Chapter 34:

I Met the Dead God of the Sun, and He's Hot.


Uncle got himself punched again. It seemed that the cycle of loving abuse continued, and he wouldn’t let it end there himself. He wouldn’t bite his tongue. He would not let this be. If he hadn’t been taken hostage in this white, ever-expanding space, then he would’ve woken up, pulled himself up in the face, and shown that bastard Joey who’s boss.

But there must be a reason for this.

That very reason forced him to close his eyes. No. He didn’t get to. Apolaki, his God, appeared, turning everything red, to white, then to black. His body burned, crisped, ashed, and healed itself to perpetuate this suffering as he held himself back from running. He didn’t scream, either. It was a privilege to meet him, to feel his presence at this very moment.

“I had a lot of fun watching you.”

His excited voice rang in his ears as though it was a very energetic whisper. It was hard to tell, considering the amount of crackling and pain that he had to deal with just to maintain this conversation.

“I’m happy… Y’know…”

Apolaki placed his arm around his back, and his body burned even more. He cracked, almost disintegrating, but in its flame, he found healing. A kind of power that stitched his body together only to be reduced to ashes again, and again, and again, and again, like smores cooked in a perpetual state of perfection.

“I was glad that I reached out to you. That being said, I am the greatest God in this shithole. I am the fucking sun, after all. I am the being that all monsters, except for the undead, are looking forward to. I determine how everyone’s lives are going to be.” He patted Uncle’s head. “So, I’m saying this in a language you can understand. I appreciate you. Your big brain has the capacity to culminate and weaponize the amount of my glory. But you made a teenie, tiny problem.”

Apolaki scoffed. Cold. Uncle’s body didn’t even get to heal. His wounds pestered him, remembering the fire, but he was betrayed by the snapping sheer cold that blanketed him in ice and snow.

“Look, I love you. I don’t think everyone deserves me, except for the fewest of beings that could comprehend and imitate my brilliance. I don’t want you to die. You’re fun. I also like having a fair fight between my worshippers, but you’re so stubborn.” Apolaki stepped towards Uncle, melting the ice and blazing his body. He slapped his face and raised his chin.

“You’ve made me,” he stressed. “ask Sinaya for help. I’ve allowed you to walk with the pain, to not get blacked out after having a bigger monster beat you to the ground. I’ve made you a hero. Then again, I was proud, but… you’ve disappointed me. So what if Tabu’s toy died while you’re asleep? So what if Mayari’s bimbo gets abused again while you’re not looking? So what if you wake up at the top of everyone’s dead bodies? They don’t matter. You don’t concern yourself with ants that you’ve crushed and wiped on a rock, even if you know that they’ve fought with their lives to get their hands on a piece of meat buried in a puddle of your spit. If I’ve called you, you will come to me. You understand?”

Uncle nodded.

“Now, I’m done. I don’t need to repeat myself, but I need you to do something for me. I pulled some strings. I won’t be outdone by Tabu and that bitch, Mayari. I’ll allow you to use a fraction of my power because you’ve proven yourself in that fight. I want something fun with it now. Do not disappoint me.”

Apolaki distanced himself from him. Uncle felt his presence floating away through the flames that burned lower and lower until it let him heal his body and experience the heat of the morning sun from above and the coldness of the white space beneath his feet.

Uncle gasped, being able to finally breathe without suffocating because of his charred lungs. He was naked, as he had expected. His skin was a bit pale because of him not being a fan of the outdoors. But something was different. There was a certain feeling in his body. Something was rising. It was not his dingdong but the energy that he could conjure at his fingertips. It was the authority given to him. He willed it, narrowing his brows, and from his pointing finger emerged a small ball of a flickering flame.

A text box appeared. It showed him that he could now conjure up and control fire. It was the same for the one who informed him that he could conjure up ice and coldness too.

“Do not compare yourself to the scarred children from your memories. You’re better than that,” Apolaki added. “And to make things more interesting… I’ll let you practice first so that you won’t get outshined by those fucks.”

