Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 1673
Feeling the holy aura radiating from Karin's body, Eva was ultimately able to recover enough of her sensibilities to reveal her face and firmly state, "Karin, that's enough. Vahn might be an idiot, but he isn't a bad person. Though I understand your reasons, I don't want you to resent Vahn. You are both irreplaceable existences in my heart...please get along..."
Though she wasn't able to completely relax, Karin's expression notably slackened when she heard her Master's heartfelt words. She was actually very happy that Eva had called her something like an 'irreplaceable existence', but, refusing to show any weakness before Vahn, she spent a few seconds trying to regulate her breathing before answering, "I understand...for now, I will continue to observe without passing judgment."
Hearing Karin's response, Eva breathed a sigh of relief. She honestly didn't know what she would do if Karin actually hated Vahn. She owed the former a great debt, and, after neglecting her for several centuries, Eva felt a considerable amount of guilt towards the exceptionally loyal woman. As for the latter, he was the person she had entrusted with her heart, the man who had liberated her from the darkness and opened her mind to the endless possibilities of the future...
With that thought playing across her mind, Eva remembered something very important, but, given the current situation, she wasn't sure if now was the best time to bring it up. Unfortunately, her act of biting the nail of her thumb with a vexed expression was clearly observed by the highly attentive duo. Vahn didn't even need to see her face to know she was struggling with something, as, with her seated in his lap, he could even sense the firing of her synapses through the contact of their bodies.
In an attempt to ease Eva's anxieties, Vahn gently placed his hand atop her head, lightly caressing her silky smooth hair as he asked, "Is something the matter? You don't need to hide anything from us...isn't that right, Karin?"
Though she was momentarily distracted by her thoughts of cutting off Vahn's hand, Karin wasn't so distracted that she was incapable of processing his question. Thus, after resisting the initial urge to lambast him for addressing her in such a familiar manner, she nodded her head and replied with a curt, "Indeed..."
Realizing her mistake only after hearing the duo's words, Eva forcibly repressed a sigh, shaking her head in self-admonition before ultimately explaining, "I was thinking of ways to relieve the tensions between the two of you. That caused me to recall our previous discussion, and, though it might not be the best timing, I was thinking about trying to convince you to allow Vahn to analyze your Curse of Inviolability."
As it was something they had discussed on numerous occasions, Karin wasn't too surprised by her Master's words. Rather, after how fervently Eva had talked-up Vahn's capabilities, she had gradually come to believe it might be possible to remove, or, at the very least, modify her curse. Though her reason told her this was impossible, her trust in Eva defied all reasoning, and, after more than two-thousand-years of wandering the Earth, the faith that had originally kept her gradually turned into something else entirely...
Before Karin could come up with her answer, both she and Eva were surprised when Vahn suddenly mentioned, "I have already thought of a number of solutions, two of which are guaranteed to work. Though it would be best for me to analyze the 'curse' directly, one of the things we can try is simply having Karin enter the Little Garden. It might be linked to this world, but the Laws governing it are a few degrees of separation from the primary axis of reality. If I'm not wrong, Karin's 'curse' is directly linked with the physical plane, so, by entering a realm with at least two degrees of separation, most of its effects should be negated."
Though she wasn't able to understand everything Vahn was saying, Karin knew enough about her own abilities to say, "I have heard something similar a long time ago. However, when I tried to enter another dimensional plane, the gateway itself was destroyed. Even entering a Sub-Space Orb is very dangerous, as, the moment I enter within, the interior space begins to gradually collapse."
Hearing Karin's explanation, Vahn's interest in her 'curse' became even higher, but, rather than take her words to heart, he ultimately dismissed them, saying, "You don't have to worry about that in my case. Even if I wasn't a God of Space, I have absolute confidence in my ability to create a realm that exists outside the influence of whoever is interfering with your life. As for the Little Garden, it should be completely safe...if it's not...well, let's just say I have ways to deal with jealous Gods..."
Directing his last few words towards the sky, Vahn couldn't help but squint his eyes slightly as, for a very brief moment, he detected 'something' observing them. He wasn't very fond of being spied on, but, before he could trace the intent back to its source, it simply vanished into thin air.
Following Vahn's gaze, Karin also turned her eyes toward the ceiling, a conflicted look appearing on her face as anxiety began to sprout in her heart. Before she could succumb to her doubts, however, her Master interrupted her thoughts, saying, "Even when I tried to tell you that curse of yours was a blessing, you always insisted it was some kind of punishment. If that is the case, know that you have suffered long enough. You have repented for your actions long ago, and, if your God is truly as kind and benevolent as people claim them to be, there is no reason for them to personally interfere with the happiness of a single person. That man's death was supposed to have absolved humanity of its sins...forcing you alone to atone without allowing any chance of redemption is a contradiction..."
