Chapter 439: Awkwardness : Acceptance

Things had been changing rapidly in since the previous day, but it was the first time Vahn had seen such an awkward atmosphere at dinner after everyone moved into the Manor. Ais had a relatively blank expression on her face while Lefiya kept her head low and nibbled at her food without saying a word. Even though they hadn’t said anything, it was very obvious by their behavior that something had happened when the two girls went to retrieve Vahn and Riveria. Given the revelations of the previous days, many of the girls could infer what kind of things ‘might’ have happened, especially when they looked at Riveria eating with her eyes closed as she refused to make eye contact with anyone.

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Vahn was doing his best to act casually, but he wasn’t that great an actor and his behavior was the primary reason for how awkward the atmosphere had become as he had made several attempts to try and change the mood by talking about the wedding preparations for tomorrow. A large crew of workers had already come through and set up a large stage during the afternoon and the entire staff of the Hostess of Fertility had been ‘booked’ to cater the event. They had been spending the majority of the day preparing for the wedding tomorrow and the reason for Ais and Lefiya coming to receive Vahn and Riveria was because everyone was doing a small celebration.

Fenrir had been sitting with Tiona and Preasia and, perhaps because of her own curiosity and frustrations, eventually got annoyed with the atmosphere and asked, “Did Vahn and Riveria have sex?” Though her question sounded ‘innocent’, it fell like a hammer on the heads of almost everyone present. Vahn felt like his body tilted about eight degrees to the side and Riveria, who had previously been taking a sip of tea, had completely shattered her cup. Her eyes opened slightly and she looked at the mess she had made before saying in a low tone, “Vahn and I did not have sex, Fenrir…” before releasing a sight and saying, “Excuse me…” as she rose from the table and left the room.

Realizing she had done something wrong, Fenrir’s large ears flattened against her head and she mumbled, “Sorry…” Then, as if suddenly realizing something, Fenrir jumped up from the table and followed the same direction as Riveria. Vahn followed her back with his eyes before looking around at the various expressions of the girls at the table. He had the urge to show a wry smile and trying to play down the issue for a brief moment but instead decided to explain things clearly. After taking a deep breath through his nose, Vahn smiled slightly and said, “It is very likely that Riveria and I will have a relationship in the future that will likely cause conflict between the Alliance and the High Elf Forest. Even I can’t say when things will develop to that point, just know that it is a secret and be prepared for anything.”

Though they had also been influenced by the awkward atmosphere earlier, Tiona and Tione both had wide-eyed expressions on their faces as Tione remarked, “I expected something to happen since you had children in the Divination, but I didn’t think it would be so soon…” Her sentiments seemed to be shared by many of the girls at the table so Vahn raised his hand slightly to calm them and explained, “Riveria’s primary pursuit in the 97 years she has been alive has always been to expose the Elves to the rest of the world and ease the tensions between species. Since that is something we will all be striving for in the future, as it is the only way to protect our family and livelihoods, Riveria is doing what she thinks is best for her people. I have decided to support her to the best of my ability, but I will understand if any of-” Before Vahn was able to continue, Syr coughed to interrupt him before a beautiful smile appeared on her face and she laughed lightly.

Syr made brief eye contact with everyone at the table, Vahn included, before saying, “Everyone here understands the significance of the events that had been discussed previously. Riveria’s actions should come as no surprise considering how serious she treats such things. I’m sure many of you have also been considering your own futures, so try and show some understanding. If you have any concerns, please bring them to Hestia, Tsubaki, Milan, or myself and we will do our best to alleviate your worries~.” As she spoke, Syr looked between several of the girls present but kept her focus primarily on Vahn himself.

