Chapter 1104: Forcing One’S Hand

Upon exiting the Sub-Space Orb, Vahn nearly bumped into Nobunaga, still carrying a rather tired looking Susu in her embrace. She gave him a slightly annoyed look, exclaiming, “Hey, be more careful…!” before almost immediately following up with asking, “So, are done playing around for the night or can I expect a visit later on…?” Though she was playing with Susu’s paws as she asked this, Vahn knew that Nobunaga was being serious. With the [Independent Action] skill, she could actually sustain herself almost indefinitely with the [Spirit Choker] he had given her. However, even if neither of them had ever mentioned being in a permanant relationship, Vahn knew that was a bridge he had already crossed long ago…

After organizing his thoughts, Vahn honestly answered, “I was going to spend some time with Illya before going to sleep with Rin and Sakura again. When-.” Without waiting for Vahn to continue any further, Nobunaga nodded her head a few times before saying, “I’m gonna go out and explore the City tonight. If you want, I can take a [Spirit Choker] and one of those [Seal of Binding]s to Astolfo and Catherine. I can’t imagine it’s been easy on her trying to keep Astolfo manifested for you…” When she said the last part, Nobunaga gave a slightly accusatory look at Vahn since it was one of the things he should have already addressed. This caused him to release a sigh before pulling out the two items and saying, “Thank you…can you explain the situation to them and see what they want to do moving forward…?”

In response to Vahn’s words, Nobunaga held out Susu in front of his face, eliciting a mewl from the juvenile cat as she said, “Take care of Susu for me. If you harm even a hair on her head, I’ll pull out your eyelashes when I get back…” With that said, Nobunaga turned on her heel before making her way toward the door without another word. Vahn knew this was her way of trying to be ‘helpful’ to him so, when he wasn’t busy with his other responsibilities, he intended to take care of her when she got back. Even if they just sat on the porch and drank sake for a few hours, it was always a pleasant experience to spend time with Nobunaga. She was an ambitious woman but, rather than insist on her own vision of the future, Nobunaga liked to get him talking about his own dreams before expressing her opinion and support, even if her comments could be a bit sly…

Making his way past the kitchen, where Circe always seemed to be cooking something up, Vahn then proceeded upstairs to the second floor, turning down the corner at the end of the hallway where the guest bedrooms were located. Since none of the Servants really required sleep, only two of the guest rooms were actually occupied, being the one he shared with Fenrir and the one located right across the hallway. After lightly knocking on the door, Vahn waited for the pitter-patter of footsteps before looking down into the red eyes of the ‘young’ girl that peeked up at him through the crack. With her height of 135cm, it was impossible for Illya to look through the peephole in the door without using a stepping stool so she had to open the door to see who was outside.

Seeing that it was Vahn, Illya quickly undid the chain lock before opening the door wide and saying, “Welcome to my room, Onii-sama. Come, make yourself at home.” As she said this, Illya ran over to the bed, jumping up to sit down before patting the spot beside her with an inviting smile. Vahn shut the door behind him before smiling as he said, “Thanks for inviting me. I had wanted to talk to you about the future…” These words caused Illya to puff out her cheeks a bit before muttering, “I don’t care about things like that, Onii-sama. No matter what, the future will always come. I want to focus on the present and enjoy life…I don’t want to think about the past and the future anymore…”

With an understanding nod, Vahn sat down on the bed next to Illya, sinking into the plush mattress a bit more than expected. He had purchased her something nice and soft from the system but it was different from the one he normally used. Then, almost as soon as he sat down, Illya scootched over with a slight ‘Yosha~’ before sitting in his lap and giving a smile that didn’t seem nearly as innocent as she might have intended. Things were only exacerbated by the fact she had straddled his waist, facing toward him before linking her arms around his back and leaning her head against his chest. As for Vahn, he just loosely held Illya’s shoulder with his left hand while using his right to gently stroke her head…

