Vahn awoke early the next morning, feeling refreshed as he enjoyed the flowery scent coming from Tsubaki’s hair. As someone who prided themselves as a warrior, Tsubaki woke up almost instantly, ‘gently’ elbowing Vahn’s ribs to get him to stop playing around. Vahn coughed at the sudden impact before laughing it away and saying, “Your hair smells very nice…did you change shampoo?” Tsubaki sat up in the bed and gave Vahn a coy look before saying, “It’s the same shampoo as always, Vahn, and I’m certain you’re very aware of it.” Vahn nodded his head with an understanding look on his face before he decided to tease Tsubaki by adding, “Ah, then I guess the nice scent is your own? Mmm…”
Tsubaki reached forward in a blur and grabbed Vahn’s head before tightly squeezing his face into her chest, saying, “Enjoy the smell to your content, Vahn~!” She had timed it just as he was about to inhale, so Vahn gagged a bit and was unable to breathe with Tsubaki squeezing his face into her large and plump breasts. He was tempted to try and ‘escape’ by using some underhanded means, but knew it would just rile her up a bit and he didn’t want her to stress her body too much since she was pregnant. For a few minutes, Vahn just obediently allowed Tsubaki to smother him until her ’embrace’ became progressively gentle and she began stroking the back of his head…
Once she had freed him, Vahn explained to Tsubaki the ‘breakthrough’ he had made in his research and also told her about the existence of the [Lapidary] Development Ability. As she had been very interested, Tsubaki asked to see the [Scarlet Star] and had inspected it with her ‘magic eye’ for several minutes as she admired the complex internal structure and the awe-inspiring energy radiating from its depths. Unlike the Treasure Magic Stones, which had invisible formations, Vahn’s were made of golden Orichalcum and they were easily seen with the use of her ‘magic eye’. Tsubaki paid him a few heavy compliments that made Vahn feel a little giddy and warm inside…
As the Denatus had officially come to an end the previous evening, Hephaestus, Loki, Hestia, and Anubis had all shown up by the time breakfast started. Hestia had immediately jumped to him the moment he met them in the foyer, happily explaining how ‘victorious’ they had been before Loki later clarified her meaning. Once they were all seated at the dining table, Vahn saved time by serving some premade dishes he had within his Inventory so that they could start the discussion with everyone present. With Hestia sitting in his lap, Loki seated on his left, and Hephaestus sitting close on his right, Vahn listened to the explanation while feeding the ‘lazy’ Hestia small bits of food.
Loki had given Hestia an incredulous look since she had actually intended to ‘steal’ the spot for herself but had been beaten to the punch by her ‘former’ rival. Deciding not to let it bother her, Loki addressed everyone at the table, saying, “Though it will take time to sway public opinion and bring about real change, we were able to sway the godly community in our favor. Fenrir, Fafnir, and Terra are now officially recognized as Xenos that, from the perspective of the gods, deserve the same rights as all surface dwellers. This means they are also subject to laws, but that shouldn’t really be an issue since things are always a bit grey when it comes to Familias. Ouranos seemed to be fond of the Xenos, so the Guild likely won’t be an issue even if something does happen…”
This was very good news since it was Vahn’s intent to work alongside the Xenos in the future so that it would be much easier to traverse the Dungeon. He had even planned to allow them to take up residence at Haven in the future since it would likely take several years for public opinion to change in their favor. Many people could hardly tolerate the existence of tamed monsters, so it wasn’t easy to get the Xenos recognized publically as sentient creatures that had the same rights as everyone else. Vahn was hoping that the Xenos truly did possess souls, allowing them to receive the Falna of a god, as that would make future proceedings much easier.
After letting the information settle into everyone’s minds, Loki continued the conversation, saying, “Though we didn’t go into too many details, we also discussed the larger plans of the Alliance, being that we intend to get a foothold in the Dungeon to allow for further exploration. We brought it up so as to avoid the problems that had previously arisen when Rivira had been established in the past. Creating settlements and fortifications within the Dungeon, especially in relation to large and influential Familia, makes a lot of people nervous so we made it public knowledge amongst the godly community so word will begin to spread. We’ll have to maintain a clean face for a while, but most people should support the idea when they understand the benefits provided…We’ll leave the final decision to you, Vahn, so make sure to consider proper incentives to increase support for the idea.”
The gods of the Alliance were already running a campaign of their own, especially with the assistance of Minerva and Eirene, so Vahn just needed to come up with a way to make people ‘want’ to reach the 39th and 50th Floors. Understanding this, Vahn had already made plans previously and it was his intention to provide various goods and services that could only be obtained in the deeper floors. Minerva would spread around some of the items he produced, such as the [Emperor’s Blood], and claim that it was made from ingredients that could only be found in the Deeper Floors. As it was difficult to ship items to and from the Dungeon, the only way to obtain it was through her Familia, or by going down to the 39th Floor themselves. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that a single bottle could sell for millions of Valis on the surface, so there would undoubtedly be people bold enough to make the trip if it was sold ‘cheaply’ in the Deeper Floors.
