advised her to wait until she was an ‘adult’ before acting. Ultimately, it didn’t really matter if she remained the same, or if she had her blood purified, so Riveria wanted Lefiya to think about the matter seriously before making a decision. After all, her existence as a ‘Daughter of Wishe’, though not necessarily having and significant meaning, would undoubtedly influence her face if she decides to embrace it.
The Dal Alfan Family, assuming they tided over until the instability within the Elven Kingdom was resolved, would almost certainly try to get their hands on her. If they were unable to do so, it was likely they would instead try to use her accomplishments to inflate the reputation of their family in the future, even if Lefiya had no association with them at all. It was one of the unique ‘quirks’ of Nobles, and it would eventually burden Lefiya unless she completely severed ties with her heritage. The only way to avoid such a scenario was for the Dal Alfan family to fall completely, or at least until the point where they were no longer recognized as Nobles. If there were any influential people left among them, who held onto their pride as ‘Nobles’, it was almost guaranteed that they would try to trouble Lefiya and try to elevate themselves back into a position of power…
Of course, none of their machinations would have any meaning unless Lefiya herself decided to get involved with them. Since she had been ‘abandoned’, without even knowing who her parents were, Lefiya didn’t have any positive feelings towards the Dal Alfan family. Though she didn’t have any negative feelings either, feeling largely neutral about the matter, she still had no intentions of getting involved with them at all. Her place, according to Lefiya’s words herself, was standing at his side, aiming towards the pinnacle of magic within the world. Because of this, Vahn believed that Lefiya would use the [Wishe’s Blessing], as it would increase her potential further, but completely ignore the matters of the Dal Alfan family. After all, this was her home and, regardless of blood relations, people who never treated you as family weren’t entitled to your good will. Lefiya owed them no obligations at all and, unless it was her birth parents coming to explain why she had been abandoned, it was likely she wouldn’t even meet with any of their representatives…
After watching Lefiya’s figure shrink a fair amount, Vahn turned to the patiently waiting Mikoto with a smile on his face. She gave a curt nod in response, causing Vahn’s brow to raise in a questioning manner that made the steadfast swordswoman begin to fidget. Her habit of showing respect, even during informal affairs, still needed a bit of work. Fortunately, Vahn knew a few ways to get her to open up after training with her over the last few weeks inside the orb. Walking forward with decisive steps, causing Mikoto to tense up and lower her head, Vahn proceeded to hug Mikoto’s body with a firm embrace. Eventually, almost as if she were ice being thawed, Mikoto’s tension relaxed enough that she placed her forehead against his chest and asked, “Are we not going to train today…?”
Because she already trained ‘excessively’, Vahn often used their time together just to ‘force’ her to relax a bit. It was also a good opportunity for them to get closer so, as she had inferred, it was exactly his intent that they would relax this time as well. With a wave of his hand, Vahn pulled an entire cottage out of his Inventory, even though its actual size wasn’t that large. Mikoto released a small sigh but offered no complaints as she lightly held onto his arm and allowed him to lead her inside.
As he had done several times in the past, Vahn set out all the necessary utensils for a tea ceremony, something Mikoto had requested when he first suggested they just lounge together. She was a very polite girl by nature, so Mikoto had wanted to act like a proper lady of the Far East, serving him tea before they begin discussing private affairs. Though he thought it was a little unnecessary, Vahn found Mikoto’s appearance in a kimono very appealing and it made him feel very refreshed having her wait on him. Of course, this couldn’t even compare to how calm and relaxed he would feel when Mikoto eventually sat next to him and, after a great deal of hesitation, rested her head on his shoulder…