After the mark had fully formed, the twins opened their eyes and saw their two halves of Vahn’s face on their hands before laughing together. Vahn saw how happy they were and explained, “I’m not sure if it will have the same effect as the original since there is still a lot I’ve yet to discover about the [Mentor] Development Ability. We’ll see how well the two of you fight together before heading back to the surface. It’s starting to get a bit late, and it’s not necessary for us to stay here for too much longer.” In response to his words, the twins faced toward Vahn and bowed politely and said, “Yes, Vahn-sama~!” Vahn’s smile widened because it was always interesting to see identical girls acting in concert with each other. Even their outfits were exactly the same, and the only difference between them was that Emiru had a slight hole in her blouse and there was a different half of his face on their left hands.
Before they set out to hunt more monsters, Ryuu looked toward Vahn and asked, “Should I return to the surface then?” Vahn blanked for a moment before turning his gaze and stared into Ryuu’s sky-blue eyes and stalling his words a bit. Before he answered, she showed a small smile and said, “Make sure you watch over them properly. I know you should be fine, even if I’m not here to take care of you.” Ryuu handed Vahn the [Rallying Whistle] and a pouch full of potions that he stowed away in his inventory. Since her presence would actually stall the progress of the twins, it wouldn’t be possible for her to accompany them without experiencing some diminishing returns.
Vahn felt a little awkward having Ryuu leave so quickly, so he reached his hands loosely around her waist and they shared a short hug that made Ryuu lower her head a bit. Since she didn’t like to show affection in front of others, she was a little embarrassed being seen by the twins but didn’t make any attempts to pull away either. After a few long seconds had passed, Vahn released Ryuu and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow, unless you intend to stay at the Manor tonight…” Though there wasn’t any ‘intent’ behind his words, all three girls misunderstood what he said as Ryuu’s ears wiggled a bit before she turned away and started running out of the dungeon without responding.
After watching her back for a short while, Vahn turned to see the twins giving him a strange look that caused his brows to furrow slightly. They noticed his expression before small smiles appeared on their faces as if nothing had happened at all. After shaking his head, Vahn led the two girls deeper into the dungeon until they found a room with three Goblins, and a single Kobold skulking about. Vahn whispered quietly to the twins, “From now on, you don’t have to focus so much on attacking yet…I want you two to work together and evade the monsters and create openings for the other to exploit. Focus on the connect between you and see if you can coordinate your actions…”
Emiru and Maemi nodded their heads at the same time before marching out into the room. After they took a few steps, the monsters were alerted to their presence and the twins leaned low and began charging forward. They followed Vahn’s orders, so they didn’t immediately attack and tried to ‘shepherd’ the monsters within the room for nearly ten minutes until the monsters’ movements were interfering with each other. Vahn had been watching from the side and nodded his head approvingly at their tactics, but also knew it would be detrimental if the monsters were much stronger, and faster, than the two girls.
Even though Maemi had never used stones, or throwing weapons in general, she copied Emiru’s actions from earlier and they began to pelt the monsters while running around them in a counter-clockwise manner. Though the monsters didn’t have strong self-preservation instincts, they still began to shy away from the combined attacks of Emiru and Maemi as they tried to shield their faces. Vahn began to realize that the girls might have a talent for taming monsters, since he had read up on it a bit in the past. The only requirement was to eventually force a monster to submit without killing it, and it started to look like the four monsters within their encirclement were about to abandon the fight and try to run away.
Not long after Vahn had the thought, the Kobold tried to sprint away from the group and break the encirclement only to be greeted by Emiru’s dagger as she lopped off its head. Since it had foregone defensive actions, it had left its body and head exposed to attacks. The most important thing to note, however, was that Maemi was able to exploit the opening when the goblins tried to move toward Emiru’s flank to attack them from behind. She stabbed her dagger into the back of the Goblins shoulder blades and pierced its magic core before moving to attack the second one. The Goblins were confused about who to attack as Emiru turned around and both twins dispatched the Goblins before they were able to decide which direction to attack. After they had all vanished, both of the twins fell to their butts simultaneously which caused Vahn’s brows to raise slightly.
Since he had been watching the fight through his [Eyes of Truth], Vahn was able to tell that they were, in fact, very tired. However, he could also tell they hadn’t used up enough stamina to collapse as Maemi had done previously. The fact that they both fell at the same time told him that they either experienced a mental load from focusing on the connection, or they had come to an agreement to try and get him to pamper them both. Judging by how their tails flickered about when Emiru gave him a sidelong glance, Vahn assumed it was the latter of the two possibilities. Vahn thought their actions were rather adorable and had a small smile on his face because they had acted synchronously to put on the act together.
