Chapter 1115: Similarities

As much as he wanted to act on his sentiments, Vahn knew there were other important things he needed to take care of, not just the girls themselves. After spending a few hours collecting his thoughts, Vahn reminded himself that his whole reason for coming to the Nasuverse was to increase his strength. If he put that on the back burner and spent all his time and energy on helping the girls find happiness, it was the same as inviting tragedy into all of their lives. The closer he was to the people around him, the more pressure he would feel when danger reared its ugly head.

Fleeing a second world, just because he wanted to avoid putting the people he cared about in danger, would just be repeating his past mistakes. Even if he had such intentions, it would amount to nothing more than wishful thinking if he didn’t even have the means to earn enough OP for purchasing a second [Dimensional Anchor: Stasis]. Though it was possible to ‘will’ a Quest into existence pertaining to its acquisition, Vahn knew the Objectives would be difficult to achieve and, much like his previous Quest, they would loom over him for the entire time he was in the Nasuverse…

Just as Vahn had previously decided not to use the View Affection Function, he was now beginning to feel that the Quest Function was equally as troublesome. Though it was certainly nice to have a means of replenishing his OP and earning rewards, it made his actions seem less ‘real’ since he was always basing his choices on the Objectives he had yet to complete. If he had a Quest that required him to do something ridiculous like build another expansive harem with every race, Vahn felt like it would pollute his relationships since it was almost like crossing out items on a checklist. It hadn’t bothered him that much in the Record of Danmachi, as it seemed like an ‘interesting’ thing at the time, but now Vahn had a new perspective after leaving his previous world behind.

Ultimately, Vahn knew he would need to focus on achieving some kind of balance in his life, even if his main priority was still growing stronger. The more power he had, especially while his karma was still relatively low, the less likely any ‘real’ threats would reach the people he cared about. Though he certainly wouldn’t ignore his relationships, Vahn knew the only way he would make ‘real’ progress was if he kept focused on his goals and just did his best to reach an accord with everyone he was involved with. So long as he didn’t find himself making compromises that endangered everything they were trying to achieve, Vahn believed it would work out…

With that in mind, Vahn lightly stroked Circe’s side until her eyelids peeled open, revealing a soft blue color with only a tinge of pink. When she looked back at him, however, the blue slowly receded until around three-quarters of her irises had become pink. On his other side, Fenrir had already sat up and started stretching her body, making no pretense of shyness even as she extended both of her arms out across the surface of the bed with her butt poking up in the air. Circe noticed that Vahn’s eyes wandered away from her own, causing a small frown to adorn her otherwise flawless features as she lightly pinched his side. Vahn, however, largely ignored this as he also came to a seated position and said, “I’m going to summon Medusa. Fenrir, I will be entrusting her to you. If possible, I’d like for her to become friends with Illya and Mordred. Just make sure she doesn’t try and pull any ‘clever’ pranks on anyone…”

After moving to a seated position herself, Fenrir nodded her head in understanding, saying, “I will make sure she behaves. Master has to be stern with her as well, though, or she will quickly get out of control…” As she said this, Fenrir looked toward Circe with an accusatory look that caused the petite Demi-Goddess to hmph as she leaned against Vahn, rubbing her cheek against his arm. In response to this, Vahn slid his hand between Circe’s thighs, startling her a bit as he began rubbing her right leg while saying, “Medusa is a lot like you, Circe. She is one of my companions from my previous world so I expect the two of you to get along. Even if you butt heads against each other, I’ll punish both of you if I catch wind of it…” Since he knew it was practically impossible to ‘force’ Circe to change quickly, Vahn just wanted to remind her that he was paying attention to her behavior.

In response to Vahn’s words, Circe lightly clung to his arm with her hands as she released a hot sigh and answered, “I’ll be a good girl…” At the same time, she seemingly attempted to ‘trap’ his hand between her thighs but, with her meager strength, Vahn moved uninhibitedly as her body began to gradually heat up. Following this, Vahn decided to release some of his tensions that had built up after viewing Mordred’s memories, primarily relying on Fenrir who, being the ‘reliable’ woman she was, even taught Circe a few things. The latter was still very awkward but, due to her uninhibited curiosity, it was a refreshing experience watching her fumble about and get excited at every little thing…

With their morning exercise completed, Vahn had the two dress themselves as he set up a small magic formation within the room. Though he could just ingest a bunch of consumable items in order to summon Medusa, Vahn also knew it wasn’t ‘necessary’ to do so. When he had been thinking deeply about the future, Vahn realized he had probably been a little ‘too eager’ to use up his OP. There was a fair chance he would be able to get Akasha to provide him a large number of materials in the future but, as he didn’t even understand how his own summoning system worked, contacting her was easier said than done. Thus, with the assistance of Sis, Vahn drafted a plan to limit his use of OP by setting a daily cap on what he could spend. Though he would undoubtedly ‘invest’ a large amount of OP towards materials for Paracelsus, Merlin, and his own production lines, that would always have some kind of return while also greatly strengthening his Empire’s foundation.

