Though it was nearing the middle of the night, Vahn exited the orb and spread his perception to see if any of the goddesses were awake. Since a lot had been going on from the moment the expedition set out, he wasn’t surprised to find that Loki, Hephaestus, and Eirene were all awake, gathered together in Loki’s room alongside Syr, Riveria, and Tsubaki. Erika had already moved into her own room and Vahn could see that she was also awake, huddled up at a desk with a lamp while continuing her studies late into the evening. He wasn’t going to hold it against her for working hard but made a mental note to make sure she is resting properly later on.
Since he knew she would want to be involved in the conversation, Vahn let his ‘intentions’ reach Hestia, stirring the goddess awake in an instant as she sat up in her bed in a daze before preparing to come down to Loki’s room. Vahn also ‘ordered’ Anubis and Terra to come over while pulling out Freya’s communication scroll and giving her a quick update on the situation. He informed her that he would meet her after the discussion began and told her to stand by for the time being, as she had wanted to come to his side the moment he mentioned it. Since Loki was also paying attention to her larger network, this alerted her to the fact he was inbound and Vahn could sense them moving around to prepare for his arrival.
Upon entering into the room, Vahn smiled towards the gathered girls and plainly stated, “I have come to realize many things and need to make my intentions clear so that everyone understands my future actions better.” To this, many of the girls showed slightly startled expressions while Loki asked, “Did something happen? Your presence… it’s very ‘different’ than normal…” Vahn nodded his head, not denying her observation at all and instead explained, “Though I will not claim to have a proper grasp on the situation, this farce with Enyo, no, the entire world has gone on long enough. If the Alliance is going to be shaping the world in the future, we need to take more proactive measures to bring about the changes we desire. I have decided to take the initiative to prevent our enemies from simply doing whatever they want…I’m tired of people getting hurt just because a bunch of fools believe that we will simply stand at the side and bide our time…”
This statement seemed to have a big impact on Eirene who immediately asked, “Vahn, what are you trying to do…?” There was a bit of hesitation in her voice and it was easy to see that she was shaken by the sudden change in his behavior. Seeing this, Vahn smiled gently to her and said, “Don’t worry, Eirene, it isn’t as though I’m planning on becoming some generic tyrant that just does whatever he wants. The change I intend to bring about is something that will require the concerted efforts of the entire Alliance. However, I will be taking personal action to deal with enemies that would have required us to react after they caused a great deal of harm to people. I know that everyone here is aware of the dangers presented by Enyo and, with her current behaviors, I refuse to just stand by and wait until she releases some great plague or chemical attack upon the City. Since her forces are currently located within the Dungeon, I plan to keep them there and systematically eliminate them. I’m done waiting for people to suffer before I’m able to take actions I have already known would be necessary from the start.”
Though she had shown a bit of hesitation at first, Eirene seemed to get fired up by the righteous fervor in Vahn’s voice. She had even risen to her feet, a resolute look in her eyes as she asked, “What do you need me to do? How can I help?” Since the first time they had become one, Eirene had already resolved to stand at Vahn’s side until the end. His sudden change had caused her to feel a slight amount of concern but, hearing the conviction in his words, she couldn’t help but feel as though he had become even more heroic than before.
Vahn reached out his hand, stroking Eirene’s blue hair as he softly stated, “Thank you for your support, Eirene…for now, just wait until everyone else has shown up. We all need to be on the same page for what I have planned, so please just be patient for the time being…” As he knew it was a very effective method, and because he wanted to do so, Vahn gave Eirene a kiss to break her tension and placate her for a moment. He then gently pushed against her shoulder and guided her to the bed as a rosy blush touched her cheeks. At the same time, he made eye contact with Loki and Syr, seeing a calculating look in both girls’ eyes as they processed his words. In a way, they had been two of his greatest supporters and Vahn knew their assistance would be instrumental to the success of his future plans.
