Chapter 546: Gift

When Terra sat down normally, it required her to spread out her wings so, as she fell to the ground, her wings automatically shot out and Vahn wasn’t able to step forward to grab her. The only thing he got for his trouble was Terra’s wing clipping into his shin, causing an unexpectedly intense amount of pain to shoot up his leg. Vahn drew in a breath of cold air through his teeth and asked, “Are you okay?” as he resisted the urge to bend down and rub his shin. Terra’s wings pressed against the ground like she was trying to lift herself up as she showed an apologetic smile and said, “Sorry, Master, I think your massage may have been a little too effective…I can’t put any strength into my legs~.”

Vahn smiled wryly as he walked around Terra’s wing and helped her try to stand back up. Her body weighed around 170kg, so she was quite a bit heavier than most girls, though she still felt strangely light to Vahn. His strength would allow him to lift several hundred kilograms with relative ease, so other than a strange incongruity, he didn’t have any trouble helping her stand. However, this didn’t mean Terra was able to stay standing without support and her legs wobbled greatly as she tried to support herself by clinging to Vahn’s shoulders.

Terra was still naked, so it was a little risque to have her leaning against him like this. Vahn looked over her body and pressed his fingers into some of the pressure points around her thighs to stir the nerves awake. He realized that, though she didn’t have much of a reaction to his earlier touching, her resistance incited him to relax her muscles a little too much. Though it was a bit awkward, this was important information since it would enable him to make proper preparations in the future. Terra seemed apologetic as well, which made Vahn feel guilty since he should have held back and taken her state into consideration beforehand…

After releasing a sigh, Vahn looked toward the waiting area and saw that the only two waiting for him were Chloe and Shizune. Vahn frowned slightly because he was worried Shizune would act up if they were alone in the same room during a massage. As for Chloe, he was certain he could ‘pacify’ her when he returned so Vahn said, “Put on your robe, Terra, I’ll carry you to the garden…” Though she had her own room, Terra spent the majority of her time within the garden, even when the mornings got a little cold. Vahn had rarely seen her actually sleep in her bedroom and she seemed a little uncomfortable in her human form during the few time she rested. He knew that she preferred to sleep in her dragon form because her wings didn’t get in the way as much…

Terra showed a grateful smile and lifted her body a bit as an elegant robe appeared out of thin air, hugging around her body perfectly. Vahn turned his back to her and allowed Terra to climb onto his back, albeit with a bit of awkwardness that required Vahn to lean forward to pick up her legs. Terra was somewhat tall so her head peeked above his a bit when she was on his back, though this didn’t stop her from leaning forward and whispering, “Master is very strong~.” into his ear. Her tail also dangled down towards the ground and tapped against the floor as Vahn walked out of the salon under the ‘curious’ gazes of Chloe and Shizune.

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Chloe tilted her head to the side and said, “Nya~? Did you get carried away, Vahn~?” with a playful glimmer in her eyes. Vahn released a long sigh and said, “Terra’s physiology is distinctly different from the norm so I made a few mistakes trying to find the best way to massage her. I’ll try to avoid this type of situation in the future…sorry, Chloe, Shizune. If you’d like, why not come to the garden with me and we’ll have some tea and a light meal?” When she had realized Vahn was likely done with his salon duties, for the time being, Shizune’s ears had flopped down a bit in dejection. However, hearing his words, her fluffy fox ears perked back up because she knew this was a good opportunity for her to ‘monopolize’ Vahn for a little while.

Vahn jumped over the back wall of the onsen carrying Terra while Chloe did the same after picking up Shizune. The latter was still far too weak to jump over the 10m tall wall so she had to rely on Chloe’s assistance unless she wanted to walk around. Vahn would have carried her himself, but Terra’s body was a bit awkward to support and her wings even spread slightly during their descent, slowing his fall by a marginal amount. This was a little interesting because Vahn could imagine Terra being able to fly around carrying him, even when she was in her human form. Of course, there were no benefits provided and it was decidedly more comfortable for them both when she was in her dragon form.

