Chapter 36:

The traveler between dimensions

Elyon - Gods among us

Throughout the day, Rodrigo and his companions trained with their new mentors. The training was very intense, but they endured it because they were hopeful to rescue Anpiel as quickly as possible. It was necessary for both Ana and Tania to elevate their power enough to confront the Katteres.

Inside a cave, enduring the harshness of heat and gravity, Asclepius instructed Rodrigo to meditate in order to unleash his power. The type of meditation was a practice performed by the Hindu pantheon, where the energy of the Kundalini serpent was released through tantric meditation, which involved focused breathing and the repetition of a mantra.

As Asclepius explained, tannin beings store their energy in their spines, like a coiled energy serpent, and it emerges whenever they undergo an alteration. However, the Hindu gods had discovered how to control the immense power of the tannin, but it required performing these rituals and perfecting them. This would allow the tannin to access their full potential without losing their sanity.

The energetic serpent, known as 'Kundalini,' which resided in the tannin's spinal column, needed to travel up the entire length of the back to reach the brain, activating the seven chakras: Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Nabhi-Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi, Ajna, and Sahasrara. These chakras are aligned from the brain to the base of the spine, where the power of the tannin resides.

—I can't concentrate with this unpleasant sensation in this place— Rodrigo thought. It was nothing like the beautiful and pleasant atmosphere of the beaches in Ibiza. But he had to endure it. Perhaps he didn't feel as strong a connection to Anpiel, but he was determined to fight for Ana, Epona, and even Tania, who had stopped talking to him. Even if she hated him, he had decided to fight for her. Rodrigo no longer had any family or friends to fight for; this was his new family now.

In the evening, everyone gathered in the room once again. Ana and Epona looked very tired. The Irish goddess rushed to take a bath, while Epona collapsed into a chair and fell asleep. Ana, on the other hand, fell asleep in the pool of the bath. The training had been brutal for both of them.

Rodrigo and Tania sat at the dining table, eating the dinner that the Malakim had prepared for them. An uncomfortable silence hung in the air as they dined.

—Good night, Rodrigo— Tania said as she got up from the table to take a bath.

—Good night— Rodrigo responded, surprised because he thought she would never speak to him again.

From there, Rodrigo overheard Ana and Tania arguing inside the bathroom because Tania wanted to take a bath, but the dark-haired goddess did not get up. Rodrigo thought about wanting to take a bath as well, but with the two girls inside, it was impossible.

Since neither of them came out, he decided to lie down on the bed and fall asleep. Tania emerged from the bathroom after taking her bath and collapsed onto the bed. Unlike the others, she hadn't trained, only talked with Nabu about her life, although she still resisted opening up to him. She felt a lot of resistance in discussing her past just like that. Nonetheless, she fell into a deep sleep after some time meditating on her life.

That night, she dreamed about the village in Ibiza where she lived. She saw the faces of the townspeople as she greeted them all with a smile. In an instant, like a lightning bolt, everything was engulfed in flames, and the corpses and severed heads of the townspeople lay before her feet.

—It's just a dream— Tania thought, but she couldn't wake up.

The corpses began to rise and approach Tania. —You abandoned us— they said. And they embraced her, trying to suffocate her.

—No, I can't go now, forgive me— Tania said, but more and more corpses climbed onto her. Then, she began to see crawling baby corpses approaching her. They cried and cried, driving her insane.

—Enough! Enough! Let me wake up!— Tania screamed until she was hoarse.

—Forgive me, I deserve to die, forgive me—

—Do you truly wish to give your life for this rabble, Tannit?— a woman's voice sounded, mocking.

Tania couldn't see where that voice was coming from.

—You can save them, you know? Those people you abandoned to their fate, you can save them. You just have to ask to me— the voice continued.

—Who are you? Show yourself!— Tania shouted.

The corpses and the burning town disappeared. A valley with withered grass and a starry night sky appeared before the goddess's eyes.

Then, she saw a figure of a woman flying in the sky. It couldn't be seen in detail, but she had a cone-shaped crown and a cape. Her face couldn't be seen, but Tania could sense a smile that she thought was macabre.

—I am a simple traveler between dimensions, Tannit— said the strange woman.

—Unfortunately, I cannot access Pallas, but I can contact you through dreams—

—I think I know who you are, you are one of my sisters from Lel? Is that right?— Tania asked.

The woman only laughed discreetly.

—What do you want from me?— Tania asked.

—As you can see, Tannit, when you left Ibiza and decided to go against the orders of our father Elyon, you handed over your most precious possession to us, and we will not tolerate your insubordination— said the woman.

—You are cowards! How can you kill innocents because of my decision? Wasn't intervening in the human world, no matter the reason, a forbidden law in Lel?— Tania shouted angrily.

