Chapter 756: Glimpse

After the success of the opening day of the Monster Feria, a festive mood seemed to have spread through the entire town. In the past, just gathering to watch the demonstration of the Ganesha Familia had been entertaining enough to make it the most popular event in the city. Now, with the inclusion of sports, artistic performances, and other scheduled events, it had become even more popular. It was to the extent that, people who already had tickets, were being pestered by others to try and obtain seating, at least for a day. In the black market, some tickets were being oversold for more than 50x the original amount, and it didn’t seem like the price was going to go any lower.

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The reason for this was simple, other than the fact people were just interested in witnessing the festivities. Everyone wanted to attend the final day of the event as the open challenge from Vahn to ‘everyone’ was a moment nobody wanted to miss. You also needed to have a ticket to make a challenge and, as challengers would likely be very strong, they had a lot of money to spend to get their hands on the coveted ticket. Even weaker Adventurers fought tooth and nail to obtain one, wondering if they would be able to fish in murky waters to get some advantages when Vahn was running out of stamina. After all, the only rules for the challenge included that Vahn couldn’t kill them and, until the eight hour challenge period had ended, ANYONE with a ticket could issue a challenge.

Other than those basic rules, people noticed that everything else had been left relatively vague, including the number of people that could challenge him simultaneously. Though some thought this was an oversight, most people realized Vahn was simply that confident, even if it came off as arrogance and hubris. The fact he had ‘silenced’ the entire Coliseum on the first day showed that, regardless of the number of people, he wasn’t going to back down at all. This realization opened up a lot of speculative discussion about just how strong Vahn was and, those at the top, wondered if the King would rise to the challenge. Everyone was curious about who would come out ahead and, as the reward of 1BV was rather enticing, with the rules favoring the challengers, many people wanted to see the clash between Vahn and the various famous Adventurers in the city.

As for the man in question, he was currently spending his time within the orb training while his main body was having a tea party with Ina, Erika, and their Guardians, Kuu and Doppel. Ina and Doppel didn’t get along that well, as she wasn’t too fond of how Doppel ‘clung’ to him, but they didn’t really argue or anything. Doppel herself didn’t seem to mind Ina at all, just laughing and making various ‘awaa’ and ‘oooh’ sounds while coiling her hair around his arm and leg. Ever since he had become a Progenitor, Doppel’s affection toward him had increased greatly, much to the frustration of Erika and Ina. Vahn just laughed, enjoying his time with his daughters and their guardians during the short period of time before bed.

In this way, Vahn spent his days, serving as both joint host of the Monster Feria and spending his time freely with the people he cared about. He didn’t mind that there was now a massive target on his back right now as that was the entire purpose of setting things up in such a manner. It didn’t matter what people tried to scheme in order to try and obtain the prize he had offered, as their efforts would only serve to increase his own fame even further. As for all the other events, all of which had been very well received by the spectators, they increased the intrigue people had towards the School. It was already to the point that people had actually started loitering around the outside of the School, some even pitching up small tents as they waited for the day of enrollment.

Enrollment would start the coming weekend, as the Monster Feria would officially conclude on Friday. Thus far, a total of 711 students had already been approved to attend the School, most of them being orphans, the children of staff, and exceptions such as the Elves and the children who had migrated from the Far East. On the day of enrollment, the goal was to increase the number of students to an even one-thousand, split into fifty classes of twenty students each. The age of students wasn’t what determined the ‘grade’ they were in, but Vahn was trying to arrange it so that similarly aged students were in the same class as each other. This would be the same for the dorms as well, making it easier for the children to socialize with similarly aged students without causing too many problems between younger and older children…

The day before his open challenge to the public was also when the girls played their Soccer match which, much like Volleyball, had been very well received. Though they were less scantily clad, as a result of wearing protective equipment, the sport itself was much more interesting to watch. Sending a ball up into the air over and over had greater restrictions than running around in an open field. With the athleticism of the girls, this became the far more popular of the two, which made sense considering it was based off two of the more popular sports he had found among the texts he had referenced.

When he had been trying to find ways to make the games more interesting, Vahn had compiled a bunch of books together before finding one called ‘Magicians and Muggles: A History of Sports’. Within, Vahn found an interesting game called Quidditch and, as it had originally been based on the ‘muggle’ sport, Soccer, he had adopted a few of the rules. Though he didn’t have brooms, as the introduction of technology that allowed flight was too advanced for the current world, it was still possible to make the game interesting. After all, the girls were incredibly athletic and, even without brooms to zip through the sky, their physical feats far exceeded the meager 250km/h speed documented within the compendium…

By the time the match has ended, this time in the favor of Ais’ team, the tensions within the city had increased to an all-time high. To add to the flair, Vahn had actually purchased a few items from the system called [Projection Spheres] that could record events and then play them back onto a surface. Even after the day had come to an end, the Soccer match could be seen displayed all over town, using large walls as the screen so people could observe the popular topics everyone else was talking about. Some people gathered just to see the girls running around the field, with more than a few rich individuals trying to purchase the [Projection Spheres], but they were the minority…

With everything else taken care of, leaving only his open challenge to the public remaining, Vahn woke up early the final day of the Monster Feria and took his time getting prepared. The matches didn’t start until 10 AM, so he had plenty of time to just relax at home before he was supposed to head out. This delayed start was necessary since the preparations for the coming battles would take a few hours, at the very least. After all, there would be battles between Level 5, 6, and potentially even Level 7 individuals taking place. Attacks from such powerful fighters, especially if they were Mages, could completely collapse the floor of the arena. There was also a high chance of people in the crowd getting injured, requiring powerful formations to be put in place to prevent stray attacks from affecting the spectators.

