Chapter 2102: All's Fair in Love and War
Though they had yet to see any play due to the fact he hadn't challenged anyone to a Gift Game, Vahn actually had quite a number of Game Boards at his disposal. They were effectively just Reality Marbles, so, thanks to the research he and Da Vinci had performed back in the Nasuverse, he could basically create as many as he wanted.
Simply put, Vahn had a number of Game Boards that would either equalize the playing field or give the members of his Community an advantage. This included a world of ice and darkness for Fenrir, a planet filled with gold, gems, and other treasures for Seraphina, and a watery planet filled with a ton of mountainous islands for Hime.
Under normal circumstances, Vahn wouldn't have minded giving Seraphina the advantage against Izayoi. Since they had agreed to settle things fair and square, however, he made use of his personal Game Board, an extra-dimensional space inspired by his homeworld of Danmachi. This included an exact replica of every location he had ever visited, and, for a variety of different uses, a perfect copy of the Great Dungeon, Tartarus.
Since there were no upper limits regarding how long a Gift Game could go on, Vahn had designed his own Game Board with the notion of either breaking down or empowering his opponents. Their only objectives were to reach the bottom of the Dungeon or survive for a total of ten years within the simulated space. This was made possible thanks to a tremendous amount of time dilation, and, more importantly, remarkably high stakes.
So long as a challenger could complete the Dungeon within ten years, Vahn would reward them with 1 S-Rank, 3 A-Rank, 10 B-Rank, and 100 C-Rank Gifts. If this proved impossible, each of the members who managed to survive the full ten years would be given the opportunity to participate in a Gift Lottery. In other words, so long as they persisted until the end, anyone participating in his Gift Game would receive a reward while also having their strength and mentality strengthened by the trials they faced within.
While it would have probably done Izayoi some good to challenge the Dungeon, the location of his and Seraphina duel was the Colosseum owned and operated by the Ganesha Familia. This wasn't an exaggeration either, as, in the process of creating his personalized Game Board, Vahn had basically plagiarized the Hidden Floor of the Hell Train to create Pseudo-Memory Fragments of every person, God, and even animal he had ever encountered. The only notable difference was, here in this world, he, Vahn Aldrnari Mason, had never existed. Instead, he was basically an unseen, all-powerful God watching over the world and controlling its very fate from the shadows...
Looking around at the crowd of fifty-thousand people, Izayoi would be lying if he said he wasn't feeling a little nervous. He wasn't shy, persay. Rather, whenever there were a lot of people watching him, he felt compelled to act and behave a certain way.
Though Vahn had told him that everyone within the Game Board was basically a Phantom, the aura they gave off was indistinguishable from real, living people. It was actually a little terrifying, as, for a very brief moment, Izayoi couldn't help thinking he might be a phantom in someone else's world...
Fortunately, such thoughts didn't persist for long, as, shortly after his own introduction, the burly man wearing an elephant mask introduced his opponent.
Though he would never admit it, Izayoi actually felt a bit of envy as he watched Seraphina descend from the sky like a fallen angel. She and Black Rabbit were two of the most beautiful women he had ever seen yet both were head over heels for the same person. It was honestly a little infuriating, not because he wanted to replace Vahn, but because he had never been fond of the idea of a harem or two-timing. It was one of the only reasons he was still single, as, back in his own world, he had been more than a little popular with brats, girls his own age, and even adults.
As cheesy as it might sound, Izayoi genuinely believed that true love was something that could only be experienced between two people. He wasn't going to go out of his way to tell others how they should live. That was far too troublesome. If anything, he just felt sorry for Vahn, the girls involved with him, and any children they were unfortunate enough to produce. They might be happy, sure, but they would never be as happy as if they were a normal family...
Exhaling a sigh, Izayoi's body flashed as he evaded a veritable deluge of pink lasers that had been fired at him by Seraphina. He wasn't exactly familiar with the getup, but she was currently wearing an outfit similar to the one she had worn during her first encounter with Vahn. This consisted of a brasier-like top with spaghetti straps, a multi-layered yet remarkably short skirt, a feather mantle, and various accessories reminiscent of butterflies. The biggest difference was that she allowed her wings, tail, and horns to show as she was no longer even remotely ashamed of being a Succubus.
"Die you porcupine bastard~!"
Though she was capable of performing attacks that could vaporize planets and even collapse stars, using them required a tremendous amount of energy and resources. It might sound ridiculous, but her power was intrinsically related to the amount of wealth in her possession. This was how she had managed to bankrupt her planet in the past. She had just been named an Overlord, and, as a result, she ended up showing off a little too much. By the time she had realized her mistake, Gorgeous, her homeworld, had effectively become a barren and lifeless planet as even the metals making up their liquid core had been exhausted due to her carelessness.
Now that she had Vahn, Seraphina no longer had to worry about exhausting her fortune. She just didn't want to 'waste' it on someone like Izayoi. Thus, rather than going all out from the start, she took advantage of the fact she could fly to zip around the Colosseum at hypersonic speeds as she peppered the landscape with highly penetrative laser beams.
"Come on, little boy~! Is running the only thing you know how to do~?"
With a visible tick mark appearing on his head, Izayoi surprised Seraphina by standing his ground and punching the lasers fired from her pistols. The strange thing about this was the fact that the entire beam shattered like a piece of glass rather than being deflected or absorbed. Then, without waiting for her to recover from her stupor, he shouted, "You better dodge...!" before throwing the pebbles he had been picking up while dodging.
Though Izayoi's windup wasn't particularly impressive, a peculiar high-pitched sound was produced when he released the stones from his hand. If he had loosed them normally, they might not even be traveling at a rate comparable to a professional athlete. The moment the sound occurred, however, the pebbles effectively converted to beams of energy as they instantaneously accelerated to around ten percent the speed of light.
With her pupils shrinking to the side of pinholes, Seraphina began taking evasive action, exclaiming, "What the hell!?" in a shrill, slightly panicked tone. In response, Izayoi began to laugh as he hurled stone after stone, musing, "What's the matter? You looked like you were having fun when I wasn't attacking. What? Did you think I was just going to keep standing here as you attempted to turn my body into swiss cheese?"
Clicking her tongue, Seraphina waited until Izayoi had to 'reload' before dispersing her pistols and shouting, "Screw you, you edgy brat...!"
Seeing Seraphina reached into her brasier-like top, Izayoi couldn't help exclaiming, "What the hell!? Is your bra a freakin' pocket dimension!?" as she produced a bomb more than twice the size of her body. It was one of the most ridiculous things he had ever seen, but, more importantly, the hair on the back of his neck immediately stood on end.
"Well, this isn't good..."
Despite his words, Izayoi adopted an amateurish martial arts stance as Seraphina tossed the bomb towards him before immediately disappearing in a flash of pink light. At the same time, the crowd was literally going wild as Izayoi jumped into the air, a heroic cry emanating from his throat as he attempted to punch the oversized bomb into oblivion. Unfortunately, much like a Prinny, the bomb immediately exploded the moment his fist contacted its surface.
Thanks to the phenomenally powerful barrier surrounding the field, the audience was completely unscathed as a pillar of pink light extending from the ground to the heavens dominated the arena. It was almost like watching a God return to Heaven, but, instead of a mere 5m across, the pillar was the exact diameter of the arena as it extended beyond the atmosphere and into deep space.
Appearing shortly after the pillar of light faded away, Seraphina wiped away a bit of sweat from her brow as she mumbled, "That was a close shave. If I didn't have my Pocket Netherworld, I might have been done in by my own att-!?"
Before she could finish complaining, Seraphina's pupils shrank to the size of pinholes as a bloodied figure appeared behind her, saying, "Checkmate." with a devilish grin on its face.
Though he would prefer not to strike women, Izayoi had always considered himself a champion of gender equality. Thus, after a very brief moment of hesitation, his fist glowed with a pale white light as he slugged Seraphina in the cheek with enough force to send her spiraling into the ground like a projectile fired from a railgun. He wasn't sure how durable she was, but, considering she was able to dodge around and change direction instantaneously, she shouldn't be weak.
With that in mind, Izayoi landed on the ground before whistling at the rather sizeable dust cloud Seraphina's landing had caused. He had never used this much strength before so it wasn't much of an exaggeration to say he was just as surprised as everyone else. Of course, the thing that surprised him most of all was the fact that, despite his injuries, he still had a lot more to give...
Unfortunately for Izayoi, he would have to wait until a later date to discover the true limits of his power. Seraphina hated taking damage, but, far more than that, she hated being struck in the face. She was, after all, the self-proclaimed most beautiful woman in the three realms. Thus, the moment Izayoi punched her, all the limiters that had been placed on her power spontaneously shattered as a veritable tempest of pink, purple, and black energy began to swirl around her body.
"I think I made her-"
Before Izayoi could even finish his statement, Seraphina appeared right in front of him, her hand gripping his face as she coldly stated, "Die."
Without waiting for Izayoi's response, a massive energy blast was released from Seraphina's palm that cut through Izayoi, the barrier, the Colosseum, Orario, and several mountains as if they simply didn't exist. She hadn't been elevated to the status of a Supreme Overlord merely as a result of her wealth and influence. It was because she had literally subjugated more than a thousand Overlords, several of which would be classified as Star-Class Demons within the Divine Realm.
Though she had to exhaust most of her existing treasury, Seraphina simply snorted when the dust cleared to reveal what remained of Izayoi. Everything above his navel had simply been erased, and, were it not for the fact they were effectively in a digitalized space, no amount of healing would have been able to restore him to life.
"This is what you deserve for daring to strike me in the face. Return to the dirt, you worm...!"
Punctuating her words, Seraphina released another energy blast, this time producing a sphere of vibrant pink energy that radiated purple and black lightning. When it faded away, all traces of the blond-haired youth, and much of the arena, had vanished without a trace...
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Vahn misses his home...','Kazuma approves...!','I would tell you to run, but it's far too late for that...')