Chapter 708: Perspective

Since he couldn’t lounge about all day, Vahn’s fluffy time with Fenrir and Nanu eventually had to come to an end. With the accompaniment of the two girls, he brought his two halves to the same place and, before their shocked gazes, fused into a singular entity once again. Vahn had rarely felt as refreshed as the moment he became one person again, even though he could see the two halves of his soul swirling around each other like a taiji symbol. This was one of the largest benefits of being able to create an Avatar, being that the two bodies could become one without any complications.

Momentarily distracted by the floating figure of his second body resting peacefully within his soul, Vahn had missed Fenrir’s question so he asked, “Sorry, can you repeat that? I’m a little distracted at the moment…” Fenrir blinked, tilting her head to the side with a thoughtful look on her face as she once again asked, “Are you like Emiru and Maemi now?” Understanding her question, Vahn shook his head with a smile and explained, “It isn’t quite the same, as I don’t really experience an increase in power like they do. Their power is something like the melding of two complete souls, whereas mine is just combining two halves back together…”

As Vahn was speaking, he actually began to wonder if he became any weaker after splitting his soul into two halves. There wasn’t any such downsides mentioned in the manual itself and, soon after that thought passed through his mind, Sis explained, (*Your soul itself, as a result of its fusing with The Path, is functionally limitless. If you had a normal soul, there might be some decrease in power between your two bodies but, with The Path as an intermediary, you don’t have to worry about that kind of thing. In truth, your soul isn’t actually split into two parts. It just appears that was from your perspective since you’re still bound by the concepts of Space and Time.*)

Vahn blinked in confusion while walking along with Fenrir and Nanu to the dining room to eat a quick breakfast before he left for the day’s interviews. He didn’t quite understand what Sis was trying to explain but, being the infinitely patient and helpful entity she has always been, Sis extrapolated, (*It is a little difficult to explain, as I don’t really have an easy way to comprehend it myself…well, essentially, Space and Time are powerful laws that influence most records but, on a basic level, don’t actually exist. It is the mutual consciousness of the entities comprising a record that allow for things like distance and time to be measured as, without something there to observe them, they fundamentally lose their power and cease to exist. Just remember, before you entered the record, all of the past, present, and future had already happened. Even the record itself, seemingly infinite in size, shape, and time, could be as inconsequentially small as a grain of sand from outside.*)

Hearing Sis’ explanation, Vahn started to realize, very loosely, what she was trying to get at. She was essentially saying that, while very real, everything that happens, in reality, is only able to exist because entities possessing a soul are about to perceive its existence. The soul itself was something that existed outside the records, meaning they were fundamentally beyond the concepts of Space, Time, and all other Laws. It was only by entering a record, passing through several layers of restrictions, that the souls to be loosely influenced by the Laws. However, this was only because the soul entered into a vessel that only existed in accordance with the laws of the record itself. It was these same laws that allowed for the creation of things like his Avatar but, from what Sis was saying,, Vahn could now interpret that his soul was actually not affected at all, just his perception of his soul…?

Sis began to giggle within his mind before comfortingly saying, (*It isn’t something you really have to worry about at this point in time, Vahn. As long as you keep in mind that your soul isn’t something so easily impacted by the Laws of the world, that’s fine. Have more confidence in the actions you take and endeavor to overcome the restrictions that have been placed on your physical body and your perception of the world…*)

Only allowed on

With Sis’ words, Vahn experienced a momentary pause with an equally short epiphany as he started making sense of her words. If he was interpreting her words properly, which she would likely correct him on, Sis was saying that the mental strains he experienced when having his body split into two were something he ‘created’ for himself. In truth, as his soul wasn’t actually split into two, and it exists beyond the concepts of time and space, it wasn’t burdened at all by the ‘separation’. His limited mental faculties were the ‘real’ limiter of things, much like how his perception of the laws had always influenced his growth and power.

If Vahn wanted to continue increasing his Soul Tier, which would be necessary for his linking of the records, he would have to undergo a large shift in his mentality. His comprehension of the Laws would have to be above even the gods that create entire universes. Yet, at this moment, he was struggling to even control ‘himself’, even if it was split into two parts. Realizing his own weakness, Vahn couldn’t help but frown as the icy influence of his [Will of the Emperor] kicked in. Though he had already been determined to master the ability, Vahn now felt an urge to master is much faster than before. Previously, Vahn ‘believed’ that it would be difficult and, as a result of this belief, it would likely remain difficult until he started believing it was easier. Now, however, Vahn ‘refused’ to let such an ability, which was far beneath the limits of his actual capabilities, slow him down for any great length of time…

Always aware of what her Master was thinking, Fenrir turned her gaze towards him and produced a small smile of encouragement. Vahn was momentarily surprised by her action before feeling a warmth spread through his heart and, against the expectations of both girls, reached forward to hug Fenrir spontaneously. Her eyes opened wide because he had given her a bear hug and spun around, all while rubbing his cheek against her’s as he said, “Fenrir, you’re too good for me sometimes. Ahahahaha~.”

