Chapter 957: Impact

Tensions in the arena had increased rapidly after Vahn’s transformation but Hippolyta and Myrina had remained almost entirely unaffected. The latter looked toward her Queen with a questioning gaze and, seeing Hippolyta nod, moved to the viewing area. During the brief moment when Myrina was moving away, Hippolyta uncharacteristically decided to speak, glaring at Vahn as she said, “Your interference will cause my Amazonesses to become weak and complacent. After I defeat you, I’ll have you father the next generation until you are no longer useful…” Though she had a lot of resentment towards Vahn, Hippolyta knew he was very powerful and his genes would be of great benefit to all Amazonesses.

Vahn had kept his low stance and was waiting for Hippolyta to make the first move but, hearing the words escape her lips, he couldn’t help but raise his brows slightly. Though Hippolyta had every right to be proud of her strength, he didn’t know what made her so confident that she would come out ahead in a battle between them. She had to know that Tiona was now Level 7 and, with her [Pactio], she could easily fight someone around Level 8. Hippolyta might not be aware of the benefits of a [Pactio] but there had to be people who would have informed her about how easily he had defeated Tiona…

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Deciding it wasn’t really that important, Vahn lowered his head slightly before dashing forward with fierce momentum. He noticed Hippolyta raising her arm, causing a shield to form into existence out of a golden ring she had at her wrist. It wasn’t a spatial artifact so Vahn’s interest was piqued as a small desire to inspect the wristlet was seeded in his heart. He buried it for the time being, however, as he snaked his feet forward in a practiced motion before twisting his body like a whip. Hippolyta had an expression of mild shock upon witnessing his speed but she still managed to raise her shield and swipe forward while also backstepping to evade Vahn’s attack.

Vahn’s expression became even fiercer when Hippolyta tried to evade him and, even though he didn’t consider himself arrogant, a mocking light flashed across his eyes. Whipping his waist had caused his tail to strike heavily against Hippolyta’s shield before his continued twist, combined with his agility and flexibility, allowed him to duck low and pass under her blade. This brought him in close striking distance as Hippolyta’s dark-brown eyes looked down at him with shock, still in the movement of swinging her blade. Though she had moved backward more than 30m in an instant, Vahn spacing had been impeccable and he hadn’t allowed the distance between them to increase even a single millimeter…

Though he didn’t shout the name of the technique out, Vahn was using a skill called ‘Pursuit of the Sacred White Tiger’ to keep Hippolyta in his range. His speed was nearly twice that of Hippolyta’s at the moment and the technique focused on staying below your opponents center since it made their own movement techniques and attacks harder to perform. Though people didn’t have too much difficult striking downward, it wasn’t easy to attack an opponent low to the ground without performing a downward swing or swipe, limiting their options and making it harder to follow-through with each successive attack.

Taking advantage of the sheer difference in their speed, Vahn brought up his left hand into a claw shape, Wind Elemental energy twisting around his forearm and fingers as he obstructed Hippolyta’s vision. She had just started to change the direction of her strike and, out of instinct, tried to swipe away at the obstruction to her vision since the small blades of wind were a serious threat. This allowed Vahn to read her movements as his right hand, also forming the shape of a claw, shot forward from a position around his waist. Hippolyta had still be trying to create distance from him so Vahn had caught her in backward motion as his Sacred Tiger Claw Strike impacted the left side of her ribcage.

Hippolyta’s attempt to cut off Vahn’s left hand resulted in failure as the flow of Wind Elemental energy around his forearms caused her blade to pass around the limb as he nimbly twisted his wrist. This was similar to how Ais would use a barrier of wind to avoid most attacks, though Vahn’s was significantly weaker since it wasn’t really his specialty. At the same time, the fingers of his right hand had deftly targeted the spacing between Hippolyta’s ribs as he tightened his ‘claw’, hooking his fingers as his nails tore into the proud Queen’s flesh. Several things happened the instant he had dealt damage to Hippolyta, some of which had even caught Vahn off guard since it was impossible to know how a person’s Innates would manifest…

From the ground around Vahn’s position, several black vines sprang out from the hard surface of the arena floor and tried to coil around his legs. At the same time, Hippolyta seemed to have given up on trying to evade and instead attempted to wrap Vahn’s right arm with her left as she raised her sword into the motion for a downward stab, aiming for the gap between Vahn’s neck and shoulder muscles. Vahn had maintained eye contact with her throughout their fight and could see the determination in her eyes as she completely ignored the pain in her ribs and attempted to end the fight. Unfortunately for her, though he was indeed slightly surprised, Vahn had barely even scratched the surface of what his current Baihu form was capable of…

