Chapter 904: Contemplation

Because Tsubaki had taken a personal day, Vahn had decided to make an appearance at the next training session for those aspiring to be Adventurers. The School had fully implemented the system where students were evaluated according to four different categories. These were the Warrior, Mage, Artisan, and Scholar boards. The latter category accounted for everything from the arts, such as music, painting, singing, dance, and theatre, while the Artisan board focused on those that wanted to pursue Forging, Metalworking, Crafting, Fletching, Mixing, and other trades. These classes also included things like business management, arithmetic, and the basics of providing logistical support to organizations.

In general, students needed credits in each of the four categories to graduate but they were also required to pick a ‘major’ and ‘minor’ focus. Currently, the most popular combination amongst students, as the vast majority were orphans, consisted of majoring in the Warrior and Artisan classes. These types of students wanted to become Adventurers and, in preparation for their inevitable retirement, they also wanted to know the basics of running a business while having a trade they can rely on. Behind them, the most popular combination was students who focused on classes that allowed them to earn credits as a Mage and Scholar.

Because the magic system from Eva’s world required mastery of gestures, drawing wards, singing, and even dancing, a student would have to earn a number of credits in these categories to even qualify as a Mage. Since the majority of such students were Elves, who already had an appreciation of the arts, the largest portion of potential Mages leaned heavily in their favor. Still, that didn’t mean there weren’t members of other races participating as, with Vahn’s constant reinforcement of their path, many had been inspired to become Mages and Scholars. With success stories like Roux, who shouldn’t be able to use Magic at all, there was a shift occurring in the School these days.

For the time being, however, the trend for most students had them oriented towards becoming Adventurers while a select few were determined to become capable athletes. As a result, Tsubaki, who taught the basics of combat and survival, usually had a full class of one hundred students that she would train from 5-7AM before they would be given time to eat breakfast. Afterward, from 8-11, the students would be made to spar against each other to build basic combat proficiency while Tsubaki, and her assistants, would provide guidance from the side. Once the long sparring session came to an end, the students would have another hour to eat lunch before they spent the final two hours learning survival skills, monster ecology, and the basics for working as a team.

Under normal circumstances, this was how a typical day for those learning under Tsubaki would play out, with most of their other classes taking place in the afternoon when it was generally too hot and muggy to train comfortably. With Vahn showing up at the field, even though Tsubaki had tried to keep him away, things didn’t go quite as planned. The moment Vahn appeared in the training area, he became the main focus of every student while Tsubaki, and her three assistants, released sighs of exasperation at the side. Vahn was simply too popular amongst the student body who, after being given the chance to improve themselves in such an environment, all free of charge, showed a truly reverential level of respect toward him.

Regardless of how the situation was spun, it was an irrefutable truth that Vahn had created an ideal environment where children could receive a high standard of education, improving their quality of life into the far future. For the orphans who previously had no hope, being given the opportunity to attend the School had fundamentally changed their fate, allowing them to obtain the power and resources to choose their own path in life. Vahn was looked up to by boys, who aspired to be like him, while many of the younger girls idolized him, sometimes a little too much. This was primarily Vahn’s fault, as he had a habit of indiscriminately petting people, motivating the boys and causing tender feelings in the girls that fell under the influence of his [Grooming]…

Now, while giving one of his ‘inspirational’ lessons, Vahn had the rapt attention of not only Tsubaki’s class, but many other students who had learned that he was on campus and giving a lecture. By the end of his lesson, the one hundred students had grown to a little under three hundred, causing Vahn to lightly reprimand those who had skipped out on their actual classes. There was actually nothing that forced students to attend lectures, as some children were better suited to self-study in the Library, but Vahn still felt a little guilty having pulled focus away from some of the other teachers. (A/N: Essentially, as long a student is able to earn credit for the class, usually by taking a test to show comprehension, they don’t actually need to attend lessons. Stressing out students and forcing them into an environment where they are uncomfortable is counter-productive to healthy development.)

Once the lecture had come to an end, Vahn found himself surrounded by a veritable horde of his young fangirls while the boys, understanding the futility of trying to break through, simply laughed at the side and began talking about the lecture in high spirits. Vahn ended up in a bit of an awkward situation where two hands simply weren’t enough as he tried to encourage the rather excitable crowd of young girls who seemed to be ‘fighting’, albeit peacefully’, for his attention. Eventually, one of the older students, an intelligent looking Chienthrope girl, ended up having them form a queue so that ‘everyone would get a turn’. As a result, Vahn found himself standing in front of an orderly queue while the Chienthrope girls stood at the side with a watch and counted the time for everyone.

