After enjoying a quiet night after the dramatic events of the previous day, both Vahn and Lili awoke before sunrise. Today marked the first day of Lili’s physical training, so as Vahn suggested they woke up early to get a head start on the day.
The two made their way towards the north-west gate, their destination being the outskirts of the Western Forests. Vahn was disappointed that Gregory wasn’t on duty, so he asked the guards to pass a message for him. After filling a small exit log, they were easily allowed passage through the gate. At this time Vahn still had the ‘guest pass’ obtained from Hephaestus, which he had loaned to Lili temporarily.
After arriving at the forest outskirts, Vahn was very tempted to make his way towards his previous home. Though it hadn’t been that long since he left, it still stirred something in his heart at being separated from the place he had lived for so long.
Lili could see his melancholic expression, so she tried asking what was bothering him. “Vahn? What’s wrong?”
Vahn just shook his head and smiled. “It’s nothing Lili, I was just remembering the time I spent living in the forest. Even though a few days have passed, I can’t easily get over my attachment to my former home.”
“Mmm, we should go there one day. I want to see the place where you grew up.” Lili stared in the direction Vahn had been looking. She was curious what kind of environment the boy had lived in before coming to Orario.
“Sure, one day. For now, we need to begin our training.” Vahn leads the way towards a clearing and used his sword to cut down trees in the area. Lili watched as he stripped the logs before digging holes and burying them upright in the ground. Seeing that she was watching him work, Vahn demonstrated some basic exercises she could perform while he finished setting everything up.
His main goal was to help her improve her speed and adaptability. Pallums didn’t have a lot of strength by nature, but Lili’s [Artel*Assist] would provide her with plenty of strength once she obtained a proper weapon. He was using the logs to create an obstacle course which she would have to maneuver through while he would periodically fire practice arrows he had obtained from the shop. They were similar to normal arrows, but the arrowhead was replaced with a white lump that caused a numb sensation on contact.
Using this method he wanted to help increase her awareness of threats, her mobility in evading obstacles, and lastly…her tolerance against taking hits. With this method and the combined CQC training techniques, she would be able to build a solid foundation for the future. He also planned to continue their previous days’ training in the dungeon later.
After they had discussed things previously, Vahn decided the schedule would be split between three active days separated by a single rest day. This would continue until she was able to fight freely within the first four floors of the dungeon without assistance. Though it was a tough regimen, it was still much better than her previous life so Lili didn’t have any complaints.
It took nearly two hours, but Vahn finally finished setting up the course. Lili had been continually performing the exercises he demonstrated earlier, so he gave her a short break while explaining his plans. They took time to eat a light breakfast, which Lili wasn’t too fond of.
“This jerky is very bland. It doesn’t even taste like it has any seasoning. Give me a moment..”She started searching through her backpack until she had found some salt and some kind of spicy paste Vahn had never seen. Applying the salt and paste, he was very surprised with the difference in taste and texture.
“This is much better than the jerky I made.” Vahn was enjoying the variety of flavors. He had eaten a lot of smoked and dried meat when he was in the forest, and it wasn’t until he entered the City that he realized how bland his cooking actually was.
Hearing Vahn mention he had made the jerky, Lili became a little flustered. “I’m sorry Vahn, I didn’t know you had made the jerky…I shouldn’t have complained.” She began nibbling on the jerky, not even using the seasonings she had pulled out.
Vahn shook his head and just chuckled. “Don’t apologize Lili. Even I can tell how bad the meat is without your seasoning. If anything, I should be the one apologizing for preparing such tasteless food for our breakfast.” While he was speaking, he was also browsing through the shop for cooking books. Vahn was surprised to see the manuals ranged everywhere between 1OP and 1,000,000,000OP. Thinking about how great the food he already ate was, he swore he would one day purchase that manual…
After they finished eating, Vahn demonstrated several different methods to navigate the course. Lili began repeating his actions, and Vahn realized he had made some mistakes. The course he had designed was based off his own size and would require modification in the future. To make things more difficult, he positioned several of the cut branches to bar against easy passage.
Once everything was ready, the training began in earnest. Lili would begin navigating the course while Vahn would target her arms and legs using the practice arrows. Whenever she dropped in speed or stalled for too long, he would end up targetting her back or abdomen, further increasing the difficulty of completing the course as it would make it difficult to regulate her breathing. They repeated this over and over while taking short breaks in between each set.
Though she was beginning to build up a slight resentment against the training, Lili noticed that many of the injuries she had sustained would stop hurting after a while. When she inspected the area of impact, she noticed the small bruises that were previously visible had completely vanished. She looked towards the boy who would periodically fire arrows at her, and she could see several small bruises on his arms. Realizing he was using his [Wound Transfer] skill to aid her, Lili grit her teeth and put more effort into the training.
On Vahn’s end, he was using the opportunity of training Lili to also polish his skills. He already had higher regenerative capabilities than most people, but his [Rakshasa Body], [Spirit Healing], and [Yggdrasil’s Favor] were creating a synergy that allowed him to push his natural regeneration even further with the use of [Wound Transfer]. Though he was taking on a lot of Lili’s wounds, they would recover after several minutes which allowed him to repeat the process almost endlessly.