It didn’t take long for the majority of the Manor’s residents to gather in Loki’s room, a first, considering they would typically gather within the dining room. Ultimately, it didn’t really matter, however, so Vahn pulled out a few pieces of furniture for them to sit on as he stood tall and explained, “To explain this as simply as possible…I have decided to treat my convictions of the pass with the severity and dedication they deserve. In order to create a better future for our family, I will work to bring about the necessary change to shape this world into a place where the potential of people is not simply cut off by the decisions of a greedy few. The existing system is fundamentally flawed and since our Alliance has the power to bring about the necessary change, I will not sit on my hands and just sit idly by as people work to circumvent our efforts…”
Taking a deep breath, Vahn then continued, “I’ll be honest with you all…I have become extremely spoiled by the support I’ve received from everyone and, as a result of restrictions I have placed upon myself, it has made my choices much more difficult. This has caused my resolve to waver and, so as not to appear unreliable and fragile before my children, I have decided to become a more stable existence. As a result, I understand that I may make many decisions in the future that would have required much greater consideration than I will likely put into it. In order to prevent myself from straying onto a path none of us wish to see, I will be relying on each and every one of you to be forthright with me…”
Vahn closed his eyes, waiting for his words to settle for a short while before adding, “I cannot say how I know these things, as it is something simply beyond my own comprehension to even grasp at, at least for the time being. However, I can say with absolute certainty that I am not a demi-god, nor have I ever had any pseudo-divinity to speak of…my existence itself is something that I may never be able to wrap my head around, but it is fundamentally different than anything that has ever existed before…I’m sure, in your own way, many of you have already understood this…”
This last remark was targetted towards the gathered goddesses but Vahn noticed that Syr, Riveria, and Tsubaki also understood the truth of his words. Since they were all waiting for him to continue, he took another deep breath and said, “I have a unique power, something that is fundamentally impossible for me to ever explain to another person. As my understanding of this power has increased, I’ve been able to glean insight into many things and it has constantly been evolving. At the same time, I have been able to garner insights into the very nature of the world itself, including things like fate, creation, space, time, and concepts related to the very Laws that govern everything…”
Seeing the confusion on the faces of most of the girls, goddesses included, Vahn clarified, “My power seems to be related to my own perception of the world, and my interactions with other people. The more I desire strength, the more power I am able to gather in a short period of time…it is this desire that had given birth to things like Eva’s orb, allows me to bestow names upon other people and now, even allows me to modify and change the very existence of those that have dedicated themselves to me…” As he spoke, Vahn had already gotten permission from Fenrir and changed her hair color into a pure red while making her eyes radiate with three different colors.
Before anyone could ask questions, Vahn had already continued, saying, “I now have the power to modify any person that had subordinated themselves to me, become one of my devoted followers, or pledged genuine allegiance to me. If the bond we share is strong enough, I can even modify everything from their race, their gender, and even their elemental affinities. This is only the tip of the iceberg and, I’m certain that many more powers I’m unaware of will make themselves known in the future. As we’ve all seen with the Vanir, my existence within this world has fundamentally changed the very nature of reality and, in order to prevent myself from deviating onto a dangerous path, I will need the council of each and every one of you…”
Vahn said these last words with a gentle smile but it quickly morphed into a slightly apologetic look as he added, “However, at the same time, I’ve chosen to embrace my existence and stop holding myself back without any justifiable reason to do so. Even right now, at this very instant, there are undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of people suffering all over the world. Though my life already has meaning, which is the love I share with each of you, the bonds we’ve formed together, and the proof of our unity through our children…I know I can do much more. In order to make the world I have envisioned a reality, I will stop holding back completely…”
Taking yet another deep breath, Vahn’s smile softened as he stated, “You can call it an ability to understand the machinations of fate if you wish but, much like how I ‘need’ to have various gods make eternal vows to me, there are now other things I must accomplish. From this point onward, I will make an earnest effort to unify the entire Continent. At the same time, the primary objective of the Alliance will be the establishment of Haven, confronting Enyo’s forces, and the complete subjugation of the Dungeon. We will guide this Continent towards a better future and, to facilitate this, I plan to form a Council of Gods, comprised of every major Divinity. For now, we will settle with trying to achieve influence through the Denatus but we will slowly try and create a system that benefits both gods and mortals without either party exploiting the other…”
At this point, Loki stepped into the conversation, asking, “What do you plan to do about gods that resist the changes you’re trying to introduce? You should know it very well, Vahn, that some gods simply can’t resist the compulsion of their Divinities. Taking a hard stance…” As he already knew exactly what Loki wanted to say, Vahn raised his hand and interrupted her for what felt like the first time in years. This caused her eyes to part slightly as he explained, “There are no absolutes in this world Loki and, though Divinity is a serious issue that needs to be taken into consideration, we can’t simply watch as some gods only take action to exploit others. If that is their nature, at least for the time being, they shouldn’t be in the mortal world from the start. Nothing I’m trying to do is in opposition of the regulations imposed by the Guild currently, nor should it be in violation of the vows gods make before descending. What I’m proposing is simply removing the loopholes that have allowed gods to exploit people for nearly a thousand years. I know this isn’t the best solution, which is why I will construct a Divine Council to serve as the governing body that acts as an intermediary between gods and mortals. At the same time, I will never give up trying to come up with a solution to the Divinity that I know plagues many gods…one day, even if it takes a few decades, I will liberate all gods from the compulsion of Divinity. At the same time, I will pave the way forward for even mortals to rise to godhood…the world cannot continue along its current path…there has to be a better way. If not, I will ‘make’ a better way…”
Though it wasn’t his intention, Vahn’s [Will of the Emperor] had been in full effect while he was speaking. However, instead of putting a tyrannical pressure on others, the nature of the ability seemed to have changed slightly. Vahn could feel the ‘intent’ coming from everyone before him and was able to feel their emotions rising alongside their resolve. He didn’t know why, but his intuition was telling him that the ‘Will’ of an Emperor wasn’t simply a means to pressure others with power. Instead, the ‘true’ power of an Emperor’s ‘Will’ was to inspire like-minded people to strive towards a unified greatness that singular entities would never be able to achieve…
Riding on the momentum, Vahn could feel himself getting riled up as he said, “I swear an eternal vow with my very existence at stake…I will never stop trying to create a better world for everyone, not just mortals, but all sentient creatures that exist within all worlds. If gods are suffering from their Divinity, I will become strong enough to alter the fundamental nature of Divinity itself…I will not stand idly by and watch the world stagnate for the benefit of a greedy few that have selfishly seized power for themselves. Though I may not always walk a straight path, I will never stop moving forward, even unto the ends of eternity itself…!”
