Chapter 608: Unity : Matrimony

As the oxygen levels continually decreased, the outside temperature lowered alongside it until it was cold enough to begin freezing the tips of Fafnir’s wings. It didn’t really mind much at all and, even without the protective wind barrier shielding the group, they wouldn’t have had any trouble resisting the cold and drawing what little oxygen they could from the air. Even Lefiya and Aina wouldn’t have any trouble in the low-oxygen environment because they could easily hold their breath for several minutes and supplemented the lack of oxygen with mana.

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This was one of the key differences about people within the record of Danmachi, as compared to lower tiered worlds, as they were far more resilient with the existence of mana. As for Hestia and Loki, they didn’t show any signs of discomfort at all, even though they were both Level 1 according to common knowledge. Their Divine Souls not only nourished their body and granted them immortality, but they didn’t need to do things like eat, sleep, or even breathe if they didn’t feel like it. Even if they were standing in the chaotic void of space, they wouldn’t actually have any problems whatsoever, though there were some instances where Vahn had seen ‘contradictions’ to this truth.

There had been instances of Hestia’s stomach rumbling out of ‘hunger’ and Loki had often shown shortness of breath whenever they were together. They would also have their heart rates increase during excitement, and could get fatigued by exerting themselves, even though they were ‘theoretically’ tireless. It was largely based on their own ‘perception’ of things and depended on what they ‘wanted’ to feel after taking into consideration the influence of their Divinity. An example would be, if a god didn’t want to feel pain, there was nothing anyone could do to make them feel it. All of the ‘contradictions’ he had seen were their methods of ’emulating’ mortals and Vahn wasn’t entirely sure how it worked currently as he was only a Tier 3 entity…

Eventually, Fafnir’s ascent came to a halt and the scales on its back began to shift at the sides until it created a relatively flat platform so everyone would stand comfortably. Vahn smiled because he didn’t even give Fafnir such an order, meaning it was thinking for itself and making decisions based on its own understanding of things. Much like Fenrir, it had also been maturing and Vahn spent more time with it compared to the past, though it was typically just flying around and grooming its scales.

Rising to his feet, Vahn helped Riveria stand while Hestia and Aina actually stepped forward to help Loki. Since she looked ‘scarily’ pregnant compared to the other girls, Vahn had a tendency to be very concerned about her and would have helped her stand up if the others hadn’t stepped in. She smiled at in him in return but seemed to hold back in the end since her expression changed subtly and she said, “Okay, let’s go ahead and carry out the ceremony. Since you’re both from different Familias, Hestia and I will both preside over the ceremony while the others can stand as witnesses to the event. Also, though the sights are quite beautiful, we shouldn’t take too long since it can be dangerous for mortals to be exposed to chaos for long periods of time…”

Though there were stars and other celestial bodies in the sky, the Danmachi record was actually a planar world and didn’t have a ‘normal’ universal structure. Most of the stars were just the constructs of various laws and, even if you traveled through ‘space’ for thousands of lightyears you would never get any closer to them whatsoever. Instead of ’emptiness’, space was filled with chaotic energies that would slowly drain the normal mana from your body, corrupting it until you eventually were overwhelmed by the energy and destroyed. There were also some of the rare elemental energies present, such as space, time, destruction, and gravity, causing space itself to be unstable when you got further away from the planet.

Vahn escorted Riveria to the edge of the platform where they could overlook the world below together, once again seeing how ‘small’ the continent was compared to the vastness of the world itself. Another massive difference between the Danmachi record was the fact that, as a planar world, the ‘planet’ itself wasn’t a sphere at all and instead existed as a large, seemingly flat structure. Other than the gods, nobody knew exactly how vast the Mortal World was and, other than the existence of the two other Continents, there were many unknowns that Vahn one day wanted to uncover. For now, however, he needed to focus on what was most important, which was his every increasing family and the beautiful woman standing to his left.

