86 Gaea.. I've come to Bargain

A/N: Pat-reon: HelloDarkness07

35 AD:

Summoning Rituals have three main parts. Capturing the Being's attention, convincing it to appear to you through a sacrifice(not always a life), and granting them a place to appear in.

Summoning Circles, specific to each Being you need to summon, do the first and third step. They denote the place the Being you need to summon needs to appear in, and through the Magic of the Circles, they sort of.. poke at the Being's Magic, telling them that someone is summoning them. 

Sacrifice.. each being has different sacrifices. Sometimes it is as mundane as a picture of a loved one, dirt from a gravesite, and a bone from a black cat all kept in a metallic box that is buried in the crossroads. Sometimes, however, it is as delicate as killing a white goat while you have an erection.

Fun fact, both of those are used to summon Demons, the first for the Deal making kind, and the second for a sexual, big tiddie kind.

Anyway, why am I explaining Summoning? Because obviously, I'm doing it.

I am hoping to summon a Goddess that is also known as Mother Magic by the Elves, and most other Magical Creatures. The Elder Goddess, Gaea.

She is a.. relatively humble Goddess. Her Summoning Circle is filled with Greek Symbols, mostly because that name of hers is the most famous one, while her Sacrifice is.. very tame, if complicated. 

A fruit, a vegetable, and a drop of blood of a being with connection to her. The fruit and vegetable should be grown by the one who is going to do the Summoning, while the drop of blood should be willingly provided from a living being, without any coercion.

As I said, tame, if complicated.

Or it would have been complicated for me, if I wasn't.. me. I have planted multiple plants and trees in my life, one of them the Alphonso Mango tree that I had fixed just recently. As for vegetables, well I do have a greenhouse dedicated for growing vegetables of different kinds.

As for the last ingredient, blood of a being connected to Gaea, well, I am one. 

Mages, as a basic known fact amongst higher learned Sorcerers, were created by another Elder Goddess, Oshtur, who is also known as one of the Vishanti, progenitors of Sorcery. But I.. had been forced by Gaea herself to take a Dip into the Pond of Enhancement that gave me her blessings as a Guardian of Magic. 

When Bast was defending me from Odin, I was listening, even if I wasn't reacting then.

So, yeah, I have a connection to Gaea.

As for why I am summoning her.. that's something complicated.

Keeping the ripe mango, and a cabbage in the center of the Summoning Circle that I had drawn on the Earth, in front of my Castle, I take a few steps back and walk out of the circle. Taking a simple stone knife, I cut into my thumb, and bleed on top of the Circle, while chanting, "I summon you, Mother Goddess Gaea."

Repeatedly.

With a bright flash of white light, that blinds me temporarily, the mango and cabbage disappear from their place. My nose tells me that much. For a while, nothing happens save for my eyesight returning. But then, the ground shudders, and between one blink and the next, someone is standing within the Summoning Circle.

The woman was shorter than me, with dark skin, long black curled up hair, and a green dress that went down to her feet, and touched the ground. There was an ethereal glow to her, and even while having wrongly proven preconceived notions of how she might look, I knew this was Gaea.

I could feel it, a connection to her the same way I could feel it with Selene. Except this one was deeper, more Magical than Psionic. There was also the fact that I could feel my life strengthening by just being in front of her. She just.. gave off strength.

The woman smiles at me, a kind smile that reminds me of my mother from my past life, and Sister Agnes, as she says, "What can I do for you, my Guardian?"

I frown at her, not knowing if the motherly look is something she naturally has or if she's trying to just portray it. I ignore my doubts about her genuineness, as well as the warm feeling she was emitting, and looking right at her eyes, I say, "I have a request of you, that I hope you see completed."

Smiling still, Gaea tilts her head, and asks, "What, may I ask, is the request?"

Well, here's hoping she doesn't kill me on the spot. I take a deep breath, and say, "Lady Gaea, I need you to stop sending the Elves on their rescue missions."

Lady Gaea raises an eyebrow, and asks, "Why will I do that? And why would you want that? Don't you want my children to be saved from other Mages like you?"

