Chapter 726: Early-Morning Arrival

Vahn awoke the next morning feeling a new form of contentedness he had never quite experienced before. Instead of just sleeping with the combinations of Erika and Loki, or Hephaestus, Ina, and Vana, Vahn instead stayed with all five of them as the girls themselves decided to have a slumber party. The idea had been proposed by Vana when she saw the awkward atmosphere around Ina and Erika, the former asking him to sleep with them while the latter, as far as Vana could tell, seemed sad. Worried for both her sisters, Vana offered the compromise and managed to convince them both that it would be fun.

As a result of Vana’s brilliant solution, Vahn ended up playing and chatting for a few hours with all three of his Vanir children and their mothers at the same time. It was a very interesting experience that made him feel as though his soul was being healed by their smiles. Of course, when the girls changed into their pajamas, Vahn realized he had underestimated how happy he could be at the moment. Ina had transitioned to wearing panda pajamas now while Vana now wore bear pajamas that had a goofy face on the hood. Erika, however, dealt the critical blow that brought low the man known as the Sage Aldrnari. Her tiger jammies suited her so perfectly that Vahn felt compelled to look towards the void, almost as if he had could see how beautiful the future would be in the distance…

When it was finally time for bed, Vahn ended up hugging all three of his daughters on his chest while Loki and Hephaestus flanked them. It was an experience that filled him with so many positive emotions that Vahn felt like he could bear the weight of the world without any difficulty whatsoever. The fact that Doppel was tightly wrapped around his leg, also wearing its own tiger jammies, just made the experience even more fulfilling. It had been attached to him ever since the time he had turned into a Doppelganger himself, likely still believing him to be one and just ‘really’ good at his current disguise. This embarrassed Erika a great deal as, in an obvious attempt to appeal to him, Doppel would often transform into her while in her clingy state…

Though he would have liked to stay in bed forever, reality was never so kind as to afford people long periods of sublime happiness. The girls eventually woke up and, after helping them wash their faces and brush their teeth, everyone moved to the onsen to take a bath. After dropping off their clothes in the changing room, Vahn, Hephaestus, and Loki trailed behind the three young Vanir as they made their way into the onsen proper.

Always being full of energy, even after she just woke up, Vana ran forwards with her arms wide before jumping into the hot water, shouting, “Cannonball~!” She had picked up the habit during one of the times they had been playing together with Alexa in the orb. Though many of the girls in the Manor had reprimanded her for running in the bath area, Vana had a bad habit of conveniently ‘forgetting’ things that kept her from having fun. To make her behave, the girls had tried to get him to be firm with her but, being the doting father he was, Vahn had just said, “Let her be happy and free while she is still young enough to enjoy such things…” This reminder had been the only thing necessary for most of the girls to take a step back, even Hephaestus. After all, the Vanir only had a very short period of time to experience their childhood, making it very difficult for Vahn to ever rationalize being too hard on them when they were just playing around.

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After sitting in the water with everyone else, Vahn turned his eyes towards the ‘sky’, which was now completely covered with a powerful barrier. It was enough to make him have a headache, even when looking at it with his [Eyes of Truth], so Vahn was confident that it would prevent anyone from spying on them as easily as Zeus had. In a way, the elderly god was fortunate that it had been Lili and Naaza with him at the time. Had he eyed up his children, even out of curiosity, Vahn didn’t think he would have been able to keep his anger in check…

“Papa, will you wash my hair…?” While he had been looking towards the barrier, ensuring there were no abnormalities, Ina had waded over to him with a bottle of shampoo that had a very subtle smell of lavender. His nodded his head with a smile and had Ina sit between his legs while simultaneously splitting his body into two, as Erika’s sidelong glance hadn’t escaped his notice. Moving over to her side, making sure to cover himself with a towel, Vahn sat behind the bashful girl who made no attempt to refuse his assistance. Instead, she just blew bubbles in the hot water while letting him massage her scalp with his fingers in a very practiced manner.

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Having four hands gave Vahn several advantages compared to the past, especially when it came to pampering and taking care of the people around him. It allowed him to quickly cycle through everyone that wanted to have their hair washed by him, even Hephaestus and Loki. Vana was in a ‘self-reliant’ phase right now, however, so she had ended up completely covering herself with suds without any assistance, causing the area of the onsen she was using to look more like a bubble bath. It was a bit wasteful, but Vahn could buy a bottle of the rather expensive shampoo for only 3 OP from the system shop.

