Chapter 266: Observation

Though he didn’t like to get his fur wet that much, Vahn bathed while in his Báihǔ form so he could ensure that Hestia’s smell was removed from his body. When he first transformed, he noticed that her scent was overpowering his olfactory senses and understood why all the girls were giving him strange looks. If he didn’t have better control of his own body, Vahn very well might have gone back up to look for Hestia due to the sense of excitement he felt. Even though it wasn’t nearly as powerful as someone like Hephaestus, it was a very enticing, mind-numbing fragrance. Vahn also took the time to check on the system notification he had ignored earlier after getting wrapped up in the atmosphere with Hestia.

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//Hestia Has Reached Maximum Affection//

//Quest Completed: [The Hearts Desire:C-SS]//

Completion Grade: S

Rewards:10,000OP, 1x[Hearts Desire: Hestia]

Grade Rewards: 1x[Divine Hearth], 1x[Virgin Promise], 9,000OP

[Divine Hearth]

Rank: Unique

Use: Creates an inviolable space in an area where no harm can befall those within. Forces those within to remain calm and regenerates any pre-existing wounds. Duration: 72H

[Virgin’s Promise]

Rank: Unique

Use: Baptizes the user in a holy light and restores their body to a pristine condition. Danger: This item places a heavy burden on the soul and can only be used a single time without irreversibly damaging the user.

(A/N: Since it might not be clear, all Unique items are single-use consumables. However, it is possible to get more than one Unique item, thus the specification for ‘single time’ on [Virgin’s Promise])

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Though he was tempted to use her [Hearts Desire], Vahn decided to not be so overly reliant on the items for the time being. Since he wanted to always use them in sequence, as long as he didn’t activate Haruhime’s, Vahn decided to hold onto Hestia’s. He was sure both desires would be things he would want to complete when he viewed them and it would likely interfere with the intentions of the girls which was for him to relax. Though he couldn’t bring the item up, Vahn imagined Hestia telling him to not worry about it while gently stroking his head. From now, all the way until he was forced to leave this record, Vahn would always be nearby Hestia and part of their shared Familia. There was no need to rush the progress of their relationship even further, especially with the major steps they had taken this morning…

After around half an hour, Vahn showed back up at the practice field and watched the girls following a routine that had been created by Ryuu. Other that stretches, they seemed to be focusing on running back and forth while navigating obstacles, similar to the training he had designed for Lili when they first met. Ryuu was trying to improve their reaction time, kinetic vision, proprioception, and dynamic movement abilities. Vahn could see that the beast girls were naturals at it and believed Ryuu’s decision to conduct this type of training was correct.

Since he had just taken a bath, Vahn decided to train his mental abilities and magic instead of doing anything strenuous. He sat down on the ground and continued to watch the girls dash about as he took notice of their form and figure. Since he had been flustered earlier, Vahn hadn’t gotten a good look at the clothes that the girls were wearing and was only just now taking notice. Because they hadn’t yet gone shopping for clothes, the girls were all wearing clothing that he had purchased previously and had been stored within one of the several large closets in the Manor.

The twins had matching outfits with triple-layer pale-blue vests without sleeves. Though it wasn’t as noticeable as someone like Lili, Vahn could see glimpses of their midriff as they dashed about the obstacles. They had on matching tan shorts and long black leggings with a pair of black boots. Since their tails were much thicker than normal, Vahn’s eyes were drawn to them a bit as they were somewhat uncommon. Both girls had medium-length hair with rounded ears that were speckled with black spots while their bushy, rounded, tails had rings along the length. They had pale, somewhat silver hair and looked at home in the cold air since they were so lightly dressed.

Haruhime was wearing a modified red kimono that Vahn was certain he hadn’t purchased himself. After gazing at it with intrigue, Vahn noticed a sewing line along the hem of the short skirt and realized she, or Mikoto, must have modified it during the evening. Vahn really needed to purchase Haruhime some new clothes since she seemed to like wearing her kimono-like clothing. With her current modifications, the kimono now only went up to the middle of her thighs instead of down to her ankles, similar to Mikoto’s lavender kimono. Her long and incredibly fluffy tail dangled around behind her as she struggled to keep up with the exercises. However, no matter how much she struggled, Vahn could see a glimmer of confidence in Haruhime’s eyes as she continued putting in efforts.

Because her skirt was short, Vahn got a little distracted since Haruhime wasn’t wearing any leggings. She had long, almost pale, white legs and Vahn noticed that, while her moves were inexperienced, there was a dance-like quality to Haruhime’s steps. Since her tail swayed around behind her, Vahn kept giving it glances until he noticed something that made his brows rise slightly. His desire to purchase clothes for Haruhime increased several folds since he realized, for whatever reason she might have come up with, Haruhime wasn’t wearing panties.

