Chapter 907: Unexpected : Farce

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Though everything was going as planned in regards to dealing with Rakia’s invasion, there were some things that simply couldn’t be controlled. It was around two weeks early, but Syr had gone into labor in the middle of the night, causing a small incident that had most of the Manor’s residents awake. There were no problems with the delivery itself but Syr’s child, a frail little angel named Natalie, was a little premature. Vahn stayed with her to make sure she was stable, feeding strands of Source Energy into her body while Syr, in order to make sure Natalie would develop properly, was put on a strict diet that would greatly increase the nutritional value of her breast milk.

Even with these unexpected complications, Natalie was still an exceptional beautiful infant with fair skin and tiny wisps of grey-blue hair. Her eyes were a muted grey color with hints of blue while her guardian, somewhat surprisingly, was a creature known as a Silvervine Python. It was a peculiar Guardian but, with its silvery diamond-shaped scales, light blue eyes, and dark blue flickering tongue, Vahn found it strangely adorable. As for Syr, she was unnecessarily apologetic about going into labor early and showed a great deal of concern for Natalie, requiring Vahn to ease her mind so she could sleep properly…

Now, Vahn was even more annoyed by Rakia’s invasion as, even though they weren’t really to blame for Syr going into labor, Vahn ‘felt’ like they were. Syr was a very earnest and hardworking woman so, as he was busy with his own matters, she would also be busy managing the affairs of the Manor. Things had gotten much easier with the Artemis Familia and the additional Maids provided by Freya, Diana included, but the number of things she dealt with had only increased. Syr was constantly checking in on everyone, including the Xenos and the children, so, even though her workload wasn’t particularly strenuous, her mentality could still be affected when she was thinking hard about how to keep everyone in high spirits…

Up until the Scouts had reported that Rakia’s forces were in close proximity to the City, Vahn spent his days idling about in the maternity ward, taking care of Natalie alongside Syr. Though he was still helping to prepare things with his avatar, supporting Syr while she was going through troubled times was infinitely more important. It helped that, because she was close with ‘literally’ everyone in the Manor, there were generally 2-3 people present at any given moment to support her. With the constant care and concern of people she was constantly concerned about, Syr was quickly returning to her usual self.

With rumors quickly spreading about the massive military force that was looming in the distance, a strangely ‘festive’ atmosphere was lingering about the City. This wasn’t the first time that Rakia had tried to invade Orario and, regardless of the size of the army, not a single resident was worried anything would go wrong. Even without the Alliance, Rakia would have been repelled by a few of the S-Rank Familia with ease. Now, with the colossal might of the Alliance, fresh of a ‘victory’ against the Iron Hills, most residents were in high spirits. They were treating the invasion as if it was nothing more than a spectator sport, curious about how Rakia’s forces would be repelled this time around…

Though Vahn knew Orario didn’t really treat the threat of Rakia seriously, as their power had declined significantly after the Crozzo Family lost their ability to make Crozzo Magic Swords. Without such powerful weapons to make use of, Rakia was limited to the strength of its standing army alone. Since there were nearly no Mages within their ranks, they were essentially a mob of physical fighters who were lacking in discipline and unity. Currently, Vahn was overlooking this discordant bunch from above and he couldn’t help shaking his head in disbelief.

Vahn’s original intention was to use the tension and ‘threat’ of Rakia to promote the Haven Defense Force and inspire the common citizenship. He hadn’t been present during the previous invasions so Vahn had underestimated how flippant and easygoing everyone would be. Now, it felt like, even with his punitive force decimating Rakia’s, people wouldn’t really be impacted at all. Though there would certainly be a fair amount of surprise that so many ‘unknown’ people had such strength, people would just credit it to the might and resources of the Alliance. Now, even before the fight had even begun, Vahn felt like things had ended in a very anticlimactic way…

