Chapter 711: Progress : Wanderlust

Though he spent a large amount of his free time training his mastery over two bodies, equating to nearly thirty-eight days worth of training, there times when Vahn couldn’t stay split. This would generally be when he had to deal with the matters of the Alliance, such as when he met with visitors, and when he was doing activities that required intense focus. Chief amongst these activities, as could be expected, was spending intimate moments with the girls, especially during the evening. Others included when he would be working on things within his forge, such as parts for the Aegis armor sets, and accessories for his daughters.

One of Vana’s wishes had been for a magical bracelet, so Vahn made a Mithril loop with Adamantine and Orichalcum coiled around it. Though relatively simple in design, it still ended up being at the upper end of B-Rank and, as he had inserted a hair-like loop of his own blood within the core, it had the properties of storing energy. As for the purpose behind the bracelet, Vahn made it help the user focus and exercise control over fire elemental energy. He wanted Vana to have some support to make it easier for her to master her abilities, almost like training wheels.

Vana had been so happy with her gift that she ended up showing it off to everyone in the Manor very proudly, requiring Vahn to have to forge more accessories than he had expected. Ina, shocked that she hadn’t been able to get an accessory of her own, managed to ‘convince’ Vahn to forge a tiny pendant for her. It was made in a similar design as his Maker’s Mark, as Ina had become very fond of it after catching glimpses of it on Hephaestus’ lower back in the bath. Then, to keep things fair, Vahn also put in a fair amount of effort to develop a pair of reading glasses for Erika. The intent behind them was to decrease any eye strain she might develop as a result of reading so much but the final project also had the property of basic magnification too, something Erika seemed fond of.

When Vahn had finished the first batch of accessories, he also began working on a magical wand for Alexa, as the latter had started their magical training in earnest recently. However, when Vana had learned that her ‘wish’ ended up benefiting others, she had been in a dour mood. This resulted in Vahn having to appease his eldest daughter, excluding Alexa, by carving an ornate wooden sword for her and having her keep it a secret. He made it out of a branch of the sacred tree that he had purchased from the shop, giving her even better control over her fire elemental energy. It was also very durable so Vana had been using it extensively in her own private training, something she never skipped unless there was something more important going on…

Smiling at the thought of his daughter working tirelessly to become, not an Adventurer, but a ‘Hero’, Vahn felt extremely gratified as a parent. The fact that all of his children looked up to him so much was something that filled Vahn with pride. It made all of his own training much easier because, no matter how difficult things got, just picturing his daughters’ smiling faces was enough to keep him going. Even in moments such as this, where he had been sent flying nearly thirty meters by Tiona’s adorable and healthy brown foot, Vahn stood back up with a determined glint in his eye, accented by a small smile on his face.

In a manner reminiscent of their first spar, Tiona dangled her foot in front of him with a playful smile and said, “I’m starting you think you like being kicked, Vahn~.” This caused Vahn to laugh, earning a larger smile from Tiona as he said, “Who knows, maybe your feet left an impression on my heart, and not just my face~?” At the same time he was speaking, Vahn was also sneaking up behind Tiona with his second body. He didn’t get far, however, before Tiona laughed once again and launched herself at him. This time, she knocked him off balance and grabbed his left arm with her tyrannical strength before spinning around like a top and throwing him high into the sky.

Vahn fought against the disorienting feeling plaguing both of his bodies while looking up at himself and saying, “Your physical strength is really something…” Tiona was currently using her [Pactio] and, as a result of the physical enhancement it provided, her already monstrous Power was pushed even further. Her throw had sent him nearly 80m into the air, even though he had been fighting to stabilize himself and resist flying too far.

Tiona seemed happy for the compliment, beaming as a result before disappearing from sight the moment later. Vahn could sense her movements very easily but, as a result of having two bodies to manage, wasn’t able to react in time to avoid Tiona’s kick. Even so, he managed to wrap his arms around her leg at the same time as his own neck seemed to shatter under the force of her blow. As he was in his ‘awakened’ Magia Erbea form, Vahn healed almost immediately and, because she had struck him so hard, they both ended up tumbling as he tightly held onto her firm calf and plump thigh.

Feeling her bones strain in the wrong direction, Tiona inhaled a sharp breath and muttered an ‘Ataa…’ as she resisted the pain. Even so, once she managed to get her orientation, Tiona buried her left fist into his face and caused a shockwave to spread through Vahn’s head and into the ground below. Spiderweb cracks spread out from the point of contact between his skull and the reinforced ground as Tiona leaped away on her good leg. Her right leg seemed ‘twisted’ slightly out of alignment but, much like how he healed with his Magia Erebea, Tiona’s muscles seem to deform slightly as her leg righted itself. Now, however, it was almost like she had an extra set of muscles that allowed the bone of her leg to pivot in a way that was impossible for normal people.

