Chapter 298: Relocation

Vahn spent a few minutes with the larger group as he performed several tests to see how the ability worked. As promised, he demonstrated it with Haruhime before Fenrir immediately jumped in and wanted to try it for herself. Vahn placed the mark on her shoulder and noticed that the mark on Haruhime’s hand disappeared before a small midnight blue cartoonish Fenrir appeared on his own shoulder. This allowed Vahn to understand that the mark only worked on one person at a time, which made sense seeing as how his current ‘Maximum’ was only one person.

As an extra test, Vahn tried to place the mark on the willing Preasia’s hand and noticed that it didn’t work at all. It seemed like the mark considers ‘allies’ to be those within his immediate Familia which prompted Preasia to want to join as a Supporter. Vahn tried to convince her to consider the matter in detail, but she ignored his words and went upstairs with Fenrir to look for Hestia. Vahn had a wry smile on his face before he was convinced by each girl within the room, with the exception of Ryuu, to place the mark on them just so they could see what their own looked like.

After parting with the larger group, Vahn went to look for Aki and noticed that she was also in Hestia’s room alongside Fenrir and Preasia. Vahn knocked on the door to announce his presence before stepping inside and pausing as four pairs of eyes turned to him. He still had his hand on the door, and Vahn slowly backed through it before pausing in front of the closed door with a somewhat incredulous look on his face as he berated himself. Because Preasia had gone to Hestia to join the Familia, he had walked in during the ceremony and she had been facing toward the door without her sweater on. Vahn had seen the sheep girl in nothing but a pair of white shorts and stockings as her upper body was completely bare.

Vahn waited outside the door for a little while until Aki exited the room with a subtle smile on her face and commented, “Preasia said she didn’t mind if you watched.” Vahn released a laugh mixed with a sigh as he shook his head and said, “I was actually looking for you when I came up. I wanted to know if you had heard anything about what was going on and if there is anything I can do to help.” Aki nodded her head before leaning with her back against the wall and explained, “Well, there was an incident not long ago where a group of Amazon’s had shown up near the Manor but were intercepted by the security teams in the surrounding area. Though their crests were inactive, they were still all members of the Isthar Familia and were detained for questioning. The leader of the group, named Aisha Belka, said she knew both you and Haruhime and I was going to inform you to head over and meet them when you found the time.”

Only allowed on

For various reasons, Vahn sat with his back against the wall and slid down until he was sitting on the floor as he stared up at the roof. Though he had a smile on his face, there was a strange sounding laugh coming from his throat that didn’t quite reach an audible level, at least for normal people. Since Aki had sensitive ears, she was able to detect the dry laughter so she sat down next to Vahn so that their shoulders were touching. With a kind smile on her face and a gentle expression in her eyes, Aki asked, “Do you want me to have them turned away?” Vahn immediately shook his head and explained, “No, she was telling the truth…she was the person protecting Haruhime before I was able to save her. Though we haven’t had many interactions, I still owe her a small debt and I’m sure Haruhime would like to see her. She has been cooped up in this Manor for too long as is…”

Aki’s ears twitched and she tilted her head to the side as she asked, “Then what’s wrong?” Suddenly, as if she realized what the matter was, Aki began to laugh in a humorous manner with her eyes squinted as she said, “You must be afraid all of those girls want to join the Familia. Well, it’s said that they’re all Amazons and the majority are around Level 3…so it would actually bolster our numbers quite a bit. You do know that, even if they actually did join, you don’t have to pursue any of them right~?” In response to Aki’s words, Vahn gave a mechanical laughter before explaining his first meeting with Aisha when he entered the red light district in the past. He also expressed that Amazons seemed to be easily influenced when impactful things happen to them and were pretty headstrong when it came to their own desires. Vahn was afraid that, if Aisha promoted him within the group, he would have a veritable horde of Amazons seeking his affections. When he finally has children with Tiona and confronts Kali, that would likely be the catalyst for a major event if his Familia was full of Amazons at the time.

