After Vahn finished confirming the total number of attendees five times, his casual smile turned into a somewhat wry one as he walked forward and said, “I-It’s good to see everyone together like this…hahaha.” In response to his awkward greeting, all of the girls present gave a variation of their own, though decidedly more chipper and affectionate than what he had managed. They had the ‘numerical’ advantage, so the pressure on them was a lot less than what Vahn himself was experiencing. Fortunately, there were a few girls that stepped forward to ease the tensions for Vahn, including Hephaestus, Eina, and Hestia. He shared an embrace with the three lovable girls, which also included a brief kiss, even with slightly blushing Eina.
Vahn felt a lot calmer after parting with the three girls and wasn’t as affected when Loki asked with a mischevious smile on her face, “Surprised by the hole you dug for yourself~?” Vahn shook his head and, with a fresh smile on his face, said, “Just a little overwhelmed honestly…I imagine any guy would probably pause after seeing so many beautiful girls in one place.” Though it was a simple compliment, Vahn could feel the auras of almost everyone in the room stabilize and take on various warm colors, including a few vibrant yellows, sky blues, and pinks. One of the reasons he had been ‘overwhelmed’ at first, was because the auras of the girls had been overlapping with each other, almost like they had become part of a greater whole and it was somewhat intimidating to see the chaotic state of the room when he first entered.
After exchanging greetings with everyone present, Loki took the initiative again and said, “Okay, we’ll be eating a light lunch and enjoying a few snacks for the next two hours or so. This is the time that has been allocated to Vahn, so please pay close attention and try not to interrupt unless its an important matter~! As everyone has noticed, we outnumber him a little, kekekeke~.” Piggybacking off of her words, Hephaestus nodded and said, “We originally got together like this for Vahn’s benefit, so it’s important we take into consideration his will on matters. Understanding and communication, just like what we have on the network, is important for everyone’s shared happiness.”
Vahn gave a grateful smile to the two goddesses before turning his attention to the larger group with a little more confidence. He noticed that, with few exceptions, every girl present was paying attention to his presence and waiting for his words with small smiles on their faces. Because he was going to be addressing them all, he was standing in the area where Hephaestus had been sitting previously as she moved off to the side to watch him from the front. Vahn took a deep breath before clearing the area around him and dropping to his knees in a smooth motion. Before the girls reacted to his unexpected behavior, Vahn placed his hands on the ground before pressing his forehead to the floor and saying, “First off, even if it may not be necessary, I want to apologize to everyone here!”
More than a few girls wanted to rise and have Vahn stand, but they were still following the advice of Loki and Hephaestus and just worried bit their lips instead of saying anything. Vahn kept his head bowed low as he continued, “I know how abnormal this situation is…even if everyone is okay with it, I know I’m not enough to guarantee that everyone here will always be happy. I will do my best to meet everyone’s expectations, but I am only one person…I can’t bear such a great burden all the time, so please forgive me.” After his words fell for a few seconds, Vahn raised his head and passed his gaze over everyone present as he said, “I won’t lie…I am truly grateful for the affections everyone has for me…and…I can’t help but want to be with everyone based on my own curiosity and intrigue. If it were just acting intimately with people…” Vahn clenched his teeth before an incredibly confident look appeared in his eyes and he said, “I would be able to manage without difficulty.”
Though his claim was ‘bold’, Vahn had confidence that, other than maybe Tiona, Tione, and Aisha, he was more than ‘capable’ of tending to every woman present if necessary. The problem was managing the relationships and making sure everyone was ‘happy’ in their everyday lives. At this point, Vahn rose to his feet and looked around at the various looks on the girls’ faces. Some were confused, but there was a fair number that had mild blushes and slightly expectant looks in their eyes. He nodded his head firmly before continuing, “The problem is, I know that isn’t healthy, nor is it the right thing to do given the current situation. The main reason I came here was to let my own stance on the matters be known, since I want to do my best to make sure everyone is able to understand what I’m going through during all of this…”
Vahn took a deep breath before saying, “I can’t always be around…because of my nature, and the things I want to accomplish in this life, I can’t guarantee I will be able to stay with everyone as much as I’d like to…as much as some of you might need me to. There will be times when I may even be gone for several months, and there is also a very real possibility that I could die to any number of unknown circumstances…because of that, I can’t easily involve myself with anyone that isn’t independent or capable of living without my presence. Though I will always do my best to protect everyone, it puts me under a great deal of mental and physical duress when I try to manage my life around the lives of others…”
A somewhat pained look appeared on Vahn’s face as he said, “I’m just…not strong enough. And I know things will only get more difficult in the future…so I ask that, if by some chance you find it in your heart to care for me…if you make the decision to honor me with your affections…you also have the expectation that, at any moment, I may not be able to be there when you need me. I want everyone to be self-reliant, especially when I have to take into consideration the matter of having children in the future. This network…I’m positive that, if I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet with Hephaestus and Eina, things wouldn’t have progressed so smoothly…”