After a few short minutes of walking, the ended up in the secret garden and Vahn helped Terra sit comfortably on the ground before setting out a small picnic blanket for Chloe and Shizune. Terra preferred to be in direct contact with the earth but Vahn didn’t want insects and stuff to get into their food so he set out a blanket for everyone else. As he somewhat expected to happen, Shizune asked in a slightly ‘sad’ tone, “Can I sit with you?” Vahn, however, shook his head and patted both his thighs, saying, “I know Chloe likes to be pampered as well, so the two of you can use my lap as a pillow and I’ll feed you snacks…”

Though Vahn still spent a fair amount of time with Chloe, he never really felt like it was enough and he missed the times when he would spoil her for an hour or two at the Hostess of Fertility. She was a very intuitive girl so Chloe immediately realized what he was thinking and laughed in a mischevious manner before crawling over and resting her head against his lap. Shizune had a ‘defeated’ expression for a brief moment but inevitably decided that a lap pillow and pampering from Vahn was better than nothing. She laid her head on his lap as well and her ears touched Chloe’s, causing both girls’ ears to flicker about a few times, much to Vahn’s amusement.

Shizune seemed a little annoyed at first but, after seeing how quickly Chloe ‘adapted’ to being pampered by Vahn, she eventually started acting lazy and spoiled as well. Terra watched their interaction with slightly squinted eyes but didn’t interrupt since she knew her earlier actions had taken their salon time away with Vahn. After experiencing it herself, Terra knew how exciting such moments could be and she knew that, if someone were to take away the time she wanted to spend with Vahn, it would cause her to feel upset. Knowing that ‘selfishness’ was one of the things that troubled Vahn the most, Terra just made polite conversation with the two girls while slowly recovering the use of her legs…

After having a ‘garden party’ for around two hours, things were brought to a relatively abrupt conclusion when Riveria showed up at the garden, having returned from the Dungeon. She saw Vahn tickling under Chloe’s chin while feeding a thin cracker to Shizune and blanked for a moment before speaking out and explaining that almost everyone had returned already. The only exceptions were Ais, Haruhime, and Mikoto, though they weren’t really worried considering the composition of girls. Mikoto was still a bit weaker than many of the girls, but her strength had been increasing rapidly as she slowly polished her [Flying Heavenly Sword Scroll] techniques. As for Ais and Haruhime, they were somewhat monstrous in their capabilities so there shouldn’t be any problems whatsoever.

Because he had offered to provide salon services when the girls returned from the Dungeon, essentially an extension of his earlier actions, Vahn returned to the Manor to greet everyone before spending the remaining time before dinner tending to the girls. His long garden party had caused Shizune and Chloe to ‘forfeit’ their own slots, as being pampered for two hours was also quite nice, so Vahn ended up tending to Fenrir, Lili, Naaza, Lunoire, Tiona, and Tione. Fenrir seemed to be very fond of Vahn ‘exploring’ her body now and, instead of a normal massage, had somewhat proactively guided his actions and played around on the table. As for the other girls, they were ‘relatively’ well-behaved and things had developed normally, excluding the fact that Vahn spent a fair amount of time massaging Tiona’s and Tione’s beautiful brown legs and thighs…

Though they were a bit late, barely in time for dinner, Ais, Haruhime, and Mikoto had finally shown back up, explaining that they actually encountered a powerful variant Minotaur on the 17th Floor. It had spawned with a large Monster Party and, because Mikoto had wanted to test her capabilities against the horde, Ais and Haruhime watched over her from the side. The fight had gone on for more than an hour, but Mikoto managed to come out ahead without suffering too much damage because her combat style was highly reactive and based on counters. With her A-Rank katana, she didn’t have any trouble penetrating the defenses of the monsters at all, but their numbers had been a little overwhelming.

