Chapter 890: Tensions

In the blink of an eye, it had been more than two months since Vahn captured Enyo and secured the 60th Floor. He was now sitting within the viewing stands of the gods with his son, Macht, sleeping in his arms. Today was the first day of the ‘Alliance Faire’, the event that that had now come to replace the Monster Feria from the past. Instead of a focus on simply taming and demonstrating monsters to the public, the first event of the Faire was an exhibition match between the top-ranked teams from the School’s Adventurer Course. They were split into teams of five and, even without belonging to a Familia, the average strength of these students was actually around that of a Level 2.

To ensure there were no injuries during such events, Vahn had coordinate with the Ganesha Familia to build a powerful spatial magic formation into the rebuilt Coliseum. It had been destroyed in his battle against Ottar in the past and, out of consideration for both the crowd and the contenders, a more suitable battlefield had been created. Now, contestants would ‘enter’ the field through a special teleportation ward. Though it did teleport them, the actual location was a Space-Time orb while their main bodies were put into stasis.

Within the Space-Time orb, there was no threat of death, allowing the contestants to fight to their absolute limit without fear of serious repercussions. This had led to an era of significantly more ‘extreme’ sports, as the crowd got riled up even more when there was increased competition and violence. At the same time, the contestants themselves could cut loose and push themselves beyond their limits, increasing their willpower and honing their intent for further growth in the future. As for the ‘spatial barrier’ itself, it was just a three-dimensional projection of the events taking place within the Space-Time orb. It was explained that the arena had been ‘isolated’ to protect the crowd and, as for why people couldn’t die within, the Alliance simply stated that it was a type of Magic created by Vahn, further increasing his prestige…

Though he knew everyone battling against each other on the field, Vahn’s focus was on the rather petite and diminutive Roux, serving as the ‘Mage’ on a team that also contained Rye and Fina. The two were acting as Vanguard and Forward Assault, with Fina wielding a thin rapier while Rye stood unhesitantly at the front with a shield and hammer. They had great teamwork and, as a result of Vahn’s slight bias, had been excelling within the School’s environment. Even so, Roux stood out amongst them as her magic wand revolved in front of her hand as she chanted, “Three Spirits of Wind, Make Shackles and Capture my Enemy! Magic Arrows, Capturing Wind~!”

With the completion of her magic, three bands of wind snaked forward, restraining the enemy team’s ‘tank’, allowing Rye to step in and break his target’s stance. At the same time, Fina dashed in like a bullet, accurately piercing through the metallic plates of the opponent’s armor and directly hitting a vital spot. As a result, the opposing tank burst into blue light and was gone from the battlefield, shifting the momentum towards Rye’s team. He served as the ‘Captain’ of their party, named ‘Hammer of Justice’, and had become relatively popular within the School because of his outgoing and kind nature.

Though the opposing team fought hard, even managing to take out Fina with a well-placed arrow to the knee, the victory was clinched by Roux’s magic. Even though the classes had just begun recently, Roux was truly a prodigy when it came to magical studies, especially with the ‘new’ system of Magic. She could only use basic spells thus far, but considering the fact that she was already outshining even the High Elves in her class, all while being a Half-Elf that shouldn’t be able to use Magic, Roux had every reason to be proud of her accomplishments. Instead, she acted very humble and never let her power get to her head, constantly striving for greater heights…

Vahn felt nearly as much pride watching the team of former orphans win as he would watching his own children succeed in their pursuits. Since Roux was also setting a powerful example that ‘anyone’ can use Magic, Vahn felt even more gratified by their victory. If not for the fact he was holding his sleeping son, wrapped in a soundproof barrier to allow him to sleep peacefully, Vahn would have risen to his feet to clap with the rest of the crowd. Rye had lifted his hammer after their team had won, getting a large number of the crowd to rise and cheer as a result. The boy now stood at 143cm tall and, though he still had a very youthful appearance, he was beginning to look like a kind young man as the days passed…

As if to emphasize Rye’s growth, Vahn watched the rather eye-opening scene of a slightly blushing Fina walk over to the smiling boy’s side and give him a kiss on the cheek. This made his smile turn goofy as the crowd began cheering even louder, much to the chagrin of the fiercely blush Fina. It was possible the two had genuine affections for each other now but, based on what he was able to discern from the system, Vahn felt that it was more likely that she and Rye had made a bet. This was pretty much confirmed as, likely after saying a few teasing words, Fina ended up giving Rye a rather fierce punch before storming out of the arena. Now, the crowd began to laugh boisterously while Rye nursed a rather large bump on his head while shaking the opposing teams’ hands.