To prepare himself for the coming fights, Vahn had split his body into two and was currently lounging in a small study with Lili and Haruhime while his other body was snuggled up with Fenrir. Whenever he was going to do something ‘troublesome’, Vahn always found himself simply relaxing and trying to achieve a ‘calm’ state before he jumped headlong into the matter. Since Lili had been getting much better at her own transformation ability, Vahn currently had two soft and smooth Renards showing him affection while he absentmindedly stroked their silky soft tails and ears. In the other room, a very similar thing was happening between him and Fenrir, except that he was naked since his clothes would have frozen to the bed otherwise…

For the final day, the only girls that would be accompanying him to the Monster Feria were Hestia, Anubis, Ais, Tiona, and Tione. Everyone else would be staying home as, even though it wasn’t too likely, there was a chance someone might use the challenge as an opportunity to try and strike at the Manor. It wasn’t impossible that, by thinking they could wear him down, it was also possible for his enemies to potentially use the event as an opportunity to kill him. At the same time, they could target the girls or, in the worst case scenario, his children. To prevent anything from happening, all the mothers would stay back within the safety of the Hearth Manor, observing the event from one of the [Projection Spheres]. They could also stream events in real time, so it wasn’t as if they would miss out on witnessing his battle against the masses.

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Though Eva’s words about there always being some stronger were undoubtedly true, it would be next to impossible for anyone to actually break through Terra’s defenses. After all, her abilities were derived from her Innates and, though she might not have the greatest offensive might, her defensive capabilities were almost insurmountable. The moment anyone tried to fight within her territory, they’d be lucky to even make use of their normal skills and abilities. Magic wouldn’t work, their physical capabilities would be restricted, and then they would have to face her ‘Forbidden’ grade magic, which was fundamentally a stronger ability than anything that should exist in this world. She might be restricted by her Soul Tier, but her existence as a True Dragon made Terra’s might unquestionable.

After spending some quality time with the three fluffy girls, it was nearing time for Vahn to leave so, after saying goodbye to all his children, sharing a few hugs and kisses with the girls, and double checking to make sure the magical wards in the Manor were functional, Vahn headed towards the Coliseum. Without a large group of people, Vahn was able to fly through the sky very quickly while holding onto Tione and Anubis while Hestia clung tightly to his back. Though he could have levitated them, the girls had wanted him to carry them personally so, with Tiona and Ais flying at his flanks, Vahn drew the ire of many onlookers by flying through the sky with two goddesses, two Amazons, and a beautiful pseudo-spirit girl…

Fortunately, the flight didn’t take that long and, even though nearly a hundred thousand people were giving him icy stares, Vahn landed within the viewing platform of the gods’ and greeted Ganesha and a few of his other acquaintances. Currently, it had just turned 9:57 AM, so he had cut it pretty close, much to the frustration of the crowd, many of which had been sitting in their seats since before the sun crested over the horizon. They had just been sitting in their seats, watching as the Ganesha Familia set up the arena, all while waiting for Vahn’s arrival. The fact that he had shown up late, holding beautiful girls in both arms, increased the number of people that had intended to fight him by a fair amount.

Precisely at the 10 AM mark, Vahn jumped down into the arena without using any skills, just allowing himself to land heavily on the magically reinforced surface while the tensions in the crowd began to increase at a tangible rate. Ganesha, seizing the initiative, shouted out in a booming voice that could clearly be heard over the chatter of more than one hundred thousand people, “WELCOME, PEOPLE OF ORARIO! I AM GAAAAANESHA~!!!! GRAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Then, spreading both of his arms wide, Ganesha shouted in a less ‘excessive’ tone, “Everyone knows what today is, so I don’t need to explain the details. If you want to try and challenge Vahn for the prize of one-billions Valis, all you have to do is give your ticket to one of the members of my Familia stationed around the arena. If you try to jump in without a ticket, well, you aren’t protected by the rules that have been put in place. Keep that in mind and, without further ado, let’s get this exciting show on the road!”

