Vahn arrived in the streets outside of Tsubaki’s Manor and stared at the archway where the Hephaestus Familia Emblem could be seen. This place had once been an important sanctuary for him in the past, and it hadn’t even been that long since he spent a few months in Tsubaki’s care. So much had changed in such a short period of time and now, a woman who he had never thought about as anything more than a mentor and trusted ally, was waiting for his arrival as they both prepared to take the next steps towards their future. Without any further hesitation, Vahn stepped across the threshold and felt a pulse of energy pass from his body that would alert anyone with the formation key about his arrival.
As he had passed his perception over the Manor, Vahn knew that Tsubaki wasn’t in her reception room, nor was she in her private quarters. Instead, Vahn could detect her aura in a very familiar location and followed the once-familiar path towards the training area where Tsubaki had helped him understand what it took to become stronger. It was also a place where, when he had trouble deciding the path to take, Tsubaki would help to show him the way forward. It may not have been the correct way, but life was lived according to the path you walked toward the future, not the emphasis and time you spent concerning yourself over matters of the past.
When Vahn arrived at the training area, he could see Tsubaki’s beautiful brown skin reflecting the dim sunlight as she wore nothing but a sarashi around her relatively large breasts. She was wearing her traditional attire of a red hakama, maroon undershorts, and a pair of black sandals with red ties that held them to her feet. Currently, Tsubaki sat in seiza with her back toward Vahn and he could see her long black hair tied together in a loose ponytail by a white ribbon. She was just sitting there, even though she had obviously noticed his presence, and was polishing an incredibly large and ornate katana, known as a zanbato.
Vahn could feel the cold morning air graze against his skin and there was still a light mist that added to the atmosphere and solemnity of the scene. Though she was sitting silently, Tsubaki had the air of an unsheathed blade that was waiting for a single moment of weakness before it would strike you down without hesitation. He wasn’t sure exactly what she intended, but the one thing he could be certain was that Tsubaki didn’t plan to make things easy for him. However, instead of showing any fear or hesitation, Vahn stepped into the training area and assumed a position around 20 meters away from the seated Tsubaki.
The very same instant his feet came to a stop, Tsubaki said in a husky and cold tone, “So…you’ve come, Vahn…” Vahn remained silent for a moment before replying, “I have come for you, Tsubaki…” Without saying anything, Tsubaki bobbed her head in affirmation as she continued to polish the zanbato in her hands. Several minutes passed in absolute silence as the tensions in the air continued to increase to the point that the actual air began to stagnate and come to a stop. The only movements were the rising and falling of Vahn’s chest and Tsubaki’s ceaseless polishing of the blade in her hands.
Vahn continued to watch Tsubaki without making any large movements as he tried to make sense of her intentions. Though her affection was still at 100, her aura was completely stable and was filled with an azure blue color and a light green, completely different from the rosy pink he had seen in the past. The only explanation was that Tsubaki had completely calmed her mind in anticipation of his arrival, likely by performing a practiced habit like polishing a sword. Since he couldn’t see through her at all, Vahn didn’t know if she wanted him to attack or if she was testing his patience. After a while, however, Vahn remembered the past and how Tsubaki literally beat him up for hesitating and worrying about things too much…
With a small smile on his face, Vahn took a step forward and dispersed the gentle mist that had settled on his body. Because his body temperature was so hot, whenever the cold air settled on his face, hair, and clothes, it had turned into small beads of condensation that gave Vahn a strangely ethereal look as he calming walked toward Tsubaki. Almost immediately after he took the first step, however, Tsubaki’s aura converged to a point and she spun around in a fluid motion that actually carved a path through the void and traced and afterimage behind her as she swung the massive zanbato toward Vahn’s neck with an emotionless expression on her face.
Vahn’s instincts all triggered simultaneously, but he ignored them entirely and continued forward to take a partial step with his arms slightly open as Tsubaki’s blade came to a stop at his neck. Since he hadn’t made any efforts to dodge, or even stop his step, Vahn’s body carried forward and the impeccably sharp blade cut a shallow mark against his skin. Tsubaki’s brows furrowed slightly and she moved her blade away before backstepping out of range of Vahn’s hands. The action that he had taken to counter Tsubaki’s assault was a very simple one; Vahn had decided to give her a hug and had refused to fight back at all.
Seeing Tsubaki dodge away, Vahn followed her retreat with a somewhat sad smile on his face. Tsubaki frowned and said in a cold voice, “Are you not going to fight back? Do you think I won’t beat you into the ground if you just stand there? Hahahahaha, you might have grown up, but it looks like you never developed any common sense. How many thousands of times did I beat you in the past?” Without saying anything more, Tsubaki stepped forward in a low drawing stance and swung her blade vertically towards Vahn’s abdomen.