Lefiya, Aina, and Ryuu had all looked over the edge as well, with Lefiya and Aina both being completely awed by what they saw below. Just like Ryuu and Riveria had done in the past, Aina turned her eyes to the once-vast forests to the west and saw that it was such a ‘small’ place compared to her impression of it. Thousands of kilometers of forest now seemed small enough to simply cover it with the palm of a person’s hand while the Continent itself wasn’t actually that much larger. Looking in the horizon, they could see that the world seemingly went on forever and it made everything else seem so small. Overhead, there was an endlessly vast space filled with chaotic and terrifying energies and it almost made the ‘struggles’ of life in the Mortal World seem foolish…

Feeling the changes in everyone’s auras, Vahn felt compelled to say something so let his voice resonate through space as he said, “Though we all currently live within the City, this entire place is our home…something we share with everyone else…a common heritage of sorts. There are few people that get to see the world from this height and even fewer that would truly understand the significance behind how ‘small’ everything truly is. All of the petty squabbles and conflicts that had been perpetuated by ignorance and intolerance, they are things we should aspire to abolish in their entirety. We have a very rare opportunity to help make the world a better place, not just for ourselves and our families, but everyone else that will one day walk upon this beautiful plane of existence…I know it is a lot to ask, but I’ll need everyone’s help if, like me, you want to see such a world…”

Vahn actually didn’t know the best way to guide the world forward, but he believed they would be able to figure it out as long as they continued to work together. Looking around, he saw that, even though his words were somewhat ‘foolish’, nobody was giving him strange looks at all. Lefiya and Ryuu seemed to be ‘inspired’ by what he said while Aina continued to show her characteristically gentle smile. Riveria had a solemn look that reflected the vibrant blue world below and Vahn could feel the resolution contained within those jade-green eyes. As for Loki and Hestia, the former had a somewhat ‘devious’ smile on her face while Hestia had a ‘proud’ look as she stared directly at him with her unwavering blue eyes.

Seeing their reactions, Vahn felt powerful emotions rising up in his chest, including pride, love, and a great deal of hope for the future. Grabbing Riveria’s hand tightly, Vahn matched gazes with her and said, “Riveria, I know for certain that fate exists within this world and I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet such an amazing woman. Your dream for a better future for your people may have brought you to this point, but please trust that I will show you towards a brighter future for everyone. Together…we can change the world…I truly believe this!” Vahn knew that his presence alone had already altered the ‘fate’ of the record itself so changing the world was something he did intrinsically as part of his existence. He wanted to be more proactive in the actions he took because this world was now his ‘home’, the place where his loved ones resided and where his children would one day walk. It was his responsibility, as both a man and a father, to make the world a safer and more understanding place so that everyone could live happy lives…just like the life he had been living recently.

Though it felt like they were skipping the ceremony and moving straight to their vows, Riveria felt greatly inspired by Vahn’s words. Even though they sounded somewhat childish and idealistic, she believed that Vahn was truly someone that could make such a dream into reality. He had already, in an incredibly short period of time, found solutions to issues that had plagued entire species for thousands of years. Given even more time, Riveria believed he could reshape the entire world and become a beacon of hope for the future. Knowing what happened in the Divination, she knew his potential was truly limitless and, now that she had walked along this path with him, knew that her own influence over the world would increase exponentially.

With a rare smile on her face, represented by her eyes squinting happily above her veil, Riveria held Vahn’s gaze and said, “I want to see it, Vahn…the world we can make together. From now, until I return to the soil, I will stand at your side regardless of the path you take. Even if things become difficult, I will always believe you are walking towards a better future for everyone…I will support you to the fullest of my abilities and never neglect my duties as your wife, apprentice, and friend…” Vahn was somewhat taken aback by Riveria’s words and the uncharacteristically ‘loving’ look she had in her eyes but he also felt a great deal of excitement that showed on his face in the form of a massive grin.

No matter what he did, unless he tried to change her mind over the course of many years, there was little he could do to change Riveria’s personality and sense of duty. Hearing her say such words, that somewhat contrasted her character and the intentions she had shown, Vahn felt like Riveria had placed her ‘hope’ in him now. instead of walking a path where she made sacrifices for her people, Riveria had entrusted the fates of her people, and herself, entirely to Vahn, believing he would one day succeed where she would have almost certainly failed. It was a very ‘heavy’ burden, as it carried the weight of an entire species, but Vahn felt incredibly refreshed since Riveria’s smile almost made it seem like a simple matter by comparison. If she could smile like that more often, Vahn felt like he could overturn entire mountains without any real complaints…

