Chapter 694: Qualifications : Compromises

In the wake of his meeting with the Noble factions, rumors had begun circulating through the populous, essentially stating that the Alliance was trying to ‘capture’ and ‘brainwash’ children to become future soldiers. While most people didn’t buy into this, as a result of all the positive rapport the Alliance had within the City, there were a few that continued spreading the misinformation on behalf of the Nobles. This further cemented Vahn’s conviction that the Noble families residing in Orario had long served their purpose and, instead of helping the City develop further, were more focused on keeping what little power they already had.

While he had no intention of getting rid of them, at least for the time being, Vahn was now determined to slowly take away all of that power from them. He didn’t intend to take control and try to force change for his own benefits but merely wanted to remove the ‘illusion’ that the Nobles were some special breed that was above the common citizenship. After all, without the support of their vassals and servants, many Noble families were almost entirely without any real power. Only by banding together and ‘borrowing’ power from others were they able to have any influence within the City at all.

To prepare for the eventual opening of the School, there were several things on Vahn’s to-do list, including finding suitable teachers. Thus far, the only people Vahn had ‘confirmed for the School were Terpsichore, who would be teaching dance, music, and theatre, Tsubaki, who would be watching over the physical training of all the students, and Riveria, who would be teaching history, basic magic theory, and language studies. She would later become the Headmaster of the Academy he would found once Haven was built, meaning Vahn needed to also find a suitable replacement. Considering that she was currently pregnant, and there would undoubtedly be people that tried to target her, Vahn had even considered excluding her from the list entirely, at least for the time being.

Sitting in the Library, Vahn was tapping his finger against the armrest of a luxurious sofa while absentmindedly observing the large study group gathered around Riveria and Lefiya. Vahn had considered having Lefiya be a teacher but, considering she had no interest in teaching outside of the Manor, decided against it. In this same vein of thinking, he had also thought about asking several of the girls within the Manor to fill temporary positions but, in much the same way as Lefiya, they simply had no interest in it. Syr had offered to teach economics, cooking, and basic writing classes, but Vahn knew she was generally very busy around the Manor. She also spent a lot of time interacting with the girls within the orb so he really didn’t want to put even more onto her already expansive workload…

Ultimately, Vahn felt it was best if he assumed all of Riveria’s teaching roles while scouting out potential candidates for other teaching positions. In truth, taking into account how young some of the students would be, they needed a lot of teachers that simply had the patience to teach a large number of children how to read, write, and perform basic arithmetic. They needed to ‘vet’ the kids properly for the more advanced classes since teaching unstable children, or those that were influenced by outside sources, how to use magic was ill-advised. Though instructing them in the basics of survival and how to be an Adventurer were easy enough, Vahn didn’t want to empower people that would use their power they gained at the School to bring harm to others.

For the first batch of children, Vahn didn’t really know how things would work out and, considering that there was no standardized education system in place, intended to batch the students together in classes of 20-30 students each. Progress wouldn’t be dependent on age but by the capabilities of the students themselves. When you completed the curriculum and passed the associated test, you would be able to move on to the more advanced courses at your own pace. Though this would eventually change, it was the only method they could implement right now since there simply weren’t enough staff for something more comprehensive. After all, each teacher they selected needed to be heavily vetted and observed so as to avoid situations where the teachers played favorites or manipulated the students for their own benefit.

Deciding he wasn’t making any progress on his own, Vahn stood up from the sofa and smiled at the girls that turned their attention to him before making his way out of the room. As was often the case these days, he then tracked down Loki who was currently sitting within her own room along with Erika, Juno, Syr, and, somewhat surprisingly, Risna. Vahn gave a curt nod to Eina’s younger sister, doing his best to ignore her fluttery pink aura as he sat next to Erika, urging the girl to sit on his lap but ultimately failing to convince her. Loki, seeing this, laughed in her characteristically cheeky manner before hopping over and seizing the spot for herself, much to the ‘lamentation’ of her daughter and the embarrassment of Risna.

