As the Twilight Manor was one of the furthest points at the north of the City, it placed it as nearly 104km away from the Hearth Manor. Fortunately, it wasn’t a great distance at all for many Adventurers and even Vahn could cover the distance within fifteen minutes at a relatively quick pace. With Fafnir, however, even when they flew at a slow and steady pace to allowed Terra to keep up, they still reached the area above the Twilight Manor in less than four minutes. Terra was currently in her dragon form, so it was quite the sight to behold seeing two dragons flying next to each other as their massive frames dominated the sky.
The Twilight Manor was built on a plot of land that was nearly 5km wide so there was plenty of space for them to land even though there were numerous people out and about. Terra would have normally been at least ‘slowed down’ by the barrier surrounding the Manor, but she was able to bypass it completely since her ‘signature’ was actually identical to Vahn’s. The same applied to both Fafnir and Fenrir as their bodies had been completely restructured by his source energy during their evolutions.
Several members of the Loki Familia showed up after Vahn landed in the massive courtyard but they didn’t show any hostility at all as they were already familiar with Vahn and Fafnir. Though Terra was a new existence, she was actually quite beautiful as far as dragons were concerned and she was much easier on the eyes than the ‘evil’ looking Fafnir. Her scales glimmered vibrantly in the sunshine above and the aroma that followed in her wake was extremely pleasant for everyone that smelled it. It was a strangely ‘reminiscent’ smell that was hard to describe, and Vahn speculated it actually had a different scent for everyone that had the opportunity to inhale it.
Vahn hopped down from Fafnir’s back and waved to the guards who returned a salutation of their own before resuming their posts as one of them ran off to inform Loki of Vahn’s arrival. Though there was no way she hadn’t detected his arrival through the barrier, it was still required to convey the details directly to her so she could ‘prepare’ herself properly. Not that he minded waiting, but it was fortunate that the girls had already been expecting his arrival as they emerged from the Manor just a few short minutes later. Vahn had a casual smile on his face at first, but his eyes widened marginally when he saw Loki’s ‘unbalanced’ appearance and the somewhat ‘cold’ gaze of Riveria.
Loki was around ten-eleven weeks pregnant at this point but she looked strangely ‘ahead’ of that timeline with how her belly was protruding. She was nearly the same ‘size’ as Hephaestus, who was already well into her fourteenth week, with twins to boot. Vahn ignored the gaze of Riveria for the time being and inspected Loki’s abdomen with his [Eyes of Truth] and didn’t see any signs of complications at all. Their daughter simply seemed to be gestating slightly faster than normal, not that there was anything ‘normal’ about a goddess’ pregnancy. Vahn speculated it was just a result of the mild differences in Divinities and potential even subtle variations in the construction of their bodies before they descended from Heaven. He would have to carefully document things in the future so there wouldn’t be any ‘surprises’.
Since Vahn felt strangely guilty about having Loki walk all the way to him, he stepped forward with [Shundo] and startled the goddess slightly before a ‘cheeky’ grin appeared on her face and she mused, “My, how thoughtful~” and allowed Vahn to support her body. He wasn’t sure why himself, but Vahn felt very ‘alert’ around the pregnant women and it made him worried just seeing them walk around. Though goddesses had a bit of an immunity to the weather, Vahn infused fire elements into his domain and warmed up the surrounding air to keep her warm as he greeted Riveria, Tiona, Ais, Tione, and Lefiya in turn.
After ‘pleasantries’ were shared, Riveria looked over at Terra with interest and asked, “So this is the Green Dragon that you named previously…Terra Evergreen, was it?” As she had access to the network, Riveria was already aware of a lot of the information concerning Terra, including that she had a human form. However, Terra maintained her dragon form as she said in a soft tone that was somewhat unexpected from a 14m long dragon, “Good morning, everyone, my name is indeed Terra Evergreen. I had the honor of being saved from the darkness of the Dungeon by my Master, who also saw fit to bestow upon me greater power and various opportunities. As we may be associating with each other for a time, please treat me well as I will do my best to return your kindness.”
Riveria’s cold expression softened up a bit as she waved her hand around in the air and enjoyed the fragrance coming from Terra’s body. As a High Elf, she was even more ‘fond’ of Terra’s presence than Ryuu and she could feel the natural energy radiating off of her. Even the ground below them, which was cobblestone tiles, had started to show signs of plants emerging through the cracks. Ryuu had told her about the ‘wellspring’ in the center of the Hearth Manor, so Riveria was quite interested in the rather beautiful looking dragon. However, this interest actually made her a little more annoyed with Vahn since she would have liked to see the ‘evolution’ process even more now…
With a new dragon appearing, Loki’s eyes had widened fully as she inspected the new ‘beautiful’ dragon with a great deal of interest. She had been thinking about asking Vahn to help her obtain a dragon of her own, so seeing him alongside a new one made her a little excited. Though she knew it would be next to impossible to get Terra for herself, Loki wanted to try and secure the next one for herself in the future. If possible, she’d like one that looks more like Fafnir though, as it had a more ‘tyrannical’ appearance instead of a ‘gentle’ and slender one such as Terra.
Overall, Terra was quite popular with everyone and Tiona had even unhesitantly climbed onto her back and commented, “Wow, her back is super soft~!” as she lay down and reclined against the grass-like feathers. Terra couldn’t alter her scales like Fafnir, but her back was still wide enough to support 2-3 people comfortably and it was also covered in grass-like feathers that covered the scales near her wings. Because of the vital energy from her body, she even produced actual plant life and there were flowers that had sprouted on her body. Vahn suspected that, if Terra laid down in one area for long enough, she might actually become part of the landscape after enough time passed.
