Chapter 438: Compromise

Vahn was enjoying his time with Preasia, something that she also seemed to be enjoying greatly, but they were disrupted when he detected the approach of several other presences. Though she seemed to be somewhat disappointed, Preasia obediently listened when Vahn told her their private moment had come to an end. She ended up having to sit on the sofa in an effort to recover as Vahn smelled his hands to see if her sweat had soaked into him any. Since there was a subtle aroma on his palms, he wiped them down with a towel before Fenrir arrived with Tiona, Ais, Lefiya, and Tione. As the two that had originally seen Vahn’s designs, Ais and Lefiya were somewhat curious when they saw Fenrir running around the Manor ‘showing off’.

Ais seemed to find the design to be cute, though she actually preferred somewhat more mature underwear ever since she got closer to Vahn. Lefiya had a beet red face because she knew the original design had been for her and she was flustering about thinking about if Vahn was going to make some for her in the future. Every time she saw him after the discussion the previous day, Lefiya would immediately flush crimson before hiding behind Ais or, if Ais wasn’t available, the nearest person. Even though Vahn wasn’t going to ‘attack’ her, she was very conscious of even having him look at her for the time being. When they had been in the bath earlier, she had even passed out after sitting in the hot water for about thirty seconds.

Vahn spent the remainder of his ‘break’ talking with the girls about the designs they would like to see when Vahn created panties for them in the future. Tiona didn’t care much about the design at all, as long as it was something that was comfortable to wear. Tione, however, had learned about the ‘victory’ underwear of Emiru and Maemi and wanted something similar. Vahn compromised with her by drawing up a design that folded over on itself and could be opened, if she ever required such a function. As for Ais, she actually wanted something lacey that was comfortable to wear and left the design to Vahn to choose. When he was drawing it up, she leaned against his shoulder and watched his hands with glittering golden eyes filled to the brim with intrigue.

After he had drawn up Ais’, Lefiya was somewhat startled when Vahn asked what kind she would like for herself. She looked like she was going to pass out again, so Vahn avoided looking directly at her and focused on the paper and began doodling to give her time to compose herself. Lefiya often wore warm colors, albeit with muted tones, so Vahn began drawing a pair of light pink lace panties that he thought might suit her golden yellow hair and dark blue eyes. He chose lace because he was sure she would want something similar to Ais since she was a bit ‘weird’ about such things at times.

Realizing what he was doing, Lefiya moved closer and watched Vahn work before giving small tidbits of information to make Vahn’s job easier. She was very embarrassed by the matter, but she had been talking a lot with Ais, Tiona, Tione, and Riveria since yesterday and had started to ‘accept’ the situation a bit. Unless things drastically changed, Lefiya couldn’t see herself ever leaving the Alliance and moving away from Ais and all the other people she cared about. Vahn always treated her well and paid attention to her needs, so Lefiya didn’t think it would be too bad to be with him in the future.

She had already made her resolve in the past, though she hadn’t expected things to develop to that point for a long time. Knowing she one day gave birth to a child of Vahn’s, it felt like there was now a countdown to what was turning into an inevitable event. At least she had the support of Ais for when the moment finally came. Of course, when she thought about Ais being with her during her first time, Lefiya ended up collapsing against Vahn only to be caught safely by him once again. She released a hot sigh as a small smile touched her lips and she greeted the darkness once again.

During the afternoon, Vahn spent most of his time relaxing and discussing magic with Riveria and going over some of the specifics that he could recall from the Divination. Most of the memories Vahn had lost were related to the time he was floating in space, so there were only small snippets of the sensations he had felt when teleporting around freely. Riveria was very interested in the formations that constituted the Heavenly City, but it wasn’t something Vahn could directly recall even though he was able to draw up small parts of it. It was very frustrating because he had a near-perfect memory yet was unable to focus on the images contained within his own mind. Sis had been analyzing the data to the best of her ability but even she was having trouble since the memories didn’t actually ‘exist’. Other than the stuff that the Scroll of Prophecy had allowed him to retain, everything else was missing in its entirety.

