Getting involved with diplomatic affairs and trying to help a Kingdom prosper wasn't a simple task to tend to. Though Riveria had borne the largest burden in ensuring things went smoothly, it had required a great deal of effort on behalf of everyone. The Alliance became the main trading partner with the Elven Kingdom and, though there were accusations from some that this had all been an elaborate takeover of the latter, it ultimately didn't matter. With the power and authority of the Alliance, it was almost impossible for anyone to oppose their decisions and, time and again, it was easy to see that the actions taken by their group had been for the benefit of everyone.
Unless you were an organization that made a living through exploiting others, association with the Alliance guaranteed you would prosper, a simple fact that had caused their numbers to increase so much that they had started to expand into a second district of the City. Previously, they had only taken up a large part of District 4 of the City but, with so many small organizations throwing their lot in with the Alliance, the territories they managed bled into District 3 as well. This meant that the Alliance had slowly started to assimilate the area that contained Daedalus Street, home to the impoverished and downtrodden.
The reason for such a happening was rather simple, being that Vahn placed a much greater focus on improving the quality of life for those who struggled to make a living in the current social structure. With the reforms taking place in the Elven Kingdom, he slowly started putting pressures on the Nobles of Orario and, with the support of an increasing number of gods, the Nobles had no choice but to back down and consolidate their power, entirely incapable of contending against the massive military and financial might of the Alliance.
The biggest factor that prevented them from taking direct action was knowing that Vahn had not only 'slaughtered' the majority of the Elven Nobles' forces on his own, but also stripped them of their titles after the fact. At this point, the Nobles of Orario simply wanted to avoid earning his ire and, at least publically, they had started to reign in their own troublesome members and trying to appear more 'clean' to the public. They had even tried to 'resist' against the Alliance's efforts to influence the poverty-stricken of Orario by enacting policies to open a larger number of Orphanages and food distribution centers, fighting against 'progressive reform' with 'charity'.
Even these efforts didn't amount to much as, even though there were a few people that enjoyed getting things for free, the 'opportunity' provided by the Alliance offered them an actual solution to their problems. The Alliance had created hundreds of thousands of jobs that paid much better wages than similar positions around the City. Most of these jobs were manual labor, construction, and maintenance work, but these were things that most people could do if they were physically fit. Since the work paid more than a Low-Class Adventurer, it meant anyone who was employed through the Alliance was easily able to support their basic living expenses and, by working hard, they could easily earn as much as a High-Class Adventurer without endangering their lives.
Wages like these had greatly increased the civilian workforce of the Alliance and had even drawn in people from other Districts who sought stable work that paid well. The fact that the Alliance also provided three meals a day to contracted workers was one of the biggest factors behind this, as people enjoyed the delicious food and drink provided to them while also being able to save their earnings for their own personal use. To capitalize on this, and also earn back a bit of the money that was being paid out, several restaurants, taverns, and entertainment facilities were opened in the populous regions.
The taverns were supplied with unique food and drink that had never been seen in the City previously and, as for the entertainment facilities, they were often fitted with [Projection Sphere]s that were constantly showing the sports matches that were often being played these days. Since being an athlete paid 'very' well, and there were far more females in the City than males, the number of teams had quickly increased.
Many women, who previously were only able to make a living in the service and entertainment industry, if they didn't want to fight for their lives in the Dungeon, were drawn to the idea of becoming athletes and earning high pay for relatively safe and easy work. This did result in something rather unexpected, however, as sports were becoming an increasingly popular spectator sport with all current teams, for both Soccer and Volleyball, being women only. It might have been because of the social climate, but most men were still either Laborers or Adventurers and would rather watch the rather scantily clad women play sports than try to play themselves. There were also far fewer organizations that wanted to support and sponsor men's teams and, without enough interest to make a league, there were currently no matches played by men within the Coliseums.
Though this had bothered Vahn at first, there were actually very few complaints among the general populous and, as the interest for men was simply lacking, he didn't try to force the issue. One thing he did push for, however, was the inclusion of Amazonian women into 'sports' as it had always bothered him that their only means of living previously had been either being prostitutes or Adventurers, most of the time both. The fact that they had amazingly athletic figures, as a result of their training since childhood, made them incredible athletes and, after a bit of effort, they had become the dominant force within the industry.
