Chapter 935: Late Night Rumination

After nearly five days at sea, Vahn found himself standing at the edge of the bowsprit, the protruding beam that jutted from the front of the ship. It was currently late in the evening and Vahn was enjoying the cold night air while staring up at the vast ocean of stars above. Tiona and Tione had already integrated with the crew rather quickly and, being the strongest Amazonesses on board, the crew showed them a great deal of respect and reverence. The same could be said about their treatment towards him, especially with Tiona constantly talking about how strong he was, but there was far more ‘intent’ behind how they looked towards him as compared to the two girls.

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Over the last few days, Vahn’s role on the ship had essentially become that of the lookout since his domain allowed him to even detect what was deep beneath the water’s surface. Even though he could probably do any number of other roles, it felt a little awkward for him to step into the place of someone else, especially since none of the crew seemed to need help. Because of this, Vahn decided to stay out of the way, absentminded focusing on his domain while spending time with his children back at the Manor. The only time Vahn was fully focused on what was happening on the ship was when it was time to go diving, which he generally enjoyed, and when it was time to prep food.

Unless it was a type of fish known to be poisonous, most of the prey hunted by the crew was eaten completely raw, without even a basic level of preparation. Though the basic flavor of creatures that had an ample amount of mana was already good, Vahn wasn’t too fond of eating bland foods after learning to prepare meals properly. As a result, he became the de facto chef within the crew and would prepare a hearty and delicious meal during the morning and just before sunset. For the rest of the day, the Amazonesses would generally focus on making as much progress on the open sea as possible since the ship was forced to travel much slower at night. The majority of the crew would be sleeping in the evening so there was typically only a skeleton crew manning the ship while Vahn kept watch over the surrounding sea…

While enjoying the evening breeze flowing through his hair, Vahn was also paying attention to the figure that was observing him from behind. Throughout the entire journey thus far, Kali had spent most of her time simply watching him from her elevated platform. As a goddess, she could also completely forgo sleep if she chose, allowing her to constantly train her focus on him even in the dead of the night. Vahn had already grown accustomed to this behavior of her’s but still found it somewhat troublesome as it made it difficult to interact with her normally. At this point, it almost felt like a ‘game’ between the two of them, one where Kali would wear ‘proper’ clothing to get closer to him, or Vahn would ‘give up’ and broach a subject in order to shorten the distance between them. Thus far, other than at meals, they rarely talked to each other, even though this journey was supposed to be one where he could familiarize himself with Kali and her Familia…

Since there was still well over ten weeks left on the journey, Vahn didn’t feel too constrained on time and decided to just leave matters as they were for the time being. The more important thing to worry about, at least at the present, was the subtle changes occurring in the weather. Vahn could feel a bit of warm wind mixed into the cold air tickling his skin, combined with a subtle shift in the smell of the surrounding sea. He could also tell that the water below was beginning to grow tumultuous and, even though it hadn’t hit yet, the chance of a storm forming seemed very high. One of the most dangerous things any crew would face during their journey across the vast sea was the potential of facing a storm during the dead of night. The chance of an accident occurring increased exponentially and some of the waves could grow so large they would easily capsize the ship of an inexperienced crew.

There was still more than enough time for the crew to react to the forming storm and, even without him taking action, Vahn knew things wouldn’t end badly. Though there was a chance something could happen, the crew aboard the ship was far from inexperienced and, from what he had heard, they had never once lost a vessel out at sea. Even having people fall overboard wasn’t that big of an issue as most of the Amazonesses could build up enough speed in the water to literally ‘leap’ out of the sea and back onto the deck above. They didn’t even both to use a rope to tie themselves down to avoid mishaps, fully trusting in their experience and capabilities to whether the storm…

Vahn was interested to see what many of the Amazonesses referred to as an ‘exciting’ evening but, knowing that most of the crew had gone to sleep only two hours prior, Vahn didn’t really want to bother them. A storm could persist anywhere from several hours, to even several days, setting the ship back just as long since it was almost impossible to navigate when you couldn’t even see the sky and get your bearings. Because of this, Vahn released a hot breath that sent up a plume of condensation before rising to his feet. He felt seven pairs of eyes immediately train on him, mostly out of general curiosity mixed with a hint of excitement and anticipation.

