Chapter 985: Exploit

Sitting in a now-empty throne room, Vahn was reflecting on the day’s events and the startling increase in his power. The moment when he had nearly ‘crushed’ everyone in the room was very similar to how he had created a massive hole with his first use of [Heaven’s Fall]. His power had increased far more than he had imagined but, as a result of being rather busy lately, he hadn’t noticed the full extent of this increase. Though he still sparred with the girls, part of him was always holding back since, even with a [Effigy of the Hero], Vahn would always pull his punches at the last moment. He was afraid that with the inclusion of his Source Energy pervading through their body, with the intent to ‘harm’, even an [Effigy of the Hero] might not save them…

As a result of his contemplation, Vahn was leaning sideways upon his throne, taping the armrest in a steady and rhythm that emphasized his inability to remain calm. The primary reason for this was due to the fact that, with the increase in his power, it was a major red flag for what might come. Though he could now likely reach the lowest Floor of the Dungeon with even greater ease than before, Vahn was worried about what the world might have created in an effort to ‘balance’ things. He already had a monstrous amount of karma and, now that his power had reached a point beyond his own comprehension, there was always a chance some horrifyingly powerful threat was now lurking in the shadows.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Vahn stopped tapping his finger as a determined glint flashed across his eyes. He felt as if he had been on an extended vacation ever since venturing to the Amazoness country of Telskyura and, now that things were coming to a head with him becoming an Emperor, Vahn felt like he needed to make a mental checklist of things to do before he could truly relax. The longer he put off completing his Main Quest, the greater the danger he, his family, and the world itself were in. His top priority needed to be conquering Tartarus while he still needed an actual Eternal Vow from Kali and, depending on the circumstances, Amaterasu. Since there was no way to know how things would develop between them in the future, it wasn’t necessarily wise to continue putting things off for much longer…

Vahn knew that, if he put a concerted effort into things, it likely wouldn’t take much effort for him to get some form of Eternal Vow from the two Goddesses. In fact, if he really wanted to, Vahn was certain he could get Eternal Vows from more than just the two of them and, with how the system’s rewards worked, he would likely benefit greatly from it. The only thing that ever really held him back was his own apprehensions and, if he simply focused on the ‘goal’, Vahn knew he could complete the first stage of his Main Quest before the year ended. He could even meet the requirements for all the ‘optional quests’ if he truly desired, as there was a veritable herd of women who would be more than willing to bear him a child…

As soon as that thought crossed his mind, Vahn shook his head fervently to clear away such ‘dangerous’ whims before sinking into his rather comfortable throne and muttering, “Sis, why does it feel like everything just became more complicated when I became an Emperor…? I haven’t even done anything yet and it already feels like every decision I make needs to be considered with extreme caution…” Though Vahn had a ‘bad’ habit of overthinking things at times, now that he was Emperor it felt as if everything had been exacerbated in the extreme. His decision now, quite literally, influenced the fate of the entire Continent. It wasn’t wrong to say this had always been the case but, with the everpresent ‘surge’ of power that was flowing through his body, Vahn felt the expectations of his people weighing down on him like a sword pressed to the back of his neck…

In response to Vahn’s words, a soft and elegant voice sounded out within the deepest recesses of his mind as Sis remarked, (*This is the path you have chosen for yourself, Vahn…However, that does not mean it is the path you are bound to. If there comes a time when you wish to leave this world behind, there is nothing within the vast infinite records that could prevent you from doing so. You do not need to feel as if you are anchored to this world, even if your concerns for your children and the love you share with everyone feels as if they are tethers binding you here…*) As if to emphasize this, Sis navigated through the system interface on Vahn’s behalf, showing that the Records function had long since been highlighted. When he had first entered the world, the icon had turned dark because he simply lacked the power and preparation to make a trip to a second record so soon. Now that he had spent more than two-hundred years within the record, with the use of various orbs, he could leave with nothing more than a thought…

