Chapter 884: Trap

Seeing the monstrosity before him was one thing but, hearing ‘Enyo’ refer to their struggle as something aking to a game to be played, Vahn’s expression hardened once again. There were a few trump cards he had been holding in reserve, as he didn’t want to destroy the surrounding Floor and the secrets it might contain, but this monster before him needed to be dealt with. He wasn’t making any real headway and, though the changes in his Zhuque form had given him a small advantage, it wasn’t anything to celebrate over…

Just after the ‘invitation’ by the hundreds of masks, Vahn extended his domain until it completely contained the oozing black creature, saying, “Let’s see how durable you really are…”. This time, instead of attacking himself, Vahn used his domain as a medium and brought out ten small red marbles that glowed with a bluish-white radiance. If Zeus had been present, seeing just one of these marbles would have caused the arrogant god to sweat as each one contained even greater destructive force than the attack Vahn had used to teach the man a lesson. They were [Star Fire Spheres], created with his ‘Oblivion’ and comprised of a mixture of 80% pure Fire Elemental energy and 20% Star Elemental energy.

Even Vahn didn’t know how much devastation these ten marbles would cause so he immediately adopted a defensive posture, even though he should have relatively immunity to the attack. Enyo, however, closed the large maw in an instant, almost as if she were trying to devour the [Star Fire Spheres]. When he saw this, Vahn couldn’t resist raising the side of his lips in a sneer as an absolute silence began to dominate the massive chamber. He could feel Enyo try to establish a link with him but, once again, Vahn simply ignored it as the surface of the black ooze began to bubble. A large volume of watery black liquid began to pool out from the giant dome which, for the first time, began to shrink at a discernable rate…

As Vahn watched through his guard at what was going on, he saw ‘Enyo’ trying to force away the [Star Fire Sphere]s, each rising like bubbles on the black dome before rolling away to the side. This was an ultimately futile action as, without the black mass keeping them constrained, the spheres began to rapidly increase in size. Vahn noticed that he actually didn’t feel any pain whatsoever, likely the result of his Zhuque form temporarily suppressing the nature of his [Magia Erebea]. Enyo was significantly less fortunate, as the bluish-white spheres of flame rapidly grew larger than the black dome and rapidly melted the surrounding Dungeon. The ceiling continued to rise as the liquid crystal drooped down, adding to the molten lake that had formed in the sinking Dungeon floor…

Vahn was able to keep himself in position by creating footholds in the air but he noticed that even the mana in the surroundings was getting pushed away very quickly. This attack was turning out to be even bigger than he expected, even though it hadn’t actually reached critical mass and exploded just yet. He never expected that the spheres would begin to fuse together, increasing the destructive force in a way he couldn’t predict. Vahn felt that, if he didn’t do anything, it was likely that the surrounding Floors would all be destroyed when the attack completed. This would destroy the Observation room and, though not likely, there was a chance the explosion may even be able to reach Haven…

Instead of defending himself, Vahn extended his palms towards the constantly expanding blue star and tried to take control of the Flame Elemental energy and compress it once again. This caused the vermillion feathers on his arms to begin radiating an intense light which, very slowly, gained a subtle blue hue. Vahn didn’t have time to observe this change, however, as all of his efforts to reign in the now 50m diameter sphere had, at best, just slowed it down. Since he was almost positive there would be more of Enyo’s victims present on the Floor, Vahn clenched his teeth and continued to restrain the flames until a ‘solution’ entered into his mind…

Realizing it was impossible for him to reign in so much energy on his own, Vahn used [Shundo] to drop below the expanding sphere before striking at the base. His hand entered into the vibrant bluish-white sphere, filling him with an incredible amount of energy in a very short period of time. This brought a smile to Vahn’s face as he ‘pulled’ down, manipulating the energy contained within the Sphere to become unstable. It had been expanding out gradually at first but now Vahn had created an instability, giving the energy a second path to flow through. As a result, a large column of bluish-white flames descended downward, piercing through the molten lake below and continuing into even deeper Floors…

