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Once dad was gone, I found my eyes wandering to Mother more often than not. Had I turned into a complete momcon now? I had gotten only a taste of her, now I seemed to desire everything else. However, the situation from before was different from now. For whatever reason, she was still under the effect of whatever Depravity had done to the rest of us. Perhaps the shock of encountering Depravity had caused the rest of them to remember. Or maybe the fact that I had slept with them had caused some change. The only thing I knew was that it wasn’t Mary or NTR who did it.

Mary had promised not to interfere, and couldn’t break her promise without experiencing a nasty backlash. As for NTR, she didn’t want their memories to return, since not remembering meant more points to me. In fact, she could have restored my mother’s memory immediately, but if she did that, it wouldn’t be helping me grow toward godhood. Mother was my last challenge, the one I had to manage on my own, before I could finally say I was ready to begin my path to godhood.

Even a month ago, thinking things like that would have been ridiculous. What kind of guy did I think I was talking about ascending to godhood? It definitely required a degree of hubris that would make most people blush. However, I had met many gods at this point, and I perhaps knew more about the god realm then any human. I had even visited purgatory and returned to tell the tale. I wasn’t so simple of a guy anymore. Yet, despite that, the thought of pushing down my mother still caused my palms to sweat. I was able to push down a literal goddess, but mom made me nervous.

She had changed in the last two months since Depravity. All of us had changed. In a way, the man had done me a favor. By showing me what life would have been like if low self-confidence and failure had destroyed my self-worth, I truly began to value and respect the surrounding women. It was a lesson I had started to learn when I went to the all-girls school, but it only came crashing home when I had finally found myself seeing the girls from a non-game perspective.

I felt like my relationship with all of them was stronger for it. My sister and I now understood each other on a more intimate level, and she was willing to accept other women in my life. Kira was able to reconcile with her mother, and the both of them were willing to accept my love. As for Akiko, well, although she was still my sex toy, she was my woman as well. As someone who had been the most questionable in the past, it seemed to make her loyalty to me now even stronger. She had already been tempted away. She knew what that offered, so she wasn’t easily swayed again.

Mother was the same way. She had seen a relationship with father at his best. If I could pull her away from him even now, then there is no way she’d ever return to him later, or leave for anyone else for that matter. It was the perfect time to strike.

“You’re making that face again.” Maria whispered over to me.

“There is no face.”

“There is a face.”

“This is just me.”

“You’re staring at mom’s butt with a hungry look like a wolf, yet your brows are furrowed like you are not pleased with your desires.”

“I’m very pleased with my desires!” I snorted, sipping from my glass.

“Once I push out a few kids, my hips will get wide too, will you look at my butt like that then?”

I spit out my drink, breaking into a cough. “K-kids?”

Maria blushed, realizing what she had just implied. “Ah, I mean… between us… Hakaru’s baby… brother and sister… I suppose, if it’s just one generation… it’s not so bad!”

“Y-you!”

“Well, it’s not like I can have a baby with someone else?”

“Definitely not!”

“Th-then… it’d have to be… Hakaru… right?”

I was flabbergasted over her words. I admit I had made progress over the last two months. However, I was only just getting comfortable with having women. Adding children into the mix, and that was a step more than I could handle currently. Worst of all, Maria was blushing and looking at me coyly. She looked especially beautiful. It wasn’t fair that she asked such a question while appearing so tempting. I wanted to push her over the table and give her a baby right then! Just like…

“Ah… Maria… you’re brilliant!” I leaned over and kissed her cheek.

This caused her to look even more adorable as she blushed, and a temptation started to erupt from down below. Soon, the hungry eyes were being thrown at my sister.

“You two sure have gotten close of recent.” Mom’s voice appeared like a damp towel.

The pair of us who were practically snuggling pulled apart, the chairs separating with a noticeable squeak of the floor. For a second, I had forgotten mom was there. She had been busy in the kitchen for the last twenty minutes, so I didn’t expect her to suddenly turn around and come here at just that moment. It wasn’t like I was really going to put Maria over the table, but if she found out about us, it might make it harder to push things forward with mom.

Mother was wearing an apron around a skirt and blouse. She looked nicer than the original her who always wore a bathrobe. Her hair was done up, her makeup was applied. However, there was just a hint of sadness in her eyes. She had been making dinner, and now she was bringing out bowls of ramen. We each got a bowl in front of us, it had strips of chicken, and was complete with an egg. The pair of us thanked her in unison, only growing more flustered as a result.

Mother let out a slight laugh. It was the kind of tone she had previously lost over the years. The only reason she could laugh so freely was that this was my mother before she realized her husband was a cheating scumbag. Maria and I gave each other a look. We both remember our old mother. She was a depressed woman who drank all the time. It wasn’t that we wanted that mother back. Rather, we knew the kind of man dad was, and we understood it was only a matter of time until she ended up back in that state again. Neither of us wanted her to return to that state again, and the only way that would happen was if she remembered the past and learned from it. Maria gave me just the slightest nod, although we didn’t have a plan just yet.

