Chapter 114: Alpha (2/2)

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After Hephaestus had finally calmed down, partially due to Vahn’s help, she began discussing other matters before finally bringing the conversation to an end. As Vahn needed to head to the guild and tend to the matters regarding his move, Hephaestus gave him a hug before sending him on his way. Vahn, though he gratefully accepted the hug, felt like Hephaestus was a bit sad at sending him off. Before he left, he closed the gap when she had dropped her guard and gave her peck on the lips. It was a very brief kiss, but Vahn saw her brows raise before she pushed him away with a smile.

“Get out of here!” Vahn allowed himself to be pushed out into the street by the bashful Hephaestus. Seeing her expression made him laugh, and it drew the attention of the some of the passersby who had shock and curiosity written all over their face. Hephaestus glared at the crowd before looking at Vahn and saying, “You had better work hard to improve your forging. If you keep me waiting too long, someone else might come along and steal me.”

Vahn looked straight into her eyes before pulling out the hammer she had forged for him. “I swear Hephaestus, I won’t allow anyone to take you away from me. No matter what, I will fulfill my promise and shatter your loneliness with this hammer!” Though Hephaestus had spoken quietly to him, Vahn gave his response in a loud voice. He didn’t care if the crowd heard him, and it made him feel proud to publicly chase after Hephaestus. Though he hadn’t intended it at first, Vahn felt a powerful rush of excitement build inside of him after his declaration.

Unlike Vahn, Hephaestus seemed to mind the onlookers a bit, but seeing his confidence and the hammer that represented her hopes, she stepped forward and gave him a light kiss on the cheek in front of all the onlookers. Though she initially wanted to give him a proper kiss, she panicked at the last moment and altered her target slightly. After her public display of affection, she retreated into her workshop so quickly that Vahn had flashbacks to his fights with Tsubaki.

Anubis began giggling at the side which broke Vahn from his reverie. Looking toward, she bowed slightly with all of her children behind her. “What shall we do now, my Master?” Hearing the new form of address, Vahn felt a chill run down his spine and he couldn’t help but shake his head to clear the strange sensation that had taken root. In response to her question, he said, “For now, take this Valis and get the kids something to eat. If you’ve been staying outdoors for the last two days, I have a feeling they haven’t been eating properly. I’m going to head to the Guild, and we can meet up at the northwest plaza entrance when I’m finished.”

Hearing that they would get to eat food, the kids started looking at Vahn was reverent expressions. Seeing their ‘hungry’ looks, Vahn laughed and gave Anubis twice the initial amount. “Make sure they get a good meal in them.” Anubis accepted the money, and Vahn flinched a bit when he got the notification that her Loyalty had increased to 85. He was slightly curious to know what would happen if he could increase it to the cap.

Anubis gratefully accepted the money before ushering the kids forward. “Children, what do you say to our Master?” Vahn, hearing Anubis implore the kids to call him ‘master’ tried to speak out, but the representative of the troupe, Rasui, spoke out first, “Yes! Thank you, Master. Once again, I am Rasui, and I will be in your care!”

Vahn stood there in shock and got caught up in the tempo of the children. They took turns repeating similar introductions, and Vahn finally learned each of their names. The other three boys, excluding Rasui, were named Nour, Akil, and Ata, while the girls were, Chione, Maat, and Nanu. The girls Chione and Nanu still seemed to be a bit cautious of Vahn, but they managed to get through the introductions before repositioning behind Anubis.

After all the introduction were done, Anubis spoke out, “From now on, you are their Master and the Alpha of their pack. Hierarchy is very important to the Southern Tribe, so make sure to do your best…Master.” Vahn felt like Anubis was using the word to tease him at this point, and he cleared his throat while trying to act more ‘manly’. “Very well. Go and eat with Anubis and wait for me in the plaza.” Vahn tried to speak in a commanding tone and the entire group saluted toward him with a ‘Ha!’ sound. Anubis giggled and escorted the kids away from Vahn who felt his stomach cramp slightly.

Once they were far enough away, Vahn released a sigh and felt the tension release from his body. He began making his way toward the Guild while inspecting the parameters in his Unit Management. At this point, Anubis had a value of 86 and Vahn was curious what function Loyalty actually had. When he was fighting with Fafnir, it seemed to be able to understand his intent, even without him saying anything. He was curious, so he tried sending a ‘command’ to Anubis who had long vanished from sight. Within the ‘command’ he had asked her to purchase candy for the children that they weren’t able to eat until his arrival.

After traveling for a few minutes, Vahn arrived outside the Guild for the first time in a while. Trying to recall from his memories, he realized it had been nearly two months since his last visit. Now that he had increased his level, he could also take the opportunity to report the change and receive his new Guild card. Stepping through the double-doors, Vahn took in the sights that he hadn’t seen for quite some time. As it was early, the time when most adventurers were beginning to set out, there were a large number of people present.

Vahn wasn’t sure which line he needed to stand in to receive his reward, so he joined the long queue where they handled general inquiries and missions. Since the Juggernaut had been an emergency mission, Vahn assumed it would be the appropriate line to wait in. After waiting nearly twenty minutes, Vahn finally reached the front of the queue and was just as surprised as the person looking back at him.

The girl that had been at the counter was none other than Eina Tulle, who Vahn had teased on his last visit by telling her ‘I love you!’ in front of the entire Guild. Seeing Vahn, who had been missing for so long, Eina immediately flagged a replacement before looking at him with an ‘angry’ expression. “Mr. Mason, please come this way…” Hearing the way she addressed him, Vahn felt a little uncomfortable, but he just followed her to a private booth which facilitated secret transactions and high-value mission rewards.

