Gawking at rugged roots unblinking, the man’s cheek caressed the crimson-coated weeds. Laden with a gray helm decorated with silver wings and twisted horns, his long black hair peeked between his neck and the helm.
“J-john?” Called a woman. “John!” She shouted, stroking the man’s exposed back with trembling hands. “John, wake up!” Nudging the man awake, the pupil of her eyes shrank and her skin dulled.
“Mary!” She snapped to her side. “H-heal John! I, no, we can’t lose him!”
Long she waited in silence, but only the rustling of leaves ascertained her call. “Mary?” Yet again, she called. “Ahaha… Stop with the tricks.” Chuckling with trembling lips, she cranked her head, trying to inspect the condition of her comrade.
But long before her eyes met her comrade's priestly white robe, her head hanged loose, gradually, her body leaned over a glimmering steel, trickling droplets into an unsightly gash.
Neither smiling nor frowning, a fair woman stood before the desolate bodies, dressed in a white backless one-piece, silver threads flowed emitting a divine grace. Crossing around her neck in a tidy ribbon, the strap held her dress in place, proud of her round and ample chest peeking underneath the seams.
“...” In silence, the weeds bent upon meeting her feet covered in a laced shoe. Glancing around, her clear blue eyes remained unchanging as the sharp black objects jabbed behind the bodies dispersed into tiny particles.
At the palm of her hands sat two marbles, a small and clear one trickled with black, and a slightly larger one in black. Glancing at the marbles, the bodies sank into the ground, gradually eaten by rifts beneath their bodies. As the wind whisked, everything reverted to its original state, a calming forest dawn.
There was a time when Gods were born out of nothing. They did not know who birthed them, created them, or for what purpose were they given life and the power to create. Nevertheless, the Gods conversed for countless millenniums before they decided.
We should create a world where we all could contribute our own efforts!
Nothing disagreeable about the suggestion, they all started working on their craft to create a world that they’d proudly call a work between the Gods.
Using the power of creation, the Gods made stars, molded planets, sculpted them into shape, and gave them life. Once Origin was completed, the Gods, proud of their contribution, rejoiced.
In Origin, the very first world, islands swam the skies, mountains chiseled the land uneven, caverns hollowed underground, trenches covered the deep, and magma flowed far underneath.
Despite their efforts, the Gods thought. Something’s lacking…
And so they made animals, hence the fishes swam, the birds flew, rabbits jumped around, and a lot more were born in Origin. Then again, the animals were not enough, and so they made beasts. Although the beasts were far more intelligent than the usual animals, again, the Gods thought it was still lacking.
Maybe we should create an intelligent being?
This time around, some Gods refrained. Unmoved by the other Gods’ decision, the remaining Gods proceeded to create the races, beings with a high level of intelligence. Based on their ideal image and likeness, different races were born; Some bore horns, some were covered in scales, some had tails, some large, some small, some with wings, and more defining qualities.
After the races were born, the Gods were content. Hoping to watch over their creation, they observed from the sidelines, until it happened.
The races weren't able to communicate with each other, giving birth to misunderstandings. To remedy the case, the Gods gave all intelligent beings with the ability to passively communicate through telepathy, in turn, creating the possibility for dialogue.
It did not end there. The races who knew their own culture, viewed the others as barbaric, treating their own as the correct path despite the ability to communicate.
The Gods, thinking of how they’d communicate with the races, decided to do so through oracles. Through these oracles, they conveyed that they wished for the races to make peace with the others, but instead, the races misinterpreted the oracles, devolving the situation into a racial war.
Due to every Gods’ influence that lingered in Origin, it caused the message sent through oracles to become a broken mess of images.
Then the Gods thought. We should descend.
Unfortunately, the Gods refused to descend. Thinking that a small mishap and the others influence lingering in origin may affect their bodies, causing their divinity to dwindle.
Thinking of a solution, a God suggested. Why don’t we create a being to do our bidding instead? Agreeing with the suggestion, the Gods created beings to do their bidding.
