Chapter 1119: Projection

In an effort to keep Cath Palug from throwing a tantrum, Vahn was forced to go ‘all-out’ against it while alternating to different sides of its shoulder and taking small nibbles. This was enough to keep it happily calling out ‘Fou~’ as he ran his hands up and down its sides with [Hands of Nirvana] in full effect. As a result, Cath Palug gradually stopped caring about being bitten as the amount of comfort and gradually building pleasure it was experiencing slowly became its main focus. As for Vahn, he was doing his best to come up with an excuse to give Illya when she finally took back control. She wouldn’t have experienced it directly, and may not even understand what happened, but Vahn knew she would eventually figure it out based on context clues. He didn’t even know exactly why Cath Palug had acted as it did, only that it seemed to ‘really’ enjoy it…

After a little more than ten minutes, Cath Palug had become like putty within Vahn’s hands, eyes drooping heavily with a contented look on its face. Though there was a mind-numbing heat coming from where their bodies overlapped, Vahn was able to largely ignore it as he picked Cath Palug up and dressed it in a nightgown and a pair of panties. This time, it actually raised its legs on its own, showing that Cath Palug was actually paying attention and learning, even in its absentminded state. Since it was likely near the peak of Tier 4, even in its ‘sealed’ state, it wouldn’t be too surprising for it to have some form of ‘extra’ awareness, as that simply seemed to come with the territory of beings at their level. This realization allowed Vahn to understand that he needed to give proper ‘aftercare’, as Cath Palug would learn and imprint on his behavior, just as it emulated Fenrir.

Once Cath Palug was properly dressed, Vahn decided to ‘reinforce’ the idea that wearing clothing was a good thing. Instead of lulling it into a deep slumber, he placed Cath Palug’s head on his lap and began stroking its head and ears with his left hand while rubbing its back, side, and waist with his right, complete with sending thin strands of Source Energy into its body to stimulate its Magic Circuits and cause it small amounts of pleasure. He knew better than to take things too far, especially after the unexpected and marginally traumatizing experience he just went through, but it would help Cath Palug learn quickly if it was ‘rewarded’ for good behavior. At this point, Vahn was more or less trying to tame the problematic Beast of Gaia as, the quicker it stabilized and began communicating properly, the better it would be for everyone.

Eventually, though Vahn eased it in several times slower than normal, Cath Palug eventually fell asleep while stretched across his lap, its belly turned up since it seemed especially fond of having it stomach rubbed. When its ears began to shrink away, accompanied by its hair losing its shaggy quality, Vahn knew that Illya was regaining control so he stopped rubbing her belly and waited for her to collect herself. Her eyelids slowly peeled open to reveal their ruby-red color, glazed over slightly since she was awash in the afterglow of Cath Palug’s own pleasant feelings. He had never brought the creature to the ‘breaking’ point, but the combination of comfort and pleasure was something few people ever got to experience. Though she was only experiencing what remained, Illya wasn’t familiar with these types of feelings so there was visible confusion in her watery eyes, the only sound in the room coming from her slightly labored breathing.

Since he knew it was unavoidable, Vahn released a small sigh before adopting an apologetic smile as he said, “Sorry, Illya…even I don’t know what Cath Palug was thinking. I did what I could to keep it from lashing out…” These words seemed to stir Illya’s memories as, the moment she processed what Vahn had said, her face became scarlet as she covered her face with both hands. This was a slightly different reaction than he anticipated, as it would have been perfectly normal for Illya to be a little freaked out by the fact he had ‘literally’ bitten her a few times. He could tell by Cath Palug’s reaction that it didn’t actually experience pain from the biting but that didn’t mean that Illya would be as enthused as the peculiar creature…

After a while, though she still kept her face covered, Illya asked, “You really are willing to do almost anything to make Cath and me happy…aren’t you…?” This was also somewhat unexpected, causing a few warning signals to sound within Vahn’s mind as he bit the bullet and answered, “So long as you do not end up going down a dangerous path…happiness and indulgence are two different things. If you end up hating me for a short while, I would rather shoulder your ire for a few years if it meant you would be happy later in life…” Since he was a little worried that Illya might deviate in a strange direction, Vahn wanted to remind her that he was willing to become hated for a while if it would be better for her in the long run.

