Hearing Vahn’s words, combined with his current image that created a strange contrast between kind and domineering, the four Adventurer’s stared at him with incredulous expressions on their faces. Vahn squinted his eyes slightly and changed back into his normal attire which was a matte grey tunic with black trousers with arm and leg guards. He actually didn’t wear shoes most of the time, at least while he was in the Dungeon, since he often fought in his Báihǔ form which made claws grow on his feet. It was also much easier to move around and things like hot and cold didn’t affect him much due to the eternal flame beating in his chest.
As he walked over, the party became somewhat alert but Vahn just continued to show a casual smile as he walked over to the young man cradling his injured companion, the somewhat petite Supporter girl who seems to have lost her backpack in the chase. The twins hadn’t even had time to start their first aid treatment due to how quickly Vahn took care of the situation and they were just currently staring at him with somewhat flushed expressions. Based on how everyone was reacting, Vahn felt like his plan to show off had succeeded and he felt a little proud of himself.
Using his [Eyes of Truth], Vahn could tell that the young girl, who seemed to be around 16-18, had a deep laceration on her back and there was blood all over the futon that the twins had allowed them to use. Vahn could tell she wouldn’t last long at this rate, so he asked in a somewhat hurried tone, “Do you have any potions to help your companion? If not, let me take care of her for the time being. At this rate, she’ll end up bleeding out in the next ten minutes and it’ll be too late for regrets if you delay things further.” Though the supporter girl was still conscious, she had glazed eyes and was obviously in shock so Vahn had addressed the other three with his words.
The leader of the group, the same brown-haired man with an earnest face, said, “We don’t have any potions…but we can pay you back later if you’re willing to he-” Vahn waved his hand in a dismissive manner to interrupt the man’s words and said, “I already said you didn’t have to worry about stuff like that. My treatment won’t cost you anything, I just want to help out since you seem like good people.” Vahn gestured with his head for the man holding on the girl to move but he just frowned in response and said in a somewhat accusatory tone, “I’ve heard of you…do you think I’ll just let you do whatever you want with Senna’s body? Just give us some potions and we’ll take her to the surface for treatment, there is no need for you to do anything!”
Hearing his own companion lashing out at Vahn, the leader of the group said in a stern tone, “Jonas, don’t be rude! If it wasn’t for his assistance, we might have died and Senna wouldn’t have been able to hold out until we exited the Dungeon!” The raven-haired woman seemed to agree with their leader as she said, with a bit of scorn, “Keith is right, you’re making the matter more complicated than it needs to be. You’re not in a position to make decisions for Senna anyways…just move away and let the Sage Aldrnari do his work. Are you really trying to drag our Familia down with how you’re acting?”
Vahn listened to their conversation for a short while and noticed things were going to get out of hand soon so he just pulled out a [Heal] staff from his inventory before using it on the wounded Senna. The blue haired man named Jonas tried to interrupt and say something, but Vahn just sent in an annoyed looked and locked the relatively weak Level 2 down on the spot. Other than gnashing his teeth and shaking profusely, the man wasn’t able to move a single inch as the magic circle of [Heal] quickly closed the wounds of the supporter named Senna.
When he was done, Vahn continued to lock down the raging young man and turned to their leader, Keith, and said, “I closed up her wounds, but she has still lost a lot of blood. You can let me take care of her, or you can take her back to the surface and have her treated at the Ward. I can leave the decision to you, or I can heal Senna’s mind and wake her up so she can make the decision herself.” After he was done speaking, Vahn let the raging Jonas free before batting him to the side with a backhand when the man tried to pick up his spear. The leader, Keith, looked over at his companion and yelled, “Jonas, you need to calm down! Sage Aldrnari, please don’t hold his behavior against him, I’ll leave Senna to you…Trist, help out if you can.”
