Vahn could see how nervous Riveria was but knew that simply trying to ‘console’ her would only make things more difficult for her. Instead, he put on his ‘professional’ demeanor and began explaining the process so that she would have something else to focus on instead of worrying about the state of her body. Grabbing some incense, Vahn explained, “I’m going to light some incense to help your mind and body relax. It may be a little uncomfortable, but this process will go much faster if you relax your body instead of tensing it up. Don’t worry, though I may have to touch you, it will only be to ease your pain or to inscribe the formation on your stomach. You may feel a bit of tenderness in the area after the fact, but that is natural since you will be absorbing energy through your abdomen even without the belt…”
Riveria was already aware of the process because she had read over the details several times since yesterday afternoon. Hearing Vahn explaining the procedure, and seeing how ‘casually’ he was acting, helped her calm down and she did her best to relax. She knew well what kind of incense he was using but trusted that, even if she entered an absentminded state, Vahn wouldn’t take advantage of her. Besides, her [Abnormal Resistance] and willpower should allow her to easily resist the effects unless she willingly allowed herself to fall into a defenseless state. Since she was already very tense, Riveria believed things wouldn’t progress that far unless Vahn did something ‘strange’ during the procedure.
Even without her saying anything, Vahn understood some of Riveria’s concerns and said, “Even if you doze off, I won’t ask you any personal questions and will just explain the details while focusing on the inscribing process. Since I’ll be using a very sharp tool against your skin, you may feel a bit of pain so try not to flinch and move around…” As her pain tolerance was actually very high, Riveria was confident she would be able to remain stationary even if it was far more painful than she expected it to be. Since she really didn’t feel like talking right now, Riveria just nodded her head and closed her eyes in order to relax. Even though she was curious about the process, Riveria didn’t want to watch since she felt it would be easier if she didn’t see Vahn’s face while he was intently ‘focused’ on her body.
While he was making his final preparations, Vahn cast glances at Riveria’s body and realized things were probably not going to progress as ‘smoothly’ as he’d like. The best method would have been to have Riveria recline on a specialized table and have her relax her legs in an open position. He knew all Elves were very flexible, as it was one of their racial traits, so she could probably split her legs easily and allow him to get much closer to her lower abdomen. Performing the method from the side like this meant it was far more likely to make a mistake but it wasn’t easy to ask Riveria to simply ‘spread her legs’ so it’s more convenient for him.
Fortunately, the table he was currently using could be lowered and he would easily be able to lean over her body and his high Dexterity and intense focus gave him an edge. To ensure there wouldn’t be any problems, however, Vahn said, “So that the formation is as accurate as possible, I’m going to create a template on your body as a guide. Try to use this time to adapt to the sensations and relax as much as you can…” Riveria simply nodded her head in return and Vahn could tell she was trying to regulate her breathing and relax as much as possible. Since she didn’t seem willing to answer him, or even look toward him, Vahn turned his attention to Riveria’s very thin and soft looking abdomen and resolved himself to make no mistakes on her flawless skin.
Pulling out a very thin needle, Vahn sanitized it with his [Heart of the Eternal Flame] before dipping it into the solution of Cadmus Spring Water to cool it down. Lowering down the table slowly with a small lever near the bottom, Vahn leaned over Riveria’s body and used his left hand to stabilize her abdomen before tracing a very thin dashed-line of normal ink across her skin. Riveria surprisingly didn’t flinch at all when he touched her so Vahn kept his focus and quickly moved his hands around, positioning her with the tips of his fingers so he didn’t smudge any of the lines. He had never actually drawn on a person’s body like this, so Vahn was a little slow at first until he adapted to how her skin deformed slightly under the pressure of his fingers and the tip of the needle.
Nearly a half hour later, Riveria’s entire lower abdomen had thin beads of blood in some areas and it had become a bit tender to the touch as Vahn had nearly inscribed the full outline of the formation in painstaking detail. Since he had his [Eyes of Truth], Vahn was easily able to see the underlying ‘organs’ and had perfectly aligned the formation with the various meridians that acted as the points of a persons’ body that allowed them to absorb and emit mana.
