Chapter 621: Matters of Importance

Because Vahn, Ais, Tiona, Tione, Lefiya, Haruhime, and Fenrir were all going to be leaving for the Expedition today. everyone was already awake and had been planning to eat breakfast together. Even Loki, after having sorted out everything at the Twilight Manor, had come over during the evening and was preparing to stay at the Hearth Manor until she went into labor. Vahn very briefly explained the situation regarding the orb and it immediately caused a shift in the atmosphere. Eva was a very ‘abstract’ thing for most of them and, though they understood the importance of the orb, many of the girls had inhibitions about Vahn using it for long periods of time.

After crunching the numbers in her head, Loki furrowed her brows and said, “If you use the orb every day, that means you’ll have experienced nearly 420 days by the time you come back to the surface…” Though she didn’t mention it, Loki also thought about the possibility of Fafnir staying inside of the orb for that entire time, essentially increasing its age to nearly 500 years. True Dragons were biologically immortal, so it would become ridiculously strong if it was training with Eva that entire time. If not for the fact Fafnir would be left on the surface, Loki would have been tempted to convince Vahn to let it grow further so it could become the trump card of the Alliance…

Hearing that Vahn would essentially be gone for more than a year, everyone became a little tenser until he calmly stated, “Please, everyone, don’t worry about it too much. I’ll have Ais, Tiona, Tione, Lefiya, Haruhime, and Fenrir to accompany me in the Dungeon. Since I’ll just be focusing on my training, something I would have had to do in the real world regardless, there isn’t any danger of me losing myself. I can also help the other girls train and this will reduce the burden of my [Prometheus] skill, allowing me to produce more flame seeds. It will also give me more time to spend with everyone when we return to the surface, as I won’t have to focus so much on training and producing items in reality anymore…”

Vahn was essentially recounting things that most of the girls knew already, reminding them of all the benefits while trying to allay their concerns. No matter what, Vahn would have ended up using the orb anyways and this would actually allow the girls to have a bit more peace of mind. If he had been using it around them, it could have potentially had a few negative consequences since they would be experiencing the changes to Vahn in real time. Having a bit of a ‘shock’ when he returned was a little easier to deal with, especially since the focus would be on the children being born. Things were bound to change greatly during that period of time and it would make it much easier to cope with any changes that occurred in Vahn as well.

Eina was sitting quietly next to Vahn and, after collecting her thoughts, raised her head and said, “I think Vahn needs an emotional anchor to accompany him in the Dungeon. Ais, Tiona, and Tione aren’t suited to the role and I’m afraid Lefiya and Fenrir would get wrapped up in the momentum of things…” Eina was always the most concerned about Vahn’s mentality and, though he would probably be fine, she was still worried he wouldn’t be able to keep the balance between the orb and reality unless someone was here to anchor him. All of the most ‘suitable’ people for the role were currently pregnant though, which likely wasn’t that much of a coincidence. The only viable candidate remaining would be…

Seeing Eina looking over at her, Chloe squinted her eyes slightly, smiling as she said, “I really shouldn’t go into the Dungeon since I have to guide Shizune’s training and I’ve been helping the girls with their [Mixing]…” Chloe also wanted to go but she was afraid her presence would actually be a bit of a burden to Vahn, especially since he would be overly conscious of her. She also wasn’t suited to fighting in the Dungeon and there were several things she had already committed herself to. Vahn wouldn’t want her to leave Shizune hanging and she was also helping Lili, Naaza, and Preasia at the same time.

With Chloe ‘out’, the only other candidate would have been Milan but she also needed to look after Tina and was actually a little ‘too reliant’ on Vahn, making her unsuited to the role. Suddenly, as if she wanted to completely shatter the tense atmosphere, Tsubaki began laughing before pointing to Mikoto and saying, “You go, Mikoto. You’re a sensible and dutiful girl and it would be good for you to spend more time with Vahn. Your training has been stagnating a bit and I can see that you’ve been wanting to test out your skills on stronger opponents. Look after Vahn for us, okay?”

