Chapter 208: Night Visit

The intimate parting they shared after lunch ended up creating an awkward situation when Vahn returned to the Hostess of Fertility in the evening for dinner. He had spent time within the orb as usual and had completely forgotten that he had planned to be eating lunch and dinner with Tina and Milan for the time being. When Chloe saw him after their earlier promise, she actually began laughing after seeing Vahn embarrassed. While she served the three their meal, she kept teasing him more and more even though Milan and Tina had been present.

When Vahn finally left the Hostess of Fertility and returned to the Inn, he was feeling somewhat tense as he waited inside his room with the window latch unfastened. Chloe’s antics had caused him to feel slightly nervous about her arrival and he ended up waiting for several hours before he started to get tired. As he lay back onto his bed, he remembered that the Hostess of Fertility didn’t actually close until much later and Chloe would likely be working until closing.

Since there were still a few hours, Vahn decided to relax and take a nap while keeping his domain spread loosely around the entire Inn. He could easily distinguish Chloe’s auras from others, so he would be able to detect her the moment she arrived outside the Inn. This was how, around 2 AM, Vahn was able to awaken early enough to clear his mind and receive Chloe the moment she tried to sneak in through the window. Seeing Vahn casually open the window for her as soon as she leaped onto the ledge, Chloe laughed amusedly before making her way into the room.

After looking around for a few seconds, Chloe sat on the bed and removed her outer cloak as she asked, “Were you waiting outside the window for me this entire time~nya?” Since she had arrived in the attire she wore during her missions, Chloe began to get more comfortable as she kicked off her boots before crossing her legs on the bed. Vahn shook his head in response to her earlier question and answered with a smile, “I was waiting earlier, but I decided to take a nap after remembering how late the Hostess of Fertility closed.”

Vahn removed the stealth aspect of his domain and converged it to only encompass the room which caused Chloe’s brows to raise as she remarked, “Your divinity can be spread without creating any pressure and you were able to detect my arrival? That is a very useful skill, I’m actually quite jealous~nya.” Vahn laughed at her antics as he sat next to her on the bed and prepared himself to listen to her story.

Chloe didn’t immediately begin her story as she peeled off her gloves and dropped them onto the floor before removing her dark blue tunic that concealed her modest breasts behind a simple black bra. Vahn was somewhat surprised by her actions until she laid on the bed with her back to him and removed her bra as well. Now she only had on her white shorts and a pair of black stockings as she looked toward Vahn with a somewhat mischevious gleam in her eyes.

Vahn was somewhat distracted by her lithe figure and the black cat tail that danced around slowly above the shorts Chloe was wearing. He almost felt like there was a subtly hypnotic rhythm to its movements and it wasn’t until Chloe spoke that he turned his eyes away from the sight. She giggled a bit and said, “I heard you’re great at massages, so in exchange for me telling you my story, I want you to spoil me a bit~nya.”

Her words made Vahn smile and he warned in a playful tone, “If I do it the normal way, you might not be able to speak at all~.” His words caused Chloe’s eyes to squint as her smile deepened a bit. After a period of silence, she said, “That sounds somewhat interesting~nya. For now, got easy on me a bit~nyahaha.” Vahn nodded his head before placing his palms on her bare back. Though he didn’t use [Hands of Nirvana], it didn’t mean he was unaware of the proper points to conduct the massage. It wasn’t nearly as effective as when he used the skill, but it was still comparable in quality to an expert masseuse.

Chloe writhed a little under his hands as she laughed in her characteristic cat-like intonation. She seemed to be really enjoying his caress and it made Vahn feel more confident in his own skills. The fact that he could get such a reaction without relying on [Hands of Nirvana] made him feel satisfied with his own progress. He continued to trace his fingers along Chloe’s back and relieving some of the tensions that had built up in her body. Vahn was surprised with how many knots he found which implied she was somewhat stressed out as a result of her daily activities.

While Vahn was giving her a massage, Chloe was paying attention to his expression and how he was treating her body. She was somewhat relieved to see that Vahn didn’t lose his sensibilities when she had removed her bra and entrusted her body to him. Though it wasn’t too serious, she had been worried that Vahn was still overly reliant on sexual stimulus and would require her attention. Now, however, it seemed like he was perfectly fine and treated her body with care and focus without showing any signs of losing himself in the moment.

Chloe suddenly felt a lot safer in the room and began to genuinely enjoy the attentiveness of Vahn’s actions. It was her dream to always be spoiled by young boys and, even though Vahn was maturing, he still fell well within the boundaries of her preference. Now that he was spoiling her in such a skilled manner, Chloe felt like she was living a pleasant dream that made her feel a strange sense of fulfillment.

After more than an hour passed, Vahn was beginning to think Chloe had fallen asleep and had forgotten the purpose of her visit. Since he had to enter the orb in around two hours, he wanted to hear her story before he experienced the three-day gap in his awareness of the real world. He could see she had a very comfortable expression on her face and it looked like she wasn’t far from just falling asleep with a happy expression. It wasn’t like the times when people had passed out under his hands, she seemed to be genuinely comfortable.

