Chapter 161: Vahnatus (1/3)

While Vahn was wandering around and drawing even more attention to himself, a group of women had gathered for the express purpose of preventing that very thing from happening. Had they known he wouldn’t stay at home probably, they would have left someone to keep an eye on him. Unfortunately, none of the children would be able to oppose him, and every other person was required to attend the meeting. Even Welf, the designated ‘buddy’ of Vahn, had been busy with his research and refused to participate.

The organizers of the meeting were Hephaestus and Eina, and they had booked an entire cafe operated by the Hephaestus Familia for the first of many meetings regarding Vahn. Currently, the two women sat at the center of a large square table as they waited for all the invitees to arrive. Hephaestus had a cool look on her face as she gave an appraising look to each girl and woman that arrived, while Eina had on a professional smile as she directed each person to the proper seat.

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The first three to arrive were Tsubaki, Naaza, and Lili, who had gotten the message early the previous day. Though they were unaware of what would be discussed, they had a general idea that it was related to Vahn, so they all showed up long before the meeting officially began. Tsubaki noticed that the atmosphere was a bit tense even before anything had happened, and she suspected that the topic might be more serious than she expected. Though she tried to make discussion, she was informed by the half-elf girl, who she learned was called Eina, that they would be answering questions once all the other attendees arrived.

Lili and Naaza had concerned looks on their faces as they sat next to Tsubaki on the right of Hephaestus. They kept quiet as they waiting for the others to show up, and Lili immediately began to understand part of the reason why they had gathered. Not long after they arrived, Anubis, the woman that had been denying her and Naaza all week, showed up with her cool facade. Accompanying the goddess were three other chienthrope girls who Lili had only met in passing when they attended lessons with Tsubaki.

Anubis and Hephaestus made some polite conversation before the former realized the atmosphere was a bit odd and took her seat without continuing the topic. Even though she had seen the cute side of Hephaestus, she had no illusions that she could take any advantages against the fiery goddess. Following the direction of the half-elf Eina, she sat on the left side with the three girls, Nanu, Maat, and Chione.

The third group to arrive was a pair of women with cat ears, and both Naaza and Lili became decidedly more cautious when they recognized the pair. The first with a lithe and playful looking cat girl with black hair and green eyes, while the second one was a ditzy looking cat girl with brown hair and eyes. As they had often accompanied Vahn to the Hostess of Fertility, they immediately recognized the girls as Chloe and Arnya.

Chloe seemed to realize something shortly after entering the room as her eyes passed over all the people present. Without saying anything, she made her way to the side of Naaza and Lili as Arnya followed her with a clueless expression on her face. The moment they had entered, Arnya felt the tense atmosphere and the eyes of everyone in the room evaluating her for a reason she didn’t understand. Though she wanted to immediately run away, she didn’t want to abandon her friend, so she followed behind and found a seat next to the two girls she recognized.

At this point, most of the people in the room understood the common factor between them, and they gave questioning looks to the fiery red-haired goddess and the gentle looking half-elf at the center of the table. Eina had noticed their gazes and explained in a polite tone, “There are still a few members that are imperative to the discussion. Please be patient, as we have also catered this event and will be serving refreshments and snacks shortly.”

Eina already had a professional demeanor from her work with the Guild, and now that she was preparing to take the official role of one of Vahn’s first-wives, she spoke clearly and with confidence in her tone. After a few minutes, the atmosphere started to loosen up a bit as people began having hushed conversations with each other. As Eina had mentioned, the staff of the cafe came around and started serving everyone as they waited for the remainder of the expected members.

Eventually, another group showed up, this one larger than all the previous as it consisted of five girls. Leading the group was a petite and mischevious looking woman with red hair and squinted eyes as she was followed by a lively looking amazon, a fair-skinned golden-haired beauty, a mature and stoic green-haired elf, and a young elven girl with long golden-yellow hair tied into a ponytail. The group represented one of the ‘factions’ attending the meeting and consisted of the goddess of the Loki Familia, Loki, and her entourage of Tiona, Ais, Riveria, and Lefiya.

