Chapter 822: Celebration : Rest

Though Gros’ actions had caused a bit of tension amongst some of the Xenos, typically those that were a bit older than the others, things quickly evolved into a more celebratory atmosphere. Vahn brought out delicious food and some mild alcoholic beverages, though the latter was reserved for the more humanoid members. He quickly learned that the physical appearance of the Xenos didn’t have much to do with their age, as there were even Xenos like a Mermaid girl named Marie who had the appearance of a fully matured woman, even though she was only six years old.

Their form was apparently completely random and, with the exception of a few species, none of them aged a day after their ‘second birth’ from the Dungeon’s walls. Vahn also got to learn a lot about each of their pasts and, without exception, it seemed that most Xenos became as such after interacting with humans and developing bonds in their previous lives. Even Lyd wasn’t an exception to this, admitting that he had been a Lizardman who met a powerful warrior from the Far East in his previous life and had been inspired to grow stronger after narrowly escaping. From that day onward, Lyd had trained hard and tried to emulate the techniques used by the Eastern Samurai, all the way up until their final duel that claimed his life. When he had awoken again, he was in the Dungeon and had developed intelligence comparable to a human, but could now no longer walk upon the surface in pursuit of his ‘dream’ of being a proud warrior recognized by others…

Of course, not all of the reasons were positive, while some were outright strange and borderline unbelievable. Vahn had very quickly noticed that the majority of Xenos seemed to be female, while those that had humanoid features even as monsters had been lusted after and even developed relationships with people in their past lives. Not all of these relationships were willing, however, which is why Rayne was so hostile towards surface-dwellers. All Xenos were the same species as they had been in their first lives and, after being severely weakened by a group of Adventurers in the past, Rayne ended up taking her own life when they tried to ravish her body. When she was reborn in the Dungeon, more intelligent than she had been in the past, Rayne became a cold and distant Xenos who was completely untrusting of surface dwellers…

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As for what some people referred to as the ‘bird-brain’ group, they had very different pasts compared to Rayne and some of them enjoyed very intimate, albeit short, relationships with men in the past. Unfortunately, these positive experiences became the bane that resulted in their deaths, though none of them seemed to mind it that much. Their leader was, of course, the Siren-Xenos, Ray, and she had a group of seven Harpy-Subspecies who all shared the same residence. Among them was Terror, who was the speckle pattern of a falcon, a Xenos named Fear, who had dark red hair, similarly colored feathers, and striking blue eyes.

The other four Xenos in their group had the appearance of normal Harpies, with the upper bodies of women, somewhat ‘uncanny’ facial expressions, sharp teeth, and shorter limbs. Three of them couldn’t even speak any discernable words, though Vahn had been able to understand their speech easily, surprising the group and making him very popular in an instant. Though he got scratched up a bit by their talons and claws, it was mainly his clothes that suffered the brunt of their affections, drawing attention to his regeneration and sparking conversations about Vahn himself.

Without revealing too many secrets, Vahn gave his ‘background’ information to the Xenos, including how he had been exploited and experimented on for having unique blood. This resonated heavily with many of them, as they were also persecuted for being ‘different’, even though they almost avoided conflict in its entirety. Since they were also very empathetic towards people that were similar to them, regardless of appearances, a lot of the more innocent Xenos opened up to Vahn very quickly after the revelations of what he had gone through. By the end of his personal recounting of events, Vahn was practically surrounded by Xenos who seemed to be trying to comfort him, causing Vahn to return the favor and literally ‘bask’ in system notifications…

Though none of their Affection broke through 99, Vahn noticed that many of the Xenos had the (Kin) and (Familia Love) parameter, with only a few having the (Exalted). It seemed that the normal Xenos were simply happy to have a new family member while the more humanoid Xenos, who certainly had the highest base intelligence, were those that had more complex emotions. Lyd and Ray both had the (Exalted) bracket parameter and this was shared by most of the Xenos he had saved from Knossos. The only exception was the small Almiraj that he had carried along the way, who finally introduced itself as Mlem. It had developed a strange parameter that he hadn’t seen before and Vahn was curious if there would be any changes to his Unit Management if he managed to get it to 100 Affection without changing its feelings…

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[(Nameless)]: Affection: 99(Constancy), Intrigue: 81(Very Curious)

