Chapter 176: Refusal

Vahn could fee the stagnant air and frozen time thaw around him as the vision ceased within his mind. Syr’s past had been something far different than he expected, and he couldn’t help but pity her upbringing. Though Vahn had yet to meet Freya, he got to experience what type of person she was through Syr’s vision, and now his apprehensions toward her had increased by a large amount. As for Syr to his right, he wasn’t too sure how to feel, especially given how tragic the events were leading till moment in her life.

Syr, who was waiting patiently for Vahn’s response, felt something in his demeanor and bearing change. When he opened his eyes from his contemplation and stared at her, she had the feeling that he had seen through her entirely. It was both scary and exciting, but the gentle and compassionate look in his eyes made her fearful feelings more prominent. She could see that he ‘understood’ her somehow, and it terrified her to think what kind of person he saw her as.

Vahn looked into Syr’s light-grey eyes and could see her aura had begun to fluctuate with a slightly purplish hue. He understood that, though her cheerful expression hadn’t diminished, that she was currently feeling afraid. Vahn was astounded by her perception and ability to read others, especially after experiencing how she developed the ability within the vision. Eventually, he noticed the aura begin to stabilize and he released a long sigh.

Syr had noticed that, though he seemingly saw through her, he didn’t seem to judge her for her character. The fearful feelings she had began to diminish when she saw the concern in his eyes. Curiously, the moment her fear ceased, she noticed that he was aware of the fact she had been afraid and now had calmed down. For the first time in her life, other than Freya, Syr thought she found someone that could understand her. Vahn’s perception rivaled, or even exceeded, her own. The only difference between them, other than gender, seemed to be Vahn’s inability to control his own expressions.

Only allowed on

Vahn never had a bad opinion of Syr, and the vision of her tragic past hadn’t changed how he viewed her in the slightest. Though she might have done things that could be called to question, she never truly took advantage of anyone or hurt anybody. If not for Freya’s manipulation and the circumstances of her childhood, she would have likely lived a happy life once she learned to control her own abilities.

Looking into her light-grey eyes, Vahn could see a gentle and happy expression veiling a hint of sadness. He gave her a gentle, albeit awkward smile, as he responded to her earlier question, “I don’t know how to answer your question, Syr. I don’t understand my own heart well enough to give a coherent response. I’m already wrapped up in several relationships and have a great many things to think about and take care of. Until I return a bit of stability to my life, there isn’t any easy way to accept others…”

In response to his words, Syr’s eyes squinted a bit as she covered her mouth with her hand and laughed cheerfully. Vahn’s serious response after everything that happened made her feel like it was a very ‘Vahn’ way to reply to her question. She already knew about part of the situation from Chloe, as well as some of the details she had heard directly from Vahn himself. Fortunately, they were both young and they had plenty of time to build a friendship for the time being.

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After Syr laughed for a few seconds, she removed her hand and showed a wide and cheerful smile as she said, “I understand, Vahn. For now, let’s just be friends; we can think about the future at a later date. As long as you treat me a bit kindly and continue to come to the Hostess of Fertility, I’ll be satisfied…for the time being.” Toward the latter end of her words, Vahn could see a playful gleam in her eyes as she stood up from the booth and dusted off her dress and apron.

Syr turned to Vahn and showed a gentle smile as she bowed slightly before leaving the private room. Vahn stared at her departure with unveiled concern in his eyes; It wasn’t easy for him to simply turn her down, even if he did it in a somewhat roundabout manner. However, his words had been true, and he could tell by her actions and response that she understood his intentions. Until he could meet the expectations of the women around him and become a stronger person, both mentally and physically, he couldn’t easily accept more people.

The biggest reason was, though Syr had a troubled past and various difficulties in her life, she was a very strong person with strong sensibilities. She wasn’t in need of his help right now, and they would still be able to interact with each other of the next several months, or even years, without there being any issues. Vahn wanted to try growing closer to her and developing their friendship for the time being since he also had concerns regarding other girls for the time being.

After Syr had left the private room, her cheerful smile couldn’t help but show a bit of melancholy as she stared back at the closed door. She understood that Vahn had affections for her, and he was likely willing to accept her along with his other girls in the future, but she still felt a bit saddened by his dismissal of her feelings in the present. In the four years she had been working at the Hostess of Fertility, he was the only one that managed to pass her evaluation, so she felt a bit of apprehension just walking away.

While she was lost in her own thoughts, another girl approached her silently from the side. After a period of silence, Syr noticed her presence and showed a cheerful smile as she asked, “Did you need me for something, Ryuu?” Almost as if her previous mood had been an illusion, she immediately returned to her characteristically cheerful disposition as she stared into the sky-blue eyes of Ryuu.

Ryuu had seen Syr enter and exit the room, and had been curious about what had transpired in the short few minutes for her to have such a ‘sad’ look when she left the room. After a brief hesitation, she asked, “Did something happen?” Though she was asking out of concern for her friend, she couldn’t help but let her eyes wander to the closed door for a brief moment.

Syr saw her actions and began to laugh in a playful manner as she teased Ryuu, “Are you worried about me, or Vahn?” After her words fell, Ryuu’s plain expression softened a bit and she averted her eyes as she responded, “You’re not acting like yourself…so I was worried.” In response, Syr began to laugh cheerfully as she looked into Ryuu’s averted eyes and said, “You’re also not acting like yourself, Ryuu~. Don’t worry though, nothing serious happened…Vahn just turned down my confession.” As she spoke, she stuck out her tongue playfully and closed one of her eyes.

