Chapter 22:

Yama's Invitation [Pt.3]

A Moribund Hero

Leon felt the man's telepathic magic push further into his mind. A sharp presence to keep him lucid, so he could hear his tale. It made his head ache with a mild buzz.Bookmark here

The man told his tale.Bookmark here

When Atlas was named Earth, the world had been ripe with many talks of gods and goddesses. However, all were subjected to one grand deity known as the Almighty. Bookmark here

During the Age of Technology in the late 20th century, another grand deity emerged to empower an influential minority. This minority fought against their fellow man for their god to be the ultimate worship. Those oppressed by them began secretly worshiping another god's rule. Through the clash of values and belief systems, deity factions were formed. Great houses. Majestic churches. Mysterious cults. Many vied for world dominance and be the universe's one source of truth.Bookmark here

"Voilà! This pitiful world lapsed into a glorious war for the one god's rule. Needless to say, at the end of the Age of Technology, Apollo was the winner. But every winner will eventually be a loser. Crowns must be passed over. Hence, we arrive at the quest for this miserable world's almighty deity. It's almost a storybook."Bookmark here

Leon coughed and spluttered for breath. His body was fighting against overheating and suffocation. The auxiliary pain system was able to balance the overworking of his central nervous system, but without replenishment of blood oxygen, it was only a matter of time until it collapsed and his organs' functions broke down.Bookmark here

The state you're in, 426983ACE1, is called dying. A beautiful experience, but sad for a tool like you. I will enjoy watching your moment with the utmost respect as an artisan of the upcoming era.Bookmark here

The man paused for thought and knelt over Leon. "But it doesn't have to be that way. A beautiful work of art forged out of failure. It irks me to see you be destroyed so meaninglessly. I mean, oxygen deprivation. There are better ways to die."Bookmark here

"What... do you... have in mind?" Leon's husky voice was a whisper.Bookmark here

The man clicked his fingers. One of the tranquil boys stepped up to them, so Leon could see the boy's bare feet.Bookmark here

Leon yelped when he felt his body raised, so he was facing the docile boy's face. It was so close, that he could hear the beats of his pulse.Bookmark here

The man removed a crude syringe from his pocket and injected it into the boy's exposed shoulder to extract blood. He then dismissed the boy back to his former position by the chair.Bookmark here

"Here you go. You need this, don't you?" He dangled the syringe in front of Leon.Bookmark here

Leon's body trembled with aches and pains; a desire to accept the salvation before his eyes. But he remembered his promise of only talking blood from small animals as needed and all other sustenance from flora. He swore to never take from humans or similar beings.Bookmark here

"I, Vedas the Great Artisan, am I giving this to you free of charge. A privilege for the most beautiful works of failure." The man continued to bait Leon.Bookmark here

Leon mustered all his strength to close his eyes and turn his mind away from the offering.Bookmark here

Vedas's eyes narrowed. "One final offer. An invitation from Yama. He gives us so much power. More than any other god could or has given. Which deity is there for us when we die? Which truth outlasts all others when facing our pitiful end? Which deity grants us an existence beyond death to be undead? To be like gods ourselves!"Bookmark here

He slapped Leon's face. "I once believed as you did. Escaped the lies of the Big Farma houses with blind faith in the amulet I held."Bookmark here

He continued to slap Leon until he had no choice but open his eyes to him.Bookmark here

"And when I escaped with my Amulet of Gaia. Like you, I had my promise to keep. I made the journey across the harsh and tainted terrain to The Oasis. Breached the Temple of Light and opened the Gates of the Guardians."Bookmark here

Spittle seeped out of Leon's weakened lips. His eyes burned with pain and were heavily bloodshot.Bookmark here

"What did I find when I placed my amulet on the altar within? Nothing."Bookmark here

Vedas tossed Leon against the wall and returned to his seat. Leon crumpled to the ground in a heap.Bookmark here

"After all that. Fortunately, I found the truth once I left the temple. Yama's spirit told me that the amulet failed because it didn't carry the world's true purpose. The spirit had enlightened me."Bookmark here

Leon struggled on his hands and knees. Some of the man's telepathy had eased from his mind. Through his pains, he found his voice. "Your belief is not mine."Bookmark here

"Really? Can't you see the pattern of humanity? Why do history books always tell of the same wars, recreated in different ways? The same types of people dying, being born to die again. Being fooled to eat clever poisons that lead to death. A sweet symphony to be replayed throughout the eras."Bookmark here

The man paced the floor with glorious airs. "You know, the world has had sixteen world wars. Sixteen! We fool ourselves with pretty pictures of abundant life. But our results prove to favor death and destruction."Bookmark here

Leon winced at his painful gulp. It was hard to swallow. Vedas's breath burned on his crown.Bookmark here

"No, beautiful failure. Humans were only made for death."Bookmark here

"Then I will prove you wrong." Leon spat out.Bookmark here

"What a pity. I suppose I'll let you die now. My final kindness to a fellow golden warrior cadet."Bookmark here

Leon heaved for breath when the man's presence fully withdraw from his mind like a splinter extraction. His body was feverish with feelings of pending combustion.Bookmark here

Vedas held a sparkling amulet before Leon, which made his eyes widen with confusion. His vision was blurred, but he could tell it was a diamond version of the Amulet of Gaia, and the chain was gold.Bookmark here

"I thank the Mother for providing such a powerful thing in a tiny package. And thanks to this rundown mine, chock-block full of natural energy. My amulet is now properly empowered. I shall return Yama's power to the Almighty God throne. But first, you reminded me to send a gift to our old family. Can't be impolite now." Vedas chirpily informed him.Bookmark here

He and the boys were soon gone from the antechamber at the sound of a bell toll.Bookmark here

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