After everything was settling down, the fear inside Vahn was slowly beginning to change into excitement and anticipation. He looked toward Tiona and Ais who were talking with Riveria and Tione, and the back view of the two girls made his heart beat faster. He was still confused by everything that was happening in his own body, but looking at the two lovely girls gave him a strange sense of pride and brought a joy he had never experienced to his heart.
Riveria noticed his gaze since she was facing toward him while talking to Ais. Seeing the happy expression on his face, she felt a mix of emotions but most of all she was curious about what would happen after the fact. She knew Vahn had a lot of secrets, as even Loki seemed to pick up on some things, and she was wondering if this would provide her the opportunity to learn about him, as she expected he would linger around the two girls in the future.
Other than curiosity, she also felt the desire to tease the boy that was so full of anticipation, so she said to Ais, “Come with me, there are a lot of things we need to discuss to prepare you. Your body is still maturing, and it can be dangerous if you make any mistakes.” Riveria took Ais’s hand and led her toward a side door while Vahn followed them with his eyes. Tione, hearing Riveria, seemed to have realized something herself as she started pulling Tiona along with her. Tiona had been in high tension for a while, but she also knew there were things to prepare, so she looked toward Vahn was a big smile and waved at him in a playful manner. “See you soon~”
The moment everyone left, Vahn felt like cold water had been poured over his head. He stared at the door they had just left through and was tempted to follow behind. Eventually, he just shook his head to clear away his thought and sat on the sofa. Though he knew some of the details from the lesson with Riveria, he wasn’t aware of the process very well. If they preparations they had to make would keep them safe, Vahn didn’t mind waiting longer.
(*Looks like you’re finally going to have your first real experience with women. I almost expected it to be that Chloe girl or Hephaestus. I’m surprised it ended up being two girls you hardly know, but I guess it makes sense with everything that happened. People can fall in love faster if they experience hardships together.*)
After twenty minutes of silence, just as Vahn had started to feel dull and laid down on the sofa, Sis had spoken out in his mind. Her words brought thoughts of the two girls she mentioned, and Vahn felt a bit of guilt about everything that was taking place. He sighed and asked, (“Am I doing the right thing, Sis? I feel it’s right, but the moment I stop to think about things, I end up feeling afraid and guilty.”)
Sis sighed in his mind and explained, (*In matters of relationships, life, and love, there are no right or wrong answers. As long as you’re doing your best, there really isn’t anything wrong with how things are progressing. The problem arises when you have too many things you try to balance and you begin to lose control of your own life. If you are meant to live freely and pursue happiness, it will be difficult if others are making the decisions and influencing the path you choose to walk.*)
Vahn agreed with Sis, at least in a way, as he had felt like there was little he had done by his own volition as of late. He always got caught up in his interactions with women, and now he was even about to have sex with two girls less than a day after promising to become a capable blacksmith to Hephaestus. The fact he was about to sleep with Tiona and Ais, while Hephaestus was waiting for him, made Vahn feel incredibly guilty.
(*It’s good that you’re at least aware of the situation. The more girls you try to build relationships with, the greater the impact it will have on your life as well as their lives. Though polygamy is very common in this world, that doesn’t mean every woman is willing to share with others. Imagine if the first girl you were with had been Lili, do you think she would have been open to the idea of you being with other women?*)
Remembering the small girl that seemed overly possessive, Vahn imagined what kind of life he could have lived if he had accepted her affection early on. It felt like, with how earnest and willing to please she was, Vahn would have become corrupted by her. Over time, the two would have turned into some kind of deviants, and Vahn felt like his progress would have stopped. There was even a chance that he might have gotten caught up in the Soma Familia and had to kill dozens of people to help complete her revenge.
Releasing another sigh, Vahn asked, (“Is there really no way to make everyone happy? I feel like, whenever a girl seems to like me, I have to do my best to meet their expectations. How do I prevent it from becoming a complicated mess in the future…?”)
(*That isn’t something I can answer, but it seems like the current direction of things isn’t necessarily bad. Tiona is a lot like Lili in a way, except that she never seemed to harbor any intentions of keeping you to herself. And, that Ais girl, though she seems to just be going with the flow due to her competitive nature and curiosity, there are a lot of parallels between the two of you that will help both of you move forward. Being with both of them will open a lot of doors and will fundamentally change the impression other people have of you; that includes other women. Even girls like Lili will be forced to change, or else she would risk losing you in the future to more ‘understanding’ women.*)
After listening to Sis, Vahn just lay lazily on the couch for nearly an hour as he quietly listened to the ambiance of the room. There was a large clock on the wall, and each successive tick seemed to resonate in Vahn’s mind almost as though it was counting down to the beginning of his problems, instead of counting forward in time. However, even though he seemed to be lost in a melancholy, there was a fierce confidence burning in his eyes. Just as he had said to Tsubaki previously, Vahn would do his best to face any challenges without backing down. Even if he had to face multiple challenges at once…
By the time almost two hours had passed, the door to the room began to open, and Vahn sat up on the sofa with excitement beginning to build within his heart instantly. The moment the two girls stepped through the door, Vahn felt a powerful desire to jump up from the sofa but instead did his best to appear patient.
Tiona and Ais saw Vahn’s excited expression, and Ais began to blush slightly as Tiona cheerfully walked forward and grabbed Vahn’s arm. Unable to contain her own excitement, she asked in a happy voice, “So, where are we going to go~?” The moment Tiona grabbed his arm and started pressing her body against his, Vahn’s mind went blank for a moment and he was unable to answer her question. It wasn’t until Ais had sat down next to him and looked into his face that he was finally able to answer, “It’s a place outside of the City, but not too far away. With our speed, we should be able to make it in an hour or two…”
Tiona hugged Vahn’s body as she nearly shouted, “Okay then~! Let’s go, let’s go~!” Without waiting, Tiona pulled Vahn’s arm and lifted him from the couch. She seemed more excited than everyone else, and her carefree mentality made Vahn feel calmer about the whole situation. His original intention when he came here today was to make Tiona happy, and seeing her act so ‘bubbly’ made his heart dance along with her.
