Chapter 484: Preparations : Progress

After returning from their training session, Vahn had his usual meeting with Finn and discussed various matters that were going on with the expedition. They had been fortunate enough to only sustain a few injuries, with only one death thus far, but their reserve stock of healing supplies had started to diminish. By Finn’s approximation, they would be able to continue their efforts for three more days without any issues, but it would become increasingly dangerous to take action as their supplies grew thin. If an emergency situation did occur, later on, it would potentially turn into a disaster if they didn’t have potions on hand to deal with the situation.

Though Vahn had several hundred such potions in his inventory, he kept the matter to himself for the time being so it wouldn’t weight into Finn’s decisions as Commander. He would use them during an emergency, assuming he couldn’t heal the wounds on his own, but he wasn’t going to support the Expedition unnecessarily since they were nearly finished with all their missions. At this point, the Loki Familia was just gathering ‘extra’ stuff while the members focused on increasing their strength and earning personal profits. Vahn wanted the journey into the Deeper Floors to take place sooner, so he didn’t see any need to turn over his own emergency supplies for the benefit of others. Even if it was required at some point, Vahn would still request proper payment because he had to take into consideration the ‘status’ of the Hestia Familia. They weren’t the patsies of the Loki Familia to be used for their ‘convenience’ after all…

Once his meeting with Finn had come to an end, Vahn updated Riveria with the pertinent information because he trusted she would make decisions that took into consideration the Hestia Familia and the Alliance as a whole. Finn was very ‘loyal’ to the Loki Familia, but he was somewhat biased as a result of his ideologies and the life he had lived. As Riveria was a resident of the Hearth Manor, and someone he trusted, Vahn gave her a list of his ’emergency’ supplies after briefing her about Lefiya’s progress and the growth of the other girls. They were both keeping track of the data and towards the end, Riveria told Vahn to keep his own Level-Up a secret and, if possible, put off letting the others increase their levels until they returned to the surface. This would allow them to rest properly after increasing their strength and also give them less of a reason for wanting to venture deeper into the Dungeon. The exception to this was Fenrir, as she was a ‘monster’ and it wasn’t that conspicuous for her Level to increase through combat.

As a result of his discussion with Riveria, which Vahn shared with the other girls, it was decided that he would help them increase their parameters as much as possible but they would have levels increased by Hestia before reporting their updated levels to Eina and the Guild. Though they all had a desire to grow even stronger, the girls understood that it was important to adapt to the changes in their body so they don’t overdraft their potential. It might not be an issue, as they all had flame seeds in their chests, but it was a real concern they needed to take into consideration. Growing too quickly could affect the mentality of a person and cause them to develop an ego or result in them making a grievous error during combat. By refining their skills through training, they would be able to make better use of their parameters in the future while also promoting their growth further.

Since he wasn’t prone to keeping secrets, at least from the people he trusted, Vahn also discussed his own strength with the girls and the direction he was taking his own growth. This included informing Tiona and Tione that he was almost to the point where he was stronger than both girls. Knowing this was important for two reasons, as it meant Vahn was very nearly at the point where he could give the girls a flame seed of their own while also becoming a ‘capable’ mate for the future. Though neither girl intended to get pregnant yet, especially knowing what the future might hold, just knowing they could made them excited. When they returned to the surface, Vahn promised to ‘take care’ of them both…

Tione didn’t seem to want to wait, but she wasn’t able to do anything since everyone slept in the same room. Unless she could ‘catch’ Vahn away from the encampment somehow, there was no way for her to actually make any advances on him. With Tiona and Ais around, she wouldn’t be able to ‘trick’ him into leaving the camp with her either. As Vahn was stronger than she was, had higher perception, and even made use of a magic called [Shundo] that she couldn’t really deal with, Tione had no choice but to be patient. She had already waited for a while, so it wasn’t that difficult to wait for a little longer. However, this didn’t stop her from fantasizing about ‘accidentally’ breaking the crates of Elixirs so things would be sped up…

Over the next four days, as there had been no major incidents that resulted in things being sped up, Vahn continued training with Fenrir, Mikoto, Lefiya, Lili, Naaza and the somewhat ‘troublesome’ Haruhime. She knew there was pretty much nothing preventing her from being with Vahn any longer so she had been making steady advances on him while even trying to seduce him when they were in the bath together. After accepting her offer to wash his body, Haruhime had covered her chest with soap before ‘grinding’ against him while sitting in his lap. If Vahn had less control over his body, and Fenrir wasn’t present to keep her in check, things might have developed in a ‘dangerous’ direction.