As they entered the room, Loki wouldn’t help but have a devious smile as she looked toward Hephaestus and asked, “Kekeke, isn’t this an interesting gathering you’ve staged? Am I allowed to guess the purpose~?” Hephaestus, who had been keeping silent the entire time, raised her head and looked at Loki with a serious expression as she said, “We’ll begin soon. Everyone else has been patient, and you’re one of the last to arrive. You can wait for a few more minutes, surely?”

In response, Loki laughed in a mischevious manner as she said, “Sure, sure, no problem~! I’m really looking forward to what such a gathering of people could discuss~” Though everyone in the room already had an idea, hearing Loki’s words only cemented the image of a boy in the minds of everyone present. Even Tiona, who wasn’t particularly known for her intellect, seemed to understand why they had all gathered. She inspected every woman present with shining eyes and a large smile on her face as she whispered to Ais who was standing next to her, “Look, Ais, these are all women who have some kind of relationship with our Vahn~. Aren’t you glad we got to him first?”

Ais had also been inspecting everyone in the room and hearing Tiona’s question, she gave a curt nod and said, “Nn, we did well…lots of competition.” Similar to the glowing eyes of Tiona, Ais also had a bit of fighting spirit in her eyes as she spent a few seconds evaluating each girl at the table. Since the rumors regarding Tiona and Ais were well known to everyone present, they had all been looking seriously at the two girls. Naaza and Lili especially felt very pressured by the two confident looking women that were known to be Vahn’s first ‘sexual conquest’ by everyone in the City.

Chloe had a glow in her eyes as she slightly squinted while looking at the two Level 5 adventurers that had slept with Vahn. Remembering the lonely and tragic boy, she slightly blamed the two girls for likely forcing him into the situation. She knew Vahn wasn’t the type to proactively approach others, which meant they had to be the ones to plant the idea in his mind. Though Chloe didn’t possess any intention to be with Vahn on her own volition, she wouldn’t turn him down when he finally approached her in the future. She felt like things had taken a strange turn, and she wanted to use this meeting as an opportunity to clarify things. Though she was unaware of it, she had already sided with Hephaestus and Eina before the meeting even began.

The Loki group occupied the opposite side of the table of everyone that was already seated, and the atmosphere immediately turned somewhat chaotic. Though she hadn’t continued talking about the reason for their meeting, Loki still made conversation with everyone else at the table while ‘hinting’ at the reason indirectly. She was casually asking the girls about their personal lives and if they had any boys they liked…

After another twenty minutes, the last group showed up and drew the attention of everyone in the room. It was a pair of cat people that looked very similar to each other, and everyone guessed that the two were likely a mother and daughter. They each had chestnut-brown hair and both looked slightly nervous when the eyes of everyone present gathered on them. The small cat girl with pigtails, his behind her mother for a bit until she recognized one of the faces and immediately jumped out and pointed directly at Lili as she shouted, “You~nya! Where have you been hiding Vahnya!?”

Lili had a surprised look on her face as she looked into the face of the small girl whom she recognized as Tina Yuel. The woman behind her with a ‘devilish’ smile was her mother Milan, and they were both the final arrivals that had been invited to attend. Though there were a few others on the initial roster, Hephaestus and Eina had narrowed it down to the sixteen girls, women, and goddesses present, excluding themselves which brought the total count to eighteen. The sheer number of women gave Hephaestus a bit of a headache, and she couldn’t help but shake her head as she imagined the naive and smiling face of the boy she had fallen in love with.

Before Lili couldn’t answer the question of Tina, Eina spoke out and addressed the entire room, “Welcome, Milan, Tina, and everyone else that is already present. If you two would like to take your seats, we’ll begin discussing why everyone has been asked to gather on such short notice.” Tina seemed to still want to accost Lili, but Milan grabbed her hand and led her to an area sitting across from Naaza and Lili. Though they were sitting to the left of the Loki Familia, it didn’t represent their stance in the group.