Vahn allowed himself to bathe in this energy, finding it strangely comfortable as it washed over his naked figure and soaked into his feathers. If Enyo was still alive after the sphere had leaked all of its energy away, Vahn was confident he could immediately continue fighting against her. He even had thirteen more [Star Fire Sphere]s and two of the spectacularly difficult to produce [True Ice Sphere]s. Though he could make ‘anything’ with his Oblivion, Vahn was limited in his own comprehension when it came to making ‘solid’ Elemental Spheres. Fire was relatively easy for him to comprehend and control whereas Ice, though easy enough to understand, strangely required several times the amount of Source Energy during its production…

Though it had taken nearly twenty minutes, the sphere stopped trying to expand and instead started to shrink at a noticeable rate. Vahn noticed this relatively quickly and decided to prepare himself for the coming battle, assuming there even was one. His instincts told him that Enyo wouldn’t be so easy to defeat and, even though she hadn’t counterattacked during the baptism of flames, she would probably be very angry once they had faded away. Thus, as the sphere continued to shrink, Vahn continued to watch, searching for any traces of the strange black ooze, the eerie white masks, and Enyo herself…

Due to his focus on the sphere, Vahn hadn’t even noticed the changes in his own Zhuque form just yet. Now, instead of pure vermillion feathers, the tips of some now had a subtle blue tint like star-fire. Even his eyes had started to change colors, a blue glow emanating around his pupils, while his hair now had strands of wispy bluish-white near his scalp. His wings, however, had undergone the biggest change as the vermillion coloration had now become even deeper while small eye-like red markings were visible on the plumage. Within these eye-shaped markings, there were wisps of bluish-white flame glowing with a beautiful radiance, shining proudly even without anyone to bear witness to their majesty…

Though the temperature inside of the room was still close to around 70,000 degrees, Vahn could feel the atmosphere gradually cooling as the sphere shrunk to only 20m in diameter. If the black ooze had been unaffected, he would have been able to see it by now but, even as the sphere of flames continued to shrink, there were no signs of Enyo. Vahn didn’t drop his guard upon seeing this, however, as his instincts were sending him danger signals that continued to grow in intensity as time passed. Even with the previous room expanded to nearly a kilometer wide, the result of the walls, floor, and ceiling all being melted away, Vahn felt like the space around him was shrinking, trapping him inside and causing him to feel claustrophobic…

Even before the flames had faded in their entirety, Vahn knew the battle was far from over as a black dais, floating in the air, slowly came into view. As the flames faded away even further, a shimmering black object, very similar to an egg, also emerged. There were intricate runes cover its oily black surface, many of which were similar to the hieroglyphs that represented the language of the gods. Vahn noticed similar glyphs on the black dais itself, reading the words ‘Thou whom hast ventured into the depths of Tartarus, bear witness to the ilk of Echidna, Mother of Monsters’.

Almost as soon as he has finished reading the letters, Vahn watched as the damaged runes covering the egg slowly began to fade away. With the fading of each rune, the sense of dread within Vahn’s heart compounded several times. He had already realized that, instead of being a protective barrier, the runes had been a ‘seal’, restraining the egg upon the black stone dais. Vahn’s attack had not only destroyed the black ooze but had overtaxed the powerful sealing Magic that had been keeping the egg trapped here. With this realization, it didn’t take Vahn any time at all to understand that Enyo had been playing him from the start…

Though he would have to confirm his speculations in the future, Vahn now understood exactly why Ouranos had been sealing the Dungeon, preventing powerful monsters from reaching the surface. It was because Enyo, similar to Artemis, had been fused together with a monster…unlike Artemis, however, Enyo seemed to have initiated the process herself. Vahn could imagine her finding this egg and, using her ability to influence the minds of even gods, slowly corrupted the dormant creature until it became a suitable vessel. If she could ‘erase’ its ego entirely before the fusion, Enyo would be able to fully manifest her power in the real world while being in complete control of her actions…

This time, when Enyo tried to establish a link with him, Vahn allowed her laughter to enter his mind as she said, (“You have my gratitude, Vahn Mason. I have been unable to break this seal for nearly a thousand years, ever since that bastard Ouranos…well, it doesn’t really matter. To express my gratitude, I have decided to allow you to escape today. I’m curious to see exactly how strong you can become while trying to fend off the attacks of my children in the shadows…kukukuku~.”) While she was speaking in his mind, the ‘egg’ upon the dais had started to crack, emanating an incredible amount of Arcanum that caused the mana within the Dungeon to begin coalescing towards them…

