“Are you sure you’re okay with this, Mom?” I asked worriedly.
I knew that it was ultimately my own plan that we were following here, but I was definitely apprehensive about it. We were doing some kind of ceremony designed to summon a goddess. We then planned to put that goddess into my mother. Furthermore, that goddess was actually just a small aspect of a larger goddess and protected by a petty god. Basically, I wanted to rip apart a goddess using my mother as the medium. No one had told me the consequences of failure, but perhaps that was because if I knew the chances, I’d never agree to it.
In a way, I had been hoping my mother would be the voice of reason. As a proud Japanese woman, I thought she might reject the idea of another woman taking over her body. At the least, I expected her to reprimand me for still following this fanciful dream of becoming a god. It really was a silly desire. Had anyone else suddenly announced they wanted to be a god, I’m sure everyone would have laughed them out of existence. However, I had come too far, and there was no turning back now.
There was also another thing I had to prepare my heart for. Assuming everything worked and I was able to summon Netori, there was no guarantee that she would be able to help me become a god. I would likely only have a few minutes to talk to her, and there was no saying what she would offer. My biggest fear, naturally, was that she’d be just like NTR. She would laugh at me, sneer, and call me an idiot for ever believing the goddess of cheating. Had I tried to summon her two months ago, there was no saying I would have been able to mentally handle it.
Suddenly, I felt two arms wrap around me, and my mother’s chest press against mine. She held me tightly, and feeling the warmth of her love and affection, I started to feel better once again.
“It will all work out.” Mom suddenly spoke into my chest. “This will be tough for you, but in the end, I believe you will succeed.”
Her voice seemed to contain a feeling of certainty.
“How do you know?” I asked.
She looked up at me and smiled. “Just, trust in your mother. I have a good feeling about all of this. I believe everything happens for a reason, and this was a journey you were bound to take.”
“Okay… mom.” I didn’t know what to say, as all of a sudden, she started sounding like a fortune cookie.
She got back down in the circle that we had drawn on the floor. I looked up at the clock. Five minutes to midnight. It was time. I pulled out all of the ingredients ordered. We were in the living room. The couch had been pulled aside, a pentagram of sorts was drawn in the center of the room, and the lights were out. The only thing navigating out were rows and rows of candles.
Anyone who looked in through out window would think that we were doing some kind of witchcraft. First, a son was fornicating with his mother at the front door, now, they were committing devil worship! I could already imagine our reputation on this block plummeted. If I didn’t become a god, we’d definitely have to move thanks to the pure shame of it all.
The other girls watched in anticipation. They were only there to be support, and actually wouldn’t really be involved in the ceremony. Technically, it was just mother and I. From what I understood from War, this wasn’t exactly like I was summoning Netori and putting her into mom’s body. It was more like the séance it looked like. I’d be using mom as a conduit to call Netori. Whether Netori had the capacity to answer, that was yet to be seen.
I just had to trust that War was doing whatever she said she’d do to pure NTR in the state where I could talk to Netori. If she did it, then she was probably putting herself in a lot of danger. There was also no saying she would succeed. On the other hand, War could just be looking for vengeance. Maybe, she just wanted to cause me pain. Maybe, she alerted NTR, and I’d be met with an angry goddess. Maybe, it would even hurt mom!
There were too many maybes, and I needed to stop thinking about what might happen. I had already committed to doing this, so now I just needed to do it. I took a long deep breath, trying to steady my mental state. Once I felt calm, I began to mix the ingredients in the bowl. I did them exactly to War’s explanation. When I was done, I lit a match and dropped it in. There was a puff and the pile of mixed ingredients caught on fire. White smoke rose from the bowl.
I put it down in the circle and then sat, closing my eyes and opening up my mental state. I was sitting in the pentagram, directly across from my mother. We were both kneeling with our eyes closed. Between use was the rising smoke. I breathed it in. The first few breaths felt toxic, and I coughed terribly, but I quickly got used to the smoke. All of the other girls remained out of the circle and kept their distance. Each breath of the fumes, I felt heavier and heavier. Soon, I wasn’t sure if I was sitting or if I had collapsed to the floor.
Time passed on, and I just kept breathing and breathing. Was it midnight yet? Did I already pass my time? Did I do it wrong? Was my window already passed? These thoughts bubbled along the surface of my mind, but I refused to allow myself to dwell on them. Breath in, breath out.
“Hakaru.” A familiar voice called my name.
My eyes opened, and Netori was sitting across from me. She looked exactly how I remembered her. She didn’t look like the grander NTR but like the beautiful and sensual Netori. Around us was a smokey grey. This didn’t look like purgatory, which was a pure whiteness. This was just a smokey abyss. I couldn’t see the other girls, and Netori was sitting in the place where my mother should have been. She had a light smile on her face, and a bit of sadness in her eyes.
“You left me, you lied.” Those were not the words I had wanted to say, but as soon as I saw her, emotions came bubbling to the surface.