Mikoto had indeed gotten much stronger, but her foundation was a little weak because she had simply increased her Level too early in the past. Fortunately, the techniques she was currently learning would allow her to overcome this disparity and Mikoto would one day be one of the most terrifyingly skilled swordswomen in the entire world. Vahn expected that her ‘natural limit’ would be around Level 6 or 7, but her strength would likely make her a match for people much stronger than she was. It was hard to imagine how powerful people would be from Levels 8-10, but it was very possible Mikoto would be able to defeat them unless they had the means to mitigate the terrifying ‘Godspeed’ attacks she would possess…

During the evening, Vahn kept his promise and spent the night with the somewhat unique combination of Hestia, Milan, and Chloe. Things were a bit ‘tense’ at first, but Milan had a lot of appreciation for what Hestia had done for her and Tina, so she had opened up after Vahn had guided the situation forward. ‘Handling’ three girls, especially when one of them was Hestia, who lacked in the stamina department, was very easy for Vahn and this meant he had a lot of time to cuddle with them after the fact. It was strange to consider, but Vahn found himself becoming increasingly fond of just being with the girls instead of having sex all the time. The girls seemed to enjoy it as well, seeing as how they snuggled up close to him and just talked for a while before eventually going to sleep with the warmth of each other’s bodies bringing them comfort.

Vahn awoke early the next morning and once again checked Eva’s orb to see that it hadn’t shown any other signs of change. He released a slightly melancholic sigh before storing it away and kissing the drowsy Hestia and leaving the room with Milan and Chloe to go take a quick bath before heading to the morning training. Vahn would be heading into the Dungeon with Chloe and Shizune today, while Milan would just be training with her daughter so that she could get used to the sudden increase in her parameters. Tina was also in a bit of a tense state after the massage fiasco that happened previously and, when Vahn finally showed up for the morning training, she gave him a bit of a stink eye from the distance with a light blush on her face.

Though he wanted to forge something for her later, Vahn looked through his shop for accessories that might be suitable for her before a sudden thought crossed his mind and he looked toward Milan. He had actually promised both girls he would give them ribbons at some point but had never gotten around to it because it was a little awkward at the time. Now wasn’t exactly the best opportunity either, but Vahn felt like such things should be taken care of early on and decided to trust his instinct on the matter. He remembered that Tina wanted one that was similar to her mother’s so he picked out two matching red ribbons before taking a deep breath and walking over.

Tina had been casting glances at Vahn periodically so she had noticed when he was approaching almost immediately. A small frown appeared on her face because she didn’t know how to react around Vahn right now and it made her little heart beat faster than a rabbit’s as he stepped closer toward them. As for Milan, she had a gentle smile on her face and brought their warmup exercises to a close out of curiosity for what Vahn was up to. When he was near enough, Milan asked, “Is there something, Vahn~?” with a fair amount of teasing contained in her voice as she eyed her daughter.

Vahn nodded his head and smiled before saying, “I promised to give these to you in the past, but I had never gotten around to it because of the circumstances. It may be a little late, but please accept these ribbons…” Not just Tina’s, but Milan’s eyes widened a fair amount as they eyed the ribbons that Vahn had pulled out of thin air. Milan felt a bit of warmth spread through her chest, but there was also a fair amount of anxiety rising up inside of her as she looked toward Tina. Her daughter was beginning to fidget slightly and Milan knew that, though Vahn would still require her to wait until she was older, this almost confirmed that they would eventually be together. She had already accepted this, on several occasions at this point, but Milan still felt worried for the future since it was a somewhat abnormal situation…

After releasing a sigh, Milan recovered a bit faster than Tina and said, “Thank you, Vahn…” as she turned around and perked up her tail a bit. During the day they had become one with each other, Milan had already decided to let the future play out naturally and react to the situation as it transpired. She still had a few years to be with Vahn on her own terms, so worrying about it too much this early on would just stress her out. There were many girls on the network she could seek guidance from, including several wise goddesses, so Milan decided that would be the course of action she took. She simply didn’t have it in her to refuse the ribbon from Vahn because it made her feel like a young girl that had just fallen in love once again.