Since many of the female students had spent their breakfast time queuing up in front of him, Vahn had given out little bags of cookies and bottles of milk-tea to those happily conversing at the side. At this point, combining the few he had obtained today, Vahn had nearly two-hundred optional quests related to the affection of students attending the School. Because they were underage, just as Tina had once been, the quests he got were different from the [Hearts Desire]. Most pertained to small requests, such as giving specific gifts or performing certain actions, but Vahn hadn’t acted on any of them. There wasn’t much he could do about students having a crush on him, but he could still act professionally as a mentor instead of leading them on and developing devious tendencies…

Towards the end of breakfast, just as the queue had finished up, the Chienthrope girl that had kept things orderly happily stepped in front of Vahn. Instead of her intelligent look, there was a happy smile on her face, a soft pink hue on her cheeks, and a glimmer of expectation in her teal eyes. She was one of the girls who had reached 100 Affection for him, giving him a quest to invite her on a date and pet her ears and tail. As a Chienthrope, this was a very intimate action and, even though she was approaching adulthood, Vahn didn’t take advantage of the situation. Though he did reach out his hand and lightly stroke her black hair, giving her a few encouraging words in the process, that was where he drew the line.

Once she had received her share of petting, the Chienthrope girl, her intelligent disposition having faded entirely, ran off to join her friends with her tail wagging about excitedly. At this point, Tsubaki pulled him to the side with a teasing look on her face as she said, “That habit of yours is going to be the bane of your existence, Vahn…” At this point, ‘most’ people knew about Vahn’s habit of petting, understanding it wasn’t meant to be overtly intimate nor a form of courtship. There were some girls who tried to take advantage of the situation, straightforwardly asking to be pet, but Vahn was usually able to deal with them without issue. It was the girls he had a relatively closer relationship that was the issue as even women like Renka, who was currently assisting Tsubaki, would privately ask to be pet…

Unable to refute Tsubaki’s words, Vahn shrugged with a helpless smile on his face as he said, “I know it’s a bad habit, but I can’t really restrain myself when they have so much expectation and hope in their eyes. Besides, it will help motivate them to work hard, especially while their parameters are boosted and they feel more energetic…” Vahn was often teased for his propensity towards petting, especially by the goddesses within the Manor. They joked that, when he finally did obtain a Divinity, it would be one related to Petting. The fact they made such comments, generally while receiving the benefits of his [Grooming], made it feel like a joke while also adding a bit of veracity to the claim…

Tsubaki gave Vahn a slightly accusatory look but didn’t say anything, as there were students nearby that had sensitive ears. She wanted to joke about Vahn not taking things too far but knew he wasn’t the type to take advantage of others, even though it wouldn’t be that difficult for him. Even without his ‘magical fingers’, Vahn’s looks, power, and authority were all things that would allow him to have women fawn over him. In fact, there were ‘quite a few’ who had been the recipient of his affection, even though Vahn didn’t actually have a licentious character. Tsubaki, having watched Vahn grow and develop since he had been ‘broken’, understood he simply wanted to make people happy, even though it overtaxed him a great deal…

Being one of the people who had been pulled along by Vahn’s momentum, Tsubaki released a small sigh before a loving smile appeared on her face. Even without Vahn discovering the truth relating to her father, Tsubaki couldn’t really stay mad at him. For better or worse, she had come to love him a great deal and, even if some of his actions annoyed her, Tsubaki understood that Vahn simply wasn’t normal. In fact, if she accepted his assistance and put in the effort, it was possible that she would be able to live forever or even change her race entirely. Trying to apply any kind of common sense to him, or attempting to restrict his actions, was probably one of the few ‘impossible’ things left in the world ‘post-Vahn’…

After being chased off by Tsubaki, Vahn found himself sitting above the City, watching as the people below moved around, causing Orario to feel ‘alive’ with the comings and goings of those residing within. Though he was very busy with his own matters, everyone else was also busy living their own lives, some without any thought or consideration about the future whatsoever. Vahn could see vendors pedaling their goods while children, having no School of their own to attend, playing around in the streets. There were even young girls playing sports in alleyways, emulating their ‘heroes’ as they imagined what it would be like to be famous themselves. Slowly but surely, the entire City was beginning to change under his influence, especially with the large influx of refugees that, as of yet, still hadn’t been fully processed to become citizens…

Vahn knew there was still a lot of work to be done and, in order to make sure there weren’t any problems, he needed to work quickly. With the amount of Karma he had accumulated, there had to be something in the world that served as a counterbalance, even if it was a person or creature that had just been born. In order to prevent the worst-case scenario, Vahn was determined to finish his Main Quest and accumulate enough points that, even if something terrible began to develop, he would be able to simply eject himself from the record and put it into stasis. By the time he linked the records in the future, any major threat would be completely negligible in comparison to the amount of power he would wield…

