Chapter 144: Fear

After reading the description, Vahn explained the changes while Nanu started dressing. Hearing his explanation, she was incredibly excited at the prospect of being able to grow stronger based on her feelings. She already had a reverential passion for Vahn, and now that she would get stronger from it, Nanu had a lot of hopes for the future. Vahn noticed that her affection had hit the stat cap, and quickly scanned his eyes in the system to read the now familiar notification.

//Nanu Has Reached Maximum Affection//

//Quest Completed: [The Hearts Desire: C-SS]//
Completion Grade: B
Rewards: 10,000 OP, 1x [Proof of Affection], 1s [Hearts Desire: Nanu]Grade Rewards: 5,000 OP, 1x [Skill Enhancement Scroll: B] [Proof of Affection]Ranke: Unique
Use: Conjures an item desired by the intended recipient. Warning: Item is bound to the recipient after accepting

Vahn was curious about the [Proof of Affection] and decided to activate it to see what would happen. A light flashed which started the both of them as a deep red collar appeared in Vahn’s hands. It has a small metal tab hanging down from the front of the collar and looked very reminiscent to what a pet would wear. The moment it appeared within his hands, Nanu’s eyes started to shine like she had found the most precious treasure in the world. Without any prompting, she stood on her tiptoes while lifting her chin up high.

Since he had used the item with Nanu in mind, he had received a collar, similar to what he had learned the previous night. It was the final ceremony between mates which required the dominant party to gift a collar to the submissive party. As Vahn had already resolved himself to the future, he opened the band of the collar and placed it around Nanu’s neck while she had a big smile on her face. Her tail wagged back and forth like it was trying to rip itself free of her body, and Vahn couldn’t help but wonder if the muscles in her lower back would get sore from the hyper-fast motion.

After fastening the collar, it suddenly shrunk and adapted its size to fit perfectly around Nanu’s neck. She raised both her hands to feel its presence before smiling toward Vahn and saying, “Thank you, Master. It is perfect.” Vahn had never seen Nanu so happy before, so he just laughed awkwardly while petting her ears. She began rubbing her head against his palm, and Vahn started getting flashbacks to the incident with Anubis on the first night they arrived. Before things got out of hand, he pulled his hand away while Nanu stared at the retreating figure with a bit of reluctance.

Now that Nanu was properly dressed and received her collar, the two began to get to work. Since time seemed to stop whenever he used them, Vahn activated the [Hearts Desire: Nanu] after she turned away from him. The air froze as time seemed to come to a crawl and a vision passed through Vahn’s mind. Curiously, unlike his previous visions, this one was slightly different.

Vahn was in a completely black space and felt like he was standing on water. Standing before him was a completely nude girl, and Vahn recognized the figure to be an exact replica of the current Nanu. Inspecting himself, Vahn also found that he was in his own body instead of the normal visions he had before. The nude Nanu walked toward him and embraced him around the waist as she rested her head against his chest and said, “I already found my heart’s desire, my Master…”

The black space shattered, and Vahn noticed the air was comprised of various memory shards that showed images of the life Nanu had led before he met. He didn’t have the opportunity to experience them himself, but it seemed that she had put the past behind her after accepting him. Now, the only thing that remained was her present form as she wrapped her arms around his waist and nuzzled into his chest.

Time started again as the frozen air warmed back up. Vahn was in a bit of a daze as he looked toward the back of Nanu and noticed her tail was still wagging about in a happy manner. He released a sigh, but this time it wasn’t exasperation, but a mild affection for the adorable young girl. Though he hadn’t made many intentional moves against her, she had already fallen for him completely. With a mental promise to do his best, Vahn opened the system and inspected his new rewards.

//[Hearts Desire: Nanu] fulfilled. Extra parameter ‘Love’ unlocked.//
[Nanu]: Love 78(Devoted)


//Bond established with [Nanu]//
//Optional Quest Triggered//
[Quest: A Man’s Responsibility, Repeatable]Rank: B-SS
Objective: Impregnate Nanu (0). Ensure a safe delivery; Current Children(0)
Rewards: 100,000 OP, 1x [Guardian:(Nameless)]Failure Condition(s): Death, Nanu’s Death, (Nameless) Child’s Death
Penalty: 200 Karma (0)

In an almost identical fashion as Tiona, Vahn unlocked the love parameter with Nanu as well as the standard ‘optional quest’ that seemed to come hand-in-hand with the parameter. For a very brief moment, he imaged the young girl with a big belly and couldn’t help but feel his brain buzz at the strange mental image. With her current height and frame, it was a very strange picture, and Vahn reaffirmed his conviction to wait until she was older before he did anything.