Though Eva still had a lot to say, the look on Karin's face and the way Vahn tightened his hold on her waist caused her words to trail off. Then, joining them, she turned her attention towards the ceiling, or, more specifically, the skies above. There, monstrous clouds had started to gather, but, rather than appear dark and menacing, they were like billowy white cumulonimbus clouds...
Even without being able to see the clouds directly, everyone within the library was able to sense their formation and the awesome might contained within them. This caused Karin and Eva to pale, but, despite feeling as though electricity was circulating through his veins, Vahn wasn't particularly concerned by the encroaching storm. Instead, he sent his intent directly into the clouds, both as a silent challenge and a means to locate the source of the surging divine power.
One of the most troublesome aspects of several Realms was that, unless you met certain conditions, they were simply impossible to access or locate. When an entity within that Realm used its power to influence another world, however, a gateway between the two was bound to be formed. This might be no bigger than a single atom, but, so long as it remained open, there was nothing barring those with the capabilities from passing through.
Vahn wasn't particularly interested in waging war on the Gods or entering a Realm like Heaven, but, if they were going out of their way to break the rules they themselves had established, he wouldn't hesitate to hold them accountable. He hated it when people only selectively enforced the laws they had established, and, though he wasn't without fault, Vahn couldn't tolerate the small-mindedness of a God who punished a woman to outlive the entire universe for a betrayal they had orchestrated as part of their so-called 'grand design'...
Around the same time that Vahn was effectively challenging the Heavens, a woman with features not all that dissimilar to Altria was sitting silently upon a throne, her angular golden eyes showing a mix of consternation and excitement as she mused, "Hooo...that man actually dares to challenge the Throne...this is starting to get interesting..."
Hearing her woman's words, a girl with similar features, albeit much younger, craned her head back to ask, "Did you sense something, oh Great Mother?"
Matching gazes with the young girl who appeared no older than five, the woman adopted a small frown as she muttered, "Amateru...I told you to simply refer to me as Mother when we're alone..."
Chuckling lightly in response to her Mother's heavy tone, Amateru, the true name of the first Queen of Vespertatia, answered, "I dare not. I fear that I might slip up around those children, so, unless the Great Mother insists, I cannot abide that request. Please accept my heartfelt apology..."
Though she was dissatisfied by her daughter's response, the woman, Ialda Baoth, better known as The Mage of the Beginning, didn't both insisting. Instead, she raised her hand to reveal dainty white fingers, pristine despite the millions of lives she had harvested throughout the years. Then, prior to answering her daughter's question, she began to lightly caress Amateru's head as she explained, "I can sense the influence of the Rubrum. I am unsure of the situation, but it appears the Sage Dragon Emperor either isn't aware of the situation in Heaven or simply doesn't fear the consequences of his actions..."
Hearing her Mother mention the name of a Seraphim, Amateru's eyes widened more than a little as she asked, "Are they so bold as to extend their reach into Mundus Magicus? Shouldn't the Code of the Lifemaker prevent them from having any influence in this world?"
Though her daughter's words weren't entirely incorrect, Ialda still shook her head, her countenance darkening slightly as she answered, "Without the Great Grand Master Key, there isn't much I can do to stop them from interfering in this world. So long as the Throne is unoccupied, those bastards will continue acting however they please. There is even a chance that my Resonance is the result of that hypocrite Caeruleum using the Root of Creation to curse me..."
Since her Mother generally kept mum on any matter related to the Root of Creation, Amateru was unable to hide her confusion. It was very obvious that something was changing in her Mother as of late, the most obvious indication being that she was currently seated in the former's lap. Due to the Resonance, it was virtually impossible for her Mother to demonstrate love and affection, yet, in spite of this, she currently appeared inordinately calm, her dark expression gradually fading away as she continued to absentmindedly stroke her head...
Noticing her daughter's confusion, Ialda revealed an uncanny smile as she revealed, "I'm not going to make it easy for them, but my instincts are telling me my time in this world is soon coming to an end. Though I have yet to see their power, the strength displayed by the Third Princess is already at a level that could pose a threat to our organization. Our Inheritor and the Key of Twilight have been with him even longer, so, even if there is currently no evidence, it would be absurd to suppose they are weaker. As for the Dark Evangel...she was already strong enough to wipe out most of our group on her own. Now that she had joined hands with the Sage Dragon Emperor, I cannot imagine even a single outcome where we come out ahead."
Despite the content of her words, a vicious smile began to spread across Ialda's face the more she talked about their dismal future. She didn't seem to care even the slightest bit about the impending destruction of her organization, and, understanding the reason, Amateru offered a wry smile of her own as she silently tolerated having her head caressed...
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Gods can be surprisingly petty...','Vahn is letting his desire to battle a strong opponent cloud his judgment...','Ialda-chan isn't considered a prodigy for no reason...')
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