Chapter 607: Ascent

Back in the Manor, everyone was preparing for the coming celebration even though it would essentially just be them all sitting outside and having a picnic. This would be a very low-key wedding, considering Riveria was an actual Princess, but they could always have a larger one once the Elven Kingdom takes a step back on the issue. They would likely want to ‘celebrate’ the union between Vahn and Riveria in the future, especially once a few matters came to light and were popularized. Though he couldn’t transform into a Progenitor just yet, Vahn could still turn into a High Elf with incredible blood purity. Once this was known, after some other matters were dealt with, there would be no ‘justification’ for why Riveria couldn’t be with him, regardless of how they tried to spin things.

In preparation for the wedding, even though Vahn would be the one escorting them into the upper atmosphere, Riveria was whisked away by Aina, Eina, Ryuu, Lefiya, and Loki. Vahn was certain Riveria was just going to wear the [Elven Queen’s Gown], but they may have something different in mind so he was a little excited. As for what he would be doing before they departed, Vahn was sitting at the very top of the Manor with Fenrir happily sticking to his back. Ever since the previous ‘incident’, she had actually calmed down a lot and acted far less ‘promiscuous’, reverting back into her adorable an innocent self. Since she was very receptive to the changes in his mentality, Fenrir knew she had done something ‘bad’ previously and was now on her best behavior so Vahn would be happy.

Preasia actually ‘reported’ to him about her dreams and, other than the very first night, Fenrir mostly spent her time just ‘playing’ within the dreamscape. She did things like frisbee, hunting, killing monsters, playing tag, etc. Since she also didn’t really like the ‘fake’ version of him too much, Fenrir didn’t do much to stay in contact with his dream self and was simply happy to around something like looked like him. Vahn promised they would go hunting for real in the future so Fenrir was ‘practicing’ hard while releasing some stress in the dreamscape. As for Preasia, she also had a great deal of fun because she could change her body and do all kinds of interesting things. She had even been able to let Fenrir run around in her palm before, something Fenrir was very ‘spooked’ by since it would admittedly be very perturbing seeing a mountain-sized Preasia…

Looking over, Vahn saw a few Elves skulking about around the premises but they were quickly forced away by the patrolling guards, which had increased in number since the upper echelons were aware of the wedding taking place. Vahn released a heavy sigh and wondered how so many Elves could be mustered to pester them in such a short period of time but, after thinking about it in detail he could understand it a bit. Because of the negative relations between the Elven Kingdom and almost every other country, even those they sent out to experience different cultures only had a few options open.

Unless they joined merchant caravans, the only ‘practical’ choice would be to visit Orario since there was a wealth of culture, information, and resources. They could also train up their people by sending them into the Dungeon while also infiltrating various Familia by inserting their people into it. Vahn realized that the other countries outside of Orario probably did the exact same thing, though typically without any real harm being done. Many people, once they got away from their homelands for a long enough period of time, usually mellowed out a bit since it was easy to see that Orario was a much better place to live than many of their home countries. Unfortunately, many of them still returned home after a while because of familial relationships and other commitments they were ‘compelled’ to stick to. Most of the permanant residents were those that either migrated to the City or fled to it as a refugee after escaping some tragic circumstances…

Stroking the top of Fenrir’s head, as she had moved to his lap after a while, Vahn said, “Fenrir, let’s do our best to make this City a place where everyone can live a free and happy life…don’t you think that would be nice?” Fenrir tilted her head up and had a thoughtful expression on her face, pulling her lip with one of her claws before saying, “Everything is better when people are happy…Fenrir knows. Fenrir will do her best to help Master beat up all the bullies~!” Though she hadn’t truly opened up to anyone, except perhaps Preasia, Fenrir knew everything was better if people were happy. They treated each other nicely, worked together, and helped each other out when things got hard. She didn’t understand why people even bothered stirring up trouble because it only made things harder for everyone else. She believed that, if everyone just listened to her Master and tried to be ‘good’, everything would work out…

Unaware of what she was thinking, Vahn rested his chin on Fenrir’s head and scratched around the base of her ears while she happily kicked her feet about without losing her balance. She really was very therapeutic to him when she was ‘behaving’ and Vahn wished she would stay like this almost indefinitely, even though he knew things would have to change in the future. Though she hadn’t told him directly, he learned from Syr, who heard from Milan, that Fenrir wanted to stay inside Eva’s orb in the future so she could ‘grow up’. Vahn suspected she would become much stronger and would probably mature a fair amount if they were actually separated for an entire three years…with Eva’s icy disposition, Fenrir would likely mellow out a great deal while also fostering her desire to be with him even more. By the time they reunited, Vahn expected she would have changed entirely…but he wasn’t going to stop her if that was the path she chose for herself.

