Chapter 448: Research

Even though it felt like he had lived several years of time, as it wasn’t exactly a fast process to go through a person’s memories, it had still been less than an hour since Vahn awoke. He now had a list of things he wanted to accomplish in order to strengthen his bonds with the other girls and was also contemplating getting other girls to 100 Affection in the future just so he could keep track of things more easily. However, the most important thing on his schedule was beginning his research into making under-armor for himself and the girls. He would begin probing further into the Dungeon alongside the Loki Familia in less than a week, so Vahn wanted to make some headway on the project before then.

As for his relationships with the girls, Vahn planned to be less inhibited but was also going to shift his focus away from the girls, unless they had matters that required his attention. Besides, though it may seem cruel to some of the other girls, Vahn wanted to spend a few days with Eina since they were married now. She had three days off from work, even though she was still helping Misha and Rose get situated, so Vahn wanted to spend that time with her and, if she were staying over, Hephaestus…

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Of course, Vahn wasn’t going to ignore the girls outright and even had several methods on hand to spend time with them that wouldn’t actually eat into his work that much. Because of the little incident with Hephaestus, Eina, and Tsubaki, Vahn realized it wasn’t ‘appropriate’ to use detailed sculpts of their bodies as mannequins. He would instead do a lot of the basic work using simplified versions of the mannequins and then, once he was at a phase of his research where he needed to refine things, he would ask the girls themselves to assist him. Just imagining someone like Ais acting as his assistant made Vahn smile with a clearly happy grin on his face.

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Before he officially started his work, Vahn finished creating the batch of panties for Ais, Tiona, Tione, and Lefiya before setting them away snuggly within his inventory for the time being. Since he would be able to make ‘better’ sets when his research was finished, Vahn only put in a marginal amount of effort into each of them with a focus on simply making them comfortable. The only except was Tione’s since the pair she wanted was rather ‘unique’ with their ability to open at the bottom. Since she seemed to like the color black, Vahn made use of shadowsilk that also ensured that the seam was concealed and made them look relatively normal.

By the time he was finished, Vahn was already in the second block of his schedule but immediately decided to continue working after passing his perception over the Manor and eating a light lunch. There had been no unexpected arrivals at his workshop today and Vahn could see that everyone’s auras were stable within the residence. After confirming their status through his logbooks, Vahn pulled out a new mannequin that looked somewhat similar to Ais, as she had a good ‘baseline’ body structure. She had yet to catch up to her future self’s ‘potential’ and currently had a body that was blooming beautifully as a young woman.

Compared to her future self, the current Ais actually wore several pieces of armor that didn’t look too comfortable to wear. Vahn remembered that her future self wore a simple breastplate and two metal plates at her sides without any other notable features. Now, however, she wore arm and leg guards that went up to her knees and elbows, wore plated armor on her upper body that continued into a battle dress, and even had shoulder pauldrons. She almost looked like an agility-tank hybrid that predominately relied on her [Ariel] to enhance her mobility to the extremes she was known for. Vahn knew the natural progression of her combat style would rely less on armor and her figure was presently the ‘easiest’ to work with. This was also one of the first mannequins Vahn had created in the past so it didn’t make use of the memory putty in its construction.

The under-armor Vahn wanted to make needed to be ‘all-purpose’ armor that was comfortable to wear, protected from the elements, resisted wear and tear, and also provided adequate protection to the girls. He also needed to take into consideration the ‘biological’ requirements of the girls and had to make sure they would also be easy to remove. Since he had the task of creating a set for Fenrir, Vahn wanted to come up with something that even she would be able to remove easily. Though he had forgotten most things, Vahn still remembered the dresses worn by his Empresses as well as the silver and white bodysuit worn by Fenrir. For her to be wearing such a thing, it had to be forged by Vahn himself and he could remember a few of the details since he had been interested in it.

