Chapter 712: Pamper : Problematic

Around noon the next day, Vahn was sitting atop the Manor as he overlooked the City that spread out before him. At the same time, he was also sitting on the opposite side of the roof and looking at an entirely different part of the City. He had slowly gotten used to the overlapping images in his view by trusting his other senses more than just his eyes. Just relying on his vision made it very difficult to process the overlapping views but, by relying on his ability to sense things through his domain, Vahn had gotten much better at identifying what was ‘real’ within his vision.

When he had first started his training, Vahn would see objects with one of his bodies but, as the visual stimuli were shared between both of his bodies, it was difficult to know exactly which version of himself was looking at the object. It was a very…disorienting experience. Fortunately, the Sub-Space orb had given him more than a month of additional time to practice controlling both of his bodies. It would likely take a much greater period of time for him to master the ability, but it was already going much faster than Vahn initially expected.

The reason for this increased speed of mastery was related to the system shop itself, as Vahn had managed to find numerous items that could help develop his mental and spiritual capabilities further. These included a variety of pills and ointments that could be ingested or applies externally. Much like the [Body Strengthening Liquid] and [Bone Strengthening Pill]s he had taken in the past, they could permanently increase his base parameters and promote his potential further. Vahn now knew that such items were very common in records that relied on Cultivation as a means to increase their strength. Young children would usually take such medicines and pills when they were very young, strengthening their foundation for martial and spiritual training in the future.

Vahn had contemplated his children walk the path of Cultivation in the future, as they were able to ingest items from the system shop, but he hadn’t come to a decision just yet. Ultimately, it would be up to them what path they wished to walk and Vahn didn’t want to push them in a direction he thought they should take. Thus, until they came seeking strength from him, Vahn would never force his children on such a difficult path, especially since many of the texts related to Cultivation talked about heavenly tribulations and the danger of directly going against the flow of fate. If they made any mistakes, or weren’t prepared for the tribulations, even a god would be struck down and, though it wasn’t likely their soul would truly be destroyed, it would undoubtedly damage their ‘ego’ a great deal.

Though items like the [Effigy of the Hero] would protect their physical bodies, it wouldn’t do much to prevent damage sustained by the soul. Vahn would never push his children into a path that could endanger them so greatly and, as Cultivation was a foreign concept in this record, it wasn’t really necessary to do so. There were plenty of ways they could increase their strength without ‘tempting’ fate in such an extreme manner. In fact, with the system shop, the number of ways he could help his children increase their strength were functionally infinite. Cultivation wasn’t necessarily the strongest means to grow stronger and, given his marginal understanding of the Laws, Vahn knew there were likely several alternative solutions, even within the records that Cultivation was prevalent.

Thinking this, Vahn held up his palm and created invisible tendrils of energy that spread from his hand for around 20cm. This was the peculiar form of energy he could generate through his understanding of ‘Petting Laws’. It was an example of how anything, even concepts if pursued to the extreme, could even change that nature of how reality works. Vahn could use this strange energy, which not even gods seemed to be able to sense easily, to bring great comfort to people, increase their parameters for a short time, and undeniably increase their affection towards him. Vahn even suspected, if he increased his understanding of ‘Petting Laws’ to the extreme, he might even be able to tame powerful monsters just by giving them a casual caress…

As that thought crossed his mind, another very different one appeared in his other mind as the coming ‘battle’ with Naaza and Lili crept into his thoughts. Vahn laughed at himself, causing his voice to carry through the surroundings as he stood up on both rooftops and made he way back inside the Manor. He had already talked to them about the ‘proposition’ that Syr had come up with and, somewhat against his expectations, both girls agreed to it almost instantly. Vahn could very vividly remember how crimson Naaza’s face became during that particular conversation. This, combined with her happily wagging tail, gave Vahn the urge to track her down and just pet her until they were both completely satisfied.

Since he had been trying to follow through with his own intentions, even if they could be a little selfish at times, Vahn made up his mind to track down Naaza. As tomorrow was a very ‘important’ moment for both girls, she and Lili weren’t in the Sub-Space orb today. Instead, they were lingering around the Manor and talking to all of the more mature girls, seeking advice for the coming day’s ‘trials’. Vahn, sensing Lili in the same room as Syr and Anubis, couldn’t help but feel a shiver run up his spine as he continued toward the area where Naaza was, surprisingly, alone. She was in a small room near her lab, sitting on a sofa with her aura flickering about with a variety of different colors. It was obvious that she was nervous about tomorrow but, as there were far more ‘positive’ emotions in her aura, Vahn knew she would be okay.

