Because they hadn’t been in a hurry, Vahn, Emiru, and Maemi all arrived at the Hearth Manor after traveling on foot for around half an hour. Vahn hadn’t even made it through the courtyard leading to the foyer before he saw a presence bolting toward him after exiting through the front door. Fenrir had the closest thing to a smile she could manage as she trotted forward excitedly and said, “Vahn, Vahn, Fenrir killed a super big monster! Praise Fenrir~!”
Though he wasn’t sure exactly what she had killed, Vahn still grabbed the sides of Fenrir’s head and began to playfully scratch behind her large fluffy ears. Fenrir released her somewhat scratchy and awkward laugh as some of the other girls began to walk out into the cold. Vahn could detect a large number of presences inside the Manor, so he assumed they hadn’t actually gone to the dungeon today. To prevent everyone from congregating outside, Vahn picked up Fenrir and said, “Let’s go to the study where it’s nice and warm.” Fenrir raised up her left paw while holding onto Vahn with her right as she shouted, “Yay, onwards, let’s go, let’s go~!”
Once they were inside, Vahn learned about the events up the past three days including how Fenrir had fought a giant monster known as a Mammoth Fool. They typically stood around 6-7 meters in height and weighed several thousand kilograms. They were covered in long red fur that was resistant against both physical and magical attack and their incredibly dense skulls were affixed with four large, spear-like, tusks that could deal devastating damage. Their Power and Endurance were immense, but they were very slow and, as their name indicated, they were considerably dumber than most monsters. It was rumored that, in their massive heads, their actual brain was only slightly larger than a walnut.
Though they were monsters that typically only spawned on the lower floors, the party consisting of Riveria, Ryuu, Aki, and, of course, Fenrir, had encountered the stray monster after it had wandered up from the 19th floor through one of the side tunnels connecting to the 18th floor safe zone. Because the Dungeon was constantly changing, it wasn’t that uncommon for monsters to wander into the 18th floor and Fenrir’s group just happened to be nearby after Riveria requested a stopover at the small residence maintained by the Loki Familia within the settlement…
—Previously in the Dungeon, Fenrir PoV—
When her Master had entered the Dungeon with Emiru and Maemi on the first day, Fenrir had been in low spirits from the very moment they separated on the surface. She hated when her Master would go away and it always made her feel anxious inside of her tummy as if a powerful hunger was going to take control at any moment. Because she didn’t want to make trouble for him, Fenrir pooled her courage and decided to beat up all the stinky monsters in order to vent her worries. She knew that, if she performed well and killed lots of monsters, her Master would praise her a lot when he returned.
Fenrir lead the way into the Dungeon accompanied by the kind Aki, the pleasant smelling Ryuu, and the new girl that smelled like dirt and trees, Riveria. Though she didn’t know why herself, Fenrir knew that her Master was very concerned for the black-haired Cat Person. Her instincts were telling her she needed to protect Aki no matter what and, since Aki was very kind to her all the time, Fenrir didn’t mind. As for Ryuu, she didn’t like Ryuu too much since she was always around and didn’t talk often. She knew her Master cared about the Elf and, since Ryuu smelled pleasant, Fenrir tolerated her. The last person, Riveria, Fenrir didn’t like her at all, no way, no how. She didn’t trust the mean High Elf at all and thought she was trying to take Vahn away from her because they got along well.
However, though she didn’t like the ‘dirty’ High Elf, Fenrir still did her best to listen to her words since Riveria was the ‘leader’ of the party. Though Fenrir didn’t agree that the strange woman should be in charge, she forgave Riveria after experiencing the use of her barrier magic. Fenrir didn’t like to get dirty when her Master wasn’t around, because she liked when he cleaned her body the most. Though she allowed Ryuu and Aki to wash her, she didn’t like their touch and it made her body feel chills whenever they washed her. This was because Fenrir had an instinctual fear for the girls that were much stronger than her and didn’t like to ‘expose’ herself when her Master wasn’t nearby. As for why she forgave Riveria, it was because Riveria’s barrier magic prevented the blood and monster bits from getting into her fur. Realizing this, Fenrir understood that even stinky dirty High Elves had their uses…
For the next two days, Fenrir killed lots of monsters during the day and slept in her Master’s room at night with Preasia. Though she felt uncomfortable about it, Fenrir decided to keep the fact that they snuck into her Master’s room when he was gone a secret. Not too long ago, Preasia and her had moved into their own room and usually shared the same bed. Whenever her Master was away, Preasia convinced her to sneak into his room and they would cuddle up and enjoy her Master’s scent together. Fenrir knew Preasia was bullied a lot in the past and it was her mission to make sure she was protected. Since Preasia said that her Master wouldn’t mind, just that he would be embarrassed to know they snuck into his room, Fenrir had agreed to keep it a secret. It made her feel a tingly feeling inside her heart being able to smell her Master’s scent even when he was away.
