Chapter 99: Birds and the Bees

Everyone was standing around with an awkward atmosphere at the sudden lull in the events. After Ais had punched Tione’s head, she was now rubbing the bump with her hands and giving her an aggrieved look. “Dat hwert Aith!” Because she had been laughing at the time, Tione bit her tongue when Ais had hit her. She has tears on the edge of her eyes.

Ais stared at her with slightly furrowed brows. “Sorry…Don’t laugh.” Ais apologized and walked toward Vahn. Tiona was just about to laugh at her own sister’s misfortune, but seeing Ais approach she became cautious. Ais completely ignored her and stepped in front of Vahn before reaching out her hand. “Come.” Vahn, who had just asked his question earlier, was somewhat confused by the turn of events, so he just accepted Ais’s hand.

After he grabbed her hand, Ais started leading Vahn towards the tent with the other three girls trailing behind. Tiona wanted to stop her, but seeing the serious expression in Ais’s face, she knew it wouldn’t be easy to stop her. For now, she decided to just follow along to make sure nothing happened without her knowledge. Lefiya, who was standing next to Tiona, frowned as she stared at the two holding hands in front of her.

The tent had multiple sections, and Ais took Vahn into the eastern area which he discovered was the room where Riveria worked and slept. She was currently looking over the map Vahn had drawn previously, but after everyone entered her room she looked at them in a curious manner before asking, “What is it; did something happen?”

Ais pulled Vahn forward before she had him sit down in front of Riveria. After settling him, Ais sat down next to him on her knees and looked towards Riverira. The other girls didn’t know what was going on, but Ais eventually spoke and they all had very different expressions after hearing the words. “Riveria, teach us how babies are made.” Ais had a serious expression as she made her request.

Riveria frowned before she looked towards Tione and Tiona with an accusatory look. “What happened…?” Tione, who had nearly fallen over in another fit of laughter, froze after hearing the cold tone of Riveria. Tiona, who had a shocked expression at hearing the ‘brilliant’ idea of Ais began to explain. “Umm…it’s like this~” She recounted the events but spun the story slightly so as not to embarrass Vahn. Lefiya, who was at the tail-end of the group had nearly passed out with a red face after hearing Ais’s request.

After hearing the full story, Riveria frowned a bit before looking at the two sitting before her. “I can understand why Vahn would be here, but why are you Ais?” Riveria could feel the echo of endless future headaches resounding like an armed battalion in her head. Ais was already a very beautiful girl who many men had tried courting, but she had never shown an interest in matters related to sex no matter how many men tried seducing her.

Ais stared towards Tione and frowned slightly before turning her head to look at Vahn. After another few seconds, she looked towards Riveria and said. “Tione laughed at Vahn. I don’t want to be laughed at.” Ais had trouble expressing herself, but she knew that seeing Tione laugh at Vahn had made her very uncomfortable. Since the question he had asked was one she didn’t know the answer to, Ais felt that she was being treated like a fool unless she knew the answer.

Riveria nodded in understanding. “So you’re saying the culprit behind all of this is Tione. Yes, I understand now…I will have to make sure she is properly disciplined later.” The more the spoke, the colder her voice sounded. Tione, who was standing at the entrance to the room gave an awkward smile and started backing away. “I have some things to take care of for the mission…I will excuse myself here.” Afterward, Tione left through the flaps of the door and disappeared from the site without another word.

Releasing a long sigh, Riveria looked toward Vahn and Ais for a few seconds before turning her gaze toward Lefiya and Tiona. “I know you’re fine Tiona, but are you going to stay and listen as well Lefiya?” Lefiya had been in a daze since earlier, and hearing Riveria speak her name made the small girl startle. With a red face, she stared at Ais and Vahn with watery, frustrated, eyes before nodding her head.

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Releasing an even longer sigh, Riveria had Lefiya sit next to Ais while Tiona sat loosely on a cushion at the side. She pulled her feet together with her hand and sat un a very unladylike posture as she also intended to listen to the ‘lesson’ that Riveria would give. Though she already knew the process, she wanted to make sure nothing was left out from the explanation. As far as she was concerned, it would make her life more difficult if anything was overlooked. (A/N: For those imagining how Tiona is sitting, think of modified groin stretch in yoga.)

Seeing that everyone was ready, Riveria began to explain the process from start to finish. As her explanation dragged on, Vahn seemed to have an incredibly shocked expression as he listened. Ais’s expression hadn’t changed much, but she had a serious look in her eyes with a slight blush on her cheeks. The most affected by the lesson was Lefiya, who had long turned a fierce crimson and was muttering a ‘wa wa wa’ sound while flailing her hands around. (A/N: I didn’t bother explaining the birds and the bees in detail because I assume all of you are 17+!)

