Chapter 570: Research : Leisure

After spending a peaceful night with Eina, Vahn awoke feeling refreshed and lazily snuggled up with his beautiful young bride who was still drifting within the realm of dreams. When he hugged her closely, Vahn noticed Eina’s smile and it made him feel very warm inside. They were now proactively trying to conceive but, much like Syr, Eina wanted it to happen ‘naturally’ since she wasn’t in a particular hurry to have children. Now that her body had undergone ‘Nirvana’, Eina always felt like she was full of energy and it was much easier to move her body around than in the past. She hadn’t even thought it was ‘difficult’ before, but there was a very clear difference she had explained to Vahn how she felt ‘closer’ to the mana in the environment after her change.

Vahn could also see that Eina’s internal mana had become very stable and she was full of vitality, almost to the same extent as an Elf but with a few subtle differences. Though she may not have noticed it herself, Vahn had already taken note of the fact that Eina’s ears were marginally longer and more pointy than in the past. He liked the gentle curve of her slightly rounded Half-Elf ears, but being able to nibble on the little tips was very satisfying since Eina was prone to blushing when teased. Thinking this far, Vahn realized that Lefiya and Ryuu were in that category as well, even though the later had only started showing such signs recently. He wondered if it had something to do with their environmental conditions, or if it was simply exposure to him that eventually wore them down…

Pulling out Eva’s orb, Vahn noticed there weren’t any new changes so he stowed it away and gently moved Eina’s body so she could relax against the bed. She seemed to stir when he was bundling her up in the covers but, after peeking through her slightly parted eyelashes, Eina closed her eyes again and quickly fell asleep. Her duties had gotten a bit easier with Sierra and Pram working at the Guild branch, but she still worked very hard to make sure things were running smoothly. Eina had always been the serious type and was very committed when it came to teaching people how to do things properly.

Sierra and Pram were both Elves that grew up in the Elven Kingdom so they had a bit of a bias against her at first, something which had quickly dissipated with Riveria’s words and Eina’s efforts. Both Elves had a great deal of respect for both Riveria and Vahn so, knowing that the former was Vahn’s ‘apprentice’ while Eina was, to their surprise, Vahn’s wife, made them temper any negative thoughts they might have had. After all, Vahn was their liberator while Riveria was their acting benefactor. If they couldn’t show respect to the people that had saved their lives, Pram at least felt like she was underserving to take pride in herself as an Elf. Riveria had already pulled strings to have her little sister, alongside one of her good friends, be given the right to travel outside of the forest. She didn’t have any attachments to the rest of her family, so being able to protect the people she cared about gave Pram a life-debt to Riveria that she could never repay…

Only allowed on

Vahn spent the morning in a leisurely manner by heading over to the Souther Manor to spend some time with Anubis and Nanu. He also checked up on the progress of the other hounds and noticed that Rasui had become much stronger and could almost fight Nanu to a draw if she didn’t get too serious. Of course, with Vahn watching, Nanu got very serious and it wasn’t long before Rasui ended up pinned to the ground with his arm leveraged against him. Instead of being upset, however, Rasui had a look of respect and admiration on his face whenever he thanked Nanu for her lessons. Even Maat, who was in an active relationship with Rasui now, didn’t seem to take any offense to her future mate getting beaten up by Nanu at all.

After leaving behind Anubis and Nanu, Vahn kept his promise and headed toward Naaza’s Atelier, located in the West Wing near the Medical Ward that didn’t often see use. He sensed three different presences inside and wasn’t surprised to find that both Lili and Preasia were present since the three often spent time together. Not only was she a physical powerhouse, but Lili was also a very studious girl even before Vahn had met her. In order to survive for nearly an entire decade in a horrible environment, Lili had relied on her intelligence and ability to gather information to get by. She had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of monsters in the dungeon and even carried around small books detailing the rise and fall of various different items. As for Preasia, she wanted to learn the [Mixing] Development Ability in the future and was working hard to learn from both Chloe and Naaza.

As they had already heard from Naaza that Vahn would be coming into the Atelier today, neither girl was surprised but they still had very pleased expressions on their faces. Lili practically vaulted the entire distance to Vahn in a single leap so he caught her out of the air while Preasia simply stared at him with her characteristic gaze. The biggest difference was that she had a light blush on her face now and, when she thought he wasn’t looking, gently nibbled on her lower lip. Naaza seemed at a loss for how the other two girls were acting but she couldn’t hide her weakly wagging tail from view nor the small smile on her face as she said, “Welcome to my workshop, Vahn…”

Apparently having her fill of his scent, for the time being, Lili eventually released her vice-like grip and dropped from his body and asked, “I heard from Naaza you were doing research that she was able to help with? Is there something I can do as well…?” Lili had always been a bit of a clingy girl, but there was a subtle change in her disposition ever since the ‘hunt’ with Fenrir in the past. She was now clingy for a slightly different reason and had calmed down a lot compared to how she had behaved in the past. The constant support of girls like Milan, Tsubaki, Chloe, Hestia, and Lunoire had been whittling away at her mental defenses and she was becoming happier at a noticeable rate.

