Chapter 472: Changes : Similarities

Though the crystals in the ceiling still showed it was dark on the surface, Vahn had awoken early, around 3 AM to prepare for the relatively long day to come. Some ‘important’ events had been happening lately, each more impactful than the previous, so Vahn was feeling a bit paranoid as he liberated his arm from Naaza and carried the drowsy Lili out of the room with Fenrir following close behind. Her sleep schedule was very synchronized with his own, at least when they were coordinating together, so she had awoken at nearly the same instant as Vahn himself. As for Lili, she had been in high tensions the previous night and was somewhat tuckered out so Vahn had to stir her into awareness with his [Hands of Nirvana].

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After begrudgingly parting from him, Lili released another yawn before she stripped out of her nightgown and revealed a tight fighting attire that was similar to what Fenrir and the Hiryute sisters wore. Lili was another girl that didn’t like to wear clothing that constricted around her midriff and her sleepwear, as it was inappropriate to use actual pajamas and stuff in the Dungeon, was a compromise between comfort and preparedness. As for what she would be wearing for the excursion itself, Lili was attired in a beige vest that only extended slightly past her ribcage, which also had a hooded attachment and a pair of red shorts.

She used to wear skirts, but it wasn’t suitable for her combat style so she took to wearing a relatively small pair of form-fitting shorts instead. She also wore a belt around her waist that was affixed with two pouches and a pair of black stockings. For her defensive equipment, she wore the [Atlas’s Grips] he had forged for her and a pair of A-Rank shin guards with a pair of flexible boots that had a complex treading that allowed her to kick off most surfaces easily. Her weapon of choice was an A-Rank naginata, that had been forged for her by Tsubaki, but she also made use of several small throwing knives and a variety of additional items that she had within her pouches. Lili was the type that studied matters related to the Dungeon very seriously and she often carried a large variety of items for any situation. It was a little awkward, however, since it resulted in the two pouches on her backside looking more like spheres than traditional ‘squared’ pouches…

The only other accessories Lili wore, at least for the time being, was the indestructible silver necklace that was everpresent around her neck. It was the same heart-shaped combination locket Vahn had given to her when he visited Tsubaki’s in the past, and it was a perfect fit for the golden one that could be seen in the neck of his tunic. As for Fenrir, she was wearing the same small waterproof clothing as normal without any other pieces of equipment other than a small pouch at her waist. Other than a brush, the only items contained within were a few pieces of Adamantine and a shiny high-grade magic core that she had become fond of at some point.

Seeing the two relatively ‘lightly’ dressed girls, Vahn figured he needed to bump them up in the order for girls that would need his under armor sooner. There was also the option of purchasing something for them through the system shop, or gacha system, but he would worry about that this evening if it seemed to be a pertinent issue. Fenrir could already fight the monsters with relative ease and he didn’t want to introduce any sudden changes for Lili since there would always be a moderate amount of discomfort when wearing new clothing. There was one benefit to Lili’s relatively ‘light’ attire, however, and it presented itself immediately when he remembered he needed to check her Status Board and she quickly slipped out of the vest in the blink of an eye…

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Liliruca Arde

Race: Pallum

LV. 2(+)

POW: 887+(F302)->(D517)

END: 941+(E417)->(C652)

DEX: 676+(H123)->(F312)

AGI: 598+(H106)->(E429)

MAG: 811+(G285)->(C631)

Skill: [Artel*Assist:C->B], [Atlas: Innate:I], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A], [Oniyuri:H->D]

Magic: [Cinder*Ella:B->A]

Development Skill: [Abnormal Resistance:G->F], [Spearman:(sealed), [Swordsman:(sealed)], [Crush:(sealed)]

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Vahn had originally been paying attention to Lili’s parameter development, while also comparing it to his records within the system, and he was somewhat concerned about the haste she had shown when she reached Level 2. Her status total had only been 3,913, which wasn’t actually that bad, but she had also already had the flame seed within her chest. If she had exercised a bit of patience, Lili’s foundation would be even stronger but Vahn also knew it was primarily his fault that she was in such a ‘hurry’ before. If he had given her more care in the past, Lili likely would have become much stronger, just like Haruhime and the twins had become through his careful mentorship…

However, any negative thoughts he might have had were completely washed away when he saw the ‘sneaky’ appearance of Lili’s Innate having now awakened. He hadn’t checked her Status Board recently, so he wasn’t exactly sure when it had awakened and was now curious if their interaction the previous night had been the catalyst. Powerful emotions, accompanied by a shift in mentality, were usually what led to such skills developing as even Tsubaki’s seemed to have awakened after the death of Jonas. Another thing of note was that her [Cinder*Ella] was nearing ‘mastery’ and that she also had three potential Development Abilities waiting for her level-up.