Vahn knew he spoiled Fenrir a bit, almost since the moment she came into existence after her transformation, but that was also his decision to make. He wanted to take responsibility for the hard life he had forced on her by giving her something like [Insatiable Hunger] that could negatively influence her mind and cause her stress. Everyone else contributed to her being a little spoiled, just like how Eina, Aina, and Thomas had contributed to Risna turning into a shut-in. Since he couldn’t tolerate the idea of ‘imprisoning’ her within her orb, Vahn had to help Fenrir establish a baseline while giving her some coping methods to deal with stress, something she had managed with great effort.

If Fenrir hadn’t done her very best, Vahn wouldn’t have spoiled her nearly as much and now it had become a habit he simply refused to give up. He still remembered what she was like beforehand and knew the current Fenrir was far more well-behaved than her prior self, urging him to continue treating her ‘fairly’ so as not to undermine her efforts to grow. At the very least, she prioritized being a ‘good’ girl, often completely changing how she ‘wanted’ to behave by using that as a metric. She also restricted some of the more problematic girls within the group from losing control and now everyone got along in a carefully maintained balance. Since she had been so instrumental to the success of everything, while also helping balance his mental state when he was stressed out, Vahn simply couldn’t stop spoiling her…even if she was a little ‘bad’ at times.

Since she could sense what her Master was thinking, Fenrir was in a very good mood and knew her behavior over the last week had made him happy. Though she liked doing adult things with the dream Master, it really wasn’t that fun when she really thought about it. Just sitting in his lap felt more ‘real’ than anything she did in the dreamscape and feeling his touch made her happy. She knew they would be able to have all kinds of fun once she matured, so Fenrir decided to just practice hard so she could make him even happier in the future. Though she wouldn’t be able to use her mouth, Fenrir was confident she would be able to use other parts of her body to make her Master smile and praise her…

After 11 AM rolled around, Vahn sensed a pulse from Mikoto that informed him everything was ready and Fenrir immediately jumped up without being prompted. She wouldn’t be going to the wedding this time around so she decided to just go play for a bit until her Master returned. Vahn watched her leap down from the top of the Manor and land nimbly on the ground below, a distance of more than 15m. With a smile on his face, he disappeared from the spot using [Shundo] and made his way to the rendezvous point after a second short jump.

As expected, Riveria was still wearing the [Elven Queen’s Gown] but she had become inarguably more beautiful over a very short period of time. Vahn was a little stunned when he first saw her because, even though she stood amongst a group of goddesses, Riveria was like the centerpiece of them all. Her hair had been braided in a very complex fashion and she actually had a golden laurel crown that was twined together with some kind of bone that looked like ivory. She had a veil covering the lower half of her face and it was encrusted with gems that accented her eyes and gave her a mysterious and elegant appeal. Most notably, however, was the fact Riveria was done up with a light layer of makeup that made her fair skin look entirely unblemished, not that she had any spots beforehand.

Riveria did her best to keep eye contact with him at first but eventually averted her eyes as Loki began laughing and saying, “I always wondered what kind of person would be able to claim this ice queen’s heart. Who would have thought it was the same boy that even I fell in love with~.” Hearing her words, Hestia showed a small pouting expression and said, “Loki, most of us here are in love with Vahn, but that isn’t important right now. Today is Riveria’s day so don’t say thoughtless things~!” Loki wanted to remark that Hestia ‘added’ on to what she said but decided against it when she saw Vahn’s gaze was having trouble pulling itself free from Riveria. Hestia was right about one thing, being that today was Riveria’s day and it wouldn’t really be fair for her, especially as Riveria’s goddess, to make things difficult for her.

Vahn had walked over at this point and had a gentle expression on his face as he said, “You look beautiful…” He wanted to compliment the other girls as well, but Vahn also keyed in on Hestia’s words and saw that even Loki had taken a step back on the matter. For the time being, Vahn’s focus should be Riveria alone and it was already ‘difficult’ for her to be doing things in such a peculiar fashion. Normally, an Elven Royal Wedding would be a massive affair and not something so rushed. However, all of that flair wouldn’t really be able to touch upon the ‘unique’ wedding they were about to have and Riveria herself was very aware of that fact. Still, she had made a lot of concessions and Vahn wanted this day to be memorable for her so that she never looked back on this moment with regrets.

Extending his hand, Vahn waited for Riveria to eventually grab it before leading her up on Fafnir’s back using the ‘stairs’ it had created for them. Fafnir was currently halfway in the ground and had shaped its scales to have a step-like pattern so it was very easy to walk up even though Riveria was wearing a long gown. Hestia, Loki, Aina, Ryuu, and Lefiya came up after them while Hephaestus and Eina actually chose to stay behind since it would potentially detract from the experience for Riveria to have his other wives present. It was also a fact that Fafnir’s back, though rather large, couldn’t really hold too many people without things becoming cramped. This was why Vahn had originally only allowed six people to come freefalling with him in the past, as it was simply the ‘right’ amount given the space available.