After staring at the Records icon for a little longer than he should have, Vahn shook his head before a small smile appeared on his face. He sat a little straighter in his chair before musing, “I didn’t think you were the type to play around in such a fashion, Sis. Though, I suppose you are just looking out for me, aren’t you…?” In response to this, Sis released a peal of light laughter before replying, (*My highest priority is your spiritual, mental, and physical wellness. Even though you would be devastated by guilt if you abandoned this world, such feelings would fade over the course of an eternity. I also believe that, even though there are negative consequences associated with failing to complete your Quest, there are a functionally infinite number of ways around them. As it is a part of you, intended to guide you down the path you have set for yourself, there is no way for it to truly limit your growth and actions…*)

Vahn’s brows perked up as he listened to Sis’s words as, in the past, she was the very person who advised him to continue down the path he had chosen for himself. Though they had discussed, on more than one occasion, how best to ‘exploit’ the system functions, this was the first time where Sis was outright telling him that it didn’t matter what decision he made. So long as he truly desired it, the path would ‘correct’ itself to facilitate the new path he had set for himself. It had done so several times and, depending on the circumstances, Vahn postulated that, by changing his goal, he could completely change how the system functions worked. Right now, he had set himself on the path of becoming an Emperor and, as a result, he was now seated in a throne room ‘brooding’ over the future. If he had changed his goal to become the greatest teacher in all records, or even something as simple as becoming a ‘god’ within the record, Vahn imagined it would have set him on the most efficient path to achieving both…

Since she was perfectly capable of knowing everything he was thinking, Sis used the moment when Vahn had such a realization to respond in a gentle and guiding tone, (*That is correct, Vahn. Though it is far more complicated existence, it is best to think of ‘The Path’ as nothing more than a tool that, if used correctly, will set you on the fastest course to obtaining what you desire. Even if you changed your goal, deciding to focus on truly ‘exploiting’ the functions of the system, I’m certain you would get Quests pertaining to just that. The only real ‘limit’ is your comprehension but, as you have experienced several times, the Quests it assigns you often help in that regard as well.*)

As Sis had stated, The Path would almost always give him sub-missions related to whatever his focus had been on at the time. A good example was how it had given him ‘optional’ quests related to his Unit Management as, compared to many of his other functions, Vahn was very interested in its use. On the contrary, the Upgrade system had gone relatively untouched within the system interface ever since he had obtained it. Though a 1% increase wasn’t exactly terrible, if stacked multiple times, he simply never needed it since the power scaling in this world made it irrelevant. He had obtained it at a time when his weapons had failed him, likely as a means to supplement his lack of confidence at the time, but ultimately decided on a completely different path. As a result, The Path had never really given him any Quests pertaining to the Upgrade function, allowing it to remain idle within the system interface without ever having the opportunity to influence this world…

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Knowing that, once again, Sis had given him very helpful counsel, Vahn reclined his head against his throne before a genuine smile spread across his face. Even without saying anything, Sis was very aware of the gratitude he felt towards her. She didn’t say anything in response to his silence but, for a brief moment, there was an almost inaudible peal of girlish laughter in the back of Vahn’s mind. Vahn patiently waited for true silence to replace the laughter before sitting up ramrod straight and adopting a serious and determined expression. With absolute confidence in both The Path and Sis’s guidance, Vahn raised his head slightly as he proclaimed, “I will master Space, Time, and Creation Laws. I also have no need for skills related to courting women any longer as, if I am unable to win over the hearts of people after all this, I do not deserve their affection…!”

For several seconds after his proclamation, there was absolute silence in the throne room, the only exception being the echo of his own words of the massive curved walls. Though some people might have felt unnerved by this, Vahn remained steadfast with nothing more than a simple squint of the eyes to show that he was still cognizant of the situation. Then, just as the echo began to fade away, a small window popped up within Vahn’s vision as a system notification sounded within his mind. This wasn’t the first time he had essentially ‘created’ a Quest so Vahn wasn’t really that surprised and, instead, showed a genuine smile on his face as he read…

//Main Quest Chain: [Genesis Path: Dawn of Creation] Unlocked//

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[Quest: Genesis Path: Dawn of Creation]

Rank: Zenith

Objective: Obtain Divinities related to: Space[48%], Time[19%], Creation[92%]