Though she didn’t mind having her back exposed to Vahn, Lilli eventually grew curious as a result of his silence and asked, “Is there anything strange?” Vahn heard her words and immediately smiled before saying, “You’ve awakened a ‘rare’ ability and I was lost in thought about it for a brief moment. Tell me, Lili, have you noticed any changes in your body recently?” Lili nodded her head before turning around and ‘exposing’ herself to Vahn as she lifted up her breasts and said, “I feel like my breasts have been getting a little bigger lately…”

Vahn habitually pinched the bridge of his nose before releasing a light chuckle and ruffling Lili’s head as he said, “Go ahead and put on your clothing. We’ll figure out if there are any changes when we starting hunting monster later. Just make sure you’re paying attention to your ‘instincts’ and don’t be afraid to let me know if you notice anything.” Once again, Lili nodded her head without immediately putting on her top as she remarked, “I feel like my heart is beating faster…can you tell?” This time, Fenrir was the one to respond to her as she stated in a somewhat husky and dull tone, “Lili, don’t be a ‘bad’ girl that bothers Master all the time…” She had placed emphasis on the word ‘bad’, as it was one of the worst things she could think of, and even slipped up by calling Vahn Master as a result of her frustration.

Lili saw the subtle glow in her scarlet eyes and the fur of her tail and ears stood on end a bit and her movements became rigid. Since she was still in the form of a Chienthrope, her instincts were more pronounced and she was getting some serious danger signals from the ‘unimpressed’ wolf girl. Fenrir’s neutral expression actually made her look angry and the eerie red eyes were enough to even unnerve veteran Adventurers, much less a Level 2 like Lili. Vahn reached out his hand and plopped it on Lili’s head and said, “Get ready to leave, we shouldn’t delay things for too long. Don’t worry, there is plenty of time for things like that when you’re a little older…” Feeling the warm energy entering her body, Lili calmed down and managed to pull her eyes away from the predatory gaze of Fenrir and began fixing her clothing.

Vahn nodded his head before sending a glance at Fenrir that made her ears droop slightly as she averted her eyes away from his. She knew it wasn’t ‘good’ to intimidate the other girls, but Lili’s behavior had been a bit excessive and she could see that it was bothering her Master. Since he was pampering her too much, Fenrir thought she needed to say something or the ‘annoying’ Pallum would keep wasting more time. Unlike the other girls, who Fenrir felt like she could learn from, she could tell that Lili’s behavior was ‘wrong’ even though her Master seemed to tolerate it a bit. She believed he had his reasons, but it still made her a little upset seeing someone get away with making things difficult for her Master…

While Lili was fixing her clothing with slightly shaky hands, Vahn had been rapidly bouncing ideas around in his head as he thought of a way to pacify Fenrir and potentially bring her closer to Lili in the future. A few ideas seemed better than others and Vahn also changed his mind about waiting until later to actually get some proper equipment for the two girls. They hadn’t actually left yet, so it wasn’t too late to make a few changes and Lili would also be adapting to her awakened Innate anyways, so it wouldn’t make a big difference if her attire was changed. [Atlas] seemed to be based around strength, so her Power would likely experience a qualitative change soon, but her actual Endurance and Agility were somewhat low compared to what would be required to safely fight Black Rhinos. Though she had Vahn’s [Wounds Transfer] to rely on, as well as an [Effigy of the Hero], it was better that she was outside of ‘one-shot’ range by enemies.

