Okano finds a new life as a pet fox named Momo.
Mayuri's fingertips rub into the top of Momo's head, gently rousing the fox from her nap. Momo's head perks up suddenly, trying to remember where she is and how she got there...
That's right. She'd intended to stay awake while Mayuri finished her homework, knowing about the promise of pets that would follow when it was over. But the pleasant comfort of laying atop Mayuri's soft thighs beneath her warm kotatsu was too strong, and she'd fallen asleep.
She headbutts gently against Mayuri's stomach, rolling onto her back in simultaneous apology and request.
"You really can't get enough of my belly scratches, can you?" Mayuri laughs, obligingly lowering her hand to Momo's stomach. Her fingers disturb the collar's tag with a clink. "Shameless. Utterly shameless."
Momo's eyes are closed, but she can feel the nametag that proudly proclaims her Mayuri's Momo shifting against her fur.
"You know, my friends think there's something special about you," Mayuri murmurs. She lifts Momo into her arms, holding the fox up in front of her face for a moment before bringing Momo in close to her shoulder. Momo hops onto her shoulder, keeping balanced there with practiced ease as Mayuri gets to her feet and begins to put away her homework. "They think that the strange source of divinity they've found is you. But this region already has a goddess, doesn't it? That... spider girl?"
With the guidance of Momo's old friends and her older sister, Iriko had stepped up in the former goddess's absence. She was an inexperienced goddess, but she was learning well, and Amanakano was being well cared for.
What was Momo's name before, when she was a goddess...
Not important. It seemed like her old friends had given up on ever finding her. Kama seemed ecstatic when she found Momo in Mayuri's possession, and had wasted no time sealing her powers away from her and sealing her presence away from the rest of the world.
It was as if her past as a goddess had been completely erased. Like she'd always been a somewhat runty fox with soft fur. The only link to her old life that Momo had discovered was that she could still use her powers, somewhat, but only if it was for Mayuri's sake. How... kind? of Kama. Now, Momo's only friend is her new owner. Mayuri treats her gently, lovingly.
But still... like a pet. Momo was a goddess, once. It's humiliating to be petted with some human's foot because she's too lazy to get up and pet her with her hands. Any of her goddess friends would laugh to see her wriggling toward Mayuri with her belly exposed, her face pleading to have it scratched.
She can't even speak. Kama had stripped her of that power. She can only yip, and growl, and make other fox sounds.
Somewhere along the line, she'd gotten used to this kind of treatment. It must be more of Kama's trickery. Erasing her memories, erasing her will...
Mayuri is still talking as she cleans up her midnight snack. "... You know, I didn't know what it would be like having a goddess as a pet. But I guess it's not much different from having any other kind of fox as a pet, huh?" She reaches up to her shoulder, scratching under Momo's chin. "Only, you're so smart! Yes you are! And you're so helpful... Goddesses make the best pets!"
Momo is too much in bliss from having her chin scratched to argue the point.
It's about time for bed, for real this time. Momo hops down, and Mayuri crawls into her futon. Momo wriggles in beside her. It's cold in the winters outside the kotatsu, and the only thing she can really do is share body heat with her master. Cuddle up together for warmth.
Momo's eyes close. Being a pet isn't that bad...