Chapter 976: Treasure : Warmth

After passing through the darkness of the 70th Floor once again, Vahn, Ais, and Shizune found themselves at the ‘heart’ of the large formation. They spent a short amount of time exploring the temple-like structure located at the center before descending the large spiral staircase that led to the 71st Floor. Even with his ability to translate anything, none of the murals and inscriptions found within the ‘temple’ provided any important information other than stirring up a person’s curiosity. If an Adventurer had no knowledge about the Dungeon’s true nature, they would have undoubtedly been shocked after witnessing what appeared to be man-made structures this deep within the Dungeon. Vahn, however, already had a working theory about the Dungeon’s true nature and, instead of feeling surprised, each new discovery only served to affirm his thoughts on the matter.

Upon reaching the 71st Floor, Vahn kissed the top of Shizune’s head before setting her down on the ground so she could walk on her own two feet. She gave him a playful pout as a result but didn’t say a word of complaint as she began looking towards the large ornate archway that led to a long corridor with light coming from the far end. Vahn knew she was trying to put the previous matters behind her, at least for the time being, so he gently stroked her head and said, “We’ll try and make a beeline for the 73rd Floor before returning to the surface. There shouldn’t be any great dangers on these Floors so we can pick up the pace a bit…” With the information obtained from the mirror, Vahn had already compiled an accurate account of every monster in the Dungeon, giving each of the girls a ‘study guide’ of sorts so they could properly prepare themselves as well. Later on, he intended to sell the information at different grades through the HDF so that other Adventurers would be able to benefit while the power and authority of his Empire would steadily grow.

Ais and Shizune gave understanding nods to Vahn before the latter pulled out a wand similar to Tiona’s, allowing her to sprout two adorable little wings out from her lower back. Ais did much the same, but her’s looked more mystical and angelic, especially with the pure white dress that comprised her [Pactio]’s raiment. Like this, they began to accelerate through the long corridor before finally entering the 71st Floor proper, avoiding many hazards along the way. Upon entering, the two girls were slightly startled by what they saw while Vahn simply had a small smile since he had already known what to expect after inquiring from the mirror previously…

Unlike the Floors above, the 71st was rather unique in the fact that it had a sky-blue crystalline structure making up the walls and ceiling while the floor itself seemed to be full of nutrient-rich soil. In the ‘sky’ above, there was a blazing yellow crystal bed that emanated light that was extremely reminiscent of real sunlight, creating a natural illusion as if those entering the area had exited the Dungeon and arrived back on the surface. To complete the illusion, there were a plethora of emerald-green forests while pristine blue lakes dotted the landscape, creating a truly awe-inspiring sight for any who had managed to reach this far. If not for the existence of various dragon-like creatures flying towards them, many would have assumed this was a ‘safe zone’ due to how natural the environment was, especially after escaping the darkness of the 70th Floor.

Though she was momentarily awed by the beauty of the Floor, Ais’ focused quickly fell upon the Dragons making their way over at extreme speeds. Her eyes reflected a look of excitement as she tightened her grip upon [Gram] and prepared to accelerate forward. She knew exactly what kind of Dragons these were and, much like Shizune, had several questions on her mind. After all, without a single exception, each of the large flock of Dragons was undoubtedly a Green Dragon, just like Terra’s base form. This meant that, at the very least, there were more than a hundred ‘Treasure Trees’ located within the vast forests dotting the landscape…

Instead of stopping Ais, Vahn and Shizune slowed their flying speed to allow the former to cut loose as, even the largest in the ‘flock’ was only around the peak of Level 5. This ultimately didn’t matter, however, as Ais’ very existence seemed to be the bane of Dragons, even before she had obtained the S-Ranked [Gram]. As expected, Ais became shrouded in a tempestuous green aura that was nearly 20m in diameter before she turned into a green streak that passed through the largest Green Dragon in a singular instant. Its body seemed to ripple outward as its insides were torn apart by the Spirit Wind accompanying Ais’ charge. By the time the ‘ripple’ had completed, nothing remained of the nearly Level 6 Green Dragon as the rest of the flock became chaotic as they attempted to attack an enemy they couldn’t even see…

Though it took nearly twenty minutes, Ais managed to defeat every last Green Dragon, seemingly without breaking a sweat. She flew back over to Vahn’s side with a relatively expressionless face until he flew forward a bit and gave her a gentle embrace, sending waves of energy into her body to replenish her mana and remove some of the fatigue she had built up. This brought a small smile to Ais’ face, diminishing some of the envy she had felt as a result of Vahn carrying Shizune for such a long period of time earlier. Now it was the mature Kitsunes turn to show a small pout, causing Vahn to internally produce a wry smile since it felt like he was trapped in an endless cycle in situations like this.

