Chapter 682: Inheritance : Maturity

With around one-hundred hours to spend with his new child, Vahn decided to spend some time bonding with Alex, primarily just conversing with it while he flew around in the air. The memory fragments of himself and Terra continued constructing the residence there were going to be living in while the latter would periodically come over to check on her baby. Though she hadn’t initially been too attached to it, Terra was showing a lot of concern for Alex now that it had been born. She considered the fact that she hadn’t given it more knowledge during its maturation phase one of her greatest errors. If she had taken her role as its mother seriously, Alex would have possessed much greater knowledge at the time of its birth instead of simply having basic speech functions and survival instincts…

Vahn, however, didn’t mind it too much since it would have been very strange for his seemingly newborn child to be speaking fluently and already walking around. Just knowing it could understand what he was saying, forming a few words in response, was more than enough for him. The only awkward thing was the fact that Alex kept asking him questions like, “Papa, when will you teach me to become stronger?” and “What is my purpose?” Vahn didn’t really have an easy way to answer these questions and simply responded by saying, “I will do my best to help you increase your strength, but I’d rather you simply be happy and free. Other than that, my only expectations for you is that you’ll become a kind person that helps out others, especially if they are family. However, as long as you don’t end up on a path that will cause you many regrets, that is enough for me…”

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Alex was currently wearing some green pajamas Vahn had purchased for them through the system. When it heard his words, Alex lowered its head slightly as if it were in deep thought, causing Vahn to smile and release a small sigh as he lazily floated through the air. Currently, Alex was riding on his stomach and didn’t seem to mind the fact they were high up in the sky. Though only a few hours old, it was almost fearless and showed uncommon levels of intelligence that would have been impossible for normal infants. Vahn felt like all of his children were somewhat abnormal but, even if there were some incongruities within his mind, he didn’t mind them too much and simply enjoyed spending time with them.

Seemingly coming to a conclusion, Alex began flapping its tiny wings as it attempted to leap off his stomach, startling Vahn as he quickly reached out to grab the falling infant. Alex wiggled about, laughing as if they were very ticklish before saying, “Don’t worry, Papa, I’ll be fine.” Vahn could actually see that Alex was able to manipulate wind elemental energy around its wings, much like Terra was able to. She must have given him knowledge on how to fly when it was still in the egg, something Vahn still had a bit of trouble comprehending. However, he knew this was the case so, even though he had a few inhibitions, Vahn let Alex fly freely from his arms…

Though it stumbled around a bit, Alex didn’t fall to the ground as Vahn’s instincts had informed him would be the case. No, even though it had only been out of its egg for less than two hours, Alex was already capable of flight and, from Vahn’s observations, seemed to be getting progressively better at it. Then, with a happy smile on its face, Alex turned around and flew back into his embrace, giggling as it said, “Papa, I want to be able to fly very fast one day. If you want me to be free, I want to be able to fly higher, further, and faster than anyone else~.” Hearing Alex’s words, Vahn realized it was treating his own almost like a ‘doctrine’ to make its own decisions. As creatures that relied heavily on instinct and power-based hierarchies, Alex placed a heavy emphasis on each word Vahn spoke…

Realizing this, Vahn just smiled and lifted Alex high into the air, allowing the tiny True Dragon to fly high up into the sky as it laughed in a playful voice. Vahn rose to meet it at the apex of its arc, spinning Alex around while the youngling continued giggling. Vahn was trying to think of the best way to actually raise a True Dragon but decided it was better to just play with Alex for the time being. Even if he visited at the earlier possible moment, more than sixty days would have passed since Terra had adjusted the time-dilation to be less impactful for both of their minds. This meant, after a year passed in the real world, that would have been sixty years for Alex, making them nearly a hundred years old by the time Bell came to the City. Even so, they would likely just be entering their Juvenile state and would be limited in their growth until their mana circuits had fully formed and stabilized.

