Chapter 422: Intuition

Vahn had learned a great deal during his ‘rendezvous’ with Tsubaki within the warm confines of her forge. Chief amongst them is that she was currently, as far as he could tell, the best method to generate OP through the use of his [Petting] Development Ability. He had already confirmed this was the case previously, but using his actual massage techniques increased the amount OP he received through the skill and also increased the efficacy of [Hands of Nirvana] at the same time. Since he had already pushed his massage technique to S-Rank, Vahn was excited at the possibility of one day increasing the skill even further and breaking the limit of its potential. He was aware that his ‘Nirvana’ was actually different than the described version, most likely due to his source energy, so increasing the potency of the skill even further was a tremendous boon.

In the three hours he was with Tsubaki, other than getting her to call his name a few times, Vahn had managed to accumulate an additional 7,143OP. This was more than producing an A-Rank piece of equipment and made Vahn giddy with expectations about the future. Unfortunately, as he had gotten somewhat carried away, he ended up receiving Tsubaki’s punishment when she managed to recover which inevitably led to him being nearly suffocated in her breasts before she released him and let Vahn lay on her stomach. He spent the remaining time they had together listening for signs of life, which had become a very therapeutic thing for Vahn in the last couple of days.

When their ‘break’ had officially come to an end, Vahn was helping Tsubaki wipe down her body with a hot damp cloth that also had the functionality of diffusing scents. Vahn knew he wouldn’t always have time to take a bath every time he released his tensions during the day, so he had scoured the shop until he found a ‘solution’ to his problem with the beast-humans being present in the Manor. It wasn’t that he was embarrassed to have daylight rendezvous with the girls, and he knew it would spread regardless of the actions he took, Vahn just didn’t want to ‘inconvenience’ himself and his partner by forcing them to have to bath every time they were together. Besides, wiping down the body of the woman after the fact was something Vahn was very fond of since it felt like he was taking personal care of their bodies and it also allowed him to help recover any fatigue they might feel.

As he was wiping the sweat off her breasts, Vahn had stopped his hands for a moment so Tsubaki smiled widely and asked, “How are they~?” Vahn nodded his head with an earnest expression on his face and said plainly, “They have a great shape a ‘full’ feel to them. I could be off by a bit, but I’d say they’re nearly 9kg combined…it’s amazing that you can fit nearly a fifth of your body weight on just your chest…” Tsubaki began to laugh loudly at Vahn’s words before swatting away his hands and taking the towel from him. With a lecturing tone, she gave Vahn an appraising look and stated, “Vahn, you say too much, too often, but at least you’re honest about how you feel. I’ll finish up here myself since you shouldn’t keep others waiting…ah, by the way, I’ll be keeping these.” Tsubaki held up the [Midnight Passion Panties] for Vahn to see and commented, “I want to study them for a bit and see if I can crack the principles behind them on my own. In exchange, you can keep my earlier pair that you sneakily stowed away with your storage magic. Make sure to wash them later, okay~?’

Vahn gnashed his teeth slightly at the impact of Tsubaki’s words because it made him sound like a pervert that collected warm panties from his women. Other than Tsubaki’s current pair, Vahn only had a pair belonging to Loki so he didn’t think it was a fair accusation to make. Shaking his head, Vahn walked forward and embraced Tsubaki for a short while before preparing to leave. Thinking he could get an advantage, he decided to cop a feel of her butt as well and, when he separated from the embrace commented, “I think your butt weighs more than your breasts…” Using [Shundo] to evade the smack that was approaching his head, Vahn exited through the door after auto-equipping his clothing and running away before the blushing tyrant could get her hands on him.

