Chapter 528: Weapons

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After helping Fafnir clean all its scales, which had taken far longer than Vahn had originally expected as there were months of buildup around them, he spent the rest of the evening playing around with Tina and Shizune, who had awoken after taking a nap for a few hours. So that they would be able to rest properly at bedtime, Vahn had gone out back with them, accompanied by Fenrir, Aki, Milan, and Hestia. Vahn set out a thick blanket for the girls to sit in before pulling out a frisbee from his inventory and throwing it for the two young girls to catch. Even though their parameters had yet to develop, they had the natural agility of a Cat Person and Kitsune so they were easily able to catch it, even when he threw it at tricky angles.

Fenrir had initially wanted to participate but, other than trying to ‘clap’ the frisbee with her paws, she wasn’t able to catch it easily and had given up trying to catch them normally after damaging three of them. Though she had great control over her claws nowadays, she still couldn’t retract them completely and, unless Vahn threw the frisbee at near-supersonic speeds it wasn’t that ‘fun’ for her. Unfortunately, high speeds meant she couldn’t exercise her precise control so she instead ended up ‘batting’ it with her tail in a surprisingly deft manner. She usually didn’t use her tail that much, not that she couldn’t, so it was an unexpected development that Vahn found was rather adorable.

After a short bath, followed by a long dinner, Vahn retired to his bedroom accompanied by the uncommon combination of Tiona, Tione, and Tsubaki. Ais had stayed with Lefiya for the evening since she felt bad about leaving her alone, and Tsubaki had felt like spending time with Vahn, even without him making the offer. Since the twins didn’t mind, Vahn had no problem with it at all and her presence actually made Tiona and Tione more docile than normal. Everyone was always more ‘reserved’ around the pregnant women so, having the mature Tsubaki along had mellowed out the two girls because they didn’t want to accidentally cause a problem. From Vahn’s perspective, he simply thought it was interesting having three brown-skinned beauties in the same room and did his best to properly tend to each of them…

Vahn awoke the next morning hugging Tsubaki from behind with his right hand resting on her belly as he aimlessly stroked it with his palm. After they had sex for around two hours, Tiona and Tione ended up leaving the room to go wash off before heading to their own bedroom to sleep. They realized they couldn’t ‘compete’ with one of the girls that were already pregnant so they eventually conceded defeat and allowed Vahn to spend some time alone with Tsubaki. Both girls had already taken medicine to prevent their own pregnancies after their last ‘battle’, but it was very obvious they wanted to have children of their own with the absentminded glances they often gave Tsubaki’s pregnant belly.

This world was one where you never knew when your last day would be, especially in a precarious situation like what they found themselves in. As an Exploration-Type Familia that also purported itself as a ‘Righteous’ Familia at the same time, it meant they were constantly putting their lives on the line to probe deeper in the Dungeon. They also had several enemies that would take advantage of any weaknesses they showed, though most of that was dealt with by the presence of the Alliance. Few people actually wanted to openly oppose the powerhouse the Alliance had become and there were far more individuals that sought benefits, either through direct collaboration or roundabout collusion.

Tsubaki didn’t mind being tended to by Vahn, but she eventually stirred as she turned over her body and said, “We can’t stay in bed forever…” before leaning forward and stealing a kiss. The moment he tried to invade her mouth with his tongue, she pushed against his chest and gave him a teasing look before shifting her way out of bed. One of the awkward things about having a large bed was that you had to ‘climb’ out of it. Vahn had a habit of watching the girls crawl away before leaving the bed himself, but it didn’t seem like Tsubaki was willing to play along this morning.

With a ‘sad’ sigh, Vahn rolled onto his heels before vanishing from the bed using [Shundo] and landing on his feet. He knew it was also time to start the day or they would be late for the morning training and the ‘presentation’ of Tina’s and Shizune’s weapons. Hephaestus had worked with Hestia to treat the metal for a total of three days before spending nearly twenty hours forging each weapon. He had been able to view and document the process, but Vahn wasn’t nearly at the level required to be of assistance and even Hestia simply provided her blood and ‘prayed’ to the treated metal. The most he could do was provide ‘flawless’ materials for Hephaestus to make use of, which she had been very grateful for since the quality was much higher than what could be found in the mortal world.

The final result of their combined efforts had been two relatively plain weapons that actually weren’t that strong, at least for now. Unlike other weapons, which were somewhat inert and lacked an aura, it was almost like the two growth weapons were alive and Vahn knew they possessed a great deal of potential. They even had the ability to slowly regenerate over time while the materials were able to absorb mana into the molecular structure of the base materials to enhance their ‘parameters’ further. Though they didn’t actually have Status Boards, they were weapons that possessed a Falna and would be able to become stronger alongside their users, this time being bound to Tina and Shizune, though not to the extent that it was fused with their soul. Anyone with the Hestia Familia crest would be able to use the weapons, but only the two girls would be able to make them grow stronger as part of their own blood had gone into the production process.