Vahn had been hoping to change how the various races were seen in the City and, to ensure that he had more sway when going to Telkyura in the future, he figured actions like these would have far-reaching effects on the future. This also had the side effect of making him 'very' popular with Amazons in general, to the point that groups would sometimes stop by the Hearth Manor or linger around the areas he sometimes frequented. Fortunately, as he was often very busy, he was able to avoid the mobs of healthy brown flesh 'most' of the time.
It wasn't just his popularity with the Amazons that had been increasing, as his reputation and rapport with the general public had reached the point that he was a common name in almost every meaningful conversation, for better or worse. Within the Elven Kingdom, there had actually been a push to make Larfal step down and, instead of being the acting Prime Minister, the people had wanted him to become King. The reforms he had introduced to the Kingdom had already started to have a major impact on the lives of everyone within the Kingdom's borders.
Though he had held onto it at first, Vahn had eventually started teaching a few skilled Elven [Blacksmith]s how to create a basic template for the [Sage Aldrnari's Blessing]. The key components still needed to be created by him, so as to protect the 'secret' of his and Terra's blood, but it was still possible for the main band to be produced by others. As for the crest, Vahn had actually reached out to the skilled Priestesses of the former High Priestess Faction and started teaching a few of them how to apply the crest. He also took time out of his day to apply a few and, as a result of his proficiency increasing, Vahn could complete the entire pattern within a short fifteen minutes. This made him a little too popular with some of the Elven women, but his 'obstinance' in not increasing the number of girls around him had held out, thus far.
With the availability of the [Sage Aldrnari's Blessing], the very obvious increase in the number of women possessing what was now being called the 'Sage's Mark', and the techniques Vahn had been teaching Elven Physicians, the Elven Kingdom was now experiencing a population boom. Within the course of a single year, the number of children being born, which typically hovered between 300-500, had jumped up to a monstrous 10,908. Even several older Elven women, who had already stopped having children for fear of death, had 'helped' out. Riveria eventually had to put restrictions on this, so as to prevent a situation where there were too few adults to tend to the children, but it was still a major event that had elevated Vahn's status to one of reverence from the perspective of the Elves.
One troublesome matter was that Sylfia had never given up on her pursuit of him and, after interacting with many of the girls he brought to visit the Elven Kingdom, she had 'integrated' herself into the girls' social circle. Even Lefiya, who had opposed the idea at first, had started to come around on the issue after learning how much she had in common with Sylfia. They were both rather unfortunate, made orphans in their youth while Sylfia actually had to keep her existence a secret for decades. Then, though she wasn't as prodigious as Lefiya, Sylfia also had a keen interest in Magic and had been able to reach Level 5 without ever leaving the Elven Kingdom. This, combined with the fact that they were both considered 'Daughter's of Wishe', eventually made the two girls as close as sisters, instead of distant cousins.
Even so, Vahn had continued to be 'obstinant' and it seemed, at least on the surface, that Sylfia had stopped pressing the matter. This, however, didn't mean she had given up as, instead of rushing things, she had confided in Riveria and Lefiya that she was willing to wait for up to a hundred years if it meant she could eventually bear his child. When Vahn had learned of this, it had caused him to seriously consider the matter for a while but, with the birth of even more of his children, it prevented him from acting on his thoughts. After all, as Sylfia herself pointed out, she was still very young and had her duties as High Priestess, even if the organization itself publically held very little power now...
With the passage of a year, Eina, Lili, Naaza, Freya, Eirene, Demeter, and Preasia all ended up giving birth to beautiful and healthy children. Eina's daughter, Eiko, had been an adorable little Half-Elf with slightly darker hair than Eina but similarly emerald green eyes. Her Guardian was a Gemcutter Squirrel, a tiny creature with chestnut brown fur and green stripes along its back. As for Lili, she gave Vahn a rather big scare during her pregnancy but had managed to give birth very easily, even though his expectations had caused him to fret over her safety. Pallum children were actually 'very' small and he could hardly hold them without feel a bit of panic after they had been born.
