While Vahn was skulking around in the Dungeon with Haruhime, Hestia had accompanied Anubis to the main location of the Denatus, which was located on the 30th floor of Babel Tower in a large ballroom decorated ceremoniously in the aesthetic of the western gods. There were giant stone pillars spread throughout the area and the entire room looked reminiscent of a giant temple, which was very suitable considering everyone in attendance, excluding some service staff, were all gods. The reason for Hephaestus and Loki’s absence at the very beginning was so they were able to make preparations without causing a stir from the onset. It was their intention to arrive when the ‘meet-and-greet’ phase of the Denatus transitioned into the banquet phase as it would prevent a fiasco where the girls were spontaneously crowded by a large group that would delay progressive discussions.
Hestia had worn the beautiful blue dress that Vahn had purchased for her and she struck a striking figure amongst many of the other goddesses present, including the exotic looking Anubis. Anubis had worn a traditional ceremonial white robe that covered the majority of her body and was decorated with various golden ornaments around her upper arms, wrists, and the green sash around her hips. The outfit traditionally required several different necklaces, but Anubis unashamedly wore the collar Vahn had given to her in the past and maintained an elegant disposition as she accompanied Hestia from her left. Though she didn’t treat Hestia as her better, she still showed her the deferential respect deserving of the goddess of her Master’s Familia.
As they were both ‘new faces’ amongst the Denatus and were quite beautiful, the pair drew the attention of various other gods. Most of them knew of Hestia from their stint in Heaven, so they only gave cursory greetings welcoming her to the mortal plane while the vast majority tried speaking with Anubis. She politely greeted everyone but denied them any attempts to get ‘closer’ to her, especially the various gods where were spontaneously trying to woo and court her simply to satiate their curiosity and add to their achievements. Gods and goddesses never married, since they were all immortal, but it didn’t stop them from having temporary relationships and there were several gods that could count their godly ‘conquests’ in the hundreds, if not thousands. The biggest turnoff for most goddesses was the fact that most gods knew each other and were braggarts and gossipers. Of course, this went both ways as there were several goddesses with the same traits, Anubis and Hestia were just far more reserved than most, at least in matters concerning men and relationships.
After a small window of time passed, the majority of those present lost interest in the new duo and Hestia released a somewhat exasperated sigh as she looked toward Anubis and said, “If I wasn’t so happy to be with Vahn, I might have been more annoyed that everyone seems more interested in talking to you rather than myself.” Anubis laughed in an elegant manner before saying, “I believe its because they fancy their odds of ‘winning’ my affections compared to one of the coveted ‘virgin goddesses’ of the Northern Pantheon.” Hearing Anubis’s teasing words, Hestia’s face blushed a deep shade of red before immediately becoming annoyed when she heard and abrasive laughter that reminded her of nothing but bad memories.
“Why, if it isn’t my dear Hestia~! I had heard you descended from Heaven, haaaaa, it saddens me to know that I wasn’t invited to the ceremony. Even when I tried to find out where you had been staying I was unable to dig anything up. I see you’re well dressed, tell me, is that friend of your’s taking care of you now? You know, I don’t mind helping acclimate to the human world and ‘teaching’ you all sorts of things, Aaaahahahaha!” The voice belonged to a very handsome god with sun-like blond hair, golden eyes, and a golden wreath wrapped around his head. He was attired in ceremonial white robes with red and gold accents, but the most noticeable thing he wore was his arrogant and possessive expression as he unashamedly gawked at Hestia’s body.
Hestia glared at the unpleasant arrival and practically spat the words, “Apollo, I’ve refused your advances time and again, yet no matter how many eons pass you still think I’m some prize to be won. Leave me be, I’ve long grown tired of your games and have begun to find your very presence distasteful~!” Though he grimaced for a moment, Apollo just scoffed and shook his head with an arrogant smile and said, “Things aren’t the same as they were in Heaven, why are you so uptight? It’s not like accepting my courtship will ruin your real body, you’re just in a mortal form right now, so why continue this charade further? Why even come to the mortal world if not to experience everything you can’t experience in Heaven~?”
