Chapter 755: Match

The moment Ais and Tiona took to the skies, Emiru had jumped back and served the ball, sending it high into the sky. It was against the rules to spike on a serve, so it was received by Lili, who reached forward in timing with the ball’s fall to ‘scoop’ it backward towards Arnya. The latter than used her wrists to send the ball careening in a perfect arc, a testament to how much control each of the high-Level girls had over their bodies. Ais swooped in like a phantom while the opposing team’s defenses prepared to receive the coming ‘attack’.

In a soft, yet fiery voice, Ais arched her body in an extreme display of athleticism, saying, “Meteor spike…” before ‘snapping’ forward in an instant and sending the ball careening towards the ground at nearly 1800km/h. An excited stir passed through the crowd, but not nearly as much as when Tione had lurched forward, absorbing the powerful blow with her hands before diverting it towards Emiru, waiting in the backline. Emiru looked like she was going to send it straight back into the air but, surprising the audience and Ais’ team, she struck the ball to make it fly parallel to the ground, sending it towards Maemi on the other end of the court.

Tiona began zipping into position, causing Ais’ team to form up their defenses as Maemi set up the ball for Tiona to strike. Much like Ais, though she was laughing excitedly the entire time, Tiona shouted out the name of her own self-created technique, “Coiling Dragon Strike~!” When Tiona struck the ball, using her fist instead of her palms, she rotated her wrist in an instant, giving the ball a powerful rotational force as it cut through the air. The most amazing thing was that, instead of careening directly towards the ground below, the ball actually curved through the air and became harder to defend against as a result.

This display got the crowd riled up even further, as watching scantily clad women who could perform superhuman feats ought to do, especially when Arnya managed to successfully stop the ball. She had jumped across the field like a phantom, catching the ball out of the air and spinning a few times before nimbly landing on her feet. Without any delay, she sent the ball towards Lefiya, the latter of which sent the ball surprisingly low, but still above the net. When Tiona saw this, she swooped down to help defend while Tione and Chloe moved towards the net as well, jumping into the air to pre-emptively try to block the ball.

Unfortunately for the three girls, Ais was much faster in the air than they were on the ground, appearing next to the ball with enough speed that her sudden deceleration caused a shockwave to spread out from her location. Before Tiona, Tione, and Chloe were able to recover, Ais ‘slapped’ the ball with a loud *pa*, sending it between the three of them and ‘burying’ it into the ground below. A small explosion of dust erupted from the small crater that ball had formed while the crowd erupted into an excited cheer.

Though some people had doubts at first, the sport they were watching was intense and, as a result of how appealing the girls themselves looked, it was very ‘exciting’ as well. A few of them got a little too riled up, feeling a sudden pressure seize their body, but most people kept in mind Vahn’s warning and simply began to enjoy the game. Many of them were just normal citizens and, though there were a fair number of Adventurer’s present, there weren’t too many people above Level 3 in the entire City. Seeing the girls, who were able to move about at insane speeds as if it required no effort at all, was simply amazing to them.

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On the gods’ viewing platform, Ganesha had also joined the crowd to cheer, standing with one leg on the balcony’s guardrail as he shouted, “This is so exciting! Such an incredible display of athleticism! Such a riveting display of the human form! My blood is burning up! Gahahahahaha!” Of course, he wasn’t the only god who was getting excited as, within the viewing stand, there were around nine gods present and a large number of goddesses, the latter number having increased after the Vanir made an appearance.

Vahn would occasionally send a glare towards one of the gods in the viewing stand, as they were far less inhibited than the ‘mortals’ in the crowd. Though Takemikazuchi and Miach obviously kept their comments to themselves, some other gods had been ‘casually’ commenting about what they thought of each of the girls below. Though they didn’t speak too loudly, Vahn could hear what they were saying and had sent them warning looks, something they hadn’t been fond of at all.

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However, when they glared back at him, it suddenly became a lot more than just Vahn glaring at them, as many of the goddesses were paying attention to Vahn. When they saw him glare towards the gods, they had also been listening in and, when hearing the content of their conversation, joined Vahn in glaring. Some even openly berated the gods for eyeing women who were already happily in a relationship, saying they lacked the sense of propriety and sensible nature a god ought to have. As Vahn hadn’t quite expected this outcome, he couldn’t help but smile when he saw the goddesses flock in his defense, an action that seemed to egg them on until the number of gods on the viewing platform decreased from nine, down to six.

