Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 597
After leaving the Clubhouse, Vahn looked into his Inventory to check what everyone else was up to, both within his own network and the girls'. Since it was the weekend, everyone was currently available and he had an opportunity to go on dates and stuff if he wanted. However, as she hadn't been around the Manor recently, Vahn decided to go visit Loki at the Twilight Manor. Even though she had a residence being built to the north of the Hearth Manor, Loki had yet to move into it and spent the majority of her time either at the Twilight Manor or meeting other gods. Though Hephaestus was still the official representative of the Alliance, Loki was the one managing the majority of the negotiations and agreements. She still conferred with the other senior goddesses, but they had more or less given her free reign at this point.
Instead of calling Fafnir or Terra to give him a ride, Vahn decided to venture through the City on foot since he didn't walk through the City much after the girls moved into the Manor. Most of his time was spent either at the Manor itself or venturing into the Dungeon. He hadn't actually gone on too many dates recently, as most of the girls simply preferred to lounge about in the forest or areas in the East Wing. They enjoyed spending time with him in private over going out to see things within the City, so Vahn hadn't really felt the need to explore areas outside of the Alliance's territory.
With his pace, Vahn crossed the 140km distance to the Twilight Manor in just under twenty minutes and greeted the gate guards before walking straight inside. At this point, as a result of his own actions and Loki's 'guidance', Vahn had the highest status within the Loki Familia excluding Loki herself. Even Finn couldn't really tell him what to do, even though Vahn didn't really have any authority over their members either. Many of the girls actually treated him pretty well since they had been 'teased' by Loki when she informed them he had access to their showers and baths if he wanted. Though he would never use it, this knowledge made some of the bolder girls act more openly around Vahn because it was very obvious to most people that he was actually very approachable as long as you didn't overstep your bounds.
After exchanging greetings with several people, Vahn found his way into the relatively empty section of the Twilight Manor and eventually reached Loki's private residence. Since he could sense her inside, Vahn pushed against the door and entered without knocking, as she already knew he was there even before he arrived. Loki was currently 'sleeping' on the bed in a very convincing manner, if not for the fact that her somewhat fat belly was exposed. Vahn knew she would never go to sleep without properly covering her stomach and she probably just wanted to 'tempt' him a bit. Playing along with her scheme, Vahn removed his shoes before climbing into the bed and pulling out a cover to put over her stomach before rubbing it with his palm.
Loki laughed in a mischevious manner before parting her eyes slightly before saying, "You're always so gentle~." and rolling over to face him. Vahn had positioned himself on her left side so she could be comfortable and pulled Loki's head to rest against his as he asked, "How have you been, Loki? Is everything going fine with your body...is there anything I can help with?" While he was speaking, Vahn was inspecting Loki's body with his [Eyes of Truth] to make sure there weren't any problems. Compared to the 21 weeks pregnant Hephaestus, Loki looked closer to 30 weeks and the baby had already matured a great deal. At this rate, her actual pregnancy looked like it would have only taken around 6-7 months instead of the 9 that Hephaestus was trending towards.
As if she could read his mind, Loki placed her hand atop his and said, "Don't worry, she won't be coming out until I 'let' her...kukuku~." Vahn knew it wasn't really 'fair' for Loki to have to push herself so hard for someone else but he also felt like Hephaestus 'should' be the first person to give birth to his child. She was inarguably the woman he loved the most and Vahn wanted to be able to give her something special that was uniquely her own. Fortunately, he could help accelerate the process a bit so Hephaestus would most likely give birth around 8 months, making Loki's 'burden' a little bit lighter.
Vahn continued to absentmindedly stroke Loki's stomach and asked, "Are you busy today...?" before looking towards her slightly parted red eyes. Loki's smile widened and she said, "Nope~." even though the truth of the matter was quite the opposite. Since she needed to take a break herself soon, there were various matters Loki was trying to resolve in preparation for some of the Alliance's future actions. She had been smoothing things over with some of the stronger Familias, even those outside of the Alliance, to get them to support and make use of the Supply Depot Vahn was going to make. There was also the matter of procuring land rights and negotiating with the various political groups to make sure they couldn't really interfere with the Alliance in the future. She was also trying to get a better foothold in their social circles since their daughter would be able to 'take control' more easily if there was a gap to exploit...
Even though he knew Loki was probably lying to him, as her silence toward the end usually showed that she was either thinking about something or gauging another person's reaction. Pulling her head down a little, Vahn kissed Loki's forehead and said, "Then allow me to keep you company for a bit...", playing along with the 'act' since Loki was doing her best for 'them'. Loki began to laugh and brought her hand up to his face and said, "Kiss me, Vahn..." with a very loving look in her glimmering red eyes. Without delaying, Vahn did exactly as Loki had said, sealing the mischevious and loveable goddesses lips as they shared a very long and passionate embrace.