While they were discussing matters, Vahn had noticed a distinct difference in Riveria’s behavior and wasn’t sure exactly how he should deal with the situation. In the past, they usually sat across from each other, or Riveria would sit at her desk as Vahn conducted his own experiments. Now, however, Riveria seemed to be noticeably reducing the distance between them and there were even moments when their shoulders would touch when she was looking over the diagrams he was drawing. For a Level 6, she wouldn’t make such ‘mistakes’ so Vahn was a bit flustered and tried his best to focus on the discussion instead.

After proceeding like this for nearly two hours, Riveria suddenly released a slight sigh and asked, “Vahn, what do you think of me?” Though he blanked for a brief moment, Vahn looked into Riveria’s jade green eyes and said, “I think you are a wise and intelligent woman that I could learn a lot from…” Riveria nodded her head and seemed to appreciate his compliment but asked, “Yes, I know all of that. I can tell by how you act around me that you pay attention to my advice, even if your actions often go against the common sense of normal scholars. I even know that you probably think I’m beautiful and show concern about my thoughts and actions based on how you’ve been reacting over the last few hours…”

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Vahn was beginning to understand what Riveria was actually asking him so he showed a serious expression and said, “I think of you more as a colleague and trusted advisor than a potential love interest…however, I can’t deny that I have a physical attraction to your body and a mental attraction to your mind and personality. You are one of the few people I can talk with when it comes to the things that interest me, and I consider us to have a relationship of equals…” Hearing Vahn’s words, Riveria didn’t seem upset at all and instead showed a small smile as she said, “That’s good, as I see you in much the same way. However, now that I have some insights gleaned from the Divination, I’m seriously considering the matter of us being together and I want you to start doing the same.”

Nodding his head, Vahn was about to follow up Riveria’s words but she instead surprised him by leaning against him slightly while saying, “I want to see a world where Elves are able to walk amongst the other races without their being tensions between the species. As long as you continue to forge a path that creates a future for my people, I will stand at your side…however, there are things you need to be aware of. As you know, I’m Elven Royalty and there are a variety of issues to us having an actual relationship with each other and I’ve even been engaged for nearly fifty years. The envoy that is being sent here by the High Elves is likely to be my fiance…”

Vahn had been enjoying the contact with Riveria in a slight daze but his mind was completely blown when he learned that she actually had a fiance. It wasn’t like the situation with Aki and Raul, where they had a past relationship and there wasn’t anything truly wrong with him taking responsibility for her. Riveria had a very high social status and a fiance that was likely of equal social standing and one she had been engaged to for nearly fifty years. However, Riveria didn’t seem inclined to giving him any maneuverability as she continued, “He is a despotic fool that engages in cruel acts…one of the reasons I have stayed out in the outside world for so long is to avoid that scumbag.” As she spoke, Riveria had her brows furrowed low and it was very obvious that she disdained her fiance a great deal.

Though he was somewhat apprehensive, Vahn recalled their son, Masonia, and how noble and respectful he was. He seemed like a wise king and was also very powerful, as he had been one of the few Level 8’s in the entire world even though he was only around twenty years old. Following the chronology, Riveria would have likely gotten pregnant within the next year or so which meant that Vahn was fated to have a conflict with the Elven Kingdom in the near future unless he resolved himself to never be with Riveria. However, such a thought never even crossed his mind for due consideration as he looked into Riveria’s eyes and nodded his head as he said, “Not just the Elves, I want to create a world where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential without the burdens of social injustice and racism weighting them down…”

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Riveria nodded her head with a thoughtful expression on her face for a brief moment before saying, “Very well then…but I won’t allow you to do anything improper until you consummate your relationship with Aina’s daughter tomorrow. Worry about the other girls in your life and-” Vahn shook his head with a wry smile on his face as he leaned forward and gave Riveria’s a quick peck on the lips. She could have easily dodge him if she made an effort, but her mind had blanked for a brief moment when Vahn acted outside of her expectations. Though it was almost indiscernible, there was the briefest hint of a blush that had appeared on her face before she glared at Vahn with dissatisfaction.

Vahn smiled at her reaction and explained, “It is good when everyone is thinking of each other, but imposing such regulations and guidelines just unnecessarily complicate things. If we’re going to be together, Riveria, I want to do my best to learn to love you properly. I won’t tolerate a relationship where we’re just together because we share a vested interest in the same future…what kind of children would we raise if there isn’t any love between us? My relationship with Eina has little to do with how I come to feel about you, so leave that matter to me. Besides, how do you think Eina herself would react if she found out you were acting like this on behalf of her and her mother…?”

