Chapter 318: First World Problems

Since he had never had the opportunity before, Vahn started telling Welf a bit about his past, including what he had been doing after arriving in the City. At first, Welf listened silently and made casual conversation with Vahn, but things quickly took a turn when Vahn mentioned saving Lili and then meeting Hephaestus. Welf closed up his shop early and pulled out a few glasses along with a bottle of strong alcohol and they both lazed about talking about various things, though Vahn was the one leading the conversation. By the time a few hours had passed, Vahn had told Welf about his interactions with girls, including how he first met Tiona and Ais, how things spiraled out of control when he moved in with the Anubis Familia, and even the matters regarding Laverna kidnapping Milan and Tina and the most recent matters concerning Haruhime and the Ishtar Familia.

Welf had long since started listening in silence as he slowly worked away at the contents of his glass until Vahn eventually wrapped things up with his concerns regarding his current relationships with women. Since Vahn and Welf were nearly the same age, he was hoping that he could rely on Welf to give him some advice, but the only thing he got from the red-haired youth was ‘dead fish eyes’ and an exasperated sigh. Welf held up his glass and asked, “So, let me get this straight…you’re now a [Master Smith]…you’re getting married to Hephaestus, and a beautiful half-elf girl that works for the Guild…you’re in an active relationship with the goddess of your own Familia…as well as Loki, and most likely that Anubis woman…plus several other girls, some of which you haven’t even known for more than a week…?”

Hearing how Welf pointed out matters, Vahn nodded his head before gulping down the entire contents of his glass. Even though he couldn’t get drunk, he felt a strange urge to finish off the drink as if driven by some primal instinct. Welf saw Vahn’s actions and released a sigh before stating, “Man, you’re a real monster…you know, it’s almost hard to ‘not’ hate you right now. Not only do you get to be with the woman I idolized, but you actually have the capabilities to make her happy…yet, instead of being content with that, now you’re building some kind of massive harem…even though you apparently aren’t doing anything to build it? It doesn’t make any sense…yeah, I get that your handsome, wealthy, and also pretty strong, but s*** man…”

Vahn showed a wry smile before pulling out another bottle of alcohol and saying, “All I’ve ever done was try my best…I just try to make the girls happy, it’s not like I’m going out of my way to collect them or anything…” Welf held out his glass for Vahn to fill before taking a sip of the somewhat expensive alcohol and musing, “Good stuff…” He released a hot sigh before giving Vahn a look similar to a glare and said, “Your problems aren’t really problems…most guys would probably willingly trade spots with you, even if they wouldn’t be able to manage things…” Welf released a sigh before shaking his head and continuing, “It’s really f***** up man. I know there has to be a reason behind everything, and you probably bust your ass, but it still makes me a little pissed off hearing you complain about things like this…”

Welf looked over and saw the ‘dejected’ look on Vahn’s face before releasing another sigh and saying, “Don’t worry about it, I know you wouldn’t be telling me all this unless you considered me a friend. Honestly, I’m more than a little jealous of you and that’s why I’m so annoyed…seriously man, you gotta explain to me what you do to get so many girls…do I need to start going into the dungeon or something? I’ve only ever been interested in becoming a great blacksmith, but now it feels like I’m wasting my time a bit…” Welf sloshed around the contents of his glass before downing the entire drink as if it were a shot. He released a steamy sigh because of the burning sensation that spread through his throat and body.

Vahn scratched his head and explained, “Honestly…well, I can kind of sense people’s emotions and stuff. I just treat the girls nicely and do what I can to protect them…other than that, I guess I pamper them a bit and buy them nice things since I like seeing them happy…I really don’t feel like I do much…” As he spoke, Vahn mimicked Welf’s actions and threw back his own glass before enjoying the bite of the strong liquor. He looked into Welf’s slightly glassy eyes and asked, “What do you usually do to get close to girls?”

