Vahn answered the questions about the Matryoshka to the best of his ability, including the fact that it seemed to be a single-use item. He didn’t specifically say how he obtained it, instead claiming that it appeared within his soul in a similar manner as [Enkidu]. Since ‘The Path’, and the shop, were part of his soul, even Loki couldn’t see through his answer. They believed it had something to do with the unique origin of Vahn, and Loki even speculated that his Divinity didn’t pertain to Life and People, but actual Creation itself. Since Vahn always ‘obtained’ items seemingly out of nowhere based on his wants and desires, it was the best explanation they had to go by.
This caused a small tangent in the conversation where it was decided, after a bit of deliberation, that Vahn had Divinities pertaining to Creation, Fertility, and Fire. Though he was confused about the fertility part, Loki explained that he had an almost unnatural willingness to impregnate or help impregnate people. Since they assumed he was 3/4 god, it meant that, even though he wasn’t compelled by his Divinity, it still influenced his decisions on a subconscious level. Vahn, not knowing how to refute her claims, ended up cementing his position in their minds as a demigod of fertility.
As for the Creation and Fire Divinities, it was due to the existence of his soul’s ability to ‘generate’ items that he needed as well as his ability to name and evolve creatures like Fafnir. The fire was easy enough to understand since Vahn had [Heart of the Eternal Flame] and skills like [Prometheus]. The fact that Hephaestus’s ‘eternal flame’ had willingly subordinated itself to Vahn was more of a confirmation of the facts than anything else. Though Hephaestus argued that Vahn could also possess the Divinity for Forging, it was written off as a byproduct of his Creation Divinity.
After everything was ‘decided’, the conversation eventually returned to normal except for the fact that Tsubaki had turned relatively quiet while Lili had nearly passed out from being suffocated by Naaza. When she had grabbed Lili earlier and covered her mouth, she had also covered her nose and didn’t notice because she had been paying close attention to the conversation. Though she had wanted to be together with Vahn in the future, the thought of children had never crossed her mind until Vahn mentioned it so casually. If he truly was a Demigod of Fertility, Naaza was worried that she would get pregnant almost immediately after their first time together. She decided to interact with Tiona and Ais more and observe if there were any ‘changes’ in their bodies over the next few months.
Vahn learned that Hestia had to prepare for the ceremony and undergo the vows before descending to the mortal world. If things went as planned, she would be able to arrive in the mortal world within three days and Vahn was somewhat excited to finally meet the titular goddess that he had known from the manga. His favorite characters had always been Hestia, Eina, and Bell, so he was looking forward to interacting with Hestia in the future.
Since he had grown up lonely in the lab in his previous life, Vahn had always imagined what it would be like to be part of the Hestia Familia. Even though Bell was always causing problems, she worked hard behind the scenes to make money even though everyone called her a lazy goddess. Vahn remembered that to pay off the debt of Bell’s dagger, Hestia had actually been holding several jobs which required her to traverse great distances each day and still made time to interact with Bell when he returned from his adventures in the dungeon.
Once the conversation and explanation of events had come to an end, the atmosphere turned somewhat solemn as Hephaestus looked toward the only person in the room that had been silent throughout the entire conversation. Eina had arrived with the group earlier and had been sitting at the side while holding a stack of official-looking documents that had entailed the punishment as decreed by the Guild. As a member of the Guild herself, she had been made aware of what had happened earlier and had been in silent contemplation ever since. Even when Vahn had mentioned the matters of pregnancy, her expression only lightened by a small amount as a blush covered her cheeks.
Since she had been so quiet and hadn’t contributed to the conversation, Vahn had only been glancing over toward her with a concerned expression periodically which caused her to give him a gentle, yet sad, smile. As the officiator for everything that was going to happen, she had actually been considering leaving the Guild after the matters were concluded. If not for the fact that Vahn had previously asked her to continue working, she may very well have done just that.
After Hephaestus looked at her, Eina went over the details of the document before having Vahn leave a blood signature on the bottom which caused the entire thing to burst into flames. Part of the flames went into Vahn’s chest, while the others dissipated into the void. With his spiritual sense, Vahn noticed the flame enter into his soul before trying to seed itself in the center. Though he could absolve it whenever he desired, Vahn allowed it to stay for the time being since it only restricted his activities by a year.
