After spending the better part of twenty hours searching through the first five floors of Knossos, detailing all the areas where it connected to the main Dungeon, Vahn decided to take a break. He pulled out a single-person chair with super thick cushions and plopped down onto it before letting Fenrir curl up in his lap. Fafnir also popped out of his shadow and sat on the armrest so Vahn could pet the both of them while going over the map of Knossos within his mind. There were so many corridors and, much like how the Dungeon itself was structured, Knossos expanded greatly the deeper you went.
He already knew his investigation would take several days but Vahn felt like he would rather be back at the Manor with his children, rather than sitting in these stagnant corridors with their low lighting. Still, he didn’t let it weigh that heavily on his mind and only spent about an hour resting before ruffling Fafnir’s onyx-black hair and saying, “It’s time to continue. We don’t want to keep the people that might be kept against their will waiting…” Since they had already liberated nearly three hundred people on just the first day, Vahn suspected there would be even more secrets as he went even deeper.
Fafnir releasing a small yawn, as it currently had the appearance of a very young androgynous version of Vahn, before rolling off the armrest and ‘plopping’ into the shadows below. Its mastery over [Shadow Walk] had increased greatly and Fafnir could easily move through even a pinhole-sized shadow if it wanted to enter into the strange dimension that existed beneath reality. It was a terrifyingly useful ability as, with a few exceptions, Fafnir was able to move about without any real obstacles.
With Fenrir hopping out of his lap, Vahn stowed away the comfortable chair and stretched his body a little before continuing onwards. He didn’t actually require rest, especially with his other body able to recuperate mental energy for both of them, but Vahn wasn’t beyond getting a little bored at times. Just like the girls needed to ‘recharge’ with him, Vahn felt like he needed to at least relax and recharge his own reserves on occasion. Still, he was starting to consider mapping Knossos from the bottom floor up at this point since it would potentially save him a lot of time and effort.
Thinking this might be the best way to proceed, Vahn made his way towards a long shaft that connected to all five floors he had explored thus far. There were chains that were linked to a very complex mechanism at the top of the shaft and continued down into the ‘abyss’ below. Vahn also noticed there were a few ladders located all around the edges of the shaft but, after making up his mind, bypassed all of it by just jumping down. He didn’t fall at a normal pace, however, and instead guided his fall with telekinesis as he inspected the structure of the 30m diameter cylindrical shaft.
It didn’t take a genius to realize the shaft was obviously a very complex elevator that should have been beyond the technological limitations of the record. However, if the person was a demigod with an Innate related to engineering and construction like Daedelus, it wasn’t beyond expectations to see such a thing. After all, Babel Tower actually had far more complex mechanisms running through it, even though it hadn’t been constructed by people and had instead been created in Heaven. Daedelus had likely drawn inspiration from the structure of Babel Tower itself when he was creating this elevator and, given how aged and ancient everything seemed, it was obvious that this elevator shaft had been a core component of Knossos since the very beginning. Even so, everything was still in working order and it didn’t seem like it would break down any time soon, showcasing just how brilliant Daedelus had to be to construct such a timeless masterpiece.
After descending nearly two kilometers, Vahn set foot on a massive disc-shaped platform that was filled with numerous crates of supplies, ores, and tools. He had already sensed several nearby auras and activated his [Eyes of Truth] to get a better look at the situation. Almost instantly, Vahn felt the tensions in his body increase slightly and he was compelled to release a small sigh through his nose. Fenrir’s hackles had already been raised as well and, feeling a strange ‘calm’ seize his entire body, Vahn lifted his hand and brought the constituent particles of mana within the wall under his control. He then jerked his hand back, rending a gaping hole in the wall that revealed an area with several dozen people herding monsters into cages. This wouldn’t have bothered Vahn that much but the fact that the ‘monsters’ were crying out and begging for mercy made their true identity very apparent…
By the time the people in the room had reacted to the wall being completely removed, Fenrir had already darted forward like a midnight blue bolt of electricity and began cutting off the arms and legs of the cruel men and women that were present. Fafnir also pulled some of them partially into its shadow dimension and left them screaming for mercy as the shadows continued to encroach upon their bodies. Vahn knew how ‘terrifying’ the feeling of being swallowed by shadows could be but he didn’t mind their cries since it was very obvious they hadn’t cared about the ‘people’ they were harming.
