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Published at 5th of January 2019 10:17:49 PM

Chapter 447


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Vahn awoke around four hours later when he felt Eina's body begin to stir awake. She had been sleeping for more than ten hours and still seemed to be somewhat tired when she opened her emerald green eyes and stared into Vahn's smiling face. A smile blossomed on her own and she angled her head to kiss his lips before placing her head back on his chest and staring across at the sleeping Hephaestus. Eina began to wonder how long she should stay like this since she had started to feel a bit hungry and wasn't sure if she should say anything until her stomach seemed to have made the decision for her.

Hearing the somewhat cute grumbling of Eina's stomach, Vahn chuckled a bit before stroking her flushed face and saying, "It's fine, Eina, you don't have to worry about such things...we'll be together a lot from now on, so don't feel like you need to force yourself..." Eina had a thoughtful expression for a moment before raising her body and realizing she was still completely naked. Before she asked, Vahn pulled a pair of casual wear suitable for her out of his inventory, including a light-green set of lingerie for her use. Eina smiled and grabbed the clothes before folding them neatly and saying, "I'm going to go take a bath and get something to eat...if you need me for anything, please let me know, Vahn. I have the next three days off, but I'll be using some of that time to help Misha and Rose prepare their things..."

Vahn nodded his head before tilting it to the side, ruminating over a few matters before Eina laughed and said, "After Hephaestus wakes up, make sure to show your face around the Manor. Today is the first day of the new year so I'm certain everyone would like to see you..." Her words finished, Eina scooted off the bed and wrapped her body in a bathrobe before walking toward the door with shaky steps. Though her body didn't really hurt, it felt like there was a 'full' sensation in her lower body that had yet to fade. She noticed her own genitals were slightly swollen, even though Vahn had made ample efforts to make sure she didn't have any real injuries. If not for the fact that she wanted to 'feel' things properly, there wouldn't be any discomfort at all so Eina didn't complain and did her best to walk normally.

Once Eina left, Vahn started thinking about the matter that had come to his mind when Eina mentioned the fact that it was the first day of the new year. He had previously resolved himself to look at the various [Hearts Desire]s that had been accumulating in his inventory and now, while he was comforting Hephaestus' tired body, seemed like a good opportunity to do so. He would be stuck in the bed for a few hours longer and was actually curious about the contents of the orbs. The Divination had changed his outlook on many things and now he knew the important of 'knowledge', even if it was related to past events. Having a stronger bond with the girls that had already decided to be with him was never a bad thing...

As the first orb he had stockpiled, Vahn pulled out the pale orange [Hearts Desire: Haruhime] before breaking it in his hand and experiencing the stagnation of time once again. This time, however, he had his [Eyes of Truth] active and tried to pay attention to the phenomenon in order to get a better understanding of it before darkness claimed him and he was once again brought into an endless black space. The floor was non-reflective, but Vahn felt like he was standing on water as a result of the cool and wet sensation against his bare feet. Just like when he had used Chloe's, Vahn found himself in a black space surrounded by images that depicted Haruhime's past.

Since he had some experience with the phenomenon, Vahn knew this indicated that Haruhime on longer cared that much about her past and simply kept some of the memories alive in her subconscious. By the time he looked through the various memories, the avatar of Haruhime should appear and the cycle would have caught up to the reality after she conveyed her feelings to him. His time in this space was merely to 'experience' the things she held close to her heart and was willing to allow him to glean insight into...

Vahn stepped in front of the first memory, which was a subtle yellow color, which meant it was a time when Haruhime was happy. He could feel her happiness as he watched an adorable little Haruhime playing with a spinning top alongside a chibi version of Mikoto. Even without experiencing it in its entirety, Vahn knew this was the first time Haruhime had left the shrine and snuck out to play with the young members of the Takemikazuchi Familia...

Moving on, Vahn arrived at a grey image that was tinged with wisps of purple as he saw Haruhime bowing low in front of a fierce looking man that Vahn could understand to be her father. He had a complex expression on his face as he reprimanded her heavily for sneaking out but, though Haruhime didn't seem to realize it, Vahn could see the concern in the man's face. Several of her memories were related to her father and Vahn found it somewhat sad knowing that many of them were tinged with negative emotions. Other than the times when she was playing with the children of the Take' Familia, Haruhime only seemed to be happy when she was reading stories in a small room. Even the books themselves were things obtained from Mikoto since the only thing she was allowed to read normally were books on etiquette and how to be a proper wife in the future...