After settling all the matters in his system, Vahn started his work and decided to forge a spear this time. Though he had no shafts to work wish, Vahn wanted to try to make one entirely out of magisteel with mithril coiled around it. He had studied magic circuits intensely, and could even bring up the diagrams in his own mind as he slowly carved the channels into the body of the spear with intricate detail. A single mistake in the structure of the circuits could cause the entire spear to explode if it was overloaded with mana. Vahn didn’t want to have the reputation of injuring his own client, so he performed every step in painstaking detail.

Because of his efforts, without even working on the spearhead yet, Vahn spent nearly eight hours just crafting the body. The hardest part was working the mithril into a thin enough strip and properly shaping it around the length of the spear’s body. Fortunately, after a few failed attempts, he was able to complete the task and now had a 3m long spear that had yet to be fitted with a spearhead. Vahn wasn’t at the point where he could shape the metal into intricate shapes, but the simplicity of his craftsmanship actually made him feel like it looked better.

Though he had ignored the fact when he made his twin swords the day prior, it wasn’t necessary to make a weapon intricate. Oftentimes, the efficacy of the item was based on its composition and internal structure, not the outward appearance. The tamahagane blade he had gifted to Ais was the best example of a weapon that was both simple and incredibly lethal. Holding the onyx-colored spear that was wrapped in bands of blue-black mithril, Vahn gave an appreciative smile at his own realization.

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Using the remaining two hours before dinner, Vahn started shaping the spearhead and, using the principles he had just learned, focused on making it incredibly durable and efficient instead of intricate. He ended up with a product that was precisely 27cm long and had a gentle, sloping, curve as the spearhead tapered toward the tip. When he affixed it to the spear’s body, it now looked like a plain black spear, but it also shone with a dark and intimidating glimmer if you stared at it for too long.

Vahn felt like the spear would be able to cut through the darkness and always strike true if wielded by a capable owner. Imagining the onyx-colored blade reflecting the moonlight, Vahn named the spear [Moon Piercer] and received 1005 OP from the system. Surprised by the amount, Vahn inspected the [Moon Piercer]’s stats within the system.

————————————————————————-

[Moon Piercer]Rank: B (Magic)

Slots: 1
P.Atk: 330+30
M.Atk: 441
Ability: Piercing(B), Hardening(C)
A simple spear that combines beauty and simplicity to create a form with terrifying efficiency. Under the moonlight, this weapon reflects a deadly glow that draws its victims into the night’s eternal embrace. Weilder is empowered under the moonlight.

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Once again, Vahn noticed that his intentions seemed to be reflected by the item he forged. As he had imagined the spear cutting through the moonlight when he named it, it adopted that idea and developed an ability that reflected his intent. Vahn was confused because it felt like he was able to make use of the naming ability of the [Keeper of the Akashic Tome] even while it was on cooldown. It didn’t have the drastic effect of evolving the weapon as it had done with Fafnir, but Vahn had felt a very slight amount of his energy drain when he ‘named’ the spear.

As it was now nearly time for their evening bath, Nanu and Vahn cleaned up the workshop and had a brief window of time before Anubis usually showed up. Though Vahn had intended to polish his spear a bit more, Nanu seemed to take the opportunity to get a bit closer to him. She didn’t say anything, but she just stood in front of Vahn with a smile on her face as her tail beat back and forth. Vahn reached his hand out and began stroking her bob-cut hair and pointy ears and she immediately began to squirm against his hand. Though he was somewhat worried that she would become ‘heated’ as Anubis had, Vahn noticed that her aura was stable, so he continued to pet her for the entire ten minutes before Anubis showed up.

Afterward, everything else happened as routine as Vahn took a bath with everyone before enjoying a delicious dinner. Unlike previous nights, Anubis had encouraged the children to talk about what they learned today, and Vahn made conversation with them which seemed to make them excited. Vahn was pleased because if giving them light praise made them work harder, he didn’t mind giving them a few encouraging remarks.

Everyone cleaned up as normal and went about performing their duties before Anubis, Vahn, and Nanu made his way towards his room. Though Nanu knew she couldn’t accompany him at night, she felt it was her duty to wish him well, similar to how Anubis was always around immediately before he went to sleep and right after he awoke in the morning. Vahn pets the girl for a few moments before sending her on her way to bed. When she was gone, Anubis spoke out, “I see you gave her a collar.”

