Chapter 441: Reception

Vahn had been surprised by Freya’s presence within the room and had tried see through the secrets of the cloak she had been wearing before she began to strip. She obviously knew he was looking at her and Vahn got a brief glimpse of her almost unfathomable beauty before averting his eyes just before seeing her completely naked. Vahn knew he would have to deal with her at some point in the future and understood the ‘necessity’ of being involved with her, even though he didn’t appreciate her behavior at all.

Freya had the potential of being one of his greatest allies in the short term and would be instrumental when they had conflict with the forces outside of the City in the future. Knowing she was present, Vahn speculated she had likely reached a compromise with Hephaestus and Loki and they would probably meet soon. What irked him was how she didn’t seem to have any sense of propriety at all and this allowed Vahn to understand that she would probably continually make advances on him in the future. She was undeniably the most beautiful woman Vahn had ever seen and there was no way he could truthfully claim he wasn’t interested in her body, even though her personality, as influenced by her Divinity, was something he couldn’t tolerate at all…

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Syr always paid close attention to Vahn and had noticed his reaction so a small frown appeared on her face and she asked, “Freya…?” Vahn nodded his head without concealing the matter and said, “She is with a domineering looking man that I would guess is Ottar, the King…she detected my gaze and tried to tempt me for a brief moment, but I was able to resist the impact of her charm.” Syr gazed toward the direction Vahn had been looking with a complex expression on her face as she said, “Vahn, you must never drop your guard around her…” Syr knew Freya better than most people as she had once been the protege of the goddess and had lived with her for a while.

Vahn reached over and placed his palm against Syr’s head and said in a gentle tone, “Don’t worry, I have no intention of showing any openings to her at all…but…” Syr released a small sigh because she also understood that Freya was inextricably connected to the Alliance and would find her way to the core of the group eventually. The fact that she had given birth to Vahn’s child so late within the Divination showed that Vahn had actually resisted her for nearly seven years before she finally got her way. Knowing that Freya was ‘patient’ for so long showed that she also treated the matter with the Alliance very seriously and would likely not cause too many problems…at least for now.

For a little more than an hour, Vahn and Syr stood at the gate and made casual conversation as they awaited the arrival of the guests. Syr talked a lot about potential issues that may arise in the Manor in the future so Vahn paid close attention to her words and took note of what he needed to pay attention to. During this conversation, their first guest actually showed up and Vahn was somewhat surprised to find that it was two women, one that he recognized and the other a complete stranger. However, based on the fact that that the young human woman with pink hair was Misha Flott, Vahn knew that the other woman, the Werewolf woman with red hair, was Rose Fannett. Because he knew they had been together in the Divination, Vahn’s first impression of the woman was rather impactful and he dazed slightly at her ‘intense’ expression and wild look.

Syr smiled politely at the two and asked, “You two must be Misha and Rose, did you bring your invitations~?” Misha’s pink eyes shone a bit when she laid eyes on Syr and she showed a big smile before reaching into her purse and pulling out a white invitation that was adorned with fiery red lettering and handed it to Syr as she said, “Hi there, I’m Misha Flott, may I ask your name~?” Syr laughed in a somewhat amused manner as she verified the invitation was legitimate with a small crystal and said, “My name is Syr Flova, it’s very nice to meet you, Misha. I heard you’ll be living within the Manor in the future, so have Emiru and Maemi show you around the premises for a bit.”

Misha was pleased by Syr’s words and accepted back her invitation before prodding Rose with her elbow and saying, “Rose, aren’t you going to say anything~?” Rose had a somewhat serious expression on her face and she had been staring at Vahn with an almost hostile look in her eyes. Vahn somewhat understood why she had suddenly become hostile so he bowed politely and said, “I apologize if I had offended you. It’s good to meet you, Ms. Fannet, Ms. Flott, my name is Vahn Mason, the Captain of the Hestia Familia and the groom for today’s events.” Misha’s eyes turned into stars at Vahn’s introduction and Rose’s expression softened slightly as well. She had seen Vahn’s ‘appraising’ look earlier and thought he was just another man gawking at her uncommon appearance.

Like all Werewolves, Rose’s hair flared out slightly and took on a somewhat ‘wild’ look even though she put in a lot of effort to manage it. Most werewolves had grey, white, silver, or black hair, so it was rather uncommon to see one like her that had rusty red hair that she had tied up into a ponytail. She had a ‘cool’ appearance that could quickly turn into an annoyed and fierce look if the furrowed her brows slightly. As for her figure, which Vahn had taken a passing glance at, she had a very fit and athletic looking body with full hips and an ample bosom that looked to be around a C-cup. Her most noteworthy features, however, were the pointed ears atop her had and the somewhat large and bushy tail sticking out of her rear. She actually looked moderately similar to Fenrir, as they both possessed the characteristics of wolves.

