Chapter 446: New Year’s Resolutions (2/3)

After his discussion with Hephaestus and Hestia came to an end, Vahn made the rounds and greeted everyone a happy new year. Hephaestus was still very tired so she ended up going back to sleep alongside Hestia, who also wanted to take a nap. Even though it was nearly 10 AM, Vahn found that many of the residents of the Manor were either still sleeping or were somewhat tired from the previous night. Not only had everyone stayed up late to celebrate the wedding, but they also brought in the new years together and, other than the youth troupe and the pregnant women, almost everyone else got drunk. Even Ais, who Vahn didn’t think was the type to drink, had apparently passed out clinging to Lefiya’s body like a hug pillow…

Ultimately, Vahn ended up in his own workshop after finding out what Eina had planned for the rest of the day. She had been talking with Milan, who was also in the process of moving rooms with Shizune and Tina, and they ended up having Eina move into their old room. Milan, Tina, and Shizune all ended up in their own rooms on the second floor alongside Ais, Tiona, Tione, and Lefiya. Tina and Fenrir were going to be roommates, even though Fenrir actually stayed in various rooms depending on her own mood. She often slept with Preasia in the past, but now seemed to be getting closer with Tiona, Ais, Ryuu, Tione, and Lefiya as well.

As it didn’t actually eat any of his time, Vahn decided to go through the rest of the [Hearts Desire]s since he wanted to continue with the same resolve that he had found earlier. Hestia’s matter was somewhat ‘unique’ so Vahn assumed the rest wouldn’t be that difficult to manage. There were some he even looked forward to since he was interested to know what kind of background the girls came from to arrive at their current lifestyles. Checking his inventory, Vahn still had the [Hearts Desire]s of Aki, Ryuu, Lunoire, Tione, Tsubaki, Emiru, Maemi, and the recent additions of Preasia, Milan, and Eina. He somewhat regretted having put them off for so long since it seemed like a bit of a trial to go through each of them simultaneously…

(A/N: The way a [Heart’s Desire] works is that is shows is relatively simple. If the person can’t let go of their past easily, or their past ‘defines’ them, Vahn would experience the important memories held close to that person’s heart. If the person had moved on from the past, but still has some lingering memories, Vahn would end up in the memory queue and get to experience the feelings of the person for each of those memories in sequence. For those that have no real attachment to the past, Vahn would see an almost sentient version of that person, their avatar, and then space would collapse later. In other words, damaged people carry a greater heart’s desire than functionally content people.)

Using Aki’s [Hearts Desire], which had been a pale onyx color, Vahn ended up the same endless black void except this time, like when he had seen Nanu’s in the past, there was a beautiful nude version of Aki waiting for his arrival with a smile on her face. Vahn could see a few memories fading in the backdrop of the world and noticed at a glance than many of them contained the face of a boy he had met before, though had never been introduced to. The Aki avatar smiled up at the memories and said in a somewhat sad tone, “Raul…I wonder how our paths diverged so greatly…”

Though Vahn had already gotten over his ‘guilt’ about the former relationship between Aki and Raul, he still felt somewhat sorry to see her expression as she watched her own memories fade. However, her melancholy didn’t last for long and the avatar quickly walked over to him with a beautiful smile on her face as she stroked her lower abdomen and asked, “Do you want to listen…?” Vahn smiled widely at her offer before kneeling down and placing his ear against her belly. Though it was still a bit early in the real world, Vahn was able to hear a small heartbeat this time and it made any negative feelings he might have had fade away entirely…

Awakening from the vision, Vahn got a similar series of notifications and the ‘standard’ pregnancy quest as normal, with the exception that Aki was already listed as pregnant. He was a little sad to see that her ‘Love’ was only at a value of 638 and decided to ‘pamper’ her a bit more in the future before pulling out the leafy green orb belonging to Ryuu. Since Ryuu had already told her a fair amount about his past, Vahn didn’t expect to glean too much from her [Hearts Desire] and even hoped she was one of the girls who he had already made to feel happy. Unfortunately, though he already had a lifelong promise with the beautiful elf, Vahn ended opening his eyes in the body of what he knew to be Ryuu…