Vahn was beginning to understand that there were innumerable complexities in his raising of Alex, hopefully, something his memory fragment could deal with alongside Terra. Depending on how things progressed, he could also bring in Fafnir to study under Terra’s memory fragment and potentially be a friend and mentor to Alex. Fafnir really did need an opportunity to increase its strength again and, as Vahn hadn’t given it the opportunity to study under Eva, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have Terra watch over it for a bit. She probably wouldn’t help Fafnir get too strong, especially if there was any chance Alex and Fafnir would butt heads, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince Terra to look after its training for a bit…

Alex suddenly reached out, poking Vahn’s cheeks with both hands as it asked, “Papa, what are you thinking about~?” Vahn smiled in response, rubbing his nose against Alex’s as he said, “I was worried that you wouldn’t have many friends while you’re inside this space. There is another dragon outside that is kind of like your big brother, though you may be older than them in the future. I’ll talk to your Mama and see if they can come inside and play with you.” Alex seemed to be excited at the prospect of having a friend to talk with but Vahn nearly fell from the sky when it said, “Ehehe, I will let it become my friend, but only if it behaves~! Just you watch, Papa, I will become super strong in the future, strong enough to make every other dragon kneel before me!” As it spoke, Alex flapped its wings like a hummingbird, eyes glimmering as it imagined standing at the apex of the dragon hierarchy.

Vahn allowed an awkward laugh to escape his lips, pinching Alex’s nose as he said, “Fafnir is part of our family, so don’t bully it too much. We will be together for a very long time and I want everyone to get along as much as possible…” Alex nodded its head, giggling somewhat mischievously as it said, “Don’t worry, Papa, ehehehe~.” Contrary to its intent, Vahn couldn’t help but worry as he sent an apologetic prayer towards Fafnir. Hopefully, Fafnir and Alex would get along but, based on what he knew of their personalities thus far, Vahn didn’t expect this would be the case. True Dragons were very prideful and, as the child of the ‘Alpha’, Alex was higher in the pecking order than Fafnir was. Vahn needed to make sure his memory fragment watched over their interactions closely and, if possible, he wanted to convince Terra to show Fafnir a bit of leniency…

After answering a host of questions, Vahn noticed Alex was beginning to get a little sleepy since its eyelids were drooping slightly. Rubbing his fingers through the short emerald green hair on its head, Vahn smiled and said, “There will be plenty of time for questions later. For now, let’s get you to sleep. It is important to get plenty of rest if you want to grow big and strong in the future.” Alex nodded its head, releasing a long yawn as it simultaneously said, “Yes, Papaaaaa~” Then, as if it couldn’t way any longer, Alex nuzzled into Vahn’s chest and started making adorable sleeping sounds through its nose. Vahn felt a warmth spread through his chest as he stroked the small back of his youngest child and inserted threads of source energy into the dragon core located near its heart.

Alex didn’t need really need to eat and could subsist entirely on the energy it absorbed from the environment. However, with the complexity of its affinities, Vahn suspected it wouldn’t have an easy time replenishing its reserves if not for the fact that his memory fragment was comprised of source energy. Though it couldn’t use any of their Innates, nor access the system functions of The Path, the memory fragment could still use [Hands of Nirvana] and all of his other skills and abilities. Since Alex could also consume the items obtained through the shop, Vahn also intended to leave a large number of resources for its consumption in order to aid its growth in the future…

At this time, the ground had become almost entirely earthen in structure with grass growing over a large area where the two memory fragments had been building their shared residence. Though Vahn had provided a lot of materials, Terra ended up constructing the basic structure of the house by creating the entire thing like a natural wooden structure that she had hollowed out. It was almost like looking at a very fat tree and, since she had elevated the area to make it appear more scenic, Vahn thought it wasn’t a bad place to raise Alex. He imagined that, by the time he visited again in the future, there would be an entire forest in the area with vibrant plant life located all over the place. All Terra needed were some seeds and, with her mastery of natural energy, it was possible to cultivate all sorts of plants using the Spirit-Time orb as a sort of ‘exploit’.

