Chapter 659: Home

After getting Rufina situated, Vahn parted ways with the group and reunited with Fenrir, who had been patiently waiting outside keeping guard. She immediately jumped up the moment he came out of the room, trotting over to Vahn who began stroking her head as he said, “Okay, looks like everything here has been taken care of, at least for the time being. Let’s enjoy some fresh air and make our way back to the Manor…” Fenrir had her eyes squinted, enjoying her Master’s caress as she nodded with an ‘Nn’ sound. Vahn noticed she had been very quiet for the last few days and began wondering what was on her mind. Knowing she would tell him if something was actually bothering her, Vahn picked Fenrir up and let her ride piggyback as they made their way out into the fading light of the late afternoon…

Though it wasn’t really that fast, Vahn could maintain a slow and steady flight through the sky by combining his ability to levitate with some basic air manipulation. He could keep the wind at bay with his own domain while beating away the cold air with his [Heart of the Eternal Flame]. Fenrir was actually more fond of the cold but she enjoyed the warmth of her Master’s body and aura, something she had professed to him. Ever since she came back from the orb, she had been a little more clingy than normal while simultaneously being a lot more reserved. She rarely had any outbursts and spent more time observing what was going on around her than doing anything in particular.

While lazily making their way through the sky, Vahn asked, “So, anything you want to do now that we’re back on the surface, Fenrir? You’ve already gotten very strong so it might be a good idea to take a break and enjoy surface life for a while…” Fenrir had been nuzzled into his collar, quietly sniffing his hair but she still answered, saying, “Fenrir will keep training to become even stronger. Eva said there is no limit to growth and assuming you are the strongest leads to stagnation. Until there are no more threats, Fenrir will keep getting stronger and stronger. Master should focus on his children for now…Fenrir will wait…”

Vahn slowed down until they had come to a stop, hovering a few hundred meters above the City below. He realized that Fenrir seemed to be trying to spend as much time with him as possible since he will become very busy after the children are born, especially the Vanir. There were several other things he needed deal with so he wouldn’t have nearly as much time to spend with her in the future. Vahn hadn’t thought about it previously but Fenrir seemed to have picked up on that fact through her observation. She was surprisingly considerate, but Vahn felt a little lonely thinking they couldn’t be together as much…

After thinking it over for a bit, Vahn raised his head and said, “Fenrir, it’s okay to be a little selfish at times, even after the children are born. If you ever feel lonely, I can always make time for you…after all, you’re one of my most important companions and I can’t really imagine life without you anymore. Perhaps that is my own selfishness…but I’m pretty reliant on you, now that I think about it.” Fenrir released a rare chuckle, tightening her grip around his neck as she said, “Fenrir likes when Master relies on her…it makes Fenrir feel ‘full’ inside…” At the end of her words, Fenrir lightly licked his shoulder, causing Vahn to make a small smile before continuing towards the Hearth Manor…

It took close to half an hour, as they were going at a pretty leisurely pace, but Vahn landed atop the Hearth Manor with more than enough time before dinner. He could sense that everyone had already gathered, even Terra and Risna. Thomas and Aina had already moved into a small live-in shop next to the Hostess of Fertility, but Risna had ended up staying at the Manor even after her parents moved out. Vahn hadn’t really seen her much since she initially moved in but her aura was the only one that was seemingly out of place.

Vahn was a little surprised by the number of goddesses present, who took up nearly half the large table they used for dining. There was Hephaestus, Loki, Hestia, Anubis, Epona, and Juno, all sitting in the area surrounding where he would be sitting for the meal. The only ‘break’ in their ranks was Eina, who was going to be sitting to his left while Hephaestus sat on his right. Eina must have been waiting to break the news to him personally, even though she knew he was already aware. Even at a distance, Vahn could sense the budding life form inside her belly and it made him smile widely as he set Fenrir down and said, “Let’s go, everyone is waiting for us…”

Arriving in the dining room immediately caused a shift in the tensions as the mood immediately become joyous. Tina and Lili, unable to resist the urge, tackled Vahn almost instantly, the former sending a chill down his spine as she tripped on Lili and almost faceplanted into his lower body. Vahn scooped her up in his arms with a cold sweat running down his back as Tina sheepishly laughed. Vahn carried the two girls forward, noticing that Tina had grown a little more while he was away while Lili hadn’t changed much at all. She felt a little heavier, likely a result of her increased muscle density, but Vahn didn’t think she would be happy if he commented on it…

Vahn spent the better part of ten minutes just greeting everyone, sharing hugs, kisses, and a few affectionate words. It started off with the ‘youth’ troupe, consisting of Tina, Lili, and Shizune before moving on to Milan, who greeting him with a gentle smile, and Chloe, play biting his ear and saying a few words that made his heart itch. Arnya, looked decidedly plumper than in the past, followed soon after while supporting her round stomach with an affectionate look on her face. Aki was close behind, in much the same state as Arnya, but with her hair down in loose curls compared to the straight hair she had in the past. She was looking very motherly whereas Arnya looked like she might bounce back the moment she gave birth…

