Chapter 504: Loose Ends (3/3)

After spending around half an hour together, Vahn and Hephaestus made their way to the dining room where everyone else had already started to congregate. Because her shift had started at noon, Eina wasn’t present at the dining table, instead of leaving Misha sitting next to Haruhime with a somewhat loose smile on her face as she tried to butter up to the slightly tense Renard girl. However, noticing his presence, Misha immediately ceased her behavior and held up her hand in a form of greeting as she said, “Heyo, Vahn~! Welcome back; it’s good to see you and the girls return to the surface without issue. You should know, everyone was suuuuper tense while you were away~.”

Vahn sat down with Hephaestus and Hestia at his side before casting a glance around the table as he responded to Misha by saying, “I heard you’ve been working hard on behalf of the Hestia Familia and the Alliance, Misha. Thank you for all of your efforts…” Misha’s association with the girls in the Manor, even with her preferences, wasn’t really a bad thing in Vahn’s opinion because she was sort of a method of ‘exposing’ the girls to outside stimulus. If the girls cooped themselves up inside the Manor all the time without interacting with ‘outsiders’ every now and then, it could cause all kinds of problems in the long run. Though he was far from a professional, Vahn had idly read a few books on psychiatry and stuff so he could better advise the girls when they were having trouble.

Misha shot a thumbs up at Vahn and said, “Yeah, I’ve been bustin’ my butt to make sure everything has been running smoothly, and it hasn’t been easy, mind you! Hooowever, it was Eina that worked the hardest, so make sure you treat her niiiice and gently, okay~?” Vahn couldn’t help but smile at Misha’s remark and nodded confidently as he said, “I’ll make sure Eina is happy, no matter what it takes. And not just her…I will never stop doing my best for everyone within the Hearth Manor.” In response to his words, Syr began laughing softly before remarking, “I’m certain you’ll do your best for people outside of the Manor as well, Vahn~.”

Tiona immediately jumped in and said, “Of course~! After all, Vahn is like a super-duper hero kind of guy, ya know~?” If there were a Vahn fan club, Tiona may very well be the leader with the vice-leader position belonging to Senna from the Lakshmi Familia. Even now, though he tried not to let it bother him, Senna’s affection for him was firmly hovering around 99(Idolatry) and Vahn wasn’t sure how to address it in the future. Tiona wasn’t the only one to agree with Syr, however, as Vahn earned a few embarrassing remarks from Chloe, Ryuu, and the never shy, at least when it came to teasing him, Tsubaki. Preasia also looked like she wanted to say something, but she generally kept to herself and just gazed intently into his face during their meals.

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As usual, dinner was a lively affair and last nearly an hour-and-a-half before it finally came to an end after plates had piled up a bit. The fact that the majority of them were around Lefiya made the bashful Elf hang her head, but it didn’t stop her from nibbling away at a small tree-shaped biscuit. She wasn’t really that hungry, but it felt like she ‘could’ eat and found it hard to resist when there was food in front of her. Misha seemed to be fascinated by this, but there was no way to break through the ‘wall’ of Riveria and Ais who ‘shielded’ Lefiya from her clutches.

Vahn had thought it he would be helpful, so he assisted the girls in washing the dishes and made use of his Xuánwǔ form to create a small vortex of water as he ran the dirty dishes through them. Maemi and Emiru stared at the skill with glittery eyes and asked in the characteristic synchronicity, “Can you teach us that skill~?” Though he wasn’t sure they would be able to exercise control over individual elements, Vahn knew it was ‘possible’ and promised to do his best, but only if they did so as well. Without any hesitation at all, both girls agreed to work hard with an almost scary amount of passion as their tail actually crossed before curling around and making a heart shape…

While the others had been on the expedition, Maemi and Emiru hadn’t stopped their training for a single day and were so in synch with each other that it was hard to find them in different places these days. They even walked around with their tails entwined at times and perfectly matched each other’s movements without interfering with the other. Vahn knew he would likely come to a head against the two girls in the future, likely after he eventually took them into the Dungeon to help them reach Level 3.

Maemi and Emirua were actually already at the basic parameters to increase their level but were ‘correctly’ delaying the matter so they could increase their parameters even further. Though they didn’t have the same ‘devotion’ as Haruhime, their desire to be with him was genuine, even if it was a bit ‘peculiar’ in the way it manifested. Even now, Vahn was very aware that both girls still wore the victory panties he had given them as they had simultaneously bent down to pick up a fork that had dropped to the ground and ‘showed’ him directly…

Managing to avoid a ‘confrontation’ with the twins, Vahn eventually retreated to his own room in preparation for the coming night. Chloe, Arnya, and Lunoire had managed to take earlier shifts in the day so that they would have the evening off and were ‘raring’ to go since early in the afternoon. Ryuu actually ended up ‘passing’ on the event as she offered her help at the pub and instead had Aki serve as her replacement. As she had already been ‘comforted’ by Vahn the previous day, she wanted to give him more time with the girls he had yet to tend to. Ryuu was always a very thoughtful girl when it came to her companions and Vahn decided he would have to reward her when it was just the two of them again.

