416 Sowing Seeds for the Future

During the afternoon, while Vahn was researching with Riveria, his mind continually wandered to Ais's situation and various other things outside of his control. If he had entered the world a thousand years ago, instead of three years, he very well might have stood a chance at changing her fate. Now, however, the only thing he could do was endeavor to make the rest of her life better than the past that had scarred her so deeply. After the recent stint in the Dungeon, where it felt like he was being played by Karma, Vahn had been somewhat hesitant about dealing with so many unknown enemies.

For something to become a manga, or anime, it had to have an overarching plot filled to the brim with villains and evil schemes. Though he could help nurture Bell into the 'hero' of the world, as he was already fated by the record to have such an existence, Vahn couldn't rely on the young boy to settle the matters that plagued him and the Alliance. It very well might be possible, as Vahn was entirely sure how his existence in the record influenced those that were fated to 'save the world' and the like. However, even if Bell somehow could help resolve the problems of Vahn, and his family, he wouldn't be contented just standing at the side and hoping things go well. Vahn knew that, no matter how hard Bell tried, he wouldn't be able to exceed his own growth through The Path. If Vahn put in enough effort, he knew he could become strong enough to endanger the record itself, a realm far beyond what Bell would ever be able to accomplish...

After some time, while Vahn was just mechanically performing experiments, Riveria asked in a low tone, "What is bothering you, Vahn...?" Vahn startled briefly before smiling slight after seeing the concern in Riveria's eyes as he said, "Sorry, Riveria, I was just thinking about how to resolve future matters...it's no big deal, really, I just need to figure out how to become the strongest in the entire world, hahahaha." As he had been speaking, Vahn thought about Eva and the magic spell [Magia Erebia] that he had yet to learn. If it was the strongest ability of a Tier 5 entity, Vahn knew it could probably become the very core of his strength in the future.

Riveria squinted her eyes slightly at Vahn's reaction and said in a somewhat exasperated tone, "You've figured something out...I really wonder how your brain works sometimes. At this rate, by the time I have to return to..." As she spoke, Riveria's words trailed off and a contemplative expression appeared on her face and she shook her head and returned to her own experiment. Vahn arched his brows slightly at her abnormal reaction and wondered if this was one of the situations where he was supposed to be quiet or if it were one of the very rare situations where he should say something. Riveria didn't really like people prying into her life that much, especially when she brought an end to the conversation herself.

After thinking for a short while, Vahn showed a wry smile and decided to say, "After I learn magic from Eva...do you want to become my apprentice?" Riveria head been writing in her notebook and her pen slipped several centimeters after hearing Vahn's words before giving him a moderately incredulous look and asking, "You want me to become your student...?" Vahn nodded his head in a casual manner and continued, "We already treat each other as equals, for the most part, and already learn things from each other without any inhibitions. Eva, though it's not quite that simple, would still be considered my 'Master' when it comes to learning her system of magic. I can't betray her and simply teach it to others, even though I'll be willing to assist in your's, and Lefiya's, research..."

Riveria showed a serious expression for a moment with her hand on her chin before asking, "You're able to recall the image of things within your mind, so you should be able to emulate Eva's magic...or at the very least, draw one of her magic circles?" Vahn's eyes opened slightly before he nodded and said, "I can draw her magic circles, but I can't copy her magic so easy due to its complexity...I think you might be surprised." As he spoke, Vahn whipped out a large piece of paper and started drawing from memory one of Eva's magic spells, Nivis Casus, which creates a magic avalanche of ice and snow that can even, as she claimed, overwhelm Fafnir's anti-magic capabilities.

Seeing that Vahn hadn't questioned why she brought up Eva's magic circles, Riveria released a small sigh of relief through her nose as she looked at the earnest boy that easily gave in to the intrigue and curiosity of others. She didn't actually mind becoming Vahn's student, especially after witnessing all of the innovative things he did, but their difference in status would only cause problems in the future. If it had been many years ago, it might have been possible, but her time was slowly running out as the days ticked by...

Riveria had been intending to return to the Elven Kingdom after finishing Lefiya's training, but it was looking more and more like Vahn would take up a task that should have been her's to complete. She was slowly losing her place within this group and, the stronger Vahn became, the sooner she would inevitably have to leave. Though she could exercise a bit of selfishness, it would become a big problem in the future if she stalled her return for too long. Even if she had long ago stopped believing in the elitist mentality propagated within the Kingdom, Riveria still had an obligation to her people to return one day and share what she had learned in the outside.