Haruhime spent many of her formative years being 'trained' to become a bride and Vahn even got to see the memory of when her father declared she would be married into one of the allied clans when she reached maturity. It made him frustrated seeing her crying figure in the deep blue memory and Vahn wished he could reach out and comfort the small girl that wasn't even seven years old at the time. The fact that her own father made her bow low when he was speaking made Vahn very uncomfortable and he promised to never treat his children in such a way...

Vahn noticed that, from the time of her kidnapping, Haruhime's memories became very sporadic and, other than some 'tragic' sequences, she didn't place much emphasis on them at all. Vahn could see gaps of several months in her memories at times and the only 'good' ones were when she was being cared for by Aisha and looking toward the moon, praying for the arrival of her hero before it was 'too late'. Soon after, Vahn saw the memory of Haruhime taking her first 'customer' and it was a dark purple full of regret and inhibitions as she stared at the man that was more than twice her size. Vahn could feel darkness collapsing in on him from all directions as the memory was suddenly cut short as a result of Haruhime passing out...

Vahn felt his mind become somewhat numb at this point until he finally reached a memory that shone as vibrant as the sun with a tinge of pink on the edges. When he peered into the memory, Vahn could see his own figure somehow wreathed in light as if he was some saintly entity that had stepped into Haruhime's life. The rest of the memory looked dull and bland, almost like Haruhime couldn't see anything but his 'heroic' figure in her mind at the time. It was somewhat embarrassing seeing himself in such a way because Vahn was aware of how 'embellished' the image of himself was in her mind. When he picked her up, Vahn could feel warmth and happiness spread through his own chest as the image of himself in the memory 'saved' Haruhime from the brothel...

After that, most of Haruhime's memories became far more vibrant and Vahn saw several yellow, pink, and even some red ones in the memory queue. He got to experience some of the private conversations Haruhime had with the other girls, including the ones where she 'educated' girls like Hestia, Lili, and even Mikoto. Vahn felt somewhat guilty watching her 'lessons' which included some rather erotic practices. He even had to avert his eyes when she began teaching some of the girls how to masturbate since it seemed 'rude' to stare at such things. 'Unfortunately', Vahn could feel the happy and somewhat teasing emotions that Haruhime experience at the time and it made his heart flutter a bit.


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The most difficult memories to deal with, however, were the times Haruhime had spent with him in the Dungeon. Vahn knew Haruhime was affected by his presence, but he had no idea she saw him in such a 'passionate' light. Haruhime pushed herself so hard and most of the memories had been colored a passionate red that Vahn could feel spreading through his own body and making him heat up. Every time Haruhime looked at the version of him in her memories, her heart would begin to beat rapidly as powerful urges surged through her body. Vahn wasn't even sure how she was able to fight in such a state because her thoughts were plagued by an over awareness of his presence...

Vahn realized now that he had seriously underestimated Haruhime's infatuation with him and he actually felt somewhat guilty for denying her affections for so long. By the time he had gotten near present events, which included her memories of the Divination, Vahn had already decided that he couldn't keep putting Haruhime through such 'trying' experiences. She put in an incredible amount of effort to improve and Vahn knew that, even if he gave in to her advances a bit, she would continue to work hard without developing a reliance on him. All of her recent memories pertained to how she could become stronger, strong enough to protect herself so that she could continue to walk at his side without worrying him...

After watching the final memory, Vahn felt Haruhime's delicate arms wrap around his body as she rested her head against his back and muttered, "Thank you for saving me from the darkness, Vahn..." before the black void around them began to shatter. Vahn turned his head to the fading memories and, even though she wouldn't remember what he was going to say, said, "I will do my best to be the hero you see in me..." The avatar of Haruhime laughed in a happy manner before Vahn suddenly found himself back in the real world once again. After releasing a long sigh, Vahn took another deep breath and hardened his heart before pulling out a resplendent blue orb, this one belonging to Hestia...

Against his expectations, Vahn actually didn't end up in a memory where he had to experience the millions of years that Hestia had dealt with her version of loneliness. Instead, he appeared in what looked like an ancient temple that was filled with warmth that was emitted by a beautiful bluish-gold flame in a hearth located at the side. There was a simple mat on the ground and Vahn could see Hestia sitting peacefully with her long black hair reaching all the way to the ground and spreading out. As if she had detected his presence, Hestia turned around and had rose-red eyes as she whispered, "Vahn..."

Vahn wanted to speak to her but, unlike the dark void full of memories, he didn't actually have a body and was more like a disembodied 'awareness'. Hestia began to laugh before Vahn sudden found himself next to her with the warmth of the hearth spreading through his 'existence'. He still didn't have a body, but that didn't stop Hestia from leaning against the void itself as if she found some comfort in the action. With a somewhat lazy voice, Hestia reached out her hand and stoked the hearth with a long golden rod as she said, "I'm not sure how you found your way into my heart like this, but it makes me happy knowing you were able to do so...if possible, I'd like to just stay like this forever...but I'll just be content with however long you can manage to keep your awareness..."