It was Hestia’s turn to scoff as a snide look appeared in her eyes and she said, “Oh, I intend to experience all kinds of things in my time here, just not with a persistent and egotistical jerk that has no sense of propriety at all~! Begone, Apollo, your presence alone makes the wine taste bland!” Apollo shook his head with a ‘wry’ smile and commented, “Sooner or later, Hestia, you will be mine…” He then turned to Anubis as if Hestia’s matter had been put to the back of his mind and said, “Greetings, you are a very beautiful goddess aren’t you? Pay no heed to Hestia’s ramblings, she has just been frustrated trying to protect her little title. Given your appearance, you must come from the Souther Pantheon…Ah, forgive my late introduction, I am Apollo, one of the principal gods of the sun, music, poetry, and prophecy. It is an honor to meet such a beautiful goddess…” Apollo performed a polite bow and showed a radiant smile on his face as he completely ignored the fuming and disgusted Hestia standing right next to Anubis.
Anubis continued to show her elegance but her eyes twitched slightly as she politely bowed and said in a somewhat cold tone, “I am Anubis, Goddess of the Dead, Life, and Wisdom…it seems our Divinities are in conflict as, like my companion Hestia, I can’t help but feel abject disgust at your mere presence.” Though she kept a polite smile, Anubis’s words were biting and they made the cocky expression of Apollo freeze up for a moment before he began laughing. After a few seconds, Apollo gave Anubis an ‘appraising’ look and said, “I know of you, Anubis, the dog goddess that serves a human master. How disappointing, to see such a fine specimen wasted on a mortal…well, if you ever want to experience what its like to be with a real man, I don’t mind taking you as my pet when your little toy grows inevitably dies. I wonder if you’re like a dog in bed as well~? Aaaahahahaha!”
Both Hestia’s and Anubis’s expressions turned foul as they stared at Apollo with eyes filled with hatred. Seeing their expressions, Apollo laughed boisterously until the atmosphere around the three froze after a bell-like laugh sounded. Even though he was a god, Apollo couldn’t help but feel a chill run up his spine as he turned around to see the source of the sound and blanked for a short moment as the sheer beauty of the goddess approaching. Freya had been paying attention to Hestia and Anubis ever since they entered the ballroom and had been eavesdropping the earlier conversation out of curiosity. Though she didn’t mind Apollo’s brash and assertive behavior, the moment she heard him mention Vahn’s death she was unable to keep her calm and decided to step in.
Apollo tried to recover his bearings to try his luck, once again, at making a pass at the goddess considered the most beautiful in the entire City. However, before he could utter a single word, Freya looked at him with her cold silver eyes and said, “Leave us, mongrel, you’ve no place here. A single word from your lips and I’ll have you pay the price in the arena~.” Apollo’s face froze and he tried several times to find his words before eventually stepping down due to Freya’s intimidation. Though he was proud of his ‘collection’, his Familia was only D-Rank, a far cry from the S-Rank powerhouse that was the Freya Familia. He didn’t understand her anger, but he didn’t want to stick around to escalate matters further so he just made a polite bow before walking away with a much faster pace than when he arrived.
Freya watched his back for several seconds before turning to the other two goddesses and saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet the two of you, Hestia, Anubis…tell me, when are Hephaestus and Loki planning to arrive~?” As they had known each other for quite a long time, Hestia released a sigh since she knew about Freya’s interest in Vahn. However, she had also been lectured several times by Hephaestus and Loki to not stir up the currently docile goddess and stir her to action. Since it was their first official meeting in the mortal world, Hestia performed a courteous bow and said, with a smile on her face, “It’s good to see you, Freya…the others will arrive just before the banquet begins.” Freya showed a thoughtful expression and said in an amused tone, “That must mean Loki got pregnant also…fufufufu, I’m looking forward to the future.” Freya began to turn away to mingle with the other gods until the banquet began before turning around and saying, “Ah, Hestia, if people like that bother you, please let me know and I’ll deal with them if you’d like~?” Freya began to laugh in a somewhat loud, but very pleasant tone that drew the attention of various gods within the room.