Welf furrowed his brows and stared into the transparent brown alcohol in his freshly topped off glass as if he were ruminating over his response. After a long period of silence, he looked at Vahn with a conflicted expression and said, “I…don’t really do anything to try and approach girls. I guess I can’t really blame you for your success when I spent most of my time just researching and doing my own thing. Other than Hephaestus, Tsubaki, and those two girls staying with her, I don’t really really talk to any women unless they are customers…”

Hearing Welf’s confession, Vahn tilted his head and asked, “Huh, do you not like women?” In response to his question, Welf gave him an angry look and practically spat, “Of course I like women, what kind of dumbass question is that!? I…I just…don’t think about it that often…?” Welf sat back down, and a contemplative expression appeared on his face as he started to consider why Vahn had ‘enjoyed’ so much success. He definitely wasn’t always as capable as he currently was, but had to put in a lot of effort to obtain his current status. If his story was true, Vahn put in a lot of effort to please the girls around him, and it would make sense why they sought him since he provided them security, happiness, and other things…all he did was sit in his workshop most of the day unless he was going to a bar to release some stress.

Vahn noticed Welf’s silence and waited for a while before saying, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to make things difficult for you Welf…I just felt like I needed to talk to another guy since I’m usually so wrapped up in other matters.” Welf swatted his hands a few times, almost as if here were knocking Vahn’s words out of the air as he said, “Yeah, yeah, whatever man, I know…it’s also good for me to hang out with people every now and then as well. I feel like my eyes have been opened in various ways…” Welf released a long sigh and asked, “Tell me, Vahn, what do you think I need to do to get a girl of my own? I don’t really need a large number, just one would be fine…”

Hearing Welf’s question, Vahn began to seriously consider the matter by taking into consideration Welf’s personality, characteristics, and what he had learned from interacting with various women. After a while, Vahn turned to him and asked, “Well, what kind of girls do you like? I’ve started to understand that everyone has certain preferences, so my advice would probably depend on the type of girl you want to be with.” Welf nodded his head and took a swig from his glass before saying confidently, “I like mature, confident, and capable women. Preferably, they need a big pair of tits and a plump ass…” For a moment, a blush appeared on Welf’s face and Vahn squinted his eyes in curiosity but didn’t get to ask before Welf continued, “Honestly…I’d like a strong woman that can…look after me a bit.” Welf hung his head low as if he were incredibly embarrassed by his own words.

Vahn quickly imagined the people closest to Welf, which were previously Hephaestus and Tsubaki. He realized that both women met Welf’s ‘preference’ and wondered if they had helped shape his mentality through exposure. Though he didn’t mind trying to set him up with Tsubaki, Vahn could tell there weren’t any of those types of affections between her and Welf. If anything, Tsubaki had a mild interest in him, and Vahn was also interested to see if he could help her have a child in the future. Since he obviously wouldn’t help set Welf up with Hephaestus, Vahn began to consider any other girls he might know as he quickly began eliminating options in his mind.

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By the time he was done ‘narrowing’ down the possibilities, Vahn realized that he actually considered a lot of the girls to be out of the running because of their affections toward himself. Though he didn’t mind if they liked someone else, Vahn felt a little uncomfortable with setting them up with someone through his own actions. Since they liked him, it would feel as if he were looking down on their emotions and trying to throw them away to be someone else’s problem. There was also the fact that, the only ‘mature’ women he knew, that he wasn’t in some form of relationship with, were Mona, Mama Mia, Tsubaki, Shiva, Milan, and the receptionist girl he had met when he first entered the Guild, Fauna.

Because of his interactions with Tsubaki and Milan, Vahn could easily remove them from the list, even though they technically matched Welf’s requirements. Though he couldn’t say why, Vahn felt like Welf would enjoy a relationship with Mona, even though she was very weak. She might be a little plump, but she also had a very mature body and a kind disposition that seemed like she was the type to pamper others. As for Mama Mia, Vahn wasn’t even sure she had an interest in men anymore, and she would probably ‘break’ Welf on accident.

