Chapter 866: Defensive Measures

After giving Lenneth a quick wash down with a sphere of water and changing her into more suitable clothing, this time an adorable black dress with white frills, the two set out towards Freya’s temporary residence near Daedelus Street. Her Familia had nearly seized full control of the first ten Floors of Knossos and also secured the sole elevator to control anyone that was trying to move in and out secretly. Though the number of emergency tunnels leading into various parts of the City would likely take months to explore, it was safe to say that Knossos was currently under the control of the Alliance. Vahn just needed to finish mapping out the lower floors and making sure there were no other illegal activities going on before construction to convert it into a ‘practice dungeon’ would begin.

Lenneth enjoyed the relatively short flight, happily riding on her Papa’s back without any fear of heights whatsoever. She had her hair styled up in a short ponytail that was fixed by a black ribbon, contrasting her silver hair and silvery-blue eyes splendidly. Much like Freya and Syr, she had fringe bangs that curved around her face but, after starting her training with the sword, Lenneth had picked up the habit of pinning her bangs up so they didn’t get in her eyes. Overall, she was ridiculously adorable and Vahn found himself flying a little higher than normal so that he wouldn’t have to deal with anyone eyeing her with malicious intentions…he ignored it in a lot of circumstances but, if anyone so much as looked at his daughters in a ‘devious’ manner, Vahn didn’t think he’d be able to allow them to roam freely…

By the time they had reached Freya’s residence, she was already waiting outside on the balcony to receive them, something most people couldn’t imagine her doing for anyone. Even before they had landed, Lenneth was already beaming as she cried out, “Mom~!” Freya, with a smile of her own, waved gingerly as a peal of bell-like laughter escaped her lips. Upon seeing her eyes wandering, however, Vahn realized he should have brought Diana along with them. After landing, he handed Lenneth over to her, even though she was a little big to be held, saying, “Sorry, I didn’t think about things properly this time around…I just wanted to bring you a gift…”

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Without showing any signs of actually being upset, Freya began carrying Lenneth into the interior, softly stating, “Come along, I’ve already had a fresh tea set out. It is nice to be able to spend time with just the three of us, ufufufu~.” With that said, Vahn quickly followed along, watching with a small smile on his face as Lenneth went into great details about what she had been up to since their last meeting. Freya showed genuine interest in everything her daughter said, even asking some questions of her own and paying Lenneth a few choice compliments that got the girl to giggle happily.

Once they reached one of the interior rooms, very different from the location of his ‘throne’, the three sat around a rounded tabled that was formed from what appeared to be pure silver and quartz. There was a very fragrant pot of tea that had been set out while a tall thermal pitcher that Vahn knew contained a very expensive coffee was next to it. Since there weren’t any snacks, Vahn quickly produced some of his own, earning a playful smile from Freya as she lightly mused, “I must admit, Vahn, I’m rather curious about what kind of gift would lead you to seek me out on such short notice. For you to bring out daughter along…well, I can’t say any thoughts come to mind when it comes to presents you know I’ll enjoy~.”

Vahn knew Freya was subtly teasing him about a very different kind of ‘present’ that he could have given her but, without losing his composure, he quickly pulled out the [Brísingamen] and gauged her reaction. More so than he had ever seen before, Vahn observed as Freya’s eyes widened until they were nearly rounded. Even Lenneth’s eyes showed genuine shock and awe as she mused, “So pretty…” in a voice less than a whisper. Then, realizing her own reaction, Freya blushed slightly without taking her eyes away from the necklace, saying, “That necklace…Vahn, do you know what that is? How…? I…” Freya couldn’t actually believe the ‘present’ Vahn had brought her, as there shouldn’t have been any way for him to even know about it, much less obtain it…

Based on her reaction, Vahn knew that Freya was aware of the origin of the necklace and, as he had done a bit of research of his own, he knew the story might not be the most pleasant. Though the record of Danmachi certainly wouldn’t match the lore and mythos of another world, almost every story regarding [Brísingamen] showed that Freya had paid to obtain it using her own body as compensation. Some stories even depicted her laying with several hideous Dwarven men who, so smitten with her beauty, refused to sell it to her unless she lay with each of them for a night. Vahn didn’t understand how a Goddess of War could be manipulated by a bunch of Dwarves but that was simply how events were depicted in some texts…

