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Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 869

With Yggy being much stronger than he expected, especially after 'consuming' the two [Yggdrasil's Branch]s, Vahn's confidence in his future actions increased greatly. He wasn't actually that concerned with what Enyo might have prepared for them and had been considerably more worried about protecting Haven. Now, though it would still take a few years, Yggy would be able to completely take over the 50th Floor while protecting the residents of Haven. There was no danger of her actually being hurt, assuming the enemy didn't have some Innate that could circumvent her defenses. Even then, Yggy could regenerate very quickly, a fact she had made apparent by 'burying' Vahn in a pile of crystalline leaves after he asked for a few. She could apparently regrow them completely anew once a month, leaving Vahn with 227,019 multi-colored leaves that would make most Alchemists fight tooth and nail just to obtain one...

Yggdrasil's branches were slightly different than her leaves, as they possessed an inherent 'indestructible' quality to them. Unless Yggrasil herself gave them up, it was impossible to harvest them through normal means and, though her 'regeneration' was quick, such as if she somehow suffered slicing wounds, it took time to regrow limbs. Since it would stunt her growth, and Vahn could just obtain branches from the system shop on his own, he refused her offer of a branch until she had already grown to an adequate size.

Since these branches would become even more powerful with time, there was no rush in trying to procure resources from her. After all, much like how he felt towards his other 'subordinates', Vahn felt very awkward when they willingly tried to give up their 'resources' for his use. This was something that bothered him about the Xenos as well since even Marie had happily offered her blood while Lyd even cut off one of his horns. Vahn adamantly refused the former but, as Lyd had already cut off the horn and presented it, Vahn infused it into a scimitar that the proud Xenos loved so much that he even slept with it...

Remembering the uniqueness of the Xenos, Vahn felt like he should spend some time at Spero village when he finished up with all these troublesome matters. For the time being, however, he was helping establish several layers of defenses, not necessarily to protect Yggy, but to keep people from discovering the teleportation ward that was going to be placed in the center of the region. Though he wasn't sure of the reason, all Trees of Life seemed to be hollow on the inside and there was even a small 'stump' located in the center that contained a rather deep well.

The well was only 1m in diameter but was nearly 3m deep, containing a very thin layer of luminescent water contained within. Vahn understood this was water created by Yggy's [Fountain of Youth]. Since it was produced from an Innate, Vahn suspected it was a 'Unique' grade item but decided to leave it be for the time being. If Yggy hadn't possessed sentience, he might have tried to harvest some of its resources but that was no longer an option, at least from his perspective. Yggy, upon seeing him inspecting the well, beamed with a face full of innocence as she said, "If you want, I can give you all of my fountain water, Father~! Please, just tell me if there is anything I can do to help!"

Hearing this, Vahn turned to this 'daughter' of his and performed his almost instinctual head-patting technique on her. She squinted her eyes happily as a result while Vahn returned a smile of his own, saying, "I am truly grateful for how eager and giving you are, Yggy, but please don't strain yourself. If you truly consider yourself my daughter, then allow me to take care of you for a bit...so long as you protect this place, I'd rather you focus on being happy, not trying to make me happy..." In response to this, Yggy smiled wide enough that Vahn could see both rows of teeth, a smile full of the same vitality that the young Spirit herself represented...

After having Ryuu hold 'their' daughter, Vahn began inscribing the teleportation formation in the location where the fountain had been located. Just as she had been able to make an opening for him and Ryuu to enter into her trunk, Yggy had easily relocated her fountain to the back so that Vahn had enough space to make the formation's core. The actual teleportation ward would be much bigger than the location where people would transfer from, but that was intentional.

Having a larger transference area would exponentially increase the number of resources required for teleporting and, though Yggy offered to supplement some of the energy with her own, Vahn didn't want to use her as a 'battery' for their convenience. She could produce a seemingly infinite amount of energy, but that didn't mean she was producing an infinite amount at every moment. There was a limit to what she could do at any one moment and, in order to supply the energy for single teleportation, it would almost completely use up her reserves.

Vahn was at a point where the amount of OP he was gaining actually exceeded his somewhat ridiculous expenditure by a great deal. He knew he hadn't exactly been frugal with his OP but, even with that being the case, his reserves were currently sitting at 238,443,417. With the [Leaves of the Tree of Life] being worth between 700-1000 OP, if he chose to sell them to the shop, Vahn was at a point where his passive earnings could reach more than 200,000,000OP per month. Things like this caused him to question why his Emperor self hadn't been able to afford the [Dimensional Anchor: Statis] but, almost immediately upon thinking this, Vahn realized he must have made the decision 'not' to freeze the world. Vahn didn't know what 'he' would have done with Eva in the Divination but it was very apparent that the path he was currently walking had diverged greatly from the course he had taken to become that lonely Emperor...

