Chapter 944: Bloody

As could be expected, it was the highest Level Amazonesses within the Kali Familia that won the right to carry the palanquin. The battle royale had only lasted a little over fifteen before the final four remained yet, even though they had already won, the four victors continued fighting until only Khodiva was left standing. Her body had several bruises and still-bleeding cuts yet, as if she wasn’t affected by her injuries at all, Khodiva tightly gripped her fists and released a feral and victorious war cry without any inhibitions. From the side, Tiona, Tione, and Bache had all become a little riled up and, if not for the fact they had been excluded from the competition, Vahn wouldn’t have been surprised if they wanted a piece of Khodiva themselves…

Vahn had been watching the battle with a solemn expression on his face and, even though it was a morbid sight, he understood what Kali wanted him to see. This was the ‘true nature’ of Amazonesses and, even though it was brutal and caused them extreme pain, all of the defeated had resolute lights still burning in their eyes. They looked toward Khodiva as if she were the goal they had set their sights no, no fear and hesitation contained within their expressions. Then, as soon as the battle had come to an end, Khodiva began helping to treat the injured so that they could at least stand on their feet once again. Those she helped did the same until, after a few short minutes, every Amazoness was back on their feet as they happily talked about the fight and playfully taunted each other…

Kali had been casually using Vahn’s thigh as an elbow rest and, now that the battle was over, she gave him a sidelong glance, asking, “Well, what do you think? Are you going to admonish them and tell them to stop fighting each other…?” When he heard these words, Vahn frowned slightly without responding in any meaningful way. His eyes reflected the image of the young Myahi, cradling her bruised ribs as an older Amazoness reset her nose and applied an ointment that would encourage natural healing. Though they did use Elixirs, it was only during emergency situations, never to simply remove the pain their bodies were experiencing. Vahn could tell that Myahi had several fractured ribs and there was even a micro-fracture along her upper jaw while her nasal cavity had been shattered. Even so, she had a smile on her face as the very same Amazoness that had kicked her treated her wounds, exchanging a few playful barbs at the same time…

It wasn’t until the battered Amazonesses were preparing to lift the palanquin and set out that Vahn finally answered, “I have seen this kind of behavior in a lot of people, not just Amazonesses…during those times, I couldn’t help but find their resolution and desire to grow stronger commendable…” As these words left his mouth, images of Lili, Haruhime, Ais, Fenrir, Nanu…almost everyone he genuinely cared about and respected passed through his mind. At the end of this long image train, Vahn even saw visions of himself fighting against Tsubaki back when he had first set out on his journey. Though he resented the fact she had always defeated him, Vahn knew he enjoyed the battles greatly as both he and Tsubaki had large and excited grins on their faces…

Vahn sighed through his nose, feeling a little exasperated as he said, “I won’t say the way their way of life is wrong…but there are still changes that are necessary. The laws and traditions that allow most Amazonesses to prosper also bring great suffering to a unique minority. In the future, we should work to change the system in a way that allows them to continue developing their instincts without creating unnecessary tragedies…” Though he knew that Kali had already come up with several ‘compromises’ that were in line with his thoughts, Vahn felt that there had to be a ‘better’ way that would allow the Amazonesses to prosper even more…

This time it was Kali’s turn to remain silent as she turned her body to the side and laid down across Vahn’s lap, staring up into his face as her blood-red hair draped across his legs. She had a playful smile on her face and just continued to stare into Vahn’s face for a while, even as the palanquin had already started its journey. It wasn’t until a few minutes had passed that Kali closed her eyes slightly and muttered, “We…” in a lazy voice. When she saw Vahn blink in apparent confusion, Kali then began to laugh for a short while before saying, “I want you to pet my head…” After that, she closed her eyes completely while curling up her legs and turning towards Vahn without facing him any longer.