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As he approached closer to the room, Vahn didn’t miss that Naaza’s aura began to flare up slightly and, though he wasn’t looking through the walls, he knew she had sat up and become more alert. Even so, he gently knocked on the door and waited for her permission before entering into the small study where she had been lost in thought. She smiled when he walked into the room but, seeing his other body walk in behind the first, Naaza’s eyes widened. Her aura instantly exploded and a ruddy blush crept up on her cheeks like red wine spilling out into a fair white satin sheet.

Vahn raised his brows, looking at himself while looking back into his own eyes, both bodies and minds showing clear confusion until a thought crossed his mind. Patting his fists into his palms, Vahn remembered that Naaza had a tendency towards delusions at times. She was generally a very calm and stoic girl but, when it came to matters of the heart and more ‘affectionate’ behaviors, she got flustered very easily. Seeing both of his bodies show up, she must have been thinking something ‘untoward’, giving both Vahn’s a powerful urge to tease her.

Making his way over to the sofa, Vahn sat down next to her while also walking off to the side to sit in one of the single-person chairs. He didn’t miss the fact that, though she habitually leaned against his shoulder, Naaza also watched his counterpart move off to the side. Catching this, Vahn said, “I was up on the roof thinking and felt the urge to spend some time with you. I hope I’m not inconveniencing you, Naaza…” Shaking her head lightly, Naaza’s tail began to waggle at her back as she smiled and said, “No…I like spending time with you as well, Vahn. It makes me happy knowing you were thinking about me. I was also lost in thought…” Without finishing her words, Naaza averted her eyes to the side and just rested her head against his shoulders instead of continuing.

Vahn placed his arm around Naaza’s body, loosely holding her hip while using his left hand to gently stroke her head. She squinted her eyes, enjoying the contact as her tail began to tap against his back with a bit more force. When Naaza was like this, Vahn almost felt like he was being egged on so, without holding back, he asked, “You know, I had been thinking about trying something…” Naaza blinked in a slow manner while uttering a ‘Hnnnn?’ while bobbing her head against his palm. Seeing her getting caught up in the moment made Vahn’s heart melt but, at the same time, there was an itch that began to spread across its surface. Continuing his words, he quietly whispered, “Since we have the opportunity, I wondered if you would like for me to pamper you for a bit…”

Naaza’s tail answered for her as its speed slowly started to accelerate while she rubbed her droopy dog-like ears against his palm. Thinking this was the best opportunity he would get, Vahn smiled lightly and added, “Do you not mind…?” This time, he spoke with his other body so Naaza was momentarily confused as she turned her purple eyes over towards him. At the same time, Vahn began to gently rub around her neck and chin, causing Naaza to tilt her head habitually as her eyes started to dart around. She was clearly trying to make sense of what was just asked of her and, judging by the blush spreading on her face, it was apparent she had an idea of what he was proposing.

Just as the blush on her face reached a critical level, Naaza muttered a silent, “No…” that sounded more like a squeak than an actual word. Vahn just smiled in return while his nodding with his other body. Closing his eyes, Vahn focused on the connection he had with himself and, as the proximity between them was rather close, fused his two bodies into one. Even if he thought the idea was interesting, Vahn wasn’t going to push Naaza into doing something she wasn’t mentally prepared for. When she saw his other body vanish, Naaza clearly relaxed a great deal as a sigh of relief escaped through her peachy lips.

Vahn gently stroked her cheek, turning her face to match his and planting a simple kiss on her forehead as he said, “I would never make you do something you are unwilling to do, Naaza. I’m sorry for putting you in such an awkward position…” Following up his words, Vahn firmly embraced Naaza while stroking her long brown hair with his hand. The tension had already drained from her body and, with his additional efforts to calm her down, Naaza practically melted into his embrace as she said, “It’s fine…I actually thought about it a bit…maybe…maybe next time…” Vahn moved his hand to her back, rubbing a small circle between her shoulder blades as he said, “Whenever you’re ready…”

Naaza weakly nodded her head as she relaxed even more against his chest, taking in shallow breaths of his fragrance that was steadily becoming more audible. As a Chienthrope, Naaza had the same draw towards his scent as any race that relied on their olfactory senses. Vahn could still remember her sniffing his dirty laundry in the past, thinking she had been able to avoid his detection. It was a little strange back then but, now that he had experienced so much, Vahn found her actions very adorable. Thus, though his physical appearance didn’t change much, Vahn slowly changed his body so that his scent became stronger…