Hearing Vahn’s words, Riveria’s frown deepened and she began to consider the matter in detail as her thoughts ran rampant through her mind. Aina had been her closest friend and confidant when she ‘abandoned’ her home forest and escaped the clutches of her Father. Aina had been a good friend to her when she was going through a troubling time so Riveria didn’t want to ‘betray’ her by poaching her daughter’s man. Because of the difference in status between them, it would cause many problems if the Envoy, her fiance, learned that she was ‘with’ Vahn after he had married a Half-Elf. As a despotic elitist, there was a very high probability of him stirring up even greater problems that would eventually cause the situation to escalate beyond their control.

While Riveria was lost in thoughts, Vahn smiled and whispered, “Riveria, we’re talking about trying to change the world together…how far do you think we’ll get if you’re hesitating over trivial matters?” Feeling Vahn squeeze her hand with his own as he tried to ‘convince’ her, Riveria frowned once again as the image of her Father and fiance passed through her mind once again. She had lived her entire life in spite of their ideals so there really wasn’t any reason to conform to their intentions now. Her Father was the one that had engaged her to the man she hated without her permission so she didn’t actually feel anything about her own marriage other than ‘obligation’.

Riveria also knew that her children with Vahn would be born as something greater than a normal High Elf so many of her inhibitions had already started to fade. From the moment he had been able to transform into a High Elf, Riveria had whimsical thoughts about how it might be possible to change her engagement to Vahn but the Divination had shown such things had been unnecessary because Vahn himself had the potential of bringing about ‘necessary’ change on his own. Her plan to groom him into a proper ‘Sage’ ended up being scrapped before she was able to make any headway on it at all…

After coming to her own conclusions, Riveria turned her eyes to match Vahn’s gaze and said in a serious tone, “I probably won’t be able to stop you from acting out, but at least try to act with reservations when my fiance shows up. It would be best if the High Elf Forest doesn’t learn of our relationship for as long as possible…” Vahn nodded his head in understanding because he had actually been thinking about such things while Riveria was lost in her own thoughts. Just like in regards to the Amazon Queen and Kali, Vahn wasn’t yet ready to face against the High Elves just yet. Unless the Envoy went out of his way to antagonize him, Vahn had already intended to ‘tolerate’ a few grievances on behalf of Riveria and the people he cared about.

Seeing the ‘understanding’ in Vahn’s eyes, Riveria released a small sigh of relief and made an attempt to separate from him now that their ‘serious’ talk had come to an end. Vahn didn’t stop her from moving away but a mischevious glint passed through his eyes for a brief moment as he reached out and very gently rubbed her butt through her robe. However, instead of acting bashfully or trying to keep up pretenses, Riveria spun around quickly and smacked Vahn hard in the face with a plain expression on her’s. Shaking her hand, since Vahn’s body was quite hard, Riveria looked at the vibrant red handprint on his face and said, “You’re getting married tomorrow, Vahn, don’t play games with me…”

Vahn rubbed his cheek but his smile didn’t break much as he said in a chipper tone, “Sorry, Riveria, I just got a bit excited thinking that I was able to get closer to such an incredible woman…” Riveria’s brows twitched slightly at his compliment before she said in a somewhat cold tone with a ‘cruel’ smile on her face, “I treat my staff as one of my most important companions…maybe I should let the two of you get closer in the future?” As she spoke, Riveria picked up her [Magna Alfs] and spun it around in a skilled manner that sent a small vortex of wind out as a result of the force. The head of the staff had several pointy bits that seemed to gleam with a dangerous light as she brandished it toward him so Vahn changed his expression to a serious one as he said, “I’ll behave…”

Riveria’s smile turned more natural as she mused, “That’s a shame…” before setting her staff at the side once again. For the rest of the afternoon period, until they brought their research for the day to an end, Vahn and Riveria had returned to their old behavior. Vahn was somewhat melancholic because, even though they were supposed to be closer now, Riveria had opened up a ‘proper’ distance with him as they talked about various different topics until it was time for dinner. At least he had gotten to kiss her without any serious repercussions, so that was something to be happy about.