When the beings were born, another set of problem occurred. There were beings secretly influenced by the Gods' bias for the race they created, creating a massacre of the other races, and incurring the wrath of the other Gods. The Gods, though beings of unimaginable power, were influenced by the fallacy of emotions.
The remaining Gods, who sought to resolve the issue between the Gods had thought differently, but they too created beings, but these beings, different from the other divines, were the so-called divines with true purposes or True Divines.
The first, Jormugandr, a serpent of enough length cover half the circumference of Origin, was tasked to split the land into continents using his serpentine body.
The second, Amalthea, a golden goat stationed on the mountain range of Alabaster, the ruler of storms, tasked to seal Jormugandr in an endless sea of clouds after he finishes his task.
Their creations were supposed to end there, but they thought that the problems would never cease, and so they made more for a different purpose, the so-called reset.
The third and fourth, Leviathan twins, sea serpents that roamed the oceans and seas of Origin, rulers of the seas. Once the hourglass of souls is filled due to the blood spilled by the war between races, the twins would emerge and sink Origin underneath the seas.
The fifth, Cocytus, a dragon centaur covered in a never-melting armor of ice. After the water resides, Cocytus would coat Origin in a heavy snowstorm, introducing the age of ice.
The sixth, Legethon, a formless being of magma, usually in a shape of a small fish. Tasked to erupt every single volcano in Origin, reforming land and melting the ice.
The seventh to tenth, Siarys, Pietys, Rystys, and Vakaris, four feathered dragons with two pairs of wings, representing north, south, east, and west. Tasked to disperse and level down the ashes from the volcanoes while cleansing the air.
The eleventh and twelfth, Cybele and Demeter, dryad mothers of Origin, encourages the growth of animals and plants to cater life in Origin once again after Jormugandr was resealed by Amalthea to divide the lands once again.
The thirteenth, Charon, a large skeletal torch behind the hourglass of souls. Soul keeper of those who perished during the reset. Tasked to release the souls to be reborn anew in Origin after the reset.
Upon completion of the reset system made by the meddling Gods, the race creator Gods were irritated. Expecting that they would try to demolish the system or the world itself, the meddling Gods made one last True Divine.
The youngest and the fourteenth, Celestia. Using their divinity to their utmost abilities, sacrificing most Gods' divinity even, they created Celestia as a being of the moon, to serve the world as its guardian to counter whatever schemes the other Gods hoped to achieve. To fulfill their wish to see the very first world they created to last eternally and to keep everything else in place.
Despite not being able to do anything against Celestia, the Gods refused to cooperate with other Gods. Deciding that there’s nothing left to do, the Gods gave up on Origin after leaving behind their final blessing.
[Thousands of millenniums have passed and your expressions remains the same.]
“It doesn’t matter.” With a chuck, the dirt split apart, embedding another sword similar to the several thousands of others that stood like needles of different shapes and sizes.
[How many has it been now?] Asked the voice.
Staring at the make-shift grave I made, I replied. “The number is unimportant.”
[Hmm…] Wagging his furry white tail, [I can only pity these poor lads.]
“They chose this.” With a glance, the dirt beside me began uprooting itself, forming a rectangular pit of enough length to fit an adult human male.
Above the pit came a crack in space, expanding gradually, it revealed a body of a girl. The girl, dressed in priestly white clothes, slowly sank into the hollow pit. When the girl's body reached the bottom, dirt started rushing in, filling the cavity to the brim.
[It’s nice to see you’re giving them a proper burial.]
Monotonously, I replied. “They’re victims.”
Raising my right, a steel rod with a rounded ring head settled on my palm. With the bangles loosely ringing, I arrived at the head of the grave. On its final ring, its pole end dug deep into the ground.
[Even though you used to burn them into ashes instead?]
“...” Recalling the first time I slew the heroes, “Yes.” I answered in the same monotonous manner.
[It seems you’re changing.]
[Celestia let me ask one thing.]
Turning to my left, a white wolf lying above green pasture entered my sight, sizable enough to have limbs as thick as a tree trunk. “Go ahead.”