“You don’t have to act so coy; I like that you two are getting along better. In the past, you used to fight like all the time.”

“Mom…” I gave an awkward smile, not sure how to respond.

“You two are just starting to grow up.” Mom’s eyes suddenly teared up. “You won’t leave your mother all alone, right? You’ll call? Visit?”

“Mom, I’m not even done with high school yet, you know-“ I stopped at those words, lowering my eyes.

That wasn’t entirely true. With my path to godhood, I might be gone in the next three months or so. This was something I hadn’t shared with the other girls. NTR, Mary, and I had these plans, but if they truly did come to fruition, I didn’t know what that would mean for everyone else. It was definitely something that worried me. I could no longer say that I would be beside any of them forever. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to take that path.

“Mother…” Maria reached out and touched mom’s hair. “We’ll definitely both be with you. Even if dad leaves, you’ll always have Hakaru.”

Mom laughed, wiping a tear, “Oh my, well, even if I have Hakaru, there are some things he can’t do for me.”

She laughed one more time and then returned back to the kitchen. It was exactly the kind of lewd comment the more jaded mother I used to have would have made. She was still that woman, even if her memories were hidden from her. Maria gave me a look, and then smirked. I raised an eyebrow, but mom returned with the rest of the meal. We started eating, but after a moment, Maria put down her chopsticks and turned to mom deliberately.

“Mom, I got into my choice for University.”

“Really!” Mother nearly jumped up, looking far more excited than I would have expected.

“Y-yes?” Maria looked a bit stunned, not expecting such a violent reaction.

“We definitely have to celebrate this! It’s wonderful news! I will go get the sake!”

She stood back up, and immediately headed to the garage where the sake was stored.

“I didn’t even need to ask.” Maria responded, slightly dazed.

“Is it true? Did you get into University?”

“Ah… it’s my third choice, not first. I’m still waiting on my first choice, but yeah… It’s not like I’ve decided to go.”

She spoke those last words nearly to herself. At first, I didn’t understand why she was acting that way, but then I realized she was facing the same dilemma I was. She didn’t want to leave me by going off to college. At best, it would put some distance between our newly forming relationship. At worst, it might even stick a wedge into it before it could become something more. Maybe that was why she had mentioned children earlier. If she was pregnant, there would be no question about her going to University. She’d have no choice but to stay home and raise the baby, much like her mother before her. It would force her to stay at home.

“Maria…”

“Let’s not talk about it right now. The goal is to get Mother drunk so she’s a bit looser. Just follow my plan.”

“Alcohol lowers that amount of points I get. The easier it is to seduce someone, the less valuable that seduction.”

“Ah! That… well… just a drink or two. I have a plan.”

That’s all she got out when mom came back with three glasses and a bottle of sake. She was singing happily and nearly dancing on her feet. As a woman who had never managed to go to university herself, this was her proudest moment. Her daughter who she had fought so hard to raise was going to have a better life than she did. It certainly beat the life of a gang member and punk, let alone a shrine maiden to a slightly perverted harem cult. She poured a glass for each of us.

“It’s a celebration, you must drink!” She told me.

Considering the thoughts on my mind, I felt like I could use a drink. We all ended up drinking a glass. She poured more, but I let it linger in my glass, and then poured it out when she wasn’t looking. We ate our meal while mom happily chatted away. Maria answered all of her questions, although she kept an eye on me, as if afraid I’d run. About twenty minutes of idol chatter and three glasses of sake later, mom’s cheeks were flushed, but she was still quite vocal.

“When your father returns, we will definitely get a gift for you. Anything you want, just name it.”

“Actually, mom… ah! I’m sorry!” She suddenly spilled her drink on mom’s skirt.

“Oh! Well, this kind of thing happens. I’ll go to my room and change.”

“Hey, mom, while you’re there, can you get me that dress of yours? I might go out partying with friends in celebration later, and I wanted to get it dry cleaned first.”

“What dress?”

“You know, the black strapless…”

“Ah! You’ve been wearing that? I knew it! I thought I saw a stain on it.”

“I-it’s not like you can fit in it anyway!”

“You- daughter!”

“Please, mom! You can call it my present?” Maria asked, fluttering her eyes.

“Hmph! Even though that thing looks very slutty…”

“It’s yours!”

“Hehe… exactly! Fine… I’ll bring it out, but it better not get any white stains on it.”

“Mom!”

“Hahaha… my daughter… get your partying out now, because when you’re in college, I won’t have it!”

“Yes, mom.”

Mother walked off into her room, shutting the door. After a moment of waiting, Maria reached over and pinched me.

“Ow! What?”

“Well? Go in there!”

“Ah! That’s what this is?”

“She’s drunk, in her panties, and thinking about her time as a slutty party girl. You’re not going to get a better chance!”

“You… you’re pretty evil.”

“Tsk… I just want you to give her as hard of a time as you give me.”

I looked at the door, swallowed, and then stood up. I guess it was about time that I gave my mom a hard time.

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