Chapter 16:

Fight in Horsens

Elyon - Gods among us

After seven days, the ship finally arrived at the port of Horsens, south of Aarhus on the Jutland Peninsula.

Horsens was a small Danish town with a cluster of two-story wooden houses, similar to the ones they had seen in Caen but more rustic. There were several cows and sheep on the streets of the small town, and most of the people there were farmers and fishermen, so there were some seafood markets.

It was late, so Rodrigo and the goddesses decided to stay at an inn before continuing the next day. The inn was right in front of the pier and far from the center of the small town. It was tiny, much smaller than the ones they had visited even in the Iberian Peninsula. It was evident that very few people visited this part of the world or that, due to the prolonged civil war, it had been somewhat abandoned.

No one understood Occitan, Galician, Anglo-Saxon, Irish, or even Epona's "Norwegian." Using gestures, they were able to rent a room for their stay.

There were cobwebs in the inn, and even chickens ran through the hallways. It smelled like horse manure, and since it was raining a little, there were leaks in the ceiling as well. The cold inside was terrifying, and most people were in the front part of the inn where there was a lit fireplace, but there wouldn't be as much luck inside the rooms. Rodrigo trembled from the cold as they advanced.

Once in the room, Epona decided to spy on the enemies' movements.

—How will you do it, Ep?— Rodrigo asked, interested.

The blonde goddess then sat on the only bed in the room and rolled her eyes, saying, —Ép amarch—, and she remained in that motionless position.

—What's happening to her?— Rodrigo continued asking.

—She is using the eyes of all the horses around her. If one horse looks at another, she can transport her sight to that one. If necessary, she can make the horse move until it finds its target. She can see through dozens of horses at the same time, so she needs to concentrate— Ana replied.

Hours passed, and Epona remained in the same position, completely motionless with her eyes rolled back. Tania had ordered not to fall asleep until the equine goddess returned from the trance.

Ana looked out the window with a faint hope that Anpiel would appear, but there were no traces of him. Almost fifteen days had passed.

At that moment, Epona vomited blood and fell to her knees on the floor. Tania quickly approached to check on her and saw that she was shivering in chills.

—They found me!— she said as a large wound appeared next to her body.

—Run, run, he's here!— Epona shouted as she continued to bleed and vomit blood.

—Those spy horses should have been killed with tremendous force!— Ana shouted.

—No, I won't leave here! I'll fight!— Rodrigo yelled as he approached Epona to tend to her wounds with water.

At that moment, a massive flash of light appeared, and everything exploded into thousands of pieces.

The inn had been destroyed, and a rain of fire fell upon the ruins in a sea of flames and smoke. In the distance, a man could be seen carrying what looked like a sword of fire, with a horse's head in his left arm.

The man threw it and shouted, —Where are you, bitches? Show yourselves!—

—Rodrigo, take care of Epona!— Tania shouted as she took a combat position.

—No! I have to fight too!— Rodrigo said when he felt Ana's hand on his shoulder. She already had a sword in her hand, and her blue eyes were burning.

—Rui, do you trust me, right?— she asked.

—So, it's you? The legendary Tannit and the fearsome Morrigan before me— the individual said as he approached.

He was a gigantic man, easily exceeding two meters. His hair was reddish, tied in a large ponytail; he had a beard also tied in a braid and was wearing only brown pants. His eyes were blue, and on his left arm, he had a tattoo representing the world of Muspelheim.

—Don't call me with that name, bastard— Ana said.

—Sorry, sorry Rodrigo— Epona pleaded to Rodrigo while trying to touch his face.

—It's not your fault, Ep. Let's trust them— Rodrigo replied.

—My name is Surtr, and I am the commander of Loki's forces, the leader of Muspelheim and the fire giants. And this flaming sword will be your doom— the giant said as he raised his weapon.

—He doesn't use a totema, Ana. We can defeat him. Quickly, prepare an alternate dimension to fight this monster!— Tania ordered the freckled goddess.

The giant made a swift sword movement, creating a massive firebolt that the goddesses easily evaded, while Ana released her dimensional spark and created an alternate space to fight Surtr.

Tania then jumped onto the roof of the alternate dimension and gained momentum, delivering a knee strike to the giant, sending him flying several meters.

—You won't be able to defeat us, you imbecile. I'm going to make you pay for what you did to Epona— Tania shouted.

The giant started laughing.

—You're strong, as they said, but you're no match for me— Surtr said.

With that, he took out a necklace from his pants. It was his totema, a figurine of a man wielding a sword.

—No!— Tania screamed and jumped back, but at that moment, the giant used his totema. Flames engulfed his body, and his appearance changed.

Surtr now looked bluish, wearing a monstrous armor that resembled ice but with flames emanating from it. His sword had completely transformed, now gigantic. The giant easily exceeded three meters in his current stature.

—Damn it, damn it!— Tania exclaimed as she unsheathed her fire claws.

Uph-arimat Eshar— the Punic goddess shouted and lunged at the giant, but her attacks didn't even faze Loki's commander.

The giant grabbed one of Tania's arms and slammed her into the ground, creating a massive crater. The goddess with fiery hair vomited blood from the impact. When she tried to attack again, Ana appeared behind Surtr and attempted to stab him in the neck, but he didn't even bother to look at her. Instead, he grabbed Tania and slammed her into Ana's body.

Both goddesses were sent flying toward the dimensional wall, crashing into it and spewing blood. The giant then swung his massive sword, unleashing a powerful fire beam that engulfed both goddesses. Stones flew and smoke filled the air, obscuring the view of what was happening.

