Chapter 25:

Epona and Rodrigo vs Jormundgander

Elyon - Gods among us

Moments earlier, while Tania and Ana were still fighting against Surtr and Fenrir.

Rodrigo and Epona watched with worried eyes as the giant serpent Jormungandr moved towards them with its mouth wide open, dripping venom.

Epona raised her energy wings, and their forms appeared as two standing horses. They were blue like fiery gas, and both had red eyes.

—Step back, Rodrigo! I'll hit it, and when I tell you, finish it off!— Epona shouted as she leaped towards the enormous reptile.

Ép bóithl!— The goddess shouted and struck the snake's head on its jaw, causing it to arch sideways. Epona flew towards the serpent and continued to pummel it from both sides, not giving it any room to defend itself. Finally, Epona positioned herself beneath its jaw and delivered a powerful hook, causing the snake's head to fall backward to the ground.

—Now, Rodrigo!— Epona yelled.

Rodrigo lunged forward with a massive energy ball in his fist and struck the snake's head, creating a shockwave. Rodrigo's power seemed to hurt the monster more. The young man jumped back to distance himself from the reptile.

—Well done, Rodrigo. Your attacks must hurt more because you are a Venus. You control these monsters' weakness— said the horse goddess.

But the serpent rose again. It hissed furiously and opened its jaws, dripping acid once more. Jormungandr lunged its head towards them, and they evaded it again just as it crashed into the ground. While the snake had its head on the floor, Rodrigo and Epona struck it with great force on either side, causing the reptile to shriek in pain. Quickly, they moved away from it.

The serpent rose again, still shrieking and shrieking. Suddenly, it opened its mouth and released a thick poisonous gas.

—Don't touch it, Rodrigo!— the goddess shouted as she flew backward, escaping the poisonous gas.

Rodrigo also jumped quickly to avoid the venom. But the snake swung its head towards Epona and struck her forcefully.

The blonde goddess fell backward onto the ground, and Jormungandr tried to bite her. Immediately, Rodrigo ran towards her and removed her from harm's way, saving her from the monster's attack.

—Thank you, Rodrigo— Epona said as the serpent continued to stare at them with its jaws open, dripping venom and emanating poisonous gas.

—This is very dangerous— Epona said to Rodrigo. —Moreover, it seems like we haven't done any damage to its ichor—

The serpent attempted the same move once again, but this time, Epona jumped high above its head and kicked it with all her power, shouting, —Ép ádhvóithl!— The reptile's head fell to the ground like a meteor in the area where it had emitted its poisonous gas.

Rodrigo gathered his power and unleashed a shower of starlight from his hand, shouting —Raios de luz!— The projectiles hit the serpent as it hissed aggressively. Rodrigo's attacks, although lacking in divine power, were highly effective in damaging Jormungandr.

Once the poisonous gas dissipated, Epona descended from the sky like an arrow and delivered a powerful kick to the giant reptile, smashing it into the ground and creating a massive crater. The goddess then flew towards Rodrigo, but Jormungandr was rising once again as if nothing had happened.

—It's barely injured— Epona said frustratedly. —I hate being so weak—

The goddess began to increase her divine power, radiating light from her body, while shouting, —Iccona Loiminna!

When the light subsided, Epona had transformed into a white mare with red eyes and a golden mane. Rodrigo was astonished, especially when the mare began to speak.

—I will put all my strength into this attack, Rodrigo. If I can't harm it, we'll have no choice but to wait for the girls to come and help us— said the beautiful mare as she shimmered like a full moon.

Epona shouted, —Ép tascip!— and launched herself towards the massive serpent like a luminous comet, crashing into its neck. The serpent shrieked, lifted its body towards the sky, and then fell back to the ground. Epona, still airborne, once again shot herself like a comet towards Jormungandr, striking the top of its head and causing it to crash to the ground once more. Epona continued to fly and crash into the serpent's head repeatedly, causing earthquakes and splitting the ground in half.

