Chapter 233: *Spoilers: Title at End*

When Vahn awoke in the morning, Hestia had already resumed her place on his body and Vahn rubbed her hair a bit before he turned to look over at the side. The moment he woke up, Vahn saw Fenrir’s ears twitched and she had turned her head to watch him. When she had gone to sleep, perhaps to prevent anything from happening, she had rested with her arms underneath her body. Vahn saw her red eyes glowing subtly in the darkness and reached over to stroke her ears a bit as he whispered, “Go ahead and get out of the bed and head downstairs, I’ll be along shortly.”

Fenrir rolled her head around under his hand before shifting her body slowly and inching out of bed. Because her hands were still bound, Fenrir’s movements were especially awkward since she was apparently trying to stay quiet. Vahn was happy she was showing ‘consideration’ for others and pulled out the orb and entered before anyone realized what was going on. By the time the three days within had passed, Fenrir hadn’t even reached the edge of the bed as Vahn rolled Hestia off of his body and disappeared from the bed once he got his feet under him.

Before she could make her way to the door, Fenrir’s hair stood on end as she lowered her body after someone appeared right in front of her. Seeing that it was Vahn, she relaxed a bit as Vahn ‘hushed’ her and helped remove the binds from her paws. Though she was tolerating them, Vahn noticed that Fenrir was much happier to have them removed and the two made their way downstairs and prepared to set out for the day. Vahn had already discussed the matter with Hestia and convinced her it was necessary to help Fenrir train and relieve her stress.

Hestia had originally wanted him to continue ‘recuperating’, but Vahn assured her that he had long since recovered from any sequelae that had appeared since his coma. She wanted him to get checked out at the medical ward, but Vahn had explained that he had too many secrets to entrust the matter to others for now. To allay her concerns, Vahn had even identified every pressure point and muscle on her body during the massage the previous night to show that he had a proper understanding of the body and properly maintaining it.

When the two had left the room, Hestia’s blue eyes opened slightly as she watched the door close behind them. Even though she was a ‘heavy’ sleeper, she didn’t want to see Vahn disappear like the previous day while she was still asleep. Though she didn’t stop him from leaving, Hestia still intended to take some actions of her own to guarantee he would be safe. While Vahn was in the Dungeon with Fenrir, she was planning on coordinating with the other girls on the network to increase the security around Vahn. Right now, Vahn was restricted from interacting with the Alliance in any meaningful way, but there were always ways to circumvent things…

While they were in the dungeon, Vahn had been singling out individual monsters while avoiding large groups and taking detours whenever the auras of other adventurers entered his domain. The reason he wanted single monsters, or small groups, was to demonstrate how to fight using the skills he had developed while fighting in his Báihǔ form. Though Fenrir wasn’t nearly as agile as he was, she had a similar instinct and liked to use her front paws as a pivot for her movements, similar to how Vahn liked to crouch low to the ground for bursts of speed.

Though she struggled quite a bit, Vahn wanted Fenrir to learn ‘omnidirectional’ fighting and even started teaching her a bit of CQC techniques while adapting them to her ‘unique’ stances. Vahn really wanted her to get used to fighting on two legs and improving her actual skill instead of the ‘awkward’ way she usually fought. Though it was kind of cute to watch her waggling around on all-fours, Vahn knew it would be a problem when they inevitably fought alongside others. Vahn even wanted to fight a female mentor for her so Fenrir would develop a bit of ‘common sense’ and propriety.

As had been shown the previous day, Fenrir really enjoyed fighting, assuming she didn’t sustain any injuries. Every time she killed something, she would get psyched up and whenever she successfully used one of the techniques he had taught her, Fenrir would run over to Vahn while saying, “Fenrir good, praise Fenrir!” Though he felt a little guilty, Vahn knew it was important to give her positive reinforcement whenever she was trying to apply what she had learned. If anyone were to ask why he felt guilty about that, Vahn would have turned his head to the side and muttered something about reading manuals for domesticating dogs and wolves while also refreshing his knowledge about chienthropes.