Ryuu was born into a tribe of Elves that cultivated ‘sacred trees’ that were used to create various staves and artifacts for use by the somewhat oppressive High Elves. Throughout the early part of the vision, Vahn got to experience several instances of Ryuu being taunted and mistreated by arrogant High Elves and, even when she complained to her own family, they actually reprimanded her for ‘inconveniencing’ the High Elves. Their family had been the servants of some of the smaller noble houses for generations and there was even a sickening instance where Ryuu’s mother, a kind looking Elven woman, ‘casually’ explained to her how to ‘cope’ with the situation if a High Elf decided to **** her. She was told not to resist or ’cause trouble’ since it would impact their entire family if she offended one of them…

Combined with the fact that Ryuu had longed for the outside world, which her parents referred to as a land full of ‘savages’ and ‘barbarians’. Since it was actually the ‘so-called’ beautiful High Elves that acted in the most disgusting of manners, even at the expense of their own subjects, Ryuu didn’t believe their words at all and eventually fled her home forest. Soon after arriving in Orario, which she had learned from several caravans was the ‘beacon of light’ for all races, she quickly found herself as a member of the Astrea Familia which was full of beautiful and capable women that had righteous principles, even if some of their dispositions were questionable.

For several years, Ryuu was relatively happy and felt like she was accomplishing something worthwhile with her life and had even made several strong bonds, especially with Astrea, Alise Lovell, Gojouno Kaguya, and the sly Pallum, Lyra. Though they had their share of conflicts, Alise was a kind and lively woman that always treated Ryuu well and taught her what it meant to truly represent righteousness. Other than the fact that Alise always called her ‘Lion’, Ryuu was quite fond of the woman and often confided in her when she was feeling down. As for Kaguya, she was a beautiful ‘princess-like’ woman that hailed from the Far East and was somewhat unfazed by the general dealings within the Familia. She was a bit abrasive at times, but she had a strong sense of justice and often donated the majority of her earnings to various orphanages around the City. Lastly, the Pallum girl, Lyra, was a bit of a mischievous girl who had grown up on the ‘dark’ side of society and finally found her way into the light by the time she became an adult. She taught Ryuu how to ‘exploit’ others, not for personal benefit, but to expose the true nature of people and track down criminals and con artists. Ryuu had never seen them together, but she also boldly claimed that she was the closest woman to becoming the wife of the Pallum ‘hero’, Finn Dieme…

Unfortunately, Ryuu’s happiness didn’t last long at all and she learned the hard way that evil was drawn to the light, not to escape the darkness, but in an effort to snuff out the brilliance of would-be heroes. Her entire Familia, with the exception of herself and their goddess, was wiped out on an expedition to the 37th floor after falling into a trap set by the evil organization, Evilus. Ryuu barely escaped with her life and spent all of her days after that trying to seek vengeance against the cruel-hearted individuals that had robbed her of her happiness. Eventually, after going on a killing spree that lasted nearly two months, Ryuu found herself having vanquished the majority of Evilus but on death’s doorstep in the pouring rain after having succumbed to injuries obtained during a fight with Chloe and Lunoire…

Just as Ryuu believed she was about to breath her last, she managed to escape the battle with the assistance of Arnya and came across Syr in an alleyway. Fortunately, the two bounty hunters learned that they had fallen into the scheme of a lesser criminal organization and everyone ended up compromising later as they all joined the Hostess of Fertility as a cover for future operations. Syr nursed Ryuu back to health and both Chloe and Lunoire apologized to her for the incident and promised to make it up to her in time…

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For the better part of three years, Ryuu had slowly started to regain her happiness by associating with the other ‘damaged’ girls at the Hostess of Fertility. She came to respect Syr’s character greatly and she even saw the image of her former comrades in the relatively young human girl. She had a nearly perfect appearance, was often kind to others, even at the expense of herself, and even spent a large portion of her money and free time helping out at an orphanage. The kicker, at least for Ryuu, was the fact that Syr was also a sly girl just like Lyra, even though she was much better at hiding it that the rambunctious Pallum girl…

After returning from Melen, Ryuu and Syr met a very handsome boy at their main store and, against all of Ryuu’s expectations, the boy easily managed to reach out and grab her hand. She could feel her heart begin to beat rapidly in her chest and, from that day onwards, thoughts of the boy constantly plagued her heart. Syr seemed to be interested in him as well, which made Ryuu somewhat sad since she didn’t want to compete with her, but Ryuu quickly learned that the boy, Vahn Mason, wasn’t such a ‘simple’ individual.