The last member of the ‘entourage’ was Syr, who brought together the entire group seamlessly as it’s core. Other than Vahn himself, she played the most important role in larger ‘events’ and she was very aware of it. During the expedition, she had grown much closer to many of the girls within the Manor and now had a firmly cemented position within the group. Even Eina deferred to her on several matters while Hestia only interfered when it was something that ‘bothered’ her. As she still wasn’t accustomed to the mortal world that much, there were a few things she couldn’t wrap her head around easily and this caused her to reach out to Hephaestus and Loki for support. Typically, if it was something that actually bothered Hestia, it ended up having to be changed slightly before a compromise was found. However, the fact that three goddesses came together to compromise with a mortal was a credit to the influence Syr had within the group. The only ‘mortals’ within the group that would directly oppose her, to which she always took a step back, were Tsubaki and Riveria.

Thus, with Syr kicking off the event, things quickly escalated to a relatively intense level after a very short period of time. The ‘resonance’ she caused in the other girls even made Chloe, Arnya, and Aki go into a heat-like state where their bodies burned up as the passionately sought Vahn’s ‘comfort’. Vahn was worried about Arnya, but it hardly even looked like she was pregnant and there didn’t see to be any trouble with the fetus at all. As for Aki, though she showed marginally more than Arnya, she managed to keep her sensibilities a bit and didn’t exert herself too much. Vahn had even let her go at her own pace to be safe as she mounted his hips and rocked her body atop his as he simultaneously tended to Syr and Lunoire as Chloe and Arnya ‘explored’ his body with their tongues…

The feeling of ‘freedom’ and relaxation Vahn felt after a long night with the girls was always an incredible feeling. His mind was always very calm after the fact and it felt like he just went through a long period of meditation in an endless pursuit of enlightenment. Just feeling the warmth of the five girls against his body, as if their affections radiated from their sleeping figures and intermingled with his very existence, made Vahn feel a profound sense of accomplishment. Any of these girls, just by themselves, would cause any man to feel pride in themselves yet Vahn had the fortune to have all five at his side. With how eagerly they sought him the previous night, Vahn felt like any complaints he might have in regards to his troubles seemed ‘selfish’. He truly lived a very blessed lifestyle, even if it was sometimes filled with difficulties machinated by fate…

After checking the status of Eva’s orb, Vahn hesitantly extricated himself from the bed and allowed the girls to continue sleeping since he had put them through a bit of a ‘trial’ the previous night. The only girls to ‘escape’ his clutches were Arnya and Aki, but Syr, Chloe, and Lunoire weren’t so fortunate. Chloe, especially, had suffered a bit since Arnya, Syr, and Aki were all fond of teasing her even when she bore the brunt of Vahn’s ‘torment’. It was a strange thing to consider, but Chloe was surprisingly ‘good’ at being bullied by other girls since her reactions were all a bit ‘extreme’ and incredibly stimulating. Unlike Arnya and Aki, who put in a fair amount of effort to control their verbal tick, Chloe completely embraced it and, when she was in an ‘excited’ state, her outbursts were quite the impact on both the eyes and ears.

Vahn went to the onsen and quickly washed his body as he prepared for the next few ‘events’ that would be transpiring throughout the day. He was planning to spend some time with Haruhime during the early morning before spending the rest of the day making the rounds and spending time with the other girls. During the evening, Vahn would be inviting Tione, Tiona, and Ais into his room, or perhaps one of the newly renovated areas, before ‘challenging’ them a battle. He imagined it would be rather intense, so Vahn wanted to relax for the other two blocks of his schedule to prepare his mind and body. Though it was a bit strange to imagine, Vahn didn’t think he would come out of things ‘unscathed’. Haruhime’s assistance would be imperative to give him an edge, but Vahn felt a bit of guilt about having to ask her for assistance with other girls when, as according to her current status in the logbook, she was still waiting for him herself…

With the nature of Haruhime’s Innate, Vahn actually felt a little intimidated but continued forward regardless because he had absolute confidence in his own Innates. Even if things got a little intense, he was certain things wouldn’t develop in a way that he couldn’t control. He even suspected that Haruhime’s Innate might achieve some level of growth as a result, so Vahn was looking forward to the event for various reasons. After all, Haruhime was a very beautiful girl and there was a certain exotic quality to a woman who had two tails. As his imagination was very ‘detailed’, Vahn could imagine her involving the two dexterous appendages and it caused a bit of pressure to rise in the bridge of his nose.

Unsurprisingly, even though they had the next two weeks off ‘mandatorily, Vahn found Haruhime outside doing some early morning training. With the exception of the girls that had fought hard the previous night, Hestia, and Hephaestus, everyone else was already up and working hard to polish their skills as normal. Even Terra, who wasn’t really there to train, was still sitting off at the side talking with Preasia with her wings spread against the ground. He hadn’t asked her about it, but Vahn knew she did it to feel ‘closer’ to the earth and he could even see her wings absorbing nutrients from the sun and sky as it was processed through her body and then fed out as elemental energy rose up from the ground in a mutual ‘exchange’. She gave the plants around her nutrients to grow even stronger while they pulled energy from the planet itself to feed into her body.