With a sigh, Vahn made his way back to the Southern Gate of Orario, where the punitive force was ready and waiting for Rakia’s invasion to begin. Right now, it was obvious that Rakia was confused about what was going on with the Dwarves as, according to the plans Vahn knew of, the Iron Hills would have moved siege weaponry to support Rakia’s invasion. Since they were unable to move such heavy equipment through the Southern Sands, Rakia was wholly unprepared to begin a siege against Orario’s tall outer walls. Unless they began cutting down trees in the surroundings, making make-shift siege weaponry on the spot, they were reduced to breaching the walls with individual soldiers instead of breaking through with siege equipment…

The leadership of Rakia’s forces was significantly more incompetent than Vahn had expected, as they had never even tried to come up with a backup plan in the event that the Iron Hills hadn’t made good on their promise. Now, though they had some smaller explosives, a large cavalry, and a few winged Drakes, their invasion had been crippled before it even began. Even so, instead of retreating or trying to use other tactics to gain an advantage, Rakia’s forces began advancing upon the City after two days idling about in ‘secret’. This made Vahn feel like this entire event had become a farce and, with Syr and Natalie being his primary focus, Vahn’s motivation had diminished a great deal.

With slightly dulled eyes, Vahn watched as Rakia ‘very’ slowly got into a formation a few kilometers away from Orario before sending forth a small group of envoys to make demands. Even though they had absolutely no advantages, Rakia was still ‘pretending’ as if this was a perfectly normal situation. It was like they had a checklist and were just going through the motions, no planning or thought going into their actions whatsoever. Vahn was barely able to restrain his sigh before turning to the punitive force, each member showing a serious and resolved expression as they awaited the beginning of the battle. Unlike him, they were all treating this event with as if it were a matter of extreme importance as, for the last two months, that is exactly how they were trained…

Since this was an important moment for the members of the Haven Defense Force, Vahn managed to psyche himself up a bit as he smiled confidently toward them and said, “I’ll head out to meet with the envoys to see what their demands are. Given Rakia’s history, the battle will begin shortly after the discussions come to an end. From this point onward, until Rakia calls for a retreat, Haruhime will be in command while I deal with Ares and his supporting gods. Stay sharp and, most importantly, make sure every member of your squad, yourselves included, comes back safely…!”

Following Vahn’s words, the punitive force released a loud warcry that got the spectators on Orario’s walls riled up in response. There were tens of thousands of civilians and Adventurers gathered to watch the ‘show’ while some Bookies were even taking bets. Vahn couldn’t really concern himself with them, however, as his main focus in regards to Rakia were the four gods that he had detected in the encampment. There was a tall god, who Vahn had identified as Ares, with red armor, shining golden hair like a lion’s mane, and fierce red eyes glimmering like gemstones on his immaculately sculpted face. The rumors that his looks could even rival a god of beauty weren’t an exaggeration as he practically radiated confidence and charisma.

Accompanying Ares was another male god and two goddesses, each either a member of a Familia Ares had conquered in the past while one of the latter, a strikingly beautiful goddess that could even rival Freya, stood out more than the rest. This goddess had strawberry blonde hair that fell in gentle curls around her bare shoulders. Her eyes were like champagne rhinestones while her facial features and figure were simply ‘perfect’, especially with her ample bosom and shapely buttocks. She was appeared to be a silken white robe that did nothing to hide her figure, barely giving her any semblance of modesty. Around her waist, there was a golden girdle which, if removed, would have made apparent the fact that she was completely bereft of any form of lingerie. Even at a glance, Vahn had identified this goddess as Aphrodite, possessing Divinities related to Love, Beauty, Sex, and Fertility.

Standing out significantly less so than the sensual Aphrodite, there was a rather diminutive goddess with blood-red hair that extended past her waist. Unlike her counterpart, this goddess wielded a large battleax that was much longer than she was tall. Her own height was around 150cm tall while the ax she wielded was easily around 220cm long and likely weighed more than 70kg. Matching her hair, she also had blood-red eyes that glimmered with a fierce light while her garb was comprised of a black battledress with a black breastplate, greaves, and gauntlets. The fact that her gauntlets and greaves had spikes near the knuckles, knees, and toes showed that she was likely a very violent goddess and, from information he had already obtained, Vahn was able to identify her as Ioke. She was a goddess with Divinities related to War, Slaughter, and Pursuit. Even if an enemy army was routed, Ioke would continue to pursue them until her entire body was soaked through with the blood of her enemies…

