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Chapter: 2333

Infinite vs Absolute

Chapter 2333: Infinite vs Absolute

With the conference ending after three and a half hours, Vahn promptly began preparations to summon the Ethereal Queen. He didn’t want to take any chances, so he readied numerous gameboards and ‘stacked’ them on top of each other, ultimately forming 173 layers of separation between the battleground and the outside world.

Once his preliminary preparations were complete, Vahn unleashed Laev-tan in her Shukai form. Then, after creating a massive seal to stabilize the contained space, he spent the better part of three months meditating. He wanted to be at his absolute best during the battle, so he made use of the Mantra of Eternity to focus his mind and resonate with his Zanpakuto.

By the time Vahn finished his preparations, he could have given Scathach and the original Alaya a run for their money with how calm he was. Unlike them, however, he wasn’t cold and emotionless. Rather, he felt so attuned to his surroundings that he could ‘feel’ individual particles moving around him, much like a stream coursing around a rock.

In a voice that caused those very particles to tremble, resonating with his tone, Vahn muttered, "It’s time…"

As his myriad Zanpakuto Spirits disappeared around him, rejoining with his essence, Vahn manifested what appeared to be a simple, albeit solid gold, arcade token from his Inventory. Knowledge of its use instantly pervaded his mind, so he slotted it into the void itself, an audible ‘click’ sounding as it plunged into a mechanism that alluded even his senses.

Once the coin presumably reached its terminal point, star-like vertices appeared in front of Vahn before lines linked them together, ultimately forming a three-dimensional, door-shaped constellation. It had a fairly simple design, but the hairs on Vahn’s arms abruptly stood on end as he extended his hand toward the doorknob.

*Beyond this gate lies the final challenge for those who seek the pinnacle of strength. Take heed, for once you pass through, the only way to depart is via Victory or Annihilation.*

Hearing the vaguely familiar voice, seemingly originating from his soul, a faint smile developed across Vahn’s face as he unhesitantly opened and stepped through the door. What awaited him on the opposite side was a circular platform form of golden energy. The runes on its surface gave the platform the impression it was an ancient magic circle, but Vahn only paid loose attention to such details as he focused his gaze on the cerulean-eyed femme-fatale hovering against the backdrop of a massive, stained glass window.

Standing at the height of 185cm, this version of the Ethereal Queen was among the tallest Vahn had encountered. Her luminous golden hair was parted neatly at her scalp, perfectly framing her face while the longest locks extended to her ankles. Her proportions rivaled those of Da Vinci; full breasts, thin waist, wide hips, and tone thighs thinly veiled beneath black, purple, and golden garments that clung to her frame. A complex halo resembling a magic circle rotated above her, and two ghostly wings protruded from her lower back like purple flames intermixed with hints of green.

Brandishing a halberd-like staff, the Ethereal Queen exuded a haughty aura as she met Vahn’s gaze and mused, "You must be remarkably brave or stupid to have challenged me. I’ll give you one chance. Bow before me, and I might consider accepting you as my servant. Deny me, and not even your soul will remain."

Though she looked distinctly different from the Ethereal Queens he had faced in the past, Vahn couldn’t help feeling a sense of familiarity when he heard the golden-haired Celestial’s proposition. Several other versions of her had given him similar offers, but, just as he did each and every one of them, Vahn adopted a smile and teased, "Good luck with that. I might not be your equal, but I’m also someone you can never defeat."

Raising her perfectly sculpted brows, the Ethereal Queen, clearly taken aback by Vahn’s words, paused for a moment before responding, "You’re definitely a fool…"

Immediately following the Ethereal Queen’s words, the ‘door’ behind Vahn promptly slammed shut. At the same time, the runes adorning the golden platform beneath him began to revolve rapidly as various restrictions were imposed on the surrounding space, restricting flight and making it ‘nearly’ impossible to move beyond the bounds of the arena.

With the stage set for their battle, Vahn didn’t wait around for the Ethereal Queen to attack. He hadn’t spent months meditating just to idle about, so he stepped forward at an unimaginable speed while spreading his domain to reverse the order of entropy. He knew it wouldn’t actually reverse time for the Etheral Queens, but by constantly changing the flow and direction, Vahn could mess with her reaction time.

Seeing through Vahn’s intent in an instant, the Ethereal Queen snorted in disdain, brandishing her staff as she expressed, "Your paltry tricks won’t work against me. True power is immutable…!"

Punctuating her words, the Ethereal Queen met Vahn’s attack directly, a contemptuous look on her face as she attempted to send him flying to the far side of the arena. What she didn’t expect was that the moment Laev-tan made contact with her staff, the Ultimatum, an irresistible ‘vibration’ transmitted into her body, the byproduct of a functionally infinite number of overlapping strikes.

Caught off guard, even if only for a moment, the Ethereal Queen’s proud posture buckled, her knee impacting the golden platform and causing so many ripples it appeared to turn completely white.

Understanding he wouldn’t get a similar chance, another version of Vahn manifested behind the Ethereal Queen, his expression a mask of cold indifference as he attempted to stab her in the back, impaling her heart. Instead, the moment his blade pricked her skin, two more sets of purple, black, and green wings erupted from the Ethereal Queen’s back, followed by an invisible, ostensibly irresistible shockwave.