The raven-haired girl, Trist, nodded her head before slinging the giant crossbow on her back and walking over as Vahn placed his hand on Senna’s forehead. As for Keith, he helped Jonas up by the shoulder and moved him off to the side and into the adjacent corridor so they wouldn’t be in the way. Though he hadn’t hurt him too badly, Vahn didn’t hold back much with his backslap and had angled his hand to dislocate Jonas’s jaw and disorient him. Vahn knew people often overreacted, especially when the people they cared about were harmed, but he didn’t like the insinuation that Jonas expected him to do anything other than healing the injured girl.
After kneeling down next to him, Trist gave the two twins a glance before turning to Vahn and asking, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Vahn shook his head and showed a polite smile as he said, “Don’t worry, I’m one of the more capable healers you’ll ever meet. I’ve even received compliments from gods and High Elves…she’ll be okay, so just watch patiently. If I need your help, I’ll let you know…” Trist nodded her head before moving off to the side so she wouldn’t be in the way as she watched Vahn’s hands glow with a gentle white light.
Not long after he began channeling his energy into her mind, Senna woke up with a lazy expression and sleepy eyes as she mumbled, “Where…am I…?” Vahn shot a glance at Trist, since he didn’t want Senna to panic after seeing a stranger just after waking. Trist spoke out in a loud tone from an angle that Senna could see, “Senna, we’re still in the Dungeon. We came across the Sage Aldrnari’s party and he is currently healing you. Just relax, Jonas and Keith are in the other room and everything is going to be okay…”
Hearing her companion explain the situation, Senna blinked a few times before staring up into Vahn’s face with her purple eyes and saying, “Sage…Aldrnari…you don’t look as scary…as the rumors say…ehe…he…” Vahn showed a polite smile before saying in a calming tone, “I already closed up your wounds, but your body is still weak from blood loss. Though you’ll recover in time, I can help replenish the loss and help you recover quickly if you’d like. It might not be much, but I also have a change of clothes if you’d like…I imagine returning to the surface covered in blood isn’t pleasant.” Vahn really did carry a variety of different clothing for women in his inventory, so it wasn’t too much trouble to give out a few sets to those in need. The back of Senna’s blouse had been torn open from when she received the wound and her light blue skirt was a dark maroon color on the backside of her body from the blood that had soaked into it.
It took a while for Senna to process his words, but she eventually nodded her head in a weak manner and said, “Thank…you…” Vahn nodded his head before helping calm her mind so she could sleep peacefully. After she fell asleep, Vahn turned to the woman named Trist and gave her a cursory glance with a flicker of his eyes. She was actually rather tall, around 173cm, and she wore form-fitting black trousers with a black blouse with what looked like a leather corset hugging her body and accenting her hourglass figure and moderately large breasts. She had a complex arrangement of belts and pouches with a variety of small tools and weapons located all over her body. On her back, she had a crossbow that was more than a meter long and carried a large quiver of metallic bolts on her lower back. She looked like a cool beauty and had angular onyx colored eyes and raven-black hair.
As for his current patient, Senna, she was rather petite at around 148cm and had a thin body with larger than expected breasts for someone of her size. She had somewhat tanned skin, contrasting the fair-skinned Trist, and light brown hair with a pair of deep purple eyes when they were open. She had a youthful and docile looking face and didn’t really seem suited for being an Adventurer at all. This was most likely why, even though she seemed to be Level 2, Senna was acting as a Supporter for the rest of the group. It was unfortunate that she had lost her backpack, likely when she received the attack to her back, and Vahn hoped they didn’t blame her too much for it in the future.
Since Senna was asleep, Vahn addressed Trist and said, “I’m going to help speed up her body’s natural recovery using a special technique…I’ll also help to replenish her stamina, but she’ll probably be very hungry when she wakes up…” Vahn hesitated for a brief moment before shaking his head slightly and saying, “Well, I won’t explain too much about what I’m going to do, just don’t misunderstand it.” Hearing his words, Trist arched her brows but didn’t say anything as she watched the same white light emerge from Vahn’s hands as earlier. She watched his actions with interest for a moment until a deep frown appeared on her face when Vahn placed his right hand slightly above Senna’s left breast while placing his left hand on her abdomen.
