Chapter 838: Society

Now that several Xenos had become his retainers, with the exception of Gryuu and Lyd, who prompted subordinate notifications, Vahn had a lot of things he wanted to test out. The Xenos were a very unique species and having the ability to see their parameters and status was very insightful. Vahn was able to immediately identify one thing that had been on his mind, confirming that the more humanoid Xenos actually had slightly higher tier souls. This kind of information would be instrumental towards the research he had in mind but, for the time being, Vahn gestured to Ray and had her walk over to his side with a curious expression as she asked, “Vahn…?”

With a smile on his face, Vahn said, “A few of you actually met the requirement for me to use a special technique…I was wondering if you would be willing to assist me…?” The curiosity in Ray’s eyes only increased as she nodded her head, saying, “It would be my pleasure~.” in a humorous tone of voice. Vahn’s own smile increased as he asked, “Well, other than your race, is there anything you ever wanted to change about your body…?” The reason he had called out to her was that Ray, not too surprisingly, actually had a very high Allegiance value towards him, already sitting at 813. Even Naho’s was only at 241, but Vahn suspected that was due to her having different parameters that had been developing in the shadows…

Ray tilted her head to the side, seeming to consider the matter very seriously before a glimmer of amusement lit up in her eyes as she asked, “Can it be something like changing the shape of my body or the color of my hair and feathers~?” Vahn nodded his head, curious about what Ray wanted to change until she ‘flared’ all of her plumage simultaneously and said, “I always liked Marie’s hair, so make my feathers emerald-blue, please~.” Though this was an easy request, Vahn gave a wry smile and commented, “I thought your feathers were actually very pretty…but, if that is what you want…” This was actually the truth, as Ray’s golden feathers with their blue tips were actually very aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, but Vahn’s remark was actually to see how much the Allegiance requirement would change based on his words.

Seeing the AP requirement change from 70 to 900, Vahn nearly burst out laughing because it actually became ‘impossible’ to change her feathers after she made sense of his words. Ray actually had a slight blush on her face and began rustling her feathers somewhat excitedly as she averted her eyes and said, “Actually, I changed my mind…” She scratched the ground with her talons, showing a sheepishness Vahn hadn’t quite expected before Ray seemed to recall something, a mischevious glint in her eyes as she said, “How about you change my breasts or butt to your liking~?” While saying this, Ray unashamedly hefted her breasts while tilting her head to the side, causing some of the feathers in her hair to also flop adorably…

Vahn felt like his heart took a few points of damage as he nodded his head and said, “Sure…” and began tweaking the values in his system before confirming the input. As a result, Ray’s pert breasts became somewhat fuller, not really changing in size but giving them a more natural appeal. This gave her nearly D-Cup breasts a bit more cleavage as her already shapely butt became slightly more toned. All Bird-Type Xenos had pretty shapely butts so Vahn didn’t have to change much to give Ray what he considered an almost ‘perfect’ butt. She noticed these changes very quickly, poking and prodding her own body with a smile on her face before asking, “Did you want to check and make sure they are to your liking~?”

Though he knew this was something akin to ‘entrapment’ on the part of Ray, Vahn’s expression remained casual as he reached out his palm and unashamedly groped her left butt cheek and breast. He could feel Ray’s heartbeat speeding up but, after coping a feel for a few seconds, pulled his hand away and commented, “Very nice…thanks for the treat…” Ray’s expression became more than a little complicated as she actually wanted to do a bit more but knew it wasn’t really the best time. She was also a little bothered by how ‘casual’ Vahn reacted, even though he had never really shown too many other reactions, completely different from how ‘other’ Adventurers would react when seeing their bodies…

Seeing her confusion, Vahn’s expression didn’t change much as he reached out his hand and began lightly stroking Ray’s feathery hair, saying, “Now is an important transitional phase for all the Xenos. For the time being, I’d rather everyone focus on building their community further…other things can wait until later, okay…?” Vahn knew that if he started to openly accept the affections of any Xenos, especially at this stage, things would become chaotic very quickly. He wanted them to adapt to their new lifestyle before things got out of hand, even though he also harbored a few expectations of his own. Since one of the objectives of his ‘main quest’ included having children with 59 different races, Vahn was curious if the Xenos each counted as their own unique race. Though they couldn’t give birth by default, that wasn’t really a restriction that could stop him…so long as it was something they also desired…