Vahn briefly made eye contact with everyone in the room as he spoke before saying, “Because I am compelled to follow the path I’ve chosen for myself, I want everyone to have their own convictions, their own path, something that they’ve decided to dedicate themselves to in order to become happy…and that can’t be me alone. I can’t bear the burden of so many people having placed their expectations, their happiness, their burdens, all on my shoulders. And the simple truth is, I would do my best to bear it regardless of how much pain it caused me…until I eventually broke and made a mistake. If that happened, and it most likely would at some point, I’m not sure if I’d ever be able to recover from it…”
Though he didn’t kneel down, Vahn bowed to everyone present and said, “I know…I know what I’m saying is selfish…because I should be grateful that so many beautiful, kind, and capable women…that you’ve deemed me worthy of your affections. But, I have to think about the worst-case scenario…I have to take into consideration my own nature, my own desires, my own interests. If I deny them, I feel like I will lose my way…so please understand my standpoint…and do what you think is best for your own happiness. No matter how much it pains me, I will always support your decisions and do my best to guarantee you able to obtain what you seek…even if it is a path that diverges from my own…I just want everyone to be happy, and not reliant on me…even though I also will do my best to make myself reliable so that you are never in danger…”
The atmosphere within the Hostess of Fertility had almost grown eerily quiet, but Vahn actually felt a bit of relief since he could see that none of the girls present seemed to show any enmity toward him. Though some had fluctuations in their auras, none of them showed any negative emotions in regards to his words, and there were even a number of girls that had very loving expressions on their faces. Hephaestus was chief amongst them, but Eina, Aki, and even Syr, were both looking at him with gentle expressions with a hint of concern in their eyes. Chloe had a resolute expression and even girls like Tiona and Ais had kind smiles on their faces.
After a brief period of silence, Loki was the one to ask, “So, if you had to put forth any regulations of your own, what would they be?” Vahn ruminated over her words for a bit before saying, “Unless I feel like they have stabilized, I don’t want to be romantically involved with any girl under Level 3…I also don’t want too many girls to get pregnant at the same time…and…” Vahn swallowed a ‘knot’ that had found its way in his throat before he muttered in an awkward manner, “I want to…be able to…ummm…talk about the things I…want to try…on the network…” Even though he had mentally prepared himself, Vahn couldn’t help but blush when he talked about something so ‘deviant’. He couldn’t deny it, that he himself had a very strong interest in girls, so he wanted them to be aware of it and, for those that were interested, Vahn wanted to be able to communicate with them and try out the things he was interested in.
Though not everyone understood at first, it wasn’t long before the entire room, excluding Fenrir, understood what Vahn was trying to say. Loki herself burst out into laughter as she eyed the various reactions of the girls within the room. She wasn’t the only one, as there were a number of women present that were also exchanging glances with others within the room, especially Syr, who had a mild blush on her face and a slight glimmer in her light grey eyes. Vahn was also gauging everyone’s reactions and had seen several auras within the group flare up with a stronger touch of pink, while others were practically blazing about, especially Hestia, Tiona, Ais, and even Tione and Aisha.
Loki finally stopped laughing and gave a cursory glance over everyone before she asked in a playful tone, “Anything else~?” Vahn nodded his head and said, “I want to be a good father…so I’d like to be involved in raising my children when the time comes. Though I will probably be in the dungeon a lot, I’d like to be able to spend time with them whenever I can…” Loki waved her hand dismissively and said, “You don’t really have to worry about that, since we weren’t going to let any of your kids out of sight anyways. As long as you want to meet them, I don’t imagine there is a girl present who would even try to stop you…anything else?”
Vahn shook his head and a somewhat wry smile appeared on his face as he explained, “I honestly don’t have enough experience with life to even know what I want to do right now…I’m just doing my best based on my understanding of the situation, so I’ve probably overlooked several things. Please, if possible, always be honest with me so I’ll be able to increase my own experience and make more informed decisions in the future. I’m not sure how many times meetings like this will happen…but I’d like to be present for some of them, even if I’m not around for the full duration.”
As he was speaking, Vahn remembered a matter, so he tacked it on and said, “Oh, I want to make a network of my own as well, one with just guys. I stayed over at Welf’s last night, and I feel like it was theraputic in a way…also, umm…I wanted to bring up something about that as well…?” Vahn scratched the back of his head as he looked around before saying, “Umm, I’m actually not…that sure about how to…appeal to girls…and I wanted to help Welf find a partner as well.” Since there were currently twenty-eight girls that had all gathered for his benefit, Vahn felt it was strange to say he didn’t actually know how to appeal with girls.
