Chapter 90: Fierce Clash (1/2)

Vahn was dreaming of flying through the sky far above the world. Above, he could the see stars, while below, everything seemed so inconsequential and small. Reaching out his hand, he felt like he could encompass mountains with he hands, and even turn the seas if he put in just a little effort…

Vahn’s eyes suddenly shot open as he jumped to his feet. He had just sensed a group of people approaching, coming from the direction of Riviria. Given the current situation, Vahn assumed they were either trying to get back to the ‘Wall of Grief’ so they could exit the dungeon or, they were likely the group that had initially killed it. If it was the former, he could just ignore them and let them pass, but, if it was the latter, he would have to make his claim and potentially even confront them.

After a bit of hesitation, Vahn put the crystal containing Fafnir, which he had been holding, into his Inventory. Though he wanted to summon it to dissuade anyone from causing trouble with him, if the group ended up being very powerful, it may cause a fight to occur. Intimidation wasn’t the best tactic to rely on against multiple opponents, especially if it consisted of any higher level adventurers.

The group finally entered his line of sight, and Vahn felt a chill creep down his spine after seeing who it was. Had he called out Fafnir, it would have most likely led to his new companion getting instantly killed without the time to explain anything. Among the group of eight, the lowest was Level 3, while everyone else was much stronger. It was the Loki Familia, following behind Finn and Gareth with Riveria taking up the rear. Tiona, Tione, Ais, Bete, and Lefiya filled out the rest of the numbers.

Remembering that Ais had a trauma related to ‘black dragons’, Vahn would have to explain before he summoned Fafnir, or the last experience it might have would be blade winds cutting through its body by the aggravated Level 5 Ais. Fortunately, Vahn had given into his own reason at the time, or he very well may have caused a minor catastrophe.

Vahn wasn’t the only one to notice the situation of the floor; the moment the Loki Familia entered the room containing the ‘Wall of Grief’, they all looked toward him with caution. The fact another person was located in the area meant they would likely be trying to compete for ownership of the next Goliath. Bete (A/N: I swear, it tries to rename him to Beta for me) had a pissed off look on his face, while Finn frowned slightly. However, not everyone was bothered by the appearance of the boy in front.

“Yaho~! It’s Vahn!” Before Finn or Bete could say anything, Tiona called out and started running toward Vahn while waving her arm excitedly. Finn’s expression became a bit calmer after realizing it was Tiona’s acquaintance, but after a bit of consideration realized it could become a bigger issue. Ais also started walking toward Vahn with Lefiya trailing not far behind. Gareth and Riveria explained the situation to Finn, while Tione gave a curious look toward the boy her sister was fawning over. The only person still high tension was the frizzled white-haired werewolf boy that looked towards Vahn with a hostile expression.

Vahn returned Tiona’s wave as she came within just a few inches of his body and started circling him. He was very confused at her actions, but Ais had shown up and spoke to him before he was able to determine Tiona’s motive. “Alone…?” Vahn saw Ais looking around the area, likely for anyone that had accompanied him.

Showing a small smile, Vahn nodded in affirmation. Ais’s eyes opened a bit wider, but after a while, she, along with Tiona who had finished her inspection, also smiled. Even Lefiya, who was standing to the right of Ais, seemed to be somewhat impressed by the fact Vahn had been able to delve to the 18th floor unassisted. It had to be known that she, as a Level 3, wouldn’t have been able to match the feat.

The group had an amiable atmosphere as a shout came from afar. “Eeeeeh? Who is this pipsqueak? Don’t tell me he got lost and separated from his group!?” The person who spoke was a white-haired man with a fierce expression. Vahn could see he had the look of a predator but noticed that his aura was actually split between purples and greens. This was a bit confusing for Vahn since he had come to associate the colors with fear, trepidation, and envy.

Hearing the abrasive cackling, Ais frowned slightly while Tiona turned toward Bete in a huff. “Lay off Bete! This is Vahn, the ‘Vulcan, and he is perfectly capable of getting to this point on his own.” Bete glared toward Tiona who had reprimanded him; his eye twitched slightly and he seemed to become even more aggressive. “Huh!? This shorty is supposed to be THAT Vulcan? Wasn’t he supposed to be some hero wannabe? Hmph, he certainly looks like some kid playing hero, that’s for sure!”