While the bath was ongoing, Vahn detected a ‘pulse’ within the formation surrounding the Manor while Loki and Hephaestus also made slight frowns. This indicator meant they had a guest and, as there was nothing scheduled for this early in the morning, it meant they were ‘uninvited’. Vahn withheld his sigh, using his water manipulation to make a small vortex to help the girls rinse their hair before stepping out of the bath himself, saying, “I’ll take care of it. Enjoy the bath and get some breakfast. If it’s something important, I’ll let you know through Syr…”

Ina made a slight pout and asked, “Papa, are you going to be busy…?” while her eyes began to glow with a mystical blue light. Vahn now knew that Ina actually used her technique to find out when he would next be free, all so that she could be the first to come to his side when he wasn’t busy. He waited for her skill to come to an end, as Ina didn’t seem to be able to pay attention to her surroundings while using her ‘foresight’. When the light fade, he smiled to her, suppressing the annoyance he felt in his heart while saying, “Don’t worry, your Papa always prioritizes you girls whenever he can. I’ll probably be joining you for breakfast after I see what our guest needs so early in the morning. If I don’t manage to show up, I promise to pamper you a lot later, okay~?”

As if she had already seen the event herself, which was almost assuredly true, Ina happily nodded her head with an ‘Nn!’. Vahn, however, had noticed the slightly sad look in her eyes, telling him that he likely wouldn’t be able to attend breakfast. He sent a look towards Loki, which the goddess easily understood as him telling her that it might be a troublesome matter. Even so, Loki acted as if she hadn’t noticed it at all, a perfect mask on her face as she turned to the observant Erika and began playing with the latter’s squishy cheeks.

Erika had obviously been paying close attention to things so, to keep her from prying into such matters so early, Loki began teasing her for the remainder of the bath while thinking about what trouble might have found their way to them this time around. Unfortunately for them, they had decided to bother Vahn when he was happily doting over his daughters. He had made a lot of progress in his interpersonal communication skills, especially during negotiations. She knew he would be able to deal with most matters himself and, imagining the lamentation of whoever had decided to bother him during this time, Loki couldn’t help but crack a small smile.

It didn’t take long for Vahn to get outside, even though he wasn’t in a particular hurry since their guests seemed to be patiently waiting. Then, just as he was wondering who might have come by so early in the morning, Vahn’s domain reached beyond the gate and began to give him insight into the matter. He immediately recognized that one of the people was a god but it was the other two presences that made him feel slightly shaken. In an instant, his face hardened slightly and Vahn activated his [Eyes of Truth] to get a look at his three unexpected guests, especially the two ridiculously strong auras surrounding the god.

The moment Vahn looked to see the appearance of the three people, he noticed they had also trained their eyes on him, leading to a rather awkward and tense moment where all four of them entered into a staring contest of sorts. Vahn noticed that they were two women and a male, the latter of which had eyes like a dragon’s, glimmering with an intimidating light. His hair was a strange black with a blue luster to it, with golden eyes containing slit-like pupils. Based on the fact that the man had a figure that seemed to be cut from marble, a massive sword on his back, and a domineering aura, Vahn knew this man had to possess powerful physical might.

Behind the man, whom he seemed to be protected, was a goddess standing around 170cm tall with auburn-red hair and golden eyes that glimmered with the light of intrigue and boundless wisdom. Vahn had met with several gods and goddess with a Divinity related to Wisdom, so he was almost positive this goddess was among their ranks. What he found strange was the fact she openly wore her godly raiment, giving her the mixed appearance of a warrior and a scholar. There were numerous magic items covering her body as well, more than eleven from what he could see at a glance…

The third person didn’t stand out as much as the tyrannical looking man, but her looks would have easily drawn a crowd if she were to walk openly in public. She seemed simultaneously gentle, with a peaceful and calm expression on her face, while also striking a heroic and insuperable appearance. Vahn couldn’t quite put it into words, but it was almost like she was an immovable mountain, even though she was an immaculate beauty with ashen-grey hair and pale blue eyes. Though she was somewhat petite, standing at only 154cm tall, Vahn’s instincts told him that she wouldn’t be an easy opponent to deal with at all, especially with what looked like an entire assortment of S-Ranked equipment covering her body. Her armor gave her a valiant appearance and Vahn even detected a budding intelligence coming from the sword sheathed within the kite-shield strapped to her back.

While he was appraising them, Vahn knew the three were also doing the same in regards to himself. The goddess had likely come here as a result of her intrigue and it was clearly written on her face that she, at the very least, had some degree of appreciation towards him. Her aura was clear and calm, like the blue sky overhead, without a single fluctuation to be seen. The woman on her right, strangely, had a few strands of purple intermixed with light yellows and an almost indiscernible pink tinging the edges. She seemed to be afraid of something, though Vahn felt that it wasn’t directed towards him. As for the man, his aura was completely unrestrained right now and, though it was only an ‘illusory’ sense, Vahn perception picked up the visage of a dragon forming behind the man…

Though he had stopped momentarily to exchange glances with them, Vahn began to take slow and steady steps forward, each one building up his own momentum. The man accompanying the two girls didn’t seem hostile to him, so much as ‘eager to challenge’, so Vahn didn’t show any hostility himself. This didn’t mean he was just going to let the man freely loose his aura outside his gate, however, so Vahn continued increasing his momentum until spatial fluctuations began to appear between him and the man. Even though they couldn’t see each other directly, the two kept eye contact with each other, with the man himself developing an excited grin on his face, a stark contrast to Vahn’s firm and steady countenance…

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