Chapter 215: Chance Meeting?

After leaving the Hostess of Fertility, Vahn leisurely made his way toward the cafe near Babel Tower where he was told to wait. He was in high spirits because this would be the first time he would be meeting Hestia and would likely be able to join her Familia on the spot. Though he enjoyed his time in the Hephaestus Familia, he never really did his job or acted the role of ones of its members. Other than interacting with a few of the key figures in the Familia, like Hephaestus, Tsubaki, and Welf, he didn’t even talk to many others.

Though his intentions changed a bit as his relationship with Hephaestus developed, Vahn had always dreamt of joining the Hestia Familia ever since he came to this world. One of the reasons he had joined the Hephaestus Familia in the first place was so that he could meet Hestia in the future. He originally expected it to be closer to the start of the original storyline, but he had changed events to such a significant extent that she descended earlier. The fact that she was specifically descending for his benefit and to help Hephaestus made Vahn a little giddy with excitement.

After arriving at the cafe, Vahn was escorted by the staff to one of the VIP lounges where he was served coffee and pastries while he waiting for the arrival of Hephaestus and the others. Since he loved the taste of sweets and had grown fond of the bitter and robust flavor of coffee, Vahn was enjoying the leisurely and pleasant atmosphere. He was originally told Hestia would be descending around noon, and it was currently close to 1 PM, so Vahn had high expectations while his tensions continued to grow.

More than three hours later, Vahn had gone through several cups of coffee and had even excused himself to use the luxurious bathroom once. Though his tensions were still high, he was beginning to feel slightly concerned with how late it was getting. He assumed nothing had happened, especially considering that Loki would be certain to attend, but he still felt a little nervous as the day continued to progress. Eventually, it came time for him to enter the orb and, after the three days inside, he had completely lost all of his tensions by the time he returned.

Instead of worrying, Vahn decided to focus his mind and try to comprehend the [Mantra of Eternity] while he waiting. Since he could enter a meditative state relatively quickly without losing his awareness of the outside world, it was an easy way to pass the time. After a few more hours had passed, Vahn checked the system time and saw that it was nearly 8 PM and there hadn’t been any word from the staff about their arrival. He even began to suspect he had come a day early, but the room had been specifically reserved for today or he wouldn’t have been able to enter so easily.

Since the cafe closed at 8, Vahn had to leave the VIP lounge and exit the cafe with a bit of concern. Convincing himself nothing serious had happened, Vahn just released a short sigh before returning to his default state. The night air was cool and the stars were visible in the sky, so he decided it would be best to just walk back to the Inn and clear his head a bit. He would check with Hephaestus tomorrow and see if anything happened and likely meet Hestia then.

As he walked through the streets, Vahn passed by a stall where a small figure caught his eye and he paused for a bit because he immediately recognized her. She had also been watching him and showed a bright smile as she said, “Good evening~!” After her greeting, she held her hand to her chin in a contemplative fashion as she ‘appraised’ his body and asked, “Why are you walking around so late at night with such a sad look on your face?”

Vahn smiled at her antics and responded, “I was waiting for a kind and gentle goddess to come meet me. Unfortunately, it looks like today wasn’t my lucky day…” The girl began to laugh in a cheerful manner before she said, “Well, at least you got to meet a beautiful girl like me~!” Vahn nodded his head in response and said in a gentle tone, “Indeed, if only the goddess I had been waiting on was as beautiful as you, I don’t think I would have minded waiting for another few years if necessary.”

His ‘suave’ and ‘playful’ words made the small girl beam as she puffed out her ample bosom with a mock haughty display full of cheerfulness as she said, “Ehehehe, do you really think I’m beautiful~?” Vahn nodded and said confidently, “Yes, you seem exactly like the goddess I had imagined in my mind. If only I had been so fortunate to have met you sooner…” Vahn looked toward the sky and stared at the stars as he wondered why Hestia was playing around with him.

The ‘beautiful girl’ he had been talking to and had greeted him was, in fact, the Hestia he had been waiting to meet at the cafe. Vahn wondered what had transpired for her to be waiting outside near the cafe while none of the others members he expected were present. Because of his reverie and genuine confusion, Hestia thought he was feeling sad since she had left him waiting for so long.

After the meeting earlier, she had convinced Hephaestus and Loki to allow her to meet and judge Vahn for herself before she made her final decision. Even though she still intended to let him join her Familia, regardless of her impression, Hestia wanted to know what kind of person he was without having anything formally arranged. From her perspective, she could see that he was a very expressive boy that had a gentle and somewhat lonely expression. He treated people kindly and carried himself in a casual manner that almost seemed to blend into the night air. If she had known he was using his domain with stealth active, she probably would have realized her impression was partially skewed since Vahn often stood out normally.

While he was still thinking, Hestia grabbed his hand and asked in a gentle voice with a caring smile on her face, “If I were a goddess, would you want to join my Familia? Even if I wasn’t the person you were waiting for, I believe I can help you find happiness.” Her words caused Vahn to turn his attention back to her and he still had a smile on his face as he shook his head, “You may be beautiful and kind, but I already decided to join the Familia of the goddess I was waiting for. Even though we haven’t met yet, she was the goddess recommended by one of the most important people in my life.”