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As if she vehemently disagreed with something he said, Illya shook her head in denial, followed by her mumbling, “I can’t hate you anymore…” Though she had been intending to exploit Vahn’s nature previously, Illya now realized he was completely serious in trying to make her happy. This knowledge alone was enough to make a lot of her intentions fall to the wayside as most of the things she had in mind were just ways of testing him. Now, as she lay across his lap, it felt like her body was burning up as all kinds of emotions she didn’t know how to deal with were overwhelming her. She couldn’t even look at him right now, the thought of making simple eye contact suddenly making her feel extremely giddy…

Since he had gotten used to being able to sense the internal structure of Illya’s body at this point, Vahn was aware of what she was going through as her brain lit up like a bunch of fireworks going off. He could feel her heartbeat going wild in her chest, causing his smile to soften as he began to lightly stroke her head while sending waves of calming energy into her body. Though she flinched at the unexpected contact, Illya made no attempt to stop him as she quickly realized what the invasive energy was doing. As a result, her breathing steadily calmed down and, as the red in her face faded away, Illya peeked through the gaps in her fingers to stare back at him. Vahn returned a gentle smile in response, causing her fingers to close up against as she released a light groan of embarrassment.

Though it took quite some time, Illya had eventually calmed down enough to collect herself and behave relatively normally. After that, she asked him to stay with her and, after what he had done, Vahn knew he didn’t really have much of a choice. Thus, while hugging Illya from behind, the two laid in her bed as the latter took nearly two hours to actually fall asleep. Vahn didn’t actually require sleep, under most circumstances, so he just continued to hold Illya in his embrace while sending a subtle stream and undetectable energy into her abdomen. This is what ultimately helped her fall asleep as, compared to before, Illya was hyperaware of his presence and simply couldn’t calm down on her own. He knew this was a sign that she was crushing on him pretty hard, a stark contrast to her previous behavior when she felt like she had control of the situation…

When Illya awoke early the next morning, she spent a few minutes in silence, her heart rate slowly began to climb even without Vahn doing anything. Eventually, he decided to make the fact he was awake known to her, lightly kissing the top of Illya’s head as he said, “Good morning, Illya.” This was enough to get her to curl up and bury her face in her hands once again as she sheepishly answered, “Good morning, Onii-sama…” With that, Vahn released her from his embrace before sitting on the bed and making a point of stretching his body and yawning. Then, taking advantage of the fact the momentum was heavily in his favor right now, Vahn casually stated, “It’s pretty early…how about we go and watch the sunrise together before breakfast? I have yet to see what the sunrise in Camelot is like…seems rather fantastical just thinking about it…”

It seemed to take her a brief moment to understand what Vahn was suggesting but Illya eventually managed an awkward smile before answering, “I’d like that…” Then, even though she wouldn’t have chased him out previously, Illya made Vahn leave her bedroom while she got changed. In a way, it was a good sign that she was suddenly more bashful around him as anything that could delay their physical relationship was a positive outcome from Vahn’s perspective. Though Illya was twenty-eight years old, he would rather she mature a bit more physically before they do anything together. Since she had a greater sense of awareness after what happened the previous night, he was hoping she would open up more and start actually moving towards her happiness from now on.

After a surprisingly long period of time, enough that they would have missed the sunrise in other areas of the world, Illya finally opened the door to her room, albeit just a crack. When Vahn looked back at her, she made a shy pouting expression before finally opening the door to reveal that she was wearing one of the outfits he had purchased for her the previous night. Since she an appearance like a masterfully crafted doll, indicating she would be an unbelievable beauty if she matured, Vahn had picked out a few outfits he thought would suit her.

