Chapter 186: River

Though it wasn’t the original purpose for why he had begun training within the orb, Vahn spent the remainder of the three day period training with Fafnir to discover its capabilities. Other than ‘Destruction Ray’, it had learned two other magics. The first was called ‘Sagitta Magica’, and Fafnir could use it for fire up to 28 bolt of darkness elemental magic that had corrosive properties. To round out its skillset, it also had an amazing technique called ‘Shadow Walk’ which allowed it to hide within the shadows of objects almost like it was entering into an alternate dimension.

Vahn also learned that Fafnir had a gross incompatibility with barrier and defensive magic. It was an almost pure offensive juggernaut and, other than its incredibly durable scales and near perfect immunity to magic, it had no way of defending itself. The large blue cross symbol on its chest actually acted as a significant weak spot that would result in its death if a severe enough blow was dealt to it. Since Fafnir was currently 12m long, the cross had grown to a size larger than Vahn’s entire body. This meant that, if even a stray arrow or spear impacted the cross, Fafnir would die.

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The last thing of note was Fafnir’s apparent weakness to ‘righteous’ people, light magic, and holy property spells. Since Vahn had next to no negative karma, even when he had Fafnir duel against him, he noticed that Fafnir’s capabilities had decreased by more than 40% and his magic would actually misfire and land far off from the intended target. It was almost like, if Fafnir fought against a ‘good’ person, it would suddenly have incredibly bad luck and severely reduced performance.

Because of this, even though Fafnir was currently much stronger than he was, Vahn was actually able to keep up with him a bit due to his parameters reaching near Level 4. Infusing his [Enkidu] into his domain almost prevent Fafnir from being able to fight back at all. The moment it became wrapped up in [Enkidu], the only thing it could do was wait for Vahn to release it as it would lose all of its power. If not for its ability to fly, Fafnir had almost no way to fight against Vahn in an extended engagement.

Since they were fighting, Eva had been spectating and giving advice to both of them while correcting some of the mistakes they would make. She even tried demonstrating how to use ‘Shundo’ to give Vahn increased mobility, but he wasn’t able to comprehend it well. Though he could easily channel magic into his arms and legs, Vahn couldn’t link it between two points easily and would often be sent tripping for several meters when he tried.

Even so, no matter how many times he fell over, Vahn was determined to try and learn the incredible movement technique after seeing Eva use it to easy target his blindspots without him being able to react in the slightest. With the use of his domain, he was able to have some marginal success, but it would still take several weeks to get the hang of it. Fortunately, even though it was a ‘physical’ skill, it primarily used mana to execute, so Vahn was able to develop the skill even as a spiritual body.

Soon enough, the three day period had ended and Vahn parted ways with Eva from within the room that had become their personal sanctuary. Vahn always felt a little sad every time he left Eva behind but was less affected now that she had the company of Fafnir. Vahn had also wanted to leave behind (Nameless), the kobold that was often kept within his inventory, but Eva said it had no capacity to learn magic and she also considered it quite ugly. Hearing her words, Vahn felt a bit guilty about the somewhat pathetic creature and decided to give it a strong name in the future when his [Keeper of the Akashic Tome] was off cooldown.

After awakening in the real world, Vahn quickly left the bed before wandering into the connecting corridor towards the kitchen area. Since he wasn’t a normal ‘guest’ anymore, he had full access to the living spaces used by Milan and Tina in the past. He quickly came across Tina who gave him a strange and inquisitive look as she asked, “Done already~?” Since it had only been a few seconds since she left Vahn in the room, she was wondering if something unexpected had occurred.

Vahn assured her everything went well before helping out with some of the chores that needed to be performed within the Inn. Milan spent a lot of her time cooking and preparing ingredients for the meals while Tina washed all the linens used by the guests while acting as a waitress during the posted meal hours. Since Vahn wasn’t the most sociable person when it came to dealing with strangers, he ended up helping Milan cook within the kitchen.

Perhaps due to the earlier events, Milan spent a lot of the time when they were in the kitchen teasing Vahn. He had already known long ago when he first moved into the Hearths Embrace that she had that type of personality, and it made Vahn happy to know she hadn’t changed much since he first arrived. The biggest difference was the way he responded to her actions since he was actually able to return her teasing a bit instead of acting passively like in the past.

Vahn quickly discovered that, while she was good at teasing others, Milan was actually very weak to being teased herself. He also quickly learned that, if you pushed her too far, her cheerful demeanor would immediately become ice cold and she would give him an almost threatening look that made a chill run up his back. There was even an incident where she was cutting a large radish with a knife while maintaining eye contact with him. Every time the knife cut through the radish and collided with the cutting board, Vahn could feel a cold sweat on his body.

Eventually, the day came to an end and the night-time staff had taken their places to tend to any customers that would wander in during the late evening. They were both a man and a woman, named Davi and Sasha respectively. Vahn learned that they were both engaged to each other and worked at the Inn during the evening to save up enough money to start their own business. Though he didn’t say anything to them personally, Vahn decided that he would give them a sizeable donation to support their dream when Milan closed down the Inn in the future.

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After they took over, Vahn, Milan, and Tina sat around a small table in the kitchen and enjoyed a lively meal. Tina was in very high-tensions since they were all eating together and had spent the majority of the meal telling Milan about everything that had happened at Vahn’s house with the Anubis Familia. Milan was happy to see her daughter acting in such a cheerful manner since she hadn’t had many friends near her own age once she started helping out at the Inn.

