Chapter 479: Nourishment

As a result of the fact that Vahn’s personal regeneration enabled him to always top her off, while Fenrir actually had limitless stamina as long as she had energy within her body, the trio was able to continue their path through the Dungeon without the need for any long breaks. Vahn actually didn’t get that hungry himself, unless he had exerted himself for long periods of time, and Lefiya just kept munching away at snacks periodically. Since Fenrir’s ‘hunger’ was related to her emotional stability, she could survive for thousands of years without any need for food at all. A few head pats, a bit of source energy, and a healthy amount of praise were all the small wolf girl needed to keep going.

Lefiya had been very uneasy early in the excursion, but she eventually got used to Vahn’s hand on her shoulder and began focusing more on casting spells. She had noticed the changes in her own body and how her magic was becoming progressively stronger and it inspired her to put in more efforts. The only thing that bothered her now was that Vahn would often ask her if she needed anything to eat whenever they had completed a fight. From the moment she started thinking about food, her stomach seemed to have a mind of its own, almost as if it were trying to answer for her. As for his reasons for doing so, Vahn had been paying attention to Lefiya’s metabolic processes as well and noticed that her body processed the food at an astronomical rate and broke down what she didn’t need to sustain herself as mana.

It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that she was very similar to Fenrir in that regard, except for the fact that Fenrir ‘could’ eat anything but didn’t ‘need’ to eat. Lefiya, however, required a surprising amount of food now and Vahn was actually starting to worry if she would have been able to live if there wasn’t someone like him with an endless supply to give her. Fortunately, it didn’t seem like she actually felt hunger pangs and it wasn’t as if her body actually required additional nutrition. The food she was eating, after hesitantly accepting it from his hands, went more towards her mana pool and revitalizing the cells in her body than towards the normal metabolic process.

After having defeated a group of seventeen Black Rhinos, eleven of which were killed by Lefiya’s magic, she was once again nibbling on a cat-shaped cookie with her head lowered slightly in embarrassment. Unlike in the past, where she would get ‘full’ after eating a few bites of food, Lefiya never felt that feeling any longer and it was almost like she could eat infinitely. It was very worrying for her but Vahn had allayed her fears somewhat by explaining the process that was taking place in her body. It made her feel a bit giddy that Vahn was so ‘aware’ of what was going on in her body, but she did her best not to think about it too much as she pulled another cracker out of the bag of goodies Vahn had given her earlier…

Since it was somewhat bad for the mind if you were in extended engagements for long periods of time, Vahn had brought the excursion to a temporary halt after more than three hours of fighting. Because Lefiya’s firepower was so high, their efficacy for clearing out the floor was somewhat startling and they had hunted a total of 503 Black Rhinos and 25 Deformis Spiders over the relatively short period of time. The main reason for this had been the fact they had encountered a Monster Party, which Vahn personally triggered after Lefiya was nearly finished with her area of effect magic. Since the spawns didn’t trigger until people were already entrapped, Vahn had her begin her chant long before the fight actually began so she was able to sweep through the entire horde the moment they spawned.

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Unfortunately, of the 528 monsters hunted, 387 were killed by Lefiya so Fenrir was a bit angsty which was the primary reason Vahn had called the break. He now sat against the wall while pampering the somewhat pouty Fenrir as Lefiya sat a little away from them atop a cushion. She seemed to be lost in thought and only awakened from her reverie whenever she was ‘surprised’ to discover her snacks had once again run out. Over the course of the half-hour they had rested, Lefiya went through several small pouches of cookies, crackers, and sliced fruits. Though she knew about the ‘Gourmand’ ability, Lefiya didn’t really understand why her body felt compelled to eat so much, even though she wasn’t that hungry at all…

