The opening ceremony for the Monster Feria went without incident, with Vahn’s only real responsibility being that he was in attendance. Ganesha had made a big speech about how, with the support of the Alliance, the bi-annual event would be even bigger and better than ever before. During this time, Ganesha had asked Vahn to stand next to him, making it clear to the crowd that his status had been elevated to the level of the gods, even without being one. This drew a lot of attention, just to himself, but the young children that stood out a great deal within the viewing platform.
When Ganesha had been making his introductions, he had mentioned that Vahn, the leaders of the Alliance, and their children were in attendance. This made it clear to everyone present that, even though it had been less than a year, the children sired by Vahn were ‘different’. How they were different wasn’t revealed but, just by looking at how quickly the Vanir were growing, people knew they weren’t ‘normal’ at all. Of course, the group with the biggest reaction were the gods and goddesses within the viewing platform itself.
Without exception, every goddess present wanted to interact with Ina, Vana, and Erika, with only the latter having any real interest in talking to them. Vana was more focused on what was going on in the arena itself while Ina was just sitting in her Papa’s lap, eating candy as she looked around at the large crowd of people. Seeing so many people focused on her, and her Papa, Ina understood that he was even more amazing than she had realized. Though she never doubted that her Papa was the most amazing person in the entire world, seeing a hundred thousand people cheer during his introduction had made her very happy.
Loki had been having discussions with various goddesses during the events and, as Erika had been at her side, she had been personally introduced to everyone. The gathered goddesses were shocked with how intelligent Erika seemed to be, though not nearly as shocked as when Loki explained how the children Vahn sired with goddesses, as a result of being a ‘Progenitor’, had created an entirely new race. This earned Vahn a few heated gazes that seemed to burn through his back, but he had ignored them while answering all of Ina’s and Vana’s questions.
Though he might have to make an exception for Amaterasu and Kali in the future, the only goddess Vahn was even considering having a child with was Demeter. She had been very patient thus far and, though he didn’t interact with her too much, Vahn had a good impression of the buxom goddess. Just her kind and charitable nature made Vahn rather fond of her, though he wouldn’t lie about it if anyone asked if he were interested in her beauty. She was the only goddess he had ever seen that could rival Hestia in the breast department and, being one of the more mature looking goddesses, Vahn felt like she would make a good mother…
Suddenly, a very familiar figure appeared in the arena, causing Vana to nearly ‘jump’ from the balcony as she shouted, “Ah! Aunty Rufinaaaaaaa, gooooood luuuuuck~!” Vahn had grabbed the back of Vana’s tunic to prevent her from falling over as the latter waved her hands excitedly in an attempt to get Rufina’s attention. Previously, Rufina had shown her around the kennels located underneath the Coliseum and even allowed Vana to play with a Needle Rabbit that had been domesticated. Because of this, Vana had a very good impression of Rufina and, given how Rufina sent her a small wave before starting her performance, it seemed the feeling was mutual.
From his left, Ganesha laughed boisterously before saying, “It seems your daughter is starting to melt our Rufina’s icy heart! Gaaaahahahahahahaha!” Vahn nodded his head, a small smile on his face since he actually wanted Rufina to be happier in the future. He felt guilty about leaving her alone for so long but, as he wanted to avoid the situation where she genuinely fell in love with him, it was somewhat difficult to interact with her. Vahn knew he had a ‘big’ weakness for girls with tragic pasts and, if their feelings were sincere, it was very difficult for him to turn them away. If possible, he’d like to just stay friends with Rufina and have her become a part of his family without actually ‘joining’ it…
Since she had heard Ganesha’s words, Vana had turned to the free-spirited god and asked, “Why does Aunty Rufina have an icy heart…?” Ganesha put on a rare serious expression, without laughing out loud, and softly stated, “Ah, young Vana, that is a very hard question to answer. You see, your Aunty had experienced a very troublesome thing in the past but…” Allowing a smile to spread on his face, Ganesha inclined his head towards Vahn and said, “Your Papa helped her out. As for what happened to her, that is her secret so sorry about that…please don’t be upset, okay?”