At this point, Vahn knew that a lot of gods’ characters had been built up over a long period of time and, though they weren’t beyond redemption, it didn’t mean he had to just bear their slights. It still baffled him a little knowing that there were some gods who seemed to outright forget his status and, just because he was a mortal, they seemed to think they were above him. Their pride had been deeply rooted in their character and, as a result of the offense they had felt about his actions, some of them began to develop hostile auras. When he saw gods like this, Vahn couldn’t help but shake his head, mentally asking, (“What is the point of being hostile towards me when you were the ones in the wrong from the start? It isn’t like you can actually do anything in opposition to the Alliance…seriously…”)

It wasn’t exactly a secret that Loki, while being the spokesperson for the Alliance, also invested much of her efforts towards being it’s ‘fixer’. She used her own network of contacts and would proactively ‘remove’ any elements that could harm the interests of the Alliance, both foreign and domestic. At the same time, goddesses like Freya would even go to extremes and, if you managed to offend her or publically opposed the Alliance without justification, it was likely your Familia would be declared war on. In some cases, especially if you were openly hostile or part of a criminal organization, she would outright skip declaring war and simply wipe out the entire Familia overnight…

Vahn knew it was a little heavy-handed to take such drastic actions but, considering how most gods and goddesses actually treated the Mortal World like their personal playground, those that were dissident against the Alliance directly opposed progress. They would be the same forces in the future that would bother the children that graduate from the School, doing whatever they could to try and get their hands on the capable young boys and girls that had been groomed by the new education system. Though many of the students would be orphans, there were a number that still had small families, with at least one parent still living. These people would be prime targets to be pressured by external forces, especially those related to errant gods and the various Noble houses…

Broken from his internal thoughts by Vana’s excited shout, Vahn watched as Lili ‘slid’ across the arena floor, creating two paths through the dirt with her feet as she received Tiona’s momentous strike. Tiona, seeing her attack successfully blocked, released a loud, “Awww man~! Good catch, Lili~!” before zipping around in preparation for Ais’ attack. Lili shook out the numbness from her wrist before tossing the ball towards Lunoire to field it up to the waiting Ais.

Though Ais had a massive speed advantage, which could be very beneficial during all sports, Tiona’s power was far above the norm. As the game generally progressed, it would become progressively harder to defend against her blows and, having to pay special attention to her lower body, Lili knew this would be a hard-fought match if they wanted to claim victory. It was fortunate that, though the clothes they were wearing didn’t cover much, and seemed to be simple elastic fabric, they were actually B-Grade equipment that had Stamina Regeneration, Health Regeneration, and, in the case of their bottoms, ‘Shaping’ functions built in. No matter what, Vahn didn’t seem to be able to make bottoms that didn’t have that function…it was one of the quirks that had caused him a fair amount of embarrassment as a result of the girls’ teasing…

With the aid of their equipment, enhancing their already incredible physical capabilities, the match had gone on for nearly three hours before finally coming to an end. Tiona had used her ‘secret technique’, which somehow made the ball arc downwards very quickly, to land the ball between Lili and Lefiya. The latter hadn’t been able to move back in time to receive it and Lefiya, though having high Endurance now, lacked the physical strength to even try and block Tiona’s spike at all. This made the final score 10-8, which caused Ais, Lefiya, Lili, Arnya, and Lunoire to all falter a little before they walked over to congratulate Tiona, Tione, Maemi, Emiru, and Chloe. As for why they had been so impacted by the loss, other than simply feeling competitive, it was because it had become a ‘tradition’ that Vahn rewards the winning team after the fact…

The crowd hadn’t cared when Vahn gave his original speech but, after witnessing the exciting and hard fought battle between the ten girls, they had been in an uproar by the end of the match. A strange phenomenon had occurred around the end of the first hour, with a clear separation having appeared within the stands. People began cheering for the team they thought was going to win and, even though some of them were skewed by their ‘preferences’, it got everyone riled up a lot more when they had taken sides. Whenever a member of the crowd was next to a person that wanted their own team to win, they would band together to cheer even louder. In the event that they were near someone cheering for the ‘opposing’ team, a competitive glint would appear in the spectator’s eyes and it seemed like some enmity had formed between them.

By the end of the match, Vahn knew it would be almost impossible to control the crowd at present and, as he didn’t want to ruin the favorable momentum, he did his best to ignore some of the people that had forgotten his earlier warnings. Fortunately, the girls didn’t linger in the arena too long and went to the waiting area so they could change into something more suitable for viewing the next event.