As for Misha, she had medium length pink hair, pink eyes, a somewhat ‘handsome’ appearance and a limber body with moderately sized breasts. She was somewhat short, around 150cm, compared to the 172cm tall Rose and looked almost ‘lazy’ next to the ‘serious’ Werewolf girl. Vahn knew she was a long time friend of Eina and seemed to have a preference for women, so he didn’t do anything that might offend her. She also seemed to have a high opinion of him since, shortly after his introduction, she closed the distance with him in an instant and grabbed his hands before holding them in an excited manner and saying, “You’re the boy that managed to steal our Eina’s heart~! She really lucked out this time…” Misha had looked Vahn from top to bottom before nodding her head with an ‘impressed’ look on her face as she said, “You’re actually quite handsome, aren’t you?”

Rose reached out her hand and gripped the top of Misha’s head and pulled her back with an annoyed expression as she returned Vahn’s bow and said, “I’m Rose Fannett…we’ll be in your care in the future.” before dragging off Misha towards the waiting twins. After she was confident that Rose wouldn’t be able to hear her, Syr giggled with her hand over her mouth before saying, “They seem to be very lively girls…what did you think~?” Vahn gave a wry smile before saying honestly, “Rose seems like another troubled woman…and Misha seems like a very lively girl.” Syr squinted her eyes slightly and look toward the direction the two girls had walked before saying, “Yes, she seems to be a very lonely girl. I can imagine how the two of you became closer, probably after the deaths of some of the other girls…”

Vahn furrowed his brows slightly at her words, but he knew her intuition was likely on point since Syr had a powerful understanding of people that Vahn couldn’t match. Knowing that she would probably try to ‘smoothen’ things out on his behalf, Vahn shook his head slightly and said, “We’ll see how things develop naturally…” Syr giggled silently without commenting on Vahn’s decision but she knew things were never that simple, regardless of how he wanted to behave. Being surrounded by women that supported Vahn every day would undoubtedly wear Rose down over time even if Vahn never talked to her at all. In fact, avoiding her would probably just make the somewhat violent looking woman even more annoyed. Vahn might be surrounded by girls, but his understanding of their hearts still required a bit of education and guidance.

Over the next two hours, Vahn and Syr greeted a number of guests that had arrived to attend the ceremony. As they hadn’t actually invited many people, most of the arrivals were the various gods of the Alliance and some of their important members. Loki had shown up accompanied by Finn, Gareth, Aisha, Bete, and a petite Amazon named Lena Tally. Even though Bete had an annoyed expression on his face, he still let her cling happily to his arm as they walked into the Manor together. Vahn didn’t comment on it, but he could see that Bete’s aura listed toward the somewhat young looking girl slightly and intertwined with her’s a bit.

Miach arrived soon after the Loki Familia and he was escorted by a beautiful woman named Maria Tulk, the current Captain of the Miach Familia even though she was only Level 2. She had purple hair and dark blue eyes and was being led by Miach by the arm as they showed their invitations before proceeding into the Manor. Miach was originally going to attend the wedding by himself since things were a little awkward in his Familia right now, but he eventually gave up his original plans after Maria persuaded him.

As if by providence, the next group to arrive were people Vahn hadn’t quite expected to see. The elderly Maria Martel arrived accompanied by a group of three children that Vahn immediately recognized to be the ‘chivalrous’ Rye, the ‘lively’ Chienthrope Fina, and the ‘timid’ Half-Elf girl named Roux. Vahn had learned the reason why Roux acted they way she did from Syr later and it had made him feel indignation at how cruel the world could be. Roux hadn’t been born in Orario and had instead been birthed in one of the various settlements on the outskirts of the Western Forests. From the moment of her birth, she was treated very terribly until her mother eventually fled her village in order to preserve Roux’s life. Soon after they entered the City, however, her mother died after trying to make a living as an Adventurer. In order to escape slave traffickers that would have tried to deport her to the Iron Hills, Roux disguised herself as a boy and had kept up the disguise for the last two years.

Vahn welcomed them all with a smile and had Syr escort them personally into the Manor after making polite conversation for a short while. Rye had accused him of ‘cheating’ on his big sis and had to be pacified by Syr when the boisterous Fina said that Syr could just marry Vahn as well in the future. Maria reprimanded the girl for her remark but couldn’t say much considering that Syr appeared to have an intent similar to Fina’s words based on the glimmer in her eyes. As for Roux, she didn’t say much at all and just absentmindedly looked around at random pedestrians as she held onto Maria’s dress with a white-knuckled grip.