Illy seemed to have taken his compliments to heart as, instead of a thick coat and a scarf, as she always seemed to be cold, she was wearing a sleeveless white blouse with pink accents and ribbons on both her sides and around her neck. To complement this, she wore a dark purple skirt that had a few extra layers, some for warmth, others for modesty as it ended a few centimeters above the knees. Beneath that, she had pink stockings that were a similar shade to the pink on her blouse and a pair of red shoes covering her rather small feet. It was obvious that Illya had a unique but stylish fashion sense, even though Vahn could see nearly every outfit he previously bought for her splayed out over the bed…

Deciding not to expose her, Vahn just smiled in response to Illys’ behavior as he complimented, “You look adorable. I think those clothes and that hairstyle suit you…it almost feels like you’re a different person.” Since Illya had tied up part of her hair with dark purple ribbons, creating two small twin-tails to compliment her otherwise long and straight white hair, Vahn couldn’t help but compliment her. He knew girls liked any compliments pertaining to their hair, especially when they went out of their way to style it before heading out. As a result, Illya’s face beamed with a happy smile as she nodded her head in response before grabbing his hand and stammering, “L-let’s go…we don’t want to be late…” in a far more lively voice than in the past.

Though watching the sunrise from one of the castle’s battlements would have been more than adequate, Vahn took things a step further by picking Illya up in a princess carry and ascending to the top of one of the Magus Towers. This gave them a view of the entire island as the sun slowly crested over the horizon, breathing life into the previous cold and dark world. It was rather breathtaking and, as if it breathed life into her own small body, chasing away just a bit of the darkness shrouding her heart and mind, Illya managed a genuine smile as she held his hand, leaning against his shoulder until the sun had fully risen over the horizon. Afterward, without too many words passing between them, Vahn carried Illya down from the tall tower before they both went to breakfast, holding hands the entire way…

After enjoying a breakfast that ran on a lot longer than normal, Vahn found himself in a secure room located next to the emptied ‘Armory of Camelot’, a place that once held various treasures that would have easily qualified as Noble Phantasms. Though the island had eventually forced everyone away with the Dragon’s Breath, that didn’t prevent several individuals from cleaning out the castle of its treasures immediately following the Battle of Camlann. Since Britain was already in a state of civil discord leading up to the final moments of ‘King Arthur’, it practically tore itself apart after the fact. If Mordred had been there to stand witness, she undoubtedly would have credited it to what she believed was the ‘true nature’ of man. She believed that, without a leader, people were no better than cattle and sheep that needed to be shepherded just to avoid having them destroy themselves. Sadly, though Vahn didn’t agree with her, it was hard not to form a similar conclusion when he saw the current state of the world…

Since he would be one of the few ‘shepherds’ in the future, Vahn knew he needed to consolidate his own power and enact policies that would allow people to thrive without leading to stagnation. His methods would have to be slightly different from those in Danmachi but, after butting heads with the other world powers for a few years, Vahn felt he would have a better idea of how he should proceed. For the time being, he needed to focus on creating the second Sub-Space Orb so, under the guidance of Merlin and the observation of Scáthach, Vahn made small changes to the massive formation that used the Welsh Dragon as its core. Since it only used the ambient ‘Mystery’ that leaked from the dragon’s body as a source, without draining the vitality and mana from it, Vahn didn’t have any qualms about tying the formation of a Sub-Space Orb into it.

With two semi-perfect and peerless individuals assisting him, Vahn was able to complete the process without a hitch before moving on to the production of the Orb itself. Fortunately, this part was much easier than normal as, after creating the basic structure of the Sub-Space Orb, Merlin took care of the rest himself. Reality projections were a derivative branch of [Illusionism] that could even be used to develop Reality Marbles if the person had a strong enough connection to their Origin. Since there were unlikely any beings as competent with illusions as Merlin, who himself existed as a physical projection, Vahn was confident he would be able to manage without any issues…

While watching Merlin work, Vahn recalled one of his previous conversations with the errant Magus, specifically the one where he had confronted him about the ‘transluscency’ of his body at times. As he had expected, Merlin revealed that he wasn’t actually manifested in the world as, even though he was able to exploit the ‘gap’ created by Vahn’s arrival in the world, his body was still imprisoned back in the Reverse Side of the World. This was why, shortly after the Holy Grail War was brought to an end, Merlin had to leave their side temporarily. He had returned here to Camelot in order to establish an ‘anchor’ to the world after the Greater Grail had been destroyed. Though he could still leave for a few days at a time, Merlin was currently bound to this land in much the same way as the Welsh Dragon…