However, the horse goddess was using an excessive amount of manna and began to tire. Jormungandr then used part of its body to strike Epona, who was still in her mare form, knocking her to the ground. As the goddess attempted to get up, the serpent vomited poisonous gas towards her, trapping her in the attack. In that moment, Rodrigo rushed towards the horse goddess and pulled her out of harm's way, finding himself trapped within the poisonous cloud.

—No, Rodrigo! Get out of there!— Epona shouted as she returned to her original form after depleting her manna through her transformation.

But Rodrigo remained trapped in the venom, unable to escape. The gas caused him to writhe in pain and inflicted immense suffering on his body.

—One down— Loki's voice was heard from a distance. —Now, son, kill the igigi!— he commanded Jormungandr imperatively.

Desperate, Epona attempted to kick the serpent once again, but with her manna depleted, the serpent headbutted her, smashing her to the ground and creating a gigantic crater.

—My legs, I can't feel my legs!— Epona screamed in horror as she realized they were broken, and her body wasn't healing.

Epona trembled in fear as she saw the serpent's venom-dripping head looming over her. Jormungandr lunged at the goddess with its mouth wide open, attempting to bite her with its venomous fangs. But before it could do so, Rodrigo appeared and shielded Epona, getting impaled by one of the serpent's fangs.

At that moment, both Ana and Tania arrived at the battlefield.

—No, Rodrigo! No!— Tania screamed in horror.

—Rui!— Ana cried out as she flew towards Rodrigo. However, the serpent spewed a thick cloud of poisonous gas from its mouth, causing Ana to recoil.

Rodrigo had ingested a large amount of venom and had also been bitten by Jormungandr's venomous fang. It was evident that he would die immediately.

Ana started crying and shouting, —Rui! Rui!—. In her desperation, she tried to throw herself into the poisonous gas, but Athena appeared and grabbed her arm.

—I won't let you throw your life away on a whim, Ana— the Greek goddess said.

—Let go of me, Athena! Let go, damn it!— Ana screamed with bloodshot eyes filled with rage as she defiantly stared at her mentor.

—If you don't let me go, I'll kill you!— the dark-haired goddess shouted.

But Athena continued to hold Ana's arm firmly.

As the poisonous gas began to dissipate, Rodrigo found himself embracing Jormungandr's head, and with a horrific scream, he lifted it and slammed it to the ground, causing the fang impaled in him to shatter.

Rodrigo screamed in pain and tore the venomous canine from his body.

—How the hell is he still alive?— Loki shouted.

Tania stood frozen, remembering the wrathful eyes she had seen in Rodrigo when she trained with him. It was as if he had lost consciousness and gone mad.

However, now the boy's green eyes looked like those of a snake. His skin had become pale, and he appeared hunched over and sinister. Rodrigo had lost consciousness and seemed to be absorbing the venom.

—I don't blame you— Athena said. —It's normal that you hadn't noticed his essence since you have never faced a Tannin before. But that companion of yours is a serpent being, and not only that, a serpent being capable of using divine powers like a Venus—

—It's a complete anomaly that I haven't seen in several centuries, and he will be completely mine— the Greek goddess said with an excited smile.

—No, we can't let Rodrigo live. We have to kill him!— Tania said, her eyes filled with fear.

Ana didn't know what to say; her conscience felt as if it was dissipating. Yes, she was that boy's mentor, but now he turned out to be a monster that had to be killed. She felt a lump in her throat.

Epona shook her head and shouted, —He saved me several times; I won't let them kill him!—

Tania bit her lips as she witnessed the grotesque sight of Rodrigo losing his consciousness and absorbing Jormungandr's venom, while the serpent rose again. The goddess of fire then drew her blazing claw, intending to attack Rodrigo.

—No, I won't allow you to kill him— Athena said, placing her spear at Tania's throat.

—If you try it, I'll kill you right here— the Greek goddess said with a defiant look towards the fiery-haired goddess.