Though it wasn’t really his intention, Vahn felt like he was about to show off and it made him feel a little anxious as the ‘habit’ had never really left him. Even with hundreds of years of memories and experience, Vahn still felt a little childish at times, especially when he was being watched intently by women. Even so, he did his best to ignore them as his aquamarine eyes shifted into a stark blue that slowly transitioned towards an icy white. Holding out his hand, Vahn began to create a sphere of pure Ice Elemental energy with his ‘Oblivion’ skill, much like the [True Fire Sphere]s he had created in the past…

Vahn could feel his reserves draining rapidly but he still managed to make a sphere that was 8cm across with relative ease. Though its temperature easily reached absolute zero, the pure white sphere Vahn had created had no effect over its surroundings at all. For the time being, it was completely contained within itself, just like how the [True Fire Sphere] wouldn’t output any heat until it became unstable. This didn’t mean that the sphere wasn’t ‘extremely’ dangerous as even the briefest of contact with it would likely freeze a person so thoroughly that the very molecules in their body would break down, scattering away with the wind…

Without delaying too much, Vahn created three magic circles, layered with a small amount of distance between them, each with only a single property: acceleration. Vahn sent what he generally called a [True Ice Sphere] into the first ward, instantly causing it to accelerate exponentially before the same occurred as it passed through the other two wards. The icy energy contained within actually shattered the magic circles themselves and caused the surrounding air temperature to drop a few degrees instantaneously as the orb itself seemingly ‘vanished’. It had easily moved outside of Vahn’s own detection range but, less than a minute later, it was ‘very’ obvious where the sphere had gone…

In the distance, more than 50km away, a blue ‘star’ could be seen forming through the dense clouds that had started to obscure the night sky. It’s radiance continued to increase until it seemed to illuminate the entire world below, casting a bluish white light down on the sea and the blood-red ship belonging to the Kali Familia. As for the crew of said vessel, they were staring wide-eyed towards the sky as even Kali herself rose from her raised platform to get a better look at the blue star that had continued to expand until it was like a small moon. Even at this distance, they could all feel the temperature dropping even further as the sea below slowly began to settle, becoming less tumultuous than it had been before…

Unable to restrain her curiosity, Kali eventually tore her eyes away from the persistent blue star and made her way over to the bowsprit, asking, “What did you do, Vahn…?” She had never seen a mortal exercise as much power as Vahn had just demonstrated, seemingly without placing any discernable burden on himself. That kind of attack seemed like it could completely devastate entire Cities and, other than a few of the strongest individuals, most people would die under that single attack. Even as a god, Kali felt ‘danger’ from the icy energy tickling her skin, causing small goosebumps to dot her exposed arms and legs…

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Though it made him feel a little giddy, Vahn did his best to act casually as he explained, “Most storms are caused by temperature differentials, primarily when there is a difference between the temperature of the sea and the atmosphere above. By reducing the temperature within the atmosphere, I can either delay the formation of storm clouds, or completely prevent them if the conditions are ideal…” Since it was already nearing winter, it didn’t take too much effort to further decrease the temperature, preventing the forming storm from taking shape. Though there was a chance his actions could cause a small blizzard to occur, it wasn’t that likely since the cold air would fall towards the sea and dissipate rather quickly, cooling the surface water below and pushing the storm away from them.

As Vahn was explaining things, Kali gave him a slightly incredulous look before inclining her head to view the blue star once again. It was only now beginning to slowly dissipate but she could tell that it would get ‘much’ colder before the surrounding temperature began to normalize again. She was almost tempted to ‘complain’, tasking Vahn with warming up her body as compensation for his actions. Reason cautioned her against this, however, and, seeing an example of what Vahn was capable of, Kali felt the need to reflect on a few things. She released a hot sigh that kicked up an even larger cloud of condensation than Vahn, feeling a cold chill run through her body in the process.

Almost as soon as this shudder passed through her body, Kali suddenly felt very warm as calm and comfortable energy enveloped her body, completely dissipating the chill. This caused her to blink in confusion before she turned her blood-red eyes toward Vahn, seeing him avert his eyes once again before resuming his place on the bowsprit. Upon seeing this, Kali’s face developed a mischevious smile as she made her way back to her own seat, noticing that the warmth that had enveloped her body also covered the majority of the ship. Her Amazonesses, as resistant to the cold as they were, would have been adversely affected if the temperature dropped too much. Now, instead of freezing temperatures and biting winds, there was a very comfortable warmth permeating throughout the ship that made the small buildup of ice in the sea seem like an illusion…

Vahn had been tempted comment that, if Kali was cold, then she should wear some ‘proper’ clothing instead of the negligible amount of cloth that her raiment was comprised of. This sentence got stuck in his mind, however, as Vahn realized the full context of what he would have said. He had been ‘ignoring’ it for some time but Vahn now felt a small amount of confusion since he ‘realized’ that clothes that Kali was wearing weren’t her own design. All gods had a raiment and, just as in the case of Loki and Hephaestus, not all were particularly fond of what they had been given. They didn’t get to choose the form their raiment would take and, since the skimpy outfit Kali was wearing was much the same, Vahn couldn’t really ‘blame’ her for wearing what the record, and fate itself, had assigned her…