—You can't, but I can— the mysterious woman said, laughing.

—And if it is Elyon who demands a blood sacrifice from those repugnant beings, I will do it gladly—

Tania clenched her teeth.

—But you can save them, Tannit, as I told you before— the mysterious woman said.

—Do you want my life?— Tania asked.

—No. Why would Elyon want the life of his own daughter?— the woman replied, shaking her head.

—However, it's quite simple. He wants you to kill that boy traveling with you. We know he is a tannin, and Elyon will not tolerate him continuing to live. If you kill him, we will spare your life and the lives of those people, and we will allow you to return to Lel. Isn't that an excellent deal?— the mysterious woman concluded.

Tania fell silent, taking deep breaths.

—What's the matter, Tannit? With the level of power that boy possesses, you can easily decapitate him and drain his ichor in seconds. Bring his head to Lel, and I myself will recommend you to Anath— the woman said.

Tania seethed in silence. What the woman had proposed was too tempting. Tania could easily kill Rodrigo, but how would she escape Pallas if she did it?

Tania felt trapped in a whirlwind of emotions. On one hand, she felt compassion for Rodrigo and didn't want to be responsible for his death. On the other hand, the mysterious woman's ultimatum threatened to destroy her village if she didn't comply with her demand.

—Why do you hesitate, Tannit? Do you feel pity for that abomination, or do you not know when to kill him? Soon, Ares will contact you, and when you can leave Pallas, kill the boy, and I will appear immediately beside you. You see, I can kill anyone in this universe if I desire, even that traitor Athena. But we enjoy seeing what your pathetic attempts do to try and overthrow us— the woman laughed.

—If you are so powerful, why don't you kill him yourself?— Tania shouted.

—Why would I dirty my hands with such a vulgar being?— the woman responded, disgusted.

Tania clenched her teeth as she defiantly stared at the woman. But she could feel it, an unimaginable power. It was as if she were nothing more than a lowly insect and the woman remained a goddess. An insect couldn't even sting a god.

—Don't have an answer, do you, Tannit? Don't worry, you don't have to give it to me now. When you leave Pallas, kill the boy, or I will destroy your miserable town. And don't try to send anyone or tell anyone about this, because I will know immediately. Do you hear me?— the woman said defiantly.

—Coward— Tania responded angrily.

—I truly believed you were different, that you had changed your ways, but you're still the same genocidal trash as before. You knew those wars between Christians and Muslims would happen, didn't you? Damn genocidal bastards—

The woman laughed.

Tania was furious, but she felt her legs trembling. The presence of that goddess was overwhelming.

Then, she saw the woman approaching her. Her presence felt as if she would tear her apart completely.

—Tannit, don't sacrifice your life for those filthy pets that reek of shit— the woman said as she clasped Tania's hand and touched her cheek, causing her cheek to peel off her face.

Tania felt the urge to vomit, her consciousness starting to abandon her. That wound was so strong that it almost killed her, and it was just a caress from the woman. Tania tried to see her face, but all she could see were red eyes and a smile with teeth filled with violence.

—Don't lose everything, you are very valuable to Elyon, and you know it. Imagine his pain when he finds out that his youngest daughter is betraying him— the woman said as she flew back into the dark sky.

Tania struggled to stay on her feet, but her body wavered. She was losing consciousness within her own dream.

—Now you know what you must do. I leave the fate of your miserable town in your hands— the woman said as she disappeared.

At that moment, Tania woke up. Horrified, she realized that the wound was still on her face. Quickly, she searched for something to cover the wound, knowing that if it raised suspicions, her town would be exterminated. She bandaged the wound and put on a veil, hoping that no one would see her.

The flame-haired goddess returned to bed and lay down. She still felt unwell from the ichor she had lost and rushed to the bathroom to vomit. She retched and retched while crying deep within her heart. Fortunately for her, Ana had already left the bathroom.

At that moment, she began to remember when Rodrigo freed the slaves and how she had given him her golden necklace, which had been a reward for his great work in building the Punic civilization and turning it into the most powerful empire of its time. She remembered how Rodrigo buried each of the bodies in the village of Coimbra, how he cried at his mother's grave. They were humans, indeed, but they had life, feelings, emotions. No, they had to be protected from those monsters of Lel.

And Rodrigo, of course, was a tannin, and he had said that he would kill him... but he was just boasting, trying to appear strong. The boy had made her feel connected to the world again, part of humanity. She was a goddess, yes, but she despised her own world and longed to be human. Rodrigo had touched her frozen heart, and she felt a stronger desire to live than ever before. No, she would never surrender or kill Rodrigo. But she wouldn't betray her people either. She didn't know what to do.

Tania vomited again and wept bitterly.