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After the ‘party’ began dying down, as many Xenos were beginning to grow tired and drowsy, Lyd swished around the contents of his glass and said, “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you want, Vahn. Though there have been some troubles lately, the Xenos will never turn away a friend…!” Vahn, covered in sleeping Xenos to the point that only his upper body could be seen, smiled in return and said, “I told my family that I will probably be in the Dungeon for a few days and there are a lot of things we still need to talk about. As for the troubles that have been happening…well, you can leave that to us to take care of. Now that I’m here, I’m not going to just watch the Xenos suffer any longer…”

Lyd began laughing boisterously while some of the Xenos curled up around Vahn began to stir slightly and snuggle up closer to him. Even Fenrir, who had taken on a strange form that looked like a cross between a wolf pup and an Almiraj, was curled up on top of his head like a hat. Vahn had to sit ramrod straight to avoid accidentally knocking her off, especially since he knew she was a little upset with how much ‘attention’ he was getting from others. As for Fafnir, it had long ago fallen asleep while laying on the back of Green Dragon Xenos named Gryuu. The latter had immediately assumed a subservient position and had been ‘waiting’ upon Fafnir for the entire afternoon, now serving as the latter’s bed…

Once he had finished laughing, Lyd emptied the contents of his glass and had what Vahn could only assume was a teasing look as he asked, “So, we can fix you up a place to stay, or you can hole up in one of the other residences. Most of us stick with our own species for comfort but I think they might make an exception if you want to sleep in the same place~.” In response to this, it wasn’t Vahn who answered but the small Mlem, who apparently represented the more than a dozen Almiraj present as it exclaimed, “Vahn will stay with us~! We have plenty of space!”

Since almost every Almiraj-Xenos was ‘piled’ up around him, they seemed to agree with Mlem as many of them began to wake up. It wasn’t just them, however, as things quickly started to become chaotic within the large open area where they had been celebrating. This caused Lyd to laugh even more while Vahn just showed a calm expression as he thought about if there was a ‘best’ place to sleep. There were certainly a few ‘dangerous’ places, as he was certain the Bird-Type Xenos would probably get carried away if he joined them in their nest. The Almiraj were a pretty ‘safe’ choice, and they were all very adorable and fluffy, but Vahn felt that Fenrir would actually be more bothered by this fact than if he were to stay with the Bird-Types…

As he was thinking this, Vahn sensed something enter into his perception so he tilted his head forward and cradled Fenrir in his arms as a thick and sticky strand of silk latched onto his back. Then, in front of the shocked and complaining group of Xenos, Vahn was pulled from the pile of fluffy and reeled in towards the canopy house near the roof. He already knew it was Rayne that had reeled him in, likely at the request of Naho who had been absent from the celebration. Though it would certainly be an ‘experience’ to cuddle up with an Arachne-Xenos for the night, Naho’s fur was actually very soft and Vahn knew she would probably cry if he refused…assuming she could cry…?

Though she had ‘tossed’ him rather roughly, Vahn landed nimbly on his feet as Rayne severed the threads and began using her spinnerettes to break down and reabsorb the silk into her body. At the same time, she was ‘glaring’ towards him with her red eyes, now bereft of the visored helmet she had worn previously. She didn’t have the chance to say anything, however, as Naho had ‘jumped’ on Vahn and immediately started clinging to him as she happily giggled and said, “Vahn, you can stay here with us. Since you already played with everyone else, play with Naho and Bigger Sis now~!”

Vahn didn’t mind that Naho was clinging to his body but he still frowned slightly and asked, “Naho, what happened to your dress…?” Currently, she was only wearing the white silk sports bra he had given her while the ‘panel’ protecting her delicates was also on full display. He also noticed that her body temperature didn’t seem to generate much heat and she instead felt a little ‘cool’ to the touch. As for why she was no longer wearing her dress, this was revealed by Rayne who averted her eyes to the side, an expression of guilt on her face as she said, “I’m sorry…I got curious…”

Naho just laughed as if she weren’t affected by the fact her dress had gotten ripped by Rayne and said, “It’s okay, Naho isn’t used to wearing clothes anyway. I’m sure Bigger Sis will be able to fix it with a bit of practice~!” She then began to nuzzle against Vahn, seemingly unconcerned about the loss of the dress she had been so excited about previously. Vahn lightly patted her head before, once again, ‘peeling’ her away from his body as he said, “It is important for a young lady to wear proper clothing. There are a lot of people that would see your normal appearance and try to steal you away…when you live on the surface, you will have to be very careful, okay, Naho…?”

