Chapter 91: Fierce Clash (2/2)

After a bit of discussion, the majority of the Loki Familia had retreated to the far side of the room near the stairs. Since the Goliath would attack everything in the area, they had to maintain a certain distance to avoid trying its attention. One person, however, had stayed in the area and was currently having a lively conversation with Vahn.

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“So~You think you will be able to beat it? I don’t mind helping you out, you know?” Tiona was sitting close to Vahn while dangling her feet. The small golden anklets made pleasant rings as she hummed the words. Vahn found her aura to be very comfortable as it was gentle like the sun with a tinge of pink.

Shaking his head, Vahn showed a firm conviction on his face as he responded, “I want to try on my own. I feel like I would regret it if I gave up without making an effort. If anything, I almost wish your Familia wasn’t in the area, since it gives me confidence that I’ll be able to retreat if things go south.” Towards the end of his sentence, Vahn couldn’t help but release a sigh. It wasn’t a lie, as the presence of the Loki Familia did ease his mind a great deal.

Tiona laughed a bit as she leaned back, laying against the floor of the dungeon with her hands behind her back. She stared toward Vahn with an innocent and pleased expression. “I believe you can do it, even if we weren’t here. I’m happy to be around to see you create a miracle~!” Tiona could tell that, though Vahn had grown much stronger recently, he was still a bit far from the point of being able to fight the Goliath alone. But, it was that same growth that gave her confidence he would succeed regardless. It had been less than a week since their spar, but she felt as if his strength had more than doubled in that time. In a way, it was already nothing short of a miracle.

Hearing someone speak so confidently about him, especially someone much stronger than he was, Vahn found his own confidence increase. He closed his eyes and focused his mind to recover the energy he had consumed summoning Fafnir. From his right, he could hear Tiona mildly humming a soft tune as she ceased trying to converse with him. Now, though Vahn couldn’t see her, Tiona had become content just staring at the serious Vahn with an expectant look on her face.

Forty minutes later, cracks began to appear on the ‘Wall of Grief’. Everyone in the area noticed it, and Tiona rose from her spot next to Vahn and quickly retreated to the door. As she left, she turned toward Vahn and shouted, “Good luck Vahn~! Beat it up good!!” Vahn, who had also started to rise with a serious look, nearly fell over after hearing her complacent and excited remark. Shaking his head and laughing a bit, Vahn started to release his domain and transformed into his Báihǔ form.

While Vahn was transforming, all the members of the Loki Familia showed somewhat surprised expressions on their faces. Tiona had sparkles in her eyes while Ais had a serious expression on her face. Riveria looks toward Gareth, who nodded in response before she turned to Finn. “He has grown much stronger since we met him last week. His aura and that transformation, everything about him had increased to an incredible extent.”

As Riveria spoke, Finn showed an intrigued smile as Lefiya, Ais, and Tiona all seemed to agree with Riveria’s assessment. The only person who didn’t seem impressed was Bete, who was brooding off to the side as he watched the change in Vahn’s form. He could also see Vahn’s strength increasing by a surprising amount, but he wasn’t impressed so he loudly snorted through his nose to dismiss the atmosphere. Tione and Tiona both looked at him with annoyed expressions while Ais’s brow twitched slightly.

Vahn wasn’t paying attention to the Loki Familia; His vision was completely focused on the expanding crack. He watched as it slowly increased in size as small shards of the nearly indestructible material began flaking off of the wall. Curious, Vahn scooped up a bit into his inventory to be analyzed by the system later.

After doing so, he got into a low form and began tensing his body. The white and black hairs on his body began to stand as his hair slightly danced from the energy emanating from his body. His aquamarine eyes were entirely focused on the crack as his pupils shrank to the size of a pinhole. Vahn began to release slow and steady breaths as the ground beneath his claws slowly started melting from the flame elements building up in his body.

The aura of his domain, which used to take on a golden hue, was now an intermixture of gold and vermillion colors. From the side, members of the Loki Familia actually began to feel a sense of danger coming from Vahn as the intensity of the aura increased and the room temperature began to rise. Riveria, as the most sensitive to magic, actually had a shocked expression on her face. She waved her hand and noticed that the flame elements couldn’t be condensed by her. It was like everything in the surrounding 78m had been completely dominated and was now only listening to Vahn’s command.

Finally, the cracks on the ‘Wall of Grief’ had reached a critical state as a massive 7m tall grey giant burst forth from the depths. Vahn immediately accelerated and greeted the roaring figure with a powerful double-palmed strike directly to its chest. The momentum that the Goliath had burst forth with from the wall actually paused for a moment as a shockwave slowly spread through its chest before dispersing.

