For the remainder of the day, things had turned to relative normalcy other than the fact that Hestia had suddenly become more open to kissing. Ever since their first passionate kiss in the bath several weeks ago, she had been relatively reserved and only gave Vahn smalls pecks in the morning. Now, whenever Fenrir was busy with things, she had turned more affectionate and had a cheerful expression on her face as she enjoyed Vahn’s care. Since he knew she was feeling somewhat down, Vahn decided to spoil her a bit more than usual all the way up until it was time for bed.
They always slept together as a trio whenever there wasn’t someone else visiting, so Vahn didn’t think it as abnormal until Hestia changed out of her normal white dress and wore a relatively short nightgown instead. She played it off by having Fenrir wear an almost identical one except that it had a split in the back for her tail. Fenrir had gotten used to sleeping with others and no longer slept on her stomach and instead cradled her paws between her knees as she used Vahn’s arm as a pillow. Hestia herself already treated Vahn like the most comfortable bed in the world, so Vahn enjoyed the warmth of the two girls.
One of the big differences was the position that Hesta decided to take, as she rested her face next to his head while riding her breasts further up his chest than normal. Every now and then, Vahn’s rest would be disturbed when he would feel her kiss the side of his face before pretending to go back to sleep. After the first few times, Vahn determined that she was doing it intentionally so he held her waist and hugged her body closer to his. For a few minutes after that, Hestia silently kissed his face and neck without doing anything further.
The entire time she was up to her antics, Vahn felt a little ticklish in his heart as he used [Hands of Nirvana] to gently radiate warmth to her body until Hestia eventually fell asleep. Turning his head, Vahn gave the awake Fenrir a kiss on the forehead before they all went back to sleep. Vahn knew Hestia was trying to slowly open up and decrease the distance between them slowly but surely. Since he didn’t mind her affections and thought very highly of her, Vahn made no attempts to stop her unless she pushed herself too hard or acting strangely around Fenrir.
In the morning, Vahn awoke to find Hestia’s crystalline blue eyes staring at his face and she gave him a quick kiss before whispering, “Good morning, I’ll go make breakfast before the two of you head out, okay~?” Without waiting for his response, Hestia reached over and stroked Fenrir’s hair for a bit and then crawled out of bed. Because the nightgown she wore was short, Vahn stared at her wriggling butt until she threw her legs off of the bed and walked to the door without wearing her normal dress.
As if trying to emulate Hestia, Fenrir trying to c*** her head and kiss Vahn on the lips but he managed to intercept her face with his palm as he laughed, “You know better than that Fenrir, you have to work hard on your education, okay?” Though she gnashed her teeth for a bit, Fenrir eventually calmed down before muttering, “Fenrir want to kill lots today…” Vahn kissed her on the forehead and they both crawled out of bed. Since Hestia had already left, Vahn had to help Fenrir change for the first time in a while.
Vahn noticed that, like her ageless status implied, Fenrir’s body hadn’t changed in the slightest over the last month. Even her hair, whenever it got damaged, regenerated back to the correct length after a period of time. Because she had been seeking affection more and more, Vahn was worried about her future, especially considering her nature and Innate skills.
When they went down to the dining room, Hestia had been bundling together a large bento box for them to take to the dungeon. She had even included the portion for Ryuu which made Vahn smile and utter his thanks before they all shared short hugs and parted at the front door. Since it had been growing much colder as of late, Vahn had given Fenrir a cloak that was lined with fur on the inside even though she said she didn’t feel cold. Whenever he saw her sensitive little paw-like feet walking on the ice-cold cobblestone, Vahn couldn’t help but feel it was a little strange. He had tried to craft a pair of shoes for her, but Fenrir absolute refused to wear them even when he tried to coax her.
After they met up with Ryuu, Vahn noticed she was wearing her normal attire that exposed her long legs and thought it was strange. Though he wasn’t cold, due to the existence of the ‘eternal flame’, Vahn didn’t know how girls could expose their legs so easily to the elements. As if to answer his question, Ryuu showed a small smile as she explained, “I use mana to help keep my body warm and my cloak is lined with a material that retains heat well. I’ll be fine unless we stay outside for too long.”
