Chapter 327: Into The Unkown

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When Syr walked forward, Vahn stepped in as well and smoothly wrapped his hands around her waist before giving her a short kiss. He could feel her aura fluctuate as a pink hue colored her face as if she were very embarrassed. Vahn felt like she was being mischevious lately and wanted to change the momentum a bit so he took the initiative and continued to hold her waist as he said, “I got your message Syr…what did you want to talk about?” Since she was a few centimeters shorter than he was, Syr had to look up into Vahn’s face with a pouty expression as she said, “You’re being sneaky today…”

Vahn laughed at her words which made her blush deepen a bit before he felt a ‘painful’ pinch at his waist and stopped laughing but couldn’t prevent himself from smiling as he said, “I’ve had a lot of time to think recently and it feels like I’m slowly getting a handle on things. I can’t always be waiting for everyone else to take action and hope things go well…” As he spoke, Vahn loosened his grip of Syr’s waist and opened a small amount of distance between them so she could regain her composure. Finally freed, Syr patted her chest in relief before giving a sideward glance at Vahn. After a few seconds passed, her normal expression returned and a gentle smile appeared on her face as she asked, “Well, I wonder when you’ll have time? I’ve been thinking about putting together a small event of my own if you’re not too busy in the future.”

Hearing Syr’s words, Vahn tilted his head in curiosity and asked, “What kind of event?” A slightly mischevious expression appeared on Syr’s face as she covered her mouth and giggled before saying, “It’s a seeeecret~! Just make sure you don’t have any other plans and that I have a bit of time to prepare things beforehand.” Though he knew she was up to something, Vahn was somewhat curious about what she had planned so he said, “Sounds interesting…well, I’m afraid I won’t be able to split my time too easily after the Denatus, so I can free up some time next weekend if that’s okay with you.” Hearing his words, Syr placed her fingertips together as an especially satisfied smile appeared on her face with a strange glimmer passing through her eyes. Seeing Vahn’s expression change, she stuck out her tongue playfully and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to bring up the matter with Hephaestus and Eina before I finalize anything. For now, make sure you clear up your Saturday. I’ll send you the information through the network later~.”

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Vahn nodded his head and began looking forward to the upcoming Saturday with apparent interest on his face. Syr laughed at his behavior before asking casually, “What else do you have planned for today?” Hearing her words, Vahn turned his attention to Syr and could see expectation in her eyes. Other than coming to meet her, he hadn’t really planned anything for the remainder of the day and had just planned to return to the Manor and spend some time with Fenrir and the other girls. Since it was still early, there was plenty of time before he needed to head back, so Vahn said, “Well, other than spending some time at home, I didn’t have anything planned for today. I was thinking of freeing up some time for work, but I can put it off for the time being.”

As he spoke, Syr walked a bit closer to him without saying anything as she continued to stare into his face with a hopeful expression. Vahn released a short sigh accompanied by a smile as he asked, “Did you want to go out with me for a bit, Syr? I don’t think we’ve ever really had time to ourselves before.” Even though he lacked common sense at times, Vahn wasn’t an idiot and Syr’s unasked question was putting a bit of pressure on him. He had no doubt she had sent that message earlier with something like this in mind, or she wouldn’t have answered the door in casual clothing instead of her waitress outfit.

Hearing Vahn ask the question she wanted to hear, Syr’s face beamed with a beautiful smile and she said in a cheerful tune, “I’d love to~!” Before he could ‘change in mind’, Syr walked forward and gave Vahn a quick kiss before she quickly moved back toward the door and said, “I’ll be right back, make sure to wait right there! If I don’t tell the other girls on the network, they might accuse me of sneaking around behind their backs, fufufufu~.” Vahn saw the playful glint in her eyes before she winked and disappeared behind the door leading into the women’s dormitory.

As he was waiting, Vahn began planning what they should do for their impromptu date. It was too early in the day to visit most stores, and it was still very cold outside, around -2 degrees Celcius. It wasn’t exactly the best weather for a date, but Vahn knew he would be able to protect her from the weather easily enough. He decided to leave the decision up to her unless she wanted him to take charge and lead her around. There were several places he had scouted out in preparation for other dates, so he would just have to buy a bit of time before they actually opened up before taking her shopping.

After a surprisingly long fifteen minutes, Syr came outside wearing a casual, pale-green dress that went down to her ankles. It was a lot like her waitress outfit, except there was a seam under her breasts before it made a transition into a white, somewhat frilly, cloth that covered her chest and shoulders. Around her neck, she had something similar to a collar on a blouse, except it was just wrapped around her neck with a green ribbon. She wore a pair of brown, designer, boots and had a multi-layer shawl-like scarf wrapped around her shoulders for warmth. Vahn hadn’t expected her to change her clothing and realized that her earlier outfit was probably meant to prime him to ask her out on the date from the very beginning.

Syr laughed at Vahn’s confused expression before saying, “It’s pretty cold out, but I don’t mind changing back into my earlier outfit if you’d like~?” Vahn shook his head with a smile before extending his arm for Syr to grab as he said, “It’s fine, you look beautiful in both outfits Syr.” Hearing his compliment, Syr’s face beamed with a happy smile as she affectionally wrapped her arm through his and leaned against his body. Though he didn’t have a destination in mind yet, Vahn began to walk Syr towards the direction of Babel Plaza before asking, “Is there any place you’d like to go? It might be a little shameless to say, but I hadn’t planned anything before I asked you out earlier. Of course, I have a few ideas if there isn’t anything that comes to mind…”

Turning her head, Syr gave Vahn a thoughtful smile before saying, “There is actually a place I’d like to visit, so I’ll have you accompany me there today. Let’s see, once we get to the Babel Plaza, we’ll go east through the crafting district and warehouses owned by the Hephaestus Familia. Once we get that far, I’ll give you directions to our destination…for now, let’s just enjoy the atmosphere for a while.” As she spoke, Syr hugged Vahn’s arm a little tighter and he could feel a soft sensation transmitted to his arm. He blinked his eyes once and matched gazes with Syr as they both smiled at each other before walking a little closer through the biting cold air that couldn’t approach within five meters of them.

Along the way, Vahn and Syr made polite conversation about their concerns, though the main focus of the conversation was almost exclusively related to his matters. Though she claimed to not want to ‘compete’ with Eina, Syr mentioned discussing things with Hephaestus, Eina, and Loki about managing Vahn’s schedule in the future. She said she didn’t plan to ‘interfere’ in his life, but wanted to help make sure things ran smoother. When Vahn asked why she was willing to go so far, Syr said matter-of-factly, “Because, you accepted me in your heart even after you knew what kind of person I was. In order to make sure I have time for myself, I want to make matters run smoothly for everyone. If you get wrapped up in drama all the time, I won’t be able to spend any time with you because you’ll be busy with other matters.” Vahn noticed that her aura had flared up a bit and he could see the determination in Syr’s eyes and heard the conviction held within her voice. He planned to talk with Hephaestus, Eina, and Loki about the matter later, but for now, he nodded his head and thanked Syr for doing so much, not for himself, but for both of them. He knew the importance of stressing ‘togetherness’ when speaking with some girls, and Syr’s smile bloomed when she heard him mention them together.

After nearly two hours, they had made their way through several alleyways that Vahn knew to be attached to the somewhat notorious Daedelus Street. He had avoided the district in the past, even though he was curious about the large underground network of tunnels and secret passageways he could detect through his domain. Though he hadn’t explored it himself, Vahn knew Daedelus Street was considered a Labyrinth within the City, and he could tell there was much more to its existence than what was seen on the surface. However, though he was interested, Vahn decided to not bother himself with the matters beneath the streets since there were already several important things he needed to take care of. He would just talk about it with the others later and ignore it for the time being unless something forced him to act.

Twenty minutes after the entered the core of Daedelus Street, Syr pointed off toward a somewhat decrepit looking church that seemed rather rundown. For a moment, Vahn thought it was actually the church used by the Hestia Familia in the manga, but he could tell it was quite a bit larger than the small church from his memory. Syr saw the strange look in his eyes before pulling him along and explaining, “This church is called Maria’s Orphanage, and I like to visit here and help out when I can…” Vahn was surprised that their final destination was an orphanage, and he began to suspect that their current date wasn’t a simple matter, but something far more personal.

Before they had arrived at the door of the Orphanage, a group of five children burst out of the door wearing clothing far too light for the cold air as they ran over toward Syr. The moment she saw the kids, Syr let go of Vahn’s arm as she walked forward to intercept the kids with a gentle smile on her face. She started talking to converse with the children before Vahn walked over and a young chienthrope girl with cream-colored hair asked, “Syr, who is this…” The moment she looked over at Vahn, the chienthrope girl’s eyes widened a bit before she yanked on Syr’s clothing and asked, “Syr, this boy is so handsome, is he your boyfriend!?”

Syr began to laugh as she pat the small girls head and gave Vahn a somewhat sheepish look as she said, “Yes…he is quite handsome, isn’t he?” Hearing Syr’s words, all of the children had different reactions, especially the somewhat wild looking human boy with brown hair and several cuts covering his face, arms, and legs. He looked like the type that had a carefree and adventurous personality, but he gave Vahn a somewhat mean look for a while before letting out an exasperated sigh. The boy walked over until he stood right in front of Vahn and looked up with a somewhat mature expression and said seriously, “My name is Rye, I’m the eldest here at the Orphanage. If you hurt my big sis, I’ll beat you up one day when I become a strong Adventurer!”

Vahn gave the small boy an appraising look before reaching out and patting the boys head and ruffling his hair. He said in a confident tone, “I’ll always do my best to take care of her, so leave your big sis to me and focus on becoming strong. I’m a pretty capable Adventurer myself, so I’m curious to see how far you can go.” Though he was annoyed at having his hair ruffled, the boy’s eyes lit up after hearing Vahn say he was an Adventurer and he asked in an excited manner, “Are you really an Adventurer!? Please, teach me what its like!” Their conversation hadn’t been private, so the other kids also got a bit excited as they made their way over with Syr.

The moment the small chienthrope girl got near Vahn, she had stars in her eyes before tilting her head and looking around. Though nobody had pointed it out yet, she could tell it was a lot warmer near Vahn so she said, “What is this!? It’s all warm and fluffy around this boy, could it be the power of love!?” Syr laughed in a cheerful manner while Vahn released an awkward laugh of his own before saying, “Let’s go inside first and we’ll talk there. I’ll tell you everything you want to know, no problem.” Hearing Vahn’s words, Rye pumped his fist in the air and shouted, “You heard ‘im, let’s go go go~!” As if recognizing him as their leader, the children followed along with Rye with the exception of the small chienthrope girl. She walked over to Vahn and stared up into his face as if she were looking at an idol and said plainly, “Syr is super lucky to have a handsome boy like you as her boyfriend.” Vahn smiled at the small child and reached his hand out to ruffle her hair. She looked to be around 7-8 years old, and Vahn could tell she was a bit of an airhead like Arnya.

From the moment Vahn put his hand on her head, the small chienthrope girl made a strange, “Uooooooh~!?” sound before she exclaimed, “It’s super warm~! What is this strange feeling, uuuuuuh, it makes my head feel all light and fuzzy~.” Syr had been standing at the side and laughed in a mischevious manner before saying, “We should head back before Maria comes grumbling. Why don’t you carry little Fina along, I’m sure she’d enjoy that~.” Hearing Syr’s words, the cream-haired chienthrope girl named Fina reached up her arms and shouted, “Oh, oh, pick me up~!” Vahn gave a helpless smile at the quietly laughing Syr as he picked up Fina and held her loosely using his forearm as support.

With her new vantage point, Fina leaned against Vahn’s shoulder and began patting his head with her tiny hand as she said, “I will pat you too, pat~! pat~! Ehehehehe~.” Vahn smiled at the small girl and followed along next to Syr as they entered into the relatively lukewarm air of the orphanage. The moment they were inside, Vahn compressed his domain around the building and began to warm up the entire interior to make it more comfortable. Other than some simple shoes and sandals, most of the children present were walking around barefoot and Vahn could see multiple scrapes and sores covering their bodies.

Not long after they entered the church, a middle-aged looking woman with a somewhat serious, yet strangely kind, face looked over with a subtle smile. She looked to be in her late 50s, and she had raven black hair tied up into a loose bun at the top of her head with a pair of penetrating dark green eyes. Seeing Syr, the woman said in a somewhat husky tone that would have sounded captivating if she were a few years younger, “Welcome back Syr, it’s good to see you again…and this is?” Syr smiled beautifully before bowing slightly and saying, “Good morning Maria, I’m happy to see you in good health. This is Vahn Mason, Captain of the Hestia Familia, and my boyfriend~.”

Hearing Syr’s words, Maria gave Vahn an appraising look with a bit of hostility contained deep within her eyes. Vahn felt a little intimidated by the woman, but he bowed his head forward and politely said, “Greetings Ma’am, it is an honor to meet you. I’m sorry for having troubled you without notice, but I came along at the behest of Syr, so please forgive me.” Fina, who was still sitting in Vahn’s arm laughed playfully as she stroked the top of his head and said, “Maria, Vahn is a good boy~!” The older woman scoffed a bit before saying, “There isn’t much good about Adventurers, but you’re welcome here whenever you like. If Syr brought you around here, it means you can be trusted so I’ll believe in her judgment and not make problems for you. Welcome to my, Maria Martel’s, Orphanage.”

Vahn smiled and bowed politely again as he said, “Thank you, Ms. Martel.” In response to Vahn’s words, the woman scoffed again before she looked over toward Syr and said, “This boy is a smooth talker, sure you didn’t get fooled by him?” Syr began to laugh like a bell without answering Maria’s question. Maria squinted her eyes as if she wanted to say something, but the small brown-haired Rye ran over and shouted, “Hey, didn’t you say you were going to tell us stories!? Let’s go!” Without waiting for his response, Rye grabbed the sleeve of Vahn’s tunic and pulled him over to the larger group of children.

While he was dealing with the children, Maria walked over the Syr and asked in a low voice, “Syr, why did you bring an Adventurer here? You should know better than anyone that all of these children became orphans after their parents died in the Dungeon…” Syr gave a brief glance at Maria before turning her gaze back to Vahn and saying in a quiet, yet confident, tone, “I believe in him…he has the power to heal people, especially children with traumas. I think he’ll be able to help each of the children become more confident and find the happiness they lost…” As if remembering something, Syr leaned over toward Maria and whispered very quietly, “He is also super wealthy and very charitable…” Hearing Syr’s words, Maria’s eyes widened with a glimmer of light passing through them before she nodded her head and stated firmly, “He is a good boy, feel free to bring him around more often.” The two girls, one young, one old, looked each other in the eye and began to laugh in a mischevious manner as they overlooked Vahn playing with the children and telling stories.

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