Vahn stroked his chin in a thoughtful manner as a soft expression appeared on his face accompanied by a smile. Lili cocked her head to the side in confusion while even Fenrir detected the change in Vahn’s disposition and grew curious, almost as if her earlier angst wasn’t nearly as important as what was going on with him. With both girls’ attention focused on him, Vahn said, “I’d actually like the two of you to be a little closer in the future…and I also think your combat style could benefit greatly by using your [Cinder*Ella] to emulate the racial traits of a Vanargandr…” Vahn nodded his head as if he had made a profound discovery before also saying, “I’ll give you both suitable defensive equipment as well…just let me think for a moment.”

Lili was somewhat surprised by Vahn’s words, but Fenrir didn’t seem too fond of the idea as a frown appeared on her face. Vahn, however, chuckled before a magical light appeared from his body and it began to change at a visible rate as his equipment instantly swapped to something suited to his new appearance. Fenrir’s frown vanished in an instant and she trotted forward before hugging Vahn tightly and rubbing her head against his chest in an affectionate manner. To ensure she didn’t have anything to complain about, Vahn also used his [Thria*Mimos] to alter his base shape and then solidified the change using his own mental imaging ability and deactivating the skill. It was a little bit of a shortcut, but Vahn’s race had changed to a Vanargandr in a short period of time and Fenrir was very aware of it.

Vahn had only ever ’emulated’ it in the past, but now he could feel a strange sensation in his body, almost like all of his pores were breathing, and even his jaw had a pressure in it that made him want to pop it to ease the discomfort. He obviously didn’t have Fenrir’s [Devour] and [Insatiable Hunger], but he had her hyperdeveloped senses and it was actually a little overwhelming. Vahn knew her vision, hearing, and olfactory senses were incredibly developed, but he had seriously underestimated just how strong they were. Vahn felt so many different scents enter his nose from all over the encampment that he had to activate his [Will of the Emperor] just to cope with it. He suddenly had a much greater understanding of why Fenrir got so easily frustrated all the time…

From his left, Lili looked at Vahn’s change and felt a bit of excitement bubble up inside of her as she muttered, “Your wound is mine. My wound is mine. Echoing message of midnight…” and also changed her appearance to be very near theirs. She also experienced enhanced senses, though not nearly as developed as Fenrir’s and Vahn’s, but was already used to such things since she often changed forms. Fenrir noticed her change and gazed at Lili for a little while before nodding her head and ‘allowing’ her to copy them. She wouldn’t have been okay with it if Lili was the only one to change since she didn’t like the idea of anyone ‘taking’ things from her, but it was okay since Vahn also changed. Fenrir could even tell that his scent had drastically changed compared to the past and she even poked her claws into his back sneakily to confirm something…

Vahn felt a little prick at his back but it was more ‘surprising’ than painful and Fenrir seemed to be especially pleased as a toothy grin appeared on her face as she nuzzled against him even stronger. Now, however, she didn’t bother pawing at his back and Vahn felt eight pricks against his backside that were a little ticklish but not painful. He immediately realized why Fenrir was so happy but it was a strange thing to consider since he wasn’t sure why her claws no longer affected him. It could be because Fenrir was a ‘unique’ existence and the laws governing her claws, which had no effect on her own body, now applied to him since they were the same race and also had the same source energy constituting their bodies. Vahn wasn’t exactly sure of the reason, but he was happy that Fenrir was seemingly over-the-moon about the revelation. Though he would need to change his tunic later, since she had poked several holes in it at this point, it was a small price to pay to make the adorable wolf girl smile.

Since he wasn’t sure what was the most suitable for the girls, and couldn’t learn about the features of items until he actually purchased them, Vahn decided to leave it up to ‘fate’ and once again accessed his ‘standard gacha’ function through the system. The cost per pull was 10,000OP, but it still allowed him to choose categories so he picked ‘body armor’, ‘form-fitting’, and ‘non-restrictive’ since neither girl was fond of restrictive clothing. Since the system would actually adapt the equipment for use for the intended target, this cases being the two relatively petite girls, he wouldn’t end up with anything that was made for men. Even if he got a few ‘misses’, he should still be able to use them for his future research and there was a fair chance he could glean insights from the foreign armor designs.