With Yggy's help, Vahn knew it was only a matter of time before he accumulated enough OP to be able to purchase the anchor and complete his Quests. If necessary, he even had a 'trump' card, as it was possible to exchange the [Skill Advancement Scroll: SSS] for 10,000,000,000OP, meaning he could complete two of his important Quests in almost an instant, assuming he was willing to take a loss of 90 Billion OP as a result. For a moment, just after he had obtained the scroll, Vahn humored the thought of using it on his [Grooming] to see just how far the skill would develop. Sis immediately discouraged this course of action, not because it was a bad idea, but because it would very nearly push him into Tier 4 as a result.

The [Skill Advancement Scroll: SSS] wasn't restricted to simply giving you SSS-Rank in the current skill, it immediately advanced it to the highest evolution within the record. This meant, if Vahn used his scroll just after obtaining [Blacksmith], he would have been able to immediately reach [Godsmith: SSS]. Though he wouldn't be able to forge Tier 4 items within the mortal world, the comprehension he would obtain in relation to forging could actually push him towards awaking his own Divinity the moment his soul was strong enough to sustain the transition. This meant, if Vahn had truly used the scroll on his [Grooming], it would have reached the 'pinnacle' of Tier 4, making it very possible he would one day obtain an actual Divinity related to Petting...

As a result of this conversation with Sis, Vahn decided to hold onto the scroll until he moved on to a higher Tier record. This was because, according to Sis, the 'price' of the scroll actually increased based on the record he was in. Since it always elevated a skill to the 'peak' of the record, this meant the scroll was infinitely more useful in a Tier 5-6 world than it was in Danmachi. He already knew that most of the parameters and skills he possessed related to the record would completely vanish when he entered a new record, losing all of his parameters in the process, so having a [SAS: SSS] to rely on could very well save his life. So long as he learned a single useful skill or ability within the record, he could immediately increase it's rank to the 'peak' of that record. Though he would certainly have to adapt, just as when he had upgraded his [Blacksmith] faster than his comprehension, it would undoubtedly prove useful...

---

Around the same time he was working on the teleportation ward with Terra, Vahn was also back at the Manor watching over his newly appointed 'Battle Maid Division'. They had been given access to the Sub-Space orb and were currently receiving a basic education on how to use enhancement magic from Alexa. She was surprisingly motivated to be teaching so many people, even though a somewhat 'haughty' look would appear on her face when she did demonstrations. Vahn was watching over them and serving as a 'demonstration dummy', enjoying the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from the large assortment of women sitting at desks very studiously. Though they would struggle to ever outpace any of the main combatants within the Manor, this 'Battle Maid Division' would truly become a very powerful 'arrow' for the Alliance in the future...

Alexa's lesson had come to an end after the clocktower in the center of the Sub-Space orb began ringing that it had just turned 10 AM. Since the Maids had other training and duties to attend to, Alexa dismissed them before she and Vahn enjoyed a half-hour tea time with Risna. The two had become surprisingly close friends since Alexa genuinely enjoyed reading all kinds of books and it was very interesting for her to know someone that wrote them. She had even started writing a few short stories of her own, though Vahn had sweat a little when she snatched away a 'blank' template novel that she had been working on. Since he knew about Risna's own collection, he decided not to inquire about the contents of the novel and had never mentioned it since then...

As enjoyable as spending time with the two adorable authors was, Vahn bid them farewell after their tea time had come to an end. He wanted to give Freya the [Brísingamen] sooner, rather than later, as the effects offered by her Blessing were still very useful. Though it would certainly cause him a few complications, it wasn't anything new that he couldn't deal with. The fact that it enhanced the growth rate of all combat skills was simply too useful and, though he never intended to use it, having the chance to charm almost anyone was still an extra weapon in his arsenal. Since it worked on 'anything' of the opposite sex, Vahn knew it would actually be quite useful if he ever came across any difficult to handle female monsters. There was even a chance it would momentarily effect Enyo, creating an exploitable gap that could result in a much easier victory for their party. Besides, no matter how he tried to spin it, Vahn was 'good' at using such techniques and there were no limits to being 'better' at something...

After explaining to the girls where he was going, Vahn stopped by the training area his hardworking little daughter, Lenneth, was tirelessly swinging her sword. She was growing up quickly, already 115cm tall and able to swing around a weighted iron sword with relative ease. At the side, her Guardian, the True Silver Dragon she had affectionately named 'Vaan' was patiently watching each of her movements. It responded to his presence much earlier than Lenneth did but Vahn held up his finger in a shushing gesture as he watched his daughter complete her current training set. Though she only had the physique of a six-year-old, Lenneth was as adorable as a doll, even with her face showing an uncharacteristically serious look as she struck forward for what must have been the three-thousandth time today.