From his right, opposite of Hephaestus, Ganesha had also been laughing rather loudly, shouting, “Ah, it’s good to be young, graaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha~!” Hephaestus tilted away from Ganesha, slightly perturbed by the loud outburst as she gave him a wry look and remarked, “Ganesha, be considerate of the children…” This caused Ganesha to place both hands over his mouth in an instant before he worriedly looked over at the sleeping Macht and the small crib containing Rose, Iris, and Daisy. Fortunately, Vahn had placed a barrier around them as well while Lili was watching over them from the side. Even so, Hephaestus’ comment was enough to get Ganesha to sit down as he commented, “I’ll have to learn to restrain myself better out of consideration for Shakti…!”

As she was standing behind him, Shakti reached out and bonked Ganesha on the head in a manner reminiscent of Fina’s action towards Rye. She was constantly being pestered by the rambunctious god ever since returning to the surface with, as Loki liked to refer to it, a ‘bun in the oven’. It was only recently that she started showing any signs of her pregnancy, though she still continued serving in the capacity of a Captain. Rufina was helping her out with various matters but, even after giving birth, Shakti still planned to continue her duties for a few more years. When she ‘retired’, Rufina would become the Captain of the Ganesha Familia until someone from the next generation was ready to carry the mantle.

Shakti hitting Ganesha caused a round of laughter among the gods gathered in the stands, totaling more than a hundred individuals. Though the Monster Feria had always been popular, the number of gods that attended were generally very few. This was because, even before descending into the Mortal World, the gods had seen countless battles between the surface races and the monsters. Watching something as simple as a ‘taming’ demonstration wasn’t particularly interesting to them so they rarely ever showed up personally. Now that there were things like sports, plays, concerts, and active battles between Adventurers, the number of gods who attended the events had greatly increased. This was especially so for the gods of the Alliance, now totaling 209 individuals and further cementing the Alliance as the greatest organization in the world…

Within the arena, the field slowly distorted, changing from the battleground used by the students into a massive arena for Soccer. Of the sports he had introduced, Soccer became the most popular and, as they were intended to be a form of competition for students, the second event of the Alliance Faire would be a match between the student teams. It wouldn’t be nearly as intense as the matches between the ‘professional’ teams, but it was clear to see the amount of effort that these young children put into mastering the sport. This was enough to get the crowd riled up a great deal as seeing children perform such amazing feats, all while lacking the blessing of a god, was amazing in its own right. There were very few people who would look at the efforts of children and outright scorn them, especially in this kind of setting…

From a little ways ‘off’ of the balcony, Vana was wriggling around in the air as she shouted, “Papa, I want to play sports too~!” Even though she, Ina, and Erika, now looked old enough to be considered adults, Vana still had her carefree and vibrant personality. She originally came to watch the Ganesha Familia put on a rehearsed performance with tamed monsters but, seeing how excited the crowd was getting during the Soccer game, Vana was getting riled up a great deal. In response to her outburst, Vahn just laughed in a lighthearted manner before saying, “There will be a championship match played on the third day; if you still want to become a Soccer player, you’ll have to train very seriously in order to keep up~.”

Vana was at a phase where she took an interest in pretty much anything and everything, so long as it seemed fun. Since being an athlete was much safer than some of the other things she had taken an interest in, Vahn didn’t think it was a bad idea. He certainly had inhibitions about the ‘uniforms’ that most athletes wore but, fortunately, there were already rules in place that prevented anyone under the age of fourteen from playing professionally. In the ‘youth’ bracket, the uniforms they wore were padded and covered a lot more skin than normal, making it ‘slightly’ more acceptable if any of his daughters wanted to get into Sports.

