Chapter 926: Research, Progress, Problems

In preparation for dealing with Telskyura, Vahn had been training with Tiona and Tione for several hours in the Sub-Space orb each day. He knew that it would become even more troublesome if he tried to take care of things himself so, in order to keep the issue ‘internalized’, Tiona and Tione were going to be fighting for their own right to happiness. Since the ‘Queen’ of the Amazonesses was supposed to be the strongest and most capable warrior, both could rise up to the position if they chose to. It would take a bit of time but, so long as he was able to convince Kali to support the changes, Tiona and Tione could slowly change the way all Amazonesses lived.

Vahn believed that, so long as they didn’t stop looking into a more ‘permanant’ solution, even the instincts of the Amazons could be dealt with. He had even been developing an ‘inhibitor’ formation that would suppress some of their instincts, serving as the basis for the ‘seal’ he wanted to create to regulate Divinity in the future. At the same time, the seal would also allow them to grow stronger since Vahn intended to make it possible for the formation to also absorb energy, much like he had done for the Elves. Since it would be difficult to create an item similar to the [Sage Aldrnari’s Blessing] for use by Amazonesses, Vahn had instead come up with a formation that would allow them to ‘store’ magic power and then use it to enhance their physical capabilities, much like [Cantus Bellax].

This was a method that some Knights back in Eva’s world used in order to temper their bodies in preparation for situations where they were unable to use their Magister’s mana to enhance their capabilities. In a record like Danmachi, Vahn believed this would be a means by which people could enhance their physical parameters further while also increasing their familiarity with manipulating mana in general. Other than through the hands, most people couldn’t channel mana through the rest of their bodies, making people like Asfi an exception. Because she was constantly developing Magic Items that could be used on and around the body, she was able to channel mana into her feet, eyes, and ears. Since even a proficient Mage like Riveria could only channel mana through her hands, this showed just how ‘rare’ such an ability was…

Because of their reliance on equipment, Vahn was worried that the HDF would slowly lose its footing as the average strength of Adventurers continued to increase. They lacked a foundation and, though he had found a means to ‘reset’ their Levels after hearing Jeanne detail the methods Legend used, Vahn knew there weren’t many people that would give up their power and start from scratch. In order to supplement their lack of parameters, he was trying to come up with a variety of methods that could be employed for the future. Though it would still take a lot of effort and training, it would one day be possible for even ‘pure’ Mages to be able to zip around as if they had much higher parameters.

As for his first ‘test subject’, Tione and Tiona had both volunteered but, after a short squabble between the two sisters, Tione was given the opportunity to undergo the procedure. The simple fact was that Tiona’s body already performed something similar to what Vahn intended, serving as the catalyst for why Vahn even had the thought, to begin with. She could use Magic Items with any part of her body and, when using her [Pactio], Tiona was constantly absorbing mana and converting it to raw speed, power, and regenerative capabilities. Using her to develop the method would be filled with all sorts of problems, as her body may not even react remotely the same way as other people…

Because of this, Vahn was currently standing next to an operating table of sorts with the naked Tione laying on her stomach. Lefiya, Naaza, Preasia, and Lili were all spectating as Vahn very carefully used his own body as the ‘materials’ to create a complex magic circle on Tione’s back. He had gotten the idea after talking with Terra about how she had used her own blood as a catalyst for many of the more advanced magic circles she carved into the artifacts she produced. Since his blood already had the quality of being ‘accepted’ by the bodies of others, Vahn had decided to push this to the natural limit.

By using [Hands of Nirvana] to allow his fingers to ‘fuse’ with Tione’s back, Vahn was manipulating his own cells to create a permanant magic circle in the second dermal layer of Tione’s skin. He had already confirmed that it wouldn’t ‘evaporate’ if he made sure the cells were properly adapted to Tione’s body and were ‘still living’. It was just like how he would produce Orichalcum and other materials with his body except, this time, Vahn was creating living cells that would continue to live in Tione’s body, potentially longer than she would even live herself under normal circumstances. He was even ‘linking’ the tattoo-like magic circle directly with Tione’s mana circuits, using small bridges of cells to anchor into each of the invisible points…