Once she had finished her set, Lenneth didn't immediately rest and instead planted the tip of her sword into the ground and focused on her breathing. She struck a 'horse stance', with her tiny fists balled up near her waist, and took in several slow and steady breaths through her nose while exhaling somewhat loudly through her mouth. Since she was only wearing what amounted to an Aegis-grade sports bra, spats, a skirt, and weighted forearm and leg protectors, it was easy to see that she was sweating a great deal. Vahn didn't really know what to say to get his daughters to try and wear more 'appropriate' clothing, as he had never really been bothered by it when the other girls wore similar attire. He didn't want to sound like a hypocrite and cause any kind of strange misunderstandings so Vahn just tolerated it...so long as no men from the outside world began harboring 'intentions' towards them...

After three minutes of focused breathing, Lenneth moved to pick up her sword for a new set but was interrupted by a hand patting the top of her head. Since only one person was really able to sneak up on her so easily, while patting her head, Lenneth immediately giggled before asking, "Papa, how long have you been watching me...?" As she spoke, Lenneth looked up to confirm it was indeed her Papa before happily enjoying the comforting energy flowing into her head. Vahn smiled in response before saying, "Well, I've been watching since you were about halfway through the last set. You must remember to always pay attention to your surroundings, Lenneth, even if your senses don't inform you something is amiss..."

Lenneth puffed up her cheeks in response to this, saying in a tone full of childish exasperation, "Papa, that might be the case in a battle, but this is our backyard. Vaan would have told me if there were any real threats...!" With True Silver Dragons having some of the highest perception amongst all True Dragons, it was even able to track Vahn while the latter was using stealth, not to mention almost any other people. Even so, Vahn poked his daughter's puffed-out cheeks and said, "Though it isn't wrong to rely on your allies, the mark of a truly great warrior is how reliable their own skills are. Isn't it your dream to become an unstoppable General in the future~? What will you do if the enemy tries to send assassins against you when your guard is down?"

Vahn never truly treated his children as if they were 'incompetent' and he had often discussed what each of the Vanir wanted to do in the future to obtain achievements for their [Heroic Tale]s. Erika had wanted to be a Scholar and a Diplomat and intended to become a Professor within the Academy one day, if not the Governor of Orario itself. Ina, inspired by the tale of a castle floating in the sky, had actually drafted a basic blueprint similar to his [Heavenly Palace] in the Divination. As for Vana, her desire was to become a powerful Hero that traveled around the world and saved people that were in trouble. Lenneth, somewhat inspired by Vana, actually took things a little further and said that, if the Alliance one day had a standing military, which was very likely, she would become it's General and uphold order. Aisha, having become somewhat of a follower to Lenneth, was studying hard to become her Advisor while Autumn, being rather peculiar amongst the Vanir, simply wanted to bake bread to make people smile...

In response to her Papa's question, Lenneth frowned slightly and seemed to fall into deep thought before realization dawned upon her. With a radiant smile that felt like it could purify the darkness in one's soul, Lenneth confidently stated, "Papa will protect me~! Even if I become the most powerful General, Papa will always be the absolute strongest. If people try to hurt me, I know Papa will always be there to protect me, ehehehe~." Though he wanted to 'correct' her, Vahn didn't have the words to say she was wrong and, instead, patted her head a little more affectionately as he asked, "I was going to go visit your Mother; will you come with me, Lenneth...?" This caused the intensity of Lenneth's smile to go up a few notches, rivaling the sun in the sky as she happily shouted, "Yes, let's go visit Mom~!"

---

(A/N: Though I've explained this several times, I will reiterate for those who have forgotten or were confused about the way things work. When Vahn enters a record, his body essentially has to be 'created' and 'tuned' to match the Laws and system within the record. A skill like [Master Smith] may not even exist in a record without skills and development abilities, meaning Vahn would lose it. However, that doesn't mean he loses his knowledge and skill as a blacksmith. You have to remember, in a record like Danmachi, skills/magic/abilities have modifiers and correctional attributes. In other words, they can increase damage, manipulate laws, and increase the chance of success for certain outcomes. Vahn would still be able to forge high-quality equipment, even without the [Master Smith] Development Ability, he just wouldn't have any of the extra benefits associated with it. I hope that made sense o3o~!)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Just imagine all the leaves of a tree falling off at once...','Battle Meidos, fighto~!','The True Guardian of the Vanir, Vahn Mason')

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