Chapter 749: Time

Though it was hard to keep track of on occasion, given how much time he spent in orbs, Vahn had now been in the Danmachi record for around twenty-one months. Within that period of time, he had learned a great many lessons about life, himself, and the people around him. The position he had found himself in, even by the standards of this world. gave him a unique perspective and allowed him to experience many things that were outside the realm of normalcy, mostly as a result of his personal capabilities and the influence of The Path. However, none of his prior experience had quite prepared him for what he was now witnessing and, as he was ought to do, Vahn couldn’t help but think about Loki’s words of advice when the latter had explained, ‘it’s the quiet ones you have to look out for…’.

Lefiya, prior to the changes she had undergone, had never been the most proactive girl. She was considered more on the quiet and demure side, even though she was also prone to delusions at times. Generally, most of the decisions she made were in response to decisions made by other people, getting caught up in the flow and often letting herself, and others, down. As for Ais, she had also possessed the quality of being ‘quiet’, though her’s was predicated on how her emotions had become repressed as a result of losing her family, being thrown into a new environment, and then training hard to become strong. Even so, she was still a very confident and competitive girl and, though she also got caught up in the momentum of others, it was easily as likely that they would have gotten caught up in her’s.

Now, Vahn was watching as both quiet girls put on a very riveting display, with Lefiya, surprisingly, being the one to take the lead. Perhaps it was a result of the years of delusions she had harbored but, from the moment their play began, Ais had been on the receiving end of Lefiya’s curiosity. Then, as Ais was the more experienced of the two, she would be giving Lefiya advice as the latter did her best to seek personal satisfaction while granting it to Ais as well. Very curiously, which Lefiya seemed to enjoy, Ais would give her compliments and praise Lefiya whenever she did well, turning the rather erotic scene into a strangely heartwarming one. Still, watching Lefiya, who was now slightly taller than Ais, push down the beautiful golden-haired girl, had left quite the impression on Vahn…

Fortunately, after nearly an hour in their own little world, Lefiya seemed to recall that he did, in fact, still exist. From that point on, the play between the girls was catered specifically towards him, instead of being a journey of self-discovery, and, after a brief period of time, it became an experience he shared with them. By the time the event had come to an end, the sun had long since fallen from the sky and, though it wasn’t the first time he had been in such a situation, Vahn had the experience of having two ethereal beauties sleeping on his chest. Since Lefiya was currently a Spirit, with Ais being a Human of Spirit descent, they both possessed a beauty that simply made them ‘beyond’ the standards of normal mortals. Having both girls at his side, once again, made Vahn reflect on how fortunate he had been to come to this world first, even if it hadn’t always been easy…

After a splendid loss against the majestic river the following morning, Vahn swore he would one day get his revenge before flying back to Orario, accompanied by Ais and Lefiya. Unlike before, where they had just flown in a loose formation together, they decided to fly back hand-in-hand, feeling much closer to each other than in the past. This was especially the case for Lefiya as, even after they returned to the Manor, she was a lot more affectionate towards Ais. Previously, Lefiya showed a great deal of propriety and rarely invaded the personal space of others. Now, however, she could sometimes be seen walking around holding Ais’ hand, sharing hugs with people, and, whenever she felt she could get away with it, Lefiya would even sneak off to take naps with Ais after their training. The fact that Ais almost always went along with things…well, it was fine, especially since Ais would often try to get him to come along with them…

In this way, alongside many other smaller developments, life had continued forward for everyone within the Hearth Manor. The Vanir were growing up, now having appearances between 4-6 years old, with Erika being the tallest among them, while the other children were growing at a relatively normal pace. Vahn made sure to never use his [Hands of Nirvana] on them, as the thought of having one of his children stuck as an infant for a few years seemed almost cruel. As for their mothers, Vahn had become much closer to many of the girls, spending most of his relaxation time at their sides, assuming he wasn’t playing with the Vanir.

Fortunately, though he lamented it a little, the independent nature of the Vanir had started to shine through. Ina, though still being his clingy little princess, now spent most of her day cooped up in his workshop, or working alongside Hephaestus in the latter’s forge. Her propensity for taking things apart had reached a new level but, compared to the past, she had now gotten much better at putting them back together. It would still be a while before she had any great success in her craftsmanship, but the fact that she had been able to reassemble a complex pocket watch showed her patience and skills were developing very quickly.

