Chapter 361: Twenty-Four

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After exchanging greetings with everyone, Vahn sat down the sofa alongside Hephaestus and Hestia. Nanu had separated from him easily enough, but Lili held on for a few seconds longer before she was inevitably peeled away by Naaza. As for the other girls present, there was Loki, Anubis, Riveria, Syr, Ryuu, and last, but not least, the somewhat youthful looking Tsubaki. Vahn knew there were several other presences inside the Manor, but he hadn’t identified them all yet. When things calmed down a bit, Vahn learned about everything that happened at the Denatus from Loki, including the fact that his new alias had been set as ‘Aldrnari’. After learning what it meant, Vahn had a happy smile on his face because he thought it was very suitable given everything he had been doing lately. Though he’d have liked a ‘cooler’ nickname, Vahn couldn’t help but feel that it was better to have something that sounded ‘good’ than something that inspired fear in others.

Vahn also explained to the group the changes that had occurred when he was training with Haruhime which spurred Ryuu and Riveria to go track her down out of curiosity. Ryuu was the closest thing to a mentor that Haruhime had, while Riveria had only arrived to explain in person that an envoy was coming from her country in order to confer Vahn his title and verify the veracity of his accomplishments. Now that the ‘probation’ was formally revoked, Vahn was able to freely move about between the various Alliance headquarters without restriction. This went both ways, of course, and Vahn learned about all the changes that were occurring in the district surrounding the Hearth Manor.

Though it would take time, there were a total of eight expansions and several other Manors that would be built in the area within the next few months. The renovations Vahn had planned in the past were also being approved and construction was going to begin in the next couple of days. Though the basic structure wouldn’t change too much, there were going to be several add-ons to the Manor including a western annex intended to serve as an alchemy lab and an extension of the onsen area that would be converted in a private massage parlor and salon for Vahn’s personal use. The barrier between the men’s and women’s bath was going to be torn down, but there was going to be a private bath installed in each wing of the Manor for anyone that didn’t want to enjoy the ‘communal’ bath.

When Vahn heard this, he frowned slightly and asked, “Is it really a good idea to take down the wall? It doesn’t bother me too much, but I don’t want to put pressure on any of the girls within the Familia. It would also prevent any guys from join-” Before Vahn could finish, Hestia shook her head and said plainly, “Vahn, I understand you might want to have some guys to hang around with, but I have no intention of accepting any into the Familia at this point. There are too many girls that are involved with you that will be residing here in the future to let other men walk about freely. Not to mention, in the very near future there will even be several children wandering around…”

Seeing Vahn’s somewhat dejected look, Hephaestus laughed before leaning against his shoulder and saying, “Don’t worry, one of the things we have being worked on is a ‘clubhouse’ for your personal use that will be located near the Manor. It’ll be a hangout spot for you and the other men that you decide to invite over and it’ll be a restricted area for all the girls unless there is an emergency. The Miach and Takemikazuchi Familia are going to be moving nearby and there are several boys in the other Familia that you can make friends with. I’m also having Welf move his workshop in the area since I’ll be building a research division of my Familia nearby. If you find any good guys that you want to recruit, you can always have them join one of the other Familia and still adventure together without any problems.”

Listening to the explanations of the girls, Vahn understood they were taking his needs into consideration but were also doing their best to protect the women around him and his future children. The only reason he was ‘concerned’ about the matter of no men joining the Familia is that he had intended to recruit Bell when he came to the City in the future. Vahn felt it was strange that Bell wouldn’t be joining the Hestia Familia, but he also understood that there was no real necessity for him to do so either. Bell wouldn’t have to start from scratch with anything but gear issued by the Guild, instead, he would be nurtured from the very moment he becomes an Adventurer. Since Vahn had ‘inadvertently’ taken many of the girls that Bell might have gotten involved with, it might be better that he got a fresh start in another Familia this time around.

After ruminating over the matter for a bit, Vahn nodded his head and said, “Okay, I can agree to that…however, I want the ‘clubhouse’ to be bigger than normal and have workshops attached to it. If possible, I’d like it to be located next to the research facility of the Hephaestus Familia and Welf’s workshop since I plan to help him out with his research on magic weapons in the future.” Hephaestus nodded her head and said in a low tone while hugging Vahn’s body, “Sure, that sounds like a wonderful idea…” Vahn noticed that Hephaestus was behaving somewhat strangely and instinctively activated his [Eyes of Truth] and turned his attention to her stomach. Seeing the change in his eyes, Hephaestus began to laugh before poking Vahn’s cheek and saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve been told it’s normal to feel a little sick after about two weeks of pregnancy. You should have seen me this morning…hahaha.” Vahn nodded his head but still decided to rub Hephaestus’s back while using his [Hands of Nirvana] to help calm the bout of nausea she was having.