Vahn firmly tied the red ribbon around Milan’s tail while Tina watched from the side with a beet-red face and a deeply frustrated frown. She felt both happy and terrified at the same time, though she wasn’t really sure why herself. Tina felt it would have been ‘better’ if Vahn gave her the ribbon when she wasn’t ‘angry’ with him because his current actions were a little ‘unfair’ to her. The happiness inside of her heart greatly overwhelmed her other emotions, but the frustration she felt wasn’t that far behind it and she had an urge to beat him up for being a ‘bully’. However, when Vahn finished tying the ribbon on her mother, Tina agitatedly turned around and perked up her own tail with a greatly frustrated as she ‘refused’ to smile…

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It felt a little worrying to have to bend down and tie a ribbon around a young girl’s tail, especially considering the implications behind his actions. For Cat People, having a ribbon tied to their tail was an act that was generally only appropriate for lovers, or those that shared a promise with each other. By giving Tina a ribbon right now, Vahn was essentially affirming their promise for the future and Tina would probably think about it quite often from now on. Just like when he had gifted ribbons to Chloe and Arnya in the past, Vahn would get affection from both girls even when he wasn’t around them because they would often catch sight of the ribbon and be reminded of him. It was a very personal thing to gift a young girl and Vahn could understand Tina’s frustrations and her chaotic aura that gravitated toward him like it was trying to ‘burn’ him.

When he finished tying the ribbon around Tina’s tail, she looked back at it and flicked her tail a few times with a clearly happy expression on her face before showing a deep frown once again after seeing Vahn’s face. As if she had no other way to express herself, Tina balled up her fists and beat against Vahn’s chest for a few seconds with a “Nyuuuuuuuuuuu~!” sound before running off without saying a word. Milan laughed with her hand against her cheek before muttering, “You’ve really done it now, Vahn…don’t worry, I’ll go console her. Once she calms down, things will return to normal. Well, as normal as they can be considering the situation…nyafuuu~.” Though they had drawn a great deal of attention after Tina’s loud outburst, Milan stepped forward and gave Vahn a short embrace and a kiss before following after her daughter.

Almost immediately after she left, Chloe had appeared at Vahn’s side and asked, “You really gave Tina a ribbon so soon~nya? That is a very bold move to make, Vahn~!” Vahn released a small sigh and said, “Though I’d like for her to open her heart to someone else, I don’t think Tina will give up after having found her resolve. This was one of the things I had been worried about when we discussed the Divination…but, I won’t let her down if that is the path she chose. Sorry for being like this, Chloe…” Chloe, by all rights, was one of the girls Vahn had the highest chances of being with before this ‘unique’ situation had occurred. He knew she was okay with how things had turned out, but he still felt a little apologetic at this moment.

Chloe laughed and squinted her eyes a little as she rubbed around his shoulder, clearly indicating that she had already found her own resolve in the past. Though it didn’t hurt at all, Vahn could feel a phantom sensation on his neck where Chloe had bitten him in the past, a permanant reminder of the mutual affections they shared. She also always wore the blue ribbon he had given her in the past, much like Aki and Arnya wore ribbons of their own…

After things had calmed down a bit, Vahn talked with Chloe and Shizune about what they would be doing in the Dungeon today before the three of them ate a light breakfast together. After his mild admonishment in the past, Shizune now wore a thin cloth that covered her chest and was bound together by cords that wrapped around her neck and back. This left her back itself completely exposed so, after they had eaten, Vahn checked her Status Board so he would have a clear understanding of her progress when they returned. As for Chloe, she watched from the side with an intrigued expression, unable to make any sense of the hieroglyphs that had appeared on Shizune’s back…

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[[STATUS]]

Name: Shizune Yuel

Race: Kitsune

LV. 1

POW: I15->I17

END: I13->I14

DEX: I24->I26

AGI: I33->I36

MAG: I14->I15

Skill: [Tamomo: Innate(sealed)], [Featherfoot:I]

Magic: [Moon’s Prayer: Innate(sealed)]

Development Skill: [Abnormal Resistance(sealed)], [Insomnia(sealed)]

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