Currently, as the Iron Hills would take some time to truly come under his control and be ‘unified’ with the rest of the Continent, Vahn had only brought together three of the nine regions. Orario was fully under his control while the Elven Kingdom practically treated him as their Savior, especially with the High Priestess Faction now wholly supporting him after he planted one of Yggy’s hearts in the center of the Kingdom. He still needed to deal with the Land of No Sun, Frozen Tundra, Southern Sands, Telskyura, and the Iron Hills. There were also places like the Far East, Dragon Valley, and the Singing Ruins that would likely require his attention, even though the Dungeon should be his primary focus…

The greatest progress Vahn had made towards completing his Main Quest was his accumulation of gods to serve on the Divine Council in the future. Though he had made a great deal of progress on the ‘optional objectives’ as well, Vahn knew he couldn’t prioritize them while the actual objective went incomplete. He still needed eleven more gods to serve on the Divine Council but finding those that had Major Divinities wasn’t as easy as he expected. Most gods possessed a variety of Divinities while those who did actually possess a Major Divinity were generally very eccentric. The compulsion of a Major Divinity was much stronger than normal, meaning most gods that met his requirements simply stayed in Heaven instead of descending to the Mortal World…

It was for this reason that Vahn had been trying to bring about reformations while making the Mortal World, in general, more interesting. If he could unify all nine major regions of Eden and rise up to become an Emperor, it would be much easier to convince gods to descend and serve on the Divine Council. Since it would be an organization that allowed them to have real influence in the world, all while providing them with a means of dealing with their compulsions, Vahn was confident a few would come down just for the experience.

Presently, Vahn had a few ‘candidates’ for the Divine Council that he was hoping to meet with while taking care of other objectives. Chief amongst them, as he was considering dealing with Telskyura after the matter with Rakia was dealt with, was Kali. She had a Divinity related to Time that should be considered a Major Divinity, as Laws relating to Time were one of the foundational forces of reality itself. Vahn was hoping she would be reasonable, even though he already fully expected the exact opposite to be the case. There was no way Hippolyta, and the Amazoness purists, would allow him to implement changes and reforms without a great deal of ‘effort’ on his part…

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Other than Kali, Vahn believed Amaterasu would become a member of the Divine Council while Tenjin, who was currently acting as the Head of the Scholar Department, had suggested Vahn try to reach out to Izanami, Tsukuyomi, Leizi, and Feng Po Po. According to the youthful-looking elderly god, they were all Goddess with Major Divinities that had a high chance of showing favor to Vahn, assuming he reciprocated. Izanami was a goddess of similar status as Amaterasu, possessing a Major Divinity related to Creation, making her an incredible ally if he could actually win her over. As for Tsukuyomi, she was the principle Goddess of the Moon in the Eastern Pantheon, having one of the stronger Divinities associated with Yin Elemental energy. Leizi and Feng Po Po were both goddesses that hadn’t descended yet but they possessed Major Divinities relating to Lightning and Wind. They were known to be temperamental but, according to Tenjin, both had been openly discussing their visit to the Mortal World for quite some time…

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Though he had already realized this, Vahn couldn’t resist releasing a small sigh when he considered that more than twenty of the thirty gods on the Divine Council would be Goddesses. This alone wouldn’t be a problem, as many goddesses were actually more stable than their male counterparts. The primary issue was that, with the passage of time, a number of goddesses on the Divine Council would likely bear his children. This made it difficult to prevent ‘bias’ from existing within the Council thus, in an effort to balance things out, Vahn had been trying to find gods with comparable Divinities. The problem with this was the simple fact that most male gods, especially those with Major Divinities, ended up being arrogant and difficult to work with…

Releasing another sigh, Vahn looked toward the vast blue sky above and muttered, “The future is filled with infinite troubles…hahahaha…” Then, having spent an hour just crowd watching, Vahn decided to head back to the Manor and spend some more time with his children. He knew that, ultimately, the Divine Council was just a stop-gap measure. By the time he connected the records, they would be a group that monitored and regulated the Mortal World while he would inevitably have to restructure everything once again. For the time being, having a bit of dissidence within the Divine Council wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially considering that goddesses like Loki, Freya, and Fortuna would likely bend the entire Council to their will with time…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Problematic Popularity’,’Tsubaki ‘gives up’ xD…’,’Countermeasures Against Karma…’,’Endless troubles…Just the type of environment where Loki thrives (o,…,o)~!’)

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