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As he made his way through the Manor, Vahn wasn’t exactly sure what he should be doing right now. Tsubaki might have told him not to keep others waiting, but he hadn’t actually made any plans for the afternoon since Riveria had gone into the Dungeon. He could do a bit of research for himself, but his perception was slightly askew from normal and it was hard to ‘break’ the current common sense of the world without someone deeply rooted in it nearby. Passing his perception over the entire Manor, Vahn looked to see who was currently within the residence and saw Hestia with Tina, Shizune, and Preasia, while Syr seemed to be in the kitchen chopping vegetables, likely for use in this evening dinner.

Everyone else was currently either in the Dungeon or out on the City, so Vahn could only rely on his Status Logbook to find out if anyone was ‘available’ to have fun. If not, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to go spend time with Hestia and the youth troupe for the afternoon. Other than Tsubaki, who was still ‘Free’, most of the girls were currently ‘Busy – In the Dungeon’. The ones that were currently available were Hestia, Loki, Syr, Aisha, Anubis, and Nanu. Loki could be fun to hang out with and Vahn hadn’t visited the Twilight Manor in some time, but there were a few names that caught his eye that made him ruminate over the matter for a short while. For her to be on the list, Aisha had to have received ‘permission’ from the network, but Vahn had never actually spent any time with her at all.

Vahn still remembered his first ‘fateful’ meeting with Aisha and how she had tried to ‘tempt’ him by removing her bottoms in the middle of an alleyway. Even though he had only taken a brief glimpse, he could still perfectly recall the image in his mind if he thought about it. Vahn had somewhat expected her affection to fade with time but, much like the peculiar Senna, her affection constantly hovered around the upper 90s, even though he had rarely ever spent time with her. He recalled in the past that, right after he ‘turned’ her and the Amazons away her affection was in the lower 80s. This meant that, even without him being around her at all, her affection had constantly been growing for him and Vahn felt somewhat guilty about it.

Only allowed on

Aisha hadn’t done much for him, not that he had done much for her either, but she had helped him out with Welf’s ‘situation’ in the past and Vahn felt like he owed her one. Though he could try to make it up to her through ‘normal’ means, Vahn knew that she would probably want to have sex with him eventually. The problem with that was…Vahn didn’t want to end up having any Amazons getting pregnant with his children right now since he wasn’t remotely prepared to deal with Kali and the Amazon Queen. He also didn’t want to ‘force’ anyone to have to use a drug just because he didn’t want them to get pregnant, and he felt like it would be an insult if he refused to actually ejaculate inside of her even though he was willing to have sex.

Though she was Level 4, Aisha was an experienced woman when it came to dealing with men and, since she already recognized him as being stronger than she is, there was a very high chance she would get pregnant after the fact. Vahn wanted Tiona to be the first Amazoness he impregnated so it wasn’t an easy decision to make. It would probably be better to just go and check in on Welf, or make the rounds to the other members of the Alliance since he had never done so, even though he was the Captain of the Hestia Familia. There was also the option of going to visit Anubis and Nanu, but Vahn knew he would be too ‘tempted’ by Anubis if they were alone at any point in time. Even if he went there with the intention of just playing with the children, it would probably escalate to something more ‘risque’ by the time he left.

After ruminating over the matter for a few minutes, Vahn decided to leave the matter regarding Aisha alone until he could talk it over with Tiona, Tione, Loki, and Aisha herself. She seemed like a rational girl, so there was a good chance she would take contraceptive after the fact if Vahn explained the situation to her. He decided instead to head toward the Miach Familia’s temporary residence before stopping over to visit Takemikazuchi, Welf, and, potentially, wrapping things up by stopping over for a drink at the new Hostess of Fertility.

Even though it was just right across the street from the Manor’s gate, Vahn hadn’t actually visited the establishment yet. Other than Syr, all the girls should be working there right now and Vahn could also spend some private time with Chloe. He was almost certain that Mama Mia, and the girls themselves, would have prepared a private booth for him. Because he couldn’t put the girls into a compromising position, Vahn would be able to relax and just enjoy some quiet time with them without having to worry about things devolving because of his own lack of inhibitions. There was also something about ‘sneakily’ spending time with the girls that other people desired right under their noses that made Vahn feel somewhat prideful.