Mikoto had been sitting silently at the side, feeling somewhat conflicted since she didn’t want to be left behind for some of the same reasons that Tsubaki pointed out. Haruhime was also her friend and the person she most wanted to protect, especially after ‘failing’ to protect her in their youth. Hearing Tsubaki address her, Mikoto showed a serious expression and said, “Yes, I will go…” As she spoke, Mikoto tightly gripped her katana to stop the shaking of her hand. She was a little nervous about being given such an ‘important’ role but was also excited to have an opportunity to polish her skills while also ‘protecting’ her Lord…

Loki nodded her head, agreeing with Tsubaki’s decision but adding, “Everyone else needs to pay close attention to Vahn as well, especially you three…don’t get carried away just because you have a bunch of free time in the Dungeon.” Even without them talking about it, Loki already expected them to ‘play’ around a bit when they reached the 39th Floor. It could actually be a very ‘healthy’ thing for Vahn, but only if they didn’t take it too far and turn it into a burden. If he got in a mindset of using the orb as a means of ‘coping’ again, it would undo all the efforts they made to make him a more stable existence. There was also a chance he might let his own power go to his head so Loki looked to Vahn and said, “Remember, we weren’t even able to conquer the Dungeon in the Divination so don’t let your power dictate your actions. Protect everyone and don’t do anything dangerous to expose yourself…we’ll be waiting for your return on the surface, Vahn.”

As she had been sitting in his lap, Vahn could feel Loki ‘trembling’ a bit and, though it might have been an act, he believed she was very concerned about him. Gently embracing her, Vahn kissed the top of her head and said, “Don’t worry, Loki, I didn’t intend to do anything drastic until certain events got triggered. Remember, I’m still waiting for that boy named Bell Cranel, as his fate seems tied to the success of the future Expeditions. Keep an eye out for him while I’m away since there is no way of knowing how events might have changed with our actions…” Bell wasn’t supposed to show up for another 15-16 months, but Vahn knew that could have easily changed if Zeus learned about what was going on in the City. Many of the significant events Bell would have experienced had already been altered by Vahn’s actions so there really was no way of knowing how things would develop.

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To ease the tensions of the group, Vahn looked around with a gentle smile and supreme confidence in his gaze as he said, “Even if I was trapped an unable to return for thousands of years, I would never forget the bonds I share with everyone here. They are what give me the strength to continue forward so please believe in me…I will always return, no matter what it takes.” Hestia’s crystalline blues eyes had a glimmering sheen when she heard Vahn’s words but it was Tsubaki who once again changed the tense atmosphere as she said, “Vahn, don’t say something so ominous, jeez! Even if you didn’t ‘want’ to come back, we would just track you down ourselves. Not to mention, Hephaestus has that handy little ring of her’s and could probably pull you back from the bottom of the Dungeon if she had to…hahahaha~.”

Hephaestus traced her finger of the [Promise] Vahn had given her, showing a loving smile as she said, “Yes, I have already dedicated everything to Vahn…I won’t back down easily if something tries to take the happiness I’ve…no, the happiness we’ve found together.” Though she spoke them softly, Hephaestus’ words resonated with everyone present, especially Vahn. He felt a great deal of warmth flow through his chest and once again promise that, no matter what the future held for him, he would ‘always’ return to this world. Hephaestus and Hestia had truly dedicated their everything to him, including their ‘eternities’. Loki also worked tirelessly to ensure they all had a stronger foundation for the future and there were simply too many people he cared about to leave this world behind…

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//Optional Quest Triggered//

[Quest: I Shall Return]

Rank: SSS

Objective: Complete [Quest: Origin of Heroes](0/9). Establish ‘Eternal Bonds’ with gods that possess Divinities related to Time, Space, Bonds, or Fate (1/3).

Rewards: Reduction of requirements for [Quest: I Shall Seal The Heavens]. 10x Reduction in necessary Origin Points.

Failure Condition(s): Death, Exiting the Record Before Completion

Penalty: Danmachi Record inaccessible until Tier 8, 10,000 karma based on conditions (11/12)

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Vahn had been stunned by the sudden notification of a Quest but he was ecstatic when he actually read the objectives and rewards. Though it would difficult to complete, it wasn’t impossible and would inevitably save him 90,000,000,000OP if he managed to complete it. It was very difficult to keep his calm after reading this and it was noticed by almost everyone present, as they had all been paying attention to him. Loki had even opened her eyes partly and was looking at him as if she were trying to discern what he was thinking.

Everyone present were people Vahn trusted completely, not simply because they had made vows to protect the information but because he cared about them all deeply. However, this wasn’t a matter that could be discussed openly so he looked around and said, “I’m sorry, everyone, but I need to talk with Hephaestus, Hestia, Loki, and Anubis…It won’t take long, so please feel free to start breakfast and relax. This conversation has been pretty tense but I can assure you things will go smoothly in the future.” Because he had been so excited, Vahn spoke a little quicker and higher than normal, causing everyone to actually relax a great deal because they could tell something good had happened.

