Chapter 544: Salon (1/2)

Tina’s growth was very good for only three hours of fighting, but it was primarily due to the fact that she had never really gained exilia before and each fight was a real trial for her. Even so, it was still very impressive and her parameters had effectively tripled, at the very least. Once she had completely woken up from her earlier daze, Tina was full of energy and very excited. Though it was only a measly five points, the fact that her Magic parameter had started to increase made her very happy while Vahn also found it rather interesting. This meant that, though it wasn’t by much, Tina was being influenced by the Mentor’s Mark even when it wasn’t glowing.

After the bath, Vahn headed straight for the salon as it was right next to the onsen area and was only separated by a single wall and a waiting area. There was a very thin barrier at the entrance that prevented the humidity from the onsen from causing condensation to build upon the various sofas that were set out for the girls that wanted to experience his services. Taking the opportunity presented, Hestia followed closely behind wearing nothing but a bath towel as her hair still dripped with water. Tina also sat down in the waiting area, though she had enough sense to dry off properly before taking one of the available bathrobes. As for Milan, she went into the larger Manor to update everyone’s status for the network and inform the other girls what was going on.

Vahn typically only accepted between 4-6 slots on the days he did beauty treatments, so there was sometimes a bit of ‘competition’ for who would be able to get the opportunity. Of course, to keep things orderly, people couldn’t sign up multiple times and they had to give other people a chance before submitting their names again. The only exception to this was when Vahn wasn’t busy or had specifically wanted to tend to someone. Sometimes he would feel like pampering the girls he was interacting with, and there was nothing anyone could say about it unless they wanted to ‘complain’ to Vahn directly.

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Once they were in the room, Hestia slipped out of her towel as if it was the natural thing to do and asked, “What kind of things are you going to be practicing today~? I’m willing to try anything, as long as you treat my body well, ehehehe~.” Hestia was especially bubbly today, so Vahn wondered if there was something good that had happened. Thinking there was no harm in finding out, Vahn asked, “Hestia, why are you in such a good mood today? Not that I’m complaining, as your smiling face makes me want to smile as well.” As he spoke, Vahn really did have a smile on his face as Hestia’s was rather infectious.

Hestia climbed up on Vahn’s massage table and said in a chipper tune, “I’m just happy everyone is out and about doing their best~! The last two weeks were a little tense because everyone was cooped up inside the Manor most of the time. Though it can be a little lonely in the Manor at times, I like it better when everyone is happy and working hard to make their dreams come true!” Hestia knew she was ‘blessed’ to have the makings of a powerful Familia shortly after she came down from Heaven and entered the Mortal World. She also had a boy she had dedicated her everything to and had even, against the expectations of many, become ‘marginally’ closer to Loki, her former archrival. Most of her morning, while Vahn was in the Dungeon, had been spent with Tsubaki, Aki, and Arnya, and she had been in high tensions after the girls let her touch their bellies…

Vahn smiled as he walked over to Hestia, simultaneously stroking her silky black hair and removing the water that still clung to it. Her happiness was his happiness as well, so Vahn was in a great mood after seeing the beautiful goddess playfully kicking her legs as she reminisced about something. Once her hair was dry, Vahn said, “There isn’t really time for full-body treatment, so I’ll give you a special service today that includes a leg and foot massage. You always walk around barefoot, so I often find myself worrying about your feet, hahaha~.” Still naked, Hestia lifted up her right leg in a playful manner and said, “I’ll leave it to you, Vahn~.” before laughing as Vahn grabbed her foot and ran his index finger along it.