Once the flame had entered into his chest, Eina gave a sad sigh as she said, “I’m sorry, Vahn…” Vahn just shook his head in response as he stroked her cheek affectionately and said, “This type of thing won’t slow me down at all. It’s already arranged for me to join the Familia of a goddess that has an established relationship with Hephaestus and Loki. By the time my probation ends, I’ll have increased the rank of my own Familia by a great deal. It’s not like this contract actually has any lasting impact on my future.”
Eina smiled at his words and placed her hand over his as she felt the warmth of his palm on her cheek. She hadn’t seen him since they suddenly got engaged, but he had already matured to a great extent. Eina even began to wonder if she was too hasty in her earlier actions since Vahn didn’t seem to be nearly as broken as he was in the past. Almost as if he had sensed her thoughts, Vahn put his other hand around Eina’s waist and pulled her into a kiss.
Surprised by the sudden display of affection, Eina’s eyes widened as she patted Vahn’s shoulder to release her. Unfortunately for her, Vahn had used his right hand to lock her head in place while he held her waist close to his and continued kissing her for several long seconds. It wasn’t until a blush completely spread all the way up to her pointed ears that Vahn finally released her and said gently, “Remember this, Eina, I am what I am because of my interactions with people like you. Ever since the day we got engaged, my life has been changing rapidly for the better.”
Vahn had noticed that Eina’s aura had begun to destabilize and her affection had actually dropped for him slightly. Afraid that she had begun to regret associating with him, Vahn tried to consider matters from her perspective for a brief moment before deciding to kiss her. Though there was no change at first, by the end of the kiss her affection had actually increased to 88 points. When he gave his followup words to encourage her, it increased by a full five points before settling on 93.
Since Eina had already decided to marry him in the future, Vahn didn’t want her to regret her decision to be with him. He didn’t know that she actually had no intention of leaving him, it was just that she began to feel less useful in providing stability to his life. She would have still married him and help manage his affairs, but Eina was somewhat sad that Vahn was becoming more reliable too quickly. When they had originally agreed to marry, she actually intended to take more of a role as an elder sister than his spouse. Now that he had kissed her and made his light proclamation, Eina realized that Vahn actually considered her own state of mine just as much as she tried to consider his.
Just as she was about to kiss him due to the happy feelings that were rising up inside of her, Eina noticed a small figure out of the corner of her eye that was almost ‘glaring’ at her. She didn’t sense any hostility, but Eina couldn’t help but feel slightly unnerved by the unwavering gaze of Lili. From the moment Vahn had started kissing Eina, she wanted to trade places with the hesitant half-elf. She had already missed her chance to jump on the momentum earlier when it came to the talk about pregnancies, but Lili was actually somewhat thankful for that as well. Since she heard how Vahn responded to Loki, she was thankful she didn’t try to have him make a promise with her.
Once everyone had settled down, the most depressing part of the entire event had to take place which required Vahn to remove his shirt as Hephaestus slowly removed the crest on his back. Her hands were shaking during the entire process and Vahn had to comfort her for nearly ten minutes after the fact. She seemed almost inconsolable up until the point where Vahn whispered in her ear that he would make sure she had a baby by this time next year.
After his crest was removed, Vahn felt like he had lost an important part of himself, but it also made him feel somewhat free. He had also known that it would be impossible to marry Hephaestus when he was still in the Familia, and now that he was no longer a member, he was free to pursue her romantically without issue. Even though he hadn’t forged an S class item on his own yet, Vahn felt like he would be able to manage in the next week or two if he put in a serious effort within the orb.
Now that everything was wrapped up, both Hephaestus, Loki, and Eina had to return to their respective duties. Before they parted, Vahn actually gave all three of them an embrace with varying degrees of affection involved. When he embraced Hephaestus, it was passionate and emotional. When he embraced Eina, it almost seemed ‘innocent’ and reserved. And then, when it finally came time to embrace Loki, she tried to get a kiss only to have Vahn put a little effort into his [Hands of Nirvana] which caused her to immediately retreat.
