Chapter 798: Heartbreak

Upon seeing Lulune’s Status Board, Vahn referenced her file in his mind and began looking over her background again. Unlike many of the members of the Hermes Familia, Lulune had never been a slave. She had apparently joined the Hermes Familia after the passing of her mother and Hermes had picked her up after debt collectors came to try and enslave her to pay off her mother’s debts. As a result, Lulune ended up joining the Hermes Familia but, given what he knew of Hermes, and what he could ascertain from Lulune’s Status, Vahn knew things weren’t nearly as simple as they seemed…

There were only a few gods with a divinity related to Thievery and, given the circumstances, the only person that could have been Lulune’s father…was Hermes himself. Though it was possible he was making a misunderstanding, the fact that Lulune was one of the girls with the highest buying prices, Vahn felt Hermes had to know of her heritage. He might not be able to see all of her Innates, as many things were hidden from even the eyes of gods, but the fact she had such a high valuation must have had a reason. The thing that bothered him the most was the fact that Lulune’s ‘services’ weren’t particularly expensive, meaning that she would have had to work hard on missions and ‘selling’ herself in order to accumulate the ridiculous 700MV to purchase her freedom…

Seeing Vahn stare at Lulune’s back with a face of trepidation, even though he was doing his best to hide it, Asfi was curious about what he had discerned. She had known Lulune ever since the latter was a young girl of only twelve and, to Asfi’s knowledge, there wasn’t anything particularly unique about her. Though she was a gifted thief, Lulune was also an airhead who could be very clumsy at times, making it difficult to entrust her with missions that required tact and finesse. In fact, she was so ditzy at times that, even though she was Level 3, Lulune had never been entrusted with an executive position and many of the other members resented the fact they had to clean up her messes on occasion…

The only peculiarity Asfi could think of was the fact that Lulune had a very high valuation from Hermes and, as a result of her nature and the fact most people refused to team up with her, Lulune had to work much harder than most of their members. Unfortunately, as many of her missions ended in failure, the only ‘reliable’ means for her to accumulate income was to offer her services at relatively low prices. This had also caused more than a few problems though, as Lulune would often use her services as a pretense to ‘scout’ out marks and then rob them later. As a result, other than a few clients she couldn’t afford to offend, quite literally, Lulune’s struggles in the Familia had almost reached a legendary status…

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Suddenly, against the expectations of both Asfi and Lulune, Vahn asked in a somber tone, “Tell me…does Hermes ever purchase the services provided by Familia members…?” Though he knew this was undoubtedly the case, Vahn wanted to have a leading question before he asked Lulune what he actually wanted to know. She seemingly didn’t think anything of it and immediately nodded her head and said, “Yes, Hermes-sama has a few girls that he likes within the Familia. He also tries to help out anyone who is hurting for money and will often purchase their services before they try to lower their prices.” The only thing really going through Lulune’s mind right now was how long she was going to have to sit in this chair with her top removed, especially since Vahn said he wasn’t going to do anything…

After clenching his teeth lightly, something he noticed Asfi had taken note of, Vahn sent her a warning look to keep silent before asking, “Has Hermes ever propositioned your services, Lulune?” This time, Lulune’s shoulders slumped slightly and she released an exasperated sigh before saying, “I think Hermes-sama is actually bullying me. Though he says flirtatious s*** all the time, he never follows through with anything and berates me instead! It’s super f****** frustrating you know~!? Why doesn’t he give the other girls s*** for reducing their prices to make ends meet? It’s not like I have any other f****** choice. Hell, I have even had to practically beg members of my own Familia for money at times, did you know that? Have you ever tried borrowing money from a bunch of money grubbers before? Hahahahaha~”

When she first started speaking, Vahn felt like he might have to track down Hermes and give the errant god a piece of his mind. However, listening to the rest of Lulune’s complaining, it was apparent that Hermes actually gave her slightly preferential treatment and, as a result of the ‘fair’ contract he gave out to everyone, he was powerless to stop this potential daughter of his to ruin herself. Vahn felt that, if they were truly related to each other, Hermes could have just raised her as his daughter openly and avoided all these issues. Unfortunately, likely as a result of his Divinity and his nature in general, it seemed that Hermes had put himself in a position where he had to watch his own progeny…