After a brief moment of thought, Vahn felt like teasing them while also testing something out at the same time. He walked over to where the two girls were sitting and asked, “Do you need me to help you recover, or would you like a stamina potion?” At the same time, both girls raised their right hands and chimed, “Help us, Vahn-sama~!” Vahn nodded his head and kneeled down next to Emiru as he said, “I want to test something out to see how the connection between the two of you works. Since I was able to help heal your wound earlier, I want to see if recovering your stamina affects Maemi. Focus your mind and relax your body…” Emiru’s ears twitched up and she had a pleased expression on her face as Maemi’s ears flattened and she adopted a dejected appearance.
Vahn saw their reactions and wanted to laugh, but he instead said in a firm tone, “Emiru, Maemi, this is very important to discover the best method to help the two of you grow stronger in the future. Please, focus your minds and relax…if it works as intended, you should be able to feel the same sensations Maemi.” Though she had been preparing to comply with his words at first, Maemi’s ears shot back up after she heard the second half of Vahn’s statement. She locked eyes with Emiru and they both nodded before closing their eyes. Vahn waited for a little while before he noticed the twins’ breathing began to synchronize. Out of curiosity, he used [Eyes of Truth] to investigate and noticed that, though their hearts weren’t in concert yet, they were beginning to match each others rhythm.
After waiting for around two minutes, Vahn noticed the twins had started to overlap their actions perfectly and he was even able to tell that their auras had started to turn the same. Confident in his next actions, Vahn placed his palm against Emiru’s back and used [Hands of Nirvana] to help recover any stress injuries in her body while replenishing her stamina a bit. He immediately noticed that there was a strange incongruity in his usage of the skill since it seemed to be operating at half efficacy, even though he was performing the routine normally. Though this might have confused him at first, Vahn smiled after realizing this and turned his attention to Maemi and noticed that his own energy had spread to her body even though he wasn’t in contact with her at all. There was a bit of ‘loss’ during the transfer, but this allowed Vahn to verify that he was, in fact, able to benefit both twins at the same time while focusing his efforts on a single girl.
Once Emiru was fully restored, Vahn continued to replenish her energy to top off Maemi as he reached up with his free hand and gingerly poked the back of her ear. It was an almost negligible touch, but Vahn saw that both Emiru’s and Maemi’s ears twitched at the same time and he felt an urge to laugh with how interesting their reactions were. He was very tempted to conduct a few other experiments, but there were more pressing matters at the moment so he removed his hand from Emiru’s back and said, “This is actually one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen…you two share a powerful bond between each other and can actually influence one-another without touching. However, as it was seen earlier, this can also be a double edged sword since you both share the same injuries when you are synched up and experiencing powerful emotions.”
Hearing Vahn’s words, both girls nodded their heads and had their attention focused entirely on everything he was saying. Though they already knew they had a special connection, as they’d spent their entire lives together, it was only today that they realized how truly unique it was. The most important thing to them, however, was the fact they were able to share their senses and experienced the same pleasant feelings while also growing stronger at the same time. Unlike the other girls, who could only use the Mentor Mark individually, they were able to work together and benefit from each other’s progress.
After going over his hypothesis for a bit, Vahn took the twins to another room where there were only two Kobolds. He nodded his head and said, “Okay, I want to try something new this time…” Vahn stroked his chin for a bit before he continued, “I’ll keep Maemi here and use [Hands of Nirvana] to help keep her body in an optimal condition while Emiru fights the Kobolds. You don’t have to focus on defeating them quickly, just try to move around as much as you can and I want to see if you’re able to benefit from the energy transmitted through Maemi and continue the fight for a longer period of time.”
The twins nodded their heads before locking eyes with each other as if they were having a conversation that Vahn couldn’t hear. He squinted his eyes slightly until they nodded at each other and Emiru charged into the room with her weapon drawn. Maemi moved over and muttered, “Vahn-sama, if you please…” Vahn complied with her request and placed his palm against her back before using [Hands of Nirvana] to replenish her already full energy reserves. Since she was focused on the connection with Emiru, Vahn was able to see her muscles twitch about as if they were simulating combat even though she was standing idly at the side.
Vahn watched as Emiru stretched her limits and continued going without stopping for even a moment until nearly twenty minutes had passed and both Kobolds eventually died from blood loss. She had left several small cuts on their bodies and they were unable to keep up with how quickly she was able to change direction. Though they were actually faster than her, Emiru was incredibly nimble and was able to sidestep and rapidly change direction because she had been developing her footwork in the morning with Ryuu and Aki.