In order to save on a few thousand OP, Vahn drew out a formation that allowed him to gather mana from the surroundings, even going as far as linking it to the inscribed defensive formations already present within the room. When he was done, Vahn sat down within the primary ward and began to focus his mind while holding Medusa’s Magic Core within his hands. Fenrir and Circe watched on silently from the side as the density of mana in the surroundings quickly began to dry up as it flowed into the formation around Vahn. Though Medusa was considerably weaker than many of the girls back in Danmachi, she was still a ‘monster’ that had been on the verge of reaching Level 6. Since the power of monsters wasn’t derived from a Falna, it meant she would still inherit most of her strength and abilities even after being summoned…

After a few minutes had passed, the Magic Core in Vahn’s hand lost its structure as it broke down into particles of purple and rainbow-colored dust. Moments later, a petite girl, even smaller than Circe, popped into existence without a lick of clothing on her tiny frame. She had long silver hair, growing past her feet, and a pair of golden eyes that could, quite literally, petrify anyone looking into them. As for the rest of her appearance, she wasn’t all that dissimilar to girls like Fenrir and Circe, meaning she was very thin while having almost nothing in the breast department. Contrary to expectations, however, Medusa actually had a well-shaped and firm bottom with a thin waist that almost had the same flexibility as her previous Rainbow Viper form. Since there was a segmented golden tail, accented with a few rainbow-hued scales, it was difficult not to notice her pert rear even when she was wearing clothing…

As if she had just awoken from a very long sleep, Medusa blinked a few times while looking at Vahn with drooping eyes. Though Vahn knew she was only ‘pretending’, Medusa tried to sell things even further by releasing a cute yawn and muttering, “Master came to me in my dreams again…ufufu~.” While saying this, Medusa’s hair snaked towards Vahn as she tried to crawl into his lap and snuggle up without any regards to the two pairs of eyes locked onto her from behind. Since he felt a little guilty to have her sitting inside her Magic Core for a few months, Vahn lightly stroked Medusa’s head and allowed her to cling to him, though not before saying, “Wear your clothing properly or you’ll have to spend the whole day training with Fenrir…”

Knowing her trickery had been exposed, Medusa lightly ‘bonked’ her head with her right hand before saying, “Ehehe, Master is so perceptive~.” Then, after picking up the neatly folded clothes that Vahn had already set out for her, Medusa looked at Fenrir with slightly furrowed brows before turning her attention to Circe with mild confusion. Since the latter had wings on her back, Medusa figured she was another ‘competitor’ for her Master’s affection, instantly reducing her opinion of Circe before they had even spoken to each other. When Vahn had likened the two girls to each other, it wasn’t an exaggeration as, much like Circe, Medusa was somewhat haughty, airheaded, and prone to petty jealousy.

After spending a few minutes slinking into her skintight snake-skin bodysuit, Medusa went through the somewhat arduous process of wearing her gauntlets, greaves, breastplate, and helmet. When she had first assumed her ‘human’ form, Medusa had been attired in golden armor that was naturally produced by her body. Though she was unable to manifest it like Fenrir, it was still considered a part of her so Vahn had been able to keep it in his Inventory. Unfortunately, due to the complex nature of their design, Medusa actually had to rely on Fenrir’s assistance a bit. When she was fully dressed, Medusa tugged at the skin-tight fabric around her butt while turning to her Master and asking, “Did my butt get bigger…?”

Since he was already familiar with Medusa’s antics, Vahn looked directly at her butt before reaching out and stroking it lightly. The fabric was very smooth to the touch and, with the fact it clung to her without leaving anything to the imagination, Vahn knew she would need to wear shorts or skirt in the future. She actually hated wearing any kind of clothing at all but, so long as he was just a little firm with her, Medusa would always listen to his commands. In exchange, he just needed to give her a bit of attention every now and then, yet another trait she shared with Circe. Thus, after stroking her pliant butt for a few minutes, Vahn answered, “It feels the same to me…” This caused Medusa to pretend pout before flicking her tail towards his face in a playful gesture. Though she was only 139cm tall, her tail actually extended around 80cm in length and, as she had lived her life as a snake previously, Medusa was even more adept at using it than Haruhime.

With their playful exchange out of the way, Medusa adopted a genuinely troubled expression as she asked, “Master, what took so long? Medusa was very lonely…” Since he had already expected this, Vahn just bit the bullet and said, “I know…I should have called you sooner. Sorry, Medusa. Later on, I’ll make sure to make it up to you. For now, you’ll have to follow Fenrir so she can teach you how to read, write, and speak the language you’ll need to converse with people in this world. I have high expectations for you, so please work hard…also, try to get along with everyone since we have a big threat to face in the future. We’ll need all the help we can get so don’t go making enemies out of people, okay…?”