"Not like this." I argue, while keeping composure. "I did not free the Elves from their enslavement at the hands of my race, just for you to enslave them in return. I gave them their freedom, and you asking them to keep going out there, risking their lives in those quests, is not helping them get used to their freedom."

I do not like her, that much was simple. She forced me to go through the Pond without first asking me, she named me her guardian and while it did help me, I don't like how I was basically forced into the position. And this too.. her sending Elves on rescue missions all around the world, where their life kept getting endangered.

"Do I not have any right to order them, Mage? I did create them, gave them Life. Am I not owed that much?" Gaea asks, still calmly smiling.

I shake my head, and argue, "No one has a right to ask the Elves to do anything for free. The Elves don't owe you anything, or me. Whatever I was owed was balanced out by the work they did for me before their freedom. Whatever you were owed, has already been paid in all these decades of them saving your children for you. I want you to stop using them now that your debt has been paid."

Gaea frowns, finally changing her serene expression, and says, "I am not using them. They are my children, just as the others are."

"Aren't you? You use their gratitude for their life and ask them to work as your Servants. You don't offer them anything in return, and you expect them to blindly go to whatever place you send them in. You sent Elves in a place that saw them endangered at the hands of Asgardians! You're basically doing the exact same thing that Mages did, having the Elves do your work for you while expecting them to follow your orders without question." I say, furiously arguing the last point.

It was something that bothered me a lot, ever since Kultur told me about Mother Magic and his urgings. Gaea knew the Asgardians were there, she knew the Elves won't be able to reach there on time, or rescue all the Re'em. Yet she still sent the Elves after the Re'em.

And it wasn't as if Re'em were even close to extinction. There are literally hundreds of Re'em all around the world, more than half of them in the Americas itself. Yet Gaea still sent the Elves almost to their deaths.

Gaea frowns, and says, "What happened with the Asgardians was an unfortunate business. I did not expect the Elves to start fighting them. I hoped they would just disappear through their Teleportation, taking one Re'em each. And I expected them to take the issue to you immediately, without trying."

With a pause, she adds, "I was wrong."

I scowl, and say, "You were wrong in sending them there in the first place. I was the Guardian then, a Champion to you, you could have sent me directly. Elves wouldn't have been hurt then."

The Guardian thing is something that needs to be talked about too.

Gaea shakes her head, and says, "I don't have the sole claim on you, and hence, I cannot order you to do anything."

"The same way, the Elves aren't under your sole dominion. You named me a Guardian of Magic, gave me some sort of authority, yes? Then this means as of now, the Elves come under our shared domain. And as the only other with any authority over the Elves, I'm asking you.. I'm requesting you to stop sending the Elves on their Rescue missions."

Gaea stays silent, staring at me for a few seconds. She then nods, and asks, "What do you suggest, then? I cannot just condone the massacres of my children for the Mages to go through Potions and Rituals."

Now we're getting somewhere!

I shrug, and say, "Create another champion, if you want. You're a Goddess, I don't know what rules you have, what you can do and what you can't. Hell, ask the Elves if one wants to be your Champion."

Taking a deep breath, I add, "But.. What I'm saying is don't take advantage of their gratefulness for their life. Whatever deal you strike has to be balanced with enough benefits provided to them. All I want of you, is to not take advantage of the Elves and their gratitude."

Gaea sighs, and says, "I… didn't think of that. I already have a Champion and an Avatar, along with my Priestesses. Nothing says I can't have another Avatar."

I smile, a bit relieved, and say, "Glad you understand, Lady Gaea.

Gaea nods, tilting her head, she asks, "What was your plan if I had refused?"

I shrug, and say, "I would have attacked you. I would have died, probably, but then the Elves would have seen that the one they're believing in as the highest Goddess isn't as nice as they'd believed."

Gaea smiles, and says, "I am glad to have pushed you into the lake that day. You're a very suitable Guardian for Magical beings."

Speaking of.. "What does that even entail?" I ask, the previous antagonism forgotten.

Will I have to just.. go around, protecting Magic all around the world? Will I be forced to stop eating animals or something? Because Guardian of Magic or not, properly roasted dragon steak tastes absolutely Divine!

Hey, I don't go around killing Dragons, doesn't mean I don't eat the dead dragons. But that's only reserved for very rare occasions. Since most dragons that die of old age don't have much in the way of meat, while those that die young, in fights or otherwise, are very rarely left as is for long. 

But only dragons. Other animals are not that good when in taste, and eating Nundus feels too much like cannibalism for me. 

Gaea smiles, and says, "Some day.. some day you will find out for certain. Maybe in your own time, maybe after that. But until then, whatever you're doing here will be sufficient."

And then, with a bright green flash of light, she disappears, leaving behind a bright green patch of overhrown grass in the place that she stood at.

I sigh, some in relief, and some in exhilaration. I was glad that this talk was over, without any fighting or ass kicking from her end. I might have defeated Hela, but I wasn't delusional enough to believe that Gaea wouldn't have absolutely destroyed me.

A Goddess is manageable. Hell, I've encountered two, if I count Bast. An Elder Goddess? Hell nah. The only other experience I have with Elder Gods is when I encountered Set, and he was pretty much constrained by his vessel's strength.

I chuckle, remembering how many Gods I've actually encountered. If anyone, at any time, would have told me that I would have actual conversations with Gods, where I convinced one of the strongest Gods on the planet to stop doing something, I would have called them crazy.

"Athreos, my love?" Selene's voice calls out from inside the Castle, the Aves Keep, I remind myself. As I turn my head towards her, she asks, "Do you have a descendant or something, in Britannia?"

Frowning, I remember every time I've actually been with anyone in Britannia, and only come up with Tatiana. And she wasn't pregnant with my child at any time, mostly thanks to my own preventive spells. And other than her, I haven't been with anyone in Britannia.

Shaking my head, I say, "Not that I know, why?" 

Although I hope I don't have a descendant running around out there. Too many headaches full of paradoxes, because unless every one of my descendants turn up dead at some point, I will most assuredly be my own ancestor. There's little to no chance that even a single child I have right now won't lead to my own birth.

Selene frowns, and says, "I just saw a girl, around 30 years old, with a sword similar to yours. The Magic and the looks were far too similar to ignore."

Ah, thank God!

Shaking my head, I smile, and say, "That would be one of my ancestors then. Not my descendants, no." Pausing, a bit worried, I ask, "You didn't do anything, did you?"

I don't want to disappear out of existence because Selene accidentally killed my ancestor or something. Or purposefully.

Selene smiles a bit bashfully, which just makes me even more worried, and says, "I was going to, but I didn't want to kill a descendant of yours by mistaking her to be a thief. I just came here immediately after finding the girl to confirm it."

I sigh, relieved. Also, glad to know that Adrian, the Grim's descendants are going strong, and still use the Ljosverd. I mean, I expected it, because I need to be born some way, but still. Good to know.

She then asks, "How did it go with the Goddess?"

Smiling, I start walking towards the Castle, already telling her about the success story. I just hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the ass.

---

70 AD:

I stand in the middle of the Elf Village, staring at all the rushing the Elves were doing. They were dismantling everything, packing it all up. Every brick they used to build their house was taken apart, every belonging they've gathered up till now packed in magically expanded bags that they created by themselves.

The Elves.. were leaving.

"Are you sure about this, Athra? You know I don't mind your presence here." I say, looking down at the three foot tall Elf, who leaned on her cane.

Athra was old now, not as old as Kultur was when he died, but still old. She was the Leader of the Elves now, and has been for a few decades. And her rule shown in the way the village thrived.

Ever since Gaea stopped sending the Elves on their missions, the Elves focused a bit more on themselves. Studying the crafts, training their magic, building better houses, creating farms, everything. And now, they are leaving.

Athra nods, smiling up at me, and says, "We are sure, Sorcerer Athreos. For 35 years, we have stayed here, without Mother Magic sending us out there. It is only when we stopped going out that we realised something."

She pauses, to gather her words, and I let her, curious myself.

Athra then says, "You gave us our freedom, Sorcerer Athreos. You gave us our life back. But as long as we keep living here, we won't be completely free. We still depended on you for our homes, our protection. And while we appreciate it, the Elves need to start actually being free."

