Vahn took a long time before he was able to fall asleep that night. Though he had expected to have a bit of trouble, given the intoxicating smell coming from the bed, the thing keeping him awake was the vision he had. He felt like his emotions were going to explode, and it wasn’t until near midnight that he was finally able to rest.
The next morning, Vahn woke up before the sun had even risen. Without about four and a half hours of sleep, he cleaned himself up before preparing to head out. Anubis had awoken when he started making noise, so she was able to catch him before he left. When she saw the fierce determination in his eyes, Anubis became worried so she asked, “Master? Did something happen?”
Vahn looked at her, and his expression didn’t change in the slightest as he said in a firm tone. “Take this Valis and buy the kids and yourself some clothing and anything else you may need. I’m not sure if I’ll be back today, so don’t wait up for me.” Vahn handed her a large sack containing more than 100,000 Valis which only made her brows furrow even more.
Shaking his head, Vahn said, “It’s nothing dangerous, I just have something I need to do or it would tear me apart. I will be back tomorrow, or the day after at the latest. If you need anything, you can ask Tsubaki and she should be able to help you.” Anubis felt relieved when he explained, so she bowed her head low and said, “Then I wish you well in your endeavors, Master.” With a curt nod to acknowledge her, Vahn set out through the door and quickly made his way toward the north area of the City; his destination, the Loki Familia.
Though the distance wasn’t short, Vahn managed to make the nearly 20km trip in less than ten minutes. The few adventurers and pedestrians that were out at this time of day gave him looks and wondered what important matter he had to attend to. A few even called out to ask if he needed help, but Vahn just shouted to alleviate their concerns as he maintained his fast pace throughout the City.
Vahn stood outside of a gigantic manor, larger than any he had ever seen before. Within the City, it was known as the Twilight Manor and was the home of the most powerful Familia within the City, the Loki Familia. Though Vahn had never met the mischievous Goddess, he knew his presence wouldn’t be accepted easily given his budding relationship with Ais. Hardening his resolve, Vahn made his way through the large gates into an area that looked like a reception desk at a large Inn.
There were a few people loitering around the area, including someone that Vahn recognized. Seeing the stout and reliable figure of Gareth, Vahn felt like he would be able to avoid a lot of trouble. He quickly made his way over, and some people tried to stop him before Gareth waved them down. With a smile on his grizzled face, Gareth said, “I’m glad to see you’ve recovered. After you went down during the fight with the Juggernaut, a lot of people were concerned. You did well to come back from that, kid.”
Vahn was gratified to hear his words, and they brought a smile to his face as he bowed low and said, “Thank you very much, Gareth, but I have come here with a purpose in mind. Please, can you inform Tiona that I am here?” Seeing the intensity in Vahn’s gaze, Gareth had some suspicions and asked, “What is this about kid, why the urgency?” Even though he had a good opinion of Vahn, he wouldn’t expose any of the younger generation to danger if he could prevent it.
Noticing the suspicion in his eyes and the flaring of his aura, Vahn tried to calm himself as he said in a low tone, “Please, tell Tiona I came to make due on my promise. If she is unwilling, I will depart without causing a scene.” Gareth’s brows raised as he saw the sincerity in Vahn’s demeanor. With a gruff sigh, he waved one of the younger members over and had him go to pass Vahn’s message to Tiona.
After sending the young man away, Gareth turned toward Vahn and asked in a similarly low tone, “What kind of promise did you make with that hyperactive girl?” Hearing the question, Vahn’s mind blanked for a moment and he couldn’t prevent a blush from touching his cheeks. Gareth immediately noticed what kind of thoughts were passing through Vahn’s mind and he began to laugh loudly while patting Vahn’s back. “Hahaha, ain’t it good to be young!?”
Ten minutes passed quickly, but Tiona had yet to show up which made Vahn feel like he had made a mistake. Gareth too noticed there was something wrong before he showed a shocked expression on his face and said, “Ah, I think I know what this is about. The girls should be off spending time with Ais, so Tiona probably can’t be pulled away right now.” Vahn felt relieved after hearing the explanation and asked, “Why are all the girls spending time with Ais?”