[I’ve been wanting to ask this for centuries now.] He voiced, licking his nose. [Why have you been using Origin’s mana instead of using your own?]
“Using Aether and Erebus in Origin has consequences,” I explained. “At most my mixed divinity, or the Gods divinities used to make me, will affect Origin.”
[And that effect is?]
“The forced reset decades ago, Origin’s poles shifted and caused a massacre of every being in this world.”
[You mean your battle with the manifested God Metis?]
“Yes,” I replied. “But using Origin’s mana, though several levels weaker, is enough to eliminate the vessels.”
[Then why have you been using rifts to summon beings to do your bidding?]
“Rifts are enough to minimize the usage of Origin's mana.”
[You say that even though Origin’s mana is endless.]
“It is not.” Slightly shaking my head sideways, I replied. “Since the Tree of Origin took root, the amount has been reduced by a fourth.”
[What’s the purpose of that tree?]
“It was left by my creators, but I wasn’t given an order, nor was I informed.”
[Neither were the other True Divines informed?]
After a moment of silence, “Fenrir,” I called.
[What is it?]
“What is it like to be a mother?”
[…] With a twitch of his ears, he replied. [You're asking a male wolf Celestia.]
[… What made you curious?]
“The civilizations that rose, if not the sun, most of them call me a mother even though I never had a child.”
[Ah, yes, the moon…]
“I am the moon.”
[Why not ask Cybele, Demeter, or Amalthea instead?]
Unfortunately, Cybele and Demeter have no idea, despite them being mothers of nature, and thus I arrived in Alabaster, where Amalthea resides.
“Amalthea,” I called.
[Celestia?] Covered in threads of gold, Amalthea raised his head, chewing on some weed. [What took you here?]
“What is it like to be a mother?” Cutting to the chase, I asked.
[I’m sorry Celestia, but I too don’t know.]
[How about observing the races? There are humans living in Alabaster, maybe try looking after them?]
Ever since the day I was born, I was but a being protecting Origin. I’m a guardian, this world’s guardian, but all I ever did was kill, and so I thought, ‘is this everything I could do?’. Years went by, civilizations rose, civilizations fell, but what I did was still the same. I hunted down the so-called heroes, again and again. But then I thought, ‘did the so-called heroes want it?’. Searching for an answer, I observed the heroes. What I found was a horrid truth, they are victims, victims who were forced to bear the seed of the Gods under the disguise of a blessing. The more they use the Gods blessing, the more their souls will rot, and the more they become a fitting vessel for the Gods. Once, I tried telling them to refrain from using their blessings, but only a few dared to listen, the same is true for those who thought of the reason behind their summoning, and the rest were too blinded by the feeling of superiority, the joy of power, and the image of a hero.
Then I thought of observing the civilizations, to find an answer as to why they needed the power of the heroes, but my thoughts diverted.
What is it like to be a Mother? I thought as I observe civilizations who called or praised me as their mother or Origin’s mother itself.
As the birds flew, perching from one branch to another, I observed a small village near a small lake at the east of Alabaster for days, months, and years out of curiosity.
It was a village of humans, and similarly, they thought of the moon as their mother. Someone who’d shine above them at their darkest hours. Every time they’d hunt at night, they’d praise the moon, asking for guidance and luck.
Nevertheless, there were a few things I found out. To become a mother, a union between man and woman is needed. I thought as I observe a similar pattern between the males and females of the said village.
Slipping my hands from my stomach to my between my thighs, I thought. Could a divine being like me share a similar fashion of reproduction?
“Ah...” I muttered as I recalled what I am. “It’s impossible.”
I could shape myself to default image I was given, but my physical body still remains as the moon…
What is this feeling? I asked myself, as a weight started pulling on my chest.
The more I observe, the more I got conscious of the weight slowly piling on my chest. Could this be a feeling of longing?
Even if the weight in my chest kept increasing, and the more my lips curved downwards, I remained watching. It was like a poison, no, and addictive drug. A drug that kept me thinking to myself. A drug that slowly drew the emotion of sadness.
