Chapter 843: Intuition

Without much else to do, as he was just watching over construction efforts within the Dungeon, Vahn decided to spend time with his children until the goddesses returned. He found Eina breastfeeding Eiko within the maternity ward so they talked about everything that had been going on while he played with his sons and daughters in their cribs. Surprisingly, it seemed that Misha and Rose had officially become a couple at some point, bringing a somewhat strange smile to Vahn’s face. He had sort of expected the relationship between him and Rose would develop at some point but, with everything that was going on both inside and away from the Manor, things never really had the opportunity.

Rose never spent that much time within the actual Manor and, as he didn’t proactively seek her out, it wasn’t that strange for things to develop differently than expected. Though there were signs from both girls in the past that they might like him, Vahn had to accept the fact that feelings weren’t something that could withstand the test of time without proper care. This realization was something he had already come to in the past but, having an actual example of people ‘moving on’, Vahn knew he needed to treat his own relationships better. Over the course of an eternity, the odds that one of his current relationships would end up falling apart were functionally one-hundred percent. In order to delay that inevitability, Vahn knew he needed to become a ‘better’ lover for them…

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Eventually, sometime after dinner would usually take place, the goddesses returned to the Manor in relatively high spirits. This time, Vahn was the one to greet the girls at the door, welcoming them home and sharing an embrace with each of them before they moved to the dining room. Once they had settled in, Loki broke the ice, explaining, “During my investigation into any ‘enemies’ within the Alliance, we managed to uncover a number of former servants of Nobles that had been infiltrating into several of the smaller Familia. Since this was another obvious attempt by those idiots to cause chaos within the Alliance, combined with the fact that they had colluded with the Iron Hills to bomb Lil Geirr, we essentially told that Old Fool that the Nobles had outlived their purpose. If you want to take care of them, feel free to act as you please, Vahn…kukukuku~.”

Though his expression didn’t change much, Vahn’s eyes had started to emit a small amount of illusory light and, though it was imperceptible by those gathered, the armored figure within drew its sword out of the ground. Vahn was fed up with the schemes perpetrated by the Nobles and, though he may not seize their properties and businesses, their ‘authority’ would be removed in the future. They were no longer qualified to pass laws and, as they weren’t even in charge of security for the City in the first place, their usefulness had outlived itself. The moment they allied themselves with the Iron Hills and became the patsies of the Dwarves, they had lost what little remained of Vahn’s mercy towards them…

Even though it was subtle, Loki noticed the change in Vahn’s expression and was wondering what he was cooking up in his mind for how to deal with the Nobles. No gods were allowed to assume control of the politics of Orario so it was very likely the Civilian Council would become the new legislative branch while Vahn would undoubtedly be the Chief Executive, even if he didn’t assume the position of Governor. It was a secret that Vahn hadn’t been privy to, but many of the members comprising the Civilian Council were people she had supported to rise to their current positions. Loki wanted to establish a foundation so that, if Erika wanted to get into politics one day, the stage was already set for her to do so. Now that things were playing out according to her expectations…well, she wouldn’t be able to deny that there was a mess in her shorts…

Vahn had noticed the small changes in Loki as well but didn’t inquire about what schemes she had cooked up since he had long accepted that she acted behind the scenes in the interest of the Alliance. Instead, he looked to the rather distracted Hestia and asked, “What’s wrong, Hestia…? Such a melancholic expression doesn’t suit you…” Upon hearing Vahn address her, Hestia adopted a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes before explaining, “We also talked to Ouranos about the existence of Enyo and the location of Hermes…haaa…”

When Hestia spoke, Hephaestus’ expression turned slightly sour and even Loki became serious as she added, “That Old Fool was definitely aware of Enyo, but he wouldn’t give us any information at all. As for that cheeky bastard, Hermes, he apparently didn’t just skip the City, but the entire f****** Continent. He is on a secret mission issued by the Guild and, though that Old Fool wouldn’t give us the key details, he did mention it was related to the Artemis Familia. She and Hestia had been good friends back in Heaven, as they were both one of the three virgin goddesses of the Northern Pantheon, and it seems like there might be some trouble based on how Ouranos was acting…”

