Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 2050

Chapter 2045: Structure, Authority, and Relief

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Due to the nature of the Divine Realm, virtually every inhabitant belonged to an organization known as a Community. Even Gods, Demons, Asuras, and Dragons were no exception to this, not because they were particularly interested in following rules, but because they didn't really have a choice.

In the Divine Realm, a person's individual power, represented by various Gifts and Divine Blessings, took a back seat to the Authority possessed by the most powerful beings within the Realm. Simply put, it didn't matter how powerful you were prior to entering the Divine Realm. If you didn't have a sufficiently powerful backer or the requisite Authority to guarantee your own, you might as well be powerless.

Regardless of their status in the Outer Worlds, every new arrival in the Divine Realm's started off in the fringe territories with absolutely no Authority to their name. This meant, without a backer, they could only make use of their power in very specific circumstances. More often than not, this meant participating in a Community-sponsored event known as a 'Gift Game'.

Though there were circumstances that allowed children to be born, the vast majority of the Little Garden's inhabitants were entities that had either taken a part in its creation or were summoned there, specifically, as a result of their Gifts. These were, in the most simple of terms, non-standard Innates that could be transferred between people. Examples might include someone's Sharingan, or, much like the Heroic Spirits of the Nasuverse, abilities tied to specific legends or events.

The primary purpose of the Divine Realm, as the Invitation Letter made readily apparent, was to pit the most powerful being from countless metaversal structures against each other to determine who was the most powerful. To this end, the beings at the absolute pinnacle of power had structured the world in such a way that the various Gifts possessed by its inhabitants could be won or lost. In other words, a single person could collect countless Gifts by challenging other residents. They would then bequeath these Gifts to other members of their Community with the end goal of taking over one of the many Gates comprising the Little Garden.

Much like Vahn's original Little Garden, the Little Garden of the Divine Realm was separated into a total of seven concentric regions. These were further subdivided into various Gates, ownership of which allowed the Communities in charge to enforce inviolable Laws over the lesser Communities inhabiting their territory.

As could be expected, the Authority of a Community was directly related to the number of Gates it controlled. Lower numbered Gates, meaning those that existed within regions closer to the center of the Little Garden, granted exponentially more Authority. In other words, the penultimate goal of anyone looking to test the limits of their power was to become a One-Digit Community. This would allow them to occupy territory near the center of the Little Garden, and, as a result, they would have the Authority to pass Laws that affected, not just the Communities located in the higher-digit Gates, but the structure of all realities.

Simply put, the strongest existence within the Little Garden was basically the strongest existence in all realities. This was a status coveted by many, so, despite being one of the most unforgiving places in the entire Order of Creation, there was no end to the number of people who accepted invitations to partake in the crucible that was the Little Garden's Gift Games.

Unfortunately, as horrifying as having your Gift stolen was, it was far from the only thing that could be wagered. Rather, due to the nature of the Divine Realm, being that it existed above all realities, it was possible to wager everything from your language proficiency to your literal existence across all realities. The only real limitation regarding what could be wagered was that both sides had to offer something of relative or equivalent value. Other than that, everything else was fair game...




As the Floor Master of the Eastern Quadrant of the Little Garden, Shiroyasha had Authority second only to a handful of individuals within the entire Divine Realm. She was also one of the founders of a Community known as Thousand Eyes, a Four-Digit Trade Community with more than a thousand branches extending from the 3345th Gate to the 2105380th Gate. This might sound like a lot, but, when you considered there were a grand total of 7,777,777 Gates in existence, owning a thousand branches as the former Rank 10 being in the entire Divine Realm was rather small.

Unfortunately, Shiroyasha had given up most of her power and the status associated with it when she effectively 'retired'. The only thing she really cared about these days was watching interesting events play out, so, more often than not, she could be found lounging about in her room, eating snacks, and spying on events in the lower realms. In other words, she was essentially a lazy otaku, as, from the perspective of beings in the Divine Realm, all other realities were fiction.

Shiroyasha's interest in Vahn was related to his existence as a singularity, something that shouldn't exist within the structure of the lower realms. All of the past, present, and future had already taken place in the lower realms, and, while there were new branches constantly being created, uncovering a single singularity among them was impossible. He also possessed knowledge that someone in the lower realms shouldn't have access to, but, rather than asking him to reveal his sources, Shiroyasha left Vahn speechless by guiding him to the outermost gate before promptly stating, "You're on your own from here. I'm not fond of babysitting, so, as you suggested, I'll be kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying the show. Feel free to stop by one of the Thousand Eyes locations if you want to exchange or purchase information."

With that being said, Shiroyasha flew off before the crowd gathering in the streets could pester her. She might have abandoned her status as a Demon God, but, as the Floor Master of the entire East Side, there was no end to the number of people trying to curry favor with her. She had absolutely no interest in such things, so, unless they were someone close to her back in her Demon God days, she tended to ignore the politics of the Little Garden to the point of neglecting her duties.