Vahn picked Lili up and carried her over to where Naaza was working before sitting her down on the table as the small Pallum blushed slightly after having been unexpectedly ‘handled’ by Vahn. Pinching her nose, Vahn smiled before pulling out his own research notes and a few different containers filled with his blood, explaining for the benefit of the three girls, “I’ve been trying to use this blood as a catalyst to contain mana. It has the properties of being a powerful conduit as well, but it can’t be exposed to the air for very long before it breaks down into particulates…here, these are some of the methods I’ve been working on.” Vahn showed off the diagrams to the three girls, including Preasia who wasn’t really at the level where she would be able to provide assistance.

Naaza was very interested in the documents and gleaned over them before asking, “What kind of blood is this? You only have it listed as ‘sample’…ah, is it a secret?” Vahn nodded his head and explained, “It’s something only I’m able to get access to as a result of my pseudo-divinities. It doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, so I’ve been having to research it from scratch. Hephaestus and Tsubaki have helped out a bit since it has very useful properties for forging, but I expect it would also be very useful for other things once I have a better understanding of it.” Naaza nodded her head, not that surprised by the fact Vahn was able to have access to something like these blood samples. After all, he was able to materialize complex objects, equipment, and even rare materials out of thin air. Most of the seeds she had planted in her garden were obtained from him, including many that were incredibly difficult to acquire.

Lili had also been looking through one of Vahn’s journals and noticed it detailed the accessories he had successfully crafted for everyone that used magic. Even she had a small anklet Vahn had forged for her in the past and now knew what gave it the property of storing mana. The fact that a hair-thin band of crystallized blood was able to store a large portion of her reserves made Lili realize that the gems Vahn was trying to make would be at the level of a national treasure. What she couldn’t really understand was why he was trying to make them into gems instead of simply creating channels in equipment to store the blood…

After considering the matter for several minutes, Lili eventually showed a small frown and asked, “Vahn, is there even a need to make a gem that can be exposed to the air like what you describe in your notes? Why not just create sealed containers and fill them with the blood, or carve channels into equipment directly? Are you just trying…ah, I get it~!” Lili realized that Vahn was probably trying to make them accessories that looked nice and were more functional. She still thought it was more practical to forge equipment, but there were few girls that would refuse beautiful jewelry and accessories. They were easy to wear in casual clothing, meaning she could always be better prepared even when they go on dates and stuff…

Vahn wasn’t quite sure what Lili had understood but he nodded his head and explained, “I actually came up with the idea of hollowing out other gemstones to fill them with the blood before embedding them into necklaces. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to create items that function the same as your [Nezha Lady’s Togi] so everyone won’t have to worry about their equipment getting damaged.” Lili’s eyes opened wide like she just had an epiphany and realized why Vahn would need to make such high-quality gems. She was very fond of the top Vahn had given to her and often wore it along with other pieces of clothing she had picked out to enhance the look. If she could have even more items like that, it would be very convenient for when she uses her [Cinder*Ella]…

For the better part of three hours, Vahn sat around with Naaza, Lili, and Preasia as they talked about potential solutions and other practical uses for the blood other than simply putting it away inside gemstones and equipment. Naaza asked for the right to study it to see if it had any practical uses in [Mixing], which Vahn agreed with as long as she never tried to test the efficacy of her potions on other people without first consulting him. As it was an important secret, she also couldn’t consult Miach, or anyone else outside of Hephaestus, Tsubaki, Chloe, Lili, Preasia, and himself. To make sure there wouldn’t be any accidents, Vahn would also be spending time working in her Atelier alongside her as he completed his own research. He also agreed to help Preasia memorize all the medical texts she had been studying and help watch over her progress in [Mixing] when Chloe and Naaza were busy.

Naaza was happy for the opportunity to spend more time with Vahn because it would likely take several weeks, or potentially even months, before they made any real headway on the subject. Imagining spending several hours a day with Vahn made her tail wag about even though her softly smiling expression didn’t change much. She was the type that didn’t show too many emotions on her face, but it was very easy to see when she was happy since she always looked very gentle with her eyes ‘drooping’ slightly at the sides. As for Lili and Preasia, they already spent a decent amount of time inside the Atelier so they were also very pleased by the sudden development since it would allow them to get closer with Vahn.

