After his ‘spar’ with Ais, Vahn spent a little over an hour recovering, making conversation with the girls and turning away anyone that came to investigate the earlier fight. Turning into lightning, for lack of a better descriptive, was very flashy after all. Ais’ attacks could also be seen from tens of kilometers away so it wasn’t too surprising that people thought something bigger was afoot. Finn came charging over with Gareth, Bete, and a half-dozen other Level 4 Adventurers that were ready to provide support for Ais. When he saw everyone just sitting around having a picnic, Vahn could have sworn he saw the Pallum tilt several degrees as he processed what must have happened.
Once he had fully recovered, Vahn spent the better part of an hour fighting against Tiona and Tione, who had become much stronger but were now almost entirely incapable of getting an advantage. Vahn could fight defensively, especially with his Xuánwǔ form, but was no longer ‘required’ to protect himself out of necessity. Now, he could be far bolder in his attacks, which seemed to be well-received by Tiona as her own talent continued to make itself known. Though Tione was taken out of the fight early on, eleven minutes and thirty-seven seconds, according to Sis, Tiona had lasted for just under fifty-three. During this time, Vahn gained further insight into Tiona’s Innates as his strikes against her seemed to be mitigated greatly, even more so than in the past.
It was most notable when Vahn managed to use his arm to redirect Tiona’s kick, breaking it in several parts but still serving its purpose. This opened up Tiona’s abdomen, which Vahn palmed with a fair amount of power only for the majority of it to simply be ‘consumed’ by her body. He knew she had an Innate called [Magic Devouring King], and it seemed to be stirring awake through combat. Her body seemed to be capable of absorbing the energy used to amplify any attack that wasn’t purely physical, causing her to have terrifying bursts of strength while bolstering her stamina further. The only reason he managed to win was that Tiona tried to pin him, as strikes were useless, but Vahn was able to overpower her by ‘sacrificing’ the limb she tried to leverage against him…
Tiona was laying in a crater, courtesy of Vahn’s counterattack, laughing boisterously even though she was completely exhausted. Vahn looked down at her with a smile before stepping into the crater and helping her up, commenting, “You’re really something, Tio-” Before Vahn was able to finish, Tiona used his outstretched hand and yanked him forward, wrapping her legs around his body with a heated expression on her face. Fortunately, she released him a few minutes later, seemingly reigning in her own instincts a bit, likely out of consideration for the ‘spectators’ standing at the edge of the crater. By the time she let him go, Vahn’s hair was a mess and there was a visible dampness around his lips, which were swollen for a few seconds before returning to normal.
Seeing the gazes of the other girls, Vahn laughed while helping Tiona to her feet, whispering, “We shouldn’t do too much while Asfi’s around. When we return to the surface though, I’ll take you on a date outside the City…” Vahn gave the ruddy-faced Tiona a quick kiss, this time opting for her forehead since he didn’t want to ‘trigger’ her while she was cooling down. By this point, the others had closed the distance with Tione remarking, “How is it that you’re able to keep up with Vahn so easily, Tiona? You shouldn’t be this strong…” Tiona laughed, somewhat awkwardly compared to the past while stroking her hair, saying, “It justs feels like I’m full of energy every time I fight against Vahn. Even when my muscles are tired and sore, my body just keeps going for some reason…?”
Vahn nodded his head, contemplating a response before saying, “I’m pretty sure I know the reason, but we’ll discuss it in private later on. Sorry, Asfi…I’m sure you understand.” Asfi had calmed down compared to how pale she was after watching his fight with Ais but her aura was still fluctuating a great deal. They didn’t give her any explanation at all, but Vahn didn’t mind letting her see his ‘immorality’ at play, especially since it created more questions than answers. One of the things he had learned from Loki was that you could easily mislead people by showing them your capabilities in a casual setting. Most people didn’t reveal their trump cards so, if you showed a power beyond their comprehension, they would assume there was something even ‘more’ terrifying beyond that. Though that might not apply to all situations, Vahn’s existence itself was anomalous so there were far more benefits than detriments, especially when interacting with supposed ‘allies’.
Asfi nodded her head, showing no change in expression as she said, “I understand, Vahn. It isn’t appropriate to pry into another Adventurer’s affairs…” Though she said the words plainly, Vahn didn’t miss the flickering in Asfi’s aura. She had been having misgivings about ‘spying’ on them ever since the Expedition started and moments like this made things especially difficult for her. Just as he expected, Asfi was wondering just what the members of the Hestia Familia were capable of since Vahn himself was ‘beyond comprehension’. Asfi even suspected she had been placed under some form of powerful illusion, as it didn’t make any sense at all to see someone ‘obliterated’ just for them to reform moments later. If this was ‘reality’, Asfi didn’t know what to make of what she saw, other than the fact that Vahn seemed ‘unkillable’…
Since he didn’t want to turn the 39th Floor into a tundra, Vahn led the girls back to the encampment without dueling Fenrir. Her magic wouldn’t have much of an affect on him anymore, especially if he turned his body into ice or darkness, so there wasn’t much of a fight to be had. Unsurprisingly, her ability to devour was still a perfect counter to his existence itself, something he had been able to verify after somewhat awkwardly having her eat one of his hairs. Vahn’s body was currently ‘fixed’, unless he willingly altered it, so he would revert back to his ‘base’ state every time he took damage. This included the individual hairs on his body, so Vahn figured it would be a proper test of Fenrir’s capabilities.
When Fenrir ingested the hair, Vahn noticed that it didn’t grow back on his body, confirming that parts that were broken down and assimilated couldn’t be regenerated. Fortunately, he was an exception to this rule since he could alter his self-image to change his body, including the form and function of his limbs. Of course, regenerating a limb that Fenrir devoured would take several hours and Vahn wasn’t fond of the idea of walking around with one arm. It was still very important information that would prove instrumental to the future, as Vahn was able to confirm that Innates could get around his abilities.
As they weren’t bound by the laws of the record they were found in, Innates were exceptionally unique, sometimes having no clear counters at all. The only ‘weakness’ of an Innate seemed to be the understanding the user had of its capabilities. There were a few exceptions, such as Maemi’s and Emiru’s [Gemini], but Vahn suspected that might be a misconception and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to study their ability further. With that mentality, Vahn also checked up on the Status Boards of the girls that evening to see if they had undergone any changes. He wasn’t surprised at all to see his suspicions had proven correct, but still celebrated the fact with everyone after revealing the truth of the matter…
Name: Tiona Hiryute
Skills: [Titan Virga:Innate(sealed), [Magic Devouring King:I](new), [Berserk:B], [Intense Heat:B], [Regina Animalium:I](new)
Development Abilities: [Fist Strike:A], [Diving:B], [Abnormal Resistance:C], [Crush:B], [Magic Resistance:(sealed)] [Regina Animalium]
Use: Become the embodiment of the Queen of Beasts. Greatly increases physical parameters based on the amount of damage taken. Gradually increases regenerative capabilities depending on the length of activation.
Voice Trigger: Adeat!
Name: Ais Wallenstein
Skills:[Sylph Queen:Innate(sealed)], [Progenitor of Wind:H](new), [Avenger:A], [Lux Alis:D](new)
Magic: [Void Sword:Innate(sealed)], [Ariel:B->A]
Development Abilities: [Child of Destiny:Innate(sealed)], [Hunter:B], [Abnormal Resistance:C], [Swordsman:A], [Spirit Healing:A], [Magic Resistance:(sealed)] [Lux Alis]
Use: Creates a raiment that negates friction due to wind resistance while also allowing the user to fly on wings of light. Greatly enhances wind and light elemental abilities.
Voice Trigger: Adeat!
Name: Tione Hiryute
Skills: [Titan Bruna:Innate(sealed)], [Wrath:Innate(sealed)], [Berserk: A], [Backdraft:B], [Saltatione Solis:F](new)
Magic: [List Iorum:E->D]
Development Abilities: [Fist Strike:B], [Diving:A], [Abnormal Resistance:B], [Healing Power:D], [Magic Resistance:(sealed)] [Saltatione Solis]
Use: Allows the user to redirect light around their body, obscuring the vision of enemies. The ‘Sun Wheel’ enables the user to attack from a range, becoming progressively faster and hotter depending on the distance from the user. The ‘Sun Wheel’ always returns to the user’s hand and cannot damage their body.
Voice Trigger: Adeat!
Name: Lefiya Viridis
Skills: [Fairy Cannon:A], [Concurrent Chanting:E], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A], [Ros Sanitatem:I](new)
Magic: [Rattatoskr:Innate:(sealed)], [Arcs Ray:C], [Fusillade Fallarica:C], [Elf Ring:C->B]
Development Abilities: [Daughter of Wishe:I], [Mage:B], [Abnormal resistance:F], [Spirit Healing:I->E] [Ros Sanitatem]
Use: Absorbs natural elemental energy through the raiment, allowing the user to greatly increase their own mana regeneration. Allows for the creation of ‘sacred water’, which can regenerate any non-fatal injuries.
Voice Trigger: Adeat!