Aki listened silently and contemplated Vahn’s words with a serious expression on her face before she asked, “Vahn, do you want our Familia to be very powerful in the future?” Vahn turned his expression toward the roof again before saying, “Yeah, I’d like for us to be very strong…but I think it’s fine if we just improve the Alliance’s strength as a whole instead of just focusing on ourselves…” Though he had realized something from his own words, Aki beat him to the punch and exclaimed, “Then the solution is simple, you can just have them join the other Familias. Since we don’t have any active involvement with anyone within the Isthar Familia, it wouldn’t be a violation of the Guild’s probation to send prospective members to other Familia within the Alliance. You should know, but even a Familia that focuses on elites like the Freya Familia still has more than a thousand members within its ranks. Eventually, you’ll have to create several core groups like the Loki Familia while growing our ranks in the future…this is the reason why I said the residences shouldn’t be the same as the actual Manor for the Familia.”

Vahn nodded his head in agreement with Aki, but he couldn’t help but feel like things wouldn’t go so smoothly. Because of Aki’s words, Vahn actually realized there was no detriment to accepting the Amazon’s into the Familia because it would help bolster their numbers. It was also an opportunity to start spreading out the management of the Familia and start building a stronger foundation for the future. Since there were ‘too many’ girls for him to accidentally get involved with, Vahn figured it would actually allow for men to join the Familia in the future, as long as he made the Manor the central hub and not the core residence of the Familia. Since the Amazons were all ‘experienced’ women, they would naturally bring men into the Familia over time as long as Vahn restricted ‘working’ as a prostitute. This would make it harder if he wanted to treat his Familia like a family in the future though…

Shaking his head, Vahn stood up from the floor and helped Aki stand before saying, “I’ll go ahead and meet with Aisha for now. I’ll discuss the matter with Loki and Hephaestus and see if they have any ideas…it might even be possible that the Amazons have no intention of staying with a Familia at all.” Aki displayed a polite smile before heading into her own room to grab a communication scroll to accompany Vahn and update the network in real time. Afterward, they headed downstairs to inform Haruhime about Aisha and the four, alongside Mikoto, made their way to the location where the Amazon troupe was currently located.

Because they had the strongest information network, the Loki Familia were the ones to intercept Aisha’s group, even though the leader of the security detail was a lower level than Aisha herself. Since her group had no intention of actually engaging in combat, they surrendered without a fight and hadn’t even brought any weapons along with them when they initially approached the Manor. They were currently all within a nearby storage warehouse that was being used as a central location for the Loki Familia security detail that had been monitoring the Hearth Manor. There were also representatives of the Guild present and it didn’t take long before Vahn was asked to make a short statement before being led toward the room where Aisha was being held.

Within the room, Aisha was cuffed to a table and Vahn could see that she wasn’t in the best condition even though her expression was calm. It didn’t seem like she had been mistreated, but it also didn’t look as though she had been treated cordially either. Because she wore incredibly revealing clothing, it looked like a pitiable sight and Vahn immediately destroyed the cuffs binding her even though the nearby Guild personnel complained. Vahn gave the woman a fierce glare with his [Will of the Emperor] before she evacuated from the room to make her report.

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Aisha rubbed her wrists and had a relieved smile on her face after seeing Haruhime behind Vahn with misty eyes. She stood up from the table and said, “Looks like I owe you another one, Vahn Mason…It’s good to see you safe Haruhime; I assume you’ve been treated well after our little ‘hero’ saved you?” Haruhime overlayed her hands in the center of her chest and responded with a happy voice even though her eyes were beginning to tear up, “Yes~! If it weren’t for you, Aisha, I wouldn’t have been able to live long enough to find my happiness…thank you so much!”