Vahn understood she was trying to tell him that he shouldn’t be saying such things that constantly emphasized the girls had other ‘options’. Even if they didn’t have thoughts about leaving the Manor in the future, if Vahn kept harping over it over the course of several years, he could inadvertently push them away. With the exception of Mona, who was away with Mama Mia, everyone present had already made the resolve to face their enemies together. Even though he was trying to be more decisive, Vahn was saying things that bordered on indecision because he was constantly giving them alternatives to their current lifestyle. He needed to let them make their own decisions and let those that were better suited to dealing with people take care of things without his interference. Understanding this, Vahn gave a somewhat apologetic smile toward Syr that caused her to send him a wink as they continued the rest of the dinner discussing less serious matters.

Because he was getting married in the morning, Vahn wasn’t going to have another ‘event’ during the evening and instead decided to relax. However, this didn’t mean he was going to sleep alone and he had instead taken the initiative to invite Milan, Tina, Shizune, and Fenrir to stay with him. Milan was somewhat flustered at first until her brain processed his invitation properly and she showed a happy smile on her face before all the girls, with the surprising exception of Fenrir, accepted his offer.

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Fenrir had apparently already made plans to have a sleepover with Tiona and Ryuu, who had suddenly become very friendly with the wolf girl since the discussion about the Divination. Because she knew she had done something ‘bad’ to the two girls, Fenrir was also doing her best to get along with them and, since she had been in a good mood all day, had easily agreed to their invitation. The fact that she kept her ‘promise’ with them, even after Vahn invited her to sleep with him, made him smile and he promised to reward her in the future for being such a good girl.

Vahn ultimately ended up having Tina and Shizune cuddle up on top of his chest while Milan used his shoulder as a pillow and hugged around the bodies of her two daughters with a contented expression on her face. Even though their union had been relatively brief, Milan was very satisfied because she knew things would be much ‘easier’ to deal with in the future. A lot of her pent-up frustrations had been released in the short period of time and she fell asleep thinking about what she and Vahn would be doing in the future. She was determined to get her ‘fair’ share before Tina and Shizune reached maturity because she didn’t want to ‘compete’ with the two girls.

Not knowing what their mother was thinking, Shizune nuzzled into Vahn’s neck and he had to periodically jerk his head slightly because she would randomly place her lips against his neck on ‘accident’ and had even tried to lick his collarbone at one point. Tina behaved properly, but Vahn knew she was paying attention to Shizune’s actions and he could feel her body shake slightly before pinching her adopted sister’s thigh a few times before they finally fell asleep. Vahn fell asleep soon after them while thinking about methods to help Shizune ‘cope’ with the next few years.

It was troublesome dealing with a highly experienced woman that was essentially ‘trapped’ in the body of a young girl. Because of his interactions with Eva, Vahn didn’t actually have a lot of defenses against her behavior because he understood her situation well. Shizune turned eighteen in less than two months and had spent a large part of her life developing ‘habits’ that were hard to resist falling back into. If not for the fact that she had a strong support group, especially with Milan and Tina as her surrogate family, it was very likely she wouldn’t even be a virgin anymore. Having to wait an additional four years would be a great torment to her unless she could one day learn to resist her urges properly. Unfortunately, there was a big problem with this as it didn’t really seem like she wanted to resist her urges at all.

Vahn knew Shizune actually was something of a ‘bad’ influence on many of the other girls because, even though she didn’t do it in front of him and Milan, it was very obvious she talked dirty behind their backs. Fenrir had been negatively influenced by her and Vahn could tell by Tina’s reactions that she was very aware of her ‘little’ sister’s habits. Shizune often spent time talking with Haruhime and the other former slaves and had even started to get closer to Tiona, Ais, Tione, and, very likely, Lefiya herself. She even tried to tease Vahn without much consideration for the situations so he assumed her behavior was even more problematic when he wasn’t around…

Knowing that Tina was a heavy sleeper and that Milan was very tired from the day’s exertions, Shizune actually woke up around three hours after falling asleep because she had been rather restless. She had been breathing in Vahn’s scent as she slept and she knew the state of her own body had become somewhat ‘dangerous’. As a Kitsune, her nose was quite strong and Vahn’s scent had almost because addicting to her in the past few weeks ever since she moved into the Manor. Since he was the only man around, it was like his scent had become a central part of her existence and, being able to smell him up close, made her body ache greatly.

