Chapter 531: ‘Guests’ at the Gates

Vahn and Riveria spent a few minutes explaining the situation to the rest of the girls within the Manor, even though many of them already had an idea of what was going on. It was decided that the meeting would be attended by Vahn, Riveria, Hestia, and Terra while Loki, Hephaestus, and the rest of the girls, would avoid making an appearance. The strongest person in the Elven Kingdom’s procession was a Level 5, but he likely wouldn’t take any action and was just the Commander of the escort. As for the rest of the soldiers, they were all around Level 2 with only a single Level 3 present as the Commander’s Lieutenant. Alosrin was Level 4, but his parameter development would be substandard at best. As for his two ‘consorts’, they were around mid-Level 3 but would likely not be a problem.

Loki had initially wanted to ‘spook’ the procession by arriving on the back of Fafnir with a bit of flare, but hearing the plan of Vahn and Riveria made her snicker and change her mind. If they scared away Alosrin before goading him a bit, the negotiations would break down and he might return to the Kingdom to issue a formal complaint and ‘strip’ Vahn’s title from him. By letting him act arrogantly for a little while, they would be able to lure him into a trap and then, if he was unwilling to back down, that is when Fafnir and Terra would make their appearances. Terra knew she was essentially the ‘bait’, but she didn’t seem to mind it at all since Alosrin ‘threatened’ the things she wanted to protect. Riveria, though maybe not her friend, was one of her closest companions and confidants, so Terra didn’t have a favorable impression Alosrin at all.

As they were preparing for the ‘confrontation’, Loki had brought the group to a stop and said, “Vahn shouldn’t be the one to greet the procession at the gate. Have Emiru and Maemi inform them that you are waiting at the Guest Residence and make them come to you. He’ll probably try to do something like making you wait even longer, but that doesn’t really matter in the end. Also, just in case he tries to do anything ‘cheeky’, Eirene has already been informed of the situation and has several guards in the area while a pre-emptive report has been made to the Guild…” There was another important matter, but Loki decided to keep it under wraps for now since it likely wouldn’t be relevant.

Vahn considered Loki’s words for a moment but was somewhat hesitant to expose Maemi and Emiru, two Level 2’s, to an entire procession of guards that were stronger than them. However, it was also a method to lower their guards since they would suspect the strength of the twins reflected the standing of the Hestia Familia, at least a little bit. They could also fuse together if things escalated and their combined parameters would even allow them to hold out against the Commander for a short while. After looking over at the girls, they showed small smiles and said, “Please, allow us to help, Vahn-sama~” Seeing they were willing, Vahn nodded his head but warned, “If they give you any trouble, or try to harass you, don’t be afraid to simply leave them standing at the gate. I don’t really care about the title of Sage at all if the Elven Kingdom doesn’t have the sense to send someone competent to represent them.”

Though Vahn knew that not everyone within the Elven Kingdom was as bad as Alosrin, the information he had acquired from Ryuu’s [Hearts Desire] and his discussions with Riveria led him to believe it wasn’t a pleasant place. There were also several historical records of their mistreatment of other races and it was a fact that, other than the Dwarves, the High Elves held almost every other race in contempt. They had no alliances, condemned the very existence of Orario, and proactively killed hunters on the fringes of the Western Forest, even though it wasn’t truly their territory. Ironically, even though they seemed to scorn other races, there were a large number of slaves traded in the underground societies in the Elven Kingdom and they even bartered Half-Elves as ‘indentured servants’ to the Iron Hills. Refusal to submit was the same as accepting death, so a large number of Half-Elves, at least those living outside of Orario, existed within the Iron Hills and served within the bars, inns, and brothels, of the Dwarves…

Instead of walking out through the front door, Vahn followed the underground passage that connected to the Guest Residence alongside Riveria, Terra, and Hestia. As the Goddess of the Hestia Familia, she obviously had to be present for important discussions, while Terra was meant to ‘trigger’ Alosrin’s demise by simply being a beautiful and exotic woman. She had a natural affinity with the Elves that went both ways, so Alosrin would likely have no resistance against her at all. Just sensing her aura would probably make him want to ‘possess’ her for himself, and this was without knowing what kind of entity she was. He would likely assume she was a spirit, though Vahn had no intention of hiding her status as a ‘tamed monster’ that he had helped evolve. If this information was actually revealed, Alosrin would probably want her even more because a spirit-like sentient monster was something incredibly rare and inordinately valuable.

