After collecting a few dozen [Slime Ration]s, Vahn ended up calling it a day and deciding to head back to the surface. They were a relatively rare Drop Item, averaging around 1 per 30 Slimes, but Vahn was able to supplement the amount by exchanging the magic cores for OP and then converting them into more. Though he was trying to conserve his OP, Vahn made exceptions during moments like this since it always felt better to return with a large harvest. Since he was only using OP gained from hunting the Slimes themselves, it wasn’t really eating into his ‘actual’ reserves.
Satisfied with his harvest, Vahn returned to the Manor and promptly re-entered the Sub-Space orb since he was currently eating dinner with everyone using his main body. Having both of his forms in the same place was actually ‘harder’ for Vahn since he could see his own actions through a second set of eyes. He wasn’t entirely sure why it was harder but, having experienced it several times, Vahn tried to avoid himself as much as possible. Since it also made things less awkward for the girls, as they wouldn’t have to split their attention between two of him, it was generally for the best.
Upon entering into the Sub-Space orb, Vahn took a few seconds to acclimate before expanding his domain to see if anyone was nearby. There were a few people missing from the dinner table so there was a high chance some would be lingering around the area. This was most often the case for girls like Risna who, at this point, was several years older than her elder sister, Eina. She spent a little too much time in the Sub-Space orb but, with an average life-span of several hundred years, even without his ‘assistance’, it didn’t affect her much. If anything, she had become a little quirky after they started a physical relationship, but it was usually very fun to spend time with her.
At this point, she had written several dozen books that had been painstakingly edited and published into the market. She had been slowly building a following amongst female Adventurers by writing rather ‘risque’ novels from the perspective of women. Vahn had read a few of them himself and, knowing some of the characters were based on the residents within the Manor, it was pretty interesting to read. The fact that many of the male characters were based on him always made him feel strangely giddy and heated whenever he read some of the more ‘intense’ scenes she had written…
After expanding his domain, Vahn did confirm that Risna was still secluded in her room but his focus almost immediately deviated elsewhere. There were a few girls bathing within the large bath located near the center of the residential area of the Sub-Space orb. It was an open bath that anyone could use so it wasn’t that uncommon to find people entering the orb just to ‘save time’ in the real world. Vahn noticed that a few of the Artemis Familia members were lounging in the bath, talking amongst themselves and enjoying a bit of skinship without care. They had all been training hard ever since becoming ‘Battle Maids’, but it didn’t mean they were always performing their duties in the real world. It was common for nearly half their members to be within the Sub Space orb, either training, studying, or simply lounging about.
Vahn was momentarily tempted to join them in the bath but decided against it and instead made his way towards a large workshop on the western side of the residential area. This was where Asfi usually worked and, though she was back in the real world eating dinner with everyone else, there were a few things Vahn wanted to check on. He also made use of the area for the production of some items, after all, so there were several tasks he could take care of now that would save him time later. Though Asfi would probably have ‘preferred’ to be there when he was working on them, Vahn knew her quirks well at this point and knew she was prone to making small mistakes whenever they worked alongside each other.
Entering into the workshop, the most noticeable thing was a large rig that had several complex pieces of metallic armor strapped to it. Ina lacked the proficiency that Asfi had when it came to manipulating metal so Asfi would often prepare some of the more complex pieces on her behalf. The two had become relatively close over the last few months as Ina had relied on Asfi’s assistance to develop her [Metalworking] and [Mystery] to greater heights. As for Asfi herself, she was still on A-Rank with the [Mystery] Development Ability but should be able to reach mastery in the next few months, Sub-Orb-Time.
Vahn did a cursory inspection of the armor components that Asfi had been working on, marveling at how she was able to make the channels for mana circuitry after just a few demonstrations. Asfi was inarguably a ‘prodigy’ when it came to the creation of Magic Items and, as her knowledge of Eva’s magic system increased, she was steadily improving her comprehension and abilities further. Vahn relied on his use of ‘Oblivion’ to create similar channels but Asfi had been able to emulate the feat using her [Metalworking] and genuine understanding of the alloy’s structure. If not for the fact that he knew it was inordinately more beneficial to develop his Innates, Vahn would have worked on developing the [Metalworking] ability himself.