Though she didn’t seem all that interested in making new friends, Medusa still gave a small nod before saying, “I will always do my best for Master. In exchange, make sure to pamper me lots and lots so I know I’m doing well~.” Since the only two things she cared about in life were her Master and being pampered by her Master, Medusa would do whatever it took to get what she wanted. Even though she liked snakes and reptiles far more than all the annoying and smelly people that surrounded him, she still did her best to meet her Master’s expectations. Ever since he had beaten her and spared her life, Medusa had decided she would follow her Master forever. As a result, though it was nowhere near Fenrir’s, her Loyalty was a commendable 127,091 points, even though he never seemed to have time for her…

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Knowing that Medusa would certainly make an effort, Vahn gave an approving nod before gesturing towards Circe and saying, “This is Circe. She is a Demi-Goddess of the Moon, Magic, and Love. She is similar to you so I know the two of you could get along, even if you butt heads with each other.” Then, looking toward Circe, Vahn changed to Japanese as he said, “Fenrir won’t be able to have Medusa shadow her at all times. When she isn’t training her learning, please take care of her to the best of your ability. I know you may not like associating with other women, but Medusa has a very potent poison that I think you might be interested in. Please do this for me, Circe…”

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If Vahn had asked her such a thing earlier, Circe would have been far more reluctant to agree. This was why he had spent the better part of an hour tending to her and Fenrir before the summoning. As a result, Circe put on a slightly annoyed expression but ultimately said, “Fine. I will teach her a few things if she isn’t too troublesome. I am a little curious about her poison…” At the end of her words, Circe gave Vahn a look that pretty much screamed, ‘pamper me’, causing him to smile in return before saying, “I have some things to take care of but I should be back early in the evening. If things go well, I’ll show you something new when I get back…” Though he had already given Circe a ‘Full-Service’ before, that didn’t mean he had used all his techniques on her. In fact, due to how curious she had become since then, there were ‘a lot’ of things he could teach her.

Feeling her body warm up after understanding Vahn’s intentions, Circe was in a much better mood. Even if she had to spend her day doing something she didn’t really feel like doing, it would all be worth it in the end. In a way, though for entirely different reasons, Circe felt like her life suddenly revolved around Vahn and the moments they could share together. This was why she had wanted to become his personal attendant and, no matter how troublesome other things were, she didn’t mind them nearly as much as she would have in the past. After all, so long as she put in just a bit of effort, Vahn could make her feel better than she had even thought possible in the past. Even though she had to share him with Fenrir the previous night and this morning, Circe didn’t care since she got to experience a floaty feeling that even actual flight and weightlessness couldn’t match…

After leaving his bedchamber, Vahn made his way outside of the Inner Sanctum to one of the small dining rooms located nearby. Other than the main banquet hall, there were several smaller dining halls where residents of the castle and its staff would have been able to enjoy meals in the past. Originally, the Ivory Castle had more than four-thousand staff, even though many of the 980 rooms were left unoccupied. Most of them would have lived in the nearby castle town before spending a few days inside the castle performing their duties. While staying there, they would reside in servant’s quarters that were almost all located on the western side, right next to the Knight’s barracks and training field. The fact that such a massive castle had a mere fifteen people in it was actually rather eerie, as there was a persistent and solemn atmosphere present in this borderline sacred place…

Because of how few people there were, the only other person present within the dining hall was Astolfo, wearing what appeared to be a pink pajama top that loosely hugged his torso and a pair of similarly colored short-shorts that had frills on them. He was even wearing a pair of white stockings that ran up to the middle of his thighs, each having small ears pointed ears and a small cat-like face. When he saw Vahn arrive with Fenrir, Circe, and a completely new girl, Astolfo stretched his body while sticking up one hand in a salute, exclaiming a high-pitched, “Yooosh~! Good morning, Vahn! Who is this cute little girl you picked up in the middle of the night~?”

Though Medusa couldn’t understand what Astolfo was saying, she furrowed her brows before standing a bit behind her Master since she couldn’t ‘read’ this strange creature that had appeared before her. This behavior caused Astolfo to snicker amusedly before saying, “She is adorable. It doesn’t seem like she likes me all that much though. Unlucky~.” With that said, Astolfo once again yawned, allowing his snaggletooth to be on full display before muttering a ‘munyaa’ sound and swallowing. Vahn just shook his head when he witnessed this, choosing to ignore Astolfo’s eccentric behavior as he sat down and explained the Medusa’s situation. At the same time, Circe wandered off the kitchen where Catherine was already busy preparing breakfast. It wasn’t long before she had kicked the demure woman out but, considering the difference in their cooking ability, Catherine didn’t mind that much as she came out to join the conversation, albeit with very little to say.