Rodrigo couldn't tolerate this anymore!

As the dust settled, Ana stood, heavily injured and covered in burns, but she had her arms raised to protect Tania, who had taken the attack head-on to defend her friend. Burns and wounds covered her body, but she smiled.

—You'll need... more... than that... to... kill us... you bastard— Ana said, struggling to breathe.

Tania held onto Ana's leg.

—No, leave this to me. If I'm going to die, it'll be here— the fire goddess said as she stood back up.

—We'll die together— Ana said, summoning her sword once again.

The giant began to laugh.

—What a beautiful bond you two have— he said, raising his sword to the sky.

—Very well, you shall both go to Hel together, as you wish—

The sword started to emit a blinding crimson light.

Eldr geisl— the giant shouted.

At the same time, Ana screamed, —Crág Dubán— and summoned a shield on her arm.

But just before they could unleash their attacks, Rodrigo appeared behind Surtr and with all his might, kicked the giant, sending him flying.

—No, Rui! Get out of here with Epona!— Ana shouted.

—Never!— Rodrigo said. —I will fight for you!—

—Leave, you fool! That attack shouldn't have affected him!— Tania shouted again.

Rodrigo then unleashed his power to the maximum, causing several earthquakes, lifting stones, and generating electrical bolts around him.

Raios de luz— Rodrigo shouted, and many blue-white energy spheres formed in his hand, which he fired with all his might at the giant's body. Explosions of white light erupted with each impact of the spheres as the earth cracked and tore apart. Rodrigo continued to unleash these attacks as if he had become an automatic crossbow.

Finally, his manna depleted, and he collapsed to the ground, exhausted.

When the smoke from the explosions cleared, a massive crater remained from Rodrigo's attack, but the giant was no longer there.

At that moment, Rodrigo felt every bone in his body break. The giant had appeared right in front of him and with a powerful kick, sent him flying several meters. The young man couldn't move his arms or legs; that kick had drained his ichor. His mind recalled the lesson Ana had taught him when a single touch had rendered him incapacitated.

Rodrigo had trained with Ana for two months, and his ichor had significantly increased, but he still wasn't up to par for a battle of this magnitude.

The giant showed bruises on his body.

—Damn, kid. That attack did hurt!— he yelled as he unsheathed his sword to kill Rodrigo. However, at that moment, Ana used her shield to intercept Surtr's attack.

—I will defend you, Rui!— Ana shouted while, at the same time, Tania stood behind the giant, raising her arms vertically toward the sky and joining her hands.

"Esh Kela - Safar: Alf" the fire goddess shouted, creating a fiery sphere in her fists, which she hurled at the giant.

Surtr, turning around, used his sword to deflect the goddess's attack with difficulty. The fireball veered and exploded into a mountain, creating a massive blast.

—Didn't your mother tell you never to turn your back on an enemy?— Ana shouted as she unsheathed her sword and yelled, —Beanna pollta

The goddess impaled the giant with her sword as ravens appeared behind her. Like an arrow, she traveled with the giant's body on her sword and threw him into a mountain, destroying it.

Tania and Ana met and bumped their fists in a symbol of sisterhood.

The enraged giant emerged from the rubble.

—Damn bitches! I'll kill you!— he screamed.

—Ready for the final attack, Ana?— Tania asked the freckled goddess.

—Of course, friend!— Ana said, assuming her combat stance.

The giant charged at the goddesses, who tried to attack him simultaneously, but he defended against their strikes with his flaming sword, throwing them off.

However, Ana managed to twist in the air and launch herself at Surtr again, attempting to stab him in the body. But the giant caught her by the throat before she could land the blow.

Swiftly, the giant slammed her to the ground, crushing her with his hand. Rodrigo was furious but could only watch.

Ana screamed in pain as the giant repeatedly stomped on her. Tania tried to save the fire goddess, but a swing of Surtr's fiery sword severed Tania's right arm from her body.

Tania fell to the ground headfirst, vomiting blood. Her arm didn't reattach, and she realized her ichor was on the verge of depletion.

—It's over for you— the giant said as he raised his sword with both hands toward the sky.

Eldr geisl— Surtr shouted and unleashed a red beam of light at the two goddesses. A deafening explosion tore through their bodies. Once the smoke cleared, both goddesses lay unconscious in a massive crater.

Ana regained consciousness and tried to lift her arm, but the giant noticed and grabbed her by that limb, throwing her close to where Rodrigo was.

—I'll kill you both, along with this boy— Surtr said, laughing.

But Ana, crawling, positioned herself over Rodrigo's body.

—I... will... protect... Rui..." the goddess said, spitting blood with a blurry gaze.

—No, Ana. Please, no— Rodrigo shouted.

—Rui... I'm your teacher... and my duty is... to protect you— the goddess said, drawing a smile on her bloodied face.

The giant then resumed stomping on both of them as Ana vomited blood.

Rodrigo felt desperate seeing Ana's disfigured face and gradually losing consciousness.

Fed up, the giant raised his sword to impale them both.

—You will journey together to Hel— he said, his blue eyes filled with joy and pleasure in the suffering and death of both.

Just before losing consciousness completely, Rodrigo cried out,—Athena, please help us!—

At that moment, a spear pierced between Rodrigo, Ana, and the giant. Surtr had evaded the attack with difficulty.

—Who's here? Show yourself!— Loki's commander shouted, scanning the surroundings.

There, atop a mountain, stood Athena with her hand raised, in the posture of having thrown the spear.

—Well, well, I never expected it would be you asking for my help, young man. Well, I guess it's time to start— the goddess said with a wicked smile.