White stretched into the horizon at the North Pole, but in the central region was a land of gold.
Mother Tree had grown two times in size since two months ago. It stretched for hundreds of kilometers, covering the sky and creating a golden world that appeared out of nowhere.
Hera had been sleeping for a long time on one of the branches. Her eyes slowly fluttered open, and she sat up gracefully and gently smoothing her black hair.
After taking in a lungful of fresh air from Mother Tree, she smiled in satisfaction.
“The hometown’s air is mesmerizing as ever,” Hera mumbled and slowly floated to the canopy.
In a space covered in iridescent lights, a few figures were seen by the branches.
Other than Ares and Aphrodite, who had been staying at Mother Tree, Hermes, Apollo, Artemis, and Poseidon had shown up.
Seeing Hera’s appearance, the six Gods moved to the side so that she could see the object on the branch between them.
It was a golden flower bud, emitting a holy glow. Resembling a ball of sunlight, it appeared particularly lively when surrounded by the golden leaves.
A look of excitement appeared on Hera’s usually calm countenance.
She smiled as she went nearer to the flower bud, staring at it intently. “It’s finally… born…”
Although the other Gods had weird expressions, they were also delighted.
At that moment, they were all relishing the joyous occasion.
“This is the first flower bud. I believe more will appear on Mother Tree in no time. We will then gain a new life.” Aphrodite smiled sweetly.
At the thought of something, Hera summoned her True Yuan around, and blue scriptures appeared in midair as she pressed her fingers to her thumb one by one. It was a deduction technique that she came up with.
A wicked smirk touched her lips at the end. “You guys have been doing a lot of things while I was asleep, huh? You’ve struck so many human fleets.”
“It’ll only cause trouble to have humans approach Mother Tree. By being cruel, we could deter them from disturbing us,” Ares said haughtily.
“Hah, humans are creating the so-called ‘Noah Ark’. What a bunch of stubborn low lives.” Hera chuckled.
Aphrodite gazed at her with her alluring eyes. “I wasn’t expecting your deduction technique to be so accurate. Why don’t you deduce Athena’s arrival? She's probably the most eager to check out the blossoming of the Mother Tree.”
“She? It’ll take too much energy to deduce her movements, not to mention that it might not be accurate. I’m too lazy to do it.” Hera rejected the suggestion nonchalantly.
“Are you finally admitting the disparity between you and her?” Apollo smiled gently. “Hera, don’t mind it. We’re about to rise again, and Athena’s contributions cannot be ignored. Even though she might have gone overboard in certain matters, she did it for our sake. Aren’t you happy to see the flower bud? This means that we’re all the same. Instead of fighting with Athena, why don’t you relish in our new glory?”
Hera snorted, but it was hard to tell if she listened to him.
At that moment, Poseidon heaved a long sigh and lamented, “If we could find Gaia’s Heart 20,000 years ago and revive it, things might have been different…”
“Who would’ve thought that such a group exists among the low lives, much less that monster-like dude,” Hera snarled.
The Gods had exasperated expressions on their faces.
After a moment of silence, Hermes chuckled. “Say, do you think Hades will be our friend or foe?”
“Hades?” Hera was stunned. “Right, what happened to him in the illusionary dimension?”
“We haven’t received any update yet. Don't you have the deduction technique? Try to use it to find his location?” Aphrodite asked.
Hera did not think much about it and did as told. However, the results caused her to frown.
“What’s wrong? Is Hades in danger?” Artemis asked worriedly.
A rare awkward expression crept onto Hera’s face as she pursed her lips silently.
Suddenly, a voice came from the distance.
“He’s in the Eye of the Sky Demon…”
The Gods were surprised before casting their gazes in the direction.
A slender figure stepped in the air. It was Athena, dressed in an Ancient Rome black dress that revealed her fair neck and arms. In a split second, she appeared before the other Gods.
No one said a word because their mind was in turmoil.
Just as they had expected, their powers increased with the revival of Gaia’s Heart and the growth of Mother Tree.
Likewise, Athena’s powers had recovered to a point that amazed them.
Even though they were familiar with Athena, it had been too long since they last felt the Goddess of War’s capabilities.
With unconcealed envy in her eyes, Hera sneered. “Even if you don’t tell me, I know he’s in another space. There’s no need for you to be a busybody.”
The other Gods knew she refused to lose to Athena. However, Athena’s technique of prophecy had proven to be far more powerful and accurate than hers.
True to Hera’s words, the technique of properly might not be perfect but it outcompeted the humans’ technique of deduction.
Athena locked her frosty gaze on Hera. “As long as you refrain from provoking me, I won’t meddle in your affairs.”
She was clearly implying that she was aware of Hera's actions but chose not to expose them.
Yet, Hera refused to yield. “Don’t be so cocky. This hasn’t come to an end yet. Even if your prophecy is accurate to 99 percent, there’s still a one percent probability for everything to change, just like the last lifetime.”
Athena had no interest in entertaining her. With a small leap, she arrived by the flower bud.
Gently, she reached out to put her hand near the flower bud, as if to feel the life it contained within.
The Gods fell silent as if they could feel the chaos in her mind despite her calm countenance.
After a long moment, Poseidon asked, “Athena, when should we go to find Zeus?”
The rest held their breath. Rescuing Zeus was also another major matter to the Gods.
Turning around, Athena said airily, “There’s no need for that. He’ll come out on his own.”
“What she means is that once Zeus’ capability has recovered to a certain extent, he’ll be able to escape from the array. Am I right?” Hermes smiled.
"20,000 years ago, his and my capabilities were reduced to 30%," Athena stated. Because the array's creator was too powerful 400,000 years ago, the rules within the array are too mystical for me to make a prophecy from it. Otherwise, I could have escaped the array on my own and alerted Zeus. Within half a year, our abilities will be restored to 90 percent or higher. By then, it should be simple to break the array. In fact, I'm going to make those who conspired against us pay."
“That’s exciting. But if you and Zeus can defeat that person by cooperating, why did you deliberately guide Hades?” Hera smirked.
Upon hearing her, the other Gods threw puzzled looks at Athena.
She was silent for a moment before casting them an impassive gaze. “You don’t need to know…”
"Could it be that even you are unaware of it?" Hera pushed on. "Things have progressed to this point, so technically everything should be proceeding as predicted. There's nothing you can do. You've avoided the subject because you only know about the start and not the end. Hades' future is a mystery, according to my deduction techniques, nothing about his fate can be interpreted. No matter how powerful your prophecizing technique is, it can't be that far off from mine..."