Chapter 979: Collision : Compromise (1/2)

Though he had already assumed as much, the oppressive aura that had shrouded the entirety of the 73rd Floor was undoubtedly that of an entity at the peak of Level 8. The only reason it was able to influence such a wide area was due to the spiritual quality of the One-Eyed Black Dragon’s ‘aura’, something that accompanied all species of Dragon descent. Even Vahn had his own ‘Dragon Aura’ whenever he was using his Qinglong form so he was intimately familiar with the concept, though his was actually even larger than the One-Eyed Black Dragons. There was even a part of Vahn, deep in the recesses of his soul, that wanted him to transform into his Qinglong form and fight against the One-Eyed Black Dragon for superiority…

Shaking off the feeling, Vahn hugged the pale Shizune to help her keep calm while looking towards Ais and asking, “Well, what do you think…?” These words had snapped Ais out of the absentminded state she had fallen into, causing her to startle slightly as she turned around and said, “I will win…!” while grasping her [Gram]. She had been slightly overwhelmed by the aura of the One-Eyed Black Dragon but was quickly adapting to it, unlike the trembling Shizune who had experienced the aura through one of her Shadows. It had ‘stumbled’ upon a vast chamber where the One-Eyed Black Dragon had been ‘sleeping’ but, almost as soon as her Shadow trespassed the area, the Dragon’s aura had expanded outward in full force. Shizune’s Shadow had been destroyed, causing her to experience a small backlash as the ‘intent’ contained within the aura tried to invade her mind.

In response to Ais’ words, Vahn gave a simple nod before following it up with a gentle smile as he said, “I believe in you.” Though the One-Eyed Black Dragon’s avatar was very powerful, Vahn truly believed the girls would be able to overcome it with all of their training and preparations. Ais, especially, was perfectly equipped to take on powerful Dragon-type enemies so, as long as the One-Eyed Black Dragon didn’t have any tricks up its sleeve, they had a fair chance at success. It would ultimately come down to what kind of Innates the One-Eyed Black Dragon possessed and whether or not the girls had a way to circumvent some of the more troublesome ones. Fortunately, given what he knew of Innates thus far, the One-Eyed Black Dragon likely had one related to its ‘will’, two specializing in offense or utility, and one almost purely defensive in nature…

Though there were exceptions to everything, especially with how unique Innates could be, the ‘pattern’ for the successful evolution of the soul seemed to start with granting a person a unique ability that could grant them great power early on. This would start to change their perspective and would undoubtedly put them onto a path where they proactively sought greater heights. To reinforce this, the second Innate a person awakened almost always related to their willpower, serving to expand their perspective and allow the comprehension of some form of Law. From there, they either get an Innate that would further increase their offensive power or, if they had experienced setbacks, an Innate that provided great utility, mobility, or defensive power. If the Innate they had awakened was related to offense, they would almost certainly awaken a defensive Innate as their fourth ability. Though it was possible for a person to outright have four Innates related to offensive abilities, completely contrary to Vahn’s ‘research’, it was far more likely that the ‘pattern’ would show itself in some form as a soul containing purely offensive capabilities presumably had a high chance of dying before it could reach its full potential.

While Vahn was thinking about what kind of Innates the One-Eyed Black Dragon had, the avatar in question seemed intent on showing itself as ripples began to appear in the fabric of Space-Time, drawing the attention of Vahn and Ais while Shizune was still trembling in his arms. Almost as soon as the ripples had appeared, there was the sound of glass breaking before cracks began to appear across the non-existent surface. From within these cracks, something outside of Vahn’s expectations appeared, causing his mind to become slightly dull while even Ais allowed an incredulous expression to mar her beautiful face…

Though he should have known the possibility existed, as every True Dragon that had reached a certain amount of strength had shown the capability, Vahn hadn’t been mentally prepared for what had appeared before him. Before his eyes, instead of the colossal figure of a Dragon, there was what appeared to be a rather petite young girl with wild black hair that reached all the way to her ankles. Her only visible eye, as the other seemed unable to be opened due to a large scar, was a startling blue that emanated a cold light while a deep black iris vertically parted the icy abyss, opening into a void of absolute darkness. The most distracting thing, however, was the fact that the girl was completely bereft of clothing, allowing a strange runic pattern to be seen on her pale white skin that was only broken up by the black scales on her arms and legs. There were also two wings poking out of her lower back, covered in the same pitch-black scales as other parts of her body, while two scale-covered ears also poked through the wild black hair at the sides of her head…

As if she had intended to take advantage of this moment from the start, the One-Eyed Black Dragon immediately moved like a phantom towards Vahn and Shizune. The latter was still despondent, despite Vahn’s best efforts to help her recover, but that didn’t mean she was in any danger as Vahn hadn’t truly dropped his guard, regardless of his momentary stupor. At the very instant that the One-Eyed Black Dragon moved, Vahn moved with such speed that, instead of simply leaving behind an afterimage, there was a black blur due to the complete absence of matter within the given area. Even Space took a moment to ‘correct’ itself, causing a thunderous clap before a shockwave crashed into the petite One-Eyed Black Dragon, unfortunately without damaging it in the slightest.

