During the usual morning reverie, Vahn was caressing Hephaestus and Eina before the red-haired goddess released a somewhat tired sigh and said, “Vahn, Freya will be stopping by this morning with Loki…” As it was something he had already expected, Vahn simply continued to caress Hephaestus’ hair as he nodded his head and said, “Yeah, I sensed her presence the day of the wedding…don’t worry, I don’t plan on giving her any ground. If Loki is coming by, does that mean you and Eina will be there as well?” In response to his words, Eina began to laugh in a somewhat awkward manner as she said, “I’ll worry about the mortal girls with Syr…if possible, I’d like to avoid someone like Freya since she doesn’t seem like the type of woman that would give any ground at all…”
Since Freya and Loki were going to be arriving early, Vahn made the decision to prepare for the day a little earlier than normal and see how everyone was doing. Everyone was taking a break from the Dungeon since there was an upcoming expedition, but this didn’t mean they were taking a break from their training. Vahn would be dealing with Freya, but he still made an appearance and gave his input on things while also viewing the progress of everyone’s skill development. With the opportunity present, Vahn had decided to take the time to discuss the [Grimoire of Guidance] with Riveria when the other girls split into their groups.
Hearing that Vahn wanted to talk to her about something, Riveria’s expression become somewhat serious and she composed herself in a visible manner which caused Vahn to ask, “Is there something wrong…?” Without faltering in the slightest, Riveria looked directly at him and said, “With how you’re acting, I feel like you’re about to say something ridiculous once again…I wanted to prepare my mind for the inevitable.” Vahn paused for a short while at her words before he pulled out a golden grimoire that looked pristine and untouched. There weren’t any identifying marks on it at all and, when Vahn had checked the contents earlier, all of the pages were blank.
Seeing Vahn pull out a book, Riveria showed a slightly confused expression as she waited for him to explain the situation. With a somewhat wry smile on his face, Vahn explained, “This is called the [Grimoire of Guidance]…it allows the user to record their understanding of any Skill, Magic, or Development Ability, with the exception of ‘rare’ skills…” Riveria nodded her head with a small smile on her face as she looked at the golden grimoire in Vahn’s hands. Then, without any ceremony, she pinched the bridge of her nose with her eyes closed in clear frustration…
Once Riveria managed to compose herself a little, she looked back at Vahn with her jade-green eyes and asked, “How did you obtain such a ‘ridiculous’ item…is it something you ‘created’? Can you create more?” Vahn nodded his head and explained, “This item is a natural product derived from the bond between myself and Eina. I can only obtain them through special circumstances and I don’t know the requirements to obtain more…” Riveria had taken out a notebook which Vahn could see was titled, ‘Observations of the Enigmatic Vahn Mason’ and began writing down notes for a short while before asking, “If you obtained that from your bond with Eina, does that mean you have obtained other items from your relationships with the other girls?”
Riveria’s ‘research’ switch had been flipped and now she wanted as many details as Vahn was willing to part with. Since their ‘relationship’ had improved over the last few days, Vahn didn’t mind explaining things as best as he was able since there was a fair chance Riveria might be able to help him make better use of the unique items. She was also one of the attendees at the Divination meeting and was now bound to protect the information Vahn released to her, even at the potential cost of her life. Thus, without any hesitation, Vahn nodded his head and said, “Every time my relationship has reached a certain threshold, I’ve always obtained a few unique items and, though it is very rare, I’ve even obtained skills and abilities…”
Hearing Vahn’s words, Riveria’s brows raised and she began to scribble rapidly in her own notebook as she asked, “What kind of skills have you obtained, and can you tell me what items, and from whom, you obtained them?” Vahn cocked his head to the side in contemplation before saying, “I obtained [Heart of the Eternal Flame] and [Prometheus] from Hephaestus, [Mixing] from Chloe, [Friend of Spirits] from Ais, and [Fist Strike] from Tiona…” Before he was able to continue to items, Riveria gave Vahn a somewhat incredulous look and asked, “You obtained a development ability from your relationship with Chloe…?”
Vahn nodded his head and explained, “I was also able to advance my forging capabilities through my relationship with Hephaestus and Tsubaki…” Riveria had a complex expression on her face as she scribbled a few extra lines and commented, “That is quite the convenient ability…” before shaking her head and asking, “Anything else…?” Vahn stroked his chin in a thoughtful manner before shaking his head and saying, “Everything else should be the items I’ve obtained…”
Riveria turned to a new page and labeled it as ‘Unique Items’ before waiting for Vahn to begin going over what he had obtained. Since it would be best to get the ‘problematic’ items out of the way first, Vahn pulled out a small golden hearth and what looked like a spiral walnut with green energy pulsing from it. Riveria was curious about the [Divine Hearth] but it was like her brain completely stopped when she laid eyes on the [Seed of the Tree of Life] that Vahn had produced out of thin air. Before she had a brain aneurysm, Vahn picked up the seed and explained, “This is an item I obtained through my bond with Ryuu, along with that [Fairy Promenade] that I used to cut a path through the Dungeon walls previously…it is similar to what you suspect but fundamentally different at the same time.”