Vahn felt like teasing her a bit so he could change the flow and atmosphere, so he traced his thumb at the area right above where her tail connected to her lower back. Chloe’s awareness immediately came back as she looked toward Vahn’s face with curiosity before lifting herself onto her elbows to get a better look at where his thumb was. Realizing his intent, Chloe showed a mischevious smile that seemed to Vahn as if she was taunting him.

With a smile on his face, Vahn changed from preparing to press his thumb against the base of her tail as he ran his palm along her back that was covered with a light layer of sweat. When she had turned around, Vahn got a peek at her uncovered breasts and the slightly pink protrusions that had been hidden previously. Now that Chloe had broken from her absentminded state, he didn’t have to tease her anymore and just continued to pamper her a bit.

Chloe laughed before turning her body around and facing Vahn without bothering to cover herself at all. She laid back on the bed before patting the area next to her which Vahn took as permission to lay next to her. Once he did so, Chloe turned her body sideways and oriented toward him as she began to idly stroke his chest while staring at his face. She had a smile on her face, but Vahn could see a melancholy spread in her eyes as her aura began to droop and fluctuate a bit.

Reaching his hand under her body, Vahn pulled Chloe into his chest and felt her modest breasts press into his body as she continued to hold eye contact with him. Vahn used his left hand to stroke her face as he said in a gentle tone, “Please, tell me…I want to know everything about you.” His words made Choe’s eyes open very slightly before she released a sigh and rested her head against the pillow next to him. After a brief period of silence, Chloe began to recount the tale of her past and the life she lived before they met.

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Her tale began long before she had actually possessed any awareness about herself or her surroundings. Chloe had been born into a Familia that specialized in Assassination and providing security for various criminal organizations in the Empire located to the west. Both of her parents had been enforcers in the Familia while her Father had specialized in assassination. Ever since the first moment she could actually recall, Chloe had been trained to follow in his footsteps and quickly developed the skills necessary to take on jobs by the time she was eight.

As a child assassin, it made it very easy for her to approach unsuspecting targets before quickly robbing them of their lives. Whenever she performed well, she would be praised by her father as well as the other members of the Familia. Though her mother resisted the fact that her daughter was exposed to such dangers at an early age, there wasn’t much she could do to change the minds of those around, including her husband. Chloe was a naturally gifted assassin and learned new skills quickly and had a very high success rate.

Unaware of how corrupted she had become, Chloe continued to kill her targets with great enthusiasm so that she could receive the praises of everyone around her. She developed a lackadaisical mentality and a cheerful demeanor to make it easier to approach others and spent all of her efforts on trying to improve as an assassin.

Her mother had worried about Chloe’s mentality and future happiness, so she started having Chloe play with similarly aged children at a nearby orphanage. As it was the first time Chloe associated with children her own age, her mentality quickly began to change as she enjoyed her time with the other children. Unfortunately, due to her experience as an assassin and the warped personality she had developed, Chloe wasn’t able to easily adapt to the ‘common sense’ of the other kids.

When one of the kids had suffered a somewhat harsh punishment by own of the orphanage attendants, Chloe actually snuck into the man’s room in the middle of the night before slitting his throat. Thinking that her ‘friend’ would be happy that the person that punished her was dead, Chloe showed up the next day with a smile only to see the young girl she had ‘helped’ had broken down into tears.

It was the first time Chloe had killed someone and, instead of being praised, it brought harm to one of the people she cared about. After that, she stopped going to the Orphanage and refused to take on missions with the same enthusiasm she had in the past. Her father was disappointed in her and berated her for being a failure, but her mother treated her with kindness and consoled her at night.

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Things continued this way for a few years and Chloe only accepted missions after performing careful investigations of her targets. She started to realize that the Familia she belonged to was actually an evil organization and noticed that she had been treated as a convenient tool to eliminate their enemies. The only person that seemed to actually care about her was her mother who would always console her after her missions. Chloe no longer sought approval and praise for killing her targets and even started to hate being an assassin.

Chloe wanted to change her profession and do something that didn’t involve killing, but no matter how much effort she put into other things she always ended up being asked to take another life. She was simply too good at her job and had been brainwashed by the Familia around her to the point where she almost had two different personalities. Even when she tried to resist and refuse work, she and her mother would be mistreated by their own allies until it got to the point where her parents eventually got divorced. Soon after that event, some of the members of the Familia tried to sneak into the place where she and her mother were sleeping and her mother died trying to protect her from the assault.

From then on, Chloe was truly alone in the Familia and began to hate their existence. If not for the vows she was bound by and the crest on her back, she wanted to run away and leave this nightmare behind. Eventually, she managed to convince the goddess of the Familia to agree to let her leave, but only if she could eliminate a well-known knight of the Empire with a simple dagger.