So I questioned my existence. Are emotions necessary for a being like me? Why was I given free will? The God’s could’ve made me like Origin, a non-sentient entity, but then why was I not made like Origin?
I thought of the reason repeatedly, but the answer was nowhere in sight. Then it's okay, right? It’s not like I’m disobeying orders…
Little by little, I grew fond of observing the small village, although not that peaceful, they were thriving. But it all ended in just one night. An attack by several migrating beasts.
Seeing them suffer I moved a step forward, but all I did was again, observe as I thought, This is but a natural occurrence in this world…
As I observe from afar, my lips tightened, and my fist clenched, in anticipation of their victory. But my expectation was betrayed, the men fell as they risked their lives to buy time for the women and children to flee. Without anyone to defend them, the woman and children were helplessly hunted down by the beasts. That was the time that I felt a stake driving through my chest. It was painful, and I abhorred it, but there was still a chance, for there was one woman who succeeded to flee safely.
For days, the woman traversed the forests on her own, cautiously avoiding any sign of beasts. It was supposed to go well, but the woman’s skin quickly dulled, and her body continued sweating as she gasped for breath, she was sick.
Despite her sickness, she fought, but it was still in vain. If not for the amount of food she needed, she could've been fine on her own.
Then the day came where her body became stiff as a rock. She tried lifting her upper body, “Urgh..! Urgh..!” But her body refused to move. “Hhaah... Hhaah...” Rough breaths escaped her mouth as her eyelids quivered. Clenching her fist and gritting her teeth, she crawled.
Despite the difficulty in moving her body, the light in her eyes never went out. Repeatedly, she crawled again and again, until her hands grasped thin strips of green. Lifting her head, the corners of her lips slowly rose as the light of moon lit up her dull white skin. “Oh, mother...” From the dark of the cave, she called in between breaths. “Please... Give my child... A chance...”
Trickling beneath her chin, tears leaked from the lid of her eyes. “I want my child... To see the world...” Trembling, she reached for the moon, hoping to grasp it, but before she was able to stretch her arm, it fell to the ground.
Like a candle burning out its last, the white flame burning inside her was snuffed.
Is it fine? I asked myself. But to fulfill her final wish, I’d need to desecrate her body, to commit taboo. To take over her body by placing a part of my soul.
While I argued what is right from what is wrong, the small flickering flame inside her womb started to fade. There's no time to think.
Without knowing the consequences, I inserted myself into the woman’s body, to save the soul, no, the child within her womb. As I took over her body, her heart restarted its beat, and her memories cam in a series of broken images.
Is this… Her memory? I thought as I blinked my eyes.
This... Is this the feeling of embracing a man? Is this how a woman felt for her man? It's strange. I kept on thinking as my heart raced.
Ah, I’ve done it… I thought as blood streamed through my veins. There’s no turning back.
Manipulating the mana from the surroundings, I covered my body with light, gradually exposing myself to a warm and comfortable sensation.
After the sensation receded, I tried opening and closing my fingers. Moving just fine, I propped my body that laid atop the dirt. Producing light scratches, I stood at the entrance of the cave. Shifting my sight downwards, my hands caressed my stomach.
It's not mine, but can I call it my own? I thought. These rough clothes are on the way.
Taking a quick work of the rough leather clothes, I manifested my usual dress and began circling the palm of my hands on my stomach.
Returning to Amalthea’s side, I called. “Amalthea.”
Again, chewing on some weeds, she raised her goat head. [Who?] Trampling over the grass, her figure grew larger. [Celestia?] She asked sniffing on my dress.
“Yes,” I answered.
[That voice, and that body…] She bobbed her head up and down. [What have you done?]
Shifting my sight towards the ground, I said. “I... desecrated the dead...”
Moving a few step backward, Amalthea then spoke. [I see… So you’ve interfered with the natural order.]
[We can no longer do anything about it,] She said digging the ground with her front hoof. [It has already happened…]
“I’m also pregnant with a human child.” Although slightly, the corners of lips raised.
[…] Again, Amalthea’s figure shrank. [I told you to try observing the human mothers to know what’s it like to be a mother and yet here you are pregnant with a human child?!]