Since she had been enjoying the head-patting with her eyes closed, Naho simply nodded her head with an ‘Nn’, making Vahn feel a little worried about the young spiderling. He wasn’t sure about her age but, based on how she was acting, Vahn felt like she was a child. The appearance of her ‘humanoid’ self matched this mental image and Vahn couldn’t help but feel worried that she might be taken advantage of by others in the future. Fortunately, she had an ‘experienced’ Bigger Sis named Rayne who had a fierce expression on her face as she said, “If anyone tries to lay their filthy hands on my Little Naho, I will spin them into a caccoon and hang them upside down until the blood flow makes their head burst…!”

Vahn, still patting Naho, returned a smile to Rayne and playfully mused, “Please don’t hang me upside down, Rayne…I would never even think about harming your precious Naho…” This caused Rayne to show a complex expression and it didn’t seem like she knew what to say. Naho, however, tried to jump on his body and cling to him again but Vahn managed to catch her by her armpits. She was apparently very ticklish as she began to squirm about, saying, “Big Brother, hahaha, put me down, hahahaha~!” When he complied with this request, Vahn could swear he saw a ‘glimmer’ in Naho’s eyes as she once again jumped into his chest, clinging even tighter to him this time as she said, “Big Brother would never hurt Naho~!”

Rayne, seeing the ‘exasperation’ on Vahn’s face because of Naho’s clinginess began to chuckle almost inaudibly. When he turned his attention towards her, she felt very flustered and immediately ‘fixed’ her expression as she ‘hmphed’ and said, “Out of consideration for Naho, I’ll let you and that furry creature stay in our home…be grateful…” The ‘furry creature’ she was talking about was the still-transformed Fenrir, who was currently giving a deadpan stare towards Naho. When she heard Rayne’s words, however, Fenrir turned her attention towards the mature Arachne-Xenos and said, “It is better to be honest. Master will be troubled if you are roundabout and act foolishly…”

Given the fact that Fenrir was currently around the size of a large rabbit, and looked incredibly adorable, her words weren’t as impactful as they could have been. Rayne, however, tensed up greatly when Fenrir’s eyes trained on her, the result of her developed instincts warning her of impending doom once again. If she could sweat, Rayne’s skin would undoubtedly be covered with a glossy sheen as Fenrir’s scarlet red eyes bored holes into her mental state. Vahn managed to get Naho off of him once again, this time picking up the cute Fenrir as a means of ‘protection’ as he began stroking her fluffy ears and said, “This is Fenrir, one of my most important companions. She might come off as a little abrasive at times, but she is really a good girl…one of the best…”

Naho didn’t seem to entirely agree with this, as her five eyes trained on Fenrir with a slight pout apparent on her face. As for Rayne, she just nodded her head in understanding, hugging her body somewhat self-consciously before inclining her head towards what looked like a ‘nest’ made of web. It wasn’t the kind that was sticky and clung to objects, but a very fine silky structure that almost seemed like a caccoon that could fit a few people comfortably. With Naho and Rayne, however, Vahn imagined it would be a little cramped and wondered if he should pull out a bed and just use that instead. This thought prompted a very different one to cross his mind and, with the half-naked Naho’s presence a constant reminder, Vahn pulled out some clothes for the two Arachne-Xenos.

This time, Vahn selected a simple white sundress for Naho and handed it over to the little jumping spider before turning his attention to the very flustered Rayne who shied away and said, “I’m fine with this…” Her current armor was just a bunch of plating that had been sewn together to protect her vitals, leaving several parts of her pale white flesh exposed. Since she also had rather large breasts, on the upper end of a C-Cup, this meant there was a fair amount of skin showing at the sides of the plating that barely kept them contained. Vahn was accustomed to girls wearing skimpy clothing, but Rayne’s didn’t exactly fit the bill, nor could it truly reach the ‘standard’ of actual clothing…

Since she had an exotic appearance and was actually quite beautiful above the waist, Vahn decided that a black Kimono might suit Rayne. He purchased one from the system shop and noticed it actually had the motif of a spider sewn into it, an aesthetic choice that The Path seemed to make on its own. Vahn also purchased her a set of undergarments to wear and walked over to Rayne, even though she was halfway up the wall as she tried to ‘escape’. Vahn issued a soft smile when he saw how cautious he was and decided to use his trump card, gesturing Naho over and handing the garments to her. With the smaller Xenos’ insistence, Rayne didn’t have a choice in the matter and eventually changed into the surprisingly suitable clothing before Vahn got to experience the admittedly disconcerting event of sharing a soft caccoon-like bed with two Spider-Girls…he was able to comfort himself by mentally commenting about how ‘soft’ the very clingy Naho’s fur was…

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