Out of nowhere, Ganesha had produced a red lollipop and handed it over to Vana, almost as if he were bribing her to not pry into it. Though she was clearly very curious about what had happened to her ‘Aunty’, Vana’s face turned into a vibrant smile when she got her hands on the candy. Without asking any more questions, she just happily ate the candy while playfully kicking her legs, eyes glued to Rufina within the arena. The latter was using a whip to demonstrate her taming ability on a Silverback, tiring it out and preventing it from running away until it eventually gave up resisting and allowed her to place her palm on its forehead.
Seeing her succeed, Ganesha gave an appreciative nod and said, “That one really has an amazing talent when it comes to taming. You know, Shakti wants her to become the Captain of the Familia in the future. What do you think, Vahn?” Vahn kept Vana from falling, as the latter was happily cheering for Rufina, answering, “Ideally, I’d like her to be able to live a happy life. If she wants to become a Captain, I’ll try to support her as best I can. As long as she isn’t forced into the position, I think it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing…it may help her find a real family of her own one day…”
Though she didn’t seem to be paying attention, Vana immediately turned around and exclaimed, “Rufina can be our family~! Papa, why don’t you get Aunty Rufina to come live with us? I think she will be super happy playing with everyone every day. I can show her around in the forest and we can play with all the animals together~!” Before he could answer himself, Hephaestus, who had been sitting to his right, stroked Vana’s hair and said, “Your Aunty needs to be able to find her own way through life. Though your Papa could let her come to stay with us, it will be much harder for her to open up to other people in the future. Your Papa doesn’t want her to become someone that just relies on other people to survive…she needs to be able to find happiness for herself, or she will constantly be afraid of losing it in the future…”
Vahn felt a little guilty having Hephaestus covering for him so he lightly pinched Vana’s cheek and said, “How about you ask Aunty Rufina to visit the Manor in the future. Even if she doesn’t live there, it doesn’t mean you can’t play together. If she isn’t busy, I’m certain she will come and spend time with her adorable little niece…” Though she hadn’t been convinced by her Mama’s words, Vana perked up very quickly when she heard what her Papa said. Then, even though Rufina wouldn’t be able to hear her small voice over the loud cheers of the audience, Vana leaned over the balcony and shouted, “Aunty Rufina, you have to come to play with me someday, okay~!?”
Surprisingly, Rufina looked over produced a small smile, nodding her head in affirmation before she led the Silverback away. With her enhanced senses, and ability to focus, it hadn’t been difficult for her to discern Vana’s voice over the rest of the crowd. This caused Vana to be even more excited and, joining along with Ganesha, she began to laugh boisterously. Vahn just had a small smile on his face as he continued to prevent Vana from falling, as she seemingly had no sense of danger at all. It was probably his fault, as he had been flying around with her ever since she was an infant. She also, like all of his children, had something bordering on ‘absolute trust’ that, as long as he was around, there wasn’t any real danger…
After Rufina’s performance, several other tamers came out to show off their skills and, to Vahn’s surprise, not all of them were actually successful. Ganesha had explained that this was an opportunity for the budding tamers to gain experience under stressful situations and, though he would like them all to be successful, there were never any guarantees when it came to working with monsters. He commented that not everyone could be like Vahn, seemingly able to tame any monster and even help it evolve on a whim. As for what happened to the monsters that were unable to be tamed, they would generally end up being slain as a result.
When Ina, Vana, and Erika had witnessed the first monster being killed, Vana had immediately gotten upset while Ina and Erika both became a little pale. Vahn had to coax them for a bit, explaining the difference between monsters and animals before returning to their seats later. Vana hadn’t bee convinced at first but, after hearing that she might have to fight against monsters if she wanted to be a Hero, she had turned very silent and just watched the festivities with a serious look on her face. As for Ina, she would turn away whenever it looked like a monster was going to be killed while Erika had a similarly serious expression as Vana.
