Chapter 520: Groove

Though not nearly as much as Tsubaki’s, Eina’s change caused a slight stir within the Manor when she finally made her appearance. It was a little strange, because she now appeared more ‘mature’ yet ‘youthful’ at the same time, almost like she was something ‘more’ than she had been previously. The biggest reaction had come from Misha, who had been friends with Eina ever since they attended the School together, and Rose, who had known Eina ever since she first started working at the Guild. Everyone had heard to rumors of Vahn’s ‘skill’, but seeing it affect someone they knew personally was always a big impact. When she later appeared at dinner, Misha was even interested in going through the procedure herself, willing to pay a hefty sum if necessary, but Vahn declined with a polite smile, much to the pink-haired girl’s dismay…

After his rest period, Vahn started the new week with a hot start by making some major alterations to his schedule. He still watched the morning training sessions and helped in the girls’ education, but he had also arranged it so that he could go on morning walks with Anubis and Nanu around their rather ‘unique’ Manor. As it was somewhat popular to design a Familia’s main residence after the ‘theme’ they originated from, Anubis had requested the core of her Manor to be like a pyramid. The surrounding corridors were relatively normal, but just seeing a massive white and gold pyramid was quite the sight to behold. Perhaps she had taken their ‘walks’ into consideration, but Anubis also had a hedge maze and garden in the back where they could have some degree of privacy since she was fond of using a leash. Nanu had known about it and made a similar request, but Vahn wasn’t too comfortable with the idea of walking a young girl around on a leash and asked her to wait until she was older.

During his work block, Vahn had been spending all of his time working on the prototype armor for the girls and, in an effort to spend more time with them, Vahn had been inviting girls directly into his workshop to assist him. With a few exceptions, everyone was okay with helping him and it wasn’t rare to see scantily clad young women within his workshop as he drew temporary markings on their bodies. Instead of just basing it on his mental imaging, Vahn would have the girls pose so he could better account for how their bodies contorted and overlapped in certain areas, especially around the hips, thighs, arms, and breasts. He wanted to avoid situations where ‘pinching’ would occur since the whole point of the armor was to be as comfortable as possible.

As the armor had initially been designed using her as a base, Vahn’s common assistant ended up being Ais, something she seemed especially fond of. Having her within his workshop wearing nothing but a thin pair of panties was a bit of a distraction, but Vahn didn’t mind it too much as she wasn’t a troublemaker. The more troublesome girls had been Lili, Tiona, Tione, and, perhaps most troublesome of all, Haruhime and the everpresent Shirohime. Shirohime spent most of her time lingering around him, fortunately having enough awareness not to interfere when he was working, while the rest of her time was spent generally being held by Haruhime. When he had been doing Haruhime’s measurements, Shirohime had been very boisterous and clingy because she seemed to be the most upset when Haruhime was being ‘pampered’ without him pampering her at the same time.

The most cooperative two ended up being Tina and Shizune, accompanied by Milan and Chloe, as Vahn took their measurements and prepared flexible armor that would be able to accommodate their future growth. Tina was still a rather bashful girl with strong sensibilities, but she had calmed down a lot and was proactively trying to act more like an ‘adult’ nowadays. As for Shizune, she ‘technically’ was an adult if solely based on how long she had lived, but had a bit of childishness in her. However, she had also been behaving well lately and hadn’t been trying to tease him, especially when Tina and Milan were around. Vahn could see that the bond between the girls had strengthened in the month he had been away, likely because he hadn’t been around to ‘trigger’ her bad behavior.

After the first work block in his schedule, Vahn had a few hours during the second block where he was supposed to ‘relax’ so he had been going to the garden area, predominately with Naaza, Lili, Ryuu, and Fenrir, but sometimes accompanied by Ais, Tiona, Tione, and Lefiya. They still spent a lot of their free time together and both Tiona and Tione had become especially ‘clingy’ after the previous ‘event’. However, though they stuck to him whenever they had the opportunity, Tione had mellowed out an incredible amount and was a lot less stressed. She smiled more often and seemed to be getting along with Tiona more as well, so Vahn was happy to see the change.