After shifting her body slightly, Shizune tried to slip her hands into her nightgown but she froze when she saw a pair of slightly luminescent aquamarine eyes open and stare directly at her. She had been thinking of bringing her body some ‘comfort’, but it looks like her actions were noticed by Vahn who typically didn’t wake up no matter how much she moved around. Biting the bottom of her lip, Shizune tried to appeal to Vahn with a pleading gesture as she writhed about and tried to reach down once again. She could see Vahn’s eyes squint slightly as he shook his head so she released a hot sigh against his chest and pulled her hand free of the ‘humid’ nightgown.

Vahn had felt a bit of warm moisture on his stomach and felt Shizune moving around on his body so he immediately awoke from his dreamless sleep and saw her attempting to comfort herself atop his body with Tina sleeping next to her. He actually pitied her a great deal but still shook his head when she pleaded to him with her moist purple eyes that shone like amethysts in the near-complete darkness of the room. To ease her mind, Vahn hugged her body loosely with his right arm and held her head against his chest as he gently stroked the back of her hair as he inserted calming energy into her mind and body.

Shizune seemed to calm down for a short while but it wasn’t long before Vahn noticed her aura had started to flare up as a deep, almost sickly, red spread through it. Though he should have noticed it earlier, Vahn realized that Shizune was exclusively breathing through her nose and had become completely enamored by his scent instead of calming down. By holding her close to his body in an effort to comfort her, he had just given her an excuse to indulge in herself a bit more and she had even tried to slip her calf between his thighs in a provocative manner.

As if she knew looking at him would be an end to her mischief, Shizune kept her head low and avoided looking at him even when Vahn removed his hand from her head. In an almost inaudible tone, Shizune muttered, “My body aches…Pa-” Before she could finish her words, Vahn pressed into a pressure point near the base of Shizune’s neck and she couldn’t complete the dangerous word. He had immediately been reminded of Lenneth from the Divination and a bit of anxiety spread through his heart as he whispered, “Shizune…don’t call me that when you’re acting like this…it isn’t funny at all.”

Vahn noticed that Shizune’s aura began to flicker in a panicky manner as her body began to shake atop his and she tried to form silent words with tears building up in her eyes. She knew she had messed up a great deal and was afraid that Vahn was now going to chase her away and refuse to spend time with her as they had done in the past. However, when she looked up at Vahn’s face he released a sigh before looking at her with gentle eyes before gesturing to the side with his head and gingerly rolling her body away from his. Shizune was very confused with his action until Vahn handed her a fresh pair of panties from out of nowhere.

Shizune’s eyes widened before she accepted the panties and clutched them as if they were a lifeline before moving a fair distance away from Vahn. His bed was massive so there were several meters of space unoccupied for her to make use of. After moving nearly three meters to the side, Shizune looked over at Vahn and could see his reflective eyes watching her actions. She could feel her heartbeat quicken as she set aside the fresh panties and reached toward her own with a bit of eagerness. For a brief moment, Shizune harbored the delusion that she would be able to keep eye contact with Vahn as she pleasured herself but, before she could make get any ‘advantages’ against him, a heavy blanket appeared in the air above her and covered her body.

Because of how thick it was, Shizune understood Vahn was telling her to keep quiet and take care of her ‘situation’ on her own. She had a pouting expression on her face until she smelled a powerful aroma coming from the heavy blanket which she now realized was a thick mantle that smelled exactly like Vahn. Though it was still a bit ‘lonely’ to tend to herself on her own, Shizune was grateful for Vahn’s reprieve as she clutched the cloak and breathed in his scent as she reached down with her left hand and brought some comfort to her aching body…

Vahn contracted his domain and created a soundproof barrier but he could see feel the vibrations of Shizune’s movements through the bed because of how sensitive he was. Even though he wasn’t looking at her, Vahn could detect her aura even with his eyes closed so he began focusing on the [Mantra of Eternity] to tear his attention away from her immoral act. He really did feel bad for her, but that didn’t mean he could set aside his own principles and ‘help’ her deal with things directly. Eva was an exception, as her body would never develop and she was well over six-hundred years old. She also had much better control than Shizune, most of the time, and had a very mature disposition.