Though their new fans had called out to them along the way, expressing their support or simply trying to get their attention, the girls themselves seemed completely immune to it. In truth, even before they became involved with Vahn, most of the girls had already built up a high tolerance against men and were completely used to things like this, even if not quite at this scale. After all, girls like Ais, Tiona, Tione, Arnya, and Chloe, they were all ‘prizes’ that many men had sought, to the extent that Vahn had garnered a great deal of hatred when he ‘stole’ them away…

Now that the next event was getting set up, Ganesha sat on his high chair and remarked, “These sports of your’s seem to be a great hit, Vahn. I think your idea about turning it into a league in the future might actually be a good idea…as long as it will help to provide entertainment to the masses, you will continue to have my support.” During their previous discussions, Vahn had pitched the idea about building a second Coliseum on the other side of the City and, in the future, having clearly distinguished teams that would be able to form a league and participate. Teams would be able to compete against each other and, during the bi-annual Monster Feria, the two highest rated teams would compete against each other for the title of champion. As for why multiple Coliseums were necessary, it was because there were a few other sports that might become popular in the future as well.

As it stood, Vahn wanted to have up to eight teams, formed from each section of the City, that would compete in a variety of Alliance sponsored events. Right now, they had things like Volleyball and Soccer but, in the future, Vahn had been toying with the idea of combat-based competitions as well. It was possible to create an isolated field within the area of the arena that projected the image of what was going on inside of a Sub-Space, or Space-Time orb. Though they were a very closely kept secret of the Alliance, Vahn had plenty of ideas about how to keep their existence a secret from people.

Since Space-Time orbs allowed the user to send their consciousness into the orb, Vahn could explain it away as just part of a simulated projection magic that the Alliance had been researching. If they put strict regulations on the Laws the influenced the Space-Time orb, it would be possible for them to stage battle tournaments where people could fight to their fullest without having to face death. In the future, this may even become how War Games were fought, as the loss of life during such events was generally unnecessary. There were several stronger Familias that would bully smaller Familia and, in some cases, this ended as a tragedy for the weaker party. With this type of magical technology, battles could be fought on a much larger scale than what would have generally taken place in the arena, making them even more exciting without the terrifying consequences associated with such climactic battles.

This was the same thing he planned to do for the live duels between students in the School, as there would be a leaderboard for each respective ‘grade’ in the future. Competition was one way to spur people to continue pursuing further growth so, after the School had been established for a while, there would be Combat, Scholar, and Production leaderboards. Being rated higher on the leaderboards awarded you with additional resources and an increase in the allowance you would be afforded at the end of each month. Though your living conditions would be the same as the other students, as everyone lived in the dorms, it would still make your quality of life higher. This also allowed orphans to start saving up money for their own futures while other students would be able to send money back home to help their families.

In the end, the boards also served as a basic qualifier for scholarships for the Academy that would exist on the 50th Floor in the future. Though anyone that graduated from the School would be able to apply to take the entrance test, those that managed to rank high on the differing leaderboards would have a variety of advantages, excluding the ones they had earned for themselves, to begin with. Every team taking the entrance exam would have a Proctor to watch over and protect them, but those that ranked highly would be shown a bit of preference, especially if they were in the Scholar and Production leaderboards. After all, not everyone was suited to a combat role and it would seriously hurt the growth of secondary professions if Scholars and Production specialists weren’t able to attend the Academy…

The final event of the day was going to be a performance by the Terpsichore Familia, who had come out in full force for today’s festivities. Vahn had jumped down to help them set things up and, after creating wards to amplify sound and create a slightly ‘illusory’ aura for all the girls on the inside of the barrier, he returned to the viewing platform to watch alongside everyone else. Since the crowd had still been riled up from the Volleyball game, the Terpsichore Familia would just be performing a concert this time around. Though they had a few dancers to accompany the music, the main focus had been the songs themselves, with even Terpsichore herself playing a beautiful golden Lyre. It was her Divine Artifact, much like Hephaestus’ Eternal Flame, and the sound it produced caused the hundred-thousand spectators to actually enter a slight daze as her music resonated with the fond memories they had of home…

Vahn found himself becoming somewhat reminiscent as well, hugging his daughters close as they listened to the lovely melody together. This was exactly the kind of thing Vahn wanted to see more often in the future, as moments like these would become precious memories that people carried with them forever. It wasn’t the transient ‘bliss’ that people got from gambling, drinking, and seeking sexual stimulus, but something that was kept securely within the heart. If people had more memories like this, Vahn believed they would become happier and, with more forms of ‘positive’ entertainment in the world, it would hopefully decrease the amount of negativity alongside it.

In the end, much like he wanted all the people within the Hearth Manor to be happy, Vahn also sought the happiness of others…he didn’t want the world to be a dark place full of hatred and suffering…after all, this was his home, the place he would always come back to…the place with his family, and all the people he loved and cared about…such a place should not be filled with suffering and endless tragedies…no, it should be a place where everyone can smile freely, just like they were doing right this instant…

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