Taking advantage of the moment when Vahn’s forward momentum was overpowered by the release of her wings, the Ethereal Queen spun around so quickly that she appeared to be facing both versions of him simultaneously. Her staff also traced a completely unreadable trajectory, producing so many afterimages it appeared to cut off every conceivable path simultaneously.

As the all-encompassing strike closed around him, Vahn cracked a smile, surprising the Ethereal Queen by offering no resistance to her strike. The moment it made contact with him, he was annihilated so thoroughly there wasn’t even atomic ash left behind.

Narrowing her eyes, the Ethereal Queen adopted a rare defensive posture as she demanded to know, "What trickery is this? That attack should have obliterated you…"

Instead of refuting the Ethereal Queen’s words, Vahn’s voice echoed from the surroundings as he admitted, "It did. Unfortunately for you, there is an intrinsic aspect of my character that can never be destroyed. I am formed of an energy that permits for the very possibility of existence…even if you strike me down a trillion times over, I will endure…"

Demonstrating his point, Vahn manifested nine versions of himself, each forming a half ram seal with their right hands. His actions briefly left the Ethereal Queen confused, but she immediately understood his intentions when the entire platform erupted with a rainbow-hued smoke, followed by the appearance of more than ten thousand Shadow Clones.

Recovering from her stupor almost immediately, a rare smile developed across the Ethereal Queen’s face as she skillfully twirled her staff and replied, "Then I shall strike you down a trillion and one."

With the genuine intention of making good o her promise, the Ethereal Queen launched herself toward each version of Vahn simultaneously. She didn’t actually produce any clones, but her intent had such a compelling influence on reality that causality bent to her will.

As the Ethereal Queen tore through his army of indestructible clones as if they were mere illusions, Vahn kept creating additional versions of himself as if he was trying to fill the space enclosed by the arena. He knew it was impossible to wear the Ethereal Queen down, but so long as he remained calm, focused, and never gave up, it was only a matter of time before an opportunity presented itself.

During the brief moments when the Ethereal Queen didn’t annihilate him instantly, Vahn would activate his [Eyes of Truth] and use Oblivion to eat away at the enclosing space and parts of the platform. He also thought to employ Enkidu, but the moment he brought it out, the Ethereal Queen cut through it as if it were paper. She was an entity that stood at the absolute pinnacle of Tier 6. Hence, while she had yet to perform any flashy moves, the contrast between her offense and Vahn’s defense made it impossible for him to block so much as a single attack.

After annihilating more than 280 million versions of Vahn in the span of seventeen minutes, the Ethereal Queen huffed, "Annoying insect…" before appearing at the center of the platform and unleashing a spherical burst of purple energy comparable to the birth of a macrocosm. To ensure Vahn couldn’t endure it, she infused the concepts of destruction and existence erasure into the flames while containing them to the exact dimensions of the arena, but even that wasn’t enough to completely erase his presence.

Combing back her bangs framing the left side of her face, the Ethereal Queen narrowed her eyes in disdain as she admitted, "Fine, so you can’t be erased. Unfortunately for you, I have nothing better to do than occupy this space for all eternity. I can also maintain this sphere of annihilation indefinitely, so it looks like you’re trapped here with me."

Instead of refuting the Ethereal Queen’s words, a light chuckle echoed throughout the arena before Vahn responded, "So it would seem." before falling silent. He had no doubt that the Ethereal Queen could keep up her attack indefinitely, but that just gave him more time to analyze and adapt to it. Sure, he didn’t have nearly as much time as her, but she didn’t know that.

Not caring, one way or another, the Ethereal Queen responded to Vahn’s by sitting in a lotus posture with her staff across her lap. She then closed her eyes and entered a meditative state, but while it appeared she wasn’t paying attention, she was aware of absolutely everything in her personal realm, the Seraphic Gate. Even if Vahn were to escape the boundaries of the arena, she could track him wherever he went.

Emulating the Ethereal Queen’s actions, though he was currently little more than an iota of intent, Vahn closed his mind’s eyes and permitted his consciousness to succumb to the Mantra of Eternity. The Ethereal Queen immediately detected the minute change this brought about, but, as there was nothing for her to target and eliminate, she could only wonder what he was up to as the two of them entered a period of silence lasting nearly an entire year…



Sensing something amiss, the Ethereal Queen’s brows furrowed as she did her best to understand what was happening. It was extremely faint, but as more and more time passed, she became increasingly aware of Vahn’s ‘presence’ inside of her. Absolutely nothing had changed with her body. Rather, it was like Vahn was becoming one with her domain and, as a result, the Ethereal Queen herself.

Without opening her eyes, the Ethereal Queen slowly brought her hands together and began ‘rewriting’ the Laws that governed her domain. After that, she began systematically replacing each of the cells within her body while placing others in a state of quantum superposition. She didn’t know exactly what Vahn was trying to do, but if he thought he could invade her body or subsume her realm, he had another thing coming…



(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Big Ojou-sama energy…’,’EQ be like, "I see your infinity and raise you infinity plus one…!"‘,’Ooooooooooohm….’)

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