Chapter 355: Insurance

After the banquet concluded, Hestia managed to escape from the veritable horde of goddesses and made her way over to Hephaestus, Loki, and somewhat annoyingly, Freya. Anubis joined them soon after and the five goddesses parted ways with the larger group and proceeded to the 48th floor of Babel which was designated as Hephaestus’s private residence. She rarely ever used it, but it was still large enough to potentially house thousands of people if required. The group made their way inside as several attendants rushed about to prepare food and drink for the ‘rare’ visitors.

Hestia plopped down powerlessly onto a sofa and whined, “Muuuuu, I thought it was fun at first, but those goddesses need to learn some propriety. All they kept asking were things about Vahn and there were even several that want to try and get closer to him~! Grrrrrrr, I’ll never let those hussies get their hands on my Vahn!” Hestia had been flailing about with her arms and legs like a child even though she was still wearing the dress Vahn had bought her. Loki, who had been nearby, began laughing and asked, “Ara~? A bold claim to make in front of his legal wife, don’t you think?”

Hestia looked over at Loki with dead-fish eyes before turning her gaze at the awkward smile of Hephaestus before saying in a lazy tone, “Even if I have to share him with a lot of other girls, Vahn is still mine…we promised to be together forever and I intend to take care of him no matter how much time passes.” Hephaestus walked over before scooching Hestia’s legs to the side and sitting down on the same sofa. She looked over at Hestia, who let out a sigh and sat up, before saying in a calm tone, “Vahn isn’t such a small existence that he can be contained by any single person…even if we all did our best to protect him, I’m certain he’ll grow beyond our influence someday. The best we can do is make sure he always has a safe haven to return to…and the only way we can do that is to work together, Hestia.”

Without waiting for her response, Hephaestus grabbed Hestia and began snuggling with her as they had done in the past. They weren’t the most ‘popular’ goddesses in Heaven, so their relationship as friends was a powerful bond that wasn’t easily broken since it had persisted for well over a million years. Hestia ‘pouted’ a bit before relaxing her face against Hephaestus’s breasts and saying in a muffled voice that made the red-headed goddess stifle a laugh, “Muuuu, Hephaestus, thanks for calling me to come down from Heaven. I didn’t know it was possible to feel like this…” Before they could fall into their own pace, Loki sat behind Hestia and grabbed around her body and ‘accidentally’ grabbed the two large breasts of the petite goddess and said in a mischevious tone, “You’re lucky Vahn was your first, I’ve had to go through countless experiences before I finally understood what it meant to be a real woman~”

Hestia began to writhe around under Loki’s touch and complained, “Graaaah, Loki, you mischevious demon, unhand meeeeeeee~!” Loki began laughing playfully as she drew her face close to Hestia’s and made the small girl blush deeply when she said, “Ara, but we got along so well when we were with Vahn…you’re going to break my heart, He-sti-a~!” Loki drew her face slightly closer to the flustered Hestia’s until an ‘elegant’ laughter sounded in the room and Freya said, “Oh, I didn’t know the two of you had reconciled and now have such a ‘personal’ relationship. It’s good to see friends get along so well~.” Loki turned away from Hestia and released her breasts before addressing Freya with a sly grin on her face, “You already have a better understanding than everyone else at the Denatus about what is going on around Vahn. The question is, now that we’ve made our stance, how far are you willing to go to cooperate with us, Freya~?

Freya titled her head slightly as she passed her gaze over the four goddesses, including Anubis who had been sitting at the side sipping on tea with a contented expression. She released a somewhat tired sounding laugh as she shook her head and said, “I’ve already committed to helping protect Vahn from outside threats and have even taken several vows to not interfere with his lives, and the lives of those around him. I want to have a child of my own one day, so I have no intention of butting heads with the other girls around Vahn…so why do you ask how far I’m willing to cooperate when I’ve already made far more concessions than any of the other goddesses?” Freya knew that every time Loki opened her mouth these days, it often resulted in her having a powerful headache afterward.

Loki stood up from the sofa before standing relatively close to Freya and looking up into her silvery eyes and saying in a serious tone, “How long have we known each other, Freya, around 140 million years? You think I’ll believe for a moment you’re willing to play second-fiddle to anyone for a long period of time? No, that isn’t like you at all, I’d much rather place my bets on the sun failing to rise in the East any day of the week than believe that for an instant.” Freya squinted her eyes in a provocative manner and said plainly, “Vahn is too important an existence for every goddess, I’m not going to oppose more than half of the godly community for temporary benefits. Just like Hestia…even if I wanted to keep him to myself, there would be too many factors preventing me from taking action, just like you and Hephaestus have done.”

