Chapter 549: Lull

After more than an hour-and-a-half, Vahn ended up in a small tub with Chloe as she lazily moved around under his guidance and affectionately pressed herself against his body. He was currently trying to wash her body but, even after she had ‘calmed down’ a bit, Chloe seemed to be in a very affectionate mood today. This often happened after he had sex with a Cat Person, as they would often cuddle up with and lick him after the fact, but it seemed like Chloe was especially ‘active’ today. Though it was brief, he even managed to get her to purr a bit when he was stroking her belly earlier, something that was difficult to trigger because they had to be in a very absentminded and relaxed state.

Towards the end, Vahn had discovered why Chloe was acting so uncharacteristically and it made him feel very fond of the lovable and mischevious ‘kitten’. Because spring was approaching, causing the days to become longer and warmer, Chloe’s body was in a ‘standby’ state that could trigger her to enter ‘heat’ at a moments notice. There were several factors involved, but it was the presence of other Cat People around her and the tensions she had been feeling in her body throughout the day. Though it had been an unintentional trigger, as far as he could tell, it was the woman nearly bumping into them that eventually set Chloe off.

This let Vahn know many things about Chloe’s health and it showed that she was feeling a bit of anxiety as of late, to which there could be several causes. Knowing that she had died around this point in the Divination could be the main reason, but environmental factors and her interpersonal relationships with other people were likely the main cause. Chloe wasn’t the type that formed many bonds with people in the past and, though she was very receptive to people with deeply rooted trauma, this was one of the first times in her life where she proactively endeavored to get along with others. His presence was likely the biggest factor, however, as she was most likely very worried about him and his antics while, though she may not appear that way on the surface, Chloe was feeling a bit of jealousy toward other girls.

Thinking this was a good opportunity to discuss the matter, as he had a lot of trust for Chloe and she would likely keep the matter under wraps for a little while, Vahn asked, “Chloe, if I could create memory fragments like Eva, do you think I can help make everyone happy? Or do you think it would be better to create a magical tool that allows me to compress time so we can be together more?” Chloe traced her fairly long and dry tongue from the center of Vahn’s chest all the way up to his neck, causing the light condensation building up on his skin to vanish as her tongue ‘lapped’ it up. She had an amorous smile on her face, but the intelligent light in her eyes showed she was considering her answer seriously.

After a brief moment of silence, Chloe tilted her head and said, “I think you should probably talk to the goddesses and Syr about it, Vahn~nya. From what I can deduce, both ideas seem like a double-edged sword and I’m worried about the stresses you would face~nyafuu.” Chloe started licking around his jaw and behind his ear after she completed her words, allowing Vahn the time he needed to think about things properly. She could tell that Vahn had probably been thinking about how ‘unfairly’ allocated his time was because there were simply too many girls. They all worked together and made concessions with each other, but there wasn’t much any of them could do about their desire to be with Vahn at times. Because he could see their emotional states, Vahn was very receptive to their needs and this made him feel pressured when it was obvious they were ‘starving’ for his affection…

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Vahn knew he would need to bring up the matter eventually, but he had wanted to keep it to himself until Eva’s orb awakened. The girls likely knew he was feeling a bit pressured by their expectations, as he wasn’t that great at keeping things from him, but vocalizing it was another matter entirely. If he brought up his ‘concerns’ now, Vahn feared the girls might try to give him a little more space and he would feel very guilty. After all, there were times when Vahn wished he could just spend all his time pampering and playing around with the girls instead of focusing on his other worries. They already made so many compromises for him that Vahn felt ashamed that he couldn’t make them happy and work on the things he needed to worry about at the same time.

After releasing a large sigh, which causes Chloe’s ears to flicker adorably, Vahn playfully thumbed around her tail and said, “I think I know what I need to do, but I’ll talk to Hephaestus, Eina, Loki, and Hestia about it later. There is still a lot of time to consider the matter before I can even worry about it, so there isn’t any reason to stress about it right now…haaaa.” Chloe lazily nodded her head and started considering what she could do to ease Vahn’s body and mind. His biggest ‘problem’ was that he put in a lot of effort to satisfy the girls but there were simply too many. He was seemingly considering ‘splitting’ himself a bit, which could be a fairly decent solution, but that could be dangerous for various reasons. If he was linked with the ‘memory fragments’, Vahn would feel an even greater amount of mental strain at times while, if he wasn’t linked with them, some of the girls may become more attached to the ‘version’ of Vahn they had than the real thing…