If High Elves acted selfishly, not that they were benevolent creatures in her heart, it would cause the Kingdom to collapse over time and eventually lead to cultural decay. The only way to improve the situation was internally, and Riveria needed to actually be there if she wanted to enact the change she wanted to see in her people. Riveria knew that her people would one day be left behind by the times, or a great war would result from their behavior and mistreatment of other races. Now that she had met someone like Vahn, Riveria knew that such a day wasn't far in the future and she didn't want the future generations of Elves to suffer because of the folly of their elders...

While Riveria was watching silently from the side, Vahn traced a total of 139 overlapping magic circles that were far more complex than anything that existed in the Danmachi record. Even Riveria's most powerful magic spell only created a magic circle that made use of 26 magic circles and a variety of complex runes. He didn't understand it entirely yet, but Eva's ability seemed to far outstrip the general conventions of magic within the record and made further use of geometric shapes than the circles themselves.

Instead of forming everything as a single cohesive structure, her magic seemed to alter the structure of the spell as she cast it, allowing her much greater control and power output based on the amount of mana used to cast the spell. Eva could, in the span of several seconds, output more power than Riveria could channel in more than a minute of chanting...all while moving around at supersonic speeds that Vahn couldn't even track with his eyes.

It took him nearly a half-hour, but Vahn finally finished drawing the magic circle that Eva was able to form in an instant. When he was finished, Riveria blinked and turned her attention to the piece of paper for a short while before asking, "Are these all of Eva's magic circles? They're more complex than I expected, but I don't think-" Riveria stopped her words as she saw Vahn shake his head and, with a wry smile on his face, explain, "Though there are 139 magic circles overlapping with each other, they are all part of the same spell, Nivis Casus. When Eva puts in a bit of effort, she can even smash an area of several kilometers with millions of tons of ice and snow...after chanting for about eight seconds."

Riveria had been surprised when Vahn said this complex magic structure all belonged to a single spell, but she actually felt a great deal of fear at the latter part of his words. For someone to have such devastating magic, they could rule over the entire mortal world without anyone being able to oppose them at all. It was closer to the realm of gods than anything than anything a mortal should be able to achieve, regardless of how much effort they put into becoming a capable mage. Riveria wasn't aware of this, as Vahn couldn't share that kind of information, but Eva was much stronger than the majority of gods within Danmachi, at least in her own record.

Eva's power had progressed to a level that, even if she fought against one of the gods in Heaven, she would most likely emerge as the victor without any major challenges, unless she faced someone with a Divinity related to light. In her own world, she had defeated several other 'immortals' and even a host of gods, and this was before she reached the peak of her power. Though she had difficulties facing 'holy', 'sacred', and 'light-based', opponents, she was an entity at a completely different tier than the gods in Danmachi. The fact that she could create a personal dimension, such as the orb that Vahn used, with its own laws showed that she was beyond the capabilities of even a Primordial Deity like Ouranos. The only restriction she faced, other than her curse, was the limitation of her knowledge concerning the laws that governed her record of origin.

Seeing the shock on Riveria's face, Vahn continued, "The scariest part of is how she is able to reinforce her body with mana to grossly exceed the physical limits of other people. Though I have never met anyone at that level, I would put her above Level 10 in parameter development...and she doesn't have the blessing of a falna at all. Without magic power, she probably couldn't even lift a heavy rock but, with her power charged to its maximum, I feel like she could probably punch through the floors of the Dungeon without any real difficulty." This was the biggest difference that Vahn had observed in Eva's magic system, the fact that she could enhance her bodies capabilities without actually using a spell to buff them. If he could actually incorporate her magic system into the record of Danmachi, Vahn felt like the limitations of Level wouldn't be important anymore...assuming the laws of the record didn't restrict its usage any.

Hearing Vahn making another ridiculous claim, which was undoubtedly true, Riveria felt a powerful exhaustion pass through her mind and she released a long sigh without worrying that Vahn was right in front of her. He didn't seem to care about such things anyway so Riveria was quickly beginning to stop caring herself about maintaining appearances. The only thing that really mattered right now, at least in Riveria's mind, was the fact that Vahn's impact on the world would be far greater than she imagined in the future.

Even though there wasn't any guarantee he would be able to learn the same magic as the girl named Eva, he would still be able to understand its structure well enough to document it and research it for the future. Vahn himself might not get to the point where he can threaten the entire continent on his own, but the legacy he leaves behind would undoubtedly stir the world and create an age all its own. A thousand years from now, instead of calling the current era the 'New Age', scholars would likely refer to it as the 'Age of Magic', or even the 'Mason Magic Era'.