As a result of their efforts, most of the girls were at the peak of their growth for their respective levels and Vahn was satisfied to see they were all around 4400-4700 parameters per Level. As they were all Tier 1 souls, not that Vahn could determine this accurately, they had reached the limit of their growth and would have to increase their level if they wanted to progress further. After reaching their ‘peaks’, each girl had become somewhat restless yet tired at the same time. Just like Vahn had felt ‘full’ when he reached the limit of his own growth, they all complained about aches in their bodies which generally resulted in Vahn pampering them a bit.

The only exception to this was Mikoto, as even Lefiya had opened up a great deal when they were in private, who continued to polish her skills almost tirelessly. Unless Vahn made her take a break, she spent the majority of the time she wasn’t on the 51st-floor training in the forest. Her [Battōjutsu] had increased to G-Rank now and she had started experimenting with trying to use the techniques listed within the scroll. So far, other than the setup strikes, Mikoto hadn’t had any major success but it wouldn’t be too long before she reached a basic mastery of the beginner techniques. She would likely be polishing the style for several years, so it wasn’t too surprising that she hadn’t made much progress after just six days. Her Agility and Dexterity had broken through the ‘limit’ though, so she had a much stronger foundation to work with now…

During the evening of the fourth day, Vahn found himself inside the Command Tent with Gareth, Riveria, and Finn as they began discussing the matters that would take place starting tomorrow. Their food stores were still more than 80% full, as Vahn had been supplementing them a fair amount to appease the expedition members, but their essential supplies like Elixirs, Antidotes, and Medicinal Bandages were running low. They had reached the point where it was better to shore up their defenses than it was to continue trying to venture into the 51st Floor. This meant it was time for the main party, which consisted of Finn, Gareth, Riveria, Bete, Ais, Tiona, Tione, Lefiya, Vahn, and Fenrir would be making their way deeper into the Dungeon.

Finn wanted Haruhime to accompany them into the Deeper Floors, as her [Uchide no Kozuchi] would be quite ‘useful’. However, Vahn outright refused to take her along because there was no easy way to guarantee her safety. He knew better than anyone how powerful her Level-Up magic was, but he wasn’t going to ‘use’ her just because she was convenient. Vahn was against trying to break beyond the 59th floor right now since it would potentially cause their enemies to panic and do something drastic, so he didn’t mind if they returned to the surface sooner. Since Finn was one of the important members of the Alliance, Vahn directly told him about the potential threat their enemies posed and that it was simply ‘unwise’ to provoke them until they were absolutely ready.

Though he understood Vahn’s reasoning, Finn was obligated to at least try to break the record as it was the purpose of the Expedition currently. Vahn once again disagreed, however, as he said the purpose of their expedition was to complete their assigned missions and ensure the greatest profit with the least risk to their personnel. Even if it took longer, they would eventually have even stronger members to accompany them into the Deeper Floors into the future and this would guarantee the Loki Familia was able to break the record. There was no sense in ‘forcing’ the issue in the present, especially since there were few benefits to actually be had probing into unknown arctic floors. If they waited a year or two, Vahn could make equipment that was completely weatherproof while also increasing the capabilities of all the core members. Putting their lives at risk for ‘temporary’ glory was pointless, as the 59th floor wasn’t the bottom of the Dungeon.

As a result of Vahn’s insistence, and him receiving support from both Gareth and Riveria, Finn found himself in a difficult position where he was forced to compromise. The current clear record for the Loki Familia was the 53rd Floor, so Finn said they would turn back if they were able to breach through to the 54th Floor, or if their supplies ran low. Though it was a bit shameless, Finn was relying on Vahn’s ‘storage magic’ to hold the majority of their supplies so they wouldn’t have to be reliant on weaker Supporters. It was customary for them to take some of the Level 4s from the second group to act as their Supporters in the Deeper Floors, but Vahn’s presence invalidated that.