Surprised by the speed of its target, the One-Eyed Black Dragon allowed its sword-like brow to raise slightly as its stark-blue iris tracked Vahn through the void. It wasn’t specialized in speed at all so, instead of trying to attack Vahn in an area that it was lacking, the Dragon instead spread out its wings to reveal pulsing blue runes that seemed to move around on the thin membrane between the individual segments of bone. Many took on a shape reminiscent to eyes and, much like the One-Eyed Black Dragon’s own, they followed Vahn’s movement before several laser-like beams of mana began to tear towards him. Vahn produced a wry smile in response to this while outwardly musing, “Why are you so determined to attack me…?”

Unexpectedly, the One-Eyed Black Dragon answered in a cold monotone, “I can tell you are the strongest here. If I defeat you first, the rest will fall quickly. Since you are protecting that one, you can’t fight back with your full power.” As if to punctuate this statement, the One-Eyed Black Dragon sent several more volleys of magical energy towards Vahn, causing him to have to dodge the sub-lightspeed attacks while protecting Shizune’s figure with his own. He couldn’t fault the logic of the One-Eyed Black Dragon but that didn’t mean she would be allowed to do whatever she wanted while he was forced on the defensive…

The moment such thoughts crossed his mind, the One-Eyed Black Dragon’s wings seemed to quiver slightly before Space around her fractured once again. She vanished from the area in an instant as a column of Spiritual Wind crashed into the spot where she had previously stood. This energy smashed through the Dungeon’s Floor as if it was nonexistent, causing a gaping hole to emerge before a figure revealed itself from within the column’s center. Ais could be seen wearing her [Pactio] raiment while [Gram] was glowing with an almost divine light within her grasp. Even before the One-Eyed Black Dragon had reappeared, she was moving like an unstoppable tempest towards a location a few hundred meters away. This movement had taken less than a millisecond, catching the One-Eyed Black Dragon slightly by surprise as her figure broke out of the void, forcing her to defend against Ais’ attack.

With rounded eyes, Ais watched as her [Gram] was received by the One-Eyed Black Dragon using nothing more than a single one of her scaled claws. Her palms had a pale, snake-like, membrane of skin covering them, contrary to the pitch-black scales covering the back of her hand, but it was enough to stop the S-Ranked sword that was specialized in slaying Dragons. Though a thin trail of blood began to drip away from the contact point, the wound was completely healed a moment later when the One-Eyed Black Dragon threw [Gram] to the side with Ais still attached. She wasn’t prepared for the sudden shift in momentum, causing her to crash into the hard bedrock wall more than a hundred meters away. Spiderweb cracks emerged from the area but Ais was ultimately undamaged, as the One-Eyed Black Dragon wasn’t afforded the time or opportunity to take further action before her own body was sent skidding across the Dungeon’s floor.

Vahn, wielding an ornate golden bow forged by Hephaestus and blessed by Artemis, could be seen at the opposite end of the large room. It was named [Khryselakatos] and, much like the dagger that had been blessed by Hestia within the original manga, Vahn’s bow was a growth-type weapon that possessed a fragment of Artemis’ Divinity. He hadn’t had much time to grow its power to an extreme but it was still an S-Rank weapon that was far more powerful than anything he could forge through his own skills. Even the system shop would have required upwards of one-hundred million OP to produce such a piece of equipment so he was more than satisfied by the result, something both Hephaestus and Artemis were intimately aware of…

Without having to knock an arrow, Vahn pulled back the silvery string of [Khryselakatos] as wispy strands of light quickly coalesced into a solid construct. This particular bow, with the blessing of Artemis, was able to convert mana from the surroundings into the pure Yin energy contained within the moonlight. Though it was far less effective within the depths of the Dungeon, as the bow was more powerful under direct moonlight, the abundance of mana more than made up for the lacking celestial body. As a result, Vahn was able to activate one of the abilities that had been imprinted into the bow, silently murmuring, “Iokheira…” as his singular arrow turned into a veritable downpour against the One-Eyed Black Dragon who had been forced on the defensive. It was, quite literally, a case of one arrow turning into several thousand in an instant, each carrying overwhelming offensive might that caused a deep chill to settle into the bodies of anyone unfortunate enough to suffer under its barrage…