Vahn nodded, as it wasn’t exactly a secret since she had proudly shown it off to the other children. The other two girls seemed envious and even gave Vahn a few looks, but Nanu immediately corrected their behavior and encouraged them to work harder in the future. Anubis had been quiet at the time, so he was curious why she seemed to be a little deadpan when she made the statement.

Anubis furrowed her brows slightly as she mustered her courage and proclaimed, “Master, I too would like a collar. I am already Master’s servant, and being without one makes me feel uncomfortable. I wasn’t going to mention anything, but now that Nanu has received one, I can’t keep it to myself any longer.” Vahn was surprised at Anubis’s outburst because she seemed abnormally flustered compared to her usual self.

Vahn contemplated her words for a moment before a black collar appeared in his hands. Vahn hadn’t paid much attention to it previously, but he noticed it had a similar color scheme as Anubis’s clothing, and he realized she had purchased it with the intent to wear it in the future. Just as Nanu had been previously, Anubis entered a high tension and excited state as she moved closer to Vahn and tilted her chin up.

After loosening the band, Vahn reached around Anubis’s neck and fixed the collar to her. Unlike the one he had gotten from the system, the black collar didn’t automatically adjust, so Vahn had to fiddle around with it a bit. Since it was his first time tightening a collar, he miscalculated and tightened the collar a bit too tight and Anubis issued an incredibly light moan. Though he might have missed it normally, as they were very close to each other, Vahn heard the sound and it made his heart thump a bit.

He quickly loosened the collar a bit as he apologized. Anubis, with her chin still tilted upwards, looked at Vahn with a slightly ‘pained’ expression as she muttered, “It’s okay, Master. I don’t mind if you tighten it a bit…” Vahn swallowed his saliva as he began to slowly tighten the collar around her neck. Though she seemed to be encouraging him to tighten the collar, Vahn decided to play it safe and left a small amount of space between her neck and the collar before fixing the clasp to hold it in place.

When he was done, Anubis seemed both happy and sad at the same time, and Vahn couldn’t help but feel a sense of incongruity inside of his mind. He performed their small ritual of petting her hair before turning back and heading into his own room. After he closed the door, Anubis continued to stand in place while feeling the collar around her neck with both hands. She had a large grin on her face as she headed into her own room and disappeared from the corridor.

For the third night in a row, Vahn lay down on his bed and focused his intent into the black orb. This time, the moment he entered the black and white space, he immediately activated his Báihǔ form and domain before quickly investigating his surroundings. In a manner similar to his first visit, the only thing in the surroundings with the infinite, contrasting, black and white space without a single soul in sight.

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Vahn was a bit confused, but he didn’t drop his guard as he continued to look around for any sight of the blonde woman. After nearly an hour, she still hadn’t shown up and Vahn began to suspect if there was something wrong with the situation. He thought she may be trying to toy with him, so he maintained his vigilance for what seemed like half a day, but he noticed that only several tens of seconds had passed in his system. Though he hadn’t noticed it previously, there seemed to be a powerful time dilation effect inside the black and white space.

After another hour, Vahn finally dropped his guard and dispelled his aura as he looked around at the empty space. He had expected that the moment he dropped his guard, the woman would attack him for his foolishness, but nothing happened. Space remained silent without the woman appearing before him. Sitting down, Vahn focused on recovering his energy while diverting some of his attention to the surrounding space. However, even after more than a day had passed, the woman hadn’t appeared at all.

Vahn began to worry because, though he knew how to enter the space, he had no way of exiting presently. Sis had informed him that, if he continually put in an effort, he would be able to break the space with the use of [Chainbreaker], but it would destroy the orb in the process. Releasing a sigh, Vahn crossed his legs and began focusing on the second skill he had obtained a few days ago. Though he was vaguely aware of the words that kept sounding in his mind, no matter how hard he tried, Vahn was unable to make out a single syllable.

Not long after he started meditating, the figure of a woman appeared out of thin air with a distortion of space. She had completely sealed away her energy signature as she approached the back of Vahn undetected. Even with his domain expanded around his body, he was unable to sense the approach of the woman who seemed to have less presence than the void around them.

While he was trying to comprehend the sounds in his soul, Vahn suddenly felt a sharp pain in the muscles connecting from his neck to his back. His mind immediately snapped to full awareness, but Vahn noticed he couldn’t put any strength into his body at all. Vahn was spontaneously overwhelmed by fear, as he could feel a nostalgic feeling that still periodically haunted his dreams. Though he could feel a warm feeling spread through his body, the only thing Vahn focused on was the ‘sucking’ feeling of his blood being drained from his body.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘This chapter really sucks the life out of the story’,’Dumpity Dump’,’Now he owes all the other girls gifts’)

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