Though there were twelve larger meridians that regulated everything, there were more than three hundred smaller ones that were near perfect mirrors of each other that helped regulate the balance and flow of mana within the body. These meridians were already linked together in a very complex network, but Vahn was going to directly link them together on the surface while connecting them to Rivera’s ‘core’, where the vast majority of her mana was stored. His hope was that, not only would he be able to nourish the child she would bear, but the excess natural energy would nourish her mana and enable her strength to passively increase as a result…
After finishing the majority of the template, Vahn stared at the very delicate area of Riveria obstructed by the beige panties she was wearing. He didn’t actually have to tattoo on her v***** itself, but the most integral part of the formation, its very core, needed to be overlaid with Riveria’s uterus and tied together with her ovaries. Though he had altered the original design to make it look more ‘organic’ and ‘aesthetically’ pleasing to the eyes, the ‘core’ invariably ended up in the shape of a heart and it would be very embarrassing to be seen. Knowing it was ‘necessary’, Vahn took a slow, silent, and deep breath to calm himself before saying, “Riveria, I’m going to lower your panties a bit…”
Riveria had calmed down a great deal over the last thirty minutes, but she still tensed up greatly when she heard Vahn’s words. She knew part of the formation was located very close to her ‘delicates’ and it was one of the things she had been most worried about. Without refusing him, however, Riveria just nodded her head and balled up her fists a bit in preparation for what was to come. Vahn had already been very ‘gentle’ with her, as the energy from his fingertips was very calming and easily overwhelmed the mild discomfort from the needle. The area he was about to be working on, however, was several times more sensitive and Riveria was worried her body would ‘react’ in an embarrassing way even if there was a bit of pain involved. Focusing on the fact that Vahn was her fiance, Riveria steeled herself and took a few controlled breaths as Vahn ‘rolled’ down the upper part of the fabric…
Knowing she likely wouldn’t want to ‘expose’ herself during the procedure, Vahn only moved the thin fabric as much as was ‘necessary’ before placing his hand near Riveria’s pelvis bone to stabilize her. He did this to make sure she didn’t move while he was drawing the template and to ease any discomfort by channeling calming and relaxing energy into her body. Healing her at this point would actually make things more difficult later on, so she had to tolerate the tender feeling for a while without having any real relief since Vahn needed to confirm everything was functioning properly during every step.
Vahn drew a small rune directly above the center of Riveria’s uterus in the same shape as the one located on Tsubaki’s. Though it couldn’t actually be read by anyone else in the record, Vahn knew it was the ‘seal’ for fertility and it had a lot of power when inscribed at the core of a formation. Using the rune as the ‘center’, Vahn created an intricate heart shape that looked like twining branches and then created a pathway that followed along Riveria’s fallopian tubes before branching out even further like blooming buds in a complex curved formation. Since she was a High Elf, Vahn had designed the entire formation to look like a tree, with small leaves, flowers, and fruits located at all the important spots. Since it was a formation meant to absorb natural energy, having imagery of nature actually made it even stronger so it was the obvious route to take.
Since it was such an important part of the process, Vahn spent nearly twenty minutes inscribing the core even though it was only around 20% of the total structure of the formation. He had long noticed the flowery and sweet aroma wafting from Riveria’s body but did his best to completely ignore it as he said, “I’ve finished the template and I don’t see any problems…” while asking Sis to help confirm. She also gave him the go-ahead while Riveria remained absolutely silent with her forearms covering her eyes and a ruddy complexion spreading all the way down to the base of her neck. Vahn knew she was in an ‘excited’ state right now and probably didn’t want to talk or let him see her face until she calmed down. To make matters worse, though it was actually his intention to make things ‘easier’ for her, Vahn decided to start by inscribing the core of the formation before working his way up her body. She was already in an excited state, so Vahn wanted to get the delicate parts taken care of so she could spend the rest of the time ‘relaxing’.
So she wasn’t surprised by his decision, Vahn explained, “I’m going to fill out the core of the formation first and then expand outwards from there. It will help keep things symmetrical since I can work from the center of the body and work my way up…” Riveria didn’t give him any verbal or physical response at all but Vahn was very aware of the chaotic state of her aura, including the three wispy tendrils that were following around his hands with their muted red coloration. It was very fortunate that Riveria was still a virgin or this process would have been far more difficult for her, not that Vahn felt inclined to mention this as he grabbed Fafnir’s scale and dipped it into the inkwell.
Vahn knew this part was going to be very painful for Riveria so he explained in a calm and guiding tone, “Riveria, you have to remember to remain still even if it feels very painful. The process will conclude much faster if there aren’t any disruptions…” Though she didn’t respond at first, Riveria eventually nodded her head slightly and Vahn could see that her aura stabilized a bit in response. He gave her a few more seconds to steel herself before bringing the golden ink to the center of the formation and began rhythmically tapping the area with enough force to penetrate the skin and diffuse the ink into the tender dermis tissue located underneath the thin and sensitive epidermal layer. Riveria’s aura began to tremble chaotically but Vahn was impressed that she didn’t show any physical response other than a very slight tensing of the muscles every time he tapped, which was perfectly natural.
