Chapter 273: Strategy…?

Vahn nodded his head and asked, “I have a few thoughts, but what did you want to discuss?” Before she answered, Loki sat with her legs crossed and rested her chin on her hands that were resting on her knees. Loki was wearing her traditional attire: tight shorts, small blue, skin-tight top, long sleeved arm warmers with a hooded attachment, and a pair of black stocking with blue boots. She always sat sloppily and, even though nothing was visible, it always drew the eye when a girl had their legs spread unexpectedly, especially if they were wearing shorts that didn’t leave much at all to the imagination.

Loki saw the brief glimpse Vahn had given her but just smiled without drawing attention to it as she said, “We need to discuss the matters concern the upcoming Denatus and how we’re going to deal with it. Even though we’ll also be discussing it as a group, since I’ve been delegated at the ‘speaker’ of the group, I need to make an informed decision based on what you want to do. Depending on how things play out…well, let’s just say it won’t be easy to deal with the fallout in the future. There is also the matter of Isthar…but, well, I don’t think she’ll be much of a problem. I challenged her to a Wargames and now she intends to complain about the matter at the next Denatus…really, that woman has no sense of reality.”

Vahn had a serious expression on his face and he asked, “Then the important matters must be related to [Enkidu] and Hephaestus’s pregnancy then?” Loki nodded her head and continued, “Maybe not just Hephaestus…I feel like the window of opportunity for myself is shrinking rapidly. I already recalled the expedition party, and I don’t think it’ll be that easy…well, lets set that matter aside and I’ll explain the reasoning first. The best option would be to only have Hephaestus be pregnant right now and then we can pass it off as some kind of fluke…” Releasing a sigh, Loki looked up and continued, “But that’ll still draw a lot of attention from multiple parties that want to approach you without any restraint. It’ll all cause a stir in both the mortal and godly communities since Hephaestus’s pregnancy would be considered an anomaly.”

Loki, though her eyes were closed, ‘squinted’ as her brows furrowed and she said, “Not only would this potentially put you both in danger, but I don’t think Hephaestus would want to keep it a secret at all. One solution would be to provide evidence that it isn’t a ‘fluke’ and show multiple instances of the event repeating itself. The major drawback of that, well, it should be obvious…there would be goddesses lined up trying to get close to you. We should be able to hide the existence of [Enkidu] and then vet any goddess that wants to approach you by holding them to a vow of secrecy…”

Tilting her head down into her hands, Loki continued, “But that may not really be a permanent solution…there are too many loopholes to exploit and the best method would be to protect the information and use it as leverage to protect you in the future. However, that would severely restrict your movements…there is also the matter that, even if you’re not the one doing the deed…well, I heard about the procedure from Hephaestus. You have to actually be there if you want to guarantee the pregnancy, right?”

Since the process involved both [Eyes of Truth] and [Hands of Nirvana], Vahn was required to be in close proximity to the goddess in question to guarantee the success of the pregnancy. With a serious expression on his face, Vahn nodded in affirmation to Loki before she continued, “So even if we wanted to protect your identity, you’d be exposed pretty quickly…” Loki remained silent for several long seconds before she looked upwards at Vahn with open eyes and asked, “Vahn, tell me, do you intend to keep going into the dungeon even after you ‘secret’ is revealed at the Denatus?”

Vahn furrowed his brows because he understood why Loki would ask that kind of question in the current circumstances. If he truly had a way to guarantee that goddesses could get pregnant, he would be highly sought after for his ‘services’ and there would be a lot of resistance against him actually entering the dungeon. Not only would the said goddesses want to ‘protect’ him, but there would be a number of people that would actually try to kill him for their own personal reasons. However, even though Vahn didn’t care too much about the dungeon, he felt like his destiny was intricately connected to it and he was drawn by his own intrigue to reach its depths.