Hearing her Papa give his consent, Vana happily pumped her fists before staring, starry-eyed, at the match being played below. Though it was very fun playing with everyone back at the Manor, Vana really liked seeing large crowds cheering for those ‘playing’ below. The Coliseum was filled with more than 200,000 spectators and, from Vana’s perspective, it was very possible that they would be cheering for her one day. Every time she saw the crowds cheer and follow her Papa’s words, Vana always felt very inspired and her desire to get the same reaction out of people had been increasing by the day…

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Unaware that his daughter was simply trying to emulate him, to an extent, Vahn showed a complacent smile as he watched the match play out below. At the same time, he was down on the 60th Floor, finishing up a few final touches to the defenses that would bar accidental access to the area containing Enyo. After two months, the safe region of the 60th Floor had been converted into a highly secure area using the building materials that Enyo’s forces had used to construct the maze of tunnels that Vahn spent more than a month breaking down. Now, the section of the 60th Floor containing Enyo had been completely separated from the rest of the Dungeon proper.

Without access to the teleportation ward, or being a Xenos, it was impossible to enter into the area through normal means. Since he knew what some of these means could be, such as Hermes entering into the area with his movement ability, Vahn had set up several countermeasures. He had managed to subordinate several Mimic Slimes from the 61st Floor and had them surround the area outside of the Xenos’ patrols. Since it was almost impossible to sense their presence in normal circumstances, anyone without foreknowledge of their existence would fall victim to their surprise attack. Since it was a heavily cordoned off and protected area, anyone entering without permission would almost exclusively be doing so with intentions conflicting his own…

Vahn wanted to make sure Enyo was completely secured before he began trying to probe deeper in the Dungeon. Right now, they were experiencing a bit of a ‘lull’, even though the power of the Alliance was rapidly increasing. There was a large focus on infrastructure, both in Orario and in Haven, while Vahn’s focus had been split between family time, training, and his responsibilities as the Supreme Commander of the Alliance. Things were pretty easy to deal with, especially with Aki and Milan both acting as his Secretaries, so Vahn had plenty of time to focus on his efforts on the 60th Floor. Now, the only thing preventing him from making a concerted effort to probe into the depths of the Dungeon was the ongoing issues between the Alliance and other countries…

The ‘Elder Council’ of the Iron Hills had sent a representative to try and broker peace and establish trade relations with the Alliance but Vahn had immediately rejected their offer. Instead, he sent their representative, Brogi Axl Steelforge, back with an ultimatum stating a list of issues they needed to address in order to avoid a military response by the Alliance. This had come as a great surprise to many people as, even though a ‘war’ between the Alliance and the Iron Hills was expected, nobody had expected Vahn to be so frank about things. He had essentially told the Dwarves, ‘You will comply, or you will face my wrath’. If such words were issued by others, it could be taken as a sign of extreme hubris…in Vahn’s case, however, there were far too many instances where people had sought their own end by refusing to show the ‘Emperor of Orario’ his due respect…

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Included in his ultimatum to the Iron Hills, Vahn had given a very long list of ‘criminals’ that they would have to offer up for judgment. This list included many cruel slave owners, two of which were members of the Elder Council themselves. As a result, he wasn’t surprised when the Iron Hills made a public declaration of war, not against the Alliance, but Orario itself. Their issuance stated that Orario had already fallen under the influence of Vahn and the Alliance ever since he had illegally deposed the Noble Houses that ruled the City. At the same time, their alliance with the Rakia Kingdom was made very apparent as they had started pressuring the northern and western fronts of the Western Forests, clearly pulling the Elven Kingdom into the mix. Vahn’s response, at the time, was simply to do a strafing of the two fronts with Fafnir before granting them an opportunity to reconsider their actions before further escalation…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘The Era of Prosperity and Entertainment’,’They grow up so fast…’,’You know what they say, play stupid games, win stupid prizes…’)

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