Chapter 27 - *Spoilers : Title at End*
Seeing the expression on Eina's face, Vahn smiled at the success of his prank. He also noticed that the aura around her body had been in disorder since his outburst, and he found it very amusing to watch it squirm back-and-forth.
Noticing the grin on Vahn's face and hearing the jeers of the surrounding adventurers, Eina couldn't help regretting the fact she had consoled him. She ignored the sounds of laughter and false congratulations and focused on counting the magic cores on the table. Once again she was mildly surprised at the sheer number present. If Vahn was telling the truth he had obtained 139 cores in a single expedition.
As her expression changed from embarrassment to shock, Vahn was grateful he had the insight to keep half of the cores. Given the surprise showed on her face, she would probably have a mental breakdown if he told her it was just half the actual number.
Eina left for the back room to have the value of the magic cores appraised. The value of a magic core depended on its composition, element, and the amount of magic contained within. There was a special form of authentication and analysis magic used by the Appraisers within the guild.
Distribution of cores was one of the primary sources of income for the guild. The cores were used in a variety of important functions like generating heat, water, and even electricity, so the Guild had enacted laws that guaranteed it had a monopoly on the market. Though a person could use cores they obtained for their own personal use, if found distributing or selling them they would face arbitration from the Guild and be blacklisted or exiled in the worst case scenario.
After twenty minutes, Eina returned with an odd expression on her face. She was carrying a sack full of Valis in one hand, but the other was holding a magic core. Setting the core on the table, she handed the bag to Vahn before repeating what the appraisal expert had told her.
"Our expert was unable to determine the value of this magic core. Though it appears normal on the outside, there is a mysterious force present within that makes it impossible to identify using conventional means. I was asked if you'd like to turn it over to the Guild for research in exchange for the usual price. We would also pay you a bonus after identifying why the core is unique."
Vahn looked at the core on the desk and was unable to distinguish it from the others. He decided to hold on to it since he figured the inventory would be able to identify it faster than the Guild. There was also the chance it contained a unique trait that would be beneficial to him in the future, and he didn't want to turn it over to the Guild before finding out.
"Sorry Ms. Eina, I think I'll hold onto it for now." Vahn picked up the core and stored it into his inventory through the satchel.
Seeing him put it away, Eina frowned slightly. She didn't see any benefit it holding onto it, and he had previously tried to exchange it. He couldn't have any attachment to the core, so she was curious why he decided to keep it after considering for a few moments.
Noticing her expression, Vahn smiled before saying, "I think it's cool to have a core that can't be identified normally. It creates a bit of mystery, and I can use it as a good luck charm in the future."
Considering Vahn's odd nature and quirky personality, she decided it was very like him to keep a magic core for such reasons.
The two concluded the transaction and began to part ways. Before leaving, Vahn turned towards Eina and gave the largest smile he could muster while waving goodbye. Seeing the goofy smile of the innocent looking boy, Eina couldn't help but return the gesture. To anyone looking closely, they would be able to see a slight blush on her ears.
Leaving the guild, Vahn weighed the pouch of Valis in his hand. He had obtained a total of 43,900V within a single day, slightly under twice the amount of a party of five level 1 adventurers. If he wanted to he could spend several weeks lazing about at the Inn without having to make any real effort.
Using his newfound 'wealth' he increased his pace and headed towards the Hostess of Fertility. With each step, he could feel the seal containing the beast within his stomach loosening. If he was unable to satiate its appetite there would be terrible consequences...(A/N: This is a mild delusion of the MC. Late stage chuuni~!?)
He arrived outside the pub in record time and took a moment to enjoy the fragrance coming from the inside. Stepping through the threshold of the door, he was greeted by a playful voice.
"Weeelcome to the Hostess of Fertility~nya!" Came the shout of a young woman with brown hair, brown eyes, and a fluttering pair of cat ears.
Vahn recognized the girl as Arnya Fromel and was taken aback slightly by her energy. She was the same height as he was at 150cm and possessed a cheery, vibrant demeanor which contrasted his relatively dark and bland appearance. Vahn noticed her aura was sky-blue with azure accents.
Seeing the boy staring at her through the door, something seemed to click in Arnya mind. "Oooh, aren't you the boy Chloe was fawning over~? One moment, I'll get her for you nya~"
Before he could stop her, Arnya whisked her way across the room leaving a baffled Vahn in her wake. He began to struggle against the idea of leaving, but the protests of the monster in his stomach and the aroma of the food kept his feet firmly rooted to the spot.
A few moments later he saw the black-haired Chloe in the distance. When they made eye contact she smiled as a glimmer appeared within her eyes. Vahn began to feel a sense of danger and almost managed to convince his feet to retreat outside the pub. Even his stomach seemed to be in agreement, but before he was able to put his plan into action the lithe Chloe had intercepted.
"Nyaa~? You just arrived, why not stay a while~?" Not waiting for his response, she grabbed his arm and guided him towards the same spot he sat at previously. After seating him, she took up the stool to his left and began to stare at his face with a mischevious grin.
Vahn was reminded of the time he had first encountered a goblin and was put in a life and death situation. He felt like the look coming from Chloe's eyes were like a predator observing its prey. He felt like if he dropped his guard she would devour him down to the bones...
