Chapter 663: Birth

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For what felt like both a surprisingly short period of time and an inextricably long period of time, Vahn sat within the dreamscape with the three girls. The majority of his concerns had completely dissipated at the same time as the dreamscape slowly began to ‘dissolve’, all four of them standing at the edge of a massive cliff that looked towards a rainbow-colored sun. There was a school of crystalline fish swimming through the air, refracting the light to cause vibrant colors to rain down on the infinite plains below. It was quite beautiful, even if a little surreal…

Vahn slowly opened his eyes in the real world while Eina, Fenrir, and Preasia all did the same, the latter of which released a long yawn with a ‘still-sleepy’ look on her face. Seeing her cute appearance, Vahn smiled, pulling her head closer without minding that her horns poked him a little bit. Her breath was ticklish against his chest and, by the time they finally separated, Vahn felt a little hesitant to part from their collective body heats. Knowing he could be with them whenever he wanted, however, brought a smile to Vahn’s face he shared kisses with all three girls before saying, “Thank you…I think I’m ready now…”

Unsurprisingly, everyone had woken up early this morning and they weren’t even the first ones to show up in the dining room for breakfast. There was a great deal of tension in the air but, after everyone saw how calm and relaxed Vahn was, things began to calm down a great deal. He spent the morning talking about his plans with everyone while somewhat absentmindedly scanning over Hephaestus and Loki near the medical ward. Hephaestus was already awake and had moved to the area where the delivery was supposed to take place, laying on the designated bed while talking with Hestia and Epona. When he turned his intent towards them, Vahn could feel his bond with both goddesses enter an ‘active’ state as their auras flared up slightly. Though he couldn’t see them, Vahn could even feel Hestia turn her head towards him with the same gentle smile she always showed him…

Syr, having taken the rare opportunity when his side had been available, comfortingly stroked his hand towards the end of breakfast, displaying a vibrant smile as she said, “Vahn, we all believe in you. Go and make us all proud…” Then with a slightly mischevious look in her eyes, she leaned forward and muttered a singular word that made his spine tremble, “Papa~.” Vahn gave her a slight look of blame, causing Syr to laugh while the mood surrounding everyone became even more pleasant. Tsubaki, who was sitting on his right, patted him on the shoulder a bit roughly and said, “Be proud, Vahn. After this, you’ll be a father~!”

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The other girls all started giving him encouraging remarks after hearing Syr’s and Tsubaki’s comments, with the pregnant women being the first to jump on the bandwagon. Last night, they had all gotten together to talk about each of their feelings about Vahn delivering their children and, other than a strange sense of incongruity, everyone was fond of the idea. After all, with his assistance, the dangers of childbirth were almost completely mitigated, much better odds than the 30% mortality rate of the past. Without an experienced midwife and a fair amount of luck, death during pregnancy was, sadly, far too common in this world. They all believed that, just like he had been ‘revolutionizing’ everything else, Vahn would also find a way to make deliveries far safer than in the past…(A/N: This mortality rate is based on the birth rates on the Continent, not just Orario. Because of the availability of resources, the mortality rates within the City are much lower than the other countries and surrounding villages.)

Seeing the trust everyone had in him, Vahn couldn’t help but feel marginally more confident in himself as the warmth that had persisted since the previous day became more apparent in his chest. He had already realized this was the secondary effect of [Will of the Emperor], even though the eternal flame, which was dancing around joyously, would have appeared to be the culprit had he not experienced a similar heat in the past. Vahn didn’t know exactly how the warmth affected him, but his intuition told him that his confidence, along with all of his parameters, had increased greatly compared to the past. It was like the cold in his mind helped him focus and process information while the heat radiating from his heart filled him with confidence and power…

Amidst the sounds of encouragement, Vahn made his way towards the Medical Ward with Preasia, Naaza, and Lili in tow. They all had an interest in practicing medicine while Preasia actually wanted to become a skilled physician in the future. Since they had received permission from Hephaestus and Loki previously, Vahn didn’t have any problems with them assisting him while Epona and Juno would be advising from the side. Though Epona was more than qualified to deliver the children, she willingly took a step back in favor of Juno, inarguably the more experienced of the two since the latter actually had a Divinity related to pregnancy. In the sixty-odd years Juno had been in the mortal world, she had delivered several thousand children without fail.

