Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 596
Almost immediately after the maternity band received its name, there was a subtle magical light that shone within the workshop before the formation activated completely. Riveria had 'prepared' herself for the influx of energy but she, from the moment the energy began to condense into her body, she realized her preparations weren't enough. There was an increasing 'ache' that had started to expand in her lower body alongside a heat that made her heart begin racing. She did her best to remain calm by drawing in slow and steady breaths but Riveria noticed none of her efforts seemed to extinguish the 'flame' rising up in her body.
The heat coming from her body had gotten intense so quickly that Riveria couldn't stop herself from pulling at the edge of the band so that it was no longer in contact with her skin, releasing a sigh of relief when the hot sensation diminished slightly. Vahn had been watching this play out since the beginning and quickly made a note in his journal before saying, "Because of your affinity with natural energy, you seem to be absorbing it at a much faster rate than normal. Your body should adapt after a few days once it reaches an equilibrium..." Standing before Riveria, Vahn gently pulled her hand away so she would let the band come to rest against her abdomen again.
Resisting it was fine, but her body wouldn't adapt properly if she simply avoided wearing it. One of the things they had already talked about testing was if the band could potentially 'treat' the infertility issue after the body adapted to the absorption of natural energy so Riveria needed to do her best in this instance. With his [Eyes of Truth] active, Vahn knew what Riveria was going through and it wasn't nearly as bad as her response indicated. She was simply unaccustomed to the new stimulus, much like he had been when he assumed the form of Tiona in the past. Since she had spent so many years 'ignoring' the needs of her body, both physically and emotionally, it just 'felt' more intense than it actually was.
Riveria took in a sharp breath when the band came back into contact with her skin and things got even worse when Vahn 'helped' fix it into place. He gave her a wry smile and said, "You just need to calm down, Riveria...here, relax..." before reaching out his hand and patting her on the head. Though the energy flowing from Vahn's hand was 'warm' it made Riveria's mind feel 'cool' and the gentle stream slowly spread through the rest of her body. She released a relieved sigh and, though it was somewhat embarrassing to have Vahn 'petting' her head, Riveria felt that it was more of a relief than anything. Even her embarrassment seemed to be kept at bay by the energy coming from his palm so she just closed her eyes and focused on breathing.
Once Riveria had relaxed completely, Vahn said in a low tone, "Since the formation on your stomach still needs to air out properly, you shouldn't wear the band for too long just yet. It should only take another 2-3 days before you can begin wearing it full-time, so make sure you prepare yourself properly. People are far more adaptive than you might expect so don't panic the next time and things should be okay..." Riveria opened her jade-green eyes and looked directly at Vahn with a slightly complex expression before saying, "I may need your help when the time comes..." Vahn simply smiled in return and said, "You can rely on me, Riveria~." while continuing to stroke the head and hair of the beautiful and intelligent High Elf...
After giving Riveria an ornate wooden case to store the [Sage Aldrnari's Blessing], she ended up removing it before wearing her gown and leaving the workshop. Vahn still had a bit of time left in the day and started preparing a template for Tiona and Tione, as they would be helping him work on their armor sets starting next week. He then drew up a diagram for some of the girls' weapons, this time starting with Tione's new swords. They were going to be holing up inside the Dungeon pretty soon in order to set up the Supply Depot and he wanted to increase the base capabilities of their strongest members.
Because he was going to be very busy, Vahn was actually leaving most of the girls of the Hestia Familia behind, only taking Haruhime and Fenrir along with him. He simply wouldn't have time to look after the others and, though their strength had increased to the point where they wouldn't really be in the way, Vahn didn't want to have to worry about them while he was focusing on other things. There was also a good chance their enemies would be 'baited' by him if he didn't have so many people around him and it would be much easier for him to escape a crisis alone than with a group of people.
After drawing up two curved swords, Vahn wondered what else he should work on and almost immediately thought of Lefiya. She actually had the weakest defensive capabilities of everyone in the group and, though it likely wouldn't be an issue, Vahn was still somewhat worried about her. Her recent concerns for him made Vahn also feel a desire to protect her as he always wanted to look after those that cared for him. Since she was also his 'subordinate', Vahn knew he needed to be more considerate of her and should focus his efforts on making her stronger instead of increasing the strength of already capable warriors. For now, he just drew up a quick template of Lefiya's body and began designing the basic framework of her future Aegis and robes. She already had a name like 'White Lily' after her performance in the Dungeon so Vahn decided to use whites and pinks for her new dress, as it wasn't a big difference from her current attire...