In response to Vahn’s ‘petting’, Illya released a girlish ‘Munya…’ sound before hugging him a little tighter and saying, “Merlin told me that you would be able to help me find happiness…honestly, I don’t know what that really means anymore. I thought I used to know but that is something that I can never have now. Since I can’t find it on my own anymore, I decided to leave it to you…I know it may be selfish of me, but I’m tired of trying only to lose everything I care about…” As she said this, Illya tightly gripped the fabric of his t-shirt, burying her face into Vahn’s chest as he began to gently stroke her back in a soothing manner. He knew he had a pretty big responsibility in dealing with Ilya and, as she said, it was ultimately up to him to help her find the happiness she had all but given up on obtaining…

With that in mind, Vahn hugged Illya’s tiny body while cradling her head into his chest as he softly explained, “I will need your and Paracelsus’ help in order to make perfect Homunculi for the Heroic Spirits to inhabit. However, it is ultimately up to you if you want to help…I will never force you to do anything you don’t want to do, Illya. Even if you lock yourself away in your room and only want to be pampered when we’re together, that is enough for now. Though I would like for you to open up to the others and make friends with Fenrir, there is no rush…from now on, I will do my best to take care of and make you happy, even if I can’t always make it my highest priority…”

Somewhat unexpectedly, Illya shook her head in response to his words before peeking up at him and reminding, “You have to take care of Cath Palug as well…even if I try to convince him not to hate humanity, the trauma in my heart is something that can’t be removed. Unless you can overwrite our hatred…” Though Illya wasn’t exactly trying to threaten him, she knew that her situation was actually far more complicated than Vahn made it out to be. If not for the fact that she didn’t want to destroy the world that her brother wanted to protect, Illya felt she would have killed herself the moment she learned about his death. Merlin had spent a long time trying to convince her to give Vahn a chance so, even if it was a bit mean-spirited of her, she intended to make him take her matter seriously…

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Vahn was thinking about how he should respond to Illya when, apparently making the decision for him, her nightgown dissolved in a cloud of magical particles as two fluffy ears popped out from the top of her head while an equally fluffy tail manifested out of her lower back. Other than a small white mantle, tied together with a pink ribbon, the only other garment on Illya’s body was closer in form and function to the ‘tape’ used by female Adventurers in Danmachi. It was a paper-thin fabric that did next to nothing to conceal Illya’s dignity as he could feel her body heat almost directly pass into him. Then, with purple eyes and a mat of messy white hair, ‘Cath Palug’ looked up at Vahn with a blank expression before revealing two rows of sharp teeth. Small black horns began to poke through her hair as her claws began to dig into his back with a steadily increasing amount of strength…

As he had already expected Illya to do something like this, Vahn remained relatively calm, ignoring Cath Palug’s claws as he began rubbing both of his hands up and down her back, making full use of his [Hands of Nirvana] and Petting Laws. This caused Cath Palug to blink in confusion, the pressure in its claws steadily easing up as the black horns on its head slowly began to recede into its dense and shaggy white hair. After around a minute or so, Cath Palug’s mouth had formed a small frown as its eyelids began to gradually shut in response to the comfortable sensation spreading through its body. Though Vahn knew it would eventually transform back into Illya, meaning she would be staddling his hips with her naked body, he already had a spare nightgown and a pair of panties waiting for her in his Inventory…

After a few minutes had passed, Cath Palug had its face buried in Vahn’s chest as its long and fluffy ears folded backward like a rabbit, periodically twitching. At the same time, its tail was tucked into Vahn’s thighs, almost as if it wanted to curl up and protect itself but was prevented from doing so by the fact that Illya had already straddled his lap from the start. Fortunately, it never got to the point where it was getting ‘too’ excited, courtesy of the fact that Illya was still a virgin. His [Hands of Nirvana] brought an extreme level of comfort and a moderate level of pleasant sensations to virgin girls, a stark contrast to the ‘danger’ it posed to more mature women. Since his Petting Laws also had a calm and pacifying effect, it didn’t take long to get Cath Palug resting its head against his chest as its paws, whose claws had previously been digging into his back, were loosely holding his waist…