Apolaki’s snap rang around the white space. It drew Uncle’s attention to the floor, where a being made of fire emerged, soon taking shape into someone familiar. It was Rayan, with his huge green naked and scaled body, where his gaze definitely didn’t fall below his stomach. The monster waved his hands. God, that was huge.

“Heya, Motherfucking Uncle.” Rayan grinned. “How were my punches treating you.”

“Itchy as the crack of my sweaty asscheeks after moments of cold and burning, which I am not trying to do right now, with the God above as my witness, and you, as my fallen friend thing about to come for revenge.”

Rayan curved his jagged grin and laughed. “Ain’t you just a treat for a little man?”

“Ain’t you looking so bite-sized for someone so gigantic?” Uncle cracked his knuckles calmly, to mimic Rayan. “Greater Strength. Greater Skill. Greater Boost. Greater Regeneration. Greater Acrobatics. Greater Speed. Greater Agility. Great Persuasion. Greater Intimidation. Greater Combat Prowess. Cat Skill. Greater Punching Potential. Greater Bodily Control. Greater Marionnet. Knight Boost. Refrigerator Coldness. I can do this. I can try. Hoh, boi. Greater Investigator. Ultimate Combat. Holy Bless. Holy Shit. Ultimate Power. King Kei Fist. Ultra Instinct.”

“No.” Rayan transformed into his final form, ignoring Uncle’s incantations. “You’ve gifted me an honorable death. You all have gained my respect, and it is a blessing to be brought back and serve the Gods and help you reach your ultimate potential.”

“I’m still here, people… I’ll be watching. I pulled some strings and asked Kasanaan to borrow his soul, so thank me later. Go ahead and have your heart-to-heart talk. Right. Uncle,” Apolaki’s voice rang above. “Just heal your wounds with your ability. You know that sensation by now. I don’t like to repeat myself, but whatever. I won’t let you get outshined by that old man and that… I have to admit… that cute-looking plant. Let yourself be pressured. I won’t let you go until you beat that monster alone. Use my authority as you wish. That’s all I have to say and don’t bore me!”

Uncle took a deep breath and willed the flame to erupt and burn his entire body. He remembered the feeling of himself blazing and healing at the same second. He internalized that, putting himself in that limelight, like a torch at the Olympics. He’s too hot to be cool now. He grinned. He marched towards Rayan, who raised both his gigantic arms to prepare. Fire Fist Uncle. That had a good ring to it.

“I have a few points that I’d like to test,” Uncle declared, increasing the intensity of his flames, blackening his body, and healing it at the same moment to stay burning. “But holy shit… I’m so cool right now.”

Rayan laughed helplessly. “What is wrong with you…”

The monster roared and punched the ground to shoot himself towards Uncle. Uncle didn’t move, but his flames flickered like a cape, baring their fangs at the monster that’s zooming to demolish its wearer’s body. It happened. Uncle planted his feet and placed both his hands on his hips, taking the punch that ripped half of his face along with his right arm.

His blackened jaws fell. But Rayan felt that he was grinning. It was like that feeling again. It was as though he was staring at the sun himself. Rayan smirked back. Honor. His heart welled when Uncle regenerated his face and right arm, when he twisted his body to mimic his movements, and when he screamed as he clenched his fists, sank them deep in his skull, and cracking his bones again to ultimately summon an explosion that engulfed the both of them in flames.

Rayan knew that he was flying somewhere. He rolled to the ground and found himself on his knees. Unbelievable. He would get a fair fight, after all. Because that man emerged from the wall of smoke, breathing out steam as his skin cindered. Rayan smiled. He remembered how he beat this kid. This little man in front of him had been healed completely, but he chose to wear the scars he had given him as a trophy.

“Great.” Uncle gave him a pure-hearted smile. “Let’s make the coolest ultimate move together, Sir Rayan. I’m thinking this as a… Maybe Flame Emperor Stance?”

Rayan laughed. “That is if you get out of here in time.”

“Funny how you thought you get to decide these things,” Uncle replied. He took his stance, breathed, and burned his body even more. Both of them exchanged a warm smile. “You know what… I’ll call this... It’ll just be a surprise.”

Apolaki grinned above them. 

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