Some of Ray’s feathers were rising and falling, giving her a somewhat frazzled and frayed appearance as she nodded her head. As reluctant as she might be, Ray fought to keep her emotions in check as her expression slowly returned to normal, a casual smile on her face. She had never told Vahn but, like many of the female Xenos with humanoid features, her dream wasn’t simply to fly freely under the sun, but also to be embraced by a man she loved. Vahn was the first to trigger these emotions and, also like many Xenos, there was ‘something’ about him that drew her towards him ever since their first meeting. This was a combination of Vahn’s [Charm] and, being a Progenitor with a very calming and ‘exciting’ aura, could also be attributed to his ‘animal magnetism’.

Just as Vahn had been able to use his [Will of the Emperor] to subjugate and caused monsters to feel a primal fear towards him, the opposite was also true. His aura had the effect of inspiring awe in others as well, especially entities that were instinctually aware of things like bloodline. This was why many Dragon species, known for their pride and arrogant natures, would quickly recognize Vahn’s ‘aura’ as something simply beyond their own, allowing them to bow their heads instead of fighting till their death. Many creatures, especially those with unique bloodlines like Ray, were also drawn to him for the same reason, subtly being influenced by his aura as their ‘instincts’ were triggered…

He wasn’t aware of this himself, even though he had seen several indicators of such a functionality behind his Innate, but Vahn could influence and compel being with weaker souls than his own. This was especially effective on entities that were restricted by their instincts, allowing him to use his aura to forcibly subjugate others to his will, just like Fafnir and Khaos in the past. If he exploited this ability like a tyrant, Vahn could forcibly compel and attract most Xenos to his side with just a few words. This was something he had been slowly forgetting about as he no longer used the ‘power of words’ to defeat his enemies and instead relied on [Magia Erebea], a simple skill, in lieu of his own Innates…

Blissfully unaware of his regression, Vahn maintained a smile as he turned to the gathered Xenos and said, “Coordinate with each other to begin building your homes. If you need any supplies or resources, let me know and I’ll procure them for you. Remember, there are underground tunnels for those that don’t want to remain on the surface for long periods of time.” Since Horned Rabbits and Almiraj were burrowing monsters, at least in the wild, Vahn knew they would likely create a sub-surface hovel to act as their den. He also placed Marie into her pond, as it was nearly full at this point, allowing her to swim around excitedly as she disappeared into the depths to investigate her new home.

The Xenos immediately set out to start building their homes, the more dexterous amongst them helping to draw out the perimeter while the few amongst them that could read and write simple characters wrote down what each section was supposed to be. As for Vahn, he moved towards the northern part of the clearing and imagined the trees ‘moving’, something Terra understood since she quickly shifted them aside as he drew out a large area that would serve as the residence for the Xenos leadership in the future. Once the template was finished, he led the way inside with Lyd, Gros, and Ray following after him.

Within the large ‘hut’, there was also a small tunnel leading into the ground that was slowly filling with water, this time without Vahn’s efforts. Terra was ‘linking’ all of the houses that were being built with Marie’s pond below so that she would be able to visit everyone instead of being constrained to just a few locations. As a result, Marie’s head popped up before they had even sat down to discuss things, giggling happily before she disappeared with her tail breaking against the surface. She seemed to be enjoying herself greatly, bringing a smile to all four of their faces as they began to discuss the ‘rules’ all Xenos would need to follow.

In general, as Vahn greatly appreciated the Xenos way of life, there were no major restrictions that would be placed on them within their own territory. The only thing they truly needed to concern themselves with was how they would interact with society at large. Since Vahn wanted those with wings to be able to fly around freely, much like Terra, Fafnir, and Khaos, there were considerations that had to be made in order to both protect the Xenos and prevent any harm from befalling other citizens. In general, Vahn wanted the Xenos to avoid moving outside of the Alliance Airspace and, unless it was someone recognized as an ally, they should avoid interacting with most people.