The person that enjoyed the time in the garden the most, however, was Terra, the original reason Vahn had decided to spend his afternoons there. He was very interested in her general physiology and the way she could manipulate the entirety of the natural energies, with a special influence over Life, Nature, and Earth elemental energies. She was the key to increasing his own understanding in the relatively ‘rare’ affinities and was also the most important component for ensuring his idea about making the ‘fertility band’ was a success. Since she was able to absorb energy through her wings and scales, Vahn had originally gotten the idea from her as it was the perfect solution to the problem faced by the Elves.

Riveria, Ryuu, Lefiya, and even Eina all seemed to have a natural affinity towards her as well and Vahn had even seen Riveria and Terra having tea with each other. Because Elves were fond of nature, simply being around Terra was very pleasant for them and both Riveria and Ryuu likened her existence to a Tree of Life itself. Terra also got along well with them, though the primary focus she had in life seemed to be Vahn. Because of the ‘treatment’ that Fenrir enjoyed, Terra had no sense of ‘distance’ at all when it came to Vahn and was a bit ‘clever’ by nature. Vahn always had a weakness for more ‘mature’ girls, so she handled him somewhat easily and got him to pamper her in exchange for assisting him with his experiments.

In order to take ‘samples’ from her, Vahn had to secure them himself while simultaneously assisting with her grooming. She had taken baths with everyone, but it was somewhat difficult for her to clean her wings and the scales around her back on her own. Vahn would end up using a fibrous dry cloth to comb through her individual feathers, accounting for a total of 25,018 unique feathers. Each feather had very fine barbs and the vane was almost flawless, making them appear to be solid even though they were comprised of several thousand individual barbs. This made her wings ‘waterproof’ which was the main reason she needed to groom them and, as she had a ‘habit’ of placing her wings on the grass itself, it was a constant ‘problem’.

Fortunately, though she was a bit ‘high maintenance’, Vahn had learned a great deal from Terra and she had even allowed him to pluck some of her feathers for study. He also took samples of her blood, which was a very valuable material from most dragons, and was allowed to take some of her scales, all of which was done in her dragon form. Vahn discovered that her feathers, as long as there was something to trigger the mechanism, acted like antennae for absorbing and emitting natural energies. If he set them into a formation that would circulate and store mana, it was actually relatively simple to accumulate small amounts of energy over time. The biggest problem with the feathers is that the process was relatively slow and the feathers would ‘wilt’ away like a dying leaf without proper nourishment themselves.

As for Terra’s blood, it was the best possible ‘ink’ to use for drawing formations into fabric as it was incredibly conductive and served as a perfect conduit to transmit mana. It also had a unique golden color when it was exposed to light so it was quite nice to look at. However, Vahn didn’t plan to use it very often because he really didn’t like treating his subordinates as ‘resources’ to exploit. Unlike Fenrir, who would always regenerate perfectly, and Fafnir, whose scales were actually governed by a strange law he didn’t quite understand, Terra had to regrow her feathers and scales the old-fashioned way unless Vahn returned her into her magic core state. None of them actually liked being a magic core, describing it as a constrictive and lonely, so Vahn didn’t have any intentions of trying to ‘exploit’ them, even if it would be highly ‘beneficial’ to do so.

For the third block in his day, Vahn would spend it ‘studying’ and spending time with the girls within the Manor. They had originally been doing lessons in the morning, when everyone was taking breaks from training, but it was decided that everyone that was interested in the subjects would simply attend classes three times a week. Vahn and Riveria were often the people teaching the classes, but there were a few taught by Lefiya, Naaza, Chloe, and even Haruhime, who taught things like etiquette, sewing, and tea ceremony. There were also some ‘private’ lessons on the days Vahn was doing his research, where Haruhime helped ‘educate’ some of the more curious girls…

The biggest topic that was discussed, at least when Vahn was teaching, were things like cultivating your mentality, believing you can perform specific deeds, and imaging training. Vahn knew that the only thing required for the development of the soul, other than training and putting in effort, was a simple matter of perspective combined with comprehension of laws. Though he couldn’t inform everyone of the ‘rare’ skills they had, Vahn used the examples set by Maemi, Emiru, Haruhime, Lili, Tsubaki, and, surprisingly, Chloe. They all had to go through a ‘shift’ in their perspective, often related to powerful emotions or overcoming mental burdens, but they each had awakened their ‘rare’ skills. As an extreme example, Vahn even revealed the existence of his [Petting] Development Ability to show how perspective and comprehension could even create entirely new abilities…

