Chapter 17:

Athena enters the scene

Elyon - Gods among us

The goddess Athena leaped from the mountain where she was standing and began to walk toward Ana and Rodrigo with singular elegance, while Surtr watched furiously and impatiently.

—Who are you?— the giant shouted.

But Athena didn't even bother to respond. She reached where the two fallen warriors were and took Ana's spear, making it disappear. Then, she gave ambrosia to Ana while stroking her head.

—You did very well, Ana. Now, rest a while— the Greek goddess said to the dark-haired goddess.

—Do you think you can come here and interrupt my fight?— the giant shouted.

—Well, then I'll decapitate you right here—

Surtr then took his sword and tried to decapitate Athena, but she, using only her index finger, stopped the blow while continuing to give ambrosia to Ana. The giant's sword cracked slightly upon impact.

—Just... just one finger, and she doesn't even wears her totema! Who the hell are you?" the giant asked, taking a step back in surprise.

Ana then regained consciousness and saw her teacher.

—Teacher, did you save us?— Ana asked, surprised, while looking at the Greek goddess who was now giving ambrosia to Rodrigo.

—Yes, the boy called my name and I came to help you— Athena said.

Surtr remained furious as he watched the goddess helping those whom he intended to kill.

—I'll show you what I can do with this!— the giant shouted as he prepared his special attack.

—Listen, monster— Athena shouted. —I am not allowed to fight you, but if you force me to defend myself, you won't live to tell the tale. Leave my sight this instant!—

Surtr shouted, —Go to Hel right now! Eldr geisl!—

Just before he could launch his attack, Athena ran beneath him and, delivering a punch directly to his stomach, doubled him over while shattering the ice armor that covered him with the force of her attack.

—First warning, big guy— the Greek goddess said, withdrawing her fist from the general of Loki's abdomen. Surtr clutched his intestines, doubled over in pain, and vomited blood.

—I'm going to help the others, alright?— the Greek goddess said as she walked past the giant as if he didn't exist.

—You... I'll... kill you— the giant said, covered in blood, and tried to crush the Greek goddess, but with a simple hop, she evaded him as he fell face down on the ground.

Athena reached Tania and gave her ambrosia.

—I know we don't hold each other in high regard, but at least let me heal your wounds— Athena said to the goddess with fiery hair.

Tania then opened her eyes and regained consciousness. Her arm quickly reattached to her body.

The goddess with fiery hair jumped back, trying to distance herself from the Greek goddess.

—Athena, what are you doing here?— she shouted.

—She's on our side, Tania— Ana shouted.

An uncomfortable silence hung between Athena and Tania as they stared at each other defiantly.Tania then spat a mouthful of blood.

—I guess I owe you one, then— she said as she walked past the Greek goddess and headed toward Surtr, who lay on the ground.

The giant tried to get up laboriously as he cursed the Greek goddess.

—So...ufff... you're the famous... Athena...ufff ufff... My lord Loki... has no... business... with you— he said as he struggled to stand.

Athena ignored him as if he didn't exist.

—However, that blow hurt me a lot, and I won't forgive you— Surtr said, engulfing himself in flames and shouting, —Logi!— Then he launched himself like a ball of fire. Tania was paralyzed, unable to read the attack, but Athena immediately pushed her aside and with one bare hand, she stopped the giant.

—Take the rest of the ambrosia to your other friend, I'll take care of this— the Greek goddess said, handing the divine nectar to Tania with one hand while continuing to hold Surtr back with the other.

Ana and Rodrigo ran towards where Tania was. —Quick, we have to help Epona!— Tania shouted, and the other two nodded.

The dark-haired goddess turned to look at Athena. —Teacher, be careful!— she yelled as she ran alongside the others.

Athena then planted her right leg forcefully on the ground to use it as a brake, creating a hole in it. —Second warning, big guy— she said. She then grabbed the giant with her other hand and threw him towards a group of mountains that quickly crumbled, and he ended up crashing into the dimensional wall. The giant exploded in blood.

Epona, who had already consumed the ambrosia, looked at her companions with shame. —I'm sorry, it was my fault— she said, trying to avoid their gaze.