In the case of Vana, the eldest of the three current Vanir, she had always been independent by nature but, now she seemed to have become like the embodiment of freedom. Though she still followed ‘most’ of the rules laid out for her, Vana had been exploring the many regions within the Hearth Manor in her free time and, even though she wasn’t supposed to do so without supervision, she had been training secretly where nobody could see her. Fortunately, Terra had taken a liking to Vana, even though the latter had contradictory affinities with her own, and had been watching over her. As long as Vana was within the range of Terra’s territory, which now far exceeded the boundaries of the Manor’s property, she was under Terra’s protection and supervision…

Curiously, though she had always tried to act the most independent of the three, Erika had started to mellow out a little. Ever since the time she had beaten him at chess, which had happened a few times thereafter, Erika seemed to have become more confident. Though she still got embarrassed easily, she seems to have learned that her reaction while embarrassed was one of the reasons people thought she was cute. Now, she put in more effort into controlling her emotions, at least around other people, but had been opening herself up more in private. Vahn could still remember the first time she had tried to ‘surprise’ him by having Doppel copy her form as they snuck up on him with their tiger pajamas on…it was very adorable…

At the same time the Vanir were growing up, so too was Alexa, his little Dragon Princess who lived within the Space-Time orb. Her appearance almost never seemed to change, but she was closing in on 27 years old at this point. Without Fafnir and Khaos in the orb, she had calmed down a great deal and put a lot of effort into her magical studies and trying to cultivate both her mind and body. Currently, though she had the appearance of a four-year-old, Alexa was around the middle of a Level 4 in strength, with her Magic starting to develop very quickly. If not for her poor fuel efficiency, as a result of her slow physical development, she would probably be even stronger…

Of course, it wasn’t just his daughters that were changing, as most of the girls in the Manor had become inarguably more powerful than even their original counterparts in the Manga. Ais, Tiona, and Tione, even though they only ventured into the Dungeon whenever he went down to drop off supplies, had all managed to reach Level 6. This alone wasn’t too surprising, as they would have also been Level 6 through normal training, but they had managed to accomplish it without having to gain much exilia. Instead, it was because of their training within the Sub-Space orb, focusing on conditioning their bodies and learning magic, that had allowed them to Level-Up.

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If not for the fact that Riveria had already been pretty close to Level 7 previously, she would have been overtaken by the girls. Fortunately, with her own studies progressing steadily, Riveria had now become the second Level 7 within Orario, even though she had yet to report the change in her Status to the Guild. When word got out about how strong the members in the Hearth Familia had become, it would likely cause a monumental shift in the perception of everyone in the City. Vahn wanted to wait until just before the Monster Feria to have the news circulate, further increasing the prestige of the School before it even opens. After all, if they could show that ‘literally’ everyone within the Hearth Manor was growing at a seemingly impossible rate, people would understand that the methods they use are far more effective than the norm.

And it really was the case of ‘everyone’, as Vahn had been able to ‘exploit’ the cooldowns on some of his skills, including [Keeper of the Akashic Tomb] and [Prometheus]. The time he spent in each orb worked towards reducing said cooldowns, allowing him to give ‘flame seeds’ to both Tina and Shizune now. His research into his [Mentor] development ability had already reached a level where he had a fairly decent understanding of the skill, so he wasn’t going to restrict the growth of the girls just for his own research. As a result, Tina and Shizune, who had progressed to Level 2 before getting their seeds, had reached Level 3 in less than a month after obtaining them.

Even with their increase in Level, however, they were still considered among the weakest in the Manor, excluding non-combat personnel like Preasia. After all, those that were at Level 4 now consisted of Milan, Emiru, Maemi, and Naaza. Chloe, Arnya, Ryuu, and Lunoire had all managed to reach Level 5 relatively quickly and, as a result of their rather ridiculous training regimen, Lili, Haruhime, and Mikoto had all managed to reach Level 5 as well. This left only Tsubaki and Aki in the group of original combatants who hadn’t increased their Levels. However, as neither girl spent much time inside the orbs, and were always looking after their daughters, this wasn’t too surprising.

What was surprising, however, was that there had been someone that had unexpectedly increased their Level, even though he hadn’t even seen her training at all. Risna, who spent most of her time cooped up in the Sub-Space orb, now actually looked more mature than her elder sister, Eina. After all, Eina’s age had essentially been ‘halted’ by his influence and, as Risna’s time in the orb equated to more than two years of growth, she had become more mature. Apparently, at some point he was unaware of, she had actually joined the Hestia Familia and, after researching magic on her own, reached Level 2 without ever fighting a monster. As for how Vahn eventually found out, it was because Risna had eventually come to him complaining about ‘fairness’, requesting the same treatment as her elder sister.

Though her words could have been easily misunderstood, Vahn knew she was actually talking about ‘Nirvana’, even though he was also aware that Risna had a ‘very’ developed crush on him. He also knew she was somewhat afraid of suddenly becoming ‘old’, as she spent all her time within the orb, and wanted to slow her physical aging, just like the rest of the girls. Thus, after making his preparations, Vahn conducted ‘Nirvana’ for the third time, allowing Risna to become a ‘true Half-Elf’. As a result, he obtained her [Heart’s Desire: Risna Tulle], and, surprisingly, another [Grimoire of Guidance], just like he had obtained from Eina.