Vahn stayed with Loki until Finn had shown up outside her door, reminding her of a meeting she had previously scheduled. Loki sat up from the bed with Vahn's assistance and he gave her the new [Maternity Band], which was far more comfortable than the previous one. He then walked with her all the way to the gate, completely ignoring Finn's awkward smile when they first appeared from her room.
Since Loki looked somewhat 'abnormal' being pregnant, as her body didn't show the secondary signs of pregnancy like 'normal' girls, Vahn felt like she was struggling a bit just getting around. Even with the support of the [Maternity Band], he couldn't help but feel a little guilty but his concerns were allayed a bit when a large carriage arrived for her. Vahn had almost expected her to be walking to her next destination and was thinking of accompanying her the whole way until she 'shooed' him away. Since he had a habit of 'forcing' a situation based on his own understanding of a situation, Loki knew Vahn wasn't really qualified for politics and didn't want him to even establish connections with some of the corrupt households that 'ruled' the City.
Thinking that Loki simply wanted him to 'rest' properly on his days off, Vahn decided to head back to the Hearth Manor but still asked Fafnir to look after her from the shadows. Vahn often had Fafnir watch over Loki recently so it didn't mind at all, happily answer the call and skulking through her shadow to protect her from harm. Its personality hadn't changed much, but Fafnir was more jubilant than it had been in the past since it now had many things to do and got to spend time with Vahn when he groomed it periodically. It also talked with Terra a lot and had been getting along well with everyone after learning how to 'wade' through the shadows to avoid damaging the property. This also allowed it to protect its weak spot a bit, though its speed when doing so was much slower than when it was flying or moving through the shadows completely 'submerged'.
For the rest of the day, and the subsequent Sunday, Vahn decided to just spend time with the girls at the Manor and ended up having another large picnic while they discussed other possible renovations to the Manor. At this point, the underground structure around the Hearth Manor itself had completely finished and now they were just branching it out to the other Manors of the Alliance to make sure everyone could move about undetected if necessary. Since it seemed like an interesting idea, Vahn agreed when Hestia asked if they could install a large underground pool as it would be useful for rearing fish and some aquatic species of plants and herbs. Vahn was very fond of 'unique' things like that and asked that it still be useable by people since having a subterranean pool to swim in would be pretty cool, especially if there were even more secret passages to explore...
During the weekend, Vahn also spent a bit more time with Riveria, Ryuu, Lefiya, Syr, and Eina, as they often visited Terra's Garden. He had first shown up just to check on Riveria's state but ended up staying around for a few hours to help groom Terra as an 'apology' for 'ignoring' her presence the previous few days. Ryuu and Lefiya had shown up to check up on Riveria as well, as they were very worried about her state as a result of Riveria being a High Elf they both respected. As for Syr and Eina, the former showed up since she enjoyed spending her idle time in the garden while Eina had conveyed the fact that her mother, Aina, would like to attend the wedding. Aina had followed Riveria all the way from the Elven Kingdom so there was no way Vahn would have refused, even extending the offer himself when they first discussed the matter.
While all of this was happening, Riveria was somewhat distraught but maintained a cool expression most of the time. Even when she soaked in the wellspring wearing nothing but her swimsuit, she had a placid expression on her face and simply made small talk with Ryuu about what kind of future they'd like to see for their people. That seemed to be a big 'trend' these days, at least within the Hearth Manor, as everyone was often talking about the future and various other interesting topics. Vahn heard from Hestia that this was very 'normal' when there were children about to be born as it made people start thinking ahead more, especially if they wanted some of their own. Since one of Hestia's primary Divinities was 'Family', Vahn trusted that her words were the truth as he himself was constantly worrying about the future for similar reasons...
One interesting 'change' that had occurred, at least around the girls within the garden, was the fact that Lefiya seemed a lot less shy than before. She was proactively sticking near Vahn and, when he had been grooming Terra on her roost, Lefiya had even worn a swimsuit and asked Terra if she could help out. Vahn found Lefiya's pink swimsuit very charming because, even though it was a bit childish, it suited her thin figure and created a bit of a contrast with Riveria's green bikini and Ryuu's white one-piece swimsuit that made it look like she was going to race someone. It seemed like it was going to become a common trend amongst the Elven girls to 'soak' within the wellspring, though Terra didn't seem to mind it much as their presence actually strengthened her dominion as having entities with nature affinities around was very beneficial.
Another change in Lefiya, which had been the most noticeable, was the fact that she had seemingly become a bit of a chatterbox and was constantly asking Vahn questions about how he was feeling, what he was thinking, and anything she was confused about in her own research. Vahn found that the more personable Lefiya was very refreshing and answered all of her questions honestly, even though some of them were somewhat personal, especially when it got down to things like his favorite color, the type of food he liked to eat, and other seemingly innocuous questions. When he asked why she was suddenly so curious, Lefiya had sheepishly explained, "I just want to get to know you better...after all, we're going to be together for the rest of our lives, right...?" Unable to refute her words, Vahn simply pat Lefiya on the head and felt a great deal of warmth to see her lively and cheerful smile...