After talking for a while, Catherine, not all that surprisingly, volunteered to help Medusa study as, unlike most of the people in the castle, she felt out of place. She wasn’t a superior Magus and, even if she trained hard over the next ten years, this wasn’t likely to change all that much. Since she had spent most of her life plagued by sickness, Catherine was just happy to be able to function and walk around without experiencing endless aches and pains. She had no drive to grow stronger and, as long as she could be of just a little help to others, that was the limit of her ambition. Thus, Vahn explained the situation to Medusa who, knowing it would be much easier to interact with a docile woman than her ‘Big Sis’, readily agreed to learn from Catherine…

In record time, Circe poked her head out of the kitchen to explain that breakfast was ready but, before anyone dug in, Vahn excused himself from the table to go pick up Illya and Mordred. He had actually expected the latter to have been awoken by Artoria but, remembering the rather ‘trying’ day they both had, it wasn’t too surprising if they had slept in. When he reached their rooms, however, neither answered and, after checking inside, Vahn saw they were both absent. Even without thinking too deeply, Vahn realized that Artoria had probably woken up Mordred early in the morning to start their training. They had most likely gone to the western side of the castle to use the training field so Vahn decided to leave them to their own devices as he made his way to Illya’s room. Fortunately, as she rarely left her room these days, Illya answered relatively quickly. As she had done several times before, she looked up at him with her large, ruby-red, eyes and said, “Good morning Onii-sama. Do you want to come inside…?”

Though he was certain she would be ‘happiest’ if he decided to spend the morning lounging in her room, Vahn gave an apologetic smile as she shook his head and answered, “I want you to come and eat breakfast with everyone. Come, I know you like the taste of Circe’s cooking, even if you won’t admit it…” As he spoke, Vahn picked Illya up into a princess carry, eliciting a small groan from her, even as she wrapped her tiny arms around his neck. While he carried her to the dining hall, Illya rested her head against his shoulder, lightly clinging to his tunic with her right hand as she asked, “Do you think I will be happy if I spend more time with the others…?” Though she already knew what Vahn would answer, Illya still felt the need to ask. She wasn’t ‘certain’ about anything when it came to her own happiness so, in a manner not all that dissimilar to Medusa and Circe, she entrusted it to Vahn…

In response to Illya’s question, Vahn’s expression morphed into a confident and supportive smile as he nodded his head and answered, “Of course. Don’t you feel a little happier whenever you spend time with Fenrir…?” To his surprise, Illya’s body tensed up slightly when he asked this, causing Vahn to feel a bit anxious until she eventually nodded her head before muttering, “Fenrir is very nice to me. She isn’t like normal people either so I feel less anxiety when I’m around her…however…” When she got this far, Illya’s face actually gained a slight blush as she added, “I think Cath Palug really likes her…a whole lot…it feels awkward when they interact with each other because I can feel my body heat up…”

Hearing Illya’s words, Vahn recalled the rather peculiar sight of Fenrir and Cath Palug placing their paws against each other and simply staring into each other’s eyes. In a way, they were both Beasts of Destruction as, without a lot of people helping to raise her, Fenrir would still be plagued by her insatiable hunger. Maybe Cath Palug could sense that Fenrir had a similar nature to it and, as it had no other kin, the two might be bonding a little bit more than Vahn had anticipated. This could be a good or a bad thing, depending on how Cath Palug reacted to the situation, but Vahn trusted that Fenrir had a rough idea of what she was doing. Even so, since it seemed to make Illya uncomfortable, Vahn asked, “Should I ask Fenrir not to interact with Cath Palug that much in the future…?”

Almost as soon as she heard what he said, Illya shook her head before saying, “No. I just said it was awkward, not that it was a bad thing. Fenrir seems to understand Cath Palug much better than me and I think she is trying to ‘teach’ him not to be so aggressive. Besides…” When she got to this point, Illya extended her neck until she was just a few centimeters away from Vahn’s ear, adding, “Fenrir is always talking about her precious ‘Master’. Ever since the last time, Cath Palug has ‘really’ wanted to play with Onii-sama again…Illya too…ufuu~”

At the end of her sentence, Illya blew into Vahn’s ear with a slightly warm voice that caused him to produce a wry smile in response. He knew something like this would happen sooner or later so, to keep things under control, he answered, “So long as you are making an effort to open up to the others, I don’t mind stopping by and spending time with you when I have the opportunity…” This seemed to be the answer that Ilya was looking for as, immediately thereafter, she gave him a kiss on the cheek before happily kicking her legs as he continued to carry her through the halls…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Earning morning exercise (UwU)…’,’So many girls are reliant on Vahn…’,’Not sure if Fenrir is the best wingman or biggest flag-setter…?’)

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