Turning his attention away from the sight, Vahn watched Tina also doing her best to keep up with Ryuu’s instructions. She was wearing a small brown sweater that went down to her upper thighs. Perhaps inspired by Ryuu, who she had gotten to know in the recent weeks, Tina was also wearing something like black ‘short’ that looked closer to the gym shorts he saw girls wear in manga. Vahn wondered if it was some unspoken rule for female adventures, especially the agility-based ones, to wear small shorts or hot-pants that didn’t constrict their legs. He also suspected it could simply be because of their tails and that looser clothing might be uncomfortable for them to wear…

While he was watching Tina, Vahn felt a gaze from his right and looked over to make eye contact with the smiling Milan. He returned her smile and also noticed that Preasia had been staring at him as well. She had a somewhat blank expression on her face and kept her head low, but she still peered toward him with her light-grey eyes. Perhaps she was weak to the cold, but Preasia wore baggier clothes than most girls even though she still wore a pair of small shorts hugging her hips. Though it wasn’t conclusive evidence, Vahn figured she also wore the smaller clothes so it would be restrictive on her shaggy tail.

After waving to the two girls, Vahn watching Mikoto’s swordplay for a bit before turning his eyes to Ryuu who was watching over everyone attentively. Since Mikoto was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, Vahn’s only thought was to have her go get several changes from the Takemikazuchi Familia later. He could also take the girls shopping and get Fafnir to protect their small group from the shadows. Since the kimono Haruhime was wearing was the same one she had one when he saved her, Vahn knew that it had only been cleaned once since then. Even though she was bathing, Vahn didn’t think it was hygienic for her to wear the same thing every day. He wasn’t sure if she ever had panties at all and blamed himself for the oversight since it was quite an ordeal…

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So that he wasn’t accused of simply gawking at the girls, since Vahn had noticed their gazes would periodically turn to him, he began using [Thria*Mimos] to see if he could emulate the races of the girls around him. Since it was a skill he didn’t use often, Vahn wasn’t that great at controlling it and it still heavily restricted his other abilities. Other than his Innates, all of his other skills were unusable while under the influence of the magic, and this was the primary reason he hadn’t taken action against Shauntac at the time.

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Since they were periodically paying attention to him, the twins noticed that Vahn’s hair grew slightly longer and matched the color of their own. His human ears eventually vanished and he instead had two roundish ears on his head as a long tail grew out from his back while he was seated. As they came from an entire tribe of Snow Leopards, they immediately recognized that Vahn had somehow transformed into their race. For various reasons, they suddenly felt more excited about the future prospects and put more efforts into their training.

Unaware of the small event he had triggered, Vahn then returned to his human form for a moment to recover his energy. Even though it didn’t take much energy to sustain, the actual transformation using [Thria*Mimos] was incredibly costly. After resting for a few minutes, Vahn turned his attention to Haruhime and noticed that she was staring at him with a somewhat fervent gaze and gleaming eyes. He wasn’t aware of it, but she had also seen him transform into a Snow Leopard and was expecting that he would also become a Renard.

Though Vahn wasn’t sure of Haruhime’s gaze, he used [Thria*Mimos] and his hair turned from dark brown to a light blonde as pointed ears grew from his head with a slight curve. He also had bushy white fur growing out of them while a long tail grew from his backside. Haruhime’s eyes widened at the sight and Vahn couldn’t help but smile seeing her reaction. Because he was curious, Vahn also tested the feel of his own tail to see how it compared to Haruhime’s. Seeing his action, Haruhime had an elegant, yet excited, smile on her face as she was tempted to walk over and let Vahn compare to two directly before she got a stern look from Ryuu. Sticking out her tongue slightly and laughing, Haruhime returned to her training in earnest and pushed herself even harder.

Since he had been watching from the sides, Vahn noticed that the twins and Haruhime had both increased the intensity of their training after his transformations. He wondered if he had somehow inspired the girls and it brought a small smile to his face as he returned to his human form and meditated. His next target was Fenrir and the moment he looked over at her Vahn could see her scarlet eyes and she shouted, “Me next, do me next~!” Though some of the girls faltered, Milan began to laugh from the side as Vahn ground his teeth slightly.

After a brief hesitation, Vahn’s hair turned sharp and bristly as it transitioned from dark brown to midnight blue. Before he even finished the transformation, Fenrir stopped her training and ran over with wide eyes even when Ryuu called her back. Other than his eyes, which remained aquamarine, the rest of Vahn’s body changed to match the racial traits of Fenrir. Since he used her image as a reference, Vahn grew hair on his forearms and calves as his finger cracked a bit before shrinking back into claws. Fleshy pads grew on his palms and fingers as small claws sprouted from the tips. Vahn never realized how top-heavy Fenrir’s ears were since he could feel them flop slightly when he moved his head. Her action of tilting her head from side-to-side suddenly made a lot more sense to him.