After topping off Ais’ reserves, they continued forward in hopes of finding the entrance to the 72nd Floor as expediently as possible. This Floor had been dominated by various plant-like monsters on the ground while the air had been the domain of the Green Dragons. With their ability to fly, Vahn, Ais, and Shizune were able to outright avoid the more annoying enemies while the large flock of Green Dragons had been the entirety of their forces on this Floor. Since they were relatively rare, even this far down, it would likely be a few months before another Green Dragon was produced by the Dungeon, especially since this meant the birth of another Treasure Tree.

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

During their search, Vahn managed to catch sight of a shimmering green in the corner of his eye, immediately alerting him to the presence of a veritable grove of Treasure Trees. Since even a singular Treasure Tree was a major discovery, seeing a small forest of them was a truly awe-inspiring sight. Even Ais and Shizune were at a loss for words and, if not for the fact they had spent so much time around Yggy, they would have thought the small forest before them was the most beautiful in the entire world. After all, each Treasure Tree had a gem-like trunk while the ‘fruits’ dotting the large canopy of trees were literally gemstones of the highest quality, each having a value around 10MV. With more than 10,000 Magic Treasure Stones present, this small grove of trees had a value greater than one-hundred billion Valis.

While the Valis-value of the Magic Treasure Stones was monstrous, Vahn felt a little giddy at the prospect of how ‘useful’ they would be in the creation of Magic Items while simultaneously feeling tempted to sell them to the system shop. At the very least, he would be able to earn nearly one-hundred million OP, a substantial boost to his reserves. Though he could already earn several million in a day, large boons like this were very meaningful since there were actually a number of things Vahn had wanted to purchase but had been holding back from. Since it would ultimately be more prudent to convert them into equipment and items, however, Vahn held back as he began to uproot the inordinately beautiful forest. He didn’t bother plucking any of the Magic Treasure Stones, as this would only hurt the Treasure Trees themselves, and was intending to give them to Terra and Yggy so that he could harvest more Treasure Stones in the future. Terra could already produce an extra stone in her garden every three months so Vahn had high expectations for the 107 additional trees he had just acquired. At the very least, this would be the equivalent of having a passive income of 360MV, or 300-400k Origin Points, each month.

After placing each tree into his Inventory, Vahn felt that the ‘color’ of the landscape had been diminished, causing him to feel a momentary regret before shaking his head and flying off with Ais and Shizune following after him. It wasn’t as if he had destroyed the Treasure Trees and, without anyone here to bear witness to the beauty of the ‘forest’, Vahn felt it was almost wasteful to leave such treasures laying around. Since it would allow Terra and Yggy to become stronger, all while increasing his passive income and resources, there were seemingly infinite benefits to securing the Treasure Trees for himself…

While proceeding further in the Dungeon with Ais and Shizune, Vahn had also wrapped things up in the Far East and was currently in a rather cozy room connected to the student dormitory at the Sage Aldrnari School. Vahn always felt extremely comfortable when entering this particular place as it was the room where Anubis spent most of her time, at least when she wasn’t at the Manor. It had a very homely feeling and, even though the temperature was actually rather cool, Vahn always felt as if it was much warmer due to the presence of the exceptionally motherly Anubis. Though she didn’t have any of her own children just yet, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that many of the orphans in the School treated her as if she were their biological mother, something that seemed to make Anubis even more beautiful with every passing day…

Currently, Vahn found himself with said ‘motherly’ goddess snuggling up against him as he affectionately stroked her hair. Across from them, looking exceptionally nervous as they fidgetted about, were the seven Kitsune girls he had rescued from the Far East. They had all awoken soon after he had teleported them back to the City as the supplements he had given them already removed most of the detrimental effects of their malnourishment. Though it would take several weeks for them to make a full recovery, none of the girls were in danger any longer while Shizune’s young cousin, as if her former state had been an illusion, looked like a demure and immaculately carved doll instead of a weary and scarred young girl. She was the only one among them who could actually speak the native language of Orario and had been serving as a translator for the other six confused Kitsune girls, even though Vahn was capable of speaking to them directly.

Having decided to leave most of the talking to Anubis, Vahn had remained relatively silent as he listened to the olive-skinned goddess praise him a little too heavily. He couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed as, from an outsiders perspective, it was almost as if he were the god while she was nothing more than a faithful devotee. Fortunately, she managed to convey to the girls that he was an ‘Emperor’ while also managing to explain their current situation in a way even the youngest amongst them could easily understand. Vahn noticed that the two oldest girls had a distinct change in their auras upon the revelation of his status but he ignored it, even as their somewhat fervent gazes bored into the side of his head…

As girls from the countryside, even though they were still relatively young, they already had hopes and ambitions that grew far beyond the small homes they were born into. For many in such circumstances, it was considered a great ‘success’ in life if you were able to become the servant or concubine of a local lord. Since Vahn was an ‘Emperor’, it was almost like winning the lottery if you managed to catch his fancy, even momentarily. Given the fact he had saved their lives, this already put the girls at an advantage compared to others, something they seemed to be keenly aware of since most of their fear subsided after Anubis’ explanation. The oldest of the girls even whispered a few questions to Shizune’s cousin, Kiyone, that would have caused her to seiza if she knew Vahn was able to understand what she was saying…