Not really understanding the change that was occurring, Naaza found herself becoming drunk on the scent that sometimes crept its way into her dreams. She would never admit it, and only a few of the other girls knew about it, but she had a pillow that was fitted with one of Vahn’s tunics. She had snitched it from the laundry hamper after passing by several times. Eventually, she gave in and hoped nobody would notice it was missing. However, as she wasn’t even the first to do such a thing, the ‘secret’ eventually got out. Now, she would sometimes wander to Preasia’s room and nap alongside the fluffy Sheep Person as they both hugged their respective Vahn-shaped pillows. Being able to smell his aroma, while dreaming about the boy that had made his way into her heart, was a very ‘fulfilling’ way to spend an afternoon…

With nothing else planned for the early half of the afternoon, Vahn spent his time pampering Naaza until she ended up laying on his lap with her tail lazily thumping against the soft cushions of the sofa. She had a silly smile on her face that made Vahn feel very refreshed as he lightly pinched her thin droopy ears and traced the index finger of his left hand along their edges. Naaza wiggled her body in a happy manner while holding her hands toward her chest, balling them up into fists as she enjoyed the comfortable and pleasant feeling. Unfortunately, Chienthropes didn’t have any characteristic sound they made when they were happy, not that it made Naaza’s ‘Nnn’ sounds and quiet moans any less pleasing to the ears.

Though he had been tempted to stroke the rest of her body, especially after she had become very receptive to his touch, Vahn kept their moment together relatively tame. Tomorrow would be a big day for Naaza and he didn’t want to do anything that would increase her stress levels before the event took place. Hopefully, she would be able to use the memories of moments like this to keep her calm when the time came. As for Lili, Vahn wasn’t actually that worried about her since she had a very strong mentality. It would have been an issue if he had gotten together with her in the past but, after all the physical and emotional growth Lili had experienced, Vahn was confident she would be okay. In fact, he was more worried about himself since Lili was the type that could get carried away if you didn’t keep her in check…

Just as he was thinking about his adorable little Pallum protege, Vahn heard the sound of a ping ring through his mind as Lili’s voice asked, (“Vahn, where are you right now?”) Not wanting to lie, Vahn calmly responded, (“I felt like pampering Naaza, so we’re inside her study. Right now, I’m tickling her chin while she is squirming around in a very adorable manner…”) For the first time, Vahn felt a ping enter into his mind that was followed by several seconds of silence. It was obvious that Lili had connected to his mind, but it was almost like she couldn’t even form any words for a while. When she did manage to ‘say’ something, however, it was very loud, (“Ah, that isn’t fair at all! Naaza, how could you betray me like thisssss…!?”)

Vahn produced a small smile as he asked, (“Did you need me for something, Lili? And, don’t worry, I can pamper you plenty later…”) This time, without any delay at all, Lili said, (“Yes, please!”) before following it up with the reason behind her initial message, (“Loki wanted to talk to you. She is currently waiting in your private study. It seemed kind of serious…”) Hearing Lili’s words, Vahn tilted his head slightly as he thought about reasons why Loki would be searching for him. It could be a matter related to the School, the investigation into Rufina’s past, or one of the ongoing conflicts between the Alliance and the various countries. However, in these cases, Loki wouldn’t really send such a vague message to be delivered to him. It had to be something ‘troublesome’ and, the only thing that came to Vahn’s mind when thinking about such matters were two things…

Hoping it wasn’t the thing he was most concerned about, Vahn tilted Naaza’s face towards him and gave her a quick peck on the lips before saying, “I have to go take care of something. I’ll see you at dinner, Naaza…” It took her a few seconds to regain her senses, but Naaza eventually nodded her head as she sat back up. There was a somewhat ‘sad’ look in her eyes but Naaza still managed to produce a smile as she said, “Go. I already took up a lot of your time. Thanks for treating me so well, Vahn…” In total, their little affection session had lasted for nearly two hours, a very long period of time compared to normal. Naaza almost felt like she had entered into Preasia’s dreamscape and lost track of time because of how pleasant and ‘fluffy’ she felt before it came to an end.

Seeing the melancholic look on Naaza’s face, Vahn’s expression softened as he pulled her tightly into his embrace. Tracing his fingers through her silky brown hair, which had become rich and full compared to the past, Vahn softly whispered, “You’re beautiful when you smile, Naaza…but don’t force yourself, okay? It makes me happy to see you happy, just like it breaks my heart to see you saddened, even if just a little…if you want to spend more time with me, you just have to let me know. I do get busy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make time for the people I care about…after all…” Pulling away from Naaza slightly, so that she could look up at him, Vahn matched her gaze and finished his previous statement, saying, “I love you…” Once again, Vahn gave Naaza a kiss, this time far more passionate than the rather tame pecks previously prescribed.

