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“That will be all for today.” Mr. Smith said just before the bell rang as if he had planned it down the second. “And there you go. Hakaru, can you please stay a bit?”

Since Mr. Smith appeared, all I had thought about was what Kira had told me the night before. He was the one who took Mrs. Fukumi’s job. He was a bad person, and Kira was scared of him. He might even be related to why our memories were wrong. Now, he had become my teacher, and there was absolutely no way of avoiding him. I was praying that perhaps all of my concerns were just paranoia, but as soon as class ended, he didn’t waste any time calling me up.

Mr. Smith seemed extremely charismatic. He was attractive and I could already see a few girls forming crushes on him. Only the guys, who had lost the privilege of eyeing the beautiful Mrs. Fukumi, had disappointed looks. Many girls in the class considered his appearance a plus. As a teacher, he had a smooth way of talking that kept your interest and helped you remember what he said. So, even the guys were grudgingly willing to accept him as their teacher. I had to admit that if I hadn’t been warned about him already, I might have found myself letting my guard down.

As people filed out of the classroom, I approached him quickly. Something about the situation made me not want to be around him alone. It was a feeling like foreboding. It was exactly like Kira had said. It was a feeling of dread.

“Yes, Sensei.” I mustered all of the respect I could, not wanting to give him any reason to hold me longer than necessary.

“You can just call me Tobius.” He smiled. “There is no reason to be alarmed. I’m trying to create a dialogue with every student in my class. You just happened to be on the top of my list.”

“Wh-why is that?” I asked, a small frown forming on my face.

“It’s nothing bad. Your name has just come up a lot. Last semester, your grades were starting to slip. There was talk that you had gotten involved with a gang. Rumors you had violently attacked other students. Another that you got a girl pregnant. I also heard that you were working a job at a shady entertainment store that was recording people illegally. While it’s not against our school’s policy for someone to work, we do discourage it, especially when their grades suffer.”

“Ah… it was just that I broke up with my girlfriend.”

“Ah… yes…” He looked through a folder he didn’t let me see before putting on another smile. “That would be Ms. Akiko, right? I heard it was an ugly breakup, yet the pair of you seem to be doing amicably. You were also best friends with a boy called Derek? Well, I’ll be meeting with him soon as well.”

“Yes, um… my relationship with Akiko is fine. I have a girlfriend. Derek and I aren’t friends anymore. My grades have been better…”

“Yes, yes… of course. Your grades have improved this semester. However, don’t think I missed that your current girlfriend was the daughter of your teacher. The same teacher who was responsible for a massive sex scandal just last semester which shut your school down for a few months.”

“That investigation is still going on. The Vice-principal, the coach, numerous other officials, and half the basketball team ended up implicated. Not a month later, an all-girls school had a similar problem involving a principal and even a councilman. To my understanding, you were also attending that school, and were one of the boys mixed up in that.”

“I was spared… the worst problems.” I frowned.

He nodded, smiling. “As I said, I’m just following up. There is reason to be worried about you, don’t you agree?”

“I’m fine,” I responded shortly, not really comfortable talking more with him and just about ready to end the conversation quickly.

“Why don’t you tell me about your relationships?” he asked.

“My relationships.”

“All of them… who does Hakaru love?”

“I’m with Kira, but I also like Akiko. Then there is Maria. Sasori is fun for an older woman. I’d like to play with my mom too. Ah… and there is a girl named Mary.”

“Ah? Maria?” He seemed to be writing something in his notes. “That’s your sister? And you mother too? I knew you were banging your teacher, but thinking you would sink to incest just for some… what does Netori call them, NTR Points? Haha… she did have a way with words, didn’t she?”

I frowned, wondering why I had spoken so candidly with him. Realizing just who and what I had said, I couldn’t keep the fear off my face. I had just admitted I was sleeping with my teacher! Why would I do that? Why had I done that?

“That was a joke… I was just joking!” I responded with a strangled voice.

“Of course…” He smirked, even though his pen didn’t leave the paper. “You know, when my Master answered my prayers and set up shop right in my hometown, I couldn’t have felt more blessed. Then those sisters had to come down to my city and start their little game. At first, I thought I would just have fun with them a bit. Perhaps, I could turn all three of them into my playmates. However, I underestimated Netori. Her plan was far broader than we ever could have imagined. In a way, you kind of have to admire her. She was always the kind of goddess who went big or went home.”

“I-I don’t understand…” I said, taking a step back as the smirk on his face dropped and was replaced by something more sinister.

“Hehe… of course you don’t understand. Master set it up so you wouldn’t. I just needed some time before I was ready to move, and by resetting the clock, he bought me that time. Now, there is no stopping me. You, the one who took my favorite playmate away from me. I’ll definitely make you suffer the most.”

“Mr. Smith… you’re scaring me…” I had backed up to the door now, which was closed.

Mr. Smith’s smile was dark as he stood up. “I won’t give you back your memory yet. That won’t be satisfying enough. First, I’m going to take everything you love. I already planned to have fun with Sasori long before that little cuck god got in the way. I kept him around for a bit, but he proved to be far too self-destructive. Your sister, I had considered in the past, but she was such a slut already, I considered it not much of a challenge. However, since you want her, I’m happy to take that duty. Akiko will be a fun little morsel to have- all too easy. Your mom? Hah… too easy. My Kira, I will definitely have her back! Even this Mary girl! She sounds like she will be fun!”