At this point, Vahn and Riveria were just staring into each other’s eyes like they were lost in the stream of eternity together. Everyone initially watched them with smiling expressions on their faces, as the words they spoke to each other was very powerful and emotional. However, feelings of awkwardness began to spread after a few minutes because silence had begun to permeate through the atmosphere. Loki eventually coughed loudly to get Vahn’s and Riveria’s attention, causing them both to blush slightly as they held hands and turned to face her and Hestia. Loki had a cheeky smile on her face and a teasing glint in her eyes but she held her tongue as Hestia said, “Okay, it feels like we did things a little out of order…but I’ll go ahead and sanctify your marriage now. I guess it really doesn’t matter that much since there isn’t a big crowd anyways~?”

Hestia felt like things had taken a strange turn but it was also strangely inspiring to see how passionate Vahn and Riveria were about changing the world together. Hestia felt very proud of Vahn since he was truly her ‘favorite’ child and the man she recognized as her soul mate. She felt like she was observing history play out right in front of her eyes and it made her feel especially blessed to have been able to bear witness to so many unique events revolving around him. Waving her hand, an ancient golden pot hearth appeared out of thin air and a golden flame began to burn in its center when Hestia dropped her blood-ichor into it.

Though it felt a little awkward to have ‘skipped’ the beginning of the ceremony, Vahn accepted the golden needed given to him by Loki and, after taking Riveria’s soft hand into his own, pricked her index finger. Without any hesitation, almost as if she had set it aside prior to their ascent, Riveria placed her hand over the hearth and allowed the blood to drip into the flame. Vahn quickly repeated the process and small particulates of gold rose from the flame, after their blood intermixed together, and entered into their bodies. As he was familiar with this process, Vahn looked to Riveria and said, “I, Vahn Mason, hereby swear a vow to uphold my responsibilities as a Husband to Riveria Ljos Alf…” Riveria, without missing a beat, smiled once again and said, “I, Riveria Ljos Alf, hereby swear a vow to uphold my responsibilities as a Wife to Vahn Mason…”

The golden flame within the hearth flared up once again and several more wisps of gold flowed into their bodies, giving Vahn and Riveria a ‘sense’ of belonging to each other as the flames slowly died down. Hestia smiled and repeated the same words she had used just a few months prior, “Henceforth, may your paths never diverge and may you always find happiness and comfort with each other regardless of the passage of time…By my status as a Goddess, I, Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth…” Taking her cue without a hitch, Loki chimed in, “And I, Loki, Goddess of Mischeif~!” before they both smiled and said, “We hereby declare Vahn Mason and Riveria Ljos Alf as Husband and Wife. You may kiss the bride~!”

Vahn reached his hands to the sides of Riveria’s veil and unfastened the gem-like clasps near her ears, revealing the blushing beauty beneath and her smiling face. Since Riveria didn’t smile often, Vahn felt like he had taken critical damage and was genuinely stunned by her beauty for several seconds. Riveria’s blush deepened greatly and, outside of everyone’s expectations, lifted her hands and framed Vahn’s face before kissing him on the lips in a surprisingly passionate manner. It was relatively tame by the standards of most, but seeing Riveria be so ‘forward’ made people feel like something was ‘off’ about the situation. Even Loki, who was typically immune to such things, opened her eyes in surprise before swallowing a bit of saliva. Lefiya was standing off at the side making a ‘wawawawa’ sound next to the wide-eyed Ryuu while Aina, standing next to them, was the only one that simply smiled happily with a gentle expression on her face.

When Riveria separated their lips, Vahn looked into her ruddy face with a pleasantly surprised look on his own, accompanied by a silly smile. Riveria furrowed her brows slightly in frustration and muttered, “I’m your Wife now…I have to do at least this much or I wouldn’t be able to hold my head up in public…” Vahn almost burst out laughing because he was already in a very good mood but managed to keep it suppressed as he pulled Riveria’s waist closer to him and said, “Then I have to do my duty as well…” Though she looked like she was about to ‘burst’, Riveria just shuddered slightly without trying to escape Vahn’s grasp as he kissed her in a far more passionate manner than what she had initially managed.