Vahn watched the group follow Syr into the Manor and felt his own convictions grow stronger since it was ‘unfair’ for a young girl to have to live in fear simply because of her race. It was the policy of the High Elves that all Half-Elves needed to be killed at birth or exported to the Iron Hills to service the Dwarves if their parents wanted them to live. Orario was one of the few ‘safe’ places for Half-Elves, though it didn’t stop slave traffickers from kidnapping the young ones and bartering them to the Dwarven caravans that often passed through the City.

When he had learned about this, Vahn had suggested having the orphans move into the Manor but Syr ‘gently’ refused his kindness. Though she helped care for the Orphans on occasion, Syr knew it would only create bigger problems if Vah showed such charity. Maria would simply find new orphans to tend to and, if Vahn felt sorry for each of them, the Hearth Manor would become more of an orphanage instead of the heart of the Alliance. Vahn was about to have his own children and it was simply ‘too much’ to have other children running around. She suggested he just make contributions to the orphanage and allow Maria to do her work in peace. If he really wanted to bring about real change, he should instead focus on taking care of his own family and building the school he had in mind to help children in such tragic situations mature into proper adults.

As it was approaching noon, most of the guests had arrived including Takemikazuchi, accompanied by Ouka and Chigusa, Anubis, accompanied by the entire Anubis Familia, and various goddesses who all seemed to have a good impression of Vahn. Vahn politely greeted each of them as Syr kept them at bay when they tried to get ‘close’ to him. To name each of them, they were Demeter, a very motherly looking goddess with orange hair, honey eyes, and some of the largest breasts Vahn had ever seen. Accompanying her had been the goddess Eirene, who had a gentle aura with blue hair, watery blue eyes, and the disposition of a warrior with modest breasts. They were two of the most influential goddesses in the entire City so they had been personally invited by Hephaestus to attend the ceremony.

The second to last group to arrive was a couple that made Vahn feel nervous even before they introduced themselves. Vahn could tell by the disposition of the Elven woman with blonde hair and emerald green eyes that she had to be Eina’s mother, Aina. She was somewhat tall, around 171cm, and had a kind face that was almost identical to Eina’s. Accompanying her was an honest-looking man with brown hair and an angular face that made him look very handsome. He was even taller than Aina, at nearly 180cm, and had an athletic looking build even though Vahn could tell he shouldn’t even be Level 2.

When they arrived at the gate, Vahn had become somewhat rigid before bowing politely in accordance with the customs of the Elves and saying, “Greetings, Mrs. Tulle, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. And you must be…” Vahn had never actually heard anything about Eina’s father before and this was his first time meeting the man who smiled and said, “Good morning, Vahn, my name is Thomas Tulle…” Vahn smiled in return before bowing politely once again and saying, “Greetings, Mr. Tulle, it is an honor to meet you…” Aina began laughing before walking forward and brushing the wrinkles from Vahn’s collar as she said, “We’ll be family from now on; don’t be so formal anymore~.”

Thomas gave a wry smile before walking forward and placing his hand on Vahn’s shoulder as he said, “I’ll be honest…this situation is a little bit different than I expected, but I’m glad my daughter found someone she loved so soon. Take care of her from now on…” Though he was doing his best to maintain a casual look, Vahn could see a bit of moisture building up in Thomas’ eyes before Aina took his arm and said in a gentle tone, “You big softie…well, we’ll be going ahead, Vahn. It is great to finally meet the man my eldest daughter talks about so often~” Vahn nodded his head with a smile and watched the two of them walk towards the Manor arm-in-arm. Though they had never met, Vahn knew Eina had a younger sister that should be around thirteen at the moment. Even though it wasn’t that common for Elves to conceive children, Thomas seemed to be somewhat ‘potent’ as he was able to sire two children from Aina…

The last group to arrive was another pair, though not a couple as Aina and Thomas had been. Vahn’s expression turned somewhat serious when he saw the tall elderly man walking towards them with a casual yet confident gait. Even with his [Eyes of Truth], Vahn realized he couldn’t see through the man at all and knew this was one of Ouranos’ avatars. Accompanying him was a god with short blonde hair and orange eyes that slanted at the ends in a lazy manner. He was wearing a strange orange tuxedo with a bright green checkered scarf that clashed with the rest of his attire. Though he was somewhat handsome with an amiable smile, Vahn knew he was a somewhat troublesome god named Hermes that had often interacted with Bell in the manga.