Since he could say anything, Vahn thought of several words that might bring her some comfort but Hestia just laughed, almost as if she could hear him, and just said, "Quiet now, Vahn...just watch the hearth with me for a while...that will make me very happy." Though there were various things he wanted to say, Vahn turned his attention to the strange flames in the hearth and just did as Hestia asked. He didn't know why he felt compelled to listen to her, but it seemed very important so he gave into her 'selfishness' once again...

By the time Vahn returned to his senses, he found that the temple around them had ceased to exist and he now sat with his actual body, cradling the sleeping Hestia in his arms. She opened her eyes and Vahn could see that, instead of the pure blue of her real self, or the rose-red of her divine self, she now had eyes that were a mixture of blue and gold, the exact same as the hearth that had now vanished. With a beautiful smile blooming on her face, Hestia climbed up his body and sealed his lips for a very long time before saying in a happy voice, "I'm glad you stayed until the end..."

Vahn felt like there were important things to take from Hestia's words but he felt a numbing sensation that was preventing him from forming any coherent thoughts. It was very similar to when he had his memories erased after using the 'Scroll of Prophecy' and Vahn felt like he had forgotten something very important. Hestia showed a somewhat melancholic expression on her face for a brief moment as she hugged his body tightly and said, "Just having you here with me when I needed you is enough...thank you, Vahn...please treat my other self well from now on..." With the end of Hestia's words, Vahn felt like his thoughts were dissipating as her warmth spread through his body and he once again awoke in the real world...

Though he couldn't be sure, Vahn felt like he and Hestia had sat at the hearth for an unfathomably long period of time. He didn't get to glean anything from her past and, though there seemed to be many important developments, he wasn't able to discern anything else from her heart's desire either. The only thing he knew was that, even though she seemed somewhat sad, the Hestia within the vision was also very happy that they were together. Checking the system, he could see that several notifications had appeared without his realization and was absolutely mortified when he saw the values listed...

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//[Hearts Desire: Sanjouno Haruhime] fulfilled. Extra Parameter 'Love' unlocked.//

[Sanjouno Haruhime]: Love 11,418(Devoted)

//Bond Established with [Sanjouno Haruhime]//

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//Optional Quest Triggered//

[Quest: A Man's Responsibility, Repeatable]

Rank: B-SS

Objective: Impregnate Sanjouno Haruhime (0). Ensure a safe delivery; Current Children(0)

Rewards: 100,000 OP, 1x [Guardian:(Nameless)]

Failure Condition(s): Death, Sanjouno Haruhime's Death, (Nameless) Child's Death

Penalty: 200 Karma (0)

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//[Hearts Desire: Hestia] fulfilled. Extra parameter 'Love' unlocked.//

[Hestia]: Love 520,108,023(Eternal Love)

//Bond established with [Hestia]//


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//Optional Quest Triggered//

[Quest: Origin of Heroes]

Rank: SS-SSS

Objective: Impregnate Hestia(0). Ensure a safe delivery.

Rewards: 1,000,000 OP, 1x [Guardian:(Nameless)], 1x [Heroic Tale]

Failure Condition(s): Death, Hestia's Death, (Nameless) Child's Death

Penalty: 520,108,023( Karma (0), Divine Tribulation Tiggered

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Vahn had thought that Hephaestus had the highest value of 'Love' for him, but it almost felt like Hestia had poured her entire existence into loving him. He didn't even know what to make of the number since it was hard to process how someone could have more than 520 Million points of love for him. It actually felt like there was a heavy weight on his chest all of a sudden and Vahn could even feel the existence of Hestia, almost as if she were stuck to his body. When he focused on the feeling, Vahn even found himself at Hestia's side in an instant and could see that she was currently talking with Eina and Syr before suddenly turning her head toward him and showing a shocked expression on her face before it bloomed into a lovely smile and she hopped to her feet...

With her rise, Vahn suddenly found himself back in his own room with a light layer of sweat covering his body and he could sense Hestia's aura making its way through the Manor like a homing missile toward his location. Vahn already knew that the 'bond' he had with the girls became stronger depending on how high their parameters were, but he had never experienced an 'out of body' experience like that the moment he thought about them. Hestia was obviously aware of it as well and ended up opening the door with a bit of force as she grinned at Vahn and said words he couldn't hear because of the sound-dampening formation. However, even though he couldn't hear them, Vahn knew that Hestia had said, "I love you~!' before leaping at him like a goddess-shaped projectile...

