Chapter 41:

Ares' game

Elyon - Gods among us

The members of Orniskem entered the planet through the open portal, and there they saw the desolate environment of the Martian surface. It was like a vast desert, with a grayish-blue sky and reddish soil. There were several mountains around, and countless roughly constructed buildings could be seen scattered across the planet.

—Still looks nicer than Pallas— Maahes sarcastically remarked as he observed the desolate scenery.

—And the body feels light, as if we were on some satellite— Montu replied.

—Despite looking like a desert, it feels cold here, not as cold as in the so-called space, but still chilly— Rodrigo commented.

—It's a planet that could have supported life millions of years ago, but now it's desolate, and these bastards have used it as their hideout— Epona said.

—Yes, I can see their shanties and columns everywhere— Ana responded.

Tania wanted to join the conversation, but she still felt embarrassed about what had happened. Nevertheless, she stayed close to Rodrigo and the others as they explored the desolate scenery of Mars.

—There's... there's too much dust— Sol said while coughing.

—And visibility is poor because of it. These people could set up an ambush— Mithras replied.

At that moment, an omniscient voice greeted them. It was the voice of Ares, echoing from all directions.

—Welcome, Orniskem, to my humble abode. I have been waiting for you for several hours, but it seems you like to take everything lightly— Ares' voice said, though the god of war himself was nowhere to be seen.

—Show yourself, you coward!— Tania shouted angrily.

—No need to get angry, my dear— Ares' voice said.

—I am in my palace, located on the highest mountain of this planet. You'll have to find it in... uh, ten hours of Lel, which would be twenty hours within this planet—

—That won't be a problem— Ana said as she summoned her sword Dyrnwyn.

—If you fail, the malak will be sacrificed immediately. Of course, he is located on the highest hill facing my palace. If you find me, you will find him. Simple, isn't it?— Ares said.

—Too simple. We can traverse this tiny planet in milliseconds— Mithras said.

—What you haven't realized is that this dimension is governed by my time rules. Time will advance millions of times faster here, so at the speed you're moving, time will be relative to that. In the outside world, a millionth of a second may pass, but here it will be twenty hours— Ares explained further.

—I knew there would be a trick— Epona said angrily.

—Will you be able to find the Areopagus Mountain in that time? After all, it's your fault for coming so late to my game— Ares said.

—Everything's just a game for that bastard— Mithras said furiously.

—Oh, and I almost forgot— Ares continued. —The hundreds of Igigi, Malakim, Behemoth, and Nephilim working for me will try to stop you. And my twelve Keres will be waiting for you in various parts of the planet. So hurry up, because you only have twenty hours to accomplish it—

The signal cut off, and all the gods and Malakim of Orniskem were on high alert.

—I don't understand, do we have twenty hours to reach where Anpiel is?— Rodrigo asked.

—Yes, Rui. But these twenty hours will be based on our perception. No matter how fast we move, internally we experience a certain amount of time, and that time will be the relative time of this trial— Ana replied.

Rodrigo had a look of even more confusion on his face.

—Rodrigo, just count twenty hours from now, that will be the time we have to reach Areopagus— Epona explained.

—But when we move, time freezes, right?— Rodrigo asked.

—For example, when I attacked the soldiers in my village, every time I unleashed my power, it felt like time froze and only I could move. In fact, I think the soldiers moved very, very slowly— Rodrigo continued to explain.

—Exactly, you could move while they couldn't. Your time passed differently than that of humans. While it took you ten seconds to strike a soldier, that soldier couldn't perceive the attack and felt like less than a second had passed. The higher your divine power, the slower time passes around you— Ana answered.

—We are currently using divine power, so time will move relative to the power we are using. It's a dimension that evaluates divine power and takes an average to calculate the stipulated time. And we can only determine the passage by looking at the sky, which I see is moving accordingly— Tania chimed in, trying to join the conversation casually.

Everyone looked at her with uncertainty. Tania noticed and blushed.