When he landed outside the house, Vahn saw his memory fragment again and they both shared an awkward exchange with each other as he walked inside. It was very strange to have another version of himself walking around that shared all the same knowledge and memories. Though Vahn was certain he would get used to it, this peculiarity he felt validated his previous decision to not learn how to use shadow clones, or similar skills. It felt very strange to interact with himself and, knowing they had the same mind as he did, Vahn couldn’t simply ‘force’ his clones to do things he himself wasn’t willing to do. Part of him was very resistant to the idea as imagining having to take orders from himself left Vahn feeling very awkward and strangely frustrated…

Terra was currently reshaping the interior of the stout tree-like house but she immediately stopped what she was doing the moment he entered the room. Seeing the sleeping Alex in her Master’s arms, Terra showed a loving smile as she walked over and picked up the small figure, cradling it in her embrace as she quietly asked, “So, how was it? Did the two of you get along~?” Vahn nodded, gently tracing his index finger along Alex’s scalp as he said, “It’s amazing how smart Alex is for how young they are…though, considering who their mother is, that isn’t too surprising.” Terra giggled lightly in response to his words, moving closer as she wrapped her wings loosely around his body. Though she was fond of the memory fragment, Terra’s fragment felt much closer to the real version of her Master, wanting to enjoy his warmth while they both watched over the sleeping face of their child…

Over the course of his time within the orb, Vahn spent the majority of it playing with Alex and taking turns with his memory fragment to help build various installations. Though his memory fragment had never complained, Vahn felt strangely guilty that it was silently doing much of the work with a smile on its face. He wondered if this was how the girls felt, watching him work tirelessly without a single word of complaint. Vahn decided he needed to treat ‘himself’ better so, instead of monopolizing Alex to himself, Vahn traded places with his fragment and did some work of his own while Terra lingered around him. Unfortunately, when he tried to convince her to spend time with the fragment and Alex together, she simply said there was plenty of time for that later and wanted to spend as much time as she could with the ‘real’ him. Unable to convince her otherwise, Vahn let Terra do as she pleased since it made the somewhat boring work go by much faster when he had a conversation partner.

During the last few hours he had in the orb, Vahn spent them telling stories to Alex as it sat down in the grass with glimmering green eyes. Vahn had a ton of stories stored away in his mind and Alex seemed especially fond of anything related to heroes and dragons, preferably with the dragon coming out ahead. Though it didn’t seem inclined towards anything ‘evil’, Alex had a strange sense of pride and enjoyed hearing anything about how ‘amazing’ True Dragons were. In fact, when Vahn gave it a ‘Lexicon on Dragonic Languages’ and an ‘Encyclopedia of True Dragons: Natures, Physiology, and Ecology’, Alex had hardly been able to put them down. Since it had learned how to read and write a variety of different languages from Terra, Alex was already happily deciphering the books while making notes in an archaic looking journal that Vahn had purchased for him through the system. It had the properties of being able to store information secretly, only allowing the writer to see the contents while the words would disappear from the pages for any other prying eyes. (A/N: Think Tom Riddles diary from Harry Potter.)

Alex seemed to understand that there was a big difference between the memory fragment and the real Vahn, clinging to the latter’s leg when it was almost time for him to leave. With slightly moist eyes, though not enough to form actual tears, Alex said, “Papa, make sure to visit me often. I will work hard while you are away so please come back soon…” Vahn nodded his head, kneeling down to give Alex a firm hug as he said, “I’ll do my best to visit as often as I can. However, if you don’t like staying within the orb, you just have to tell me and I can take you out whenever you want.” Alex giggled playfully, returning Vahn’s hug as it said, “I know, Papa, but I want to become a lot stronger and this place is the best way for that. Mama told me that a lot of time passes in here compared to the outside world and I don’t want to be weak~!”

