After spending time going over the specifics of their upcoming date, Vahn parted ways with Eina after receiving his updated Guild card. He was surprised that he was also given an additional 3.7m Valis as a reward for his participation in the Juggernaut subjugation. It seemed that the Loki Familia gave him a great deal of credit for his participation, but Vahn also suspected it was part of their apology for his injury. Vahn’s funds now consisted of 3,871,630 Valis and the three high-grade magic stones which could net him an additional 60 million if he sold them.
Vahn suddenly felt like he had become incredibly wealthy, but considering how expensive high-grade equipment was, he knew it wasn’t really that much. He would be able to buy a house, even a mansion if he wanted, but he would only be able to buy one or two pieces of equipment forged by a Master Smith. Even Bell’s weapon from the manga cost a total of 200,000,000 Valis, but that was due to its nature as a growth weapon.
As he was making his way toward the rendezvous point with Anubis, Vahn began to worry about trying to consult someone about the problems he was facing with women. The only two people that came to mind were Tsubaki, Naaza, and Chloe, but none of them seemed to be an ideal choice. While he was lost in his thoughts, Sis spoke out in his mind, (*Vahn, you should convert those high-grade cores into OP. The energy within each is worth between 120k-150k OP each.*)
Vahn was surprised at Sis’s claim and he immediately gave her permission to convert the crystals. Though he could sell them or use them to forge gear, Vahn was still concerned with completing his quest as soon as possible. He had even considered forging weapons and converting them into OP to finish off the remaining points. After the conversion, Vahn now had 818,309 OP and wasn’t too far off from the required one-million.
In a much better mood than he had been previously, Vahn increased his speed before arriving at the plaza within fifteen minutes. His agility growth had made it so that, if he was even slightly in a hurry, his natural pace made him move faster than the average citizen running. The trip that used to take him twenty minutes while sprinting, now only took him fifteen while casually moving at a brisk pace.
Looking around the area, Vahn quickly found Anubis standing near all the children who were sitting in a circle around her as she sat on a bench. They had calm and patient demeanors, and Vahn noticed they were sitting with their eyes closes, almost as though they were in meditation. Anubis noticed his approach before lightly clapping to get the children’s attention. “Our Master has arrived, you all did very well to wait~”
Vahn saw Anubis reach for a bag that contained hard candies and she began passing them to the children who received them with a smile. With this, he was able to confirm that she could actually receive his orders even if he wasn’t around. Curious, Vahn asked, “Candy?” Anubis smiled and explained, “For some reason, I felt like the children deserved some candy to celebrate the earlier happenings. However, I made sure they ate their meal properly and waited for your return before rewarding their patience.”
Seeing that her aura hadn’t fluctuated at all, Vahn was able to reason that his ‘orders’ were interpreted as a thought or impulse for the receiver. He became very curious and tried sending another ‘order’ to have Anubis look toward the top of the tower. It was vague enough that it wouldn’t infringe on her free-will too much, and it would also allow him to confirm his conjecture if she followed through.
A few seconds after he sent the ‘order’, Anubis had a thoughtful expression as she looked toward the top of Babel like she was searching for something. Vahn followed her gaze before asking, “Is something the matter?” Anubis frowned slightly and responded, “It felt like my instincts were telling me to look toward the tower, but I can’t understand what triggered them.” Anubis seemed confused about her own behavior and shook her head to clear her thoughts.
Vahn noticed that, when she shook her head and stopped looking at the tower, her Loyalty had actually decreased from 86 to 85. He was surprised and realized that, if his orders conflicted with the person’s thoughts, they would feel like something was strange and it directly affected their Loyalty towards him. It seemed like Loyalty was not only easy to increase if you could earn the other party’s favor, but it could decrease just as easily if they receive strange orders.
Anubis noticed Vahn’s contemplative expression before speaking out, “Don’t worry about it Vahn, I’m sure it’s nothing.” She showed him a gentle smile, and Vahn actually felt somewhat guilty for having ‘ordered’ her at all. However, he also knew it was somewhat necessary so that he could understand how his functions properly worked. Since he wasn’t able to communicate with Fafnir or the nameless Kobold, he was unable to understand how they were interpreting his commands.
Remembering Fafnir, Vahn recalled the scene of its self-mutilation and he suddenly overlapped the image with Anubis in front of him. He felt fear grip his mind and he almost vomited after imagining the beautiful girl tear away at her own flesh. Seeing the drastic change in Vahn, Anubis walked forward and began patting him on the back. She didn’t know what had caused his sudden change but realized that he was suffering from something mentally. Anubis knew Vahn had just been released from the ward after sustaining a serious injury to his mind, and she suspected his behavior may be an aftereffect.
Vahn felt a bit better as she rubbed his back, and he looked toward her with an apologetic smile as he righted himself. “Sorry about that…Let’s head home. The reward I received at the Guild was larger than I expected, so we should be fine for the time being.” Vahn started leading the way, and Anubis followed right behind him like a professional secretary. Feeling that something was strange, Vahn looked back and noticed that the children were still waiting in the area they just departed from.
Looking toward Anubis, Vahn saw her staring at him with a subtle smile and slightly squinted eyes. “Remember, I told you that you are their Alpha now. Unless you order me, or them, they aren’t going to move from their spot. They can be…very cute with how loyal they are.” Anubis covered her lips with her hand and giggled a bit. Vahn released a sigh before shouting toward the children, “Keep up, we’re going home!” The moment his words sounded out, the seven kids immediately ran over before stopping behind him and Anubis. Looking toward her, Vahn could see her smiling at him and he felt like the number of problems he had just increased by eight.