This wasn’t exactly how Vahn had expected to expose his children to death but, now that it had happened, he intended to watch over them for a bit to make sure they were okay. Ultimately, this was something they would have to work through on their own and he knew that it was important that he was always there for them. Thus, after sending a glance towards Hephaestus and Loki, it looked like he would be spending the next few nights staying with the girls so they didn’t have any nightmares. If necessary, he could get Preasia to take a nap with them in the afternoons as well since she had been getting ‘very’ good at controlling her dreamscape.
As one of the girls that spent most of her time in the Sub-Space orb, Preasia was, chronologically, around 21 years old atm. Though she was still only 18, going by the rules they had set, she had spent the better part of 2.5 years within the Sub-Space orb, most of it asleep. Her fur had become even fluffier with time and, whenever people were stressed out, they would almost always go to her to simply take a nap together. Preasia’s control over the dreamscape had increased greatly and one of the bigger focuses she had used it for was simply helping people relax and rest peacefully…
The demonstration of taming had gone on until nearly 2 PM and, after a short break for Ganesha to give a speech, things had moved on to the next segment. Vahn waited for his moment and, after being introduced by Ganesha once again, stepped forward to make his own address. Ina and Vana had been left with Hephaestus so Vahn held up his right hand in a friendly gesture before saying, “As was mentioned previously, one of the reasons why the Alliance has decided to support the Monster Feria was to advertise the School that will be opening next week. Over the course of the next five days, there are numerous events that will take place in conjunction with the Ganesha Familia’s scheduled entertainment…”
While speaking, Vahn was gauging the reaction of the crowd and he wasn’t too surprised to see that most people didn’t really seem to care when he mentioned the School. It made him feel a little amused knowing how little regard they had for the very thing that would become the instrument of change in the future. This brought a small smile to his face as he said, “The School will teach a variety of things, including combat, general knowledge, business, and even…magic. However, we also emphasize ‘balance’ within a person’s life and will also be teaching our students other activities, such as sports, theatre, and other forms of art. To demonstrate one of the sports, namely Volleyball, the Alliance will be demonstrating the event in an exhibition match…”
At this point, Vahn noticed that nearly half of the spectators were simply talking amongst themselves, ignoring his words until he said, “I’m absolutely certain that the demonstration you are about to witness will be very exciting for many of you…thus, I will give out a simple warning, even though I also wish for everyone to enjoy themselves. Remember, this is an exhibition of a sport, with the sport itself meant to be the entertainment. If you act without restraint, please don’t blame me for being a little overprotective…” While speaking, Vahn let his aura begin to put pressure on everyone in the stands, slowly bringing the entire arena to silence, broken only by the murmurs of a few people.
Since this silence was exactly what he had wanted, as it would make the impact of the girls’ entrance even more exciting, Vahn nodded his head and said, “Without further ado, please welcome today’s athletes, demonstrating the sport ‘Volleyball’ for your viewing pleasure!” With his words as the marker, Ais, Tiona, Tione, Lefiya, Lili, Chloe, Arnya, Lunoire, Emiru, and Maemi all ran out onto the field. Since they were playing Volleyball, each girl was wearing skintight shorts that hugged their pert little bottoms while their chests were covered with equally tight tops that only covered their chests, necks, and part of their backs. This left most of their body completely exposed, showing off their youthful and athletic figures for the entire crowd to see, immediately sending everyone in the stands into an uproar.