Though it was a bit ‘intense’ with Hestia being completely in the buff, Vahn had her lay down on the table as he helped her stretch her legs, which were surprisingly inflexible and loosened up some of her muscles. She had been running and doing basic exercises to increase her stamina, but Hestia still spent a fair amount of time just lazing about. He didn’t even see her around the Manor that much unless she was talking with Syr, Hephaestus, Eina, or playing with the youth troupe. Other than at meals, bath time, and their occasional nightly rendezvous, Hestia was either cooped up in her room or within one of the studies in the East Wing eating snacks. Maemi had complained to him in the past about Hestia turning one of the rooms into a ‘nest’ of garbage, which he had discovered to be true as there were several wrappers for cookies and other baked goods all over the place…

By massaging her ‘tense’ muscles, while putting a bit of pressure onto her leg, Vahn helped Hestia raise her leg all the way to her shoulder after a few minutes before switching to the other. She had complained about being less flexible than the other girls, so Vahn was trying to loosen up her joints by ‘exploiting’ his [Hands of Nirvana]. Hestia would undoubtedly feel very sore later, but she rested plentily and should recover pretty quickly. Afterward, Vahn massaged her thighs and calves, eventually having to promise to spend the night with her after flipping her switch. Lastly, as was his original intent, Vahn massaged Hestia’s soft feet one at a time and also wriggled around her individual toes to see if he could discover her ‘secret’. Though it was nourished by her Divine Soul, Hestia’s current material body was that of a mortal and Vahn couldn’t quite understand how she was able to walk freely, irrespective of temperature and the roughness of the ground, without harming her feet.

As there were already people waiting, Vahn only spent thirty minutes massaging Hestia’s body before she began to materialize her raiment while he leaned over her body and shared a long kiss with her for the last two minutes. Vahn then sent Hestia on her way after giving her butt a very light squeeze, causing her to give him a look of blame before leaving the salon ‘obediently’. As the goddess of the Familia, and one of the core members surrounding Vahn, she had to set a good example even if she wanted to ‘get even’ with Vahn for teasing her. She didn’t actually mind his touch, but her body wasn’t in a ‘stable’ condition right now and her legs had actually started to ache a bit. After sending Tina in, Hestia made her way straight to her room before pulling out her communication scroll and crawling snugly into her blankets. She wanted to talk for a bit before going to sleep in preparation for the evening…

Tina came into the salon ‘clutching’ her bathrobe with a fair amount of nervousness because, unlike the past, Milan didn’t enter with her and she felt a little giddy being alone with Vahn. Seeing her reaction, Vahn acted as professionally as possible and asked in a calm tone, “What kind of treatment would you like, Tina?” Given the fact she had worn a bathrobe, Vahn already had an idea of what she was thinking about, but there was a fair chance she had changed her mind after sitting outside of a half-hour. However, this didn’t seem to be the case as she had started to take slightly deeper breaths as her heart began to race quickly and she untied the bathrobe and said, “I-I, m-massage~nya!?” Vahn wanted to remark that he would be the one doing the massage, but he just nodded his head with a smile and lowered the massage table for her.

After realizing what she had said, Tina blushed fiercely before peeling of the pale yellow bathrobe and revealing a light grey sports bra and a pair of cream-colored panties with a bit of a flushed undertone to her slightly fair skin. She climbed up on the massage table with Vahn’s help and buried her face into the cushioned hole so she wouldn’t have to look directly at him. It was very nerve-wracking for her to be alone in the same room as the boy she liked wearing nothing but her underwear and Tina wished she had asked her mother to come with her. She had complete trust in Vahn, but she couldn’t help but feel very self-conscious because there was a slight desire in her heart that something would happen…

Vahn had a wry smile and shook his head slightly because he could see Tina’s aura flaring up wildly, a clear indicator of the frustration she was experiencing. To ease her mind a bit, Vahn said in a calm tone, “I’ll help ease any tensions in your body so you’ll be able to adapt to the increase in your parameters more easily. You can help me out by taking long and deep breaths to calm down your heart rate…” Vahn purchased an incense from the shop that could help relax the body and mind, setting a few of them around the room while Tina focused on breathing.

