Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 1457
With Heracles and Atalanta out of the way, Vahn knew the vast majority of Jason's power had been sealed away. His Noble Phantasm seemed to require that he convince those within to support him, something he would find extremely difficult without Heracles' aid.
While Jason was the actual Captain of the Argo, more than seventy of its eighty-five recorded members had sailed at the behest of Heracles. If he had not been able to trick Heracles into sailing with him, the majority of Jason's exploits would be forgotten by time. Had he not been favored by the Goddess Athena, he wouldn't have even had a ship to sail upon as it had been the direct result of her efforts that the legendary vessel had been constructed.
Put simply, Jason was only a Hero because he had been chosen to become a Hero by one of the notoriously corrupt Olympian Gods. Had Athena not taken exception to Jason's uncle usurping his throne using unscrupulous means, he would have been little more than a pampered prince. He was nothing but an opportunist who had everything handed to him on a golden platter, freely exploiting everyone around him in order to secure what he believed to be his destiny.
With these thoughts serving as fuel for the flame that had begun to blaze within him, Vahn made his way through the surprisingly calm and serene palace. It's interior beauty, while drastically different in structure, was comparable to the Ivory Castle. Though it was a little strange to have rabbits watching him pass in silence, it was nothing compared to the peculiarities that could be found within the Yokai District. Rather, if the circumstances had been different, Vahn would have liked to pet and feed the curious creatures, finding their unique appearances rather charming...
While making a mental note to bring Astrid and the others to play within Chang'e's palace in the future, Vahn made his way through an archway veiled by curtains that seemed to be formed from the night sky. The fabric was cool to the touch, and, as his hand passed across the surface, it was like watching a nebula expand through an endless sea of stars, mesmerizingly beautiful yet destructive...
Immediately after passing through the starry veil, Vahn's figure vanished like a phantom, evading what appeared to be a ship oar that had been converted into a spear. Despite its relatively simple appearance, the unique weapon was actually a Noble Phantasm, an artifact formed from the same wood that had been used in the construction of the Argo. It had an ability that allowed it to shatter any kind of armor on contact, and, though its blade was rather dull, the might of the man wielding allowed him to bludgeon his opponents to death with impunity.
Unlike Atalanta and Heracles, Vahn held no sentiments towards Castor and Pollux. Rather, from what he had seen and heard of their exploits, even referring to them as Heroes was rather ridiculous. Two of their most famous exploits included the kidnapping and subsequent **** of the Leucippides, two women who were already happily betrothed to other men, and the raiding of various cattle-farms, feats they carried out with impunity due to the fact Pollux having the Divine Protection of Zeus...
Needless to say, Vahn felt little more than ire for the burly twins, grabbing Pollux by his curly hair before tossing him toward the surprised Castor with the force of a freight train. This wasn't enough to deal damage to either of them, but, with six [Lvateinn] skewering their overlapped bodies, the gobsmacked 'Heroes' weren't even afforded the time to bellow their intended string of curses before their bodies were consumed by dark red flames.
After erecting a soundproofing barrier around the two burning Demigods, Vahn turned his attention to the beautiful woman standing silently at the side. Though he had already seen her while reading the Flow of Fate, Vahn was still a little surprised by Chang'e's beauty. She had the type of appearance that simply couldn't be described with words, making any attempt to do so seem slanderous. It was the type of beauty that transcended cultural divides, elevating her to what some would refer to as, 'a beauty that could topple nations and incite war'.
What surprised Vahn was the fact that, despite her beauty, Chang'e didn't seem to possess an ability related to charming others. It was 'very' common for Goddesses of her stature to have such abilities, something he always found rather strange since their appearance alone was enough to ensnare the vast majority of men...
As it would have been rude otherwise, Vahn gave an appreciative smile towards Chang'e, stating, "It is a unique pleasure, bearing witness to such a beautiful woman. The legends surrounding you fail to do justice to your transcendental beauty, Goddess Chang'e. Had the circumstances allowed, I would have liked to enjoy a cup of tea with you."
Hearing Vahn's words, Chang'e covered the lower half of her face with her silken sleeve, giggling in a manner that allowed her sonorous voice to carry throughout the surroundings. Then, with her eyes squinting slightly, she mused, "Your words do me a great honor, Sage Dragon Emperor. I, too, would have liked for our first meeting to be on friendlier terms. It seems, however, that our paths are fated to converge as enemies..."
Though listening to Chang'e speak was pleasant, Vahn raised his hand, causing her words to trail off, allowing him to say, "Jason is unworthy of your protection and affections. He is a vile and cruel man who only thinks of his own benefits, freely exploiting others without consideration for countless lives he has ruined. I can reunite you with your original husband, Hou Yi, freeing you from having to seek companionship from such a despotic man..."
Chang'e had been intending to speak on behalf of Jason, but, hearing Vahn's offer, her heart began to race a little faster as she asked, "Do you truly possess such power? Even the Jade Emperor would not be able to make such a promise. How can I know you aren't trying to deceive me, exploiting the vulnerabilities within my heart for your own benefit...?"
Vahn knew Chang'e was trying to lump him together with Jason, but, as his words were actually the truth, he was completely calm as he answered, "If you are willing to use your Noble Phantasm to seal this place and put Jason into a deep slumber, I can go and summon Hou Yi right now. My only fear is that, given your nature, you would be unable to face him while Jason still lives. Even if he is nothing more than a Heroic Spirit, his existence is a stain upon your marriage..."
