Chapter 110: Ceremony

Hephaestus, still leaning against Vahn, was unable to form any thoughts. She just stared at the pointing finger of Lili with wide eyes and a slightly open mouth, still wet from her kiss with Vahn. Tsubaki snatched up Lili who began to struggle as she slowly made her way toward the door while laughing. “Hahaha, I guess we should come back later!” Tsubaki carried out the flailing Lili before closing the door behind them.

Hephaestus looked toward Vahn, who also had a shocked expression, before finally coming to her senses and separating from his body. Vahn also recovered after she moved away, and sat up on the couch while Hephaestus ran to the door. “Wait, come back Tsubaki!” Hephaestus was incredibly embarrassed after the incident. She had completely forgotten that she had told Tsubaki to bring Lili by, and now they had both seen her in a compromising position with Vahn.

Tsubaki hadn’t gone far before Hephaestus caught up with them. Tsubaki stared a the heavily breathing Hephaestus with a big grin on her face, “Are you sure, Hephaestus-sama~?” She let her words linger in the air and Hephaestus began to blush fiercely. “Get back inside Tsubaki! We have important matters that need to be dealt with!” Different from her normal self, Hephaestus screamed with words before returning back to her office in a huffy fit.

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Watching her flustered figure, Tsubaki couldn’t help but laugh out loud as she carried Lili into the office. She could see Hephaestus leaning against the top of her desk while Vahn was sitting up straight on the couch as he stared at the two as they entered. Tsubaki released Lili before giving Vahn a big thumbs up and saying,”I didn’t know you had it in you, Vahn. Good job!” Vahn was incredibly embarrassed to hear her words as Lili took the empty spot next to him.

Lili inspected Vahn’s body and noticed his skin was lightly flushed. She could see that his lips were slightly swollen and there were kiss marks on his neck. She glared toward Hephaestus and said, “Hephaestus-sama…no fair.” Seeing the accusing look of Lili, Hephaestus coughed loudly and tried to clear the atmosphere. “We…weren’t going to do anything. I just got caught up the moment…I had been rather stressed out lately while Vahn was in the medical ward.”

As Lili continued to glare at Hephaestus, she felt a weight on her head and the familiar hand of Vahn as it began to ruffle her hair. “Don’t blame Hephaestus, Lili. She tried to resist at first, and I was the one that kissed her.” The words Vahn had intended to diffuse the situation practically exploded in the ears of all the girls present. Hephaestus couldn’t prevent herself from covering her face as Tsubaki was bent against the wall while loudly laughing. “Way to go, way to go~! Ahahahaha!”

Lili had taken the most damage from the words, as she knew Vahn was trying to comfort her. If what he said was true, she really couldn’t blame Hephaestus at all. “Uuuuh, Vahn…I was worried too you know!?” Lili was practically frantic now, and Vahn frowned slightly as he looked toward Hephaestus who refused to make eye contact with him. Seeing that Tsubaki wasn’t any help, he decided to try and placate Lili.

Removing his hand from her head, Vahn reached around her shoulders and pulled Lili into an embrace. Since Lili was so small, her face ended up landing right in the center of Vahn’s chest as he began to gently stroke her back. “Thanks for worry about me, Lili, I’m sorry to have put you through so much.” Lili felt slightly aggrieved after hearing his words because she knew Vahn was trying to comfort her, but the smell coming from his body made her heart feel sour. Mixed in with the scent of Vahn, Lili could smell the fragrance of Hephaestus, and it made her feel a bit jealous.

After a while, Lili seemed to have made up her mind and she pulled away from Vahn a bit. “Vahn, can I get a kiss too, please?” Hephaestus seemed to awaken at the words, but she didn’t stop Vahn from making a decision. Tsubaki also looked over, but she was no longer laughing and had a more serious expression on her face. Vahn contemplated Lili’s request and realized that, much like Ais, she had very high affection.

However, unlike Ais, Lili was different, as she was still very weak. Vahn was afraid that, if he was too lenient and giving toward her, her personality would become distorted as she sought more affection from him in the future. So, instead of kissing her on the lips, Vahn grasped Lili’s face and, outside the expectations held in her gaze, kissed her on the forehead. Lili’s eyes opened wide and it looked like she wanted to say something, but she couldn’t find the words to express herself.

Pulling their faces apart, Vahn spoke in a soft and gentle tone, “I don’t want to see you become reliant on me, Lili. For now, I want you to enjoy your life and focus on increasing your strength as much as you can. There is plenty of time in the future, so just enjoy the moment.” Vahn felt like his advice was good, but Lili seemed somewhat upset by his words. Tears began accumulating in her face and she spoke in muted sobs, “I will become stronger Vahn…please don’t leave me behind, okay?”

Vahn shook his head and laughed a bit while stroking her head, “Silly girl, I’m not going anywhere. You are very important to me, just not in that way. At least, not for now.” Tsubaki, who had been standing at the side, spoke out, “He is right Lili. You know exactly what kind of person Vahn is, and what you need to do to overcome your own past. You’ve made a lot of progress, so don’t stumble and waste it all.”

Lili nodded her head, but there were still tears in her eyes as she looked at Hephaestus. “Hephaestus-sama…please don’t keep Vahn to yourself in the future. There are other people that care about him a whole lot, okay?” Hephaestus considered Lili’s words before nodding in affirmation. She knew, especially after hearing it from Vahn himself, what kind of things she’d have to deal with in the future. As a Goddess who had lived for millions of years, and as someone that would never age as Vahn grows old, she could be patient and accepting. She never believed for a moment she would be able to keep someone as powerful and mysterious as Vahn to herself.

