Chapter 1085: Investment…

Without further delays, Vahn, Scáthach, and Artoria quickly found themselves back at the Tohsaka Manor. Since the ‘active hours’ for the Holy Grail War had already begun, Rin, Fenrir, Lakshmibai, and Nobunaga were all in an alert state as they waited for any potential attacks. They had felt the effects of the battle between Gilgamesh and Sakura so Vahn wasn’t all that surprised when Nobunaga jumped down to meet them before they entered the Manor’s grounds. She gave an annoyed look at the sleeping Sakura before passing her eyes over the unconscious girls in Scáthach’s arms and saying, “There are a lot of eyes on us right now. What do you want to do…?”

Since Vahn could also sense several presences within the 4km range of his domain, he knew exactly what Nobunaga was talking about. Just as Rin had warned earlier, it was obvious that the Mage’s Association and Holy Church were beginning to move. Though they had a justifiable reason to intervene, especially with the death toll rising, nobody present was foolish enough to not understand this had been the plan of several parties from the start. With the Holy Grail War quickly moving into its final phase, there were several organizations and families who would want to make a play for the wish-granting item that could elevate their entire family to a privileged status with but a single well-versed sentence…

Shaking his head in mild annoyance, Vahn plainly stated, “They are just a bunch of fools trying to fish in murky water. The only real threat should be the Holy Church, so long as Lord El-Melloi II is able to keep the Mage’s Association pacified. As for the rest, we just need to stay on our toes and they are effectively powerless. Without a Command Spell and a Servant, they have no means to interact with the Holy Grail and have their wish granted. Their only chance would be to track down Paracelsus and his Master, but I doubt they will be easy targets with the defensive prowess of Paracelsus’ golems.”

Though Nobunaga didn’t disagree with Vahn, she still cautioned, “Never underestimate the greed and ingenuity of humans. The Mage’s Association and Holy Church wouldn’t have been able to rule the world from the shadows if they didn’t have the means to skew the odds in their favor. Until the Holy Grail has been completely destroyed, we cannot truly trust anyone…” As someone who had been betrayed by her own vassal, even though she felt it couldn’t be helped, Nobunaga knew better than most that ‘certainty’ could only be observed in events that have already come to pass. When you assumed everything would go according to expectations, that is exactly when your enemies would strike…

After giving an understanding nod of his own, Vahn carried Sakura into the Tohsaka Manor, a place that may feel surprisingly familiar to her when she finally woke up. He had already come up with an excuse to tell Rin as, even with a bit of embellishment, it wasn’t wrong to say the Makiri had been brainwashing her from the start. Long term captivity and torment were effective means of controlling almost anyone, including Gods. When she finds out that Sakura’s memories have been erased, Vahn anticipated she would probably become Sakura’s caretaker until she was acclimated to her situation. If necessary, he was even prepared to regress Sakura’s physical age so that she was synchronized with her mental age. Scáthach had a functionally infinite number of methods to grant people a form of immortality, including the use of [Primordial Runes] to reverse the age of the body without any real difficulty. This was yet another one of the incalculable number of boons she brought to their group, making it difficult for Vahn to ever truly lash out at her for how she mistreated him…

Having been waiting for Vahn at the door, Rin’s face furrowed with worry as she saw Sakura unceremoniously tossed over Vahn’s shoulder. She wanted to comment that he should have at least given her a princess carry until, just as the words were about to leave her lips, she saw the golden chains flowing from Vahn’s hands that flowed into the blanket around Sakura’s body. She was very aware of [Enkidu]’s effects, asking, “Is she going to be okay…?” instead of badgering him. In response to this, Vahn gave a comforting smile, saying, “With time, she will be better than okay. Things may become a little difficult for the two of you in the future, but I’ll do my best to help out however I can.”