After everything was wrapped up, Riveria looked at the three and asked, “Any questions?” Vahn immediately wanted to retort that he had several, but he wasn’t able to speak any of his thoughts. The only thing going through his mind was all his previous interactions with girls in the past. He began to realize various things and understood that his actions weren’t simply strange, they were completely abnormal.

Mustering up what courage he had, Vahn asked, “Is it wrong to be seen naked by other people?” Remembering all the times he had been nude around others, Vahn began to think he had done something terrible. Riveria seemed to consider his words before Tiona spoke up, “No! It isn’t wrong, at least not when the person you’re naked with is someone you like! As long as you’re naked around people you trust, it is okay~!”

Vahn seemed a bit relieved after hearing Tiona’s words, but he still looked toward Riveria who had furrowed her brows slightly. So far, other than some members of the Loki Familia, Vahn had only ever been naked around the people he trusted. If what Tiona said is true, then it should be fine.

Riveria was a bit at a loss of how to answer. Technically, what Tiona said wasn’t wrong, but there was definitely a bit of bias in it. Though she didn’t mind Vahn having a bit of matters to work through on his own, seeing Ais and Lefiya also listening, she had to try and alter things a bit or it would cause problems later. “Hmm, what Tiona says…isn’t wrong. However, it usually requires trust between people to be much higher, especially for members of the opposite sex. Here is an example…Girls typically only bathe with girls, while guys usually only bathe with guys. If guys and girls bathe together, it is usually because they are lovers…though sometimes young siblings and children are exceptions.” Riveria thought she explained the matter clearly, but she could see Vahn became confused by her words.

“Other than Lefiya, nobody seemed to mind when I had entered the lake earlier…But I’m not lovers with any of them…” Vahn considered Riveria’s words and realized, though he wasn’t lovers with any of the girls, he did have a bit of trust toward them. He could see they all had clear auras and everyone treated him well. As he had made contact with each girl, even the lowest among them, Lefiya, had an affection level of 71. Vahn guessed it wasn’t necessarily wrong, so he felt like a load had been removed from his shoulders.

Hearing Vahn mention the lake earlier, Lefiya finally succumbed to the pressure and passed out; It almost looked like her soul had escaped from her body. Tiona started laughing awkwardly while making her way to the door, while Ais had a somewhat dazed expression as she was recalling the events. Riveria, seeing the strange reactions of everyone, looking towards Tiona and ordered, “Tiona, explain what this is all about…”

“Ahahaha, you see…” Tiona, unable to escape in time, ended up telling the full story to Riveria. She told her about how Vahn had stumbled into the area where they were bathing and she ended up inviting him to join. After getting permission from ‘everyone’ present, Vahn ended up taking a bath with them and they washed each other’s backs. Tiona made sure to say that nothing ‘dangerous’ had happened during the entire scenario.

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Riveria felt the veins in her temples pulsing slightly as she wanted to beat the amazon girl with her staff. If what Tiona said was true, it wasn’t Tione who was the culprit behind this mess, it was Tiona. Riveria wanted to confirm her suspicions, so she turned to Vahn and asked, “Vahn, what made you so curious about all these things. I noticed you had been acting strange since earlier.” Hearing the question, Tiona could feel a cold sweat begin pouring down her back.

Vahn didn’t think there was anything strange about the question, so he answered honestly, “Tiona had given me a kiss when I had left for the Hephaestus Familia camp. Afterward, I felt a lot of strange emotions…and went off to destroy a bunch of things in the forest nearby.” As Vahn spoke till this point, he actually realized his actions were very embarrassing. Coughing to relieve some of the tension, Vahn continued, “After that, I wanted to better understand the strange feelings…and that lead to this situation after Tione started laughing at me.”

While Vahn explained everything, Riveria kept nodding over and over with an angry look on her generally emotionless face. Vahn could see the yellow and purple aura on her body begin to turn slightly hazy and red, but he could tell the emotions weren’t directed at him as they were orienting towards Tiona who had nearly exited the tent. “Tiona, both you and your sister need to come to see me after this mission is over. I feel like there is a lot we need to talk about.”

After the ‘lesson’ was over, Rivera gave some advice to her three ‘students’. She told them some things they had to be aware of and explained that, even if they give in and want to experiment with their emotions, they needed to always act reservedly around others. Though it wasn’t wrong to be affectionate, it was typically considered inappropriate to perform such acts in public.