Lunoire’s hair had increased in length slightly but she had put it up in a loose ponytail and was wearing a comfortable green dress. She rested her head in the nook of his neck, embracing him tightly as she said, “Welcome home, Vahn…” in a low voice. Ryuu was right behind Lunoire, wearing loose creme-colored clothing that had green and pink flower motifs sewn into it. She was looking far more radiant than in the past and had a slight bulge in her stomach with a loving smile on her face. Syr, as if to complete the set, came after Lunoire, initiating a rather bold kiss that caused the auras of several girls to flare up. When she pulled away, there was a light blush on her face as she began to laugh in a mischevious manner.

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Vahn shook his head with a wry smile on his face, following Syr’s retreat with his eyes before turning to Preasia, who had a very startling appearance. She was wearing a sweater-dress that matched the color of her hair while every visible part of her skin, excluding her face, hands, and feet, were covered in a platinum blond fur with a slightly golden hue to it. It was much denser than in the past and had caught Vahn off guard for a moment before he smiled and gave her a tight hug, marveling at her softness as she giggled in his arms and kissed his cheek. She had apparently fully embraced her transformation and seemed comfortable with the changes her body had experienced…

After Preasia trotted off to share a hug with Fenrir, Risna surprisingly stepped forward with a bashful expression on her face as she extended her hand, saying, “W-welcome b-back, Vahn…” Vahn smiled, ruffling her instead of shaking her hand, causing her to blush and bite her bottom lip before retreating away with a ‘hmph’ sound. Naaza was right behind her, already showing a light blush on her face as her tail wagged back and forth slowly. Vahn smiled, pulling the reserved Chienthrope girl into his embrace and gently stroking her long brown hair. Naaza’s tail waggled a bit more forcibly as she smiled and said, “Welcome home…” while absentmindedly sniffing his neck.

Right after Naaza stepped off to the side, Vahn’s eyes widened because a ‘glowing’ Tsubaki appeared in front of him, wearing a black colored yukata with red accents very loosely around her body. Her hair was pinned up with two red needles with golden tassels hanging off the end and she had the most motherly look Vahn had ever seen on a woman up until now. Around the same time that his eyes wandered to her rather round belly, Tsubaki stepped forward and pulled him into her embrace, nestling him tightly against her plump breasts as she said, “You did well to come back, Vahn. Welcome home…” Tsubaki kissed the top of his head, cradling him for several long seconds while rocking from side-to-side very gently.

Vahn was in a daze by the time Tsubaki released him, feeling slightly drunk off her scent before immediately calming down when Riveria walked up. She wasn’t very far into her pregnancy but Vahn could see a slight bulge on her belly that was adorned with the [Sage Aldrnari’s Blessing]. There was a blush touching her cheeks as Riveria hesitantly hugged him, trembling for a few seconds before finally calming down. She took a deep breath, releasing a hot sigh against his neck as she muttered, “We have a lot to talk about later…fuuu…” Vahn nodded his head, understanding there must be a lot on Riveria’s mind after Terra returned a few weeks ago. There was also the data about the [Sage Aldrnari’s Blessing], which seemed to still be affecting her body and causing her ‘discomfort’…

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Before he was able to let his mind wander, Emiru and Maemi both stepped forward, kissing each of his cheeks while pressing their soft bodies against his. Vahn grabbed both of their waists, pulling them close to him with enough force to pick the girls up off the ground. They giggled in response, nuzzling against his neck and collar as if trying to mark their scent on him. When he let them go, Vahn was a little surprised with Haruhime walked up, laughing in an elegant manner before giving him a gentle embrace. Shirohime was on top of her head and took the opportunity to lean forward, affectionately licking Vahn’s face as she muttered, “You can’t neglect us later…” in a tiny voice.

Vahn laughed at Shiro’s antics before casting a curious glance at Mikoto, who immediately averted her eyes with a blush. She wasn’t really good at showing public displays of affection and wasn’t as ‘shameless’ as Haruhime to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else. This left a window for Hestia to step forward, leaping into Vahn’s arms with enough force to make him step back to support her. She unashamedly initiated a kiss that was considerately more passionate than Syr’s ‘playful’ gesture earlier. By the time Hestia let him go, Vahn’s mouth was practically covered in saliva as Hestia laughed with a vibrant smile on her face and said, “Welcome home~.”

Anubis stepped forward, giggling as she used a handkerchief to wipe away the excess saliva before giving Vahn a kiss of her own, decidedly more tame than Hestia’s but still full of emotion. Like Naaza, her tail was waggling from side-to-side and she made no attempts to hide the fact that she was taking in his scent. When Anubis parted from him, she whispered, “I’m looking forward to resuming our walks, Master…I know Nanu is looking forward to it as well.” Giving him one last kiss, Anubis slowly turned away, allowing her bushy tail to brush up against him as she languidly walked away with a willowy swaying of the waist.