Hearing Syr’s words, Ryuu’s eyes widened a bit as she asked, “You confessed to him?” Syr nodded her head and ‘pouted’, “Mou~, it’s really heartbreaking…Even though he has so many women, he doesn’t have a place for me right now. Ryuu, help me break down his resistance in the future. He seems to like you, so maybe we can work together and catch his attention~?”

Though her expression hadn’t changed much while Syr was speaking, the moment she heard the words, ‘he seems to like you’, Ryuu looked toward the door and asked, “You said he liked me?” Successfully baiting Ryuu, Syr nodded her head and explained with a low tone, “Isn’t it so? You know, even though I had met him first and talked to him, he never showed me a gentleman’s courtesy and grabbed my hand. You seem to be a bit special to him, don’t you think~?”

As she was listening to the quiet voice of Syr goading her further, Ryuu showed a small smile that was very uncharacteristic of her usually placid expression. Before she responded, Syr grabbed her arm and said in a playfully urgent tone, “Come on, Ryuu, let’s go talk to Chloe. If we can convince her, our chances of getting to Vahn will increase~”

Ryuu allowed herself to be pulled by Syr as she continued to contemplate her words. Ever since Vahn had grabbed her hand, Ryuu already had a special affection toward him. However, she knew there were already several women around him, and she didn’t want to trouble him or get in the way of others. Though she had some slight inhibitions, if Vahn truly likes her as Syr said, she was somewhat interested in trying to pursue him. Remembering the words of her dead best friend, Alise, Ryuu didn’t want to easily let go of the handsome boy that had easily grabbed her hand.

Vahn left the Hostess of Fertility completely unaware of the minor scheme he had incited behind the scenes. He made his way toward his house while thinking about various matters and how best to go about resolving issues in the future. However, a few minutes after he started ruminating over his thoughts deeply, Vahn stopped in the middle of the street and looked toward the slightly cloudy sky before exhaling a sigh through his nose.

Though he knew it wasn’t possible to make everyone happy, Vahn still wanted to treat those with high affection towards him well. He was especially interested in the characters from the original plotline who had a special place in his mind just by virtue of their existence. Every time he interacted with them, Vahn couldn’t help but feel a bit excited and expectant to see how they would react to his presence.

The biggest problem he had was one he had never expected to happen in the first place. There were simply a great number of women and girls that seemingly became interested in him within a short period of time. Vahn attributed this to his ‘View Affection’ function as well as his [Hearts Desire] quest, as he seemed to easily influence the women around him. Not only people from the original plot but even those he never had any foreknowledge of. Anubis, Nanu, Tina, and some other girls, never appeared in the original story, yet Vahn had quickly been wrapped up in their lives.

Vahn almost felt like, if he put in the effort, he could actually get together with any girl he wanted. Though the thought made him feel excited, it also terrified him since it felt like he was manipulating them through the use of ‘The Path’. But, the simple truth of the matter was, Vahn actually enjoyed interacting with the girls. The majority of his ‘acts’ were things he would have done regardless of being able to see auras since he genuinely wanted to make them happy. These two contrasting thoughts created a bit of a paradox in his mind since Vahn wasn’t sure what he truly wanted, other than to make them happy while becoming happy himself.

He felt like the matter with Syr would escalate in the future, since his response was essentially just a delay tactic like what he had with Lili, Nanu, and Tina. The hardest part to deal with was the fact that Vahn actually didn’t dislike Syr at all. Now that he had seen her heart’s desire, he actually empathized with her even more and wanted to help her if he could. But, there were already so many people he wanted to help, and Vahn wasn’t nearly strong or influential enough to take care of everything on his own.

After standing idly in the middle of the street for a few minutes, Vahn just shook his head after failing to come up with a solution. The key always seemed to be becoming stronger or having more self-restraint. Becoming stronger wasn’t too difficult, and even having self-restraint wasn’t something Vahn couldn’t develop. The hardest part was not caring about the people that developed affections for him over time. Vahn simply couldn’t turn them away, and it seemed like his future was bound to be one where he was in a relationship of sorts with a large number of women.

Vahn ultimately decided to live as he pleased while deferring to the women around him for assistance in managing his affairs. As long as he communicated with them properly, Vahn hoped things would never develop to a point where they became irreconcilable. Since he knew he would have an issue with gods and goddesses the moment his [Enkidu] became known, Vahn was already preparing himself for the aftermath. Vahn knew there were several men that would envy his position, so he decided to simply do his best to make the greatest number of people happy. If he ultimately fell short, Vahn believed there would be people to help him recover and find his path again.

With a bit of confidence reappearing on his face, Vahn made his way toward his house in higher spirits than the gloom he had experienced moments before. Though it might have been a strange thought, Vahn couldn’t help but imagine the image of various women around him pregnant. The thought of having children of his own made him feel more excited than almost anything else, and Vahn looked forward to having the opportunity to be a father. Until then, he would just focus on getting stronger and keeping the promises he already made.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Birth of the Harem…Emperor?’,’Sneaky Syr’,’The Vahnatus is going to look like a convention in the future’)

(A/N: For those that think there are too many girls around Vahn, I can’t help but agree with you. The problem is, given Vahn’s skill-set and character, there are too many ways in which he can leave deep impacts on girls/women/goddesses. Imagine if you could always measure your actions to make the affection of people around you grow? Combine that with being young, capable, influential, nice, etc, and it’s a recipe for a harem disaster! The only way around it would have been to not introduce characters, but it wouldn’t make sense for some people to not show up if Vahn visits a certain place. Like the Hostess of Fertility, there are simply too many ‘single’ girls with tragic pasts that would naturally be drawn to Vahn the moment he has a relationship with any of them. Syr definately has a somewhat scheming/cheerful/manipulative personality, and Ryuu’s hand fetish is canon~!)

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