After letting Hestia and Syr know about his plans, Vahn left the Hearth Manor for what felt like the first time in nearly two weeks, which made sense seeing as how that was the case. He had been so absorbed in his training, forging, and research, that Vahn hadn’t really exited the Manor at all ever since his return from the Dungeon. Stepping outside of the gate made him feel an incredible sense of incongruity as he looked around at the few pedestrians walking along the street. His appearance drew the eyes of several people, as it was no secret he habitated the Hearth Manor as the only ‘male’ within the residence. Vahn knew about the rumor calling his home as the ‘Harem Manor’, but he decided not to let it get to him since, regardless of how he ‘felt’ about the situation, it wasn’t exactly a baseless claim like many other rumors.

Some guys looked like they had been waiting for him to exit, but Vahn just ignored them after scanning them with his [Eyes of Truth] and left from their view using his [Shundo]. They had relatively neutral auras, but Vahn noticed they were somewhat grey and probably didn’t have great intentions if they were camping his gate. He could deal with them when he got back, assuming they had the courage to stick around after he had sent a pulse of his intent to stun them for a brief moment as he disappeared. The strongest among them was only Level 3, so Vahn wasn’t intimidated by them at all…

However, soon after he had left the area, Vahn felt his instincts trigger slightly so he stopped and passed his perception over them a second time to see if there was anything he missed. Two of the grey auras now had a slightly darker color to them intermixed with the red of fury and anger, but everything else seemed normal. Releasing a sigh, Vahn couldn’t help but feel like karma would never actually give him any breaks. Even after spending twelve days within his Manor, the moment he exited the premises there was already trouble waiting for him. He felt like Bell, who seemed to simply ‘stumble’ into the plot irrespective of time, place, or distance. Vahn never understood how the boy was able to seemingly ‘teleport’ to wherever the plot was happening, but now he was starting to understand that it was the whims of fate that machinated such events.

Since the men were ‘hostiles’, Vahn decided to deal with them himself so that they couldn’t badger any of the girls returning from the Dungeon later. A single Level 3 wasn’t a threat to any of the dungeoneering groups, but Vahn would rather resolve the situation on their behalf so they don’t have to experience such a distasteful event. He also wanted to understand why his ‘instincts’ would trigger for such inconsequential people since this was the type of feeling he usually had when something ‘important’ was happening.

Appearing right in front of the men, Vahn asked in a cold tone while bearing down his aura on the men, “Why are you standing outside of my gate? What business do you have here?” The only Level 3 in the group, a strong looking man in his mid-twenties with brown hair and orange eyes, glared at Vahn and said, “You arrogant little…” Cutting his words short, the man tried to fix his expression as he continued in a low tone, “We came to join the Hestia Familia since there seems to be a severe lack of men present. Having so many women ‘unprotected’ will invite disaster, so we decided to-” Before the man could continue spouting his drivel, Vahn raised his hand and said, “That’s enough of that. The Hestia Familia isn’t accepting any applicants and I’m personally turning you away as the Captain of the Familia. If I catch you skulking around my Manor in the future, I’ll turn you over to the guards.”

Vahn could tell from their behavior that they were just some random horndogs that thought they had a chance at some of the girls in the Familia. It wasn’t his first time seeing ‘jealous’ men, so Vahn dismissed them after committing their features to memory. He would draw up a sketch and submit it through the network so that, if they continued trying to pressure anyone in the Familia, they would be dealt with. The only thing that confused him was that his ‘instincts’ obviously weren’t triggered by these men, yet he had sensed the fluctuation almost immediately he parted…Vahn realized that his instincts didn’t trigger until he had already left them behind, so it might not have anything to do with them at all. Remembering the number of people, and who they were, still remaining in the Manor, Vahn disappeared from view once again before reappearing outside his own front door and passing her perception over the entirety of the Manor.