Feeling comforted by Vahn’s words, Rin released a sigh of relief before their entire group, bar Nobunaga and Scáthach entered into the Sub-Space Orb. The latter was left to look over the two sleeping girls until Astolfo arrived to pick them up. She would then assist in transporting them to the Fuyuki City Hyatt Hotel while Nobunaga continued to watch over the groups skulking about the area. If any of them were to try and attack, she would either deal with them directly or alert the group inside the Orb so that they could deal with them together. Fortunately, so long as it wasn’t a high-ranked Servant like Heracles, there weren’t really any threats that Nobunaga couldn’t handle on her own…

With Rin lumbering over his shoulder throughout the entire process, Vahn spent nearly eleven hours performing ‘Nirvana Rebirth’ on Sakura’s body. Since he couldn’t simply pull out the Crest Worms, exposing the truth to Rin before things had settled down, Vahn went through the arduous process of eliminating them while they were still in her body. This wasn’t even the most troublesome factor, however, as Sakura’s magic circuits, core, and potentially even her ego, were all tainted by the same malignant energy that had manifested during her previous outburst. It had irreversibly fused with her own mana, meaning the only way to remove it was to either ‘flush’ her entire system, meaning she would have inert magic circuits for the rest of her life or use something like the [Fate Severing Knife] to completely separate them…

Because Sakura was still the Head of the Matou family, even though Vahn was intending to destroy it within the next forty-eight hours, she needed to have active Magic Circuits. If she were to suddenly lose them, her status would be revoked and, though Rin would undoubtedly want to care for her, it may not be up to her. Rin had previously told him a bit about her past, something that was rather common whenever he would make love with her, so he knew about the protected status of the Tohsaka’s. The entire reason Sakura had been sent to the Matou family for ‘adoption’ was due to the fact that, after Rin became the next head of the Tohsaka’s, it was Sakura’s fate to either become part of an experiment or be given a Sealing Designation. As the lineage and Magecraft of the Tohsaka family were on the verge of extinction, the Mage’s Association wouldn’t easily let her slip through the system if she lost her status as the Matou family Head…

Though he had finished the process of ‘Nirvana Rebirth’, Vahn had yet to bring Sakura back with the Convergence of Heaven and Earth. As a result, Rin began showing a fretful expression and, though she had promised not to interrupt, she couldn’t help but ask, “Is everything okay…?” Seeing Vahn sit still for more than five minutes felt more abnormal than the ‘impossible’ situation she had watched play out over the last eleven hours so Rin was beginning to feel anxious as the time continued to tick forever forward.

Fortunately, Vahn had already completed the most complicated processes so he wasn’t actually disturbed by Rin’s question and simply gave a tired smile in response before saying, “Your sister has something deeply ingrained upon the very surface of her soul. Though I can remove it, more than a third of my reserve energy will be lost in the process…” As Rin had eventually asked about his ability to create items, Vahn had explained things in a similar manner to how he had explained the process in Danmachi. Essentially, by converting precious items and materials into ‘reserve energy’, he could use his fragmented Creation Divinity to produce almost any item he could conceive of. Vahn had ‘proven’ this by creating a ‘fictional’ item from one of the manga that Rin kept on a small shelf within her room, a rather ironic choice on her part considering the nature of system shop and its connect to Records…

Knowing that Vahn had descended into the world with a relatively ‘fixed’ amount of reserve energy, Rin knew it was a big deal for him to suddenly give up more than a third of it. In a way, it was one of his most powerful abilities and, without it, Rin knew it would be much harder for him to eventually return home in the distant future. However, though she felt extremely guilty about asking him to do so much for her and Sakura, Rin tightly gripped her skirt before spontaneously saying, “If you do this for us, I swear, no matter what it takes, I will do everything in my power to pay back this debt. Even if you-” Before Rin could say anything ‘inappropriate’, Vahn gave her a hard stare that brought her to silence.