Much like Fenrir, Illya’s Cath Palug form had fur covering her forearms, hands, calves, and feet. She even had adorable, subtle pink paw pads on the inside of her palm while, at the ends of her now transformed hands, violet purple claws poked out in a similar manner to a cat. Vahn couldn’t help wondering what Cath Palug’s true form looked like but, seeing it fused together with Illya resulted in a rather adorable creature not all that dissimilar to Fenrir. The biggest differences between them were their fur color and, though Fenrir was certainly petite, Illya was a good twenty centimeters shorter and only weighed a diminutive 34kg. Her weight was almost entirely negligible to him, even though it also caused Vahn to feel ‘pressured’ when Cath Palug would twitch its hips atop his waist…

Ignoring the increasing heat pressing against his lower body, Vahn eventually hooked his hands under Cath Palug’s armpits before picking it up from his body. Seeing the nearly naked frame up close caused Vahn to shake his head before laying the troublesome duo on the bed. Cath Palug hadn’t passed out, peering at him with its violet eyes, but Vahn could tell it had been pacified for the time being. He didn’t want to take things too far as the though of Cath Palug suddenly became clingy toward him seemed like it would bring with it infinite troubles. The last thing he needed was for the destructive Beast of Gaia shifting its resentment onto girls like Fenrir and Circe, believing they had taken away something that belonged to it. Vahn had the distinct impression that Cath Palug was far more childish than Illya as even Merlin, the person it was closest to, hadn’t been able to convince it not to destroy humanity…

After stroking Cath Palug’s stomach and calves for a short while, Vahn eventually managed to get a pair of panties onto its body, covering the thin strip that almost served no purpose. Then, after bringing it to a seated position and massaging its head and ears for a few minutes, Vahn managed to pull a light-blue nightgown over Cath Palug’s head. Since this seemed to upset it a bit, at least until he fixed its mantle and collar, Vahn spent a solid half-hour with Cath Palug sitting in his lap, this time with having it face away from him as he lightly rubbed its stomach and head. By the time he had been in Illya’s room for around an hour, Cath Palug had turned completely docile in his hands, making no attempt to resist anything he was doing to it. Then, after gently massaging its neck and shoulders for a bit, the destructive beast finally closed its eyes before falling into a deep state of unconsciousness. Its tail and ears slowly shrank away as its hair became silky and straight once again, indicating it had returned control over the body to Illya.

Bringing his message to an end around the same time that the transformation had broken, Vahn just gently hugged Illya from behind before kissing the back of her head and saying, “It is starting to get late…you should sleep soon…” Though she hadn’t experienced everything Cath Palug had gone through, Illya’s body still felt extremely comfortable, even as the heat coming from where her back contacted Vahn’s chest made her feel short of breath. She allowed him to guide her to the bed before, without even asking if he would stay with her, Vahn wrapped her up in his embrace until she had fallen asleep almost a full hour later. There was a lot that Illya wanted to say but, every time the words nearly escaped her lips, Vahn would gently squeeze her hand and bring her to silence. Then, though her mind was extremely chaotic, the comfortable feelings persisting in her body were too much for her to resist any longer. For the first time, at least without the assistance of Merlin, she felt into a peaceful slumber while feeling a strong sense of security due to Vahn’s presence…

When Illya had finally fallen asleep, Vahn released a sigh of relief before kissing the top of her head once again and sinking his face into the comfortable pillow. At this point, he could sense that Rin and Sakura had already gone to bed so unless he intended to crawl in with them, it was probably a better idea to just accompany Illya until she woke up in the morning. She would undoubtedly feel a lot better if he wasn’t just ‘gone’ if she woke up in the middle of the night so Vahn decided to bite the bullet as he enjoyed the subtle smell of Illya’s shampoo. It was the same kind that he had given Rin, meaning she had ‘sneakily’ tried it herself after taking a bath earlier in the afternoon…

With nothing better to do, as he wasn’t even remotely tired due to having slept for seven hours just recently, Vahn began sorting through his Inventory and browsing the constantly updating Quest list. Depending on the decisions he made, there were dozens of Quests that would cycle through the list each day, some more suited to being given to his Subordinates than taking himself. There was even a strange one called [Repeatable Quest: Serving Master] that actually rewarded Loyalty based on various ‘interesting’ parameters. The only thing that prevented him from giving it to Fenrir was the fact that her Loyalty wouldn’t benefit all that much from a small boost. At the same time, making her work ‘even harder’ to try and satisfy him seemed almost cruel to her considering how quickly he had become involved with other women.