Just as it had been coiling around his forearms and paws, there was a dense shroud of Wind Elemental energy around Vahn’s legs. It was one of the reasons he was so fast and could easily keep a fixed distance between Hippolyta and himself. When the black vines tried to entangle his legs, the Wind Elemental energy around Vahn’s calves exploded outward before forming into a tempest that shredded the vines into fine fibrous particles. This also caused a cloud of dust to form in the arena as the rotational force of the wind began to emulate a weak tornado that surrounded the two combatants. At the same time, Vahn’s left paw had once again snaked upward as he ‘pulled’ Hippolyta to her left by using the claws he had embedded into her side…

To her credit, Hippolyta had been able to resist the pain once again as she tried to adjust the angle of her blade, tilting it slightly to try and cut across Vahn’s wrist. She didn’t think her stabbing action would prove fruitful but it still had a chance to cause Vahn to remove his claws and create a distance of his own. At this rate, there wasn’t much she could do since, as much as she hated to admit it, Hippolyta realized that Vahn wasn’t just much faster than her, but his Power easily rivaled her own. When his left hand continued forward undaunted, Hippolyta nearly smiled in elation, even as her instincts screamed at her to back away…

Though it caused him a bit of pain, Vahn completely ignored Hippolyta’s golden sword cutting through nearly half of his forearm and wrist since, even without transforming, he still had the benefit of [Magia Erebea]’s regeneration. Almost immediately after the blade had passed through his flesh, Vahn’s wound had mended. He quickly grabbed Hippolyta’s wrist this time, meaning he had locked down her effective means of attack for the moment since she was currently trying to prevent his claws from digging deeper into her side by using her vice-like grip to prevent the flexors of his right hand from closing…

For a brief moment, it was almost as if the battle had come to an end, allowing the cheering of the crowd to wash over Vahn and Hippolyta as the two glared at each other. Vahn was much taller than the proud Queen in most situations but many of the techniques he had performed thus far required him to have a lower center of gravity. This allowed Hippolyta to look down towards him as she attempted to wrest her wrist free from his grasp. Since their power was truly comparable to each other, this action was ultimately fruitless, causing Vahn to smile lightly as he said, “You have fought well, but I can’t let this go on too long…” Knowing that he needed to display his power, Vahn couldn’t dally for too long just because he wanted to test his Baihu form against a ‘real’ opponent.

Hippolyta believed Vahn was just using words to taunt her but even that thought didn’t have time to pass through her mind since the moment he finished speaking, Vahn rose far beyond his full height. Her head jerked back from the sudden acceleration before, moments later, Hippolyta found herself high in the sky as a result of Vahn’s use of [Koku Shundo]. The wind around his arms and legs had also exploded outward, battering against her exposed body like a tempest as he pulled his wrist free from her lock without releasing her swordbearing arm. Hippolyta wanted to use this as an opportunity to strike back but was wholly unprepared for aerial combat as Vahn began to rapidly spin around faster than she could muster a reaction. Her body stretched outward from the intense centrifugal force as waves of hot energy flowed into Hippolyta’s arm from where Vahn’s hand was in contact with her wrist…

What Vahn was doing wasn’t exactly a technique that he had learned from observing Baihu, he simply wanted to move the battle into a domain where he had a supreme advantage. Unlike Hippolyta, he was able to fly to the sky with relative ease and, by forcibly relaxing the muscles in her arm, Vahn was able to prevent her from putting up any meaningful resistance as he spun around more than thirty times a second. This wasn’t a speed that Hippolyta couldn’t deal with but it was extremely disorienting for her while his domain was actively limiting the reactions from her body. She still managed to try and curl up in an attempt to kick him but Vahn used that exact timing to change his orientation as he launched the rapidly tumbling Hippolyta towards the ground.

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Long before Hippolyta impacted the surface, Vahn had brought both of his hands together, resting the base of his palms against each other as he formed a dual-claw shape. The Wind Elemental energy around his body exploded outward once again, forming a massive green aura around his body that quickly coalesced into the shape of a tiger that was nearly 20m long. Since he wanted to end things in a flash manner, Vahn struck forward with his claws as his voice resonated through the air, easily reaching the ears of every Amazoness below as he exclaimed, “Sacred White Tiger Descends From Heaven…!”

Far louder than Vahn’s own voice, a terrifying tiger roar echoes through the arena as the visage of the white tiger, comprised of strands of green and silvery energy, barreled towards the earth below. It descended much faster than Hippolyta was falling, enveloping her body and further increasing the momentum of her fall before smashing into the arena below. Vahn made sure to control the energy to disperse outward instead of passing directly into the ground, but it still caused catastrophic damage to the arena as a large crater was left behind after the smoke and dust cleared away. In the exact center of the crater was the unconscious body of Hippolyta, the whites of her eyes showing while vicious lacerations covered much of the surface of her body…

