Home > Fantasy > Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos > Chapter 710. Effort : Resolve

Chapter 710. Effort : Resolve

Because she had only fainted, it didn't take long for Nanu to wake back up. Fortunately, by that time, Vahn had already identified the cause of her collapse and worn clothes on both of his bodies. As a result of having split his soul into two halves, Vahn could access the system functions of The Path through both his original body and his avatar. He was able to recognize the difference between the two because only his original self had Eva's memory fragment sleeping inside of it. Without that, Vahn knew it would be next to impossible to actually keep his sense of identity between his two selves as it was much more difficult than he expected just to stay focused.

Currently, the two Vahns stayed very close to each other and were perfectly mirroring each other's movements, much like how Emiru and Maemi behaved around each other when they were synchronized. However, this wasn't because Vahn was trying to coordinate with himself but was instead related to the fact that 'piloting' both of his bodies with different actions was exceedingly difficult. Being close together also made the overlap in his two split visions easier to tolerate and eased some of the confusion he was feeling, even with [Will of the Emperor]'s support.

Nanu, seeing her two Master's, still felt a little hot and bothered but did her best to calm down as she asked, "Master...?" while looking between them. Both Vahns looked up simultaneously, smiling as they said in a perfectly synchronized manner, "We're both the same person now, just split into two bodies. It is very difficult to control two different forms, so give me a bit of time to collect myself..." Nanu nodded her head and, with nothing else to do at present, grabbed some cleaning supplies to dispose of the mess she had made on the workshop floor. It made her feel very ashamed to see the puddle of vomit and spittle she had regurgitated but, remembering the image that caused her to feel that way, Nanu couldn't help but tremble slightly before hastily cleaning it up.

Vahn was currently struggling just to make both of his forms blink at different intervals, finding it very difficult even though it was a relatively simple gesture. It was easier to make larger movements with his arms and legs but, if he wasn't taking simultaneous action, it was almost like there was a lag between his thoughts and actions. When he moved just one of his arms, it was very difficult to make his other body take any other action at all. As a result, it was like he took turns moving each body instead of guiding them both simultaneously. While this was going on, Sis was trying to give him encouragement by saying, (*Just as it took time for you to become adept as splitting your thoughts, it will take time for you to learn and control both bodies. Fortunately, you have plenty of means to increase the amount of time available to you...*)

Nodding his heads, Vahn started trying to form a training regimen to help achieve mastery over controlling both bodies and the first thing that came to mind was the Sub-Space and Space-Time orbs. Though the latter might prove difficult to make use of, it shouldn't be too difficult to make use of the Sub-Space orb for practice. With the time-dilation, his thoughts processes would truly be split and, though it wouldn't be easy, Vahn believed he would slowly adapt to moving both versions of himself independently. As long as he didn't give up mastering it, Vahn knew it would one day be possible for him to move seamlessly with his two bodies and potentially be able to train two different skills simultaneously. There were endless possibilities available to him now, even without considering how much time it might free up, relative to the past, that is...

Using his second body to meditate, Vahn waited for several minutes as his awareness both expanded and contracted in upon itself. His senses around his second body increased exponentially until he felt at one with his surroundings while his other body slowly rose to its feet and tried moving. Vahn hypothesized that it would be easier to move one body while putting the other into a calm and relaxed state, something that proved fruitful, even though his movements were awkward. Gesturing to Nanu, who had been observing him from the side, Vahn smiled and said, "It's awkward to say it like this, but can I practice controlling my body by [Grooming] you?"

Nanu was curious what her Master would ask her but, hearing his request, she immediately bounded to her feet and exclaimed, "Yes! Leave it to me, Master!" while quickly moving to his side. Vahn gave a small nod and a grateful smile while reaching his hand out and stroking Nanu's head and ears. Even he could tell his technique was awkward compared to the past so it made him feel a bit of warmth inside since Nanu didn't offer any complaints at all. Thus, to practice controlling one body, while the other mediated, Vahn spent the better part of an hour just [Grooming] Nanu. Because of her previous state, Nanu's body started to heat up again but, as a matter of pride and her sense of duty, she managed to tolerate it...

When he was done [Grooming] Nanu, Vahn pulled his hand away while standing up with his second body, still closing his eyes to avoid the issue of simultaneous and overlapping perspectives. It was fortunate that he had long since learned how to move without relying on his actual vision so Vahn walked outside of the workshop while saying, "I'm going to practice a few things. If you're not busy, please accompany me for a little while." with his other body. Nanu happily obliged and, as her Master was having difficulties moving around, she did her best to make things easier for him. Vahn released a light chuckle at seeing her concern while simultaneously walking further outside of his own domain range. He was in the process of confirming that his domain could artificially be increased in size by now having two bodies.

After leaving the workshop with Nanu, Vahn began walking in the opposite direction of himself until he was outside the range of his own domains. Because he was both versions of himself, Vahn had full awareness of everything in his two domains but was unable to sense the presence of a second domain once they were no longer overlapped. It didn't make a big difference, as his domain had technically doubled in size, but Vahn had somewhat expected he would be able to merge them towards each other. After all, they were the exact same size and structure, comprised of entirely the same energy, and fundamentally the exact same ability.