To check the progress of everyone trying to put his theory to the test, Vahn often checked and updated Status Boards, during which he had been able to see the parameters and abilities of Chloe, Arnya, and Lunoire. Chloe had already awakened her Innate, [Cheshire Cat] but, for reasons unknown, it didn’t appear on her Status Board normally so it had gone undetected before Vahn noted it. However, the biggest surprise Vahn had received came in the form of Arnya’s parameters and skills, which had exceeded his expectations a great deal…

(A/N: I’m not going to put the descriptions for common skills/magic/abilities (UwU)~!)

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Chloe Lolo

LV. 4(+)

POW:???? (G219)->(G225)

END:???? (G204)->(G207)

DEX:???? (C698)->(B706)

AGI:???? (B701)->(B711)

MAG:???? (F372)->(F376)

Skills: [Cheshire Cat:E], [Stealth:A], [Featherfoot:A], [Masking:B], [Backstab:S], [Silent Strike:A]

Magic: [Pheles Cruz:B]

Development Abilities: [Abnormal Resistance:A], [Mixing:B], [Escape:B] [Masking]

Rank: B

Use: Temporary masks the scent of the user and makes them untraceable through normal methods. (Active Trigger)

[Backstab]

Rank: S

Use: Attacks dealt from behind have a guaranteed chance to deal a critical strike. (Active Trigger)

[Silent Strike]

Rank: A

Use: Causes attacks to carry no sound during movements. (Active Trigger)

[Pheles Cruz]

Rank: B

Use: Creates mirages of the user that move according to the user’s will.

Chant: Play Around~!

[Escape]

Rank: B

Use: Exponentially increases movement speed while running away from an enemy. The higher the degree of stress, the greater the efficacy of this ability.

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Lunoire Faust

LV. 4(+)

POW:???? (B703)->(B705)

END:???? (C678)->(C682)

DEX:???? (D511)->(D514)

AGI:???? (D523)->(D526)

MAG: I0

Skills: [Alks Mara:Innate(sealed)], [Phantom Left:B], [Illusory Right:B], [Knockout Blow:A], [Dragon Claw:C]

Magic: –

Development Abilities: [Fist Strike:A], [Crush:C], [Fist Fighter:B] [Phantom Left]

Rank: B

Use: Issue a strike with the left hand faster than the eye can follow. (Active Trigger)

[Illusory Right]

Rank: B

Use: Distorts space around the right arm to make an unpredictable strike. (Active Trigger)

[Knockout Blow]

Rank: A

Use: Punches have a high chance of ignoring defense.

[Dragon Claw]

Rank: C

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Use: Greatly increases grip strength. (Active Trigger)

[Fist Fighter]

Rank: B

Use: Increases proficiency in all striking techniques using fists. Increases critical hit rate.

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Arnya Fromel

LV. 4(+)

POW:???? (C630)->(C632)

END:???? (E419)->(E420)

DEX:???? (B835)->(B841)

AGI:???? (B809)->(B812)

MAG:???? (H116)->(H117)

Skills: [Nike:Innate(sealed)], [Disorienting Strike:A], [Axis Thrust:A], [Featherfoot:A], [Meteor Swarm:A], [Draft:A], [Limit Breaker:B], [War Cry:B]

Magic: [Spear of Lugh:Innate(sealed)], [Indomitus:H]

Development Abilities: [Abnormal Resistance:B], [Spearman:A], [Chain Attack:A] [Disorienting Strike]

Rank: A

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Use: Attack that disorients the opponent and causes confusion. (Active Trigger)

[Axis Thrust]

Rank: A

Use: Thrust dealt from an awkward angle using the hips as a pivot to break through an opponent’s guard.