Loki saw Vahn’s determination and said, “Then we’ll have to explain it in a manner that makes it seems like it isn’t such an easy procedure while also binding any goddess that receives ‘treatment’ with a vow…But even this won’t go over too easily unless we try to monetize or regulate things…but I feel like you wouldn’t be too open to that kind of thing.” Hearing Loki mention requiring people to ‘pay him for the right’ to bear children made Vahn frown a bit, even though he understood it might make things easier.

Seeing his expression, Loki stated plainly, “No matter how you look at it, we would have to be selective about who actually get impregnated…after all, you aren’t trying to destroy the world, are you?” Hearing the seriousness in Loki’s voice, Vahn asked, “What do you mean? Of course, I’m not trying to destroy the world…” Loki nodded her head before explaining, “Tell me Vahn, what do you think would happen if every goddess had a child, not necessarily your own mind you…”

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Vahn thought about the matter and imagined that there would be a marked increase in the number of demigods in the world so he said, “There would be a lot of half-gods around…” Loki nodded her head and said, “That’s right, and what happens if they’re able to also have children, not necessarily with gods, but there might be a chance…” Though he was still confused, Vahn imagined the number of people with pseudo-divinity would increase exponentially over time if it wasn’t regulated. His expression became especially serious because he realized why Loki asked if he was trying to destroy the world…

With a satisfied smile on her face, Loki nodded and said, “It’s good that you can think things through properly, that makes the future look a lot more promising. As you seem to have guessed, the number of Demigods in the world would increase over time. Since you’re more god than man, you would likely live for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years. Over that time, even if you only had a child per year there would be thousands of your own children running around, much-less the children that you help others obtain. If your children aren’t bound by the restrictions of some other demigods, the balance of power in the world would fundamentally change after a time and there would be a shift in the status quo of the world. Within a few generations, every current race in the world may even cease to exist as your genes slowly spread through the entire continent. Though it might not be your intention, you would inadvertently drive the other races toward extinction because of their inability to ‘compete’ in a natural way with your children, and the children you help goddesses have.”

At this point, even Hestia had her eyes opened wide and she just stared blankly into space, unable to comprehend the implications of Loki’s words. Vahn was holding the bridge of his nose between his index and thumb and tried imagining the world that Loki talked about. He couldn’t explain it to the girls, but Vahn knew he could actually live forever in this world if he decided. It might not happen quickly, but there was no way Vahn would restrict his own kids in their pursuit of happiness. Over time, his children would have kids of their own and they would eventually move on to have their own kids…

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Loki explained slowly and enunciated every word, “The number of goddesses you help bear children needs to be restricted…especially if they are children sired by you. You should be at least 75% god, so that would make any children you have with a goddess close to 87.5%. If, by some coincidence, they are able to have children with a god or goddess…that brings the blood purity to 93.75%…even if you tried to protect all of your kids, there would always be a group that would try to push the purity even further through various means. Within a few hundred years, there may be people that are infinitely closer to the power of the gods walking amongst mortals…Your kids might even live for millions of years and sire entire generations of pseudo-gods…”

For the first time, Vahn had some fear related to having children of his own and didn’t know what was the correct decision to make any more. He didn’t regret his actions, but he was afraid of what the future might hold, not necessarily for himself, but his children, their children, and so on…After a while, he looked up at Loki, who still had her eyes open and fixed on him and asked, “What do you think I should do? I want to help if I can…but I don’t want to destroy everything in the process.”

Even though Vahn knew Loki actually desired destruction, it didn’t pertain to the mortal world and only extended to the Heavens. If she was bringing the matter up, she must have thought of a solution of sorts…

Loki responded seriously, “We have the goddesses that learn of [Enkidu] and the procedure join the Alliance and have them vow to raise the children under careful observation. Not only your own children, but we need to protect every child that is born through the use of [Enkidu] until we can collect more data. We also need to place a restriction on how often the procedure can be performed as well as come up with something like a requirement that couldn’t be replicated by anyone other than you…well, a lot of that can be managed by the gods and goddesses already in the Alliance. Your main responsibility would be to…well, not give in so easily just because you empathize with someone. Just like in the instance with Laverna, there are simply goddesses that aren’t deserving of pity depending on the circumstances…others just aren’t capable of being good mothers even if they had a child of their own. Even I fall into the latter category and would likely do something regretable unless I’m restricted in the actions I can take…”

