With a shift in his focus, now split between spending time with his children and training seriously within the orb, time began to pass by very quickly, relatively speaking. Vahn found himself using the time he spent with Alexa to reflect upon things since he never seemed to have enough time between the real world and the orb for all the matters concerning him. His training was going very well and, as a result of their involvement with his desire to grow stronger, Vahn had been steadily getting closer with Ais, Tiona, Tione, Lefiya, and Haruhime. They all helped out personally in his training and, at the same time, endeavored to increase their strength as well.
As for what was at the forefront of Vahn’s mind, and his chief concern at the moment, it was the fact that he was coming up on the weekend where he would have his first times with, not just Lefiya and Freya, but Eirene as well. Around the time Loki had been screening candidates for undergoing the procedure, Eirene had stepped forward, expressing her desire to have a child more earnestly than in the past. She didn’t mind going after Freya, but seeing the Vanir had ‘triggered’ her, not just because they were all adorable, but because of how ‘unique’ they were. Eirene had found herself thinking about it a lot so, after learning that Freya was finally scheduled, she decided that her own wait had gone on long enough.
This wouldn’t have been much of a problem, if not for the fact that Vahn knew it would take more than a little effort to truly deal with Freya. Just imagining Eirene ‘patiently’ waiting in another room for him to finish made Vahn feel rather awkward, meaning it would have to take place on different days. Since Ryuu was due any day now, this increased the chances that she would go into labor while he was ‘busy’ so, after discussing it with her previously, Ryuu had agreed to have her labor induced on Friday, which happened to be the following day. With that significant event creeping up on him, Vahn felt that the current day had been going on for a very long time. Considering that he spent 100 hours in the Space-Time orb, six days within the Sub-Space orb, and the rest of the day within the real world, it was like he had been anticipating tomorrow for nearly two weeks of time…
Tapping her tail against him, Alexa asked, “Papa, what are you thinking about~?” in a curious, yet lazy, tone. She had been changing drastically since the prior incident which, for Alexa, had now happened nearly a year ago, even though it had only been less than a week in the real world. From observing her, Vahn better understood why the girls had been so worried about him when he used Eva’s orb in the past. Seeing how quickly Alexa had changed caused a sense of incongruity that was somewhat difficult to deal with, though it was made much easier by the fact that he had inherited the memories from his fragment.
Lightly stroking Alexa’s hair, Vahn answered, “Well, you’ll have another little sister tomorrow so I’m feeling a little anxious…” Once again, Alexa’s tail tapped against his, causing Vahn to produce a wry smile as he hugged her tightly and said, “Make sure you take care of your siblings properly, okay? Even if you might look younger than them in the future, you’re still going to be their big sis…” By the time Alexa was going to be leaving the orb, she would have the appearance of a girl around 10-12 years old, assuming she came out after staying inside for around 100 years. It would take another 200-300 hundred years for her to reach physical maturity and, if she wanted to look like a proper adult, Alexa would have to tolerate the relative solitude of the Space-Time orb for more than six hundred years.
Though her tail tapped against him a few times, showing her moderate frustration, Alexa eventually nodded her head and said, “I’m not sure about my other siblings, but I will make sure to protect Ina, Vana, and Erika…they have been good friends to me and I hope to get closer with them after I leave this place…” Since it wasn’t safe for the infant children to enter into the Space-Time orb, Alexa had never met her other siblings so it was understandable she didn’t feel any real affection for them. Still, Vahn wanted Alexa to be the reliable big sister of the group, especially since she would have accumulated the greatest amount of knowledge and experience amongst them.
Suddenly, much to Alexa’s annoyance, another figure swooped down into the area where she and her Papa were relaxing. Even before it said anything, Alexa sat up with a small frown on her face and asked, “What are you doing here, Fafnir!?” She had already been a little upset by the fact that her Papa’s mind was focused on other things lately so, having someone else show up to interrupt her time with him caused Alexa to reach the limits of her tolerance. For the first time, Vahn got to see his little Dragon ‘Princess’ lose her cool, as the latter lashed out at the other small figure that crouched down and allowed her to hit its head.
Approaching from behind, Vahn picked up the huffing Alexa and held her in his arms, patting her back to calm her down as he asked, “What can I do for you today, Fafnir…?” The small figure before him raised its face, showing a teary-eyed expression as it said, “Alexa, you shouldn’t be so violent all the time…Master won’t pamper you if you become spoiled…” Hearing this, the pupils of Alexa’s leaf-green eyes became slits as she sent a glare towards Fafnir before hanging her head low as she reflected upon its words. As for Vahn, he just continued to lightly pat Alexa’s back while observing the small figure before him.
After spending more than a decade within the orb, both Khaos and Fafnir had been able to master their transformation abilities to the point where they could now assume a human form. Khaos had taken on a form very similar to Vahn’s own, except he looked slightly older and more stern. The fact that he had crimson hair, amethyst eyes, and an assortment of black and red scales, also set them apart. Also, must like Terra and Alexa, who they had likely based their forms off of, Khaos and Fafnir also had wings, horns, and tails while in their humanoid forms. Seeing Khaos had actually inspired Vahn to think about his own dragon transformation but, considering how Terra had reacted the last time he ‘almost’ transformed, Vahn didn’t think it was a good idea to just assume that form for fun.
Similar to Khaos, while also being decidedly different, Fafnir had also assumed a form that closely resembled Vahn’s own, except much younger. It was obvious that they had both imprinted on him and, as a result of the recognition they had for him as the Alpha, they strived to emulate him. As for Fafnir, it had a very childish mentality in the past and, as a result of being treated like a younger brother for so long, it had taken on an appearance to match. Currently, Fafnir looked even younger than Alexa, possessing onyx-black hair, stark blue eyes, and sleek black wings with nubs for its horns and tail. Unlike Terra and Alexa, Fafnir and Khaos both had scaled and angular wings, a stark contrast to the feathery wings of the two ‘female’ True Dragons.