The triplets ended up being identical to each other, possessing light brown hair and pale green eyes. Though Vahn and Lili could easily tell them apart, they ended up having unique baby clothes that had the names Rose, Iris, and Daisy. It was common for Pallum names to be related to their origin, sometimes even having names like Pot, Pan, and Stone, but Lili had chosen flower names for her daughters, hoping they were able to bloom into beautiful and vibrant young girls under the care of everyone in the Manor. Each also had the exact same Guardian, a creature that didn't previously exist with Danmachi, known as Mountain Corgi. They were small, dog-like creatures that had tiny legs but contained a very pure Earth Elemental energy, just like Lili's daughters.
Naaza had become an almost overly affectionate girl during her pregnancy, often showing a melancholic expression whenever she interacted with others while Vahn wasn't around. As a result, Vahn tried to tend to her whenever he could and, when she finally gave birth, it ended up being to a very healthy young Chienthrope boy with brown hair and an adorable little tail that trembled and wagged slightly whenever he was happy. He ended up being named Macht, a strange name that she had apparently been brooding over during the times he was absent. As for his Guardian, Macht ended up have a strange creature called a Deepwater Salamander that looked like a somewhat rounded lizard, close to an eel, that had moist and cool skin.
Wrapping up the mortal births, Preasia had ended up getting pregnant during one of the times she and Vahn had made love. It had come as a bit of a surprise to both of them, as Preasia spent most of her time sleeping and Vahn was often busy with other things. She was nearly five weeks pregnant before anyone noticed the signs, the result of Preasia's constitution making it so that she never had morning sickness. It wasn't until Demeter, who had been visiting the Manor, pointed it out that anyone had been aware she was expecting. Preasia had been very happy and wondered if her child would inherit her 'fluffy' body, an important question that Vahn was also very curious to see the result of. He knew it should be possible to inherit Innates, as could be seen with Milan and Tina, but he had never been able to 'confirm' this theory as of yet.
When Preasia finally gave birth, Vahn was blessed with his third son and, to their pleasant surprise, the young Sheep Person did indeed have a light layer of downy fur covering his body. Vahn actually felt it was more surprising to see two tiny nub-like horns poking out behind his son's temples, as it seemed like something that could have injured Preasia during the delivery. However, when he touched them, Vahn discovered they were very soft and should even be malleable. Later on, he actually learned that some tribes of Sheep People actually 'shaped' their horns during their younger years to express themselves. Those that typically became warriors would force their horns to stick out to points while most females allowed their's to curve naturally.
Vahn's third son was named Lucas while his Guardian ended up being a Stonebreaker Mountain Ram, a somewhat 'peculiar' guardian that was strangely suitable. They were a species of Ram that were used as mounts in the highlands regions on the Continent, which is where many of the warrior tribes of Beast Humans resided. This made it appear as though Lucas would become a warrior himself but, Vahn had a suspicion that his son would actually take after his mother a great deal. Though all infants slept a lot, Lucas almost never seemed to wake up, even when he was feeding or had soiled his diaper. The only times Vahn had seen his son 'awake' was when he spent time with Preasia taking care of him within the Dreamscape...
Though the births of each of his children had been impactful moments, it was the arrival of three new Vanir into the Manor that had caused the biggest stir. Freya ended up giving birth after only seven months, making her pregnancy one of the fastest thus far. As expected, she ended up giving birth to a beautiful baby girl with silver hair and silvery-blue eyes. However, confirming Vahn's speculation, their daughter did not seem to take after the Lenneth from the Divination, even though Freya had come up with the same name. Instead of an unstable young Vanir with a pseudo-Divinity related to 'Sex', this Lenneth seemed to possess fragments related to Love and War, giving her a simultaneously calm, yet fierce, disposition.
Though Lenneth was very attached to him, it wasn't greater than the attachment Ina had when she had first been born and she hadn't shown any signs of a more troublesome inclination. As for her Guardian, it ended up being a True Silver Dragon which, as its name implied, meant it was a True Dragon covered with silver scales. However, instead of having reptilian wings that were covered with scales and dragon leather, it had beautiful white feathery wings that were soft, yet retained a metallic property similar to Terra's and Alexa's...
Eirene's pregnancy had been a 'standard' nine months and the delivery itself had been one of the smoothest Vahn had ever experienced, after Tsubaki's rather 'magical' delivery. Like the other Vanir, and Vahn suspected this would always be the case unless they 'wanted' a son, Eirene also gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with aqua blue hair and similarly blue eyes. Eirene named their daughter Aisha, meaning 'Hope', as she claimed it was very similar to his own name which, to Vahn's surprise, also meant 'Hope'. It was Eirene's wish that their daughter takes after him and become a person that always helps other people, giving the young Vanir a smile that seemed to melt the hearts of anyone that looked upon her, much like how Ina had.