Tsubaki saw the quiet atmosphere as a cheeky smile began to grow on her face. Looking towards Vahn and Lili on the couch and said, “Lili. Strip.” Lili, who had been looking toward Hephaestus all this time became startled after hearing the ‘commanding’ tone of Tsubaki. She looked over and saw the ‘devilish’ grin on her face as she asked, “Eh? Tsubaki-sama?”

Hephaestus nodded and reiterated the words, “She is right, you need to take off your top. We’re going to conduct the conversion ceremony and make you an official member of my Familia.” Seeing Vahn sitting next to Lili, Hephaestus frowned a bit before saying, “You can stay Vahn, but don’t interrupt the ceremony.”

Lili was surprised at hearing she was going to undergo the conversion ceremony, but a bit of expectation began to build inside her when she heard Hephaestus give Vahn permissions to stay. “Yes, please stay, Vahn! I want you to see the exact moment when I join the same Familia as you!” Lili was suddenly in high tension, and all her apprehension flew out the window as she began to undress.

Suddenly, as her hands touched the buttons of her blouse, she looked at Hephaestus for a moment before turning toward Vahn. Spreading her arms wide, Lili looked at Vahn with an excited expression as she said,”Vahn, help me undress~!” Vahn was surprised, and he could see from the side that Hephaestus flinched after hearing Lili’s words. After a brief moment, she made eye contact with Vahn and nodded with a sigh.

Vahn, who had never really thought of Lili as one of his potential partners, reached out toward her blouse and was surprised to feel his emotions begin to become disordered. Before his hands reached the buttons, he couldn’t help but gulp slightly. Even though Lili was small, it was primarily due to her race, and she had in fact been growing in all the places a woman would. Though they weren’t as large as in the original story, her breasts had already reached a mature state.

Lili was watching Vahn the entire time and, seeing his hesitation and how he gulped, she felt slightly proud of herself and extended her chest forward. Even though she couldn’t compete against Hephaestus in bust size, she wasn’t considered lacking amongst members of her own race. When she pressed her breasts out, they collided with Vahn’s hand and he became slightly started.

Feeling as though his actions were somewhat embarrassing, Vahn shook his head before quickly reaching for the buttons. Now it was Lili’s turn to blush as each individual button on her blouse was slowly unfasted by Vahn. By the time he had reached the last button, her bare skin had been exposed to him including the lace bra she was wearing underneath. Lili had a fierce blush on her face as she grits her teeth and willed her body not to move.

After Vahn removed the final button, he could clearly the see the front of Lili’s body. Though she often showed her stomach in casual clothing, Vahn felt the current sight to be unique. It was his first time undressing a girl, and it made blood rush to his face as he continued. Reaching towards her shoulders, he slowly moved down the garment and couldn’t help but swallow again when the blouse fell from her body. Now, Lili stood before Vahn in nothing but a bra, skirt, and stockings as she trembled in front of him with her eyes closed

Vahn just sat there staring for a moment before Tsubaki, at the side, spoke out,”I wonder how long you are going to stand there and let Vahn oggle you?” Vahn turned his head away after Tsubaki spoke while Lili flinched before trying to cover herself in her panic. Hephaestus, who had been growing more annoyed as time passed, loudly moved a chair to the center of the room. “Sit here, Lili. This won’t take long, but it will be somewhat uncomfortable. Vahn…just stay there for now.”

Vahn nodded his head mechanically as Lili sat in the chair. Perhaps by accident or by design, but Hephaestus had oriented the back of the chair facing the couch. Since the chair was wooded and had gaps, when Lili sat down, Vahn was able to see a bit of the exposed skin through the openings. The thing that made his heart suddenly pump with one vicious throb was when Lili first straddled the chair, she opened her legs and her skirt rolled up slightly. Vahn could see a very similar fabric as the bra Lili was wearing and understood that the sight he could see through the gaps were Lili’s panties.

Lili had a fierce blush as she stared at each of Vahn’s reactions. Every time his expression changed, she felt slightly happy and her tiny heart was beating a million beats per minute. It felt like, if this situation went on for too long, her heart would explode out her chest. Suddenly, and without any warning, Lili could feel an incredibly painful and burning sensation on her back. All of the excitement she had been building was immediately dashed and replaced by the aching pain that seemed to penetrate all the way through her body.

Hephaestus had let Lili get a little riled up by using Vahn as a distraction. The moment her ‘happiness’ had reached a critical level, Hephaestus began the conversion ceremony by dripping her blood onto the Soma Familia crest. As her blood came into contact with the crest, the black tattoo lit up with a bright red light as it began to forcibly change into the Hephaestus Familia crest. Because a conversion could damage a person body and harm their foundation, it was impossible to perform more than once a year. Any more than that and the recipient could suffer permanent damage.

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Even though it wasn’t her fault, Hephaestus hadn’t quite forgiven Lili for her earlier intrusion. Though she meant to punish Tsubaki as well, right now Hephaestus just wanted Lili to feel a bit of what she experienced earlier. The moment she was having a lovey-dovey atmosphere with Vahn, that was precisely when she decided to start the ceremony. Vahn, unaware of the secondary motives behind Hephaestus’s actions, just continued to stare on and watch.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Revenge of the Forge Goddess’,’Glimpse through the gap’,’Uncontrollable Laugher of the Cyclops’)

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