I smile, a bit sadly, and understand the unspoken words. They feel as if I'm still their Master, as if I'm still asking them to work on what is basically my Island, taking care of it. While Athra knows that I don't expect anything from them, not everyone must feel that way.

My existence so close to them here reminded them of the life their ancestors lived under Magical Masters. And I understand.

Nodding, I say, "Well, I understand the need for independence. Can't say I am not sad about seeing you all go, but I understand your reluctance in staying here." Pausing, I ask, "Have you found a place for yourselves?"

Athra nods, and says, "Yes. But.. I'm afraid I won't be telling you where we will be living. Apologies, Sorcerer Athreos, but the Elves are a bit paranoid about being returned to the fate of our ancestors."

I chuckle, and shake my head. Looking at all the Elves teleporting with the stuff, no doubt directly to their new home, I ask, "You will be okay?"

Athra looks around, tearfully, and says, "I sure hope so. We will protect our Home with everything we have, but I just hope that we don't regret this decision later."

I look at the Library being shrunk, as a whole, and making a split second decision, I conjure a Magic Gold ring from Nowhere. With a few spells, I enchant it while holding it clenched within my fist, and then offer it to Athra.

I say, "Whenever the Elves feel as if they need my help, send your Magic into the Ring. It will summon me straight to the location of the ring."

Athra gratefully takes the ring in her tiny hands, and stores it in the pocket of her cotton top. She nods, smiling up at me, and says, "Thank you, Sorcerer Athreos. For everything."

I sigh, and say, "You're welcome, Athra. Be safe, and don't hesitate to ask for help. And tell your descendants the same. Whenever they need me, I will be there. Consider it payment for all they and the House Elves face at the hands of other Mages."

Athra smiles, and says, "We will. Have a very good, long life, Sorcerer."

"Have a very happy life, Athra." I say in return. "Farewell."

And then, I disappear with a pop, returning to my Castle.

---

"What's on your mind?" Selene asks, as we're lying on the bed that night.

I must've been more distracted than I had originally thought.

Sighing, I say, "The Sanctuary is running safe, self sufficient even. There are enough mundane and Magical animals here that I don't need to do a single thing to make sure everyone survives. The Elves have found a new home for themselves, from where they will no doubt still keep rescuing Magical Creatures and other Elves. The Gods and Demons have stopped attacking Magical Creatures, and there's at least some sort of peace. All in all, I find myself very much.. content. I just.. I wonder if I should start making actual efforts in going back to my own time, or if I should keep living this life, with you by my side, until my time catches up to me."

Selene props her head on my chest, her hand on my cheek, and asks, "What do you want? Do you think you can wait 1800 years till your native time starts?"

"I don't know." I answer, honestly. To both questions.

Can I wait that long, living through this pretty long time? Yes. But do I want to? 1800 years is a long, long time. I could become stronger during this time, sure, but will it be worth it? Would I even be the same person I am now?

Hell, I'm barely the same person I was 120 years ago, when I first came to this time. And doing this.. staying just with Selene for company, now that the Elves are gone, for 1800 years? I don't think I can do it.

Selene kisses my lips, which I gladly return, and says, "Then sleep. You do not have to decide now itself. The spell that will take you back home will take some time, won't it? You can start working on it, and then decide if you want to go through with it."

Sighing, I pull Selene closer to myself, and say, "What about you? If I decide to move myself forward in time, will you come with me?"

Selene looks up at me, and asks, "Do you want me to?"

I frown, confused, and ask, "Why wouldn't I want you with me? I love you, Selene. I will always want you with me, not that I'm going to force you to make a decision."

Not that I CAN force her. She's still a stronger Mage than I.

Selene smiles, and says, "I love you, Athreos." Pausing to kiss me once again, she says, "Now sleep, we can decide what you want later. For now, I want to sleep."

Chuckling, I turn around to put my arm over her stomach, and close my eyes. She's right, I don't have to decide right now. Besides, I still need to be sure that the Gods won't just attack Sanctuary as soon as I'm gone. Yes, for now, I'll just sleep.