Shaking both of his heads, Vahn heard Nanu ask, "Is something wrong, Master?" with a hint of concern in her voice. Vahn casually patted her head, feeling a little annoyed that he moved both of his right hands at the same time. Then, somewhat outside of his expectations, three figures showed up next to his body while he was about to say something to Nanu. Vahn felt very disoriented when he was looking towards Ais, Tiona, and Tione while also trying to form words to speak to Nanu. Simultaneously, the same thought crossed both of his minds as Vahn realized this was going to be much harder than he expected.

Seeing Vahn acting almost catatonic, Tiona felt concerned as she waved her hand in front of his face and asked, "Vahn, are you okay...?" Vahn blinked and slowly enunciated each of his words, "I'm...okay...just trying...a new technique...follow me...I'll explain..." It was very difficult to speak because Vahn had also been trying to comfort Nanu by saying, "Lets regroup...with my other...self..." Nodding her head, Nanu followed along while Ais, Tiona, and Tione followed his other self with curiosity and concern. They had already realized what was going on and, seeing another Vahn approach with Nanu, all three girls became startled that there were actually two of him now.

Reuniting with himself, Vahn felt a lot more at ease as he sat down next to himself and synchronously explained, "I managed to split myself into two parts but it isn't easy to control both bodies at the same time. It'll likely take a great deal of practice, so please be patient with me..." Everyone nodded but, as if she couldn't keep her curiosity contained, Tiona then asked, "So, there are both you? There isn't like a 'real' you~?" Vahn shook his heads, curious what Tiona was getting at before she suddenly snickered and said, "That is super cool. Like this, you'll be able to be with me and Tione at the same time. Or maybe you'll go with Maemi and Emiru first...? No, that is unacceptable~! I want to try it first!"

Even without saying anything explicitly, everyone knew what Tiona was saying as she snickered with a happy and innocent smile on her face. Vahn got to experience what it was like to have two headaches at once while Ais seemed to fall into deep contemplation. As for Tione, she seemed to find Tiona's words very interesting as she added, "Tiona's right, Vahn. If you're going to try anything like that, you need to start with us first. We were the first set of twins to get involved with you so it's only right that you come to us for practice..." Tione, imagining a foursome between herself, her sister, and both Vahn's, couldn't help but show a somewhat lascivious smile on her face.

Before Ais could finish whatever thought was brewing up inside her head, Vahn raised both his left hands in a halting gesture as he explained, "Something like that is way too advanced for the current me. I can barely move, much less do anything more 'complicated'..." Ais withheld any words she had been about to say but, as if she were completely unfazed, Tiona smiled as she said, "But you'll be able to do it one day. I'm sure you'll be able to control both bodies with enough practice. After all, you do all kinds of amazing things that other people can't do~! Just remember to think of us when you want to practice, ahahahaha~."

Hearing the confidence in Tiona's words, accented by her happy smile, Vahn couldn't help but release two sighs as he said, "Fine..." in an exasperated manner. Tiona happily laughed before jumping towards his body, knocking him back while his other body wobbled about. His sense of balance was shared between both bodies while synchronized so Vahn felt very disoriented. It was like he was falling while also trying to sit stably at the same time, something that was very difficult to comprehend and, if not for the fact he was experiencing it, Vahn didn't imagine such contradicting feelings could overlap.

Nanu, seeing what was happening, supported her Master's wobbly body while exclaiming, "Tiona, you can't suddenly move Master like that! Look at what you did to his other self!" Tiona had actually noticed Vahn's 'awkwardness' when she clung to him and, hearing Nanu's words, understood she had erred. Stroking the back of her head, she laughed in an awkward and apologetic manner before helping Vahn up as she said, "Sorry, Vahn...force of habit..." Vahn nodded his head as his sense of balance was slowly restored, the incongruity in his mind fading away at the same time. When he collected himself adequately, he smiled towards her and said, "Don't worry about it too much. Adapting to sudden changes should actually help me better control both my bodies at the same time in the future. Once I become proficient enough, I intend to train against myself and, after I gain enough confidence, I intended to fight against you girls as well."

Tiona regained her happy smile when she heard Vahn's words but, hearing the later half, she became excited once again before exclaiming, "That sounds super cool! I can't wait to be able to fight against two of you at once...ahh, my blood is boiling~!" Bouncing to her feet, Tiona pumped both her fists in an excited manner while looking between Tione and Ais. The former released a sigh while Ais asked, "Do you want to keep fighting...?" Ais had a bit of hesitation in her voice as she turned her eyes to Vahn with a concerned look in her eyes. Vahn smiled towards her, producing two radiant expressions as he said, "I'll be fine, Ais. I'm just going to do one last experiment and try a few basic things to familiarize myself with both bodies. You three have fun and I'll talk to you later, probably around lunchtime."

