Chapter 612: Turmoil

Because of how early she had gone to sleep the previous day, Riveria awoke in the twilight hours of the morning, long before Vahn would generally awaken. He only allowed himself to be comfortable around the girls so, unless something unexpected happened, he would continue to sleep regardless of what they might do. In this instance, Riveria just watched his sleeping face after being slightly startled when she first opened her eyes. Vahn was still in his High Elf form so she had panicked a little at first but, after remembering everything that happened, she calmed down and just tucked her head into his chest. She didn’t focus on his scent like the Beast Human girls, but Riveria did notice he had a strangely warm aroma that smelled subtly like flowers…

After her initial embarrassment the previous day, Riveria did her best to try and open herself up to Vahn, finding it surprisingly easy to just go with the flow of things. Thinking about it after the fact was actually harder to cope with than simply going through with it, indicating to Riveria that she really did overthink things a great deal. Aina had often talked to her in the past about things like ‘love’, especially when she met Thomas, but Riveria didn’t truly understand her words at the time. She couldn’t understand how Aina would fall in love with a man that wouldn’t even live half as long as she did, watching them age and slowly decay until eventually dying. As for children, that made even less sense to her since it seemed almost ‘tragic’ to give birth to children that wouldn’t be able to continue the cycle further…

Staring at Vahn’s face, Riveria realized none of that mattered at all now and, though she felt a little giddy just thinking about it, love didn’t seem as difficult to understand as before. The warmth and comfort Vahn brought to her, even when he was simply sleeping next to her, made Riveria feel like she had found something lost long ago, something that the heart needed to be ‘complete’ and whole. The most comforting thing, however, was the fact that Vahn was ‘bigger’ than she was, not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. It was like he could encompass the entire world with his compassion and love for life, shouldering great burdens and reshaping the fates of entire species, almost as if it didn’t take any great effort at all. The only thing she needed to give him in exchange was her love, something that was much easier to do than she initially expected…

As she had been staring at his face for a while now, Riveria began to blush slightly as she reached out her finger and poked his cheek, finding it to be a little squishier than expected. This made a small smile appear on her face because it showed that Vahn was completely comfortable around her, even though it was the first time they slept together. She couldn’t open herself up to people nearly as fast as he could but, knowing he already opened his heart to her, Riveria felt it wouldn’t be long before she did the same. With that thought in mind, Riveria brought her hand to Vahn’s chest, once again marveling at how powerful his heartbeat was in conjunction with the almost ‘scalding’ temperature of his body. It wasn’t that it actually burned her, but Riveria felt like the heat flowed directly into her body and made her feel somewhat anxious…

Feeling Riveria touching him, and sensing the change in her aura, Vahn opened his eyes slowly and saw her just staring at his chest from just a few inches away. He raised his brows slightly and was tempted to watch her before she suddenly seemed to realize he had awoken. There was a big difference in the flow of mana in a person’s body between when they were asleep and when they were at rest, something Riveria could detect. She lifted her head to match his gaze and Vahn could see there was already a slight blush on her face before he smiled and said, “Good morning, Riveria…you look even more beautiful today~.”

Riveria released a surprisingly hot sigh before resting her head against the bed and lazily saying, “You never stop with your words…” She felt like Vahn was always complimenting her beauty, even before they officially entered a relationship. Though it made her happy, it also felt a little tiring hearing him repeat it so many times since it always twinged at her heart and made her feel a little exasperated. She almost wished he would just be quiet at times since one-sidedly receiving compliments was difficult and, though there were many great things about Vahn, Riveria couldn’t really vocalize them without feeling embarrassed.

Vahn just smiled in response to Riveria’s ‘complaint’ and said, “I think it’s important to be honest and forward about things…I don’t want to ever cause people to misunderstand what I’m thinking, so I try to say it out loud as much as possible. I think, when we’re alone like this, it would be good if you tried doing the same, Riveria…” As she had a habit of thinking about her responses, Vahn used the small gap to lean down and kiss Riveria’s forehead again since he couldn’t quite reach her mouth. Riveria’s eyes opened slightly wider before she released another sigh and just tucked her head to his chest, protecting herself from his lips while hiding her face at the same time.