Name: Sanjouno Haruhime
Skill: [Inari:E->D], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A], [Heroic Strike:C], [Featherfoot:S], [Luna Dea:I](new)
Magic: [Uchide no Kozuchi:B], [Kokonoe:B], [Icicle Edge:A]
Development Skill: [Moon Priestess:Innate(sealed)], [Spirit Healing:A], [Hunter:E->D], [Mage:I->E], [Swordsman:(sealed)], [Abnormal Status Resistance:(sealed)] [Luna Dea]
Use: Allows the user to create a barrier that protects against both physical and magical attacks. Greatly reduces mobility but drastically increases the output of spells and abilities. Each moon emblem can store a single spell, allowing the user to delay casting for later use.
Voice Trigger: Adeat!
(A/N: Changed Mikoto’s Pactio from ‘The Unseen Blade’ to ‘Vide Mundi’ since it sounds better.
Name: Yamato Mikoto
Skill: [Yatanokurogarasu:B], [Prometheus’s Blessing:A], [Battōjutsu:F->D], [Vide Mundi:H](new)
Magic: [Futsunomitama:B], [Apocalypse: Innate(sealed)]
Development Skill: [Abnormal Resistance:C], [Acrobatics:I->G](new), [Swordsman:(sealed)] [Vide Mundi]
Use: Allows the user to create a shadow doppelganger that echoes all attacks. Gives access to the ‘Unseen Blade’, which can change size, shape, and sharpness depending on the concentration of magic power. Injuries sustained by the user are absorbed by the doppelganger with substantial mana drain.
Voice Trigger: Adeat!
The fact that Ais and Tiona had awakened their Innates put Vahn in a good mood, deciding to cut loose a bit and provide alcohol to celebrate. Tiona was in equally high spirits, happy to have her own unique ability to make use of to further increase her strength. As for Ais, she had a small smile on her face and was looking forward to testing her [Progenitor of the Wind]. She hadn’t noticed it previously, but she could now create small vortexes of wind at the tips of her fingers and could ‘feel’ the flow of the air around her, even through walls. According to her, it made her body feel airy, almost like the wind was blowing through her body itself.
Tiona said she didn’t feel any different at all so Vahn explained how he thought her ability worked, making her giddy with excitement as she attempted to drag him out for another fight. Given the fact that she was already a bit tipsy, Vahn had to ‘pacify’ her for a bit, promising to fight her as much as she wanted in the future. Afterward, things become very lively since everyone was in a good mood, enjoying the festive atmosphere and talking about the future.
Even Lefiya, who typically avoided alcohol, especially since she was still young, ended up drinking a few glasses. Her face was so red by the end of the evening that Vahn ended up having to use his [Hands of Nirvana] to help her calm down so she could get some sleep. Since Tiona and Tione were rather fond of teasing her, they got a little carried away once there was alcohol in their systems. It got even worse when Ais, who strangely turned ‘robotic’, ended up giving into Tiona’s taunting and kissed Lefiya on the lips, pushing the small Elf to the ground while the twins egged her own. Vahn had to knock the heads of the two girls before ‘saving’ Lefiya from the overly-affectionate Ais, who then turned her attention to him for his troubles…
All the while their party was going on, Fenrir was sitting with Mikoto and Haruhime, enjoying a rather tame and quiet drinking session. Mikoto’s face was also red, but she remained stoic while making small talk about the use of their artifacts. As for Haruhime, she seemed to handle her liquor well but had glossy eyes and a small smile on her face as she listened to Mikoto ‘drone’ on. Fenrir couldn’t get drunk at all, so she just made a few comments while answering some of the questions Haruhime and Mikoto had about magic. Unlike Vahn, they had quickly keyed in on the fact that Fenrir had changed quite a lot in the time she had been in the orb. Though Fenrir spent most of her time around Vahn and Asfi, she had also been talking with Haruhime a lot over the last few weeks.
Taking a few large gulps of a massive bottle of sake, Fenrir watched the ‘chaotic’ scene of Ais trying to strip her Master’s clothing away. She furrowed her brows slightly and contemplated reigning in the girls but, understanding that this was a small celebration, decided against it. Haruhime laughed into her sleeve when she saw Fenrir’s ‘pouting’ expression, earning the attention of the small Vanargandr as she said, “You know, you can always join in and play as well, Fenrir~.” Fenrir nodded her head, seemingly aware of the fact but saying, “I know, but I don’t want to burden my Master. A lot of things have changed in a very short period of time and it is better for him to enjoy these peaceful moments while they last…”
Haruhime raised her brows slightly, giving Fenrir a quizzical look until the latter explained, “I can feel it, what Master is feeling. The more our power grows, the less dangerous our current enemies become. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t more dangerous enemies lurking in the shadows. My Master can feel the encroaching darkness and, though he doesn’t show any signs of caution right now, I can sense that he is concerned. The main reason he sent Terra back so early was that he is afraid something would happen on the surface while we’re down here…” Fenrir nursed the bottle of sake in her paws, showing a ruminating gaze that reflected a cold light. She hated the fact that ‘something’ always happened to deny her Master the happiness he sought. If she could, Fenrir would take out all of his enemies herself so he never had to worry about anything ever again…
Mikoto and Haruhime became silent for a while after hearing Fenrir’s words, contemplating the best course of action available to them. Haruhime was of the same mind as Fenrir and, though her eyes were somewhat glossed over, there was a chilly light in her pale gold pupils. Mikoto simply played with the guard of her katana, squinting slightly as she looked over at Vahn, currently being pulled between Tiona and Tione while Ais clapped her hands with an ‘amazed’ expression on her face. She knew he worked hard, almost to an impossible extent, and it was certainly ‘unfair’ that events transpired to ‘distract’ him from living a peaceful lifestyle. Mikoto had seen the times when Vahn sat in silence, looking towards a future she couldn’t even comprehend, and it made her want to stand at his side and ease his burdens…at least a little.
The ‘party’ ended up going on until nearly midnight before Vahn decided to ‘help’ the girls calm down, putting them to sleep with happy smiles on their faces. Lefiya had long since passed out, so the only people left when everything was said and done were the three girls that had avoided the conflict. Vahn went over to join them, allowing Fenrir to move over and sit in his lap, pulling up her legs as she balled herself up into the smallest shape she could manage. With a smile on his face, Vahn began stroking her head and ears, asking, “So, what have the three of you been talking about?” Though he didn’t hear their conversation, Vahn noticed the subtle changes in the girls’ auras, understanding they had likely been discussing something serious.
Haruhime titled her head lazily to the side, allowing her large fox-like ears to dangle as she mused, “We were discussing how best to make you happy, Vahn~.” Hearing this, Vahn raised his brow slightly, remarking, “I’m very happy right now…though I would probably be happier once we return to the surface.” Vahn realized, as he was speaking, that he wasn’t the happiest he ‘could’ be right now. After all, there were several pregnant women on the cusp of giving birth to his children on the surface. Instead of being at their side, he was down in the Dungeon helping to construct a fortress while they dealt with the matters of the Alliance…
Haruhime released a bell-like chuckle, squinting her eyes playfully since she could tell that Vahn felt slightly conflicted. Vahn gave her a wry smile in response, hugging Fenrir’s thin frame while contemplating the choices he had made in life. He didn’t get much time to reflect though, as Haruhime moved to his side and leaned against his shoulder, gingerly embracing his arm in the process. With a clearly enamored look on her face, Haruhime said, “We will do our best to make things easier for you in the future, Vahn…please don’t be afraid to rely on us from time-to-time…” At the end of her words, Haruhime slowly licked her lips, causing Vahn’s heart to flutter before he eventually leaned in and gave the beautiful Renard a kiss.
When Vahn separated from Haruhime, the look in her eyes became even deeper and it felt like she was trying to pull him in with her gaze alone. Surprisingly, however, Haruhime averted her eyes and looked toward Mikoto, saying, “Mikoto, make sure to take care of Vahn properly tonight…we don’t want him to feel lonely when he is surrounded by people that love him~.” Seeing Mikoto nod her head, cheeks slightly flushed but with a resolute look on her face, Vahn couldn’t help but raise his brows in confusion. Haruhime laughed once again, remarking, “Mikoto has the biggest breasts of everyone here, so she can comfort you better than the other girls, especially since Tione seems to be occupied at the moment…” Presently, Tione was using Lefiya has a hug pillow, causing the small Elf to show a small frown on her face even though she was unconscious.
When he heard Haruhime’s words, Vahn felt a little conflicted for a moment before shaking his head slightly and just accepting Mikoto’s offer. She had opened her arms slightly while Fenrir had, at some point, evacuated his lap as she sat at the side. Vahn moved next to Mikoto, allowing the blushing Eastern beauty to pull him close, cradling his head near her budding breasts, which were currently unbound and separated by her relatively thin Kimono. She began stroking his hair in a placating manner but Vahn was aware of how quickly her heart was beating as a result of her rather bold actions. He reached his arms around her waist, startling her a little before she took things a step further and pulled him down to the futon, holding him all the while. Vahn noticed the presence of Haruhime and Fenrir at his sides a moment later, feeling the comfort they provided him while Mikoto continued to soothe his tired mind…