With thoughts like these on his mind, Vahn realized that he had been somewhat biased against Kali, wanting her to change to suit his standards, even though she had lived more than million times longer than he had. She was just living as ‘naturally’ as possible, matching the Amazonesses that worshipped her since long before she had descended into the Mortal World. Though he had every right to be uncomfortable with the situation, Vahn knew that he was just being obstinate as, regardless of how long he put it off, there wasn’t anything even Kali could do about her physical appearance. Eventually, the time would come where he would either have to accept the reality of the situation, setting aside his personal bias, or he would have to live by that bias and accept the inevitable fallout that would occur…

While thinking of things like this, Vahn had sent warm energy through his domain, constrained to the ship itself. He pretended to ignore the looks he was receiving and decided to focus on his thought, mulling over a variety of things as he tried to reason his way to a conclusion he could accept. Even after just five days, Vahn could tell that the Amzonesses in Kali’s Familia genuinely enjoyed their lifestyle, including the younger Amazoness in the crew. They worked hard, played hard, and had a very strong camaraderie, even though they were also extremely competitive. Without exception, everyone did their duty and followed through on any task they were assigned, never questioning orders and always contributing their full effort for the benefit of everyone…

If not for the fact he had seen the [Hearts Desire]s of Tiona, Tione, and even Aisha, Vahn would have felt that there was nothing wrong with a society that produced such a cohesive group of individuals. However, the ‘crucible’, which pitted Amazonesses as young as four years old against each other, was undoubtedly something that existed back in Telskyura. For girls like Tiona, Tione, and Aisha, the ‘unique’ Amazonesses, it was a living nightmare that they had only been able to escape through extreme effort and circumstance. However, this was just one side of the equation and it was only now that Vahn realized he hadn’t really seen the event from the perspective of a ‘normal’ Amazoness…

After seeing the influence of ‘instinct’ on other races, especially the True Dragons and Beast Humans, Vahn knew it was almost impossible to inhibit natural urges without several ‘severe’ consequences. He knew that Amazonesses, even young ones, had a propensity towards expressing themselves physically while having extremely competitive and borderline prideful natures. If more than 95% of a population’s children had that same disposition, it wasn’t hard to imagine how their culture would have developed over time. Without a strength-based hierarchy to keep order, or having an outlet to express themselves, it was possible that young Amazoness children would suffer severe psychological strain and a variety of other health issues…

Realizing this, Vahn released a long and exasperated sigh, muttering, “Why does this world feel like it places limits on everything…?” Even the very gods in Heaven were severely limited because of the compulsion of their Divinity. Now, Vahn realized that almost everything that made up the existing structure of Danmachi was much the same, a series of biological, mental, or even spiritual limitations. Even he, having bonded with a ‘limitless’ existence such as The Path was still bound by the Laws of the record, unable to grow unless he made a concerted effort and worked tirelessly to comprehend the very Laws themselves. Though this made each accomplishment feel ‘worth’ it, Vahn was starting to realize that his perspective towards how he treated others, and even the world itself, had been through a very heavy and personal bias…

Ever since he had started gaining power, Vahn had been on a path where he was forcibly changing the world to suit his perspective. Even though the world had existed long before his intrusion, he was forcing it to change over a very short period of time, imposing his will onto others. Since he was doing this for the ‘right’ reasons, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the way he had gone about things had, at times, been both foolish and childish. Without the tireless support of goddesses infinitely more experienced than he was, Vahn would have failed from the outset, likely losing his life as the result of making a foolish decision that he hadn’t properly thought out…

With this thought lingering in his mind, Vahn looked toward the area where the [True Ice Sphere] had detonated and wondered how much he would change the records he visited in the future, all for his own selfish reasons. After all, if he chose to avoid a record, it’s entire History would have played out without his influence, including the lives of several trillion individuals, both good and bad. The part of History that represented the events he knew from the manga were nothing but a momentary blip in a vast expanse of time that could stretch for billions of years, if not longer…yet, even knowing this, Vahn still forcibly changed things, knowing full well that he would likely make several mistakes along the way…

After reaching this conclusion, a small smile spread across Vahn’s face as he closed his eyes and enjoyed the brisk evening air once again. As he had told Kali previously, he would indeed make mistakes along the way and, no matter how many times it took, Vahn would pick up the pieces and try again. His actions may be selfish but, so long as ‘life’ persisted, seeking changes both positive and negative, everyone possessing an ego was just as selfish. Even the people lauded as Heroes were just individuals that possessed enough power to bring about the changes they had selfishly sought after becoming dissatisfied with the world they had been born into. This was yet another ‘natural’ part of life and, instead of fretting over things he was unable to influence, at least for now, Vahn wondered if it wouldn’t be better to simply enjoy the life he had already created for himself…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Life is motion’,’Some things never change…’,’Some things shouldn’t be changed…?’)

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