As Terra was getting more familiar with the girls, Loki asked, “So, what are you going to be doing from now on, Vahn? I already heard from Finn and Riveria and it looks like you have a few big plans in mind.” Vahn nodded his head and explained, “Yes, I want to prepare things for creating a supply-station on the 39th Floor, which could eventually even become an actual settlement, before moving deeper into the Dungeon and finding a foothold in the 50th Floor. Other than that, I’ll be focusing all of my efforts on my research since I want to ensure that everyone is properly protected…”
Loki leaned her back into Vahn’s chest, as he had been holding her shoulders from behind, and said, “Don’t forget that you also need to think about our babies in the coming months…there are also a few things that you need to take care of to cement our position on the ‘surface’. Though she has already had a few children over her own, Demeter would like our assistance conceiving a child and Eirene has also considered the matter seriously before joining the Alliance…” As he had already expected this to be the case, as both girls had shown up at the wedding to show their support, Vahn nodded his head and gently rocked Loki as he said, “Yes, I’ll take care of it properly…just tell me when it’s necessary and I’ll make time. Preferably, it should be during the weekdays since I plan to spend the weekends with everyone.”
Though she enjoyed Vahn’s warmth, Loki still had to treat matters seriously so she explained in a firm manner that didn’t really leave room for misunderstandings, “You may not have any feelings for them, Vahn, but you can also consider having them wait until a bit later if you’re willing to help them bear children with your bloodline. Demeter has a few partners on-and-off, but she is the type that would be able to take care of children with love and care. As for Eirene, she has a strong sense of duty and nobility and would help firmly secure our position on the surface…you may not have feelings for them, but such things aren’t nearly as important to gods as they are to mortals. If you decide to have them wait, you’d have to deal with Freya first though…she probably wouldn’t take it well if she ‘lost’ her chance to other goddesses.”
Vahn had been caught off guard by Loki’s words but he couldn’t help but consider them seriously as he understood the reasons behind her words. After the Divination, Vahn had looked into a variety of texts relating to governing as an Emperor and a King. He knew the importance of marrying and having children to ‘strengthen’ Alliances and it would have to be a matter he treated seriously if he wanted to eventually seize control of the City. He wouldn’t do anything to rob power from the Guild, he actually intended to help it grow, but Vahn knew he would one day need to ‘interfere’ with the governance of the City if he wanted to root out criminals and the like in the future.
The Demeter Familia was in charge of the production of food for Orario and the Eirene Familia were the ones that guarded and policed the City. Having them as part of the Alliance was a big ‘power move’ already, but it would be firmly cemented if he helped them give birth to Vanir. There were few mortal women, much less goddesses, that wouldn’t be proud to have powerful and capable children with endless potential. Since they would also ‘inherit’ the traits of their mother’s, they would have an even stronger bond with each other, one that could even last for millennia given how long-lived the Vanir likely were.
However, as Loki had pointed out, he would have to deal with the matters related to Freya in the future if he wanted to pursue that path. Though she had officially joined the Alliance, making them the strongest power within the City, she still stood ‘alone’ amongst all the other gods and goddesses. Her pride wouldn’t allow her to take a ‘lesser’ position against goddesses less accomplished than she was. Though she made exceptions for Hestia, Hephaestus, and Loki, she wasn’t the type that would be ‘content’ with being passed-over in lieu of different goddesses…
As if she could read his mind, Loki reached up and stroked the side of Vahn’s face as she said, “You don’t have to worry about it too much, Vahn. Demeter and Eirene aren’t ‘desperate’ girls, so they wouldn’t mind waiting for several years as long as there was a ‘promise’. They both think highly of your character, especially Eirene, so you don’t have to stress over the matter that much. I know you’re worried about ‘Lenneth’, but that isn’t something that should be at the forefront of your attention. We just have to take certain actions to keep the current godly assembly happy and there is literally a line of goddesses that want children. Eirene and Demeter had just skipped the queue a bit when they joined the Alliance…”
Vahn thought about it for a short while before nodding his head and saying, “I’ll meet with Eirene and Demeter to discuss the matter personally…as for the other goddesses that seek children, I’ll let the network deal with the selection.” In response to Vahn’s words, Loki began laughing in a somewhat mischevious manner as she patted his hand and said, “You’re so well-behaved, Vahn~. However, you need to be a bit ‘firmer’ in the future so you aren’t taken advantage of…never forget that you are the reason we’re all gathered, so don’t be afraid to take a firm stance on matters if you’re worried about them. Just like when you showed up at the Vahnatus in the past…have a bit of confidence, as it makes our hearts more at ease knowing you aren’t going to ‘break’ if things don’t go well.”
Though she couldn’t help but scheme a bit, as the matter regarding Eirene and Demeter wanting Vahn’s children was something she ‘machinated’ after discussing it with the two goddesses, Loki was still very worried about Vahn. She was ‘satisfied’ having a child of her own, but Loki’s perspective had expanded a great deal after the revelations from the Divination. She had always known Vahn had the potential to ‘rule’, which was even more evident after the Expedition, but he wasn’t the greatest ‘leader’.
As long as there were other people working to make his intentions a reality, Vahn would likely take them all towards a greater future, even if there is a bit of conflict along the way. However, if he tried to take care of everything himself, or left the decisions to other people, Vahn could just as easily become a ‘puppet’ instead. Fortunately, there were girls like Hestia, Eina, and Syr looking after him on a daily basis, but Loki couldn’t help but worry just a little bit…after all, though she felt like the child ‘belonged’ to her, Loki wanted Vahn’s influence in the life of their daughter. She had seen many orphans, and children that had grown up with just one parent, and wanted to make sure her own child was given all the best that life had to offer…