Lili may have been progressing a lot from Vahn’s perspective, but she herself knew it was very difficult for her at times. One of the reasons she kept busy was so that she wouldn’t give in to her urge to follow Vahn around, as becoming an inconvenience to him was her greatest fear. She had long accepted what she was getting herself into by wanting to be together with him, but it didn’t make it much easier to simply watch him getting along with other girls. Lili wanted him to pamper her more often and even tried transforming into things that might interest him just to get him to pet her. She had made big improvements, mainly by becoming friends and talking with the other girls, but her desire to be with him hadn’t faded at all. Every evening, just before she turned out the lights and went to bed, she would faithfully cross off another day on her calendar as she counted down to her birthday…

Since he was supposed to be relaxing and doing as he pleased, Vahn didn’t mind pampering the girls a little since Naaza usually kept to herself while Lili and Preasia were simply too adorable to overlook. It took a bit of coaxing, but Vahn ended up getting Naaza to let him pet her after spoiling Lili in his lap for a few minutes. Though she would normally avoid showing affection in front of others, Naaza had always made an exception around Lili. As for Preasia, they had grown a lot closer over the last few months and Naaza felt like she wouldn’t try to embarrass or tease her if she did something silly. Thus, Naaza and Preasia ended up on his flanks while Lili firmly rooted herself to his lap. Perhaps she felt the need to compete against Naaza and Preasia, but Lili ended up transforming into her pseudo-Báihǔ form because she knew Vahn thought it was very cute.

Though he would have normally gone off to see what other girls were up to, as it was ‘bad’ to spend too much time in one place, Vahn gave into his urges a bit and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon with the three adorable girls. Lili was being a little mischevious after being riled up, but she was very cute in her Báihǔ form and it actually matched very well with her [Nezha Lady’s Togi] after she changed into it. Her exposed navel and the compact muscles of her body gave her a unique charm while Naaza’s gentle bashfulness was very refreshing. Preasia didn’t really talk much, but Vahn could tell she was enjoying their time together based on her close proximity and the stability of her aura.

Naaza ended up using his thighs as a lap pillow at one point and lazily said, “We didn’t accomplish very much today…hafuuu…” Vahn laughed and continued to scratch her floppy little Chientrhope ears as he said, “It’s good to relax more on the weekends. Besides, I feel like I never get to spend that much time with you so this is a rare chance that I want to take advantage of…” Naaza had her feet up on the sofa with her knees bent, scrunching up her body in embarrassment at Vahn’s words. It was very embarrassing, but Naaza couldn’t muster up the resolve to extricate herself from Vahn’s very pleasant hands.

Vahn smiled at Naaza’s reaction while also stroking the scruff around the side of Lili’s hair as she leaned against his body from the left with her eyes partially closed. As for Preasia, she took up the somewhat strange position of hugging him from behind and resting her forehead against him since turning her head to the side would poke him with her horns. They had been rotating around at uneven intervals as Vahn took turns petting them while they made small talk about what other things they had been working on.

While stroking Naaza’s ears, Vahn learned that she could nearly make Mid-Grade Potions with perfect accuracy while her progress into Low-Grade Elixirs and High-Grade Potions had reached around 15%. This more than qualified her as a capable Apothecary, which was the official job title of those that created and sold potions and medicine, but Naaza was still unsatisfied. She wanted to learn the [Alchemy] Development Ability in the future so Vahn promised to help her while organizing a few books in his mind. He had all kinds of texts on chemistry, medicines, and even basic alchemy, but this was all information from other records and he would have to figure out what applied to this world before he set her on a tangential path…

When he had been rubbing Lili’s belly, which always made Vahn feel awkward at first because of how small she was, Vahn learned that she had been training with Tiona and Lunoire more often while trying to learn suitable close-combat techniques. With her [Atlas] awakening, Lili’s Power had become monstrous and she could almost emulate the same feats as someone like Tiona, assuming the latter didn’t go all out with her skills and abilities. The major downside to this was that it actually drained Lili’s stamina and mana very quickly if she exerted herself a lot. As a result, she continued to polish her mobility and omnidirectional fighting style so she could create better opportunities to use her powerful physical strength.

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Lastly, while he was fluffing Preasia’s very soft fur, Vahn heard about her various different studies, including basic biology, first aid treatment, and mixing medicines. She was still an amateur in each category, but Preasia had been working hard with Lili acting as her personal tutor. Chloe and Naaza also looked over her [Mixing] studies, but she was having a bit of trouble because she apparently wasn’t able to focus her mind easily. She often entered a daze at times and, though she didn’t say why, he understood it was likely related to her trauma and the insecurities she had developed as a result. He promised to help her study a bit over the next few weeks and, when she had met the qualifications for obtaining the [Mixing] Development Ability, he would personally take her into the Dungeon to reach Level 2.

One other thing he noticed, which Preasia seemed to be trying to keep a secret by wearing a sweater and pajama-like pants, was that the ‘fur’ on her arms and legs had become a little thicker and there was a very dense, but also short, layer of fur that had reached down to her wrists. Vahn was certain this was a result of her [Golden Fleece] Innate, but he wasn’t sure how it would look when it fully manifested. Right now, it simply made Preasia look more adorable and the shorts furs were actually very soft to the touch meaning she would probably become even softer in the future. He already compared her to Hestia, but this could change in the future depending on how things progressed. Right now, Hestia was in the lead by a fair amount because she was almost inexplicably soft, but Preasia might be a strong contender if she fully awakened her Innate and developed it…

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