Hearing Loki mention other continents, Vahn’s brows perked up and, after levitating a slightly startled Hestia into his lap to console her, asked, “I can’t imagine the Guild having any involvement with the Empire…did he go to the Dark Continent?” From the information Vahn had about the rather enigmatic Empire, there were very few gods within the Empire and even its location wasn’t publically known. If not for the fact Vahn had purchased a world map through the system, discovering that the record was actually much larger than expected, he wouldn’t even know where to begin looking for them. When he had learned that the Empire was located nearly 400,000km to the West, Vahn had been shocked at the sheer size of this planar world…

Loki nodded her head, opening one of her eyes to reveal a slightly envious glint as she looked at Hestia sitting in Vahn’s lap, saying, “Though you could probably make it there in an instant with your ridiculous speed, the trip would take more than a week of constant flying if you flew on the back of a Wyvern. That place is very dangerous for both mortals and gods, however, so wait until we have more information before you decide to run over…that goes for you as well, Hestia. Remember, we already have enough problems here on Eden to be worrying about what is happening elsewhere. Artemis is a big girl, she can take care of herself…”

Hestia’s face became even more melancholic when she heard Loki’s words, knowing the latter spoke the truth. However, she just felt like something was ‘wrong’ about this entire situation, especially with Ouranos going out of his way to reveal specifically that it involved Artemis, her only friend in Heaven besides Hephaestus. Since the red-haired goddess also had a similar feeling, she decided to speak up in response to Loki, saying, “The way everything is lining up worries me more than a little, Loki. We should talk with Ganesha about securing some Wyverns before sending an Investigation team to at least collect information…”

Loki immediately frowned when she heard this, questioning, “And where would we even send them, Hephaestus? The Dark Continent is three times the size of Eden and there are almost no significant landmarks. You know very well what kind of environment the investigation team would have to face…I think the existence of everyone in the Manor is affecting your thinking. Not everyone is as powerful as those residing in the Hearth Manor and we can’t start treating the lives of the Alliance members as if they are expendable. We just thwarted a large-scale attack on Lil Geirr and Vahn is currently wrapped up in trying to establish Haven on the 50th Floor. You really want to divert even more of our forces to send a group of people to search a massive continent where they wouldn’t even know where to begin their investigation…!?”

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Instead of letting Hephaestus and Loki argue, Vahn held up his hand to ease tensions, giving an apologetic smile as he explained, “Loki is right…until we have more information, there isn’t anything we can do about the situation. Our best option is to try and contact Artemis by sending a message through an oracle and seeing if any messenger gods are willing to reach out to her for us. There are just too many things going on right now for us to split focus and stick our fingers in a matter that may not benefit from our intervention…if something does happen, or we find out Artemis is in trouble, I promise to help out…okay?” Vahn cursed the comprehensive lack of information regarding the history of this record as, other than some relatively vague information, there were almost no historical texts within the system that related to the record of Danmachi at all.

Since he could purchase items from the future of his own timeline, as the future no longer existed after he entered into the world, the only option was to seek out texts from alternate worlds. Though some of these undoubtedly had events that followed the original events, there were actually hundreds of thousands of years of historical texts with almost no information at all. It was like the mortal world was stuck in a ten-thousand-year cycle and even Enyo was completely missing from every single record he had obtained. All Vahn knew was that Orario had both faced and overcome destruction an infinite number of times, sometimes with Heroes other than Bell being the one to carry the mantle of the record’s fate…

Hephaestus showed a slightly troubled expression, especially when she looked at Hestia, but eventually released a sigh before nodding as she said, “I understand…it just feels like something terrible is going to happen…” Hestia nodded in agreement, causing Vahn’s mind to begin racing since he knew very well that intuition wasn’t something to be ignored. If both Hestia and Hephaestus felt like something was wrong, it may be ‘too late’ to act by the time something actually happened. He just didn’t know what he could do about the situation without knowing more details about what was going on. Finding a single goddess on a landmass nearing 118,000,000km² wasn’t exactly a small feat, especially without any leads to her approximate location…

