The rest of the evening was relatively uneventful as Vahn, Hestia, and Fenrir enjoyed a larger dinner before Vahn spent a little time pampering the two spoiled girls before bed. Hestia seemed completely comfortable with the massage at this point and Fenrir refused to be left out so Vahn tied up her paws before putting them both to sleep. Afterward, Vahn went to sleep before waking up and spending a bit of time researching with Eva who had been making her own improvement in forging with Vahn’s permission to use his forge. Since she could change her clothing with magic, Eva had adopted the look of wearing nothing but a pair of overalls and gloves as she worked away on pieces of metal. Because she was very petite, Vahn almost wanted to remark that she looked like a child ‘playing’ blacksmith, but he knew her well enough to keep those words to himself.
Leaving the Hearth Manor with Fenrir, they made their way to the Hostess of Fertility and waited for Ryuu to prepare before the three of them headed toward the dungeon. Even though she had agreed to meet up at the Manor, it wasn’t a big detour for Vahn and Fenrir to pick her up instead. Vahn also wanted Fenrir to familiarize herself with the City more and wanted her to adapt to newer environments and some of the backstreets he often used. Though he had no intention of allowing her to roam the City freely, Vahn wanted to prepare for the eventuality that she would be moving around on her own in the future.
Along the way, though they had discussed it previously, Vahn mentioned some of the things Ryuu had to pay attention to when interacting with Fenrir. Since she would be accompanying them in the dungeon for the foreseeable future, Vahn wanted to make sure Ryuu was on the same page. Responding to his words, Ryuu said that she would sit on the sidelines and let him teach Fenrir while she watched his back. Though Vahn wanted to agree, he actually suggested that she take the lead and help teach Fenrir since she was a veteran Adventure and would likely have insights that had been developed over the years she had been active.
Ryuu deferred to his words and agreed while claiming it was a good opportunity to polish up her skills that had become ‘rusty’ due to her inactivity and lack of exercise. Raising his brow, Vahn gave a cursory glance at Ryuu’s body from the side and couldn’t see any indication that she had been ‘lazy’ at all. She had a very lithe and fit body with long legs and a healthy complexion similar to many of the elves he had seen in the past.
Since she was attentive of his actions, Vahn’s ‘inspection’ hadn’t been missed by Ryuu and she gave him a sidelong glance of her own with her sky-blue eyes before continuing forward without commenting. Vahn felt a little nervous and followed behind her with Fenrir in tow. When they finally entered the dungeon, Ryuu wanted to watch Fenrir fight before she gave any pointers. Even though he had only suggested she teach Fenrir a bit, Ryuu seemed to have taken it as an indication that she become Fenrir’s instructor from now on.
Vahn knew that Ryuu was an incredibly capable fighter that could probably teach him a thing or two, so he watched from the side and listened to Ryuu’s comments about how Fenrir could improve. After asking why she explained things to him, Ryuu explained that it was because he would be able to convey her words better for Fenrir than if she stated them personally. Realizing her words were true, Vahn nodded his head and repeated Ryuu’s words to Fenrir while also telling her to do her best to follow Ryuu’s orders.
Vahn wasn’t the only one learning new things while watching Fenrir, as Ryuu had been paying close attention to both of them during the ‘training’. She had never experienced anything like Vahn’s domain before and thought it was a rather unique thing with a lot of potential uses. Since she was an elf, Ryuu was very receptive to magic and could see that the elemental energies in the air were heavily influenced by Vahn’s domain. Instead of remaining in their naturally chaotic state, all of the elements within his domain became somewhat ‘obedient’ and acted like they were ‘waiting’ for instruction.
One of the things that impacted Ryuu the most was, when she had been prepared to charge forward and help Fenrir, Vahn grabbed her shoulder as the air seemed to freeze around the monsters Fenrir had been fighting. With her perception, Ryuu could see that not only the monsters froze, but the elements within the air had completely solidified in the space that was being locked down by Vahn. Though she was certain she could break through it, Ryuu couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous at the prospect of facing an enemy with such a terrifying skill. Even if it could only hold her for a millisecond, that was more than enough for an equally skilled opponent to strike a fatal blow against her.