Once they reached the Guest Residence, Vahn let Hestia take the center seat on the sofa while he sat to her left with Riveria taking the seat to her right. Terra stood behind everyone, a little bit away from Vahn, and there was another sofa opposite of them separated by an ornate wooden table that had been exquisitely carved by a [Master Artisan]. Vahn set out two pots of tea, one for their use and one for Alosrin’s, a subtle slap in the face by forcing the arrogant man to serve himself or ignore the tea outright. Though he wasn’t exactly impatient, especially since he was surrounded by three beautiful woman, Vahn still peeked outside to try and discern what was going on. Unfortunately, his domain couldn’t reach the gate from the Guest Residence so he was in the dark until things started to develop. Without any other options, Vahn pulled out his communication scroll and the entire group paid attention to see if there was any new information…

Though they already wore maid outfits most of the time, Emiru and Maemi had returned to their rooms to wear ‘proper’ attire since they would be ‘greeting’ guests. They reluctantly removed their ‘victory underwear’ and neatly folded it at the side before changing into what could easily be considered a battle-maid outfit. There was a non-negligible chance that a fight would erupt and they wanted to be properly prepared for such an occurrence. Imagining the ‘disgusting’ High Elf getting a peek up their skirts made both girls gag, which was the reason why they took off their favorite underwear. They were so put off by the thought of him seeing them in ‘cute’ or ‘sexy’ clothing that they chose to wear dark pantyhose overtop relatively plain underwear. As for the rest of their outfit, they wore a black and white maid attire that also had a layer of protective leathers underneath it. They also wore corsets that had thin metal plating before tying their hair up in short ponytails.

The dresses they wore had long multi-layered sleeves so both girls were able to wear armguards underneath while, in lieu of shin guards, they had on a pair of black boots that covered more than three-quarters of their calves and had metal plating in the toe section. Ever since they had seen the designs Vahn had drawn for their ‘Valkyrie’ outfits, both girls had put together an ensemble that would help them practice for when they eventually got to wear the armor Vahn made for them. Once they were finished preparing, both girls grabbed their [Saint’s Halberd]s and prepared to ‘escort’ their ‘guests’ to the Guest Residence where their Master was waiting. Since the guards of the procession carried their spears openly and haughtily, the twins didn’t see any reason not to carry their own weapons…

Loki had been waiting for them when they exited and it sent a shiver down their backs when they saw the goddess smile and appraise them. Before they could inquire, Loki had already answered, “It’s good that the two of you prepared properly. Heed my advice…if things get dangerous, don’t be afraid to take a stand and make a scene. It would give us a lot of leverage in the future if we could blame them for causing trouble first…also, make sure you have your [Effigy of the Hero] on hand, though it shouldn’t be necessary. We have allies watching the proceedings, so don’t think you’ll be stuck fighting alone if things do escalate~.” Though they weren’t participating, every combatant within the Manor was ready to move on a moments notice, each member being more than a match for Alosrin’s escort. Ais alone could probably tear through the majority of the escort in an instant and shouldn’t have much trouble against the Commander either.

Though they were somewhat fearful of Loki, Maemi and Emiru nodded their heads and said, “Yes, Loki-sama…” in concert before heading towards the front door of the Manor. They understood her words well and were even prepared to put their lives on the line if necessary. After all, once they had obtained their weapons, both girls had made their resolution to serve as Vahn’s ‘knights’ and ‘maids’ regardless of the struggles they would face. He was always showing his care and concern for them, so being able to help him like this made both girls feel excited…because they knew Vahn would ‘reward’ them plentily if they did well.