At first, there weren’t too many people moving but, after a few seconds had passed, a tidal wave of people began to queue up for a chance to fight against Vahn. For them, there was no ‘danger’, other than suffering some light injuries, so a lot of people were willing to have a crack at the boy standing proudly in the center of the arena. Most of them knew they didn’t stand a chance again him but, if they banded together with others, there was a slim possibility they could benefit. At the very least, they would be able to brag to their friends and family in the future that they had been able to fight against THE Vahn Mason, even if it was alongside a few hundred other people. That was nothing a healthy amount of embellishment couldn’t fix…

While all this was going on, Vahn just casually looked around the arena, noticing there were more than a few auras full of negative energy. This event hadn’t just been to showcase his prowess, increasing his fame further, but it had been left intentionally vague so it could be easily exploited. There were, admittedly, more than a few people that genuinely hated him, especially among the group of people that had pined after some of the girls he was involved with. This was their chance to get ‘revenge’ against him while, in the shadows, there were numerous organizations that simply wanted to use this as a chance to assassinate him. Of the more than one hundred thousand people, Vahn had already identified a total of 1,318 people that undoubtedly wanted him dead.

Honestly, Vahn was a little disappointed with how few there were, especially since the strongest among them was only a Level 5 woman who looked like a perfectly normal and powerless civilian. He had somewhat expected that the Smiling Reaper would use this as a chance to strike but, with his senses trained to their limit, Vahn hadn’t detected any ‘real’ threats just yet. There was a chance they would appear later, but it was starting to seem as though his bait had only affected ‘normal’ people thus far. Even the members of the Freya Familia he had expected to show up, as they would undoubtedly be unhappy after he ‘stole’ Freya from them, weren’t anywhere to be seen…

Since they hadn’t been told otherwise, the members of the Ganesha Familia accepted the tickets of the contenders and allowed them to jump down into the arena immediately thereafter. Some of them ‘climbed’ down, giving Vahn the urge to laugh, but there were a few that leaped down in a manner similar to his own. Many of them began grouping together in small teams, coordinating a strategy that might give them an edge, while a few bold individuals had almost immediately started attacking. The first among them was actually a red-haired Elven woman who had a large wooden staff that was adorned with a vibrant red sphere, which Vahn recognized as the processed core of a Valgang Dragon. He didn’t know what he had done to offend her, as he had never seen her before, but her aura was filled with black and purple as she began chanting a powerful fire elemental magic.

Seeing the glowing magic circle that had appeared, many of the contenders began watching with interest to see how Vahn would react. The fact he just stood there with a complacent and calm expression unnerved a few of them, especially since he wore that expression even as a sphere of fire, around 8m in diameter, careened towards his position. It was so hot that the magically reinforced ground had started to melt, even though the red-haired mage was only Level 3. As for why Vahn made no attempt to evade…well, his ‘Fire Immunity’ wasn’t just for show, even though that’s exactly what he intended to use it for. When the flame sphere enveloped him, his expression didn’t change in the slightest and, even though the shockwave from the sphere’s explosion had caused him some internal damage, the flames themselves did absolutely nothing.

When the flames and smoke cleared, everyone stared with slack-jawed expressions as, other than some singed spots on his fire-resistant clothing, Vahn was entirely unharmed. Not even the hair on his head had been burned by the powerful ball of flames, stunning those that had expected him to at least suffer some light injuries. As for the Elven mage who had cast the spell, she had spent almost all of her mana in the attack and, seeing Vahn entirely unharmed, fell to her knees with a pale and discontented expression. Vahn produced a wry smile and wanted to say something about how fire magic didn’t work on him but, as there was an arrow flying at his back from his blind spot, it didn’t seem like the best time.

This event was to serve as a ‘demonstration’ of sorts so, instead of using his words, Vahn used his actions to speak for him. The moment the arrow got within 3m of his body, it immediately ignited into flames and then disappeared moments later. For less than .1 seconds, Vahn had transitioned into his Zhūquè form, causing the arena’s temperature to increase while an area of 8m around his body became red hot. As for the space within 3 meters, it had completely turned into molten stone as Vahn stood on its surface with the same complacent expression as before. Unfortunately, all of his clothes, except for an S-Rank pair of fire-resistant shorts, had also burned into ashes. Even so, Vahn stood proud, not shying away from the gaze of everyone, even as several females, goddesses included, looked toward him with fervent and possessive gazes…

As for the gaze of the red-haired Elven woman, she just looked up with a mixture of incredulity and fear, understanding that none of her magic would ever be able to harm Vahn. After all, his ‘flicker’ of flames had completely outclassed her most powerful magic spell…just as she had expected, he was, without a shadow of a doubt, a monster…and there was nothing she could do to him at all…

Around the arena, a similar thought was passing through the minds of many of the contenders as none of them wanted to experience the heat of the flames that had appeared around Vahn’s body. The bravado that many had possessed from the start began to quickly fade, replaced by an understanding that Vahn hadn’t simply come here to embarrass himself. No, this handsome youth standing at the center of the arena, as if he was unaffected by the hundreds of people gathering around him, came here to prove a point. It was to show that, even if he allowed them all to work together, they wouldn’t be able to defeat him easily…if at all…

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