Chapter 950: Vahn Vs. Tiona

Amidst the excitement of the crowd, still high off of the battle between Tiona and Bache, Vahn slowly made his way into the arena. His presence had already been noticed in the waiting area but, now that he had officially stepped into the arena, the atmosphere began to bubble up and was quickly approaching a critical level. Even Kali had fixed her seated position, straightening out her back and leaning forward slightly so she could see the battle more clearly. A lot of the choices she would make in the future would be heavily influenced by the outcome of the coming fight…

As if the crowd around them simply didn’t exist, Vahn and Tiona had kept their gazes affixed to each other. Tiona’s battle-hungry nature seemed to be tempered, at least for the time being, as she happily smiled, saying, “I never really thought the day would come where we would both stand in this arena together…the last few years have really changed the way I view the world…” She didn’t think about it as often as some of the other girls, but Tiona knew the life she was living now was far from ‘normal’. Vahn had been slowly changing even the common sense of the world and now, even though it should have been impossible, he was now creating a world where she and her sister would be able to have children without worrying about losing them…

The corners of Vahn’s mouth curled up even more after hearing Tiona’s words while his overall facial expression softened, clearly showing the love and affection he had for the generally lively Amazoness. He held up his right hand, clenching it into a fist as he said, “The world has only just begun to change, Tiona. I’m glad to have someone like you at my side. Without the steps you had taken those many years ago, things may have ended up very differently…” Though her actions were certainly troublesome, Tiona had been the catalyst for the rather ‘peculiar’ situation Vahn had found himself in. Without her and Ais paving the way, and a lot of effort on behalf of girls like Hephaestus, Eina, and Loki, Vahn’s family would have been much smaller at this point…

In response to Vahn’s words, Tiona practically beamed as she held her hand behind her and leaned forward, much like she would when they first met. The difference now was that she had to look up to him quite a bit and, instead of Tiona being his goal, they now tread the same path, side by side. Because of this, Vahn took a deep breath before saying, “We should go all out from the start…” Now, though she still seemed very happy, a small glimmer immediately appeared in Tiona’s eyes as she nodded her head with an ‘Nn’ sound. She opened up a bit of distance with [Shundo], shouting, “Adeat~!” in a voice that showed her escalating excitement.

This was Tiona’s first time transforming in front of the crowd so it caused a great stir, especially when they saw her appearance. Though she was almost devoid of clothing, only covered in a few small pieces of fur and cloth, the tribal runes and Tiona’s long, wild, hair caused her to stand out greatly. At the same time, the instincts of almost every Amazoness present were screaming at them that they would never be able to defeat the animalistic-looking Tiona before them. Even though they didn’t harbor much hope of victory before, her current presence was simply beyond their understanding…

Vahn always found himself marveling at Tiona’s figure whenever she transformed, finding her lithe and flexible body extremely attractive. With the white tiger-like pattern on her body creating a contrast with her healthy brown skin, Vahn couldn’t help but showing an appreciative expression before he opened his previously clasped fist and revealed a miniature mountain. It was small enough to fit in the palm of his hand but, upon closer inspection, had an incredible amount of detail that made it appear ‘real’. This was yet another one of Terra’s breakthroughs in Magic and was entirely comprised of Earth Elemental energy that had been compressed using Space Magic. As for the name, Terra had been rather whimsical at the time, calling the majestic yet diminutive, mountain as [Mt. Terra].

Though it may not have represented ‘his’ strength, Vahn knew that the power of those who supported him was his greatest asset. Thus, without any hesitation, Vahn began to condense a massive amount of mana as he shouted, “Fixate. Seize. Load magic, ‘Terra Ruler’!” With a quick clasp of his fist, Vahn crushed the massive amount of energy contained in the magical artifact, absorbing it into his own body with his [Magia Erebea]. Though the structure of [Mt. Terra] was different from normal Magic, it still had many uses in its seemingly inert state. Vahn wanted to avoid a situation where Tiona kept breaking his body apart so, even though he would have to ‘pacify’ Terra later, he unhesitantly used her painstakingly created artifact as a consumable item…

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After a brilliant gold and green light faded away, Vahn’s figure had appeared within the arena once again. His tanned skin now appeared darker yet, at the same time, emitted a subtle green glow that seemed to radiate from his body. The sclera of his eyes had turned pitch black while his irises were an emerald green colored with a single golden ring present in each. His hair had grown much longer than before, now extending past his shoulders, and had an earthen brown coloration with moss-like green towards the tips. As for his outfit, he was almost completely bereft of clothing, fully displaying his muscular body, while a green sash was wrapped around his hips. The thing that stood out the most was the large golden disc behind his back while his wrists and ankles both had thick golden cuffs that each had large links of golden chains extending for a full meter from their connecting point…