There was a huge difference between a veteran Level 6 and a novice Level 1, not to mention that Mama Mia was in her 50’s and much larger than Welf since she was a Half-Giant. The last girl, at least amongst those that readily came to mind, was the Dark Elf, Shiva. Vahn wasn’t even sure she was still in the City, not if they would ever meet again in the future. However, if she did return, Vahn felt like she would get along with someone like Welf, and she also had a strong personality and a somewhat lascivious body. Though it seemed a little shameless, Vahn guessed he would be able to persuade her to give Welf a chance if she came asking to ‘repay’ her debts.

When Vahn remembered Shiva’s debts, he also thought of the Amazon girls that had recently tried to join his Familia before his eyes opened wide. For a brief moment, Vahn almost stood up excitedly before shaking his head and relaxing in the chair. Since Welf was only a Level 1, it would be almost impossible for him to maintain a relationship with an Amazon. Even if one gave him a chance, they would probably up and leave him the moment they got pregnant. Though he might be able to ask Aisha to ‘look after’ Welf, Vahn didn’t think it was right to burden her like that.

While Vahn was thinking, Welf had been paying close attention and saw all the changes in Vahn’s expression. Though it wasn’t to the extent of the girls, Welf was able to ‘read’ Vahn by watching how ‘vocal’ his facial expressions were when he was lost in thought. He had seen the struggle in Vahn’s eyes after ruminating for a while and had also seen the excitement that briefly appeared before it almost immediately died. Welf finished off the contents of his glass and asked in a dejected manner, “Man, am I really such a s*** show that even you can’t think of a way to help me out?” Welf began to laugh at himself derisively before he tried to reach for the bottle and refill his glass.

Before he could grab it, however, Vahn snatched it away and had a serious look on his face as he said, “Welf, you’re not a bad guy at all…I’m just trying to consider things from every perspective. To be honest, I’ve thought of a few ways for you to approach a couple of girls, but the problem is…well, you’re kind of weak…and maybe a little unreliable as far as your financial situation is concerned.” Though it was a bit ‘rude’ to say, Vahn was trying to consider the happiness of the girls and knew it would be a struggle if they were seriously committed to Welf in the future. Welf didn’t take many customers, and he also didn’t sell many of the things he forged. He spent most of his time working away and conducting his research, and not too many girls would be fine with that unless they had a support system. Vahn started to realize why the ‘network’ used by the girls was such an important thing since they could always consult each other and seek the counseling of other members on the network.

Welf frowned and his brows furrowed low, but he didn’t argue with Vahn’s words at all. Even though they were nearly the same age, Vahn’s net worth well exceeded more than 100MV, and his property and assets were probably in the billions. As for himself, he only had about 140KV to his name, and most of that was for procuring materials and maintaining his own livelihood. He couldn’t do things like buying fancy clothes, purchasing expensive jewelry, or taking the girl out on long dates. He also didn’t leave his workshop often, and he couldn’t imagine a girl sticking around and helping clean up his mess while he ignored them for his own research. In fact, even though he often compared himself to Vahn, Welf had long realized that they weren’t even on the same level since their ‘rivalry’ started.

After Welf hung his head, Vahn refilled his glass and said comfortingly, “Welf, you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing your best, and there is plenty of time for you to actually find someone to chase after. If you really want my advice, I would suggest you spend more time with the other members of the Hephaestus Familia and even consider venturing into the dungeon as a Supporter until you can reach Level 2. I know you also want to be a [Master Smith] someday, but you’ll never be able to reach that goal if you’re still Level 1. You can’t even get the [Blacksmith] Development Ability unless you reach Level 2 after all…”

Welf nodded his head before taking a sip of the alcohol and saying, “Yeah, I…know you’re right…especially seeing what you’ve been able to pull off even though we’re the same age. Tsubaki had pretty much beat that into me in the past, but I just blew her off and wasted the last few years while brooding over my own b*******…feels like I tripped myself up at the starting line and then decided to take a break or something…” Welf was lazily staring at the contents of his glass was berating himself yet again.