As he spoke, he walked closer and closer, and the foreboding feeling in my gut grew more and more. Just as I felt like everything he said was about to become a reality, the door behind me opened. I was leaning against it so heavily that I ended up falling back. I turned, and my face landed into a pair of soft things. A girl who smelled like delicate flowers wrapped her soft body around me without even a hint of rejection.

“Oh?” An amused and confident voice sounded over my head. “I am very fun…”

I looked up to see a beautiful punk girl. She had purple hair today, which was tied up in various loose roles. She had a gentle smile on her face, but when her eyes met Mr. Smith’s, there was a slight feeling of danger. As soon as he saw her Mr. Smith’s smile froze, and then started to go crooked like he had just swallowed something he didn’t like.

“Y-you…”

“Don’t be shy now. Please continue. Just what do you plan to do with me?” Mary asked innocently.

Mr. Smith’s face turned ugly, an expression that held anger, hate, fear, and perhaps even a hint of respect in it. He took a step back, giving the pair of us some room.

“I wouldn’t dare set sights on you. What is it that you’re hoping to accomplish here?”

She laughed, looking over at me and gently touching my cheek. “Are you okay, baby?”

“Ah… he just… um, was threatening to steal… my girls…” Why did I feel like I was tattling on someone to an adult?

She giggled, hugging me affectionately and rubbing her head against my chest. “We can’t have that, now can we?”

“Mary…” His eyes darkened.

“Oh, relax…” Mary chuckled. “The game must go on, doesn’t it? I don’t plan to get in the way of Netori’s game. Rather, I intend to play like everyone else.”

“You’re not using a champion! Your very presence breaks the rules!”

“Don’t talk to me about breaking the rules!” She glared back. “Who is it that hid her away and then wiped everyone’s mind! Why… if I reported him…”

Mr. Smith’s face went white. “Y-you… that… you can’t!”

“Hehehe… then, I suggest that he shouldn’t have any problem with my involvement, yes? I’ll promise something your own god couldn’t. I won’t use my abilities on anyone except to enforce the rules as established by the god council. Fair enough?”

Mr. Smith looked like he was about to say something, but then he stopped. He suddenly jerked, and his eyes closed. When he spoke again, his voice was completely different. It sounded strangely hollow and echoey, like someone speaking through a microphone.

“You’re playing a dangerous game, Mary. You’re on my playfield. I’ve been set up here long before NTR decided to play her game on my doorstep. I think you’re far too vanilla to handle what I offer. You should give up now and let nature take its course!”

“And by nature… you mean yourself, Depravity?” Mary snorted.

“Depravity is human nature. Your ideas of love, devotion, marriage: they go against the nature of things. We are practically opposites! NTR belongs by my side, as do the rest of the depraved acts.”

“I don’t care about NTR’s fate. You can have her.” Mary waved her hand. “I have my own reasons for playing. However, you’re wrong about us being opposites. I think a little depravity spices up any relationship!”

She blushed, looking at me tearfully.

“Wh-what?”

“Is that okay with you? Can I be a little naughty… with Hakaru-kun?”

“Enough of this! By protecting him, you are protecting her, and are against me!”

“I agree… this conversation has gone on long enough.” Her serious expression returned. “Do you agree to the terms, or do I need to go to the council?”

“Netori?” He asked.

She raised her hand. “I swear I won’t touch her with my own power.”

“The word of a goddess is binding, do not forget.” He suddenly shuttered and nearly collapsed, grabbing his desk to stay upright.

“We’re done here.” Mary grabbed my arm and pulled me away, the door shutting behind us.

We only managed to get down the hallway when I finally managed to recover. I had been in a state of stunned silence. I barely understood anything I heard. Mom had already mentioned gods and goddesses as if they were real. Suddenly, I’m talking to them? None of this made any sense. I ripped my arm away from Mary if that was even her real name.

“Hakaru…” She reached out, but I backed up, feeling like it was hard to breathe.

“Y-you… what are… what is… what’s happening…” I said in between gasping breaths.

She waved her hand, and suddenly my mind calmed. I felt a rush of oxygen, and within a few seconds, my mind was settled. I blinked, staring at her in confusion and wide-eyed wonder.

“I’m a goddess, Hakaru. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you right away, but given what had been done to you, would you have believed me if I said it?”

“A goddess… what goddess?”

“I have many names throughout the ages. The one you’re probably most familiar with is marriage. However, a goddess isn’t a name. She’s a concept. It’d be more accurate to call me the goddess of the unity of love.”

“Why are you here?” I demanded.

She blushed, looking down. “Because… Hakaru… I love you.”

“Y-you…” She reached forward and closed my lips with her finger and thumb.

“Please be quiet for now. We should go.”

“Go where?” I mumbled out of the side of my mouth, as she was pinching my lips together.

“It’s time we got you your memories back.”

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I kind of just felt like saying this. Anyone waiting for Mary to “reveal” herself, she already has. That is Marriage. You were probably thinking she’d be some horrific, venomous snake and the main antagonist of the story. However, if you think about it for a second… she is literally the embodiment of love and marriage. She was able to win the heart of Harem. Her nature is extremely sweet and loveable. She is basically the perfect waifu. I knew some people were waiting for the rug to get pulled out, but of all the twists, Mary actually isn’t evil. I know it doesn’t fit with the kind of stuff you guys are used to reading, but although she and NTR have animosity, she doesn’t wish MC any harm, and genuinely wants to help him. Her ideals may differ from NTR, but she’s also adapted over the years and changed, as marriage has.