Aisha's Guardian ended up being a Starweaver Pegasi, possessing a beautiful fur that was hard to discern between blue and black. All over its body, small lights would glimmer like stars and it had eyes similar to galaxies that seemed to swirl around if you stared into them for too long. It's most striking feature, however, were its beautiful wings, possessing a similar color as its pelt but appearing almost crystalline in structure. Whenever it would extend its wings fully, it would appear as though there were constellations glimmering across it, creating a truly awe-inspiring sight that had caused even Fatina to humble itself, just a little...
Demeter was the last of the goddesses to give birth, for the time being, and her pregnancy had lasted nearly ten months. Vahn's relationship with Demeter had been more than a little peculiar as, though they did the deed, it had been less passionate than he expected. The first time he had sex with Demeter, she behaved a lot like Eina and simply took care of him, trying to help him relax. He had been very busy with several matters at the time and Vahn always felt a little guilty when he interacted with her after the fact. Demeter herself, however, didn't seem to mind it at all and would instead always try to comfort and pamper him, giving Vahn the impression she was far more 'motherly' than he had expected. When she started staying at the Manor during the latter half of her pregnancy, Demeter had actually replaced Tsubaki as the Manor's 'de facto' Mother, often giving people advice and simply being someone you could easily confide in.
Demeter, not breaking the trend, also ended up giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, bestowing the name Autumn upon her. She had the same honey-colored hair as her mother but, instead of orange and placid eyes, Autumn's were a rich green that could almost rival Eina's and Riveria's in purity. Like her mother, Autumn almost seemed incapable of having an expression that didn't include a smile. She was a very quiet and gentle girl, rarely speaking unless spoken to and, when you did speak with her, she would silently listen and just smile. Her Guardian was somewhat strange, compared to the other Vanir, as it took on the form of an Ox known as a Heaven-Bearing Ox. When it had popped up in the middle of the delivery room, it had been a bit of a shock since it was the size of a small cow and had already weight more than 500kgs...
With the birth of Autumn, Vahn now had a shocking eighteen children, even though it hadn't been that long since the birth of his first. Among the Vanir, there were Ina, Vana, Erika, Lenneth, Aisha, and Autumn. On the side of the 'mortals', comprised of numerous different races, there were his daughters, Meinya, Anise, Sakuya, Alise, Eiko, Rose, Iris, and Daisy, as well as his sons, Masonia, Macht, and Lucas. Wrapping up everything, though they were technically not related to each other by blood, was his clever and prodigious little Alexa, now more than 116 years old while appearing around ten years old, physically...
Alexa wasn't the only one with an age that didn't match her appearance, however, as Vana, Ina, and Erika, now being around two years old, had appearances that would cause others to mistake them as teens. It was a little sad, seeing his daughters grow up so quickly, as it felt like time had passed by far faster than he would have liked, especially since he had been busy over the last fourteen months. Though he was still very close with all of his daughters, to the point that they often all slept together, it was still heartbreaking how independent they were all becoming. Fortunately, Lenneth and Aisha, now appearing around 3-5 years old, were both adorable and very affectionate young Vanir. Autumn was also developing quickly and, even though she only had the appearance of a toddler around fourteen months old, she had already been able to speak a few words fluently...
Vahn felt like he never had enough time to spend with his children, even though he had been spending progressively more and more with them as the months continued. Some of the younger 'mortal' children were beginning to crawl around, making broken sentences and beginning to socialize with each other while a few exceptional ones had appeared as well. Little Meinya was already able to run around the house at this point and, though she was a little troublemaker, Vahn's heart would melt whenever he saw her following around Vana on their Adventures.
Vana had been a very caring 'elder' sister to most of the girls, mellowing out a bit as she continued to grow and develop. She spent her time split between training, playing with animals, and looking after her younger siblings. Though she was still a little firecracker, prone to emotional outbursts when she got excited, she had adopted a more calm and carefree disposition, closer to Tsubaki than the troublemaker she had been in the past. This change had been a result of the time she had spent with the latter, learning how to fight, and her close relationship with Rufina, who often stopped by and spent time within the illusory forest and interacting with the children.