Hearing Vahn's words, Chang'e's face formed into a pout, her countenance capable of garnering the pity of the Heavens themselves. This made Vahn feel an extreme amount of guilt, but, as this was the 'best' route available to him, outside of trying to make Chang'e his, he had little choice. While some of his women had past relationships, the thought of being involved with a married woman didn't sit well with him. He knew that Chang'e still had deep affections for Hou Yi, so, while it was somewhat cruel to pressure her like this, it was inarguably the most effective method to avoid a battle.
After several long seconds of silence, Chang'e ultimately released a melancholic sigh before lightly muttering, "Your words pierce my heart deeper than the most steadfast spear...if what you say is the truth, I cannot bar your passage. My greatest regret in life is stealing the Pill of Immortality from my husband, leaving him to roam the earth as a mortal while I was trapped within the Moon Palace. To repay my debt to him, there is little I wouldn't do..."
As Chang'e's words began to trail off, Vahn nodded his head, adding, "You are a good woman. I'm certain that, even at the very end of his life, Hou Yi continued loving you dearly. Now, the two of you can live together, healing the wounds of the past and building a foundation for a better future. There is no need to force yourself on behalf of Jason, a man who is wholly unworthy of your affections."
Though she didn't completely agree with Vahn's words, as Jason seemed rather pitiable from her point of view, Chang'e didn't openly refute them. He had even pleaded for her help before fleeing to the deepest part of the Moon Palace, forcing the doll-like woman he habitually mistreated to create several powerful barriers in the hopes of preserving his life. It was an undeniably cowardly act, one that would have earned him great scorn during her era. She only tolerated his behavior because she had already promised to protect him, making it easy to overlook the fact he was basically sacrificing her if the enemy proved more than she could handle...
The moment this thought crossed her mind, Chang'e released a deeply melancholic sigh before taking a few steps to the side and bowing politely toward Vahn. He understood this was her way of showing acquiescence while simultaneously agreeing to his terms. Thus, after returning a small bow of his own, Vahn passed by the still-bowing Chang'e, muttering, "Thank you...I promise that you will be reunited with your husband by the day's end. Take this time to harden your heart...I will not force you to speak the truth, but honesty is the foundation of a healthy relationship. It will be much easier for him to hear the words from you than learn them from another..."
Understanding what Vahn was trying to tell her, Chang'e shoulders shook slightly as she hung her head in abject shame. Though she hadn't truly betrayed her husband's trust, the fact she had been willing to allow Jason to marry her would always weigh heavily on her heart. The truth of the matter was such that, out of respect for her actual husband, Chang'e was unwilling to remarry. Hou Yi was, and would forever be, the man she had dedicated her heart to. Thus, while it wouldn't be easy, she intended to follow through on Vahn's words, hardening her heart to speak the truth to the man she had wronged so many times before...
With even Chang'e out of the way, there was nothing to stop Vahn from reaching the hidden vault where Jason had concealed himself. It would have been difficult for others to sense, but, due to the nature of his domain, Vahn was able to identify the 'void' within his perception, pinpointing the vault behind a jade statue depicting a massive four-eared rabbit with a large gemstone embedded into its forehead.
After admiring the work of art for a brief moment, Vahn's eyes transitioned from a calm aquamarine color to a radiant golden hue. He then took a deep breath, focusing his mind as he extended both hands, 'grabbing' Space itself. The barriers erected by the false Medea were exceptionally powerful, especially by modern standards, but they would be hard-pressed to stop a B-Rank Noble Phantasm, much less an attack that couldn't even be quantified.
Though it was tempting to torment Jason for everything he had done, Vahn didn't want to earn any negative karma on behalf of the false Hero. Jason simply wasn't worth the blemish that would follow him until he ultimately left the Record, so, without any discernible hesitation, Vahn forcibly collapsed the Space around Jason's hiding spot, violently tearing apart everything within the vault. This would invariably include the false Medea, something that caused Vahn's heart to twist painfully in his chest, but it was still the 'best' outcome.
By reading the Flow of Fate, Vahn had seen dozens of different timelines where Jason relied on dirty and underhanded means to try and secure an edge against him. Many of these included him trying to use Medea as a human shield, so, rather than face the vile man directly, Vahn decided it was best to simply crush him without a direct confrontation. This also prevented any unnecessary damage to the Moon Palace, and, though it was now a perfect fixture within his memories, Vahn wouldn't have to directly witness the crazed expression of the doll-like Medea as she fought well beyond her limits to try and protect Jason...
In the end, without ever meeting Jason directly, Vahn ended up completely destroying the virtually powerless man. As a result, all of the false Heroic Spirits he had summoned disappeared in motes of bluish-white light, including Atalanta and Heracles. The former, after alighting from the Moon Palace, found a place devoid of Attack Programs, and, after several minutes of staring at the apple Vahn had gifted her, she ultimately ended up taking a small bite before muttering, "It's delicious..." in a small voice. As for Heracles, he spent his final moments with an uncharacteristic grin, watching as his sons successfully applied his teachings, pride visible on his, and his counterpart's faces...
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'RIP Gemini Twins...','Burdens of the Heart...','What truly matters...')
(A/N: Some may not be satisfied with Jason's end, but, what did you expect? He was a weakling who, without the protection of multiple Skills and an inordinate amount of Luck, would struggle to defeat even a squad of Einzbern Homunculi. Vahn has never been the type to let his enemies monologue, so, with the ability to peer into the future, Jason's fate was all but decided. There is no value in even tormenting the man, as, in the end, he is nothing more than a Heroic Spirit, not the original.)
https://bit.ly/2XBzAYu <-(p.atreon link)
Discord Invite: https://discord.gg/Jwa8PKh