“Where… where am I?” I looked around in confusion.
At first, I thought I was standing in Purgatory. The white world often depicted in near-death experiences and when people meet angels and gods was a real place. It was the place where the mortal world and the heavenly world met. Crossing the barrier was difficult, and for a newly formed god like me, getting stuck in such a place was easy. Furthermore, time in purgatory differed from Earth, so although it was only a decade before I’d be caught up in time, it might be thousands of years in purgatory.
As I focused more, I began to make out my surroundings. It wasn’t truly a white space. It was just that everything around me was extremely bright. It was like walking indoors after being out in the bright sun all day, except in reverse. Rather than finding myself in the darkness where my eyes needed to adjust to the low lighting, I found myself in a world that was far too bright, and I had to give my eyes time to adjust to that.
As they adjusted, I realized I was in a forest. It was a beautiful place, filled with animal life. I started to be able to hear the sounds of insects, birds, and a gentle breeze. The forest had an otherworldly feel to it. It felt extremely old and also filled with magic. It’d be like one of those forests said to house spirits or fairies. I wouldn’t be too surprised if one of the trees started talking.
“Don’t be afraid, young one. You have made it to Heaven.”
“Ah! Is that so…” For a second, I had thought that disembodied voice was one of the trees, but it didn’t seem to be coming from any specific spot.
Hearing another person helped ground me some more, but I couldn’t see them at all. I still felt weird. After all, I had no body anymore. If I looked down, I still saw myself. I had hands, arms, legs, and everything. However, I had a feeling like it was an illusion. This was the way of the god realm. I no longer had a mortal form, and my immortal form was vague, relative, and based more on my soul than any biological aspect.
If I wanted to project something else, I could just project it. For example, if I wanted to be taller, I could just imagine myself taller. As I thought that, my legs slowly stretched from the ground. I then returned to my original size. Hmm… I wonder if the size was an illusion too. If I wanted that to be bigger… I felt my pants tightening.
“Ahem… anyway, whenever a god or goddess is spontaneously created, they are automatically assigned another god or goddess to guide them. I’ve been assigned to orientate you to heaven. As you are born more or less an innocent lamb, I will nurture you properly.”
“Oh? That’s nice. What goddess are you?”
“Mmm… I am the goddess of the hunt. You may know me as the goddess Artemis.”
“A Greek goddess? I thought you were all wiped out by the high gods?” I blinked.
“Wh-what? H-how did you know that! Who are you?” Slowly, a woman suddenly appeared in front of me.
She had a bow over her shoulder and was tall and radiant. She was an outstanding beauty, with blonde hair in a ponytail, blue eyes, and extremely long legs. She wore a white robe cut in a way that allowed her mobility. It looked Greek in style to me. She was staring at me with narrowed eyes, like a hunter trying to discern their prey.
“Ah, there you are.”
“New gods are either born reincarnated from dead gods or spontaneously created by a need in the universe. You’re born a pure representation of your source. You should have the mind of a child, unaware of the world or the nature of others.” Artemis declared. “I’m supposed to nurture you, and help you grow into the god you’re supposed to be. You shouldn’t already contain such knowledge as that of ancient gods. The only thing you should know pertains to your reason to exist… hmmm… what reason is that? You’re the god of… Ha-ha-harems?”
“Ah, so that is what I’m the god of? I mean, ultimately, it was my desire, but I wasn’t certain if I would be successful…” I muttered, looking my body over.
“You don’t even know what you’re the god of? Wait… a-are you a human?”
“I was a human. Now, I’m a god.”
“You…” Her eyes flashed. “The Greek gods were brought down because of their closeness to the mortal plane. They blurred the line between the mortal world and the immortal world. For the mortal world to reflect the gods and vice versa, there must be a clear line of distinction! They nearly destroyed reality. I was one of the few lucky ones to avoid the great purge!”
“So, that’s what happened.” I nodded in interest.
“Don’t act so innocent! You’re a human who managed to fill the role of a god! How can this be allowed?” Her pretty face formed an ugly expression. “After seeing so many gods and demi-gods obliterated by the highers, a being like you cannot be allowed to exist!”
“Hey! That’s something else entirely… right?” I held up my hands defensively. “I mean, they were banging mortals and having babies. I’m not trying to do that.”
I naturally wouldn’t tell her about my mother and girlfriends, who I planned to somehow keep regardless of those rules. None of them even existed yet anyway, nor did I, so none of that mattered. Just because I had a little knowledge, I had no attachment to the mortal realm if you thought about it.
“Do not worry, Harem god. I will kill your current form, but you will be reincarnated again. In your next life, I will happily guide you.”
“This isn’t what I had in mind when I went to the effort of coming up here!” I cried out.
She wasn’t even listening at this point. In another motion, she reached out, grabbed her bow, and then pulled it. An arrow suddenly appeared in her bow, already notched and ready to fire. I let out a cry, dancing from side to side. However, this was Artemis, wasn’t it? She was the goddess of the hunt! How could I dodge her?
She fired an arrow, and I threw myself to the side. Her arrow ended up hitting the trunk of a tree nearby. She let out a curse.