Though he was very interested in the processes going on with Terra, Vahn considered how he would approach Haruhime without making things awkward. She was currently having a sparring match with Ais while Tiona, Tione, and Tsubaki watched from the side. Eventually, Ais managed to get an edge against Haruhime even though her Innate gave her an incredible edge against most opponents. Not only were Ais’s parameters, excluding magic, around twice that of Haruhime’s, but she actually relied more on her instincts and intuition when it came to fighting than simply her sight. She could intuit Haruhime’s actions in combat while Haruhime had no way of reading Ais’s tempo since it was based on her own somewhat chaotic movements.

Unable to come up with a method to prevent things from being awkward, Vahn decided to simply deal with the potential fallout directly as he approached the group using the lull in the action. Ais was currently giving Haruhime bits of advice on how she could improve, but the conversation changed quickly when he made an appearance. Haruhime has a slightly embarrassed expression for a brief moment before she seemed to understand something from Vahn’s demeanor that made her grow excited very quickly. She had been using her Innate earlier, but it wasn’t until Vahn’s appearance that the red marks around her eyes appeared and her somewhat off-green eyes became pale gold.

Vahn released a slightly exasperated sigh through his nose at being so easily seen through before saying in a voice that only the five of them could hear, “I came to retrieve Haruhime…also, if you’re not against it, I would appreciate it if the three of you made some time this evening…” Vahn suddenly felt like a young boy trying to confess to his crush as Haruhime bounced up to her feet and said, “My heart feels like its going to burst in my chest…” As for Tsubaki, she gave Vahn a somewhat ‘reproachful’ look with a teasing glint in her eyes before shaking her head and whistling as she walked away. Tione and Tiona had eager looks that even outstripped Haruhime’s while Ais seemed confused for a brief moment before a fiery light appeared in her eyes accompanied by a rise in her aura as it took on a pink hue.

After explaining the situation to the three girls, including when and where they would meet up for the ‘battle’, Vahn retreated from the training field as casually as possible while the eyes of almost every girl followed him like heads were synchronized on a swivel. Vahn felt slightly queasy under their gazes but did his best to stand tall as they made their way into the Manor. When he finally entered through the back door, Vahn couldn’t help but release a sigh of relief as Haruhime began laughing like a bell behind him. He gave her a wry smile before asking, “Did you ever have any specific hopes and desires about your first time? It may be a bit awkward to say, but I’d like to help your dreams come true if I can…”

Haruhime’s eyes squinted until they had nearly closed completely as she gave Vahn an enchanting look and a vibrant smile. Her eyes seemed to glow with increased intensity as she ruminated over the matter before shaking her head and saying, “I had long thought that my purity had been tainted so the only thing I ever hoped for was liberation from that darkness. You’ve already given me that, and so much more…rather than selfishly seek my own pleasure, the only thing I can think of is thoughts of serving you with all my heart…and body…” Vahn took a deep breath as he processed Haruhime’s heavy words. All of the anxiety and embarrassment he had been feeling melted away and the only thing that mattered at the moment was making this loveable little fox happy.

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Vahn gave a curt nod after a short period of thought and reached forward to pick Haruhime up in his arms as he said, “You desired a hero…so let me treat you like the princess from a fairy tale, at least a little bit…” Haruhime linked her arms around Vahn’s neck and placed her head against his chest as her tails danced about beneath her body. Each word Vahn spoke made the feelings in her heart grow even more and it was actually a little painful to tolerate with him simply holding her like this. She tilted her head up with watery eyes that reflected a passion deeper than the sea as she said, “Vahn…please don’t tease me anymore…” Even though he wasn’t actually teasing her, Haruhime couldn’t tolerate being so ‘close’ to what she wanted and still being made to wait.

Caught a little off guard by Haruhime’s words, Vahn’s mind stalled for a brief moment before he nodded his head firmly and disappeared from the small foyer around the back door and made his way to the East Wing where there was a large private parlor that was decorated in the manner of the Far East. True to their original intent, the entire wing had been converted to match the style except for the corridor leading towards the annex that connected at the far end of the East Wing. His own bed was currently occupied, so Vahn took Haruhime somewhere he thought she would be comfortable. The red tendrils from her body had been clinging to him throughout the relatively short trip and she actually seemed to be in a bit of ‘pain’ by the time he reached the room.

Vahn set out a thick futon on the ground before gingerly lowering Haruhime’s body onto its surface and viewing her captivating figure from above. She was already covered in a light layer of sweat and her fair complexion had taken on a ruddy blush almost as if she had ingested a large quantity of alcohol. Her reaction was a little worrying, but Vahn knew this wasn’t a point that he could afford to hesitate. Even without his prompting, she pulled at her obi to loosen her clothes and struggled to lift her body as if she had trouble mustering her strength. Even using his [Eyes of Truth], Vahn couldn’t identify the source of her ‘ailment’ and couldn’t see it as anything other than the influence of her Innate on her body. Her body temperature had increased several degrees and the illusory third tail had completely separated from the other two. Though it drew his interest, Vahn was more concerned with Haruhime herself so he reached down and began helping her remove her kimono as he prepared to take one more step towards the future…

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