Chapter 202: Some things change, Some things stay the same…

Over the course of the next three days within the orb, Vahn only spent about half the time forging as he did in the past. He had quickly reached the point where his cooperation with the ‘eternal flame’ was nearly flawless and he could retain more than 90% of any type of metal, including the difficult to work with ones like Adamantine and Orichalcum. The only thing he needed to do now was focus on developing specific pieces of equipment and trying to push his skills further. Since he could process most materials, he needed to get to the point where he could forge them into the items that he wanted.

The other half of the time, Vahn was relaxing with Eva who had turned relatively docile and attentive as the two spoiled each other. They spent time doing almost everything together, including cooking, cleaning, bathing, and sleeping. Unlike the relatively passionate interactions they had in the past, Eva seemed to be focused on helping him relax, and Vahn was very grateful to her. Though he wasn’t as affected by the events as Milan and Tina, he had undergone a pretty big impact to his mentality and needed time to recuperate.

After replenishing the stock of ingredients and spending a bit of time coaxing Eva, Vahn managed to convince her to treat (Nameless) a little better. He told her that when it finally evolved, it would end up being cute and it would remember how she treated it in its kobold form. Though she pouted a little, she eventually gave in and petted the ugly dog-head of (Nameless) which caused Vahn to see the illusion of it crying in happiness. Soon after that, they returned to the room and Eva drew Vahn blood as he once again held her gently until he dissipated from the space.

Since he had been stroking Eva’s back with his eyes closed and in a relaxed state of mind, Vahn awoke in the real world in a partial daze. His hands continued to stroke the back of the girl resting on his chest and he recognized that the sensation was quite different from Eva. When the bundle under the blankets began to squirm, Vahn remembered that he had returned to the real world and had just been affectionately stroking Lili who had been asleep in a similar position as Eva always rested.

Lili had been having a good dream and was enjoying the warmth and scent of Vahn as she hugged his body, completely opposite of her offer to act as a hug pillow for Vahn the night before. When she felt his hands begin to wander around her back, she immediately woke up in a slight daze and thought she was still dreaming since Vahn seemed way more affectionate than normal. Her body went slightly rigid at first before she quickly began to melt from the sensation of his hand stroking her body.

Though it hadn’t been long since he began, Lili was quickly heating up and began to writhe on his body as she tried to return his affectionate actions. Unfortunately, her movement had awakened Vahn and he lifted the covers to stare down at her somewhat sleepy expression with a bit of confusion on his face. When she saw him staring at her, Lili felt suddenly emboldened and crawled up and gave him a kiss on the lips before he could awaken from his daze.

Vahn was only slightly surprised by her actions and didn’t let her take things too far as he gave her a simple kiss before trying to pull her body away from his face. Seemingly unwilling to let go, Lili clung to his neck and kept trying to kiss his lips but kept missing the mark by a small amount. Since Vahn didn’t want to hurt her, and it was partially…well, fully his fault she had been triggered, he was trying to gently resist her advances. He was surprised with his much strength she could put into her arms and eventually decided enough was enough when she tried to grab his face with her furry palm-padded hands.

Reaching his hands to her sides, Vahn pinched the fleshy part of Lili’s waist and she yelped loudly as she shrunk her body away from the moderately painful sensation. Realizing what Vahn had done, she stared at him with a slight aggrieved look and said, “What happened…I thought you were finally showing me more affection…” She had a bit of tears in her eyes and, if not for the fact he could see auras, Vahn would have thought she was in pain.

At this point, Naaza had woken up from the commotion and had sat up from the bed and stared at the teary-eyed Lili with a slight frown on her face. As far as she could tell, Lili had probably tried to do something to Vahn and had taken things too far. Surprisingly, Vahn reached out both of his hands and cradled Lili’s face as he began stroking the side of her head and ears while wiping away the tears on her face.

Vahn said in a gentle and apologetic tone, “Sorry, Lili, it was my fault. I…had a pleasant dream and hadn’t been paying proper attention when I woke up.” As he spoke, he continued to affectionately rub Lili’s head and face as she had entirely stopped her whining. She had a slight blush as she allowed Vahn to continue caressing her for a few seconds. When it felt like he was about to stop, she opened her eyes and said, “It hurts…”

Lili raised the hem of her nightgown and revealed the side of her hips where there was a small red mark from Vahn’s earlier pinch. Though he knew she was just trying to receive more affection, Vahn just smiled as he placed his palm on the area and used [Hands of Nirvana] to alleviate any discomfort she might have been feeling. Since his hand was right above them, and she made no effort to cover herself, Vahn noticed that Lili was wearing pure white panties that had a slightly mature design that didn’t compliment her petite body very well.

