Chapter 820: Incongruity

Though she seemed to be heavily affected by the revelations, Terror’s expression changed back to normal a few seconds later as her hawk-like eyes trained on Vahn. She then flitted her wings to dislodge all the ambient water, becoming somewhat puffy in the process, before stepping out of the hot spring. Her overall height was around 175cm, much larger than a normal Harpy, and Vahn could now clearly see the four curved talons that made small divots on the wooden floor as she walked forward. She also made no effort to conceal herself at all and Vahn noticed that, instead of normal hair around her pubic mound, there were small downy feathers that were speckled with golds, browns, and greys…

It was fortunate that he was able to see such things without looking directly or Vahn suspected this ‘Terror’ would have noticed his gaze instantly. Though she had eyelids, he hadn’t seen her blink this entire time but, just as that thought crossed his mind, Vahn watched as a second set of eyelids moisturized Terror’s eye, seemingly without obstructing her vision. He had to admit, the exotic qualities of a humanoid Xenos were very eye-catching…

Terror walked directly up to him without breaking eye contact, stopping less than 15cm away from him, almost to the point that her rather large breasts brushed against his arms. She tilted her head a few times, as if she were inspecting him before turning her eyes towards the two Almiraj in his arms, including the transformed Fenrir. For several seconds, her head tilted progressively further to the left before it looked like she was finally going to say something. However, instead of following this rationale, Terror used the claw-like talons on her wings to lightly caress Fenrir’s head before smiling and walking away. She flapped her wings and began flying off towards one of the ceiling tunnels as the Silverback-Xenos, Jude, explained, “Don’t let her behavior put you off, Vahn…Terror is a little bit of a bird brain…”

With this remark, many of the Xenos began laughing or chuckling as Xude rubbed the back of its head in an awkward manner. However, this atmosphere was broken very quickly as the small Arachne-Xenos suddenly shouted, “Eiii~! Don’t make fun of Big Sis behind her back~!” Her lower body, which had been hidden by the hot springs, burst into view as she scuttled forward rather quickly. Though she had a ‘relatively’ normal upper body, everything past her pelvis was a rather difficult sight to behold.

Where the thigh of a person normally would have started, the seemingly young Arachne-Xenos had a curved carapace-like cephalothorax with two segmented leg-like protrusions sticking out of the front the curled protectively to hide her lower body. Around this cephalothorax, there were six other segmented spider legs that had a base coloration of black while being covered in dense white furs. This cephalothorax connected into an abdominal segment that was also covered in white furs but had a few areas of pure black that created a skull motif before ending in a series of spinnerettes. Honestly, she looked kind of cute if you didn’t look ‘too closely’, but Vahn knew she would probably creep out numerous people on the surface. After all, even normal spiders could be very creepy, and the two black fang-like protrusions at the end of her forelegs weren’t exactly inviting to look at, even if they appeared strangely soft at a glance…

As for how Vahn was able to attach the ‘cute’ descriptive to such an entity, it was because her height was only around 90cm tall, even when she was scuttling forward with her six tiny legs working in overdrive. She ran straight up to Jude and began to hammer against the latter’s thick and muscular thighs, brows furrowed as she exclaimed, “Take it back, Jude~! Don’t be mean to Big Sis~!” To this, Jude just released a steamy sigh and used her thick index finger to lightly rub the tiny Arachne-Xenos’ head, saying, “Yare yare, Naho…you know I didn’t mean anything bad by my words. Everyone loves your Big Sis a whole lot…that’s why we can joke about her in good spirits…”

If Naho had been capable of crying, Vahn imagined her compound eyes would be misting up greatly as she looked up at Jude with an expression as though she had been greatly wronged. Even when Jude was rubbing her head, she didn’t seem to believe the words intended to pacify her and scampered away from the extended finger in a huff. She turned her five eyes back towards Vahn and curled up what he assumed to be her ‘mandibles’ in a protective display to prevent him from spying whatever she was keeping hidden behind them. Since he could see that her flesh extended quite a bit below her navel, Vahn could only assume that she had somewhat worth protecting as she furrowed her brows and asked, “Are you really Vahn…’the’ Vahn…?”

