Chapter 252: Lecture

It was already late in the afternoon by the time the group arrived at the Hearth Manor. As she had been informed of everything over the network, Hestia wasn’t too surprised when Vahn brought home three new members to their home. If not for the fact Eina was next to him, she would have given him an earful but decided to leave matters to his ‘first wife’ for the time being. Of all the people she could butt heads with, Hephaestus and Eina were more-or-less off limits unless she took their relationship further.

When she saw Vahn accompanied by new people, Fenrir was in somewhat high tensions and hade a slight frown on her face. She saw the twins in their maid outfits and asked, “You copy Fenrir?” Before the two flustered girls could respond to the feisty wolf-girl, Vahn stepped in and explained, “Fenrir, these two girls will be working here from now on. They aren’t going to take your place or anything like that. Make sure to treat them well and they might even spoil you like everyone else.”

Fenrir opened and closed her paws for a bit before nodding her head and looking toward Preasia and asking, “Strange girl?” Using her scarlet eyes, Fenrir looked into the dim light-grey eyes of Preasia with a confused expression. With a pained look, Vahn placed his hands on Fenrir’s shoulders and said, “Fenrir, this girl was bullied very badly and needs a friend to help take care of her. I want you and Tina to protect her and treat her kindly so she can be happy again, okay?”

Hearing Vahn’s words, Fenrir’s ears twitched a bit and she bit her claws for a few seconds before walking over and staring at Preasia with a serious expression on her face. After a short while passed, Fenrir opened up her arms and gave Preasia’s thin body a hug and said, “Fenrir protect. Fenrir big sis now, okay?” Vahn showed a small smile as the other girls looked at the act with gentle expressions as well. The only one that seemed immune to the atmosphere was Preasia herself who just stood completely still as Fenrir hugged her body.

After settling the girls into their rooms, Fenrir had made the decision to sleep with Preasia for the time being in the room she usually stayed in with Milan and Tina. Vahn knew that Milan would also look after the sheep girl in the future, so he wasn’t against the arrangements. Emiru and Maemi decided to live in the small room near the kitchen and had changed into proper maid clothing similar to Fenrir’s. Their previous attire had only looked like maid clothing and was instead an ‘easy access’ type of fabric for more deviant purposes. Though Vahn wanted to destroy the clothing, the two girls wanted to keep them and stowed them away deep within the closet of their shared room.

Once things had been arranged, both Emir and Maemi underwent the ceremony to receive their crests while Vahn and Eina were talking in a different study. They didn’t seem to care if Vahn stayed, but he also knew they were still stuck in a bad mentality and were still trying to appeal their use to him. Vahn didn’t want to two girls to suddenly develop a reliance on him and try to slowly work their way into the group of girls that wanted to be in a relationship with him.

Though they were both of age, Vahn wanted them to live a normal life and try to find a stable relationship after calming down a bit. Though it might seem like a rude thought, Vahn had no intention of interacting with the girls in a sexual manner until they had adapted to their new lives and had begun to think rationally. They had never talked about it, but Vahn had seen how Milan was acting after he had saved her. Even though they already had a good relationship, Milan was so focused on securing the safety of her daughter that she had been proactively trying to exploit Vahn a bit. He knew that the twins were in an unstable state and would be trying to do something similar and would probably even approach him if he didn’t halt their advances early on.

Now that they were alone together, Eina sat next to Vahn and had a serious look on her face as she began a long lecture. Though she had warned him about the dangers previously, now Eina was doing her best to explain how things worked within the City and the complexities between the various organizations. Even though the Guild was officially in charge of Orario, they weren’t necessarily the strongest power, they just helped regulate things through the Denatus and passing judgment on the various gods and goddesses that followed the regulations set within.

Most of the power within the City belonged to the Familia that was owned and operated by their respective gods and goddesses. More than 45% of the actual revenue of the City flowed through the various Familia and markets that were established to support the livelihoods of the various Adventurers. If the Entertainment District was brought into consideration, the actual influence possessed by Familia was nearly 85% of the total revenue that flowed through the City. Other than taxes, the Guild only managed around 5-7% of the total wealth in the City, but they had a monopoly on the trade of magic stones and the dissemination of information through the City.

Now that Vahn was involved with the Ishtar Familia, Eina encouraged him to try and handle things without blowing them out of proportion. Since he had been involved in the death of a goddess recently, it was ill-advised to get involved with another Familia, especially one that held so much power and influence. Even if he charged into the Ishtar Familia and confronted Ishtar to free Haruhime, there was nothing that required her to relinquish control of a slave that had been purchased through legal means.

Yes, even though Haruhime was a victim of kidnapping, her legal status before then had already been a slave when she was given to the Pallum Trader. Though she was ‘stolen’ by the bandits and later sold, it didn’t change the legality of her status and it was perfectly lawful for Ishtar to have obtained her. If he wanted to take on the Ishtar Familia head on, he could challenge them to a War Games which could be held before the Monster Feria at the end of next month. If Vahn was unable to wait, he would have to make sure to sneak Haruhime out of the Ishtar Familia and keep her hidden until he could find concrete evidence of any wrongdoings she had participated in.

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Though she could request an investigation be performed through the Guild, it was unlikely they would find any fault with Ishtar. Even in the past, when a bunch of Familia had accused the Isthar Familia of hiding their level, the Guild investigated and discovered the allegations to be false. After paying an immense cash settlement to Ishtar, her power within the Entertainment District increased considerably and she used it to crush every single Familia that had accused her. This was how she became the leader of the Entertainment District and why the Guild would avoid confronting her directly unless there was legitimate proof.