Vahn’s back straightened as they approached and he had to look up at Ouranos who gazed down with his sky blue eyes and rumbled, “Sage Aldrnari…Vahn Mason..I have come to attend the wedding between you, the goddess Hephaestus, and the Guild Liason, Eina Tulle…” Without shying away from the pressure, Vahn took a breath and spoke confidently, “Ouranos…I welcome you into the Hearth Manor.” Hearing Vahn address him by name, Ouranos showed an almost indiscernible smile as he knew Vahn must have used the ‘Scroll of Prophecy’ with some degree of success based on his disposition.

Using the lull in the conversation, Hermes raised in his and said, “Yo~! The name’s Hermes, nice to meet you, Vahn.” Vahn turned his attention to the smiling Hermes and returned a small smile of his own as he said, “Greetings, Hermes, allow me to welcome you as well…” Hermes waved his hand in a dismissive manner as he looked toward Syr with a larger smile and asked, “And who is this beautiful young woman~?” Syr, unfazed by his act, bowed politely as a glimmer passed through her light grey eyes and she said, “Greetings, Ouranos-sama, Hermes-sama, this little one is Syr Flova, matron of the Hearth Manor and aspirant bride to Vahn~.” Vahn’s eyes widened slightly at Syr’s words but he didn’t refute them at all as Hermes flustered slightly with a downtrodden face and said, “That’s a shame…”

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Ouranos nodded his head slightly and said, “Syr Flova, you seem to be a capable woman…” before he turned his attention back to Vahn and said, “It seems the Sage Aldrnari is blessed to be surrounded by many capable women…” Vahn could tell that, though his words were somewhat abrasive, Ouranos was giving his honest impressive on things and it actually made him feel a bit of pride well up inside of him. Turning his attention to Syr, Vahn matched her gaze before replying, “Indeed, I truly have been blessed…” Syr’s smile widened marginally as a rosy hue appeared on her cheeks before she said, “Shall we make our way inside~?” Vahn nodded in response before gesturing invitingly with his hands and saying, “Please, Ouranos, Hermes, if you’ll follow me…”

Though it was considered rude for Vahn, a mortal, to address gods without honorifics, he was unwilling to do so since it would lower Hephaestus, Loki, Hestia, and Anubis if he called other gods with honorifics in their presence. Ouranos and Hermes didn’t seem to mind at all and there was even a slight glimmer in the Sky God’s eyes as he walked behind Vahn. This was his first time meeting Vahn through his avatar and he could tell that Vahn’s potential was far higher than his initial assumptions. It had been a major gamble to give such a rare artifact to the boy, but Ouranos now felt vindicated since Vahn had obviously been positively impacted by it. He didn’t know what Vahn had seen, but it was apparent that it inspired confidence in the boy and made him carry himself with pride and an echo of nobility.

As there were only twenty minutes left before the ceremony officially began, Vahn escorted Ouranos and Hermes directly to the backyard where the elaborate stage had been arranged. There were more than forty guests present but Vahn showed Ouranos and Hermes to the VIP seating at the very front row where Loki, Anubis, Miach, Takemikazuchi, Demeter, and Eirene were already sitting. Loki’s eyes opened slightly at the arrival of the two while the other gods had varying reactions as they began to exchange greetings. Vahn was required elsewhere, so he left the gods to mingle amongst themselves before moving behind the stage and finishing the final preparations with the assistance of Syr, Milan, and Aki.

Vahn’s final outfit consisted of an ornate black tunic with golden embroidery and solid gold buttons adorning it from top to bottom. Overtop the black tunic, Vahn wore an ornate black haori that had a black inner lining with a white exterior sewn with the symbol that had been established to represent Vahn’s position in the Alliance. There were five small circles linked by an intricate pentagon, each containing the emblems of the five original members of the Alliance with the Hestia Familia emblem located in the center to emphasize their position as the ‘heart’ of the Alliance. It was a rather ‘bold’ design and it was decided that only Vahn would be allowed to wear this symbol on his back.

Once he was completely prepared, the three girls wished him luck before leaving him alone behind the stage as he waited patiently for the music to begin playing. Though he should have felt nervous, Vahn actually felt very calm at the moment and focused on his domain and regulating the temperature around the guests to ensure that it was warm and comfortable for everyone present. There was still a chance his enemies would try to interfere with the wedding, but it wasn’t likely considering how much security had been mobilized for the event.

Even when he was waiting at the gate for more than four hours, there wasn’t a single person that was allowed to even enter the streets surrounding the Manor that didn’t belong to the Alliance. The ‘pedestrians’ that Roux had been cautious of earlier were actually just the constant patrols that had been looking for any signs of trouble. Given the thousands of people that were mobilized to ensure things ran smoothly, it was nearly impossible to even find an opportunity to interfere with the wedding, even though there were likely many people that wanted to. Knowing this, Vahn allowed himself to remain calm without worrying about excess concerns all the way up until the moment the music began to play…

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