[Meteor Swarm]

Rank: A

Use: A series of thrusts with a highly penetrative effect. Each successive thrust is stronger than the previous and has increased critical strike chance. Continuous thrusts reduce Endurance and rapidly deplete stamina. (Active Trigger)

[Draft]

Rank: A

Use: Increases the body’s ability to take in oxygen. Enhances all parameters with a massive boost to Agility.

[Limit Breaker]

Rank: B

Use: Removes the natural limiter of the body and doubles parameters for a short period of time. Causes severe damage to the muscles, bones, and even organs of the user if overused.

[War Cry]

Rank: B

Use: Issue a loud cry that can reduce the opponent’s parameters while temporarily increasing the user’s.

[Indomitus]

Rank: H

Use: Greatly increases all senses at the expense of proper judgment.

Chant: Cut Loose, Spirit of the Wild~!

[Spearman]

Rank: A

Use: Greatly increases proficiency and understanding of spear techniques. Improves spatial awareness and balance.

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Not only did Arnya have numerous skills, but she had nearly reached mastery with the majority of them while also possessing several means of increasing her parameters. Vahn had already known she could fight on par with Level 5’s, even though she was currently Level 4, but he hadn’t expected her Status to be quite so…unique. The fact that she had two Innates, including one that was related to a Goddess of Victory, showed that her potential was much higher than most people. She had been a prodigy ever since she was a child, and it became very apparent to Vahn why this was the case…

For nearly an entire week, Vahn’s schedule had continued in this manner and he had felt like things had begun to stabilize. He was expecting to have his prototype finished within the next 5-7 days, and his relationships with many of the girls had entered a peaceful and fun period where he got to spend time with them ‘normally’ instead of ‘intimately’. He still spent most evenings with several girls at a time, but it was nice to be able to spend quality time with them away from the bed. Things had developed to the point where he could almost casually cuddle, hold hands, and even simply talk with the girls, sometimes several at once. This often took place while he was either petting, grooming, or, as it was often called, ‘pampering’ the girls. If he had to ‘blame’ anyone for this change, it would have been Terra, Fenrir, and Haruhime, all girls who proactively sought his caretaking and grooming.

Unfortunately, things couldn’t always continue in such a peaceful manner and there were several things that Vahn needed to take care of in preparation for the future and to prevent problems from occurring. Loki hadn’t been around the Manor almost the entire week and, when she showed up in the afternoon on Monday, she did so with two other Goddesses in tow, Demeter and Eirene. Vahn had been planning on going to inspect his clubhouse and make the rounds to talk with his ‘friends’, so he had been caught a little off guard by the sudden appearance, especially since he had expected a forewarning from the girls on the network…

Seeing Vahn’s confusion, Loki laughed in a somewhat mischevious manner and said, “You said to bring them around on a weekday and I already saw there was a gap in your schedule today~. We had been eating lunch at a cafe discussing matters of the Alliance and decided to stop by since you weren’t busy, shishishishi~.” Though he had been somewhat surprised, Vahn wasn’t really upset and simply smiled in response to Loki before petting her head and saying in a gentle, “You haven’t been around lately. I was actually planning to stop by if you didn’t visit in the next few days…” Loki playfully licked her lips before leaning forward and saying, “You know, I’ve been waiting for you to visit me at the Twilight Manor every night…I have a lot of outfits I think you’d like…”

Vahn was very tempted by the offer but turned his eyes down to the slightly bulging belly of Loki and felt like that was a little ‘dangerous’, for a variety of reasons. She seemed to realize his thoughts as her eyes opened slightly as a ‘too-wide’ grin appeared on her face and she said, “There are few things I haven’t been able to try in my life…I think it would be fun to play dress up and have pregnant sex…kukukuku~.” Vahn felt a tremble down his spine at Loki’s words before biting the bullet and saying, “I’ll stop by in the future…maybe this weekend…” He figured that it would be better to get it out of the way early before Loki tried convincing him to have sex with her during her third trimester. Just imagining the somewhat thin and petite goddess with an overlarge belly made him feel strangely nervous…

Though they had been whispering, Demeter had known Loki for a very long time and could tell by Vahn’s reaction that they were ‘flirting’ with each other. She squinted with her droopy orange eyes before running her fingers through her honey-colored hair and saying, “Ara, ara, I wonder if we’re disturbing~? Perhaps we should come back later~?” As for Eirene, she simply stood in silence with a small smile on her very kind looking face. Her placid blue eyes and light-blue hair gave her an air of infallible elegance and almost ethereal beauty that was somewhat offset by the fact she wore a ceremonial white breastplate and carried a sword at her hip affixed to a golden sash.

