Chapter 691: Within the Orb

Catching Ais out of the air, Tiona suddenly shouted, “Ah, that’s not fair, Ais! Nobody said anything about using transforming!” Ais, while hanging around Vahn’s neck, simply lifted up two fingers in a victorious gesture with a smile on her face. As for Vahn, he held one arm around Ais’ waist, holding her body as if it were perfectly natural while asking, “What is this about? Did you have some kind of competition?” Tiona nodded, pointing to Ais as she said, “Yeah, we were racing to see who got to spend the night with you! But, Ais, she cheated! I want a do-over~!” Ais shook her head in response, hugging Vahn with both arms as she said in a curt and calm tone, “No. You never said the rules and tried to cheat from the start. This is my win…”

Hearing Ais’ explanation, Tiona looked like she had turned into a statue with her finger still pointing towards the golden-haired girl. Realizing she had indeed set the ‘precedent’ for cheating, Tiona suddenly felt all the tension release in her body as she plopped down powerlessly to the ground. Tione, who had shown up almost immediately after the two, just stood at the side with her arms crossed, clearly dissatisfied with how things had turned out. Vahn just shook his head in response, holding Ais in his embrace as he said, “Don’t be too upset. Now that we have the orb, there is plenty of time for us to spend together. After all, we have six days in here every single day that passes in the real world.”

Jumping up from the ground, Tiona also clung to Vahn’s body with a happy smile on her face, laughing as she said, “That’s right~! Even if we spend a day training, we still have five more days just to play around!” With the rules that had been established for the orbs use, a proper balance between work and play was very important. After all, though everything within the orb was real, it wasn’t the same as living a ‘normal’ life in the real world. Cooping yourself up inside the orb all the time, while efficient, could cause you to feel out of touch with the rest of the world.

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It was originally proposed that the orb should only be used at night, essentially making the eight hours people usually slept equate to 48 hours worth of time. However, as there was currently a lot going on in the real world, these restrictions had yet to be implemented and the only ones that weren’t allowed to spend all their time in the orbs were the young girls, the children, and anyone that was pregnant. Today was an exception to the rule, but only because everyone was very curious about what it was like inside the orb.

Promising to make time for them once everything was finished, Vahn returned to his work while Tiona, Tione, and Ais all sat with Tsubaki and talked amongst themselves. What Vahn was currently working on, other than laying the foundation, was allocating space for various facilities. The girls would spend a lot of time in the orb for training so Vahn needed to make sure they had a place to rest and relax. There also needed to be living quarters for everyone, including an area where they could enjoy some ‘privacy’.

More importantly, however, Vahn needed to make sure there was a system in place so the girls could have a place to ‘relieve’ themselves, meaning he needed to lay the framework for a water and waste management system. Fortunately, such things were relatively easy to take care of by implementing wards that produced clean water, sanitized an area, and ‘destroyed’ waste products. By setting the ward in a secure area, similar to a septic tank, Vahn could set it to periodically ‘destroy’ everything that accumulated inside. Hopefully, there would never be a time when he had to replace the system as it would be buried within the sturdy foundation he was currently laying.

Everyone that had gone out to explore the orb had eventually ended up congregating around the area where Vahn was working. There wasn’t much they could do to help him, as he was using various unnamed spells and abilities like telekinesis to move things, so they just sat at the side while eating snacks. Under the insistence of Erika, they even started discussing magic since all of his daughters had been completely enamored by watching him move materials around through the air with slight movements of his hands. However, the biggest catalyst behind their sudden interest in magic was watching Terra literally moving acres of dirt and mulch while floating lazily through the air. If she had been doing such things in the real world, it would have looked like a natural disaster with how terrifying the sight was.

Erika, sitting between Eina and Tsubaki, asked, “How can Papa and Terra use such powerful and unique magic? I’ve read a lot of books about the subject and it doesn’t cover most of the things they’re doing.” Thus far, none of the children had started training and, while their education was progressing, it didn’t go into great details about magic and trades. Erika had mainly been going through the books in the Library, meaning she didn’t have an understanding of the unique system of magic that the girls had actually been developing under Vahn’s guidance.