With that thought in mind, Vahn moved to his own small workstation and began calming his mind for a few minutes before opening his eyes, revealing striking blue irises that glowed with a divine radiance. Though he wasn’t aware of it himself, his pupils also had complex runes revolving within their depths as a black void took shape before him. It continued to expand outward for 10cm until Vahn felt like his eyes were going to start bleeding and was forced to stop. When the black void faded away, there was a pure red crystalline sphere that dropped onto the padded table.
This orb shared similar qualities to a [Dragon Heart], the phenomenally powerful magic crystals that could be obtained from Dragon’s. Vahn had been increasing his comprehension of the structure of complex objects, such as magic core and crystals, and had been trying to replicate them with his ‘Oblivion’. It had been slow and arduous training, but each successive day brought him one small step closer towards the goal he had set for himself. Vahn knew that his ‘Oblivion’ used the duality of Creation and Destruction Laws as its core principle. If he mastered its use, Vahn was certain he would even be able to create life in the future, elevating his Soul Tier much higher as a result.
Because he had the ability to choose ‘any’ path that he wanted to walk, Vahn had decided he would pursue the path of Creation and Destruction itself. When he reached Tier 6 and 7, Vahn wanted his comprehension of such Laws to have reached the pinnacle as, even if he had extreme power, it didn’t guarantee he would be able to act as he pleased. If he reached Tier 6 based on something like Fire Elemental Laws, he would be able to ‘create’ some forms of life using his flames, but that would be the limit. The more he went down a specific path, the harder it would be to develop other types of Laws because of his skewed comprehension. To avoid this, Vahn set his goal as learning Creation and Destruction Laws themselves, confident his own Innates would supplement his growth and comprehension through constant use.
Though he was extremely limited by his own understanding of such Laws, Vahn was still able to make use of them with his ‘Oblivion’. Slowly but surely, he was making small steps towards his goal and, though the pseudo-Dragon Heart he had developed was a failure, it was still very useful. This was because, even though it lacked the sheer power and intricacy of an actual Dragon’s Heart, the ruby-red sphere Vahn had produced still absorbed external mana and converted it into pure Fire Elemental energy that was stored on the inside. These could be used as power sources for some of the Magic Items that Asfi and Ina would produce. Ina had even had him design a few complex gem-like ‘power cores’ that could be slotted into her armored [Aegis Mk 4].
Vahn knew that the day when his exceptionally brilliant daughter shocked the entire world with her creations wasn’t that far off. The only real limit to her growth right now was her experience, which was severely lacking considering she was barely over three years old. It would take her another year or so to reach the Master rank in any of her Development Abilities, assuming she continued working earnestly. When she finally did become a Master, Ina would undoubtedly start producing a version of her [Aegis] armor that would completely outperform most S-Rank equipment sets. She even had a version of the suit that was nearly 5m tall that she wanted to prototype, called the [Aegis Dragon Buster Mk 1].
In his pursuit of research material to help inspire his daughter, Vahn had come across a few schematics and blueprints within the system shop that detailed the engineering of large mechanical suits of armor. Ina had been ‘heavily’ impacted by the descriptions contained within and, though she lacked the current proficiency to produce such machines, it didn’t stop her from investing long hours designing prototypes and developing machines that would assist her in fabricating the parts. She was determined to make a suit that would even be able to fight against a True Dragon in the future, though Vahn felt that such a feat would require her to likely reach Tier 4 to perform…
While thinking of his amazing children, Vahn continued to cycle between meditating and producing items of various complexity with his ‘Oblivion’ skill. This continued for nearly six hours and only came to a stop when dinner was wrapping up in the real world. Vahn knew a lot of the girls would return to the Sub-Space orb, Asfi included, so he was going to rest for a few minutes before they arrived. He took the opportunity to use the now emptied bath, soaking his body in the hot mineral-rich water and enjoying the cool air touching his skin. The inside of the Sub-Space orbs was usually on the colder side, so it was very enjoyable to soak your body while the refreshingly cold air tickled your skin…
Like this, Vahn enjoyed a few more minutes of peace and quiet before his senses picked up on spatial fluctuations. He had grown increasingly sensitive to them ever since awakening his Qinglong transformation so Vahn could feel when the girls were entering into the Sub-Space orb, even before they actually appeared. Since he knew they would also be able to sense him shortly after entering, as many of the girls were ‘extremely’ sensitive to his presence, Vahn quickly extricated himself from the hot water and made his way over to the padded gazebo where everyone generally rested together. It was sometimes used for ‘other’ activities and Vahn expected that he would need to make a bit of effort since both Tione and Tiona had been eyeing him like a predator during dinner.
Unexpectedly, Vahn had come to learn that Tione managed to get a small victory against Tiona in their previous sparring session. Though he didn’t really look down on Tione’s combat prowess, it was still very surprising to learn she managed to edge out a victory against the battle-junkie Tiona. This showed that the efficacy of the magic circle carved into her back was far more potent than he had expected, giving Tione the ability to overpower her younger sister for the first time in many years. Though she had lost in later exchanges, the fact that she was able to ‘keep up’ with Tiona had made Tione a little more excited than normal. Since he had promised to ‘discuss’ the efficacy of the magic circle with her later, Vahn was already prepared for the inevitable development that would follow.
He wasn’t entirely sure which girl had ‘detected’ him, but Vahn could sense the group split into smaller pairing as Tiona and Tione made their way over toward him. Neither had the ability to sense him so they had to have been directed by Lefiya or Lili before the group came to an agreement of their own. Since Vahn could sense the changes in their auras, he knew the next few hours of his schedule had likely been determined for him. This didn’t really bother him much, however, as, unlike Bell, Vahn wasn’t against the advances of the women he cared deeply for. When Tiona and Tione showed up with heated expressions and hot bodies, Vahn knew it was up to him to quell the fires burning their bodies and give them relief…
Back in the real world, a very different scene was playing out as Vahn was playing with Meinya, Anise, and Sakuya. They had developed the habit of playing after dinner before finally taking a bath and going to bed after they were tuckered out. Vahn enjoyed spending time with the rambunctious little girls and their Guardians, even though Chamo, Meinya’s Tyrant Mountain Bear, had a habit of clawing his ankles and play-biting his leg as Vahn chased after his and Arnya’s mischevious little daughter. As for Arnya herself, she was sitting at the side with Aki and Tsubaki, all watching the interaction between Father and daughters with affectionate smiles on their faces. When the girls were eventually tired out, they would be the ones to take them off to prepare for bed while Vahn would usually spend the evening with one of the goddesses.
Of the three troublemakers, Sakuya was the easiest to deal with since she didn’t possess the natural agility and flexibility of Cat People like Meinya and Anise. As a result, Vahn managed to snatch her up several times, giving her a tickle attack that would usually make her short of breath, before freeing her once again. During the time when she would try to catch her breath, Vahn would try to catch Meinya and Anise but they usually coordinated together to evade capture. He had to be careful not to get them too excited as they had the bad habit of bumping into things or doing ‘dangerous’ stunts when in a pinch.
A good example of such antics was when Vahn tried to grab Anise by the back of her little tunic yet, as soon as his hand grabbed the fabric, she slipped out of it in an instant before laughing in her characteristic ‘nyahahahaha~’ as she shook waggled her butt tauntingly. This was brought to a quick end, however, when Aki snatched her up and said, “It looks like Anise is ready for a bath~”. Anise’s response was her ears perking up as she struggled to free herself, complaining, “Nyoo, Anise want play with Papnya~!” Aki, however, just kept her motherly smile, which didn’t quite reach her eyes, as she carried off the struggling Anise, a quiet laugh escaping her lips.
Even when Anise called out for him, Vahn kept a casual smile on his face and just waved in response, saying, “Listen to your mother, Anise. You know better than to try and run around without clothes~.” Though the girls were still very young, it was important that they learn a sense of propriety early on or it would be too late once they developed ‘strange’ habits. Cat People were known for their easy-going and carefree natures so they needed to be disciplined while they were young or it could become a problem. Vahn himself wasn’t good at disciplining his children, so it was generally left to their mothers when the girls did something they weren’t supposed to.
Without her cohort, Meinya tactics were limited so, even though she had already become very nimble, Vahn managed to box her into a corner after blocking her escape route a few times. Meinya ended up with her back to the wall but there was still a ‘determined’ look in her mischevious eyes as an excited smile lingered on her face. Vahn, undaunted, held out his hands to the side with a look in his eyes that said, ‘go ahead and try’. As if she could read this intention, Meinya ducked toward his left and appeared as if she were going to roll under Vahn’s arm. When he moved to swoop her up, however, Meinya kicked against the floor and tried to leap through the cap in his legs and escape to freedom.
