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Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 1854

Chapter 1854: Pause


After checking the red and blue teleportals and finding nothing but isolated colonies of Shinheuh, Vahn was starting to think his 'instincts' had triggered for no reason.

Fortunately, he hadn't gone senile just yet as the green teleportal ended up leading into a massive chamber, much larger than the two preceding it. The walls were lined with countless metallic cogs, and, at the very back of the chamber, a large container of sorts stood like a watchtower.

At the very top of said tower, a gigantic man, approximately 50m in height, sat with his arms and legs crossed. He had features that vaguely resembled an Elf, including pointed ears, but, unlike any Elves Vahn had ever seen, he had long golden hair, brilliant golden eyes, and a muscular build that could even humble Heracles. His garb consisted of a sleeveless black shirt, baggy trousers, a flowing red cape, and, most notably, large manacles that were chained to a slab of enchanted metal that, at a glance, should weigh well over a million of kilograms.

As the mountainous man stared down at them with his probing gaze, Vahn's eyes began to release a vibrant golden light as he said, "Return to your team...this path is a dead-end..."

Coming back to his senses in response to Vahn's words, John shifted his eyes away from the god-like figure seated atop the tower-like container, face paling as he suggested, "We should go back together..."

Issuing a soft chuckle in response to John's words, Vahn began rolling his shoulders to loosen them up, walking forward as he said, "This is my path. Don't worry...I'm not someone who would lose to a 'false' God..."

Without waiting for John's response, Vahn teleported the youth to the antechamber before sealing off the entrance with a massive slab of stone. He kept a number of such objects in his Inventory, as, with few exceptions, there weren't too many enemies that could endure a cubic kilometer of marble being dropped on them with meteoric force. They were intended to be one of his trump cards, and, though he had never really found an opportunity to use them, having a bunch of raw materials on hand was never a bad thing.

Staring up at the titanic individual, Vahn's smile gradually turned into a more serious expression as he said, "I had heard about a 'God' of Guardian onboard the Hell Express, but I never imagined our paths would cross this early...so, how about it? Tell me, what do those eyes of yours see...?"

Squinting his eyes almost imperceptibly, the being known as the God of Guardians appeared to ponder over his response for a full minute before answering in a paradoxically gentle yet booming voice, "You are not an Irregular...yet you are also not a native to this Tower...tell me, how did you enter this place without opening the door? Where did you come from? What is it you seek...?"

Unable to restrain himself, an extremely exasperated sigh escaped Vahn's throat as he shook his head and muttered, "I'm starting to get really annoyed by the number of people disregarding my questions in order to ask their own..."

Losing interest in the conversation they could have had, Vahn shook his head a second time as he attempted to turn away from the so-called God of Guardians. Before he could take more than a few steps, however, the aforementioned God landed in front of him with enough impact force to create an explosive shockwave. Then, grabbed the chain shackled to his right hand, he swung the massive slab of metal like a chain-mace while saying, "Fate has brought you here. Allow me to test the limits of your power..."

Snorting in response to the massive man's words, reddish-black flames erupted from Vahn's left hand as he brandished Laev-tan towards the enchanted slab of metal. Her flames would usually struggle to melt through such a thick slab on their own, but, thanks to the destructive laws that were present within, combined with his mastery over the sword, more than half of the slab was cut away in an instant. This caused the God of Guardians to lose his balance for a brief moment due to him using his own weight as a counterbalance during the attack. As a result, Vahn was able to step towards the man using [Shunk], lightning briefly flashing across his body as he kicked the God of Guardians in the center of his chest.

With a visible ripple spreading through both his shirt and body, the God of Guardians was sent stumbling back several meters before crashing into the ground, a pained grunt emanating from his throat in the process. When he stood back up, a massive hole had been created in his shirt, and, at the very center of his chest, a bloody outline of a footprint could be seen pulsating with the beating of his heart. This injury healed almost instantaneously, but, for a brief moment, a look of shock and incredulity flashed across the titanic figure's face as he stared at the traces of blood and remarked, "Impossible..." in a disbelieving tone.

Though he could have allowed the man to stay in the dark, Vahn adopted a somewhat prideful look as he shouldered Laev-tan and remarked, "There are no impossibilities. Existence, itself, is a miracle that defies all logic and reason. Some things might be inordinately difficult, but, just by existing, we open the way forward for infinite possibilities. Concepts such as unstoppable and immovable don't actually exist. The same applies to things like indestructibility and immortality. There is just 'harder to stop', 'harder to move', 'harder to destroy', and 'harder to kill'. Nothing is impossible."

Opening his eyes marginally wider, the God of Guardians seemed to be contemplating his words for another extended period of time before answering, "I see...that must be how you entered the Tower without opening the gate and why my eyes aren't able to discern anything about you. You aren't something that is 'supposed' to exist in this place. You are someone that has chosen to be here in defiance of fate...that means you are either an Axis...or a God..."