—Don't worry about that— Ana said, while still watching the fight.

With his remaining strength, the giant pulled out a stone with a rune engraved on it. —You'll pay for this!— he said, squeezing the rock, which emitted a glow that enveloped Surtr, and then he disappeared before everyone's eyes.

—He escaped, the coward— Athena said.

Tania then sat on the ground, clutching her head tightly. —So this is where we were supposed to die, right? This is where Whoranat decided it would be our tomb— she said angrily, removing her hands from her head and screaming like a lioness.

Tania's immense power shook the earth and turned the sky red, while flames covered her body.

—Enough, Tania; you won't achieve anything like this!— Ana shouted.

Tania lowered her head and fell silent again.

—That's right, Tania. You would have died here if I hadn't intervened. Lel didn't know that I would find out about this matter— Athena commented.

—Tell us everything you know, Teacher— Ana said without hesitation.

—Are my siblings, right?— Epona asked, surprising everyone except Athena.

—That's right, Lel has mobilized the Celtic gods to defeat the Norse gods, who have strongly opposed the spread of their perfect monotheistic religion— the Greek goddess said as she sat on the ground as well.

—What exactly are they planning?— Ana asked.

—I don't know exactly when or how it happened, but it seems that an Elohim killed the god Odin— Athena said.

Everyone looked surprised.

—Then Anath called upon the Celtic gods and decided to give them Yggdrasil, on the condition that the Nordic countries be Christianized. At this moment, the Norse gods are locked away and unable to use their Bifrost bridges to communicate with Earth or elsewhere— Athena said, looking up at the sky.

Everyone remained silent.

—The same Elohim who killed Odin also released Loki, telling him that his mission was simply to kill both of you, and if he did, she would appoint him as the Anunnaki of the Norse gods. What he doesn't know is that tomorrow, a squad of Celtic gods will come here to kill him anyway. And the pretext would be simple, to avenge you and also be able to eliminate him, who is also a threat to the world— Athena said.

—At the same time, the Celtic gods are planning to subdue Asgard from within. Thanks to this Elohim, the Celtic gods were able to travel between dimensions and establish themselves on the throne of Asgard, and the chances of any god, including Thor or Tyr, being able to harm her are almost nonexistent— Athena concluded.

—Ep, did you know about this?— Rodrigo asked.

—No— replied the horse goddess. —But my siblings told me about the mission and assigned me the task of finding Ana to fulfill it. When I asked why Taranis or Belisama, much more powerful gods than me, couldn't do it, they simply told me that they were preparing to fight against a very strong enemy at the moment. Now, all of this has made sense to me— concluded the blonde goddess.

—Now that I think about it, even though we entered the Frankish territories, Toutatis, the Celtic grigori, never received us— Tania said with a questioning look.

—Of course, I took the opportunity to enter those territories because I knew that Toutatis was not guarding them— replied the Greek goddess.

—He, along with the Celtic gods, is preparing to kill Loki— she added.

—But without totemas, there's no way we can win— Tania said pessimistically.

—That garbage giant almost killed me... it's so humiliating— she continued, pounding the ground.

—We must have faith in Anpiel— Ana said.

—It's been almost fifteen days, Ana. He's probably crucified right now in front of Whoranat's window— the fiery-haired goddess said angrily.

—I think you're lucky— Athena said.

—I heard that today there was a big commotion in the totema warehouse in Lel. I don't know what or who caused it, but it could be their malak; although, of course, the chances of a mere angel evading Lel's defenses with stolen totemas and returning to Earth are literally nil," Athena said as she stood up and dusted herself off.

—It was Anpiel!— Ana shouted.

—I hope so— Epona replied.

Tania and Rodrigo nodded.

Athena then turned around to leave.

—What will you do, Teacher?— Ana asked.

—I fulfilled my promise to help you, but I can't do more for you, and this matter is of little importance to my organization. That idiot Horus will surely reprimand me for escaping for these personal matters— Athena commented.

—Wait, Teacher— Ana said as she ran towards the Greek goddess.

—Let me join your group, please— Ana interrupted the brown-haired goddess, leaning towards her.

—Ana!— Tania shouted.