Tsubaki, playing with some loose strands of Erika’s hair, had on a soft smile as she patiently explained, “Before you were born, your Papa learned magic from a powerful mage named Evangeline. Because of her teachings, he is now one of the most powerful people in the entire world. Now, he has been teaching everyone else how to use magic while developing a curriculum that will allow people all around the world to do the same.” Erika, who understood that magic wasn’t something that anyone could use, at least according to what she read, asked, “Papa’s magic can be learned by anyone? Really?”

At this point, Tiona burst into the conversation with an excited smile on her face as she said, “Yeah, your Papa is super amazing! My entire life, I’ve never been able to use magic at all, even to the point where my Magic Parameter is still listed as 0! But, your Papa wanted my dream of using magic to become a reality so he made me an awesome wand and, even though I didn’t think it would be possible, I’ve slowly been able to learn some basic spells. Here, watch this~!” Wagging around her index finger in a peculiar pattern, Tiona happily chanted, “Practe Bigi Nar “Burn”, “Breeze”, “Light”~!” When her words finished, a ‘very’ tiny flame appeared on the tip of Tiona’s finger.

Erika, understanding what it meant to have 0 for a Magic Parameter, was rather impressed by Tiona’s simple display. However, there was one person who didn’t seem too impressed and actually took Tiona’s display as some form of challenge. With a little too much excitement in her voice, Vana suddenly shouted out, “Ah, I can make fire too~!” Then, even though she was sitting in Eina’s lap, Vana spontaneously made a fireball the size of a grapefruit that radiated a surprising amount of heat. Unfortunately, as impressive as it was to create fire from nothing, Vana was still lacking in control and the fireball quickly started to destabilize.

Several of the girls were about to get rid of the orb but, before they even made a movement to do so, Vahn suddenly appeared out of nowhere, directly grabbing the fireball in his hand and stabilizing it. Vana’s eyes widened greatly as he smiled back at her and said, “Vana, I’ve told you its not good to play with fire. Not everyone has the same amount of resistance as you so you have to be very careful with it, okay?” Vahn had originally been intending to disperse the ball of fire but, deciding to teach his daughter a lesson about control, began forming it into the shape of a tiny bird. The details weren’t that clear but everyone could very obviously tell the small ‘flittering’ figure in Vahn’s hand was a bird.

Vana looked completely mesmerized by the small bird, asking in a dream-like tone, “Can I do something like that?” Vahn nodded his head, explaining, “Raw firepower can be very useful in some circumstances, but it is far more important to learn how to control your power. If you master it, you can do all kinds of things that would be considered impossible by normal people. Here, I’ll show you one more thing, but you’ll have to behave if you want me to teach you later on, okay?” Vana nodded her head, practically jumping out of Eina’s lap as she shouted, “Yes, I promise! Teach me some cool magic Papa!” Before he demonstrated his spell, Vahn kneeled to Vana’s level, holding out his hand with his pinky finger extended, saying, “This is a pinky promise. Promises made this way should never be broken or it would betray the trust people have in you…”

As if the details didn’t matter to her, Vana happily linked her pinky together with his, smiling vibrantly in the process. Vahn lightly shook his head before ruffling Vana’s hair and saying, “Vana is a good girl. Papa trusts you…” Before he stood up, Vahn kissed Vana on the forehead then, after creating a bit of distance, began casting one of the spells he thought was more interesting, “I summon the Spirits of five Lance-Wielding Salamanders~!” The air around Vahn began to waver with the increasing temperature as five flames spontaneously ignited from the void. A few seconds later, the flames formed the figures of five vaguely humanoid creatures with flame-like wings and fiery red spears in their hands.