Loki’s eyes opened slightly as the boldly stated, “I am a dangerous existence to Vahn.” Freya’s eyes opened slightly as she tilted her head and asked, “Ara~? Are you talking about your Divinity? What are you trying to get at, Loki?” Loki’s face turned into a somewhat sad looking smile as she said, “In order to give him more of a reason to give me a child, I swore off every other relationship for as long as Vahn lives. Unless it’s with his consent, I don’t even play around with my old favorites anymore.” Freya’s eyes opened a great deal because she knew Loki’s ‘habits’ more than most, as they had often worked together in the past. Because of this, Freya understood what Loki was trying to say and also understood why Loki had asked how far she was willing to go earlier.

Freya furrowed her brows as an uncharacteristic frown appeared on her face and she asked, “You can’t honestly be asking me to give up on all my other relationships just because I want to have Vahn’s child…even if I could somehow tolerate it for a while, you know I can’t simply throw away the things I have invested my interest in. My Divinity wouldn’t allow me to do such a thing…what you’re asking is impossible!” Loki shook her head with a serious expression and said plainly, “I know you can’t give up Freya, and I’m not asking you to do so. Even if Vahn knew about your relationships with other men, he probably wouldn’t even mind that much since he himself has several ongoing relationships. The problem is how the ‘Children’ of your Familia will treat him, and how your child would eventually be raised. The current you is simply unqualified to be the mother of one of Vahn’s children because there is no way you would be willing to part with it. Vahn would never allow his child to grow up in the type of environment you would provide, so unless you make a firm resolve of your own you would never be able to have one of his children. You’d be better off picking one of your favorites within your Familia and having them sire the child instead.”

As she listened to Loki’s words, Freya’s thoughts were racing through her mind and she was trying to come up with a counterargument. However, nothing she could think of would be able to convince the four goddesses in front of her, especially the problematic trickster standing before her. They simply knew each other too well and, as Loki had claimed, there is no way she could part with her own child. If it were a girl, she would raise her daughter as her protege, the same way she had treated Syr. If it were a boy, she would nurture him into a powerful warrior that exceeds all others and, if he possessed a similar spark of Divinity like his father, she would desire to create another child with them. The thought of being able to ‘cultivate’ a god within the mortal world resonated too strongly with her own desires, her own Divinity. As long as there were a chance, Freya couldn’t abandon the thought and would have to pursue it even if it inevitably resulted in her return to Heaven.

Loki said in a somewhat cold tone, “All goddesses will be bound by certain vows, but the ones binding the goddesses that wish to birth Vahn’s children must follow specific guidelines. There are too many unknown factors for any of the children to be entrusted to anyone else other than Vahn and the Alliance as a whole. You don’t know that boy yet, but his capabilities are far greater than you can imagine. Do you think it’s an accident he has been able to find solutions, not just regarding the matter of goddesses, but also for Half-Races and even Elves? His perception would put many gods to shame and his innovative ideas are unlike anything that the world has ever seen. There is no one more qualified than he is, especially with our network of support, when it comes to ensuring the children live long and healthy lives. What you would try to do only results in one end, no matter how much you try to force the situation. You will destroy yourself, or you will destroy your own hopes, potentially for the rest of eternity. Even before the Age of Myths, there had never been an anomaly like Vahn in all of history, are you really willing to wait another 600M year in the hopes that a second would appear?”

Freya had a very conflicted expression on her face because she couldn’t think of any way to poke a hole in Loki’s argument. There was simply nothing she could say to call into question the fact that Vahn was ‘qualified’ on the matters since he was the literal progenitor of the method and was the only person who even had a remote understanding of the process. If what Loki said regarding the other races was true, there was no room for her to argue over the matter at all and it was a very vexing feeling since she was very used to getting her way. Ever since she took an interest in Vahn, it seemed like all of her plans were being undone before she could even execute them and it was baffling considering there were few things standing in her way previously.

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After a long period of hesitation, Freya bit her bottom lip for a while before looking into the slightly open eyes of Loki and asking, “You wouldn’t bring this up if you hadn’t thought of something…so what did you have in mind…Loki?” She put extra emphasis on Loki’s name, almost as if the word was somewhat distasteful on her tongue. Loki didn’t seem to mind at all as her expression turned into a mischevious smile and she said, “It’s simple, really, just that from the moment you eventually sleep with Vahn, you won’t be able to sleep with anyone else up until the time the baby is born. When you finally give birth, the only way you will be allowed to ‘keep’ the child would be to continue having a monogamous relationship with Vahn. The vow will lose its effect after the child reaches adulthood, though you can renege on it at any time as long as you’re willing to ‘give up’ your child to be raised by the Hestia Familia. You will still be able to visit, but you won’t be able to take the child away for long periods of time without supervision. This is the greatest leniency we can afford you, since you are simply too dangerous otherwise.”