—To hell with Lel! I'm not going to work for a bunch of bureaucratic gods who want me dead and invade other realms because of the whim of a stupid religion that is only causing so much pain to the world. Although I don't share my Teacher's cynical view of humanity, at least I understand that she intends to help them in her own way— said the dark-haired goddess.

—Then I'll join too— Rodrigo said.

Epona and Tania looked uncertain.

Athena smiled, but quickly adopted a serious expression.

—Epona, Tania, I don't intend to change your minds, but I would like you to hear the last thing I have to say. It's about Elyon— the Greek goddess said, directing her gaze towards the two goddesses.

—Elyon is also dead, and someone has taken his place— Athena said as the two goddesses looked at her with anger and surprise.

—What do you mean?— Tania asked.

—This is not something that happened recently, it was a long time ago. I don't know exactly when or how it happened, but I suspect it was when Elyon stopped making public appearances— Athena said.

—But whether he came to the conclusion of monotheistic religion or not, the truth is that the person sitting on that throne right now is the one humans call YHWH or Allah, and he is the one benefiting from the massacres and deaths caused by these intolerant religions— the Greek goddess continued.

Rodrigo felt uncomfortable once again. He had come to terms with the existence of gods, but if there was a true God, He should be above all of them. And now, was Athena saying that God was the villain?

—Maybe Allah is the usurper— Rodrigo thought to himself and kept it to himself.

—Monotheism seemed like a good solution to fix our problems, but it is also practically intolerant. Many humans who worshiped me also worshiped gods like Isis and Mithras, who were from other pantheons; there was greater integration among humans. The Romans themselves adopted several Celtic gods like you, Epona— Athena explained.

—Yes, many Romans worshiped me, especially in Gaul and Britannia, and I was never really bothered by them worshipping someone else besides me— Epona explained.

—That's right— Athena continued explaining. —And if that path had been followed, humans would have continued their struggles without using us as engines of conflict. But now, literally, they are killing, using their faith in one god. All those holy wars are benefiting one person. Lel had told us that this god doesn't exist, but what if he does?— Athena concluded her story.

There was an uncomfortable silence among everyone. Rodrigo was surprised.

—Tannit, tell me...— Athena tried to say, but Tania interrupted her.

—Tania, call me Tania— the fire goddess said irritably.

—Sorry, Tania. Are you okay with this even though you're the youngest daughter of Elyon?— Athena continued asking.

An uncomfortable silence fell over the group. Rodrigo was taken aback.

—Is Tania really the daughter of God? How was that possible?— he nervously wondered.

—I'm surprised you knew that, but I never knew my father, and I've never seen him. It doesn't matter to me. I'm a soldier, I fight for what I'm told to fight for, and I don't care about humans or what happens here. I don't care if Elyon is my father or if he was murdered; the real one or not, I am his dog, and I follow his orders, understood?— the fire goddess concluded.

—Tania, stop lying to yourself— Ana said.

—What do you know?!— Tania shouted at her.

—I saw your smile when you freed the slaves. I noticed that you no longer wore the collar you liked so much; I assumed you used it to free them. You gave up one of your greatest treasures to save unfortunate people. I know why Lel hates you and calls you a coward despite having been one of the strongest goddesses who served them. I know you decided to give up on your civilization because you were horrified by their child sacrifices. I know you can't go back to your own kind. I know you cry and scream at night because of those traumas. You love humanity just like I do!— Ana replied with a raised voice.

—Shut up!— Tania shouted.

She fell to her knees, pounding the floor with such intensity that it created holes in it.

—Shut up...— Tania continued screaming until her voice started sounding hollow, and she began to sob.

Ana approached the fire goddess and embraced her.

—We all carry something here, Tania. Let me help you, please— the Irish goddess said.

—You're not a soldier, you're a goddess who loves humanity. Leave that past behind, Tania— the freckled goddess insisted.

—Well, I suppose if I don't agree, I'll end up dead in a ditch; and since my siblings used me as a sacrifice, I guess I don't have any other choice— Epona said resignedly.

—Let me think about it, okay?— Tania said as she continued sobbing.

—Alright— Athena said. —And I will protect you all while you don't have your totemas—