Though he wasn’t sure of the materials, Vahn knew he used three layers that consisted of an absorbent inner layer, and an intricate layer of almost ‘scale-like’ thin plating covered in runes, and a leathery outer layer that was likely meant to make it waterproof and help regulate temperatures. Vahn wasn’t able to recall the actual formations, but he knew that his future self had created something similar to mana circuits within the armor itself that should have enhanced the capabilities of the wearer by a fair amount. Since other armor could easily be worn over the top, he probably didn’t try to make the under-armor with a focus on their defensive capabilities but pushed them to the extremes to draw out the potential of the girls instead. If they didn’t get hit, there wasn’t a need for any defense at all…

As it was the most comfortable fabric Vahn had worked with thus far, he ended up creating the entire interior of the outfit using shadowsilk. It was a little difficult to sew together, but Vahn finally ended up with what looked like stockings that covered the body since, when the material was stretched, it became somewhat transparent. Vahn decided on a design that covered the hips and about half-way down the thighs, much like a pair of spats, and a top that didn’t cover the shoulders since many of the girls didn’t like constrictive fabrics around their arms. Though he was planning on continuing his work using the shadowsilk as a basis, Vahn could tell at a glance that it likely wasn’t going to work as intended…

Vahn wasn’t entirely sure what the ‘scale’ pattern had been from the Divination but he knew it was a material that had to be organic and capable of containing mana. The future Vahn had very obviously used his Xuánwǔ form as the basis for the design since it was the only thing Vahn had ever seen that made use of scales with runic patterns on them. Vahn had never thought about it in the past, other than when he made his [Xuánwǔ Protectors], but it was actually a very good idea to try and enhance the capabilities of armor according to his own transformations. His Xuánwǔ form was able to completely disperse shockwaves and, if he was able to truly incorporate that into the under-armor of the girls, even the mages in the group should have very high defense. It might take a bit of mana to upkeep, but that would also allow the girls to condition their bodies and adapt them to the constant use of mana, which was always a good thing.

While in his Xuánwǔ form, Vahn studied the construction of his own scales and even plucked a few from his arm in the process. He harbored a small hope that he might actually be able to use his own scales as a resource but, when he returned to his human form, they simply dispersed into a brackish green powder. It might be possible to use them in the future, but Vahn would have to come up with another method than simply plucking them. At least he was able to use his [Eyes of Truth] to discern a bit about their structure and discovered that each scale had ‘veins’ that served the same purpose as mana circuits that tied into the runes on the outside. Vahn should be able to create something similar to a refined scale-mail that was linked together by self-made mana circuits later on. It seemed like an unbelievably complex task but that was the case with all high-ranked equipment.

Vahn had never made scale-mail before, especially something as complex as what he was about to work on, so he did a bit of research before beginning. He realized his earlier intuition had been correct since he wouldn’t be able to use a silk inner layer to hold together the scaled formation that he would have to create. He needed to use an absorbent material that was also durable enough to hold together the complex middle-layer. Since it was the most functional material he had on hand, Vahn ended up using the skin of a wyvern that had been thinned to create a new base for the scales that would be embedded into them later. Unfortunately, the material wasn’t actually that flexible at all and Vahn once again hit a dead end after a full day’s work.

Even though he should have been frustrated, Vahn was instead happily scribing away inside a book all of the details that he would need to take into consideration in the future. Each ‘failure’ was one step closer to actual success and Vahn knew that consulting one of the gods that created the fabrics used in many Adventurer wear would likely be the key. Vahn had purchased some of the fabric from the shop but noticed it wasn’t very suitable for his purposes either. He needed to learn how they made such fabrics so he could emulate the process himself, but with much higher quality materials. It would likely require him to treat the materials with some kind of chemical solution that would ‘soften’ them up, but Vahn wasn’t aware of the specific solution that would be necessary as of yet.