Even though he believed her words, Vahn still gave her one of the cloaks he had purchased in the past. He now carried a variety of men’s and women’s clothing of various sizes in his inventory just in case he might need them in the future. Though it might sound strange to consider, Vahn had actually been in several situations where an extra change of clothes was beneficial. Since he couldn’t always use the gift function, Vahn had stocked part of his inventory for events like this where they could be useful.
Ryuu happily wore the cloak and remained silent as they started walking toward the dungeon. Because of their interaction, Vahn knew that Ryuu usually went silent when she was happy so he just followed along with a small smile on his face. Fenrir also seemed to suddenly become happier to be wearing her own cloak as a peculiar looking expression showed on her face that usually meant she was happy. Though several people had tried to help her smile more naturally, Fenrir always had an awkward look whenever she tried to emulate the action. Other than anger or frustration, she struggled to show any other expressions and this made several of the girls want to pamper her even more.
Since Fenrir ‘wanted to kill lots’, Vahn had taken her down to the 7th floor and walked the distance toward the pantry where a lot of monsters would spawn. Fenrir had gotten to the point where she could ‘delay’ her own hunger and used keywords to helps people understand. Vahn knew that she was very frustrated when she wanted to kill a lot of enemies, so the Pantry was the best place to relieve stress. When they arrived, there was a huge quartz pillar that had several monsters breaking off parts and ingesting them to grow stronger. This wasn’t the first time they had visited and Fenrir had even managed to eat a large portion of the pantry before Ryuu advised they stop. Since Vahn had already fought a juggernaut before, he knew what she was worried about and cautioned Fenrir to only chomp on monsters from then onwards.
Though her stats hadn’t increased much, Fenrir’s combat potential had increased exponentially over the last month. Not only did she have the support of the record, but Fenrir had incredible senses and high adaptability. Just like when she was learning to read and write, Fenrir put an incredible amount of effort into trying to improve. She had also developed the habit that, whenever she killed a difficult enemy, Fenrir would either bring the corpse or magic core to Vahn. Though he felt somewhat awkward about it, Vahn praised her plentily for her actions and encourage her to continue improving.
Because of this ‘positive reinforcement’ about killing, Chloe had actually taken a mentorship role whenever she was around Fenrir and often lectured her about what was okay to kill. Though she had never killed a humanoid yet, a lot of people were worried about Fenrir casually killing people and feeling no remorse about it. Since she was fundamentally a monster, their concerns weren’t misplaced either since Fenrir had once tried to devour a drunken man that thought he could get away with touching her tail at the Hostess of Fertility. As she had been lectured about caring for her body and acting like a girl, Fenrir had legitimately wanted to kill the man for his offense. Fortunately, there was Vahn nearby to prevent her from losing control as he turned her over to Milan for comfort. The man tried to laugh it off but ended up being seriously beaten by Mama Mia and barred from entering the pub ever again.
After that event, Vahn had to take Fenrir into the dungeon late in the evening and let her kill things until the morning of the next day. Vahn was worried that she would develop a phobia against men, especially considering that many of the girls around him had similar traumas. Though he hadn’t had any luck yet, as Welf turned him down immediately after his offer, Vahn wanted to recruit some men, or at the very least young boys to join the Familia. When he had asked Welf’s reason, he was told, “I don’t think there would be many guys that would want to join a Familia where most of the girls were together with one guy. It might be okay if there were other couples in the Familia, but since you are the only guy right now it would be super awkward man.”
Shaking his head from the reverie, Vahn watched Fenrir slaughtering monsters endlessly with a feral expression on her face as her eyes grew progressively brighter. Since she was fighting a bunch of enemies, Fenrir had activated her [Lunar Cry] and there was a blood-red emblem of the moon on her forehead. Vahn could tell she was approaching her limit and would likely go berserk soon so he decided to step in and pacify her for a bit until she calmed down.
Sensing his approach, Fenrir shouted, “No, Fenrir kill more!” Before Vahn could catch her, Fenrir jumped at the nearest monster and shredded it apart with her claws. Vahn frowned and watched the blood-covered Fenrir madly butchering her enemies and knew that he had reacted too late. Even though her loyalty was incredibly high now, an astounding 6132, she had dropped by more than 100 the moment he tried to stop her.