Besides, I still have around 90% of my Repository still unread. Nothing says I can't read some more of it and then leave.

---

79 AD:

The next few years pass in a similar manner to the last few decades. I didn't rush into my Time Spell, because I wanted to decide first, and then get to work.

Meanwhile, Selene and I kept on travelling the world every once in a while, as I continued reading through my ever expanding Repository. I have come very close to being called an actual Master of Alchemy, while also being a Master in various other Magical arts.

Enchanting, Forging, Artificing, Magecraft, Sorcery, and soon, Alchemy, which collectively includes Transfiguration, Potions, and Rituals.

Selene has also taken to reading through my Repository, and despite being 15000 years old, there are things that she learned only in the Repository. Some things she just didn't discover and some only evolved into existence recently.

Something I've noticed however, is that while Sorcerers have been at their strongest for thousands of years, Mages, as a species, haven't yet attained their prime. Mostly, it's because of a lack of teaching. Most of the Mages that become as strong as I was, when I fought Grindelwald, become that through self study, and only when they're at least 100 years old.

The pure mages, I mean. The hybrids naturally get that strong, sometimes without even trying.

I have no doubts, however, that when the solely Magical Schools start opening, open for every Mage and not just the scholars, that the Mages will start achieving their prime too.

Anyway, our travels took us to many places. Selene and I went to Atlantis, the underwater city that's mostly filled with Mages, but also has mundane people too. We went to each of the seven continents, and even swam through all the oceans using spells to help us out.

Funnily enough, Selene took me to the Savage Lands, where she has a hideout hidden away inside a volcano. She uses it whenever she wants to just get away from people. Get even more away than what protections her home provided.

And now, we were here, in the town of Pompeii, sitting on top of a house's terrace, covered in spells that made us invisible, just staring at the volcano in the distance. The volcano, Mt Vesuvius, was going to erupt soon.

I had been keeping an eye on it as the year 79 AD approached. Mostly because it was the one Volcano eruption, save for Krakatoa, that I remembered very well from my history lessons in either of my lives.

And because I saw something 17 years ago, when Pompeii first shook with an Earthquake that I had first thought would lead to the volcano erupting. But when I came here, expecting the destruction of the town, I only saw the town, and the Ninjas running away from the Volcano.

Admittedly, I got curious, and traced their steps backwards to the then dormant Volcano, which led to me discovering remnants of Dragon bones. Chi Dragon bones.

I could have stopped them then, knowing that these K'un Lun Ninjas will go on to form The Hand any day now, but I didn't want to risk my own existence. If the Hand doesn't exist, I won't fight the Kuronin, and I won't get the Ljosverd, which helped me survive my drop here in the past.

Messing with the Time is all well and good, as long as I don't risk erasing myself out of the Time Stream.

Sighing, I stare at the people living their life, not knowing that any minute now the Volcano is going to claim them. People fated to die. I hate myself for not even trying to save them.

"Do you feel like saving them?" Selene asks, looking curiously at me.

I've noticed this about her. She likes to see what I think about different situations, she likes to just.. ask me questions like this. A lot. Maybe it's a quirk of her old age. I'm not going to say this to her face though.

Sighing once again, I say, "Just.. wondering if I have any right to leave them to their fate. Leaving this whole town to die? I know, however, that saving even one life will send ripples through time that might kill me. And despite the Guardian in me wanting to, I cannot save these people."

People I save here will have children, who will have children, who will have children. Thousands of people procreating again and again, multiplying.

Some of those people could become dictators, dark lords, murderers, anything, and any one of them might kill one of my ancestors. And since it will be my actions that make the person survive, it will be I that Time will punish. I will most certainly be erased.

Even one person that wasn't supposed to survive means I will die. So yes, I am not going to interfere.

"You shouldn't have come here, you know. If it bothers you so much." Selene says from beside me.

Chuckling sardonically, I say, "I know. But I just.. I wanted to witness this sight. It will be loud, no doubt, and hot. But it will also be a beautiful sight."

Suddenly, however, I feel a shiver go through my entire being, as if something stretched the space like a rubber band, and snapped it into my lower back.

