Late at night, seated beside a table with a lamp, Neol quietly flipped through a stack of papers. His laptop was open beside him, showing streams of various news channels from around the world.
Spinning a pen around in his right hand, he frowned, intently reading the papers in front of him.
Suddenly, a pair of arms laced over his shoulders and a voice echoed in his ears. “Watcha doing, Neol?”
He sighed and said, “You’ve really gotten clingy since I gave you your gift, haven’t you?”
Rena smiled and leaned back. “I can’t help it. You made this goddess fall hard for her hero… I can’t bear to ever let you go, you know?” Saying that, she held up her left hand, admiring the diamond ring that she wore on it.
“Geez, and you call me corny…”
Rena stuck out her tongue and then walked over to the kitchen, pouring herself a cup of coffee. “Do you want one too?”
“Yes, my goddess. That would be lovely.”
Rena walked back with a pair of cups and placed one on the table beside Neol. “You know, if it was any other person saying that, I’d be flattered… but why does it sound like an insult whenever you say it?”
“Maybe since you know that it’s not true and that you’re a heavily flawed woman despite your beauty?”
“And you’re a man with an average face who only has this beautiful wife of yours because you stole her heart with money and sweet words.”
Neol took a sip from his cup of coffee and said, “It’s your fault for being such an easy woman.”
“I say it because I love you.”
“…At least you’re honest these days…” Rena took a long sip from her coffee as well and then looked over at the papers. “Seriously though, what are you doing?”
Neol glanced back and said, “I’m flipping through resumes for people applying to my company.”
“Company?” Rena blinked and then said, “Wait. Don’t tell me that you were serious about that tacky ‘Company Z’ or whatever?”
“It’s Company X. And of course I was serious.”
Rena frowned. “But why? I thought you enjoyed having a ‘slow and peaceful life’ with me? Won’t that just give you a bunch of stress?”
“You’re saying that like you aren’t a major source of it.”
“Rude! I’ll have you know that I’m a very low maintenance woman. Just give me my laptop, coffee, and snacks and I’m satisfied.”
“Which is why I worry about you every time you walk out the door.”
“What.” She put a finger on her chin and let out a sly smile. “Worried that I’ll cheat on you?”
“No. I’m worried that you’ll somehow get introduced to another gacha game and blow a couple hundred dollars chasing an SSR.”
“Hey, that was one time!”
“And I’ll never forget it.”
“H-Hmph.” Rena tossed her hair over her shoulder and said, “I paid you back for it, didn’t I? You weren’t complaining much the next morning.”
Neol nodded. “That’s right. Because you cried all night and said that you’d pay me back with your body.”
Rena flushed. “R-Right… that did happen, didn’t it? Hehe…”
“But in any case,” Neol said. “I wanted to make sure there weren’t any other persons getting wrapped up in a mess like us.”
Rena placed her cup of coffee down and said, “That’s awfully responsible of you, Neol.”
“One of us has to be in this relationship.”
Rena stuck her tongue out again.
Neol shook his head and went back to flipping through his papers. As he did, he glanced back at her and said, “How’s your game coming along? Finally get out of development hell?”
“What, Lightnaught?” Rena sipped her coffee and said, “It’s almost done. I just have to put the last touches on it before sending it off for beta testing.”
“…And you seriously didn’t mess around with it by trying to use divine powers or anything?”
Rena whistled and looked away.
“Maaaybe a little? I talked with the guy upstairs and he said it was okay!”
Neol sighed. “What’s the point of giving away your divine powers if you’re just going to get some new ones and mess around with other people?”
“Hey! You haven’t given up yours either!”
“Because the ‘guy upstairs’ and I came to an agreement that Earth needs a standing transcendent so that there aren’t any other idiots trying to steal more souls just because it seems convenient. Or did you forget what happened to you?”
Neol noticed and felt guilty. “…Sorry.”
“No. It’s fine. You didn’t mean it. Besides, I’m here now, right?”
“And you’re going absolutely nowhere any time soon. Both in life and your career, apparently.”
“I told you! It’s in beta testing!”
“Right. Talk to me again when it’s out of early access and a proper game.”
“Hmph. Well then, what about your projects, huh?” She snatched the stack of papers and said, “When is Company X going to get up and running?”
“It already is.”
Neol gestured towards the livestreams and said, “I have people on the ground reporting any oddities happening around the world, looking for other people like me with weird karma.”
“…And that’s important why?”
“Because it means that their destiny is bound to go beyond this world.”
“…Wait, what?” Rena blinked and said, “I thought that the guy upstairs wouldn’t let anyone else appear on Earth with special powers?”
“He won’t. But there are also people who naturally don’t fit in here on Earth, whether due to their natural talents or because of their Fates. Because of that, our friend upstairs asked me to do him a favor and sort those people out for him.”
Rena frowned and flipped through the papers. “Is that who these people are?” She rifled through and came to a stop on a particular name. “Wait, Yuu Go?” She laughed. “Is this person real?”
Neol took the papers back and said, “Of course.”
Rena shook her head and then placed her hand on her stomach. “Remind me not to let you name our kid.”
“And miss out on the chance to embarrass my son or daughter forever by calling them first name Number, last name Won?”
“I’ll file a divorce.”
“And I’ll sue for custody.”
“Pft.” Rena shook her head and then gave Neol a quick peck on the lips. “I’m going to bed now. Don’t stay up too late, alright?”
“I won’t. And remember to take better care of yourself. It’s not just ‘you’ anymore.”
“I know, I know… Darned kid.”
“I’ll remember to tell our child that when he or she gets older.”
“Hehe… It was a joke?”
Neol waved. “Go to sleep woman.”
“Love you too!”
Neol sighed and organized the resumes again, shuffling the papers back into a neat pile. But as he did, something fell out from them onto the floor. A pair of smaller sheets.
Setting the papers aside, he reached over and picked up the fallen sheets.
Flipping them over, he saw that they were photos.
The first was a picture of an intense looking guy in a black robe standing next to a beaming Oriental beauty. Between the two, there was an adorable little girl with slightly curly black hair as well as a mature looking boy with sharp eyes and delicate features.
The second was a picture with another man that looked similar to the first, but more relaxed… Or rather, less serious. Wearing a formal attire similar to photos of royalty from Europe, he had on a golden cloak over an emerald tunic emblazoned with gold leaves. Beside him, cornering him from all directions, were three women.
The first was a sweet looking woman with honey-colored hair and bright green eyes.
The second was a beautiful woman with blonde hair that looked a lot like Rena. The only difference were that her ears were pointed and she seemed somehow even snippier than Rena was.
The last was an ethereal beauty with startling blue eyes and pure white hair.
But most importantly of all was the fact that each of the women were holding an infant… two in the white-haired woman’s case.
The man in the photo seemed haggard scrunched up between the women, but he also had a bright smile on his face. That expression was shared by the women around him, all of them absolutely radiant with joy and happiness.
Neol carefully placed the photos together and then shook his head. “You guys… Just show up next time. It’s not like we’re going anywhere anytime soon or that you’re unwelcome.”
The room was silent. Even so, Neol nodded as if he heard a response. “Yeah, yeah. Nothing’s going on and no one cares… Really funny guys. But seriously, don’t make me and Rena have to come over there in person. You won’t like it if we do.”
Silence again. This time, it seemed like Neol didn’t get a response.
He shook his head and then stretched. He thought about working a bit longer, but then decided to stop. Closing his laptop and turning off his lamp, he quietly tucked the photos away in his desk drawer and then headed to bed.
After all, he had a goddess waiting for him. It’d be rude for her hero to show up too late.