Though the ‘fragrant aroma’ had increased greatly by the time he was finished, Vahn had completed filling out the core after around forty minutes, bringing the total time to slightly over an hour and a half. His three-hour approximation seemed like a bit of a pipe dream at this point because his ‘simulation’ hadn’t accounted for how the ink to diffuse properly. It was very fortunate he had made a template because it kept the ink from spreading into other areas of the skin, which could have destabilized the structure.
It was very important that everything ‘flowed’ in the correct direction or it would be like trying to make water go two ways in a river. There was a central flow that linked Riveria’s ‘mana core’ to the ‘core’ of the formation while the rest branched out from the core and fed into the larger formation. This meant that the core fueled the entire formation while the natural flow of mana in Riveria’s body fed into the core after absorbing the energy from the belt he was going to make. It was very important that everything was perfectly balanced or there could be unexpected problems in the future.
With the most important part taken care of, Vahn released a heavy sigh while closely observing his handiwork, completely forgetting that he was only a few centimeters away from a very ‘delicate’ area of Riveria. He noticed her aura tremble slightly and realized his mistake but, instead of apologizing and making things awkward, simply said, “I’ve finished the core and verified there aren’t any issues. You should be able to relax your body soon…sorry for taking so long, Riveria. You’ve been putting in a lot of effort and I appreciate how easy you’ve made the procedure thus far…” There were a few seconds of silence, during which Vahn had wiped the sweat from his brow and prepared for the next phase, before Riveria surprised him by saying, “I can tell…that you’re doing your best…as well…”
Vahn hadn’t expected Riveria to say anything at all because her body was in such a ‘tense’ state that there were small beads of sweat building up on her skin. He actually had to ‘cool’ her down a bit by reducing the air temperature around her abdomen with his aura just to keep the template from getting washed away. She was still sweating, but it dried out very quickly since he also reduced the air pressure greatly until it was nearly a vacuum. He couldn’t make it a perfect void, as his control wasn’t even remotely close to that point, but it helped quite a bit.
Though he knows she couldn’t see him, Vahn still showed a very affectionate smile on his face because he knew Riveria was trying to ‘encourage’ him after understanding he made a ‘mistake’ previously. Knowing she wasn’t actually trying to start a conversation, however, Vahn simply returned to his work very dutifully, this time placing his palm slightly below Riveria’s diaphragm to help her calm down faster. He had already completed the most important part of the formation so everything else was just connecting her meridians together and making it look aesthetically pleasing.
Since the ink was closer to an off-white that trended towards pale gold, Vahn felt it actually enhanced the beauty of her natural complexion a great deal. He believed that, once the tender red skin returned to normal, Riveria’s abdomen would actually look rather ‘appealing’ and he thought it was very suitable for her since it actually caused the eyes to wander from her face to her navel and caused an instinctive ‘intrigue’ to rise up inside of him. The only exception to this was a secret he even kept from Riveria since he actually infused a very small amount of his own blood into the small buds linking together her meridians. He knew from when he healed Hephaestus’ eye that his blood had greater purification properties than previously anticipated so he was using it to ‘cleanse’ Riveria’s meridians. Since Terra’s blood was comprised of source energy, it also had a synergistic effect with his own blood, causing Vahn to believe it would make the formation even more powerful…
As expected, Riveria had started to calm down a lot when he stopped working around her ‘delicates’ and Vahn could see the blush slowly retreat from her face, even though she still kept it covered for a while longer. It wasn’t until he was nearly finished that Riveria finally revealed her face once again, taking a peek at Vahn’s progress with her own glossy jade-green eyes. When she saw the complex formation on her own body, Riveria felt both nervous and excited at the same time. Seeing something on paper was very different than seeing it in real life and Riveria could appreciate Vahn’s efforts since she knew few people would be able to create something so complex without issue on their very first attempt. It would likely take many months of practice for other Elves to be able to proficiently carve such a formation, but knowing it existed would inspire many to ‘master’ the practice so that future generations didn’t experience the ‘trials’ of their ancestors.