It wasn’t that he looked down on her, but Vahn understood that most of Fenrir’s knowledge came from her time as a kobold and she was severely lacking in her mental development. Even though she was markedly more intelligent now, she hadn’t developed or experienced enough to fill in the gaps from her twelves years as a glorified dog. The biggest issue was, she had expectations that had been firmly cemented in her mind from how Vahn treated her when she was still a kobold. Though he would slowly change her mentality over time, it would take a few months at the very least.

Since it would be a problem otherwise, Vahn had found a secure area in the pathways of the dungeon where he set out a large basin for Fenrir to clean her body after hunting. Vahn also agreed with Hestia about keeping her clean and wanted her to develop the habit of always trying to maintain her hygiene. Fortunately, the clothes he had purchased for her were almost entirely waterproof as long as the seal against her skin wasn’t broken. This allowed Fenrir to submerge into the water without Vahn having to remove her clothing.

After the bath, Vahn also helped dry her bristly hair and also comb it for a few minutes before they made their way back to the surface. Fenrir seemed especially fond of having her fur brushed with a coarse brush that Vahn had purchased through the system for the purpose of ‘grooming’ dogs. Though the bristles were fine, they were very rigid and allowed him to comb deep into her fur and remove any remnant dirt. The entire time he worked, Fenrir rocked her head from left to right as she flopped her ears about with her eyes closed. Though she didn’t seem to know how to smile yet, Vahn could tell she was happy and he even purchased a pouch that wrapped around her waist that contained her very own brush. She wouldn’t be able to use it herself, but if she was alone with Hestia or someone else she trusted, Vahn told her she could have them brush her fur if she was good. Since the brush wasn’t a magical item, nor did it have any special properties, other people would be able to use it just fine.

When they returned back to the Manor, Vahn stopped for a moment because he could sense a presence other than Hestia within the interior. Assuming she had probably called over one of the other girls, Vahn had a small smile before he calmed Fenrir and explained there would be someone new for her to meet. Though she had inhibitions about meeting yet another person, Fenrir still followed along at Vahn’s back just as she had done before meeting Hestia yesterday.

Since the people that had the ‘key’ to the security formations could detect when other people entered, Hestia knew Vahn and Fenrir had returned and left the study to meet them in the foyer. She looked at them with a cheerful smile and said, “Welcome back Vahn, Fenrir, how did things go~?’ As he wanted her to be more personable, Vahn nudged Fenrir’s shoulder and prompted her to say, “Fenrir did good, kill lots!” Playing along, Hestia beamed as she walked over and patted Fenrir’s head and said, “Very good~! Fenrir is a good girl!”

Hearing Hestia’s praise, Fenrir awkwardly palmed away at her pouch in an adorable manner before she eventually got frustrated and said, “Pouch, Brush!” Since the pouch was the left, backside, of her hip, Fenrir stuck out her butt toward Hestia and pat the pouch in an ‘urgent’ manner. Hestia had a sparkle in her eyes because of the adorable behavior and, with mock curiosity, opened up the pouch and pulled out the brush Vahn had given Fenrir. Since it was very obvious what Fenrir wanted, Hestia pat her head and said, “I’ll brush you while we talk in the study, okay~?”

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Afterward, the three made their way into the study and Vahn saw someone he hadn’t really expected to see and quickly understood the purpose of her visit. Wearing a white threaded tunic, leafy brown thighboots, similarly colored gloves that reached the center of her biceps, a pair of short green ‘shorts’ that hugged her hips, and a leafy green hooded-mantle was a beautiful, taciturn, green-haired elf with sky-blue eyes. Vahn immediately recognized the figure as Ryuu and they both smiled after making eye contact with each other.

Seemingly having been unaware of their ‘relationship’, Hestia looked between them before she ‘seriously’ asked Ryuu, “Are you another one of the girls that like Vahn?” Since she had only been trying to find someone to watch over Vahn, Hestia hadn’t investigated everything about the person that was sent. The only thing that she knew was the name of Ryuu, the fact that she was a Level 4, and that she also intended to join the Familia. Though she hadn’t connected the dots at first, Hestia was now absolutely sure she had invited ‘competition’ into the house inadvertently.