Freya’s frown deepened for a while after listening to Loki’s words as several thoughts ran through her mind. Loki’s terms weren’t actually that bad, and it wasn’t as if she were that attached to her current children. If it meant forgoing a relationship for little more than a decade, it wasn’t that difficult considering she was several million years old. It was simply a ‘blip’ in the endless flow of time that defined her existence and it was a small price to pay in order to receive a peerless child of her own. None of her current children would be able to hold a candle to the existence that she would give birth to in the future, and Freya’s primary interest was pursuing the idea of a perfect, peerless, warrior.

For several minutes, Freya ruminated over the matters until her expression slowly melted into a much softer one and she eventually smiled elegantly as she said, “Very well, Loki, but before I bear Vahn’s child, I want him to help me conceive one from someone else. I assume your little ‘restrictions’ have no sway over my other children, correct?” Loki’s expression turned somewhat serious before she nodded her head and said, “Yes, but keep in mind that if Vahn found out you mistreated your other children, it would likely affect his decision to allow you to have any others.” Freya began to laugh like a bell before looking around the room at the other goddesses and saying, “That’s fine, but I’ll have each of you make concessions of your own. Even without confirming anything, I know you’ve all probably been advocating against me to keep Vahn from approaching me. I want you to stop interfering with ‘fate’ and allow things to happen as they will…I’m curious what kind of person Vahn is to have brought about so much change in everyone that even Hestia, famous for her purity, would give it up for his benefit.”

Hearing her name, Hestia startled before shouting, “Someone like you wouldn’t be able to understand at all, Freya! All you’ve ever been concerned with is your own interests, you wouldn’t be able to understand someone like Vahn who puts in almost all of his efforts to help other peole. He isn’t selfish and distant like any of the gods in Heaven, no, he is living every day to the fullest and that is something that not even I, or any god, would be able to understand! If you hurt Vahn, I don’t care what it takes, I will make sure you regret it forever~!” As she spoke, Hestia’s Divinity began to activate and it actually put a great deal of pressure on all the goddesses present. Even though they were all goddesses, Hestia’s latent power was far greater than even someone like Freya.

Freya’s smile cracked a bit and her eyes took on a serious glint as she fought to resist against Hestia’s pressure using her own Divinity. She was just a third generation goddess, so there was little she could do against the first generation, Hestia. Since they originated from the same area of Heaven, Freya was very aware of some of the secrets related to Hestia’s origin. The main reason most gods and goddesses avoided confrontation with the ‘lazy’ and ‘troublesome’ little girl was due to the fact that, depending on the circumstances, they wouldn’t even be able to defend themselves if she lost her cool. Not everyone was like Loki who didn’t mind ‘flirting’ with death and teasing the diminutive little goddess with big boobs. Freya knew that, if she actually ‘hurt’ Vahn and triggered Hestia’s wrath, she would likely be destroyed in, not just the mortal world, but Heaven as well.

With that thought in mind, Freya turned her gaze to the fiery red eyes of Hephaestus and finally understood the forge goddesses scheme. The reason she had called Hestia down to the mortal world to protect Vahn wasn’t just because he needed a Familia, but because she wanted to use Hestia’s inflexible nature as a deterrent. Now that the small goddess had committed herself to Vahn, he had inadvertently got one of the greatest forms of insurance he could have…Freya released a long sigh before pulling back her own Divinity and saying in a defeated tone, “Don’t worry, Hestia, though I may lay more than just my hands on Vahn, I won’t do anything to actually bring harm to him…” Under her breath, in words that only Anubis managed to pick up, Freya continued, “…it’s not like I’ve grown tired of living just yet.”

As someone from a different region of Heaven, Anubis wasn’t entirely aware of the origins and powers of the Northern and Western gods, so hearing Freya’s words had been ‘eye-opening’ for the exotic goddess. She turned her moon-like eyes toward the small goddess she hadn’t thought much of previously and vowed in her heart to butter up the over-protective Hestia. There were several things she wanted to do with Vahn in the future, so Anubis didn’t want to make any enemies, especially with a goddess respected by the hot-headed Hephaestus. Out of habit, as Anubis thought about Vahn, she reached up and stroked the black collar around her neck and it caused a small smile to appear on her face that drew the attention of the other goddesses in the room.

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Afterward, a strange conversation was spontaneously instigated as the girls began to talk about the various things they had received from him in the past. Though items like Hestia’s dress and her [Sapphire Star] were quite impressive, everyone had to bow down in defeat when compared against Hephaestus’s [Promise], the crest on her back, and the baby in her belly. Though Loki was a ‘close second’, she didn’t have an item that linked her together with Vahn. Of course, just the memory of that ‘fateful’ night together was more than enough for her…at least for the time being.

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