Because of her curiosity, Ryuu couldn’t help but ask Vahn about the capabilities of his skills and abilities while being overly aware that he still had his hand on her shoulder. Vahn had seen the fluctuations in her aura and removed his hand before explaining things while never losing his focus on Fenrir’s fight. Since he trusted Ryuu, Vahn explained some of his more ‘secret’ skills and abilities and even demonstrated them to benefit her understanding. Not only Ryuu, but Fenrir paid close attention to Vahn’s actions whenever he fought against monsters.
Just like she did for Fenrir, Ryuu also gave Vahn several pointers while also complimenting him on his current capabilities. Though she hadn’t been there for his rise, Ryuu knew that Vahn had only officially become an Adventurer around three months ago and had made an almost unbelievable amount of progress in that time. While happy to be complimented, Vahn explained it away as the influence of the various people around him and the patience they had shown in teaching him.
Hearing Vahn speak so humbly, Ryuu smiled gently and said, “Everyone is strong as a result of the trials they have faced and the people that have influenced them. It is good that you remember that you were not always strong…you will be able to become much stronger in the future.” Vahn had noticed that Ryuu had a look of reminiscence in her eyes as she spoke and knew she was likely recalling the past when she had comrades within the Astrea Familia. Though he couldn’t ask about it yet, Vahn nodded his head and reached out his hand to stroke Ryuu’s head through her leaf-like hood.
Since she was surprised by his actions, Ryuu moved her head away before taking a few short steps and standing at the side. It was one of the first times someone had avoided his hand, so Vahn just held it in the hair with a bit of confusion on his face. Ryuu saw his look and gave the closest thing to an ‘amused’ smile that Vahn had seen on her face as she said, “Sorry…I’m not really comfortable being touched in such a familiar manner. Let’s leave things like that for the future…”
Before Vahn responded, Fenrir shouted out, “Graaagh~!? Fenrir want pat pat!” As if offended by Ryuu’s refusal of Vahn’s ‘pat pat’, Fenrir moved forward and held Vahn’s hand to her head as she glared at Ryuu with a subtle glow in her eyes. Her antics caused Vahn’s words to get stuck in his throat and he spent a few minutes helping Fenrir calm down as he gave an apologetic look toward Ryuu. Since she hadn’t really been offended by his earlier attempt to stroke her head, Ryuu just shook her head with a polite smile and even squinted her eyes a bit.
After a short break, Vahn and Fenrir stood off to the side as Ryuu fought against a group of War Shadows that had several Frog Shooters as their support. The best way Vahn could describe Ryuu’s combat was ‘fluid’ and ‘fast’. She had an almost unstoppable momentum, but it didn’t seem like she got caught up in it at all as she maneuvered through monsters like water passing rocks in a stream. The most terrifying thing was, the faster she moved, the more powerful her attacks became without any drop in her speed. Without leaving the monsters a single chance to counterattack, Ryuu dispatched a group of thirteen enemies without stopping for even a second.
While Vahn was in awe of the ‘beautiful’ sight, Fenrir was in high tensions and immediately ran forward after Ryuu finished off the last enemy and shouted, “Fast, super fast, Fenrir want! Teach Fenrir, please!” Though Ryuu smiled and nodded her head, Vahn, for once, couldn’t stop himself from laughing a little as he walked forward and exchanged a few pointers with Ryuu for Fenrir’s benefit. Fenrir seemed to have been ‘inspired’ by the fluidity of Ryuu’s combat style and wanted to be, as she called it, ‘super fast’ as well.
Though it was a little awkward, Vahn also agreed with Fenrir’s assessment and even began to consider how he could improve his own combat style to be more fluid. As it stood, Vahn would almost describe his style as ‘explosive’ and ‘dynamic’, since he also dashed around his enemies and overwhelmed them with the use of his Innate skills. Since Ryuu didn’t have any Innates, as far as he could tell at the moment, she had to rely on technique and skill to overcome her enemies.