On the final day, Fenrir knew her Master would be returning soon and was very excited. She wasn’t satisfied with the number of monsters she had killed the previous two days and had gone on a rampage. Though she didn’t remember much of what happened after that, Fenrir remembered waking up inside a forest with Aki and Ryuu and learned that Riveria had gone to some place that had a similar name to talk to some people. Fenrir didn’t really care where the dirty girl had gone and just spent some time idling about in the forest after allowing Aki to brush her hair.
Fenrir was very bored waiting around so she started sneakily hunting a large beetle that was on a boulder. Being able to skulk through the tall grass undetected made Fenrir feel excited and she wanted to be able to get all the way up to the big bug without it noticing her. After several minutes, Fenrir was in close proximity to the beetle and jumped quickly, though not nearly as fast as she could move, to catch the beetle with her mouth. Because it had looked super hard, Fenrir had been excited about being able to eat it but now, after finally getting her teeth around it, she realized it was very soft. Since she didn’t want to waste food, Fenrir was a good girl and ate every last bite even though she didn’t like eating soft and squishy things.
After playing around for a bit, Fenrir smelled a super smelly smell coming from deeper in the woods and she could feel her instincts flaring up. Though she didn’t know what the smelly thing was, it made her feel a little scared and excited so she turned to Ryuu and waved her arms as she shouted, “Fenrir smells a smelly monster~! Fenrir kill!” Without waiting for permission, Fenrir ran off toward the source of the smell at her fastest speed. Fenrir thought she was going super fast, but seeing Ryuu and Aki catch up to her almost instantly made her frown. She wanted to be the fastest and strongest there was so that her Master would always praise her and she could protect him better. Fenrir didn’t want to be at the ‘mercy’ of the strong girls around her, she wanted them to have to ask permission to touch her and know their place.
A few minutes later, Fenrir could feel the ground vibrating and saw a super huge monster covered in red fur. Fenrir noticed the bare parts of its body were covered in thick scales and the big white tusks jutting out from its face looked super duper hard. She heard Ryuu call the monster a Mammoth Fool and Fenrir thought the name was funny. Now that she knew what it was called, Fenrir couldn’t help but think that the big smelly monster looked very dumb. Of course, compared to her, every monster was super stupid and only her big brother, Fafnir, was smart enough to be her equal.
Seeing Ryuu preparing to fight the monster, Fenrir flailed her arms and shouted, “No, Ryuu, stop! Fenrir wants to kill! You stay, protect Aki, Fenrir will go!” Ignoring the words of caution coming from Ryuu, Fenrir turned around and used her favorite skill, [Freezing Roar], to intimidate the big, stupid, smelly, monster. Though it wasn’t stunned for as long as she’d like, Fenrir was able to get around to the side of its body before it managed to recover. When it tried to sweep at her from the side, Fenrir shouted, “You are so dumb, Fenrir is going to eat you whole!” Before it could finish its movement, Fenrir dug her unstoppably sharp claws into he thick fur and hide of the Mammoth and held on as she quickly climbed up its body. Even though it flailed about and tried to buck her off of it, Fenrir didn’t care at all and arrived at the very top of the monster a few seconds later.
Fenrir had learned about this strategy in the past with her Master and had discovered that it was a very good tactic against most monsters. Getting on the back of a monster was usually a death sentence for them since she had unstoppable claws and teeth that could bite through anything except her favorite toy. For several minutes, Fenrir ‘laughed’ while riding the back of the Mammoth as it desperately tried to fling her off and attack with its massive trunk. Because she was near the back, Fenrir was far out of reach and the monster was too dumb to try and roll in order to remove her from its body.