Though she nearly died in the process due to the heavily armored knight’s skill with a blade, she managed to eventually edge out ahead when, after she had nearly been defeated, the knight got overconfident. Since he found her to be ‘cute’, he wanted Chloe to come live with him and he would help train her to become his personal disciple. Even though she was only eleven at the time, Chloe was Level 3, the same as the knight even though he was twenty-five. He saw her as a useful tool that he could groom according to his own preferences and ideals.

Chloe pretended to submit to the knight and he tried to force her to strip down her clothes and leave them behind so that she could truly leave behind her life and devote herself to him. He told her that from then on, she would only do as he ordered, wear what he bought her, and act in the manner he designated. Chloe acceded to his demands and began to strip down as the man watched her with an ‘evil’ and possessive grin on his face. The moment she reached down and pulled her panties to the ground, Chloe lifted the knife off the ground before plunging it into knight’s throat when he had dropped his guard in anticipation.

The knight had an incredulous face as he fell to the ground with Chloe on top of his body and a knife in his throat. The last thing he had seen before he faded away into perpetual darkness was the petite and naked form of Chloe covered in his own blood while looking at him with absolute disgust on her face. Following that event, Chloe had officially reached Level 4 and was given leniency to leave the Familia after having her crest removed. From then on, she traveled around the continent until finally arriving in Orario a year later.

After arriving in the City, Chloe had trouble finding any real work and didn’t have any interest in becoming an Adventurer so it wasn’t long until she took up her old habits. She started killing criminals under the alias of ‘Black Cat’ and became notorious in the criminal underworld. Though it wasn’t the best living, she made a decent amount of money off of bounties up until the point where she accepted the request to kill a first-rate adventurer named Shakti that was the Captain of the Ganesha. It had been at a time when she desperately needed money, so Chloe accepted the job even though it wasn’t the normal type of mission she took.

Unfortunately, Shakti had been far stronger than she expected and Chloe had nearly died after a very brief exchange. From then on, she refused to accept missions to kill first-rate Adventurers and focused solely on eliminating criminals. Her life continued in this way until she accepted the bounty to hunt down Ryuu, who was worth 80MV at the time. The mission ultimately failed and Chloe realized that Ryuu was a good person that had only gotten her bounty after being falsely accused of killing her own Familia. The two became closer after the fact and ended up joining the Hostess of Fertility later alongside Chloe’s good friend Lunoire that she had met shortly after entering the City.

For the first time in a while, Chloe was happy and enjoyed working at the Hostess of Fertility and even joined a new Familia in Melen when she visited it with Syr in the past. It was called the Fjord Familia, and they specialized in fishing and trade which appealed to Chloe since her favorite food was fish. However, even though she found a good job and joined a new Familia, Chloe still couldn’t overlook some of the more evil natured people around her. She would often moonlight as an assassin and accepted missions to hunt down criminals. Though there was a bit of conflict when Mama Mia found out, Syr had managed to talk her down and Chloe had been spending life ever since living both in the light and the darkness of society.

Vahn listened to her words in silence as he continued to gently stroke her back. He could tell it wasn’t easier for her to recount the events, even though she tried to play off some of the sadder parts with laughter or a smile. When her story was finally complete, Vahn raised her chin and looked into her eyes with a profoundly sad expression on his face. Chloe had seen his look and it infected her as well as a slight mist began to speckle her eyes.

Seeing the approaching tears, Vahn showed Chloe a gentle and loving smile before kissing her on the lips. She didn’t resist his actions at all and even reciprocated with a somewhat muted passion. When her tongue entered his mouth and overlapped with his, Vahn noticed that it had a slightly different texture than any of the other girls he had kissed. He pushed that matter to the back of his mind and immersed himself in the moment as he tried to comfort the girl that had seemed so strong to him but had born such a heavy burden for so long.

After a few minutes, they separated and Vahn wiped away some of the tears that had snuck their way out of her eyes with his thumbs. He kissed her on the forehead before saying, “You are one of the strongest women I’ve ever had the honor of knowing. Thank you for sharing your past with me Chloe…”

Though Chloe still had a bit of melancholy in her expression, she felt like a heavy burden had been lifted from her shoulders after she shared her story with Vahn. Seeing the care and concern he had for her made her heart feel a warmth deep within. She had been paying attention to his expression the entire time she recounted her story, and there was not a single moment when he looked as if he was going to judge her for her past. Even though she had killed so many people and had become a tool for others, Vahn didn’t seem to mind at all and she could see that he genuinely empathized with her.

The warmth in her body continue to grow when they started to kiss and she felt very safe in his embrace even though she had sworn off men ever since the incident with the knight. One of the reasons she liked younger boys was because they were still innocent and it felt like she had control over the situation. Remembering how an older man had looked down on her like she was a possession in the past, Chloe had been making an effort to avoid them for the last eight years. Now, being held by Vahn, most of her fears felt like they were slowly draining away. When she saw his expression change and heard his words of gratitude, the warmth in her chest felt like it was beginning to melt her heart as she looked into his eyes and said, “Vahn, I think I might love you…”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘The skilled Mortalhand’,’What is an Empire before an Emperor?’,’Chloe’s confession’)

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