As a High Elf, Riveria was very sensitive to the existence of the relatively large seed that Vahn was holding in his palm. She knew that, as he said, the seed in his hand likely had nothing to do with the sacred trees in the forest but she couldn’t help but feel a bit of anxiety seeing him holding it so casually. Even if it was just ‘similar’ in function, that seed could be of paramount importance to the Elven people in the future…however, when this thought crossed her mind Riveria suddenly realized that may not exactly be the case anymore. Many Elves relied on the seven Trees of Life in the Elven Kingdom to increase their fertility rate but Vahn had already seen through the issue with their fertility and would likely come up with a permanant solution in the future…
Vahn stowed away the seed and hearth before pulling out the [Vision of Aries] and [Transfiguration Lens]s and explained their uses, bring Riveria back to her senses. She thought the [Vision of Aries] was rather impressive but when she heard about the use of the [Transfiguration Lens] obtained from her own goddess, Loki, she couldn’t help but ask, “So this small oculus allows a person to literally become anything for twenty-four hours? Have you ever used it?” Vahn shook his head and held up the magnifying glass like object and said, “I never found a good time to use it in the past so I’m not entirely sure how effective it is. Since it was obtained from Loki, however, I can almost guarantee it is powerful as all the items obtained from goddesses are phenomenal…”
Riveria nodded her head and made a few notes before asking in a somewhat casual manner, “Have you obtained anything from me?” Vahn had been eyeing the [Transfiguration Lens] in deep thought so he was caught off guard by Riveria’s words. He looked up and saw her giving him a curious look as she held her quill to the notebook and prepared to take notes. Vahn shook his head and explained, “I haven’t been able to obtain anything from you, Lefiya, Arnya, and…” Before Vahn could recall the other girls he had yet to obtain a [Hearts Desire] from, Riveria showed a frown and asked, “What exactly are the requirements to obtain such items?”
Vahn let his words trail off a bit before explaining, “It seems to be dependant on the level of affection shared between myself and the person…though there are exceptions since I’ve obtained items through previously one-sided affections before. If I had to state the reason, it would be dependant on the affections that the girl has towards me and I have to be aware of it…?” Riveria nodded her head and turned back a few pages to make some notes before she said, “So, if I show you enough affection it would result in the creation of unique items? Since you said it could be a one-sided affair, that means it doesn’t involve physical contact or intimacy…so is it a matter of resolve?”
Riveria seemed to be lost in her own thoughts and mumbled a few words to herself before looking at Vahn with a serious expression on her face. Vahn felt a bit of pressure from her gaze and could feel the hair on the back of his neck begin to rise. After nearly a minute passed in silence, Riveria frowned slightly before writing another line in her notebook and asking, “This might seem a bit rude, given the context of this conversation, but can you transform into a High Elf…?” Since he was also quite curious about what Riveria was trying to do, as it seemed like she was trying to ‘like’ him even more, Vahn did as she said and spent about twenty minutes transforming…
Because it was one of the things that had impacted him the most, Vahn actually set his intent on the yet undocumented race ‘Progenitus’ as he transformed. He could still remember bits and pieces about that form and it wasn’t actually that different compared to a High Elf. Though it would likely take a fair amount of research to discover the secrets contained within that form, Vahn was still able to emulate the appearance to an extent. Through his efforts, he ended up increasing his height to nearly 180cm and he had a lean and powerful body with ashen-black hair that he swept back with his hands.
When he opened his own eyes, Riveria was looking at him with a wide-eyed expression on her face as she asked, “Where…did you get the idea for this form…?” Vahn smiled and said in a somewhat deeper voice compared to normal, “It is similar to the form I assumed in the Divination, though the race is still considered a High Elf…what do you think?” Though he already saw, not only Riveria’s, but almost every girl’s auras fluctuate, he still wanted to ask since he wanted to tease her a bit. Hearing his words, Riveria showed an almost indiscernible blush on her face as she wrote a line of text in her notebook and started staring at him once again.