Leaning into his chest with her back, Loki looked up and said, “Let me guess…you are either worried about the School or what to do about the Dwarven Caravans?” Seeing the very subtle change in Vahn’s expression, which he had gotten much better at controlling, Loki smiled and said, “So it’s the School then, kukukuku~.” Vahn released a small sigh, loosely wrapping his hands around Loki’s waist since he didn’t want to do anything too intimate in front of their daughter. In a light tone, he began detailing all his concerns while Loki, along with the other girls, listened in silence. It wasn’t until he had almost completely finished his explanation that Loki nodded her head and said, “Well, it isn’t really that much of a problem unless you really just want to make a bunch of elites…”

Seeing the look of confusion in Vahn’s eyes, Loki smiled and explained, “The School you’re creating is supposed to allow for orphans and those from impoverished families the opportunity to rise above their current standing. We built the dorms to accommodate nearly five-thousand students and there are spaces for more than three-hundred different classes. Starting off with a small group of children to test the waters isn’t a bad idea, but we very obviously need to employ a large number of teaching staff, maintenance workers, and custodial staff. For the classes you had in mind, I think those should be saved for the more advanced students that work their way through the basic curriculum, after all, you can’t seriously believe that Tsubaki would be able to teach five-thousand students a day, right?”

Vahn, for a brief moment, pictured a scene of Tsubaki standing atop a platform with thousands of young children formed up in a field below her. If they were all disciplined and paying attention, there wouldn’t be much of an issue but, considering they were all children, it would very likely be pure chaos. There was also the fact that Tsubaki was very invested in taking care of Sakuya and it would be very unfair to have her focus on such a large number of students. Vahn wanted to make sure everyone had adequate opportunities for improvement and she would very clearly be unable to split her focus evenly between such a large number of children.

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Hopping out of his lap, Loki walked over to her bedside dresser and opened the top drawer to reveal a stack of thick blue notebooks with the words ‘Teaching Staff’ written on the top. Vahn released a sigh when she brought over one of them, passing it over for his perusal as she reassumed her position atop his lap. On each page of the three-hundred-page thick notebook, there was the image of a different potential instructor and all of their credentials. Considering there were three different notebooks, Vahn realized Loki had already long been preparing things that he should have seen to personally.

Realizing his thoughts, Loki just shrugged as she thumbed through one of the notebooks and explained, “I told you that I would work hard to ensure that the world you wanted to create would come to fruition. This School of your’s is something I know you are very passionate about and, since you obviously can’t focus on everything, it isn’t a problem for me to help out. Besides, a lot of this information came through the Alliance’s and Guild’s channels. I also pulled a few favors with the Hermes Familia since they’ve compiled a pretty comprehensive list of thousands of different Adventurers.” Ever since the Hermes Familia made their error, Loki had been making sure to reap the maximum amount of benefits from them. Till now, Vahn had yet to have Asfi make any of the promised Magic Items so she had ample time and opportunity to exploit Hermes and his children.

Vahn felt very gratified to have someone like Loki on his side and, if not for the presence of Erika and the other girls, he would have expressed his gratitude more openly. For now, he just gave her a light kiss on the lips that caused both Risna and Erika to blush lightly. The latter, having watched the interaction between her parents, was feeling very confused right now. She had long since realized that her Mother was the type that acted in an attempt to secure the greatest number of benefits. However, whenever she was near her Papa, her Mother acted completely differently than normal. Though she still schemed to secure her interests, it always manifested in a way that made her Papa’s life easier, often surprising him by how helpful she was being.

Erika’s understanding of love and emotional relationships was still a little lacking, not that she hadn’t studied them, but she was beginning to realize that ‘love’ could make people act out of character if it meant they could help the person they cared about. As she had been considering what she could do to help her Papa in the future, Erika wondered if following her Mother’s example was the best course of action. Though she would never admit it openly, she also wanted to ease her Papa’s burdens and make his life easier, earning his praise in return. He always treated her very well, regardless of how she might act at times, but Erika wanted to ‘earn’ his praise more, not just receive it one-sidedly all the time…

Unaware of the subtle change in his daughter’s perspective, Vahn stowed the three notebooks into his inventory as he asked, “So, what were the five of you talking about before I interrupted? It’s rare to see Risna out of her room…” Hearing his words, Risna flushed a deep shade of red as she rebutted, “Hey, don’t say it like I’m some kind of strange room-dwelling monster! I come out all the time, you know!?” Vahn blinked, somewhat surprised by Risna’s outburst until Loki and Syr began to laugh, the latter musing, “Ara~? Risna, coming out for meals and to use the bathroom don’t exactly count, do they~? How many baths have you taken this week, I wonder~?”