Vahn watched as a man came running out from a side corridor with another group of thugs in tow and began ordering them to try and get the situation under control. He had shaggy black hair and a pair of strange goggles covering his eyes while waving what looked like a shortsword around in a very haphazard manner. His voice was harsh and abrasive when he saw Fenrir, pointing his sword towards her and yelling, “Isn’t this the little bitch Xenos that belongs to that arrogant asshole, Va-” Unable to finish his words, the man took evasive action to dodge the spear of ice that would have pinned him to the wall. His speed was actually quite fast but, before he was able to make a second movement, Fenrir was right underneath him with her scarlet eyes blazing.
Though it was impossible to make out his eyes, the gaping mouth and the incredulity of the man’s expression showed he hadn’t expected things to turn out like this. He tried to swipe forward at a downward angle to cut into Fenrir’s flesh but she was much faster than he was, twisting her body and cutting off both of his legs before catching his wrist and continuing her spin as she threw his body into the wall. Spiderweb cracks emerged outward from the central impact point and the man, who was now completely upside down as blood streaked from his mouth. This time Fenrir, very successfully, skewered him with a spear of ice before snorting through her nose and saying, “You aren’t allowed to talk about Master…”
Since he was in his Baihu form, Vahn had heard Fenrir’s retort and it brought a small smile to his face even as he crushed the larynx of a man who tried to stab one of the Xenos with a spear. Then, tilted his head to the side slightly, Vahn evaded a black bolt fired from a crossbow and caught it out of the air before returning it back to the sender. There was a small Pallum woman with a scar extending from her nose to the left side of her face. She had a completely black aura and a fierce glint in her eyes, at least until she showed an expression of abject shock as she looked down at the hole that now ran completely through where her heart used to be.
Vahn watched her slump to the ground before tossing the corpse in his hand to the side and using [Shundo] to capture a bald man with a beastial tattoo on his face. He had been part of the group that arrived with the goggles-wearing man and, after seeing the latter get devastated by Fenrir, this bald thug quickly tried to turn tail and flee. Vahn sensed that he was one of the stronger people within the group so he cut off the man’s retreat, deflected the curved ax that drew a lethal arc towards his neck, and then pulled out a nondescript black spear and impaling the man through the pelvic bone.
He released a guttural sound like a pig being slaughtered before spewing a great deal of saliva as he yelled, “You m***********! You bitch! You-” Vahn had moved outside of the range of his spittle and was preparing to incapacitate the next person when he saw the bald man get impaled by a series of ice spikes from behind. Fenrir was a few dozen meters away with deeply furrowed brows, causing Vahn to shake his head slightly and ignore the large bald man. He wasn’t dead, but the cold temperature would likely rob him of his life relatively soon if they weren’t removed. Though Ice might not appear to be as scary as Fire from the start, this was only because most people never saw how quickly frostbite could set in, turning skin necrotic and gangrenous in mere seconds…
After a few short minutes of absolute chaos, most of the people that had been mistreating the Xenos captives were either horribly maimed or dead. Some had been smart enough to lay down their arms and curl up in a submissive gesture, but this only prevented greater suffering as Fafnir still skewered their legs to prevent them from trying to run during the chaos. Now, there were more than a dozen people with missing limbs that were laying about on the ground, begging for mercy or trying to crawl away to safety. Vahn even saw a rather buxom woman with purple hair hugging her severed leg with a pale expression of disbelief on her face.
