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The last place I always end up at is a field of flowers.

When I was in the heavens, I was somewhat restricted.

A goddess of beauty is special even among gods and goddesses.

Our power is both a sweet nectar and a deadly poison.

A charm that entrances even deities is absolute, capable of twisting even divine truth. Other deities, especially chief gods, both feared and desired goddesses of beauty. It wasn’t uncommon to hear of gods who tried to bring a goddess of beauty to heel only to become puppets themselves.

Because of that, there were only two options.

Either completely destroy us or pamper us like princesses.

Most opted for the latter. As a safety precaution, a virgin goddess might also be kept around. These arrangements were made to make sure the goddesses of beauty behaved, like when Artemis was paired with Aphrodite. There came to be an unspoken understanding that the guardians of the realm could use their powers without limitation if it would prevent aggression and domination in the heavens.

So I was restricted by having a guard watching over me—would be the logical assumption.

But my charm could even break the defenses of virginal goddesses.

I was special even among goddesses of beauty.

Regardless of what I wanted, I became worshipped and feared. Chances were the only deities in all of the heavens who could truly resist my power were the three great vestal goddesses of Olympus.

Because of that, I was very carefully managed.

On the surface, I lived in a paradise and wanted for nothing. In truth, it was a gilded cage meant to hold me for all eternity.

In my grand temple, peerless in heaven, the countless subordinate deities and spirits protecting my supposed paradise were just more shackles to chain me. The most awful part was that Odin carefully took all of my interests and tastes into consideration when designing the temple. He specifically chose those whom Freya couldn’t abandon, turning their pure and untarnished love into more chains that could tie me down. Meanwhile, Odin himself skulked around at a distance where my charm couldn’t reach him while still staying just close enough for his spear to find and kill me if anything ever happened. It was just the sort of thing that loathsome old god would think of.

But I didn’t resent my lack of freedom.

I had countless complaints, but I was pampered as a goddess of beauty and love.

I was blessed, beloved by everyone and everything. It would be absurd to pretend I was somehow unfortunate. After all, resignation and detachment had long been my companions, even before I was placed in my prison.

Ultimately, I was really just playing with dolls.

No one opposed me. Nobody could.

Everyone, from the strongest gods of war to the most villainous gods of evil, was desperate for my love. They would do anything for it.

Meanwhile, any being I might desire would gladly offer up their love to me.

And that love was the most hollow thing in all the realms.

There might be no one who could understand.

There might be no one who could sympathize.

What a twisted contradiction it was. Even though I was near mad in my search for love, every being offered it to me unconditionally.

Beauty and love transformed even an abyss of dark desire into a pure, unblemished plain.

And all regardless of my charm.

I was doomed to live with this hollowness forever.

The truth was that as a goddess of beauty and love, I would find it impossible to ever escape my fate.

I realized that I was nothing more than a slave to love.

No matter how free-spirited I fancied myself, no matter how ruthless a witch I pretended to be, I would never break free from the yoke of a goddess.

When was the last time I donned a heartfelt smile instead of a mask that entranced anyone who gazed upon it?

I couldn’t even remember anymore.

Love is a convenient thing.

It allows you to attain anything. There is nothing that cannot be obtained with it.

Love is a wonderful thing.

It can bring joy. And in the process, it can bring jealousy.

Love is a pretty thing.

It must be beautiful. Without beauty, it cannot be called love.

Calculation isn’t love. If it is even the least bit unsightly, it won’t be perceived as love.

Or else it would be impossible to laugh off vulgar lust or rebuke simple narcissism.

Love must be sacred. Everyone has their dream of love. There is nothing more beautiful than love, nothing more noble.

If I wasn’t beautiful, would I be able to forget love, I wonder?

If I cast off my beauty, could I be freed from this yoke?

That’s when I decided to sully myself. I wanted to be corrupted.

I surrounded myself with gods and goddesses in my gilded cage, debasing myself with every sort of pleasure and sampling every kind of debauchery imaginable.

The infamous city of depravity couldn’t begin to compare. The pinnacle of degeneracy in the heavenly realm was undoubtedly the grand temple where I was imprisoned. I sank into a sea of lust and carnal passion for centuries, millennia.

Despite being a deity, I felt a deep weariness consume me.

And at some point, the realization hit me. Eyes still watched me from every angle. The passionate, love-filled gazes focused only on me. Nothing had changed.

They were still the same!

No matter how much I tried to corrupt myself, no matter how long I spent degrading myself, not one of them would look away from me!

The yoke was still firmly locked on my shoulders.

I screamed. For the first time, I cast aside any thought for appearance and ran from the temple. Over mountains, through valleys, across seas, and into the stars. Wearing one of my hundred faces, borrowed from my daughter, I evaded my pursuers and wandered the infinite heavens.

