Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 1856
Chapter 1856: Perception
Teleporting from the barren trial chamber, Vahn found himself in a circular room connecting a total of sixteen different corridors. He noticed roman numerals above some of them while others showed various different symbols that denoted things such as anvils, shields, needles, apples, or beds.
Understanding the symbols to denote the types of facilities found within each corridor, Vahn briefly considered his options before calling out Ryun from the Little Garden. She immediately greeted him with a smile, but, sensing something was wrong, her expression shifted to a concerned countenance as she asked, "Did something happen? Are you okay...?"
Extending both hands, Vahn began to fluff up Ryun's hair and ears, an affectionate smile gradually spreading across his face as he answered, "My mood has been soured by a certain revelation. Don't worry, it will improve with the passage of time. For now, let's find a place to rest."
Though she couldn't hide the concern visible in her ruby-red eyes, Ryun still nodded in response to her Master's words before pointing towards one of the corridors identified by a bed, saying, "If you seek the members of Team John, they can be found towards the end of this corridor. The others are currently empty."
Smiling in response to Ryun's words, Vahn cupped the sides of her face, restoring her smile with a gentle peck on the lips. Then, with Fenrir tucked away inside of his shirt, he walked hand-in-hand with the redheaded Vanargandr until they reached one of the individual residences located near the very end of the corridor. There, he prevented her from transforming into her puppy form so that he could hug her from behind, enjoying the calming fragrance emanating from the base of her ears as she cradled Fenrir in her arms. This made it a little difficult for her to remain calm, but, after an hour or so, she invariably joining Fenrir in the land of dreams as Vahn continued to hug them both, eyes still exuding a fading golden luminosity...
Opening his eyes, Vahn was surprised to find himself in the middle of a seemingly endless plane of slaughter. There were countless weapons stabbed into the ground and littered about among a sea of corpses that stretched far beyond the horizon. Above, where one would expect to find a brilliant sky or a sea of stars, the debris of countless worlds could be seen crashing together in a cataclysmic fashion as creatures comparable to the planets themselves exchanged blows that could be felt even at his current location.
Noticing a twelve-winged golden dragon among the group of monstrous combatants, Vahn's eyes opened even wider as he felt a certain familiarity with the massive creature. Immediately thereafter, he found himself staring at the world from the dragon's perspective, his senses expanding to cover a region larger than a solar system. This allowed him to perceive the vastness of his prior battlefield, his pupils shrinking to find points as he noticed that it had been taking place on a single scale of an incomprehensibly large serpent.
Just as Vahn felt a tugging in his mind, drawing him towards the colossal serpent, an indescribable pain radiated from his back as a monstrous white tiger tore away one of his wings. This brought his attention back to the dragon's previous engagement, but, before he could punish the hateful beast for daring to sneak attack him, his mind blanked as he realized the winged white tiger looked 'very' similar to Baihu. To further exacerbate matters, he noticed that, among the innumerable corpses of planet-sized creatures, a fiery bird resembling Zhuque could be seen hugging a miniature star in an attempt to regenerate a severed wing...
Before he could look around to identify any of the other combatants, an unbridled feeling of rage spread through Vahn's mind as he felt another sharp pain, this time from his side. The Baihu-like winged tiger had just buried its teeth into his flank, seemingly intent on exploiting his momentary distraction. This caused a sun-like luminance to erupt from his body as a voice not his own echoed through the surrounding void, stating, "Submit...!" in a tone that resonated so powerfully that many nearby planets fragmented into dust.
Feeling a sensation similar to a nosebleed, only from his mind, Vahn felt his consciousness rapidly receding until an icy chill spread through his mind, followed by a second, infinitely more powerful voice, replying, "Even the Greatest Gods in Heaven gaze outwards towards the Abyss..."
Following this simple attestation of the truth, Vahn felt his perception erupt outward, far beyond anything he had ever experienced before. Even the 'incomprehensibly large' serpent from before, its length great enough to span the distance between galaxies, suddenly seemed insignificant against the vastness of the universe beyond. In fact, from an 'outside' perspective, even the grand conflicts between god-like beings seemed completely meanings, their very existence holding less value than the constituent particles of the universe...
As that thought crossed his 'mind', Vahn found himself staring dazedly at what appeared to be a single speck of dust among countless others floating about against an unfathomable expanse of nothingness. His awareness of the other specks caused his perception to grow even further, and, in the next moment, he found himself staring at a singular mote of light as an indefinable chill spread through his 'body'. He felt as though it pierced every part of him, but, rather than coldness, it was a sensation of 'nothingness' that completely transcended his previous perception of the Law...
Though he awoke with a start, Vahn was horrified to realize that he couldn't feel or move a single part of his body. It was like he was having an out of body experience, and, much like when he was guiding his intent around, he could move about freely, change his orientation, pass through walls, and even transition to different points in space in an instant. This was something he was intimately familiar with, but, compared to his previous usages of the ability, it was like the difference between viewing a world through a screen and entering said world directly.