Surprisingly, several girls nodded their heads as if they were agreeing with him before Hephaestus said, “Yeah…Welf would probably have a lot of trouble with women, and I can’t imagine you would be able to help him out with it given your personality. I know he had a crush on me, and it’s pretty apparent he had a crush on Tsubaki as well…” Even though he hadn’t explained anything, Hephaestus had known Welf for years and even Loki added in after hearing her words, “So he is the type that likes older women, probably ones with big boobs and stuff…” She had a somewhat annoyed look on her face as she stared at girls like Hestia and Mona out of the corner of her eye.
Vahn felt a little guilty with how the girls were reacting to Welf, and he almost regretted bringing it up when there was so many present. Everyone had started discussing the matter, even though the majority of the girls had never even met him. Vahn felt like he needed to defend his friend a bit, so he said, “Welf might not be that capable now, but he has a lot of potential and is actually a great guy. As long as he has proper guidance, I believe he would be able to become a better blacksmith, as well as a capable adventurer in the future. The research he is working on it something that will revolutionize magical items, and it’s something that is worth investing in while helping nurture his growth…”
Hephaestus nodded her head in agreement as she said, “Vahn didn’t mention it, but his full name is Welf Crozzo. He bears the rare skill [Crozzo Magic Blood] and can create devastating weapons that would change the tide of almost any battle. He has a bit of a trauma since his family’s reputation is somewhat disreputable, but he has been working incredibly hard to change that reputation through his own efforts. I agree with Vahn that he will likely be an incredibly capable person in the next ten years.” Loki nodded her head next and said, “Especially if he is Vahn’s friend, it’s almost guaranteed he’ll have a fair amount of success…so the real matter is finding a girl that can look after him so he doesn’t break from associating with Vahn. I imagine he is probably very jealous, especially considering you’re very near each other in age…”
Aisha, the person that Vahn had originally wanted to talk to about the matter, had been listening to the conversation and said, “There are a number of Amazon girls that are looking for long-term partners…do you know if he has anything against non-human relations?” Vahn shook his head quickly and explained, “No, he seems to just like strong girls with big breasts and plump butts…” Though he said the words ‘casually’, Vahn felt a little embarrassed to broach the subject of someone else’s preferences. Aisha’s smile turned somewhat sensual as she squinted her eyes and said, “Well, I know more than a few girls that would look out for him…if he is serious about growing stronger, they’ll even protect him, especially if he has the support of people like you and Hephaestus-sama.”
Though she seemed to throw out the idea as a joke, based on how she was cackling, Loki said, “If he will one day be as capable as Vahn claims, it might even be better if you send multiple girls to him at once. I’m sure it’ll help stroke his ego a bit and give him the encouragement to grow stronger, kekeke~.” As if seriously considering the matter, Aisha nodded her head and said, “I know at least five girls that are Level 3 and know how to deal with younger men well. They’re all pretty young as well, so they’ll be more than willing to wait a few years for him to actually become more capable…”
Hearing Aisha’s words, Vahn imagined Welf being surrounded by a group of exotic, brown-skinned, Amazon beauties and pictured the red-haired youth having a silly smile on his face. For a brief moment, Vahn wanted to slap his image of Welf silly and he finally understood why so many men gave him looks of envy. After shaking the image from his mind, Vahn looked over towards Tiona, Tione, and Aisha before swallowing a fair amount of saliva when he saw the somewhat ‘hungry’ looks in their eyes. To make matters worse, Ais had a similar look and Vahn could see a competitive fire burning deep within her pupils. Since he was unable to control his expression when he let his mind wander the girls close to him, and those with experience, were easily able to discern what he was thinking about.
Vahn had a somewhat bashful smile on his face as he scanned over the group of girls and saw everyone’s expressions. Even when they were talking to each other, everyone was focused on him, so he felt quite a bit of pressure seeing how they reacted to his words and actions…
Eventually, the lunch period came to an end and Vahn left the Hostess of Fertility to let the girls discuss the matters he had brought up amongst themselves. Given their initial reactions, Vahn felt like things should go well since there didn’t seem to be any negative responses from the core of the group. Though some of the lesser involved girls might distance themselves from him, Vahn believed that things would take a turn in a positive direction for him in the future. It was impossible for him to balance everything on his own, but Vahn knew the girls that were leading the discussion were capable of managing things due to their influence and experience. Especially with girls like Hephaestus, Eina, Loki, and Syr amongst their numbers. Though Hestia was also ‘influential’ in his life, Vahn naturally excluded her because he knew she would likely never be able to overcome her own bias for the other girls within the group. He left the matters for the more mature, and highly capable, women in his life…