So she didn’t misunderstand, Vahn maintained a casual smile as he said, “This is a unique item that my ability had produced while I was in the Dungeon. Since it seemed to share a fate with you, I wanted to return the item to its rightful owner…what you do with it is ultimately your decision, Freya. However, I believe it does suit you a great deal…” The [Brísingamen] was actually one of the more beautiful pieces of jewelry Vahn had ever seen and, based on its grade from the gacha, Vahn suspected it was actually bordering on the Divine in quality. His [Eyes of Truth] couldn’t see through the secrets of any Unique items thus far, the [Brísingamen] included, so there was no way to be absolutely sure. Even so, the fact that it had a resplendent gold base that was affixed with seven inextricably pure amber gemstones drew a lot of attention…

Freya gingerly reached out her hands, taking the [Brísingamen] from Vahn and once again showing a face full of surprise as she asked, “Your power made this…?” From what she could tell, this was exactly the necklace she often wore back in Heaven, meaning it should be on her Divine Statue, not here in the Mortal World. In truth, it was one of the only things that made her hesitate before descending, as it had been her most prized possession for several hundred million years. Unlike the stories Vahn had read, however, Freya had received her [Brísingamen] after taking an interest in Hephaestus’ craft and trying to befriend the previously ‘cursed’ goddess…

Though Freya was a Goddess of Beauty, she had never actually cared about the appearance of others so, while they weren’t exactly friends, the two had an amicable relationship for a time. Since this had been shortly after Hephaestus came into existence, the then young goddess had put quite a bit of effort into creating a masterpiece solely for Freya’s use. Vahn wasn’t aware of it, but in Freya’s hands, the [Brísingamen] greatly enhanced the effect of her own Divinity and was one of the reasons many gods feared her back in Heaven. If Vahn had given it to her in the past, Freya would have granted him almost anything he could wish for, even if it was her own body…

Now, though Freya felt a powerful longing for the necklace in her hands, it almost seemed meaningless while she was sitting with her lover and their child. She would have used this necklace to conquer the entire City in the past but, now that Vahn had already conquered it, Freya was perfectly content at his side. Thus, without much hesitation at all, Freya smiled before placing the [Brísingamen] around Lenneth’s neck, saying, “This necklace is a very precious ‘heirloom’ that I never thought I would be able to pass down…Lenneth, I want you to take care of this necklace and, when you one day find someone you love and have a daughter of your own…bestow it upon her as well, okay~?”

Lenneth’s eyes brightened like stars as she marveled at the beautiful necklace her Mother had just given her. Seeing this, Vahn was more than a little surprised and he couldn’t help but adopt a smile of his own after witnessing such an event. He had still gotten the [Blessing of Freya] and the Unique item [Freya’s Favor], so he didn’t mind at all that she had regifted it to Lenneth. Though it was currently a little big for her, the necklace was still inordinately beautiful and seemed to give Lenneth’s skin a subtle glow. Vahn was surprised to see this as Lenneth was actually able to make him feel a slight amount of pressure while wearing the necklace…

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As if to explain away any questions he might have, Freya softly stated, “The [Brísingamen] is one of the greatest masterpieces that Hephaestus had forged back in Heaven. It is one of the only artifacts with the effect to strengthen the Divinity of we gods, making it one of the most sought-after items in all eight regions of Heaven. From now on, it will help Lenneth grow even stronger, all while protecting her from any harm that may befall her…make sure you cherish it well, Lenneth, as it will one day protect your most cherished treasure as well…” As these words left her lips, Freya felt like a weight had been lifted on her heart as she internally mused, (“Yes, I have no need for such trinkets anymore…there are far more precious things in the world…”)

Seeing Freya look towards Lenneth with an expression full of love, Vahn felt like his own heart had melted, a great deal of warmth spreading through his body. Freya, susceptible to these kinds of feelings, turned her eyes towards him, a very similar look to the one she viewed Lenneth with…but with very different emotions contained within. Vahn’s eyes squinted slightly and their moods began to overlap with each other until Lenneth suddenly asked, “Mom, whats an heirloom?” This innocent question had caused Vahn and Freya to startle slightly before the latter happily began explaining in great detail about heirlooms, love, and precious people…

It had taken nearly sixteen straight hours but, with their combined efforts, Vahn and Terra managed to finish setting up the teleportation ward. The longest part of the process ensuring that the large ritual ward couldn’t be interfered with, requiring them to install several layers of protection. Though Yggy would be able to initiate a transfer without the larger ritual ward, during an emergency, it was necessary to power the formation with rather expensive materials during other instances. Vahn was able to circumvent some of the cost by using his [Lapidary] to make [Source Energy Crystal]s that could power a few transfers before being destroyed. These were also for emergency use, however, making it necessary to use twenty high-quality magic cores, generally obtained by monsters over Level 5, just to transfer a single person.

