Chapter 113: Alpha (1/2)

After accepting Anubis as a subordinate, Vahn quickly scanned the notifications in his system and saw she had a Loyalty value of 70, which seemed pretty high considering the circumstances. Anubis, who had heard Vahn agree to allow her to repay her debt, bowed low in a deferential manner while saying, “Please order me as you will. As long as it does not go against my principles, I will do my best to fulfill your commands.”

Seeing the somewhat mature exotic beauty bow to him, Vahn felt his heart palpitate a bit before he turned to look at Hephaestus. She seemed to be looking at Anubis with a contemplative look but, noticing Vahn’s gaze, she turned toward him and spoke. “You should have her make a vow, or there is nothing binding her to the debt. If things are left as they are, she could just flee the City the moment you drop your guard.”

Anubis raised her head and frowned at Hephaestus’s accusation, but before she could refute she saw Vahn shaking her head. “That isn’t necessary Hephaestus. Even if she fled the City, I wouldn’t stop her. Though she may have acted a bit rashly, she is also one of the victims of this event. I don’t mind if she takes her children and continues to live as she pleases.” As Vahn finished his words, he noticed the Loyalty value of Anubis increase to 74 which surprised him a little.

“I will never forsake my pride and do something so shameless. I don’t mind making a vow, and I certainly will not flee the City. Even if Vahn-sama has no use for me, I will do my best to ensure his life is not burdened by my presence.” Anubis spoke the worlds boldly and without hesitation while looking into Hephaestus’s eyes. Hephaestus didn’t seem entirely convinced as she asked, “And how long do you plan to serve him? When is your debt ‘repaid’?”

Anubis tilted her head slightly like she was confused. After a brief moment, she said, “My actions may have resulted in the death of an innocent. I will repent for a life with a life. As long as Vahn-sama draws breath, I will continue to serve him.” Vahn noticed that, once again, Anubis’s loyalty had increased. She now had a value of 77, but Vahn wasn’t entirely focused on that as his eyes were drawn to the twitching ears on her head.

Hephaestus sighed as she could see how serious Anubis was being. She felt a headache begin to build inside her head as she mentally added another potential ‘problem’ that she would have to deal with in the future. Gathering her thoughts, Hephaestus spoke while looking into Anubis’s eyes, “Then go ahead and make your vow-” Before she could finish, Vahn interrupted, “I said that wasn’t necessary. Even if I accept her as a subordinate so she can repay her debts, I will not bind someone into a life-bound contract or vow. The idea of restricting the freedom of another person makes my stomach sour…”

Both Anubis and Hephaestus were surprised by Vahn’s interruption but strangely, after a bit of time had passed, they both issued subtle smiles toward the boy. Hephaestus felt a little proud at seeing Vahn’s firm stance on the matter, but she still had to make a compromise of her own. She looked towards the smiling face of Anubis before sighing, “If that is his decision, I won’t interfere. However, I will have you make a vow to cooperate with the Guild’s investigation to deal with Osiris. I assume that will not be a problem for you?”

Hearing Hephaestus mention Osiris, Anubis couldn’t help but frown in dissatisfaction as she said, “That scoundrel deserves everything coming to him. The night of the raid, I couldn’t believe how many criminals he had been keeping as ‘children’. As he can also see souls, he had to know what kind of people were in his Familia. The fact he allowed murderers and other foul-hearted people to represent him sickens me.” For those that could see souls, they also had the power to roughly determine what kind of person someone was based on the colors contained within. For murderers, rapists, and scoundrels, they would often have flakes of black or putrid greens contaminating their souls.

Only allowed on

After their agreement, Hephaestus and Anubis went through the process of establishing the vow and arranging when they would report to the Guild. Since it was very difficult to detain a god for long without charges, they decided to take care of it within the next two days. After they had come to an agreement, Hephaestus brought up a subject that had been overlooked till now.

“So, what about those kids? If you’re going to follow Vahn, are you going to release them?” Hephaestus pointed to the seven children that had been sitting in silence for the entire discussion. The previously large pointy ears on their heads now drooped low, and they each had sad expressions after everything that had happened. Anubis saw their melancholic demeanors and couldn’t help but release a sad sigh. “We came to this City because of the invitation from Osiris, and now that our funds have run low, there is little I can do to ensure their livelihoods. Though they are considered strong back in our home country, they have some difficulties within the dungeon. I don’t want them to have to suffer while trying to support the Familia.”

