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59.5% Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos / Chapter 1197: Peaceful Slumber

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Chapter 1197: Peaceful Slumber

Though he had been able to speed up the process considerably, it still took around 113 hours for Vahn to finish treating an additional five-hundred Homunculi. He could have actually finished even faster but, after Sakura's first intrusion, she would return after finishing her daily training in order to help him out, even a little. Once, Mordred had accompanied her as well but, after sitting 'still' for a few hours, she got extremely bored before ultimately wandering off. Vahn had been somewhat sad to see her go as, for the three or so hours she had been present, things had been rather lively.

Mordred might have had slightly destructive tendencies, breaking some of the equipment he had stocked in the room, but she was considerably less tense around the Homunculi than Sakura was. Fortunately, seeing the interactions between her 'Onee-chan' and the patients served as a proper example for Sakura so, even after Mordred left, she had made more of an effort to get them to open up to her. As the Homunculi were all starved for such interactions, and children were much easier to talk to than adults, many would politely make conversation with Sakura during the few minutes that Vahn engraved the Familia Crest on their backs.

Seeing the positive reaction from the Homunculi had a similar impact on Sakura, causing her to fall into her role as his assistant quite well. She had a very kind and caring nature by default so being able to help others was something that made her happy. Since she would also get praised by her Otou-sama, Sakura ended up pushing herself a little too hard and, if not for the training she had been doing with Artoria, she wouldn't have been able to keep at it without complaint. As a result, when Vahn finished with his final patient, Sakura had already been dozing off at the side for around forty minutes, covered in a warm blanket he had pulled out from his Inventory.

After seeing off the Homunculus named Sidney, Vahn picked up Sakura's adorable bundle in his arms before carrying her to the Inner Sanctum to rest. Since Rin was in her Magus Tower, busy with her research on [Primordial Rune] Magecraft, Vahn chose not to bother her as he placed Sakura in his own bed. This had disturbed Circe, who had been lounging in his bedroom with nothing better to do, but Vahn managed to pacify her easily after stealing her away to the connected bath. After the first time he had bathed her, this was one of the things Circe enjoyed the most and, as she had been behaving lately, Vahn felt inclined to reward her.

When Artoria accepted to become his official Empress, there were many other things that had been discussed at the table, including who had access to Vahn's, and now Artoria's, room. Due to Circe's status, she was allowed to enter his bedroom freely but, alongside Fenrir and Medusa, they now shared a room together. When Vahn felt the need to relax and wanted to be pampered himself, he was supposed to be able to enter their room to cut loose.

As for how and why they all ended up in the same room together, this was largely due to Fenrir's influence in the group, making her the de facto leader even with Circe's and Medusa's obstinate personalities. They were also the girls who had animal traits and, though Vahn felt it was a strange decision on their part, the three had decided to call it their shared room, which was arranged in a very abnormal fashion, the 'Emperor's Menagerie'. Though Vahn had yet to enter for more than a brief moment, he had seen the large wardrobes of costumes present and, instead of a normal bed, there was essentially just a large pile of fluffy cushions on a massive mattress. It was rather messy but, considering who the room belonged to, combined with its purpose, Vahn felt it was strangely appropriate...

With Circe leaning against the side of the tub with a contented expression on her face, Vahn was absentmindedly manipulated a ball of warm water to 'comb' over her wings. He had gotten used to the powerful aphrodisiac her body naturally produced so, despite feeling considerably warmer than normal, he was able to remain relatively calm, even without proactively resisting her charm. This was also due to the fact that Circe herself had stopped proactively trying to 'test' him, her eyes a soft blue with a subtle hue of pink overlaying them.