[Celestia, have you gone mad?!]
[Haah…] She hanged her head. [This is the first time. What’s happening to you? It’s not like you to go to this extent.]
“Emotions, I think I’m gaining emotions...”
[Well…] Digging with her hooves, she said. [That’s good, I think.]
“It’s foreign to me, but I think it’s fine.”
[Anyway, have you thought about childbirth?]
“Ah...” Facing Amalthea, I shook my head. “No.”
[Since the reset was done just recently then I guess it’s fine…]
“I’ll eliminate the threats.” Siphoning a large amount of mana from the surroundings and condensing it into a ball of light.
With my arm raised into the air, a barrel of amplification magic circles appeared upon opening the palm of my hand.
Ignoring her cry, I pressed the ball of light against the end of the barrel. After exiting the barrel, a blinding flash of light painted Alabaster in white. With a gale of wind, the surrounding grass was forcefully bent; the trees swayed, the ground cracked, and the temperature rose. Shortly after, the beam of light vanished into the sky, piercing through clouds unchallenged. Upon reaching its peak, it became a rain of light that fell all over Alabaster and the surrounding sea.
[Ah…] She muttered, staring the lights showering from the sky. [You’ve done it, now I have nothing to do for at least a century…]
Munching, I remained seated on a wooden chair, holding a round red fruit. Before me is a figure of a woman bearing a golden hair. As I carefully chew on the fruit, the woman, wearing a similar dress as mine but more modest — slightly lacking on the chest — leaned forward, observing my actions.
“Do you even need to eat?” Perplexed, she asked.
After swallowing, I replied. “Human women mostly eat fruits when they are pregnant.”
“I know, but as divines aren’t we always healthy?”
Taking another bite, I activated telepathy to reply as I munch yet again. [Then why are you eating weeds?]
“...” For a second, she froze. “I’m a goat… So I’m copying them...”
[But you’re a golden goat.]
“Haah…” Leaning her back to the chair, “You sure have changed in the strangest direction.” She said.
Swallowing, “Have I?” I replied slightly tilting my head.
“Both physically and mentally, yes.”
“Physically, you should look in a mirror.”
“Hmm...” Shifting my sights to the ceiling I searched my memories, then with a snap of my fingers, a soft thud resounded, then came an odd shaped mirror.
“...” With a straight face, she spoke. “You’re using Jormugandr’s scale as a mirror?”
“But you’re complaining that I made this house out of the blue.”
“A normal human could never complete this level of structure!” She snapped. “Besides, this is not a house, but a mansion! You’re having a single child yet you built constructed this mansion in a single day!”
“They’re not utilizing magic too well.”
She stood from her seat and replied. “You’re magic utilization is on the level of the Gods!”
“I need the perfect conditions to rear the child.”
“This is way too perfect!” She walked around pulling her hair from its base. “This house, no, mansion! You slew an Ancient Treant just to get its wood! You took the core of a Molten Golem just to level the temperature and to make the stone base! You took the heart of one of the Leviathan’s pet whale to produce the finest of water! And now you’re eating Fruits that can be used to make Elixirs!”
“I need the perfect co-”
“Since when did you started thinking like that?!”
Tilting my head to the side, I replied. “About two months ago?”
“Haah...” She breathed a sigh, after tapping sounds halted. “That thing, it’s already 6 months old right?”
Slightly gritting my teeth, I glared. “It’s not a thing, it’s my child.”
Smiling wryly, her face dampened. “Ahaha.” She chuckled a laugh. “You sure are overprotective even at the slightest of things.”
“For you, I guess, but can you blame me? Your soul restructured the body of that woman and returned to the ideal image the Gods gave you. Thinking about it, then the child should’ve been affected as well. So it might not be an ordinary human being once it's born.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Placing my hands over my grown stomach, I continued. “Whatever it becomes, it’ll still be my child.”
I’ll be waiting for you patiently. So take your time and sleep. As my lips rose into a gentle smile, I thought.
“...” Silently, Amalthea looked at my figure with a smile plastered on her face.