After Eina’s explanation, Vahn had a decisive look in his eyes and began formulating plans and countermeasures for any response that might come from Ishtar. Eina saw his expression and sighed before a gentle smile appeared on her face and she took Vahn’s hand into her own. Vahn turned to look into her emerald green eyes and realized he was getting caught up in things while ignoring his own surroundings again. With a small smile on his face, Vahn reached around and hugged Eina’s body against his. They didn’t get to spend a lot of time together and the only reason Eina had the time to do so now was because of the ongoing investigation.

Eina rested her head against Vahn’s shoulder and spoke in a quiet voice, “I heard from Hephaestus…she told me she is already pregnant. Even though you’re wrapped up in so many problems, there is no end to the trouble that will come in the future…” Vahn frowned slightly and considered her words for a bit before an apologetic expression appeared on his face. He knew she was right and that things were progressively getting more complex. Even though Eva had sealed the orb to give him time to spend in the real world, Vahn immediately got wrapped up in something else and hadn’t taken any time to relax at all…

Resting his head atop hers, Vahn muttered, “All I know is how to do my best Eina…I don’t mean to cause problems for everyone, I just can’t ignore the injustices I see around me. There is just so much to life that I’m experiencing for the first time and I want to continue moving forward in order to experience more and more. I even want to traverse to the bottom of the dungeon and eventually travel the world to experience other cultures with Fafnir…there is just so much I want to do.”

Eina held Vahn’s right hand and stroked it gently as she responded, “I know Vahn…I can tell that you were never destined for a normal life. Not only are your origins incredible, but your mentality evolves rapidly and you’re always looking toward the future. One day, you’ll probably stand at the pinnacle of power in this world…I can even imagine you changing the laws that govern the City for the better. It’s just that…I wish you could be a little normal from time to time. I want to see you relaxed and happy…I don’t want you to break down completely due to the pressure of other’s expectations and the weight of your own ideals.”

After several minutes of silence, Vahn solemnly stated, “After the wedding…I’ll just focus on increasing the strength of my Familia while helping some of the other members train. I can’t give up on my own training since I need to be strong enough to protect everyone, but I’ll be sure to relax more often. Especially when it comes time for the children to be born, I’ll make sure there is plenty of time for me to spend with everyone. Even if I can’t live a normal life, I’ll try to create a safe place where those in my care can live happily…”

Eina turned to look into Vahn’s eyes and had a placid expression on her face with a light smile. After a few seconds, she began to laugh slightly before resting her head back on his shoulder, “I know you’re telling the truth, but I can’t help but imagine things will change somewhat when events require you to take action. Just like with this Haruhime girl, you’re not the type to stand on the sidelines and overlook things.” Eina began to giggle for a bit as Vahn failed to say anything to refute her claim. From his perspective, he felt like Eina was one of the people that knew him best and she was always helping educate and guide him, just like a real Big Sister.

After her laughter stopped, Eina continued to fiddle with Vahn’s hand for a bit until she asked dismissively, “Vahn, do you want me to have a baby as well?” Since he had been somewhat lost in thought, Vahn was surprised by her question and couldn’t answer immediately. Before he responded, Eina let go of his hand and placed it on his left thigh as she stroked her thumb against his leg. Swallowing a bit of saliva, Vahn responded, “When you’re ready…I think you’d make a good mother.”

As if the matter wasn’t serious, Eina continued in a casual voice, “I was thinking it might be for the best if I got pregnant alongside Hephaestus. No matter how I look at it, Loki will probably try and ask you for a baby soon…I even suspect she might support you against the Ishtar Familia just to get her way. Then there is Anubis and maybe even girls like Chloe…I think if I don’t have one soon, I might be a ‘first wife’ that is helping take care of other people’s children. Depending on how things progress in the future, I feel like I might miss my chance to have a baby. You know, it’s not easy for a half-elf to get pregnant, even if an egg is fertilized using the method Hephaestus told me about. Most of the time, when a half-breed tries to get pregnant, even if they’re ovulating it is no use…”

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Vahn knew Eina was speaking the truth as there had been several attempts by goddesses of fertility in the past to help increase the conception rate. Even with a blessing that should guarantee pregnancy, the actual success rate was as low as 1% for some species…especially half-elves and half-dwarves. Since they already had incredibly low fertility rates, the half-breeds were even lower. It wasn’t uncommon for a half-elf to spend their entire life without producing a single offspring, and that held true for both males and females.

Placing his hand on top of Eina’s, which was still listlessly stroking his thigh, Vahn whispered, “I will do my best to guarantee we have children of our own…whenever you’re ready, I’m always willing to try. No matter how much effort it takes…” Squeezing Eina’s hand, Vahn noticed it was surprisingly cold so he held it to his chest and began to channel [Heart of the Eternal Flame] to heat up his body.

Eina had an elegant smile on her face which slowly turned into a more cheerful one as Vahn’s warmth spread through her palm. She could also feel the arm he had wrapped around her body get progressively hotter and knew he was trying to comfort her. Pulling her hand away from his chest, Eina angled her body and gave Vahn a kiss on the lips for a couple of seconds. Vahn loosely held her waist as she pulled away and said, “On our wedding night…I promised to preserve my chastity until I was married. I don’t want to break my promise to my mother, so make sure you’re prepared by then. I’ll get Hephaestus to give me some advice and we can both work together…”

For a brief moment, Vahn imagined the ruby-eyed Hephaestus and the emerald-eyed Eina naked in the same bed while still wearing their wedding dresses. A primordial instinct took over his body and he gulped so loudly that it was audible. His reaction made Eina laugh as she hugged his head into her collar and whispered, “Even if we don’t have sex…it doesn’t mean we can’t do other stuff. I think you deserve a reward for all the hard work you’ve been doing lately. Since I haven’t stayed over in a while, I think I’ll sleep here tonight…Darling.”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Listen to Onee-san!’,’The Gates are Open!’,’Listen to Onee-san~’)

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