Slowly but surely, a complex five-point magic circle was taking shape on Tione’s back while the person in question was in the deepest and most relaxed sleep of her entire life. Each point of the magic circle had smaller interconnected magic circles, four of which enhanced Tione’s physical parameters while one would allow nigh-instantaneous regeneration of her body if the magic circle was compromised. Vahn was worried about what might happen if the magic circle was damaged, or Tione took a hit she couldn’t defend against, so he built a failsafe into it. As for the larger magic circle that contained these five effects, it was meant as both a stabilizer and to make the circle more aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Overall, the structure of the magic circle had a blood-red coloration that, through Vahn’s [Eyes of Truth], emanated a slight rainbow hue. Tione would never be able to make use of the Source Energy contained within, but it would perfectly absorb the type of mana she needed from the environment, all while preventing her from ever getting sick in the future. Vahn even suspected that, if he replaced the marrow of a person with his own, they would become genuinely immortal since their body would be able to create new cells without limit. This was something that would require testing on smaller mammals instead of humans, however, as Vahn had no idea how such a procedure would affect the recipient’s life thereafter…

After nearly twelve full hours, as it was marginally more complicated to infuse cells into a person’s body than it was to simply use ink to tattoo them, Vahn finally finished the procedure. It had a serpent-like design overlayed with the actual magic circle, matching Tione’s Alias ‘Jormungandr’. Though it would look very out of place when she was getting her Status Board updated, as it would overlay with the Loki Familia crest, it looked pretty cool with its crimson coloration against her healthy brown skin. Vahn had drawn up several designs before beginning, allowing Tione to choose the one she thought was the most suitable to her own preferences. She had grown accustomed to her Alias and, even though it annoyed her when she first received it, Tione had long-since started to treat it as a mark of pride, considering it was the name of a mythical entity.

While Tione was still in a ‘very’ deep sleep, Lefiya, who had been seriously taking notes during the entire procedure, ended up tracing her finger on Tione’s back for a few minutes as she studied the final product. Though she had the template that Vahn had designed as a reference, seeing it on a person’s body was a very different experience. Lefiya considered herself Vahn’s ‘primary’ disciple when it came to magic and, though she couldn’t replicate such feats in the present, there were no limits to what she could accomplish in the future. She genuinely believed Vahn’s words that, so long as she continued striving towards greater heights, there would always be an even higher height to aspire towards…

Tiona had also taken a keen interest in the magic circle on Tione’s body, for entirely different reasons. She kept poking at various parts, a pouting expression on her face as she said, “Unfair, I want a cool magic circle…moouuuu…” This remark earned Tiona a few laughs from the other girls, causing her to give Lefiya the stink eye as she eyed the latter’s abdomen. Lefiya blushed up to her ears in an instant, using the notepad she had been writing in to hide her face from view. Though she didn’t really need it, being a High Spirit and all, Lefiya had the same crest as other Elves carved onto her abdomen. She had also developed the habit of wearing clothes that exposed her stomach though, now that Tiona was eyeing her with an envious gaze, Lefiya was suddenly very embarrassed by the situation…

Vahn had also issued a light chuckle before ruffling both girls’ hair as he said, “Don’t squabble over such small matters. Tiona, you already have markings whenever you transform so you should be content with that for now. I’m afraid any magic circle or tattoo I give you would just be destroyed by your fighting style. If you want, I can make you some temporary ones that can last for a few days…?” Because Tiona had a ‘habit’ of taking hits head on at times, her body would sustain heavy injuries at times. Even if he made a ‘regenerating’ magic circle for her, such things would require him to repair them every now and then. With Tiona’s fighting style, he would probably spend part of each day just reapplying her tattoos…

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Since she didn’t actually care all that much, Tiona laughed mischievously through her teeth while enjoying Vahn’s caress. She was fully aware that he would give her one if she ‘really’ wanted one, so Tiona was more than happy just playing around and teasing others. Her entire ‘fight’ with Tione on who should get the tattoo had just been her goofing around, something almost everyone but Vahn seemed to key in on. Even so, the fact that Vahn was still ‘dense’ at times was one of the reasons why Tiona was so fond of him. Not only had he truly lived up to her expectations as a ‘Hero’, but he would always show her concern if he even thought she was a little sad or troubled…

After a few minutes, Tione had finally awoken and, not minding her nakedness around the other girls, began inspecting the final result through a set of mirrors Vahn had placed out for her. She gave a satisfied nod after looking at it for a few minutes before exclaiming, “Adeat~!”. Then, fully clothed in her raiment, Tione tried to focus on the magic circle and activate the effects. It took her nearly twenty minutes but, every so subtly, the circle that would enhance her Power began to glow. Only Vahn could actually see this, though Lefiya’s eyes did contract slightly since she was also very perceptive to mana being used.