With Vahn’s words, large golden chains came out of the void and coiled around him but, surprising everyone present, Vahn ‘shattered’ them in an instant, saying, “I do not need the world to recognize my resolve. This is a decision I have made and the only thing that can bind me is the convictions I’ve set for myself…!” This time, the chains coiled around Vahn and seemed to be posing to ‘strike’ in an effort to bind him once again. However, after a few seconds had passed, the chains began to retract themselves into the void, completely shocking all of the goddesses. Even they couldn’t resist the Laws of the World, especially those pertaining to something like an Eternal Vow. Seeing Vahn, a mortal boy, simply ‘shrug’ them off…it was something completely impossible with their previous understanding of the world.
Seeing the chains retreat, Vahn’s eyes shone with a powerful light as he looked towards everyone that had gathered, confidently stating, “I would not be the person I am today if not for the support each of you has given me. I will never be able to make you understand the overwhelming gratitude I have towards you…so I will show it with my actions. Know that, just like in the past, I will always respect the decisions made by those gathered within the Manor. At the same time, however, I need to be able to have confidence in the actions I take on the outside. I will do my best to never bring discourse into our home but I will also rely on the unity you girls possess to keep order…this is probably my biggest weakness, so please forgive me for the man I have become…”
Though it felt like all of his nerves were going to tear apart when he tried to initiate the action, Vahn lowered his head to the girls, even as blood began to emerge from his seven orifices. The [Will of the Emperor] was such that it adamantly refused to lower its head to others but Vahn confidently stated within his own mind, (“There is no shame in lowering my head to people that deserve my respect! I will never bow at the behest of another but that doesn’t mean I cannot revere the women who have helped to give my life meaning!”) With these words, the pain wracking his body faded away in an instant, replaced by the calm that had been present before…
Many of the girls panicked when they saw Vahn suddenly bleeding out of his head but it was Hestia who eventually spoke out, saying, “No matter what, I will continue to protect this home we have created together…I believe in you, Vahn. Even if you travel far away, conquering lands I have never even heard of…I will always be here to welcome you home. Never forget that this is the place where your family is always waiting for you…” Though she couldn’t understand why, Hestia’s intuition told her that Vahn may go very far away one day. The way he was speaking caused something inside of her to ‘know’ this was the reality of the situation and, believing he needed her to help protect the sanctity of their home, Hestia wanted to show her resolution.
With Hestia as the first to open her mouth, Anubis quickly added, “Ever since I first saw your soul, I knew you were an existence far beyond even the comprehension of gods. I believe in the future you will make, Master, and will always follow at your side.” Even if Vahn became a monster in the eyes of others, Anubis had seen the resplendence of his soul. She didn’t believe for a moment that he was the type that would selfishly exploit others and, more so than any other hero in history, Anubis believed Vahn would truly save this world.
Loki was a little annoyed that she missed the chance to speak up herself so she took the opportunity to speak up right after Anubis’ words fell, saying, “As I said in the past, I would have followed you even if you chose to become the Emperor of the entire world. Don’t worry about straying from the path you want to walk, Vahn, as you can be confident we’ll whip you into shape if you take things too far~.” In truth, Loki had been feeling an extreme level of excitement ever since Vahn had interrupted her earlier. The only ‘fault’ she had ever truly found in Vahn was that he lacked decisiveness and was too easily influenced by other people. Seeing him standing firmly, even against the very Laws of the World itself, made it exceedingly difficult to restrain herself…
Following Loki’s words, Hephaestus simply stated, “There is a reason I swore an Eternal Vow to never love another man…I believe in you wholeheartedly, Vahn. Just as Loki stated, if you get out of control, I will help reign you in…ufufufu~.” These words caused the eternal flame in Vahn’s chest to happily dance around as a great deal of warmth spread through his body. Vahn returned a smile in response and, following behind Hephaestus, the rest of the girls made their resolutions known. It was the support he received from these girls that gave Vahn the confidence to move forward so, once everything was said and done, he began explaining the course of action he had decided upon…