Chapter 1028: Push

Though he had fully expected her to have it, Vahn was surprised to see that Rin’s [Child of Destiny], the Innate that seemed to be possessed by all ‘main’ characters, was already at C-Rank. This implied that she had already experienced several incidents that had a direct impact on the fate of her world. Since she carried herself as someone who had a few deeply ingrained traumas, Vahn assertion that her past hadn’t been easy now held a great deal of veracity. Just the wound on her abdomen, which was far more serious than he had expected, showed that she had only barely survived whatever trial had been forced upon her in the past. Since he knew how ‘troublesome’ fate could be, Vahn felt far more empathetic about Rin’s situation than before…

Sensing the change in Vahn’s mood, Rin turned towards him with a curious glint in her aqua-blue eyes. Seeing her gaze, Vahn’s expression softened for a brief moment before he regained his composure and explained, “The effect of the blessing was actually more impactful than I expected. Though your physical parameters are lacking, your Magical Power is more than six times what it had been previously. Now, even without your Od changing, you should be capable of outputting around 7500-7800 units of Magic Power. This could be a double-edged sword with the durability of your body, however, so make sure you don’t overexert yourself as a result of the unexpected increase.”

Hearing Vahn’s words, Rin’s eyes widened in shock as she asked in an incredulous tone, “Are you telling the truth? That is more Magical Power than most Brands can output…!” As a member of the Mage’s Association, Rin was intimately familiar with the ranking system used to categorize Mages. Her own rank was only that of a Cause, though she was expected to reach the same rank as Lord El-Melloi II, known as Fes, by the time she reached the age of thirty. This was considered an incredible talent so hearing Vahn suddenly claim she was capable of outputting the same Magical Power as someone three full ranks higher than her was more than a little jarring…

Understanding Rin’s confusion, Vahn smiled lightly as he explained, “I’m not sure why, but there seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the development of parameters in this world. I imagine most Magi only have a base Magic Power between one and two, perhaps the result of a natural limiter that is intended to prevent people from harming themselves. Handling more Magical Power than your mental capacity would allow can have devastating consequences if you let your power run wild. Not only could your spells explode, but there is also a chance that your Magic Circuits could be irreparably damaged as a result. Though you won’t have to worry about that while I’m around, you will need to work on developing both your mind and body to avoid a mishap in the future.”

Though she was still struggling to believe Vahn’s words, Rin absentmindedly nodded her head, thoughts wandering to what she was now capable of. In the process, she sat up on her bed without thinking about her current wardrobe or, more specifically, her lack of one. Vahn casually averted his eyes to the side as a result before pulling out a mantle and unceremoniously handing it to the slightly confused Magus. It was only when she looked down at herself that Rin remembered that she was only wearing a pair of panties. Though Vahn was already looking away, she hugged the mantle to her chest with a dark expression on her face as she asked, “Did you see…?”

Instead of Vahn answering, Fenrir snorted through her nose before answering in his place, stating, “Do not blame my Master for your mistakes. You haven’t even thanked him for increasing your power and are already looking to lay blame on him for an incident you had caused…hmph!” Since Rin wasn’t one of her Master’s lovers, Fenrir wasn’t shy about harshly reprimanding her. She had never gotten along with people outside of the Hearth Manor so, unless her Master accepted them, she would proactively keep women from inconveniencing her Master over misunderstandings they had caused.

Looking as if she had taken actual damage from Fenrir’s words, Rin flinched a few times before holding the mantle even tighter to her chest. With her head hung, she remained silent for several long seconds before finally muttering, “Thank you…Master…” in a quiet tone of voice. This seemed to have set off a bomb in her mind, however, causing Rin’s face to immediately become red as she quickly added, “Now get out of my room! I’m going to bed!”

