Chapter 924: Plot

Fully aware of what Vahn was intending, as was often the case, Loki had been making preparations of her own behind his back. It wasn’t that she wanted to keep secrets from him but, if she didn’t do ‘something’ to pacify her Divinity, it would make her body feel itchy. Though the influence of her Divinity had markedly weakened after she had given birth, it wasn’t that it no longer took effect at all. In order to prevent things from getting out of control, Loki made sure to keep her interactions with other people ‘vague’ and ‘complicated’. She was wrapped up in dozens of small schemes and plots, mostly in preparation for Vahn’s rise to become an Emperor…

Currently, she, along with Freya and an escort of five Valkyrie, had made their way over to the nearby port city of Melen. Though their departure from the City had been kept from Vahn, it wasn’t as if they were being very low profile since Loki and Freya had flown on Khaos’ back for the short flight. It had grown to 17m long and, with it’s black/crimson scales, Khaos stood out ‘noticeably’ whenever Loki went around to manage affairs for the Alliance. This was the first time Freya had ridden on it’s back, however, causing her to make off-hand remarks about asking for her own Dragon from Vahn…

So that Freya didn’t do anything to unnecessarily pressure Vahn, Loki had seriously discussed the matter with her so she knew ‘when’ and ‘how’ to make such a request. She knew that, even more than a normal Tamer, Vahn cared deeply about those he had subordinated and named. Because of this, she had gone out of her way to try and treat Khaos well so that he wouldn’t worry too much. There were times when she would also mention Khaos in casual conversation with him before they both went to meet with and groom their True Dragon companion. This had a very noticeable effect on Khaos as well, even though he would never admit to being happy for the company…

After touching down in a spacious area in Melen’s port, causing quite the scene in the process, Loki and Freya made their way over to a large tavern near the port’s periphery. Since there were a lot of sailors and fishermen moving through the area at various times of day, this particular tavern was highly frequented and, compared to the surrounding shops and stalls, it had a ‘higher-end’ feel to it, even though there was also a warm and homely atmosphere permeating out into the cool morning air. When Freya saw this building, a small smile spread across her immaculately sculpted face as she mused, “It seems that wayward child of mine has been doing better as the days pass~.”

This tavern was none-other than Melen’s main branch of the Hostess of Fertility franchise of taverns and, as for why it was so popular in the relatively simple port town, it was the existence of the same projection spheres that were used in the larger branches. Because it’s residents were all simple and hard-working people, there weren’t too many advanced forms of entertainment in Melen previously. Most sailors and fishermen just frequented bars and taverns, enjoying a few drinks with their friends after working hard all day. Here at the Hostess of Fertility, however, you could do much the same, all while being attended by beautiful barmaids as exciting Sports matches played on each wall…

Loki understood Freya’s meaning very well as one of her ‘secrets’ from Vahn was the fact that she worked closely in hand with the various Merchant Familia in the Alliance. This wasn’t something that would surprise him, as Vahn genuinely ‘expected’ that Loki was working with everyone, but the true extent of her cooperation and manipulation of the markets of Orario would shock him. She had, for the last two years, been working alongside Fortuna to slowly center the entire economy of Orario around the Alliance. In order to make this possible, they had to slowly convince those Familia who had been sitting on the fence to join the Alliance.

This usually involved a few small schemes, such as purchasing up all materials and resources, or reducing the price of comparable goods in the area to the point that most smaller Familia simply couldn’t keep up in the long term. It was more than a little underhanded but, in order to make sure there weren’t any problems when Vahn wanted to start collecting taxes in the future, it was a necessary step to take. Since she had been having the Civilian Legislative Branch establish a Civilian Merchant Association, which also worked closely with the Alliance, Vahn was well on his way to dominating the entire economy of Orario, both foreign and domestic, even though he had no idea it was happening. Fortuna was even training a ‘disciple’ of sorts to become Vahn’s future Minister of Finance and Trade…

After having Khaos take on its human form, something Loki liked to tease him for since it was very similar in appearance to Vahn, the three made their way into the Hostess of Fertility with the Level 7 Hrist and another Level 6 Valkyrie named Bruna. The other three waited outside, effectively scaring off any other potential customers with their rather imposing figures and fierce gazes. Though they were exceptionally beautiful women, and drew a lot of attention, the fact that each was near the peak of Level 5 was enough to make most people sweat if they tried to keep eye contact. The reason for their presence was that there was no way of knowing what action the person they were meeting might do if she felt her side had the advantage.