Leaving behind a much happier Naaza, who actually followed him all the way to the door, Vahn made his way to his private study to find out what Loki wanted to talk about. The only two things that came to mind, each more troublesome than the next, were the Nobles and Freya. The former wasn’t too difficult to deal with, but they were incredibly persistent and conniving individuals with too much wealth to throw around. As for the latter, she was inarguably more difficult to deal with. Vahn hadn’t seen him yet, but he knew that Freya had already given birth to a son several weeks prior. She was smart enough to not immediately come seeking a second child, but Vahn suspected Freya had reached the end of her patience and had likely gone to Loki after her tolerance broke down.

As it was his own study, Vahn entered inside without knocking and, seeing the serious look on Loki’s face, immediately knew he had hit a wall this time around. Loki gave him a small nod, saying, “It seems you already have an idea about what I wanted to talk about. Tell me honestly, Vahn…if you’re against this, all of us will support your decision.” Vahn shook his head lightly, making his way over to Loki’s side to join her on the sofa before explaining, “No, this is something I’ve put a lot of thought into. Also, I have a theory about how the Vanir develop during the pregnancy and this is likely the best method to confirm my speculation. Besides…” Thinking till here, Vahn released a sigh while hugging Loki’s petite body firmly as he said, “I can’t deny that I’m more than a little interested in Freya’s body, even if her character is terrible. I also believe that, if my speculation proves correct, we can avoid an existence like Lenneth…”

Loki squeezed his hands tightly in support but couldn’t help asking, “So, what is this theory that you’ve formed? You aren’t the type to simply make unfounded claims when it comes to such serious topics…” Vahn, resting his cheek against Loki’s ponytail, squeezed her fingers in turn and explained, “The Vanir are like the amalgamation of the unique form of energy in my body and the Divinity contained in the body of a goddess. Not only is their potential much higher than normal, but their personalities and characteristics are all very unique. I believe that that intention of the parents actually had a great deal of influence on the pseudo-divinity inherited by the Vanir, as well as their base personality and character…”

Hearing this, Loki was very surprised by the revelation and quickly began wracking her brain to try and make sense of what Vahn had just explained. She had actually noticed that Erika seemed to be almost ‘exactly’ like what she had wanted her daughter to be like. Not only was she very intelligent, but she was also very willful with a very cute side to her. Most importantly, however, was the fact that all of Erika’s capabilities, including those of her Guardian and Artifact, were suited for the role Loki had intended for her. She was also very supportive of Vahn, the thing Loki had most desired at the time, other than the hope that her daughter would actually be ‘free’ from expectations and able to forge her own path. Yes, it was a bit contradictory, but Erika embodied all these hopes and desires to a T, something Loki felt very grateful for without paying too much attention to ‘why’ Erika was like that…

Realizing the implication behind Vahn’s words, Loki asked, “So, you’re saying that the Vanir are highly impressionable when they are being formed, taking on the characteristics desired by their parents…?” If this was true, it meant the Vanir could truly be very powerful existences in the world, all because their parents wanted them to be. There were undoubtedly variables beyond their control, but the potential implciations were both awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time. After all, if they desired it enough, it might even be able to have the Vanir develop unique traits that could ‘break’ the balance of power within the world…

Vahn nodded his head, releasing a small sigh through his nose as he explained, “It isn’t quite that simple, and I’m certain there are things that I’ve overlooked, but my speculation matches what I’ve observed from Ina’s, Vana’s, and Erika’s development. Things simply match up too well to be coincidental and, after this matter with Freya is resolved, we will know for certain if my speculation is correct. Freya…is very similar to Anubis, at least in regards to how they both changed greatly after observing my soul. I believe I can convince her to harbor a specific intent during the pregnancy and, if I emphasize my own intent, I’m almost positive things will develop according to expectations. This way, I can avoid having a repeat of Lenneth and our child will be able to live without such a heavy burden…”

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Loki nodded but also frowned at the same time, saying, “I think you might underestimate Freya’s ‘devotion’, Vahn. There is a good chance your speculation will prove correct, but I fear that her influence still might have adverse effects on the child. With how much discourse there will be in the Freya Familia in the future, it is almost guaranteed to become an issue…” Vahn didn’t disagree with Loki, as he had similar thoughts, but confidently stated, “You’re right, but I believe we can help guide them along the correct path. Since the Vanir will grow and develop within the Hearth Manor, I’m confident everyone will be a positive influence on their development…after all, I’m surrounded by so many amazing women. There is also Ina, Vana, and Erika to look after them and set a good example…”

Hearing Vahn’s comforting words, Loki felt part of her ‘wanting’ to agree with him. However, a much larger part of her said things wouldn’t go that smoothly, not at all. Thus, while showing her support for Vahn’s decision, Loki already started to think about countermeasures to prevent the worst-case scenario from occurring…

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