With Anubis’ departure, that left Loki and Hephaestus, flanking a blushing Eina who had a lovely smile on her face. She walked forward, laughing slightly as she said, “Well, it was supposed to be a surprise for you but it looked like I was the one to get a small surprise…” Eina sent a playful look to Hestia, causing the diminutive goddess to laugh in an awkward manner with a deep blush on her face. When everyone started laughing at her, Hestia released a ‘gnuuuuu’ sound with moisture building up in her eyes as she bit her bottom lip. Even Vahn produced a small smile but directed his gaze towards Eina as he pulled her into a gentle embrace, stroking her back as he said, “Eina, thank you…” in a voice filled with deep emotions.

Eina brought her hand up, caressing the side of Vahn’s face with tears beginning to build up in her own eyes. Her smile continued to grow until she nearly laughed out, barely stifling it as she said, “You silly boy…I’m supposed to be the one thanking you…” Following her words, Eina gave Vahn a rare kiss without minding the fact they were surrounded by people, including her own younger sister. She was full of hard to describe emotions and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so she settled for a mix between the two as pearl-like tears fell from the corners of her eyes. Eina truly felt blessed with her current lifestyle because children had been a hope she could hardly imagine in the past, at least having any of her own…

Risna watched as her big sister was embraced by Vahn, feeling somewhat bitter in her heart at their intimate display. She had been very excited for her sister after it became known she was pregnant but, seeing her like this with Vahn, made Risna feel lonely. Outside of her books, she had never really cared about matters of love but there was just something about watching her own kin experience happiness that made her feel like she had been missing out on something. Just a bit, Risna wished she could be the one being embraced by Vahn’s powerful arms, enjoying the warmth coming from his body and the scent wafting from his chest, which seemed to be popular with many of the other girls…

When he finally parted with Eina, several minutes had passed and it wasn’t until Juno, who was watching everything happen, made a comment about young love. Eina had a blush on her face, giggling as she moved a few strands of hair behind her pointed ears and gave Vahn one last look before standing to the side. Hephaestus followed soon after, looking like she was due to give birth any day if her appearance was any indicator. Vahn affectionately rubbed her stomach, surprised to feel a ‘kick’ against his palm soon after. Hephaestus laughed, giving him a quick peck on the lips as she lovingly mused, “It seems our daughters are lively and eager to meet you…Vahn, thank you for coming back early. I didn’t realize how much it bothered me that you weren’t here until I heard you returned…” Hephaestus continued to give him more kisses in between her words as her aura started to cling to him, almost possessively.

Loki, perhaps growing impatient, pinched Hephaestus’ butt and said, “Don’t get too carried away. This has already been going on for nearly half an hour and my legs are starting to hurt~.” Hephaestus sent Loki a look filled with blame before laughing it away and commenting, “Loki has missed you too~.” With one final kiss, Hephaestus took a deep breath and sighed before standing off to the side. Loki followed her with eyes slightly parted before walking up to Vahn and burying her face into his chest, almost like she was headbutting him. Vahn loosely embraced her body as Loki murmured, “It’s good that you’re here, Vahn…it makes me feel very relieved knowing you’re here instead of wandering around in the Dungeon…”

Vahn slowly nodded his head, stroking Loki’s back as he said, “This is where I need to be…I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything…” Loki smiled, tracing her hands around his sides in a playful manner before biting his bottom lip with a sensual smile that didn’t suit a pregnant woman. When she saw his reaction, Loki laughed mischievously before whispering, “There is a lot to talk about but let’s enjoy the rest of the evening…” Loki then moved away, accepting Juno’s assistance as she took her spot on the thick cushion next to where Eina had been sitting. The only person he hadn’t hugged, with the exceptions of Juno and Epona, was Terra, who stayed seated and just smiled marginally wider when Vahn looked over at her.

With the reunion greetings taken care of, Vahn took his place between Eina and Hephaestus as the celebratory banquet began. For what felt like the first time in months, Vahn’s lap remained free throughout the course of the meal and he spent the majority of his time just asking what everyone had been up to while helping Hephaestus and Eina with everything. The two girls laughed at his concern but still accepted it nonetheless, earning a few playful gripes and complaints from Loki. Fenrir seemed to be catching up with Preasia, hugging the sheep girl from behind while the latter blushed and ate her meal mostly in silence. Lili and Naaza made conversation with Riveria and Terra while Chloe teased Shizune with a pair of chopsticks, snatching the food from the smaller girl’s pair, calling it training. Overall, it was a very lively meal and, though he had heard it from most of the girls already, Vahn couldn’t help but comment, (“I’m home…”) in the back of his mind…

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