The final part of Loki’s explanation was the thing most of the girls present actually cared about and it was ‘mostly’ good news for many of them. Lili was no longer the ‘Super Supporter’, but she hadn’t been able to obtain ‘Atlas’ or ‘One Punch Pallum’ either. It was instead decided she would be called the ‘Tiny Titan’ since the godly community thought it was very interesting for such a small Pallum to have such strength. As for Mikoto, it was decided that ‘Godspeed’ was simply too powerful an alias for her accomplishments, much like ‘Flying Heavenly Sword’. Instead, she was given the alias ‘Prodigious Swordmaiden’ as ‘compensation’ until she was able to make a name for herself. When she heard this, Mikoto had a very resolute expression on her face and tightly gripped the hilt of her katana.
Maemi and Emiru had been ‘lucky’, as they were easily given the shared alias ‘Gemini Twins’ after it was reported they had a rare skill that allowed them to perfectly synchronize with each other. Since they were twins, many gods were somewhat interested in them and had supported the name as a result. As for Lefiya, she was denied the alias ‘Sage’s Apprentice’ since there was more than one Sage within the world and it could be a source of contention in the future. Instead, she was given the alias ‘White Lily’ since it was well-known that she often carried around a staff that looked like a giant lily. Since the name ‘White Lily Lefiya’ rolled off the tongue, Loki hadn’t opposed it since she thought it was suitable, at least for the time being.
Fenrir was able to get the alias ‘Vanargand’ very easily, though getting her recognized as an Adventurer had been a bit of an issue at first. As for Terra, she became the ‘Elegant Green Dragon’ since many found it difficult to believe she was an actual True Dragon. If that were the case, she would be in the same league as the One-Eyed Black Dragon, something many gods were simply unwilling to believe. Neither Terra nor Fenrir seemed to care about their own aliases that much and took the news in stride without much of a change in their expressions…
Chloe ended up becoming the ‘Cheshire Cat’, as the gods didn’t see any reason why it should be ‘kept’ from her, while Arnya became the ‘Resurgent Spear’ since many gods still remembered her former alias and capabilities. They wanted to encourage her to work hard to achieve her former glory so they had given her an alias that reflected that intent. As for Lunoire, she became the ‘Smiling Punisher’ because many gods had patronized the Hostess of Fertility in the past and had seen her beating up unruly customers.
Other than their individual aliases, they were also given a shared alias as a result of their relationship with Vahn. It was somewhat derogatory and teasing by nature, but their shared alias became ‘Vahn’s Bouquet’ since they were all ‘plucked flowers’ that many had sought only to lose the opportunity when they were all taken by Vahn. Though it was obviously meant as a bit of an insult, none of the girls seemed to care and Chloe just laughed mischievously after she heard the words from Loki’s mouth. When Loki returned a smile of her own and asked, “What is so funny, Chloe~?”, Chloe had responded in a playful tone, saying, “I wonder if the Hearth Manor will get an alias in the future, perhaps something like Vahn’s Flower Garden-nya~?” Because Vahn had essentially ‘plucked’ almost every girl in the Manor, with more planned in the future, it wasn’t an incorrect phrase to use, even if it was a little biting for Vahn himself…
The last two people to be assigned an alias had been Haruhime and Naaza, who had become big talking points during the Denatus. Haruhime’s attainments were incredible, officially earning her the recognition of the entire godly community by being able to go from a fresh Level 1 to marginally powerful Level 3 within the period of a month. As for Naaza, her prowess with the bow and the unique quality of her weapon had been circulating through the City ever since the expedition returned. After a bit of discussion, it had been decided that Haruhime would be known as the ‘Illusory Sakura’ while Naaza had successfully earned the alias ‘Yi’ after learning of the name of her bow and the ‘technique’ she used.
Once everyone learned of their new aliases, the conversation shifted into a celebratory atmosphere since Vahn felt like there were many things worth celebrating. He also brought up his ‘breakthrough’ and the creation of a new Development Ability before producing the [Scarlet Star] for everyone to pass around. Riveria had been very interested in it at first but, soon after it started to be passed around, she hung her head slightly and Vahn had been able to detect the subtle change in her aura. He did his best to act casually and just sent her a small smile without saying anything, knowing what was going through her mind.
Loki, however, didn’t seem to be willing to let the matter lay as she palmed the [Scarlet Star] playfully and said, “I didn’t think you would make a breakthrough right after Riveria told you about the missive from the Elven King. Are you feeling a little anxious, Vahn~?” Though she was speaking to Vahn, Loki was smiling mischievously at Riveria, causing the typically taciturn High Elf to simply close her eyes and ignore Loki’s gaze. With Vahn making a breakthrough in his own research, she would likely have to start working alongside him in his workshop during the development of the ‘band’ he was going to be making. She would know exactly when it was nearing completion and just imagining such a situation made Riveria feel nervous, requiring her to clasp her hands tightly so others couldn’t see they were shaking slightly.