As they walked toward their home, Vahn felt like he was leading a parade as Anubis walked behind him while keeping pace with his steps. The children were in a somewhat orderly formation as they followed behind Anubis while nobody spoke a single word. Vahn felt a bit of discomfort, but he just continued leading the way so that he could bring the experience to an end even if only one second faster.
Finally, after what seemed like a much longer period of time than had actually passed, Vahn and his new ‘troupe’ arrived outside Tsubaki’s manor. He was tempted to go inside but didn’t think it would be appropriate to bring in the eight new faces without permission. Looking around, Vahn could see the lot that had been assigned to him. He noticed that, as Hephaestus had said, his residence was located off the street and was only accessible through a side passage that ran alongside Tsubaki’s manor.
He led the way along the path until he came to a residence roughly a fifth the size of Tsubaki’s. It looked somewhat off the beaten path, and there didn’t seem to be any other routes to get to the entrance. Vahn realized that the residence that had been given to him was somewhat abnormal and was likely Hephaestus’s consideration for maintaining his privacy. Using his keys, he opened the front door after navigating through the small courtyard.
Stepping through the threshold of the door, Vahn could smell a vaguely familiar smell that he was unable to identify. It was pleasant and made his heart throb in a strange manner, but the feeling quickly passed as he led the rest inside. The moment Anubis and the ‘hounds’ entered the building, they stopped and started sniffing at the air. Vahn noticed their actions were similar to his own, so he didn’t bother asking what they were doing.
Anubis seemed to come to a conclusion and asked, “Is this a place where Hephaestus stays often?” She seemed to have a bemused expression as she asked Vahn the question. Vahn, unsure of the truth of the matter, said honestly, “I’m not sure, this is the first time I’ve ever been here. Why, did you realize something?”
Anubis laughed before responding, “This place smells exactly like Hephaestus. Unless she stays here often, there is no way it would have absorbed so much of her scent.” The children seemed to agree with her statement as they gave various forms of affirmation to support the statement. Vahn was curious and activated his Báihǔ form so he could smell the air better. The moment he transformed, Anubis’s eyes widened while all the children seemed to enter a state of high alert.
Vahn hadn’t noticed their reaction as he was busy trying to identify the scent. Now that he had the increased senses of his Báihǔ form, he was able to pick up the aroma much easier. The longer he smelled it, the more his brain began to buzz, and Vahn recognized the fragrance was very similar to the cushion Hephaestus had stopped him from sniffing previously. Following the smell, Vahn began tracing it back to the source and eventually found a room with a large king-sized bed covered in expensive looking bedding.
Anubis had followed along while the children stayed in the foyer. Seeing the room, she remarked, “This is definitely someplace that Hephaestus had stayed in often. Her smell permeates throughout the entire room.” Vahn nodded his head, as he too could smell the powerful scent in the room. It made his heart palpitate, and he dispelled his transformation before it overwhelmed him.
Seeing him return to normal, Anubis couldn’t help but ask, “That form, may I ask what it was?” Anubis had been very curious about Vahn since she saw his soul earlier. As someone that had the ability to see souls, she had seen a countless number across the eons. The shape, size, and coloration of Vahn’s soul showed that he had a powerful destiny and a righteous character. Even compared to the ‘heroes’ she had seen throughout history, none of them even came close to the standard Vahn set. It was this reason she decided to devote herself to him, as it would be the best way to guarantee the safety of her children.
Vahn explained, “It is a magic that I learned when I faced dire-straits in the dungeon. Ever since then, I’ve been steadily improving it and even managed to fight a Goliath when I reached the third form.” Hearing Vahn mention he had more than one form, Anubis became even more interested but decided to keep to herself for the time being. She intended to accompany Vahn for the remainder of his life, so she wasn’t in a hurry to uncover all of his secrets yet.
Hearing the system mention that Anubis’s Loyalty had increased, he turned toward the calm woman and smiled at her. She seemed pleased as her eyes squinted and she returned his smile with one of her own. Making his way back toward the foyer, Vahn looked toward all the kids and made an effort to recall their names before telling them to find whichever room they preferred. The kids seemed interested in their new residence and quickly spread out to explore the interior. Though it was much smaller than Tsubaki’s, Vahn felt like the residence still had more than ten rooms, so they should be fine.
After all the kids had left, Anubis asked, “And where will you be staying, my Master?” Hearing the address she had adapted for him, Vahn once gain felt like a chill run through his body. Looking into her eyes, Vahn said, “You don’t have to call me Master. Just Vahn will do…” Even before he finished his words, Anubis already started shaking her head to refute him. “That will not do, Master. As I said, the hierarchy is very important in the culture I come from. As I have sworn myself to serve at your side, I must address you as Master until your title changes.”
Vahn was curious what she meant by his title changing, so he asked, “How would my title change?” For the first time, Vahn saw Anubis adopt a mischevious look as she laughed with her hand over her mouth. Her tail seemed to wave about slowly behind her as she said, “If you became my husband, I would have to call you Danna-sama.” The moment she spoke the words, Vahn clenched his teeth and took a step back.
Seeing his reaction, Anubis laughed in a higher tone than before. “Ara, you don’t have to treat it so seriously, Master. I was only joking…at least for now.” As she finished her words, Anubis walked by the stunned Vahn and let her tail pat him in passing. “I assume you will be taking Hephaestus’s room, so I will be taking the room next door…make sure to call me if you need ‘anything’, Master.”
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Danger within the home’,’Scheming Pupper’,’Rich Boi, Vahn Mason’,’Endless Trouble : Infinite Women’)