Vahn grit his teeth slightly but didn’t stop his step even as the blade passed nearly 3cm through his skin and left a bloody line right below his navel. Tsubaki frustratedly threw her sword to the side and it embedded itself deeply into the wall of her Manor as she stepped forward and punched Vahn squarely in the chest. He felt the impact pass through his body before spitting out a mouthful of blood and showing a somewhat sorry expression to Tsubaki as he continued to stand his ground.
Tsubaki stared at him with a serious expression on her face with her deep red eyes and said simply, “I gave you a chance, Vahn, but you’ve failed…go back to your other girls and live a happy life.” Without explaining anything, Tsubaki gave a glance at the wound on Vahn’s stomach and started to walk away but was barred passage when Vahn appeared right in front of her with Shundo. She furrowed her brows again and grabbed the hand that he was trying to embrace her with before hurling his body over her and slamming him into the ground.
Vahn coughed up another mouthful of blood and felt some of his bones fracture as Tsubaki stared down at him from above. She released a sigh and turned away in order to retrieve her sword before stopping as Vahn said, “I feel like…you’re losing every time you hit me…it isn’t like the past at all…how will you get even with me like this?” Vahn had crawled back to his feet with a pained expression on his face yet still managed a smile as he began walking toward her once again.
Tsubaki released another sigh and explained, “You know, after you reformed my body like this, I had made the resolve to dedicate myself to you. However, I don’t want to just be a girl that you can call at your convenience, Vahn, I wanted us to be closer to equals. I wanted you to treat this matter seriously so we could fight it out and build up a bit of excitement before the winner claimed their prize…but you’re not playing along at all…you’re just…being you, I guess…”
Shaking her head, Tsubaki turned away and continued in a low voice, “You know nothing about me Vahn, not my origin, not my past, not even what I had hoped for in the future. Though you might have accepted the me you came to know, I want someone that cares about the rest of me as well. I didn’t even mind have a physical relationship with you, but I can’t build a family with someone that only sees me as a conquest…when you don’t even have the courage to come and claim me for yourself. Do you want me to just walk into your arms and swoon like a maiden…? I am first and foremost a warrior, secondly a [Master Smith], and lastly a woman. What are you, just a boy that wants everything handed to him on a platter? Are you a real man, or will you just wait for others to give you what you want by making use of their traumas to get close to them?”
Vahn was having a bit of trouble understanding what Tsubaki was saying at the moment, after all, the very last time they saw each other she was flirting with him and had even teased him. Now, however, she was acting cold and distant while saying biting words that struck directly at his heart. He liked to battle quite a bit, but his instincts, other than the ones that had been telling him to flee, were saying to keep walking forward no matter what happens. Though things might have turned out as Tsubaki said, Vahn knew that the Tsubaki he made love to wouldn’t be the real her, just the version of her she had created to compromise with him. Vahn knew she didn’t want him to worry so much about her, as she was a very independent and capable woman, but he couldn’t simply leave her alone, no matter how much pain she caused him in order to push him away.
Step by step, Vahn continued toward Tsubaki until she turned around and ‘glared’ at him with her fierce red eyes. She pulled the zanbato out of the wall and said in a serious tone, “This time, I’m not going to stop my blade just because you aren’t willing to back down. If you don’t dodge, or fight back, prepare to lose an arm at the very least…” Without further warning, Tsubaki turned into a blur, but Vahn was able to follow her with his eyes and they continued to stare at each other as she drew her blade in an upwards arc aiming toward his left armpit. Vahn simply smiled in return and even spread out his arm slightly to make the cut easier for her as he continued forward.
Tsubaki stopped the blade by twisting her waist and using her shoulder to collide heavily with Vahn’s body and sending him back several meters. He grimaced in pain and took several labored breaths because one of his ribs had shattered while several others were heavily fractured. He released a laugh combined with a cough as he said, “I think you need to polish your sword more…my arm is still attached…haaa…haaaa” Tsubaki released another sigh before jamming the blade of the zanbato into the ground. She gave Vahn an exasperated look and said, “What exactly are you trying to accomplish by just walking forward constantly? The least you could do was try to catch me or something…”
Vahn laughed in a pained manner as he held his ribs and tried to set them using his [Hands of Nirvana]. Though it was somewhat agonizing to laugh at the moment, Vahn couldn’t help himself as he saw the frustrated face of Tsubaki staring back at him. When he finally managed to calm down, he answered simply, “You were the one that taught me to never stop going forward…so I’ll keep going. As for what I’m trying to accomplish…I just want to live a free and happy life, without regrets. We have our whole lives to fight, forge, and love, but here, at this moment, the only thing that matters is me being able to break your facade…I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I fell for a person that wasn’t the same woman that I learned to respect, the same woman that I had learned to love. You cared for me during a time where simply living was something I had trouble with, so why should I back down when you’re the one struggling? Why should you be the only one to make sacrifices on my behalf…?