Though it was almost unnoticeable, both Vahn and Hestia saw the minuscule blush on Ryuu’s face as she bowed forward slightly as if affirming Hestia’s words. Vahn’s eyes widened because, though he knew Ryuu kind of liked him, he hadn’t expected her to openly admit it. He was unaware, at least at this time, that Ryuu had been talking to both Syr and Chloe a lot about Vahn’s exploits after hours. Ever since she had shown up and ‘failed’ to help Vahn with the previous incident, Ryuu had wanted to be closer to him. This was also the reason why, when she had last talked to Vahn, she agreed to join the ‘righteous’ Familia he wanted to establish. When Syr had approached her and explained the situation, Ryuu agreed after some light persuasion, and goading, from Syr.

Making a mental note to question Ryuu in more detail later, Hestia sat on the sofa and began brushing Fenrir as they discussed the situation. Ryuu had actually already undergone the Familia induction ceremony while Vahn was in the dungeon and had discussed matters with Mama Mia with Syr as support. She didn’t actually quit her job at the Hostess of Fertility, but would only have to help out on the days Vahn wasn’t busy or venturing into the dungeon. However, to keep things ‘fair’, Ryuu would apparently still continue staying in the women’s dorm for the time being and wouldn’t move in until Milan and Tina were preparing to join. She had taken a personal vow to help protect the two girls and wanted to watch over them when Vahn was busy. Even when Vahn told her about the existence of Fafnir, Ryuu shook her head and seriously stated, “Understand this Vahn, there are some situations where a dragon’s involvement would be excessive.”

As he had only ever been worried about the safety of Milan and Tina, Vahn hadn’t really considered Fafnir’s existence to be an issue. He realized that she was entirely correct, but still said that he would keep Fafnir at their sides for the time being. Since he could call it through his mental link, Vahn had Fafnir travel through the shadows and pop his head out of the carpet when Vahn had held his hand near the light. Vahn introduced Fafnir and Ryuu and told Fafnir to always defer to her judgment and only react if Ryuu wasn’t around or couldn’t take care of the situation.

When the massive dragon head popped out of the floor, Hestia shrieked at the top of her lungs while both Fenrir and Ryuu had plain expressions on their faces. Ryuu actually bowed to Fafnir and said, “It is a pleasure to work with you, please take care of me from here onwards.” Ignoring the shrill voice of Hestia, Fafnir also nodded before speaking out in a very childish voice that made Hestia’s eyes go completely round, (*Sure~! I will protect Master’s loved ones!*)

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Hearing Fafnir say the words, ‘loved ones’, in regards to herself, Ryuu showed a second, almost entirely unnoticeable blush, as she displayed a light smile. Vahn had been watching their interaction and was trying to process how he should act around Ryuu in the future. Though she hadn’t vocalized anything, she had ‘affirmed’ being one of the girls that liked him so Vahn was contemplating matters for the future.

The entire time this was going on, Fenrir just sat at the side munching on [Enkidu] as she wiggled in Hestia’s arms and lazed about against the ‘ruffled’ goddess. After a few seconds, Fenrir looked into the ‘shocked’ face of Hestia and muttered, “Brush, Fenrir want!” Hearing the words of Fenrir, Hestia laughed awkwardly and began running the comb through Fenrir’s tail. Pleased at the result, Fenrir closed her eyes and began tilting her head from side-to-side once again.

After Fafnir returned to the shadows, Ryuu had turned toward Hestia and Fenrir with a curious expression on her face and an imaginary light in her eyes. Even without saying anything, Vahn knew she also thought Fenrir was adorable so he went through the process of introducing them to each other. Though her taciturn personality hadn’t broken, Ryuu still pet Fenrir with a bit of affection and Fenrir seemed to be pleased that there was now someone else to spoil her. Though she didn’t vocalize it, Fenrir pictured the ‘hateful’ golden-haired vampire in her head and decided that the other people around her Master were much nicer.

Title: Ryuu Lion Joins the Familia

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Domestication of the Heaven Devouring Wolf’,’Brushy Brushy’,’Fenrir like!’)

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