Optional Objectives: [Breath of Life] Successfully bind a soul to an organic vessel: [0/1], [Beyond the Flesh] Successfully bind a soul to an inorganic vessel: [0/1], [Divine Father] Create ‘Unique’ lifeforms: [0/10], [Little Garden] Create a Personal Dimension using own power and comprehension: [0/1]

Rewards: 10,000,000,000OP, [Little Realm Guardian Contract]x1, [Book of the Dawn]x1, [Book of the Dusk]x1, [Book of the Twilight]x1

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Failure Conditions: Forfeiture of Main Quest Chain

Penalty: Spatial Collapse of Inhabited Record Due to Instabilities in Space, Time, and Creation Laws

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Seeing the new Main Quest assigned to him by The Path, Vahn experienced a variety of different emotions, the most predominant being shock. He wasn’t surprised that he had indeed received a new Main Quest, as that was the whole point of his exclamation, but because he had nearly completed one of the primary objectives already. Vahn sat in his throne simply staring at the third objective which, according to logic and reasoning, meant that he had very nearly reached Tier 4, gaining a Divinity related to Creation. Though many of the gods liked to talk about what pseudo-Divinities he might have, Vahn hadn’t put that much thought into it himself and never realized exactly how close he was to almost becoming Tier 4…

Feeling his palms become slightly clammy, Vahn calmed his mind as much as possible before rising to his feet and saying, “I need to conquer the Dungeon sooner than expected…” Something had prevented even his Emperor-self in the Divination from conquering the Dungeon so Vahn assumed it was related to his Divinity. If he wasn’t able to probe the depths of the Dungeon before reaching Tier 4, there was a good chance he wouldn’t be able to descend to the final Floor without getting near Tier 5.

Since there was an unfathomably vast gulf between obtaining Tier 4 and nearly reaching Tier 5, Vahn knew it would take several decades, at the least, before he was able to come up with a means to circumvent whatever countermeasures the Dungeon had to prevent gods from descending too deep. Though he could ‘will’ The Path to create a Quest that allowed him to reach the depths of Tartarus, regardless of if he was Tier 4 or not, Vahn’s intuition told him it wouldn’t be that simple. After all, the Objectives he was given were things that he still needed to do, meaning nothing was outright handed to him without an extreme effort required on his part…

Just as he was about to push open the doors of his throne room, Vahn’s hand stopped in the air before he turned his attention back to the system interface once again. His mastery over Space and Time were still a ways away from reaching the point where he could obtain a Divinity related to him and, though there was nothing requiring him to complete the Quest any time soon, Vahn now felt like ‘grinding’ the two until they were also nearly at 100%. Now that he had a visible metric to gauge his progress, Vahn suddenly felt a lot more motivated than he had in the past. After all, every percent he managed to increase the numerical value put him one step closer to ‘literally’ reaching godhood…

In response to Vahn’s stray thoughts, a second system notification sounded within his mind that caused him to blink several times before he turned his attention to the new string of text. His eyes widened in response to what he had read before he opened up his Status Board and ‘pressed’ on one of the listed Skills. What he saw after that caused Vahn to laugh in a truly uninhibited manner, causing the nearby Valkyries, who had been waiting to ‘escort’ him back to the Manor, to show faces of confusion. Amongst them, Brynhildr was equally as confused but didn’t allow it to show on her face as she said, “Our Master may be planning to leave soon. Make sure you are properly prepared to receive him…!” In response to her command, the other Valkyrie’s became absolutely serious once again as the gave proper salutes and quickly set about preparing to receive the man they all referred to as Master.

Back within the throne room, Vahn’s smile hadn’t faded away in the slightest as he once again read the string of text that had greatly boosted his mood…

//System Interface Updated to Reflect Mastery in all Skills and Abilities//

//[Experience Tracking] Function has been unlocked//

(A/N: I tried to release this one as soon as I could but I’m still very tired. I only slept for 7 hours and feel a bit sick so I may not release a second chapter today. Writing this made me feel a little better but I think I could use another nap before making my decision xD…)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Vahn’s bad habit is back…’,’Sis saves the day!’,’You think this is some kind of game~!?’)

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