No matter how tense a person felt, if they took several deep breaths in a row it would help them calm down, especially if they were laying down. The way the blood flowed to the head allowed the increased oxygen to literally ‘cool’ them down a bit while causing a small amount of endorphins to release after around twenty sequential breaths. There was even a technique he had gone through when studying other massage techniques that discussed having a person take one-thousand deep breaths at a specific tempo that would allow the mind to enter a deep meditative state. This would also cause a phenomenon where their entire body vibrated and would allow him to identify any hidden sequelae that may have escaped his notice previously. Even the [Flying Heavenly Sword Scroll] had various breathing techniques that would help the mind focus after obtaining a state of supreme relaxation.

By the time he had finished setting up the incense, Tina had already calmed down a lot so Vahn continued speaking softly as he said, “Instead of a normal massage, I’m going to focus on specific muscles that are tense. If you have any specific joint pain, let me know and I’ll take care of that as well.” Instead of answering his question, Tina kept focusing on her breathing because her aura had flared up a bit when she heard him speaking to her. Vahn smiled slightly before his eyes turned blue and he inspected her body, not with the intention of being invasive, but to make sure there were no underlying problems that could cause larger issues in the future. He noticed that her heart was still beating very quickly, so Vahn placed two fingers on her back and infused a gentle stream of energy into her body to allow her to calm down.

With his assistance, combined with her steady breathing rhythm, Tina quickly reached a calm state and was close to falling asleep after around two minutes. Vahn could see the electrical signals coming from her brain had started to slow down, making her enter a state a strange state that he knew could be very dangerous if he was a ‘bad’ guy. In this type of state, there were large gaps in the mind that could be exploited if the person was receptive to suggestions. Vahn had researched hypnosis and illusions a bit after falling into Haruhime’s several times. He had been very interested in genjutsu from Naruto as well, so Vahn was somewhat interested in the subject and got a bit carried away when he ‘downloaded’ a few books from the shop.

Though he didn’t plan on doing anything to her, Vahn was somewhat curious about Tina’s state and decided to ask her a few questions to see if his deduction was accurate. After thinking for a bit, Vahn asked, “Tina, are you happy living here in the Manor?” while gently pressing into some of her pressure points. A few seconds of silence permeated through the air before Tina replied in a sleepy monotone, “I’m…very happy…every day is fun…and I have lots of friends…” Vahn smiled because he noticed that Tina didn’t ‘prioritize’ mentioning him in her first couple of answers. This showed she was genuinely enjoying interacting with the other girls and was pleased with her current lifestyle.

Out of curiosity, Vahn asked, “Do you have a favorite friend?” while continuing to move his hands in a highly practiced manner. He was surprised with how much tension was in her body, likely a result of her sudden increase in parameters and her first trip into the Dungeon. Tina was quiet for several seconds again, like considering her answer, before saying, “Tiona is very fun to play with…but I think I like Fenrir best…she is a good girl…” Vahn nodded his head and said, “Yes, Fenrir is a very good girl…though she can be a bit mischevious…hahaha.” Though he didn’t form it as a question, Tina seemed to consider it one as she eventually said, “Fenrir loves Vahn a lot…it’s a little scary at times…I’m envious of her…”

Vahn paused for a brief moment before saying in a calm tone, “You don’t have to be envious of Fenrir…just do your best to be happy, Tina, that’s all that really matters.” Tina nodded her head, even though she had her face in the cushioned hole, before saying, “Fenrir gets to spend a lot of time with Vahn…its a little lonely when she is away…because I also want to follow her…and be with Vahn…Shizune is hard to be around at times…” Hearing her words, Vahn was a bit surprised but also started to feel guilty. At this point, it was very obvious Tina was in a deep state of hypnosis because she was starting to ‘confess’ things deep in her heart even without him asking.