Deciding that it would probably be for the best if he didn’t invite Shizune to sleep with him in the near future, Vahn did his best to fall asleep but was immediately brought back to his senses when he sensed Shizune nearing him once again. Opening his eyes, Vahn could see Shizune’s moist purple eyes staring back at him as she crawled back onto his chest and snuggled up with Tina without saying anything. Vahn observed her for a short while and noticed her aura had begun to recede and stabilize so he felt a bit of relief before looking over at the somewhat soiled pair of panties that were balled up on the bed at the side. His [Shadowsilk Cloak] was also there and Vahn hesitated for a short moment before storing them both away into his inventory. Expanding his domain, Vahn then found the location of the laundry hampers and inserted the ‘dirty’ garments among the pile of other clothes before turning his attention away from them as if he had just disposed of a bomb.

Vahn awoke the next morning at the same time as normal and saw the two ‘innocent’ girls sleeping on his chest while hugging each other close like real sisters. Shizune looked to have slept well after tiring herself out and she now had a contented expression on her face as if the previous night’s incident never happened. Vahn awoke Milan first and she quickly moved to awaken the two girls before helping them prepare for the day. However, when Shizune peeled off her nightgown and began to change into proper clothing, Milan noticed that her panties had changed during the night and gave Vahn a somewhat incredulous look.

Though she didn’t actually give him a look of blame, Vahn still felt a bit of an impact and shook his head before gesturing at Shizune with his eyes and shaking it once again. Milan, seeing the honest expression and frustration on Vahn’s face understood the situation somewhat and frowned slightly before saying, “Tina, Shizune, I think we need to re-arrange our room assignments in the future. You’re both maturing girls so you need to start sleeping in your own rooms in the future. There may be nights in the future where I stay with Vahn, so it is necessary for the future…” Tina startled momentarily at Milan’s words before a resolved look appeared on her face and she pumped her fists while wearing nothing but her panties and saying, “Okay, Mom~nya! Make sure nyou work hard~!”

Milan showed a confused expression on her face before realizing what Tina was implying and showing a slight blush as she muttered, “I don’t think…” Vahn, covering for Milan’s embarrassment, placed his hand atop Tina’s head and ruffled her hair as he said, “Get dressed, Tina, we have a busy day today.” As if she just realized the state of her body, Tina startled once again and covered her chest as she said, “Don’t stare at my body, Papnya~! Look after Mom until I become a beautiful adult woman~!” Vahn tilted his head to the side in confusion and Milan began to laugh playfully as she walked forward and smoothed the wrinkles from Vahn’s tunic and said, “Go, Vahn, I’ll take care of our daughters. You have other matters to attend to, fufufufu~.” Vahn lazily nodded his head before leaning forward and kissing Milan’s forehead and giving her head a stroke before ruffling Tina’s hair once again and escaping the room.

While all of this had been going on, Shizune had been curiously looking around the bed before Milan asked, “Shizune, what are you looking for? What kind of trouble did you cause for Vahn last night?” Hearing herself being addressed, Shizune looked directly at Milan with an expression that didn’t belong to a child at all as she explained, “You’re not the only one that has needs, Mom…I’m sure you understand how difficult things can be…” Milan’s eyes opened slightly wider before she released a sigh and pat Tina’s still bare shoulder as she said, “Get dressed and head downstairs, Tina. I need to talk to your sister for a little while…” Tina nodded her head before digging through the small wardrobe that contained clothing that fit her size. Vahn had several different wardrobes in his room for the various girls that visited, including the members of the youth troupe.