It made her somewhat uncomfortable, but Ryuu learned that there were several women that were in active relationships with the boy, including two powerful Adventurers from the Loki Familia. However, even though she had thoughts of giving up on the matter, Syr actually constantly convinced her to give the boy a chance and even talked about how he could ‘save’ all of them with his ‘light’. With Chloe and Arnya as the forerunners, Syr began to get every girl in the pub more involved with the boy, including Ryuu herself…

Ryuu quickly learned that Syr’s ‘intuition’ had indeed been correct and, after a series of events transpired, Ryuu quickly found herself having fallen for the boy completely. The incident where he charged into the enemy’s headquarters to save the two Cat Persons resonated deeply with her and she wished that she could stand at his side to help vanquish evil. When they returned home that night, Syr had gathered everything together and began discussing a plan to ‘help’ Vahn and the two victim girls that he had saved…

Over time, as Ryuu interacted more and more with Vahn, she found that her defenses had started to waver greatly. Though it was only for brief periods of time, she often found herself making casual contact with the boy and, as she listened to the recounting of his exploits, they made her feel excited and even happy. When things developed to the point that Syr had approached her to ‘protect’ Vahn, Ryuu had accepted without any hesitation at all. Just imagining what it would be like to spend so much time with Vahn, especially when he often did such heroic deeds, made Ryuu feel very excited…

Though there were some hiccups along the way, especially regarding the troublesome wolf girl that Vahn had somehow ‘tamed’, Ryuu eventually found herself in several intimate moments with Vahn. When she was entrusted to care for him in the bath, Ryuu had decided that she wanted to keep her promise with her former companions and had made the decision to take Vahn’s hand and never let him go. However, even though she found this resolve inside of her, Ryuu knew that things wouldn’t be so easy. Because of the light that he represented, there would be countless enemies that would rise to the task of trying to snuff him out. The more Ryuu learned about Vahn, the more apparent this became and she began honing herself like a blade to take action when he was in danger. Even if it cost her life, Ryuu decided that Vahn couldn’t die anymore…

Vahn was surprised that Ryuu’s [Hearts Desire] didn’t actually continue for much longer, especially considering they had become much closer after the visions in the orb. It seemed that, though they were both in love with each other, Ryuu’s desire seemed to extend beyond them and had a broader range that took into consideration their enemies. If he wanted to be able to satisfy her desire, something he thought he had been able to do several times in the past after making the promise at the gravesite, Vahn would either have to become strong enough that his enemies couldn’t harm him. It was either that or he would have to help Ryuu get to a status where she was confident in her own power and could protect him herself.

Somewhat disappointed that he hadn’t ‘completed’ Ryuu’s desire, Vahn pulled out the hazy brown orb that belonged to Lunoire and crushed it into his palm expecting another long vision. However, against his expectations, Vahn found himself face-to-face with the gentle smile of the naked Lunoire as the memories faded around them. She had already poured her heart out to Vahn in the past, without coating over things at all, and she was simply happy to be shown such care and concern by the handsome boy. After hugging his head into her chest, Lunoire stroked the back of his head and whispered, “Thank you for giving me a real home, Vahn…I think I have the confidence to start walking forward again…walk with me sometimes, okay…?”