To make sure she wouldn’t continue down a potentially ‘dangerous’ route, Vahn placed his index finger around a small nerve cluster near her second lumbar vertebrae and sent a small jolt of stimulating energy into it. Tina’s nervous system looked like fireworks had suddenly gone off and she uttered a quiet ‘Mnyaa~?’ as her tail flicked up and down like a whip. Vahn made sure to avoid anything that might ‘stimulate’ her in an inappropriate manner and just triggered one of her body’s automated responses. From her perspective, she would just feel like someone was scratching around her lower back for a little while and it would potentially felt a little ticklish.

After her tail stopped flickering, Vahn asked, “Do you feel any tensions in your body, Tina?” This time, she didn’t hesitate at all and said, “My leg itches a bit from where the Goblin hit me earlier~nya…” Vahn smiled because it didn’t think it was fair for the young cat girl if she suddenly started pouring her heart out to him in a hypnotic state. It might be a useful thing in certain situations, but Vahn didn’t want to be invasive without the girl’s permission. He had already made an exception regarding the [Hearts Desire]s, so he wanted to be honest with them as much as possible. In fact, to make sure she understood what happened, Vahn explained, “Earlier, you entered a bit of a hypnotic state and started answering some of my questions. I got a little worried about you, so I made your tail flicker earlier…”

As if it was reacting to his words, Tina’s tail flicked again before she said, “Ah…I was wondering what happened suddenly. I felt very calm…what did you ask me?” Vahn didn’t consider his words too much and simply said, “I asked if you enjoyed living here and if you had any friends you were fond of.” Tina issued a quiet ‘hmmm’ sound before saying, “I really like living here, and I’m good friends with Tiona and Fenrir. I also like Ais, but she is a bit difficult to talk to since she is a bit of an airhead~nyahahaaa…” Vahn nodded his head and said, “Yes, you said something similar previously…” while massaging the area around Tina’s thigh where she had previously had the gash.

Tina tensed up a bit when he was squeezing around her leg and her tail began to come alive as a result of her increased tensions. Vahn said in a calm tone, “It’s okay, I’ll be done soon…let’s talk so you can calm down a bit, how about that?” Tina lifted her upper body and looked back to watch Vahn pressing in and around the back of her right thigh. She could see he was only using the tips of his fingers instead of massaging with his palms, obviously trying to be considerate of her. After nodding her head, Tina turned away again and said, “You can ask me questions if you want…I’ll do my best to be honest~nya…” Tina had been thinking about what it was like to actually be under hypnosis but couldn’t really understand it that well. However, she didn’t really mind Vahn asking her questions because it did help her keep calm if she could focus on something.

Vahn considered his words for a moment before asking, “Tina, did you have a dream before you started living here at the Manor?” It was a bit of a personal question, but Vahn wondered if there was something she had wanted in life before he somewhat ‘invasively’ stepped in and brought about great change in her destiny. Tina angled her head down a bit, as if she were in deep thought, before saying, “Before all of this happened, I just wanted to grow up faster and help Mom out at the Inn. She worked really hard, and it made me sad knowing she was doing everything for me. I didn’t want to be a liability to her…but…”

There was about a thirty second period of silence and Vahn could feel Tina’s body heating up slightly as her aura increased a bit. After it reached a critical level, Tina said in a voice laden with embarrassment, “My…my dream…nyuuu….my dream was to meet a handsome boy…and get married after falling in love…and then…then I wanted to take care of my mom…” Tina felt like she was ‘confessing’ to Vahn all over again which, when considering the current situation, was very ‘difficult’ to do. She frowned as a result of her deep frustrations and prayed that Vahn couldn’t smell any strange smells coming from her body.