This was Vahn’s first time assuming this form and, for a brief moment, he felt as if he had become the earth itself. It felt like he could have just stood there for millennia without taking any action whatsoever, completely content with simply allowing the passage of time to wash over him without regard for the lives living on his surface. Fortunately, he was brought back to his senses very quickly when Tiona had launched herself toward him, a small fist with spines beginning to protrude from her knuckles as her body was already adapting to try and defeat him. The thing that surprised them both, Tiona especially, was the fact that Vahn hadn’t actually made a move to counter or evade the attack…

Vahn had instinctually transformed into his Xuanwu form while still maintaining his Terra Ruler transformation. As a result, Tiona’s momentous attack collided with his chest and sent a powerful shockwave into his body as a result of her [Fist Strike] Development Ability. However, as if his body had the literal depth of the earth, there were only a few small cracks on the very surface of his skin as the shockwave almost immediately dissipated before reaching his ‘relatively’ soft internal organs. Then, before Tiona could even pull her fist away and attack a second time, the damage she had caused vanished completely, leaving Vahn standing like a veritable mountain as a thunderous shockwave, caused by Tiona’s initial movement, resonated throughout the arena…

Even as Tiona leaped away from him, Vahn still had the urge to remain stationary and noticed that, where his bare feet contacted the ground, a phenomenal amount of Earth Elemental energy was surging into him. Since he already had experience manipulating the earth, Vahn waved his hand towards Tiona and caused ‘ripples’ to pass through the arena’s floor that attempted to swirl around and engulf the rather surprised Amazoness. Vahn was making sure he wasn’t harming the integrity of the Coliseum with his attacks, especially since there were thousands of infants in the underground chambers, but his attack still carried a terrifying momentum.

Tiona managed to twist her body agilely, kicking against the encroaching earth to escape the range of Vahn’s attack with [Shundo]. She appeared next to him in the next moment, her fist now covered in dense black scales while her knuckles had red gem-like protrusions sticking out. This time, Vahn brought up his left arm to receive the attack and felt a large amount of Fire Elemental energy try to invade his body. Though Tiona couldn’t control it well on her own, her body seemed to have tried to adapt to the excess of Earth Elemental energy by countering it with Fire Elemental energy. Unfortunately, Vahn was completely immune to its effects and managed to deflect the shockwave back at Tiona using his Xuanwu’s ability.

With her own attack feeding back into her arm, Tiona’s fist and forearm practically exploded with a wide array of cracks. The dense scales on her arm had prevented the limb from being destroyed but there was still a large amount of strangely purple blood flowing from the rapidly regenerating wound. As for Tiona herself, she completely ignored the pain as she attempted to sweep Vahn’s legs with a low kick, relying more on leverage than power to try and destabilize his stance. Vahn, however, remained unmoved as her foot hooked against the back of his ankle before coming to a complete stop. Tiona felt like she was trying to move a literal mountain and, instead of pursuing her futile action, pressed off the ground and leaped backward to avoid Vahn’s counter.

Both Vahn and Tiona noticed that his speed had been severely reduced after his transformation but, covering up for the lack of mobility, his body was nigh-indestructible. Vahn could feel his defenses continuing to increase as the coloration of his body became a darker shade. Though it felt like his joints and muscles had also turned to stone, making it very difficult to move, the power contained within was something even Lili might not be able to achieve. The downside was that it would be nearly impossible to actually hit Tiona in this state so he could only rely on manipulating the earth around them and simply withstanding each of her attacks, hoping she didn’t land a critical…

This seemed to be Tiona’s intention as her body was changing at a noticeable rate to make herself more agile while adding penetrative force to her attacks. She grew a dense layer of white fur on her arms and legs as a small nub of a tail protruded from her backside. At the same time, her hair became sleek as it compacted itself into a shape that would allow her to cut through wind resistance and maintain her balance without interference. The most notable feature was how her right hand had not only healed but now had a vicious black ‘spike’ sticking nearly 25cm out of her forearm. It shimmered with a dangerous light while small spatial fluctuations could be seen every time Tiona moved around, even with the slightest bit of motion…

Vahn prepared for the attack by channeling a veritable ocean of Earth Elemental energy from the ground and condensing it into his Xuanwu scales. At the same time, he supplemented the runes with his Source Energy, causing them to shimmer with a green light that emanated a rainbow hue. He brought his palms together at around the same time that Tiona had vanished, causing two dense walls of earth to slam towards his position as Tiona reappeared, her spiked forearm tracing a lethal path towards his diaphragm. Her eyes had widened slightly upon sensing the attack coming her way but she didn’t try to flee, fearlessly charging forward without caring if she would win or lose…