While Vahn was grooming her fur, Fenrir let her body relax as she lazed about as a result of the comfort she was feeling. She had been frustrated at first and tried to ‘protest’ a little by pouting but, after about five minutes of his care she gave up and almost forgot why she was even mad to begin with. After releasing a ‘too-wide’ yawn, Fenrir said in a sleepy voice, “Vahn should be like Fenrir more often…” as she rested her head against his chest. Vahn had felt his danger senses trigger when Fenrir had opened her mouth much wider than normal and he got a clear view of her sharp teeth. Though she was relaxed, Fenrir was still in her battle-ready state which included sharper teeth and slightly longer claws. However, when he heard her words, Vahn felt a bit of warmth spread through his heart as he poked her nose. He had returned to his human form before bed, so he didn’t accidentally scratch the sleeping girls, and hadn’t changed back into a Vanargandr since then…

Just as the half-hour he had designated for their break came to an end, Fenrir’s eyes opened and she extricated herself from Vahn’s body without him having to remind her. He wasn’t sure how she processed the passage of time so well, but his intuition told him she didn’t pay attention to it at all and got her queues from his behavior. Since he had been thinking it was about time for them to continue the hunt, Fenrir had woken up in an instant and was ready to go a few seconds later, almost as if she hadn’t been sleeping previously.

Vahn smiled at her before rising to his feet and ruffled her hair somewhat firmly since she had told him in the past that she liked ‘heavy’ pats more than soft ones. Fenrir squinted her eyes with a pleased expression on her face and felt like, once again, Vahn was the ‘best to her’. She was so happy that, when Vahn helped Lefiya rise to her feet like a gentleman, Fenrir was only slightly bothered and let it slide. As for Lefiya, she had been slightly startled when Vahn called out to her and had grabbed his outstretched hand without thinking at all. When he pulled her to her feet and supported her shoulder, Lefiya’s eyes opened wide as her brain stalled for a few seconds before she said, “Thank…you…”

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The second half of their excursion proceeded in much the same manner as the first three hours, except this time Fenrir lingered around Vahn more until they got relatively close to the monster spawns. Vahn knew she was probably started to become a little jealous of his interactions with Lefiya, so he walked with his left hand on Lefiya’s shoulder while he rested his right hand atop Fenrir’s head. He couldn’t help but feel like they looked a little ‘strange’ but there was nobody present to judge them other than a few unfortunate monsters that crossed their path. Fenrir seemed ‘offended’ by their existences now, as it took away from the time she could spend with Vahn, so she was especially fierce in her attacks when they managed to get near.

Vahn shook his head as a slightly exasperated sigh escaped his lips when Fenrir jumped at a one of the Black Rhinos and sunk her teeth into its neck as she sunk her claws deep into its body. A veritable tide of blood emerged from the wound and covered her face and body. Fortunately, the [Nezha Lady’s Togi] couldn’t be stained by the blood, but it didn’t stop it from reaching down to her uncovered abdomen and staining parts of her thighs. By the time the monster had dispersed into purple smoke, resulting in Fenrir jumping at the next one and leaving four huge gashes in its head, there was more blood visible on her body than exposed skin. When the enemies were finally dealt with, she used the sleeves of her top to try and wipe away some of the blood before running back over to Vahn with slightly averted eyes.

Lefiya laughed at Fenrir’s behavior but caught herself quickly and coughed to cover it up when Fenrir showed a slightly pouty expression and gave her a sideward glance. Vahn reached out and ruffled Fenrir’s hair again and said in a soothing tone, “Fenrir, you shouldn’t get upset so easily…Lefiya is a good girl, so the two of you should get along well.” When he began rubbing her head, Vahn used his left hand and began pulling the blood away from Fenrir’s body using his ‘cleaning’ magic. Lefiya watched the process with interest on her face while Fenrir seemed to be contemplating Vahn’s words. She knew that Lefiya was a ‘good’ girl that was well-behaved and always did what she was told, so there was no reason for her to be upset with her. By interpreting Vahn’s treatment of Lefiya as his reward for her being ‘good’, Fenrir suddenly found herself feeling a strange bit of uncertainty since she was essentially ‘punishing’ Lefiya for being ‘good’…

Though she had a deep frown on her face for a brief moment, Fenrir looked over at Lefiya and said, “Fenrir is sorry for being…jealous of Lefiya…Lefiya is a good girl, so Fenrir will be nice to you too. Fenrir doesn’t want to be a ‘bad’ girl that punishes ‘good’ girls…” Toward the end of her words, Fenrir looked at Vahn for guidance and saw the pleased smile on his face before he reached to the side of her ear and began scratching it. Fenrir tilted her head to make the angle better as a smile appeared on her face and she enjoyed the sensation. Vahn knew all the ‘best’ places to touch her and she knew she had done the right thing now.