Seeing Bete constantly deride him with a scornful expression, Vahn’s brow furrowed slightly, but he didn’t take any action. Everyone in the group, including Lefiya, made Vahn’s instincts flare up. Even among similarly leveled adventurers, the members of the Loki Familia were all elites. Bete, arrogant as he was, had the freedom to be expressive as he was already a Level 5, while Vahn was still Level 2.

Tiona and Bete glared at each other like an offended cat and a feral dog. The tensions began to build up slightly before Finn and the rest had made their way over. Finn, with a somewhat exasperated expression, looked towards Bete and spoke out. “Bete, Vahn is a protege of Hephaestus and Tsubaki. As an executive of the Loki Familia, you should be more reserved or you’ll embarrass our Goddess.”

Only allowed on

Bete, hearing Finn, spat out and turned his head away. He gave Vahn a sideward glance before putting his hands in his pockets and walking over to a nearby wall and leaning against it. Vahn followed his figure for a moment before turning towards Finn. As a pallum, Finn was actually smaller than Vahn and stood at a height of 119cm. He had blonde hair and blue eyes with a calm and composed expression on his face. His aura was a stable yellow with a tinge of sky-blue along the edges which made Vahn believe he was a kind and reliable person.

Finn smiled towards Vahn after Bete had walked off. “Sorry about that Vahn. Gareth and Riveria had informed me about the situation. I’m surprised you’re able to make it this far…did you really come down here alone?” Finn showed a very interested expression on his face as he looked at Vahn. He was constantly on the lookout to recruit talent into the Loki Familia.

Vahn returned the smile after nodding towards Riveria and Gareth. “Yes, after I lost the spar against Tiona and Ais, I wanted to temper myself in the dungeon. Though I hadn’t expected to get this far at first, my strength has been rapidly improving and it was easier than I expected. That isn’t to say I didn’t have any help though…” As he was speaking, Vahn looked toward Tiona and Ais. Tiona had a large smile on her face after hearing his reason for entering the dungeon, while Ais was relatively expressionless but had an almost imperceptible smile on her face.

Hearing that Vahn was embarrassed at having lost to Ais and Tiona, Gareth and Riveria both gave an appreciative nod while Finn seemed even more interested in the honest Vahn. “Tell me Vahn, are you here to fight the Goliath? And, where is the help of your’s?” Since the moment of their arrival, Finn hadn’t seen anyone else in the area so he was somewhat confused by Vahn’s earlier statement.

After a brief hesitation, Vahn decided to explain that he had a skill that could convert tamed monsters into a dormant state similar to a magic core. Riveria showed a very intrigued expression during his explanation while the majority of the group had confused looks and even disbelief on their face. By the time he was done, Vahn asked the entire group to step back and promise not to attack his tamed monster.

Finn nodded and had the group stand a few meters away. Gareth and Riveria both moved closer to Ais while Tiona and Tione had slightly anticipatory looks on their face. The only person that seemed to lack interest was Bete, but Vahn could see him look over every now and then. After everyone had stepped an appropriate distance away, Vahn sighed and hoped for the best as he infused his energy into Fafnir’s crystal.

Everyone observed with surprised looks as a chaotic swarm of energy coalesced into a gigantic form that was around 6m in length. Riveria, who usually had a very taciturn expression, had now furrowed her brows with an incredibly serious look as she observed the situation. As the mass of energy began to take shape, both she and Gareth realized what was being formed and they tried to move and intercept-

Before they had managed to react, Ais had already launched herself towards the fully formed Fafnir with a hateful expression on her face. Seeing the black dragon in front, even though she had promised not to attack, the only thing Ais could think of was her mother and the dragon that had destroyed her happiness. She wanted to tear the creature limb from limb and reclaim what she had lost long ago.

Though Vahn was a bit tired, he had expected the situation to occur and immediately returned Fafnir to his dormant state and recovered its crystal. Ais, wrapped in a swirling green magical cloak, continued her path through the air where Fafnir’s head had been previously. Given the ferocity and ruthlessness of the strike, had Vahn not reacted quickly, Fafnir would have been reduced to a headless mess in an instant.

Vahn angrily looked towards Ais before staring directly into Finn’s eyes. Finn saw his look and had a sorry expression on his face as he, and the rest of the Loki Familia, went to restrain the heavily panting Ais. Even after Fafnir had disappeared, she hadn’t been able to regain her calm state and appeared to be unaware of the situation.