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After leaving the Manor, they walked down the long passage leading to the entrance and immediately alerted the guards that had been watching the front door. There was an incredibly handsome ‘young’ man standing at the very front and he had golden hair and pale pink eyes as he stood tall and proud. However, Emiru and Maemi couldn’t help but comment to each other, through their shared connection, that he wasn’t nearly as handsome as their Master. He also radiated an aura of arrogance and confidence that gave them a bitter taste in the back of their throats that almost caused them to gag. Though he was similarly attired like the rest of the escort, his armor was marginally more adorned with golden ‘vines’ that had small leaves growing on them. Unlike the other members of the troupe, he carried a large green banner with a golden tree sewn into it while a thin ceremonial sword was situated at his waist.

The twins could feel a powerful aura radiating from the man, but it wasn’t much compared to the auras they had been exposed to over the last few months. He seemed very impressed by his own strength, but Emiru and Maemi understood he was like a frog in a well seeing how haughtily he presented himself without knowing anything about the situation. The Level of everyone within the Alliance was documented so, if they had enough sense to do a bit of research, they wouldn’t have tried to ‘force’ the situation like this at all. It was like trying to break a rock with an egg…even if you have forty eggs, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to crush the rock, especially when that rock was part of the ‘mountain’ that was the Alliance…

With their most business-like smiles, Maemi and Emiru approached the gate with their backs straight and showed no signs of deference to the smiling Commander. Though his brows furrowed slightly, he kept his bearing and said, “We are the escort of the Royal Envoy, Alosrin Els Lainu-sama. Inform your Master of our arrival and have him make haste to greet us properly. We have been kept waiting for far longer than is acceptable.” Though he spoke softly, the Commander’s words were very abrasive and they had a biting undertone to them. At 180cm, he towered over the 148cm Maemi and Emiru yet, as if he weren’t satisfied with looking down on them normally, he raised his chin slightly and turned his eyes down at them.

Completely unphased by the man’s behavior, the girls continued to smile and, without bowing or offering any form of greeting, said, “Our Master is waiting for the Envoy within the Guest Residence. If the Envoy is ready to meet him, we will happily serve as his escort.” As they spoke, a small slot opened at the side of the carriage so the Commander withheld his rebuke as he gave a scornful look at the two girls and listened close to the window. Though they strained their ears, Maemi and Emiru couldn’t hear what was said but it seemed to please the Commander who looked at them with an amused expression on his face. When the window clacked to a close, he walked forward and gestured at Emiru, saying, “You can run off and fetch your Master. As for you, the Envoy-sama has decided to give you his favor and liberate you from your services. If you perform well, he will also extend his kindness to your sister…”

Mirroring each other’s movements, Maemi and Emiru turned to each other and tilted their heads to the side in confusion. Their smiling expression hadn’t broken in the slightest, but there was incredulity in their eyes as they had a mental conversation with each other. They had never seen someone behave so arrogantly before, even amongst the ‘clients’ that had taken an interest in them when they had become slaves. Even when the Commander grew impatient and tried to call out to them, they continued talking amongst themselves before turning back and saying, “Our Master will be waiting when the Envoy has finished his preparations. Please knock on the barrier when you have come to a decision~.”

The Commander displayed a sour look and asked, “Do you feign to speak on behalf of your Master? Has he so little sense that he would shun greeting an Envoy from the Elven Kingdom?” This time, only Maemi turned back as her smile turned into one of scorn and she said, “There is a clear difference in status between our Master and the Envoy, though it isn’t quite as you seem to believe~” Without sparring the man another glance, Maemi squinted her eyes happily and turned away to rejoin Emiru in their departure. Moments after she turned, a striking sound collided against the barrier as the Commander shouted, “You cur! The Elven Kingdom will not stand for this insult!”

Seeing that the twins paid him no heed, the Commander struck at the barrier once again, this time managing to pierce through it slightly with his blade. He wanted to teach the two ‘servant-girls’ a lesson before demanding reparations from their Master later. At no point did it cross his mind that the two girls were close companions of Vahn and not truly ‘servants’, as they looked like nothing more than the staff that tended to the various palatial residences of the High Elves. Just as he was about to strike the barrier again, however, the door to the carriage opened as Alosrin stepped out. He buttoned up his tunic as Sierra and Pram stepped out behind him, the prior on shaky legs and with a pale complexion.