Toward the bottom of the list, Vahn saw another new Quest that caught his eye, this one causing him to frown slightly since it was related to Cath Palug and Illya. It was actually an SS-Ranked Quest which, if he completed, implied he wouldn’t have to worry about Cath Palug turning into Primate Murder and wiping out humanity. However, reading the Objectives, Vahn set the Quest aside for future consideration since he wasn’t quite sure how things would develop between him and Illya in the future. He felt it would be better for her if she didn’t end up developing a physical dependency on him but, after his prior experiences with girls like Liliruca, Shizune, and Tina, Vahn knew it would be somewhat cruel if he began building walls around his heart to prevent her from getting to him. With that in mind, Vahn looked over the term of the Quest once again, this time putting a little more consideration into it…

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[Optional Quest: Taming the Beast]

Rank: SS

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Objective(s): Reach 100 Love with [Illyasviel Von Einzbern](52/100), Reach 100 Love with [Cath Palug](17/100), Synchronize the Magic Circuits of [Illyasviel Von Einzbern] and [Cath Palug](0/1), Gain the recognition of both [Illyasviel Von Einzbern] and [Cath Palug] as an authority figure(0/2).

Optional Objective(s): (Beastly Passion): Have Sex with the fused form of [Illyasviel Von Einzbern] and [Cath Palug](0/10), (Progenitor Genes): Impregnate the fused form of [Illyasviel Von Einzbern] and [Cath Palug](0/1), (Master of Beasts): Reach 100,000 Loyalty with [Cath Palug].

Rewards: 500,000,000OP, 1x[Collar of Sealing], 1x[Brand of the Beast]

Failure Condition(s): Ejection from the Record, Love Parameter of [Illyasviel Von Einzbern] or [Cath Palug] reaches 0

Penalties: 10,000 Karma, [Primate Murder] released into the world, Death of [Illyasviel Von Einzbern]

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Vahn hadn’t been relying on the View Affection function for a while now so it was a little unnerving to see the Love Parameter within a Quest Objective. Other than a bit of awkwardness when it came to thinking about making a male ‘Beast’ fall in love with him, Vahn felt that the other objectives weren’t all the difficult to achieve. At the same time, however, Vahn knew that taking this route would essentially guarantee that the two remained fused together almost indefinitely as fusing together their Magic Circuits would undoubtedly result in them being in a permanently transformed state. This wasn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself, but the fact the only ‘options’ beyond that point were to either subordinate or become genuine lovers with their fused form made Vahn have doubts. If not for the fact he understood Illya would probably push for that kind of relationship after a few years, if not sooner, he would have once again dismissed it entirely…

Realizing there were no actual demerits to accepting the Quest, as he didn’t actually need to complete it, Vahn eventually accepted it. At the very least, if things went as he expected, it would be possible to avoid a ‘bad end’ outright. As he had no intention of taking advantage of Illya and Cath Palug, Vahn could completely disregard most of the Optional Objectives unless it was something they actively pursued. Though the odds of him ever impregnating Illya were extremely slim, at least in the near future, he realized he didn’t have to worry excessively. Even if things went in a completely different direction than he anticipated, Vahn didn’t mind treating Illya like his actually little sister or even a second surrogate daughter. The only thing that really mattered was that she was happy as, compared to most people, Illya really did deserve a little bit of happiness in her life…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Nobu is best friend/wife material’,’*Petting Intensifies*’,’Vahn Protec until Illya Attac…’)

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