Though he heard her question, Vahn didn’t immediately answer and instead wanted to test the limitations of his system shop by purchasing a dress for the tiny Arachne-Xenos. He was curious about what the shop would produce, especially since he also selected a pair of panties and brassiere. It didn’t seem like any of the Xenos, including those that had humanistic sexual traits, wore clothing as he didn’t see any around the hot springs. Still, it was obvious that the seemingly young Xenos didn’t want to be seen openly so Vahn figured it would be a proper peace offering to give her cute clothing.

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With a smile that likely would have caused Tsubaki to comment about him coaxing young girls, Vahn pulled out a black and white gothic-style maid outfit and noticed it looked relatively normal. The brassiere was much the same, even though it seemed to be sized for a child, and it wasn’t until he saw the panties that the first disparity appeared. Instead of wrapping completely around the hips, which would have been impossible from the get-go, these were comprised of a strange material that seemed somewhat sticky, especially on the edges. Vahn likened it to the tape-bound panties that Mikoto often wore, except that there was only ‘half’ of the normal garment.

Though she had been spooked by the sudden appearance of clothing, scrunching down in a protective stance, Vahn noticed Naho adopt a curious expression when she saw what was in his hands. Then, with the same smile on his face, Vahn nodded his head and said, “I have never met another Vahn Mason so I can say rather decisively that I’m probably the one you’re thinking about. That isn’t really important though…here, these are clothes that I believe will be suitable for you. I’m not sure if Xenos wear clothing, but I can tell you’re embarrassed to be seen…”

Vahn had already set down Fenrir and the unnamed Almiraj before he pulled out the clothes so he turned to Fenrir and asked, “Fenrir, can you help our little friend wear these clothes? I don’t want to scare her away…” However, before Fenrir even changed back into her Vanargandr form, Naho had already scampered up with a curious expression on her face and actually ‘crawled’ up his legs. Vahn felt a slight shiver run up his back but it was quickly quelled by the ocean of calmness that had been a part of his existence over the last few days. Even so, he still eyes the ‘fangs’ on the end of Naho’s foreleg/mandibles and saw a glimpse of tender flesh behind them.

Though it was strange to have spider legs touching him, Vahn tolerated it as Naho smiled excitedly and asked, “Can I really have these clothes!?” She practically snatched the dress out of his hands and moved around with little thumping sounds as her six feet tapped against the wood. Vahn was happy she was so excited but there was still a sense of incongruity as he watched what appeared to be a young girl with half of her body consisting of a spider’s dancing around. He wondered if giving her a proper ‘name’ would alter her appearance into something more acceptable but, at the same time, Vahn couldn’t help but reprimand himself slightly for humoring the idea that she ‘wasn’t’ acceptable from the start…

Naho eventually calmed down a little before scuttling forward and asking, “How do I wear this…?” Since the dress was a little complicated, even for a normal person, Vahn wasn’t that surprised by Naho’s question. Fortunately, Fenrir had already adopted a Chienthrope transformation and had relatively normal hands as she said, “I will teach you how to wear it. First, you need to wear your undergarments…” Fenrir snatched over the bra and panty set from her Master while she was speaking and displayed them for the curious Naho to see, explaining their purpose at the same time.

Vahn left Fenrir to deal with Naho, even though he was admittedly a little curious about the physiology of all the Xenos, and turned his attention back to Xude as he asked, “Are we going to follow after Terror now?” This earned him a nod from the War Shadow Xenos who appeared to still be looking at the interaction between Fenrir and Naho. Still, this didn’t stop him from answering, “This place is very close to the largest hidden village on the nineteenth Floor. Many of the most powerful Xenos reside there, serving at the leaders and protectors of our people. If she remembers to do so, Terror will likely inform the others of our arrival. Since you are an important guest that many Xenos have been looking forward to meeting…please prepare yourself…”

Xude knew that most Xenos, especially when they were younger, had almost no understanding of personal space at all. Seeing a human that wasn’t hostile, especially when it was their ‘Savior’, would likely cause Vahn to get crowded by the more curious members of their kin. The few times they had interactions with peaceful surface-dwellers in the past often ended up with some light injuries if they weren’t properly prepared. After all, there were some Xenos that had large frames as a result of their species, while others would have poisonous quills, barbs, spikes, scales, or even corrosive touches…