Tiona gave a test kick, noticing her balance was a little awkward but that she could put a lot more force into her basic strikes while having a greater range of movement. Laughing at this realization, Tiona said, “Vahn, I love this ability so much. It makes me feel like I’m invincible~.” Already having recovered himself, Vahn rose to his feet with a smile and said, “It gives you a pretty exotic appearance as well. Having that wild and untamed looks suits you…” Tiona giggled while taking a few slow and playful steps towards him. Releasing a sigh, Vahn got into a combat stance and prepared himself for the inevitable beatdown…

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Instead, what Vahn got was Tiona tackling him to the ground with a momentous hug as she pinned him into the small crater they had formed. Realizing what was going on, Vahn released an awkward laugh and said, “I haven’t lost just yet…” Tiona, slowly peeling away the cloth that magically hung to her breasts, had already started breathing heavily as she said, “Maybe you can use the moment when I let my guard down to get an advantage…I wonder if I would develop an ability to see out of the back of my head if you tried~?” Without minding the possibility of a sneak attack, Tiona pressed herself to his chest and began passionately kissing him. At the same time, she began to pull at his clothes until Vahn finally gave up and threw them into his inventory…

Watching his other body getting ‘ravished’ by Tiona, Vahn couldn’t help but release a small sigh while slowly and awkwardly making his way over to Tione, Ais, and Lili at the side. This hadn’t actually been the first time Tiona got ‘triggered’ during their fights and Vahn knew it was a combination of her excitement and his compliments. Tiona got very heated during a normal battle so, fighting against the man she loved would obviously have a greater influence on her body. Since her instincts were even stronger in her [Pactio] form, a few intimate ‘battles’ were bound to happen sooner or later. Fortunately, she had enough wherewithal to not take it too far so, after a few minutes of making out and wrestling around, she would normally let him go.

Seeing the hot and bothered appeared of Tione when he approached, Vahn made an awkward laugh, reminding, “Don’t worry, Tione. Once I get better control over both of my bodies, I’ll make sure to keep my promise.” Tione put on an expectant smile but, instead of saying anything about the promise he had made, pat Lili on the shoulders and said, “You should worry about this one first. She and Naaza have been waiting quite a while~.” Lili had been looking towards the crater in the distance with an almost ‘piercing’ look in her eyes but, after hearing Tione’s words, she turned her larger than average eyes up at Vahn and produced a small smile.

Smiling, Vahn sat down and patted his thigh, causing Lili to immediately hop into his lap and, without being asked, produce a pair of fluffy hazelnut-colored cat ears. Releasing a small chuckle, , Vahn began to play with Lili’s new ears as he said, “I’m the most aware of how patient Lili has been. After all, other than Milan and Tina, I have known her the longest out of everyone…isn’t that right?” Lili nodded her head and somewhat inappropriately wiggled her butt against his lap as she said, “Yes…it feels like such a long time ago, almost like a dream. But, if this really is a dream, I hope I never wake up…at least not for a few more days.”

Giving a small nod, Vahn moved his hands to Lili’s waist and hugged her tightly as he whispered, “Don’t worry, I can assure you that this is reality. Thank you for being so patient with me Lili…I’m really proud of how much you’ve grown since then.” Without thinking about it at first, Vahn could feel how ‘firm’ Lili’s abdomen was, even though it was also very soft to the touch. More than just character growth, she had put in an almost ridiculous amount of effort into her physical training and studies. If this was the version of Lili that Bell had met in the original story, the Supporter role might have fallen to the young hero instead of the diminutive, yet inordinately powerful, Pallum in his arms…

While Lili was snuggling up in his lap, Ais and Tione sat at his sides, leaning against his shoulders as the four of them enjoyed some skinship together. Vahn couldn’t actually do too much more, other than just sit there, as his attention was focused very heavily on what was going on between him and Tiona. She actually got a little too excited and ended up trying to mark him like a Cat Person except, without the same enzymes in her mouth to encourage scarring, the only way she could have ever left a mark on his body is if Vahn ‘made’ one where her teeth bit into him. Thus, after she was satisfied with the pattern she had formed, Vahn ended up having yet another bite mark on his body. When he saw Tiona lick the blood dribbling from her lips, Vahn had an illusion that she really wanted to ‘eat’ him up…

With his daily training in the orb completed, Vahn returned to the real world and headed toward the Library. He was able to keep track of time easily, regardless of if he was in the orb or not, so he had never been late to any of the scheduled events he had planned. Thus, just as Erika had shown up with a bag full of books in her arms, Vahn had already ‘dragged’ Vana out of her hiding spot and carried her kicking and laughing all the way to the Library. Though she had been able to get a few wins against him, Vahn had also managed to capture her on occasion. Thus, as promised, Vana had to spend some time reading within the Library while he also watched over Erika’s studies.