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Vahn moved to the study with the goddesses, escorting Hephaestus and Loki to the sofa before he sat down next to Anubis and Hestia, explaining, “This is a very important conversation and I need all of you to trust that I’m telling you the truth, even though I can’t explain how I know these things. It’s something I myself don’t understand, after all…” Telling them about his Quests was the same as revealing the existence of The Path, meaning it could lead to all of their deaths if it was divulged. Since he truly didn’t understand everything about The Path, Vahn wasn’t lying when he spoke so all of the goddesses nodded their heads and listened with serious expressions on their faces.

Taking a deep breath, Vahn tried to calm his rapidly beating heart before saying, “I’ve already promised you all that I will stay at your sides forever. That isn’t an exaggeration at all and know that I’m already walking down a path that grants me immortality, just like I had been able to ascend to godhood in the Divination. When my training with Eva is complete, that will also grant me a form of immortality…no matter what it takes, I won’t let you have to suffer through eternity on your own.” All of his efforts to calm down were completely wasted because Vahn felt his own words were a bit overwhelming, almost like he ‘needed’ to scream them with how emotional he felt.

Hestia and Hephaestus had gentle and loving expressions on their faces while Anubis had an anticipatory smile on her elegant face. She had seen Vahn’s potential in the past and swore to follow him for the rest of his life, not minding at all if that happened to continue indefinitely. As for Loki, she had already been preparing for the fact Vahn would be living forever and wasn’t surprised at all. She was determined to stand at his side because she believed he would lead the world down a more interesting path while also helping to remove the restrictions of Divinity. He was also the father of her child and, though she had been promiscuous in love in the past, other people didn’t seem ‘worthy’ to her anymore. Even if she may play around, it would only be with the people around Vahn and that was more than enough to keep her satisfied.

Vahn was holding hands with Hestia and Anubis at this point, feeling their love and affection for him as he took several deep breaths to calm down. Using his [Will of the Emperor], Vahn slowly steadied himself before saying, “I don’t understand how it was triggered, but I was able to discern some important information about the future that will help guarantee that, even if something goes wrong, I will always be able to return to everyone’s sides.” Seeing that they all had looks of curiosity, intrigue, and anticipation, Vahn smiled and continued, saying, “Please don’t ask me how I know this for certain, but one of the pre-requisites is that I have at least nine children with goddesses…I’m not certain if that means different goddesses, but I’ll be able to confirm it when the twins are born.”

Though they had expected Vahn to say something surprising, this was a little different than any of their expectations and it caused Loki to immediately burst into laughter. Hephaestus had a thoughtful expression on her face and, before the conversation continued further, said, “I had three children in the Divination, so I’m prepared to get pregnant again if you need my help, Vahn…” Even if she had to give Vahn twenty children, Hephaestus didn’t mind since that wasn’t actually that many if it was stretched out over a period of ‘eternity’.

Hearing Hephaestus’ words, Loki stopped laughing and began counting on her fingers as she said, “Hephaestus has two in the oven…I’m cooking one…and you’ll probably have to deal with Freya, Eirene, and Demeter in the future since that’s already planned out…I’m guessing Hestia and Anubis will probably want to pop out one of their own, so we really just need one more if the only requirement is nine. If it means you need nine different goddesses, well, that wouldn’t actually be that difficult if we’re being honest…” Loki had a feeling that, given how things typically transpired around Vahn, it probably required him to ‘knock up’ nine different goddesses. A few candidates immediately crossed her mind, including two very ‘useful’ allies that could really use a ‘bedding’…

Vahn drew in a sharp breath when he heard Loki pointing things out in such a manner but he knew she wasn’t actually wrong in doing so. For some reason, he didn’t imagine that Anubis and Hestia would bear his children, at least not any time soon, so he would likely have to be involved with a few different goddesses in the future. With that in mind, Vahn continued his train of thought and explained, “That isn’t the only requirement though, as I’ll also need to have Eternal Vows with three different gods, specifically those with Divinities related to Time, Space, Bonds, or Fate. I’m pretty sure I already met the requirements for one of them…” As Vahn spoke, he turned to Hestia, causing her to smile as her beautiful blue eyes shimmered like gemstones.

