Chapter 221: Hesitation

After Vahn finished recounting his tale, he got up from Hestia’s lap pillow and stretched his body a bit before saying, “It’s getting pretty late, so I think I’ll take a bath before going to sleep.” Hestia, who had been ruminating over various matters, had her ears perk up at Vahn’s words and remembered they had an onsen. She jumped off the couch and lifted her right arm high and shouted, “Yes, I’ll take a bath as well~!”

Vahn smiled at her excitement before they both headed toward the onsen on the first floor. Making his way through the door, Vahn noticed that Hestia tried to follow behind him and he explained, “Hestia, this is the boy’s side, please use the other room.” His words made Hestia flinch and she laughed awkwardly before saying, “You don’t have to be embarrassed, I don’t mind if we take a bath together as long as you don’t try anything~.”

With a smile on his face, Vahn reached his hand toward Hestia’s head and she began to smile in anticipation before he gently chopped the top of her head. She made a cute, ‘Eiii!?’ sound and Vahn laughed before saying, “Maybe in the future, but for the time being, we should use different baths. I promised to only share a bath with a woman when they’re someone I’m in a relationship with.”

Hestia rubbed the top of her head with her fingers and gave Vahn an aggrieved look as she said, “But we’re in a life-long relationship already…There is nobody else in the Familia yet, and it will be almost impossible to share a bath with just the two of us in the future.” Even though Vahn had ‘gently’ chopped her head, Hestia had almost no physical strength or resistance so it still hurt her head a bit.

Vahn considered Hestia words and agreed that what she said was actually true. Since she had high affection for him and he didn’t have any real reason to refuse her at the moment, Vahn didn’t think it would be a bad idea to take a bath together. If he had to be honest, Vahn enjoyed bathing with girls even before he became aware of the differences between men and women. Even when he had bathed with Tsubaki, Lili, and Naaza in the past, Vahn just enjoyed their company and the atmosphere as he soaked in the warm waters.

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After a few seconds, Vahn decided to accept her offer since he was actually somewhat inclined to spend time together with her. Rubbing her head and removing any discomfort she might be feeling, Vahn smiled and said, “Sure, we can spend some time together. Just make sure it doesn’t become a habit when others start staying here. I’m supposed to be practicing self-control, so its dangerous if I make too many exceptions.”

Hestia pumped her fists and shouted, “Yosh~! Don’t worry, you can use this as an opportunity to temper yourself for the future!” Vahn laughed at her outburst before making his way into the changing room with Hestia trailing behind him with a somewhat fiery expression. Without paying too much attention to her, Vahn began undressing casually before stowing away a change of clothes into one of the cubbies.

He had noticed that Hestia had been watching him change, but he already resolved himself to not mind her for the time being. Vahn imagined Hestia had next to no experience with men, so she would probably be paying close attention to him and his actions. He decided to try and treat her in the same way as he used to treat Tsubaki, Lili, and Naaza in the past when they bathed together.

When Vahn had been changing, Hestia had been admiring his form and physique with a bit of interest since he was indeed the first fully naked ‘man’ she had seen. Even though she had plenty of second-hand knowledge, she didn’t really associate with the gods in Heaven so she was somewhat curious. Seeing his healthy tan and muscular figure made her heart tighten a bit as she admired his back that had her crest carved into it.

After Vahn finished changed and started heading to the onsen, she realized she also needed to undress and felt a little ‘blame’ for Vahn since he hadn’t stayed behind to wait for her. Though she didn’t ‘want’ him to look at her, it felt somewhat frustrating that he didn’t even try. Clasping her hands together, her outfit began to splits apart into small white petals that neatly arranged themselves into a pile inside one of the cubbies.

Because Hestia’s outfit was created as part of her Divinity, it was easily removed and worn at her leisure. Even if it suffered damage from wear and tear, it would just split apart into white petals that would regenerate over time as long as she had enough energy. If Vahn had been around to see the sight, he likely would have stared at her with intrigue as he tried to make sense of the mechanic behind her clothing.

The only thing the remained were her unblemished white panties and the blue ribbon tied around her arms which she had to remove by hand before placing them neatly on top of the pile of petals. Turning toward the door Vahn had exited through, Hestia froze after taking one step and began to hesitate. Even though she didn’t particularly mind being seen by Vahn, she still had some slight inhibitions about how he would react. If he tried to ‘attack’ her, she would probably run away and it would harm their relationship for a while. However, even if he didn’t ‘attack’ her, if he showed disinterest in her body she would have some regrets about asking to bath together. She had a bit of confidence in her body, and Hestia also knew that Vahn showed an interest in her, but she was still hesitant to ‘reveal’ herself to him.

After a minute or so, Hestia took a deep breath and tried to psyche herself up as she slowly walked forward. Even though she remembered his ‘disinterest’ when they were changing, Hestia believed Vahn would appreciate her body and still have enough wherewithal to not take any offensive actions against her. She even knew that, if anyone was likely to do anything, it would probably be her and Vahn would probably just spoil her. Believing in the ‘gentle’ and ‘innocent’ boy, Hestia felt emboldened and stepped into the men’s bathing area.