Vahn ignored the gaze on his back and channeled his energy into Senna’s heart and kidney to accelerate her body’s natural ability to replenish blood. By stimulating the vital organs, the kidneys started secreting a special protein that would travel through the body until it arrived at the heart and began spreading through the rest of the body under the nourishment of Vahn’s energy. When the protein passed through the major arteries, it would start to soak into the bones until simulating the dormant cells within the bone marrow to produce more blood. Vahn could see this process while using his [Eyes of Truth] and was also replenishing Senna’s energy and regulating her body temperature so she wouldn’t overheat and suffer any damage to her vital organs and brain. Overstimulating the body to increase natural recovery would cause the body to heat up greatly and, if not properly taken care of, could cause more harm than good.
Around twenty minutes passed before Vahn finally removed his hands and released a relieved sigh as he said, “She’ll be completely fine now, even if you didn’t return to the surface immediately. By the time she wakes up, she’ll probably feel even better than before because of the oxygen-rich blood passing through her body. Here, you can help her wash up and change into these clothes…” Vahn set out the large basin and began to fill it up with warm water after handing a somewhat frilly white blouse to the confused Trist. Before he left, Vahn helped Senna wake up and set out some food for her since, the very moment she opened her eyes, a loud growl emitted from her stomach and caused her to blush a deep crimson.
Though he didn’t mind seeing the girls he was at least ‘somewhat’ involved with, Vahn wasn’t going to invade the privacy of others and left Senna to the care of Trist and the twins while he walked over to check on Keith and Jonas. When he entered the room, Vahn saw Jonas with a bandage set around his face leaning with his back against the wall with a worried and angry expression on his face. Keith was standing nearby, closer to the entrance Vahn just came through and had his arms folded over his chest as he watched over his rowdy companion. When they saw his arrival, Jonas immediately tried to rise to his feet but lost his balance in the attempt. Vahn knew he had a mild concussion from his earlier strike but he would be okay after a week or two of rest.
Keith shook his head before giving an apologetic smile to Vahn and asking, “How is she?” Vahn nodded his head and said in a confident tone, “She is already awake and will make a full recovery after she gets a bit of food in her belly. You can check on her for yourself later, but right now she is taking a bath with Trist and the two from my party, Emiru, and Maemi. I also gave her a change of clothing to wear, and you don’t have to worry about payment or anything like that.” Hearing Vahn’s words, not just Keith, but Jonas showed a thankful expression as the latter plopped down onto the ground with a lot of the tensions relaxing from his body. It was actually very late and the party had likely been running around for hours prior to their retreat into the side corridor.
Keith walked forward and extended his hand out as a friendly smile appeared on his face and he said, “Truly, thank you for everything you’ve done. Even if you don’t want repayment, at least allow me to thank you with a beer or something in the future. We’ll make a celebration out of it, what do you say?” Vahn’s smile widened marginally as he accepted the hand of Keith and said, “I’m a bit busy at times, but I wouldn’t mind a night out on the City every now and then. You have to be careful though, my reputation isn’t that great and it might cause problems for you if you associate with me.” Keith laughed heartily before patting Vahn on the shoulder and saying, “If I can’t even show gratitude to the benefactor that saved my party, I wouldn’t be much of a man. There isn’t much trouble greater than potentially wiping and losing the lives of my comrades and myself.”
Vahn appreciated Keith’s words, but he couldn’t help but feel like they would face danger in the future if they actually started to get along well. Though he couldn’t speak for Jonas, Vahn felt like Keith would be a good friend and figured it would be fun to hang out with such an amiable individual that cared for his allies. After a moment’s hesitation, Vahn decided that it was better to make friends and face struggles together than to simply avoid companionship because something ‘might’ happen. As long as he didn’t get too close to them, any enemies he might have scheming against him most likely wouldn’t bother with the relatively average group. Unless Vahn got very close to them, it simply wasn’t worth trying to leverage any friendship they developed against him and risk inciting his, and the Alliance’s, wrathful ire.