Tina’s sword ended up being a pure-white shortsword with a golden band running along its length. The basic structure of the blade was almost pure Adamantine while the core had been a complex triple-helixical structure comprised of Orichalcum, Holydite, and, to compliment Tina’s elemental affinity, Ice Dragon’s Horn. Instead of a basic water elemental affinity, Tina’s mana had an icy blue sheen to it so it was apparent her affinity was related to ice, even though her current Magic parameter was non-existent. She would easily be able to develop it in the future, however, since there would come a time when she had the benefit of a flame seed to aide her growth. Vahn had also given her a small bracelet, which he referred to as a [Mana Band], that would slowly absorb the mana within her body to stir it awake. It was a relatively weak magic item, but it would still help her develop her own mana naturally to the point where she could make use of it.

Shizune’s dagger, almost as if in contrast to Tina’s sword, was pure black in structure except that it also had a golden band adorning it. The blade itself was made out of Mithril since Shizune’s affinity for magic would require her to have a stronger catalyst. As for the core, it was comprised almost entirely out of a rare material called Lavacite, which was a stone that could be harvested from the gallbladder of a Salamander, which was a giant dragon-like lizard that lived in volcanoes. Shizune’s elemental affinity was predominately fire, but there was a bit of earth mixed in which is what caused Hephaestus to choose Lavacite, as it was a good catalyst for both. This meant that the edge of her dagger would heat up to incredible temperatures during use, requiring her to routinely soak it in the blood of a fire dragon to nourish the energy inside until her own mana was sufficient.

Though it wasn’t that uncommon to see some people watching the morning training, today everyone that generally resided in the Manor was present for the presentation of the girls’ weapons. Even Shizune, who was typically unfazed by being the center of attention, was very nervous and fidgeting during their light workout. They were supposed to be relaxing for the next two days, but morning exercise was good for the body and it was important to not slack off. When it finally came time to present the weapons, which would become lifelong companions of the two girls, everyone stood in a large circle with smiles on their faces as Hestia opened the cloths and presented the two arms.

Tina reached out with shaky hands and nearly dropped the sword at first, unprepared for the unexpected weight. As it was made of Adamantine, it was much heavier than a normal sword but she would one day find that the weight was comfortable in her hands. Taking into consideration the growth of the girls, their weapons accounted for their future development. Both of Tina’s parents were somewhat tall for Cat People, so she was expected to be near Milan in height in the future. Once she managed to adjust to the weight, Tina clutched it tightly with dazzling eyes as she said, “T-Thank nyou, Hestinyaa-samnyaaaaaa~!” Toward the end of her words, Tina became flustered by her own speech pattern and blushed deeply as she shouted her gratitude.

Hestia showed a gentle smile as she reached out and stroked Tina’s heard, saying in a soothing tone, “Continue to work hard, Tina, so that all of your dreams can come true. Remember that this sword can only show its true power if you put in the effort to grow alongside it. Treat it like an important ally and it will never betray you…just like your family will always be at your side, ensuring you grow healthily and live a happy life.” When speaking of ‘family’, Hestia was talking about everyone with the Hestia Familia, or more specifically everyone within the Hearth Manor.

Tina bobbed her head like a chicken as she clutched the sword in her hands even tighter as she cast a glance at Vahn. As for Shizune, though she was also very nervous, she managed to receive her weapon without almost dropping it and inspected the beautiful black blade before smiling and saying, “Thank you, Hestia-sama, and everyone else. I’m not even sure how I would have lived if not for the kindness I have received from ‘everyone’…” Shizune had originally been planning to return to the Far East and ‘hopefully’ become the concubine or mistress of someone so that she could start her own family. Now, however, she had a Step-Mother that cared for her, a prospective lover that showed her kindness, and several friends and companions that treated her like she mattered.

Shizune had spent many years subjected to the ‘whims’ and ‘needs’ of other people, but now she lived freely and was near the center of one of the most powerful and influential groups in the entire world. Instead of wasting her life away hoping for a better life, she was now living a life straight out of a fairy tale. Much like Tina, Shizune cast a somewhat fervent glance at Vahn but also had enough wherewithal to smile to Milan, Lunoire, Tsubaki, and many other girls…girls that she once considered far above her, to the point where they weren’t even comparable, that now treated her like a companion and cared for her. She knew it was the ‘favor’ of Vahn that gave her this life so she wanted to do her best at living the new life he had ‘graced’ her with…

When the two girls received their weapons, everyone clapped happily before moving forward and congratulating them. Milan hugged the two girls with tears in her eyes, happy they were growing up while simultaneously feeling sad at the same time. Vahn, having felt the gazes of the two girls and seeing their auras, had also joined in on the celebrations before lifting them both and carrying them inside once everyone was ready to eat breakfast. They were both small and light, even with the added weight of Tina’s weapon, so he could easily carry them like children one on each arm. At least for the time being, Vahn treated them similar to how he would treat his daughters because, though it hadn’t happened too often, they still called him ‘Papa’ on occasion.