"Just Chloe is fine~" She interrupted as he began speaking.
Swallowing his previous words, Vahn continued, "Chloe...shouldn't you be working right now?" He looked towards her and saw the smile on her face grow larger.
"Nyahaha~I asked someone to cover for me and decided to take my employee break. I even got permission from Mama Mia~nya."
At the mention of Mia, Vahn noticed the woman giving him an amused grin from across the bar. It looked like she found his situation entertaining...
Vahn turned towards Chloe and tried thinking of what to say. He didn't know if he should try asking her questions, or if he should make an excuse and try to leave. She seemed to take pleasure watching him struggle to find words and slowly closed the distance between their bodies while he was distracted.
Noticing the distance between them had shrunk before he was aware, Vahn quickly brought up a topic while inching towards the edge of his stool. "Chloe, what's your favorite item on the menu!?" He practically blurted out the question in a single breath.
Seeing how he had responded to her approach, Chloe couldn't help but chuckle. He was much more innocent than she had expected and her desire to tease him increased exponentially.
"I think it's all good~nya. It would make me happy if you tried them all~." She continued to close the distance until Vahn had lost the ability to retreat. He would fall from the stool if he tried inching any further away...
Just as their bodies were about to make contact, Mama Mia threw a cork which hit Chloe square in the forehead. The young cat girls head jerked back and she began to rub the sore spot where the cork had impacted.
"Mama Mia~nya! That's mean~!!" She glared towards Mia with tears in her eyes.
"Break times over Chloe. Take the boys order before you scare him out of the place! You can flirt on your off-time." Mama Mia laughed seeing Chloe's resentful expression before turning towards a customer.
Chloe could be heard muttering under her breath as she continued to rub her forehead, "Selfish Mia, just because you can't find a man-"
Before she was able to finish her sentence a brown beam of light carved through the air and clipped the bangs of Chloe. The light continued onwards before exiting the doors and disappearing beyond the horizon. Those with excellent dynamic vision would have recognized the object as a wine cork beginning its ascent to heaven.
Turning her head, Chloe could see a now ferocious looking Mia glaring directly at her. After leaving her stool, she took Vahn's order before quickly disappearing into the kitchen area.
Meanwhile, Vahn was resolving to never get on Mama Mia's bad side. That cork which had flown near Chloe was also just a few inches away from his head. He felt like it was powerful enough to decapitate a dragon, much less him with his meager level 1 status...For the second time that afternoon Vahn felt his conviction to grow stronger improve...
After a short wait, Chloe returned with several plates of food. She was now acting like a proper waitress as she laid out each plate on the bar. As Vahn stared at the food, he couldn't help but smack his lips while swallowing a mouth full of saliva. Without giving any extra thought, he began to devour the food in front of him. Each dish was something he had never experienced before, and he savored each and every bite with moisture in his eyes.
Seeing the fervor in which Vahn ate, Chloe exchanged glances with Mama Mia who looked over periodically. Mia shrugged as if she didn't know what to say about the situation before shaking her head with an awkward smile. Turning back towards Vahn, Chloe had a gentle smile on her face as the curiosity she had towards him continued to grow.
She began to wonder what kind of life he lived to have such an appreciation for food. As an orphan and professional assassin, she had seen many children that had suffered due to the cruel nature of this world. That is one of the reasons she was drawn to Vahn in the first place. She could intuit from experience that he had experienced an uncommon amount of suffering.
Though he seemed to be simple and easy to read, there was a deeply rooted caution in all of his actions. It was almost like he was protecting himself by creating a barrier against the outside world. She thought his tendency to stare at others was due to the inner turmoil he experienced when trying to judge if someone could be trusted or not.
She wanted to know more about him and, if possible, help heal some of the wounds in his heart.
When he had finally finished all the plates and released a happy sigh before taking a drink of apple cider, Chloe finally gave in to her curiosity...
"Vahn, would you like to go on a date?"
Vahn nearly choked on his drink hearing her words. He looked towards her and saw a seriousness that had replaced her usual expression. Though her actions put him under a lot of pressure, he could tell from her aura that she harbored no ill-will towards him. After thinking for a few seconds he finally decided to nod.
"Sure, Chloe. I'd like that." Upon finishing his words he was surprised at how big the smile on her face became. For some reason, he felt like the smile contained something very important that he lost a long time ago.
After making the arrangements and confirming the time and place, Vahn left the Hostess of Fertility. He didn't remember how he returned to the Inn, but he walked up the stairs under the curious gazes of the mother and daughter pair before finally arriving at his room and collapsing into the bed.
The last thing he recalled before falling asleep was the sound of various notifications that had constantly been ringing since he agreed to the date.
//Chloe Lolo: Affection + 3//
//Chloe Lolo: Intrigue + 10//
//Chloe Lolo: Affection +1//
//Chloe Lolo: Affection +1//
//Chloe Lolo: Affection +1//
//Chloe Lolo: Affection +1//
[View Affection: Chloe Lolo] [Affection: 73[Caring], Intrigue:85[Desire to Protect]