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Since he didn’t want to pressure Finn too hard, Vahn agreed to the compromise and became a back-line Supporter for the duration of the dive into the Deeper Floors. He didn’t too much though, considering he wanted to protect Fenrir and Lefiya from danger anyways. This also allowed him to make better use of his support capabilities and allowed him to conserve energy for emergency situations. Simply being present to replenish Riveria’s and Lefiya’s mana already made him a highly valuable asset to the group. Riveria had seen Lefiya’s new staff and had eyed it like a predator as she took several notes about its usage and capabilities.

Because she had been so interested, Vahn informed her that he could ‘create’ her a staff that was similar, as it would be beneficial if she had ‘no-chant’ magic on hand, but Riveria declined for the time being. Her staff was already near the pinnacle of S-Rank and was considered one of the five best staves in the entire world. When he had asked to analyze it with his Inventory, Riveria had agreed but Vahn found that he couldn’t actually store the item away at all. Though he wasn’t able to see through it, the staff apparently had a ‘spirit’ of its own and simply refused to be ‘kept away’ from its user. This was a surprising discovery for Riveria as well and she accepted the staff like it was a priceless treasure, and decided to study it more in the future.

From what he could discern, with his [Master Smith], [Metallurgy], and [Eyes of Truth], the staff was made out of Mithril, the incredibly valuable Holydite metal, the carved branch of a sacred tree, and nine Magic Treasure Stones embedded in the head. Compared to most weapons, it actually had a bit of an ‘aura’ to it, so Vahn could understand why it was considered to have a spirit. Unless he earned the respect and trust of the weapon, it probably would never allow him to put it away in his inventory. This meant Vahn was relatively ‘blind’ as he wasn’t able to analyze the items forged by other people without letting them sit for a little while. He was, however, relatively confident he could re-forge the staff on his own and perhaps glean some insight into it as a result…?

When Vahn had this thought, a very different one entered his mind and he simply opened up his shop and searched for the [Magna Alfs] within. Many of the items he received from the shop were ‘forged’ by other blacksmiths, at least in their original records, so there was no reason he could think of that it wouldn’t be listed. As expected, Vahn easily found it’s price listed at 3,700,000OP and was rather surprised. However, he noticed that there were actually multiple [Magna Alfs] listed, including a version that was only worth 290,000OP. Vahn wasn’t sure which version Riveria had but, since it was purported to be one of the five best staves in the world, he assumed it was on the higher end.

(A/N: Btw, Vahn can’t see items he forged within the system shop for obvious reasons :P)

After finalizing their future plans, Vahn left the Command Tent with Fenrir and returned to the rest to explain the decisions that had been made. Haruhime had a slight complex look on her face when she heard that Vahn refused Finn’s request to have her accompany them, but she didn’t say anything. Vahn had already made his decision and it would just stress him out unnecessarily if she tried to be insistent. Besides, her presence would make it much easier for them to progress even deeper and Haruhime kind of wanted to return to the surface sooner. She was looking forward the hitting Level 3 and finally adding her name to the ‘schedule’. Though it had only been a few months since she was saved by Vahn, Haruhime hadn’t wanted to wait one day, much less a hundred. She had put in all of her efforts to become stronger, all so that she could stay at Vahn’s side, and there wasn’t going to be anything in her way once they returned to the surface…

Since the majority of them would be rising early in the morning, everyone went to bed rather early after Vahn provided the food for a private dinner with just the residents of the Hearth Manor. Vahn discussed the importance of the other girls staying safe while he was away, something they were all well aware of, while Tiona incessantly teased Lefiya by handing her food. Even though Lefiya wasn’t hungry, she felt a strange compulsion to eat things that were offered to her and it was difficult to refuse since Ais was also present. She had been able to open up a bit more in the past few days, as a result of Vahn’s ‘orders’, so Ais and her had grown a lot closer.

As Vahn had been cuddling up with Fenrir and Lili every night, it was a little difficult to get space around Vahn. As a result, Lefiya had been able to cuddle up with Ais and it almost made her little heart explode in her chest the first time. Not only had she grown much stronger, to the point where she couldn’t even believe it herself, but everything had been getting progressively better after she ‘accepted’ Vahn completely. She was able to improve her relationship with Ais, had made friend with Fenrir, and was even getting along better with girls like Lili and Haruhime. Though there had been nothing stopping her from doing so in the past, Lefiya credited her current happiness to Vahn, who had become somewhat numb to the constant increase of her Loyalty…

(A/N: This was the official end to the chapter, but I guess everyone would like to know the current Status of everyone present (with the exception of Vahn, Tiona, Ais, and Tione. Once he reached Level 4, Vahn’s parameter development took a massive hit so he needs to fight much stronger monsters to grow fast again. BTW, good luck with this huge dump below xD.)