Without arguing the issue, Vahn sent a slightly reproachful look towards Fenrir before releasing a small sigh when she just huffed in response. On their way out of the room, Vahn kept his back to Rin as he calmly stated, “In order for your parameters to increase, I will need to periodically update your Status Board. By the time you wake up in the morning, I’ll have a comprehensive list of your current parameters and skills so you can have a better understanding of your growth…Goodnight, Rin…” With these parting words, Vahn exited through the door with Fenrir before allowing the door to close behind him. As for Rin, she had followed their retreat with her eyes, waiting for the door to close completely before she threw herself back on her bed and began to flail around in an attempt to ease her embarrassment…

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Out of consideration for Rin, Vahn and Fenrir spent much of the evening just cuddling without doing anything ‘too’ intimate. He had vented a lot of his pent-up tensions during the hours they had spent together prior to Rin’s return to the Manor. Now, he was more than content with simply holding her in his embrace, enjoying the naturally ‘cool’ feeling of her skin. Unlike other girls, who would heat up very quickly whenever he embraced them, Fenrir’s body was like hugging soft and comfortable mesh pillow filled with ice. It was one of the unique traits that was distinctly hers, causing Vahn to feel calm and relaxed as he inhaled the natural aroma in her hair. Though she wasn’t a Chienthrope, Fenrir’s ears also had a pleasant and calming aroma that made Vahn feel as though he had finally regained something precious that he had previously lost…

As much as Vahn enjoyed their time together, Fenrir felt everything he was going through and used it to feed into her own emotions. Though the thought of being bound still terrified her, Fenrir felt an extreme level of comfort wrapped in her Master’s embrace, something she had convinced herself she simply couldn’t live without. It didn’t matter what he wanted her to do, just feeling how happy he was to be reunited with her caused Fenrir to feel an emotion within her heart that she could only describe as ‘filling’. It was like her existence was amplified when they were together, even though she felt small and ‘contained’ within his embrace. This was a feeling of security that nothing else could provide, causing Fenrir to feel that she might lose herself if she was denied it for too long…

After a night that seemed impossibly long, even though it also seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, Vahn and Fenrir arrived in the dining room to find that Rin was already present. She had slight bags under her eyes, evidence that she didn’t sleep very well, as she nursed a cup of black tea. Fenrir’s face adopted a small frown when she saw Rin but, after Vahn gently touched the small of her back, she walked over to the table before muttering, “Good morning…” Though Rin had noticed their presence instantly, she had been trying to focus on her tea after stressing out a bit too much the previous night. With Fenrir suddenly greeting her, she was at a loss as to how she should respond, barely managing a simple, “Mornin…” before feeling a sudden urge to yawn.

Leaving the two to ‘talk’, Vahn made his way to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, adding a few mana-rich fruits into the mix to give Rin a bit of extra energy. At the same time, Vahn went through his morning routine of using his free Premium Gacha pull before checking the status of his Quests. He had the option of submitting his [Repeatable Quest: The Title of Master], but wanted to see if any additional rewards could be obtained by convincing Rin to eventually become his Subordinate or Retainer. Since his View Affection was still inactive, by Vahn’s own choosing, he couldn’t accurately gauge how Rin felt towards him. He was certain there weren’t any feelings of love between them, at least as far as he could tell, but that didn’t mean he affection was low.

Shaking his head to clear the urge to activate his View Affection function, Vahn reminded himself that he wanted to have more meaningful relationships from now on. Ever since the birth of his children, it almost felt ‘wrong’ to be able to know how people felt about him in a quantifiable way. It felt like he was always trying to measure his actions to meet their expectations, almost as if he was manipulating them into falling in love with him. After becoming an Emperor, Vahn had disabled the system function that had become one of his most powerful tools within the Record of Danmachi. Now, regardless of what happened, he was determined to use his own judgment when it came to dealing with people, refusing to rely on the system as a crutch for even basic interactions…

After finishing the breakfast preparations, Vahn set a few dishes on the counter before placing them into his Inventory. When he entered into the dining room, a somewhat unbelievable scene entered his eyes as, contrary to what she had said the previous night, Fenrir was currently letting Rin gently touch her ears. Though she immediately turned away from Rin when he entered the room, causing the latter to make a pouting expression, it was obvious that Fenrir was making an effort to get along better. Even if Rin wasn’t ‘family’, she had become one of Vahn’s official Disciples so Fenrir knew she shouldn’t cause unnecessary tension between herself and someone that should be her ally. After being held by her Master for the entire night, she had calmed down a lot compared to the previous evening.