In a surprisingly short period of time, only twelve minutes, Merlin eventually removed his hand from the Sub-Space Orb, explaining with a casual smile on his face, “It is done. Do you wish to try it out, Your Majesty~?” Since Vahn was actually very interested in what a projected reality was like, as his battle with Ozymandias was still fresh in his memory, he gave a curt nod before placing his hand on the Orb. In the next moment, Merlin and Scáthach vanished from the surroundings while everything else remained virtually the same. Vahn understood it was actually him that ‘vanished’, as he could feel an incongruous feeling in his mind since his two ‘jewels’ were still outside experiencing a much slower flow of time.

After around half a minute had passed, Scáthach and Merlin both appeared next to the ‘projection’ of the Sub-Space Orb. Under normal circumstances, there wouldn’t be a physical representation of a Sub-Space Orb within itself but, due to how this world was an almost perfect replica of the outside world it wasn’t difficult to intuit that this second Orb would serve as the ‘gate’ that allowed passage back to the outside. This was later confirmed by Merlin who explained that, with the exception of the summoning system, the Welsh Dragon, the flow of time, and a few other ‘unique’ aspects that simply couldn’t be formed by a projection, virtually everything else was the same. There was even a sun in the sky while the temperature of the outside air matched what was present back in the outside world. Though it would be a little strange seeing the sun take seven full days for a single day and night cycle within the Sub-Space Orb, Vahn was still truly awed by the amazing display of Magecraft. Merlin even informed him that he would be able to interface with the island-wide magic formation to essentially transfer between the real world and the protection at will…

With the Sub-Space Orb finally completed, serving as a near-perfect emulation of reality, the only people who didn’t move inside were Paracelsus and Catherine. Though Vahn would make a ‘gate’ in their shared Magus Tower, as it would still be extremely useful for them to grow herbs and other ingredients within the Sub-Space Orb, most of their time would be spent outside. Catherine wasn’t in a hurry to ‘age faster’ while Paracelsus was a man of unwavering principles that couldn’t really be swayed without an extremely convincing argument. He treated the process of creating Homunculi with an extreme amount of reverence, knowing full-well he was creating a life, not a tool to be used. Vahn couldn’t fault him for this, as he fully intended to treat the Homunculus with the same respect as other sentient creatures, so Paracelsus was left to his own devices as the Head of the Alchemist Order.

As the creation of what Vahn was calling the Sub-Space Projection Orb took more than eleven hours, it was already after 7 PM in the outside world by the time everyone had moved in. With night falling upon the Sub-Space Projection Orb, a phenomenon that would persist for nearly three full days due to the seasons, Vahn found himself inside of Lakshmibai’s room. Nobunaga had also accompanied him and, after she went out of her way to track him down, Circe showed up after he didn’t return to his bed. They would need to install a few clocks around the castle that ran at seven-times the normal speed so everyone would be able to adjust to the time-dilation but Vahn didn’t mind spending a long night together with the girls. He knew his training with Scáthach was going to be particularly fierce so Vahn spent the better part of seven hours tending to Lakshmibai and Nobunaga, though not before sending Circe on her way after a long session of ‘pampering’ and a bit of playful teasing from Nobunaga…

With two buxom women overlapping his body, Vahn felt a feeling of contentment and release that was hard to come by. Though his most intimate moments were shared with Fenrir, that was largely due to their extreme familiarity and trust in each other. Vahn and Fenrir always knew how to make each other feel the best, something other girls couldn’t really match. However, just like he would relax with Tsubaki and Hephaestus, Vahn always felt a sense of comfort when he was wrapped in the embrace of a woman with large breasts and a shapely figure. Their softness and warmth was simply something more petite girls couldn’t match, allowing Vahn to relax more than he normally would. For smaller girls, it felt like he needed to restrain himself and take care of them while having Nobu’s and Lakshmibai’s bodies curling up against him made Vahn feel like he had few legitimate worries in the world…

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(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Breaking down the barriers of the heart’,’The difference between skill and mastery’,’Vahn is slowly being traumatized by excessive exposure to lolis xD…’)

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