The entire time Vahn was speaking, he was also taking slow steps toward Tsubaki without pausing for a single moment regardless of the pain. He wasn’t even using [Will of the Emperor] to resist the pain and remain calm and just kept fighting through it using his own willpower and resolve. By the time he had come to the end of his words, Vahn was standing in front of Tsubaki and breathing heavily as he said, “I’ve…come…for you…Tsubaki…” In response to his words, Tsubaki held up her balled fist and said in a cold tone, “Grit your teeth, Vahn…” Following her words, Vahn did indeed grit his teeth, but only after showing a toothy smile while trying to reach forward once again.
Seeing his silly expression, Tsubaki’s brows twitched as she stepped forward and twisted her waist as she jerked her arm around in a devastating right hook that completely whiffed behind Vahn’s head as a result of the step they both took. Vahn finally managed to grab Tsubaki’s waist just as the strength left his body and he said, “I caught you…see, I just had to keep walking forward. Thanks for taking the last step yourself…haha…ha.” Tsubaki held up Vahn’s limp body with a tired expression on her face as she averted her eyes away from Vahn and murmured, “At this rate, you’re going to have to use ‘Nirvana’ on me again, because this kind of stress is going to give me endless amounts of wrinkles…”
Vahn laughed lazily as he rested against the buxom and fragrant breasts of Tsubaki as she held his body in her arms. Though he knew it probably wasn’t the best timing, Vahn felt incited by her words so he let his hands fall from her waist before coming to a stop on her impeccable bottom that he himself had helped shape. He couldn’t muster a lot of strength, but he still managed to get in a gentle squeeze as he remarked, “You’re already beautiful, but I’ll use it as many times as it takes as long as it makes you happy…hahaha…” Feeling his sneaky hands, Tsubaki squeezed Vahn’s head into her breasts and began laughing, proving that her earlier demeanor was an act, as she said, “You little brat, just you wait, I’ll make you take responsibility for what you did to my body…I wonder how you’ll be able to resist when you can barely move~?”
Hearing her words, Vahn just laughed as he continued to fondle her butt and said, “It’s fine, I trust you more than almost anyone else, Tsubaki. You are a kind and gentle woman…with strong motherly instincts, so I think I’ll be okay even if you take the lead…be gentle with me though, I broke a few ribs earlier…hahaha…” Tsubaki’s arms loosened a bit when she heard what Vahn said as she asked with a moderate amount of concern in her voice, “You really didn’t defend yourself at all, did you? I held back a lot, but you got thrown around like a rag doll…I’m starting to feel less annoyed at that Tione girl after experiencing this…you need to train harder, Vahn. If I had less control, you might have ended up dead…and I can’t imagine I’d be far behind once those girls found out.”
Vahn started to laugh as he continued to nuzzle into Tsubaki’s breasts and said, “Don’t worry, we’re the only ones here right now so it will be our little secret. I want to avoid a lecture if I can, after all, I did what I thought was best and just wanted to reach your heart…I don’t have any regrets at all, even if it hurts quite a bit…” Tsubaki frowned and made a strange ‘Muuuu’ sound before picking up Vahn’s body in a princess carry and walking towards the interior of the Manor with hurried steps. Along the way, she continued to pinch his side periodically while saying, “Go ahead, keep telling me how much it hurts, Vahn. I already feel bad enough about it as is, go ahead and keep rubbing it in, please, feel free!”
If not for the fact she was pinching the soft flesh of his waist, Vahn very well might have continued teasing her. For the time being, however, he was too busy trying to keep his facial expression from breaking down as he resisted the urge to yelp. He kept his silence all the way until Tsubaki had carried him to her room and set him down on the futon. Vahn noticed she had laid out an extra layer, likely in preparation for the ‘main event’, and this realization made him smile until a shiny blue potion smashed against his forehead and splashed its contents all over his body. Before he had recovered from the sudden ‘attack, Vahn felt several streams of liquid pouring down on him from above as Tsubaki emptied several expensive elixirs onto his injured frame. Each vial could easily cost more than 100,000Valis and Tsubaki was using ten of them at once to practically shower Vahn in the healing liquids.