During Sunday evening, before Vahn had retired to bed with Eina, he ended up having a small discussion with Preasia, who was preparing herself for the night to follow. She seemed to be thinking about the future as well and wanted to learn magic in the future alongside mixing. Instead of general magic, however, Preasia just wanted to learn how to heal people since her 'dream' was to become a doctor. Eventually, if he was willing to teach her, Preasia wanted to learn Vahn's techniques because she wanted to be able to help people, just like he had helped her. She didn't want to continue being someone that was simply cared for by other people and instead wanted to pursue a path where she could be the one taking care of others, specifically so Vahn wouldn't have to do everything on his own.
Since Preasia already had a very docile and quiet demeanor, Vahn could easily imagine her as an adorable little Doctor and didn't mind her wanting to apprentice with him at all. She had already changed a great deal over the last few days and, though she hid it around other people, Vahn found that Preasia's current appearance simply made her cuter. There was now an incredibly soft layer of fur covering her shoulders, arms, back, and legs, leaving her face, chest, abdomen, palms, and feet, as the only exposed parts of her skin now. Though she seemed to be somewhat self-conscious about it, Vahn allayed her concerns a great deal by simply petting her without the use of his [Hands of Nirvana] until she had calmed down. Her entire body was no very 'pettable' and, though it wasn't the softness of her skin like Hestia, Preasia was now a strong contender for the 'softest' girl within the Manor.
While he was petting her, Preasia was wearing nothing but a cream-colored bra and panties as she lay across his lap with a pillow supporting her upper body. This had originally started when Vahn wanted to check her Status Board, confirming that it still showed up and that her Innate hadn't yet awoken, but turned into a small session of [Petting] to help her relax. Since he had a bit of time before he was supposed to be going to bed, Vahn spent it allaying her concerns and promising that he would prove to her that he found her current appearance charming the following evening.
Vahn really didn't want her to stop developing her Innate further since it actually made her look almost ridiculously adorable, even if it was a bit 'strange' at the same time. At this point, she was more fur-covered than Fenrir, so many people would likely misconstrue her as a Xenos if she walked around in the streets without clothing covering her body. She previously just wore a thick wool sweater and a pair of small shorts, but now Preasia almost always had on a pair of pajamas that were a little larger than suitable since she wanted to cover her hands and legs as well. He was hoping that she would actually learn to control it in the future, or at least opened up enough that she didn't mind being seen by the other girls. Right now, she actually took her baths in private and typically only had Fenrir accompany her since she was feeling a little self-conscious about it.
Hearing Vahn's promises, Preasia had simply nodded her head while hugging the pillow supporting her upper body. Vahn's [Petting] was very effective, even more so when he was actively trying to comfort people, so Preasia simply didn't have it in her to refute his words. She felt progressively more worried as the fur on her body increased in volume but, at moments like this, she found herself not caring at all because it seemed that Vahn 'liked' her soft fur. Even she knew that it was very soft, often tracing her hands across her own arms and legs, so Preasia was happy Vahn was fond of the fur even if it made her feel worried...
When they finally parted, Vahn went off to his own room to meet up with Eina while Preasia returned to the somewhat small room she shared with Fenrir. Even though they weren't officially roommates, they often slept together and she had actually become Fenrir's defacto 'hug pillow' lately. When she first came to the Manor, Fenrir had often hugged her body and comforted her so Preasia actually didn't mind it much at all since Fenrir's fur was very warm. Though she was sometimes worried about Fenrir's claws, especially after learning about their properties, there had never been any issues till now since Fenrir alway slinked her paws together when she hugged her body from behind.
Fenrir sat up the moment Preasia entered the room and patted her paws on the soft bed, saying, "Preasia, come sleep. Tomorrow will come faster if you sleep early~!" Though she was a bit envious of the fact that Preasia was going to be with her Master tomorrow, Fenrir wanted to cheer on her 'friend' since they were actually very close. There was also another reason why she wanted Preasia to hurry, though she would never tell her directly, which was the fact that her Master's scent was currently covering the Sheep Girl's body and she was very very soft. Without questioning Fenrir's 'motives' at all, Preasia nodded her head and crawled into the bed with Fenrir, quickly being snuggled by the Wolf Girl as she nuzzled into her back. Preasia felt very comfortable being held like this and curled up her legs slightly with Fenrir's sticking close.
When Preasia finally fell asleep, Fenrir's eyes parted slightly and her silent breaths became marginally louder as she nuzzled into the thin fur on Preasia's neck and enjoyed the scent of her Master that had settled into the fur. For several hours, as she didn't actually require sleep, Fenrir's breathing could be heard spreading through the low light of the small room...where a Wolf Girl could be seen hugging a Sheep Girl with a pleasant smile on her face...
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Loki's Schemes','So fluffy (UwU)~!','*Breathing Intensifies*...Smells like mutton or Master?')
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