Loki also knew better than to underestimate the intuition of women, especially when they were goddesses, so she had a complicated expression as she said, “We need more information…someone in Heaven must know where Artemis is located. If we can find her location, it wouldn’t be that difficult to assist her…we need to understand the situation better, though, or everything we’re working for here in Eden may be jeopardized. The worst case scenario would be Artemis being forced back to Heaven so don’t stress out so much…” Even as she spoke, Loki felt there was something ‘wrong’ about her statement and immediately found herself recalling the information Vahn and Freya had sent through the Network earlier.

She had been ‘extremely’ intrigued in the concept of Vahn performing yet another ‘impossible’ feat, allowing a god to fully manifest in the Mortal World. However, if he was able to do so, that meant it was intrinsically possible within the laws and restrictions of the natural world. The question was, if a god fully manifested in the Mortal World, what would happen if they somehow managed to die? Could they even destroy their Avatar and return to Heaven after the fact? As excited a thought as gods in the mortal world was, there were many unknowns and she had been looking forward to uncovering each and every one of them. Now, however, a small amount of dread spread through Loki’s heart as the thought of ‘meaningful death’ in the Mortal World become a real possibility. Previously, returning to Heaven for a few decades wasn’t that big a deal…but would that be the case if her Arcanum manifested completely and she was somehow killed…?

A silence fell over the room as no one knew exactly what to say at the moment to try and ease the tension. Hestia and Hephaestus were obviously concerned about their friend and Loki seemed to have come to some form of realization as she fell into deep thought. Vahn continued to hug Hestia’s waist, gauging the reactions of everyone present before his eyes rested on Anubis. She was the least affected by the current situation as she and Artemis had never closely associated in the past. Being a Goddess of Chastity, Artemis had never really been fond of Anubis’ personality and they had only met on a few occasions, mainly during gatherings in Heaven.

Anubis returned a smile to her Master and, deciding she might be able to help ease tensions, said, “Now that Master is back at the Manor, we don’t have to worry so much. If there is anything he can do, everyone knows that he will do his best to ensure everyone is happy. I’m personally very interested in meeting these Xenos and am also curious about the new Maids that have just arrived. If that sounds a little inconsiderate, I apologize…” Though it wasn’t that the other goddesses lacked faith in Vahn, Anubis believed wholeheartedly in her Master. She thought it was a little sad that, when the man they all cared about had just returned, the conversation was already related to where he would be going next…

Hearing Anubis’ words, Loki and Hephaestus were a little shocked and Hestia had raised her head so quickly that she nearly struck Vahn’s chin. He managed to tilt his head back in time to dodge her famously hard head as she looked up with an apologetic expression and said, “I’m sorry, Vahn, I…!” Before she could finish, Vahn sent a pulse of energy into Hestia’s abdomen and caused her to start laughing as he forcibly broke the tensions and began tickling her, saying, “You know better than to start apologizing over such things, Hestia~.” She thrashed about, trying to escape his hands while tears began building up in the corner of her eyes, exclaiming, “Ahh, Vahn, forgive me, ahahahaha~!”

Though he relented a little, Vahn continued to tickle Hestia for a bit as he sent a ‘warning’ look towards Loki and Hephaestus so they didn’t try to apologize. Seeing they understood his intentions, Vahn smiled and began to gently rub Hestia’s abdomen as he said, “I will be back for a few days in order to make sure there aren’t any issues with the Xenos. We have plenty of time to gather more information before anyone starts stressing out over such matters…for now, let’s enjoy the time we have together, making the most of the moment until something inevitably requires us to change focus once again…” It wasn’t much, but Vahn sent a little thread of stimulating energy into Hestia’s body to tease her while he was speaking. This caused her body to heat up very quickly, face flushing red and she issued a small nod in response…

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