Mikoto, who had been standing next to Haruhime, bowed low and in a very respectful tone said, “Greetings, this may be our first time meeting, but know that I owe you a debt of gratitude for the efforts you put into protecting my friend. I am Yamato Mikoto, and I will do my best to repay this debt in the future!” Though it had a bit of a seductive undertone, Aisha smiled gently at the two girls before dismissing Mikoto’s words by saying, “Relax kid…I’ve already benefited greatly from everything that has happened. Because of Vahn freeing me from Ishtar’s control, I was able to protect the lives of hundreds of my sisters in the ensuing chaos. The members I brought with me are just the elites that wish to find a better life within the City, as well as a few girls who wanted to remain for personal reasons. Nobody owes me anything…in fact, it should be my duty to repay the debts I owe to others.”

Though he had a powerful urge to release a pent-up sigh, Vahn’s expression retained a gentle smile as he listened to the two ‘honor-bound’ girls talk about who owes the other a debt. He could tell by Aisha’s words that she would probably want to join the Hestia Familia and watch over Haruhime in the future and knew that some of the Amazons would likely wish to accompany her. Before she pitched the idea herself, Aki, who had been writing away on the scroll, suddenly stood up and had a very business-like smile on her face as she said, “Aisha, I’ve been talking with Loki-sama, and I think we’ve come up with a good solution if you’re thinking about relocating the Amazon’s within the City.”

Aisha turned her head toward Aki with a curious expression on her face as Aki’s smile widened and she explained, “Hello, my name is Anakitty Autumn, I’m the lieutenant of the Hestia Familia and Vahn’s personal assistant when it comes to matters like this.” Though Vahn had been the one to officially accept Aki as his Lieutenant, this was the first time he had heard her call herself his personal assistant. He raised his brow slightly but didn’t refute her words even though he saw the somewhat playful look in her eyes.

Continuing her earlier words, Aki turned toward Aisha and said, “You will understand it better in the future, but the Hestia Familia has been wrapped up in a series of controversies as of late. It wouldn’t be a good idea for members of the now-defunct Ishtar Familia to suddenly join the Hestia Familia since they had only recently been in contention with one another. Even though the Freya Familia were the ones to take action, it would be very difficult to sway public opinion to not label Vahn as one of the colluding forces behind the return of a second goddess to Heaven. Though it may be possible to accept a few members, it would be ideal if the majority of the Amazons you had brought with you were split into the Familia that made up the Alliance so they would have a better chance of interacting with others and experiencing some degree of personal happiness. As it stands, if everyone suddenly joins the Hestia Familia, it would cause a division within the current members because your group massively outnumbers the present members of the Familia in both size and strength.”

Though he didn’t vocalize it, Vahn suddenly felt very grateful for Aki’s presence and the solution that had been put forth by Loki and the other girls on the network. He nodded his head in affirmation and showed a genuine smile as he explained to Aisha,”I’ve already received a bunch of help from outside forces and the majority of the members within my Familia are only Level 1. They’ve been working hard to improve and we’ll be making gradual progress within the dungeon as we try to increase the rank of the Familia in the future. I think it wouldn’t benefit their growth if there was a sudden influx of powerful women surrounding them as it would inhibit their desire to grow stronger. Since they each wish to be capable adventurer’s, I wouldn’t want to see them relegated to the role of a Supporter just because they were lower levels than members that joined after them.”

Aisha looked between the smiling faces of Vahn and Aki before one appeared on her own face and she said in a subtly seductive manner, “Ara~? If that is the reason, I certainly agree…but I feel like there is a little more the situation~?” With a somewhat amorous look on her face, Aisha stepped forward as if she were about to approach Vahn which caused Aki and Haruhime to have varying responses. Aki’s smile didn’t change at all as she moved to intercept Aisha while Haruhime moved closer to his body and grabbed the sleeve of his tunic as she said, “Miss Aisha…”

Without stepping forward, Aisha hugged her body and began to laugh in a somewhat unconstrained manner before wiping at a bit of moisture from her eye. It wasn’t that she was crying, but she had thought the current situation was quite funny and couldn’t help but laugh hard enough to make a bit of moisture appear in her eyes. She played around with the clasp of her bottoms that closely resembled lingerie and watched as Vahn clenched his teeth slightly in remembrance of their first meeting. After releasing a hot sigh, Aisha looked into Vahn’s eyes and said, “Well, even though I wouldn’t mind having a go myself…I don’t want to step on the toes of the precious girls around you currently. Just remember that I’ll eventually repay my debts in the future, okay Vahn~?”

