Chapter 392: Concerns, Tempo, Teasing

Vahn felt surprisingly refreshed the next morning, almost as if all the tensions in his body had been completely removed by the previous nights ‘event’. He was currently enjoying the warmth of Hephaestus on his left, Anubis on his right, and both Hestia and Loki laying on top of his body. Being sandwiched by the girls, Vahn enjoyed the smooth and soft sensations pressing against him as well as the warmth coming from their bodies. Even Loki, though she didn’t really have much in the breast department, was very light and her small buds were still soft to the touch.

During the evening, and stretching into the morning, Vahn had gone through several rounds with the four goddesses and had experienced a host of new things before the end. Hestia hadn’t lasted for too long, but she didn’t pass out as she had in the past because Loki would constantly tease her until she eventually woke back up. Hephaestus was very proactive and also gave into some of Loki’s schemes along the way and things got a bit out of hand in the end. As for Anubis, she was ‘behaving’ in a docile manner for the majority of the time until Loki eventually egged her on till the point where Vahn was taking her from behind while the mischevious goddess sat on her butt while making out with him…

As Vahn reminisced about the events of a few hours prior, he had an urge to tease Loki but couldn’t move either of his arms. Hephaestus and Anubis had claimed them for their own use and Vahn wasn’t in a position to move about freely without waking them. None of the girls had anything going on today, and it was also a weekend, so they could afford to sleep in a bit. Though the Monster Feria was still ongoing, all of the ‘taming’ events had taken place on the first day and had been carried out without incident.

For the remaining time, the tamers in the Ganesha Familia were going to be showing off the various characteristics of the monsters that could be found within the Dungeon. They would be putting on exhibitions, much like Vahn had for the opening act, but there was no real danger of monsters going out of control anymore. The Alliance would still be providing security, but it wouldn’t be to the extent as the previous days and didn’t require the presence of any of the gods of the Alliance.

However, they would still be leaving soon after breakfast since they wanted to give the other girls an opportunity to be with Vahn without having to worry about their presence. There were a few things Vahn wanted to do as well so, while he let the girls continue to sleep, he began looking through the logbooks within his inventory using the interface of his system within his mind. He had been spending a lot of time with the girls, but there were a few that he hadn’t been with for a while. Though he couldn’t simply divest his time ‘fairly’, Vahn still wanted to spend some time with the girls individually whenever he knew he would be away for a while.

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Since he was preparing to go into the Dungeon for a few days, Vahn would be away from the surface group for a while. Even if their feelings wouldn’t fade after just a few days, Vahn was still a little self-conscious about the situation and would oftentimes check the affection of the girls through his system. Seeing many of them stuck at 100, he had been tempted to use the [Hearts Desire]s that had been sitting around for some time. If he used one of them, Vahn would feel obligated to use the rest so he had been putting it off ever since deciding not to rely on peeking into the memories of the girls to get close to them. Vahn was afraid of treating the girls’ affection parameters like stats that he could manage at his own convenience.

As for the girls he wanted to spend time with, Vahn was going to see if Chloe, Arnya, and potentially, Tsubaki, wanted to do anything. Though there were other girls he should spend time with, many of them would be venturing into the Dungeon with him in the future. Vahn expected that, regardless of his initial intentions, something would probably happen when they were deep inside the Dungeon and away from prying eyes. Not just some of the girls, but even Vahn got ‘excited’ by combat at times and his tensions would rise to match. Unless someone like Riveria was there to keep them in check, Vahn had expectations that Tiona and Ais would eventually ‘get’ to him.

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Chloe and Arnya were going to be busy doing the setup for the grand opening of the new Hostess of Fertility tomorrow, but that didn’t mean they would be busy in the evening. If Vahn reached out to them, it was almost guaranteed that, at the very least Chloe, would be willing to spend some time with him. As for Arnya, she was getting along well with the other girls, but she hadn’t really been approaching him much even when she was in the Manor. Though she teased him a bit when he became a Pallum, she has been spending more time with the others than Vahn himself. Her affection was still at 99(Love), but Vahn felt like she was creating a bit of distance with him even though they were now closer together than ever.