As he had promised, Vahn provided Rin with an updated Status Sheet before explaining the specifics of each parameter, at least according to his current knowledge. She listened attentively to everything he explained, displaying the serious and studious side that had allowed her to thrive within the Clock Tower. Each question she asked was clearly thought out, providing Vahn with a few extra insights due to him having to explain it in a way that Rin could understand. It was sometimes stated that a good student could make a great teacher and, after talking with Rin for the better part of an hour, Vahn was beginning to believe her claim about being a ‘genius’ was genuine. According to her, she was already recognized within the Magus Society as having the potential to become one of the top 100 graduates that the Mage Association had ever produced.

By the time breakfast had come to an end, Rin surprised Vahn a second time as she quickly rose from her chair and exclaimed, “I’ll wash the dishes. Since I’m supposed to be your Disciple, I need to start acting like it. You made breakfast so I can at least wash the dishes…!” Since she said this with a surprising amount of conviction, Vahn was slightly taken aback by Rin’s spontaneity. Fortunately, Fenrir also hopped out of her chair before adding, “I will help as well. Master should relax more often.” With these parting words, Fenrir and Rin grabbed the dishes before alighting to the kitchen together. Vahn was beginning to wonder what they had talked about during the twenty minutes he had been cooking as it seemed like the distance between them had shrunk in an instant…

Deciding it was best not to pry, as there was nothing wrong with Rin and Fenrir getting along, Vahn took the latter’s advice and just relaxed for the few minutes it took them to clean the plates. When they next appeared, Rin was wiping her hands with a towel as she asked, “So, what kind of training are we going to do? You have the means to help me improve quickly, right?” Though she would usually spend most of her free time infusing her Magical Power into the gemstones she relied on in combat, Rin was now keenly aware of the fact that Vahn’s methods were the key to becoming a far more powerful Magus than her own efforts would have allowed. The previous night, she had been able to fill a gemstone with nearly ten times the amount of mana that she would have been able to manage in a similar amount of time just one day prior…

Having expected Rin to start asking for his advice at some point, Vahn didn’t let her down as he smiled and answered, “Your parameters are useless without having a strong foundation. Right now, the most important thing you can do is work on improving your physique and mental power. With your increased Magical Power, the strain your body and mind will experience has increased exponentially. Though it won’t be much of a problem if you’re satisfied with your current status, you’ll need to continually break down and rebuild your body if you want to truly reach the top. If you train seriously, the day in which you break the sound barrier without even having to rely on Magecraft would only be a few years down the line.” Though this wasn’t much of an achievement in a world like Danmachi, Vahn felt this would be quite the feat from Rin’s perspective.

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Imagining herself moving at such ‘ridiculous’ speeds, Rin felt a little dizzy so she placed her hand against her forehead before groaning as she asked, “You’re serious, aren’t you…?” Vahn, thinking she was worried about becoming super muscular, chuckled amusedly before gesturing to Fenrir as he said, “Fenrir can easily move several times the speed of sound without damaging her muscles and tendons. You don’t have to worry about becoming some super-human bodybuilder, as your parameters alone will help fill in the gaps. It is more important to focus on balance and, as your parameters are all equally low, you actually have a pretty good starting point to build upon. Also, there is one last thing I need to talk to you about before we advance your training…”

Seeing Vahn get ‘serious’, Rin’s eyes turned sharp as she asked, “What is it? Don’t tell me there is actually a downside after you said there wouldn’t be…” To this, Vahn just waved his hand dismissively before explaining, “Right now, we are officially Master and Disciple. Though this relationship alone has quite the bit of significance, I want to make you aware that there are other paths available to you. Just like how the gods prior to the Age of Men were able to draw power from the beliefs of their followers, the relationship we share affords me a few unique abilities. Once the bond between us becomes strong enough, even helping you change your age, race, gender wouldn’t be that difficult to achieve. Though I’m not asking you to suddenly start fervently believing in me, I wanted you to be aware that the limits you currently have as a human are functionally meaningless if you choose to pursue a path beyond this singular world.”