It wasn’t actually that easy for Vahn either as, after hearing her ‘confession’, he felt a little guilty about their current situation. He didn’t really mind it too much, but Vahn knew it was a little ‘strange’ that both the daughter and her mother had fallen in love with him. He treated Tina almost like a surrogate daughter, and this would make their future interactions a little awkward. Vahn had already noticed that Milan intended to ‘promote’ her daughter in the future, likely after distancing herself a bit in the future, so Vahn had been thinking about it on occasion. Though he wouldn’t force her away, especially after she had made her resolve so seriously, Vahn sometimes wished that Tina would find another boy to love…

Vahn knew one of his biggest weakness was making concessions when it came to things like love, while his inhibitions regarding things were few and far between. He was trying to fix this about himself, but Vahn couldn’t ‘let down’ girls he had already made promises with. Though he didn’t treat his love half-heartedly, Vahn didn’t have a strong grasp of it in the past and he knew now that, if he had proper resolutions and self-control a few months ago, he would likely only be involved with a few people. Now, though he had felt very worried about it in the past, the entire Manor had essentially become a place where he and his lovers resided.

He hadn’t thought it would be a big problem in the past, a sign of his lack of foresight, but now he worried about it because he knew things would get even more chaotic when he had children. Now, just to make sure he could spend time with the girls and still focus on the things he was interested in, Vahn sometimes considered trying to save up for techniques that would allow him to make copies of himself. He couldn’t use a technique like the [Shadow Clone Jutsu], as he already knew its weaknesses and limitations very well after discussing the matter with Sis in the past. However, there were a few types of illusions he could work on and he also did a bit of research into the orb from Eva’s world.

Vahn couldn’t afford the actual scrolls to learn the techniques just yet, as they all cost several tens-of-millions at the very least, but he figured Eva would be able to teach him some of the basics. After all, she was a memory fragment of the Eva that created the orb itself, even if she was a duplicate created by The Path. If Vahn could make memory fragments of himself to give to the girls, he imagined he could keep them relatively content during the times where he couldn’t spend too much time with them. There was also the option of creating a physical version of the orb, instead of one that only transported the spiritual body, where they would be able to spend several days worth of time over the course of a single day. Even if they only used it during the evening hours, Vahn could spend days of time with the girls before returning to the outside world…

“Mnyaaaa~!”

Hearing the sudden outburst, Vahn snapped out of his momentary reverie and noticed that he had started to ‘mold’ Tina’s small back under his palms and was radiating energy a little ‘too intensely’ into her body. She was breathing heavily and Vahn realized, for a very brief moment, he had started to treat her like one of the older girls. He pressed into a few of her pressure points and wiggled his finger around in a circle to help dull the sensations in her body before placing his palm against her lower back and helping her abdominal muscles relax so she became less tense. Tina ended up releasing a strangely satisfied sigh before her body tensed up and she hid her face, even though Vahn couldn’t see it at all.

Vahn looked around to the side of the table and saw a small drop on the ground below Tina where she had dribbled a bit of slobber. He fought the urge to laugh that had started to rise up inside of him and gave himself a stern reprimand while shaking his head. Walking over, Vahn picked up Tina’s bathrobe because it had been around twenty-six minutes since they started. She seemed to realize things had ended as well since Vahn could feel her eyes following his back. When he turned around with the robe in hands, Tina sat up on the massage table and held her legs closed as she reached out and accepted the robe before saying, “Look away…” He wasn’t quite sure what she was up to, but Vahn nodded his head and did as she said.

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Tina stared at Vahn’s back for a few seconds before looking behind her and seeing a ‘terrifying’ sight. She used the robe in her hands to dab at the small spot on the massage table a little forcefully. Even though it took a few minutes, she painstakingly continued to wipe away at the spot until it had completely disappeared from sight. She then released a relieved sigh and stared at the back of Vahn’s head with a bit of blame in her eyes before wearing the robe. Because she had seen her mother do it in the past, and had caught Shizune doing it on occasion, Tina knew what happened when a girl got excited and her body had ‘reacted’ a bit from Vahn’s touch. She felt incredibly embarrassed and had rubbed clear through the fabric of the massage table to remove the evidence. From now on, Tina resolved to wear thicker undergarments if she ever planned to show up in Vahn’s parlor in the future…

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