After inspecting his stats, he could visibly see his parameters increasing, though the only ones of note were his endurance and magic. Vahn would be able to use the time he spent training Lili to familiarize himself with proactively using his abilities for the future. He even tried activating his [Will of the Emperor] which caused Lili to collapse to the ground when he had focused his intent on her.
He spent a bit of time coaxing her into forgiving him, which resulted in him having to pet her head for five minutes. Though he was reluctant at first, Vahn resigned himself to the agreement only to become enthralled in the act after seeing how Lili responded when he touched her cat ears. The combination of the soft and fluffy sensation as well as the mewling of the young girl made his heart rate increase.
At 10 AM the two enjoyed a light lunch before heading back to the City. If they hurried, they would be able to enter the dungeon before noon, so they both started jogging with a quick pace towards the City gate. Using his status in the Hephaestus Familia and the ‘guest pass’ they were quickly let into the City without having to wait in a line. Since they had stored away Lili’s backpack before entering, they didn’t have any luggage that needed inspecting.
After entering the dungeon, the second phase of training began. Like the previous day, Vahn had Lili try fighting the monsters using her crossbow as well as her dagger. He made sure she was always practicing maneuvering around the monsters and trying to exploit the gaps in their movements.
For this training, Vahn had stored away her backpack which brought Lili’s overall stats down. He was surprised to find out she was actually slower without it, though her ability to make fine movements had increased. Because of this, he brought up the idea of purchasing weighted clothing to enable her to make proper use of her skills without having to lug around a giant backpack. Though Lili was averse to the idea at first, she agreed after Vahn explained how it would allow her to increase the effect of the skill while improving her combat capabilities in the future.
As they progressed further into the floors, Vahn was happy seeing how Lili was progressing. Though she was still nowhere near the requirements of a typical Level 1 adventurer, it was much better than the previous day.
While all of this was going on, Vahn wasn’t idling around either. He was constantly using his [Will of the Emperor] while Lili was fighting. As long as he didn’t focus his intent on her, she was able to move about in the domain. This allowed him to interfere with the movements of monsters if Lili got caught off guard. There were several occasions after this where Lili failed to dodge, but because of Vahn’s skill, she was able to counterattack the stunned monsters.
He also tried using the active component of his [Rakshasa Body], but other than a feeling of his muscles swelling a bit, there were no other changes to his body. Vahn guessed the skill would only be useful when he was on the losing end in a fight. For now, he just had to be satisfied that the skill provided an increase in the growth of his endurance.
By 5 PM they had cleared several rooms on the 3rd floor after progressing smoothly through the first two floors. Though she couldn’t fight groups using her dagger, Lili had begun to tackle individual enemies without relying on her bow. Vahn was beginning to wonder about her status and if she was quickly becoming stronger. By now she had solo killed 11 goblins and 7 kobolds while assisting in the slaying of fifty-some-odd other monsters. Even if it wasn’t as ridiculous as his own progress, she had to be experiencing some increase after gaining so much exilia.
Before they began sparring, Vahn decided to inquire about her progress. “Lili, how are your parameters increasing after today’s training? I’d like to know so we can make alterations to the schedule if necessary.”
Hearing his questions, Lili just stared at him blankly before a slight blush touched her cheeks. “Vahn…I can’t really check my status without having my status board updated at the Soma Familia. Because the God Soma spends all of his time brewing alcohol, he very rarely ever updates anyone’s status board. That is why most people in the Familia are lower than level 2, and even they joined from other Familia and weren’t original members.”
Vahn began to understand why everyone from the Soma Familia was so easily dealt with by Bell in the manga. If their God wasn’t proactively updating their status and giving them the benefits of the Falna, there would be no way for anyone to grow quickly.
He also realized a larger problem. Even if the training was going well, there was no way to verify the progress without confronting the God Soma. Unless Lili was able to leave the Familia there would always be restrictions on her future potential…
Vahn began training Lili in close-quarters-combat methods and sparred with her to practice each technique. As it was also his first time using the skills on another person, they both took their time understanding the practical applications of the techniques. Luckily, Vahn had the benefit of possessing all the requisite knowledge within his head so he avoided embarrassing himself.
They would take a break every twenty minutes, and during this time Vahn had been consulting Sis on methods to forcibly break the Familia contract. He learned that, unless he was able to obtain a Tier 4 (Sage) soul, it wouldn’t be possible to break the contract as it was protected by the worlds ‘laws’. There were items that would allow him to remove it, but the cheapest one cost as much as 2,500,000OP.
He had begun to give up on the idea and started planning how he could confront the Soma Familia, but Sis interrupted him. (*Vahn, due to the nature of your body and it’s connection to ‘source’ energy, you are able to read and update the status of other Adventurers. Though you don’t possess falna like the gods, you can use [Yggdrasil’s Favor] to enhance the existing falna already present within the crest.*)
Hearing the words, Vahn began to get excited and turned towards Lili to try and explain his ‘revelation’…