“L-Lilith, why do I have to do this?” Artemis protested. “And calling yourself my superior? Although I’ve admired you, we were born around the same time!”
“Ah… I suppose that’s right.” Lilith suddenly touched her lip thoughtfully. “We even have similar origins.”
“Similar origins?” Artemis scoffed. “We have the same mother!”
“Y-you’re sisters?” I cried out.
Lilith laughed. “Calling us sisters… I suppose, in a way, you could say we’re related. I am the goddess of women, after all, and you give women the inclination to protect their virginity. Perhaps, you’ve influenced me in ways I never realized. Well, that was in the past.”
“I-in the past?” Artemis gasped. “Y-you… you’ve given your womanhood? To that beast?”
She pointed a finger out at me. I raised my hands defensively. I mean, it was true, but she was being too accusatory. Actually, it did bring up a question drifting in the back of my mind. I turned to Lilith who was standing beside me defensively.
“Lilith, why have you changed your mind? Earlier… didn’t you want to suck out my soul?”
“Y-you have to ask.” She suddenly grew shy, touching her fingers together with a gentle pink glow on her cheeks. “I never wanted to hurt you, Hakaru. I just wanted to escape my imprisonment. However, after you took my womanhood away and made me yours, how could I just leave? You took my heart, and now you have to take responsibility. I’m your woman now.”
“What about the harem?” I asked hesitantly, not wanting to anger the person protecting me from Artemis.
“Even though I don’t necessarily like having to share you, I’m the goddess of all women, not one. If multiple women love you, is it wrong as long as they are all happy?” She suggested innocently.
“You know… that’s all that NTR wanted for you too.” I bit my lip. “She wanted you all to be happy together. It was Procreation who perverted those desires.
“R-really?” She looked doubtful for a second, and then shook her head. “Since Hakaru says it, it must be true. I was a different woman back then, though. I was too prideful and arrogant. Those years in my tomb, I suppose I’ve learned some humility.”
She changed her mind just like that? At first, I was thinking that her way of acting was very antiquated when it came to women. If she was a reflection of a woman, then how could she be so demure? Then, I had to think about what other influences women had. For most women, isn’t it the first time that has a special place in her heart? If you took a woman who had no experience, and only had her meet a handful of men in her life, wouldn’t it be really easy for her to fall in love? The promiscuousness, jadedness, and realistic attitude for most women didn’t come until they were older. A pure, young, teenage girl often filled her head with all manner of romantic fantasies. Even older woman liked to fantasize about a knight on a white horse.
Instead of ending up with a bad boy, she ended up with me. As a result, she excused my faults, or perhaps she willfully ignored them, and was now giving her whole heart to me. Did Netori know this would happen when she sent me to Lilith? Had she anticipated that if I could succeed in having Lilith, that she could become a helpful ally? That woman had so many layers to her.
“He calls himself Harem now.” I continued trying to convince Lilith. “I don’t think even NTR knew his name was Procreation until recently.”
“He dares!” Lilith’s eyes flashed angrily. “That man tries to steal my lover’s name?”
“Wasn’t there also the other stuff about murdering Lucifer and trapping you?” I added.
“Besides that… this is truly unforgiveable!” Lilith clenched a fist, her eyes flashing with violence aimed toward the man who wasn’t here.
I could only give her a wry look. She really did have a one-tract mind. She definitely wore her heart on her sleeve and gave all of her focus in one direction. Now that she gave herself to me, she held nothing back. It was both flattering and a bit scary. Wasn’t this also the beginning signs of a Yandere? I recalled a few legends about Lilith. She wasn’t just called the first woman, but she was also the first demon!
“H-harem! That Harem? That beast?” Artemis’s eyes widened. “He’s… Procreation?”
“I found out his true identity before I fell. I’m perhaps one of only a handful who knew the truth. This was because he had pretended to be Lucifer’s friend. Temptation and sex go well together, after all.” Lilith admitted.
“I… hate that man!” Artemis cried out, her hand clenching on her bow. “He humiliated and suppressed me many times. He’s hunted me for years. I’ve only managed to remain pure because of Mother’s protection.”
If Artemis was the representation of a woman’s virginity, then naturally Procreation would want to have that. In fact, Artemis would be one of the biggest obstacles for Procreation. Their natures were fundamentally opposed to each other, and if he could take her virginity, then it would only lead to him having even more power over women.
While most people considered love and sex to be linked, there was also a link between sex and power. People used sex to gain power, and people had sex to exude power over others. It was Procreation who put that will into the people. In the end, he didn’t care about the women around him. All he cared about was his never-ending quest to become a stronger god. It was a quest that started from his creation. From the moment he used Lilith and NTR to trick Adam and Eve out of the garden and got them to start making babies, he’d been growing his power. Even his long period of lethargy under Marriage had only been him gathering up his power.
That just left one question. Why? Why had he been building up power? Why did he decide to move against Netori and gather NTR and Marriage back under his control? What was he trying to accomplish? Even Lilith wouldn’t have these answers. The tree of knowledge couldn’t show her anything regarding gods. I did have a theory though.
“We have to stop him.” I muttered. “We have about eighteen years to prepare.”