Vahn experienced the entire event in slow motion and frowned after seeing his full power attack dissipate so quickly. From his memory, Vahn thought the Goliath should be weak against shockwaves, but his attack didn’t seem to cause it any serious damage. Before it was able to react, Vahn kicked off of its chest to open up a distance between the raging figure.

The Goliath, who had briefly paused after Vahn’s preemptive strike, roared loudly as it tried to smash Vahn to a pulp. It began mindlessly chasing after his figure and caused huge cracks to appear in the hard bedrock of the room. Vahn continued to dodge about whilst evading the devastating blows as he looked for an opportunity to strike. Fortunately, with the agility increase from his Báihǔ form, Vahn was easily able to deal with the speed of the Goliath.

Unable to hit the nimble Vahn, the Goliath stretched its body to the maximum its height allowed while raising both hands high above its head. Vahn saw the act and his instincts began sending danger signals to the back of his mind. The moment the Goliath reached its maximum extension, like a blur, it fiercely smashed toward the floor of the dungeon.

Vahn bent his body into a bow before the attack landed and launched himself upward with his full strength. His body shot like a bullet, but he wasn’t able to completely escape the massive shockwave created by the Goliath’s attack. The dungeon floor cracked and seemed to sink several inches as large rocks and shrapnel exploded out from the surface. Vahn felt a wave of energy pass through his body as a sweet taste rose from the back of his throat.

Slightly stunned by the impact, Vahn was helpless as a palm swept through the dense cloud of rubble and smashed into his body. With a velocity far greater than he had launched himself with, Vahn spun through the air before colliding heavily with the dungeon wall. He left an impact crater more than 5m wide as he felt like all the bones in his body fractured.

Seeing Vahn’s body sent flying, Tiona and Ais almost leaped into action but were stopped by Riveria and Finn. Riveria looked toward the two who seemed to be very flustered by the situation. “He is still alive, and look…he hasn’t given up.” Riveria could still feel the elements converging in the air and knew Vahn still possessed the will to continue. Ais look toward the crater with a serious expression while Tiona had a mixture of concern and anticipation on her face.

Vahn, who had been sent flying, had begun to rapidly change. His body was no longer in his Báihǔ form, and he had now transitioned into his turtle form. The wounds on his body were healing, but he accelerated the process by consuming one of his remaining senzu beans. Looking toward the Goliath, Vahn could feel a powerful anger welling within his chest as he dislodged himself from the wall.

The moment he landed on the ground, Vahn felt a peculiar sensation from his body. Though his mind was rapidly spinning, he couldn’t will his body to move with the same intensity as he was able to in his Báihǔ form. It seemed as if the turtle form greatly increased his endurance and regeneration, but it didn’t provide any enhancements toward his agility. As Vahn had become accustomed to fighting in the Báihǔ form recently, he was unable to adapt quickly as the Goliath rapidly approached his position.

With a powerful roar, the Goliath advanced toward Vahn and twisted its body. As the movement reached its waist, Vahn could see a powerful kick rapidly approaching from his left. Gritting his teeth, Vahn crossed his arms and prepared to receive the blow. The tattoos on his body seemed to react to his motion as they began to glow with a green light.

At the moment of contact, when Vahn had expected to be sent flying, he was instead dragged back slightly before coming to a stop. The foot of the Goliath had impacted his arms, but instead of the shockwave traveling through Vahn’s body, it instead bubbled outwards and dispersed into the atmosphere. Vahn was still carried a bit by the momentum, but he received almost no damage from the fierce blow.

Vahn began to laugh loudly as he launched himself toward the torso of the Goliath. His speed may have been reduced, but he was still capable of moving relatively quickly. At the moment the Goliath had tried to recover its balance, Vahn launched into its chest and punched forward with his black scale-covered fist. During the motion, the black scales and tattoo seemed to light up with that same green glow, but instead of dispersing the shockwave, it now converged it to a point as Vahn’s punch blasted a large hole through the Goliath’s chest.

The blood in Vahn’s body began to boil after seeing the sight. It turns out, his turtle form didn’t simply increase his defense. Much like how the Báihǔ form enhanced his senses and flexibility, the turtle form also had other uses. When he focused his energy on defense, it was able to disperse shockwaves away from his body, while, during his attacks, it did the exact opposite and prevented the shockwaves from being dispersed!

After suffering the fierce blow from Vahn, the Goliath fell backward and tried to stop its momentum with its hands. It looked toward the figure that had injured it so severely as it opened its mouth and spat out a compressed shockwave. Vahn was a bit surprised by the sudden super-sonic attack but managed to deflect the energy while only being lifted slightly from the ground. While he was in the air, the Goliath spat out another blast, and Vahn tried to receive it in the same manner.