Looking down on his own body, seemingly frozen in time, Vahn suddenly felt a disconcerting sense of 'unfamiliarity' with himself. It was like he was looking at a complete stranger, and, for a very brief moment, he even felt a small amount of 'resentment' towards the figure embracing two of his loved ones. This notion filled him with an indescribable sense of incongruity, and, shortly thereafter, it was like the entire world had begun spinning rapidly as a 'tugging' sensation reminiscent of his entrance into the Record gave him an irresistible urge to vomit.
Opening his eyes wide, Vahn released his hold on Ryun, blinking to the side of the best in an instant to eject a large volume of viscous black liquid onto the floor. This caused both girls to startle awake, and, as could be expected, they both rushed to his side; concern and confusion visible in their gazes as they watched him retching 'air'. Neither could see the substance expelled from his body, but, due to their overwhelmingly strong bond, Fenrir knew he was spitting up something. As a result, she did her best to comfort him, patting his back as she looked to Ryun and said, "Stay off of the floor. We can't see it, but there is something there...something dangerous..."
Realizing she might be in the way, Ryun nodded in response to Fenrir's words before retreating to her previous position. She could also sense something dangerous, but, unlike Fenrir, her feeling of dread was derived from the connection she shared with the Tower. This usually allowed her to see the myriad paths of fate, but, for the time being, the only thing her senses as a Guide could detect was 'absolute nothingness'. It was like the entirety of fate had been subsumed, and, at least for the time being, she couldn't see so much as a single second into the future...
Fortunately, it only took a few minutes for Vahn to recover, the contents of his 'stomach' completely emptied. By that point, the entire floor had been covered in several centimeters of the viscous black substance, it's surface glistening with a peculiar rainbow hue. This had caught Vahn's attention, but, the moment he actually tried to observe it, the entirety of the black substance had vanished without a trace. This left him feeling strangely 'empty', but, considering he had just discharged more than a thousand gallons of anomalous black liquid from his stomach, feeling 'empty' was pretty normal.
Wiping away traces of 'nothing' from his mouth, Vahn turned to the worried Fenrir with a wry smile on his face as he mused, "Well...that was unexpected..." in a somewhat hoarse tone. This resulted in Fenrir pouncing on him, tears building at the corners of her eyes as she squeezed him hard enough to force the air from his lungs as she sobbingly replied, "I was so worried...please don't leave me..."
Though he was a little confused by Fenrir's words, awareness hit Vahn like a ton of bricks when Sis directed his attention to his Status. This caused his eyes to widen to an almost comical extent, but, with a crying girl in his arms, he had other matters to attend. That didn't stop him from sneaking a few peeks, however, a cold sweat breaking out across his body as he contemplated the implications of such a status...
Name: [Error], Sobriquet: [Error]
Race: [Error], *sealed*
Parameters: [Transcendental Path to Heaven: 1-6]
Shinsu Resistance: [Error]
Soul Tier: 5 (Realm Soul)
Origin Points: 69,772,031
Innates: [Will of the Emperor: SSS], [Rakshasa Body: SS], [Keeper of the Akashic Tome: B], [Eyes of Truth: A], [Universal Mind: C], [Actualization: (-)]
Skills: [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error], [Error]...
Rank: Innate (-) *Innate Skills cannot be identified. Attempts to do so will result in a backlash*
[Passive]: An ability attributed to the one who walks freely through all planes of existence. When viewed from the outside, all things become fiction. When viewed from within, perception gives rise to actuality. When not viewed, all things cease to be. Reality is shaped by perception. Perception is shaped by Comprehension. Comprehension is shaped by Will. Will is shaped by Intent.
[Active]: [Internal Reality]: Allows the user to link fictional worlds to their own Internalized Realm. Linked worlds exist within the same Metaversal Plane.
[Active]: [Metaversal Crossroads]: Allows the user to enter a fictional world at any point within Time and Space.
[Active]: [Causality Manipulation]: Allows the user to shape events within a fictional world through their intentions.
[Active]: [Subjective Manifestation]: Allows the user to freely assume the identity of anyone prior to entering a fictional world.
[Active]: [Existence Erasure]: Allows the user to erase all evidence related to their existence from a fictional world.
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Healing with fluff...','Some say that, when you gaze into the Abyss, it gazes back. In reality, however, the Abyss has always been watching (OwO)...'I think Vahn just broke...?')
(A/N: It took a lot longer than I expected to write this chapter. Reading up on abstract concepts and trying to find a way to incorporate them into a narrative is harder than you'd think. This is the first time I actually had trouble getting to 2,000 words in a single chapter. Heck, without this little note, I would have only been around 1900. My shamelessness has evolved to a new level (OwO)...')
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