“Regrettably, I am not completely in the 16th level, or I’d be able to crush you entirely. The gap between the lower gods and higher gods is much steeper than the lower gaps. In general, a level 16 god might be 100 times greater than a level 15 god. As for me who has only just started, the difference is closer to 10 times. Still, enough that you don’t pose me any threat.”
“N-no way… It should have taken hundreds of years to reach this point!” I declared.
I had done plenty of reading in the celestial palace, and I wouldn’t have boldly marched in here if I had thought he was already at level 16.
“You’re one to talk.” He snorted. “You rose from a mortal to level 15 in how short a time?”
“He used demi-gods.” NTR declared.
“Demi-gods… demi-gods! That’s a crime!” I stiffened.
“What’s demi-gods?” Sasori asked Freya, who had been staying near the mortal goddesses.
“Technically, a god and a mortal aren’t allowed to make a baby. If such a union happens, gods are supposed to eliminate them on sight.”
“Ah!” Kira grabbed her stomach.
“You don’t need to worry. We aren’t so foolish as to impregnant you with Netorase’s own baby. The baby in your womb is 100% yours and Hakaru’s. Besides, it will grow up a god, since both of its parents are gods now.” Netori explained. “Just as Maria wasn’t a demigod.”
“However, there was a demigod made,” I responded bitterly. “Wasn’t there?”
“Who?” Akiko asked.
“Gina… Procreation got her pregnant, but she wasn’t with father’s seed, but his own!”
He grinned. “Did you think that she was the only one? I spread my seed all over the earth, rapidly increasing my own power as a result.”
“You dare violate the rules set out by the council?” Lilith shook with rage.
“And why not?” he glared back. “The council… those alleged greater gods, have suppressed us humanoid gods for too long! They sit in their ivory towers, looking down on the rest of us. We are closest to humans, but they say we cannot even interact with them? How foolish is that? How can a level 9 god survive in heaven when he can’t even promote himself directly?”
“Don’t act like you are some morally superior hero.” I snapped. “You’re just bending the rules to gain power for yourself!”
He raised an eyebrow and then laughed. “Oh? I’m not the only one who has bent a few rules, am I?”
I didn’t respond, glaring at him instead. It was true that me going to the past also was a violation of the rules. I didn’t have any room to speak. Everything I had read said that time travel for gods and goddesses was forbidden, and if the god of time caught you doing it, they’d come down swiftly and destroy any violators. Yet, I had gone and faced no consequences.
Netori was the one who had sent me, and she sent me because she knew I had successfully made it and altered the past. She never would have attempted it if she didn’t know that it already worked. Thus, Procreation’s revelation that he even knew about this put a bitter expression on her face. We had both made a dangerous play to get to this point. It was just that Procreation still came out ahead. If I tried to accuse him of violating the rules, then he likely had proof of the same. We would both be destroyed at that point.
As for how all of this fell below the council’s notice, Procreation was a crafty deceiver, and as much as the council set these rules and the lower gods followed and revered them, most of those gods were so detached from reality that they’d never notice unless someone else told on them. The entire system depended on gods tattling on each other. It was no wonder that the heavens had become so cutthroat. I had always wondered why the trust I gave my goddesses had touched them so deeply. Now, I understood. In this world, trusting the wrong person could be your own destruction.
“Let’s just go, Hakaru.” Freya urged. “You can’t defeat him now.”
Procreation raised an eyebrow. “Did I say any of you could leave?”
“Y-you may be the strongest one here.” Lilith said defiantly, “But there are still many of us, and Hakaru is level 15!”
“You are all ants before me.” He snorted. “And do you think all of them will fight and risk their lives for you?”
As he said that, he looked back at the girls who had followed from the village. They all guiltily turned their heads, dropping them down. Many of them were fearing they bet wrong. Hakaru wasn’t as strong as they had thought. How could he possibly protect them all? Even if he lived, Procreation could take vengeance on just about every woman here.
Procreation wasn’t overpowering better than Hakaru. If Hakaru had it in his mind to escape, he could do so. However, besides perhaps Lilith, Marriage, and NTR… Procreation could have his pick of the other girls, including the mortal goddesses closest to him. If all of the goddesses worked together, some would fall, but the majority of them would escape. That would never happen though. These women were beaten down and scared. Any one of them might stab the others in the back to hope for survival. How could they work together like that? This reality wasn’t lost on Hakaru.
“I’ll hold him back. Everyone, run.” I declared.
The only thing I could do was fight for them.
“You overestimate your ability!” Procreation released his power this time.
He attacked the girls, putting enough pressure on them to crush them. I let out a cry, using my power to block his own. However, he was a lot stronger than me, and he wasn’t aiming at me at all. I realized my folly instantly. I wasn’t holding him off from me but from all of the girls. If the pressure he was using landed on them, they could be hurt or even die, especially the level 9 and 10s, which included my mother and daughter.