As she had stopped right in front of him, Fenrir had seen Vahn’s complete transformation and patted the ground a bit before ‘happily’ plopping into his lap and shouting, “Same, Same, Vahn and Fenrir are the same~!” Since she was wearing her combat attire, the only clothes on Fenrir’s body was an Amazonian inspired top and bottoms. Though she was a bit on the thinner side, Fenrir still had the pleasant feeling of a girl combine with her somewhat bristly and warm smelling fur. Since he didn’t plan to transform like this often, Vahn extended his paws out, pad-side up, and held them out for Fenrir to happily grab. Though it wasn’t a normal way to hold hands, Vahn noticed that their paws fit together well up until he was suddenly poked by Fenrir’s claws.

Realizing she had poked Vahn, Fenrir let go of his paws and bounced out of his lap with an ‘apologetic’ look on her face and a somewhat sad expression in her eyes. Since she was immune to her own claws, Fenrir thought that Vahn, who looked like her, was also the ‘same’. Vahn laughed her reaction away as he bounded up to his fit and showed that the wounds had already healed. Though it was a bit awkward, Vahn patted Fenrir on the head with his paws before sending her back to training. Before she turned away to follow his words, Fenrir still bowed slightly and said, “I’m sorry Vahn…”

Vahn was briefly surprised before a pleasant smile appeared on his face as he watched the wolf girl run back to the rest of the group. Since she had a somewhat selfish personality by default, Vahn was happy to see Fenrir being considerate of others and even apologizing. He felt like it had a lot to do with Milan’s influence and maybe the introduction of Preasia into her life so he was happy to see her maturing somewhat.

After recovering his energy through meditation, Vahn transformed into a sheep person under the ever-present gaze of Preasia and noticed that the balance of his head felt wrong. Since he had never had anything like horns, Vahn was somewhat uncomfortable in the form but still showed a polite smile to Preasia. Though her expression hadn’t changed much, Vahn could see her aura flare up a bit when she watched him and he even gained a marginal amount of affection from her. She, like the other ‘former slave’ girls, had all been touched by him when he removed their slave crests previously.

Though Preasia’s original affection toward him was only twenty, it had slowly crept up into the lower 70s in the last few days. As for the twins, they actually had identical affections of 81 and had stabilized between 79-81. As for the girls that weren’t around, Mona had an affection of 58, Shizune had an affection of 52, and Shiva, unexpectedly, actually had an affection of 85. Since she also started in the low values, Vahn wasn’t sure what she was doing after they parted to grow fonder of him over time. He expected she would show up again in the future and was also somewhat curious to learn what she had been up to in her absence.

After returning to his human form, Vahn continued to meditate silently for around twenty minutes until he heard Tina shout, “Aren’t you going to turn into a cat perso~nya!?” Vahn opened his eyes and saw the small cat girl fuming as she stared at him with slightly moist eyes. Vahn’s brows raised and he looked over toward Milan to see her covering her mouth and stifling a laugh. Realizing he had transformed into the race of every other girl, Vahn couldn’t blame Tina for holding a grudge since it could have seemed like she had been left out. Rising to his feet, Vahn slowly transformed into a male cat person with chestnut brown hair and aquamarine eyes.

Though she had a somewhat bitter expression before, Tina’s eyes rounded when she saw the ‘new and improved’ Vahn. He was very handsome as a human, but she felt her heart pulse powerfully in her diminutive chest after seeing his Cat Person transformation. However, though she felt very excited, there was also a strange longing that made her feel a bit of sadness in her heart that she didn’t quite understand.

Vahn had seen her aura fluctuate a bit and looked over to see that Milan also had a reminiscent look in her eyes as she stared blankly at Vahn. Though he wasn’t certain, Vahn felt like he was suddenly being compared to Milan’s late husband and Tina’s father. Both girls had a different kind of longing in their eyes and Vahn felt a strange pressure suddenly bear down on his mind as he followed his original intentions and used Shundo to appear in front of Tina. The reason he had stood up earlier was to step forward and console Tina, but now he felt a little intimidated by the small cat girl in front of him.

Tina was only around 115cm tall presently, so she was much shorter than the rest of the girls in the area. Even Hestia stood nearly a full head over the small girl so Vahn usually had to kneel down if he wanted to make direct eye contact with her. Though he originally only wanted to pat her on the head, Vahn noticed the excited expression on Tina’s face fade a bit when he approached as she looked up into his face with wide, slightly moist, eyes. Vahn showed a gentle smile and decided to do what felt natural so he bent down and picked up Tina by her arms before hugging her into his chest. He supported her bottom with his forearm and patted her back as he gave an apologetic expression to Ryuu and walked over toward Milan.

When Vahn stepped in front of her, Tina suddenly felt a bit of sadness seize her heart and she couldn’t help but look into his eyes with a pleading expression. Seeing his gentle smile, a bit of happiness fought against the sadness and Tina felt even better when Vahn picked her up. Though they had hugged a lot, and even slept together, in the past, it was a big difference from how she currently felt. Tina suddenly felt very safe in Vahn’s arms as she rested the side of her head against his shoulder. She didn’t know why, but she began crying a bit as Vahn carried her over to her Mother and the three shared a short hug before Vahn carried her into the warm interior of the Manor.

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