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Sanjouno Haruhime

Race: Renard

LV. 2(+)

POW: 440+(G251)->(C798)

END: 648+(G298)->(B825)

DEX: 698+(F372)->(S902)

AGI: 1053+(E444)->(S940)

MAG: 1548+(A837)->(SSS1258)

Skill: [Inari:E], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A], [Heroic Strike:E->C], [Featherfoot:A->S]

Magic: [Uchide no Kozuchi:B], [Kokonoe:C->B], [Icicle Edge:B->A]

Development Skill: [Moon Priestess:Innate(sealed)], [Spirit Healing:A], [Hunter:G->E], [Mage(sealed)]

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Liliruca Arde

Race: Pallum

LV. 2(+)

POW: 887+(S943)->(SSS1236)

END: 941+(A805)->(SS1001)

DEX: 676+(D558)->(C669)

AGI: 598+(C666)->(B757)

MAG: 811+(SS1002)->(SS1040)

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

Magic: [Cinder*Ella:A]

Development Skill: [Abnormal Resistance:F->E], [Spearman:(sealed), [Swordsman:(sealed)], [Crush:(sealed)], [Fist Strike:(sealed)], [Spirit Healing:(sealed)]

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Naaza Erisuis

Race: Chienthrope

LV. 2(+)

POW: 457+(D529)->(D572)

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END: 434+(D598)->(C636)

DEX: 615+(S903)->(SS1040)

AGI: 722+(A820)->(S907)

MAG: 378+(S955)->(SSS1137)

Skill: [Bow Mastery:B], [Eagle Eye:B], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A], [Critical Eye:I](new)

Magic: [Awen:Innate(sealed)], [Darbh Daol:A]

Development Skill: [Mixing:B], [Mage:(sealed)], [Spirit Healing:(sealed)], [Archery:(sealed)]

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[[STATUS]]

Name: [Fenrir]

Level:3(+)

POW: 1302+(C644)->(A811)

END: 1305+(D529)->(B768)

DEX: 1639+(A889)->(SSS1129)

AGI: 1543+(S931)->(SSS1304)

MAG: 388+(C612)->(B701)

Skills: [Insatiable Hunger:Innate(-)], [Lunar Cry:A], [Freezing Roar:A], [Chainbreaker:C], [Devour:SS], [Huntress:SS], [Endeavor:C->B], [Severing Claws:C->B]

Magic: –

Development Abilities: [Chain Attack:D->C], [Fist Fighter:(sealed)], [Acrobatics:(sealed)], [Mimickry:(sealed)]

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Lefiya Viridis

Race: Elf

LV. 3(+)

POW: 421+(G238)->(G294)

END: 692+(D557)->(S913)

DEX: 1281+(F330)->(B798)

AGI: 1459+(F304)->(S908)

MAG: 1998+(SS1008)->(SSS1708)(A/N: Now this is pod racing!)

Skills: [Fairy Cannon:B->A], [Concurrent Chanting:E->D], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A]

Magic: [Rattatoskr:Innate:(sealed)], [Arcs Ray:C], [Fusillade Fallarica:C], [Elf Ring:C]

Development Abilities: [Daughter of Wishe:I], [Mage:B], [Abnormal resistance:F], [Spirit Healing:(sealed)]

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Yamato Mikoto

Race: Human

LV. 2(+)

POW: 634+(D597)->(C647)

END: 628+(D568)->(C620)

DEX: 740+(S962)->(SSS1209)

AGI: 722+(B748)->(SS1003)

MAG: 531+(B703)->(S941)

Skill: [Yatanokurogarasu:B], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A], [Battōjutsu:H->G]

Magic: [Futsunomitama:B], [Apocalypse: Innate(sealed)]

Development Skill: [Abnormal Resistance:C], [Swordsman:(sealed)], [Acrobatics:(sealed)]

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