When he returned to the real world after what seemed like only a few seconds, Vahn felt like his brain had stalled a bit as the smiling face of Lunoire continued to display within his mind. Releasing a long sigh, Vahn promised to treat her better in the future since it didn’t really seem like she truly desired anything. Her ‘Love’ parameter, which had been unlocked with the standard notifications, was only at 174 and Vahn wanted to change that to make her happier. This was something Vahn noticed crossed his mind every time he had realizations like this and it always resulted in a relatively simple, yet incredibly significant thought…he wanted to make all of the girls happier. With that thought in mind, he pulled out a snow-blue orb and tried to crush it, only to find that it was incredibly hard.

As he had been pulling out the orbs in ‘chronological’ order, Vahn had selected Emiru’s orb next and now found himself in a peculiar situation where it didn’t break. However, he quickly realized that it likely related to her sister so he pulled out the purple lilac colored orb and held both of them in his hands. Squeezing his hands slightly, Vahn confirmed his speculation as both orbs broke and he once again found himself in the black abyss, this time alone as several vibrant memories passed through the void.

Because they were almost always together, even during the bath and while sleeping, Emiru and Maemi had nearly identical memories and, it not for the fact that there was a strange three-dimensional illusion to the images, Vahn would have expected he was looking at just one series of images. Since the girls shared a different perspective, even for the same memories, the memories ‘popped’ a lot more and Vahn was able to experience the conflicts both girls felt during each event…

Vahn quickly realized that most of the colors of the girls’ memories were all dull and moderate colors, with few happy, sad, or even traumatic events at all. Other than the hunger and aching they would feel in their bodies during the harsh winters, the girls spent most of their time simply bored as they performed their duties. Since the women were required to take care of the livestock and tend to the homes, Emiru and Maemi were often only able to have fun if they played together since many of the other children avoided them for being ‘strange’.

Unfortunately, this peculiarity wasn’t shunned by everyone and, as the girls continued to age, it was quickly arranged for them to marry into one of the other households within the clan. The twins were very distraught over the matter because the man had been the same one that appeared in many of their negative memories because he always creeped them out. He often acted ‘too nice’ to them and had even ‘stumbled’ in on them in the bath when they were young girls.

The fact that their father had betrothed them to the man, who was more than twenty years older than they were, made both girls very dissatisfied. He had taken advantage of the famine they were facing and simply used the dowry of a single fat pig in exchange for both of their hands. Unable to accept this outcome, the girls instead convinced their mother that it would benefit the entire clan if they were simply sold as exotic slaves and exported to the City…

Every time things got harsh for the clan, merchants and slave traders would show up almost immediately so it wasn’t difficult at all to arrange. Though their would-be husband complained about the matter, a single pig couldn’t compare against the entire cart of barley that was given by the slave trader as compensation. The cart would be able to last the entire small clan for several months whereas the pig would have simply served as a luxury item unless they turned it into smoked jerky…

Thus, with delusions of serving a wealthy Master, the twins ‘escaped’ their boring lives in the Northern Tundra and became slaves hauled away to the ‘big city’. To their surprise, and immense satisfaction, the first man that showed up to purchase them happened to be a very handsome young boy who seemed to have the air of a noble about him even though his face was very kind. Seeing himself reflected in the girls’ eyes, Vahn felt somewhat embarrassed because he could tell they saw him as an ‘ideal mark’ and used their combined charms to earn his pity.

All of the memories after that, at least the ones the girls kept close to their hearts, became colored with a variety of warm colors in stark contrast of their past memories. Because the twins were somewhat ‘delusional’, Vahn got to see some tantalizing images of the two girls ‘playing’ with each other as each took turns pretending to be him. When the memories progressed to the point that both girls had received the ‘victory underwear’ from him, Vahn noticed that most of their ‘important’ memories were when they were around him, or when the two girls were alone with each other in a scarily passionate manner. The only exceptions to this were when they were talking with some of the other girls and when they had learned of the Divination about their own demise…

Once that final memory started to fade, Vahn felt two presences embrace him as both twins tip-toed and kissed the sides of his face. As a perfect mirror of each other, both girls began to laugh before saying, “We will become much stronger so that we can stay at the side of our loveable Master…” Vahn nodded his head in affirmation and allowed the memories to fade but, against his expectations, he found himself still in the black abyss for a while longer as the two girls began rubbing against his body. Vahn could feel a pressure in the bridge of his nose as the girls panted simultaneously and mewled, “Master…when will you let us serve you ‘properly’…?” as the vision finally faded…