Vahn’s eyes flashed with a playful glint when he saw Meinya’s attempt to trick him, as it really was pretty clever on her part. He restricted himself quite a bit when playing with the girls so they would be able to avoid him without becoming disheartened. This didn’t mean he wasn’t going to subvert her expectations of success a bit, as Meinya’s reaction to ‘failure’ was to simply improve even further in the future. Thus, when Meinya tried to sneak through his legs, Vahn closed them slightly to catch her body while reaching down with his left hand and grabbing Meinya’s ankle. She tried to kick free and escape the ‘pincer’ movement but was ultimately unsuccessful as Vahn created a thread of stimulating energy on his index finger and began to tickle the bottom of her foot.
Meinya laughed hard enough that tears came to her eyes before Vahn finally freed her foot and let her try to run away. Her response was to just gasp for air on the ground for a few seconds as Arnya laughed from her spot on the sofa, asking, “Did you already give up, Meinya~?” Though she acted like she hadn’t heard it, Meinya’s ears had twitched after hearing Arnya’s words. She had her eyes closed previously but Vahn could see the reflection of her irises through her eyelashes as she snuck a peek at him. It was clear that Meinya was trying to ‘pretend’ she was too tired to keep playing, all so that she could recover more energy to play even longer…
Vahn’s response to this was to reach down, this time without using his [Hands of Nirvana], poking Meinya’s exposed belly and causing her to flinch as she rolled away to escape. Like this, their game continued once again, all the way until Sakuya had been captured five times. Five tickle attacks were too much for her so she ended up being carried away by Tsubaki, leaving Meinya ‘alone’ to face against her tyrannical Papa. This caused her to take drastic action as she attempted to flee the room and run around the Manor itself, something Vahn had seen coming since she continued to eye the door periodically.
When she made a break for the slightly ajar door, Meinya found herself running into a ‘soft’ barrier that slowly lifted her off the ground. Vahn had set a ‘trap’ there for her by placing a small ward on the ground that had the effects of nullifying impacts and levitating the target for a few seconds. As a result, Vahn was able to walk over while Meinya kicked around helpless in the air, exclaiming, “Papa, nyo fair~nyahaha!” Vahn, however, began his tickle attack in earnest, explaining, “Who was it that tried to break the rules and run out of the room, I wonder~?” Even if she wanted to answer, it didn’t seem like Meinya was able to manage it as a result of her intense laughing fit.
This time, instead of letting her go free, Vahn handed over the exhausted and limp Meinya to Arnya, giving the latter a small peck on the lips before seeing them off. Like this, another fulfilling day had come to an end, officially signaling the start of an equally fulfilling evening for Vahn. After leaving the playroom, which was filled with all kinds of toys and had been ‘child-proofed’, Vahn met up with Artemis and Hestia, joining the two for the evening. Traditionally, Artemis would usually spend time with Vahn in the Sub-Space orb, generally alongside Lante, but it was nice to spend time with other people she was close with. She and Hestia had been very close for millions of years and, when the two were together, Vahn got to experience an event that was both exhilarating, and incredibly relaxing at the same time…
(A/N: This chapter was made a bit long since I’m not sure if I’ll have time to write a third later. I’m not going to be taking any more ‘break’ days until just before my job begins so I’ll try to make up for any ‘missing’ chapters when I have the time to do so. Also, this should be one of the last ‘slice-of-life’ chapters for a while, as there are a lot of events that are being set in motion that require Vahn’s attention. This was essentially to highlight that, even though I don’t detail everything that happens in Vahn’s interactions with his family, they are almost always ongoing. Some people may feel like Vahn doesn’t spend time with his family, but this is ‘incredibly’ far from the truth. Even in the real world, most parents don’t really spend that much time proactively engaging with their children while Vahn usually spends several hours a day just horsing around, training, or teaching his children personally. He cares for them deeply and, even though he has to split his focus to deal with his ‘duties’, you can expect that he is constantly trying to make sure his children are happy and feel loved…)
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘The origin of the ‘essence’ was Slimes all along~!’,’Who would have thought that a magic circle powered by Source Energy infused cells would be effective…’,’10 years later, Ina would have developed a Gundam that could fight against Gods!?’,’Poor Sakuya, has to ‘suffer’ five times because Meinya is a cheat~!’)
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