Vahn knew Xude was being considerate of him so he returned a smile and said, “Don’t worry, Xude, I’m actually more durable than I appear. I’m not sure exactly how much the Xenos know about me, but there are very few things in this world that can genuinely harm me. Also, even in the event that some of the Xenos get out of control, I won’t blame them for their behavior…rest easy.” By the time he was finished speaking, Vahn felt like he had seen a heavy weight lift off of Xude’s shoulders as the latter’s core glowed relievedly as he said, “It seems like the day we Xenos may live upon the surface is drawing nearer…”

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Off to the side, Fenrir had managed to ‘adhere’ Naho’s panty-panel into place before helping the Arachne-Xenos fit into her pure white silk bra. Vahn had picked silk intuitively since it seemed like something a Spider Person might wear. He didn’t doubt that Naho was capable of producing her own silk and had started to wonder if that was a way she could ‘appeal’ to people on the surface. If she could become adept at the production of fine clothing, Vahn knew that, at the very least, there would be plenty of Adventurer women that would appreciate Naho’s existence…

Once Naho had on her undergarments, Fenrir helped fit her into the dress, noticing that the cords that normally tied up the back were instead on the front of this particular dress. Since Naho wouldn’t have been able to tie them up at the back, and it would be difficult for others to assist in the effort, the system shop seemed to have ‘inverted’ the design slightly and made it appear more like a corset that tied together at the front. When she finally managed to get it on, Naho looked even more adorable than before, even though part of Vahn’s mind still couldn’t quite adapt to the segmented legs and the skull-motif abdominal section poking out from the back of the dress.

Naho was ecstatic in her new clothing and was spinning around in circles as she tried to get a better look at herself. Vahn pulled out a large mirror to help her out, giving the Arachne-Xenos the chance to see her actual reflection for the first time. She seemed to appreciate this greatly and, causing Vahn’s hair to stand on end, ran over to him before crawling up his back and ‘hugging’ him with her arms and legs. Vahn noticed the ‘fur’ on her legs was actually very soft so the tension in his body melted away quickly as he reached up and pat the spiderling on the head and said, “I’m glad you like it, Naho…”

The following few minutes were a bit more taxing than Vahn had expected but, by the time the group managed to reach the rather wholesome looking village, he had grown accustomed to the two sharp ‘fangs’ that were resting on his shoulders as Naho happily played with his hair. Vahn never imagined there would be a day when he had a petite Arachne-Xenos clinging to his back. It was almost like he was giving her a piggyback ride, without the need to support her with his arms since her legs clung to him very firmly. Though this earned him looks of ‘envy’ from Fenrir and the smaller of the two Almiraj, neither voiced their complaints and just let Naho do as she pleased for the time being…

Moments before they reached the location of the hidden village, Mest had inclined its head back, seemingly with a curious glint to the red core near its face as it said, “I’m surprised that Naho opened up to you so quickly…she is usually a very shy girl…” This was a statement that didn’t require Vahn’s answer as Naho happily giggled and said, “Vahn is the Savior that everyone has been talking about. He even gave Naho clothing so Naho likes Vahn almost as much as Big Sis and Bigger Sis~!” Then, as if to emphasize this statement, Vahn noticed as Naho’s affection jumped up a few more points, reaching 88(Familial Love). This was the first time he had seen this parameter on anything other than his own children and it was the primary reason he had ‘adapted’ to Naho’s presence very quickly.

Since she seemed to call two of the other Xenos by familial associative names, Vahn reached up to grab Naho’s hands, pulling her around to the front of his body and said, “If you want, you can call me Big Brother, or Big Bro, okay, Naho…?” Her six legs had already clung tightly to his torso but, upon hearing his words, Naho smiled radiantly and wrapped her two tiny arms tightly around Vahn’s neck and said, “Big Brother~! I can’t wait to introduce you to everyone!” In response to this, Vahn released a light laugh and, ignored the two coiled up ‘mandibles’ resting against his chest, gave Naho a warm hug while stroking her small back in a comforting manner…

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