There weren’t any new presences inside and Vahn could tell that everyone was behaving normally so he released a small sigh of relief as he passed his perception around the area and looked for any abnormalities. He had a small scare that, when he had left the area earlier, one of his enemies had used it as an opportunity to invade the Manor while it was relatively unprotected. Right now, the strongest person in the Manor was Tsubaki, who was Level 5, but if they were able to slip through undetected it could lead to a tragedy before she had the time to react. Fortunately, at least on the surface, it seemed like his intuition was wrong.

However, Vahn wasn’t satisfied with that at all and continued to look around the area for any abnormalities. The group of men were still outside the gate throwing stones against the barrier preventing their entry. Growing fed up with the idiots, Vahn used his [Heart of the Eternal Flame] to heat up the area around their bodies until they were no longer able to tolerate the heat and fled away with steam rising from their bodies due to how cold it was outside. All the while he was dealing with them, however, Vahn kept his focus on his surroundings and was waiting for his instincts to trigger once again. He assumed that whatever had set them off had used the men as a cover and expected them to take action while he was ‘distracted’ again.

Unfortunately, no matter how much he ‘pretended’ to have dropped his guard, nothing else set off his instincts and this annoyed Vahn greatly. He felt like he had to be overlooking something so he began systematically inspecting the formations installed around the Manor while also looking for any abnormalities both inside and outside of the walls. Once he had finished his rounds, he inspected the area where he had used [Shundo] earlier just to make sure it wasn’t something in that area that had triggered him. The problem with the Alliance buying up all the surrounding properties was that there were several vacant buildings that were scheduled to be demolished in the future or appropriated for use by future residents. Vahn noticed that there was a secret pathway under the building near where he had landed previously and released a sigh at his own oversight.

Because he had separated from the men earlier, Vahn had been paying more attention to them than the rest of his surroundings and completely ignored the fact that there had been presences inside the building to his left earlier. Now, however, the building was completely empty and Vahn could see the escape tunnel that was hidden within the basement. After penning the info into his communication scroll so that Hephaestus and Loki were aware of the situation, Vahn inspected the interior of the residence and found signs that a lot of stuff had been rapidly cleaned up and there was a fair amount of burned debris inside the hearth located in the basement. Whoever had been present had likely carried what they could before burning the evidence of whatever they had been up to.

Making his way to the upper floors, Vahn found that several of the curtains were open, which wasn’t anything abnormal, if not for the fact that it was just the windows facing the Hearth Manor. Every other window was tightly shut, likely so that nobody could see inside to find out the building was occupied. Vahn speculated that they were likely spying on the people going in and out of the Manor, probably in an effort to determine the strength of the Hestia Familia and document the schedule of the inhabitants. There was a real possibility they had been targetting one, or many, of the girls that were heading to and from the Dungeon every day in order to get some leverage against him, or the Alliance as a whole.

Vahn released a long sigh that caused a massive cloud of condensation to spread through the interior of the small residence. A cold sensation ran through his mind as an eerie blue light shone in Vahn’s pupils when he destroyed the false wall that concealed the hidden passageway. He could tell from the layout of the tunnel that it hadn’t exist for more than a few weeks, but he didn’t know how anyone was able to secretly accomplish building such a thing when there was so much construction going on in the area and several thousand members of the Alliance moving about.

The only thing that really mattered was that they obviously didn’t have any good intentions if they were watching over the Manor in secret. Even though they hadn’t done anything yet, Vahn couldn’t forgive anyone that plotted against the people he cared about. If their target was him, that was one thing, but if they targetted his loved ones he would make sure they paid the price of their transgressions. With that thought in mind, Vahn transformed into his Báihǔ form and ‘willed’ his sense of smell to become even stronger as he sensed the air for ambient scents. After finding several, Vahn’s tiger-like blue ices shone with a cruel light as he stepped forward into the dark escape passage without any hesitation…

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