I stand up, vigilant, and look around, while wondering what it is. 

"What happened?" Selene asks, as she stands beside me and joins me in looking around.

Frowning, I say, "I don't know. Something happened, something big, but I don't know what. I just know that it was not Magical in nature, yet affected Magic the same. You didn't feel anything?"

Selene shakes her head, so I summon my staff to my hand. I stop, in the middle of casting a spell to scan for inconsistencies, when my sensitive ears hear something happening a few houses away.

"GOO! Hee hee hee hee!" A man loudly yells, and starts chanting. I turn my head to look at it, and just stop and stare.

There was a man, standing on top of a cart, waving at the goats inside the cart to start running. That wasn't weird. What was weird was the fact that he wore a shirt, trousers, a tie, and a jacket that most definitely is not native to this time period.

And the second weirdest part, is that I recognise that man. Best of all, he isn't supposed to be here, considering the fact that he isn't born yet.

"What is he doing? Never mind, what is he wearing? And is that.. is that a God?" Selene asks, staring at the man.

"Uh-huh. I know of him." I say, still staring at the man. "That's Loki, a Son of Odin." I say, explaining my statement.

Selene turns back to Loki, and says, "Huh. I didn't know Odin had a son."

"That's because he doesn't. Not yet. Loki will only be born after 900 years, my dear." I say, as I keep spying on him, apparently warning the citizens of Pompeii that the volcano was about to erupt.

"...I would know, because I.. am from the future!" Loki finishes in latin, and then looks at someone hidden from my sight, and asks, "We are from the future, right?" In English. The proper King's English, that I spoke in 1945.

As he keeps talking to that unknown companion, who is no doubt Loki's co-conspirator in whatever Time Travel shenanigans he is up to right now, I clench my hands once again, feeling another shiver go through my body.

This time, I somehow feel that whatever happened was closer to me than whatever happened before. Ignoring the Time travelling Loki, I look at Selene, and say, "Come on, it happened again. This time, closer."

Selene holds my hand, already prepared to join me, and without any delay, I apparate myself towards where I felt the Shiver in me originate from.

I appear between two houses, just in time to see an Orange, rectangular portal, blink out of existence, and a small girl standing in front of it. Whatever happened, I know for sure that it happened right here, and the orange portal is related to it. And the girl.. whoever she is, knows about it.

BOOOOM!

The volcano erupts behind me, making the girl turn towards us at the sound. She widens her eyes, and starts running in the opposite direction when she sees Selene and me, while I hold the staff in my hand.

I look at the volcano erupting, noting that while absolutely scary, it is kinda beautiful, and say, "We need to save this girl, we need to take her somewhere safe because she has answers for whatever happened right now."

Selene nods, agreeing immediately, and with a single wave of her hand, controls the shadows to cover both of us. The shadows retreat, bringing us into existence right in front of the girl who was running away from us. She had her attention on some sort of.. gamepad?.. in her hands.

So it is that she slams into my body while not looking where she was going. She looks up, widening her eyes in fear, and I see her hands going towards whatever device she was fiddling with.

Holding on to her, I create a portal that takes all three of us away from Pompeii, and to Sanctuary. The girl kicks my knee, and takes a few steps back when I leave her. She looks at her hands, only to find them empty.

Looking at the PSP-like device that I had swiped out of her hands, I ask, "Now, what's a daughter of Odin doing on Earth, and why the hell does she look like a prisoner?"

---

A/N: Don't worry, MC is not going to start with the Loki plot. He is just curious about what happened that caused him to gain shivers in his entire body and Magic, and he wants to ask her questions to find answers.

The Elves are gone from Sanctuary, because as long as Mason calls it home, the Elves still feel like they're Enslaved to him. Gaea has stopped asking the Elves to rescue Magical Creatures, but whatever Champion she will raise will do it in her stead. 

The next chapter will deal with the TVA part, hopefully completely, and then, Mason will take whatever step he decides on. After which, is a long, very long, timeskip. Hopefully.

Thank you for your support, patience, and well wishes! Really, I couldn't ask for better fans!

Tata!

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