Vahn frowned because he realized he probably did the same thing as the current Welf, and that was the reason why he worried the girls around him so often in the past. It was too easy to beat yourself up over things that happened in the past, even though there was nothing the past could do to actually stop you from moving forward. The only thing you needed to do in order to chase your dreams was take that initial step and never look back. Vahn thought the current Welf was somewhat pitiful so he said, “Welf, if nothing else, the thing I’ve learned that women look for in a man…is confidence and empathy. If you don’t act like a man worth being with, you’ll never be able to find a good woman…only someone that takes pity on you.”

Welf frowned but didn’t argue with Vahn as he considered the words for a moment. He noticed that, even though he was drunk, Vahn’s words stuck with him and he was able to focus on them even though his mind was hazy. He wasn’t aware that Vahn had been secretly using [Hands of Nirvana] through his domain to help diffuse the alcohol in Welf’s bloodstream for a while so he retained his clarity. The only thing he knew was that Vahn’s words seemed to resonate with something deep inside of him and it made him want to improve himself and be a better man.

Vahn nodded approvingly and took a swig of his alcohol before saying, “If you’re just worried about women in general, I know a few Amazon’s that I can introduce you to. If you have no aversion toward Beast Humans, I also know a relatively beautiful Cow Person that meets a lot of your requirements. However, even if I introduce the girls to you, it’s ultimately up to you to win their hearts. Though it might be a good idea to seek counsel from others regarding matters of the heart, everyone is responsible for finding their own happiness…their own love.” Hearing Vahn’s words, Welf gave him a questioning look before a crooked smile appeared on his face. He placed his elbow on the table and said, “Tell me about these Amazons…and this Cow Person…she must have an impressive pair of tits on her, right?”

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Vahn raised his glass to his lips with a ruminating smile before tilting the glass a bit and saying, “Yeah, I think she might have the biggest pair I’ve ever seen…though, they definitely can’t hold a candle to a certain airheaded goddess…” Though he wasn’t trying to ‘insult’ Hestia, Vahn couldn’t help but laugh a bit at being able to ‘vent’ to Welf in a casual manner. Welf had heard his remark and an incredulous look appeared on his face as he asked, “Do you mean that chibi goddess with the black hair and the handlebars?” Vahn spit out the alcohol that he had just poured into his mouth after hearing Welf call Hestia’s twin-tails ‘handlebars’. Without concerning himself over the spill, Welf commented, “I don’t know how you can do it man…I like the ‘big’ girls myself.” Welf had been gesturing with his hands as if he were tracing the outline of a woman before he continued, “She looks like a midget, even if she is a goddess…well, she is still better than that super shortie Pallum sidekick of your’s…”

Though Vahn was still listening to Welf’s words, he couldn’t help but imagine a strange scene that might appear in the future between him and Hestia. After a while, Vahn managed to shake the image from his mind and decided to tease Welf a bit since he had taken a small amount of mental damage from his comments. He locked eyes with the red-headed youth and asked, “Welf, are you still a virgin?” It was Welf’s turn to nearly choke on his drink, because Vahn had waited until he had a large mouthful before asking his question. A bit of the expensive liquid had even shot out of Welf’s nose as he said, “I’ve been busy! Not everyone meanders about playing with several women like a certain dumbass without any common sense.”

Vahn knew that Welf was ‘insulting’ him, but he showed a polite smile and nodded his head as he asked, “Well, some of the girls I know…lets just say they have a bit of experience. If I introduce them to you, there is a fair chance they might…eat you up?” Welf’s ruddy face turned somewhat crimson as he glared at Vahn without saying anything for several long seconds. Eventually, he pulled his glass up to his lips and sipped on the beverage for a while before saying, “Yeah…that doesn’t sound too bad.” Since Vahn had only intended to tease him, he was somewhat surprised by Welf’s interest in the suggestion. He quickly ran through the various Amazon’s in his mind before deciding to consult with Aisha to see if she had any suggestions. Vahn knew that there were some Amazons that were proactively looking for men, even in the Loki and Hephaestus Familia’s, so he didn’t think it was a bad idea to introduce one of them to Welf…at least until he could find a more permanent solution to help this lonely little red-headed friend of his.

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