Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos

Chapter 23 - A Qualitative Change



Chapter 23 - A Qualitative Change

Vahn awoke staring at a foreign ceiling. His limbs felt like lead and his breathing was labored. He felt the familiar cooling sensation of his 'Pain Tolerance (S)' skill which brought some clarity to his mind.

Opening his inventory, Vahn pulled out a 'senzu bean'. Given the current state of his body, it would likely take a long period of time to recover and he wasn't willing to wait it out.

After ingesting the 'senzu bean' he felt his body begin to warm up. The cooling sensation that had been permeating throughout his mind began to recede, allowing a powerful migraine to take its place.

Vahn gripped his head and began to massage his temples in an effort to alleviate the pain. ("Sis, why doesn't my pain tolerance work on this migraine? It feels like my brain is about to split open.")

(*...*)

Hearing the 'silence' Vahn felt something was off. Sis had never ignored him before so he began to panic, throwing the pain of his head to the back of his mind.

"Sis? What's wrong, why are you not responding?" Due to his anxiety, he ended up asking the question out loud. The nearby nurse heard his exclamation and left to inform the Doctor what had happened.

Seeing her exit, Vahn calmed down a bit and spoke in his mind. ("Please respond Sis. I can't bear the silence...")

A mechanical sigh sounded. (*I'm here Vahn, I'm just a little upset and thought I should punish you a little.*)

Vahn was ecstatic to hear her response but became confused after hearing the latter part of her words. ("Punish? What did I do wrong Sis?") He thought back to everything that happened today. No matter how hard he strained himself he was unable to reason why Sis would be mad at him.

(*Of course you did something wrong! You almost died, and no matter how much I shouted to get your attention you just lay there bleeding out! Even when you finally woke up and I started to feel relieved, you continued to ignore my prompts and just went on a killing spree!*)

Vahn was shocked hearing what she said. He did seem to recall that during the moment he was losing consciousness he thought someone was calling out to him. And after he woke up, the only thing he could think of was killing everything that opposed him...

He realized his actions had caused Sis to worry about him.

("I'm sorry Sis. I promise not to ignore you in the future. You are the most important companion in my life, and I didn't mean to make you worry so much.") Vahn apologized in earnest, but couldn't help but feel a warmth spreading in his heart due to her concern.

(*Apology accepted Vahn...just make sure never to end up in that kind of situation again.*)

Vahn balled both his hands into fists while nodding. A firm expression appeared on his face as a glow emitted from the depths of his eyes...

Through the door came two people. Vahn recognized the first person as the elf he had seen before entering the dungeon. He wore a grim expression as he looked towards the location where Vahn was resting. The second person was an old lady with silver hair and grey eyes. She was dressed in white robes and had a powerful smell of medicine wafting from her body.

"Vahn Mason, I would think my advice when we spoke earlier was very straightforward. After everything I had said to prepare you for the dungeon, you return just a few hours later covered in blood? I am very disappointed with your lack of awareness." Nicholas looked at the boy who had a blank expression on his face and couldn't help but let out a sigh.

Before he could continue his lecture, the old woman interrupted. "That's enough of that now Nicholas. The boy just woke up and is probably still confused according to the nurse. Let me take care of things from here."

Surrendering to the gaze of the Doctor, Nicholas decided to excuse himself for the moment. He was able to confirm the boy had awoken and he could lecture him at a later date. He nodded at the Doctor before frowning in the direction of Vahn as he left the room.

Vahn felt guilty under the gaze of Nicholas and hung his head.

Seeing the expression and demeanor of the young man, the old lady couldn't help but chuckle. "It's good that you realize your error lad. Not everyone has the opportunity to listen to the lectures of others after making such a grave mistake."

Vahn heard what she said and nodded in approval. He decided to do something to make it up to Nicholas in the future.

Satisfied with the boys' response, the old woman introduced herself. "I'm the Doctor that had performed first aid when you were brought into the ward. Most of the folks around here call me Granny Marin, feel free to do the same."

Hearing her word Vahn decided to thank her. "Thanks, Granny Marin. I'm grateful for your help and will do my best to repay this favor in the future..."

Granny Marin waved her hand to dismiss his words. "We can talk about payment and stuff later. What I'm curious about is how you're even awake at this moment. With the state your body was in you should have been asleep for several days, not just a couple of hours."

Vahn took a moment to come up with an explanation. His hesitation didn't escape Marin's eye as she began to squint slightly.

"I have a passive regeneration skill and when I woke up I drank a few potions to recover my health and stamina." Thinking she might inquire further, Vahn mumbled while raising his hand. In his palm, a transparent red potion appeared which shocked Granny Marin.

"Storage Magic? How rare...." She seemed to think for a while before shaking her head. "I won't ask any more questions then. The only things I need to know is how to best help my patients, and you don't seem to be in need of my skills."