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At this point, Vahn figured out that Hestia had probably arranged to meet him in this manner after he was finally kicked out of the cafe. Though he wasn’t sure why he somewhat understood she was probably testing him. Because he knew her so well from the manga, Vahn was willing to play along and see what she wanted to try. When she offered to let him join her Familia, he nearly said yes, but remembered that he had claimed to be waiting for a goddess he had never met. Since they hadn’t introduced themselves yet, Vahn thought it would be strange if he immediately accepted her offer.

Hestia beamed after he ‘refused’ to join her Familia and Vahn noticed that her affection had increased from 66 to 75 in an instant. Since she had grabbed his hand earlier when she made her offer, Vahn was able to see the values and noticed her Intrigue, like almost every goddess he had met, was already at 100. Lowering her head like she was uttering a silent prayer, Hesta held his hand between both of her for a few seconds before looking back at him with a gentle, yet mischevious, smile.

She asked, “What if I was the goddess you were waiting for this entire time~?” Vahn’s smile grew by a marginal amount as he looked into her crystal clear blue eyes and said, “I think I might be afraid…” His words caused Hestia to tilt her head and asked, “Afraid~? Why?” A gentle expression touched Vahn’s eyes as he said in a low tone, “I’m afraid I may have used up all my luck in this lifetime. If the goddess I was waiting for was someone like you, I think the Familia they created would be a wonderful place.”

His words made the smile on Hestia’s face grow even wider and she said in a very excited manner, “Greetings, Vahn~! I’m Hestia, Hephaestus’s best friend! She sent me here to meet you, but I wanted to see what kind of person you were, so sorry for making you wait!” As her words fell, Hestia bowed low for a brief moment before standing back up straight. Vahn’s brows raised a bit because of the degree her breasts had jiggled in the process, but Hestia assumed he was surprised by her reveal.

She began to laugh as if she found his disbelief to be entertaining and asked, “So, what will it be~? Do you still not want to join the Familia of this ‘beautiful’, ‘kind’, ‘gentle’, and ‘caring’ goddess~!?” As she asked her question, Hestia placed emphasis on each of the compliments Vahn had given her earlier. Though he was a bit surprised by her liveliness, it was one of the reasons she had been one of his favorite characters in the manga. With a genuinely happy smile on his face, Vahn said, “I would love to join your Familia, Hestia…that is, if you’ll have someone like me.”

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The moment he agreed, Hestia seemed to lose her restraint as she launched herself at Vahn’s face with her arms spread wide. Vahn caught her body and noticed she was somewhat awkward to hold since he nearly grabbed her butt when intending to grab where the waist would have been on a ‘normal’ girl. She rubbed her face against him and said in a lively tone, “Ahaha, Vahn, why are you so cute~!? Of course, I’ll accept you in my Familia, that is why I came here~!”

Though he expected Hestia to be the ‘clingy’ type, since she always seemed to be dangling off Bell in the source material, Vahn was surprised that she immediately dropped her guard against him. He wasn’t aware that she had spent a good three hours getting a crash course about him from the other goddesses and Eina earlier and had already opened up to him quite a bit. Not only was he the future husband of her best friend, but he was also a kind and caring boy that paid her compliments easily without showing any signs of deception on his face. From Hestia perspective, and with everything she had heard about him, she thought he was an amazing boy and even had some mild expectations about being ‘spoiled’ by him already cemented in her mind.

After a few seconds of over-affectionately rubbing her cheek against his, Hestia seemed to realize something and jumped down from Vahn’s body as if she was shocked by her own behavior. She panicked for a few seconds and looked like she was struggling with her own thoughts before she pointed at him and said, “From now on, you’ll be in my Familia~! In exchange for my blessing, you’ll have to provide me with a place to stay, food, and entertainment!”

Vahn nodded his head and listened to her words ‘attentively’ as he marveled at her unique behavior. Seeing that he was properly listening, Hestia’s expression turned gentle and she said, “If you work hard to make me happy, I’ll work twice as hard to make sure you’re happy as well. Happiness is something that is shared between people and, if we work together, we’ll be able to grow alongside each other and create a better future for us, our Familia, and everyone around us.”

Her words had a bigger impact than Vahn expected as he felt a warmth spread through his heart and could even feel his eyes mist over a bit as a pressure built up in his nose. He knew she was the type that could say inspiring things that always struck at the heart of the matter, but he never expected to be on the receiving end of her speeches so soon after they just met. Her words were similar to the things he had been learning and trying to work on as of late, so they hit especially close to home at this moment.

Seeing how emotional Vahn was acting, Hestia’s smile grew especially gentle as she reached out her hand and said, “Let’s go home, Vahn…” Vahn stared at her tiny, outstretched, hand and hesitated for a brief moment before placing his into it. Though it was much smaller than his own, Vahn felt a strange sense of security in its grasp. His actions made Hestia smile as she looked toward his face in silence for several seconds without breaking eye contact. Eventually, she seemed to have realized something as her smile turned slightly awkward and she asked, “Which way is home~? Ehehehehehe.”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘The awkward moment when you meet someone for the first time that knows a lot about you’,’Prank’d’,’Bestia is quite airheaded’)

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