Vahn’s sides were ‘awarded’ to the two girls during breakfast and they had turned the event into a long celebration that nearly reached the normal time for lunch. Hephaestus had explained, for the benefit of the girls and everyone present, how the weapons functioned and the requirements for strengthening them. Only through actual combat could the weapons grow stronger, and they would never outgrow the capabilities of the users. If they treated them seriously, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that their growth weapons could exceed the standard of most Masterpieces, even those normally forged by Hephaestus. This made the sword in Tina’s hands feel especially heavy while everyone else at the table marveled at the fortune of the two girls. The only people that seemed ‘immune’ to the existence of the growth weapons were Ais, Tiona, Lefiya, Haruhime, Mikoto, and Naaza…

Seeing the reactions of everyone present, especially the listful glance he earned from Tione, Vahn decided he would need to resolve the matter of the girls’ weapons in the future. Even Ais’ and Tiona’s weapons weren’t quite at the level he would like for future battles, so there was a lot of room for improvement. As they wouldn’t be facing any enemies that necessitated S-Rank weapons, Vahn didn’t have to forge them too quickly, but he still needed to start preparing their ‘templates’. He planned to give the girls named weapons in the future, using the [Keeper of the Akashic Tome], so proper research on the materials, construction, and the records he intended to use were necessary. Until then, he would equip them with items obtained through the gacha since they were oftentimes better than the basic equipment he could forge. They also had all kinds of effects that increased his knowledge of forging so there were almost no downsides other than the potential OP requirements. However, even Maemi and Emiru had earned him enough OP to pay for their [Saints Halberd]s so he didn’t really cause of concern…

Figuring it was better to start sooner rather than later, especially since the celebration seemed to be stretching into lunch, Vahn brought up the topic and took suggestions from everyone. Hephaestus and Tsubaki also gave their input, which often allowed the girls to make more informed decisions about their future weapons, so things had gone smoother than Vahn had initially expected. Tione wanted a pair of swords, but she was also comfortable with using a spear and chakrams. Milan and Aki didn’t have many requirements at all, other than their swords should be balanced and between 50-60cm in length. Ryuu was fond of her swordstaff, but it was only a B-Rank item so Vahn convinced her to regard the matter seriously and drew up a template for a brand new swordstaff, this one carved from the branch of a world tree. Vahn found the incredibly rare material in his shop available for 200,000OP per branch and could use it to make powerful magical weapons in the future…

Chloe’s weapons were both B-Rank daggers, but the poisons she made use of could even reach A-Rank at times, making them very lethal weapons. She had been using them for many years so Vahn agreed to re-forge them to have the same shape and weight so that she could continue using what she was comfortable with. Arnya’s spear was actually an S-Rank weapon that Vahn couldn’t even identify through his Inventory, so she refused using another weapon for the time being. Her weapon was actually the legacy of her clan’s school of spearmanship and she couldn’t allow herself to use another weapon until she had passed it on to the next generation…

Lunoire’s gauntlets were only B-Rank, but she was very proficient in fighting with a weapon and settled for something similar to the [Atlas’s Grip]s worn by Lili. As for Lili, she was fine with using her A-Rank naginata for the time being since she already had a pair of powerful equipment forged by Vahn. The same could be said for Naaza, Ais, Tiona, Haruhime, Mikoto, Lefiya, Emiru, and Meami, but Vahn still got their input on other supplemental equipment while promising to reforge things like Tiona’s [Dance of the Amazon] to be even stronger. This accounted for nearly everyone and Vahn had been preparing to wrap things up when, against his expectations, Preasia actually asked if she could have something forged as well.

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Preasia was a non-combatant, but she knew that reaching Level 2 was necessary if she wanted to one day get the [Mixing] Development Ability. She also didn’t want to be one of the only girls that didn’t receive something forged by Vahn and, after a fair amount of discussion amongst everyone present, settled on the idea of using a shield and spear as her primary weapons. Vahn even humored the idea of her using ‘only’ a shield, as she actually had very powerful legs suited for ‘charging’ things, but figured she wouldn’t be comfortable fighting up close. A spear would allow her to stay back a fair distance while a shield would allow her to deflect attacks since she seemed like the type to ‘flinch’ when in duress. It was also highly likely her Innate was related to defense, so Vahn was interested to see if it would ever awaken in the future. However, before they allowed her to enter the Dungeon, Preasia needed to start training alongside the other girls and she would have to ‘earn’ the shield Vahn would forge for her…

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