After talking things over a bit with Keith, Vahn learned they were all from an F-Rank Familia run by a goddess named Lakshmi. They only had seven total members, with the four present being Level 2 while the remaining three were all Level 1 and still rather young. The Familia itself was only around five years old, so it wasn’t a bad start for a standard exploration type Familia. If they had actually fallen due to the Monster Party, the Familia would have received a heavy blow so Keith was very thankful for Vahn’s assistance. They also talked a little bit about private matters, even though Vahn was relatively dismissive when answering any questions related to himself, his Familia, the Alliance, and his relationships. Keith, however, was very open about it and bragged about his courtship with Trist. They hadn’t sworn to each other yet, but they had gone on a few dates and things were developing well between them.
Imagining the honest looking young man alongside the cool beauty caused a bit of incongruity in Vahn’s mind, but he also thought they were very suitable for each other at the same time. Vahn could tell that Trist cared a lot for her companions, even though she was harsh to Jonas for his earlier outburst. Keith was the current Captain of the Familia, so she would likely end up as his Vice-Captain or Lieutenant in the future since it seemed like Jonas was the current Vice-Captain since he had joined at the same time as Keith and the two were childhood friends. Trist had joined around two years ago while Senna had apparently only joined a few months ago after her previous Familia lost a War Games and was disbanded. This seemed to be the reason why she was somewhat passive now as Keith remarked that she still blamed herself a bit for the loss.
Vahn empathized with the docile and gentle looking girl, but there wasn’t much he could do to help her overcome her own mental burdens. She would probably blame herself for the Monster Party as well, even though it had nothing to do with her and wasn’t the fault of anyone involved. Like the rest of the party, she was simply one of the victims and would have lost her life if not for the whim of fate that brought their party across Vahn and the twins. Hopefully, since Keith and Trist seemed to be kind people, they would be able to help her recover her mentality and continue working to improve the quality of her life. Vahn could also see that the man named Jonas also had a lot of affection for the petite girl, even though it didn’t seem like she reciprocated his feelings at the moment.
After talking for a while, Vahn walked over to the sitting Jonas before pulling out his [Heal] staff and repairing his jawbone. He had been cautious at first, but the moment the white light passed through his body Jonas calmed down. After the light faded, he rubbed his jaw a bit with his hand before saying in an awkward manner, “Thanks…” Vahn gave him a curt nod before turning his attention towards the adjacent room moments before Emiru showed up and said, “Everything is fine now, Vahn-sama.” With her words, Vahn accompanied Keith and Jonas back into the room where Senna was now wearing somewhat casual clothes that consisted of a creamy white blouse with frills, and a red shirt with small ribbons decorating it. Other than the combat attire of the twins, Vahn only had casual clothing to lend out. Senna wouldn’t be able to easily wear the shorts and the tight blouses that the twins wore because her hips were thinner and her breasts were much larger.
Seeing the somewhat ‘out of place’ Senna, Jonas walked forward with a wide gait and said in a relieved, somewhat happy, sound voice, “Senna, thank goodness you’re okay…I’m-” When Jonas tried to hug her suddenly, Senna shied away and avoided his embrace with a slightly apologetic look on her face accompanied with furrowed brows and a frown. She very obviously didn’t share the affections Jonas had for her and wasn’t comfortable with him trying to hug her at the moment. Jonas pulled back his hands in an awkward manner and scratched the back of his head as he said, “Ah, sorry about that…I got a little carried away. It’s just so good to see that you’re okay now…” Senna nodded her head and said in a low tone, “Thank you for your concern…”
Without tarrying near Jonas any longer, Senna walked over toward Vahn before crossing her hands over her lap and bowing low as she shouted, “T-thank you very much for saving me! And for the treatment, and also for the bath, and also for the food, and also for the clothes…! Really, I can never repay you for our kindness!” Vahn could feel Senna’s aura flare up as her Affection increased from 54 all the way to 77 in an instant. Seeing the upset face of Jonas practically ‘glaring’ at him, Vahn shook his head and said in a polite tone, “I accept your gratitude, but you don’t have to worry about repayment and the like. Just continue living a good life and doing your best, that is all I can ask for.”