Rounding out Ares’ entourage, there was the god, Sobek, who was another god with Divinities related to War, Martial Prowess, Military Discipline, and, strangely, fertility. He was a god who hailed from the Southern Sands and, more than a hundred years ago, came under the influence of Ares after the later bested Sobek in individual combat more than one-hundred times. Other than his human Generals, the god Ares trusted the most with commanding his military was Sobek as Ares himself often threw himself into battle without bothering with ‘troublesome’ matters like issuing orders. Ioke was much the same and, even if you spoke to her, she would just stare blankly back at you since she was apparently self-conscious about her somewhat jagged teeth. The only one who didn’t truly belong on the battlefield was Aphrodite and, if not for Ares’ licentious nature, and Aphrodites ‘whims’, she wouldn’t have been present.

Vahn knew he would likely have to deal with Ares personally and, if it came down to it, he may even have to kill Ares and return the latter to Heaven. Though he was undoubtedly compelled by his Divinities to act as he had, Vahn knew that real change in Rakia could only come if Ares was either dead or under control. Sobek was much easier to deal with as he would readily back down once things began to go south for their armies. As for Ioke and Aphrodite, Vahn knew to be wary of the latter while Ioke was actually someone that Hephaestus, Hestia, Artemis, and even Demeter wanted him to recruit. Because of her Divinities, Ioke had lived a rather tragic existence and was once something of a ‘plaything’ for Zeus in the past, at least until Hera ‘forced’ her to descend into the Mortal World. She had wandered the land engaging in compelled slaughter and, after being reigned in by Ares, her life had been miserable once again…

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So that Ioke would have a means to ‘vent’, Vahn had come up with the idea of having her become one of the regulators in the Coliseum. They were constantly making improvements in the Sub-Space setup and it was possible for her to fight against challengers as much as she wanted without actually harming anyone. If this didn’t pacify her Divinity, Vahn had the secondary idea of making her into a Special Commander for an Assault Unit that would take action to cull monsters attacking villages in the frontier regions of Eden. It was surprisingly easy to find people who would readily serve under a goddess like Ioke, especially among the Amazoness and select Beast Human tribes…

The more troublesome goddess to deal with would be Aphrodite as, even more than Freya, she had a very ‘direct’ and ‘possessive’ nature. Not only did she have incredible beauty, but Aphrodite had a personality that made her ‘take’ what she wanted as her Divinity simply didn’t allow her feelings and interests to go unreciprocated. The golden girdle around her waist was actually a manifestation of her Divinity, much like Hephaestus’ Eternal Flame. Anyone that Aphrodite took an interest in, so long as they set eyes upon the golden girdle at her hips, would feel themselves overcome with irresistible love and desire for the amorous goddess. It had an instantaneous compulsion that worked like the most powerful aphrodisiac in the entire world, laying low both gods and mortals depending on Aphrodite’s whims.

Fortunately, Aphrodite was staying in the large Command Tent that served as Ares’ headquarters within their encampment. She would take no part in the fighting to come thus, for the time being, Vahn’s primary concern was dealing with the small group of Envoys, led by Sobek himself. He was a tall god, standing at 210cm, and wore black robes adorned with golden scales. His skin had a similar olive color to Anubis’ but, unlike the latter’s Chienthropic features, Sobek had very short black hair, fierce golden eyes, and pointed ears like an Elf, if not for the fact they were covered in black scales. Since he also had a scaley black tail protruding out of the back of his robes, Vahn felt like Sobek was closer to a Xenos or a member of the Ryuushu clan. If not for the fact that many of the gods from the Southern Pantheon had various animalistic traits, Vahn would have been incredibly surprised by his appearance…

(A/N: Place your best in the comments section on who you think will win in the upcoming battle xD!)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Stay strong, Syr and Natalie…!’,’Citizens of Orario, *pulls out popcorn*’,’Asinine Ares, Amorous Aphrodite, Indignant Ioke, Stoic Sobek’)

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