Within the tavern, that usually had upwards of fifty-to-a-hundred guests, the only people present were the Proprietress, a motherly woman named Susanne, and a small number of uniformed staff that were looking decidedly nervous. As for why these girls, who were accustomed to dealing with rough and burly men, had such a reaction, it was because the entire tavern only had three customers before the arrival of Loki’s entourage. At the back of the tavern, laying down sloppily in one of the booths facing a projection sphere, was a girl with crimson red hair that glistened like fresh blood.

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The girl had brown skin that had a bit of an ashen coloration and, much like an Amazoness, wore extremely revealing clothing while a bone-like mask covered the upper half of her face. Around her neck were several small skulls forming a necklace while the only thing covering her seemingly non-existent breasts was a thin white vest. Because she was laying down, and the vest completely lacked buttons, this caused the fabric to slid down, creating an inarguably obscene sight as the figure displayed a complete lack of regard for public decency and a general sense of shame.

With the arrival of Loki and Freya, the girl, still supporting her head with her arm, lazily looked over and said, “I was wondering how long you were going to keep me waiting. You know, it takes nearly three months to travel here by boat. If not for this contraption, I might have been bored to death…” As she was saying this, the seemingly young girl came to a seated position, adjusting the thin loincloth that that only barely protected her dignity. The fabric was the kind that didn’t even fold under and wrap around the hips, meaning she was completely bereft of undergarments. If not for the purple cloth that loosely covered her arms and hips, this girl, seemingly no older than ten, would have completely exposed herself to the eyes of onlookers…

Upon seeing their counterpart, Freya and Loki gave each other a glance before the latter turned her attention back to the crimson-haired girl, saying, “I had thought you would have disguised yourself better, Kali. I know you have the capabilities to do so…what are you scheming, I wonder~?” These words caused the ‘young girl’, the Goddess of Sacrifices, Death, Time, and Entertainment, Kali, to begin laughing without any inhibitions whatsoever. After her laughing fit, she picked up a leg of lamb and began gorging herself, mouth filled with meat and greases as she said, “Who would have thought a day would come with the Goddess of Tricksters accused others of scheming~.”

As she was addressing Loki, Kali was passing her crimson-eyed gaze across Khaos, Hrist, and Bruna. She had brought along the Captains of her Familia, Argana and Bache, along with an assortment of thirty Amazoness warriors. Even with her two Captains being near the middle of Level 6, Kali could tell that they wouldn’t stand a chance against the tall winged women at Loki’s and Freya’s sides. She would probably be able to hold her own against one of them while her Captains fought the other but, with the inclusion of the boy with strange red and black hair, Kali knew things wouldn’t play out in their favor. Knowing Loki, there were probably other cards she had hidden, making the forces she had in reserve completely useless…

Argana and Bache, completely unable to see through the strength of Hrist and Bruna, were smiling amusedly at the Valkyries while Argana had a taunting look in her eyes. The two were twins, much like Tiona and Tione, with a similar ‘disposition’ to match. Argana was around 165cm tall and, though she had breasts, they were at the very low end of the B-Cup, barely cresting over an A. As for Bache, her breasts were ‘much’ larger, consisting of well-shaped D-Cup breasts that deformed under the leather straps that kept them bound while she moved around during battle. Both girls had sand-colored hair and golden eyes, though Argana’s was kept in a long braid that reached the back of her knees while Bache’s was kept short, barely reaching her shoulders. The latter also had a veil covering the lower half of her face, concealing a grisly scar that ran from the side of her mouth and caused her otherwise beautiful face to became almost ghastly to anyone who saw what was beneath.

Seeing the two Amazonesses looking toward them, Hrist and Bruna remained completely stoic without showing any sign of fear or fluster. There was neither scorn nor disdain in their eyes as, from their perspective, the two prideful Amazoness warriors were simply beneath them. If a conflict did break out, it would be a ‘very’ short engagement since the Valkyrie had nearly a thousand years of combat experience and possessed some of the highest base parameters of any race. After all, they were each demigod Valkyries while Argana and Bache, incredibly powerful in their own right, were ‘simply’ Amazonesses…

After a few tense seconds had passed, Loki returned a conniving smile to Kali before releasing a few cackles of her own after saying, “The truly interesting thing is, in this situation, I don’t even have to scheme, kukukukuku~.” Unless both sides were equal, or she was slightly on the losing end of things, there was simply no reason to be roundabout in these types of situations. Once the Alliance had reached a ‘critical’ level of growth, Loki had been able to exercise a degree of power and influence that almost invalidated the need for schemes entirely. Even in this situation, depending on how things turned out, they could simply destroy the other party and then deal with the aftermath later on…