The red blush on Risna’s face became crimson when she heard Syr’s words while any she had been about to say got buried deep in her stomach. It was currently Friday and, because she hadn’t really done much physical activity, Risna had only bathed twice while spending the majority of her time cooped up in her room. As Syr had mentioned, the only real times she came out were to use the bathroom and pick up some food from the kitchen. She didn’t even really join them for the lively meals that were common-place within the Manor since it was very ‘troublesome’ to deal with so many people. It wasn’t that she didn’t have any friends amongst the girls in the residence, just that she didn’t like large groups since they made her uncomfortable…

Since Risna seemed unable to say anything, Syr chuckled lightly and answered, “Risna stumbled upon Erika when she visited the Library the other day. After they talked for a bit, Risna got an idea for a novel and wanted to talk with Loki about trying to get it officially published. You know that getting anything printed is a very difficult task and, after your promise in the past, Risna was wondering if she could still make use of your words for her benefit~.” Now, instead of blushing, Risna had gone completely pale as she turned her eyes toward Vahn. She felt like Syr, one of the few girls she actually talked to often, had just betrayed her completely…

Vahn, seeing Risna’s aura drop to a very pitiable level, just smiled in return as he calmly said, “I make it a habit to try and keep all of my promises, so long as the person I gave my word to hadn’t done anything to threaten my family and the people I care about. If you want to start publishing your books, I will keep my word and help you. I’m certain we can find you a workshop and set up a printing facility for your personal use…” As he was speaking, Vahn was using his ‘sub-process’ to look through the system shop and see how much printing presses cost. Restricting his search criteria to things existing within the Danmachi record, he found a few ranging between 30,000-50,000OP in price.

Only allowed on

The complexion slowly began to return to Risna’s face as a small smile bloomed in its place. Her impression of Vahn was very high but, as they didn’t often interact with each other, she was very worried he had a bad impression of her. Thus far, if not for the fact he was married to her sister, Risna felt like he would have already abandoned her. Seeing his honest expression and his immediate willingness to make good on his promise made the giddy feeling that had been bubbling up in her stomach much more prevalent than in the past. At the same time, Vahn noticed her Affection jump up from 94 before stopping at 99 once again. It wasn’t the first time she had actually reached that number but, as a result of them rarely interacting with each other, Risna typically hovered around the mid-nineties range, not that this bothered Vahn any.

Erika, realizing there was something ‘more’ to how Risna looked at her Papa, couldn’t help but frown slightly. She understood that most of the girls within the Manor, many of which were like surrogate mothers to her, were involved with her Papa. However, certain situations didn’t make much sense to her, especially the relationship between her Papa and the Mother-Daughter pair of Milan and Tina. Risna was also in the category of things she didn’t quite understand and, seeing how ‘casual’ her Mother, Juno, and Syr acted, Erika couldn’t help but feel her Papa was somewhat ‘mysterious’ in how he was able to manage such relationship as if they were perfectly natural…

Since he could always review the documents Loki had provided him later, Vahn joined the conversation the girls had been having before he intruded upon them. Risna, not that he was too surprised, refused to set up a workshop away from the Manor. Though she hadn’t visited it personally, she knew about the existence of the orb and, considering it a huge boon to have a place where she had even more time to write, wanted to build her workshop within the orb itself. Since she was already ‘of age’, Vahn agreed to her request but only if she started joining everyone for their ‘family’ meals. He had been somewhat bothered by the fact that many of the meals lately had far fewer people than normal and had been intending to propose that they all started eating outside of the orb. Since it was a good opportunity to get Risna out of her room more often, he brought it up and got the opinions of Loki and Syr, who both agreed that it was a good idea.

Though initially reluctant, Risna eventually agreed to the stipulation since she was somewhat bothered by the ‘playful’ glint in Syr’s eyes. She felt that, if she didn’t agree to Vahn’s conditions, Syr would say or do something that would embarrass her greatly. This was emphasized by the fact that, shortly after acceding, Risna saw Syr give a playful ‘pout’ like her schemes had been ruined. Now that she had been ‘betrayed’ once, Risna was in an ‘alert’ status in regards to the actions and behaviors of the woman she knew to be near the peak of the Manor’s hierarchy…

After the conversation came to an end, Vahn decided to invite the girls to come and have lunch with him so they could discuss matters with the others that would be present. Though the information would spread through the network, it was still better to talk about such matters in person when they had the chance. Thus, while Loki dragged along Risna to the dining room, accompanied by the other girls, Vahn went to the Library to let everyone else know what was going on. They had all just started a small snack break of their own so, hearing Vahn mention eating lunch together, everyone began to migrate towards the dining room. Once inside, Vahn made his concerns known and, with the support of Loki, Hephaestus, Hestia, and Eina, it was quickly decided that everyone should begin eating their meals together outside of the orb. With the time-dilation between the orb and the real world, this meant there would be a lot of activity within the dining room and Vahn believed it would make the atmosphere more lively for those that resided within the Manor…

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