I felt fear, anger, frustration, and a whole bundle of complex emotions. I could feel my eyes stinging, and I felt like even crying, but I didn’t want to give NTR the satisfaction of shedding any more tears because of her.
The weak smile on her face flickered down. “I know… I failed you, Hakaru. You performed splendidly and did everything I asked of you, but in the end, I had never realized just how different I was from NTR.”
“You are NTR!”
She lowered her head. “I am… but I’m not as well. She was a powerful and prideful woman. She cared about things like status and position. It had been so long since I was her, I had forgotten how shallow she was. You have changed much in the last six months. Imagine the person of you back then seeing the person of you today. It’d be similar, except separate that time by thousands of years.”
“Can’t you… change her mind? You’re still there! You’re still inside her.”
“It’s not that simple. You have a place in each of our hearts, Hakaru. We never would have been able to combine and be reborn if you didn’t.” Netori explained. “However, NTR is a woman who has learned to put her heart aside. She got very used to it, having a heartless lover like Procreation by her side.”
“Why did you never warn me about Harem?”
“It was true… I suspected that Harem wasn’t who he claimed.” Netori admitted. “I suspected his power was much deeper and went into what it meant to be a human. However, would you have agreed if you knew your opponent was a god of life itself? No living thing can exist without him. He’s one of the Creation Gods, a concept as old as humanity itself.”
“How… how can I defeat him?” I asked.
“That answer, you’ll have to discover on your own.”
“How can I steal you back?”
“If you break us back into three… our hearts are yours. If you can destroy NTR, then we’ll all gladly leave Procreation.”
“Wouldn’t he just steal you like Marriage?”
She shook her head. “He also cares about status, just like NTR. We’d be fundamentally too weak. Among everything that Procreation is, you must never forget he’s lazy. If all three of us left him, we’d be more trouble than it was worth for him to cling to us.”
“What about getting Marriage back?” I demanded.
“I don’t know. At the moment, he’s imprisoned her until she succumbs to him. He’s too busy now diddling us… I mean… NTR. She’s his newest toy right now. It might be a hundred years before he breaks Marriage, but if there is any other trait he has, it is patience.” She suddenly looked up like she just felt something. “We don’t have much time. War gave NTR a wine made by Dionysus, the god of wine and they drank in what she claimed was an offer of peace and surrender. War got her so drunk she passed out, but she’s starting to become aware something is up.”
“Then, what do I need to do? How do I get to the heavenly realm? How do I become a god?” I cried out, feeling like we needed more time.
Netori gave me a helpless look that seemed to say that she didn’t have an answer for me.
“Please, I’ll do anything!” I cried, reaching out to grab her.
Netori pulled back, but a second later, she loosened her shoulders. “There is an option. However, I don’t know if it will work. I don’t even know what it could accomplish. I only know… it happens, I don’t know what happens next.”
“Anything!” I reaffirmed.
“Hakaru… I’m going to do something, something that is forbidden. If I do this, it will be a long time before you can see your harem again. I can only even attempt it because you are you. Do you understand?”
Of course, I didn’t, but I nodded anyway. “I’ll do it!”
“Once I do this, I will exhaust all of my power. You will never be able to summon me again. More than that, NTR will realize what I did. I will be temporarily borrowing her power to do it. Not only will she punish War, but she may come after you as well.”
I gulped. “H-how is that going to help?”
“You have to figure that out for your own.”
I bit my lip. “Just do it.”
“What I will give you is time, how you use it… has already been decided!” She suddenly reached out and touched my forehead.
I felt a sudden burning that spread out from my head, and it exploded through my body, and I felt like I was being torn apart. The image of Netori faded it. I suddenly heard a screaming sounded like NTR. She sounded extremely pissed. I felt a sense of dread and crisis. It felt like NTR was reaching to grab me. However, I seemed to just manage to avoid her, and the dread started to dissipate.
My eyes snapped open, and I realized I was lying on the ground. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Very slowly, I sat up. I could barely see, but it seemed like I was in some kind of ally between two buildings. My head ended up in my lap as I rubbed my temples, trying to get rid of the pounding headache.
“Yo… is that guy on drugs?” I heard a woman’s voice.
“I’ll have what he’s having.” Another girl said.
“This is our turf, he better not be tweaking on Hellcat’s block.”
“Kana, go fuck him up!”
Just as I started to look up, someone kicked me in the face. I fell back into a laying position. I felt someone get on top of me. My eyes finally cleared and I looked up just in time to see a tough-looking hot girl mount me. She was wearing a Japanese school uniform. It was an older style one that I swore was phased out over a decade ago. As I looked up at her, I began to see familiarities. She looked like she could be a cousin of my sister.
“Hellcat Kana, tell him who’s boss.”
It was the same name that my father had always called my mother. Suddenly, my mother’s appearance overlapped with this girl nearly twenty years younger.
“Tell me, punk, who’s your mommy!” She smirked.
“You’re damn straight.”
I was being serious though…