Before the twins could get too far, Alosrin spoke out in a firm tone, “Halt your steps, servant girls. You stand before Alosrin Els Lainu, noble High Elf of the Lainu Duke Household. Unless you plan to bring war raining down on your Master’s head, you will show the proper courtesies someone of my peerage is afforded. Now, I have decided that you are not worth liberating as I’ve no patience for house-training animals. I will give you an opportunity to change my mind. however, if you do as you’re told and run along to grab your Master. I’ll allow you to choose between yourselves which of you will express your ‘sincerity’. Fear not, as I’m a magnanimous and benevolent noble so you will be shown leniency if you work hard.”

Though they had stopped to hear what Alosrin had to say, Maemi and Emiru once again looked into each other’s eyes as they tilted their heads even further to the side. They realized now that simply having a handsome Master would not have made them truly happy as slaves. Before now, they didn’t truly understand how ‘arrogant’ people could be and their gratitude towards Vahn had increased a great deal. After coming to a decision, they looked toward the confidently smiling Alosrin and said, “If you are prepared, we can escort you to our Master, but we’ll have to decline your other ‘offers’. Unfortunately, our standards for who we ‘serve’ are beyond your capabilities, Mr. Envoy-Sama~.”

Alosrin frowned deeply and muttered, “This is why Beast Humans are nothing more than animals playing at being people. Instead of showing gratitude for the kindness offered to them, they are too stupid to even recognize opportunity when its presented right in front of their muzzles. So be it, tell your Master I will not forget this sleight and that his title of ‘Sage’ is officially revoked. If he would like to change my mind, we’ll all get to find out how much value you hold to him…puhahahahaha~!”

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After his biting words fell, Alosrin noticed that Maemi and Emiru didn’t show any reaction at all so he shook his head and muttered, “Stupid animals…” and gestured to the Commander to prepare for their departure.

However, instead of giving the order to depart, Alosrin waiting inside the carriage with his chin supported by his arm and observed the Manor. He expected Vahn to come running out shortly after the girls went inside but grew agitated after several minutes passed in silence. Though he had the right to strip Vahn’s qualifications as a Sage, his father would berrate him endlessly if he did it without verifying the claims Riveria had made. If Vahn truly found a solution to the Elves infertility issue, he would become the laughing stock of his people if he tried to claim Vahn wasn’t ‘qualified’ to be a Sage. Worst-case scenario, he might even be tried for treason for making an enemy out of someone that could be instrumental to the development of the Elven Kingdom in the future.

Most importantly, however, was the fact that Alosrin had only accepted this mission because he wanted to bring Riveria back to the Elven Kingdom. He knew she had to be within the Manor but, unless he could get to her, there was no way he would be able to pressure her to return with him. He had already waited for several years to get his hands on her and, now that he was so close, Alosrin felt very agitated to be leaving so simply. Even in the Elven Kingdom, Riveria’s reputation was well-known and, even though many High Elves had purported her as a ‘traitor’, that opinion had faded as her feats continued to increase. She was now mentioned in passing by several people as the ‘goal’ other Elves should aspire towards, as her worldly knowledge and magical capabilities made her one of the most prolific Mages in the entire world.

After the amount of effort his father had put in to arrange his marriage to such a woman, there is no way Alosrin could return to the Kingdom without meeting her at least one time. All of their current heirs were lackluster and had been slowly draining the family’s resources to sustain their status. If they couldn’t get some ‘fresh blood’, they may lose their status as a Duke Family within the next fifty years. There was simply too much on the line and Alosrin wasn’t willing to give up his own lifestyle so easily. He had even formulated a plan to ‘verify’ Vahn’s claim to have solved the Elven infertility issue by testing it on Riveria herself.

Though they hadn’t officially undergone the ceremony, Alosrin had managed to get his hands on their marriage agreement and could use it as a pretense to force her on the matter. One of the reasons why her reputation was so good amongst the High Elves is because of the amount of information she had sent back to benefit their people. It was well-known that Riveria had an inordinate sense of responsibility towards their people and Alosrin intended to make use of it for his own benefits…

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