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Those that could be trusted would be given similar pendants to the ones carried by the Xenos, which would resonate with each other to avoid counterfeit situations. The Harpy-Xenos themselves would actually be required to memorize the names and faces of those recognized as trustworthy, lest they be ‘constrained’ to the airspace above their territory instead of the larger Alliance-controlled space. It would only take one incident of a Harpy-Xenos favoring a citizen and getting killed as a result of a misunderstanding, causing major setbacks to what they wanted to accomplish. Vahn wanted to prevent such tragedies from occurring and, if necessary, was prepared to make it a requirement for them to become his retainers or subordinates to even gain access to the outside world. This wasn’t because he wanted to outright ‘control’ them, but it would allow him to officially name them or help modify their intelligence by altering their race slightly…

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Things like this were important to bring up early on as it was actually an important method for the Xenos themselves to ‘promote’ their growth further. Since they already trusted Vahn a great deal, using his power wasn’t really something that bothered them, as it very well would have most people. Because of this, Vahn had to lay some ground rules to prevent ‘exploitation’, as he didn’t want the Xenos to sacrifice what made them unique just because they wanted to fit in or take advantage of certain perks. He felt it would be a tragedy if the ‘solution’ many Xenos came up with was to simply become the same race as a surface-dweller, losing what made them unique and potentially causing them to pick up some of the habits that made ‘civilized’ society outright ‘wrong’…

Ultimately, any Xenos that wanted to become the same race as a surface dweller would need to receive an education, pass some tests on moral and social behavior, and then they could begin assimilating into society by joining one of the Alliance Familia. Though it wasn’t impossible for them to live amongst their ‘fellow’ Xenos, Vahn knew it would only cause problems in the future if there was integration between external cultures and what the Xenos had created within the Dungeon. As much as he would like to believe they were an exception, there would undoubtedly be Xenos that became corrupted by external influence and developed attributes like ‘greed’, ‘lust’, and other disreputable traits. Just imagining them going from a community that worked together to ensure each other’s happiness, to a group that was exploited by their own people…it was honestly a little heartbreaking.

The biggest victims in such a situation would be those Xenos with unique bloodlines and ‘profitable’ features that could be exploited. Marie’s safety would be one of the first jeopardized, as her blood would literally fetch prices in the billions of Valis if she were captured. Other Xenos had very rare materials that constituted their bodies, such as Gryuu’s scales, Ray’s feathers, or the silk glands of Arachne like Naho and Rayne. To some, the Xenos would be nothing more than glorified material production factories that could be exploited almost indefinitely, as the Xenos themselves had biological immortality and could regenerate…

Vahn knew it would actually become a source of ‘wealth’ for the Xenos community in the future, harvesting their own resources to trade to the outside world, so it was important to establish rules to prevent exploitation from the very beginning. Thus, if a Xenos chose to abandon its identity and live amongst surface dwellers during this transitory phase, they would have to remove themselves from Xenos society as a whole. This wouldn’t be a partial exclusion either, as there was a chance they could use their prior relations with the Xenos to their advantage in the future. If they chose to renege on their identity, that was something that would be respected, just as they would have to respect their own choice and live with the consequences…

Given his own experience, Vahn knew there would undoubtedly be Xenos who experience life amongst surface dwellers who would become jaded after experiencing the reality of such a life. They would undoubtedly wish to return to a more ‘understanding’ community that lacked the pitfalls and ‘tragedy’ of ‘civilized’ society. However, as this had more negative consequences than benefits, they would be denied the opportunity based on their own prior decisions. After all, the reality of the situation was that, unless they had their memories erased, society would have irrevocably tainted them at that point. Vahn wanted to keep this corruption out of the Xenos community for as long as possible…at least until they themselves sought such integration. At that point, he would probably have to either publically recognize certain Xenos as a protected species, if not outright changing them into something else to avoid them become the victims of the cruel and greedy people that always ‘infested’ society…

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