Vahn knew she was studying Magic under Fenrir, the thing that had made her open up to the latter, so it likely wouldn't be that long before they finally stepped across that final line. Knowing this, Circe was considerably less stressed out than in the past and, though she would get annoyed if he turned his attention to others, she had quickly learned that he could handle more than one woman at a time. Since she and Medusa had similar natures, the two got along well with each other and, though neither was particularly fond of Fenrir, they both respected her decisions as the 'leader' of their little group. This resulted in both girls getting pampered more often so, rather than stir up trouble, Circe had become decidedly docile compared to her past self.

After finishing with her wings, Vahn noticed Circe shift as she began to fidget about in expectation, fully aware of where he would clean next. This caused him to smile in amusement before, meeting her expectations, cleaning her tail feathers, including the area where they connected to her lower back. As was often the case, Circe's wings began to twitch in response and, knowing it would get a small rise out of him, she made no attempt to hide her sonorous moans. At the same time, her aroma became significantly more potent but, as he had already been prepared, Vahn was largely unaffected as he gingerly cleaned around the especially sensitive area. Then, with her long ears waggling in front of him, Vahn found it impossible to resist so, trusting in the soundproof barrier, he bit down on the adorable extension, causing Circe to release a loud cry that echoed through the bathroom for several seconds after her voice lost its strength...


Though Vahn was tempted to accompany Circe to the Menagerie, he didn't want to leave Sakura alone. At this time, there were very few people resting and, if not for the fact Sakura had pushed herself, she would have gone to bed hours ago. As Vahn was also quite tired, he escorted Circe back to her room before doubling back and snuggling up with his daughter for a few hours. She often got nervous when it was just the two of them but, shortly after Vahn climbed into bed, Sakura sought out his warmth as if it was natural before muttering with a small smile on her adorable little face, "Otou-sama..." This caused Vahn's heart to feel as if it was gushing so, while she would probably be very embarrassed after waking up, he affectionately cradled Sakura in his arms before kissing the top of her head and whispering, "Have a pleasant dream, my little cherry blossom..."


Unlike most people, Vahn very rarely ever dreamed, something that had been a product of his [Will of the Emperor] blocking nightmares in the past. Now, however, the moments in which he was able to just 'shut down' were extremely rare so, when Vahn faded into unconsciousness, it was often pure darkness that awaited him. Even then, he was always aware of the passage of time and, even without his subprocesses to observe his surroundings as he slept, Vahn was still aware of almost everything going on around him. He could sense when Rin had poked her head into the room, the hesitation Artoria had while standing outside their door, and when Fenrir placed her paw against the door and wished him pleasant dreams...

Vahn felt extreme gratification at times like this, almost as if he were the center of everyone's worlds, even when they were individual entities. Thus, while he slept, Vahn expanded his aura by instinct as he sent out calming energy intended to bring comfort to everyone within nearly five kilometers. This encompassed the entire castle and, though the effect was considerably weaker than if he were to use it directly, it still caused a warm and peaceful atmosphere to descend upon everyone within his domain. Even the Homunculi who now resided in the castle all stopped to experience the pleasant warmth flowing through their bodies while, locked away in their shared Workshop, Da Vinci set her tools aside before musing, "Perhaps I should take a cat nap myself..."

With many of the others sharing this sentiment, it wasn't long before the majority of the castles residents decided to take advantage of the warm and pleasant atmosphere to take a nap. The only exceptions to this were people like Scáthach, who never truly slept, and Merlin, who was actually far more energized during the evenings than during the day. As an Incubus, a race that originated from the moon and fed primarily off the dreams of females, he was exponentially stronger after night had fallen. Under the light of the full moon, it wasn't an exaggeration to say he was without equal, able to castle illusions that could cover entire continents, at least until the sun rose once again...

While most people fell into a peaceful slumber, Merlin had his usual whimsical smile while, instead of appearing in a Magus Tower, the interior of his chamber looked like an expansive meadow. With his limited omniscience, Merlin was aware of everything going on in the castle at almost every point in time, irrespective of its residents' wills. Though others might call him a pervent, and other dastardly names, he was not the type to leave things to chance. He opted to give people privacy when they were engaged in intimate acts but, even then, he always listened closely to any conversations going on within the castle, looking for the smallest signs that a traitor might appear in their midst.