Fenrir didn’t think her small encouragement would have such a large impact on her Master and, for one of the first times in her life, she became flustered and moderately embarrassed. However, she didn’t try to break free from his grasp and instead tried to wrap her arms around him with a smile on her face. In actually, she didn’t care much for all the ‘restraint’ that was necessary to adhere to if you wanted to behave and act ‘normally’ around people. Fenrir would much rather just follow her instincts, much like she had in the past before her time in the orb. Having her Master spontaneously hug her made some of the tension she had been harboring in her heart and mind melt away with the warmth of his body against hers…

After setting Fenrir back on the ground, Vahn always ruffled Nanu’s head and ears as he confidently exclaimed, “I’ve been holding myself back for too long. From now on, I’ll do better, not just for myself, but for everyone I care about!” With Sis’ words as a catalyst, Vahn once again realized that he had been arbitrarily placing a greater number of restrictions on himself ever since he entered the world. While some, such as his relationships and bonds, were ones he willingly tolerated, Vahn realized there were several that he didn’t need to care about at all.

Just as he had slowly stopped caring about how other people saw him, Vahn wanted to stop acting with so many inhibitions since it inevitably just led to more problems, especially with his mental state. If he wanted to be able to master controlling two bodies simultaneously, he needed to stop holding back all the time and just act as he pleased. After all, if he couldn’t even do what he wanted with his first body, how could he harbor any hope of controlling two bodies simultaneously? In a way, this would also make it easier for the girls as well since they had also been holding themselves back a lot. If he made himself more open and approachable, like he had been before his daughters were born, Vahn was confident they would be happier and open up more often…

It felt like a long time had passed, as a result of his intense thinking, but Vahn arrived at the dining room just a few short minutes after reuniting his two bodies. Many of the girls had come out of the orb to eat breakfast as well so Vahn took the opportunity to address everyone, saying, “I know a lot of things have changed ever since the girls were born, and I’m grateful for the patience and tolerance everyone has shown…however, from now on, please don’t hold back too much on my account. Though we obviously need to show restraint around the children, you don’t have to hold yourselves back if you want to be around me. I’d like for everyone to be more honest and open about their feelings in the future…”

Vahn looked around at everyone that was present, making up a little more than half the girls that lived within the Hearth Manor, and smiled. They had all become quiet as he was speaking and, seeing that they were still listening, Vahn added, “Also, let me apologize early on if I accidentally embarrass you. I don’t want to keep holding back my feelings all the time, so I may end up doing something that skirts the borders of your comfort zones. Please be honest with me and I’ll always do my best to make you more ‘comfortable’…” This time, as Vahn looked around at everyone gathered, he had a bit of a teasing look in his eyes. Understanding what he was trying to convey, the girls had a variety of different reactions but, with only a few exceptions, they shared a very similar blush.

The only reason Vahn felt free enough to make comments like this was that Ina, Vana, and Erika weren’t present at the table. He would have had to change up his word choice a bit with their presence but, trying to bring about the change he wanted to see, Vahn didn’t restrain himself since they were absent. It also helped that Loki and Hephaestus were both missing, as the former would have probably taken advantage of the situation while Ina and Vana would undoubtedly accompany the latter…

Hestia and Eina had been sitting at Vahn’s sides and, hearing his ‘announcement’, they also had light blushes on their faces as the former said, “Just don’t get carried away, Vahn…” As for Eina, she had been about to say something similar so she instead added, “Well, Vahn is a very sensible and considerate boy. I believe he won’t do anything too out of line…” There was a playful glimmer in Eina’s emerald green eyes that made Vahn laugh uninhibitedly, surprising everyone in the dining room, especially when he brought his arms around the blushing Half-Elf and Goddess before kissing them on the forehead in turn.

Eina’s blush became rosier than it had been before as she gave him a look of mock reproach that had little effect as a result of her smile. As for Hestia, she was happily laughing in an ‘ehehehe~’ manner since the sudden display of affection had made her very happy. She was always happier when Vahn himself was happy since the bond they shared was a very powerful one. Since his happiness and excitement was radiating off of him like a vibrant sun, Hestia couldn’t help but feel the same emotions building up inside of her. Thus, shortly after Vahn had released their shoulders, Hestia took the liberty of sitting in his empty lap. Doing so, she felt Vahn become ever happier and, even though some of the girls gave her envious looks, Hestia didn’t mind at all~

With the sudden announcement, the atmosphere around the table became far more lively than before. Many of the girls asked about Vahn’s ability to make a second body, as they had yet to see it, but Vahn told them to wait until later before he showed it off. He still needed to leave for the interviews soon and it took time to adapt between having his body split and recombined. Though he wasn’t remotely as concerned as he had been previously, Vahn wasn’t going to be negligent and cause himself problems when he had other things to tend to. He could train with his two bodies when he returned so, for the time being, he just enjoyed his time with the girls instead of putting on a show.