Just as he was thinking that Kali was behaving strangely, Vahn was genuinely surprised by her latter statement. It would normally be him taking the initiative when it came to minor displays of affection and touching, never Kali asking. This made him feel a bit of incongruity in his heart but he still caved in, reaching out his hand to gently caress her head as several Amazonesses cast ‘hungry’ looks in his direction. Two sets of these eyes belonged to Tiona and Tione, walking on the flanks of the loose procession, so Vahn sent them a quick telepathic message promising to pamper them both plentily later on…

Because of their relatively slow pace, by the world’s standards, it took around two hours for the procession to reach the outskirts of an area that became increasingly more populous as they moved inwards. Vahn could already see a massive Coliseum in the distance but his focus was prioritized toward his surroundings. Kali had already sat up from his lap and was lazily leaning against a small platform that supported her upper body while thousands of curious Amazonesses surrounded the procession like a veritable tide of healthy brown skin. On the surface, this place could have easily been mistaken as a real ‘paradise’, at least from the perspective of any capable men…

Vahn could see Amazonesses of all shapes and sizes, many wearing very little clothing while some, likely hunters bringing in their daily catch, only wore clothes around their waists. They each had red, black, or brown hair though, every now and then, Vahn would catch sight of a peculiar white or blonde color that stood out like a sore thumb in the crowd. As for why he able to see so many different people, it was due to the fact that, other than a few tents and storehouses, there weren’t any large buildings and residences. There were small areas where blankets and cushions had been put down while a few loose belongings could be seen, many containing injured Amazonesses who were sleeping to recover their stamina and bolster their healing…

Unless it was made from natural materials, such as mud, grass, and bamboo, there were no permanant constructs other than the massive Coliseum in the distance. It was a very peculiar sight yet, from what he could see, there weren’t any Amazonesses that were emaciated and showing signs of sickness and disease. He also noticed a distinct lack of young Amazonesses, at least among the garbed warrior tribe members present. There were quite a few among the Hunters and Gatherers, but Vahn hadn’t been paying too much attention to them since they were as naked as their older counterparts…

As if she had read his mind, Kali threw a grape into her mouth before explaining, “For the warrior tribe, their young undergo the crucible within the Coliseum. Most young Amazonesses spend every day either fighting or hunting, so it isn’t normal to see them out and about on the streets. Those brats on the edge are either those who had failed to become warriors or were unable to overcome one of their trials. They are not yet adults, but they are also not considered children…” There were a variety of different trials that were designed to bring out the instincts and potential of young Amazonesses. Some of these could cause small trauma and leave shadows in the hearts of some, making them unsuited to remaining in the warrior tribe. These ‘failures’ would be sent to become hunters and gatherers while some would learn how to sew, cook, or perform other small labors that allowed the large Amazoness community to continue functioning.

With Kali explaining things, Vahn paid better attention to his surroundings, noticing many of the young girls were still Level 1, even though some were nearing the age of adulthood for other races. He noticed that, though nobody outright treated them poorly, it was almost as if they were ignored outright. Unless it was someone telling them a task that needed to be performed, the girls would just wait around, constantly in a state of alert as they readily took to whatever job they were assigned. Vahn found their behavior a little confusing, as many didn’t have negative auras and only a few of the much younger had muted greys flickering off their figures. He assumed these were the more recent dropouts and it was obvious they were heavily affected by their failure to complete their training…

Just as he was observing the surrounding Amazonesses, they too were observing Vahn, some showing genuine confusion while others had cold expressions on their faces. Vahn noticed these particular Amazonesses all had the same mark tattoed on their foreheads, a tribal pattern that looked like the front view of an angered mare. He had never really seen someone tattoo an animal pattern on their face but, once again, Kali readily explained, “Those brats or Hippolyta’s royal guard troop. The golden mare is the mark of Hippolyta and all those bearing it have sworn life-long vows to protect the laws and traditions of the country. Don’t worry though, as they know things wouldn’t end well for them if they tried to antagonize me, shishishi~.”

Though Hippolyta was the Queen of the Amazonesses, Kali was their primary spiritual leader and had the sincere respect and reverence of almost every Amazoness. Even if she disagreed with what Kali was doing, Hippolyta could only grit her teeth and try to resolve the matter in private. In this country, where the people were relatively simple, they wouldn’t listen to reason, nor would they care about the fact she was in the right. The moment she publically opposed Kali was the same day a new Queen would take up the throne as all but her royal guards would turn against her…

This didn’t stop Hippolyta’s royal guards from glaring daggers at Vahn while a few of their members were sent to deliver messages. They quickly made their way through the crowds, most Amazonesses parting to allow them unobstructed passage. Their destination was a small palace, though it wasn’t entirely accurate to classify the peculiar building as anything particularly glamorous. Though it was a rather large compound, there was no real majesty to it and, compared to the massive Coliseum at the heart of the country, it could have been easily mistaken as a storage house. If not for the fact that it was easily several orders of magnitude larger than other storehouses, with a few ceremonial decorations, totem poles, and the bones of large beasts on display, few people would have ever believed the building could be the palace of a nation’s Queen…

Vahn had watched a few of the messengers set out to inform Hippolyta of his arrival but his attention was quickly directed elsewhere. There was a commotion taking place on the periphery of the crowd as two Amazonesses had spontaneously started a battle, trading brutal bone-breaking blows without any restraint. The surrounding Amazonesses quickly formed into a circle, those of a higher status and Level making their way to the front as they formed a natural barrier. Vahn didn’t know what was happening as there were almost no records at all documenting the Amazonesses people, even within the system shop.