Unable to stop her with the normal method, Vahn released the stealth aspect of his domain and pressured the monsters in the room. Imbuing [Heart of the Eternal Flame] into the domain, Vahn converged fire elements into the bodies of every monster in the room and they slowly began burning to ashes after a few seconds had passed. Since they were only level 1 monsters, they had absolutely no way to resist his room-wide AoE attack at all.
Seeing that there were no enemies left to kill, Fenrir began slamming her paws against the floor and roaring in a feral tone. Vahn watched her actions with concern and wasn’t sure how to help her recover her sanity as he gave Ryuu an apprehensive look. Seeing his look, Ryuu shook her head because she also didn’t have a solution to the current situation. When Fenrir lost control, it wouldn’t matter how many monsters she fought as it would only get progressively worse the more excited she got. Though they were able to address it in the past, Ryuu had never seen Fenrir act anything like how she was in the present moment.
Vahn took a deep breath and walked over before kneeling down next to Fenrir who seemed intent on destroying the floor if the long scars were any indicator. Equipping his [Xuánwǔ Protector]s, Vahn aimed his fist at the ground before releasing a powerful strike that sent spider-web cracks through the floor, even reaching the area where Fenrir was clawing. She startled at the loud sound and immense force of Vahn’s strike as she looked toward him with scarlet-eyes that glowed like a flame.
With a smile on his face, Vahn laughed a bit and said, “Did the floor make you angry?” Even though he used the shockwave control of the gauntlets, Vahn didn’t protect his hand at all and it began dripping blood onto the ground. Before Fenrir responded, Vahn began to gather energy into his fist and prepared to strike down again before Fenrir shouted, “No, Fenrir not hate floor! Vahn, stop!” The blood-red moon on Fenrir’s forehead broke into small particles as she worriedly moved toward Vahn and pushed his hand away with her paws.
Vahn sat down on the ground and showed himself using [Hands of Nirvana] to heal his hand as he smiled at Fenrir and asked, “Can you tell me why you’re upset then?” Fenrir had a frustrated expression on her face and was grinding her teeth as she began scratching at the ground with one of her claws. Vahn thought she was just releasing her frustrations on the ground again until he noticed that she was actually writing letters. Though her handwriting was terrible, it was still legible and Vahn read what she had written. ‘Fenrir not like when Vahn leave for long time’
After reading the words, Vahn squinted his eyes a bit and thought about what she wrote. Ever since her transformation, she and Vahn had never been apart for very long. The longest period had been when he stayed with Hephaestus, but Vahn didn’t understand why she was so upset even though it wasn’t that long. However, when he had this thought, Vahn suddenly remembered the twelve years Fenrir had spent inside the orb with Eva. Since she wasn’t to the point where she could rationalize things well yet, Fenrir must have thought that he was going to be gone for a long time again. Since she had learned to not complain or act out as much, she must have been bottling it up until things reached a critical level.
Looking over, Vahn saw Fenrir was a frustrated expression that suddenly seemed to look ‘sad’ in Vahn’s eyes. He released a sigh as he pulled out a large wash basin and said gently, “Fenrir, we’ll always be together, okay? Even if I might be away for a little while, you know that I will always come back, I won’t abandon you anymore and leave you alone.” Looking over toward Ryuu, Vahn continued, “It isn’t just me either, there are a lot of people that will help take care of you. You should know that everyone thinks you’re very adorable and wants to spoil you, right?”
Though her frown grew deeper, Vahn understood that Fenrir wasn’t nearly as sad anymore. She also looked at Ryuu who, when she was looked at, nodded her head with a smile. The awkward expression that equated to a smile for Fenrir reappeared on her face as she jumped into the basin Vahn had set out earlier. Treading water for a bit, since she could fully submerge in it, Fenrir said, “Vahn is the best to Fenrir~! Always together, forever and ever!”
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Hestia’s teenie-tiny baby-steps’,’Ryuu’s quiet smile’,’Fenrir no like be alone!’)