Vahn didn’t consider himself a cruel person but seeing the state of some of the imprisoned Xenos made it very difficult to care about the wellbeing of the people that had wronged them. He stopped the bleeding of those that were on the brink of death but made no effort to help reattach their severed limbs, at least for the time being. They would be imprisoned back on the surface and, after being interrogated thoroughly, their fates would be decided by the laws of the Alliance. Many would likely end up as criminal slaves while the majority would undoubtedly be executed for their crimes…
Though they had been shocked and scared during the raid, most of the Xenos had become quiet as the combat had started to come to an end. They were very aware of the energy that had coursed through their bodies and healed their wounds and realized that Vahn, Fenrir, and Fafnir weren’t there to hurt them. By the time everything had come to an end, all of the Xenos had been completely healed while their captors were left sobbing, crippled, or dead on the ground. Though there were more than a dozen left alive, the number killed was more than triple that, all because of the efforts of the three people standing in the center of the chaos…
Turning to get a proper look at all the captured Xenos, Vahn saw that the majority looked like normal monsters except that the color of their eyes was slightly different. Of the eight present, there was a Kobold, two Goblins, two Almiraj, a Silverback, and two War Shadows. Amongst them, only one had slightly more humanoid characteristics, even though it was somewhat hard to discern. Vahn was interested in all of them but this War Shadow, who had a muscular body and looked almost like a shadowy human, was easily the most eye-catching. He didn’t know what determined if a Xenos obtained humanoid traits but figured their intelligence had a good chance of being tied to their appearance.
Extending out his hand, Vahn noticed many of the smaller Xenos twitch in fear but he simply smiled and said, “My name is Vahn Mason…I’m not going to hurt you…please, stay calm and I will free you from your cages soon…” As he was speaking, Vahn moved his hand left and right in a soothing motion that caused petting energy to mix with his calming energy from [Hands of Nirvana]. This ‘invasive’ energy spooked some of the Xenos but they quickly began to relax as the energy spread through their bodies. Vahn noticed it was especially effective on the Kobold and two Almiraj, something he made a mental note of for future reference.
Though it could cause a small riot, Vahn had Fafnir destroy the locks on the cages and released all of the Xenos from their bindings, turning to the more masculine War Shadow and asking, “Do you have a name…?” This caused the War Shadow, who didn’t really have a face and mouth to speak from, to respond back with a wispy voice that seemed to emanate from the glowing red orb in its head, “My name is…Xude…I have heard of you…Vahn Mason…” Though it was very strange to hear the whisper-like voice, Vahn still returned a smile and jokingly mused, “I hope it was good things…”
This caused Xude, the other War Shadow, and the Silverback to laugh along with his ‘joke’ before Xude’s core glowed and it said, “It is rumored amongst the Xenos that you are the Savior that will liberate us from the Dungeon…I never thought I would meet you in person…” Towards the end of ‘his’ statement, Xude bowed low and, apparently having influence in the group, most of the other Xenos bowed as well. Though he would have felt awkward in the past, the current Vahn was relatively calm as this happened and simply raised his hand, plainly stating, “I appreciate your gratitude, but please do not bow…”
As if this was something ‘unacceptable’, the Silverback that towered over the rest of the group had a ‘solemn’ look on its face as, very surprisingly, the voice of a woman sounded out, “You have saved us from a fate worse than a second death…please, allow us to at least do this much.” With the completion of ‘her’ words, the Silverback lowered her head even further, causing Vahn to shake his head and ‘ignore’ them. Instead, he turned his attention to the only Xenos that wasn’t bowing, one of the Almiraj who just sat at the side with red eyes staring directly at him. Vahn felt it had a strange similarity to Bell and followed his urge to squat down and pat the small Xenos’ head.
Though the atmosphere became a little strange when the bowing Xenos saw Vahn ‘ignore’ them, he decided not to care since he had already told them not to mind it. How they expressed their gratitude was up to them and he would rather get the formalities out of the way than have them behave this way. This ended up leading to an interesting discovery as well, so Vahn couldn’t help smiling as the small Almiraj released a childish giggle and seemed to become very happy…