The moment Vahn’s words finished, he heard a notification and saw her affection jump up to 81 and he felt a little baffled by how quickly she was ‘falling’ for him. It wasn’t the first time he had saved someone, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise, but he also wasn’t trying to start any new relationships. Though he didn’t consider it ‘trouble’, Vahn had many things to worry about in his life with the current women he was involved with. Senna was a gentle and kind looking girl, but she didn’t seem like the type that would be able to mesh well with the girls on the network. There was also the fact that her nature would likely restrict her growth and Vahn didn’t want another person with a dependency on him.
Perhaps they had realized something as well, because the twins walked over and stood at his flanks before grabbing both of his arms as if making a statement. Senna’s eyes opened wide and she turned flustered with a fierce blush on her face as she stuttered, “I-I-I-I’m not…I’m…ahhhhh, please don’t misunderstand, I-I-I…” Trist began laughing in a somewhat mature manner and walked forward rubbing the top of Senna’s head and saying, “Don’t blame her too much, there aren’t many girls that would be able to stay calm after being saved by a handsome and capable boy. Even I felt my heart flutter a bit earlier when you swept through that wave of monsters~.”
Hearing Trist’s words, Keith gave a somewhat theatrical shout and said, “Noooo, please don’t leave me Trist! I can be better, just give me a chaaaaance~!” As if they had arranged it beforehand, Trist and Keith began to laugh after the short exchange and Vahn could see the affectionate gaze they shared. The atmosphere in the room turned a bit lighter, even though Jonas was still giving him a moderately hostile look. Since it was already very late, Vahn didn’t spend too much time talking with the party from the Lakshmi Familia and just promised to meet up at a later date to celebrate Senna’s recovery.
The girl in question was behaving very bashfully, but Vahn assumed she would calm down a bit after some time passed. A girl’s emotions, especially a docile girl like Senna, would always be in a state of high tension immediately after overcoming a dangerous situation. The fact that Vahn had saved her life was probably skewing her perception of things for the time being and she would most likely calm down a bit after the reality of the situation set in. As they were going to continue pursuing their objective, Vahn didn’t accompany the party to the surface since they wouldn’t be in any real danger on the stairs leading up. The entire party was Level 2, so they were able to venture all the way to the 18th floor without any great difficulty if they paced themselves. Going up decreased the danger, so Vahn didn’t have to escort them just to ensure things went smoothly.
After having grabbed onto his arms earlier, the twins had continued holding onto Vahn even after the Lakshmi Familia party had left. Vahn had a wry smile on his face as he felt the two girls pressing their somewhat modest breasts against his arm in a synchronized manner. Before they got carried away, Vahn said in a firm tone, “There is still a lot to do in the next two days, so make sure you rest properly. I’ll take care of all of this…” There was the matter of the bloody futon and the mess that had been made earlier, so Vahn started to place the reusable stuff into his inventory after setting out a new spread for the twins to use.
Unlike when they had removed all of their armor earlier, the twins removed their pouches and any hard straps covering their bodies before crawling into the futon and hugging each other as they normally did whilst sleeping. Vahn nodded his head at their actions because they were obviously ‘learning’ a bit even without him having to explain things. In the event of an emergency, you didn’t always have time to equip all of your gear so it was often better to wear what you could sleep in comfortably and set the rest off to the side for quick access. Many Adventurer’s actually slept fully armored with their weapons at their side just so they wouldn’t get caught off guard, even though that was a bit excessive unless you were in the deeper floors.