Rather than answer directly, Vahn just smiled in response to the man's words before asking, "Should I interpret your current inaction as an indicator that your test has concluded? With the spell binding you to this place broken, you should be able to bring your full power to bear without consequence. I won't force you to battle, but I am curious to see how strong one of the 'Artificial Gods' produced by the Workshop is..."

Adopting a serious and stern expression, the God of Guardians rose to his full height of fifty meters before saying, "Though you have broken the enchantment binding me to this place, I will continue to carry out the duties assigned to me by my creator. It is my duty to guide those who have opened the door through a process known as 'Revolution'. It is this purpose that gives my life meaning so it is impossible for me to fight against someone for the sake of personal enjoyment. If you truly wish to battle against me, you must first undergo Revolution and prove to me that you have the right to be here. Afterward, even at the cost of my life, I will do my best to help you train and draw out as much of your hidden potential as possible..."

Hearing the man mention his 'hidden potential', Vahn couldn't help but raise his left brow with an intrigued yet doubtful look on his face. As the living embodiment of The Path, there shouldn't be a being in existence capable of drawing out his 'hidden potential'. After all, he already had an infinite potential for growth, and, so long as he stopped holding himself back, most enemies wouldn't last more than a few exchanges against him. The notion that the man before him could unlock a part of himself that he was unaware of seemed ridiculous, but, at the same time, he couldn't help feeling a little curious...

Before he could agree to the man's proposition, Vahn's words got caught in his throat when Sis suddenly interjected, saying, (*Your power is already developing faster than ever before. Are you certain you want to 'unlock' even more? Even if he allows you to gain access to power you already possess, are you going to be satisfied with growth that wasn't obtained through your own efforts? If you insist on wanting to go through with this, I'm not going to stop you. I just want to make sure you are properly considering your options before making a decision...*)

As it was pretty rare for Sis to interject during such moments, Vahn immediately fell into a state of silent contemplation as he considered her words. He couldn't deny that she had hit the nail on the head, as was often the case, but a part of him felt like he 'should' undergo Revolution. It was almost like there was a silent voice calling out to him from the deepest recesses of his mind, its words even less audible than the mysterious hum of the Mantra of Eternity...

---

Seeing the mysterious individual fall into stunned silence, the God of Guardians, known as Donar to his creators, waited patiently for his answer. This was something he was 'very' used to, so, even after several hours had passed, he didn't find it strange that Vahn hadn't even blinked since the moment he fell silent. It wasn't until a peculiar 'pulse' began to emanate from the statuesque man, much like the distant beating of a heart, that Donar began to realize that something was amiss...

Feeling a paradoxical sense of awe and dread, Donar's expression morphed into a stern grimace as he interrupted the silence, asking, "What are you doing? Did something happen...?"

Blinking in response to the God of Guardian's question, Vahn turned his head up to face the giant individual as he answered, "I was just lost in thought. Tell me, what does this 'Revolution' of yours involve?"

Though he felt there was something 'off' about the man standing before him, Donar's countenance relaxed into a more neutral expression as he explained, "That container behind you is known as the Rice Pot. It is enchanted with a powerful spell that allows those within to tap into the most primal aspects of their character. It allows them to experience a version of themselves that is completely removed from the false notions and pretenses that typically compel people to specific courses of action. In essence, it is a method that allows you to discover your true self, and, in the process, tap into the potential locked within the deepest recesses of a person's soul..."

Nodding his head in response to the God of Guardians' explanation, Vahn surprised the former by manifesting the Little Garden in his right hand. Almost immediately thereafter, a flash of blue light illuminated the relatively dark room as Fenrir, frowning in response to the giant man towering over them, shifted her attention to her Master and asked, "What do I need to do?"

Rather than immediately answering her question, Vahn affectionately ruffled the thick yet silky-smooth fur atop Fenrir's head before explaining, "Similar to Aoko, this man is going to help you unlock your potential through a process known as Revolution. I could present the opportunity to someone else, but I know how hard you work compared to the others. How about it? Do you want to give it a try or do you wish to continue training using your current methods...?"

Having followed her Master for such a long period of time, the notion of 'receiving' power made Fenrir feel more than a little uncomfortable. When she learned the process was meant to unlock power she already possessed, however, she quickly opened up to the idea. After all, if there was anything hidden deep within her soul, it was something she had received from her Master. There was no reason to fear something her Master had bestowed, so, following the God of Guardian's explanation, she fearlessly entered the Rice Pot, eager to meet her so-called 'true self' and unlock the potential contained within her name...

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Those are some big rocks...','Something about this doesn't feel right...','Fenrir is the goodest girl...but why do these last two paragraphs feel 'wrong'...?')

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