Ryuu was happy to explain things and even followed Vahn’s example of demonstrating each of her skills and how she typically applied them. Because of this, Vahn got to experience [Concurrent Chanting] and also saw Ryuu’s magic, [Luminous Wind], for the first time. Most of the magic he had seen was rather devastating, and it was the first time he had seen something so ‘beautiful’. When Ryuu used [Luminous Wind], it was like there was azure starlight radiating from her body that obliterated her enemies. He also got to learn the name of the skill she used to convert her speed into power, which was called [Aero Mana]. With this skill, Ryuu was able to increase her power based on the speed she was moving her body at. Since there was no upper limit to this skill, Ryuu could get progressively faster as the fight continued and eventually eliminate opponents much stronger than herself.
After her display, Ryuu walked back over toward Fenrir and Vahn, who stated in a serious manner, “That was beautiful. Your abilities, techniques, everything is just so beautiful!” Perhaps he was affected by Fenrir, but Vahn was also in high tensions and had a big smile on his face as he layered compliments onto the moderately ‘bashful’ Ryuu. She didn’t seem to know how to respond to his behavior and just turned her head to the side as she stroked the back of her long right ear with her free hand. Though it wasn’t the first time she had received compliments from a guy, it was the first time Ryuu seriously considered them and took them to heart.
Realizing he was embarrassing her, Vahn calmed down and said a few polite words which resulted in him eventually hearing her ‘former’ alias, Gale. Since she had just joined the Hestia Familia, her old Alias would be lost and she would have to receive a new one at the next Denatus, same as Vahn. Now that he was aware of her former alias, Vahn couldn’t help but agree with the gods’ decision since her fighting style very much suited the title. Though he had compared her to water, due to the fluidity of her movements, it was also appropriate to describe her as a destructive wind. Though both wind and water ‘flowed’ around objects, Ryuu’s appearance, green hair, and skills like [Luminous Wind] made it much more suitable to compare her to wind instead of water.
Before the heading out of the dungeon, Vahn removed the large basin from his inventory and helped wash Fenrir clean. Ryuu was a bit surprised at first, but then she noticed the blood that had soaked into Fenrir’s fur and agreed that it was a necessary action. Instead of letting Vahn tend to matters himself, Ryuu removed her cloak and gloves and offered to help. This left her wearing nothing by her white top, which was open on the sides, and her short green ‘shorts’. Vahn couldn’t help but admire her body at a glance before accepting her help. Fenrir was somewhat resistant but didn’t shy away from Ryuu’s assistance since Vahn was still cleaning her as well. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that Fenrir was actually happier when there were more people tending to her compared to less.
After helping wash down Fenrir, Vahn couldn’t help but notice that some of the water had soaked through Ryuu’s thin white blouse. Though he didn’t mean to stare, Vahn noticed that Ryuu wore something different than a traditional bra. He could see the outline of some kind of form-fitting cups covering her chest that didn’t seem to wrap around her body completely. He couldn’t identify the method, but Vahn assumed it had some kind of adhesive function and was somewhat curious about the details.
Once again, Vahn’s gaze didn’t escape Ryuu’s notice as she squinted her eyes before using magic to try her top. As if understanding his curiosity, Ryuu explained in a polite manner, “A lot of female Adventurers don’t wear a bra since it can cut into the skin when they are within the dungeon for long periods of time. This is similar to an adhesive tape that helps conceal things…” Hearing her explanation, Vahn nodded his head and said, “Sorry…thanks….”
Ryuu’s smile widened marginally but she didn’t respond to his words as she helped dry Fenrir off with her magic. She, like most of the girls around Vahn, could see that his gaze didn’t hold any negative emotions and it wasn’t uncomfortable like how other men looked at her. Perhaps it was due to her own ‘acceptance’ of Vahn, but Ryuu found it difficult to rebuke him just for staring at her body with interest. Though she was still a virgin, she also had some slight expectations since she lived in an all female dorm. While she never participated actively, Ryuu had heard the other girls talk about their fantasies and personal interests regarding men. Of course, most of the girls at the Hostess of Fertility were also virgins, but that didn’t stop them from gossiping and discussing various possibilities…
(A/N: I apologize if this chapter has any grammar issues. I went out with a friend to celebrate his birthday and got a bit drunk xD. Looks like we might lose the Top 3 spot to Last Wish System TT__TT. Well, thats fine I guess~! Thanks for reading, stay beautiful <3)
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Gotta go fast~!’,’Float like a purple moth, sting like a Needle Rabbit’,’Dangerous Gossip’)