As they watched her curvaceous back saunter about elegantly through the room, Hestia heard Anubis say from the side, “She is a very dangerous woman…I don’t think I’ve ever felt an aura quite like Freya’s in all my years in both Heaven and the mortal world.” Hestia nodded her head with a strangely melancholic expression as she said, “Freya is one of the few survivors from the Age of Myths. Though not one of the oldest, she is very nearly six-hundred-million years old…” Anubis’s eyes widened a fair amount before she turned her head toward the petite goddess to her right. There were few gods that have persisted for such a long period of time without breaking, but Anubis could tell that Freya wasn’t the only one with a marginally strong aura. Hestia’s expression and the way she casually spoke the words made Anubis believe there was much more to the diminutive goddess than she had originally realized.
After a few hours of mingling, it was finally time for the banquet to begin as everyone began moving to their seats at the several large rectangular tables that had been brought out. There wasn’t any particular seating order, except for the 10 spots that had been reserved at the main table where the avatar of Ouranos sat on his throne-like chair at the head of the table. He had a solemn and observant expression as he watched over the congregation of gods with an unwavering gaze. Moments after everyone had sat down, there was the sound of the large doors at the far end of the ballroom being opened as two red-haired goddesses walked in wearing similar black dresses with red accents. Ouranos saw them from a distance and muttered in a low tone that was still heard by everyone in the room, “So, you’ve come, Hephaestus, Loki…”
The two goddesses had confident expressions, almost like they were walking into a battlefield without a single sign of fear or inhibitions. They began walking forward as a slight stir passed through the various gods and goddesses in the room after seeing the ‘unexpected’ arrivals. Many had been curious about the two goddesses that were leading the Alliance, and it was strange that they hadn’t shown up even though Anubis, Takemikazuchi, and Miach, had all eventually gathered. Presently, they sat near Hestia at the second group of tables closest to the center.
After nearing the central table, Demeter looked over at Hephaestus and Loki with her somewhat sleepy looking eyes before an expression of moderate shock appeared in her orange eyes. She was a very beautiful goddess with honey-colored hair, sleepy orange eyes, a large bust that could easily rival Hestia’s, and a very womanly figure as a result of her Divinities related to Earth, Agriculture, and perhaps most important for this occasion, Fertility. Her Familia was responsible for the majority of grain production and crop distribution within the City, so she sat amongst the group of ten at the same table as Ouranos. The moment she got a good look at the two late arrivals, Demeter immediately realized the ‘peculiarity’ in their bodies but kept her silence for the time being.
Loki assumed her spot to the right of Ouranos while Hephaestus sat next to her as they briefly made eye contact with Freya across the table who had a radiant smile on her face as she stared at Loki’s belly with glowing silver eyes. Seeing her expression, Loki laughed in a somewhat mischevious expression before turning to steadfast Ouranos and saying, “We have a lot of matters to discuss, but I think it should wait until after the banquet has started. We wouldn’t want to keep all the other gods and goddesses waiting, now would we~?” She then began to laugh in a manner that focused the attention of everyone present onto her. Not only Demeter and Freya, but there were several goddesses present that had realized the ‘abnormality’ with Hephaestus and Loki, but none of them were willing to mention it with how tense the atmosphere had become. Since they were seated with Ouranos and three goddesses with Fertility Divinities, it surely had to come up in conversation. After all, if their senses weren’t playing tricks on them, the matter of goddesses being pregnant couldn’t simply be brushed aside…could it?