Seemingly intent on remaining on top of things, Kali brought feet together in a manner similar to Tiona, an eager smile on her face as she explained, “They are having an honorable battle to the death…!” She didn’t know why the fight had started but Kali, being a Goddess with Divinities related to Slaughter and Death, couldn’t help but feel a little excited about a fight to the death. Even the procession had come to a stop while some of the stronger Amazonesses made their way through the crowd, joining the peripheral circle. As for the two Amazonesses within, they had temporarily stopped trading blows as they used the blood from their own wounds to begin drawing patterns on their skin…

Kali, now leaning forward excitedly, explained, “The opening blows were just to feel each other out. Now that they are serious, both will be given time to prepare while the crowd stands witness to their battle to the death. Now that it has come to this point, one of them ‘has’ to die or they will both be executed…!” At this point, Kali’s blood-red eyes looked like actual blood, moving around behind the lens of her eye in an eerie manner that even unsettled Vahn a little. As for the Amazonesses in the surroundings, they were also getting riled up and Vahn could see all of their auras shifting towards the battlefield. At this moment, their focus was wholly on the battle that was about to being, showing honor and respect for the two warriors unhesitantly going towards one of their inevitable deaths…

Vahn had to take a deep breath to remain calm, drawing Kali’s bloody eyes towards him as she stated in the most serious tone he had ever heard from her, “You can’t interfere. Even though you have the strength, it would be one of the most grievous offenses you could ever commit. Not only would the two in the ring do everything in their power to kill you, but the entire crowd would do the same. Unless you’re willing to slaughter everyone here, just watch…do not dishonor their conviction.” As much as she had grown closer to Vahn, it didn’t mean Kali would tolerate him simply acting as he pleased. Even if he managed to defeat every Amazoness her without killing them, they wouldn’t forgive him and, as a result of the shame and dishonor they had suffered, both warriors would be honor-bound to take their own lives in a very painful and visceral way…

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Before he could say anything in response to Kali, the battle in the ring had started with two momentous explosions. Both Amazonesses were around the lower end of Level 3 and, though this wasn’t much in Vahn’s eyes, it was still very impressive. Their initial movements had cracked the ground but, as soon as the shockwaves spread to the Amazonesses ‘barrier’, it crashed powerlessly against their bodies without having much effect on the surroundings. Vahn was a little surprised to see this but he didn’t have time to think about it since the bloody battle was now well underway…

The red-haired Amazoness, slightly shorter than the mature black-haired Amazoness she was fighting, managed to weave her head out of the trajectory of her opponent’s blow. Though her face distorted as a result of the ambient shockwave, she managed to bury her hand into the abdomen of the black-haired Amazoness. This wasn’t even remotely enough to end the fight, however, as the immediate response of the impaled Amazoness was to scrunch up her body, using the leverage of the very arm piercing her gut to knee towards her opponent’s elbow while jerking her head forward…

With cat-like reflexes, the red-haired Amazoness stepped into her previous attack, bending her elbow out of the trajectory of the knee strike. The flexibility of her opponent was developed enough to allow her to reach the red-haired Amazonesses shoulder. Her teeth easily tore into the flesh of her opponent, biting more than 3cm deep as she attempted to sever the carotid artery in the neck. This ultimately ended in failure but she was still able to pull away a large piece of flesh and sinew that caused Vahn to frown deeply as Kali glared at him. In the next instant, however, the red-haired Amazoness tried to use the angle of her bent arm to try and push her hand into the chest cavity of her opponent, pushing through muscles and organs in a truly gut-wrenching manner…

This time, the black-haired Amazoness couldn’t ‘ignore’ the attack, choosing to grab it with one hand while trying to kick off of her opponent’s thighs to create distance. Though she did manage to jump away, the red-haired Amazoness had ‘clenched’ whatever her hand could get ahold of, pulling out a large portion of her opponent’s liver with a murderous grin on her face. Black blood began to flow from the lips of the more mature Amazoness but her eyes still showed a resolute glimmer as she wiped it away with the back of her hand. She had suffered a fatal blow but that didn’t mean the fight was over…