Riveria knew that, unless drastic changes were introduced in the world to adapt to the wave Vahn was going to stir up, many countries would be swept up, or even away, when the wave passes them. She knew he would cause strife in the world, even if he wasn't the one to instigate it, but she didn't think it would be to the extent that she was beginning to get a glimpse of. Unless something drastic happened, like Vahn being assassinated before he could influence others, his momentum would slowly become unstoppable. However, if he actually was killed, it might even more chaos in the world when the various goddesses lost any semblance of propriety and lashed out at whoever had the audacity to destroy their 'happiness'.

Vahn was already becoming a powerful influence in the world, even if he wasn't aware of it himself, and his importance was quickly reaching a point where he could potentially move nations to his cause. Riveria hadn't told him about it yet, but one of the reasons the envoy had been dispatched was to see if Vahn was 'worthy' enough to receive an invitation to the Elven Kingdom. He would be the first human in nearly a thousand years to step foot on their sacred ground, and it was all so that the High Elves would be able to 'steal' credit for any of Vahn's achievements in the future. Riveria also knew that, if Vahn actually accepted the invitation and went to the Elven Kingdom, he would probably be killed soon after they realized they couldn't control him. Fortunately, she knew Vahn would refuse the offer since he had powerful ties to the City, though she had discussed the matter with Loki and Hephaestus to make sure he didn't fall into their scheme.

The 'network' around Vahn was becoming a powerful force that would be able to protect Vahn from almost any real harm that might come his way. In the next several decades, the Alliance may very well control the entire City of Orario, or at the very least one of the eight sections of the City in its entirety. Even without Vahn doing anything personally, there will be hundreds-of-thousands of people at his backing, just because the ideals he represents for so many people. Ouranos would likely promote him as a hero for the masses and Vahn would have a strong relationship with many gods and goddess because of his actions. Even if it was only ten goddesses per year, Vahn would have won over more than half the gods in the entire City in the span of a decade...

For the second time, Riveria released a long sigh before looking at Vahn patiently waiting for her to compose herself. Shaking her head slightly, Riveria showed an almost imperceptible smile and made a decision that she hoped would save her people from the inevitable destruction they would have wrought themselves, "If you're able to learn that level of magic from Eva within the next three years, I will become, not your apprentice, but another one of your disciples. However, when that time comes..." Riveria's smile turned into a slight frown as she struggled to finish her words. Instead of continuing in the same vein, Riveria decided to simply observe Vahn's progress for the time being and said, "Make sure you select your future disciples well...even if its a girl that you love, it doesn't necessarily mean they are capable of properly using that level of magic. Please think about the consequences of your actions on future generations if someone with a cruel nature learned the level of magic your Master is going to teach you..."

As she had suggested, Vahn imagined, not anyone else, himself using the cataclysmic level of magic that Eva employed with a 'wave' of her hand. If used indiscriminately, Vahn would be able to conquer entire nations as long as he had enough energy in his reserves to handle the output. Since there would be no mages comparable to him, there wouldn't be any major opposition and, if he was truly an 'evil' person, he could even bombard entire cities from the stratosphere...before anyone knew what happened, Vahn could enact mass genocide on a group of people without them being able to muster any real resistance against him at all. Of course, he wouldn't be able to get to Eva's level within the record, as he would be forced to leave the record long before then lest he destroys the entire thing.

Even a portion of her power, however, was enough to be uncontested within the world unless there were people comparable to him in power present. As Riveria was suggesting, even if the people he taught were all kind people, it didn't mean their descendants would be kind at all. It was very possible that, like the elitism imposed by the elves, his future descendants would band together and create a 'society' of their own that imposed its ideals on other groups. Vahn knew there would be a lot of conflicts later in his life, and this would lead to resentment that would be born by future generations...it was somewhat terrifying to consider. He could dedicate his entire life to bringing peace to the world but, if he made any major mistakes in his decision making, it could eventually lead to great travesties in the future, long after he left the record.

After imagining the potential devastation that could be wrought after his passing, Vahn nodded his head and stated as confidently as he could manage, "I will do my best, Riviera, but I'm only one person. The most I can do is live by the example I believe in and hope that people are inspired by the life I lived..." Vahn's mind was suddenly brought to the street orphans he had met in the past, and the children at Maria's Orphanage. As if he had discovered something important, Vahn brought his fist to the palm of his hand as a large smile appeared on his face and he said, "I know what I can do! When I gain enough power and influence, I can open up a school in the future and do my best to make sure the legacy we're creating now would be passed down through a large number of people!"