Unable to complete the thought, Vahn suddenly felt a bit of pain in his chest just imagining how he would feel if his own daughter developed such a nature. For some reason, Vana crossed his mind for a brief moment and Vahn had to shake the image from his mind before saying, “You can put your clothes back on. I’ve learned what I wanted to see…” To this, Lulune leaned back, exposing herself and staring up at him as she said, “Are you sure? You know, now that you own me, I don’t mind if you want to do something. Unless…” Suddenly, Lulune’s tail and ears perked up before immediately drooping sadly as she muttered, “Don’t tell me you think I’m not good enough…? You know, I’m a Chienthrope so I have a little confidence…”

Vahn pinched the bridge of his nose and said in a tired voice, “Put on your clothes, Lulune…” This time, Lulune’s shoulders drooped as well before she climbed off the chair and began getting dressed. Instead of trying to appeal to him again, she kept her back facing Vahn and avoided direct eye contact with a sad expression on her face. As for Vahn, his brow had started to twitch since, even though Lulune looked very distraught, her aura had threads of pink in it and she kept glancing at him periodically. Eventually, she seemed to realize she had been seen through and just released a sigh before quickly putting on her clothes and muttering, “Damn, I thought there was at least a chance…haaaa…unlucky.”

When she was fully dressed, Lulune looked towards Asfi and spontaneously asked, “If Vahn purchased you, does that mean you’re finally going to lose your virginity? Hermes-sama is going to be super butthurt that his darling Asfi got bought up by another person~.” To this, Asfi’s eyes became sharp as she coldly stated, “Vahn has purchased my contract completely so, while I may act in the capacity of the Hermes Familia Captain, I am no longer bound to Hermes-sama. The moment I am no longer required to help manage the affairs of the Familia, I will be expatriating myself and joining a different Familia. You may concern yourself with Hermes-sama’s feelings on the matter, but I no longer have any interest in his shameless antics…”

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Lulune seemed genuinely surprised by Asfi’s words, her tail becoming ramrod straight as she brought her hand over her mouth in shock. From the perspective of everyone in the Hermes Familia, Asfi had always been a very dedicated and loyal follower of Hermes. In fact, it was even rumored that Asfi had a ‘permanant’ contract with their god and many assumed the two had been bumping bodies in secret. Now that Asfi was clearly showing that her fondness for Hermes was almost nonexistent, Lulune couldn’t quite believe it so she looked towards Vahn with an incredulous expression and asked, “Is this the kind of play you like? I didn’t think you were the type that got his rocks by making girls badmouth other people…hnnn…”

Appearing to be deep in thought, Lulune brought her index finger to her chin but, before she could say anything else without thinking, Vahn raised his hand and said, “Lulune…I understand that you are trying to get some advantages in this situation, but you need to stop. Also, there are some things you should know about your heritage as it will be important for your future growth. Once I’m done explaining, I will help you come up with a plan of action for how you want to live your life in the future. Stop trying to think about how you can take advantage of the situation to try and escape from the troubled existence you’ve lived till now…”

Though she wanted to refute Vahn and say that she didn’t really mind her current lifestyle, Lulune wasn’t quite sure she would even believe her own words. Sure, she actually enjoyed having a relatively free and unconstrained lifestyle where she could almost do anything she wanted. At the same time, since they were a ‘special’ existence that worked with the Guild, it made her feel special herself, especially when she was tracking down bad guys…inversely, however, she was worried that the other members of the Familia actually hated her for being clumsy. At the same time, because she failed a lot of her missions, the level of trust she had was relatively low and, unless she accepted dangerous missions or sold her body, there were no easy ways to make money. It wasn’t all bad, as some of the men she had met with were quite nice, Lulune had burned a lot of those bridges by trying to take advantage of their kindness…in fact, now that she thought about it clearly, Lulune realized her life kind of sucked.