At the same time as some people began making cat calls, Vahn stopped restraining his aura and allowed it to freely weight down on the entire crowd. This time, instead of a small amount of pressure, it felt like the world had dimmed slightly and there was a steady vibration that began to resonate through the Coliseum as Vahn’s voice carried through the void, “Remember, you are here to witness the sport…please, do not do anything to embarrass yourselves. I wouldn’t be much of a man if I allowed other people to shamelessly call upon the women I’m involved with. So, I will make myself very clear this time…look, observe, and, if you enjoy the game, please cheer. However, there is a difference between cheering and being shameless…”
With his words finished, Vahn eased up his pressure and just showed a simple and amiable smile for everyone to see. Still, his threat had been made and, even though there were a few people who resented the fact he had been ‘shameless’ enough to threaten the entire crowd, none of them were speaking up at the moment. Vahn was actually ‘very’ famous for being overprotective of his women and, even though being part of a crowd made them feel empowered, the fact Vahn had been able to ‘force’ the entire Coliseum into silence left a deep impression on most of the weaker attendees…
Ina, seeing how her Papa could make such a large crowd of people immediately turn silent, had glowing blue eyes that shimmered with excitement. Even Vana and Erika had somewhat similar reactions, with the latter showing a proud smile as she looked towards the broad shoulders of her Papa, which seemed capable of bearing the weight of the entire world. As for Vana, she just thought it was cool how her Papa had been able to release such a powerful aura, with nobody even trying to oppose him. He was always so kind and gentle whenever they were together so it left a deep impression on her heart seeing how he was ‘standing up’ for everyone. Even though there were so many people around, almost like an ocean, her Papa stood tall and proud, not hesitating in the slightest, even against what looked like insurmountable odds…
After his second speech, the atmosphere within the Coliseum had turned a little awkward and there weren’t many people that were willing to speak loudly at the moment. During this lull, some members of the Ganesha Familia quickly set up the court for the Volleyball game while the girls had already split into their two teams and began warmup exercises. Vahn noticed there were numerous people that were eyeing the girls with lascivious gazes but, as long as they weren’t saying or doing anything uncouth, he tolerated this. After all, the girls really were very beautiful and they were a point of pride for him as a man, especially since each of the girls on the field were his lovers.
Just as everything had been set up, Vahn had left Ina and Vana with Hephaestus before jumping down into the field, appearing next to the girls in an instant. This movement had stunned a lot of people but Vahn just ignored the exclamations as he asked Lili, “I know I asked earlier, but are you fine to continue playing…?” Lili just laughed and lightly stroked her abdomen as she said, “Don’t worry, Vahn, I’m still early enough in my pregnancy to move around without endangering the babies. Many Pallums are forced to work long into their pregnancies without any issues, so I’m confident things will be fine…thanks for worrying…”
Vahn nodded his head but, just to be safe, a magical ward that would automatically cast [Deflexio] if a fast-moving object got anywhere near her abdomen. It made a small spell circle that hovered just above her skin and made her stand out a little, but he would rather be safe than sorry. Lili blushed lightly and said, “Geez, you’re worrying too much Vahn…ehehehe~.” Vahn chuckled lightly in response, ignoring the gazes of the crowd as he rubbed the top of Lili’s head and gave the other girls a few words of encouragement before returning to the viewing platform with everyone else.
Hephaestus, with a little bit of a teasing look on her face, said, “You know, people will start spreading rumors after seeing that little display…” Vahn, taking Ina back into his arms, just smiled as he said, “At this point, I’ve learned that people just like to gossip in general. It doesn’t really matter what I do, as they’ll just talk amongst themselves and come to their own conclusions anyway. Besides, I will always be a proud father and I will never, ever, be ashamed of my relationship with any of you girls…”
Vahn’s words had caused Hephaestus’ smile to soften and, whiling hugging Vana from behind, she leaned against his shoulder and began to watch as the first official game of Volleyball was about to be played within this world. To decide who would be the first to serve, Ais and Tiona had flipped a large coin and, after making the correct call, Tiona happily seized the ball and took it to her side of the field. Then, after handing it over to Emiru, she and Ais surprised the crowd by taking to the skies, Ais with her [Pactio] and Tiona with a partial transformation using her [Mirukurin’s Magic Wand]…