Knowing that she would probably take a few days to sort through her thoughts, Vahn didn’t continue to pressure Riveria and simply closed his eyes to get a short nap in. It was currently only around 2 AM and there were a few more hours before he needed to be up. As for Riveria, she found it very hard to go back to sleep after feeling a bit of excitement in her body earlier. Being so close to Vahn didn’t really help much and, the moment she started to get even a little excited, it was like the formation in her body became even more powerful as heat slowly built up in her lower body.

Riveria held her thighs together in a vain attempt at resistance, but it didn’t seem to help much until she eventually had to roll over to avoid Vahn’s smell. It helped a great deal but, even though he was sleeping, Vahn instinctually hugged Riveria’s body from behind and she suddenly felt a lot hotter than before. It was almost like his body could completely envelop her’s when he hugged her from behind and, though it made her feel strangely safe, it also put her whole back into contact with Vahn’s body. Even worse was the fact that he pulled his legs up against her’s and Riveria could feel a heat around her butt that made her feel very anxious…

By the time Vahn woke up again, he found Riveria breathing somewhat heavily in his arms and was surprised to find that she was covered in sweat. Tilting his head, he could see she had a bit of a pained expression on her face and, activating his [Eyes of Truth], noticed she was having difficulties processing the natural energy in her body. Though he startled her at first, Riveria quickly calmed down when she realized Vahn was awake again and began to help her diffuse the energy in her body. She released a long sigh of relief as the hot sensation in her body slowly dissipated and a refreshing feeling took its place. It made her feel a little ‘lonely’ for some reason, but the relief made it easier to tolerate and Vahn’s heat became much more bearable against her back.

After helping Riveria calm down, Vahn continued to use [Petting] on her while explaining, “The natural energy that gets looped into your core also intermixes with your own mana. If it becomes difficult to bear while I’m not around, you should be able to deal with the effects by using up your mana. Since you have healing spells, it should be pretty easy to use up your mana reserves…” Riveria nodded her head at first but then explained, “Yes, but that would also mean the predominant energy in my body would be natural energy…so I would just be tired and frustrated at the same time…” She had already made the same deduction as Vahn in the past when she tried wearing the [Sage Aldrnari’s Blessing] and knew that, while it helped at first, it didn’t actually fix the problem in the end.

Vahn was a little surprised by Riveria’s words but, after thinking about it logically, he could understand the truth of the matter. Her mana helped to dilute the effects a bit so, if she was completely drained, the natural energy would work to help replenish her mana, yes, but it would also be ‘taxing’ her body at the same time. Vahn suspected this would help Riveria become stronger but it would also take a while for her to adapt to the changes. Natural energy was very difficult to process and, though she would inevitably get used to it, the adaptation period would be a little ‘difficult’.

Riveria surprisingly placed her hand over his and said, “Don’t worry…I can always meditate to help calm my mind. I know it will get better, so I will tolerate it to the best of my ability. This is important for the safe development of our child…I won’t stay a weak woman anymore.” She still remembered Vahn’s words about her already being ‘strong’, but Riveria felt like she needed to do more to earn such high praise. Vahn was already doing most of the work himself so learning to deal with the urges of her body was ‘literally’ the least she could do. After all, the [Sage Aldrnari’s Blessing] actually nourished her body and protected her vitality while also ensuring their child would develop properly. This was something inconceivable in the past, so Riveria felt it really was a blessing…

Hearing the underlying confidence in her words, even though he disliked how she referred to herself as a weak woman, Vahn smiled and kissed the back of Riveria’s head. She curled up a bit in response but Vahn just embraced her gently from behind for a while before it was nearing time for him to leave. Riveria rarely attended the morning training sessions and today she would be spending most of her time ‘recuperating’ from the previous day. Loki had stayed over last night and she would probably want to talk with Riveria while Aina, Eina, and, potentially, even Risna would come to visit with her. Though he wanted to spend a bit more time with her, Vahn knew it was ‘important’ for Riveria to have the time to think things through since she was that type of woman.