Everyone on Fafnir’s back began to clap when they saw this since it was far less surprising to see Vahn kissing Riveria than the other way around. Loki started cackling happily until Aina ‘cautioned’ her to be considerate about the baby, while Hestia held both of her hands together like she was praying for their happiness. As a goddess of Family, Hestia could actually bless the union between people and she truly wanted Vahn and Riveria to be happy, knowing their happiness would also spread to everyone else in the process. Unlike her past self, that had wanted to keep monopolize Vahn, Hestia now believed this was the ‘correct’ path since it was truly wonderful to see so much happiness shared between people, much like a real family. With children on the way, she continued to grow progressively more excited and was greatly looking forward to the future…

Though he could feel Hestia’s presence ‘enveloping’ him, Vahn just shared his happiness with her while keeping his focus on Riveria. This was one of the rare moments when he could ’embarrass’ her in public and each of her expressions were very precious. The fact that she continued to smile even with a flushed face made Vahn’s brain buzz, especially since he was holding her thin and incredibly soft waist with his left hand. He knew better than to truly ‘tease’ her, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t share a bit of affection with her since everyone present was someone she trusted. Riveria seemed to be willing to ‘allow’ this and just showed a bashful look instead of reprimanding him for pushing things too far…

With the ‘wedding’ officially coming to an end, Fafnir began its descent while Loki put forth the idea of simply jumping down and enjoying the fall. Since not everyone would be guaranteed to make it out unscathed, Vahn shook his head and said they could do that another time. Right now, he was just sitting next to Riveria, holding her waist instead of her hand, and he didn’t really feel the need to do any thrillseeking. There was also the fact that they had ascended right above the City and Vahn didn’t want to deal with the hassle of potentially having some of them crash into buildings.

Winds could easily affect a person’s course during free fall and they had actually been separated by several hundred meters previously, meaning there was no easy way to guarantee their landing point unless they had magic like Ais’ [Ariel]. Vahn had thought about making ‘flight’ suits so the girls would have more control, but he hadn’t gotten around to it yet since there had been several more pressing matters to attend to. Now, he needed to tend to Riveria for a while and also plan for the upcoming expedition. His children would also be born in a few months and Vahn wanted to make sure to have most of the ‘basic’ problems resolved before focusing almost entirely on his family.

When Eva’s orb completely awakened, he would also be studying magic and then simply consolidating strength until the events of the original timeline began. Though he had changed many things, there were undoubtedly some events that would happen as a result of their ‘enemies’ taking action and Vahn wanted to be absolutely prepared for when the time came. He suspected he could simply leave things to Bell to manage, as the boy’s ‘fate’ was incredibly strong, but that wasn’t really a risk he was willing to take. Bell may have been the main character in the original series, but this was now Vahn’s life and he couldn’t play second fiddle just ‘hoping’ things would turn out well…

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Leaning against his shoulder slightly, Riveria asked, “What are you thinking about…?” in a curious tone. She had seen Vahn’s smiling expression and the resolute look in his eyes and wondered what was going through his mind to inspire such a reaction. Vahn blinked, mildly surprised by Riveria’s question, before looking into her jade-green eyes and smiling as he said, “I was thinking that I needed to work hard to be a good father…” As he spoke, Vahn tightened his grip on Riveria’s waist and a blush began to creep up on her face as she hung her head a little. It was still pretty early in the day and the celebration actually wouldn’t last that long before Vahn ‘whisked’ her away. She felt very nervous about what was to come but oddly found Vahn’s embrace comforting, even though his teasing look annoyed her a great deal…

As she couldn’t help but ‘overhear’ what Vahn said, Loki chimed in all of a sudden and said, “Pretty soon you’re going to have a crash course on being a father since the Vanir will probably be a handful. Our daughter will undoubtedly be a demigoddess of mischief, so, good luck, Papa~” Almost every time Vahn heard the word ‘Papa’, he felt like his mind had taken a critical impact and this time was no exception. Seeing his reaction, Loki began to laugh even more and greatly looked forward to how Vahn would actually manage to ‘wrangle’ in his children. The Vanir matured over the course of a very short five years, meaning he probably wouldn’t have the freedom to move around easily by the time they were born. Being gone just a few months was the equivalent of being gone for ‘years’ in the case of the Vanir and Loki expected they would be ‘very’ impressionable as a result of their pseudo-divinities…

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