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[Khryselakatos]

Rank: S [Divine]

Slots: 1

P.Atk: 434

M.Atk: 1718

Abilities: Artemis’ Infatuation(-), Iokheira(SS), Impeccable Aim(S), Growth(-)

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A sacred bow that has been blessed by the Goddess Artemis for her beloved. Knowing she would not be able to stand at his side at all times, Artemis had bestowed this bow with her intent so that her most cherished person could always carry a memento of their love, no matter how far apart they were. It is rumored that, other than the Ichor of a Goddess, this bow contains yet another secret that will only reveal itself when the user is in dire straits.

Restrictions: Vahn Mason

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

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Though the arrows weren’t dealing any damage to it, the One-Eyed Black Dragon was surprised by the fact that it couldn’t do anything other than defend itself against the torrential assault. It had no idea how Vahn was able to fire a single arrow, only for it to turn into a veritable wall of arrows that all seemed to target the ‘softer’ spots on her body. It was extremely frustrating as she would feel a small aching sensation whenever one of the arrows landed a ‘critical’ hit. Though even this wasn’t enough to overwhelm her defensive power, the fact that some of the areas the arrows were hitting were rather delicate had caused the One-Eyed Black Dragon to gnash her teeth before she spontaneously transitioned from her humanoid form out of sheer incredulity.

Vahn was also aware of the peculiar path some of his arrows took, causing his temples to buzz as he did his best to ignore the wayward projectiles. His abilities made it so that his arrows would automatically target the weak spots of his enemies at times so he didn’t have any control over them without changing his ‘intent’. Though he had tried to make the arrows behave, as it was rather embarrassing to see them snake their way through the One-Eyed Black Dragon’s guard, only to ‘ripple’ against her exposed breasts and other, more sensitive areas, Vahn was ultimately unsuccessful. He was suddenly glad he decided not to record or stream this first battle as it would have been a rather shameful sight to behold…

When the One-Eyed Black Dragon suddenly grew to a size more than 60m long, parts of it crashing into the walls and ceiling, Vahn issued a sigh of relief as he nocked another arrow of moonlight before sending it careening towards the Dragon’s right eye. The increase in size actually gave both him and Ais more targets while the Dungeon’s confines would restrict the One-Eyed Black Dragon’s movements, at least a little. As for Shizune, she had long since been removed from the battlefield after Vahn called Fafnir to his side with Unit Management before having it pull her into its shadow. She was one of the few that could transition through the ‘shadow dimension’ without any major detriments so Vahn had allowed Fafnir to escort her to safety before he joined the fight.

Perfectly aware of the fact that it had created bigger targets for its enemies to exploit, the One-Eyed Black Dragon felt slightly panicky and incredibly frustrated as it twisted its massive body with incredible momentum towards Ais’ location. She managed to easily evade the attack before ‘vanishing’ from the area in an instant, causing the One-Eyed Black Dragon to flinch even before Ais sent a torrent of Spiritual Wind towards her blind right eye. It still didn’t do much damage, as even the scar tissue was much harder than anything Ais had ever cut through before, but the One-Eyed Black Dragon felt a great deal of resentment since she was intimately familiar with the ‘source’ of Ais’ power. She had long realized that Ais had some relation to the people who had attacked her in the past and, if not for the fact her main body was located elsewhere, the One-Eyed Black Dragon would have unleashed its full power from the outset.

With its rage boiling over, the One-Eyed Black Dragon released a powerful roar that caused Space to fracture in several locations, causing indefensible destruction throughout several parts of the Dungeon, not just the 73rd Floor. This caused Vahn’s previously confident expression to transition into a far more serious one as a certain realization reached him, specifically related to Enyo’s seal. He had been intending to draw out the fight a bit before escaping alongside Ais so she could regroup and make preparations with the other girls. Since this was a battle that would allow them to break through their limits, Vahn didn’t want to hog the glory and take down the One-Eyed Black Dragon himself. Now that it displayed the ability to tear through the void and cause spatial cracks, however, Vahn knew he couldn’t leave it alone unless he wanted to risk damage to Enyo’s seal, potentially leading to her release…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘The Cliche Appears…!’,’*pelt* *pelt* *pelt*’,’It’s almost like everything that happens from now on threatens Enyo’s seal…’)

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