Vahn planned to find out what she was worried about later, but right now he shifted his focus to the final ‘target’ that was currently at the forefront of his mind. Even before he used ‘Nirvana’ on her, Vahn had been thinking about how he could approach Tsubaki and spend more time with her. Now that she had officially decided to ‘give him a chance’, Vahn had been a little antsy whenever he thought about the beautiful half-dwarf that used to tease him in the past. She still ‘handled’ him a bit, but Vahn knew he could get an edge over her if push came to shove. As the Captain of the Hephaestus Familia, she might be busy with the Monster Feria, but Vahn hadn’t seen her the previous day and her current status was listed as ‘Free’ without any additional comments. Vahn felt like the lack of comment was almost like a ‘flag’ that she was waiting for him to make the decision himself…

The only thing that stopped him at this point, other than Tsubaki being somewhat ‘tyrannical’, was the fact that, when they finally did the deed, Vahn was planning to help her get pregnant. This wasn’t really a problem, if not for the fact that Tsubaki was still the Captain of the Hephaestus Familia. If she was pregnant at the same time as Hephaestus herself, it would leave the Familia without any real leadership in the event of an emergency. Tsubaki didn’t actually have a Vice-Captain and, though there were a few executives, the strongest among them was at the middles stages of Level 4 and nearly 50 years old.

There was also the fact that, even if Vahn got Tsubaki pregnant, she would probably still be staying at her own Manor on the opposite side of the City. Though he would be able to visit her often, it still unnerved him a bit knowing she would be ‘alone’ there with his baby in her belly. Even though she was very strong, it would make her the most susceptible target to anyone trying to harm them in the future. Hephaestus would probably have her stay in the Hearth Manor during the pregnancy, and potentially thereafter, but it would cause a variety of problems in the management of the Familia itself. Vahn didn’t want to be the reason for the Hephaestus Familia’s collapse and Hephaestus had already done so much for him…

From his left, Vahn sensed a fluctuation in Hephaestus’s aura and saw that she had opened her crimson/red eyes and was staring at him. Seeing him look over, she asked in a very low voice, “What are you so worried about, Vahn? Please tell me…” Though it often slipped his mind, Vahn remembered the bond he had with Hephaestus and that she was easily able to understand his state of mind even at a distance. When they were together like this, the feelings were more powerful and even Vahn could somewhat sense what was going through her mind. Hephaestus’s 46,995 Love wasn’t just for show and the bond they shared was something inviolable at this point.

Vahn smiled at her concern before leaning over and giving her a kiss on the forehead. He would have tried for her lips, but the combined efforts of Loki, Hestia, and Anubis, prevented him from moving such a distance unless he wanted to disturb them. His concerns seemed to have been wasted, however, as Anubis had awoken the very moment Hephaestus opened her mouth. Her hearing was incredibly sensitive and she had always awoken shortly after Vahn even when they were separated by a wall in the past.

Sensing the fluctuations behind him, Vahn stifled a small chuckle and decided they had slept in long enough already. Hestia would probably go back to sleep, but the rest of the girls were early risers since they were often busy. Vahn lifted his body and everyone began to shift around to get more comfortable. Loki had woken up very quickly and had a smile on her face as she tried to sneak in a kiss, but Hestia was still completely passed out and lazily hanging on his body even when he sat up. Remembering his earlier intent, Vahn reached his hand around and squeezed Loki’s somewhat fleshy butt and gave her a kiss after her failed attempt to secure one herself.

Other than the stockings Loki was wearing, everyone was presently naked and snuggled up against the headboard of the bed while Hestia continued to sleep while mumbling periodically. Vahn didn’t want to keep anything from the girls, especially since the goddesses were the people he trusted the most, other than Eina. He explained his concerns about Tsubaki, the incongruity with Arnya, and his intentions to venture into the Dungeon for about a week before returning and preparing for the wedding. Vahn also talked about his take on the situation regarding the Hephaestus Familia as well as some of his concerns in the far future in relation to the Empire and the various other countries.

By the time he had finished explaining, even Loki had a somewhat serious expression on her face as she asked, “Vahn…do you want to rule the world?” Vahn blinked at the unexpected question but began to seriously consider it for a moment before shaking his head and saying, “If that would help the situation, I would do my best…but I just want to be happy and protect everything we’re building together. The faster things develop here in Orario, the more attention we will draw from the other countries and I can’t help but be concerned about the future of our children…I don’t want them to grow up in a world filled with so much hatred and sadness.”