Since she was paying attention now, Vahn began narrating what he was doing while explaining the function of each individual bud, emphasizing the importance and order of the small pinkish flowers. Riveria knew Vahn had done something to the spots, as it didn’t make sense for every other part to be the same pale-golden color, but she didn’t ask since she believed he did it for her benefit. Vahn had many secrets that he couldn’t easily share with others and Riveria knew it was important to allow him to keep such things close to his chest. If she ‘forced’ him to reveal everything, he very well might, but that would be the same as putting him ‘below’ her, when the truth was the opposite, at least in her opinion.
If they were of similar age, Riveria felt like she would have no choice but to be deferential to Vahn, simply as a result of his incredible capabilities. As she had also grown up in a society dominated by men, there was a small part of her that still felt ‘lesser’ at times, which is why she worked so hard to prove herself as a capable person. Vahn had always shown great consideration for her and, even when she felt like her contributions were minimal at best, his gratitude always made her feel pride and…just a little, it also made her feel happy.
Sensing the subtle change in Riveria’s aura, Vahn just blinked in confusion and continued focusing on his task. He didn’t know why she was suddenly ‘happy’ as she watched his actions but believed it was more ‘relief’ than anything else. He was nearly finished with the process and there were only a few minutes left before she would be ‘free’ from the long session that was already more than twenty minutes over the expected time. The final part was more of a beautification process than anything else, but it also served to stabilize the formation by linking together small channels. Vahn hoped this would ensure that everything was balanced at all times and, even if there were small changes in the structure as a result of natural aging, it should help cover for any ‘gaps’ created as well.
Seeing how focused and hard-working Vahn was, Riveria felt a little ‘silly’ for being so worried earlier, even though she ‘believed’ he wouldn’t do anything. Her lower body was very ‘tender’ right now, to an extent that was almost ‘unimaginable’ for her. Though he wasn’t completely finished, Riveria had felt a tingling sensation in her lower body ever since he completed the core. Unlike most Elves, Riveria had obtained [Spirit Healing: A] as a result of her prodigious abilities as a Mage so she was already much better at absorbing mana than most people. Now, she could feel several times of natural mana flowing into her lower body and it was a very incongruous feeling that she didn’t quite know how to deal with. Fortunately, it didn’t make her feel ‘excited’ and actually helped her relax a bit after Vahn stopped ‘fiddling’ around in the area…
At nearly three and a half hours, Vahn finally completed the tip of a small golden leaf, which marked the last detail of the formations inscription process. He once again released a heavy sigh of relief, this time making sure to turn away from Riveria’s body out of consideration for her. Riveria noticed this action and laughed, one of the few times Vahn had ever heard her laugh in the entire time they had known each other. He gave her a curious look and, instead of the somewhat husky voice she usually used when speaking, Riveria said in a very gentle tone, “You’ve worked hard, Vahn…thank you. I truly mean it…from the bottom of my heart…” Though she couldn’t get rid of the speech pattern completely, Vahn felt the gentleness and sincerity in Riveria’s tone, making his own heart melt as a natural smile appeared on his face.
Unable to pass up the unique opportunity, Vahn couldn’t help but casually remark, “There shouldn’t be any danger of the ink fading away, as I made sure it had completely settled while I was working, but you need to make sure to keep it exposed to the air for the next couple of days. If possible, get permission from Terra to relax in the wellspring since the natural energy within the pool should speed up the recovery process and strengthen the formation. You may feel a little bit of ‘discomfort’, but it will be good for your body if you release your tensions every now and then…”
Though everything he said was true, and he would have had to mention it eventually, Vahn’s timing had caught Riveria off guard and she blushed deeply in response to his words. If she truly did relax in the wellspring for a long period of time, Riveria knew what Vahn meant by the ‘discomfort’ he mentioned. She also knew it was ‘necessary’ to expose the mark for the first few days and that she would have to apply a solution to make sure her skin didn’t swell or get infected. However, having them pointed out during such a ‘heartfelt’ moment was very embarrassing and Riveria knew Vahn had done it intentionally just to get a rise out of her.
Giving Vahn a profound look of ‘blame’, Riveria took several deep breaths before saying, “I need a swimsuit…” in her traditionally husky and monotone voice. Vahn was caught off guard by her words, making Riveria feel a little bit of vindication until he suddenly had a ‘playful’ glint in his eyes. She immediately regretted trying to get even with him on his own playing field and her mind completely blanked when Vahn pulled out a leaf-green bikini top a bottom, saying, “These are waterproof and won’t get in the way of the formation on your lower body…you need to make sure it is properly ‘exposed’ to the air or it could fester. If you have any problems, please consult me immediately since we can’t risk ‘damaging’ such a ‘delicate’ part of the formation…”