Even when he awoke in the real world, Vahn could still feel the pressure in his nose because, just before the vision faded entirely, he could feel both girls rub a warm and moist part of their body against his hands. He didn’t expect the ‘avatars’ of the [Hearts Desire]s to actually be able to take such actions and it made him realize how ‘peculiar’ the two girls were. Even in their memories, though they often fantasized about ‘serving’ a wealthy Master, most of their delusions were sexual in nature. Because of their boredom early in their lives, both girls had been somewhat promiscuous, even though their fantasies only involved themselves instead of incorporating others into the mix.

Knowing that he would likely have to ‘confront’ the two girls in the near future, especially since he hadn’t completed their quests, Vahn shook his head and pulled out a dark brown orb that belonged to Tione and crushed it into his hand with a bit of force. As he had expected, he found himself in Tione’s past, much as he had for Tiona previously. Different from Tiona, however, was how Tione’s memories were actually plagued with a severe inferiority complex for her own little sister instead of the desire for a hero and the will to escape their suffering by becoming stronger…

Tione hated how she was forced to constantly do battle against other children and how, no matter how many times she achieved victory, she was always compared to her more powerful younger sister. Tione didn’t actually have a bad impression of Tiona at all, and she actually wished they could spend more time together as sisters, but that was something that wasn’t allowed in their society. Because they had drawn the attention of Kali, they were split up very early on and were forced to train with two different masters.

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Tione’s master, Argana, was a cruel and ruthless Amazon that purported strength over everything. She constantly put her through harsh training to be able to overcome her own little sister but, every time they competed side-by-side, Tione found herself far behind her own twin. The only exception to this was when they were forced to fight each other and it made Tione feel like she was going to lose her mind because, no matter how poorly she treated Tiona during their duels, her younger sister never fought back at all. She would often have a silly smile on her face even when she was battered and bruised and, because of her failure to punish Tiona at the end, Argana would torment her during their training later.

Eventually, Kali gave them some grace when she got bored of watching their one-sided fights and allowed the two to earn their freedom by defeating one-hundred opponents without a single loss in the span of a single day. Even though they were only seven years old at the time, Kali proclaimed them to be capable adults and allowed them to leave the village in search of worthy mates. After that, Tione and Tiona became much closer but Tione always blamed herself for being the weaker sister and always ‘tormenting’ Tiona because of the teachings of Argana. Just like Tiona refused to fight, she had the same option yet chose to lash out in the hopes that her own torment would be easier later on. However, it took Tione far too long to realize that it was simply Argana’s nature to torment others and it didn’t even matter how she treated her own sister…

For several years, Tione wandered around the continent with her sister and was often saved by her whenever she lost her cool. Even though she caused so much trouble for Tiona, her ‘little sister’ never complained about the matters seriously and often played them off as a joke. This caused Tione to feel a great deal of frustration because she always felt like she was letting down her twin on every occasion. It wasn’t until they finally arrived in Orario and suffered defeat at the hands of Gareth and Finn that the dynamic between them began to make a turn. Because of the age difference, Gareth never gave Tiona a chance and, even though Finn never actually returned her feelings, Tione felt like she had gotten her first real victory over Tiona.

Unfortunately, Tiona didn’t seem to mind at all and simply went about life in a whimsical fashion as she steadily grew stronger and enjoyed each day to the fullest. Tione, however, found that pursuing Finn was quite a stressful life to live because, no matter how much effort she put in trying to get closer to him, he always refused her advances. Even when her body finally started to change, a fact she lorded over Tiona greatly, Finn still treated her like a child and, though he respected her feelings, never once gave her a chance. As time passed, Tione even realized she had become something of a gopher for the man that didn’t have a place for her in his heart. Though it was painful, just spending time with him made her happy so Tione tolerated the fact that Finn treated her as a ‘convenient’ tool at times…

Things continued this way for a time until Tione met the peculiar boy named Vahn Mason that her younger sister had been on a tirade about. Out of curiosity, she agreed to accompany Tiona to meet the boy and was actually somewhat impressed by the amount of resolve he showed. He was very weak but never gave up trying to rise to his feet and, instead of resentment at having lost the fight, there was a competitive flame in his eyes. Tione knew he would become much stronger one day but, against all of her expectations, they were reunited shortly thereafter and he had already transcended the growth she had expected from him.