From his right, Vahn heard Anubis say in a low and sad tone, “Master…” as she nuzzled lovingly against his shoulder and held tightly to his arm. As someone that had dedicated her life to taking care of orphans, Anubis was very aware of how cruel the world could be. Even though she was a goddess, life hadn’t been easy for her in the territory of the Southern Tribe. The hierarchal structure of society there had delegated her to the role where she often had to support other gods, especially the egotistical and arrogant Osiris.

Loki had a thoughtful expression on her face and appeared to be in deep thought as Hephaestus explained in a soft tone, “Tsubaki has done a lot, not just for the Familia, but for myself personally. She deserves a chance at her own happiness as well, so I’ll do something about the situation in my Familia. Though she took care of a lot of important things, it isn’t as though she was the lynchpin holding everything together. There are more than forty executives in the various districts, all capable blacksmiths and Adventurers in their own right. My Familia has 1,319 members and more than 6,000 support personnel, Tsubaki wouldn’t have been able to manage everything on her own, even if she wanted to.”

As the only Familia in Orario that didn’t rely on income from the Dungeon to sustain itself, the Hephaestus Familia was deeply rooted in the City itself and wouldn’t collapse from the lack of a Captain. Tsubaki’s actual job usually entailed processing promotions for the various members while also leading expeditions on occasion. The reason she lived in the center of the district was to take charge of the situation in the event of an emergency but, now that the Hephaestus Familia was part of the Alliance, there would always be someone to take a step forward if something actually happened. Tsubaki spent more than 90% of her time, other than sleeping, just forging various equipment and venturing solo into the Dungeon to test her weapons. Her absence might cause a small stir, but it wouldn’t lead to the chaos and collapse that Vahn had been worried about.

With Hephaestus’ assurance, Vahn felt a burden lift off his shoulders that he hadn’t even realized was there before. He could tell from Hephaestus’ stable aura, and the connection they shared, that she wasn’t simply trying to mislead him to assuage his concerns. There was a confident and encouraging glint in her eyes and she seemed absolutely certain things would go well. Her looks made Vahn’s heart dance a bit and he was very tempted to push her down again, a fact she was also very aware of as her face began to flush slightly. Loki, however, put a stop to that when she said, “We might need to increase the Alliance a great deal in the future so that we can exercise more power within the City. We already control this district, but if we can expand the territory enough we could declare one of the eight Regions of Orario as the sovereign territory of the Alliance. If we consolidate enough Familias within our territory, we would be able to sway decisions during times of crisis. If you’re worried about the Empire, and other forces, trying to put pressure on us in the future, the best counter would be to simply have too many people for them to deal with in a practical manner. If you become the representative for the entire Alliance, which would be possible with enough support, even Ouranos wouldn’t be able to pressure you when there are diplomatic issues between Orario and other countries…”

Loki’s words trailed off at the end as she looked between Vahn and Hephaestus with a confused glint in her eyes before asking in a ‘sheepish’ tone, “Did I interrupt something more important than the future happiness of our children~?” Hephaestus released a long sigh after hearing Loki’s words because she could easily tell that the tricker goddess was trying to divert the attention away from her hiccup and back to the topic. Vahn also realized it and knew Loki’s response had actually been after seriously considering the matter he brought up earlier. Though she had spoiled the atmosphere, she had only done so because she was thinking about the matters that were concerning him.

The thing about mood, however, was that it could quickly be built back up if you take the proper actions. Loki was still pretending to be sheepish and confused, so Vahn took advantage of her pretense and poked her forehead with an increasing amount of force until she fell back on the bed. When she looked up, Loki’s expression immediately changed as she realized the situation and she began to laugh in a coy manner before saying, “I guess present happiness is important as well~?” Though he had intended to simply talk for a while before they all went down for breakfast, there were still around two hours before anyone would begin to question their tardiness. Vahn had been set off by Hephaestus’s words earlier, and now he was in the mood to ‘punish’ Loki for ruining the mood.

As if the fatigue of the previous night had been an illusion, Vahn spent some time ‘tormenting’ the laughing goddess by actually tickling her body until she had nearly passed out from lack of air. He then lifted her powerless and exhausted body before easily slipping inside of her and treating her gently for a while with the support of Hephaestus and Anubis, who also had their switches flipped. They spent the remaining time together as if the night had never come to an end, all while Hestia slept at the side mumbling, “Stupid Vahn…” as she curled up into a small ball holding onto a pillow.

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