WebNovel Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 1322 – Cleaning the Slate

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Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos is a web novel completed by Einlion. This webnovel is right now Ongoing.

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Chapter 1322 – Cleaning the Slate

After veritably, and literally, cleaning the coffers of the Holy Church, Vahn ultimately returned to the surface. There, several small scale battles were ongoing but, with the ma.s.sive difference in skill and base parameters, the Empire hadn’t suffered even minor casualties. Instead, the agents of the Church that had been trying to reclaim the Vatican had largely been killed while only a few who surrendered early on had been captured.

Vahn didn’t actually want to destroy the Vatican City as it had acc.u.mulated thousands of years of art, history, and culture. However, when he remembered that the Catholic Church had unabashedly done the same to practically every culture it came into contact with, there was a certain poetic justice to its destruction. They had built up their entire organization on a foundation of lies and, while it wouldn’t be that difficult to protect the heritage sites present, Vahn knew the more zealous followers of the church would never stop trying to reclaim it.

With this in mind, Vahn moved to the temporary command site that had been established and, after putting Gawain and the rest at ease, he ordered, “Have everyone withdraw within the next twenty-four hours. I’ll be sealing off the Bounded Field from the outside world before destroying everything that is left behind. We’ll have Da Vinci’s micro-golems dismantle the underground structures before converting the materials into a memorial pylon.”

Hearing Vahn’s words, Gawain’s smile became somewhat wry as he asked, “Are you certain this is the best course of action, Your Majesty? I fear the destruction of this place will lead to…complications…”

Vahn understood Gawain’s concerns but, more so than almost anything else, the existence of a belief system based on false pretenses was dangerous. He would have enough problems dealing with real G.o.ds so, showing consideration for an organization that had exploited and persecuted people for literal millennia wasn’t really on the top of his list of priorities. Rather, if he wanted to be considerate of people’s culture, he would need to look into the past over the next few decades to uncover the truth that the Holy Church had kept concealed for generations.

Having already made up his mind, Vahn gave a slight nod before stating, “There is no meaning in a physical legacy. We will preserve this place eternally within the New World System designed by Da Vinci. All of history will slowly be brought to light and, if people are interested in events of the past, they will be able to view them directly when the time comes. Pandering to a group of people whose history includes countless examples of violence will only empower them to commit greater acts in the future. The Common Law of the Empire will prohibit the open practice of Religion as, other than to serve as a moral compa.s.s, it has no other purpose in this world…”

Vahn didn’t particularly care what people wanted to believe but, seeing how much violence had been perpetrated for no better reason than a ‘difference’ in beliefs, he felt Religion as an inst.i.tution was a very dangerous thing. From the data that had been collected by Ark, there was enough evidence to paint every existing religion in a highly negative light as, at their highest levels, they were often ruled by the most corrupt. In some situations, they existed solely to keep a group repressed while the vast majority had financial gain as their driving force…

With his Liege having made his decision, Gawain was not in a position to further question the orders he had been given. He knew there were greater powers at play behind the scenes so, while he didn’t wholly agree with Vahn’s decision, he would dutifully carry out his orders. As for Vahn, he quickly left the command center as his presence was more of a distraction than anything else. He needed to get better at demonstrating his trust for those that had chosen to follow him so, seeing Gawain begin to pa.s.s on his orders, Vahn entrusted the matter to him.

After a quick teleport, Vahn arrived at the nearby Sistine Chapel where, despite not partic.i.p.ating in the combat, Da Vinci was staring up at the various murals and frescos lining the ornate chamber. She wasn’t alone, either, as this area had been designated as a rallying point for everyone tasked with the exploration of the subterranean levels. Though some people, such as Karna, had gone to a.s.sist in the fighting outside, almost everyone else had returned at this point.

As his teleportation wasn’t exactly subtle, Vahn’s arrival drew the attention of everyone within the Chapel. Okita and Jeanne quickly came to his side, preempting Lilith’s attempt to do the same, while Da Vinci remained in her spot with a sad look in her starry eyes. She was already aware of his intent to destroy the Vatican but, considering many of the masterpieces present had been created by one of her few contemporaries, Da Vinci was feeling a little melancholic.

Vahn understood what Da Vinci was thinking so, after sharing a few words with Okita and Jeanne, he made his way to her side, saying, “If it bothers you, we can summon Michelangelo in the future. Like any true master, I believe he would revel in the opportunity to create greater masterpieces, not harp over matters of the past…”

Hearing Vahn’s remark, Da Vinci issued an elegant laugh before turning to face him, explaining, “You know, he actually refused to be paid for his work on this place. It was meant to be his magnum opus, the final piece of artwork he developed prior to his death. Michelangelo was the type that reveled in the arts, considering the opportunity to express himself as the highest form of payment…”

From her response, it sounded like Da Vinci was agreeing with him but, before Vahn could offer any other words of consolation, she smiled slyly and added, “One of his favorite past times was hiding as many nude figures as possible within his works, especially if they were for the Church. Those wrinkly old fools were constantly pulling out what remained of their hair in an effort to censor his work~”

Realizing she was messing with him, Vahn issued a light chuckle of his own before wrapping his arm around her waist and taking in the sights one last time. Da Vinci leaned against him, the same smile on her face as before, now without the melancholic glint in her eyes. Then, without Vahn giving the order to do so, Da Vinci sent a signal to her micro-golems and, before the eyes of everyone present, the Sistine Chapel slowly broke down into grey particles, effectively turning to dust until the entire building had disappeared a few minutes later…

With nothing left for him to personally deal with, Vahn ultimately ended up returning to London while most every non-combat personnel returned to Avalon. There was a good chance that the remnants of the Holy Church would do something even more drastic than before but that wasn’t a matter of importance, at least within Vahn’s mind. Instead, his focus was on establis.h.i.+ng some basic semblance of order, albeit after spending some time with his children and taking care of a few other pertinent matters…

As could be expected, the events that led to what people were tentatively referring to as the Age of Chaos threw a wrench into the daily operations of the Clock Tower. Cla.s.ses had largely been put on hold as, in many cases, the Professors themselves had either stepped down or lost their lives in the conflict. There were no longer any factions such as the n.o.ble, Democratic, and Neutral, at least on the surface, as the Clock Tower itself was going through a period of internal restructuring.