Satisfied that it couldn’t do anything to her, Fenrir stuck her tongue out at the observing Ryuu before digging her claws deep into the hard and boney back of the Mammoth Fool. Though she was displeased about the blood that was soaking into her fur, Fenrir wanted to be able to brag about killing a super big monster to her Master when he came back home. Since she had never eaten Mammoth Fool before, Fenrir used her claws as leverage and started to literally bore her way into the body of the monster as it released powerful roars and thrashed about while destroying trees, boulders, and anything else that got in its way. This was futile, however, because Fenrir was already deep inside of its body and nomming away at the hard interior. She was happy because, even though the meat of monsters was usually ‘soft’, the Mammoth’s was ‘hard’ and pleasant, even if it smelled bad.
After chewing clear through the spine of the monster, it lost control of its back legs and pathetically began to drag them around before it eventually succumbed to fatigue. Fenrir ‘laughed’ happily and continued chewing on the spinal column since it was much harder than the surrounding flesh until eventually, after around seven agonizing minutes, the Mammoth Full swelled up until it dispersed into purple dust. Fenrir was annoyed since she wasn’t able to eat more, but was also happy because she had beat the big monster easily. Her only regret was that her Master hadn’t been here to see it since he would have praised her and helped clean off the blood that literally caked her from head to toe.
Hearing the recounting of events from Ryuu, Vahn heavily patted the jubilant Fenrir who had taken over his lap. He nuzzled into the back of her head and said in a happy tone, “I’m so proud of you, Fenrir, you’re getting stronger and stronger!” Fenrir did her best to laugh as she dangled her feet happily and said, “Yaaaay, praise Fenrir more and more~!” Since he really was impressed with the fact she had taken on a rather difficult opponent with ease, Vahn did as Fenrir asked and spent the majority of the morning pampering her while talking about his experience over the last three days. Hearing that the twins had also reached Level 2 in a ridiculously short period of time, everyone was very impressed, especially Ais who had a serious expression on her face.
Emiru and Maemi were very happy to be the center of attention for once and proudly talked about their ‘conquest’ while brandishing their [Saint Halberd]s about until Aki reprimanded them for using weapons indoors. Ais asked them a bunch of questions and eventually convinced them to show her their capabilities as a large portion of the group went to observe. Vahn had been busy pampering the bubbly Fenrir and left them to their own devices for the time being. Of course, not everyone had gone to observe the fight as Haruhime, Preasia, and Syr had stayed behind. Using the opportunity when the other girls were away, Syr and Haruhime flanked Vahn and continued making conversation while he was brushing Fenrir’s bristly hair.
Though he hadn’t been concerned at first, Vahn felt a strange pressure at being flanked by the two while Preasia sat across on the opposite sofa holding a pillow and gazing directly at him. Even though Syr was just making polite conversation and explaining things that had happened on the network, Vahn was very aware of her passionate aura sticking to his body as her charm magic periodically triggered whenever she would get excited. Haruhime wasn’t much better at all and Vahn could feel her tails rubbing affectionately against his back as she leaned her weight against his shoulder. She wasn’t saying much at all, and simply maintained an elegant demeanor and gentle smile on her face, but Vahn was very aware of her golden irises and the tendrils that were wrapping around his body.
After making small talk for around twenty minutes, Haruhime suddenly made an out of the blue comment that seemed to trigger Syr to show a somewhat strange smile, “I’m not quite sure what, but I can tell that the twins have changed more than just their strength. They seem to be even lewder than in the past…” Vahn wanted to ask exactly how she knew the twins were ‘lewd’ since they seemed to behave normally most of the time. However, he was too distracted by the pink auras surrounding him and was caught off guard when Syr leaned close and whispered in his ear, “Should I add them to the schedule~?” Though she had been quiet, every girl in the room had sensitive ears and Haruhime immediately laughed like a bell as she gave a whisper of her own, “If you’re going to add them, please consider putting my name down as well~.”
Fenrir didn’t know what they were talking about but, hearing them keep mentioning the same thing over and over, she asked, “Vahn, can Fenrir be on the schedule thingy as well? Fenrir will do her best to be lewd too?” Though he had been a bit flustered by the combined attack of the two mischevious girls, Vahn took a heavy blow when he heard Fenrir’s words. He sent a glare at the two apologetic looking girls before hugging Fenrir’s body tightly and saying, “You don’t need to be on a schedule or anything else like that, I’ll spend plenty of time with you when I can. I prefer the cute Fenrir that is always doing her best to get stronger, don’t ever become a lewd girl, okay?”