As he could not see the future accurately due to Vahn's presence, Merlin was far more proactive than he had been in the past, all so that a tragedy would not occur. Thus, if he found out that someone was slipping into a negative mentality, he would observe them closely for signs of dissent. Even if it might be an invasion of their privacy, this included intruding into their dreams as, compared to the awake mind, the subconscious was far more honest. If he found the seeds of ruin, Merlin would use his ability to outright devour such thoughts, replacing them with subtle hints that would guide them back onto the path of light. He didn't care if others resented him as, rather than controlling their minds, he only 'corrected' misunderstanding they had formed due to their misunderstandings and other insecurities...

Vahn was unaware of it, but it had been Merlin's persistent efforts that allowed Mordred to accept her current position as, even though she was well-behaved on the surface, the conditioning of her mother, Mordred le Fay, was not something that could be easily overcome. This was especially the case when she was sleeping as, though she was happy and outgoing while awake, Mordred was plagued by nightmares as she slept. She had killed a lot of people throughout her life, including the person she had respected and looked up to the most. Thus, whenever she would fall into the abyss of her own subconscious, Merlin was always there to replace the memories with happy ones, mostly related to the time she spent with Vahn and Fenrir. Find authorized novels in Webnovel, faster updates, better experience, Please click <a href=""></a> for visiting.

Merlin had felt powerless against fate in the past but, now that he was under no such restrictions, he was doing everything in his power to make things go as smoothly as possible. As a result, everyone in the castle had rather pleasant memories every night, the only exceptions being Vahn, Fenrir, and Medusa. Try as he might, the two peculiar subordinates were beyond his means to effect without drawing their attention while Vahn's mental defenses were unlike anything Merlin had ever seen. He knew that, if he ever tried to pry into Vahn's mind, a world of pain likely awaited him for the attempt. Even a simple probe in the past had caused him to spend three days recovering and this was when Vahn had overtaxed himself after training with Scáthach, seemingly dropping his guard completely...

Concluding that Vahn's mind was protected by the World itself, Merlin had never attempted trying to peek a second time. Instead, he had to rely on the Memory Link experienced by the Heroes Vahn had summoned which, admittedly, had been rather eye-opening. He felt that the world Vahn hailed from was very interesting and, though the Gods present were distinctly different from the ones in his memory, he simply chalked this up to how worlds could diverge to take on very different forms. His omniscience was bound to his own time axis and, though he was aware of the multiverse, Merlin was unable to enter into a world where his counterpart was already present. There were certain rules he had to follow in order to exercise his power and, though he was able to bend them a bit after Vahn's arrival, this didn't mean he could just ignore the 'purpose' he had been given.

Thus, while the majority of the castle's residents slept, Merlin's eyes flashed with small lights, many subtle shades of pink and violet. It was impossible to discern through normal means but, from his perspective, Merlin was able to peer into the dreams of everyone within the castle simultaneously. He had also heard Vahn's remark to Sakura, hoping she was having a pleasant dream, so Merlin happily obliged. Previously, Sakura had a rather 'odd' dream where she was surrounded by several Homunculi, feeling somewhat envious of their development compared to her own. Now, with his intervention, Sakura was dreaming about flying through the sky alongside Vahn and Mordred, a simple way to reinforce the idea that she was happiest when together with them...

After making a few tweaks, Merlin had an amused expression on his face as he stared at a small pink orb in his hand. The color of the orb always reflected the nature of the dream and, as a defensive mechanism of sorts against things like Depression, the brain often opted to trigger dreams that were related to rather 'precarious' or 'intimate' experiences. Even for someone as young as Sakura, though she herself was unaware of it, the way in which she viewed the Homunculi would subtly affect her mental image and how she acted around others. Since these memories were often tied to Vahn, Merlin knew one of the directions she could veer toward if left unchecked. Knowing this would only sew discourse within the Imperial Family, he dutifully tossed the small pink orb into his mouth like hard candy, enjoying the bittersweet taste as it melted in his mouth...