Loki didn’t seem to mind Demeter’s question that much and just waved her hand dismissively and said, “Nah, it’s fine~. It’s better to deal with matters like this sooner rather than later. Besides, I don’t imagine the talks will go on for very long. Let’s just enjoy some tea and get to know each other better for a little while~.” Vahn also nodded and smiled to the two before bowing politely and saying, “Welcome to the Hearth Manor, Demeter, Eirene…it is a pleasure to be able to meet you again. As I had yet to thank you for your assistance and celebrate your joining the Alliance, please allow me to do so now.”

Demeter cupped her mouth and laughed in a strangely sensual manner with watery eyes, even though her aura was stable. She opened her droopy eyes a little and said, “My, you’re a very polite boy, Vahn. It was unfortunate that I hadn’t been able to speak with you much during the wedding, but I’d like to get to know you better in the future. I heard from one of my children that you did a great service for them, so I still owe you a debt of gratitude for that~.” Vahn accepting the Guild’s request and quickly discovering that the culprit was a Griffin had already spread through the City. The fact that he defeated it less than an hour after starting the investigation, combined with the fact that he didn’t accept a reward for his accomplishment, were popular topics in the pubs these days.

Waiting for Demeter to finish, Eirene blinked slowly before returning Vahn’s bow as a courtesy and saying, “It is an honor to be associated with such a capable young man. I may have to rely on you in the future, so please forgive me for any mild sleights as I’m unaccustomed to dealing with men in the mortal world.” Eirene was in no way a ‘promiscuous’ woman and had very few partners even in Heaven, so she was somewhat deferential to Vahn given his status as a Sage, the heroic feats he often performed, and his various accomplishments that set him apart from normal people. He also had a ‘noble’ character so she had seriously considered the matter before deciding to ‘rely’ on him.

Loki ‘cackled’ quietly before saying, “Well, it’s boring to just stand around talking like this, so let’s move to the Guest Residence and party~!” Even though it was early in the afternoon, Loki had absolutely no qualms about drinking the alcohol Vahn would undoubtedly provide. Under her insistence, Vahn escorted Loki by holding her arm as Eirene and Demeter followed close behind them. Vahn hadn’t missed the inference in Eirene’s words, so he assumed Loki had already brought up the matter to them. Considering they had left their escorts outside, it was highly likely both goddesses had already started to ‘prepare’ themselves for the future.

Vahn wasn’t too fond of the idea of having children with people he didn’t know, but he also understood it was sometimes necessary to make concessions for the benefit of everyone. He wasn’t the manipulative type so, even if he wasn’t too fond of Freya, he would still eventually give her what she desired simply to avoid discrediting his own integrity. However, even if he did have children with goddesses he didn’t love, Vahn would always insist that they are raised in the security of the Hearth Manor. He wanted to be involved in his children’s lives and ensure they reach adulthood safely, which was somewhat easier for the Vanir, as they reached maturity in a short five years…

Demeter was a very buxom and mature woman that seemingly had a kind, albeit somewhat airheaded disposition. She also had breasts that rivaled Hestia’s in size and was a well-known and influential goddess that ran charities and soup kitchens to provide food to the less fortunate. Her Familia contributed to nearly 80% of the produce eaten within the City and she spent nearly 30% of her Familia’s earning on feeding the poor. As for Eirene, Vahn couldn’t help but feel strangely unnerved by her because she was obviously a very kind goddess but seemed to be a bit ‘inflexible’ at the same time. As a goddess of Peace, Order, and Longevity, she was by nature impartial and fair to everyone. However, this didn’t mean she wouldn’t enact Justice and Vahn felt like she was a bit zealous as a result of her Divinities. She looked at him with a somewhat reverential gaze and Vahn felt a bit of pressure from her expectations…

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