Even Ais seemed to be influenced by the mood, as she nodded her head and rose from the couch faster than Vahn would have normally expected. He noticed she seemed a bit nervous, and even fearful, which made him a little worried. Before they left the room, Vahn asked, “Are you okay Ais? We don’t have to do anything today if you’re having doubts.” Vahn never wanted to force people against their will, and seeing her inhibitions made him very worried about her state of mind.
Ais shook her head with a bit of force as she said, “No, I’m okay. I want to try.” Tiona saw the interaction between the two and realized what was going on, so she pulled Vahn’s head and whispered in her ear, “Riveria spent the last two hours giving her a crash course on what to expect as well as all the dangers associated with sex. She seemed to be trying to traumatize Ais, but I don’t think it will be a problem as long as you do your best~” Tiona’s hot breath on his ear made Vahn’s head buzz, and her words made him feel a bit of pressure.
Looking toward Ais, Vahn wanted to help ease her mind so he said, “I will do my best…” Ais stared at him for a few seconds without saying anything, but she eventually nodded with a slight smile on her face. “Nn. I know.” After that, the three made their way out of the Twilight Manor with the eyes of every person they passed follow them. Seeing the ‘stranger’ with two of their Familia’s women, a lot of people gave Vahn strange and incredulous looks. There were even a few that seemed to look at him with anger and even hatred, but Vahn ignored them all as he led the way forward with Tiona and Ais following close behind.
Vahn led the group outside of the northern gate of the City since the Twilight Manor was located very close to the exit. After registering their information, the trio picked up their pace as Vahn led the way toward the Western Forests. Though the two wanted to ask where they were going, the only person that would have, Tiona, was too busy repressing her own emotions to make conversation. The closer they got to their destination, the greater the flush that started to cover her body became. Vahn could even feel her gaze sticking to his back, and it sent a chill down his spine that made him pick up his pace.
Because of their incredible speed, the group ended up arriving at a clearing next to a river in less than an hour. Tiona and Ais looked around and noticed a cave within a serious of rock formations, as well as signs that someone had lived here not too long ago. Though Vahn had destroyed most of the evidence, there were still the log posts he had used to train, as well as various markings on trees from when he was practicing his CQC.
Tiona, who had begun to calm down a bit after they stopped running, asked with a hazy manner, “What is this place…” Vahn looked over and saw that she was still flushed and seemed to have a dreamy expression in her eyes as she looked around the area. Ais too was looking around, so Vahn explained, “This was my home for a long time before I went to Orario. It isn’t much, but it should give us some privacy and I wanted the two of you to know more about me. This place has a significance in my heart and was where my journey officially began. I wanted to return here someday, and this seemed like an appropriate time to do so…”
Hearing that this was Vahn’s home, the two girls seemed to be a bit more interested in the area and began to look around. Ais looked toward the cave entrance and asked, “Did you stay in the cave?” Vahn nodded his head and began making his way through the once familiar entrance. Since he hadn’t wanted it to become a nest for goblins, or other creatures, he had barred the opening to prevent passage to anyone that didn’t clear it out.
Tiona and Ais followed him inside and continued along the path until they arrived at the large cavern that was once Vahn’s home. Tiona seemed to find the cave interesting as she curiously looked around and even picked at some of the glowing stones on the walls. Ais muttered in a low voice while standing next to Vahn, “It looks beautiful…like stars.” Vahn nodded, as he once spent seven months staring at the ‘star’s she had mentioned; he could even name each of them if someone had asked.
Seemingly satisfied with her exploration, Tiona bounded over and asked, “Is this where we’re going to do it?” She had a big smile on her face as she leaned forward and said the words with exuberance. Vahn nodded before moving toward the center of the room and pulling out a large futon from his inventory. Tiona nearly exploded in excitement the moment the cushion was laid on the cavern floor. “Ahahaha, that is much better~! I didn’t mind if we used the cave floor, but a futon will be a lot more comfortable!”
As her words ended, she had already sat on top of the futon and grabbed some of the pillows that Vahn had laid out and began to hug them as she sat cross-legged. From over the top of the pillow, Vahn could see her staring at him with a ‘hungry’ expression, but he tried to keep his calm and continue preparing things. After a short while, even Ais had made her way over before removing her long-boots and sitting on the futon with her legs underneath her. Unlike Tiona, who seemed almost unable to contain herself, Ais was very composed and sat properly. However, Vahn smiled at her since he was able to see her aura fluctuating very rapidly almost as if to mock her ‘stoic’ appearance.
After everything was ready, Vahn sat down with the two girls and they were in something like a triangular formation as they looked toward each other. Tiona sat to his left and was squeezing the lift out of her pillow, while Ais sat to his right and maintained eye contact with him every time he looked over. The seconds grew into minutes as the three just sat silently staring, unable to say anything while the tension in the air continually increased.
At this point, Vahn’s heart was beating in his chest so loudly that he was barely able to hear his own thoughts. Though he had steadied his heart for the event, now that he had ‘prepared’ everything, he actually found that he had no idea what to do. Seeing the expectant looks of the two girls, Vahn felt incredibly nervous and slowly asked, in a very low voice, “So…what do we do now?”
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Dangerous silence’,’The moment of truth’,’Endless Excitement’)