Tione released a sigh of relief and began flexing her fingers as she said, “It is very difficult to use but I think I can get the hang of it with practice. How long was I out for…?” This time, Lili answered out the fastest, saying, “A little over thirteen hours. Vahn worked hard to make sure there weren’t any mistakes.” Because she had gotten a little bored watching the procedure, Lili had been checking the time and wondering if she should leave the Sub-Space orb and grab something to eat. Her appetite had increased exponentially with her increased Power and, though she wasn’t as gluttonous as Lefiya, Lili’s metabolism was probably the highest within the Manor.

Hearing she had been out for thirteen hours, Tione’s expression went from mild shock to a soft smile as she looked at Vahn and said, “Thank you, Vahn…” As she was speaking, Vahn noticed the ‘shift’ in her aura and produced a wry smile in return as he apologetically said, “You’re welcome, Tione. For now, just try and familiarize yourself with using the magic circle. Live combat should be one of the fastest ways to adapt to its use…later on, I’ll have you explain how things went. For now, there are a few things I need to take care of so I can’t stay and watch…” As was often the case when he did something that left an ‘impact’ on them, Tione’s body entered into an ‘active’ state when she heard Lili’s words.

Though Vahn didn’t mind tending to her for a while, that could easily turn into a few hours depending on how things played out. Since he genuinely did have other things to do right now, Vahn could only ‘suffer’ the indignant look in Tione’s eyes as she allowed him to leave. Then, in an effort to relieve herself, Tione ended up having Tiona stick around so they could spar while Lefiya monitored from the side and made observations. As for Vahn, he didn’t stick around for too long since his presence would probably be troubling for Tione, even if she had someone else to vent on. He watched just long enough for Tione to catch Tiona by surprise, using her enhanced Power with an excited smile on her face…

Back in the real world, Vahn had been eating lunch with Terra, Alexa, and Yggy, the latter of which had provided most of the delicious fruits and vegetables that Vahn had used to prepare the meal. Though Terra had quickly taken action when he first transformed into his Qinglong form, Vahn’s aura had easily reached from the outskirts of Orario and invaded into the Manor. She reacted rather quickly, teleporting Alexa into one of the isolation chambers that Vahn had developed for cultivation practice, but the damage had been done. Ever since then, Alexa had been despondent and fidgety, disallowed from transforming into her female form to prevent her body from having a ‘dangerous’ reaction.

Vahn had been slowly helping her alleviate the symptoms by spending time with them in a peaceful setting, usually with Alexa and Yggy as support. This was also allowing him to observe the actual effects of a True Dragon’s instincts and how it could influence their actions, giving Vahn insight into potential solutions for the future. For now, however, Alexa would lay across his lap for around an hour each day while Vahn sent calming energy into her abdomen. Though it wasn’t exactly ‘correct’ to call her a female in this androgynous state, Alexa identified as female even more after the ‘event’. Even if she knew it was almost impossible for her to ever get what she wanted, her instincts made it impossible for her to even consider taking the route of a male now. After all, even Fafnir and Khaos had been greatly affected by Vahn’s transformation and, if not for the fact they had already ‘given up’ trying to compete against him, they probably would have become females as well…

Fafnir and Khaos identified as male and aspired to be ‘like’ Vahn, to the point that they even assumed human transformations that closely matched his appearance. As for Alexa, she had been on the fence but, being one of Vahn’s ‘children’, her perspective was decidedly different than the two True Dragons who had subordinated themselves and received names from Vahn. They had the benefit of their ‘names’ and the influence of The Path to inhibit their instincts somewhat while Alexa was entirely forced to ‘deal’ with them on her own. Since she had always had to consider the role she would play in the future, and could never truly compete with her Papa, her instincts made it nearly impossible for her to want to be a male after feeling his aura. Since she wasn’t ‘allowed’ to be female right now, the only thing Alexa could do was stay in a genderless state as Vahn slowly helped to quell the discordant energy circulating in her body…

(A/N: As I’m sure many of you have noticed, I don’t have as much time to release chapters since there are a lot of things I need to prepare for my upcoming job. I’ll still be trying to release around 3 chapters a day but, as the time for my departure approaches, the number of chapters would decline. Even while I’m away for work, however, I will still be updating a chapter a day. This job is important, as it will give me an emergency reserve and work as a ‘cushion’ during times of financial burden while I’m completing EPIC. By the time the summer ends, I’ll be back to writing up to 100k words per week in order to finish out the story by the end of next June (^_^)~!)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Da Queen~!’,’Vahn would make so many Scientists grit their teeth until their gums bled…’,’Oh noes (O o O)…!’)

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