Once Tina left the room, Milan sat down on the edge of the bed and pat next to her with a patient expression on her face. Shizune furrowed her brows slightly and said, “I’m very grateful for everything you’ve been doing for me, Milan, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up this kind of lifestyle for another four years.” Milan’s smile didn’t change much and she continued to pat the empty space next to her as she said, “Shizune, come and sit with your Mother…” Shizune showed a pouty expression that matched her age much better than the straight face from earlier as she said, “You’re not my real Mother, Milan…” Once again, without her expression changing much at all, Milan continued to stare directly at Shizune as she asked, “What is your name…?”

Shizune’s pouting expression deepened and she stared at the hand that continued to pat the space next to Milan. She had officially had her name changed to Shizune Yuel and had even been adopted by Milan and added to their official registrar with the City census. Even though Milan wasn’t her biological mother, she was, for all legal intents and purposes, her actual mother. As she had grown up with the comfort of her own, Shizune had actually found Milan’s presence to be very therapeutic and calming to her ever since their current arrangement was established. With a pouty sigh, she trudged over to the bed and crawled into it as Milan hugged her body tightly and said, “There we go…Shizune is a well-behaved daughter, even though she is a bit mature on the surface…”

She didn’t want to admit it, but it was very comfortable being hugged tightly by Milan as she spoke comforting words into her ears. After hesitating for a bit, Shizune asked in a low tone, “Why are you so kind to me…?” Milan hugged Shizune’s body a bit tighter and said in a quiet tone, “Because I believe you deserve to live a life away from the cruel fate life had dealt you…and you wouldn’t have been able to stay in the group if I hadn’t done this…” Shizune’s eyes widened at Milan’s words and she looked up to see the seriousness contained within her expression. Though it was painful to consider, Shizune knew Milan was correct and it was highly likely she wouldn’t have been able to stay at the Hearth Manor if she hadn’t been adopted by Milan. Vahn probably would have done his best to arrange things for her, but there was no way she would have been able to get to the core of the group so easily.

Feeling Shizune shake slightly in her arms, Milan continued in a quiet tone, “You know it well, Shizune, as you are a very intelligent girl…you will one day be able to get closer to Vahn and, when that time comes, he will more than likely exceed any expectations you might have. However, if you continue to press him like this it will only make things more difficult for both of you…after all, do you think Syr, Hephaestus, and Eina will tolerate this kind of behavior…?” Hearing the dreaded three names, Shizune’s body turned a bit rigid before she pitifully said, “Mom…how did you go so long without a man…? My body, it aches so much…”

Milan nodded her head in understanding and allowed her mind to wander slightly as she said, “It wasn’t easy at all…if not for the fact that I had Tina, I might have gone crazy due to how lonely I felt at times. I found solace in focusing on my work and trying to ensure Tina grew up properly…it will be easier if you find a hobby or something that interests you to focus on. If you can’t deal with things on your own…” Before she had to extrapolate, Shizune had already nodded her head and said, “I know, there are lots of ways to deal with my urges…I understand why you’re trying to get me to stay in my own room…” Just as she had done the night before, there were several methods she could use to ‘heal’ the aching of her body, at least temporarily. Because she had been staying with Tina and Milan, however, she hadn’t had many opportunities to tend to her needs because it would heavily impact the small family they had built.

After understanding the situation better, Shizune hugged Milan’s body tightly in return and asked, “Even if I get my own room…can I still stay with you sometimes…?” Milan’s expression softened greatly as she leaned down and kissed the top of Shizune’s head as she said, “Silly girl, you can sleep with me whenever you want…I’m your mother after all…” Shizune bit her lip and could feel her nose tingling as moisture built up in her eyes and she buried her face into Milan’s blouse and cried for a short while as the motherly woman stroked her head gently and patted her back in a comforting manner…

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