One of the built-in functions of the gacha system was a ‘free’ pull when he purchased ten at once, so Vahn went ahead and fed 100,000OP into the system as the large wooden wheel began to turn in his mind once again. The majority of the orbs spit out from the hole in the center were white, which Vahn knew was the second lowest rating besides grey, with only the ‘bonus’ item being a purple color that Vahn had yet to see. It was almost violet and Vahn felt a bit of excitement as he began opening up each orb while saving the ‘win’ until the end. The first orb actually contained what looked like a white one-piece swimsuit and Vahn wasn’t quite sure how it qualified as armor. After a quick glance, he saw that it had a total of 7 P.Def and was only worth 40OP within the system, one of the worst pulls he had ever gotten.

The other nine items weren’t much better and looked like simple outfits that certainly fit the mold of ‘form-fitting’ very well. One of them was even an item literally called [Blue Leotard] that Vahn couldn’t tell apart from a simple swimsuit except for the fact it didn’t seem waterproof. It had a whopping 3 P.Def and 0 M.Def and was only worth 13OP, overtaking the [Racing Swimsuit] as the new worst pull. Fortunately, the final item was definitely a win and Vahn was surprised to see what looked like a long-sleeved white top with frayed fur around an ornamental hood, but it also had a waist attachment and strange adornment Vahn couldn’t determine the purpose of. The most surprising thing, however, was that it was worth 230,000OP within the shop…

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[Nezha Lady’s Togi](A/N: I thought this looked neat…credit FFXIV kappa (UwU).)

Rank: A (Magic)

Slots: 2

P.Def: 400

M.Def: 800

Abilities: Nezha’s Blessing(sealed) (1/5), Weatherproof(A), Shock Absorption(B), Unblemished(B)

A comfortable jacket with a loose fit that ensures ease of movement. Designed to emulate the aesthetic of a youthful god that was free spirited but also vengeful. When all five pieces are gathered, allows the wearer to harness a fraction of the god’s power.

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

Soulbound:(unbound)

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Though it was long-sleeved, the sleeves flared out greatly at the end and Vahn actually thought it matched the somewhat ‘wild’ appearance of Fenrir. The only downside was that darker colors suited her more, but Vahn figured he could get a black or blue version of the outfit if he purchased it through the shop. He also had the option of trying to purchase the other set pieces, but when he looked in the shop for ‘Nezha’ armor, there was literally an infinite number of options, though only a few thousand that were comparable in price to the [Nezha Lady’s Togi]. Vahn wasn’t really in a gambling mood, though his stint with the gacha system might have said otherwise, so he put off trying to discover which pieces belonged to the set.

Vahn bit the bullet and spent 230,000OP for another [Nezha Lady’s Togi] and, as he had expected, it resulted in a black version of the outfit whit white accents that would look much better on Fenrir. Since they had been patiently waiting for him to ‘think’, Vahn smiled at the two girls before pulling the top out of the system. However, the only thing that appeared was a small necklace golden talisman on it. Vahn was a little confused at first but it was immediately replaced by a great deal of excitement as he held out the necklace and said, “This will be your new armor…I think you’ll find it’s pretty interesting.” Vahn then helped Fenrir slip out of her top with a surprising difficulty, as his fingers had shrunk slightly and had turned into claws, before placing the necklace around her neck.

For a short while, Fenrir just stood there confused wearing nothing but small waterproof bottoms with her diminutive chest on full display. She tilted her head to the side and let her ears flop as she asked, “Does this really count as clothing…?” From what she had learned from the other girls around her Master, Fenrir knew she was supposed to ‘hide’ her breasts so that other people couldn’t see them. Now, however, her Master had given her a ‘top’ that was nothing but a dangling plate that she couldn’t discern the purpose of. She didn’t mind if he wanted to stare at her, but imagining the eyes of others looking at her made her hair begin to stand on end.

Vahn pat her head with a smile and said, “Try to insert your will into the necklace and something should happen…” Fenrir nodded her head before closing her eyes and focusing her mind on the necklace. It was a little difficult since Vahn was still patting her head, but she did her best to follow his orders before a small rune appeared on the golden plate and the clothes materialized out of thin air and wrapped around her body. It still left her stomach exposed, which Fenrir actually liked, and was very comfortable compared to the other outfits she wore. There was even a form-fitting layer of fabric under the thicker coating that felt very soft to the touch before it matched her body temperature and almost made it feel like she wasn’t wearing anything at all.