Though Vahn didn’t intend to take Rin with him to other Records, as it would be impossible, that didn’t mean she couldn’t potentially accompany him through alternate timelines. He hadn’t been able to see the full extent of Bell’s capabilities with the [Child of Destiny] Innate so it would be extremely helpful to see what Rin is able to achieve with it. Now that he had decided to invest his efforts into helping her grow stronger, almost as a way of ‘sticking’ it to fate, Vahn wanted to see just how far she could go. Fortunately, Rin was the type that seriously considered things so, instead of outright refusing, she gave a contemplative nod before answering, “I’ll need to know more about exactly what these abilities of yours are able to achieve. For now, I want to focus on familiarizing myself with my increased Magical Power while following the training schedule you come up with.”

Vahn gave an understanding nod of his own before looking through the system shop and purchasing an item he was intimately familiar with, the [Aegis Mk 5]. Though the shop didn’t generally stock items he had produced, Ina’s, Asfi’s, and Hephaestus’ involvement in the production of latter iterations were recognized as ‘products’ of the Record. As a result, everything after the [Aegis Mk 4] was accessible through the system shop. Though some of its functions would be changed to adapt them to the current Record, Vahn was confident in the design he had invested several years of his life improving upon. Rin, however, didn’t seem too keen on accepting the predominately white ‘undergarments’ as she gave Vahn a deadpan stare and asked, “What are these supposed to be…?”

Because the [Aegis Mk 5] had been designed to be worn under other equipment, it wasn’t inaccurate to consider them undergarments. They were both elastic and comfortable and, though Vahn would never tell Rin, they even had a ‘shaping’ function built into them, like many of the later pieces of equipment he had designed for the girls. As a Japanese woman, Rin had somewhat modest breasts and, though her thighs seemed strangely plush, she was distinctly lacking an asset Vahn had come to appreciate like a fine connoisseur. Since she obviously had the ‘potential’, Vahn felt that the [Aegis Mk 5] would be a qualitative improvement to her current equipment, even without being obvious.

Since Rin seemed to have misconstrued that he wanted her to wear the [Aegis Mk 5] by itself, he calmly clarified, “You’ll notice when you get used to using them, but these garments will greatly increase your capabilities. Not only that, you can be sure that not even a tank would be able to easily damage you while wearing them. They also have relatively high magic resistance, to the point it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine the entire Mage community going to war just to obtain them…” Though it might seem like an exaggeration, the [Aegis Mk 5] was still graded as an S-Rank item, meaning it was very near the ‘pinnacle’ of what mortals could achieve. So long as Rin was wearing them, she wouldn’t have to worry about things like bullets, assuming they weren’t magically empowered to have an extreme level of penetrative power…

Rin still didn’t seem fully convinced so Vahn laughed before adding, “These are designed to be worn under other clothes. You can even wear them under your normal underwear if you want to keep them concealed so don’t overthink it and just accept them…” Without waiting for her to take them, Vahn placed the soft shite garments into Rin’s hands. She still didn’t seem to believe they were as powerful as he claimed but, after training with them, Vahn knew she would quickly come around. As for Fenrir, she unhesitantly changed into a set of the [Aegis Mk 5] for herself, electing to forego other garments since she could just manifest them with magic. This gave her the appearance of a scantily clad young woman wearing nothing but a sports bra and a pair of ‘shorts’ that were closer in form to actual panties than spats. She wasn’t bothered by this, however, as, even after wearing growing used to wearing clothes, Fenrir still wasn’t that fond of how restrictive they felt…

When Rin returned, wearing what appeared to be a red and black bodysuit, she looked at Fenrir’s appearance with dull eyes before ‘glaring’ towards Vahn. Since this was par for the course, Vahn chose to ignore her penetrating gaze as he firmly stated, “Now, it is time for our morning training. From now on, so long as the circumstances allow, you will follow the schedule I set for you every single day. It won’t be easy but, if you work through the pain, I can guarantee that you’ll look back on your past self, wondering how you ever tolerated how weak you were.” Though he said these words to encourage Rin, Vahn noticed that she flinched a few times at certain parts of his statement. Before she could say anything, however, he smiled snidely, much like how Tsubaki acted when he trained under her, saying, “If you have a problem with my words, prove to me that you can get stronger. Talk is cheap, Rin, now is the time for action…!”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘All according to cake…’,’I swear, even if it doesn’t cover much, you’ll be bullet proof…!’,’Vahn is the culmination of all his experiences with the women who helped to shape him’)

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