Vahn smiled, picking Alex up and cradling his child as a feeling of immense pride spread through his chest. It was a very strange feeling but Vahn felt gratified knowing that his child was already so capable and mature. Though it was likely a result of its instincts, combined with the knowledge Terra had bestowed, Alex was already thinking about the best methods to increase its own strength. It showed both a logical and rational mind and, while being very curious, seemed to consider how to form its questions instead of just asking to be appeased. When possible, Alex tried to understand things on its own and, only after hitting a section that it didn’t understand, would it ask for assistance. Vahn felt like it would get along well with Erika and intended to see if Loki would allow him to bring her by a few times. After all, Vahn wanted Alex to be able to meet and interact with his siblings without having to wait more than a hundred years.

Feeling his body begin to fade away, Vahn gave Alex a kiss on the forehead before passing it over to Terra, smiling towards her before giving a nod towards his memory fragment. When the latter returned his nod with a smile and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure Alex is taken care of…” Vahn couldn’t help but feel a little awkward but still bumped fists with his counterpart as his body broke down into small particulates. The last thing he saw, other than the smile on his fragment’s face, was the unwavering gaze from Alex as it followed the remnant particles with its large leafy-green eyes, now covered in a light mist…

When Vahn returned to the real world, he momentarily felt melancholic until he felt a familiar weight pressed against him and a honey-like flavor spreading through his mouth. Snapping back to awareness, Vahn realized Terra was laying against his body, passionately kissing him with her rather long and flavorful tongue. Realizing he was awake, Terra pulled away with an amorous smile on her face as she lightly whispered, “Though it isn’t unmanly to show weakness and emotion, never blame yourself for lacking time, Master. You work very hard and our child isn’t something so weak that it needs constant attention…”

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Terra had yet to download the memories from the orb but she had already speculated about what might go on after her Master entered. Though he had been getting better, her Master was a very sentimental and emotional boy at times. Seeing how affected he was after coming out of the orb, Terra felt a warmth spread in her heart that made her want to be even closer to her Master than normal. Now that he had returned, she wanted him to return to his ‘normal’ self again instead of spending time worrying about things he had little influence over. By the time they were finished, several days would have passed within the orb and, even if their child had become very attached to her Master, Terra knew it wouldn’t be that affected. Thus, she wanted her Master to also move on and be strong, even though his weakness made her strangely fond of him…

It took a little while but, with Terra’s proactive advances, Vahn eventually got riled up enough to pick her up out of the wellspring, earning a peal of playful laughter from Terra as a result. He carried her over to her perch, now forming a small island at the center of the wellspring, and laid her against it. Terra looked back, licking her lips slightly as her tail swayed slowly from side-to-side, touching against his lower body in the process. Vahn shook his head, allowing a small smile to touch his lips as he leaned over Terra’s back, kissing her neck as he whispered, “You’ve been getting naughtier these days…just make sure not to take things too far.” Terra nodded in response, letting the tension in her wings fade away as the drooped down into the water. She actually measured her actions a great deal before she enticed her Master and was very aware of his current limits…

Seeing Terra nod while entrusting her body to him, Vahn’s smile softened as he lifted up her tail and ran his fingers along the sensitive ridge. Unlike in the past, Terra allowed her reactions to show while a sensual moan escaped her lips. Vahn watched as her wings trembled slightly as a fragrant moisture began dripping from the steamy cavern located beneath her two fleshy butt cheeks. Vahn enjoyed the flowery and sweet smell that reached his nostrils, taking a deep breath as the smell pervaded throughout the area. With the fresh earthen aroma that naturally wafted from Terra’s hair, Vahn felt they balanced each other well in a very complimentary manner. Bringing his hand around to grope Terra’s breast, Vahn enjoyed the intermixing fragrances as he once again buried himself deep inside her inviting entrance, now seemingly adapted to his size and shape…

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