Chapter 342: Reason

Syr dragged Vahn, by hand, through a few corridors there customers didn’t have access to. There was even a sturdy security door that could only be passed through with the assistance of Syr. Not only the door, but the adjoining walls were heavily reinforced and the interior gap of the wall was filled with a complex array of runes. Vahn had seen it from a distance before, but seeing the security formation up close was an eye-opening experience. It wasn’t as powerful as the formations guarding his Manor, but it was more than enough to buy the girls inside enough time rally in the event of an emergency. Excluding Syr, all of the core members of the Hostess of Fertility were at least Level 4 while Mama Mia herself was at the peak of Level 6.

Around a minute after leaving the pub proper, Syr stopped outside of a door where Vahn could detect four other auras. She turned around and faced Vahn as she asked in a low tone, “Vahn, do you trust me?” Vahn blinked before cocking his head to the side for a brief moment and said plainly, “Yes.” Syr’s face beamed with a lovely smile as she leaned forward and gave him a quick peck on the lips before laughing. Seeing the somewhat surprised look on Vahn’s face, she said, “Honest boys deserve rewards~. I’m glad you trust me Vahn, especially considering…” Syr cut her words short before turning the doorknob and opening the door toward the interior.

When she pulled him through the door, Syr said in a chipper tone, “Welcome, Vahn, to a place no man has ever stepped foot~! This is the central common room for the women’s dormitory, though we’ve renovated it a bit for the occasion.” Vahn was stunned at the sight, not because the interior of the room was something beautiful and extravagant, but because of the people sitting on the sofas enjoying what appeared to be tea. As expected, Ryuu and Chloe were present, alongside Arnya and Lunoire, who Vahn wasn’t entirely sure would be present. He had interacted with the girls often in the past, but their current appearance was enough to bar any words he would have typically used to greet them.

Like Syr, every girl present was wearing a very similar outfit which consisted of differently colored frilled blouses, which didn’t do much to hide their figures. Ryuu was wearing a very light green, Chloe had on a mute blue, Arnya had a light peach, and Lunoire was wearing a creamy beige colored blouse with darker ribbons that matched the base color, albeit a much darker shade. To complement the outfits, they all had on skirts that matched the colors of the ribbons and were identical in design to the black skirt worn by Syr. The only common feature among the girls was the fact they were all wearing white stockings with matching garter belts. Though the outfit looked great on Syr, it was a powerful impact to see a room full of girls lounging about casually in similar attire, almost as if they were wearing uniforms.

Vahn heard a laughter from his right and he turned his head to see Syr smiling at him with a subtly mischevious look in her eyes as she asked, “Though being speechless speaks volumes, isn’t there something you should say at a time like this~?” Vahn’s eyes flittered about briefly because he was trying to process what he should say before muttering an, ‘Ah’ and then turning to the girls with a genuine smile as he said, “Thank you, everyone, for allowing me to visit this place…you all look incredible. I’m actually awestruck…” Vahn awkwardly rubbed the back of his head as he traced his eyes over the girls in the room with a giddy feeling beginning to spread through his heart.

Curiously, none of the girls returned his greeting immediately and it was Syr who spoke up after she clapped her hands once before saying, “Okay, I’m sure you have plenty of questions, Vahn, but a lot of that can wait for…well, it can wait for a more appropriate time. The thing I’m sure you’re most curious about is why everyone decided to gather here together…let’s see, Chloe, shall we start with you~?” At Syr’s behest, Chloe stood up from the sofa before performing a small curtsy and saying with a mischevious smile before turning her butt to the side and showing off her blue ribbon. She said in a playful tone, “I’m here because I love Vahn, nyahaha~!”

Vahn smiled lovingly at Chloe as they matched each other’s gazes until he heard a clap from his right as Syr said, “Very good, an excellent reason~! Now, shall we have Ryuu go next~?” Chloe stuck out her tongue and winked at Vahn before sitting down next to Ryuu. Aftward, Ryuu brushed her skirt before standing up and saying with a small smile on her face, “I want to walk alongside Vahn, regardless of the struggles we may have to face…together. I’m not sure about my own feelings, but this is the closest thing to love I’ve ever known…I want to spend the rest of our lives together.”