---

Hestia's 'invasion' had stirred the tired Hephaestus awake and she was shocked to find Hestia clinging to Vahn's body like an animal in heat as she kissed around his face and neck in complete disregard of her presence. Her godly raiment had even begun to peel away from her body and it didn't seem like she had any intentions of stopping any time soon. 'Fortunately', Hestia was very weak and Vahn was able to raise his body and let her fall into his lap. Undeterred, Hestia began kissing around his chest with an enamored expression on her face and even sent a shiver through his pectoral muscle when she tried to roll his nipple with her tongue.

Vahn pulled Hestia's shoulders back and she began taking deep breaths with a feverish expression on her face as she said, "I can feel it...it's like Vahn's body is inside mine even though we were so far apart...I want to be together with you even more..." With her 'explanation' finished, Hestia tried to cling to Vahn once again but found her arms pressed firmly against her sides as Vahn tried to calm her down. At this point, she was already completely naked and had even taken to grinding against him because she couldn't move her upper body easily...

After Hestia managed to tire herself our, Vahn explained the situation to Hephaestus and the exhausted Hestia. He explained that, if he was close enough with someone, he was able to gain some insight into their thoughts and feelings and create a bond that linked them together, much like he was linked with Hephaestus through the eternal flame. Vahn explained that the strength of the emotions made the bond stronger and that, when he linked with Hestia, her emotions had somewhat overwhelmed him and 'pulled' his consciousness through the bond to her side. This triggered Hestia's excited state because, as she said, it was almost like he had 'entered' inside of her.

Hephaestus assumed this was an evolution in Vahn's abilities after her experience with him the previous night and cautioned him about putting too much of his focus on the bond that he shared with goddesses. Since they had lived a very long time, it would be very difficult for Vahn to actually bear the burden of their emotions, much like he had been easily overwhelmed the previous night the very moment he allowed Hephaestus' to spread through him. Hestia was simply happy to know she now shared a powerful connection with Vahn and, from how he described things, it seemed to be the strongest bond of all.

Toward the end of the conversation, Vahn mustered up a bit of courage and asked Hestia, who had been lazing about with a silly smile on her face, "Hestia, I know it may be somewhat rude to ask, but how old are you?" Not just Hestia, but Hephaestus' eyes widened slightly because, even though she knew Hestia for nearly her entire life, she didn't actually know how old she was either. Hestia's expression turned somewhat serious and it didn't seem like she was willing to give away the value until she saw the genuine curiosity on Vahn's handsome face. Still on cloud nine after the earlier events, Hestia released a long sigh before saying, "With the advent of the new year, I should be precisely 520,108,023 years old..." As she spoke, Hestia hung her head as if she were very ashamed of the number and had a deep blush on her face.

Hephaestus seemed shocked by the number and her mouth had opened into a small circle but Vahn didn't seem to mind it at all and just nodded his head as he hugged Hestia's still naked body in his arms. It was a somewhat strange though, but Vahn felt like Hestia had converted all of her 'accumulated' Love over the course of her entire existence and had placed it on him. Hephaestus was a somewhat stable existence when they met, yet her Love had rapidly built over time and, even though they had only known each other for around five months, her value was at 113,986. Hestia, however, was somewhat unstable and had been a virgin before meeting Vahn and 'giving' herself to him. He now somewhat understood why she was so clingy after the fact since even Hephaestus was very affectionate when her numbers were much lower.

Vahn spent some more time talking with Hephaestus and Hestia and asked a few questions about what it was like to live in Heaven. Now that Hestia had given away her own age, Vahn also got to learn that Hephaestus was 419,556,016 years old and they both began telling him about their pasts, with a few skimmed details on Hephaestus' part. Through this conversation, Vahn got to learn that Hestia, much like in her [Hearts Desire] actually spent the vast majority of her time in a large temple dedicated to her simply stoking what she called the 'Divine Hearth'. With further questioning, he even learned that it was the same wispy blue and gold that he had visualized earlier but, when Vahn asked about the significance of the item Hestia adamantly refused to answer. Knowing that he had an item in his inventory that had the same name, Vahn could speculate somewhat and wondered if there was something that made Hestia unique amongst the other gods...

(A/N: I figured some people would want a reminder, so here you go~!)

[Divine Hearth]

Rank: Unique

Use: Creates an inviolable space in an area where no harm can befall those within. Forces those within to remain calm and regenerates any pre-existing wounds. Duration: 72H

(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Haruhime's Resolve','Peace...','The burden of Hestia's Love','Secrets of the Heavens...')

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