Once Rin had swallowed her words, Vahn plainly stated, “So long as you bear that mark on your back, Rin, we share a bond even closer than family. Rather than have you ‘pay’ me back, I’d rather you just do your best to become stronger and take care of your sister. Everything else, well, you can just act in the manner you think most appropriate. Just know that I’d rather have a companion I can trust than a slave who thinks she owes me an unpayable debt…” With that said, Vahn didn’t wait for Rin’s response as he sunk a billion Origin Points into a single [Fate Severing Knife]. This brought his reserves down to around 1.9b, less than half of what he had brought with him only three months prior…

Choosing Sakura as his target, Vahn waved the rather plain-looking knife above her rather buxom chest, watching as the blade sunk into a thin golden membrane before an aura appeared around Sakura’s body. Fortunately, due to the state her body was currently in, Vahn had a lot of control over how the energy was directed so he sucked it directly into his body, allowing it to be purged upon contact with his blood and source energy. Less than a minute later, Sakura’s magic circuits had been restored to normal, even though there was a rather peculiar ‘invisible’ color to some of the strands. He knew she had the so-called ‘Hollow’ element after talking with Rin so, with the other elements in her body being Water and, somewhat ironically, Light, Vahn assumed this invisible energy was the Hollow Element.

Even without asking if Vahn had succeeded, Rin knew the answer as she saw Sakura’s hair change from it’s purple color to the same soft and rich brown she had when they were little girls. Seeing this made Rin suddenly feel extremely guilty as, for the last twenty years, she and Sakura had hardly interacted with each other. They were extremely close before she was adopted into the Matou family, something Rin felt like she had forgotten after the deaths of their parents and her hellish training with Kotomine Kirei. Now, though it wouldn’t be easy, she had a chance to reconnect with her sister and build up their relationship anew…

After purging the malignant energy completely, Vahn released a heavy sigh that caused Rin to flinch apologetically, at least until she saw him rolling Sakura onto her stomach. It had been more than a little surreal, watching Vahn ‘operate’ on her sister for nearly half a day while she was sleeping naked atop a table. Seeing him move Sakura while she was unconscious made Rin feel strangely perturbed, especially when Vahn placed his fingers near the base of her neck and the area right above her intergluteal crease. She actually felt a little insecure seeing how ‘developed’ Sakura’s body was, as her own had been ‘refined’ over a long life of physical training and a strictly regulated diet. Sakura had a mature appeal that she would never be able to match, especially with her much larger than average breasts and almost unbelievably plump butt…

As Rin allowed her mind to wander down a strange tangent, Vahn rather unceremoniously performed the Convergence of Heaven and Earth. He was hoping it wouldn’t leave a strange trauma in her as, even though Sakura currently had the mature figure of a twenty-six-year-old woman, she only had the mental faculties of a six-year-old. Since this was the only way to bring her out of the state of ‘Nirvana Rebirth’, however, Vahn had to bite the bullet as he pressed down gently on her back to prevent her from thrashing around as she released a startled, “Fuwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!?” that droned for a full twenty seconds before she lost strength and began twitching atop the table.

Since Rin was giving him a rather cold look, Vahn rolled his eyes and explained, “This is a technique known as the Convergence of Heaven and Earth. Without it, anyone that has experienced Nirvana Rebirth will literally turn into fragmentary particles of mana before vanishing into nothingness. I don’t suppose you would want me to just let Sakura vanish into particles, right…?” This was enough to make Rin immediately show a far more apologetic expression, followed by a look of realization as she asked, “This is what you did to Gray, isn’t it?” Since he had no reason to deny it, Vahn simply nodded his head without commenting on the rather awkward subject. What was far more important in the present moment was making sure Sakura was properly clothed before she realized what was going on…

After putting Sakura’s into a state of deep unconsciousness, Vahn had Rin assist him in dressing Sakura as, even though he was a ‘professional’, he knew she wouldn’t just want to watch him do everything on his own. As a result, Rin helped to shimmy a pair of white panties up Sakura’s legs, requiring a little more effort than she had expected since the fabric was hard to arrange neatly with her sister’s well-developed assets. She then went through the surprisingly arduous process of trying to get a bra onto Sakura’s body before ultimately giving up and asking for Vahn’s help, something she wished she had asked for sooner since he very deftly completed the process. After that, they fitted Sakura with a pair of animal pajamas, fully aware of the fact that she would be ‘extremely’ confused after waking up.