While Fenrir was looking over her new outfit, Vahn was also doing the same and his eyes were pulled to the red belt that had various gold rings around Fenrir’s hips. He wasn’t sure of the purpose of it at all, other than decorative, but it looked cool and Fenrir didn’t seem to mind it. In fact, it appeared as though she was very fond of the outfit before a curious expression appeared on her face and the outfit suddenly disappeared. Vahn was caught a little off guard since Fenrir was suddenly topless again, but the flash of skin disappeared moments later as the top reformed in an instant. Fenrir began laughing in her somewhat strange manner before saying, “Now Fenrir is even more like Master~!” Since Vahn was able to make his clothes ‘appear’ out of nowhere, Fenrir felt like she was a little closer to him now.

Vahn ruffled her hair a bit and considered wether or not to buy bottoms for her, but he wasn’t sure exactly what to get for her and she probably was more comfortable in her normal outfit for the time being. The belts around her waist, though seemingly without purpose, actually matched well with the off-black bottoms she was already wearing so he decided to ignore it for now as he passed Lili a necklace of her own. She happily snatched it from his grasp before wearing it around her neck in an instant. It was much shorter than her locket, which could reach down to the start of her cleavage, so it didn’t get in the way. Just as Fenrir had done, Lili focused her mind on the necklace before saying, “I can hear a voice…” as a rune appeared on her own plate.

Lili smiled before quickly removing her old vest and activating her armor, which perfectly shaped itself around her moderately developed breasts. It actually made her chest look somewhat smaller, but everything else matched very well with her general attire. Since the belts around her waist were also red, it matched well with the color of her shorts and the golden rings accented the entire ensemble well. Even her black stockings didn’t clash at all and she seemed to like it just as much as Fenrir as she patted around her body and said, “Vahn, this is actually super comfortable~! Other than when the fabric moves against my arms a little, it almost feels like I’m not even wearing anything…?” It was a little strange to describe wearing ‘nothing’ as comfortable, but Lili didn’t really know a better way to explain it since it felt like the outfit was actually a part of her now.

Vahn laughed at Lili’s explanation before saying, “Those outfits are soulbound to you, so you are the only ones that can wear them. Their defensive capabilities are very high for light armor, and they have four abilities, including a rare set ability that I’m not sure how to activate just yet. As for the others, they are Weatherproof, Shock Absorption, and Unblemished. That means they should be comfortable in any weather conditions, provide extra resistance against physical blows, and also be incredibly resistant to things like general stains and other wear-and-tear. If you damage them, you can probably ‘re-summon’ them in a better condition, but it will likely take a bit of your mana in exchange.”

As if she wanted to put his theory to the test, Fenrir poked a hole in her sleeve in a very casual manner before her clothes vanished for a brief moment and reappeared once again. It was a very strange sight to see and Vahn wondered if this was how others saw him when he changed his equipment. Fortunately, his early postulation had been correct and now Fenrir’s sleeve was entirely undamaged. Soulbound equipment could literally be stored within, and nourished, by the soul of the weilder, so it wasn’t surprising at all to see such an effect. Fenrir seemed even more pleased to have her new clothing now since she wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally cutting it into pieces in the future…

After the girls played around a bit, including Lili ‘flashing’ him once, the trio made their way to a new entrance that led down to the 51st floor. Since they were traveling around 110km, Vahn carried them both and covered the distance using [Shundo] to save time. They were both incredibly light, with Lili weighing an almost negligible 22kg while Fenrir wasn’t much heavier at 38kg. Fenrir clung to his back along the way, since she liked doing so, while Vahn cradled the small Lili within his arms in a somewhat awkward manner. Because of her small stature, giving her a princess carry with a little difficult because he actually had to angle his arms inwards to hold her body properly.

The better way to carry her was the manner he usually carried Tina and Shizune, who were actually slightly bigger than Lili now, and it was by supporting her with his forearm and hugging her back as she clung to him. Vahn felt like he was carrying her like a child, as that was exactly how he was holding her, but Lili didn’t seem to mind it at all. He was briefly reminded of the fact that she had never received love from her own parents so he simply ignored it and just hugged her with a comfortable pressure as they made their way through the ashen grey forest. He had already promised to take care of her from now on, so Vahn didn’t mind giving her some of the comforts she had lost as he helped improve her strength while also developing and refining his own…

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