With a long list of potential solutions, alongside several designs that he would like to try in the future, Vahn made his way toward the dining room where everyone had started to gather. He intended to talk about his new research a bit and, when it was more appropriate to do so, give the new panties to the four girls that had requested them. Vahn knew he would end up making several other pairs in the future but didn’t want it to be his primary focus for the time being. There were only five days left until the expedition began and he wanted to spend as much of his free time as possible creating the template for future armors.

Against his expectations, not that he should have been surprised at all, Tsubaki already knew how to treat hide to make it softer and made Vahn feel somewhat embarrassed because he hadn’t considered asking her for help earlier. Riveria was also somewhat interested in his new ‘research’ since he hadn’t shown up in the Library today and they spent nearly two hours after dinner going over the notes Vahn had taken throughout the day. Tsubaki was very surprised at the complexity of the designs Vahn was trying to pull off whereas Riveria just stared at the various runes Vahn had drawn out with scholarly intent. When asked where he learned such complex and unique runes, Vahn transformed into his Xuánwǔ form and got to experience the relatively interesting scene of Riveria looking over his body and taking notes as she traced around the edge of his scales with her finger…

As planned, Vahn ended up spending the night with Eina and Hephaestus, who had shown up after finishing up her own matters. Vahn had told her to message him if she wanted to come over so late, since it would be much safer, and faster, if he went to receive her. Hephaestus teased him for worrying so much but also acceded to his desire and promised to let him know in the future unless he was away in the Dungeon or busy. Afterward, Vahn experienced being pampered by the two girls since Eina’s body hadn’t entirely recovered from the previous night. Sex wasn’t the only thing that could be done in bed and, with Eina’s ‘guidance’, Vahn ended up getting massaged by the two girls, once again realizing how relaxing it was to be pampered by those that cared about him…

While Vahn was shacking up and enjoying quality time with his two wives, others weren’t quite nearly as relaxed. Freya had met with Hephaestus and Loki earlier and had arranged to finally meet with Vahn the following day. She wouldn’t be able to have any ‘alone’ time with him, but that didn’t help her restless body calm down at all. After her meeting with the two red-headed goddesses, Freya had returned to her own private residence at the top of Babel Tower and summoned her four favorite children who quickly arrived in her throne room.

Freya overlooked the powerful men she had been cultivating for the last few years starting with the strongest of the lot, Ottar. He hailed from the reclusive Boaz tribe from the Southern Sands and stood at 210cm tall with a powerful frame like an Adonis. Though he wasn’t that handsome, his healthy brown skin combined with his rust-colored hair and eyes caused him to appear very attractive to many women. He was irrefutably the strongest Adventurer in the entire City and was the most loyal of all her ‘children’ while also serving the Familia as it’s Captain.

Next to Ottar, with a stern expression on his face, stood a handsome Cat Person with ashen grey hair and black eyes. He stood around 170cm tall and had an athletic figure that looked somewhat ‘tiny’ compared to the statuesque Ottar. This was Allen Fromel, the man considered to be the ‘fastest’ Adventurer in the entire City with his Silver Spear. He possessed the alias, Vana Freya, a title which he carried with pride because of the correlation it had with Freya herself.

To the flanks of Ottar and Allen, there were two contrastingly handsome men that stood with straight backs and inarguably handsome faces. The man on the right was Hedina, an Elf that Freya had recruited long ago and had served her loyally for nearly twenty years. If not for the indomitable nature of Ottar, and the amazing potential of Allen, he would have been a candidate for the position of Captain when Mama Mia had left in the past. He had a very rare form of magic which made use of lightning and was very difficult to deal with. Not only did he have a version of the spell that could wipe out entire armies of monsters, but he also had an instant-chant version that could char the bones of weaker enemies with a single strike.

Standing at the opposite flank was a man that Hedin didn’t get along with at all, the Dark Elf Hogni. Contrasting Hedin’s blonde hair and blue eyes, Hogni had raven black hair and red eyes that glowed with a subtle light. The two had been mortal enemies of each other that only compromised when directly ordered by Freya. Unlike Hedin, who was a capable mage, Hogni was a pure swordsman that wielded a cursed black blade named [Dainsleif]. It was capable of cutting through anything and could even slice through magical spells, to Hedin’s distaste. The only downside to the sword was that it ate away at the sanity of the user and required them to kill something every time it was unsheathed.