Once dinner had come to an end, Vahn helped the two girls wash the dishes and prepare some of the tasks for the following day. After everything was taken care of, the trio made their way to the main bedroom and Vahn could see that Milan had grown somewhat nervous. She had already discussed it with her daughter previously, and it was decided that Vahn would share their bed tonight. It had been more than six years since she shared a bed with another man, even if it was more appropriate to call Vahn a boy.

Though Vahn could see her fluctuating aura, he decided not to pay it any mind as he made his way into the bedroom alongside Tina as if it were perfectly normal. Since he had spent the entire week staying in the same room as the small cat girl, Vahn had already developed a familiarity with her presence and didn’t act awkwardly at all. Milan stared at the two as they dressed for bed with a mixture of emotions in her eyes as she stood in the doorway without making her own preparations. It wasn’t until Vahn had already laid in the bed and Tina climbed in and gave her a strange look that she finally made her own preparations.

The moment Milan began undressing to prepare for bed, Vahn averted his eyes to allow her some privacy. Tina noticed this and tried whispering in his ear to encourage him, but Vahn just gave the ‘mischevious’ girl a pinch on her nose and continued to avoid watching Milan change. After a few minutes, Milan approached the opposite side of the bed from Vahn and he could see she was wearing a similar style night-gown to Tina, albeit a bit more seductive compared to the childish design of her daughter.

Milan hesitated for a moment and made eye contact with Vahn who just gave her an encouraging smile in return. She could see that there was no ‘sexual desire’ in his eyes and that he was acting like the same gentle boy she knew from the past. After releasing a short sigh, she lifted the blankets and crawled into the bed next to her daughter. Since the bed wasn’t that large, there wasn’t a lot of room for three people to line up comfortably, so they ended up having to squeeze together slightly.

Unable to lay on his back, Vahn had turned to his side and could see Milan staring back at him with a slight blush while Tina was cradled comfortably between the two of them. Vahn saw the ‘fear’ and ‘apprehension’ on her face, but he just responded with a light smile before brushing away Tina’s bangs and giving the smiling girl a kiss on the forehead. She laughed at his display of affection and ended up cuddling into Vahn’s chest a bit while Milan stared at the scene with a mixture of confusion and warm feelings building in her chest.

Vahn ruffled Tina’s hair with his chin a bit before winking at Milan and resting his head against the pillow. Milan had seen his wink and furrowed her brows slightly as she stared at the back of her own daughter who was presently cuddled up next to Vahn. Once Vahn had laid down on the pillow and closed his eyes, she released a muted sigh before cuddling up at her daughters back with her face right in front of Vahn’s. They were in such close proximity to each other that Milan could feel the airflow from his nose tickling her face.

For a few minutes after they finally relaxed, Milan would periodically look between Vahn’s young and handsome face before looking at her daughter that seemed to be completely at ease within his loose embrace. Eventually, she decided to stop hesitating and just combined her embrace with Vahn’s in a loose manner as they both hugged Tina to sleep. Milan noticed that, moments after she came into contact with Vahn’s arm, he smiled slightly and cracked his eyes before leaning forward a bit and giving her a kiss on the forehead as well.

Milan blushed at his affectionate display and tucked her chin to prevent Vahn from being able to see her face. For the first time in more than six years, Milan felt like she had met someone that treated her kindly like her former husband. Vahn also treated her daughter well and this entire experience made her feel like the three were part of the same family. She hugged her daughter a bit closer and cried silent tears into the night as some of the pain and loneliness of the last six years had slowly been replaced by the warmth coming from the two bodies sharing the bed with her.

It wasn’t long until Milan had cried herself to sleep while hugging her sleeping daughter. Vahn had been awake for the entire event and he felt sad to see such a reaction from Milan after just a brief period of intimacy. His intuition about how lonely she had been earlier in the week had proved correct, and Vahn was happy he had made the decision to try and approach her earlier. Vahn wanted to help take care of the Mother-Daughter pair, even if the relationships between them never bore fruit other than a familial relationship. He didn’t want to split them apart because of his own selfishness, and he even agreed with Milan’s apprehensions about sharing the same man as her daughter. Since Tina was still only ten years old, Vahn could spend the next four years or more just acting as the role of a proxy for them both.

A few minutes after the two girls had fallen asleep, Vahn once again closed his eyes and drifted off into unconsciousness himself. He hoped that these happy and peaceful days would continue far into the future. There were many things he wanted to do now, such as becoming a [Master Smith], marrying Hephaestus and Eina, having children with various girls, raising his children, as well as becoming strong enough to protect everyone he cared about. Vahn realized that to do all of this, he would need power and influence enough to prevent anyone from trying to maneuver against him. He would need people that deferred to him and followed his orders earnestly and without hesitation…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Never Enough Power’,’Nearly Indestructible Glass Cannon’,’Family, Bonds, Future’)

(A/N: A fair amount of people reneged on their pledges or they weren’t cleared, so even though I got very near the $640 goal, I actually only received around $490 xD. I’ll try to do a bit of bonus content starting Monday, but I still can’t afford to do this full-time yet.)

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