And my wandering feet took me to a boundless field of flowers.

It was here that the line between sky and ground disappeared, and in the sea of beautiful red flowers, I kneeled and collapsed.

I couldn’t cry.

But tears still continued to fall from my eyes.

Ah, I was so consumed by resignation and detachment that any powerful emotions had long since dried up, like a parched desert. So even though it should not have saddened me, I covered my face with my hands like a slip of a girl. The unceasing rain became gold that fell on the red flowers and soaked the ground.

I can’t find it.

I can’t find it.

I didn’t know what I was even searching for. But I was surely yearning for something—something that would free me from the yoke of being a goddess of beauty.

The hollow tears unaccompanied by any sadness continued for a thousand, two thousand, three thousand nights. And when the flower petals scattered, the stems snapped, and the spring of gold threatened to swallow me whole, she appeared.

Idun, a goddess from my homeland, was almost as charming as a true goddess of beauty. This innocent and righteous goddess declared she had come to give me a talking-to, because she couldn’t bear to continue watching the vulgar life I chose to lead. After detailing how sweaty she had gotten searching long and hard for me, she began to passionately talk about youth, the thing that she presided over.

It was her belief that relations between men and women should be pure. They needed to share in both the good and the bad. She went on to argue that no matter how many years passed, our souls were still youthful. And apparently I needed to get some fresh air and buck up.

I thought about killing her. I stood up and circled behind her as she continued blathering, and just as I was about to slip my hands around her slender neck—

“So let’s search for your Odr together.”


I stopped moving.

She smiled and continued, not realizing how narrowly she had avoided death.

She said that there was surely an Odr who could complete me somewhere, so I should go ahead and enjoy a vibrant springtime of youth with whoever that may be. Evidently, they were supposed to free me from my bondage.

Hearing that, I sneered.

I told her there was no way someone like that existed.

But I decided to believe Idun’s tall tale.

After all, I couldn’t prove that person didn’t exist.

Once I returned to my temple, after causing a massive uproar, I became a collector.

In my search for the one who would be only mine, I gathered every sort of beautiful being, paying special attention to the souls of the mortal children. And once things calmed down, I slipped out again and again to wander.

I embarked on these trips to find my Odr. Whenever the urge struck me, I would mask myself with my daughter’s face and crisscross the heavens aimlessly.

I escaped countless times, evading the inevitable pursuers, but the longer I failed to find my Odr, the more my disappointments grew. Loath to let the poison of boredom consume me, I sought stimulation, sometimes dealing with the deities who swarmed around me while I continued to wander. That was probably the time I happened to run into Hestia while not in disguise.

When I met Idun again and she nonchalantly asked me if I had found my Odr yet, that was the second time I came very close to strangling her, but I did learn something new.

There was one thing and one thing only that goddesses of beauty like myself couldn’t attain.

Something we couldn’t attain because we were more beautiful than anyone. Something we couldn’t have because of the existence of love. I began to wonder what the other goddesses of beauty felt about this, but I quickly put that out of my mind. It was obviously pointless.

My peers were assuredly not troubled like I was. They had no doubt that they were absolute queens and indulged in their blessings and offerings as if it were only natural. Given their unshakable confidence in their own superiority, they never spared a thought for how others felt.

I envied prideful Ishtar. I was jealous of foolish Aphrodite.

Even if they experienced “ ”, they would either sneer at it or be able to turn it into just a painful old memory.

An eternity later, I finished my search of the heavens. My Odr wasn’t in the heavenly sea.

The next logical place to go was the mortal realm. That was around the time in the age of gods when more and more deities began to descend from the heavens, so I joined in as well.

On the surface, it was to deal with the boredom of the heavenly realm, out of an excitement for the possibilities to be found in an imperfect world. I clung to the hope of a miraculous new experience—of meeting my Odr. But I discovered that the mortal realm is far smaller than the heavens above, and I soon found its limits. My prayer quickly turned into despair.

Once I finished my search, all that remained was to wait for time to pass.

By then, I had already formed my familia, and I was tired. Wearing a regal smile in front of all those cute children, I thought it would have been better to be consumed by boredom and sleep for all eternity.

One day, I slipped away from my watchful followers and by coincidence wound up in a place that resembled my homeland in the heavens—a field of red flowers bathed in the dusk light.

In the middle of that field, I slumped down, and my tears flowed. This time there was grief as well. My yoke laughed in my ears as I desperately held back the pangs of despair.

Those were the first and probably the last tears I ever spilled in the mortal realm.

…Ah, no.

Because Syr cried in front of you, too.

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