As a result of their actions, Vahn ended up with an exceedingly painful spike in his chest while Tiona, having curled up her body slightly, was being compacted by earthen walls. They hadn’t been able to overwhelm her defenses but, at least for a short moment, she had been contained in a defensive posture. Vahn’s body was naturally repelling whatever chemical Tiona’s spike was trying to insert into his bloodstream so he ignored it for the time being and made use of the opportunity to try and conclude things. If Tiona was left to continue ‘adapting’, she would eventually get to a point where he would need something like [Enkidu] just to keep her bound…

There were a few ways Vahn knew to end the fight quickly but most of them would cause later complications. He decided to use the most direct method available to him, placing his palm against Tiona’s almost exposed chest and earning a wry smile from her in response. In the next moment, Vahn flooded her body with his Source Energy, overloading her muscles and nerves with a type of energy that she simply couldn’t adapt to. The mana she had been absorbing to maintain her [Pactio] was immediately forced out of her body, reverting Tiona back to her default state as each of her muscles seized up painfully in response. This was a technique derived from Vahn’s understanding of the physical structure of his target and his experience using [Hands or Nirvana]. It wasn’t an actual extension of the ability, however, allowing him to avoid accruing any kind of negative karma, even if he decided to use it to cause lethal amounts of damage…

While Tiona was unable to move, Vahn caused the super dense stone that had been keeping her in place to dissolve away into sand. He then manipulated the fine particulates of Earth Elemental energy to restrain her body completely, only leaving a small cavity so that she would be able to breathe without any obstruction while her head was poking out from the top. It was a rather anti-climactic way to end the fight but Tiona had an excited blush on her face while thousands of Amazonesses in the surrounded released loud war cries. They didn’t really care about the means used, only that the battle had been brought to a decisive conclusion.

Before things could even begin to get out of hand, Kali had stood atop her platform and allowed her aura to spread out, causing the excitement in the air to transition into confusion as a very tense atmosphere encompassed everyone present. With her blood-red eyes glimmering with a cold light, Kali plainly stated, “From now on, any Amazoness that isn’t at Level 5 or higher will not be allowed to challenge Vahn to battle. If he challenges you or decides to help in your training, that is fine. However, I will not tolerate anyone going out of their way to cause trouble when they lack the capabilities to even stand on equal grounds with him. In two day’s time, Vahn will be having his official duel against Queen Hippolyta and there will likely be many changes coming in the following months and years. Continue to work hard and temper yourselves further if you want to have any chance at pacifying those lingering desires welling up in your hearts…”

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With her words finished, Kali plopped down onto her pedestal once again and began to lounge about, even though her aura was still present within the arena. She knew that things could have taken a dangerous turn if she didn’t address the crowd before the momentum shifted in a troublesome direction. Her own time with Vahn would be jeopardized if there were suddenly hundreds or even thousands of Amazonesses pestering him for a battle. Many knew they would lose and, much like her own Familia during their sea voyage, the Amazonesses themselves didn’t consider this a ‘bad’ thing. Since their instincts compelled them to try and secure the strongest mate, someone that could easily defeat a Level 7, an existence many of them couldn’t truly fathom, was inarguably the best choice…

Knowing that she was trying to cover for them, Vahn took the exhausted Tiona in his arms and exited the uncharacteristically quiet arena alongside Tione. Some of the stronger Amazonesses present had followed him with their eyes, many noticing that Vahn didn’t even seem remotely affected by the aura of their goddess. He could feel their hungry gazes lingering on his body, still in it’s transformed state since he was actually having trouble expelling the excessive quantity of Earth Elemental energy still coursing into his body from the earth below. He had equipped a pair of thick-soled boots with Adamantine in them to stimy the flow, but it was still difficult to return to normal without leaving the ground for a short while.

Once Vahn had left the arena, Kali let her aura begin to dissipate and suddenly felt extremely bored, even though another pair of Amazonesses had started a battle below. Since she was present, they were going all out against each other but, contrary to how she would normally behave, Kali’s mind was wandering a bit. It was only now that Kali had noticed how much she had been ‘fretting’ over Vahn as of late and, trying to understand the reasons behind the change, memories of the last few months were playing across her mind. At the very end of this chain of images, Kali was able to recall the warmth and comfort she was able to experience just by being around Vahn, even without doing anything. Then, for the first time in recent memory, Kali felt that watching the battles below was a waste of her time and a small desire to follow after Vahn was seeded in her heart…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Towards the future~!’,’Vahn is a cheater!!!’,’Doki-Doki Kali-sama…?’)

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