Watching his departing figure with her jade green eyes, Riveria immediately sighed when Vahn exited the room. She let the tensions release from her body completely and found that the bed suddenly seemed much bigger than in the past. There was still a faint warmth on the bed where Vahn had slept, but Riveria resisted the urge to lay in that spot. Instead, she used the time to collect herself before moving away from the bed and pulling out a few parchments to begin writing a missive to her father.

Riveria already had a few ideas about the families taking action against them right now and wanted her father to pressure them in order to avoid war. Though it would still be a secret from most people, Riveria explained that her child with Vahn was a pure-blooded High Elf and used Vahn’s race from the Divination, Progenitus, as the reason for why this was the case. This would allow her father’s mind to be at ease and would potentially even cause him to take a firmer stance against the other families since they would have already secured an heir through their main line. The only reason he had originally betrothed her to Alosrin was because of the pressure from the other families and their adherence to ‘traditions’.

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Though he may hate gods, Riveria knew her father wasn’t actually as foolish as the vast majority of High Elves. His greatest flaw was that he was essentially just a ‘puppet’ of a corrupt system since the transition for him becoming King hadn’t been a smooth one. He had been forced to make many concessions in order to regain stability within the Kingdom and her ‘desertion’ in the past had actually made things even more difficult, at least until she accumulated some achievements. Right now, his position was barely maintained by the Sage Council and, without a ‘proper’ heir, he had been forced to arrange her marriage to the then most powerful Duke family in order to appease the traditionalist faction.

Riveria hoped that her father was wise enough to understand Vahn’s significance for their entire race and, even though it would probably cause some internal strife, she hoped he would take a firm stance against the other houses. The Elven Kingdom ‘needed’ to change if they wanted to avoid future destruction and Riveria hoped it wouldn’t come to the point they ‘had’ to create a new Kingdom elsewhere. However, feeling the flow of natural energy around her abdomen, Riveria hardened her heart and resolved that she would do her best if that ended up happening. Even with just a few female Elves, Riveria knew it would be possible to create an entire Kingdom with Vahn’s help considering how long-lived they would be. Since none of the offspring they produced would have the same ‘issues’ as the previous generations, they would quickly overtake the numbers in the Elven Kingdom after a few decades passed…

Imagining what it would be like to live inside a Palace, surrounded by dozens of her own children, Riveria had a deep flush on her face and had to rest her head against the desk for a few minutes to calm down. It was a ‘peculiar’ thought, but Riveria did a bit of math in her head and knew she could ‘easily’ produce around four-hundred children if ‘necessary’. She might have to spend the rest of her life pregnant, but it would still be ‘worth’ it in the end since her people would never die out. Instead, they would actually be much stronger in the future with the introduction of a new Magic system and the support of the Alliance. They could also implement policies to avoid the same situation from occurring again by allowing their children to love whomever they wanted as the ‘purity’ of their offspring wouldn’t make much of a difference with Vahn’s research progressing even further…

A loud knock suddenly came from the door, startling Riveria from her thoughts as she looked to the nearby clock and saw it was already around 8 AM. She had completely got lost in her own thoughts and realized her heart was beating rapidly in her chest while she had been imagining a ‘paradise’ for Elves on the 50th Floor of the Dungeon. Looking towards the door, Riveria ‘calmly’ said, “Come in…” using her masked voice once again. Though she tried to speak ‘normally’ around Vahn, she couldn’t bring herself to drop her facade around other people just yet, especially when she was already in a ‘compromised’ state. When she saw who had arrived, a loud sigh escaped her lips as Loki laughed mischievously and said, “Wow, your face is super red, Riveria. Did Vahn go overboard and ‘break’ you a little~?”