Vahn ruminated over Loki’s words for several minutes in silence while Hestia worriedly pat his back. She wasn’t the type to think ahead that much, so Loki’s revelation had been a big impact on her as well. Though she didn’t expect it to happen any time soon, Hestia also wanted to have a child of her own one day…but now she wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. Perhaps the world placed the restrictions on goddesses for that very purpose, simply to maintain the balance and protect the natural order.

After a while, Vahn looked up into Loki’s eyes and stated clearly, “I agree to some personal regulation…but I will still continue to search for a solution to conception rates of the various races. Humans shouldn’t be the only race that can freely conceive alongside gods while goddesses and the half-races have to bear tragic fates. I don’t think the future you’re talking about is truly destruction, but closer to evolution. It might cause chaos, but chaos is everpresent in the world regardless of the actions I take. I believe that we can change the flow of history as long as we set a proper example for others to follow and aspire towards bettering ourselves and improving the quality of life for everyone.”

There was no way Vahn could plan that far ahead and understand the repercussions of his actions, but he understood it was simply wrong to prevent people from having children just because of his personal inhibitions and fears. It was a profoundly selfish thing to do and there was no way he would deny his own children that right if they wanted to build families of their own. Vahn couldn’t even imagine doing something so cruel to people that he wanted to protect the happiness of.

Though he hadn’t noticed it himself, Vahn had increased his grip on Hestia’s waist and held her a bit closer to his body. She looked up at saw the serious look in his eyes and felt slightly less insecure about the future while Loki started laughing loudly and patting her knee with her hand. With a fervent expression on her face, Loki showed a large smile as she said, “That’s the right answer~! That is the beauty of being mortal; making decisions without regards to the consequences and just enjoying life to the best of your ability!” Loki began to laugh in a strange manner with her hand over her mouth before continuing, “Change is the beauty of life! F*** monotony, f*** expectations, lets live life to the fullest without regrets~!” Unable to contain herself, Loki stood from the sofa and had a fiery look in her eyes as if she could see a glimpse of what the future might hold.

With decidedly less momentum, Vahn also stood up and had a confident look in his eyes as a giddy feeling spread through his body. The future wasn’t some foreign thing he had no control over, but something he would be there to experience for himself. If he did his best to positively influence the future, Vahn refused to believe things would end badly. His children would be influenced by his actions and the guidance of the many strong women around him. Vahn couldn’t even imagine they would end up as the disreputable types if he raised them well and taught them properly without forcing any expectations on them. He could teach them that happiness was a construct they created and shared with other people through the bonds they established and the choices they made…

Hestia, though she wasn’t entirely sure of the reason, also started getting hyped up and clung to Vahn’s back after wrapping her arms around his neck. The only thing she really understood was that Vahn would continue to do his best to ensure the happiness of everyone in their Familia while doing his best to better the lives of others. Loki saw Hestia’s actions and gave Vahn a coy look with a glimmer in her eye as she asked, “Are you just going to spoil Hestia~? You know, I’ve been working my butt off lately…even though it seems to grow back pretty quickly?” As she spoke, Loki turned sideways and rubbed her butt playfully before asking, “Want to help me make sure~?”

Since they weren’t that far apart, Vahn tilted his head slightly and squinted his eyes a bit before using his index and middle finger to test the tension of Loki’s left cheek. Her eyes opened slightly wider before a cheeky expression appeared on her face. She made brief eye contact with Hestia before stepping over the wooden table and reaching her hands around Vahn’s body. Vahn mirrored her actions with a markedly more gentle expression in his eyes until he heard Hestia squeal and fall from his back onto the sofa when Loki pinched her butt. Before Vahn looked back to check on her, Loki leaned forward and gave Vahn a passionate, very experienced, kiss on the lips.

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