Seeing that her own sister had started to approach the handsome boy, Tione wanted to tease the two of them a bit and make her sister feel pressured. However, Vahn ended up being a ‘peculiar’ boy that didn’t behave in the normal fashion at all and was quickly ‘conquered’ by her Tiona and, to her immense surprise, Ais. It ended up being Tione that felt pressured but things rapidly changed once again when she saw Vahn take an injury to his mind that he wouldn’t be able to recover from.

Tiona and Ais were both very distraught by the situation and, even though it was suggested to put him out of his misery, they acceded to the two’s demand to return him to the surface. Tione thought it was a tragic outcome that would likely impact her sister’s heart greatly but, deep within her heart, she couldn’t deny she was somewhat relieved by the loss. However, this didn’t last long at all and, even though she constantly told Tiona that Vahn would never recover, he woke up after a mere nine days of being unconscious. Tione realized there was much more to the boy than she had realized and knew that her sister had definitely ‘won’ out against her this time…

Soon after, Tione experienced the event where Vahn charged into the Twilight Manor to ‘steal’ away Tiona and Ais and it made her somewhat resentful of the fortune both girls had found. When her own sister returned a ‘woman’, Tione felt like a fire had been lit in her heart and she desperately stepped up her advances against Finn, even though he didn’t wave in the slightest. As things got progressively better between Vahn, Tiona, and Ais, Tione found herself feeling very envious of the girls and, even though she didn’t like him in the same way as the two, began seeking his affection as well. It made her feel somewhat vindicated with how ‘easy’ Vahn was and it allowed her to justify that her own feelings for Finn were more ‘real’ than what the three experienced…

Tione realized once again that her expectations had been horribly misconstrued as she saw the power of the bonds between Vahn and the other girls in his life. Even though it was only for a brief moment, he had even touched her heart by his kindness and attentive personality. Every time she accompanied Tiona and Ais on their dates with him, Tione always found herself feeling happy whenever Vahn would give her attention. Since Finn constantly shunned her, Vahn became one of the only constant sources of happiness in her life and she began to resent that he didn’t show her even more affection…

Tione’s resentment continued to build up until it reached a critical point after they returned from the expedition to hunt Bloodsaurus. She had seen the weapons forged by Vahn for the other girls and it made her extremely jealous because there was a distinct difference in quality between their weapons. Her plan to drug Finn with an aphrodisiac had been the final straw and Tione had begun to give up on the man that she had fallen in love with because she couldn’t tolerate the constant heartbreak. Though she knew she was lashing out somewhat, Tione wanted to vent on Vahn because she believed that he was strong enough, and kind enough, to forgive her later on…

The battle with Vahn made Tione’s heart race and she started to realize that her feelings for the boy were becoming increasingly stronger as the fight progressed. Though she was very angry with how he was constantly avoiding a direct confrontation, Tione was impressed by his speed and the prowess he showed during their fight. Even though he was much weaker than she was, he constantly came up with methods to deal with her attacks and was slowly gaining ground against her. By the time he grew the black scales from his body, her heart had started to race even faster because Tione felt like she was on the verge of defeat. If Vahn was truly able to beat her, Tione felt like she could put her feelings for Finn behind her and finally find happiness for herself. Even though she might have to share the same man as her own sister, this didn’t bother her at all and she even felt happy that they would be able to stay together…