Riveria thought the idea of a school was a good idea, but she also knew it would actually increase the chances of something going 'wrong' in the far future. Before she was able to comment, however, Vahn shook his head with a smile and said, "I don't have to teach them the powerful spells that Eva uses, but we can still teach them the basics of how to interpret the 'language' of magic. If we let people make breakthroughs in a natural manner, after helping them cultivate the proper mentality, their innovations would eventually spread throughout the entire world. If we avoid the situation where we place an emphasis on any specific race, and always advocate the idea that personal motivation and achievements are what matters, we could potentially create an entire generation of scholars that endeavor to shape the world in a positive light. It's not a sure-fire solution, but it beats having my future descendants becoming tyrants just because they think they are special by virtue of their birth...even if I treat my children special, that is because they are special to me, not by providence."

Hearing Vahn's words, Riveria released another sigh because she knew that what Vahn was proposing is similar to the changes she wanted to see in her own people. The difference is, he was taking the steps to prevent it from becoming a problem from the beginning, whereas she was trying to undo millennia of self-propagating elitism. If Vahn's school accepted any race and actually made them able to use magic, it would probably become one of the symbols of power in the City and propel Orario into a new era that would revolutionize the entire world.

If Vahn broke down what made races 'special' and cultivated the mentality that the only thing that mattered was one's efforts, it could very well change the world for the better. There would undoubtedly be bad seeds, but they would be able to see such people growing up and simply weed them out of the system early on. This would inevitably breed resentment in people, but they would always fall far behind the progress of those that make real efforts to improve their lives and the lives of those around them...

After thinking the matter over for a while, Riveria made another decision that she hoped would impact her people in a meaningful way, "When...or should I say 'if' that time comes, I'd like to assist in the curriculum development and also bring some of the students from the Elven Magic Academy to attend." Riveria knew the most important peopel to influence were the younger generations and, if she could change the mentality of a few children, they would have a powerful influence of everyone else within their social circles. If she hand-picked a few capable students and had them study under Vahn for a year, Riveria knew it would completely change their perception of the world and, when they eventually returned back to the Academy, their changes would be noted by others.

Even if there were teachers that tried to call into question Vahn's teachings, they simply couldn't do anything to deny the facts before their eyes, especially if it was public. If they didn't change their teachings and continued to advocate that Elves were a superior species, they could simply be denied the right to send students to Vahn's school in the future. It might not show for the first few years, but after an entire generation, the Elves would feel the pressure from being left further and further behind the rest of the world, or at the very least Orario.

Vahn nodded his head but began to laugh after understanding a part of Riveria's intentions. He knew she possessed a strong sense of duty and felt a great deal of pressure to fulfill her obligations to her people. She would probably protect the information she obtains as his 'disciple', but Riveria would be able to teach the children at the school he would build and slowly change the status quo within the Elven Kingdom over time. To ensure that she was in the best position to do so, Vahn gave Riveria a wide smile and said, "When the time comes, I'll have you be one of the teachers at the school. It'll be easier for Elves, or potentially even High Elves, if their teacher is one of their own kind. Of course, I plan for everyone to have multiple teachers, but you can be the one primarily responsible for their education."

Riveria squinted her eyes slightly at Vahn's words and considered the matter for a moment before deciding it was probably the best course of action to take. If she truly accepted Vahn as her 'Master' in the future, it would already cause a bit of unrest in her homeland, but that was a risk Riveria would have to take in order to guarantee the Elves had a place in the world Vahn would create. She knew Vahn's existence was something to enact necessary change in the world, so the only thing she could do was ride the wave, lest she gets swept up and crushed by the immense momentum he would generate...

As if realizing something very amusing, Vahn looked at Riveria with a mischevious smile on his face and remarked, "If you become my 'disciple', that would mean Haruhime and Lili have seniority over you...hahahahahaha." Riveria's eyes opened slightly wider after hearing Vahn's words before she began to, against his expectations, laugh along with him. Vahn felt a chill run down his back as she looked at him with her jade-green eyes and said, "We'll see...you never know what might change in the future, especially with someone that irresponsibly breaks common sense present...fufufufufu." Vahn swallowed hard at Riveria's words before commenting, inside his mind, ("Is that any way to talk to your future Master...?") As if she had read his mind, Riveria squinted her eyes and said, "You have a long way to go if you want me to call you with honorifics...Vahn."

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Vahn considers using Bell, kappa','Power to shake the world','Dan-na-sa-ma~?')

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