Loki saw their interaction and laughed in a mischevious manner before saying, “Oh, I’ll make sure you rub my back when I get sick as well~. After you knocked me up, it’s the least you can do, shishishishi~!” Vahn shook his head while rolling his eyes before saying, “Sure thing, Loki, just call me whenever you need me. I need to be checking up on the two of you periodically anyways to ensure nothing goes wrong.” Loki laughed at his words before standing up and saying in a teasing manner before plopping down on his lap, “How reliable~.” Vahn suddenly felt a little nervous as Loki moved his hand to her belly because he could feel the aura of Hestia flaring up to his left. The atmosphere was suddenly turning a bit awkward since he had one goddess sitting in his lap, one goddess ‘raging’ on his left, and another goddess leaning against his shoulder on the right. There were several other people present, and they hadn’t even finished their discussion from earlier.

Almost at the exact moment he had reached the ‘breaking’ point, Loki stood up from his lap and laughed mischievously before sending a glance at Hestia and some of the other girls before saying, “Regarding the matters of pregnancy, children, and all that ‘fun’ stuff…well, that was a big point of contention at the Denatus this time around. We managed to get the support of a large number of goddesses, but there are several gods that are somewhat pissed off. I’m sure you saw the crowd of people outside~? Well, those are the Children of various Familia and they’re probably here representing their gods. Even though we tried to set up a system to prevent people from trying to hassle you directly, there are bound to be a few that ignore the ‘rules’. Just ignore them for the time being and we’ll sort it out over time.”

Vahn nodded his head as he loosely embraced Hestia who had taken Loki’s spot on his lap and asked, “They aren’t going to endanger the people I care about, are they?” Feeling the subtle pressure emitting from Vahn, Loki began to laugh before saying, “As I said, you don’t have to worry about that for the time being. We already informed everyone important that it’d be at least a month before you can perform the ‘ceremony’ again. Also, there are a few goddesses that have ‘booked’ your help and, though you have the right to refuse, they would be very helpful in supporting the Alliance in the future.” Seeing that Vahn’s look change from a serious one to a slightly inhibited one, Loki continued, “Don’t worry, though there are a number of goddesses that might want to try and pursue you, we’ve pretty much shut down the majority of them…however…” Loki looked over toward Hephaestus and they both sighed at the same time.

Before Vahn could ask, Hephaestus began explaining from where Loki left off, “The goddess at the top of the list is one of the more troublesome ones, but she is also one of the most influential and powerful supporters we can have…it’s Freya. We have prevented her from doing anything to endanger you, or those around you, but she will undoubtedly try to approach you in order to bear your child in the future. However, for the time being, we’ve managed to reign her in and she had instead decided to bear the child of someone else…” Vahn’s brows furrowed for a moment as he considered the matter. He knew he didn’t need to be the one to do the impregnation, but he felt slightly awkward when it came to helping Freya get impregnated by another person. Even though he had never met her, Vahn knew what type of person she was and how dangerous she could be if allowed to do as she pleases. The thought of her having a child of her own to do whatever she’d like made him slightly uncomfortable. Even impregnating her himself seemed to be a more agreeable thing since he would be able to watch over the child after it was born…

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Loki frowned after seeing Vahn’s expression change and she said, “Vahn, though it is your right to use your power however you like, it will create problems if you try to bear everything on your own. Though it may not be pleasant, there isn’t any practical way to prevent gods and goddesses from acting in accordance with their Divinity. Unless you plan to only pick and choose the goddesses you like, there are bound to be children born to them that won’t be happy. However, this is the case all over the world, and not just for goddesses. You can’t help everyone…please remember that. Besides, Freya wouldn’t do anything as long as she hasn’t been able to bear one of your children, and we already have strict regulations for what she’ll be allowed to do when that time comes. If you’d like, I’ll show you the contract we created for her if you want to add anything on to it.”

Vahn knew Loki was correct, and there were a number of children born every single day that would struggle for the rest of their lives simply due to the situation they’re born into. With Syr present, Vahn recalled the orphans that he was trying to help without directly interfering with their lives as well as the street orphans he had met the other day. He already knew he couldn’t help everyone, but it still made him a little upset knowing that there was a high chance a child would be born with his help that may not be happy in the future. While he was lost in thought, Hephaestus had grabbed his right hand and squeezed it tightly as she smiled and said, “Focus on taking care of your own children, Vahn…we’ll all do our best to support you as well, so don’t worry too much about things you can’t influence. Just do your best and follow the path you want to take, okay?” Hephaestus then leaned over and kissed him gingerly on the lips before pulling away with a gentle smile on her face.