Lefiya saw Fenrir’s treatment and felt a slight incredulity at the sudden happenings because she hadn’t expected Fenrir to apologize to her for being ‘jealous’. Now that she suddenly saw Vahn ‘rewarding’ Fenrir, Lefiya had a strange feeling in her heart that was slightly different than anything she had felt in the past. For the first time in her life, Lefiya felt like it had been her misfortune to have been born as an Elf. If she had been a Chienthrope, Cat Person, or another race with big fluffy ears, Lefiya felt like she could have enjoyed Vahn’s pampering just like them. Instead, just thinking about him pampering her made Lefiya feel very tense and it would immediately cause her heart to begin racing in her chest. She couldn’t muster up the courage to appeal to Vahn, and also didn’t have the tolerance to ‘accept’ his affections even if she did…

Seeing the satisfied expression on Fenrir’s face, and the somewhat ‘sad’ look she had when the petting came to an end, Lefiya couldn’t help but comment in an ‘almost’ inaudible voice, “How envious…” Vahn hadn’t heard her at all, but Fenrir’s ears twitched slightly before she looked over at Lefiya with a contemplative expression on her face. Fenrir’s reaction startled Lefiya and her heart began to throb as a result of her anxiousness until Fenrir turned away as if she hadn’t noticed anything. When Vahn turned his head to stare at her, Lefiya flusteredly turned her head to the side and refused to make eye contact with him until he said, “Lets…keep going?” As if she had just received a lifeline, Lefiya nodded her head rapidly and began walking ahead of Vahn and Fenrir as if she couldn’t wait to return to killing monsters.

After the strange interaction, Vahn noticed the Fenrir had returned to ‘normal’ and was doing her best to kill enemies as efficiently as possible to avoid getting dirty again. Her [Severing Claws] allowed her to avoid getting messy if she fought properly, so she tried avoiding attack trajectories that would cause blood to spurt at her. As for Lefiya, she had startled a bit when he returned his hand to her shoulder but manage to calm down and focus on the fights after a few minutes. Her magic had grown to the point where the massive bolts of light continued forward after colliding with enemies and it was almost to the point where the single-target spell had become an area of effect one. Vahn had noticed this change and saw that there was a wispy white tendril that had intermixed with the other bands of mana within her body now.

Though mana was in all matter, it was also immaterial at the same time and Vahn likened it to a person having three bodies overlapping each other whenever he saw the flow within a person’s body. There was the physical body, which was made of all their bones, organs, muscles, and nerves, while underneath it, overlapping with it but never touching, there was a magical body as well. The magical body nourished the physical body and allowed for phenomenon like skills and magic to be used by people. Within the magic body, there were several ‘cores’ present with the largest one being located in the navel.

The majority of a person’s mana formed their main cored and it fed to all the other smaller cores that were located in the heart, brain, wrists, and ankles. Previously, the mana in Lefiya’s body was light pink in coloration, especially around her primary core. Now, however, there was a distinct white band present within her navel that would spread through her body, passing through the cores in her wrists, before feeing into the staff in her hands. It wasn’t source energy, but something closer to ‘pure’ magical energy and it seemed like Lefiya’s body had adapted to its use after intermixing with his own source energy for so long.

As for the final body, this was the one Vahn had almost no awareness and understanding of, which he called the ‘spiritual’ body. It was almost impossible to detect and even Vahn could only see an ‘illusory’ version of it if he focused his mind. Much like the magical body, the spiritual body also had a core but this one was located near the heart. Vahn felt like this was actually the soul of a person, but even Sis wasn’t sure about the true nature of the spiritual body for the time being. The most important thing to note was that Vahn could only see this from the girls that possessed his flame seed within their chest, so it was very possible it was just a byproduct of the skill nourishing their body and had nothing to do with his other assumptions at all…

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