“Why eighteen?” Artemis blinked.
“Because that’s when he’ll make his move.” I shook my head. “I believe, in eighteen years, he will become an upper level god.”
Both girls gasped when they heard that. NTR had explained levels to me before, but now that I was a god, I could feel the power and energy more directly and understand it better. In short, levels dictated the power a god possessed, and was a measure of how much influence they exuded on the universe. Each level was an order of magnitude more powerful than the previous level. Levels 1-5 were mortal levels. A one would be any random schmuck, where if you were level five, your influence should be at a point where you had a major influence on the world.
This didn’t necessarily mean someone had abilities, and there were true mortals that could actually reach level five without the aid of a god at all. One example might be a celebrity or world leader. Although, to be level five, they’d have to be extremely influential. Maybe someone like Oprah Winfrey at her prime, when a word from her could cause the stock market to fluctuate, might have reached level five.
Level six to eight were the levels of a demi-god. These were the heroes of the world that might go down in history. Most demi-gods were children of a god and a mortal. Children of gods would be gods, and children of mortals would be mortals. A mortal reaching demi-god status was possible, but since ancient times this was extremely difficult. A god would have to be willing to sacrifice some of their power to bring a mortal to demi-god status. I was a prime example of how difficult that was. Just to reach godhood, I had to sample many goddesses and mortal women.
Level nine was a starter god. It was the beginning of godhood, and the basic level needed to leave the mortal plane and enter the heavenly plane. I was level ten right now. Thanks to Lilith’s high level and sacrifice, I had jumped straight from the top of eight to ten. I was now considered a base god. Artemis was a level thirteen, as was Lilith. This was the same level as Marriage, while NTR was only at level twelve. Lilith should have been a level fourteen, but her years of captivity had caused her to lose a step, not to mention her sacrifice to me.
Level ten to fifteen were normal gods. The vast majority of gods fell within these numbers. Each level was significantly more powerful than the last, and it was based mostly on how important they were to the universe and humanity. To put it in comparison, all three parts of NTR, Netori, Netorase, and Netorare, were level eleven, and together still weren’t as strong as NTR combined at level twelve.
There was also a separation between the gods of mortals, and the gods of higher concepts. Mortal gods tended to have mortal forms, while concept gods were aloof and distant, standing above the lower gods. These higher concept gods existed at level 16-20, and were called great gods or upper gods. Typically, level 16-17 gods formed the council of gods, and set mandates for the other gods to follow. Meanwhile, gods at the level of 18-20 barely even interacted with the others. As for what kind of gods sat at the top? No one knew. Some were so ancient that they didn’t even have a name. Those that did might include things like Time, Gravity, and Reality.
Procreation had managed to reach level fifteen. It was supposedly the most powerful a mortal god could reach. He was literally one of the defining tenants of life, so it made sense he’d stand at the top. I believed that level fifteen wasn’t enough for him, and Procreation’s desire was to reach level sixteen, become an upper god, and join the council. To reach that level of power, he would step on anyone to succeed.
The reason Harem left me alive was because I wasn’t a threat, and I’d never be a threat. Once he was an upper god, there was no way I could destroy him. I’d need to wipe out the human race to even hurt him, and doing so would bring a million angry gods on my head long before I succeeded. I didn’t know how long it’d take Procreation to reach level sixteen after he left, but I couldn’t risk giving him too much time. It was possible that the only reason I was successful in summoning Netori who sent me back in time was because Procreation was busy ascending to the level of a great god. That meant that if I wanted any hope in challenging him, I had to reach at least level fourteen by the time he claimed NTR and Marriage. That was the minimum level needed that he couldn’t just vaporize me.
Ultimately, I ended up explaining these thoughts to the girls. “In the end, he might even have his sights on you, Artemis.”
I didn’t know what it was, but I was almost certain that after Marriage and NTR were captured, he’d have gone after Artemis. He might have sought out Lilith too. He’d use every goddess he could reach to help him ascend, and the virgin goddesses would have been his crowning achievement. If I hadn’t gone back in time, there would have been no way I could have even had a chance. Even now, it often took hundreds if not thousands of years for gods to increase levels, and I was planning on growing in only eighteen, give or take the time until mom had me. It was definitely a long shot.
“That bastard. He’s been playing the role of a whipped man for all these years just to take control of everyone. Even the other gods and goddesses were just his toys!” Artemis growled angrily.
Lilith smirked. “Then, you’re willing to help my man destroy him?”
“I will!” She cried out. “I’ll help you hunt him down and kill him!”
“Hehe… that’s not what my man needs right now.” Lilith giggled.
“You see, Hakaru is the god of harems. To increase his power, he must spread the nature of the harem. However, that shameless Procreation has stolen his identity and is consuming his power. If our Hakaru tries to spread his name in the mortal realm, Procreation will clearly learn of it and stop him. Thus, we have only one option.”
“Wh-what is that?” She asked, her eyes filled with worry.
“Naturally, Hakaru must secretly build his harem throughout heaven, and seduce all of the goddesses and make them his!” Lilith declared, and then grinned at Artemis. “And he’ll be starting with you!”