“Don’t be mad Vahn…” From his right, Vahn heard a dejected sounding voice and turned towards Tiona who was looking at him with an awkward and sad expression. Seeing the usually vibrant girl looking down, Vahn furrowed his brows further before releasing a sigh. He knew Ais had a trauma associated with dragons, so he couldn’t fully blame her for the situation.

“Its okay, I was just a bit flustered at almost having my companion killed. I’m sure she has her reasons, so I won’t be mad at her.” Vahn tried to smile at Tiona who, seeing his ‘understanding’ nature, beamed with a smile of her own. Before he was able to react, Tiona had wrapped her arms around his neck and was laughing joyfully. “Ahahaha~! I knew it, a hero would be different~!”

Hearing the bubbly laughter of Tiona, the tensions that had been building in the air seemed to lose power and disperse. Everyone had somewhat awkward expressions, including Ais who had regained her sanity. She was very disappointed with herself for having attacked Vahn’s tamed monster, even though it had done nothing deserving of her wrath. As her senses were well honed, she had also heard Vahn say he wasn’t mad at her, and now felt both confused and lost. Seeing Tiona hanging off of Vahn’s small body, she noticed the small figure seemed to stand firm, almost like it could bear anything.

Ais broke free of the encirclement of her Familia and slowly walked towards Vahn. She had a sad look and wanted to explain things to Vahn so he would understand why she had attacked. Vahn, seeing her approach just shook his head and smiled. “It’s fine Ais. I’m not going to judge you, and I’m certain you had a good reason. You don’t need to feel obligated to explain things right now.” Vahn knew she really did have a good reason but didn’t want the atmosphere to become awkward again due to the circumstances.

Vahn pointed toward the ‘Wall of Grief’ and everyone’s sight followed his finger. They noticed that the shadow had reached a somewhat critical point and the Goliath would likely spawn within the next hour or so. Finn, frowned slightly before considering the situation a bit and asking, “Vahn, were you intending to fight the Goliath? You never answered me earlier…” Seeing Vahn nod at his question, Finn released a sigh. Though they could contest the right to fight, as the Goliath had yet to spawn, it would be very awkward to force Vahn away after what Ais had done previously.

While Finn was thinking, Riveria had approached Vahn and asked. “That dragon…I would like to ask about it later…for now, would you like our help against the Goliath?” Riveria noticed Finn had been hesitating somewhat, so as the Vice-Captain, she decided to step in and make the decision easier.

Hearing Riveria, Bete acted as if someone had stepped on his tail. “Are you f****** kidding!? We can’t just let some kid steal a Monster Rex out from under our noses! It would be an insult to the entire Loki Familia!!!” Bete quickly approached Vahn and Riveria with a fierce look in his eyes. It almost seemed like he wanted to attack Vahn, or at the very least force him to give up.

Finn saw his actions and shouted out, “Bete!! Stop immediately! Vahn has as much a right as anyone to the Monster Rex. He was also here before us and, even though it may not have spawned, it would be plenty of us to force him away on a technicality.” Next to Finn, Tione also spoke out with a condescending tone. “Hmph, this dog talks about pride and insults, but here he is acting like a fool and trying to bully others.”

“What did you say, you bitch!?” Bete looked towards Tione and shouted. Ever since she and Tiona had reached Level 5, they had acted more and more unrestricted. As their senior, it really pissed him off seeing how carefree they acted.

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Tione just turned her head up at Bete and looked down on him. “Bark.” Bete grits his teeth and prepared to fight, but stopped himself after noticing everyone was looking at him with cold eyes. Even Finn seemed to have a disappointed expression on his face as he stared towards Bete with furrowed brows. Bete felt a peculiar feeling in his chest rising up as he relaxed his fists and rubbed his forehead. “F***! It’s not like he’ll be able to fight the damn thing on his own! This is a f****** waste of time…” Bete retreated like a dog that had been kicked by its owner, returning to the area he had been resting against previously and closing his eyes in dissatisfaction.

Finn sighed and looked toward Vahn. “Looks like you’re up first, but don’t hesitate to ask for help if you can’t handle it. You only have one life.”

Vahn nodded at Finn’s concern, but couldn’t help but feel a peculiar sensation in his chest after Finn’s ‘one life’ remark. As someone that was currently experiencing his second life, Vahn found the phrase to be lacking in impact.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Dragonicide Ais’, ‘Finn’s Troubles Continue’,’Bark Bark Bark’,’Loki Familia Appears’)

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