Since the healing didn’t take that long, Vahn removed his hand while Lili continued to hold up her nightgown as she visually inspected the area for several seconds. Vahn sighed at her attempt to try and entice him as he rustled her hair heavily until she tried to stop his movements with both of her hands. Finally finished dealing with her, Vahn turned to Naaza who had been watching them quietly since she woke up. Remembering that she had done her best to comfort him through the night without disturbing his rest, Vahn leaned over and gave Naaza a brief kiss right on her lips before stroking her head a bit with his right now.

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When Vahn kissed her, Naaza’s mind blanked as her eyes opened wide in shock. It wasn’t their first time kissing, but having someone kiss her right after she awoke was a completely new experience. Remembering the fact they had slept together while she used his shoulder as a pillow, a pink hue began to color her face before it transitioned into a full blush a few seconds later. Vahn smiled at her reaction before giving her another kiss on the forehead and crawling out of the bed to prepare for the day. It was still very early, and there wasn’t any training going on, but Vahn intended to contact Hephaestus early this morning through the use of the communication scroll in Anubis’s room.

Lili and Naaza also climbed out of bed after him and began to change their clothing as well without speaking. Naaza had stood behind him, out of Vahn’s line of sight, but Lili had taken the initiative once again by changing directly in front of him. Since she had only been wearing a nightgown, she quickly stripped off the singular piece of fabric as Vahn prepared to close his eyes. However, moments before he did so, he got a better look at Lili’s transformed state and become a little curious. Though it was only brief, he glanced over her body in an instant before closing his eyes and pretending to not have seen anything.

Seeing Vahn close his eyes, Lili sighed silently before putting on her normal clothing. She hesitated for a moment since she didn’t like to wear the same clothing multiple days in a row ever since her lifestyle had improved after meeting Vahn. She decided that she would change her clothes after taking a bath in the onsen at Tsubaki’s and was trying to come up with a method to get Vahn to enter as well.

While Lili was hatching her scheme, Vahn had been getting dressed with his eyes closed while picturing the image he had seen right before he closed his eyes. Since she had been familiar with his Báihǔ form for some time, Lili’s transformation closely matched his own appearance except she was more ‘cute’ than he was ‘fierce’. Her hair had turned white with black undertones and she had two tiny tiger-like ears on her head. Even her eyes had changed color to be a similar blue to his when he was transformed. Since she could copy racial traits, she likely also had his night vision and enhanced senses as well.

The most notable change, however, had been that she grew a layer of fine black and white hairs on her forearms and calves and now had incredibly tiny claws on the ends of her fingers and toes. Unlike his long and sharp claws, her’s seemed to be little nubs that didn’t look like they could deal a single point of damage against a monster. On her palms and the tips of her fingers, she had small little pads of sensitive skin and Vahn assumed it was the same for the bottom of her feet as well. Another notable feature was the fact she now had a long tiger-like black and white tail that was a little too long for her body. Vahn decided to inform her about it, but he was a bit conflicted since it would seem like he was advising her how to better appeal to him. Though he didn’t want to admit it, Lili’s ability to transform was very interesting to him, especially if she could copy his transformations to an extent.

After they had all changed, Vahn opened the door to his room and was greeted by an empty corridor for the first time in a while. The two girls noticed his pause and asked if anything was wrong, but Vahn just shook his head with a somewhat sad smile on his face. He knew his life was changing and expected something to have happened the previous night, especially since he obtained a notification of his quest being completed when he had been walking Milan and Tina to the Hostess of Fertility. As he led the way to the dining room to prepare an early breakfast, Vahn looked through his system and reaffirmed what he had seen the previous night.

//Quest Completed//

[Quest: Forge an Alliance, Progressive]

Rank: A (I-SSS)

Objective: Convince Gods/Goddesses to form an alliance between their Familia(s). Current Allies (4)

Rewards: 10,000 OP x Familia Rank. (S(received), I:10,000OP, F:30,000OP, D:50,000OP). Quest completion rank depends on the total number of allies.

Grade Reward(s): A:40,000 OP(received), 1x[Rallying Whistle], 1x[Magatama of Fortitude], 1x[Saint’s Reliquary]

He had completed the [Forge and Alliance] Quest and additional three times and had obtained rewards for an F, I, and D-rank Familia which increased his OP by 90,000 and brought the total Origin Points in his possession to 490,294OP. The three items he received were also quite good and fit along nicely with his [Banner of Command] from the previous Alliance with Loki.

[Rallying Whistle]

Rank: Unique

Use: Creates a magical frequency that can only be heard by allies. Increased agility for 1H and creates an invisible tether that can be traced back to the source. Range: Infinite

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[Magatama of Fortitude]

Rank: Unique

Use: Increases Endurance of all allies by 30% while reducing agility by 10% within an area for 10 minutes. Activation requires shattering the Magatama and the effective area with 30m.

[Saint’s Reliquary]

Rank: Unique

Use: Container capable of storing any singular healing potion and enhancing its effects by 500%. Converts the contents of the potion into a mist that spreads through an area and affects all entities within.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Lili gets triggered’,’Old Habits Die Hard’,’Dat Reliquary…’)

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