Seeing her expression caused Vahn to smile as well before he turned to Loki and said, “Fine, I’ll help Freya out…not for her, but for everyone else that I want to protect. As for her having a child of mine, she will always be at the bottom of the list unless she can prove that she would be a capable mother. The thought of my own son or daughter having a half-sibling that is living an unhappy life away from them makes my heart feel a little cold…” Loki nodded her head in a serious manner and said, “Don’t worry, once you take a look at the contract you’ll see that we thought of almost every contingency. Trust in us, Vahn, we’re not going to let anything bad happen as long as it’s something preventable.” Vahn nodded his head and said in a serious manner, “I know that, together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish!”

After discussing a few other important matters, Vahn found out from Syr about the Hostess of Fertility moving right across from the Hearth Manor and that they had actually worked things out with Hestia to use the west wing of the Manor as their new dormitory. Starting a few days from the present, all of the girls from the Hostess of Fertility were going to be moving in since it wouldn’t take long for them to refurbish the large residence across from his Manor into a pub. When Vahn asked about what would happen to the old pub that was currently being worked on, Syr told him that it was actually going to stay in business, just that they would be hiring new employees to manage things. Though that had previously been the main branch, there were actually several other Hostess of Fertility branches located in other small Cities and villages like Melen and Rinka.

Other than the girls from the Hostess of Fertility, there were several others that were taking the opportunity to move in while things were somewhat chaotic. Naaza and Lili would be moving into the Manor, and had even moved in the majority of their luggage the moment they found out that Vahn’s probation had been lifted. Nanu wanted to move in as well, but she was going to be staying with the Anubis Familia in their own Manor for the time being. She was the current Captain of the Anubis Familia, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to suddenly leave just so she could stay with Vahn. Of course, this wouldn’t stop her from visiting very often and spending time familiarizing herself with the other girls surrounding Vahn.

The biggest impact Vahn had received was when he found out that the girls from the Loki Familia were also planning to move in while Loki herself had arranged to have the northern wall broken down so it can connect with the Manor she had purchased on the adjacent property. There were several gods and goddesses that didn’t live at the Familia Residence, and now Loki was going to be using the Manor as her private home and was remodeling the interior for various ‘recreational’ purposes she decided to keep hidden for the time being.

Though he didn’t mind, Vahn asked why the girls were going to be moving in and the answer he received was that it was simply more ‘convenient’. Since they were girls associated with Vahn, it would be better for everyone to acclimate to living together sooner rather than later. It also allowed him to easy find them for things like designing weapons and armor and also put everyone close to the Dungeon. If it came down to people threatening the Hestia Familia, the greater number of powerful people present, the better. There were simply endless ‘justifications’ for the move and Vahn had to take a step back after being barraged for a few minutes.

With the inclusion of the girls from the Loki Familia, that brought the total number of people that were going to be living in the Hearth Manor to an astounding twenty-four, excluding himself and Hestia. Those that would be staying were Eina, after they married, Ryuu, Aki, Haruhime, Mikoto, Emiru, Maemi, Preasia, Fenrir, Milan, Tina, Shizune, Naaza, Lili, Syr, Chloe, Arnya, Lunoire, Mona, and the girls from the Loki Familia, Tiona, Ais, Tione, Lefiya, and apparently Riveria, who was to be the caretaker of the girls and planned to help Vahn’s research. Compared to the original members staying within the Manor, their numbers suddenly increased by two-hundred percent. Vahn felt like things were going to be very chaotic, but he was also looking forward to being able to spend more time with the girls without having to traverse half the City.

Vahn now understood why it was necessary to tear down the wall in the onsen since there were simply too many people present for him to be the only person taking up half the space. Just imagining taking a bath with more than twenty girls made Vahn feel a little light headed and he considered using the private bath for the foreseeable future. However, no matter how the thought about it, Vahn didn’t think he would be ‘allowed’ to use that bath for too long…well, not that he really minded that much. Even if he didn’t plan to turn the Familia into a ‘harem’ Familia, it didn’t seem like he really had much choice considering how freely he allowed his affections to influence others. The only thing he could do was resolve himself to act more reservedly and defer to Eina more often when she started living with him in the near future. With her managing things alongside Syr and Hestia, Vahn believed everything would work out…hopefully.

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