After he was completely soaked through, all of Vahn’s wounds had miraculously healed after his body absorbed the potion through his pores. Tsubaki nodded her head and said, “Now you have nothing to complain about…” At the same time she was speaking, Tsubaki removed the band at her waist and her red hakama fell to the floor in an instant. Vahn’s eyes opened wide and Tsubaki gave him a strange look as she asked, “What, decide not to have sex with me at the last minute? I already told you, it’s too late for regrets now, I’m going to make your body take responsibility for what you’ve done to me. And no using that little trick of your’s to try and get an advantage either. You refused to fight me earlier, so we’ll have to settle this the old fashioned way between a man and a woman!”
Tsubaki hadn’t stopped undressing while she was speaking and, by the time her words had come to an end, she was standing before Vahn in all her naked splendor with her arms crossed under her nearly flawless and ample breasts. She had a challenging look in her eyes as she gazed down at the still clothed Vahn that was completely soaked from head to toe. Vahn squinted his eyes at her before standing up in a casual manner as steam appeared from his body that evaporated the liquid from his clothing before he unequipped it in an instant. Though it was only a very slight reaction, Vahn saw Tsubaki swallow a bit when he suddenly became nude and her aura began to flare up with a rosy pink tinged with a passionate red.
Before she could say anything further, Vahn stated in a firm and confident tone, “You may be my better when it comes to strength, speed, forging, and even life experience, but you’ll find I’m more than your match when it comes to the relations between men and women. Let’s wipe the slate clean, Tsubaki, I’m curious how many times you’ll be able to come out ahead…and how many times you’ll call out my name before this is over. It’ll be your victory if you can make me submit before the evening…however, if you fail…” Though there was a good chance she would get pregnant through natural means, Vahn still placed out the [Matryoshka of Fertility] on the table, just as he had done the night when he visited her room and performed ‘Nirvana’.
Tsubaki saw the small doll and her aura flared up a fair amount before she turned her attention back to Vahn. Reaching out her hand, Tsubaki pushed Vahn back down onto the futon before reaching over and quickly snatching up the item. Vahn saw her action and wanted to say something but Tsubaki instantly placed the base of the Matryoshka a few inches beneath her navel. The moment it made contact, the small doll disappeared and an empty heart-shaped tattoo with the kanji for ‘Fertility’ was left behind. Tsubaki rubbed the mark with her thumb as if she were trying to remove it before staring down at Vahn and said, “What part of taking responsibility didn’t you understand? So, what happens if I fail to make you submit now? Come on, lets up the ante a bit Vahn~!”
Seeing that Vahn didn’t have an answer, Tsubaki showed a large grin and said, “Looks like I’ll take the first point, hahaha. Let’s see, if you can’t come up with something yourself…how about this, if I win, you’ll have to come up with a name for our child? If you win, I’ll let you give me one embarrassing order of your choice, how about it?” Vahn had been processing Tsubaki’s words as she spoke and didn’t really see how he ‘lost’ in the situation. However, he apparently failed to respond in time as Tsubaki pinned him down from above in a practiced motion and said, “I’ll take your silence as another victory for me. Really, I wonder how you plan to get any points at this rate? Maybe you just want me to pamper you a bit, eh, Vahn~?” As she spoke, Tsubaki had grabbed Vahn’s sleeping dragon as if she were trying to stir it from its slumber.
Vahn’s mind came back to clarity by her awkward movements and a cheeky smile appeared on his face as he asked, “Having trouble?” Tsubaki shot him a glance and complained, “It’s not getting harder at all…don’t tell me…you can’t get it up for this old woman?” Tsubaki’s eyes suddenly widened into saucers as she leaned down and asked in a voice filled with concern, “Don’t tell me you’re having a sudden bout of impotence? This doesn’t bode well for the other girls…” Though he was intending to tease her a bit, Tsubaki’s words cut Vahn deeply and, even though he knew she was just playing him, Vahn couldn’t back down and immediately summoned his dragon.
Tsubaki had been mounting his waist so she felt it rise before slipping into the gap between her buttocks in a domineering fashion as it nearly reached her tailbone. She exhaled once through her nose and Vahn could feel Tsubaki’s body shaking a bit even though she showed a teasing smile and said, “Ahahaha, looks like there is still a bit of pep in your little buddy…” Vahn reached out his hands and hugged Tsubaki’s body tightly as he pressed her large breasts against his chest and started kissing her.
She used to be slightly taller than he was, but they were now both 170cm and easily lined up without any awkwardness to speak of. Though she wasn’t that accustomed to kissing, Tsubaki still reciprocated his invasive actions and even tried to force his own tongue back into his mouth as if challenging everything he was doing…Vahn ‘fought’ back against her and resisted the urge to use [Hands of Nirvana] as he continued to battle against her on a level playing field. If Tsubaki was going to treat everything they were doing as a competition, Vahn was determined to come out ahead in every category…