As for Ina, the second oldest of the Vanir, and Vana's twin, she was still a very affectionate young lady who was often teased for being a Papa's girl. However, this didn't seem to bother her at all and she actually seemed to have a bit of pride about it, especially after she took over his old workshop. Ina had quickly reached a level of proficiency in forging, crafting, and mechanical skills that would have put many craftsmen to shame. She spent most of her days creating new inventions, sometimes not leaving her workshop at all until she had finished one of the projects she was working on, or someone came to pull her away from them, a task generally delegated to Vahn.
Vahn had allowed Ina access to much of his personal research and also provided her hundreds of books to help expand her knowledge on the things she had been interested in. As a result, she actually managed to make an invention that had stunned Hephaestus, Tsubaki, and himself. This took on the form of a gauntlet that covered the hand and forearm but, instead of simply providing protecting, it had an inner layer of artificial mana circuits that made the gauntlet closer to a robotic hand than a simple piece of armor. It could give the wearer a large increase in their strength, even if their Power was rather low, while also enhancing magic spells by using the artificial magic circuits as a catalyst...it was a very revolutionary invention, unlike anything the world had ever seen before...
As for Erika, she had steadily been increasing her knowledge and, similar to Vana, experienced a shift in her personality. Instead of being quiet and reserved all the time, while also being easily embarrassed, Erika had opened up a lot more. She spent a lot of time talking with others, trying to learn more about interacting and socializing so that she could help everyone solve the troubles on their heart and mind. At the same time, she spent the majority of her study-time focused on magical studies and had already become a skilled Mage, even if she was still at the 'beginner' level as far as magical power was concerned. Unfortunately, as the Vanir were unable to have Falna crests carved onto their backs, it was currently impossible to see how strong any of them had actually become...
This wasn't the case for the other girls in the Manor, however, as their strength had also reached an almost 'ridiculous' degree after spending their time between the Dungeon and the Sub-Space orb. In fact, though Vahn had been able to reach Level 6, that was now the 'average' Level amongst the girls that made up the combatants in the Manor. Even Tsubaki, who didn't venture in the Dungeon that much, managed to reach Level 7 while most of the girls within Vahn's own generation were now all Level 6 or higher. Leading the pack were Ais, Tiona, and Haruhime, annoying Tione a bit since her younger sister had clearly become much stronger than her. However, she was still around the peak of Level 6 and was determined to become the more capable Mage between them, a feat that shouldn't be that difficult considering Tiona's own capacity as a Mage was lacking, still having a whopping 0 Magic Parameter...
(A/N: Greetings, it is me, Time-Skip-sama. I actually intended Volume 15 to wrap up a little faster than it had so, in order to cut down on quite a few chapters, I'm using the reforms taking place with the Elven Kingdom to accelerate time a great deal. Though there will still be some slice of life elements, mainly related to Vahn's relationship with the girls and his children, there will be a bigger focus on plot progression for the next 200-300 chapters. I know some people will be upset that Vahn's first time with Demeter wasn't portrayed, but I intend to 'make it up' to her a little bit later on, so stay tuned. The main reason for this is that it would have taken a lot of chapters to wrap up things within the Elven Kingdom, especially with things going on within Orario and the Hearth Manor. I know there are a lot of people looking forward to Vahn's adventures in other worlds so, to ensure that we're still on schedule, I had to speed things up a bit. However, if this is upsetting for a lot of people, I will simply remove this chapter and focus on slower developments and several smaller time skips instead. Since this will be the only chapter of EPIC today, I'll wait to see the comment section's consensus on things before making the final decision. Also, I know some of you have been worried about my health but, after getting a checkup, know that there are no major issues. The reason for my migraines had been the result of an inner ear infection that spread into the bone and caused a great deal of pain that eventually transitioned into migraines. I took antibiotics and pain killers to deal with it previously and the current headaches are just a combination of improper hydration (I had to get an IV xD) and other stress factors. Don't worry too much, as I'll do better to eat healthier foods and have a water filter near my workstation to stay hydrated.)
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Change you can believe in (UwU)~!','Holy shit, eighteen children...and one more on the way!?','Ina is Tony Stark (O_O)...')
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