Though she didn’t know what it meant to be ‘lewd’, Fenrir nodded her head obediently and said, “Yes, Fenrir won’t be a lewd girl. Fenrir will be the cutest and strongest for Vahn. Smelly Harume can be the dumb dumb lewd girl.” Hearing Fenrir’s ‘abrasive’ words, Haruhime asked in a pitiable tone, “Why is it dumb dumb and not just dumb? Are you saying I’m twice as stupid now~?” Fenrir actually nodded her head in affirmation of Haruhime’s words and pointed to her two tails that were still ‘sneakily’ touching Vahn’s back. As if stating something that was very obvious, Fenrir said, “Ever since Harume got another tail, she has been especially dumb. Fenrir can smell it, Harume is even stinkier now than she was before.”
Haruhime began to pout after hearing Fenrir’s words as she asked in a subtly sobbing voice, “Vahn, do you think I’m a smelly dumb dumb?” Vahn had no idea how things had developed to this point but he didn’t want the girls to be fighting like this. The one thing he was certain of was that Fenrir was probably just lashing out because she had sensed the change in atmosphere from earlier and was directly her ire towards Syr and Haruhime as a result. Vahn patted the top of Fenrir’s head and ruffled the hair he had been previously brushing and said in a firm tone, “Fenrir, you know it’s not nice to bully others. Haruhime is doing her best in her own way, and you don’t have to worry about her harming me at all.”
Noticing the sad look that appeared on Haruhime’s face, Vahn showed a kind smile and said, “Haruhime, you already know my impression of you, so you don’t have to ask such silly questions. Just do your best and be yourself, don’t worry about what others think. I really wish the two of you could get along better…after all, you’re both very cute and I enjoy brushing your fluffy tails.” Feeling Fenrir fidget on his lap, Vahn’s smile turned a bit wry and he continued, “However, it’s a bit unfair that you have two tails to brush, so I guess I’ll have to spend twice as long on Fenrir to compensate…?” Fenrir began to dangle her feet happily as she mused, “Vahn is the best to Fenrir after all~!”
Just as things were beginning to calm down, Vahn could detect that the larger group was making their return and he turned his head to see Syr mouth the words, ‘Sorry for causing trouble.’ Vahn shook his head slowly in response and mouthed, ‘It’s fine, just please be careful with your words around all of the younger girls. Fenrir might be a monster, but she is very impressionable and tries to emulate others.’ Syr showed a happy smile after ‘hearing’ Vahn’s words and giggled silently before saying in a quiet tone, “I think the only person Fenrir really tries to copy is you…I can tell that she likes you a whole lot, isn’t that right Fenrir~?” Unaware of the silent conversation that was had previously, Fenrir nodded her head and showed her crooked smile as she said, “Yes, Fenrir likes Master more than anyone else. Only smoky Hephaestus and nice Eina are allowed to say they like Master as much as Fenrir.”
Vahn knew that Fenrir had a ‘bad habit’ of calling him Master whenever she was excited and he knew it was next to impossible to get her to stop. It seemed to be the influence of the Loyalty parameter since both Anubis and Fafnir did the same. Fenrir’s Loyalty was a monstrous 37,419 at the moment and it very rarely ever decreased nowadays. Though he didn’t know the full influence of the parameter, Vahn knew it had a subtle effect on the minds of his subordinates and, the higher their Loyalty, the greater value they placed into his words. It was likely due to her Loyalty towards him that Fenrir was able to function as well as she was without giving in to her urges anymore. She very rarely felt ‘hungry’ anymore and it was usually a small matter that was relatively easy to deal with.
Thinking about Anubis and Fafnir, Vahn had a momentary urge to go for a ‘walk’ but was more focused on the thought of training Fafnir. He had around a day and a half to prepare for the Monster Feria, so he needed to take Fafnir away from the City and try to come up with a routine for the exhibition. Even though many people would still be afraid of it, Vahn wanted them to at least ‘accept’ Fafnir’s presence so it could freely move about the City instead of skulking in the shadows. Though it was dangerous, especially if anyone discovered its weakness, Vahn still thought Fafnir would be happier to be ‘free’. It would also make his own life more convenient because he would be able to travel around the City very quickly after sending Fafnir a mental signal asking it to come to pick him up. Though it felt a little strange to think about Fafnir as a mode of transportation, Vahn knew the dragon actually liked whenever he rode on its back so it would be an opportunity for the both of them…