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“Hakaru.”

“First.”

I faced the woman the other girls both feared and loved. She was a woman who led this band of goddesses, acting both as their leader and their control. I wasn’t quite sure how long I had been in that room. It felt like ages. It could have been days, but it also could have been weeks. While a mortal man might have gone insane waiting in isolation for so long, as a god, my mentality had changed. It was rather peaceful, and the Celestial Palace was rich in heavenly energy, so just sitting and meditating along helped me become more familiar with myself and my powers.

However, I was nowhere near ready enough to face this goddess. From what I understood, she was a level eighteen goddess. She was up there with the goddesses of creation. I had reasoned out that she was the god of fire, or something akin to fire. I hadn’t figured out how this related to the other goddesses, but I understood the close but also distant relationship between fire and humanity. If Mother was some kind of a life goddess, then the fire would be some kind of destruction goddess. They seemed like opposites, yet Mother seemed to follow Beloved, and even admired and loved her to a certain degree.

She had appeared in my room all of a sudden, looking down on me like an eternal judge. I had a feeling that how this conversation went would also determine whether I lived or died. I gulped and then stood up, deciding to face her head-on. I wasn’t going to beg for my life or act pitiful. I had to face this honestly.

“Insolent… to look me in the eye…” She snorted, looking away in disgust. “You’ve grown too powerful for your value.”

“I’m sorry, I haven’t been a god for long. I was once human.”

She spun, surprise flashing across her face a second before she coughed slightly. “Ahem… even humans know not to gaze upon my beauty. You’ll go blind.”

“You’re beautiful, but I’m not blind.”

She blushed for just a second, and then she grew angry. “I know I’m beautiful. Why would I need a lowly god to tell me that which I am very aware!”

“I’m sorry, um… Beloved, but what are you going to do with me?”

“Beloved?” She made a face. “You… dare say you love me?”

“These goddesses, I heard they were once a part of you?”

“Yes, they are my sisters.”

“Sisters!” My eyes widened. “I thought they were your servants or something…”

“You…” She glared. “It is my responsibility to shed my light on all of my sisters and give them my love!”

“You love them? It seems like they are afraid of you!”

“Love can be hard sometimes. It is healthy to fear me.”

“I love them, and they don’t fear me at all.”

“You dare!” She took a step forward and then turned away. “Geh… the love you’ve given them. Fleeting love. It is temporary. We have existed for billions of years, and we will continue to exist for billions of years. You, on the other hand, are a bleep in their lives. My love is everlasting! What can you offer them?”

“Happiness.”

She blinked, looking surprised. “Happiness? What is the point, when it will be followed by sadness? Humanity won’t be around forever. When you in a few thousand, maybe a few million years, what will my girls do? You will crush them all.”

“Everything changes. Even you will one day fade.”

“Before I go, I will take them with me in a blaze of glory!”

“Then, it is right that they fear you. Because I don’t offer them an end. I offer them a beginning!”

Our voices had both raised, and the pair of us were yelling at each other at that point. If anyone else had seen me yelling at a level 18 goddess, a being so powerful that she could wipe out the majority of the gods and humanity with a flick of her hand, they would surely faint from shock. However, I was in it now, and I wasn’t willing to step back at all.

“You dare…” She lowered her eyelids and her voice.  

“I have been daring…” I shot back. “If you were going to kill me, you would have done it already, right?”

She scoffed and turned around. “Don’t pretend you’re clever. I’ve been around longer than your entire evolutionary chain! You’re right, though. It seems that I will be unable to kill you. You have managed to exploit the naivety of my girls like a parasite, latching yourself onto them, and create bonds.

“I can indeed destroy the bonds between you, but there would be a backlash. It’s to the strength that it would injure my girls, and would assuredly kill you. With the girls whose influence is distant, their bonds for you even rival their loyalty to me. If I killed you, or you died before I had cut all of the bonds, then I would cause them unimaginable pain and suffering. Make no mistake. I would kill you a hundred times over if I could do it without upsetting them. You have put me in a situation I have never been in before, but I will tell you another thing. I always get my way. I have whatever I want, and there will be a time when I dispose of you too.”

“What are you planning?” I asked.

“Time is the great deteriorator of all things. You will remain in this room, separated from my girls and the rest of humanity. My girls have only known you for a short time. By cutting you off from them, their hearts will slowly begin to forget about you. After a few million years, those bonds will be as thin as string, and eliminating you won’t hurt them a bit.”

“Millions of years?” I let out a cry. “No… I have less than a decade! I have to go back home. People are waiting for me! Gods… goddesses… my family!”

“Why would I care about such fleeting things?” She responded flippantly.

“You love your sisters, don’t you? Well, I love people too! I won’t return to the celestial palace! I promise! Just… let me go home!”

She looked conflicted for a second, but then her expression grew sharp. “No! This is what you deserve. You can rot in here, and no one will ever know or care what happened to you. That is your fate!”