By the time Vahn was finished, it was nearing dinner time so he went into the dining room where several of the girls were already waiting. Misha, who had been avoiding eating with the group ever since the massage incident, was also present so Vahn greeted her even though it made her tense up a bit. When Tiona, Ais, Lefiya, and Tione showed up a little later, Vahn told them about his intentions to start preparing their armor and that he would be forging Tione a new set of swords as well. Hearing this instantly increased the tensions in the room and a happy atmosphere started to spread as they talked about the different types of clothing they'd like.
Though Vahn's sides were usually taken up by the more 'senior' members of the group, the early arrival of the girls and the resultant conversation resulted in Ais and Tiona sitting at his flanks. Tiona had teased Lefiya about sitting in Vahn's lap but the bashful Elf had completely refused with a red face, even though Vahn felt like she actually wanted to. Soon after, everyone else began to show up and Vahn's 'seat' was finally taken by Hestia, who didn't seem to mind Fenrir's scarlet eyes as much as in the past. Riveria actually ended up skipping dinner completely which resulted in Ryuu eventually leaving to go check up on her, as many of the Elven girls were actually very worried about her recently.
Once dinner came to an end, Vahn retired to his room with Aki accompanying him, as it was her night to sleep in his room. The 'schedule' had been set up in a way that Vahn's weeks usually started off with more 'exciting' and 'new' events while things got progressively calmer as the week progressed. He spent the weekends with Hephaestus and Eina, but his Fridays typically included Hestia or one of the pregnant women. Next week would be much the same, with his first experience with Preasia being on Monday with the successive days being Tiona, Tione, Ais, and then Arnya. As for the weekend, things would be a little out of order since he would be getting married to Riveria, but such exceptions could easily be worked around with proper planning...
As usual, Vahn spent some time pampering Aki without them actually having sex since she was also nearing the halfway point of her pregnancy. Instead, they just cuddled up together and Vahn was easily able to make the unabashed Aki purr for him, something she didn't mind doing at all. She was one of the more receptive girls around Vahn and almost always acted in a way to 'encourage' him instead of trying to limit his actions. However, she was also a very sensible woman and would 'guide' Vahn if he was doing things incorrectly. There was also the very simple fact that Aki liked to be pampered a bit, which seemed to be a trait of almost all Cat People, so she simply didn't 'want' to resist his very comfortable [Petting].
With the weekend officially starting, Vahn was 'supposed' to be resting as well so he ended up leaving the Hearth Manor early in the morning and headed toward his Clubhouse. Once the network learned about his desire to hire people to work in the Clubhouse, Loki had decided to employ the Terpsichore Familia and allowed them to set up residence in the area in exchange for the protection of the Alliance. Terpsichore was a goddess with Divinities related to Music, Dance, and Wisdom, being one of the few goddesses that sometimes gave lectures in the arts at the Guild sponsored School. She was also going to be teaching at Vahn's future School, as the arts were very important for the development of culture, so having her 'children' work at the Clubhouse wasn't a difficult arrangement.
When he reached the perimeter of the Clubhouse, Vahn waved at the two stalwart looking guards, named Edgar and Johnathan, before making his way inside. They were both Level 3 Guards Captains from the Eirene Familia and they typically posted up near the Clubhouse while providing protection and maintaining order in the surroundings. There were other security forces at work in the territories of the Alliance, but having a 'front' was also important to dissuade low-tier brigands and thieves.
Almost immediately after entering the Clubhouse, Vahn was greeted by a petite young woman with purple hair wearing a very neat waitress outfit. Seeing who had arrived, the girl's eyes widened slightly and she bowed, saying, "Welcome, Master Vahn, will you be dining with us today or did you have other business?" Vahn gave a polite dismissive gesture and said, "I just came to check on the supplies, but I wouldn't mind sticking around to enjoy some music. Please have Celia brew up some coffee for me, Alicia." The young woman, Alicia, bowed politely before quickly making her way to carry out Vahn's orders.
Other than Sebas, the bartender and manager of the staff, all the other employees were young women around 16-22 years of age. Presently, there were only three waitresses walking around but Vahn knew there were also four people in the kitchen, three girls on the stage, and another two girls that tended to any guests that visited the hot tub section. In total, there were typically around twenty staff the rotated within the Clubhouse, including Terpsichore herself as she was the goddess of the Familia. Vahn had been fortunate enough to attend one of her performances and it was very inspiring.
Unlike most goddesses, Terpsichore had strangely plain looks even with her unblemished skin. Her hair was a gentle silvery-grey that fell into curls at the end of a long ponytail and her eyes were strangely 'dull', almost as if she were blind. When she played her music, however, this changed completely and her expression would 'evolve' to match the mood of the song. The same happened when she danced, making her look very beautiful and lively, or aged and elegant...it was a very unique scene to witness.