Ais nodded her head with an encouraging expression on her face as she said, "Good luck, Vahn...I believe in you..." Then, though they were all somewhat hesitant, the three girls began walking towards the periphery of the orb to begin another climactic battle. Vahn, feeling motivated by both Tiona's and Ais' votes of confidence, rose to his feet while simultaneously sitting into a lotus position and calming his mind. Turning to Nanu, he explained, "I'm going to send this body back into the real world while my other half stays inside the orb. I'm not sure what will happen, so take care of me if something goes wrong." Reaching out his hand, Vahn stroked Nanu's head as the later adopted a resolute expression and said, "Leave it to me, Master!"

Vahn took several deep breaths while waiting for his other self to enter a deep meditative state. The time dilation between the orb and the real world was only 6:1, but Vahn could hardly even wrap his head around experiencing two different axes of time simultaneously. He was somewhat worried that the mental strain would cause him to collapse, which was one of the reasons he had encouraged the other girls to go do their own thing. If they tried too hard to 'help' him, Vahn felt like it would be even harder to try and adapt. Nanu, however, would likely just watch over him, only stepping in to help if he expressly asked for it. As her 'Alpha', Nanu had an instinctual belief in him that would also inhibit her from taking any excessive actions for fear of making matters worse...

After psyching himself up adequately, Vahn willed himself to return to the real world while simultaneously focusing his mind on the indiscernible words of his [Mantra of Eternity]. This turned out to be a major blessing as, the moment he entered the real world, Vahn collapsed to the floor face-first while his other half showed no major reaction. However, his [Will of the Emperor] immediately activated his full force as he was slowly waking from his meditative state. Back in the real world, Vahn felt like his brain had turned to ice while the conflicting stimuli of two axes of time felt like it was pulling his mind apart. He was experiencing 'normal' time from both perspectives, but there was also a sense of incongruity of going both fast and slow at the same time. It felt like his brain would have melted if not for his [Will of the Emperor] and having entered a meditative state beforehand.

However, instead of immediately returning to the orb, or ejecting from inside of it, Vahn continued to lay on the floor as he focused on regulating his breathing. Inside the orb, Vahn did his best to stay as calm as possible, slowing his breathing to match his real-world counterpart. Even this was very difficult though, as taking slow breaths in the orb made his stomach feel giddy while his mind tingled with anxiety in the real world. These feelings quickly spread throughout both of his minds but Vahn refused to give up on either end, willing himself to move into a seated position while relaxing his mind within the orb. Like his counterpart, Vahn began focusing on the indiscernible words within his mind and tried to enter a meditative state once again, this time in both the real world and the Sub-Space orb...

After an hour in the real world, six hours within the orb, Vahn slowly opened his eyes because he felt he had calmed down enough to try moving again. This reminded him of his hubris as, the moment his meditation was broken, Vahn nearly whimpered with how 'wrong' everything felt once again. Unable to continue in this manner any longer, even with the support of his [Will of the Emperor], Vahn looked to Nanu and said, "Thhaaaaaank yyooooooou foooooor waaaattchiiiing oooveeeer meeeeee Naaanuuuu...I'mmmmm gooooinnng oooooutssssiiide nooowww..." Without waiting for Nanu's response, Vahn returned to the real world and began gasping for breath alongside himself. Not too surprisingly, Nanu popped out an instant later with a panicked expression when she saw one of her Master's on the ground while the other was collapsed against the wall.

Having noted her presence, both Vahn's said, "It's fine now...I just need to recover for a few seconds. Don't worry..." Lifting his body from the floor, Vahn gestured to Nanu to come sit down. She was somewhat hesitant, clearly concerned by what was going on, but still moved over before sitting in his lap. Vahn released a sigh and began stroking her head and ears, calming both Nanu and himself down at the same time. His petting of the girls had always been a very therapeutic action so Vahn started to recover much faster than normal, enough to rise to his feet from leaning against the wall. Nanu looked up at her other Master as he just gave her a comforting smile and said, "It's just like trying to master blacksmithing...as long we don't give up, it gets easier with time..."

Feeling the urge to laugh when Nanu's eyes widened with a reverential look in them, Vahn experienced the peculiar feeling of petting someone while simultaneously 'wanting' to pet someone. As unnecessary as it might have been, Vahn waved to himself and Nanu, nodding in response to himself, before heading out of the room and slowly making his way down the connecting corridor. He had the urge to go and spend time with his daughters but, for the time being, Vahn knew there was a better solution to his current predicament. Just as he found comfort in petting Nanu, Vahn was heading towards where the most therapeutic existence he had always relied on was located. Thus, after a short while had passed, Vahn arrived at the barrier leading to Fenrir's room before making his way inside and laying down next to the extra fluffy Vanargandr. This time, he got yet another new experience, petting two girls simultaneously from two different locations...

(A/N: Oh my god, these chapters have been so difficult to wrap my own head around. I'm as confused as Vahn since I was trying to visualize what the fuck he was going through xD...)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Wibbily Wobbly, Timey Wimey Stuff...','Try thinking quickly and slowly at the same time xD. I tried to imagine a fast moving jet and a slow moving snail simultaneously...','Fenrir, Help')



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