Vahn helped Riveria sit down, even though she could have easily done so herself, before taking the seat immediately to her right. Loki and Hestia sat close behind them and held the ‘handles’ Fafnir had produced while Aina, Ryuu, and Lefiya took up the rear, with Lefiya in the center of them so she wouldn’t fall off. Ryuu had already experienced going up into the atmosphere previously while Aina had actually ridden wyverns in the past and had some expectations. As for Lefiya, she was a little fretful since she was scared of heights, at least for the time being, while Hestia and Loki were goddesses that were more interested in experiencing something new than anything else. Thus, with everyone taking their seats, Fafnir began its ascent towards the chaotic membrane that separated the Mortal World and the Heavens…

It was a very quiet and solemn flight at first but Loki seemed to get a little bored after a while and began making small talk with Lefiya, Aina, and Ryuu, not even bothering to hold the ‘handle’ anymore. There was a powerful wind barrier around Fafnir and its ascent was very stable, almost invalidating the need for the handle entirely. Once she realized that, Loki’s excitement dwindled a bit and she figured teasing Lefiya a bit would be a more interesting way to pass the time. As a goddess, she had seen the entire Mortal World from Heaven, observing it for hundreds of millions of years before her descent, so Loki wasn’t that interested in the sights. It was difficult to be ‘awed’ by overlooking the Continent when you once overlooked the entire world, including the other two Continents.

Hestia was much the same, but she kept silent and just relaxed since the flow of mana in the upper atmosphere was actually very comfortable. This influenced Riveria, Aina, Ryuu, and Lefiya as well, allowing the latter to calm down a great deal even though their height continued to increase. Ryuu explained to Lefiya that, as long as she had more than 1800 total Endurance, there was no danger even if she fell for thousands of meters. It was a little difficult to believe at first, but Ryuu explained their ‘free fall’ event in the past, reminding the young Elf about an actual event that took place. The only thing she needed to do was land properly and she wouldn’t have any problems at all, completely excluding the fact she could also cast barrier magic or slow her descent with wind magic.

Since Lefiya was a very sensible and studious girl, she was quickly able to see the truth of the matter and calmed down very quickly. It helped that Aina explained falling from a wyvern in the past after getting into an aerial fight and, even though she fell from a few hundred meters, she only got a few scrapes and bruises without any major injuries. Ryuu also went into a bit of detail about the explanation Vahn had given previously, discussing things like ‘terminal velocity’ and the like so Lefiya had an even better understanding of the event. Even as a Mage, Lefiya’s Agility was actually over 2500 so she knew her ‘dash’ speed actually exceeded the falling speed of ‘terminal velocity’ described by Ryuu. It was difficult to believe such a concept existed but, once it was explained clearly, Lefiya began to question why nobody else had ever discovered it in the past…

Loki had been listening in on the conversation as well and explained, “There are only a few gods that have ever had the ‘Gravity’ Divinity so it has always been a pretty mysterious concept. Most of them explain it away as the attraction between two different objects based on various factors, such as mass, mana density, and even their parameters. As for all that wind resistance and stuff, that is just basic common sense and its the fault of mortals for simply overlooking what happens right before their eyes. If you want to correct such misunderstandings, focus on educating people properly when that School is established. I imagine, as one of Vahn’s apprentices, you’ll end up working there as something like an instructor or professor, right~?”

Hearing Loki’s words, Lefiya was genuinely shocked because she never actually thought about becoming something like a teacher. Given her status, it actually made a lot of sense she would end up working at the School at some point, especially if Vahn needed her help. Lefiya knew that Riveria would also be there and, even if she hadn’t been pulled in initially, she would likely become an ‘example’ for the new magic system Vahn was going to be teaching. Realizing this, Riveria felt a fiery resolution burning in her chest and promised herself to work hard when the time came. So as not to shame her Master, Lefiya would become a great Mage that could inspire the younger generation to greatness!

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Loki gave Lefiya a strange look because she could easily see that Lefiya’s resolve had been ignited by her teasing words. Though Lefiya hadn’t told her about it, Loki already knew she had somehow become Vahn’s subordinate and their relationship had changed in a strange manner. Loki was actually quite envious of the ‘bonds’ Vahn could create with other people because she had also learned of the ‘influence’ of orders after discussing it with Anubis, Riveria, Hestia, and Hephaestus. Riveria, especially, had been documenting the changes in Lefiya and it was truly remarkable to see the progress she had made over the last two months.

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Previously, Lefiya had been a very bashful and polite girl that was prone to delusions and failed to interact with the vast majority of people in a ‘normal’ manner. Now, Lefiya had changed a great deal and could even talk casually with most of the residents of the Manor while displaying levels of confidence she had never displayed previously. She couldn’t even cast spells without people protecting her but, according to recent observations, Lefiya was actually moving around a lot during combat and barraging enemies at a middle range instead of hiding behind other people. If she had such an ability, Loki felt like she could have built the most powerful and loyal Familia in the entire world, easily conquering the Dungeon after a few decades of preparation…

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