Vahn sat down at a table that was solely reserved for himself and looked around the Clubhouse for a bit, surprised to find that Welf was actually missing. Most of the times Vahn visited recently, Welf was usually drinking away and watching the stage performances so, seeing his absence, Vahn expected he was getting another 'lecture' from the Amazon girls in his workshop. With a wry smile on his face, Vahn turned his attention to the stage where a red-haired woman with elegant and mature curves was currently playing a large harp. Vahn knew her name was Selena and the two girls behind her were named Marin and Rebecca, and they were both playing flutes to accompany the mesmerizing sounds of the harp. As they had also noticed his presence, the girls were putting in a bit more effort than normal and Vahn felt like the music was being played specifically for his benefit, something that brought him a strange sense of comfort...
Sebas sat down next to him, as he was one of the few that had permission to do so, and passed over the list of supplies that had been consumed, including by whom as he was also in charge of the tabs. Vahn noticed that Gareth was still holding his position as the person with the highest tab and smiled as he asked, "Have there been any new members arriving lately?" Sebas was a very gentlemanly-looking middle-aged man with stylish white hair and silver eyes. Hearing Vahn's usual question, Sebas nodded his head politely and said, "This week, we have two new members attending, bringing the total count to twenty-nine people. They were both brought by Master's Finn and Gareth and had been given temporary memberships until their vetting is completed." Vahn had been perusing the list and saw the names Morgan and Touma listed, likely friends of Finn and Gareth, if not outright members of the Loki Familia.
Vahn nodded his head and returned the documents to Sebas, saying, "The supplies have already been arranged so please have someone run inventory on them later. Since things have been going so well, please inform everyone that I'll be increasing their base salary by ten percent for the coming weeks." Many businesses only paid their employees once a month, typically towards the very end, but Vahn had adopted the policy of paying them weekly. This made him very popular amongst the members of the Terpsichore Familia since they sometimes struggled to find work as their members were almost exclusively musicians, dangers, and singers. It was very rare to have a long-term contract like what they had arranged with the Alliance and this was the main reason the girls started working harder the moment he showed up.
Sebas took the documents and neatly arranged them before saying, "Thank you, Master Vahn, I'm certain everyone will be pleased. If you need me for anything, please have one of the girls inform me and I will immediately come over." Vahn smiled and nodded his head, allowing Sebas to return to the bar and direct a small Pallum girl to go check the inventory. Since Pallums didn't have any 'weakness' when it came to performance arts, there were quite a few that joined entertainment Familia to avoid having to be slaves or risk their lives in the Dungeon. Within the staff working at the Clubhouse, there were actually three Pallums and Lili had been very annoyed when she learned about it previously.
Celia, Alicia's sister, brought over the coffee Vahn had requested and sat it down at the table before politely standing at the side with her tray over her lap. Vahn thanked her for the coffee and sipped at the rich and fragrant contents of his cup with a peaceful expression on his face. There were many rules that regulated the actions of both the 'clients' and the staff of the Clubhouse. Physical contact was almost completely unacceptable and the staff wasn't allowed to accept invitations to sit at the tables with the guests, even if 'incentives' were offered by drunkards. In exchange, the base pay of the girls was much higher than the earnings of an entire rookie team of Adventurers.
After setting his cup down, Vahn smiled to Celia and said, "Thank you, Celia, it is delicious, as always." Celia took in a somewhat deep breath when she saw Vahn's smile before bowing politely and saying, "It is Master Vahn that provides us with such high-quality coffee beans, but I'm happy to have been of assistance." Whenever Vahn showed up, he would typically ask for very specific things and there were girls that had been 'tasked' with becoming adept at preparing them. Celia and a Pallum girl named Melliana were the two that typically made coffee for him and they took turns around the times Vahn typically showed up.
Vahn continued to watch Selena's performance, holding the red-haired human girl's blue-eyed gaze as her pupils glimmered slightly in the low light. She was very obviously trying to appeal to him but Vahn didn't mind it much as there was another very 'important' rule in place. The girls had all taken vows to avoid entering relationships with anyone that entered the Clubhouse unless they were willing to leave the Terpsichore Familia and quit as an employee.
Vahn was a very 'coveted' catch for almost any woman that wanted to enjoy what some referred to as the 'high life' and he was very accustomed to their silent appeals and the kind words they gave him. He would typically give them a tip for the increased quality of their performance but he had adamantly avoided accepting any of their 'invitations'. 'Bagging' Vahn was the same as 'winning' at life, and many of the women here wouldn't mind become a 'private' performer for him, even if it just meant they got fancy clothes and expensive jewelry on occasion...