She disappeared before I could say another word, although it seemed like she was fleeing the room as much as making a point. I was back in isolation again. I had tried to leave this place, but it was created by a level 18 goddess. I wasn’t nearly powerful enough, nor knowledgeable enough, to leave such a place. I fell back into the bed. I had lost.

Who knew the next time she’d show up again. Would she show up again? The next time she came to this room might be when she came to destroy me. After millions of years in isolation, would I even be me anymore? No, that wasn’t even the important part. The important part was that all of my family and loved ones would be dead. Procreation would have Marriage and NTR and played with them for longer than they had even existed to this point. My bonds with the numbers wouldn’t just be over, my bonds with everyone would be gone.

I was just starting to sink into depression once again, a tear falling down my cheek when I realized someone was in the room with me again. I stood up, but I couldn’t see who it was.

“Show yourself!” I demanded.

Slowly, a form appeared, and my eyes widened as I saw Mother form in front of me. Her long blue hair framing her beautiful, voluptuous figure.

“M-mother?”

“She… doesn’t know I’m here,” Mother said. “I figured out how she made the room, and how to enter without her seeing. Artemis is… making sure she’s distracted while I visit you.”

“You shouldn’t.” I declared, turning away. “I don’t want you to get hurt. She might decide to punish you again.”

She didn’t flinch. Rather, she stood there staring at me until I felt like covering myself.

“Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth… they all… love you?” It was half statement, half question.

“I don’t know.” I shook my head. “I love them.”

Mother shook for a second. “You saved my bond with Artemis. You should have died. You would have died. How could you do such a thing.”

“Because I love Artemis too. I know how she feels about you.”

“Did you mean what you said? About bonds?”

“Of course, I believe that nothing is more important than the bonds we share with others. Gods and goddesses, we’re all interconnected. That’s why Procreation needs to be stopped. He doesn’t believe in those bonds. He believes in shallow self-satisfaction. He doesn’t honor the bonds between people at all. He’s happy to create those bonds, but he’s also happy to discard them when it’s convenient. I will never be like him.

“I see…” She grew quiet; her expression was hidden. “What about me?”

“Your bonds to Artemis are extremely important.” I nodded.

“Just… Artemis?”

“Hmm?”

“Was it only Artemis that you were thinking about when you stood in front of and protected us?” She asked, her voice sounding strangely heavy.

“Mother, I appreciate you as well. You brought me here and allowed me to meet many women who I care about. I have grown more powerful, but I don’t care about that. I care about them. I care about Artemis, Lilith, NTR, Marriage, and my family at home. I care about you…”

She finally looked up at me, and I was shocked to see her crying. “I’m sorry that I caused all of this to happen.”

“Ahh… wh-what… it’s not like it’s your fault or anything.” I grew a bit flustered as the proud and organized goddess cried.

“I brought you here for my own selfish reasons. I knew that there was a risk to your life. I just never considered it that important to me. I allowed you to take that risk because of the offshoot it would help me.”

“It’s okay.”

“It’s not!” She walked up to me and grabbed my hands, her enormous chest grazing my knuckles as her tearstained eyes looked at me pleadingly. “I just walked you through the door and then abandoned you alone. I had no faith that you would manage anything. I half expected you to get fed up and leave, or for one of the girls to chase you out. I risked your life all because of a shot in the dark that my sisters would connect with humanity.

“Yet, look at you. In a few years, you managed to do what I could not accomplish in millions. You’ve caused my sisters to open up. I’ve never seen them so talkative and expressive. I’ve never seen them so close. This is something that you did for them.”

“I just… it wasn’t really…” I grew flustered as she held me so intensely.

If the other girls were naïve, the Mother would be worldly to a fault. Looking at her was like looking at an unshakable mountain. Yet, here she was, showing more vulnerability than I could have ever have imagined. It left me completely speechless.

“Hakaru…” She suddenly looked down on my chest. “There has only been one man who has ever moved my heart.”

“R-really?” I frowned.

“You shouldn’t be jealous. He’s gone now. He… became something else a long time ago.”

“I see…”

“However, I think… my heart belongs to another now.”

“Oh? Wait, what?” I was only half-listening, the feel of her rapidly beating heart and her large chest pressed against me.

“Hakaru, I don’t know if you understand this since you were mortal, but all immortal beings are terrified of death. In a way, it had made us cowardly. Most gods won’t face their superiors, especially those that can wipe them out with the crook of a finger. We have lived too long to risk everything. Our lives are our everything.”

“I’m not sure what you’re getting at.”

“When you threw yourself in front of Beloved when you stood up and defied her, to a goddess, it’s like giving everything. Our lives, billions of years of history, to give that up for another, that’s something none of us would do. However, when a man does that for me, how can my heart not be moved.”

As she spoke, her arms moved around me, and the atmosphere was increasingly getting hot and sensual.

“M-mother…”

“About that name… I haven’t been a mother in many many years.” She purred. “I think… I’m ready to have another… right now.”

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