Vahn once again thanked her and accepted her advice to stay overnight just in case any complications appear.

Left alone in the room Vahn decided to take the opportunity to review the skill he had obtained in the dungeon. It had been nagging at the back of his mind for a while, and he wanted to know exactly what it was. He couldn't ignore a skill that granted so much power.

['Will of the Emperor']

Rank: Innate (SSS) *Innate skills cannot be identified. Attempts to do so will result in a backlash.*

[Passive]: Transcend all limitations and boundaries. Increases growth based on the conviction of the wielder and their followers.

[Active]: Only those who stand above the ranks of all creatures are privy to the 'Will of the Emperor'!

-Creates a domain that suppresses those much weaker than the user. Has a moderate influence on those that are stronger.

Reading the description Vahn was gobsmacked. He quickly checked his stats to see if they had changed.

==========================================================

Name: Vahn Mason

Age: 14

Race: Human, *sealed*

Parameters: Danmachi

-Level:1[+](0)

-Power: D604 -> A893

-Endurance: E529 -> B714

-Dexterity: D620 -> B799

-Agility: E589 -> A811

-Magic: G326 -> SS1124

-Total: 4241 (A/N: Since people wanted me to include this.)

Soul Strength: Tier 2 (Hero Soul)

Karma:704

==========================================================

All of his stats experienced a qualitative improvement, especially his Magic which had broken through to SS. If others were to see his parameters they would be shocked! Other than Bell who had yet to begin his journey, he was likely the only Level 1 in the City to break through the S rank in magic. They would probably faint if they knew he didn't even know how to cast any spells...

Vahn continued to stare blankly at his parameters before noticing an abnormality. His soul strength, which had been Tier 1 ever since he obtained 'The Path' had actually increased to Tier 2! After thinking for a while, he suspected this was the reason for the abnormal growth of his magic.

As if to confirm his theory, the migraine which he had been ignoring for so long reared its ugly head. The mental strain of overdrafting his 'source' energy, or mana, had burdened his mind resulting in his current suffering.

He had experienced a milder version of the same situation when he experimented with his bow several weeks ago. After trying to test the capacity of the bow to determine its limits, he ended up going too far and almost passed out on the archery range. It took nearly two hours before he was able to recover and continue the test.

Vahn continued to browse through his various stats and functions. Once he turned to his inventory he couldn't help but release a sigh. He was in a unique state of mind when he was slaughtering his way through the second floor. Because of that, he didn't pick up a single core or drop-item after leaving the first floor.

("Looks like I'll be going back to roasted meat until I can earn some Valis.") Lamenting at his current lack of funds, Vahn was suddenly struck by a brilliant idea.

("Sis, the shop allows me to exchange for pretty much any kind of item from every world, right? Can I exchange OP for Valis?") Vahn began to get excited at the prospect of earning easy money. With the system he might not even have to go to the guild and exchange his items in the future.

(*It is possible Vahn, but you should know there are negative consequences for doing so. The exchange rate remains the same for all levels of currency due to the common nature of the material, but you would acc.u.mulate a corresponding amount of negative Karma depending on its real-world value.*)

Vahn was devastated. Though he wanted to be able to earn money easily, he didn't want to do it at the expense of earning negative karma. He had learned previously that the higher value someone's negative karma, the more likely terrible events would happen in the future. There was even the possibility of inviting retribution from the worlds 'Laws' if it got too high.

("Why does creating money generate negative karma, Sis?") Given Vahns lack of common sense when it came to money, he was unable to comprehend how it was considered a bad thing. (A/N: He didn't buy anything in his previous life. You can literally count the stuff he has purchased on both hands!)

(*It is a result of the nature of money as a balancing factor within society. A currency has to be strictly regulated by the governing body of every country or it can destabilize the economy and cause adverse effects on all levels of society. If you were to arbitrarily create funds and introduce them into the market, it could cause serious consequences for business and citizens in the future. This is one of the reasons it is considered against the law to create currency, and thus the reason why it generates negative karma when doing so.*) (A/N: I am not an economics guru.)

Though he wasn't sure he understood, he could see that creating money was bad. He tried thinking about it from various angles, but couldn't rationalize how something that seemed so important to maintain order was regulated by others. How did they know when to make more money? And what stopped them from giving themselves as much money as they wanted?

He shook his head and lay back in his bed. The only thing that really mattered was that he had to earn money on his own, or exchange for items within the system to sell later. Since he was even able to purchase monster cores and drop items from the system, he could accept missions at the Guild and simply exchange for the required resources...

Thinking he had found a loop-hole to circ.u.mvent the problem Vahn began to fall asleep wearing a smile on his face...

(*Exchanging for items within the system to complete missions would also give negative karma...*)

Vahn blacked out after hearing Sis burst his bubble.