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Vahn had already been relaxing in one of the smaller pools since he thought powering the larger bath would be a waste considering it was just the two of them. The current one he was in could probably fit 4-5 people without issue so he thought it was more than enough until other people joined the Familia. While he was waiting for Hestia, he even though about other guys that he could convince to join in the future. He definitely wanted to see if he could recruit Welf since they would benefit each other in their research in the future…

As he was thinking of future members, Vahn heard the pitter-patter of footsteps and turned his head to see Hestia walking toward him with mechanical movements. The moment he looked over at her, she immediately blushed a bit and instinctively tried to hide, strangely enough, her breasts. Vahn thought her actions were cute because she didn’t hide the more important parts from view. Though he didn’t stare and almost immediately turned his head away, Vahn noticed that she was also completely bare like every other goddess he had seen. Even though he hadn’t confirmed it with his own eyes, Vahn suspected Loki would be the same since he had heard the reason from Hephaestus previously.

Seeing Vahn look away after smiling slightly, Hestia felt a mixture of emotions but the biggest one was relief. She felt like he ‘appreciated’ what he saw but had enough propriety to not gawk and make her feel more uncomfortable. The tensions in her body eased up a bit and she walked over to the pool he was in before taking the spot right next to him.

Vahn was somewhat surprised since he could see she was nervous yet still chose to sit right next to him. He suspected she may have sat there since it would be more difficult for him to see her body unless he looked directly at her. If she sat across, or away, from him, he would have been able to stare at her body through the side of his vision if he had any intent to do so.

After soaking in the water for around five minutes in absolute silence, Hestia tried to break the ice as she remarked, “This water feels very comfortable…it’s nice and hot…” Vahn nodded his head in response while he relaxed against the smooth stone surface and enjoyed the heat. Ever since she had entered, Vahn had kept his eyes closed and was just soaking his body complacently since it had been a long time since he used an onsen.

Hestia was watching Vahn from the side and felt a bit of frustration in her heart with how ‘dismissive’ he was acting. She felt that, even though they were alone in the bath, he didn’t have to go to such great lengths to avoid her. Hestia wanted to tell him that, If she cared about being seen by him, she wouldn’t have bathed with him in the first place. However, even when she tried to vocalize the words, they always got stuck in her mouth because of how ‘forward’ it sounded even in her mind.

Eventually, it came time for the bath to come to an end, so Vahn used the soap to lather up his body before wiping himself down and rinsing off. The water in the onsen had the same properties as the one used by Tsubaki, so the soap would break down and be purified by the mana in the water without requiring any cleaning. The whole time he was washing, Hestia stared at him from outside his line of sight but he could still feel her gaze and it made him feel a little strange.

As he prepared to get out of the pool, Vahn asked, “Are you going to stay in much longer? I can make you something cool and refreshing when you get out.” Almost like his words were a trigger, Hestia shouted, “Vaaaaahn~! Why are you so casual when you get to have a bath with a beautiful goddess like me!? I won’t be satisfied unless you give me a good reason~!”

For the first time since she entered, Vahn looked straight at Hestia with a somewhat confused expression on his face. Hestia froze up under his gaze as she held the pose she had taken when she shouted out earlier. When she had exclaimed, Hestia stood up straight with her arms balled into fists at her side as she looked up at Vahn with a pouting expression. Now Vahn saw her full body, including the pale pink nipples on her almost flawless white breasts and she suddenly felt very nervous.

After considering her question for a few seconds, Vahn responded, “I felt like you were placing your trust in me, and I didn’t want to make you feel scared since I noticed you were very nervous. I’m not really acting casual so much as trying to keep myself from staring rudely at someone else’s body.” Ever since he had become ‘aware’ of women, Vahn always felt somewhat awkward if he gawked at their bodies without permission. Even though Hestia wanted to bathe with him, Vahn didn’t take it as consent to do whatever you pleased.

Hearing his ‘honest’ answer, Hestia’s tensions collapsed and she dropped down into the water and hugged her knees as she blew bubbles into the water. Vahn didn’t know what to make of her reaction and was going to ask before she said, “From now on when we bathe together, don’t act so reservedly. It makes me feel even more uncomfortable when it feels like I’m being ignored.”

Vahn could see the ‘serious’ look in her eyes, so he smiled and said, “Sure, I won’t act so reserved in the future.” Finishing his words and giving Hestia one last glance toward her crystalline blue eyes, Vahn stepped out of the pool and revealed himself fully for Hestia’s ‘appraisal’. Since she had only seen him from behind this entire time, it was her first glimpse of Vahn’s sleeping dragon and her body immediately turned to stone as he walked away from the pool without noticing her reaction.

By the time Vahn had left the room, Hestia was still a statuette that was huddled down in the water as if she had just seen the Heavens collapsing. Even though she had been lectured by Hephaestus, Loki, Anubis, and Eina in the past, none of them had informed her about the size of Vahn’s ‘dragon’ and she felt thoroughly intimidated. Though she never had any expectations of pushing their relationship to that level any time soon, Hestia couldn’t help but imagine what would happen to her body if she got ‘attacked’ by Vahn.

As if all her earlier bravado had been an illusion, Hestia felt less confident about playing around with Vahn. If on the off chance he did lose control, she wasn’t sure if there would be a route of retreat left to her. Suddenly, Hestia’s desire to meet the two girls named Tiona and Ais increased by a marginal amount as her concern for her best friend began to grow exponentially.

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Life-Long Relationship’,’Steamy Bath-Time Goddess’,’The sealed dragon’s slumber’)

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