Wanting to ask her a few questions regarding the Little Garden and its structure, Vahn attempted to step through the Gate only to be blocked by an invisible barrier. At the same time, a status window similar to the type you would see in a video game popped up, informing him: Access Denied. Please Register your Identity at the nearest Gate Station.

Knocking on the transparent window, Vahn was tempted to force his way through when the leader of a group of children, the oldest appearing no older than ten, advised, "I wouldn't try it, Onii-chan. The barriers barring entry into the Little Garden cannot be broken with physical strength or magical power. There have been people who spent days trying only to become laughing stocks the moment they entered the Gate..."

Looking down, quite literally, Vahn found a little girl with short black hair and deep purple eyes staring up at him with a slightly concerned expression on her face. Her form-fitting white blouse and frilly red skirt made her stand out quite a bit, but, more so than anything else, it was the fact that all the other children surrounding her were dressed like orphans that caught Vahn's attention. Some were even carrying buckets filled with water, much like children fetching fresh water from a river in a rural village...

Resisting his almost instinctual urge to pat the little girl's head, Vahn adopted an appreciative smile on his face as he said, "Thank you for your advice, Miss...?"

Though she had thought Vahn was handsome from his side profile, the girl blushed beet red the moment he directed his ostensibly perfect smile towards her. She even stumbled backward a few steps, hand grasping her chest as she stammered, "M-M-Miss? Me...?" before quickly recovering enough of her faculties to answer, "M-My name is Sarina...!" in an excitedly bashful tone.

Before he even realized what he was doing, Vahn extended his hand to caress Sarina's head as he amusedly replied, "Thank you for your advice, Miss Sarina. I'll be sure to repay this kindness in the future."

With a veritable plume of steam rising from her head, Sarina found herself unable to respond to Vahn's words. It was only when he sought out one of the officials manning the Gate that she came back to her senses and flusteredly exclaimed, "I-If you don't have a place to go, you're welcome to join our Community! We don't have much, but there are lots of kind people who will welcome you!"

Looking back, Vahn was about to answer when a man with red skin and four muscular arms butt in, saying, "Don't let those urchins fool you, mate. Giftless brats like those could only belong to a No-Name Community. If you're confident in the abilities you possessed on the outside, you should look into the Communities located near the Six-Digit Gates. If you're just lookin' to get your dick wet, the Crimson Moon Community manages a brothel filled with youthful-lookin' girls from various species. Don't waste your time on brats like this."

Though he understood the man was just trying to give him some friendly advice, Vahn's expression immediately darkened at the mention of a Community that specializes in whoring out young, or, at the very least, youthful-looking girls. Sure, approximately a fifth of his harem was on the dainty side of the spectrum, but, understanding the basics of Divine Realm, it wasn't difficult to imagine most, if not all of the girls in the Crimson Moon Community being forced to be there.

Raising two of his four arms in a gesture of surrender, the red-skinned man began to slowly back away as he said, "Woah, there. No need to get upset, fella. I ain't a member of the Crimson Moon Community. I'm just a simple butcher in the Apopo Trade Community. I wasn't trying to offend you or anything."

Though Vahn was very clearly a new arrival in the Divine Realm, the aura emanating from his body was reminiscent of a member of the Strongest Species. This was a term colloquially associated with the three most powerful species in the Divine Realm, chiefly: Divine Spirits, Celestial Spirits, and True Dragons. Since all three could take on human forms, it was possible that even a beggar might be a True Dragon in disguise, so, the moment he noticed Vahn's pupils contract into thin slits, the four-armed man immediately tried to deescalate the situation.

Snorting through his nose, Vahn decided to ignore the four-armed man as he shifted his attention to the now apologetic-looking Sarina. She felt like she had deceived him by trying to invite him to join their no-name community, as, despite her words attesting to there being a number of people willing to welcome him being true, it was also true that they possessed very few Gift Holders. This was, ironically, one of the few reasons they hadn't been subdued by one of the larger Communities. They simply weren't worth the trouble...

Before Sarina could even think to apologize, Vahn returned his hand to her head, willfully messing up her hair before saying, "Relax. You didn't do anything wrong. Rather, it is the right of children to shamelessly rely on others. The real issue here is the society you're growing up in. Let's fix that, shall we...?"

Though she didn't fully understand the context of Vahn's words, Sarina could tell he was offering to help them. This filled her with a strange feeling of ease, as, despite having just met, she could feel a certain 'reliability' radiating from the inordinately handsome man caressing her head. Thus, despite their Leader often telling them not to trust strangers, a radiant smile blossomed across Sarina's face as she intoned a happy, "Nn~!"




(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Basically No-Game No-Life on steroids xD...','Four-armed bro almost stepped on a Vahnmine...','Yes? FBI-sama? He's at it again...')

https://bit.ly/2XBzAYu <-(p.atreon link)


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