While Vahn was lost in thought earlier, he had been leaning against his right hand for a while without noticing that Riveria’s brow was twitching slightly. She was very well aware that it was the same hand Vahn had used to take advantage of her and it made her annoyed to see him casually resting his face against it. When they were preparing to leave the Library, she stopped him with her staff and said, “Wash your hands before dinner…” Though he wasn’t entirely sure why she was behaving strangely, Vahn did as she said and washed his hands right in front of her while doing his best to ignore the pressure of her gaze.

As they were making their way down the corridor that connected to the Central building, Riveria seemed to have another random thought and stopped Vahn once again. With a bit of confusion on his face, Vahn turned back to Riveria and noticed the small fluctuation in her aura that made his brows raise slightly. Riveria frowned and said, “Your ability to see auras is going to be the death of me…” before stepping forward and almost bringing her lips to his before she turned into a statue. Vahn had indeed been surprised by how Riveria’s aura was gravitating towards him, but the main reason for his shock was because he had detected the arrival of the two presences that had come to receive them for dinner.

At almost the exact same time as Riveria moved in to kiss Vahn, Lefiya and Ais had opened up the door connecting to the corridor they were in and saw Riveria leaning close to Vahn, very obviously about to kiss him. Lefiya’s face became completely pale as she mechanically backstepped through the door leaving the equally stunned Ais staring directly at the statuesque Riveria. As if she had decided to simply not process what her eyes were seeing, Ais trained her eyes of Vahn and said, “Vahn…everyone is waiting…” Without waiting for his response, Ais gave one more glance at Riveria before retreating in the same direction as Lefiya and closing the door behind her in a ‘casual’ manner.

After the two surprise visitors had disappeared, Riveria stepped away from Vahn and held her hand to her head and began to rub her temples as she said in an almost inaudible voice, “Damnit…now everyone in the Manor is going to know…I’ll have to punish those two girls…” Vahn had a wry smile on his face as he tried to step closer to Riveria but she held the pointy end of her staff toward him and said, “Vahn, you knew they were there, didn’t you?” Vahn, however, moved the tip of the staff to the side with his hand as he said in a calm voice, “Riveria, you were in control of your actions then, not me. Besides, it wouldn’t have been right to keep it a secret from everyone else anyway. I understand you might want to keep things under wraps, especially since the wedding is tomorrow, but you have to remember that everyone has taken a vow to protect such information for the rest of their lives…they aren’t going to gossip with the outside at all.”

Riveria furrowed her brows for a short while before pulling her staff back and standing normally as Vahn stepped closer to her. She knew what he was thinking but decided to give him a few liberties since he had actually said something somewhat insightful. Even though she had already made her ‘resolve’, her instincts to protect her pride were hard to overcome and it was difficult to accept such incidents easily. However, as Vahn had stated, it was something brought about her own actions and she didn’t have any rights to actually complain about it, nor could she hold them accountable for the decisions she had made…

Vahn smiled happily seeing that Riveria didn’t try to evade him until she swatted away his hands as he tried to reach around her waist. With a complex expression on her face, she said, “I don’t like to be touched in such a manner…please give me time.” Vahn nodded his head and said, “Sure…we have plenty of time, after all…” as he leaned forward in a somewhat awkward manner and chased Riveria’s lips as she pulled back slightly. She, fortunately, didn’t ‘retreat’ too far so he was able to graze her lips for a brief moment before she agilely moved around him and said, “Okay, let’s go…” Riveria had moved out of his way so fast that Vahn almost felt like he was going to fall forward before he caught himself and looked at her retreating figure with a somewhat incredulous expression on his face that slowly melted into a smile.

Even though he felt like he could change quickly, especially after major events like the Divination, he shouldn’t have the expectation that others were so quick to adapt. As he told her earlier, there was plenty of time for them to get closer but Vahn felt like it wouldn’t actually take too long before he actually fell in love with the stoic, yet incredibly bashful, High Elf beauty. By the time he learned magic from Eva, she would even become his close disciple and Vahn was looking forward to the day when she called him ‘Master’ with a flushed face. She had a fair complexion and ears that were nearly 10cm long. Vahn wondered if, like Eina and Lefiya, if her ears could become completely red when she was embarrassed…

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