The ‘best’ compromise would be if Vahn could set limitations on his copies and make them only perform specific tasks such as massages, ‘petting’, or simply talking, without allowing the copy, or the girls themselves, to escalate things in the relative privacy of the orb. This would allow them to release some of their own pent up desires without overstressing Vahn throughout the day, freeing up his schedule and only ‘tending’ to them during the evenings. However, this only worked if Vahn was ‘linked’ with the fragments as well since his interactions with the girls in the orb would be very ‘important’ for their bonds to grow stronger. If he wasn’t linked with them, Chloe could imagine several girls that might take advantage of Vahn’s nature to incite his copies to do ‘foolish’ things…

After their bath came to an end, Vahn and Chloe had a light lunch before she decided to head off and track down Shizune. Though it hadn’t been to the extent of Tina, Shizune had experienced a great deal of growth for a young girl and needed to move her body and adapt to the change so that she didn’t make any mistakes in the future. Her fighting style was rather indirect, so it was unlikely there would be any problems, but it was still better to have an understanding of your capabilities to avoid mishaps. As for Vahn, he decided to strike while the iron was hot and checked his Status Logbook to see what Hephaestus, Eina, Loki, Hestia, and Anubis were up to. It showed that Eina was ‘busy’ as a result of her work, but all the goddesses were currently ‘free’.

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At this point, Hephaestus was even in the Manor itself so Vahn went to check her workshop only to find that it was empty. Other than the Eternal Flame dancing about happily, almost like it was greeting him, Vahn didn’t see any signs of her at all. Before he left, Vahn decided to ‘pamper’ one of the most important parts of Hephaestus so he cut open his palm and allowed some of his blood to fall into the exuberant flame as it happily lapped up the blood in an effort to absorb trace amounts of his source energy. Vahn was curious to see if the Eternal Flame would evolve even further in the future because he found the vermillion-golden flames to be rather beautiful and dazzling…just like Hephaestus herself.

Vahn figured that Hephaestus was either with Hestia, Syr, or talking with Terra, so he returned to the central area and detected two large presences on the third floor, confirming his earlier suspicion. Making his way up the stairs, Vahn opened the door without knocking because he could ‘feel’ that both girls knew he was coming to them. His bond with Hestia was simply ridiculous and just thinking he was almost near the Manor was what allowed her to intercept them at the foyer every day. Hephaestus’s had been the highest before Hestia’s ‘overwhelming’ love, so her bond was also quite powerful. When he was in close proximity to the goddesses, Vahn could sense their thoughts and emotions in a slightly abstract manner that made him feel very close to them.

Hephaestus and Hestia had been sitting on the latter’s bed and Vahn was surprised to find the prolific forging goddess was wearing nothing but a loose white blouse and a pair or ruby-red panties. Hephaestus’ face blushed slightly and she explained, “I had stayed up all night working on a new design and was going to take a nap with Hestia. You showed up just as we were about to lay down…” Hestia also had a somewhat bashful expression, but only after seeing how Hephaestus was reacting. She had originally thought nothing of it but now realized their situation could easily be misunderstood by people if they didn’t understand the context.

Vahn released a light chuckle and unabashedly climbed into the bed with the two blushing beauties and said, “I wanted to talk with the two of you while also getting the opinions of Loki, Anubis, Eina, and Syr. However, I wouldn’t mind taking a nap myself if you don’t mind me joining~?” Hephaestus laughed while Hestia practically yanked him over and pulled him to the head of the bed. There was no way she would allow Vahn to escape after his words and the idea of simply lazing around with him made her heart burst with happiness. Hephaestus also worked in conjunction with her, so Vahn very quickly found himself ‘enveloped’ between the two buxom goddesses as a feeling of extreme comfort settled into his mind.

As they prepared to doze off together, Vahn absentmindedly explained what he was concerned about and they both said they would bring it up on the network and discuss it later. Until Vahn had a better understanding of such things, there wasn’t any real sense in planning around such things. However, talking about methods to help the girls feel more ‘involved’ with Vahn was something that they could easily discuss. Just like his little stint with jumping off Fafnir in the past, there were plenty of group activities that didn’t involve things like sex or having Vahn pamper them directly. Everyone liked to experience new things, especially if they were very exciting, so there were plenty of alternatives that didn’t require Vahn to do anything ‘excessive’…

After a nice three-hour nap, Vahn woke up feeling strangely refreshed, something he often felt when he slept with Hestia. Just like earlier, when he felt that incredible sense of comfort, Hestia had a natural aura that made him feel almost like he was in a daze. Though his memories were a bit blurry, which was rare considering he had a near-perfect memory, Vahn could still recall the times when he relaxed against her thighs and she gently caressed his head. It was likely a property of her Divinity, but Hestia could help him relax to an extent that even Eina couldn’t, though it was a bit of an unfair comparison considering that Hestia was a first generation goddess while Eina was just a mortal girl.