Gareth nodded his head and explained with a smile, “Ah, today is the lass’ birthday, so they were preparing to go out and celebrate. You’re lucky you stopped by so early, or you might have missed them entirely.” Vahn nodded and agreed that he was lucky, but then something clicked inside of him and he began to panic a bit as he asked, “Did you say…Ais’s birthday?” Vahn remembered his ‘promise’ with Ais, and prayed he had misheard Gareth.
Though Gareth noticed Vahn was acting strange, he nodded his head and said, “Yeah, girl just turned 14 today, so they were gonna go out and celebrate. Lass could never hold her alcohol, but now that she is an adult she needs to start building a tolerance.” Gareth began laughing at his own words. As a dwarf, he had a unique disposition toward alcohol and only truly respected those that could hold their own against the brew.
The warm-hearted laughter of Gareth sounded like a death-toll in Vahn’s ears. If Ais had been serious at the time, that meant she had wanted to have sex with Vahn after she turned 14. Though it didn’t necessarily have to be today, he felt like Ais wasn’t the type to wait around for things that interested her. Almost as if announcing his inevitable demise, a loud shout passed through the room.
Vahn saw a flash of healthy-brown skin as he opened his arms and caught Tiona who had launched herself at him. She immediately began to rub her head against his chest, but Vahn was distracted by the group of people that followed behind her. Ais was walking over, accompanied by Loki, Riveria, Tione, and Lefiya. Seeing the difference between each of their expressions, Vahn felt like he had willingly just entered a death trap.
Ais, unlike her normal expression, was actually smiling slightly and had a hint of ‘expectation’ in her eyes as she looked at Vahn. Walking alongside her, Loki was looking at Vahn with slits for eyes and he felt like she was a snake that had stumbled upon a field mouse. The smile on her face, looked more like the invitation of a demon instead of anything cheerful. Riveria had a somewhat fed-up expression, while Tione and Lefiya seemed to be vexed as they walked over.
Tiona, who had noticed Vahn’s lack of response, separated from him a bit before tilting her head sideways, “Is there something wrong, Vahn?” When the messenger had shown up and told her what Vahn had said, Tiona had nearly wrung the unfortunate boy’s neck to find out Vahn’s present location. It took the combined efforts of Tione and Ais to free the boy from her grasp.
Loki, who was in the area and enjoying the preparations for the coming day, teased Tiona and asked what the matter was about. Tiona unashamedly told the entire group of women what she and Vahn had promised each other. Since she had expected to have to wait for a long period of time, she was overwhelmed by excitement. Tione seemed dissatisfied by the turn of events, but Loki thought the matter was amusing, at least until someone spoke up.
“Ah, I have a promise too.” Like she was unwilling to admit defeat to Tiona, Ais spoke out in a low and firm voice. Loki looked toward the girl she had been molding into a weapon and asked in a curious voice, “Oh, Ais~? What kind of promise did you make?” Ais looked around at everyone before fixing her gaze on Tiona. “Vahn, me, we would have sex when I turned 14. I will go to him as well.” The moment Ais’s voice sounded, silence spread through the room and people could even hear the distant sound of the foot traffic generated by the pedestrians.
Nobody spoke for what seemed like an eternity until Tiona broke the silence, “Even if that is the case, I will go first. Vahn came here specifically to visit me, so you’ll have to wait your turn.” Tiona expected Ais would try something sooner or later, so she was the least surprised by the turn of events. After her proclamation, the entire room came alive and they spent the next few minutes explaining to Loki the events that had transpired in the dungeon.
After their discussions had ended, Loki seemed livid before leading the entire group to meet the boy that seemed to have created huge problems for her Familia. Though she was also interested in Vahn based on what she heard from Finn and Riveria, she had never expected that, before she even got to meet him officially, he was already ‘pouching’ the powerful members in her Familia.
When Loki finally laid her eyes on Vahn, she had to admit that he was both handsome and young. She could see why the younger girls would fall for him, as even she wanted to tease the boy if not for the current situation. Arriving with the remainder of the group, she continued to gaze at Vahn as she said, “You must be the ‘Vulcan’, Vahn Mason? I’ve heard so much about you…shall we talk in private?”
Vahn could see the aura from Loki was massive compared to others, and it was a mixture of purples and crimson reds. Though he could somewhat understand why she was upset, he had never seen someone that had such a deeply chaotic aura before. He felt like, if he lowered his guard, he would be devoured by the chaotic energies. But, seeing Tiona at his side and remembering his purpose, he looked toward Loki and said, “Yes, please.”