When it was nearing time to wake Sakura up, Vahn decided to bite the bullet and mention, “It might be cruel to have her awaken in this state. If she has the mind of a six-year-old while possessing the body of a grown woman, there are likely to be numerous issues you may not be able to address that easily. I’m sure you don’t need me to explain how dangerous that kind of state could be if the Mage’s Association decides to try and intervene…” Though Sakura was the current Head of the Matou, that might not be the case after he annihilated the family. Even if there are survivors, there was little chance they would support a woman who had regressed to the mind of a child as their actual Head. Some of the senior officials in the Mage’s Association, many having disreputable characters, would quickly move to try and ‘secure’ Sakura for themselves. Not only did she have a unique constitution, but the fact that she could be easily exploited, all while having an admittedly amazing body, would spell tragedy if Rin wasn’t able to protect her…

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Rin knew better than even Vahn how seriously twisted the Mage’s Association could be, especially when it came to some of the ‘old monsters’ that ran things behind the scenes. She was intending to take Sakura as her active protege and apprentice, using her current standing within the Clock Tower to become an active Lecturer. Though Sakura would ‘technically’ become an active participant in her own experiments, Rin had no intentions of harming her sister. If it came down to it, she was fully prepared to butt heads and even go to war with anyone who had such intentions, regardless of their power and authority. Now that she had finally been reunited with Sakura, she wasn’t going to let anyone get in the way of them being sisters a second time.

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After thinking over the matter for a few minutes, Rin ultimately nodded her head and said, “If you can help her, please do. Even if I have to adopt her as my own daughter, that is better than having her return to the care of the Makiri family.” As she was unaware of the fact that Vahn had already marked the Makiri for extermination, Rin was already beginning to plan how she would pressure them into relinquishing Sakura. She was even considering covering up Sakura’s existence and changing her name as, once her appearance was reverted to match her mental age, there would be few means to directly link her to the Sakura Matou that had ‘disappeared’ after Gilgamesh ‘nuked’ the Miyama City Residential District…

As he really didn’t want to spend even more OP trying to help the two sisters, Vahn exited the Sub Space Orb for a few minutes before returning with Scáthach. Though she had required him to agree to a few rather unreasonable demands in exchange, mostly pertaining to ‘studying’ his abilities, Scáthach ultimately agreed to help him reverse the effects of aging on Sakura’s body. He could have used a Command Spell to force the issue but, as he was intending to have Scáthach help him deal with the Makiri, Vahn expected he might need the spares.

Seemingly without any difficulty, Scáthach stood over Sakura’s sleeping body for a few minutes, a stream of hundreds of runes flowing from her dexterous fingers before flowing into the sleeping girl’s chest. From the side, Vahn and Rin watched with varying degrees of surprise and intrigue as Sakura slowly shrank in size until she had reduced from 161cm to a minuscule 120cm by the time Scáthach had finished the process. Her borderline E-Cup breasts were now non-existent while any sign of other secondary sexual characteristics had faded in their entirety. She was now no longer discernable from any other six-year-old, complete with short bobbed hair that didn’t even reach her shoulders…

Though it might not have been the best time for such comments, Rin was feeling a little awkward so she absentmindedly muttered, “I wonder if I can convince her to help improve my figure a bit…” This was just her mumbling to herself but, as Vahn was standing right next to her, he was easily able to pick up on her silent utterance. Deciding he also needed to do something to break the tension, Vahn casually reached his hand around Rin’s waist before gently squeezing her left butt cheek and saying, “You don’t have to worry too much. I can tell you still have room to grow…” Though her back had straightened at the unexpected ‘harassment’, Rin’s face turned beet red a moment later as she swat his hand away and said, “You’re hopeless…!” in a voice that lacked sternness…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Trust No-one’,’The Mage’s Association is full of Old Perverts…’,’Sakura’s ‘fate’ is to always be in a state of unpayable debt xD…’)

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