Loki brought her fist to her palm in an ‘Aha’ gesture before saying, “Bonds can mean things like ‘Family’, so I guess that makes a lot of sense. The question is, do the gods you need a promise from have to be ones that you’re in love with…?” Even as she asked the question, Loki couldn’t imagine many male gods making an Eternal Vow to Vahn, meaning she needed to find goddesses that had those attributes. Any goddess would be interested in Vahn, especially once the first Vanir is born, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find any. She already knew a good candidate but would probably have to deal with her so-called ‘sisters’ if she wanted to get her allegiance…

Though Loki didn’t seem to think it would be that much of an issue, Hephaestus had a complex expression on her face because she knew that many of the ‘suitable’ goddesses were somewhat difficult to deal with. It would be next to impossible to find one with a Divinity related to Space and, those with Divinities related to Fate and Time were usually eccentric, at best. Like Loki, she also thought of a certain trio and felt a bit of a shudder run down her back before dismissing them from her mind and wondering who would be a better alternative.

After a few short minutes, as all the goddesses were thinking about ‘candidates’, Vahn began to get a little nervous because it felt like they were essentially trying to pick wives for him. He figured he could make some kind of pact with Ouranos for the ‘Space’ requirement and it shouldn’t be that hard to come to an agreement with someone else. There really wasn’t any great need to rush things, now that Vahn had some time to think about it, as acquiring ten-trillion OP wasn’t something that could be done in a short period of time anyways.

Suddenly, Hestia furrowed her brows a bit and asked, “Can’t we ask Freya and Anubis to make Eternal Vows? Freya should have a lesser Divinity of Fate related to Clairvoyance, as well as Death. Anubis should be in the same category and she has already promised to serve Vahn before…” At this point, Anubis’ moonlight eyes glowed slightly and she said, “Though I would like to make an Eternal Vow, doing so would invalidate the fidelity of my previous vow, something I cannot violate. I may end up serving my Master for all eternity, but I cannot make a secondary vow to overwrite my previous one…” It was a little contrary, but Anubis ‘couldn’t’ take a step back on the issue since she was actually bound by an unbreakable vow that made it impossible for her to renege on promises she already made.

Since Anubis was ‘out’, that meant they still need a third person, even if Freya was ‘willing’ to make an eternal vow. However, though she didn’t vocalize it out of concern for Vahn, Loki didn’t think it was a good idea to ‘address’ Freya on such a matter so soon. After all, she also didn’t want to deal with an existence even ‘similar’ to Lenneth, especially since she would probably inherit Vahn’s pseudo-Divinity related to ‘Space’. This would make her a potential candidate for making the vow but would also cause Vahn a great deal of stress at the same time. Unlike Vahn, who thought it would be easy to strike a deal with Ouranos, all the goddesses knew it wouldn’t be that simple as ‘Space’ gods were notoriously ‘difficult’ to work with…

Seeing how ‘serious’ everyone was about the situation, Vahn raised his hand slightly and said, “I only wanted to inform all of you about the situation so you wouldn’t be caught off guard in the future. It wouldn’t really come into play for several years so there isn’t any need to rush things at all. We have plenty of time to consider the future and should focus on more pressing matters in the present…” Vahn was happy they were already thinking so hard about helping him live forever but knew it really wasn’t the time to be sitting around brooding over the matter while everyone else was waiting for them.

Hephaestus nodded her head in agreement and said, “Vahn is right. Now that he has told us about it, we have plenty of time to discuss things while he is in the Dungeon. There is also no real rush to find candidates since he will be able to obtain a form of immortality after training with Eva…for now, let’s worry about our own children and resolving some of the issues already plaguing the Alliance. Besides, I have a feeling Vahn will likely end up finding the solution on his own…ufufufu~.” Just as he had ‘accidentally’ connected all of them, Hephaestus was strangely confident Vahn would end up resolving things without their help. Since it would probably be better to let things happen ‘naturally’, they should just prepare for a few other goddesses joining the ‘core’ of their group in the future.

Loki felt that Hephaestus’ words struck the truth of the matter but still wanted to seek out some candidates on her own. After all, finding suitable members to add to their inner circle was extremely important since they were ‘literally’ talking about eternity. If Vahn lived forever, that meant there would be several goddesses at his side that would be ‘bound’ to him for all eternity. Picking the ‘correct’ candidates was incredibly important to avoid conflict in the future. Though there wouldn’t be any issues for a few hundred years, who knew what would happen after a few million passed? They needed someone with the proper mentality, preferably from the first or second generation of gods and goddesses. This was the reason Loki was considering goddesses like Artemis or Athena as, much like Hestia, they would probably become completely dedicated to Vahn if he got their virginities…

Deciding to discuss the matter later, the five returned to where everyone else was already eating breakfast. They didn’t need to be leaving until around 6:50 Am, so there was still plenty of time to just relax and make casual conversation. However, a few minutes after he sat down, Loki suddenly said, “You once said that, when your training with Eva finished, the orb would end up being destroyed. Since you want Terra and Fafnir to train with her for a bit, doesn’t that mean we need to push the Expedition back for at least a day? Well, not that it’s a bad idea to take Fafnir and Terra with you, though I imagine it would be difficult for them to spend a few hundred years in the orb…?”