Unlike the silence of before, this time Riveria’s expression was a bit unstable and Vahn could see the corners of her eyes twitching as her cheeks turned somewhat rosy. He thought her reaction was somewhat cute and decided to smile. The moment he did so, however, Riveria’s eyes widened slightly and she even averted them to the side as a notification sounded in Vahn’s head. Vahn’s smile became even wider as he said, “Looks like you managed to pull off your experiment…” in a distinctly teasing voice. Riveria’s eyes widened slightly and, without making eye contact with him, asked, “Did you make something…?” Vahn nodded his head and turned to the system notification before pulling out the items that Riveria had worked so hard to create…
//Riveria Ljos Alf Has Reached Maximum Affection//
//Quest Completed: [The Hearts Desire:C-SS]//
Completion Grade: S
Rewards: 10,000OP, 1x[Hearts Desire: Riveria Ljos Alf]
Grade Rewards: [Mage:C] Development Ability Unlocked,1x[Yggdrasil’s Branch: Alfheim], 9,000OP[Yggdrasil’s Branch: Alfheim]
Use: Specialized item that can be used on a Tree of Life to increase the potency of its effects. Part of the nine unique items used to upgrade a Tree of Life into the World Tree, Yggdrasil.
Even Vahn was shocked by the description of the [Yggdrasil’s Branch: Alfheim] so it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that Riveria’s mind had called it quits for the time being. She held the item in her hands with a dazed expression on her face as she stroked it like it was one of the most precious things in the entire world. As for the jade-green orb that Vahn had produced, Riveria didn’t pay it any notice for the time being as she contemplated various matters in her mind. Eventually, she handed the small branch back to Vahn and said in a slightly exasperated tone, “I think that you will one day find an appropriate place to plant your own Tree of Life in the future. When the time comes, I want you to use that branch and we’ll try to build a small haven for the Alliance in the future…”
Hearing Riveria’s words, Vahn suddenly had a thought and wondered if the ‘haven’ Riveria mentioned casually is what he had decided to create on the 50th floor. It could be a coincidence, but it seemed highly likely that this was the case since it was one of the few places Vahn could actually think to plant the seed. Anywhere on the surface would just cause problems for them later on and it was actually a good idea to convert a part of the Dungeon in a very fertile place. His other options were to try and create an orb, similar to the one used to contain the memory fragment of Eva, or find another place where the tree could grow in relative safety…
Now that she had regained her senses, Riveria picked up the small orb in her hands and asked, “You said this was called [Hearts Desire]…and it contains memories of my past that are kept close to my heart? Does that mean you’ve been able to peer into everyone else’s pasts already…?” Vahn shook his head and tried to explain, “It’s not quite that simple as the orb only shows me the memories that the person wants me to see…it doesn’t let me experience their entire past…unless that is something they want to share…” Riveria nodded her head and made a few notes as she handled the small orb with intrigue on her face.
After a short while, Riveria handed it back and said, “I don’t want you to use it just yet, as there are a few things I would like to try first. When the time comes, I’ll let you know when to use it and then I want you to tell me everything you saw, okay?” Vahn accepted the orb and put it away in his inventory under the watchful eyes of Riveria, promising to put off using it until she was ready. Since their relationship wasn’t actually that close yet, Vahn knew he would have been able to peer into a lot of Riveria’s past. Unlike his earlier words, Vahn knew that the [Hearts Desire] was a lot more personal than he let on and it was very apparent that Riveria had seen through his earlier words.
Riveria knew that Vahn wasn’t telling a lie, but she could tell there was far more to the orb than what he had disclosed to her. She had even tried to break it in her own hand when she was handling it only to discover that it was seemingly unbreakable in her grasp. It was likely only an item that Vahn himself could use and she wanted to develop their relationship further before he was able to take a peek into her memories. If possible, she would like to talk with him about the matters personally instead of letting him find out about them through such a mystical method…
Vahn continued talking with Riveria about the various unique items he had obtained and the fact that he now had the [Mage] Development Ability after having obtained it from her. Riveria released a long sigh after learning Vahn had obtained such a skill for ‘free’ but was somewhat happy that he had obtained it through her. This also allowed her to see Vahn’s own magic circles, which he was now able to create through using the Development Ability. Whenever he used [Shundo] now, Vahn saw small silver magic circles appear under his feet and he had recorded their structure using his [Eyes of Truth]. [Shundo] was a relatively rare space magic so Vahn wanted to study the structure of the magic circle to further his understanding in spatial laws.
By the time the morning training had come to an end, Vahn had learned a fair amount about his own skills because he was now able to evaluate them through his own magic circles. He even experimented with ‘talking’ through his own magic circles and had some small success in that regard. Because he was already able to use almost any magic, Vahn was now able to see how that was interpreted by the world itself and found that his own magic became more efficient through self-study. Even Lefiya had come over after seeing the magical lights coming from Vahn’s body and both she and Riveria were fervently taking notes on Vahn’s progress up until the moment three powerful auras arrived at the Manor…