Vahn saw them out to the main road with Anubis, Nanu, Tsubaki, Lili, and Naaza. Since the Anubis Familia was also restrained by the agreement with Ouranos, Anubis wasn’t able to accompany Vahn for the time being and could only casually interact with each other without helping to facilitate each other’s needs. Nanu had wanted to accompany him, but Vahn asked her to take care of the other children until things calmed down. Since she had a talent for forging, Vahn wanted her to join the Hephaestus Familia if anything else. He promised to visit often and would update them when he finally found his new residence so they could visit periodically. Once the probationary period was over, he agreed to allow the Anubis Familia to move into the same compound or building that he purchased in the future.
It was his intention to turn the Hestia Familia into a righteous Familia similar to the Astrea Familia. Taking into consideration his interactions with various people and the lessons that he had learned from Chloe and Eva recently, Vahn wanted to create an organization that specialized in both dungeoneering as well as peacekeeping. Though he wasn’t sure how to do it, Vahn intended to consult with people like Chloe and Ryuu to get a better understanding of the specifics. He wouldn’t try to tackle everything alone and wanted to strengthen his network and build stronger relationships with the people around him.
Since Vahn wasn’t really bound by the traditional restraints of belonging to a Familia and only working with your own, he wanted to help unify the bonds between the Alliance and create a hub where everyone could exchange information and work together to overcome difficulties. He also needed to consider the matter of security and how he would be receiving and dealing with various gods and goddesses in the future since, once the matter of [Enkidu] becomes known, Vahn imagined there would be a number of them coming to visit. This, though it was somewhat troublesome, actually gave Vahn more confidence that things would go well. If he had support from a variety of gods and created a strong bond with the Guild, the Hestia Familia might become an organization on the same level in the future except that it specializes in research, development, and emergency responses instead of organization and distribution.
After exchanging goodbyes with the rest of the girls, Vahn was forced to embrace all of them as well. Lili and Naaza wanted to accompany him, but Vahn wanted to stroll about and try to come up with his own plans for the time being. He also wanted to visit Milan and Tina at the Hostess of Fertility without having his focus split between too many people. Tsubaki agreed with his decision and put an end to the two girls insistence.
When it came time for the hugs, Vahn started with Anubis and stroked her ears for a bit. For Nanu, it was much of the same except that she nuzzled against his hand with a great deal of intensity. Naaza was relatively reserved, but Vahn ended up giving her a short kiss before he stroked her ears as well. When her tail began to wag, he smiled and gave her a second kiss. For Lili, she just acted cute without saying anything for once. She was still in her pseudo-tiger form and seemed to be silently appealing to him with her eyes. Vahn decided to stroke her ears and hair affectionately before giving her a very brief peck on the lips. Her smile blossomed since it was one of the few times where Vahn had taken the initiative to kiss her.
Tsubaki had been standing off to the side with her arms crossed as she watched their interactions with a smile on her face. It didn’t look like she intended to interfere with the parting, but Vahn wasn’t going to let her escape easily after everything that had happened earlier. When he approached to give her an embrace with a gentle smile on his face, she laughed a bit before giving him a strong hug in return. Vahn enjoyed the comforting feeling that he had once been reliant on in the past as he loosely hugged Tsubaki’s waist.
Just as she was about to release Vahn and wish him luck, Vahn used his [Hands of Nirvana] in full force as he traced his palms along her back before firmly grabbing her plump butt. Tsubaki’s eye widened as she immediately lost strength in her lower body and legs and had to hug Vahn’s head with her arms to prevent from falling down. Vahn used the opportunity when she had ‘entrusted’ her weight to him to begin massaging around her butt and lower back. Since Tsubaki generally wore a sarashi that only covered her breasts, it left her entire back exposed to Vahn’s caress.
After a few seconds passed, Tsubaki put more strength into her grip and Vahn felt like she was going to tear off his head if things went any further. Changing the type of energy from relaxing to stimulating, Vahn pressed into some of her nerves to help reactivate them. Though she twitched with each press, it wasn’t long before Tsubaki felt the strength return to her body as she pulled away from Vahn with a slight blush on her face and a furrowed brow.
In response to her apparent anger, Vahn smiled and held up his hands like he had done so earlier. There was a subtle white glow coming from his palms as he said, “Six-thousand-one-hundred-forty-eight to twenty-six. I still owe you six-thousand-one-hundred-twenty-two wins to break even.”
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Ambition’,’Various Types of Embrace’,’Never Challenge the Godhand’)