Eina was also very ‘consistent’ compared to someone like Hestia, who could have huge shifts in her mood depending on the situation and was sometimes very ‘intense’. Vahn spent more time pampering her than the other way around, so Eina was still the girl he was most comfortable with since she was not only his wife, but someone that proactively endeavored to care for his physical and mental wellness. Since she was clearly working the afternoon shift, Vahn decided to ask her if she would spend the evening with him so that he could receive a bit of her pampering…

As he had promised previously, Vahn ended up opening up his ‘salon’ after awakening from his nap and spent a relatively uneventful afternoon polishing his massage techniques and gaining a bit of OP with his [Petting] Development Ability. Shizune had shown up, as was to be expected, but she behaved herself since Milan and Tina were both present to observe. She wore the thin, open-back, top that only covered the front side of her diminutive chest and a pair of small black spats that clearly showed that Milan had ‘forced’ her to wear panties underneath. Throughout the entire process, Tina had a ruddy flush to her face but she had calmed down a lot since this morning and no longer looked anxious and upset with him.

Once he finished his relatively tame massage with Shizune, Vahn moved on to Milan who, under the watchful gaze of her daughters, fought to stifle her relatively silent mewls. Vahn went easy on her, as he didn’t want her to lose face in front of her daughters, but neither really seemed to mind that much considering they knew of Milan’s ‘habits’ from the past. Shizune was very calm throughout the entire process and even watched from up close, clearly interested in the massage technique itself, while Tina just periodically sent glances at Vahn when she thought he wasn’t paying attention. Her tail flicked about in a somewhat rigid state that was a bit of a ‘danger’ flag if she was a bit older, but Vahn played along and pretended to not notice.

After sending off the three girls, the next to show up was Lunoire who had her characteristically gentle smile and almost sleepy looking eyes. She climbed up on the massage table and talked about her day while Vahn gave her a light massage and patiently listened to her words. Lunoire had ventured into the Dungeon with Tiona, Naaza, and Lili today and they had gone all the way down to the 24th Floor, even though it was relatively dangerous to do so considering the existence of enemies within the Dungeon. However, they had worked it out with the other girls beforehand and took the [Rallying Whistle] with them just in case they needed help.

Lunoire was beginning to work hard to increase her strength, but she still had the same disposition of simply wanting to laze about at times, much like Hestia. She had also opened up a lot to Vahn and was one of the girls that proactively talked about her day and the things she was worried about when they were alone. Many of the other girls had a tendency to bottle up their thoughts, much like himself, so it was sometimes difficult to understand what they were going through. Fortunately, they talked amongst themselves a lot and, the ones that were less vocal, still put their concerns onto the network and received ‘counseling’ from Hestia and Syr after the fact…

Once Lunoire had left, the next girl to enter the salon had been Ryuu, who had a bit of a bashful look to her. Vahn felt the urge to tease her but kept things ‘professional’ as she sat down in a reclining chair he had within the salon. Ryuu hadn’t come for a massage and instead, somewhat hesitantly, asked Vahn for a pedicure and a manicure as she relaxed against the chair. Vahn happily obliged and dutifully attended to Ryuu, even as her blush grew progressively redder over time. He didn’t tease her directly but, by talking to her and keeping her from completely relaxing her mind, Ryuu was overly aware of his actions and felt very embarrassed to have him grabbing her legs and ‘playing’ around with her toes…

After sending off the tomato-colored Ryuu, the last person he tended to for the afternoon ended up being Tsubaki. Vahn felt a little exasperated when she showed up because Tsubaki was always very ‘proactive’ when it came to things and it was hard to stay calm around her. Fortunately, she had calmed down a bit compared to her past self as a result of her pregnancy. Though she teased him a fair amount, she was quickly ‘tamed’ after Vahn gave her a deep tissue massage without relying too much on his [Hands of Nirvana]. It wouldn’t be nearly as pleasant, even causing her a bit of soreness, but it was the type of ache that was strangely relaxing. Vahn also took the time to check the status of her pregnancy, a topic that hade made Tsubaki mellow out greatly.

Once his salon treatments were finished, Vahn went to visit Terra inside the garden and spent the remaining time before dinner talking with her, Riveria, and Syr. The atmosphere around Riveria was a bit strange, but Vahn pretended not to notice it too much and just pandered to the mature High Elf for a bit so she wouldn’t try to beat him with her staff. She was likely still bothered from the events of the day prior but Vahn wasn’t going to shy away so easily so he did his best to stay calm as they talked about some of his research topics. Riveria was interested in the idea of the orbs, though Vahn hadn’t gone into any details about ‘why’ he wanted to make them, while Syr seemed to have inferred something from Vahn’s behavior and had a small smile on her face. Terra was much the same, but for decidedly different reasons…

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