One of the bigger changes was the introduction of the Common Law which, by Imperial Decree, had precedence over all other rules, regulations, and laws. This resulted in the old curriculum being done away with as Vahn had no intention of letting students be led astray and taken advantage of. One of his decrees prohibited the use of any form of unsanctioned mental manipulation as he considered it to be one of the key factors that led so many students astray. At the same time, he made things like the mandated harvesting of ‘raw materials’ from Magi illegal while simultaneously dissolving even middling contracts related to the acquisition of such materials.

While there were no inherently evil practices, Vahn believed there were some that skirt far too close to the border of what any sensible person would practice. This included things like Necromancy and the production of Artificial Humans, Homunculi, and Familiars for the sole purpose of being used as weapons, materials, and an expendable labor force. One of the fundamental principles of the Empire was the observation and appreciation of sapient species and, while there would be exceptions, every race would be treated with dignity by default.

With these changes as an example, every existing department within the Clock Tower had to modify its curriculum, the sole exception being the Department of Unified Thaumaturgical Theory. Rather, as the ‘more correct’ path, parts of Da Vinci’s curriculum were being implemented throughout the other departments. This was an expected outcome as, with the s.h.i.+ft in the status quo, people were more eager than ever to throw their lot in with the Empire, especially after the recent ‘purge’.

Unfortunately for aspirant students and opportunists, the Department of Unified Thaumaturgical Theory wasn’t exactly taking in new students. This would only cause even greater chaos, especially with the current students only recently finis.h.i.+ng their Baseline Training. Since they were essentially the test batch for the curriculum, introducing new elements before the curriculum could be refined was extremely detrimental. This wasn’t the main concern, however, as Vahn and Da Vinci ultimately just wanted the existing students to have enough time to adapt to the changes.

Even though they had largely cut ties with their families and other parties, nearly every student that was currently a part of the Department of Unified Thaumaturgical Theory had been affected by the recent changes. After all, the entire world was currently in chaos so they had a lot to think about in regards to their own future. It was fortunate that the events took place during their Baseline Training as it gave them something to focus on, something that rewarded them plentily for their efforts…

As ‘Status’ was an actual thing within the Nasuverse, with Parameter Rules and quantifiable Skills and Abilities, each student was able to use their Terminal to keep track of their progress. They could see their Parameters change in real-time and, after obtaining a Familia Crest, they were able to map out their future paths through the Skill Tree.

These changes had been groundbreaking for the students so, while there were a few who had dealt with the transition with some difficulty, most of the students were working hard to become stronger. This was both to secure their own future and, as the Department purported, prepare them for any path they may find themselves on in the future.

To this end, Mordred, Sakura, Zoë, Astrid, and Mash were setting an example for the rest of the students to follow. They redoubled their efforts and made no attempt to conceal how hard they were working to grow stronger. At the same time, Mordred had secured her position as the top Ranking student, both within the Department and the Virtual Battle Arena. The latter had been made accessible to the students after their Baseline Training and, as could be expected, it had become a very popular recreational tool.

With the Virtual Battle Arena, students could fight against doppelgangers of themselves but, each with identical Parameters, Skills, and Magecraft. The difference was, their doppelgangers could be changed to fight at varying degrees of proficiency, including a Master setting that gave each student a hard lesson on exactly how inefficient their combat methods were. Since the Master setting used the battle data from Vahn’s [Laplace’s Key] as a template, the only person who had been able to last more than a few minutes against their Master Doppelganger was Mordred. Even she, however, was unable to defeat herself as, when all other things were balanced, even the smallest mistake could lead to a quick defeat…

The Doppelganger function was the default training method available to new students but, once they were able to defeat an Advanced version of themselves, they gained access to new options. These were far more popular than the Doppelganger function as, when it ultimately came down to it, fighting against and being defeated by yourself wasn’t a pleasant experience. Instead, the option to fight against versions of their fellow cla.s.smates was the most popular function with monster hunting being a close second.

Unfortunately, causing Vahn a fair amount of annoyance, some of the students had immediately tried to exploit this function for ‘nefarious’ purposes. There was one male student who, after finally defeating an Advanced version of himself, unlocked the function only to immediately match against one of the weaker female students. Since the duplicates were exact copies, combined with the fact that the system replicated senses with 99.4% accuracy, the foolish boy had tried to take ‘liberties’ with his system-controlled cla.s.smate.

As it was impossible to hide your intentions from the system while immersed, he was immediately ejected from the simulation and harshly penalized as an example. This caused the other students to ostracize him but, as Vahn was against the idea of social justice when punishment had already been met out, he ended up having to address the matter personally. After all, he couldn’t really blame the boy for being curious and, considering the current state of the world, he knew people needed a way to relieve their stress. Thus, after a rather awkward discussion with the cla.s.s about proper etiquette and s.e.xuality, two surprisingly related topics, the matter was largely settled…

(A/N: I’m going to be out today so this will be the only chapter unless I can free up some time later.)

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