Once she had looked them over, Freya showed a beautiful smile before changing the position of her legs in a somewhat seductive manner that caused all but Ottar to become alert. With a somewhat cold smile on her face, Freya said in a casual tone, “Tomorrow morning, I will be meeting with the heads of the Alliance and Vahn Mason…” Hearing her words, Allen, Hogni, and Hedin all showed slightly dissatisfied looks on their faces but didn’t say anything that might offend Freya. However, Freya hadn’t missed their reactions at all and her expression turned icy as she said, “Vahn Mason is the key to my being able to obtain a child…I won’t tolerate it if you offend him in any way. If you can’t deal with him amiably, simply protecting him from the shadows will suffice…understood?”

Though he hadn’t been one of the three that showed a negative reaction, Ottar took the lead and knelt before Freya as he said in a firm tone, “As you will…” With his example, the other three all knelt quickly and repeated his words as Freya glared at them with her icy silver eyes. After a momentary pause, Freya showed a smile once again and said, “I’m sure you have all been thinking about it lately…the matter of me bearing a child, that is…” Hearing her words, the three once again flinched without saying anything at all.

Freya nodded her head and stated clearly, “I have decided that the only two qualified to sire my child at present are Ottar and Vahn Mason himself…you three know my character well and should have never harbored any intentions of having children with me at all. If you want to change my mind, show it through your actions and accrue merits that would impress me…I will not settle on the matters of my own child so you can only blame yourself if I find you unworthy.” For several long seconds, the room became completely silent as Freya’s words echoed through the chamber.

Each man gathered knew exactly what type of person Freya was and they had all chosen to follow her knowing full well their own place. As she said, they had actually all given up on having children of their own unless Freya ordered them to sire children to make use of their potential in the next generation. Harboring ‘intentions’ toward Freya went against everything they believed in, not that this made it easier for them to agree with her decision. Each of them, especially Allen, felt they were ‘worthy’ to sire Freya’s children and now resolved themselves to prove it to her. There was nearly no way they could defeat Ottar, at least currently, so they would have to seek other ways to impress her.

Seeing that everyone gathered showed a renewed resolve to grow stronger, Freya smiled happily before standing from her throne and saying, “The person that can bring me the head of Valletta Grede will be taken into consideration when I’m mulling over the matter in the future. Each successive head of one of the Thanatos Familia members will award you bonus points…as for Thanatos himself…you can leave him to me~.” Hearing her words, Allen shot to his feet and brandished his spear before leaving with haste. Not to be left behind, Hedin and Hogni both rose before bowing politely to Freya and following the path Allen had taken to exit.

When it was just the two of them, Freya looked down at the kneeling Ottar and asked, “Do you think my decision is harsh, my darling Ottar~?” Ottar looked up and the only thing Freya could see reflected in his rust-colored eyes was an unwavering loyalty as he said, “If that is your desire, I am certain it is the correct path…” Freya’s smile widened and she stood from her throne before walking forward and standing in front of Ottar. Even though he was kneeling, his head wasn’t that low and Freya was able to easily grasp both sides of his face as he looked into his eyes. In a soft tone, Freya muttered, “Vahn will be accompanying the Loki Familia on their expeditions in the future, leaving the Hearth Manor without a reliable guardian when all of the powerful members accompany him. Until the construction of the Manor is finished, I want you to watch over that residence and ensure nothing happens to those within…”

Ottar’s expression didn’t wave in the slightest hearing Freya’s orders and he simply stated, “As you will…” before she leaned down and began kissing his lips. Ottar reciprocated her actions before grabbing her waist and lifting her body in a practiced manner. Without requiring an explanation, Ottar carried Freya’s body to her bedchamber as the black and red petals wilted away from her dress…

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