“You ducked! Just stay still and receive your divine punishment!”
What was I supposed to do now? After I had come this far, I was just going to die? I had become the first mortal to make it to godhood in ages, and it was just my luck I had to run into the one god that both had a history that exposed me, a deep trauma regarding that history to cause her to react violently, as well as the methods to destroy me. Just what kind of luck was that?
Like a scared deer, I raced into the woods. I heard the whistle of the arrow, another thud into another tree, finished off by a second curse. I ran harder through the forest. If I was going to survive, I had to get a hold of my powers as a god and quick. If I couldn’t even get out of this ancient forest, I was a dead man! A third arrow came and missed just as bad as the first ones.
“You… stop running! Arrows are really hard to shoot!” She cried.
She sounded pouty, like a child who wasn’t getting her way. It might have sounded cute if my life wasn’t in jeopardy. Naturally, I ignored her, and I kept running. However, I suddenly saw her in front of me. I let out a cry, jumping just as an arrow came. I then turned around, and ran the other way, only to see her in front of me. I spun around again. She was still in front of me.
“Hah…” She laughed defiantly. “You can dodge, but you can’t run! As a goddess, how could I let it be so easy for you to get out of my grasp!”
At that point, vines rose from the ground and grabbed my legs. I let out a cry as I was instantly immobilized. This was ridiculous, and also complete cheating. I had only just become a god, and this woman had been a goddess for many years. She had long mastered all of her powers and was now using them to her fullest to kill me. I looked on in horror as she raised the bow, pulled, and shot. The arrow whistled by my ear. I hadn’t even dodged. Rather, I was standing still waiting for death, and she had missed.
“Damn it!” She cursed, “One more try!”
“A-aren’t you the goddess of the hunt?” I asked.
“Are you… actually a bad archer?”
“What did you say?”
Her entire atmosphere turned a bit deadly. I had said the wrong thing. Suddenly, her eyes looked a bit crazed, and she started laughing maniacally as she raised her bow again.
“Ah… nothing! I said nothing! I didn’t see anything about you being a crappy archer.”
“You… Hahahaha… you won’t be able to tell my secret if you’re dead!”
“Wait! Wait! I’m sorry!”
“Die, Harem!” She released the arrow.
This time, it flew true and was heading straight for my forehead. I closed my eyes, unwilling to face my death so suddenly. This was all a joke. How disappointed would Netori be, knowing how much of her life and faith she had put on me, only for me to die minutes after entering the heavenly plane. I never even got close to Harem. A second past and the arrow didn’t strike.
“You are too much, Artemis. I never thought you’d be such an embarrassment!” A voice said in front of me.
I opened my eyes, one after another, only to focus on an arrow only a few inches from my forehead. That arrow was being held by a woman, and that woman was a beauty I was deeply glad to see.
“Lilith!” I smiled at her with joy.
“Ah… H-Hakaru…” She blushed, putting the arrow down next to her. “I’m sorry it took me so long to find you. I should have guessed you’d end up in the forest of beginnings.”
“L-Lilith!” Artemis gasped, and then lowered her head. “Mistress of women! I’m honored! I’ve heard all about you! I’ve always admired you.”
Lilith’s sweet looks toward me turned sour looking at Artemis. “To think, you’re supposed to be training new gods, and when a god comes, you try to murder him instead?”
“H-he is once a mortal!”
“Don’t you forget that so was I?” Lilith’s eyes narrowed.
“Ah! That’s true!”
“Since you’ve decided to do this, you must make amends.” Lilith declared.
“I will! Anything Lilith wants, I will do!”
“Heh… I’m not the one you must make amends to.”
“It is to the new Harem god that you must seek forgiveness.”
“S-sorry, Harem, it was my mistake for trying to kill you!” She declared, although her voice sounded slightly reluctant.
“Hehe… I said you must make amends. Do you think an apology is all I want?”
“What are you saying?” Artemis cried out.
“Since you’re already here, how about you leave behind your virginity?”
Her eyes widened to the sizes of teacups, and even I broke into a cough.
“Hehe… Hakaru, my love. Earlier, I gave you myself and you finally ascended to godhood. The process destroyed my tomb and freed me as well. Since we are both in heaven now, I couldn’t be happier. However, I know your nature. I am the goddess of women, after all, and you are the god of harem. To give you my heart, I’m very well aware of the consequences. Since I must help my man, and you must form your harem, then how could I not do everything in my power?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had thought that sleeping with Lilith would be the last thing I did, but suddenly she had become an ally.
“I-I’m the goddess of the hunt! H-how could I give my virginity!” Artemis yelled out.
Lilith laughed. “You forgot my tomb existed near ancient Greece, and many demi-gods had visited me in my years. I’m very well aware of you, Artemis. Goddess of the hunt? Is that truly the name you used to deceive men from your true purpose?”
“Huh? Is she not the goddess of the hunt?” I blinked.
“Oh, she is… but she’s not the hunter. If you ranked the two of us, I’d be her superior. You see… Artemis is the goddess of hunting chastity. It’s true, she is the goddess of the hunt, but to accurately portray her nature, she is the embodiment of the desire women possess to protect their virginity!”