Seeing that Alexa wasn’t going to respond, Fanfir released a sigh before turning towards its Master and saying, “Master, I want to return to the real world today. Please take me with you before you leave~!” Though it still wasn’t confident that its power was adequate, Fafnir felt that it wouldn’t necessarily grow stronger just staying inside this orb all the time. Terra taught it a lot but not nearly as much as it would have liked, not that Fafnir truly blamed her. Since most of its training would be dependent on the knowledge it required, and Terra wasn’t currently sharing much with it, Fafnir wanted to return to the real world so that it could study seriously. It had tried to get Alexa to help it study but, after assuming her female form for a long period of time, she had started to become somewhat violent towards it and Khaos.
Vahn nodded his head, reaching his hand out to stroke Fafnir’s head as he said, “Sure, just wait for me at the cottage when the times comes. Let Khaos know he can come along as well, since I imagine he has a similar mentality…” Fafnir nodded its head while enjoying the comfortable sensation coming from it’s Master’s palm. When the warm feeling vanished, it gave one last smile before taking to the skies at supersonic speeds to go retrieve Khaos. Like Master, Fafnir knew that Khaos would likely want to leave this place as well, it’s just that the latter would never admit to it. Khaos had a strange form of pride and refused to show any form of weakness, even though he was a big softie with a few insecurities that had rooted themselves inside his heart and mind.
Alexa, understanding that Khaos and Fafnir would be leaving the orb, was actually in a much better mood now. In truth, she didn’t get along with them that well because, as a result of her immaturity, her instincts made her ‘hate’ male True Dragons. Because she recognized her Papa as the strongest, Alexa had started to see Khaos and Fafnir as ‘weak’ and ‘insignificant’ existences, even though she also tried to rationalize that they were her friends. More importantly, they were close existences to her Papa, making Alexa put in an effort to ‘try’ and get closer to them, even though it seemed to have the opposite result. Fafnir had even stayed genderless out of consideration for her, though Khaos’ pride had made it wholeheartedly accept its role as a male. He might not be able to become the Alpha, but Khaos was determined to at least become the strongest beneath Vahn, all so that he could become the most reliable mount for his Master…
Seeing Alexa’s wings ‘flitter’ happily, Vahn released a light sigh that caused her to tense up when she heard it. With an ashamed expression, Alexa looked up and said, “I’m sorry, Papa…I just…can’t help it…” Vahn nodded his head, hugging Alexa tightly in a firm embrace as he said, “Just never give up trying, Alexa…that is all I ask. You are a very smart and wise young True Dragon, and I’m certain you will possess those same traits when you get older. If it gets difficult, remember that you can always rely on me to help out…” This time, Alexa’s tail drooped and moved from side-to-side lazily while she returned his embrace with her own small arms.
As the encounter with Siegfried was still fresh on his mind, Vahn was very aware that Alexa’s current behavior was one of the things the Dragon Knight had been concerned about. True Dragons were heavily influenced by their instincts and, as Alexa continued to mature, they were beginning to shape the way she interacted with others. The Vanir seemed to be ‘immune’ to this, but Alexa’s feelings towards others had started to become cold and distant. She was still very smart and, as he had often experienced himself, very wise, but Vahn began to realize that the lack of life experience was starting to distort Alexa’s mind. It was to the point that he had considered trying to subordinate her, just so her interactions with the others would continue to regress further…
Of course, it was only something he considered very briefly before completely setting the thought aside. Alexa, though he knew she might come to resent him for it with time, was irrefutably his daughter. Vahn wouldn’t give up until he had found a solution for her, even if it meant accelerating her growth so that she could leave the orb sooner. If she interacted with others more often, Vahn believed that Alexa’s mind would develop in a healthy manner. It was obvious that she didn’t truly feel close to the two memory fragments and, as her only ‘real’ interactions were with the people that visited her every few months, it was understandable that she would have developed in a strange direction.
With Fafnir and Khaos leaving the orb, Vahn believed that Alexa would begin to ‘normalize’ again, giving him a bit of time to come up with a solution in the future, if necessary. There should be methods to limit the influence of a person’s instincts, or at least help them cope and behave normally around others. Though this was ‘wrong’, in a way, Vahn would leave the decision to Alexa herself, as her inability to get along with the others would cause problems for her in the future. At the very least, Vahn figured he could make an item that subtly changed how she perceived others, making them less ‘bothersome’ to be around without directly inhibiting her natural instincts. If she used the item for a long period of time, while interacting alongside the others in the Manor, Vahn was confident Alexa would be able to mature in a manner that she didn’t cause unnecessary conflict…
Unaware of what her Papa was thinking, Alexa raised her head with a small smile, asking, “Papa, what are you thinking about now~?” Vahn, returning her smile, honestly answered, “I was thinking about your happiness, Alexa. Because it was my fault you are burdened with so many things outside your own control, I will do my best to make sure you can be happy in the future…” Hearing this, Alexa blinked her large eyes several times, showing curiosity and confusion at the same time.
Part of her was saying that she had erred somehow, worrying her Papa unnecessarily, so Alexa planned to reflect on everything that happened once he left. This is what she used to do before Khaos and Fafnir had ‘invaded’ her space so, now that they were leaving, Alexa felt it would be a good habit to fall back into. She remembered that her Papa seemed happier in the past, before she had assumed this form, and wondered if it wasn’t a bad idea to just go back to how things were. That, however, could wait until later as, for the time being, Alexa just wanted to enjoy the time she had with her Papa before he had to leave once again. Since she could tell he was focused on her right now, she was much happier than she had been a few minutes ago…