Seeing Lulune stay quiet and attentive, Vahn took a breath to calm himself before explaining, “This is a secret between the three of us, at least for the time being. Don’t go exposing what I’m about to reveal to anyone, especially Hermes and the other members of the Hermes Familia…” Since he had worded it in the form of a ‘command’, Vahn knew neither girl could even talk about it if they wanted to now. Making sure to frame his words appropriately, he then continued, saying, “Lulune, though I can only speculate as to who your father was, I can state without any doubts that he was a god. In other words, you are a demigoddess, being part god, part Chienthrope.”

Vahn could see Lulune’s hair begin to bristle as her tail and ears began to arc upwards in slow motion. Understanding what she was about to do, he held up his hand and said, “Stay silent.” in a quick and curt tone of voice. Lulune, who was just about to scream a very loud ‘Eeeeeeh?’ suddenly found her voice stuck in her throat, almost as though she was going to choke on her words. Then, just as it felt like her head was going to explode from the pressure, a very warm sensation entered her body and she was able to relax again. Lulune immediately felt like a very pleasant feeling had wrapped her entire body but, just as she was trying to discern the source, it had vanished completely, replaced by a strange ’emptiness’ she hadn’t been aware of previously.

As he hadn’t expected his order to cause Lulune to choke, Vahn had moved his hand slightly and allowed his petting energy to transfer through his domain to help Lulune calm down. Though his maximum range was only around eighteen meters right now, Vahn had found the fact that he could pet someone at a distance to be a very interesting discovery in the past. He liked to use it to tease the girls every now and then, even though they had caught on to his antics very quickly. Still, it was very useful for situations like this as, be they male or female, his petting energy could calm anyone that wasn’t antagonistic towards him in an instant.

With Lulune now calm, even though she was now giving him a slightly curious and inquisitive look, Vahn explained, “They aren’t listed in your file, but I have the ability to discern a person’s secrets through their Status Board, including any hidden Skills, Magic, or Development Abilities. Though your race is listed as Chientrhope, there is also a hidden race that lists you as a God, even though it is currently sealed. This is the case for all demigods, which is how I’m able to discern the fact that you are a god. I was also able to intuit this from seeing the flow of energy in your body, which was one of the reasons I had called out to you to test my theory…do you understand?”

Lulune, still unable to talk, nodded her head in affirmation, even though she couldn’t quite wrap her head around what Vahn was saying. She found it very difficult to believe that she was actually a demigoddess but, considering that she had never known her father, and that her mother refused to tell her, it started to make sense. Now, combined with what Vahn was saying earlier, Lulune felt a small sense of dread rising up in her body as the potential identity of her father crossed her mind. If that was the case…Lulune felt like she might break…

Seeing the sudden shift in Lulune’s aura, which had started to take on a muted grey and purple, Vahn wasn’t sure he should reveal his speculation. However, he felt like everyone deserved to know about their past and, even though it might be difficult for her, Vahn believed she would be able to overcome it with enough support. The problem with that was Lulune didn’t seem to have too many friends, which meant he would have to introduce her to people that could help her. At the same time, he had the option of helping stabilize her life himself and, considering he was the one to cause the instability, it wasn’t exactly beyond his responsibility to do so. He just didn’t want to suddenly pull a second girl into his circle on the same day…

After considering his options, Vahn internally sighed and reminded himself that he had an entire year, or more, to help Lulune recover and live a happier life. Even if he didn’t take her in as a lover, he could still be a friend to the unfortunate demigoddess. In fact, he needed more female friends who he could interact with in a platonic fashion. If all the girls around him ended up as his lovers, it would be very difficult for him to have normal relationships in future records. Thus, though he was certain Lulune would probably become an existence like Aisha within his life, Vahn walked over and planted his hand atop her shaggy black hair and began lightly petting her head.