After finishing with his coffee, Celia immediately stepped forward and bowed politely before carrying away to be washed. With her departure, Alicia showed walked over with a tray of entrees whilst another girl, a Hume Bunny named Ki'Lani carried a bottle of sparkling white wine, which was part of the basic rotation since the more expensive options needed to be asked for directly. Celia bowed after placing down the tray and took her place at the side while Ki'Lani placed down a wide-rimmed wine glass but just stood at the side with a smile until Vahn said, "Just a little bit today, Ki'Lani..."
With an elegant smile on her face, Ki'Lani bent forward and 'invaded' Vahn's space a little as she filled up the cup. She had medium-length brown hair that was neatly arranged in a somewhat boyish hairstyle. Though this would have caught the notice of most people, it was the 19cm long 'bunny' ears coming out of her head that often drew Vahn's eye, something she had noticed in the past and proactively 'flaunted'. Her main instrument was a violin and she had a habit of 'dancing' around during her performances with her long legs fully displayed with her puff-like tail trailing around behind her pert butt.
Vahn didn't really mind the constant attempts from the girls to appeal to him, as it made him feel somewhat 'important', so he just allowed them to do as they pleased as long as they followed the rules. He never took any actions toward them and, though he said a few kind words, never proactively flirted with them since he didn't like teasing girls he wasn't involved with. His actions of the past were something he still reflected on even now so there was no way he would just get involved with other girls haphazardly, even if he was somewhat interested in the various different species...
After filling his cup, Ki'Lani smiled before cradling the wine bottle and standing off to the side with Alicia. Typically, Vahn would be 'attended' to whenever he showed up in the Clubhouse and the girls would wait for him to dismiss them or wait until he had finished off the dishes they provided. This allowed them to be around him more and also increased the chances they would all get a tip so they typically worked together on a rotation. Vahn very rarely gave individualized tips so there wasn't really any 'competition', at least not on the surface.
Selena's performance eventually came to an end and she gave Vahn a somewhat amorous smile before the girls helped her move the harp off of the stage and place it in the back. Even though she might want to, Selena knew they weren't 'allowed' to simply go and talk casually with Vahn, as it was somewhat awkward to stay standing while he was sitting down. Any attempts to be more 'proactive' could potentially get them fired so she could only 'retreat' after seeing his polite smile and general disinterest, even if there was a glimmer in his eyes.
Replacing Selena was a young weretiger girl with atypically grey hair compared to the orange-brown of most of their species. She was wearing a relatively revealing outfit, as she was a dancer, and Vahn smiled when she locked her eyes on him and began her dance. He wasn't actually the only person in the Clubhouse right now, as there were three other people in attendance, but none of them had the courage to come speak with him and there was no way they would complain even if the entire staff paid attention to Vahn. They actually worked hard to even earn the right to come into the Clubhouse and they didn't want to lose their membership by inadvertently making a bad impression on Vahn...
Vahn knew the Weretiger girl was named Renka and she was actually one of the more interesting girls within the Terpsichore Familia as it was somewhat uncommon for Weretigers to not be warriors. She had a very fit and lean body, with beautifully toned muscles and well-shaped breasts with a somewhat fleshy and muscular butt. What Vahn found the most interesting was the fact she was actually almost Level 4 in strength, even though she was in an entertainment Familia. This was due to the fact that she had previously been a very capable Adventurer in the past but had lost a few too many companions before being scouted by Terpsichore when she was in a depressed state. Renka now made a living by trying to make other people happy and, because she hadn't learned how to play an instrument in the past, did so by dancing. Vahn knew he was 'weak' against girls with a tragic past, so he was somewhat drawn to Renka's performance and she seemed to be aware of this since she typically showed up on stage soon after his arrival.
After watching Renka's tantalizing and lively dance for around half an hour, Vahn finished up his glass of wine and stood up from his chair, causing Alicia and Ki'Lani to step forward and begin cleaning up. Vahn sent Renka a parting look, earning a smile from her in return, before waving his hand and tossing a small bag to Sebas that contained a bonus card for each of the girls, including those that weren't actually working presently. Sebas caught it in a casual manner before placing it under the bar and continuing to wipe away at the glasses. It was very 'normal' for Vahn to leave a big tip for the girls if he was in a good mood so Sebas was no longer surprised by the act. As for the girls, they all had happy smiles and 'victoriously' pumped their fists while teasing each other and talking about their performances...
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'So hot (UwU)...','Schedules are Important~!','Little Slice of Heaven')
Discord Invite: https://discord.gg/Jwa8PKh