Vana practically had stars in her eyes as she shouted, “Whoooa, so cooooool~!” Vahn smiled, taking his outstretched hand and surprising her even further as he shouted, “Fixate. Seize. Load magic, ‘Armament’!” The five Salamander Spirits around his body broke down into fire elemental energy, coiling around Vahn’s body as it converged into his hand. When his hand completely closed, the spell was completely absorbed into his body, causing Vahn’s skin to take on its onyx-black coloration with red flame-like tattoos covering his body. His hair, instead of outright increasing in length, became flame-like in structure without losing the semblance of hair. The most striking feature though was how, much like Vana’s eyes, Vahn’s now looked like vibrant flames.

Not only Vana, but everyone watching was awed by Vahn’s current appearance, especially Ryuu, Lefiya and, to a lesser extent, Eina. Though their basic structure was different, Vahn had essentially summoned actual Spirits into the world and, now that he had consumed the spell with his [Magia Erebea], his aura was the same as a Spirit. Even in the record of Danmachi, flame elemental spirits were known as Salamanders so it had been very surprising to see Vahn suddenly call them into existence. Spirit Magic was one of the rarest forms of magic and very few people ever had the capability of interacting with the spirits directly.

Vahn slowly regulated his energy until the flames around his body were almost completely contained within. With a smile on his face, looking somewhat demonic and handsome at the same time, Vahn said, “There are no limits to magic, only limits to our imagination and how we make use of it to generate the phenomenon known as magic. If you study hard and practice your control, you could do all kinds of things, not just create fire.” Though it wasn’t as impressive as when he was in his Xuánwǔ form, Vahn began to make orbs of water form around his body. Generally, it was nearly impossible to use elemental spells that contradicted the affinity of his [Magia Erbea] but this was just pure control and water elemental manipulation.

While Vana was perpetually starry-eyed, Ina and Erika were also watching their Papa very closely. Ina found her elder twin’s behavior to be a little silly but, after watching her Papa do so many amazing things back-to-back, she couldn’t help but think about learning how to use magic herself. As for Erika, she had a very serious look on her face with her eyes slightly parted, doing her best to memorize everything she was currently witnessing. She was constantly thinking about the future and, after hearing her Papa say the only things necessary were knowledge, control, and imagination, Erika believed she could become a powerful Mage one day…

Canceling his transformation, Vahn picked up Vana and carried her back to the others. It was around time for lunch so Vahn figured it was a good time to take a break as he began explaining, “Ina, Erika, Vana. I will never decide your path for you so it is up to you what you want to do in the future. However, until you demonstrate you are ready, there are certain restrictions that you have to keep in mind. For now, even if you want to start learning magic early, you need to wait until your body matures first. The most appropriate time would be to start in around a year from now, which would put you at a similar age as other apprentice mages. Keep in mind, however, that your training will be very difficult since the optimal period for your development is much shorter than normal.”

Vahn already had several methods that he had been preparing if his daughters actually wanted to become stronger in the future, including helping them build a foundation as cultivators. As Vanir, they might be limited in the ‘normal’ means by which people would gain strength but, at the same time, they also had no upper limit to their potential growth. This didn’t mean it would be easy for them but, where other people would have encountered nearly impossible to overcome bottlenecks, their only restriction was the efforts they put into their training.

Each girl, hearing their Papa’s words, had very different reactions while fundamentally coming to the same conclusion. Vana, after seeing the other girls training all the time, wanted to become a powerful Adventurer in the future. She also saw how hard her Papa worked and, after learning he was also very strong, wanted to help him out by also becoming strong. As for Ina, she didn’t care much for personal strength but, after seeing several ‘visions’ of her Papa fighting against enemies, wanted to be able to protect him. Lastly, possessing a powerful thirst for knowledge and a strong desire to increase her own capabilities, Erika wanted to learn magic as soon as possible. She was very clear of some of the restrictions that had been placed on them and, considering they were a completely new species in the world, Erika didn’t disagree with the decisions. However, in order to protect all the things she cared about, and alleviate some of the burdens on her Papa’s shoulders, Erika was determined to increase her power to the extremes…