“Y-you…” I growled with exertion. “You dare attack them…”
His attack was malicious. He was trying to kill his own children and the women who bore them. I never would have imagined he’d act so callously. Even though I held off most of the pressure, he had ten times the power I did. It was still enough the girls were brought to their knees. The girls let out cries of shock and distress. Any affection they had lingering for this man only turned to fear. No one in the room could mount the ability to flee. Even NTR, Lilith, and Marriage were sweating with exertion, although they managed to stay on their feet.
I collapsed to my knees. It reached a point where I was rapidly growing weaker. Once I used up all of my energy, either the girls all died, or he’d stop, and take everything from me. I had come so far along, and yet I was still basically helpless. The grin on his face grew the more I struggled. I couldn’t hold on any longer. I had to protect them.
The pressure on me suddenly disappeared. It was so shocking I nearly fell forward on my face. I scrambled back to my feet as I heard a gentle voice floating through the air.
“I’ve had enough of this.”
The voice was as sturdy as a mountain but as smooth as water. It radiated power, and a moment later a woman appeared at my side. I looked over at her, both shocked and elated.
“Mother!” I cried out.
“Hakaru!” She smiled and then threw her arms around me.
My face was buried in her bountiful chest.
“Y-You’re here,” I spoke in a muffled voice from between her warm pillows.
“How could I not be? I was so worried for my Hakaru-waru-wumpkins.”
“I was managing.” I lied.
“Yes, you were.” She pulled my face out of her chest. “And you did such a good job!”
She licked her thumb and then wiped something off my cheek before straightening my coat.
“Who-who is this lady?” Mom frowned.
“Isn’t she a bit… too motherly?” Sasori asked to no one in particular.
“When you fell, my heart fell with you.” She sighed. “How could I stay in the palace not knowing you were safe? Thankfully, I found Artemis and she told me what was happening. I managed to arrive just in time to save my big, strong man.”
“G-G-G-Gaia?” Procreation, who had a smug expression on his face the entire time so far, had suddenly become shocked to his very core.
“Eh? Gaia?” I blinked.
“That’s one of my names.” Mother chuckled. “But you can keep calling me mommy.”
“I’m his mother!” Mom cried out.
Mother suddenly disappeared and then reappeared next to my mom. “Oh, hoh… so you are. I’ve been wanting to meet you for some time.”
As she spoke, her giant chest was pressed against mom, and she had her hands all over the woman like they were lovers.
“Wh-who are you?” my mom asked shakily.
“She’s Gaia!” Marriage cried out. “She’s… the embodiment of the planet Earth!”
“I thought her name was Mother…” I frowned and then gasped. “Wait… Mother Earth!”
“Aii… Aiii…” Gaia put her hands on her cheeks and blushed. “Don’t call me that, it makes me feel so old!”
My head reeled at the realization. She was Earth. That meant that all of the other goddesses here… lived on her! To say she was popular with humans would be a massive understatement. All of the girls from the village fell to their knees and lowered their heads, prostrating to her. Only my closest women remained standing in their presence. That was only because they didn’t know what to make of this woman. NTR, Freya, and Marriage did, but they were too stunned to do anything. They had heard that I had been close with her, but hearing it and seeing it were two different things.
“What are you doing here uninvited?” Procreation demanded in an unhappy voice.
“Why can’t I come? My precious Hakaru is here, and I worry so much.” She appeared next to me again, once again fussing over me.
“Hey, I’m okay,” I complained.
“Hakaru, I’m leaving and you’re coming in me tonight.”
“Um… don’t you mean that I’m coming with you?”
“I know what I said.”
“I can’t leave until Procreation is dealt with,” I responded, trying to sound confident even though I had come so close to losing everything a moment earlier.
She smiled. “I know… that’s why my Hakaru is so amazing. I will support you completely. My Hakaru can do whatever my Hakaru wants.”
“She’s too motherly!” Sasori cried out again.
“I-I’ve been replaced!” my mom whined.
“Not at all. Mother Kana…” Gaia bowed respectfully to her. “In fact, I wish for us to become very close. You see, you’re my family too. After all, you’re the grandma of my child.”
She touched her stomach, and mom’s eyes popped out. “G-g-grandma!”
“Well, it was inevitable with Kira pregnant,” Maria said helplessly.
“Wait… Gaia… as in Earth, is pregnant?” Kira cried out.
“Fufu… in time, there will be a renaissance of life forming on me. Hakaru’s life. I once was pregnant, and I birthed humanity. This led to Lilith and Adam. Then Eve came along, and NTR was created as well.”
“Wait, if Lilith is your daughter, then wouldn’t that make NTR…”
“H-hello, Mother…” NTR spoke shyly and reverentially to Gaia.
“Everyone calls me Mother for a reason.” She chuckled.
“Don’t forget!” A voice broke into the odd mood that had formed when Gaia appeared. “That the one who got you pregnant… was me!”
Procreation declared a cruel grin on his face. As his words settled in, the jovial mood was broken like a balloon.