Not content to just ‘watch’ as a goddess-monster hybrid was born into the world, Vahn moved forward with [Shundo] and tried to place his palm against the egg’s surface. He was unable to even get within 10m of the egg, however, as a powerful repulsive force smashed into him, sending his body crashing into the far wall in the blink of an eye. Enyo’s voice once again sounded out, cheerful and crazed laughter contained within as she exclaimed, (“Now, the path towards Hades shall be opened…! Enjoy the few years you have, Vahn Mason. Make as many preparations as you like, become as strong as you can, and struggle as desperately as you are able…once I reach the heart of this Dungeon, you will bear witness to the true nature of this world…uwahahahahahahahahahahahaha-!”)

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As powerful as the repulsive force was, Vahn was able to recover in an instant and, even as Enyo continued her mad diatribe, he wasn’t going to just let her get away with this. She had already hurt too many people and, if he allowed her to get away, even more would be harmed in the future. He may not have a way to kill a fully manifested god just yet but that didn’t mean he was as powerless as she wanted to make him out to be. In fact, there were numerous ways Vahn knew of that would allow him to deal with this situation, including…

In the midst of her laughter, Enyo felt an incredibly oppressive force that was even more powerful than the seal that had locked her in place for so long. From around the black stone dais, nine gold chains appeared out of the void and, even though she tried to repulse them with her Arcanum, they were completely undaunted. If she had eyes at this point, Enyo’s would have widened greatly as the chains continued to coil around space, contracting closer towards her until they were firmly wrapped around her egg-form body. She suddenly found that none of her power could be used at all, causing an intense feeling of dread, unlike anything she had ever experienced in her entire long life. Even her ‘voice’ could no longer escape, leaving her powerless as the boy she had just been looking down on slowly drifted over…

Standing next to the 5m tall black egg, Vahn shook his head and said, “I may not be able to kill you just yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t seal you away, Enyo. There are greater forces at play than your small-minded hubris would ever allow you to understand…” Though he could contain her Divinity, there wasn’t much Vahn could do against Enyo’s fully manifested Arcanum. She likely had a similar degree of ‘indestructibility’ as [Enkidu] in her current state and, even if he got a Tier 5 weapon, it would be almost impossible to actually destroy her.

For now, Vahn just collected one of the egg fragments while ensuring that the chains around Enyo’s egg were nice and firm. He would conduct a bit of research on the fragment while trying to obtain information from the egg itself. Though he wouldn’t treat her as an experimental subject, even though she very much deserved such treatment, Vahn would continue looking for ways to completely destroy Enyo in the future. Her fate, for the time being, would be spending her days trapped inside of the glossy black egg until he had come up with a way to seal her without using his [Enkidu] all the time. If he teamed up with Terra, it shouldn’t be impossible to use one of the Tier 5 sealing spells within Eva’s notes.

Though its strength would still be restricted by the record, it should at least buy them plenty of time if they trapped Enyo in a ‘reverse’ Sub-Space orb where time was slowed down, instead of sped up. It should only take them a few years to come up with a more permanant solution, even if it ended up just being Fenrir increasing the strength of her [Devour] to the peak. Vahn, right now, had the option of giving his [Skill Advancement Scroll: SSS] to Fenrir, which would immediately give her the power to [Devour] Enyo. This could even increase the strength of Fenrir’s soul a great deal, something that would potentially become very useful in future records…

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(A/N: For those asking, “Why didn’t Vahn just use [Enkidu] from the start?”…well, it is one of his most powerful tools and, with the ‘information war’ going on between him and Enyo, it wouldn’t have made sense to use one of his trump cards so early. There were too many unknowns about the situation but, once Enyo’s ‘true form’ was revealed, [Enkidu] became a far more practical solution to the problem. Imagine if he used [Enkidu] against the black ooze, only to find out it was just another one of Enyo’s pawns…?)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Vahn goes P2W~!’,’Enyo’s short-lived victory…’,’Don’t feed Fenrir rotten eggs~!!!’)

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