Kali, understanding Loki’s meaning, showed an almost crazed smile of her own as she licked the fang-like snaggletooth on the left side of her mouth. She wasn’t even remotely afraid of what would happen in they came to blows as just the thought of battling against a powerhouse like the Alliance made her ‘excited’. It truly didn’t matter to her if she had to return to Heaven for a short while as she would be able to return ‘much’ faster than most gods. Because of her Divinities, it was easy to gather the necessary ‘materials’ to recreate another avatar meaning, even if she ended up dying during battle, Kali would be back in the Mortal World after a decade or so had passed. This was similar to the case of Gods of War like Ares, though he took markedly longer since he wasn’t a very ‘popular’ god. Kali, however, had hundreds of thousands of devout followers, each practicing the teachings that had been engraved in them for hundreds of successive generations.

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Freya, having been silent up until this point, squinted her eyes slightly and muttered, “How uncouth. We didn’t come here to compare who had the creepiest laugh, my dear Loki and Kali. Shall we get on with this little discussion of ours? I’d much rather lounge in my Manor with a glass of wine than spend the rest of my day in this foul-smelling place…” As a Goddess of Beauty who enjoyed the finer things in life to an ‘extreme’, Freya wasn’t fond of rural towns like Melen. The odor of salt and fish was heavily permeating through the air and, even though it was bearable within the Hostess of Fertility, she would rather be back in Orario, resting on a comfortable bed as she awaited the potential arrival of Vahn…

Kali, taking advantage of Freya’s words, simply stated, “There isn’t much to even talk about, is there? I already know why you wanted to meet and the fact that I even showed up should already tell you all you need to know about my stance on the issue. This really only goes one of two ways, doesn’t it? You either make me the offer I want, which would likely end up in a conflict with Telskyura, or you go to war against me and the entire Amazoness peoples. I’m personally very interested to see just how well such a massive organization would be able to hold out against an entire race of warriors~.” Even knowing that Telskyura had no chance at victory, Kali didn’t really care that much as the thought of such a massive battle alone was very exciting.

Loki’s smile didn’t change after hearing Kali’s words but, in the back of her mind, she couldn’t help but curse the quirks of gods with Divinities related to things like Death. There was no way to really pressure them by taking a hard stance as, even if they ended up dying due to disagreements, such gods simply wouldn’t care. Then, since it was impossible to eliminate ‘death’ from the world, they would just return a few years later and continue being a pain in the ass all over again. At the same time, just as Kali pointed out, the Amazoness people would very willingly wage a suicidal war that could very well continue for several years. After all, the Amazonesses didn’t really care that much about their country itself and many even slept in small hammocks without any real shelter, enjoying the ‘natural’ world to an extent that could even put Elves to shame…

(A/N: I’m not sure if the meaning behind Loki’s words was conveyed properly, so I’ll elaborate on a few things real fast. Essentially, most Amazonesses don’t really care about their own lives, much less the lives of others. They are a species that enjoys battle, polishing their skills through brutal and bloody combat. At the same time, they make almost no cultural advancements and, if not for the fact it would be difficult for them to roam in other countries otherwise, many Amazoness would simply move around without caring about clothing. Many live in the actual jungles surrounding Telskyura, where resources for making clothes are even scarcer, so they generally just wear things like loincloths, often completely forgoing clothes on their upper bodies. These types of Amazoness usually cover their bodies in tribal markings and they are the main source for food, almost entirely comprised of hunters and gatherers. They would usually make offerings to the ‘warrior’ tribes that are located closer to the heart of Telskyura. From the perspective of most Amazonesses, cultural and technological advancements lead to the stagnation of society, not the propagation of society. Building defensive walls, running businesses, farming, innovation, these are all things that go against the natural order and, in time, would lead to the actual destruction of the world. By existing within the natural world, living and dying along with their surroundings, the Amazoness have a ‘culture’ that could last for millennia without any difficulties, even though it pretty much guarantees their race would continue to brutalize itself for generations to come. The thing is, in a way, they are ‘correct’ as, instead of thinking about how they can exploit each other and consolidate wealth, the only thing that Amzonesses really care about is ‘strength’. Even the basic concept of status, other than the Queen, is completely pointless and, so long as you are strong, you would have the respect and admiration of your fellow Amazonesses.)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Sneaky sneaky’,’What’s with this sassy…lost child?’,’While Empires, Kingdoms, and Countries fall, the Amazoness have remained unified for more than ten-thousand years…’)

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