Though he had held back a bit, Vahn was surprised by the amount of damage his attack had done to Hippolyta’s body since he had expected her to be more durable. He neglected the fact that, unlike most of the people he sparred against, Hippolyta couldn’t use techniques like [Cantus Bellax] to protect herself. She also lacked the anti-physical and anti-magical auras of most of the girls, meaning she needed to resist the attack with her physical body alone. Since flesh was generally weak against magical attacks, the amount of damage his technique had done was far beyond expectations…

Vahn landed a short distance away from Hippolyta’s nearly naked body, his expression stoic and unflustered as the fervent cries from the Amazonesses in the crowd reached his ears. Their auras had meshed together to form a veritable ocean of pink and red that caused Vahn’s scalp to tingle since their focus was almost entirely on a specific part of his body. He wondered if this was how the girls that wore relatively skimpy outfits during the sporting matches felt, especially since the event was generally attended by well over a hundred thousand people. Many of these would be men who wanted to witness the rather exciting scene up close, especially since there was the occasional ‘slip’ where one of the athletes would be exposed. Since many Amazonesses didn’t care if they were seen naked, Vahn had to implement rules that uniform malfunctions would result in a penalty if not addressed immediately…

Breaking through the fervor of the crowd, an amused laugh spread through the arena that caused a few of the Amazonesses with higher willpower to look toward the source. Kali had a large grin on her face and was clapping boisterously as she exclaimed, “Well done, Vahn, that was a great match! Now, what will you claim as your prize~?” Since he had defeated Hippolyta in honorable combat, Vahn actually had the option of even becoming the first ‘King’ of the Amazonesses. This was ultimately a meaningless title, however, as he had even greater ambitions than building a harem paradise in this exotic land. After all, unless he brought about several generations worth of changes, there wasn’t much development to be made within Telskyura without taking drastic measures.

In response to Kali’s question, Vahn made eye-contact with the diminutive goddess before passing his eyes over the massive crowd of brown-skinned beauties. He also gave a quick glance towards Amazonesses like Bache and Myrina before resting his gaze upon the smiling faces of Tiona and Tione for a short moment. Then, after nearly a minute of silence, Vahn declared, “I will not become your King, but I will shepherd the Amazonesses towards a future where they can prosper without fully isolating themselves from other societies. In the future, people will look towards the Amazonesses with respect and adulation, not as some species of savages who know nothing but violence and licentiousness…”

Though Vahn’s words were measured, he quickly noticed that most of the Amazonesses didn’t even seem to know what he was saying. His speech was automatically translated into their common tongue but some of the words were a little too ‘big’ for most of the girls in the crowd. Vahn could even see Kali’s brow twitch slightly as her aura began to flicker, a sign that she was doing her best to keep her composure but desperately wanted to say something. This caused Vahn to withhold a wry smile as he shook his head lightly, spreading his arms wide as he shouted, “I’ll make sure each of you knows how to have fun while also growing strong. Follow me and I promise that even flying through the sky won’t be impossible…!”

As Vahn’s words fell, he slowly began to rise into the sky while also extending his hand towards Hippolyta. Actions spoke much louder than words in situations like this so Vahn created a massive column of light that enveloped the unconscious Queen’s body as he added, “The Amazonesses have always been a race that sought to increase the power of future generations. I will create a world where each successive generation of Amazonesses is far more powerful than the last. You ‘will’ all do as I say and, if you have any complaints, feel free to try and defeat me in battle. You’ll have to go through the Amazonesses around me first, however…!”

Though they hadn’t rehearsed anything, Tiona and Tione also leaped into the sky and, even though they couldn’t fly by their own means, Vahn was able to support them with his telekinesis. Form the perspective of normal Amazonesses, however, this looked like they were flying on their own while the white light that had encompassed their Queen slowly faded away to reveal her pristine body, now completely healed. Vahn caught her in a bridal carry as he looked down at the surrounding Amazonesses and said, “If you want to set me as your goal, you will have to seek strength through the path I will open for you. Unless you think you can match up against proud warriors like these girls, do not waste my time…” The words were a bit harsh, but Vahn knew it was necessary to say them if he wanted to avoid nearly every Amazoness in the crown trying to seek him out in the future.

Since strength was the most respected trait within Telskyura, none of the Amazonesses in the crowd were upset by Vahn’s words. They instead became even more excited and seemed to be looking forward to the opportunity to increase their own strength to try and approach Vahn in the future. Many had misconstrued his words as both a challenge and a promise, believing they could one day earn a place at his side if they became strong enough. This wasn’t exactly false but they would have a lot more than just Tiona and Tione to deal with if they wanted to try their luck at starting a relationship with Vahn. He had already made far too many ‘exceptions’ at this point and, now that things had developed to this extent, Vahn had a few more promises to keep before he was just about done with expanding his already ridiculous harem…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Hippolyta’s Priorities xD…’,’Fights where one party severely outclasses the other are relatively anti-climactic…’,’A thousand years from now, Vahn will look back on the harem he built in Danmachi with a tired expression and glazed eyes…all with a small smile on his face’)

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