Since the time of her ‘Nirvana’, Risna would randomly show up whenever they were taking a break within the Sub-Space orb. She would talk about the books she was reading, how her own books were going, and the results of her personal research into magic. On one occasion, she even shoved a book into his chest with a red face and told him to read it when he was alone, without sharing the details with other people. After he threw it into his Inventory and perused the contents, Vahn couldn’t stop a small smile from reaching his lips as the novel had been a love story about a handsome heroic boy who had ‘stolen’ the heart of a Half-Elf Princess who had locked herself away in a tower. Unlike a normal novel, this one only had a few dozen pages filled out, of the more than five hundred total, with the words ‘To Be Continued…’ on the last line…

Other than ‘stealing’ the hearts of Half-Elf maidens, Vahn had been trying to use his time as productively as possible, especially since things would get busy in the near future. With his ‘exploitation’ of the orbs, he had been able to name three new pieces of equipment that he had forged. The first two had been rings on a similar level as the [Promise] he had given to Hephaestus, as it felt a little awkward for Eina and Riveria, his two other wives, to not have similar rings on their fingers. They were named [Comfort] and [Future], belonging to Eina and Riveria respectively.

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[Comfort]

Rank: S (Divine)

P.Def: 0

M.Def: 0

Abilities: Indestructible(Divine), Magic Nullification(S), Physical Nullification(S), Abnormal Status Immunity(B), Soulbound(Eina Tulle)

Use: ‘Divine Intervention’: By the will of the user, any target designated become absolutely impervious to all damage, negative influences, and status abnormalities. Duration: 24H (Warning: Item destroyed after use.)

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[Future]

Rank: S (Divine)

P.Def: 0

M.Def: 0

Abilities: Indestructible(Divine), Sage’s Blessing(S), Physical Nullification(A), Abnormal Status Immunity(A), Soulbound(Riveria Ljos Alf)

Use: ‘Inheritance’: Allows the user to store a portion of their potential, power, and memories into this ring, bestowing them upon an intended target. Restriction: Direct Descendents of [Riveria Ljos Alf]

(A/N: Sage’s Blessing increases experience gain, enhances comprehension, and improves memory. Expect to see this on a few items in the future (UwU)…)

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Just as he had come together with Hephaestus through the promise they shared, Vahn had originally bonded with Eina through the comfort and concern she showed to him. As for Riveria, she had originally been drawn to him as a result of her intrigue and a strong sense of duty but, after they had come to know each other better, it was their dream of a better future for all people that had brought them together. Now, each girl had a ring that embodied the very thing that had brought them together and, in the future, Vahn intended to give everyone a ring of similar quality…

The third item he made was for himself, as his fight against Siegfried had shown that his skill with the sword was not really up to the standard of people who had mastered the blade. It also had the restriction of being an indiscriminate weapon, meaning it could potentially harm his allies in the future, so Vahn wanted something less ‘destructive’ that he would be able to use in his strongest [Magia Erebea] forms. As a result, he decided to make a spear similar to the one he had possessed within the Divination, even bestowing upon it the same name out of curiosity…

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[Longinus]

Rank: S (Divine)

P.Atk: 1000

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M.Atk: (-)

Abilities: Indestructible(Divine), Anti-Divine(S), Piercing(S), Sealing(A)

Though seemingly normal at a glance, this spear had been forged by a capable Master Blacksmith with some of the most valuable materials found in their record. As a result of the forging process, it is nearly indestructible, even by items of a higher rank. Upon completion, it had been bestowed the power of the record ‘Longinus’, allowing it to become even more powerful when used against entities of Divine origin. Any wound inflicted by this spear causes sealing energy to spread through the wound, draining its target of the ability to muster their full power.

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When he saw the Abilities and description of [Longinus], Vahn understood why his Emperor self had likely purchased the ‘real’ [Longinus] from the shop. Since this one was only S-Ranked and was already so powerful, Vahn could hardly even imagine an SSS-Ranked version. That was on the same level as [Enkidu], meaning it must have been a Tier 5 item he had used to fight against gods. It was also useful in that it had an advanced version of Indestructible, as it meant he would be able to use [Longinus] even when he was in his Zhūquè form. After all, even [Laevateinn] wouldn’t have been able to resist the flames of the Vermillion Sparrow, which were at the peak of Tier 4 within this world…

Naming [Longinus] had put his [Keeper of the Akashic Tome] on a 63 day cooldown but, with the combination of his main body in the real world, his Avatar in the Sub-Space orb, and the 100 hours he would spend within the Spirit-Time orb, each day would reduce the cooldown of the skill by 258 hours, equating to nearly eleven days for every day that had passed. Vahn didn’t understand it much at first but, remembering Sis’ comments about how Time essentially didn’t exist, Vahn was just happy it worked that way. Now, if he wanted to exploit the system even further, though it would also be very taxing on his mind, Vahn could create more Sub-Space and Space-Time orbs to artificially reduce his Cooldowns even further…

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