—Don't feel bad, Tania. We're a team, remember?— Ana reassured her with a smile.

Tania then remembered how she had pierced Ana's back and felt remorseful, but the Irish goddess smiled at her, and she returned the smile.

"I call a meeting!" Mithras shouted. All members of Orniskem gathered around him.

—Unfortunately, Ares is hiding on this planet, so no matter how fast we move, our perception will determine the time it takes. We can hardly explore the whole planet in twenty hours, so we'll have to split up. Whoever finds Ares' palace must telepathically inform the others to gather there— Mithras explained.

—I didn't e... expect Ares to use such a trick— Sol said.

—And how will we divide ourselves then?— Maahes asked.

—We will divide into three groups. Khine, Tania, and Ana, you go north; Maahes, Montu, and Rodrigo, you go east; Sol, Epona, and I will head west. Each group will be accompanied by a group of Malakim to avoid unnecessary fights— Mithras said.

—And what about the south?— Tania asked.

—I will communicate telepathically with Athena so that she and Horus head there as soon as they arrive. Remember, whoever arrives first will notify the others, understood?— Mithras said.

—Understood— everyone responded.

—Are you leaving already? But we were preparing a feast for you here— a voice echoed from the mountains.

All members of Orniskem turned to look.

A man was standing on a mountain to the right, accompanied by several Malakim. He wore Greek armor with a hoplite general's helmet, carrying a spear and a red cloak.

—Soldiers of Athena, my name is Polemos, and I have come to kill you right here. This planet gives me enough strength to defeat you— the armed man said as the Malakim pointed their flaming swords at the group.

At that moment, Mithras appeared right behind the man and plunged his knife into his abdomen, while Sol decapitated him with his flaming arm.

The Malakim unleashed lightning bolts from their swords, but Mithras repelled them with his cape. At the same time, Sol, with a wave of his hand, brought down rays of light from the sky, pulverizing them instantly.

—Impressive! You are very strong— Rodrigo exclaimed with excitement.

—Don't be surprised, Rodrigo. He was just a showoff Igigi— Mithras said as he returned to the group with Sol.

—But it's e... evident that there will be more enemies like him around, and they wo... won't only be Igigi— Sol replied.

—Those Keres that Ares mentioned— Tania said.

—Yes, the Keres are twelve very powerful gods of war. When they were Katteres, they were exceptional. I only know a few of them, but I'll try to tell you about them so you can be on alert—Mithras said.

Everyone nodded.

—First, there is an Egyptian god named Khonsu, who was the son of the Egyptian Anunnaki. He may look like a young boy, but you must be careful with him. He was expelled from his kingdom for being a sadist and a monster who experimented on humans— Mithras explained.

—Yes, we know of him— Montu commented.

—Another one is a Nephilim named Zalmoxis. He is a tall man who wields a massive axe. Although he is a Nephilim, do not underestimate him, as he is also a very powerful wizard— Mitrhas continued explaining.

—A Nephilim like me— Rodrigo thought.

—Two goddesses that you have surely heard of, especially you, Tania and Ana. Ishtar and Sekhmet. Both goddesses were among the first warrior goddesses who inspired several generations of goddesses. They are very powerful, and you must be cautious of them— Mithras further explained.

—Is Sekhmet here too?— Tania wondered.

I don't have more information about the others, but according to rumors, two of the new members of the Keres consist of a Jupiter and a man who came from far eastern lands, a region called Yamato.

—What the hell is someone from that region doing here?— Epona asked.

—Christianity and Islam haven't even reached there, and it has been impossible to enter India. Why would someone like that fight in this war?— Tania questioned.

—I have no idea, but I remind you not to take the Keres lightly. Fight together, don't try to face them individually. That's all I can tell you about them— Mithras concluded.

—It's be... better that we leave now, Mihtras. Time is important— Sol said as he headed west.

—Very well, Orniskem, remember, don't die! It's an order from our leader, Athena!— Mithras shouted with all his might, and the others shouted with courage.

Then, each one departed on their respective path.