Completely ignoring the large volume of blood escaping the gaping hole in her stomach, the black-haired Amazoness crouched down like a leopard that was about to leap. This contracting motion caused even more blood to pour out of her wound but she paid it no mind as her previously black irises turned red. It was obvious that she was using the [Berserk] skill, a rather common skill that many Amazonesses of the warrior tribe shared. The more damage she had taken, the greater her own power and agility would increase, giving her an edge while on the brink of death…

Knowing this, the red-haired Amazoness used a strange skill of her own, pulling off a stray bone from her tribal garb and stabbing it into her own heart. Though it looked like she might be trying to injure herself to enter a berserk state of her own, Vahn’s [Eyes of Truth] saw red energy flow from the point of impact, something Kali seemed to notice as well since she smiled widely and said, “That brat is pretty good…!” As if her words were the starting bell, the two Amazonesses charged at each other once again, this time determined to bring an end to the battle in their next blow. Vahn could see a shockwave compressing itself around the berserk Amazonesses hand, a phenomenon that meant her power had likely broken through the 3,000 threshold…

Against expectations, the red-haired Amazoness didn’t make any attempt to dodge, facing the blow head-on with a crazed smile on her face, even as the fist tore through her head and burst it into small fleshy meat fragments. It wasn’t just her head that broke apart, however, as her whole body seemed to liquidize in the next instant, turning into a blood red pool that splashed against the black-haired Amazoness. This caused the black-haired Amazoness to scream in pain for the first time as she clawed away at the viscous blood that seemed to stick to her body like thick molasses. It slowly began entering into her pores, causing the Amaonzess to seize up and spasm, no longer able to resist the unbelievable pain that completely ignored any form of resistance she could muster…

At this point, the crowd of Amazonesses watching the fight showed similar faces of excitement, almost as if they wanted to enter the battle themselves. There were even some of the naked girls that did the menial tasks of other Amazonesses, watching the battle with heated expressions alongside their kin. For these few moments, there were no status differences between any of the Amazonesses as they all reveled in the battle and bloodshed occurring before their eyes. Vahn, however, had a stern and serious expression on his face as his eyes blazed like two blue suns, watching intently at what was happening to the black-haired Amazoness’ body…

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A few seconds after the blood had completely entered the body of the more mature Amazoness, her body came to a complete stop. Vahn could see the strange red energy moving through each part of her body, probing everything from the tips of her fingers to the individual strands of her hair. Shortly thereafter, her black hair became blood red as the grievous wounds covering her body began to steam and rapidly regenerate. Less than a minute later, her body began to twitch once again before she slowly raised her torso with labored and mechanical movements. Even so, she managed to climb to her feet, raising her arms in a loud war cry that was reciprocated by the crowd. None of them even questioned what had happened, only caring about the fact that one of the contenders had died while the other was still living…

Kali was wiggling about excitedly, her breathing a little heated as she said, “Blood possession. That brat must be one of Rakt’s pups. Seems like they produced another prodigy, shishishi~.” Just like the other Amazonesses watching, Kali was fully aware of the technique the red-haired Amazoness had used to end the fight. Even the black-haired woman had known the outcome that awaited her but, unable to retreat, she could only press forward and try to overcome her fate with desperate strength.

After claiming victory, the red-haired Amazoness looked toward Kali and gave a respectful bow before breaking free from the circle without anyone barring her passage. Vahn noticed that, instead of fear and disgust, almost every surrounding Amazoness watched her with mild reverence in their gazes. He, personally, felt like the technique was a little unfair but, at the same time, Vahn also knew that she had every right to use whatever technique she had available to preserve her own life. Since he had his fair share of broken and unfair abilities, Vahn tightened his jaw a few times before letting the matter rest. He had promised not to make a big scene and cause more problems, at least for the time being…

(A/N: This came out much later than expected because I had to work nearly three hours longer than I was supposed to. Though I want to write another chapter for tomorrow, I’m extremely exhausted and know I won’t have the energy to do so. Don’t worry though, as most of the ‘annoying’ parts of my job will be taken care of by tomorrow and I’ll have more opportunity to rest and write compared to now.)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Endless Brown Sea…’,’Square up…!’,’There are no evil techniques, only evil people misusing their power selfishly (UwU)~!)

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