As she explained, Vahn was listening attentively and trying to match everything she said to his own experiences. Other than a few instances, just as Riveria said, Vahn didn’t see anyone acting too affectionate in public. The only exceptions seemed to be when people were on dates or had just experienced an event and were celebrating. As long as he took care to watch how he acted in public, Vahn didn’t think his behavior needed much correcting.

The entire ‘lesson’ took nearly half of the three hour period they had to prepare for the mission. Riveria had them leave, as she had many things that still needed her attention. After Vahn, Tiona, Ais, and Lefiya left the tent, Tiona got close to Vahn and asked, “Have you figured anything out now?” Vahn could see the same expectant look on her face from earlier. Considering the affection she had for him, Vahn didn’t think it was strange for them to be close to each other. He showed her a gentle smile and said, “There are still a lot of things I’m concerned about, but I don’t think what has happened is wrong. Now that I know what these feelings mean, I want to try and get used to them in the future. I feel like there aren’t enough trees on the entire 18th floor if I keep bottling things up.”

Hearing Vahn’s words, Tiona began to get excited and got very close to him. “Then, can you try kissing me!?” Vahn was a bit taken aback by her energy, but considering everything that had happened in the last few hours, he decided he owed her a bit. As he had never kissed anyone himself, Vahn awkardly tried placing his arms around Tiona’s head like she had done so previously.

Tiona laughed at Vahn’s mimicry of her actions, then she took his hands and placed them around her waist. “Its better if a man holds a woman by the waist when he kisses her~” Vahn listened to her words and noticed that it did feel much easier to hold her at the back. The springy and warm sensation on his palms made the feelings in his heart bubble up even more than when he had tried to grab around her neck.

Tightening his grip a bit, Tiona put her arms around Vahn’s neck and he bent in and kissed her on the lips. As it was only his second kiss, Vahn didn’t try anything outside his own experience. He noticed that, unlike when Tiona had kissed him previously, he was a lot more calm. Though there was still a fuzzy feeling in his head, he felt like he enjoyed the kiss a lot more the second time. As he focused his mind on the sensation, Vahn seemed to lose track of time until a sound came from his right.

Ending the kiss, Vahn turned away from the enamored expression of Tiona and saw Lefiya and Ais looking at him. Ais seemed to somewhat upset, as Vahn could see her brows furrowed slightly. Lefiya, on the other hand, seemed to actually be angry at Vahn’s actions. He noticed her aura was flickering like a flame as she looked at him with an accusatory look. “Didn’t Riveria say to keep that kind of stuff in private!? Y-y-you two need to get a room before you do anything like that!”

Staring at the shaking hand of Lefiya, Vahn felt a little annoyed and confused. Right now, the only people around him were the three girls, all of which he had some degree of trust toward. He didn’t know why Lefiya seemed so upset over something like a kiss, especially since it was supposed to be a lot milder than being naked like they all were earlier.

Tiona finally broke out of her daze as she looked toward Lefiya with what Vahn could only describe as a mock-angry expression considering the smile on her face. “Leeefiya, why did you have to interrupt.” Tiona had noticed that Vahn was beginning to get into the kiss, and she wanted it to continue for much longer. Lefiya, who was just accused, shook her head before turning her finger toward Ais. “I wasn’t the one who made a noise…”

Turning toward Ais, Tiona, who had known her for several years at this point, could see that she was angry. Frowning, she asked, “What’s wrong Ais? Why did you stop us…” Instead of answering her question, Ais walked forward and looked at Vahn’s face. She continued to stare, and the longer her gaze lasted the more uncomfortable Tiona felt. She had a bad feeling about the situation.

Ais, who had been staring directly at Vahn for a while, spoke,”Kiss…I want to try…” As she spoke the words, a slight blush appeared on her face as both Tiona and Lefiya screamed out at the same time, “Eeeeeeeeeeeh~!?”

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Trouble’,’Birth of the Kissing Demon’,’Sex-Ed is Dangerous when misunderstood’,’Vahn’s Misunderstanding’,’Hephaestus’s Lamentation’)

- my thoughts:
For those worried, I don't plan to make every girl in the world interested in Vahn. If you consider the type of person Ais is, she is somewhat interested in things she doesn't understand. Seeing Tiona and Vahn kiss right after having a class about Sex-Ed can make kids do dumb things... (Ais: 13, Vahn: 14, Tiona: 14, Lefiya: 12/13)
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