For a few long seconds, there was absolute silence in the room until Chloe said, “Wow, Ryuu, that’s pretty deep~nyahaha.” Hearing Chloe’s words, Ryuu blushed slightly but continued to stare at Vahn with a firm conviction on her face. Their small moment was broken when Syr clapped again before laughing in an awkward manner as she said, “Wow, I could feel my own heart rate increase… let’s move on to Arnya now~?” Ryuu nodded politely before sitting down on the sofa next to the cheekily smiling Chloe. As soon as she sat down, Arnya jumped to her feet and shouted in a somewhat flustered voice, “I-I-I won’t back down, even if my heart is beating super hard right nyow~! Things like love, I’m nyot sure about, but I knyow I like to play around with everyone and I don’t want to be left out~nya! I-I knyow it might be a lot to ask, but please take care of me from nyow on~nya!”

Before she was told to sit down, Arnya sat plopped onto her butt and covered her blushing face as she made a strange mewling sound. During her speech, her Affection, which had previously dropped down to 92(Curious), increased to 99(Love?) with a single notification from the system. The somewhat tense atmosphere that had been present in the room prior to her outburst was completely dashed as everyone, excluding the politely smiling Ryuu, laughed a little at Arnya’s behavior. Syr clapped once again before saying, “Other than myself, that leaves just Lunoire~!”

Hearing Syr call her name, the somewhat gentle looking young woman with light brown hair and hazelnut eyes stood up. Her face almost always had a smile on it, and her eyes drooped slightly at the edges which made her entire expression look soft and caring. She was 161cm tall and had a shapely figure and well-developed breasts that wear nearing a C-cup in size. Other than her slightly plump thighs, butt, and breasts, there didn’t seem to be a single ounce of fat on her incredibly fit body which had been cultivating through martial arts and combat. She was a Level 4 Adventurer who moonlighted as a bounty hunter and often worked alongside Chloe on her more difficult missions.

Lunoire stepped forward a bit as her smile grew marginally wider and she bowed politely before saying, “Well…I was told to be honest, so I’ll speak unabashedly…please forgive my indiscretion Vahn.” Her smile increased in size yet again as her eyes squinted slightly before she continued, “All I have ever wanted in life was to live a happy and peaceful existence. I never cared if my partner was handsome, or cool, just that he cared about me and provided a safe place for me to spend my days. As long as it doesn’t bother you if I laze about during my free time, I’d like you to consider accepting me as well.” Finished speaking, Lunoire bowed slightly before sitting next to Arnya.

Vahn was slightly confused, as he didn’t expect the ‘desire’ of a Level 4, especially one known for her violent streaks when she got angry, was that she wanted to be lazy and stay at home. He understood that she likely had a good reason, and it was most probably related to her own trauma. Now wasn’t the time to pry into her past, but Vahn knew he would be able to provide the things she wanted and it would also give them plenty of time to work through things. Of all the people present, Lunoire had the lowest affection for him, but it was still a decent value at 94(Trust).

Syr clapped once again before saying, “Excellent, it looks like everyone has their own reasons for being here. As for myself, well, I obviously love Vahn…” Syr’s smile blossomed widely as she looked over toward Vahn and continued, “I waited my entire life, hoping, praying, that I would meet someone like you. Now that I’ve had the opportunity, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to stay with you from now until forever…thank you Vahn, for everything you’ve done for me, and everything we’ll do for each other from now on.” Vahn had turned to lock eyes with her and he noticed she was actually beginning to tear up slightly. He was about to reach out his hand, but Syr moved off to the side with a smile after seeing through his intentions.

Syr took a deep breath to calm herself before fixing her expression and saying, “Well, now that you’ve heard our reasons, what say you, Vahn? Nobody here will force you to accept them, and we have all discussed in detail about how matters would progress if you’re uncomfortable with any of this. Even if you turn us away, we’ll still have a strong bond as friends and companions that trust each other.” Piggybacking off Syr’s words, Chloe said, “Vahn, it’s important that you understand that nobody here is trying to manipulate you into accepting this situation. We discussed these matters with Hephaestus, Eina, and Loki, before running it through Mama Mia to see how she felt about things. The only reason we’re making things clear is so that you understand everyone’s positions without overburdening yourself by trying to understand what everyone is thinking.”

Vahn smiled at their explanation before shaking his head and stating confidently, “It’s okay, I had expectations about what might happen before I even came here. Though it’s a little embarrassing to admit, I even stayed up late thinking about how things might progress…” Vahn began to laugh a bit to diminish his own embarrassment after seeing the girls smile at him. After he calmed down, Vahn continued, “There are various things I’d like to do for each of you in the future, but for now I’ll simply state my own feelings about everything that is happening. I swear, everything I’m about to stay, even if I don’t understand it well myself, are my honest feelings…”

After each girl nodded in turn, Vahn looked at Chloe and had a loving smile on his face as he said, “Chloe, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if not for you…none of this would have been possible. You may not be the reason for my happiness, but you are the reason I was able to find it in the first place…I love you very much.” Though he hadn’t expected it himself, Vahn could feel a pressure in the bridge of his nose, almost like he was about to tear up after confessing, once again, to the somewhat mischevious, beautiful, and infinitely kind Cat Person.

It wasn’t just him either, as Chloe’s mouth shrunk into a small frown as she was doing her best to not cry as well. Though it hadn’t been that long since their first meeting, Chloe had seen the changes in Vahn from the very beginning. Before she had even understood the changes in her own heart, he was already at the core of her being and had now become one of the reasons for her own happiness. He was like the light of the sun, something she had shunned for a long time as she embraced the darkness of the night. Now that she had found him, the darkness seemed far more lonely and intolerable to her. She longed for the light, and now Vahn had become someone capable of helping pull her away from the darkness…just like she had made her best efforts to do for him in the past.

Vahn took a deep breath after Chloe nodded her head with a gratified smile and allowed him to continue on to Ryuu. When he looked into her sky blue eyes and saw her lightly blushing expression and the peaceful smile, Vahn felt a lot calmer in an instant. His smile changed from one of love, and gratitude, to a much gentler one full of affections as he said, “Ryuu, you are one of the few girls that make my heart feel at peace…I don’t even understand it myself, but it’s like you have a calming aura and I always feel like I can rely on you. From now, and forever hereafter, we will follow the same path…just like our promise on the 18th floor, we will find our shared happiness together. Then, when we look back on the long life we shared, we’ll be able to express our shared gratitude toward Ms. Alise…”

Hearing Vahn’s words, Ryuu’s stoic expression faded and her brows fells as her bottom jaw began to twitch slightly. Like Chloe, tears began to build up in her eyes because Vahn had said words that struck straight at the core of her being. Just as she had promised Alise, now that Vahn had grasped her hand, she intended to hold on tightly and never let him go. Even if he one day wandered into the realm of Hades itself, she would be at his side and bear the burden with him. Though she didn’t vocalize it now, Ryuu’s desire to grow stronger increased exponentially at this moment. She had spent years stagnating after trying to enact her revenge, but now was the time to face the future and charge towards it…with Vahn.

When Vahn finally turned to Arnya, she was staring at him with a strangely calm expression, drastically different from her normal airheaded persona. Vahn knew she was only pretending to act foolish, and he one day intended to find out and see if he was able to help her. For now, however, he smiled kindly and said in an honest manner, “Arnya…you’re a very adorable, lively, and cheerful woman. I know you only approached me in the beginning because of your loyalty to Chloe, but I’m happy we’re here together at this moment. I also don’t understand love well, but I know it’s something that is shared between people that care deeply about each other…even if we’re not quite at that point yet, I’ll do my best to earn, not just your trust, but your love and affection as well.”

Arnya smiled sheepishly and laughed in a cheerful manner while scratching the side of her cheek awkwardly before resuming a serious expression. Though it was technically Vahn’s turn to speak, she said uncharacteristically serious manner, “It might be strange to hear this now, but I believe in you, Vahn…I hope I can reach that point…please show me what its like.” After her words finished, she looked around the room before playfully laughing to dismiss the ‘serious’ atmosphere she had caused to spread through the room. Vahn nodded his head seriously and said, “Leave it to me…”

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After Arnya, Vahn turned his attention to the smiling Lunoire and habitually showed the same type of smile. Of all the girls at the Hostess of Fertility, Lunoire was the one he interacted with the least. However, all the time they spent together was very pleasant and Vahn always felt a strange warmth coming from her aura. She was a great listener and always spoke in a comforting tone and had often tried to give him passing tidbits of advice. When she had shown up one day to suddenly receive his massage, Vahn had been surprised, especially when she unashamedly undressed and laid on the tabled naked. Vahn had gotten a great view of her figure since she had made no efforts to hide it and simply entrusted her body to his hands.