Towards the end of breakfast, Hephaestus showed up with Vana and Ina, the latter of which put on a ‘defeated’ expression the moment she saw Hestia in Vahn’s lap. Vahn noticed Hestia tense up a bit so he just hugged her waist comfortingly while looking towards the three girls with a smile as he said, “Good morning, Hephaestus, Ina, Vana. You’re all looking exceptionally cute today, especially you two, my darling daughters~.” Vahn had a teasing undertone to his words that made Hephaestus poke her tongue out at him with Vana just laughed, pleased by her Papa’s praise. As for Ina, she also smiled but it was very obvious she wasn’t nearly as happy as the other two girls. However, it faded away pretty quickly when she remembered the previous incident with Shizune…

Seeing Ina’s expression soften, Vahn looked towards her with an undisguised gentleness in his eyes, something she had noticed as a small blush covered her tender cheeks. This time, Vahn laughed in a pleased manner while moving his fingers with practiced dexterity, causing Hestia to also laugh as she writhed around on his lap. Unaware of the earlier conversation, Hephaestus and Ina had confused looks on their faces while Vana happily joined the vibrant and lively breakfast. Vahn eventually gave Hestia a reprieve, patting the outside of her right thigh where his daughters couldn’t see as he said, “I need to get going pretty soon. Let me give my daughters and wife a goodbye hug and kiss…”

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After Hestia vacated his lap, wearing a light blush and breathing somewhat heavily from the tickle attack, Vahn rose to his feet and picked up Vana. She had been the closest to the table so he started with her, bringing her body up to his chest in a firm embrace before kissing her on the cheek. Vana laughed in her characteristic ‘shishishi’ manner before grabbing his face and giving him a kiss on his own cheek before saying, “Papa is different today. I hope you’re like this more often~.” Vana then gave him a tight hug around the neck as Vahn pat her back a few times, each dispersing a wave of comforting energy into the young Vanir.

Setting Vana down on the ground, Vahn then turned to Ina with a smile before spreading his arms. Ina, regardless of any thoughts she might have been having previously, immediately ran into his arms as Vahn picked her up in the same manner as Vana. He hugged her tightly while also wiggling his body slightly in the process, making Ina feel both happy and confused at the same time. She could also see the changes in her Papa but it didn’t matter much after he gave her a kiss on the cheek and said, “There might be a few changes you’ll have to adapt to in the near future, but I’m confident my brilliant little girl will be able to deal with them.” Though still confused, Ina felt happy when she heard her Papa’s words and, much like Vana, gave him the strongest hug her tiny arms could manage.

With a bit more difficult that Vana, Vahn set Ina on the ground and ruffled her silky blond hair before moving over to the smiling Hephaestus and embracing her. She put more strength into her arms than normal and whispered, “You seem happy…” Expanding his awareness to make sure his actions couldn’t be seen, Vahn slowly moved his hand down over Hephaestus’ soft and supple butt as he, in turn, whispered, “I have every reason to be happy…I’m not sure why I was so worked up before…” With his words finished, Vahn gave Hephaestus a relatively tame but loving kiss that was somewhat ‘ruined’ towards the end when he put a bit of strength into the hand he had on her rump. Hephaestus released her contained breath through her nose before pushing gently against his chest with a look of blame on her beautiful smiling face. Vahn just chuckled in response, giving her one more quick kiss before turning towards the rest of the girls and saying, “Okay, I’ll be back later, everyone. Let’s go, Fenrir.”

Fenrir appeared at his side in an instant as Vahn completed his wave and exited through the door and made his way towards the Manor’s entrance. The girls followed his departure with their eyes, remaining absolutely silent until they heard the sound of the door shutting. As if awakened from a spell, Hephaestus turned towards the girls seated at the table and asked, “Can anyone explain to me what exactly happened…?” While speaking, Hephaestus was still a little ‘too aware’ of the warm feeling that was still radiating through her right butt cheek. Vahn had left an ‘imprint’ there with his [Hands of Nirvana] and it was still ‘bothering’ her a little bit.

Hestia, being the most ‘senior’ person present, began to laugh in a happy and excited manner as she exclaimed, “I’m not entirely sure, but I believe it’s a good thing~!” As if following some sort of agreed-upon cue, all of the girls present nodded their heads in concert at Hestia’s words. Seeing this, Hephaestus became even more confused before walking over to the table and taking a seat. When she sat down, the ‘imprint’ on her rear seemed to radiate through her body, causing Hephaestus to release a somewhat hot sigh that drew the attention of most of the girls. They had all been paying attention to her previously so her action hadn’t gone unnoticed. Hephaestus, realizing her ‘slip’, showed a light blush on her face as she once against reiterated, “Explain…”

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