When he entered the room where Hephaestus was waiting, Vahn felt like a wave of emotions had impacted him as Hephaestus looked towards him with the most emotional and loving smile he had ever seen. Her aura had practically filled the entire room up but was now gravitating towards him, almost as if it were trying to embrace him. Vahn smiled, walking forward to squeeze both Hephaestus’ and Hestia’s hands, sharing a kiss with the two goddesses before saying, “I’m ready, Hephaestus…” He already knew she was more than prepared so it felt more important to ease any concerns she might have had by showing how confident he was regarding the coming trial.

Hephaestus could practically feel the confidence radiating off of Vahn’s body, surprising herself by the amount of relief she felt in his smile. Returning one of her own, even more vibrantly than when she first saw him enter, Hephaestus playfully said, “I’m a little jealous that you’ll get to see our daughters before me~.” Though he knew she was just playing around, Vahn couldn’t help but fluster a little, earning laughter from Hephaestus, Hestia, Epona, and Juno. The other girls were all too nervous to even make a single sound and couldn’t help but give each other glances of confusion after witnessing how ‘casual’ Vahn and the goddesses were acting…

After everyone took their positions, with Epona and Juno standing at his flanks, the latter asked, “It’s a little late to be asking this, but what do you know about delivering children, boya? It can be a lot more complicated for twins so I can’t help but ask…” Everyone’s ears perked up when Juno asked the question, even Hestia’s, who was currently squeezing Hephaestus’ hand at the side as a form of moral support. As for Vahn, when he heard the question, he gave a curt nod before explaining, “There can be up to five stages in the delivery process, though typical births are often characterized by three. The first stage involves the transmission of hormones that trigger the dilation of the cervix. Once it reaches between ten and twelve centimeters, the second stage begins, which requires that the mother focuses their breathing to maximize the efficacy of their contractions. It’s important to make sure that the orientation of the fetus is correct and to be prepared for the emergence of the crown and the safe removal of the fetus. For deliveries with multiple children, it’s important to ensure that the umbilical cord doesn’t get wrapped around the second fetus as it could result in strangulation of the child and death by shock and internal bleeding for the mother. The second stage ends with the cutting of the umbilical cords and ensuring that the baby is able to take its first breaths before passing them off to the mother if they have enough strength to hold them. As for the last stage, it is characterized by the ejection of the placenta and the ‘echo’ phase where the mother’s body stops producing the chemicals that assist in childbirth and slowly reverts back to normal. Though it isn’t considered part of the childbirth itself, there are two more stages after the delivery, which involves observing both the mother and her children for any complications that may have resulted during, and after, the delivery…”

Though it was a very long explanation, Vahn stated everything confidently without showing any signs of disconcertment or hesitation. Not only Juno and Epona, but every girl had a surprised expression on their face when they heard Vahn detail everything that could be expected. Since the Danmachi record didn’t really have much in the way of medical texts, many of the things Vahn explained away were very ‘surprising’, to say the least. As for the goddess who asked the question, Juno, she just began to laugh with a beaming smile on her face as she said, “Very well put, boya~! I was actually a little worried about having to explain everything to you as things progressed, but it seems like you have a strangely detailed understanding of the process…”

With a look of absolute confidence on his face, Vahn gave a firm nod and said, “This involves the birth of my children and the protection of the women I love. I won’t compromise when it comes to learning about everything I need to know in order to make sure they are both safe…” This comment earned him another round of laughter from Juno while Epona gave him a look of mild admiration. As for the other girls in the room, goddesses included, they all looked towards Vahn with warm and loving expressions on their faces, especially Hephaestus. It felt like all her worries had been washed away by his words and, even if there were some complications, she was certain Vahn would be able to deal with them…

Vahn spent a few minutes propping up Hephaestus’ legs while making sure she was as comfortable as possible before the induction process began. When she was completely situated, Vahn, under the watchful eyes and guidance of Juno, began stimulating the flow of hormones within Hephaestus’ body. It took a little more than half an hour, but her breathing started to become a little heavier as light contractions started to resonate through her body. As awkward as it might have been, Juno had him inspect the interior of Hephaestus’ v*****, opening it enough that the dilation of the cervix could be observed directly. Vahn, however, didn’t show any change in his expression at all as he had already entered a state of absolute focus with his [Eyes of Truth] observing every change taking place within Hephaestus’ body. His main focus was on his daughters, however, who had fortunately both completed their orientation and seemed to be simply waiting for the opportunity to emerge and greet the world…

One thing Vahn noticed, which wasn’t documented in any of the texts he had memorized, was the fact that his daughters were still being guided and directed by Hephaestus’ own Divinity. There was an energy wrapping around their bodies, almost guiding the process along and taking care of many of the potential problems they might have had to deal with. It was beginning to seem that, much like every other aspect of a goddess, even their deliveries were ‘perfect’. However, he didn’t drop his guard and continued doing his duty throughout the first phase, encouraging Hephaestus to relax her body as much as possible so she would have plenty of energy during the steadily approaching second phase…

Under constant guidance and stimulation, Hephaestus entered the second stage of labor after a little more than an hour. The contractions of her body had started to become far more apparent, causing the red-haired goddess no small amount of discomfort as her unblemished skin began to produce small beads of sweat. Epona guided her along in various breathing exercises, which became progressively more oriented towards ‘pushing’ as the second stage progresses. Hestia had an awkward smile on her face as she bore the brunt of Hephaestus’ discomfort by tolerating the pain coming from her own hand. Hephaestus had been squeezing her hand so tightly that Hestia almost wanted to cry out but instead kept an encouraging smile on her face while channeling a small amount of her Divine Power to ease the pain…

Though Vahn wanted to comfort Hephaestus, he was more focused on his own duties at the moment and she had already refused his ‘assistance’ in alleviating the pain. She wanted to experience every part of childbirth, regardless of how difficult it was, nor how much pain she would have to bear. Even Juno gave him a light reprimand for even offering, as it was very important for a mother to bear the pain of childbirth as it strengthened the bond between the mother and child exponentially. It wasn’t meant to be ‘easy’ to introduce a new life into the world and, unless there were complications, such forms of intervention were frowned upon. Since she could see that there were no issues whatsoever, Juno just encouraged him to stay focused as the first head began to crown at Hephaestus’ cervix…

Vahn was already aware of which of his two daughters was about to be born, and it brought the smallest of smiles to the corners of his mouth knowing that Vana was in such a ‘hurry’ to come into the world. Even now, Vahn could see the semblance of the eternal flame that had nourished her body, radiating the purest fire-elemental energy he had ever seen. Deep within the core of her mana flow, there was also an almost imperceptible rainbow-hue that bordered on pure white, showing she had also inherited his source energy. He suspected she would have a very ‘fiery’ personality and it didn’t seem like she was willing to let Ina steal the spotlight from her…

Since Hephaestus’ Divinity seemed to be proactively guiding the process forward, it didn’t take long for Hephaestus to make one final push before feeling a powerful sense of relief as Vahn received Vana into his arms. Though he felt strangely overwhelmed, Vahn’s body moved with an almost practiced precision as he tied off the umbilical cord and snipped it before fixing it firmly near the bed so it didn’t accidentally slip back inside with Hephaestus’ contractions. Infusing a small amount of energy into Vana’s body, she jolted into awareness and began to cry out at the top of her lungs, causing a strange warmth to spread throughout the room as tears fell from Hephaestus’ eyes.

Though he felt incredibly hesitant about parting with her so soon, Vahn passed over Vana to Juno, who quickly washed the small infant’s body with hot water, earning a few loud screams from Vana in the process. Juno had an affectionate and playful smile on her face, commenting, “I’ve never seen a child radiating so much vitality. She is unbelievably healthy…!” As she had performed this process thousands of times, Juno could tell with a single glance how healthy the child was. It was almost unbelievable just how much energy Vana had after just being born. However, though she also wanted to spend a bit more time with the small bundle of energy, Juno carried Vana to Hephaestus’ side, saying, “Here you go, Hephaestus, your first daughter. Don’t hold her for too long though, as there is still another little one showing a surprising amount of patience…”

Hephaestus accepted the bundled Vana, automatically knowing which of the two twins she was holding in her arms. She had ruddy and healthy skin with a layer of thin red hair already cresting her head. Most notably, however, was the fact that her eyes parted slightly, even though it was far too early for a normal child to do so, and Hephaestus could see that her irises were almost pure gold with a slight ring of crimson near the pupils. They glowed like actual flames and Hephaestus could feel a powerful energy radiating from the body of her first born child. With a loving smile on her face, which actually made Vahn feel strangely jealous, Hephaestus kissed Vana’s head and said, “My Vana…my little flame…”

Vana had stopped crying almost immediately after Hephaestus had held her, eyeing her mother with a curious glint in her fire-like eyes. Though she likely had no idea what was going on, it was very obvious to the many observers that there was a kindling of intelligence in the small bundle held by Hephaestus. It seemed that the first born of the Vanir had set an unexpected precedent, showing that they may all have a startling level of intelligence from the moment they are born. As they would be aging to adulthood over the course of five years, it made sense that they would also have a bit of a ‘head-start’ compared to normal children…

Hephaestus, feeling the contractions of her body steadily increasing, passed Vana over to Epona, who quickly carried the baby over to Mona, who was waiting in the next room where several cribs had already been arranged. Hephaestus didn’t have the ability to produce her own milk so it fell to Mona, who was acting as the wet nurse for Hephaestus and Loki, to tend to the children’s needs. She was already aware of the fact that she may have to feed them a great deal more than normal children, as their development would be much faster, but didn’t mind it at all. In fact, when she first saw Vana being carried over to her, Mona felt a giddiness and warmth that she hadn’t quite expected. As for Vana herself, she seemed somewhat confused at first but quickly ‘understood’ what was going on when Mona’s teet was brought near her mouth. With a surprising voracity, Vana began to suckle on the exposed teat without inhibitions as both Mona and Epona smiled at the small bundle of joy taking in her first meal…

Back in the delivery room, Vahn had completely regained his focus as Hephaestus went through the effort of ‘urging’ her second child into the world. Ina seemed less inclined to come out, at least compared to her older sister, but eventually greeted the world after a fair amount of reluctance. This time, before Vahn even cut the cord, Ina parted one of her eyes, almost as if she were giving him a look of blame with her pale-blue irises. Vahn felt strangely guilty as he snipped the umbilical cord and began channeling a small strand of energy into Ina’s body. Surprisingly, other than a small cough and a slight laughter-like cry, Ina didn’t make any more noise. She seemed to find the thread of energy he inserted into her body very pleasant, showing a small smile on her face that seemed to light up the entire room for everyone that witnessed it.

Unlike Vana, Ina’s mana was a pristine white with small threads of vermillion coiling around the wispy rainbow tendrils at her core. As if a testament to her name, which meant ‘Pure’, she had an incredibly pure light elemental affinity with concentrated strands of fire elemental energy that coiled around the source energy core that comprised up the flow within her body. He didn’t have any way to sense the differences in Divinity, but she had very likely obtained a pseudo-divinity related to crafting, forging, or, as his intuition told him, creation itself…

Juno took over Ina from Vahn’s arms, earning a small frown from the girl that made the experienced goddess’ brows raise. She had a humorous expression on her face as she washed away all the grim from the newborn infant and commented, “This one is just as healthy as the last but seems less energetic…” Ina’s one eye closed, almost as if she was ignoring Juno’s words, causing the goddess to laugh as she said, “She seems very intelligent, even more so than the last girl~.” Without delaying things, Juno carried Ina over to the exhausted Hephaestus, confirming that the latter had enough strength to hold her daughter before passing her over.

Ina, as if sensing she had changed hands, opened her eye once again to stare up at the new face that had appeared in her vision. A small smile appeared on the corner of her lips before she closed her eye once again, earning a great deal of laughter from Juno and a small amount of exasperation from Hephaestus. Juno poked the cheek of Ina, earning a small grimace from the girl as she said, “This one seems to be more attached to the father than the mother, how mischevious~.” Vahn felt strangely ‘proud’ at Juno’s comment until Hephaestus gave him a mock glare before she turned to Ina, kissing the girl’s forehead as she said, “My Ina…so radiant…”

As if on cue, Epona came back into the ward with Vana in tow, already having eaten her fill and currently napping with a contented expression on her face. She carried the sleeping bundle over to Hephaestus, allowing her to hold both of her daughters with a happy smile on her teary-eyed face. It was obvious at a glance that, though they were twins, Ina and Vana weren’t identical as they both possessed very different eye colors and slightly different hair colors. Vana’s hair was a vibrant red, just like Hephaestus’, with fiery eyes that glimmered with an energetic light. As for Ina, she was slightly more fair-skinned than her elder sister, possessing pale blue eyes that gleamed with intelligence and a small tuft of blonde hair that was closer to white than true blonde.

However, when Hephaestus was holding them both, it was almost as if a master painter had just finished adding the final touches to their greatest masterpiece. It was a scene that almost felt like it needed to be immortalized as a historic moment in the world, causing Vahn to ‘save’ the image in his mind so he could one day make it a reality. The only thing that seemed to be missing from the painting was his own presence, something Juno seemed to realize as well since she prodded him in the side and said, “I’ll take care of the rest, boya. Go and spend some time with your wife and children…” Thus, with a radiant smile expanding on his own face, Vahn hopped up and came to Hephaestus’ side, stroking the tired goddess’ face as they both stared lovingly into each other’s eyes. At the same time, as if they sensed what was going on, Ina cracked one of her eyes while Vana stirred to awareness, opening both fiery eyes to witness the scene between her parents. Vahn and Hephaestus looked towards their daughters, smiles adorning both their faces as a great deal of emotions were shared between them…

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[Quest: Origin of Heroes]

Rank: SS-SSS

Completion Grade: SS

Objective: Impregnate Hephaestus (2). Ensure a safe delivery (2)

Rewards: 2,000,000 OP, 1x [Guardian:(Ina Mason)], 1x [Guardian:(Vana Mason)], 2x [Heroic Tale]

Grade Rewards: 5,000,000 OP, 1x [Soul Hammer], 1x[Genesis Flame] [Guardian:(Ina Mason)]

Rank: Unique

Use: Summons a spiritual guardian that bonds with the user’s soul and protects them from danger.

Restriction: Ina Mason

[Guardian:(Vana Mason)]

Rank: Unique

Use: Summons a spiritual guardian that bonds with the user’s soul and protects them from danger.

Restriction: Vana Mason

[Heroic Tale]

Rank: Unique

Use: A journal which, when bound to a user, records all the details of their life and accomplishments. Feats recognized by the record award the user with various rewards, including unique items, skills, and abilities.

Restriction: Progeny of Vahn Mason

[Soul Hammer]

Rank: Unique

Use: A hammer that can be nourished by the soul of the user, allowing it to become increasingly more powerful with time. Size and shape can be altered with mastery.

Restriction: Ina Mason

[Genesis Flame]

Rank: Unique

Use: A flame that can be nourished by the soul of the user, allowing it to become increasingly more powerful with time. Allows the user to create and control flames at will.

Restriction: Vana Mason

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Vahn felt his brain buzz when the system blatantly interrupted the emotional moment he was sharing with his family, especially his two new daughters. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like the system was going to give him a moment to reflect on how overbearing it could be at times since two more notifications popped up right after he glanced over the wall of text that obscured his vision. At the same time, two brilliant lights flashed within the room as what appeared to be winged kitten and a tiny red dragon came into existence, each staring toward one of the two girls in the surprised Hephaestus’ arms…

———————————————————————-

//[Guardian:(Ina Mason)] Automatically Triggered. Generating Guardian Beast//

//Celestial White Tiger (Nameless) has been summoned//

//[Guardian:(Vana Mason)] Automatically Triggered. Generating Guardian Beast//

//True Flame Dragon (Nameless) has been summoned//

———————————————————————-

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