By the time he reached the Library, his other self and Erika were already hard at work reading a large and ancient looking textbook. Erika looked up and paused for a few moments before lowering her eyes back to the book before her. Vahn noticed the small blush she always had whenever there were two of him around but chose not to tease her for it as he maneuvered Vana from his shoulder and set her on the floor. She had been making a lot of noise on the way over but, after entering the Library, turned quiet with a ‘defeated’ appearance on her face. One of the rules in the Library was to be quiet, so as not to disturb others and, though Vana was a very rambunctious young girl, she was still really well-behaved.

Ruffling her somewhat spikey and wild red hair, Vahn quietly said, “Don’t worry, Vana. We’ll be reading a story about a might hero and her dragon companion this time around. If you have any trouble with the words, I will help you out…” Vana, hearing her Papa’s words, opened her eyes wide and ‘loudly’ whispered, “Is there really a story about a girl hero and a dragon!?” Vahn nodded his head while guiding Vana over towards the sofa. As it was possible to find infinite iterations of a book, with varying plot developments and endings, Vahn found a version of a heroic tale that, instead of a male lead, had a female heroine. This was one of the smaller benefits of the system shop and, for moments like this, Vahn was very grateful for such functionality.

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Unlike Erika, who ‘preferred’ to sit in a chair and have him watch over her, Vana unashamedly climbed into his lap and opened up the book while leaning into his chest. Both Vahn’s noticed Erika look over when this happened so his form closest to her lightly pat her red hair and whispered, “We can move over to the sofa on the far side of the room if you want…” Erika blushed a deeper shade of red but shook her head, murmuring, “No, I’m fine, Papa…” However, though she said this, Vahn was very aware that her eyes would dart over to where he and Vana were sitting. He released a small sigh and wondered if there was anything he could do to get Erika to ‘relax’ more…

Though she still struggled quite a bit, Vana enjoyed the fairy tail quite a bit more than normal, especially since the illustrations were very vivid. Seeing a powerful and heroic woman riding on the back of a giant dragon made her wiggle around excitedly. Vulcan was already large enough to ride around but, as she was too young to fly on her own, Vana was still excited at the prospect of one day flying around and saving people from the back of her own dragon. Vahn always encouraged Vana to never give up on her dreams but constantly emphasized the fact that having powerful allies you could trust was equally as important as being strong. He didn’t follow his own advice at times, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t any less true. In response, Vana happily said, “No worries, Papa, one day I’ll have a hundred friends and we’ll go all over the world saving people in need~!”

Vahn lightly chuckled, lightly tickling Vana’s side as he said, “Just remember that your Papa will always be one of your allies. One day, you may be able to travel around freely, but I hope you’ll never forget that there are people that are willing to help you. No matter how old you get, you’ll always be my precious little firecracker…” Surprisingly, after giggling for a bit, Vana said in a very self-assured manner, “Papa is already my first friend and ally. When I go on my journey to save the world, I’ll obviously take Papa with me~! You can be the super secret awesome hidden mentor that helps all of the younger heroes train to become strong. Shishishishi~.” In many heroic stories, the hero always finds some old sage, an elderly wizard, or another retired hero. Vana felt it was perfectly natural to include her Papa, who she already believed to be an amazing hero, into her own party.

Imagining traveling around the world with his daughter while she went on her own heroic journey, Vahn couldn’t help but smile. He knew it wouldn’t be as ‘nice’ as the image she likely had in her mind but that made it even more important that he was there at her side. If she ended up seeing something that traumatized her, Vahn wanted to be there to help provide her heart and mind the support it would need to overcome the situation. Though the memories of those traumatic events would never fade, Vahn knew it was such moments that defined true Heroes. He believed his daughter was strong enough to overcome anything and, if she wasn’t, he would be there to help give her a gentle nudge in the right direction…

Thinking it through, Vahn spontaneously hugged Vana very firmly in his embrace as he said, “Your Papa would love to be part of your party one day, Vana. However, you’ll have to wait until you’re fourteen before you try to run off and explore the world…okay?” As it was already a rule she had agreed to, Vana nodded her head with a happy smile on her face. She was very happy that her Papa was willing to travel around the world with her because, if she were being honest, just the thought of going around without him was kind of lonely. At the same time that Vana was thinking this, someone else in the room was having a somewhat similar thought. Erika, having glanced over at the happy atmosphere between her Papa and Elder Sis had finally reached a critical level in her tolerance. Gently closing the book she had spread out on the table, Erika held it tightly to her chest and muttered, “Let’s move over to the other sofa, Papa…”

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