Even without him explaining anything, Lulune knew what Vahn wanted to say and it made her heart break in an instant. Her legs suddenly felt like jelly and, if not for the fact she had been told to remain silent earlier, Lulune felt like she would have had to scream out. Instead, feeling the comfort coming from the hand on her head, Lulune gave into the overwhelming emotions and buried her head into Vahn’s chest and began sobbing. This whole time, she felt like she had been alone in the world and it turned out that her own father had put her into such a terrible situation. All of his refusals suddenly made a lot more sense and, even though she could tell he wanted her to be more considerate of herself, Lulune couldn’t help but blame Hermes for all of the heartache and negativity she had experienced in life…

Asfi also understood the reality of the situation and wondered how she could have been so blind to the truth for such a long time. Though she hadn’t truly hated Hermes before, Asfi suddenly felt a great deal of resentment towards him. After all, she knew better than most what it felt like to be betrayed by family, even if her situation was significantly different from Lulune’s. She, at the very least, had a father who had cared for her and tried to protect her. He had been the reason she was able to flee on that fateful day, even though it cost him the lives of his most faithful guards, men and women who willingly embraced their deaths to cover for her escape…

Vahn comforted Lulune until she had stopped crying nearly an hour later, a giant stain of tears and snot left behind where her face had been buried into his chest. She looked apologetic and embarrassed about it but Vahn just waved it away and, causing the two girls’ eyes to widen, quickly changed into a spare tunic. For a brief moment, they had been able to see his body and, having ‘secretly’ memorized Vahn’s scent over the last hour, Lulune felt her heart flutter. She didn’t know why, but Vahn’s hands were very comfortable and, now that she was separated from him, she ‘really’ wanted him to hold her again…

After changing his tunic, Vahn did his best to ignore the two sets of eyes that were perusing his body as he explained, “As I said, you will keep this a secret for the time being…I know this event might be something you struggle to deal with for the rest of your life, Lulune…but, if you never give up, you can overcome this moment. The best thing you can do is try to seek happiness for yourself and become strong enough to take control of your life. By the end of this year, I can guarantee you will be free your contract, even if the burden on your heart remains for a long time…you know, we can’t really choose who we are born to and, in some instances, there are people who simply aren’t suited to be parents. If you talk to Asfi, I’m sure you will be able to understand very quickly how truly terrible a person’s parent can be. Stay strong, Lulune, and this will just become a minor event in your life, not something that defines how you will live for the rest of your life…”

Hearing Vahn’s words, Lulune nodded her head but, at the same time, she swore in her heart that she would one day make Hermes pay. She hadn’t really thought her life was that bad previously but, knowing that her father had been watching her struggle for the last seven years…it was the most heartbreaking thing she had ever experienced. Even now, she could remember the first time someone had purchased her first time, something he had reprimanded her for selling so cheaply but ultimately allowed her to follow through with. At that time, she had been severely indebted to the Familia after having to consume an Elixir to save her life. Since she had no other means to quickly earn money, and had just reached adulthood, it was the only choice Lulune thought she had…

Remembering that event, and the rather cruel and greedy man that had bought her, Lulune felt like crying again. Then, just as this thought crossed her mind, the warm hand had returned to her head and, looking up into Vahn’s eyes, she could see compassion and concern in his vibrant green eyes. Now, seeing his handsome face and the amount of concern he showed her, Lulune actually felt even worse about the decisions she had made in the past. Part of her even blamed Vahn for not being there for her back then, even though she knew it wasn’t fair to blame him at all. In fact, he hadn’t even been in the City back then and it was ultimately her decision to follow through…

This time, instead of bawling her eyes out, Lulune just lowered her head and muttered, “Please, keep petting me for a little while…” She didn’t want to make another wet stain on Vahn’s chest and, more than just sadness, there was a lot of anger within her heart and mind. More than ever before, Lulune had a very powerful urge to just start hitting and breaking things, with Vahn’s warmth the only thing keeping her from lashing out. At the same time, as her mind slowly calmed down and relaxed, Lulune tried to embed Vahn’s words into her heart. She wanted to work hard to live a happy life, save up a lot of money and, if possible, completely ruin Hermes…

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