After entering the room, Vahn sat on one of the sofas while Eina sat on the opposite sofa. She seemed to have an accusatory look as she asked, “Where have you been for the last two months? All I’ve heard lately are rumors, including one where you had apparently suffered irrecoverable brain damage.” Vah noticed that her generally yellow and pleasant aura was now flickering a bit like a flame, but it was still yellow which meant she had no malicious intent. Out of a habit he had recently developed, Vahn looked through the system and noticed her affection was at 62, so he knew she wasn’t truly angry with him.

Vahn bowed slightly and gave her a sincere apology before explaining what he had been up to. Eina listened to his story while maintaining her angry expression, but hearing some of the things he had been through, her brows slowly began to ease up. When Vahn finally got to the point about his miraculous recovery and the fact he had come to the Guild immediately after his release from the ward, she had recovered her smile. Though she knew he didn’t come by to meet her, after remembering his proclamation from before, she had the slightest bit of expectation.

Now that she had recovered her professional demeanor, Eina got down to business and asked, “And what bring you here today Vahn? Don’t tell me you wanted to visit me…?” Vahn noticed she was in a much better mood now and decided to play to the situation as he responded, “It may have not been my original intent, but I’m happy to have the opportunity. My true purpose was to receive the items left behind by the Loki Familia as well as report my change in level. I wouldn’t mind continuing in this manner for a while, however.” Vahn smiled toward Eina who was now looking at him like he was some kind of monster.

As the person who had recorded his last level up, she knew how little time had passed since then. If she was correct, Vahn had likely set a new record for the fastest increase between levels two and three. She completely ignored the fact how he had said he wasn’t here to visit her as she began processing the information she just received in her mind. She had known that the Loki Familia had left behind a reward, but she hadn’t expected Vahn to be the recipient.

Rising from the sofa, Eina gave a profession curtsy to Vahn before excusing herself to check the details and process his request. Vahn was a bit disappointed with how he completely ignored her remarks previously, and he began thinking of ways to tease the serious half-elf girl. He didn’t know why, but seeing her flustered made him a little happy. By the time she returned carrying a large black container, Vahn had already prepared a method to get a rise out of her.

Only allowed on

Vahn had noticed that she had gotten her hair styled since he last saw her, and wanted to try complimenting her to see if she would react. “I hadn’t mentioned this earlier, but I think your current hairstyle suits you. It is very cute and accents your ears well.” Eina, who had been treating the matters seriously, faltered a bit before stopping and looking toward Vahn. “Mr…Mason. Thank you for your compliment.”

Afterward, she sat down and opened up the black container toward Vahn. He was a little dejected at seeing her response, and even the impressive items displayed before him didn’t interest him much. Eina saw his sad look, but she put it to the back of her mind as she said, “These are three high-grade magic cores that were left by the Loki Familia for your acceptance. You should know the value of these cores is nearly twenty-million Valis each. It looks like you’re rich now Mr. Mason.” Eina tried laughing at her remark but noticed Vahn didn’t seem interested in the massive increase in wealth at all.

Vahn reached forward and casually put the items into his inventory without remarking about their value. He really was impressed at the sudden gain, but he was more focused on trying to think of how to get Eina to return to normal at the moment. Eina thought Vahn was upset with how she had been addressing him, so after sighing, she said, “Vahn, I don’t know what you think of me, but I’m not such an easy girl that a simple confession can move my heart. I’m certain you were just teasing me, so can’t we just put that matter behind us for now?”

Hearing her call him by name, Vahn was a bit happy, but he frowned on the outside as he said seriously, “Though its true that I wanted to tease you, it doesn’t mean I was lying. Even if I didn’t understand the implications at the time, I’m not the type to take back my words so easily.” Eina had been one of the characters Vahn found interesting even in the manga. It was the reason he had wanted to tease her similar to how Bell had done in the original story. He was really happy seeing her reaction at the time.

Eina looked at Vahn and saw that he was ‘serious’ as he spoke. A bit of doubt seeded itself into her heart, and she believed he may have been serious in his words. A strange feeling began building in her stomach, and she felt both sick and happy at the same time. “Fine…if you’re serious, I don’t mind giving you a chance…” Though there were several people trying to court her, there were few that had all the ‘qualifications’ as Vahn. Not only was he handsome, but he had incredible potential as an adventurer and even possessed strong connections and personal wealth. Eina thought he wasn’t a bad candidate for her first boyfriend.

Vahn was surprised by her words, and he actually began to panic inside. Though he was serious, he still only intended to tease her. He never expected that she was seriously willing to consider being together with him! Remembering all the girls he had recently interacted with, Vahn felt like he had just walked head-first into a brick wall made of adamantine.

Seeing his suddenly befuddled expression, Eina frowned slightly before saying in a low voice, “Were you actually lying to me after all?” Vahn noticed her aura begin to darken slightly, and he raised both of his hands in a panic, “No, that isn’t true at all. I was just incredibly surprised that you were actually willing to consider being together with me!” Vahn spoke the truth and it seemed Eina bought his reason as she gave a relieved sigh.

Showing a genuine smile, instead of her professional one, Eina said, “Okay then, we should go on a date this weekend. Since you said you were spending the next three months recovering, it’s a good opportunity to spend time together.” Eina was suddenly in a chipper mood, and the happier she appeared the more worried Vahn became. Images of all the girls he was currently dealing with passed through his mind. Near the end of his recollection, he saw Anubis’s figure as she repeated a variation of her words from earlier, “You’re the Alpha now…do your best Master.”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘You dun f***** up now boi’,’It’s a trap!’,’Vahn is digging a grave deeper than the dungeon’)

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