Vahn nearly dropped his chopsticks when he heard Loki’s words, once again realizing that the passage of time in the orb could be very ‘drastic’. Taking Terra actually wasn’t that bad of an idea, especially since she was already mature and wouldn’t age at all. As for Fafnir, Vahn knew it wanted to meet Eva again but there was no way he could leave it inside for hundreds of years. It was arguably the strongest protector of the Manor and was a very important ‘bodyguard’ for the girls that had greater perception than even Terra. As if she had realized he was thinking about her, Terra suddenly said, “I think I should go with Master since I wouldn’t be able to expand my territory while he is gone anyways. My energy consumption is a bit high so I would only last a few days before having to hibernate anyways~.”

Rubbing his temples, Vahn suddenly realized he had made a few oversights and was definitely not ready for the orb to have awakened at such a timing. Since he couldn’t guarantee the orb would even last for two months, he would need to take Terra with him, especially since her words regarding her energy consumption were true. The longest period she had gone without being recharged was five days, and that was only because Vahn asked her to try to conserve her energy. By the time the period had ended, Terra was resting limply against her perch in an almost unresponsive state, much like Fafnir had been in when Vahn left it inside the orb for a few years. However, he realized she would have the same problem if he left her in the space as four years would pass between recharges.

Releasing a sigh, Vahn looked around and said, “I’ll take Fenrir and Terra into the orb to see if Eva has any solutions to help them preserve their energy for long periods of time…” Hearing that she would be going into the orb, Fenrir’s ears perked up and she became a little giddy. Though she would have to be separated from her Master for a long time, Fenrir knew it was important if she wanted to become ‘mature’. Eva was scary, but she was also her Master’s Master and Fenrir believed she could ‘tolerate’ being ‘bullied’ a little bit if it was for her Master. As for Terra, she had a thoughtful expression on her face and was very interested to meet the woman that left such a strong impact on her Master…

Vahn brought out the orb before extending his hand out towards Fenrir and Terra, causing them to become a little rigid before their bodies broke down into rainbow-colored dust in an instant. The only thing left behind was Fenrir’s [Aegis Shorts Mk 1], a pair of Vahn-print panties, and the pouch she always wore to carry her brush and ‘trophies’. For many, this was the first time they had actually seen the ‘core forms’ of Fenrir and Terra, reminding them that the two were indeed ‘monsters’. Fenrir’s crystal was a resplendent midnight blue with a crimson ‘flame’ burning around its center. As for Terra’s, it was emerald green with vibrant golden starlight in the center intermixed with strange of blue.

Taking the two cores into his Inventory, Vahn felt a strange sense of ‘loneliness’ well up inside his heart and promised the two that they wouldn’t be sealed away for long. As if they could hear him, the sense of loneliness faded away, causing Vahn to smile as he looked around and said, “Well, I’ll be back in a few seconds…even though my spiritual body will be away for three days.” Vahn was reminding everyone of what he would be experiencing, putting things into perspective so they would understand. Seeing that they were all ‘prepared’, Vahn nodded his head and held the orb between his palms as he infused his intent into it…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Emotional Anchor, Mikoto-chan’,’Ideal Candidates…’,’Eva is tired of waiting (O,…,O)~!’)

(A/N: Some people may consider it a bit of a hole/convenience, wondering why Vahn doesn’t just delay the Expedition to make better use of the orb. You have to remember that things were already pushed back by almost a month and, presently, the entire Expedition party is already waiting for his arrival at the Babel Plaza. Vahn doesn’t like inconveniencing people and he is actually the ‘leader’ this time around, meaning it wouldn’t reflect well on him if he suddenly delayed the departure. Imagine showing up with wagons, supplies, etc just for your ‘boss’ to suddenly tell you to take it back and then prepare it all again at a later date…Vahn doesn’t want to be a c*** (UwU)~!)

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