With the girls’ strength, and the power of the Alliance in general, it wasn’t that difficult to acquire a number of such cores. However, this meant it would cost nearly 1.6MV just to transfer a person one-way, meaning it took 3.2M for a round trip. With the average party of Veteran Adventurers only earning around 600KV per day, generally split between five people, this meant the cost for transfers was exorbitantly expensive. Just moving everyone within their private group to the surface would cost, on average, around 180-200MV.

Though Vahn could easily support these expenditures with his constantly increasing savings, it would even bankrupt him if they overused it. Fortunately, he expected that it would be relatively easy for them to acquire their own high-quality magic cores once they began venturing into the Deeper Floors. In the future, once things had stabilized, it might actually become relatively common for people to move between the 50th Floor and the surface with secondary transfer gates the Alliance might set up. Vahn expected the average strength of Adventurers to increase over the next few decades and, though it was currently rather impressive to even solo to the middle Floors, that bar could very well be raised to the Deep Floors one day…

Once the teleportation ward was functional, causing the interior of Yggy’s trunk to become even more fantastical in appearance, things weren’t quite finished. Though he could take a break, Vahn was determined to bolster the defenses of Haven before he began venturing inward to confront Enyo. Terra also didn’t tire out and, after promising to spend some time with her in the Sub-Space orb for a few hours, she happily agreed to help reinforce the perimeter wall. As a result, there was now a 50m tall bedrock wall that was more than 15m thick creating a giant ring around Haven that was nearly 10km in diameter. When the construction crews saw this ‘miracle’, the way people had started looking at Terra now had an extra layer of fear and reverence contained within their gazes.

As powerful as she was, Terra wasn’t quite strong enough to used such a large-scale unnamed spell, at least outside of her Dominion. Instead, she relied heavily on her Master’s support for the task and, with [Yggdrasil’s Blessing] and [Hands of Nirvana] not quite providing nearly enough energy, this resulted in Vahn getting yet another bite mark on his shoulder. Though she had brought up the idea of obtaining a very different fluid from him, Vahn had been back on the surface dealing with some issues at the School and didn’t want any ‘distractions’. As Terra had no aversion to sucking his blood at all, as it was often reputed to be quite sweet, they ended up embracing in the sky above Haven as she manipulated enough mana to even make a god sweat…

Once the spell’s structure was complete, there were no other steps required and, other than one of the largest magic circles anyone had ever seen forming above the City, the wall itself had come into existence without incident. After that, Vahn had gone around to set up several defensive wards while Terra, finished with her own duties, returned to the surface to patiently await her ‘reward’. Though she could have helped to establish the defensive wards, Vahn’s were inherently more powerful as, even though Terra was comprised of Source Energy, she actually couldn’t sense this at all. She had no way of using it directly but, unlike Vahn, had nearly no trouble converting it into the natural energy she used in her spells…it was quite enviable. Even so, as his wards were several times stronger than normal, Vahn willingly placed a total of 1,000 wards before he was finally satisfied…

As they had been patiently observing him, Fenrir, Maemi, and Emiru had all come to his side immediately after Vahn had sat down to rest. He wasn’t physically tired but, if his avatar hadn’t been resting for the both of them, Vahn’s mental energy would have failed a long time ago. Emiru and Maemi brought over a warm towel, placing it around the back of his neck as Fenrir turned into her Bunnywolf form, except even fluffier than in the past, and curled up in his lap. Vahn couldn’t resist smiling as he began stroking her fur, feeling immediately more relaxed as Maemi even went about massaging his shoulders. Emiru, seemingly having nothing else to do, came around to the front of Vahn, kneeling down as if she were going to perform a seiza before bringing her hands up to create ‘paws’ before saying, “Master, good work, nyaa~” Though she was a Leopard Person, Emiru still had a similar appearance to a Cat Person and could definitely pull off the adorable appeal their species were known for. Thus, with a very contented smile on his face, Vahn found himself petting two adorable creatures while a very determined Maid massaged his shoulders. At the same time, in the back of his mind, Vahn muttered, (“I’m coming for you, Enyo…”)

(A/N: Though I was supposed to do 5 chapters today, the next chapter is the start of the new volume and I wanted to start the day off strong. I’ll see if I can’t pump out six tomorrow, though it will probably still just be five. Please keep in mind that it can take upwards of 10-12 hours to write and edit five chapters so don’t think I’m trying to short change you any xD. Even so, I’ll make tomorrow’s releases on separated by one hour, as there should be some action that everyone has been looking forward to (UwU)~!)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Freya has changed a lot…’,’That is an expensive form of transport!’,’RIP Enyo…messing with Vahn’s happy times (>,…,<)~!’)

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