Though it didn’t matter much, that was when Vahn learned that Lunoire wasn’t actually a virgin. She had a ‘mature’ reaction to his massage and that had been the official ‘start’ of their somewhat peculiar relationship. Interestingly, though her desire seemed simple, it was actually almost identical to his own since before he even arrived in this record. His only wish, since he couldn’t reunite with his mother, was to live a free and happy life. This made him feel a strange connection to Lunoire, and Vahn wondered if this was the reason they meshed together well even though they didn’t talk that often.

After ruminating over this a bit, Vahn’s smiled widened marginally as he said, “Lunoire, we’ve always had a strange relationship with each other. I’ve always felt strangely close to you, and we actually share the same simple desire…though it might not seem like it, the only thing I’ve ever wanted was freedom and happiness. I think the biggest difference between us is that I’m happiest when I’m working hard to make the people I care about happy…since that is the case, I promise that I will show you the care you desire and promise to always provide a peaceful environment for whenever you feel the need for it.”

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Lunoire didn’t say anything in return, but her smile bloomed into a cheerful expression that reached her eyes. She, like everyone else present at the Vahnatus, knew about Vahn’s past and how he was imprisoned. His desire for freedom made perfect sense and she could understand the parallels he drew between them since she also felt the same. Her life had been rather tragic, especially after becoming an orphan due to war. The only escape for her had been working hard to become strong enough to escape that sad cycle before she eventually made her way to Orario and met Chloe.

Though she continued to work hard, her desire for a free and unfettered life had only been growing as time passed. Now that she had the opportunity to settle down a bit, she didn’t want to pass it up, especially considering the type of person Vahn was. Though she didn’t mind if her husband was lame, uncool, or even ugly, Vahn was quite the catch. He was fiercely perceptive, highly empathetic, incredibly gentle, ridiculously handsome, and stupidly wealthy. Since they also go along well and shared several things in common, there was no way she would be willing to take a step back if he was receptive to her needs and also wanted to be with her.

After smiling at each other for a short while, Lunoire gestured with her eyes toward Syr so Vahn turned to the beautiful young woman and returned her affectionate smile. There were several things he wanted to say to the remarkably intelligent and gentle girl, but the only thing that came to mind at this moment was a few short words. Vahn felt his heart pulse powerfully as his smiled grew soft and he said in a soft tone, “Sorry for keeping you waiting…” Ever since their first meeting, Vahn had constantly been having Syr ‘wait’ for him. Even though she earnestly sought a place in his heart, she took a back seat and promoted other girls over herself. Though she was slightly manipulative, she always took action to try and make him happier. In all their interactions after that, she was always very patient and understanding and never crossed the line or pushed beyond the boundaries until Vahn was the one to take a step forward. Even now, when she had arranged everything for his benefit, she let the other girls speak first and kept things on track while patiently waiting for her own turn.

Though she already had a lovely smile on her face, Syr’s smile blossomed as she pressed her hands together between her breasts and looked at Vahn with an expression full of love, passion, and devotion. His five simple words spoke volumes and she knew there were several things that he wanted to say to her, all of which could wait till later. The only thing that mattered was that, now, here in this moment, they understood each other. However, though she felt like this was enough, Vahn seemed intent to push her heart beyond the breaking point as his soft smile turned into a loving one as he said a sequence of four words that shook her to the core, “I love you, Syr.” Though it wasn’t the first time he had said the words, Syr felt like her heart melted at this moment and it showed on her face as she muttered through stifled sobs, “I love you too, Vahn. Thank you…thank you so much for being you.”

(A/N: This puts me at 101k words officially for this week. Thanks for reading another 50 chapters worth of content <3. I know some people wanted things to progress a little faster than this, but I feel like the buildup is very important to make the actual events more impactful. Hopefully, you don’t feel like the situation with Arnya and Lunoire is forced, since they actually do have their own personal reasons for liking Vahn (which will be revealed in later chapters when it becomes relevant to the plot~!). Stay tuned, and stay beautiful <3)

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