After another short exchange, everyone within the room sat down and began to discuss the matter of the Amazon’s relocation. It was decided that the majority of their members would go to the Hephaestus Familia since they were in need of capable combatants for some of their missions. The rest, including Aisha herself, would be going to the Loki Familia and becoming members of the second and third parties in order to support the executive members. Aisha was going to be made the commander of the third group and it would be comprised of several Amazons to make up the core of the party.

Accompanying Aishe, when they were parting ways, Vahn saw a somewhat young looking, very petite, Amazon who he learned from Haruhime was named Lena Tally. Even more surprising was the fact that she had an apparent connection with Bete within the Loki Familia and had decided to tag along with Aisha in order to get closer to him. Since Vahn’s impression of Bete was that he was a somewhat arrogant and abrasive person, he was surprised to see such a cheerful and innocent looking girl pursuing him. Though he didn’t know the specifics, they had apparently even slept together several times and she had been trying, to no avail, to get him to accept her as his actual lover instead of just as a prostitute. Since she was one of the girls that had been forcibly charmed by Isthar, Vahn took pity on her and wanted to see if he could help Bete open up to her in the future.

By the time Aisha’s group had dispersed, it was nearly lunch time and Vahn suddenly felt completely re-energized since things hadn’t turned out as problematic as he expected. He truly did have the desire to help his current members grow stronger, and most of the things he had said to Aisha were the truth. Because he now had the ‘Upgrade’ function and the [Mentor] Development Ability, Vahn wanted to see how he would be able to use them to help the girls grow much stronger within a short period of time. He also wanted to test the effects of the [Seal of the Challenger] to see if he could increase his own parameters by exposing himself to a bit of danger. Though he wasn’t foolish enough to delve into the lower floors with a small party, Vahn still wanted to try and fight the Goliath again to see how much progress he had made since their last encounter.

Now that the Ishar Familia was dealt with, and the Amazons were relocated, Vahn suddenly felt like a heavy weight had been removed from his shoulders. Even though he didn’t mind staying within the Manor, Vahn had long realized he wasn’t the type that liked to sit around and wait for things to happen. The last two weeks had been somewhat tense and he had been feeling a strong urge to get out of the Manor to explore the City and delve into the dungeon. He also missed going to the Hostess of Fertility and taking the girls out on dates.

Now that he suddenly had the major threats removed, the only thing he had to worry about was becoming strong, maintaining a schedule with the girls on the network, and working alongside Hephaestus and Loki to counteract anything Freya might throw at them. Though most of the details were already arranged, Vahn also wanted to start preparing for the approaching wedding as he had been looking forward to it for some time. He hadn’t told them about it yet, but Vahn had actually been working on wedding dresses for Hephaestus and Eina and intended to surprise them pretty soon. Imagining the bashful look on Eina’s face and the fierce blush on Hephaestus’s made him smile like an idiot.

Haruhime, who had been sitting at his side, took the opportunity to poke Vahn’s cheek with her index finger and say, “You seem very happy now, I’m glad~!” As if stirred to awareness by Haruhime’s words, Vahn’s smile diminished a bit as he began to think about the various things that could go wrong in the coming days…though he didn’t like to swear, Vahn couldn’t help but ‘invent’ a new phrase within his mind as he remarked, ‘Karma is a bitch…’.

(A/N: As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not releasing too much today since its Thanksgiving. I had to go eat with family and take care of a few things. I’ll still be releasing another 1-2 after this though (O,…,O)~!)

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