Deciding the ‘spare’ the girl, Vahn allowed her antics since it would benefit her recovery and allow her to overcome the trauma they had faced much faster. He had no intentions of allowing any of them to even become his servants, at least in the near future, so it wasn’t a problem letting them have ‘hope’. Since they were all relatively cute, especially with their fluffy tails and ears, Vahn didn’t mind the matter too much and simply accepted the fact he would be the target of their affection for a few years. Eventually, unless they made it their penultimate goal to become servants in his ‘palace’, they would move on and find someone they could truly love. If they kept at it for a decade or so, managing to reach a high enough Level to legitimately join the growing Maid Battalion, Vahn wouldn’t have much to say on the matter…

Only allowed on Creativenovels.com

After the discussion had come to an end, Anubis range a small crystalline bell, causing a small knock to sound at the door a few moments later. She quickly gave her permission to enter, allowing a green-haired Pallum girl to enter into the room. Since he had personally evaluated everyone that came to work at the School, Vahn knew the girl was named Suna, one of the first wave of Pallum that had migrated to the City in the past. She was slightly startled upon seeing him in the room but, remembering her duties, quickly bowed to Anubis as she said, “Anubis-sama, I have come at your behest…”

Anubis gave a soft smile in response, saying, “Suna, please show these younglings to the reserve rooms for special envoys. They will become students in the School after receiving a cursory education in Koine. Please inform Miyuki that she will be their personal caretaker for the next six months…” Since the girls would be unable to attend proper classes without learning the languages used in official lessons, Anubis had decided to give them a crash course to prepare them for what was to come. With Miyuki as their tutor, one of the mothers that had migrated to Orario from the Far East, it wouldn’t take that long for them to acclimate to living within the City.

Suna gave another polite bow, saying, “Understood, Anubis-sama. I will see to it personally that they are well taken care of…!” Even without knowing all of the details, the fact that Vahn was present was noted by Suna, giving her much greater motivation in the task she had been assigned. Anubis hadn’t said anything about her looking after the children but, correctly assuming that Vahn would be checking in on them periodically, Suna wanted to build rapport with the young Kitsune so she could leave even a small impression on the legendary hero of the Pallum. Though she may never earn his favor, Suna knew that Vahn was extremely benevolent and would heavily reward anyone that had, even momentarily, earned his appreciation…

Understanding her young protege’s intentions, Anubis giggled lightly before allowing Suna to depart with six of the Kitsune in tow. Vahn also had a small smile on his face, understanding the situation since he knew his status amongst the Pallum and could easily read the aura and intentions of the calculating Suna. Just as he didn’t mind having the older Kitsune fawning over him, Vahn didn’t mind having a few Pallum holding small aspirations as it was their own prerogative to do so. If it meant they were trying harder, Vahn actually encouraged them to aim high and, even if might not directly ‘favor’ them, he could certainly reward them plentily if the situation afforded him the opportunity.

With Suna leaving with the other girls, it was just Vahn, Anubis, and the young Kiyone left within the rather warm room. She became exceptionally nervous after being asked to stay behind but was doing her best to sit as neatly as possible, showing she had received lessons in etiquette at a very young age. Vahn couldn’t help wonder why she had been thrown into the prison after already receiving a basic education but, remembering the one-eyed man mention that the ‘old master’ had died, he assumed her father had doted on her until his death. This would have caused her an even greater trauma, making Vahn feel genuine pity towards the young Kitsune as he sent a wave of calming energy through the air while explaining, “Do not worry, little one…after what you’ve gone through, I promise I will not allow any harm to befall you if it is within my power to prevent…”

Kiyone was surprised by Vahn’s words, causing her eyes to widen into circles as she felt the warm energy spread across her body. Almost immediately thereafter, all of the tears she had been fighting back broke through her defenses, as if a dam had broken. Though she tried her best to sit still and behave, she couldn’t help by cry increasingly louder after experiencing ‘warmth’ for the first time in nearly half a year. It was at this time that Kiyone found herself embraced by an even greater warmth as Anubis wrapped her arms firmly around the young Kitsune’s body while Vahn gently stroked her hair and attempted to console her. Even though this caused Kiyone to cry even harder, it was these very tears that showed there was hope for her recovery in the future…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Ais is a bully…!’,’Everyone is scheming to get closer to the Emperor xD…’,’Stay strong tiny fox girl (T ^ T)~!’)

https://bit.ly/2XBzAYu <-(p.atreon link)

paypal.me/Einlion

Discord Invite: https://discord.gg/mn5xMbE

You may also like: