Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 2030 | einlion
With red-horned tendrils erupting from various parts of his body, Jahad lay at the bottom of an abyssal pit with a contemplative and slightly incredulous look on his face. He had come into this fight with the intent of going all out for the first time in millennia. It wasn't an exaggeration to say he had even been looking forward to it, as, for the first time since he had become King, someone with the power to oppose him had finally appeared.
Until this very moment, Jahad had expected things to be relatively close between him and Vahn. He knew the latter possessed tremendous might but it shouldn't be to the point he was invincible. The universe had a way of balancing things out, so, even if Vahn's power was beyond comprehension, it had to have some kind of weakness. So long as he discovered what it was, Jahad was confident that he could, at the very least, force an internecine outcome.
It wasn't like he had come into the fight without any information whatsoever. Rather, thanks to the seals worn by his daughters, combined with the Opera he had appropriated from the Tperie Family, Jahad been watching Vahn during all the key moments of his climb up the Tower. He had observed every major battle Vahn had taken part in, and, more importantly, documented each of the actions that led to the former's growth. It was fair to say that his information regarding Vahn was the most comprehensive within the entire Tower, but, as if none of that mattered at all, Jahad found himself seriously considering whether or not he could harm a single hair on the former's head...
"Kyeukyeukyeukyeukyeuk! This is what you get for not listening to me when I offered to grant you even greater power! Luckily for you, it's not too late! So long as you accept my power, there will no longer be anything in this Tower that can stand in our way! Sage Dragon Emperor? Ureko Mazino? Phantaminum? They will either kneel or die...!"
Without waiting for Jahad's consent, the demon sealed within his body, Pride, attempted to extend his tendrils into the former's mind. This caused the eye-like chains on Jahad's forehead to glow with a vibrant, bloody, light. As for the man himself, his expression had hardened into a severe glower as he plainly stated, "What a farce. You're simply a pawn of the Workshop. Had I never listened to your temptations, my friends and I might have already conquered the Tower by now. Because of you, I let my heart become corrupted and ended up driving away everyone I ever cared about. If you think I'll spend the last moments of my life clinging to someone else's power, you've severely misjudged me. I am Jahad! Before becoming known as the King of the Tower, I was first called King of Adventurers! I have never needed your power...!"
Though he could not completely inhibit the encroachment of Pride, Jahad punctuated his statement by ripping away the tendrils sticking out of his right arm. Then, with a majestic golden aura erupting from his body, he ascended towards the sky with such extreme speed that he practically teleported.
"Vahn Aldrnari Mason! Consider this my last request! This next attack is the most powerful attack in my original arsenal! Grant me the privilege of measuring the distance between your most powerful attack and my own...!"
Following these words, Jahad extended his left hand to form a claw. Immediately thereafter, a series of cracks appeared at the center of his palm, almost as if something was trying to break free.
"It's been a long time old friend...let's go out with a bang..."
"Jahad Style Transcendent Skill - Gae Bolg...!"
In the brief interval between Jahad's request and the moment his attack was released, a conflicted look had appeared on Vahn's face. Much less Jahad, the Tower itself might not be able to withstand his strongest attack. Thus, while he wanted to honor the man's last request, the simple truth of the matter was that the situation didn't merit such a response...
"Well, it's not like he'll be able to tell the difference between this and my strongest attack..."
Having made his decision, Vahn, once again, manifested Laev-tan. Then, as time began its slow yet gradual crawl forward, he held her in a manner reminiscent of a sword prayer and whispered, "The path of the sword has no endings, only new beginnings. Every moment flows into the next, and, no matter how far you walk, the road only grows longer. Fortunately, it is not a path walked alone. No. It is an opportunity to grow closer with the companions we encounter along the way. Wouldn't you agree, my precious little Laev-tan?"
Throughout the chant-like payer, the fiery cracks covering Laev-tan's length had increased in size and intensity. It appeared as though she would explode into countless fragments at any moment, yet, in spite of this, an exceptionally excited, ("Nn!") resonated from within the fiery blade.
Feeling Laev-tan's excitement spread throughout his body, a smile developed across Vahn's face as he promptly pointed her tip towards his chest and shouted, "Even the all-consuming flames cannot burn without limit! Destruction and Creation are two sides of the same coin! The time has come! Set alight the divine forge! Awaken! Nidavellir...!"
Without a single moment's hesitation, Vahn thrust Laev-tan's blade into the very center of his being. At the exact same moment, the cracks adorning her length spontaneously exploded, mystical white light reminiscent of starlight emerging from within. Said light formed a cacoon around Vahn's body, but, if you were to look closely, it was possible to make out her blade retracting into his chest and back before the light enveloping them formed into a crystallized egg.
From the perspective of Jahad, a blindingly white light had emitted from Vahn's the moment he shouted the name of his own attack. Rather than focusing on this, however, he channeled every ounce of his energy into the golden spear protruding from his palm. At a glance, it looked like the golden needle he had been famous for since a time long before his ascent up the Tower. In reality, much like the lightning bolt that had been sealed within Eduan's arm, it was a legendary weapon that had been recovered from a mysterious island back on his homeworld. According to scholars, it could even lay low the Gods, and, so long as it recognized the user, it was capable of producing an attack that simply couldn't be blocked, avoided, or mitigated. (A/N: Scathach would like to know your location...)
It was the existence of Gae Bolg that gave Jahad the confidence to force an internecine outcome. It was his ultimate trump card, and, during his battle against the King of Killer Whales, Levithan, it was instrumental in allowing him to defeat the beast with power comparable to a Guardian...
Placing even his faith in the attack, Jahad observed with rapt attention as the spear turned into a flash of golden lightning that instantaneously branched into countless faster-than-light beams of energy. Several of these impacted the egg-like shell surrounding Vahn, but, instead of piercing the relatively thin-looking membrane, every single beam immediately reflected away from the surface. This wasn't enough to dissipate them, but, the moment he saw the highly penetrative beams simply bounce off of Vahn's protective barrier, the color drained away from Jahad's face.
Fortunately, he wasn't afforded the time to even consider giving in to despair, as, shortly after the first beams of light struck, a crack appeared on the 'egg'. From the perspective of Jahad, said crack slowly expanded from its starting point, but, in reality, less than a picosecond had transpired by the time Vahn erupted from the egg and stabbed him in the chest. As for the movements leading up to this development, Jahad hadn't been able to perceive them in the slightest.
"You're the first person to witness this technique in an actual combat situation. Satisfied...?"
Though he had managed to process Vahn's words, Jahad was more distracted by the fact that the beams of light produced by his Gae Bold had arced back in an attempt to pierce the former from behind. The moment they came into contact with the angelic white wings that now protruded from his back, however, they simply shattered like glass without so much as singing so much as a single one of his feathers.
Despite offering a casual smile, Vahn didn't wait for Jahad to recover from his stunned silence. The red tendrils in and around his body had started to gain ground as a result of his distracted mind, so, before the King could become little more than a puppet, he appended, "You'll have to be..."
Punctuating this statement, the feather-like scales covering Vahn's forearm and fusing his right hand together with his silver-white sword began to turn crimson red. At the same time, originating from the point where his sword had pierced Jahad's chest, a strange distortion occurred as Jahad, the tentacles protruding from his body, and even the fate attached to him began to dissolve away.
Borrowing a page from the residents of the Tower, Vahn's expression became inordinately serious as he exclaimed, "Sage Dragon Emperor's Secret Technique - Fate Severing...!"
The moment Vahn's words fell, the crimson red tentacles protruding from Jahad's body became little more than a red mist before promptly disappearing into thin air. A similar phenomenon was occurring to the rest of his body, but, thanks to a thin veil of Source Energy, he was able to persist long enough to smile and reply, "The distance was much further than I expected. It's a shame we didn't meet sooner. I would have liked to...experience...an adventure...with you..."
Though his smile had persisted until the very end, a tremendous amount of regret could be seen in Jahad's eyes as his body and spirit dissipated into the void. Not even his Ego had been spared from Vahn's attack, so, despite possessing tremendous willpower and an extraordinary amount of Karma, his next life would be a fresh start. As for Vahn, his Karma suddenly increased by several billion, but, in spite of this, his Status continued to display nothing but question marks for the actual value.
"I wonder if this means I'm no longer influenced by things like fate and karma..."
Shaking his head, a wry smile developed across Vahn's face as he realized this was, at best, wishful thinking. He might not possess a fate of his own, but, so long as there were beings more powerful than himself, Karma would continue to be an influence in his life. There was even a chance one of the Deities within the Divine Realm would send something to 'test' him the moment he leaves the Tower, so, until he reached Tier 7, it was best to respect Karma and her influence on the Record.
Having formed that resolution, Vahn shifted his attention to the silvery-white sword protruding from his hand, musing, "I wonder if this is how the original Ichigo felt like when he activated the Final Getsuga Tensho? The power of Shukai...even I can't help feeling this is a little excessive..."
Though it didn't appear in every iteration of Bleach, Shukai, meaning Mastered Release, was the third and final transformation a Zanpakuto and its user could achieve. It was the state where the user and their Zanpakuto fused to become a singular entity, and, as a result, they had received a shared name. This was even updated in his status, so, for the time being, Vahn was no longer Vahn Aldrnari Mason. Instead, he had become Nidavellir, a name originating from the Dwarven Realm of Norse Mythology.
Nidavellir was the place where countless legendary weapons had been forged. Laev-tan's desire to allow him to wield multiple weapons, combined with his skills as a Divine Smith, had culminated in a form that embodied one of the most legendary homes of craftsman across all Records. It allowed him to create powerful weapons and defensive armaments with a mere thought, but, as powerful as this was, the thing that terrified Vahn the most was how his domain had spread to encompass the entirety of the 134th Floor's Middle Tower...a region roughly the size of North and South America combined...
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Plagiarism...!','That's one way to save OP...','I can't even imagine how happy Laev-tan is right now (>,...,<)...')
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