After everyone had sat down, Eina turned to Hephaestus who began to speak in a very business-like manner, “I’m sure you all have an idea of why you’ve been asked to attend this gathering.” After speaking, Hephaestus passed her eyes over everyone present before continuing, “The matter for discussion relates to the past, present, and future of Vahn Mason. If you choose to remain at this meeting, you will be asked to take a vow to conceal anything that is discussed. If you can’t agree to this prohibition, you may leave, but know that it will restrict your ability to interact with Vahn in the future.”

Everyone seemed to have no intention of leaving, though there were a few confused and distraught expressions on some. Arnya didn’t know why she was invited to attend such a meeting, while Milan had a bit of a concerned expression as she held the clammy hand of her daughter. Tina seemed to realize that all the girls present were associated with the boy she liked, and she felt fear an inhibitions about staying around. The only thing that prevented her from leaving was the opportunity to know about the boy she had made her goal in the future. She had already started to train with her mother, and ‘most’ of the rumors regarding Vahn served as her motivation.

Hephaestus waited for a full minute before continuing, “Very well then, before we begin and take the vow, I would like everyone to clarify their current and desired relationship with Vahn. Since things may not be clear for some people, I would like to put this matter on the table for consideration.” This was one of the ideas that Eina had given Hephaestus when they were planning the meeting. The two had stayed awake late into the night preparing their strategy.

Though Loki was sitting in the center of the table across from Hephaestus, it was Tiona to her left who spoke out first, “Hello everyone, my name is Tiona Hiryute~! My current relationship with Vahn is lovers who intend to have children~! In the future, I plan to have lots and lots of babies with Vahn!” Tiona said each word uninhibited and with a smile on her face which brought a hush over the entire table.

Ais, sitting to the right of Loki, spoke out next, “Ais Wallenstein. I am also lovers with Vahn…same as Tiona.” Ais looked around and had a competitive glint in her eye as she said, “I am the first…to fully accept Vahn. I want to get stronger with him.” Everyone at the table was confused when Ais mentioned ‘fully accepting’ Vahn, but Tiona began laughing at the bold proclamation.

Loki, who was flanked by the two girls, said with a mischevious look, “I’m Loki, and I guess I’m like the mother-in-law of that kid~? For the future, I’m not sure, it depends on how things play out. Maybe I’ll become his lover as well~?” When Loki spoke, she gave a sly look at Hephaestus and put extra emphasis on her last question. Unexpectedly, Hephaestus didn’t seem surprised by her claim as the fiery goddess looked toward the next person. One of the topics that came up in the previous nights discussion was how to deal with Loki, so she wasn’t caught off guard by the trickster goddesses’ games.

Her actions made Loki realize there was a bit more to the situation than she expected as she gave a curious glance toward Eina. The next person to speak, since her Familia had set the precedent, was Riveria who replied in a cool tone, “My name is Riveria Ljos Alf and current relationship with Vahn is companions who have fought together. In the future, I intend to conduct research with Vahn, but have no current romantic interest in him.”

After Riveria, Lefiya, the last person from the Loki Familia, had a mild blush on her face as she spoke, “I-I’m Lefiya Viridis, and I guess I’m also a companion that has fought alongside Vahn…” The blush on Lefiya’s face grew a bit as she recalled her interactions with Vahn in the past. She had felt like they were growing closer, but after he slept with Tiona and Ais, she felt very awkward. She had made the mistake of asking Ais about the event, and Ais gave her far more detail than she expected. Taking a deep breath, Lefiya continued, “I don’t know what kind of f-future I want with Vahn…”

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Though she said she ‘didn’t know’, everyone in the room could tell she had some kind of thoughts regarding Vahn, even if she wasn’t making things clear. Her flustered and bashful expression looked like a maiden in love to some of the more mature women, while those that understood Lefiya had somewhat exasperated looks. Lefiya had been somewhat prideful in the past, and it wasn’t until Ais saved her that she began to open up to others and developed her cute and clumsy personality. However, even though she opened up to others, the person Lefiya paid the most attention to was Ais herself. Now that Ais wanted to be with Vahn, they imagined the small elf would follow-suit sooner-or-later.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Avahngers Assemble’,’Gathering of the Vahnguard’,’More women than the Author Expected to Appear!?’)

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