Over the course of the next few days, Vahn continued to work on building the residence with the help of Terra and, after she had shown up in the orb, Fenrir. Eina had eventually left with his three daughters, taking Tsubaki and the other pregnant women along with them, while the rest of the girls stayed inside. By the end of the third day, Terra had completely filled the orb with a 3m thick layer of bedrock, dirt, and subsurface mulch, now covered in a dense layer of grass that had been nourished by her natural energy. Ais, Tiona, Tione, Lili, and Naaza had moved into the first boundary layer that had been designated by Vahn, training their bodies under the increased pressure caused by the compression of space laws. As for the other girls, they had teamed up with Terra and started arranging things like a herb garden, a swimming area, and a large earthen veranda where they had all been gathering for meals.

With his immortal body, which could keep him going without tiring for a single instant, Vahn worked without rest until, at the even of the fifth day, he had finally completed one key aspect of their home within the orb: several bathrooms and a massive, heated, bathtub. The girls had been leaving the orb for short periods in order to relieve themselves so it was a very welcome change when he finally got everything in working order. As for why he worked on the bath first, it was because the girls were already training hard and Vahn wanted them to be able to relax and wash their bodies. It also had the added benefit of allowing him to soak his own body as well, enjoying the company of the girls in the process.

The bath itself was almost entirely constructed of smooth stone with wooden borders creating an interesting contrast between the beautiful brown wood and the dark grey stone. It was made to be around 50cm deep and had perfectly square dimensions with a length and width of 10m. It could easily hold all of them at once and was kept at a temperature of around 42 degrees, ensuring it was hot without being scalding. Because of the difference in temperature between the water and the outside air, it always had a light layer of mist coming out of it which, when coiling around the girls’ bodies, made Vahn almost feel like he had wandered into a dream-like paradise.

To that end, Preasia, who hadn’t initially entered the orb since she had been sleeping, showed up on the second day. Ever since then, she had been spending the vast majority of her time just sleeping on a sofa until the veranda had been completed. Every now and then, some of the girls would go over and stay with her, having something of a slumber party where they all played together in her Dreamscape. Vahn was somewhat curious about what they were all dreaming about since their smiling faces, which were especially adorable while they were sleeping, had caught his attention. Unfortunately, though she used to tell him everything that went on in her dreams, Preasia simply said, “It’s a woman’s secret…” when he asked about it. With all the other girls seemingly in on some kind of agreement, it became one of the various mysteries surrounding the life and legend of Vahn Mason…

The morning of the sixth day, having taken a rest the previous evening, Vahn woke up with Lili’s very unladylike figure clinging to his body. She still had terrible sleeping posture so Vahn peeled her away before releasing a long yawn, forcibly kept silent so he didn’t wake the other girls. They didn’t have individual rooms set up just yet so, after saying he was going to bed, Vahn ended up in the veranda with everyone else as they all shared a massive futon. Ais had ended up sleeping on his left side while Lili, seizing the opportunity, had taken his right. His center was left free, which was actually rare during such situations, but Vahn still ended up becoming a body pillow for Lili. Much like Hestia, she had a tendency to be very clingy whenever they slept together.

After extricating himself from the sleeping girls, alerting several of them without actually stirring them awake, Vahn returned to his construction site and continued working. He was trying to build a residence that could comfortably accommodate between twenty and thirty people so it would take several weeks to finish. Fortunately, now that the ‘important’ parts were taken care of, Vahn just needed to focus on making all the rooms aesthetically pleasing and comfortable for everyone that would reside in them. Unfortunately, though he would have earned himself a punch if he ever said such a thing, just as he had started to get into a good groove, a light blinked nearby as Eina walked over with a somewhat panicked expression and said, “Vahn, Tsubaki’s water just broke…!”

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