While humming to himself, Merlin continued viewing the dreams of everyone else in the castle, his primary focus being those of Illya and Iris. They were curled up together within the Library, creating a scene that warmed Merlin's heart as he believed there was no greater expression of love than the moments shared between a mother and her children. Though his own mother had died giving birth to him, as she had been a simple human, Merlin felt a close bond with the woman as, during her pregnancy, she often spoke to him affectionately. He also spent a lot of time within her dreamscape and, though he had very little control over his power back then, she never once treated him like the monster others would view him as if they knew his true nature...

Though it was almost impossible, Merlin's father had fallen in love with his mother, to the point he had even ceased to exist after going against his own nature and refusing to devour the dreams of others. Thus, from the moment of his birth, Merlin had been an orphan, born in the same meadow he now used to bring himself comfort when he felt lonely. Fortunately, he had been very powerful since birth as, rather than a normal Incubus, his father had been the ruler of his own Dimension located in the gap between the Earth and Moon. As a result, Merlin had inherited much of his father's power, including his responsibilities as a Beast of Gaia, even though he was considered a foreign and 'impossible' entity by virtue of his very existence...

Lightly shaking his head, the image of a man and woman who had been standing behind him faded away as Merlin focused his mind on Illya's dream. Inside of an endless expanse of darkness, she and Cath Palug were huddled together in the embrace of a figure that looked similar to Vahn. Due to the small conflicts in how they viewed him, the image wasn't really true to form so Merlin made a few small tweaks, drawing the attention of his former Familiar. Unlike in the past, however, Cath Palug didn't show any hostility as it stated in a very clear tone, a stark contrast to the broken language it used to converse with others, "Do not mess around with my head..."

With his characteristically whimsical smile, Merlin lightly mused, "Worry not, my friend. You know I cannot break my promises. Look, I'm just making the image a bit clearer for you. Shouldn't you be thanking me instead~?" Now, instead of the vague image from before, there was a distinctly Vahn shaped figure cradling the two, complete with fluffy white hair, large ears, and a curly tail. This was the form Vahn had taken when emulating Cath Palug, causing the small squirrel-like creature to give a small nod in response to Merlin's words. He did not, however, express his gratitude and instead just snuggled up against 'Vahn' with a comfortable smile on his face.

Shaking his head, Merlin complained in a tone that Cath Palug wouldn't be able to hear, "I wonder why I even bother with you at times. Always so ungrateful..." Though he worded things in a way that expressed his frustration, Merlin still had a smile on his face as he left his former companion to his own devices. Then, as he was most fond of doing, Merlin took a peek into Artoria's dreams which, compared to the past, were usually filled with pleasant scenes instead of plagued by worries and thoughts of battle.

Since she was very perceptive and had spent years learning from him within her own dreamscape, Artoria was able to sense if he tried to manipulate her. Thus, after entrusting her to Vahn's care, Merlin had only viewed from a distance rather than interfere directly. The fact that she still had pleasant dreams always brought a smile to his face and, even though he sometimes wanted to 'punish' Vahn, Merlin felt vindicated every time he saw his faux-daughter happy. It was Artoria's happiness that he was most concerned with as, after failing her in both the past and present, Merlin felt she deserved it. If she could be happy, he believed he would be liberated from his own curse and, though her played the fool around Vahn and Vivian both, Merlin genuinely wished to love someone the way his father had loved his mother...

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Sakura, number one assistant (T ^ T)~!','Circe is so spoiled xD...','Merlin is a surprisingly hard worker...? Still a Dick Wizard though (o 3 o)...') <-(p.atreon link)

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