In agonizingly slow motion, Tione felt the shockwave from Vahn’s palms spread through her body before a powerful fury overwhelmed her and she kicked off of his face to open some distance for the next engagement. However, the moment her foot came into contact with his head, a powerful feeling of dread overwhelmed her as there was nearly no resistance at all and she knew that her blow had dealt a fatal degree of damage to the boy she had just decided to pursue. When she landed on the ground and saw that Vahn was still standing, Tione had a brief hope that he was okay but it was dashed in an instant when she saw his previously handsome face had been turned to a pulp…

As she stared at the image of her second love, dead on his feet, Tione couldn’t form any coherent thoughts at all. She felt a powerful sadness seize her body as she lamented the fact that she constantly hurt, or even destroyed, everything she cared about. Just as she had beaten her own sister in an effort to alleviate her own suffering in the past…just like how she constantly caused problems when they were traveling…just like she had flaunted her shallow victories as a result of her own vanity…Tione realized that the reason she was always unhappy was a result of her own shallow personality and desire to be loved…Now, however, just as she was likely to receive real love for the first time in her life…she had destroyed it, entirely on accident…

However, Vahn once again completely shattered her expectations and turned out to be completely fine after the incredible item he had produced before the start of the fight took effect. Tione had just resolved herself to die as payment for her mistake but, instead of finding herself on the receiving end of a justifiable beating, she found Vahn’s gentle smile trying to comfort her. Even when she had caused him so much trouble, even when she had literally almost taken his life, Vahn still showed her kindness and extended his hand to pull her away from her lonely existence. It was at this moment that Tione truly realized that she had fallen in love with the hopelessly heroic boy…

Even when she faced severe reprimands, several punishments, and the ire of many of the women surrounding Vahn, Tione accepted it all without complaint. Unlike her past self, which would have lashed out in an effort to deal with her frustrations, she accepted everything willingly. It wasn’t just her happiness that she had nearly destroyed, but the happiness of several other women, including various goddesses. If she wasn’t punished by them, Tione would have taken to the task herself because she felt that she owed it to Vahn for the tolerance he showed her. Every time they met after the ‘incident’, Vahn didn’t seem to pay it any mind at all and, if not for the fact he was following the guidance of others, he would have likely even comforted her further…

Tione realized now why so many girls fell for Vahn because, even if it was someone as selfish and vain as she had been, he always looked for the ‘light’ inside of others. Unless they were a threat to the people he cared about, Vahn was the type that could tolerate nearly any level of suffering against himself if it would allow him to reach through the darkness and ‘save’ the other person. Though he was a bit of an idiot, he really did have the makings of a true hero as Tiona and Ais were so fond of bringing up. Tione wanted more than anything else, now that she had resolved herself to be together with him, to become someone worthy of his love…

When he returned to reality, Vahn was in a slight daze as he processed everything that he had witnessed from Tione’s [Hearts Desire]. Even though she saw herself in such a negative light, it wasn’t incorrect to say that Tione had actually been a very tragic girl. She grew up without parents, was forced to fight for the entertainment of others, even against her own sister, and was constantly denied love and affection for her entire life. Other than Tiona, who was a paragon of tolerance that could even put Vahn to shame, Tione had nothing else. Most of her relationships with other people were somewhat shallow because she spent the majority of her time in her pursuit of Finn, someone that would never reciprocate her feelings…

Vahn released a heavy sigh because he checked his notifications and realized that he hadn’t completed Tione’s quest and obtained her hidden parameter. Though it didn’t seem like her initial desire at all, her heart had changed greatly after her interactions with him and it was now her wish to become a ‘worthy’ woman for him. Vahn didn’t like that idea of others trying to become worthy for him because he had never once considered her unworthy at all. It was somewhat frustrating to know that she was still beating herself up over a matter that hadn’t even made much of an impact on him.

The entire reason he had used the [Effigy of the Hero] is that he wanted both of them to go all out without inhibitions. Other than when other people brought it up, Vahn didn’t think about the ‘incident’ at all and found it somewhat incredulous to consider that others were harping over it. If not for the fact that he ‘understood’ their justifications, Vahn would have probably walked straight over to Tione and whisked her away in a similar manner as he had done for Tiona and Ais in the past…However, that would have to wait for later as there were still several more [Hearts Desire]’s to go through…

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