Anubis looked towards Vahn with a hopeful expression in her eyes, “I cannot bring them with me, as my debts are not their burden. The choice ultimately lays in what Vahn-sama wishes to do…” Vahn recognized the look in her eyes and he turned towards the children who had previously feared him. Now, instead of fear, there was a pleading look on each of their faces. For some reason, the combination of the drooping ears and large eyes of the children had a big impact on Vahn and he began to smile before saying, “If they are willing to follow you, I will do my best to ensure they are taken care of. Even if you say you are willing to serve me, I have no need for servants or anything like that. Besides, there is no way I can say no if they look at me like that…”

Anubis began to laugh like a bell as she squinted her eyes with a large smile on her face. “I had hoped, but I never expected Vahn-sama to be so magnanimous. Well, children, are you willing to follow Vahn-sama alongside me?” The moment she asked the question, almost as if they had rehearsed it previously, the entire group of kids jumped to their feet and bowed together. “Please, Vahn-sama, allow us to follow you!”

Vahn could see excitement and expectation in their eyes as he nodded his head with an awkward smile. The moment they saw him agree, their tails began to wag excitedly before they resumed sitting in silence. Unlike the previous gloom, they now looked remarkably happy. Vahn wondered why children were so easily influenced, but he attributed their current mentality to their devotion toward Anubis.

At the same time as Vahn accepted the children, Anubis’s affection reached 81 as she showed a gratified smile on her face. Hephaestus, who had been watching the ‘play’ with a skeptical look on her face, spoke out again, “And, where will you and your Familia be staying from now on?” The moment Hephaestus asked the question, the tails of the children immediately froze while even Anubis seemed to be somewhat awed by the question.

Clearing her throat for a few seconds, Anubis lowered her head a bit before she looked toward Vahn and Hephaestus and said in a low voice, “We…don’t have a place to stay. Our funds ran out two days ago and we had been living around the Babel Tower since then…” Anubis seemed incredibly embarrassed by her own admission, and it only got worse when she saw the incredulous look on Hephaestus’s face.

Vahn started laughing after hearing that the goddess who had committed to serving him ended up being homeless. He began to suspect that the only reason she wanted to be his subordinate was so that they had a place to live. Anubis seemed to be even more embarrassed after Vahn began to laugh and Vahn saw a blush cover her cheeks for the first time. Before the situation devolved any further, Vahn said with confidence, “Don’t worry about it, I may not have much, but I should be able to pay for a place for you and you Familia for the time being. Though I won’t do it for free and I’ll expect everyone to work hard to earn their keep.” Right now Vahn had 171,530V, which was enough to lease a small house if he wanted. It wouldn’t be the highest quality place to live, but it should be enough for the small Familia.

Hephaestus shook her head and brought up a matter before Vahn continued, “You actually have a lot more funds than you might think. Remember the reward and reparations given by the Loki Familia? You will be able to pick them up when you go to the Guild, and I’m certain it will be more than enough to cover living expenses for a while. But, I have to ask this, are you not intending to stay with Tsubaki anymore?”

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Hearing Hephaestus’s words, Vahn began to become excited until she continued further. He had never considered leaving Tsubaki’s place, but if he had agreed to help take care of another Familia, it wouldn’t make sense for him to live elsewhere. Vahn began to worry that he had gotten himself into a matter that would be difficult to resolve, but luckily, Hephaestus seemed to already have a solution.

With a sigh, Hephaestus said, “Don’t worry about it too much. When you had joined the Familia long ago, you were guaranteed a place to live as well as your own workshop. I had arranged matters to have your workshop located in the lot behind Tsubaki’s current manor. It’s not nearly the same size, but it should be more than enough for your current needs…” Vahn was incredibly grateful for what Hephaestus had done, and he verbalized it the only way he could think of, “Thank you, Hephaestus, I love you.”

Hearing Vahn’s sudden bomb and seeing the affectionate smile on his face, Hephaestus’s heart began to race and she was unable to form any thoughts. She just kept repeating the words over and over in her mind as the pressure began to build up in her face causing a blush to touch her cheeks. Anubis saw the reaction and heard Vahn’s declaration before asking, “Are you two lovers~?” She seemed somewhat intrigued by the notion as there was extra inflection on the end of her words.

Hephaestus seemed to want to say something, but because of her dazed state, Vahn managed to speak first. “We will be. I promised that, once I manage to forge an item that meets her standards, I will make her my lover, no matter what.” Vahn’s eyes were wide and his brows were furrowed as he loudly proclaimed the words. Anubis seemed a bit surprised, but she just smiled before looking toward the fiercely blushing Hephaestus. At this point, she was literally covering her face with both hands and refused to look at anyone. Anubis thought that the Hephaestus that acted cutely was much more preferable than the wrathful demon that had struck fear in her a few days ago.

Vahn seemed to agree, as he reached out his hand and began channeling [Hands of Nirvana] to help ease Hephaestus’s chaotic mind. The duality of her situation seemed to influence her even more, as Hephaestus glared at Vahn between her fingers. However, though she tried to look angry, Vahn could see the smile hidden behind her palms.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Declaration of LOVE!’,’Cunny doge’,’Bundle of Puppies’)

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