After the Kobolds had fallen, Vahn could see that Emiru was having small muscle spasms like she had over-drafted her body by a large amount. Though not nearly as much as her twin, Maemi was experiencing something similar and this caused Vahn to have a very serious expression on his face. Emiru had been able to continue the fight because her stamina continued to replenish, but the mental strain had taxed her greatly and it started to whittle away at how well she was able to control her body. This was both a good and bad, at the same time, since it showed they would be able to push their limits beyond normal levels with his assistance. There was even a high chance they would develop skills over time or even awaken rare abilities in the future. The major downside, however, was the fact that it could leave a trauma in their minds and bodies if they pushed themselves too far. There was a lot of adrenaline pumping through Emiru’s body currently and she was very on edge because of the extended engagement.
Though he could do it through Maemi as a proxy, Vahn walked over before placing a futon on the ground and saying, “Relax your body for a bit, I’ll help calm your nerves. If you’d like, you can lay down as well for the time being, Maemi.” Emiru released a long sigh after hearing Vahn’s words before she dropped to her knees and collapsed face-first onto the futon with a tired expression even though her body had plenty of energy. Maemi had also been affected by her state, so she laid down next to Emiru and they very naturally held each others’ hands and tried to relax even though they were in the dungeon.
Before he kneeled down to the left of Emiru, Vahn realized he was probably teaching them bad practices, since they should never really drop their guards. However, he had spent time with the Loki Familia and noticed that they were often relaxed around each other without being overly tense as he had learned to be when adventuring solo. He expected it was good for both the body, and the mind, to not stay in such a tense state all the time and you should be able to rely on your party members more to share the awareness of your surroundings. Vahn also had his domain, so the twins weren’t wrong to trust that he would alert them if things got dangerous.
Vahn began to casually massage Emiru’s body and realized that he had never performed his techniques on any of the girls that he had saved recently. He actually really liked to perform his massages, and had even intended to work it into his schedule in the future. The fact he had ‘held back’ for so long against the former slave girls caused a wry smile to appear on his face. Though he knew there could be a ‘stimulating’ factor to the massage, Vahn didn’t consider it to be sexual in nature and there was no real harm in performing it on the girls around him. It might cause their affections for him to rise, but that didn’t mean he had to let it develop into feelings, nor did he have to reciprocate their advances. Since they were also being ‘suppressed’ by Fenrir, Vahn figured it would be good for their bodies if he tended to them after the more intense fights in the dungeons.
Less than ten minutes after he began, Emiru had already turned to putty under his hands because she had almost no resistance against his S-Ranked technique as a mere Level 1. Maemi had also been affected and Vahn got to experience the somewhat peculiar scenario where he was able to massage two girls at once, without ever having to lay a finger on the second girl. Though his instincts didn’t tell him he was being watched, Vahn compressed his domain to within 10m and applied [Stealth] to blur the surrounding environment. Just like when he used his [Heart of the Eternal Flame], Vahn was able to elevate the heat within his domain to an incredible extent by compressing his domain. Though he could still perceive everything perfectly, Vahn knew it was almost impossible to probe his domain with any type of detection spells without being present within the vicinity. Even Mikoto’s ability, that could track anyone within the same Familia, was useless when Vahn seriously concealed his presence.
Though he wasn’t absolutely certain things were safe, Vahn felt a little impatient and explained to the somewhat catatonic girls that he was going to check their Status Boards. Since she was the lesser affected of the two, Maemi nodded her head and murmured, “Yesss, Vahn-sama…mauuuu~” Vahn raised his brows a bit at the new response before shaking his head and focusing on the matter at hand. Though he had the intention of checking their Statuses, Vahn realized that the girls wore blouses that covered their entire torso. He had grown so accustomed to being around nude girls, that the matter had completely slipped his mind for a moment.
After a brief moment of hesitation, Vahn shook his head before rolling up the backs of the girls’ blouses and revealing their bare backs. Since they had been taught by Ryuu and Aki, both girls wore ‘tape’ over their breasts instead of bras, so their backs were completely exposed by his actions. Vahn proceeded to prick the tip of his index finger before tracing it down Emiru’s spine and drawing a line of blood. Her Status Board, which had been concealed previously, appeared on her back as the familiar Hestia Familia crest and Vahn thought it was very suitable for her. After the blue light faded, Vahn was able to interpret the glyphs on her back and record her status within the system before performing the same ceremony on Maemi. When he was done, Vahn fixed their clothing and waited for them to recover as he stared with a massive grin on his face after seeing their updated Status.
Name: Maemi Rain
Skill: [Gemini: Innate(E)]
Development Skill: –
Name: Emiru Rain
Skill: [Gemini: Innate(E)]
Development Skill: –