Loki entered the room but she was also accompanied by Aina, Hestia, Hephaestus, and Syr. They all had different reactions to Riveria’s appearance because her face was almost tomato red and she had an uncharacteristically ‘pouting’ expression compared to her typically stoic and cool disposition. Aina had the most normal reaction and simply showed a happy smile as she said, “Congratulations, Riveria…I’m so happy for you~.” The greatest concern Aina had about Riveria in the past was that she would never get to experience love. Since she was such a dutiful woman, it was very likely Riveria would one day return to the Elven Kingdom and have to marry that ‘despotic’ fool Alosrin. She hated the thought of Riveria spending the last few years of her life being with that idiot just so she could have his child and simply wilt away like a flower after serving its ‘purpose’.

The main reason why there were no Elven Queens after the first King came into existence was the fact that, as their population had been declining, the women ‘needed’ to produce more offspring. However, this often resulted in the inevitable death of the females, allowing a King to eventually came into power while essentially ‘relegating’ females to the position of breeding stock. After all, they ‘couldn’t’ have a Queen sitting on the throne for hundreds of years without producing an heir while their population continued to decline. With a King on the throne, they could watch over the child after the mother’s death and ‘raise them properly’ to rule over the next generation. Unfortunately, reality had the exact opposite happen and this was the primary reason behind the cultural stagnation and corruption of the Elven people…

Loki saw that Riveria was writing a note on a very official looking piece of paper so she smiled and asked, “Were you sending a message to your father?” Riveria had been matching Aina’s smile with a small one of her own before immediately becoming more serious when she heard Loki’s question. Nodding her head, Riveria explained what she was writing and how she wanted things to progress in the future. By the end of it, however, Loki shook her head and said, “I’m sorry, Riveria, but that isn’t really acceptable…” If the Elves had ‘behaved’ themselves properly, going Riveria’s route wouldn’t be a bad choice. Now, since they went out of their way to badger the Alliance once again, they needed to show the Elven Kingdom they weren’t a turtle with a hard shell, but a wasp nest that couldn’t be poked without consequences.

Hearing Loki’s words, Riveria sighed because she already knew things would likely come to this after the ‘infiltration’ the night before the wedding. As if understanding Riveria’s thoughts, Loki nodded her head and said, “We already got the report from Eirene about the purpose behind the foolish attempt to sneak into the Manor. There are groups actually propagating the idea you’re being held captive by the Alliance and being used as an experimental subject to ‘steal’ the superior genes of High Elves. They’re even trying to say some b******* about how Vahn is holding the information about the ‘cure’ hostage as a method to blackmail and force you to do his bidding…kukukuku…” Loki had a very evil look in her eyes and, though it was subtle, her divine power was radiating from her body a result of the rage she was feeling.

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Hephaestus stepped in at this point and said, “Feel free to send a message to your father, but you also need to add a warning that we won’t allow them to try and tarnish Vahn’s reputation to suit their political agenda. From now on, Elven caravans have been stripped of their right to trade with any Familia associated with the Alliance. If they can’t control the bogus information they themselves spread, we ‘will’ be forced to take more drastic actions in the future…” Hephaestus never had a ‘calm’ disposition when it came to dealing with the people trying to make Vahn’s life more difficult. He was a kind and honest boy that worked hard to help people so it royally pissed her off when anyone, god or mortal, tried to drag him into their disputes just because it was ‘convenient’ for them to do so. There were already several ‘good’ people that did that so she couldn’t tolerate any ‘bad’ people from trying to interfere with his life…

As if she didn’t want to be left out, or couldn’t be left out, Hestia showed an uncharacteristically serious expression and said, “I will not allow anyone to tarnish the reputation of those in my Familia, especially Vahn. This is our home, a place we have all come together to create and share our happiness with each other. If anyone thinks they can just barge into our home and cause trouble, they will find that I’m not so forgiving…” Much like Loki, Hestia’s aura spread out a bit but, unlike Loki, her’s was much stronger and it put pressure on everyone in the room, including Loki and Hephaestus. Hestia was actually pretty passive by nature but, the one thing she could never back down on was protecting her ‘family’. Vahn was the boy she had dedicated her everything to her and, in exchange, he had given her a ‘real’ family and a form of love she had never experienced before. If anyone wanted to take that away from her, Hestia would make them pay a steep price…

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