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Unexpectedly, the green energy didn’t activate, and Vahn found himself launched backward by the blow. Though he was able to resist it with his enhanced endurance, Vahn still suffered a heavy amount of damage and couldn’t prevent himself from coughing out a mouthful of blood. He didn’t know why the green energy didn’t activate and tried focusing his energy into his hands as if he was going to attack. Once again, the tattoos and scaled began to glow, but after two seconds the energy dissipated. After it faded, Vahn realized he couldn’t converge it anymore and realized it must have a cooldown.

While he was slightly distracted, the Goliath hadn’t been waiting around. Though only a few seconds had passed, the hole in its chest had already begun to close up as it charged toward Vahn with heavy steps. Vahn took evasive actions but was very frustrated with how slow his body felt in the turtle form. Though he managed to evade a few blows, he didn’t prevent the Goliath from being able to eventually grab his body.

The Goliath roared loudly after it had grasped Vahn, and used its other hand to begin trying to squeeze the life out of the small figure. Vahn grits his teeth while channeling his energy to resist the attack, but he could feel his bones slowly being ground down. From the side, he could see the Loki Familia beginning to take action, but Vahn called out. “STOP! I can handle this!”

Hearing his shout, everyone stopped and had various different expressions on their face. Seeing the situation Vahn was in, even Tiona had lost her confidence in his victory. From the side, Bete began laughing in a cynical manner. “Hahahaha, look at this! That stupid kid is going to get himself killed for his own pride!” Tiona, hearing Bete’s snide remark looked toward him and shouted, “SHUT THE F*** UP!” Bete flinched slightly at the loud outburst as his rage began to build due to his embarrassment at being startled. He was about to try and teach Tiona a lesson when a sudden heat completely enveloped the entire group.

Moments after Vahn had called out to stop them, the damaged he had accumulated reached a critical point. Crimson cracks had started to spread on his body as a powerful burning sensation came from the ‘eternal flame’ beating in his chest. It seemed to have grown to twice its normal size as it danced about excitedly in his heart. The blood in Vahn’s body felt like it had turned to magma, but instead of being painful it was incredibly comfortable.

From within the cracks on his skin, wisps of flames began to sprout which quickly turned into small vermillion colored feathers. The tattoos on Vahn’s body receded as crimson hue began to glow beneath his flesh. His hair, which had been an onyx black with a green sheen, had now turned a vibrant red with vermillion accents. His aquamarine eyes now looked like fire as energy surged through them.

The Goliath, who had been gripping Vahn’s body began to roar out in anguish as he released the boy from his grasp. The flesh of its hands had completely charred black with a crimson ember spreading through the palms. The bones within the hands had become visible as they too were slowly eaten away by the flames. Before it had time to recover, Vahn exploded with a fierce energy as he launched himself for the third time at the Goliath’s chest.

Unlike his turtle form, which had slowed his movements by a large amount, Vahn had now recovered some of the agility he had possessed in his Báihǔ form. He wasn’t nearly as fast, but it was still much easier to move when compared to his turtle form. Within a blink, Vahn had reached the Goliath and struck forward with both hands.

Unlike his previous attacks, this time Vahn’s hands passed almost effortlessly through the flesh of the Goliath. There was almost no resistance at all as the flesh around the impact site seemed to dissolve into black ash as a powerful burning smell permeated the air. Vahn continued forward with his momentum until he was almost entirely submerged within the Goliath’s body. His hands made contact with the large crystal within and it too began to shatter after contacting the immense heat.

Vahn felt a powerful force wrap his body as the crystal broke into small particles. The Goliath, which had been rapidly burning around him, immediately turned to dust the moment the core was destroyed. Without the Goliath as support, Vahn began falling toward the ground which began to melt the moment he made contact. From the side, he could see the majority of the Loki Familia cheering for him as a brown blur entered his vision.

In a panic, Vahn immediately dispersed the heat as quickly as he could as a figure tackled his body and dragged him out of the molten pool. He was dragged nearly 5m through the air before sliding along the ground with a second body attached to him. Looking down, he could see Tiona sticking closely to his chest with an almost feverish expression on her face. The two made eye contact and Tiona smiled widely before saying…

“I want to have your baby!”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Burn, flame of my soul, PSYCHO BURGUNDY!’,’Three Stages of Triumph’,’Deus Ex Zhuque’,’Grey Goliath becomes Black Ash Goliath’)

- my thoughts:
Shoutout to .K~!
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