Loki was surprised to see how calm Vahn was able to act in front of her intimidation but, as there were too many watching eyes, she led the group to a private room that had various formations and seals to prevent sound from escaping. Vahn sat on one of the four sofas, while everyone else spaced themselves around on the remaining seats. Both Tiona and Ais took the seats next to him, while Loki sat directly across. Vahn suddenly felt like he had come to pick up the two girls, and now had to deal with the beast guarding the property…
Seeing the two girls sit next to Vahn, Loki frowned a bit as she sat in a very un-ladylike manner on her sofa. Vahn’s vision fluctuated at the sight, and it didn’t escape Loki’s vision as she smiled and asked, “Oh? A girl on each arm and now you even covet this Goddess? Quite the appetite you have there…Vahn Mason.” Vahn almost refuted that it was her posture that caused his momentary lapse, but remembering his prior offenses against other people, even he didn’t believe the excuse.
Instead of responding to her goading, Vahn mustered his conviction and said, “I am sorry for dropping by unannounced, but I had a terrible premonition that, if I didn’t come here today, I may lose something important.” Though it wasn’t the entire reason behind his visit, Vahn knew there was some truth to his statement. He felt that, if he ignored Tiona who had suffered for so long, he would end up hating himself.
Loki looked at him and found his ‘courage’ commendable, but she could see there was more behind his statement than he made known. She wanted to find a hole in his words so, after looking between Tiona and Ais, she decided to ask,”I heard you came here for Tiona, correct? And what of your promise with Ais? Don’t tell me, you intend to take both of the girls with you?”
Vahn flinched after hearing her words, because, no matter how he tried to spin the situation, he had come here only for Tiona, and not Ais. If he tried to tell her he wanted to take both girls away just so he could have sex with them, he felt like the atmosphere might explode. As he was trying to come up with what to say, a voice came from his left where Ais was seated.
“I didn’t tell him when my birthday was,” Ais remembered that she had only told him she wanted to try having sex when she turned 14 but had never informed Vahn of the actual date. Even if he only came here for Tiona, she felt like she would lose out if she backed down without trying to take a stand.
Loki frowned after hearing Ais answer instead of Vahn. If he had tried to make an excuse, she could use it against him but if it was Ais that made the excuse she had nothing to use against him. Instead, she looked at Tiona before fixing her gaze back on Vahn and saying, “So she says, but are you going to change your plans with Tiona and try to fit Ais in as well? Even if Riveria taught you a few things, do you really think you can tend to two women at once?”
As Vahn had never had sex, he didn’t know how to answer Loki’s question. The incident from the previous night was still in his mind, and though he had confidence Tiona would be able to manage, Ais was much smaller and more fragile than Tiona. While Tiona had a healthy figure with visible muscles, Ais looked incredibly frail, almost like one of the porcelain dolls he had seen in the market.
This time, while Vahn was considering his word, Tiona spoke out, “I don’t care if, even if Vahn wanted to bring every girl in this room with him~! I know he’ll be able to overcome anything!” Once again, the entire room became silent after Tiona’s outburst. She seemed to be enjoying the situation and had a big smile on her face as she made her proclamation. As long as she got to be with Vahn first, she didn’t care who came after her.
Loki looked at Tiona like she had just met the biggest idiot of her several million years long life. Her mouth was wide open and her body had frozen in the pose she had held after asking her question. After recovering, she began to get really annoyed that the girls were answering instead of the person she was questioning. She said sharply, “You two be quiet for a moment! You think I’ll let some strange boy steal you away if he can’t even answer simple questions!?”
She flailed about like an enraged demon, and it was fortunate nobody else was sitting on the sofa with her or they would likely have to suffer her tirade. After calming down, she leaned forward like a thug and asked, “You answer this time, boy. I want to know exactly what your intentions are. If it’s just sex, sure, fine, whatever, I can accept that. You’re all stupid and young, and it’s part of the natural cycle to try and sate your urges. However, you should know their role and the significance they have to the Familia. What happens if they get pregnant or get taken out of commission? A lot of people could end up dying for your selfishness if you’re not careful. What can you, a measly Level 3, provide in exchange for taking two Level 5s out of commission?”
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Boi…’,’Loki Appears’,’Flowers on both arms’)