Chapter 53:

Morrigan vs Ishtar

Elyon - Gods among us

Thirty minutes earlier, just after Tania woke up and began to confront Sekhmet, Ana was in a combat stance facing Ishtar and Ninshubur. Both groups were on separate, dilapidated buildings.

—A moment ago, I saw one of your best techniques, didn't I? But it couldn't even tickle me— said Ishtar, while Ninshubur looked at her with deep admiration.

—I admit it was my mistake— Ana responded with a smile.

—I couldn't think clearly with my friend in that state, but don't worry, I won't make such mistakes again— she continued.

—I am a Venus, and you are a Saturn. That means my holy power is your weakness,— Ishtar said.

—And likewise, my dark power is yours— Ana replied.

—A dark power as weak as yours could never harm me— Ishtar laughed.

—It's true. Ever since I completed my training, I've felt this sense of weakness. I feel as if my body has become heavier, and even my dark power has diminished— Ana thought to herself, but she tried to dismiss those thoughts.

—Then tell me, what are you going to do to try and stop me, Morrigan?— Ishtar asked with a smile.

—I've already told you not to call me by that name. My name is Ana— the Irish goddess said.

—Milady Ishtar can call you whatever she pleases— Ninshubur said mockingly.

—Calm down, Nin. Let's be honorable warriors and respect the name she wishes to be recognized by— Ishtar interrupted.

—You're always so magnanimous, Milady Ishtar— Ninshubur replied excitedly.

—Very well, Ana. Let's see what you can do against me now— Ishtar replied as her wings spread.

Immediately, the goddess lunged at Ana with her scythe-shaped sword to attack, but Ana, using her dark wings, conjured a shield to defend herself from the attack, saying: —Sciath dorcha

—Impossible, a simple shield shouldn't be able to stop my attack with my legendary sword— Ishtar shouted angrily as she tried to break through Ana's shield.

—It's not just any shield. It's called 'Dubán,' and it is a recreation of the legendary shield used by the hero Cú Chulainn— Ana said with a smile.

—If it's a replica, it's impossible for it to be that strong— Ishtar yelled as she jumped back, unable to break through the shield.

—You don't understand my power. I can create exact replicas of legendary weapons if I touch them. Weapons as powerful as this shield or my sword, Dyrnwyn, possess a much greater power as they were forged and enriched with the faith of the humans who wielded them— the Irish goddess explained.

Ana then made her sword, Dyrnwyn, disappear, and in her hands appeared the swords Caladcholg and Fragarach.

—And these two swords increase my combat speed— she replied.

—So now you're going to fight seriously?— Ishtar smiled as she also assumed a combat stance, and a bright blue eight-pointed star appeared on her forehead.

Both goddesses leaped towards each other. Ishtar pierced part of Ana's stomach, but at the same time, Ana sliced through the torso of the Mesopotamian goddess. They both winced in pain.

The goddesses withdrew their swords from each other's bodies and began clashing their weapons, while their wounds healed. Each strike caused shockwaves that further destroyed the ruins of the Martian city. Ninshubur watched the fight but was unable to keep up with the speed of both goddesses.

Ishtar made a cut on Ana's body, and Ana did the same to the Mesopotamian goddess. Ishtar tried to strike Ana, but she defended herself with her shield Dubán, and Ana attempted to strike Ishtar, who defended herself using the handle of her scythe. These attacks continued for a while as both displayed a similar divine power. Finally, their weapons clashed, and the two goddesses separated, standing several feet apart from each other on the Martian soil.

—We seem to have the same power, apparently— Ishtar said as she cracked her neck, and her wounds rapidly healed.

—Not really— Ana replied. —I will win this fight—

Ana then infused her swords with dark energy and shouted: —Fuinneamh dorcha—. Dark energy spheres emanated from her weapons, which she hurled towards the Mesopotamian goddess.

Seeing the attack, Ishtar quickly spun her scythe-sword to avoid the impact when suddenly she heard Ninshubur shout: —Milady, above you!—

Ana had taken advantage of the attack to launch an aerial strike on Ishtar, and from above, the goddess shouted: —Beanna an bháis—. Two lines of purple light emanated from Ana's swords and descended rapidly towards the Mesopotamian goddess. Thanks to her assistant's warning, Ishtar managed to evade the attack, which created two massive holes in the Martian surface.

—It's been a while since I had this much fun— Ishtar said as she stood up after avoiding Ana's attack. The Irish goddess landed on her feet right in front of her, with both swords unsheathed.

Gu Ur-mah mur— Ishtar shouted, and the face of a gigantic lion appeared behind her. With a quick movement of her arms, the Mesopotamian goddess generated sonic waves that struck Ana, sending her flying towards the debris of the Martian city, accompanied by a mighty lion's roar.

—What do you think of my 'Lion's Roar'?— Ishtar asked Ana as Ninshubur cheered enthusiastically.

Covered in blood, Ana rose to her feet, as the waves had caused her internal organs to rupture. However, the goddess's wounds were healing rapidly.

—Not bad, but I can do better too— Ana said.

—Really? Then prove it— Ishtar responded to the challenge with a smile.

Once again, the goddess extended her arms and shouted: —Gu Ur-mah mur—. The lion's face reappeared, creating powerful soundwaves that traveled mentally.

However, Ana briefly bent down, opened her mouth, and screamed: —Scread banshee—. Soundwaves emanated from the goddess, accompanied by a piercing, ear-shattering noise. The sound was so intense that Ninshubur had to cover her ears, but they began to bleed.

The soundwaves collided with each other as both goddesses continued to increase their power. However, in the end, Ana's soundwaves tore through the lion's soundwaves created by Ishtar. The Mesopotamian goddess took the full force of the blow, her eardrums and eyes exploded, and she was thrown backwards into the Martian desert plain.

Ana fell silent and started laughing. —See? I told you my banshee was stronger than your ridiculous lion— she said with a raspy voice and a wide smile, taking deep breaths as she had run out of air.

Ishtar struggled to her feet, panting heavily. That attack had indeed affected her, despite her wounds healing rapidly. The goddess raised her scythe and unleashed a gust of wind towards Ana, shouting: —Si-il Gúr—

But Ana smiled once again and said: —Taibhse banríon—. This caused Ishtar to transform into hundreds of crows that flew across the surface, evading Ishtar's wind attack.

—So you've turned your body incorporeal?— Ishtar yelled furiously as she unleashed several slicing waves with her sword, none of which were able to harm the goddess. —But while you're in that form, you cannot attack me either, and that will only consume more time— the Queen of Uruk continued.

—Do you think I cannot attack?— Ana's voice echoed throughout the area. Suddenly, some crows began to glow with a purple aura and darted towards Ishtar with incredible speed. Ishtar tried to evade them by spinning her scythe at full speed, but some crows managed to penetrate her defense and impaled themselves in her chest, stomach, legs, and arms. The goddess writhed in pain.

While this was happening, Ishtar noticed that the remaining crows in the sky were swirling faster and faster above her, getting closer and closer. Then, as if lightning struck, the flock of crows formed into a drill shape that impaled Ishtar without her being able to defend herself.

—No, Milady!— Ninshubur screamed furiously as she drew her sword but was halted by Ishtar's voice.

—This is nothing yet— Ishtar said.

Ishtar began to scream and emanate white energy, causing the crows to scatter, burn, and fall to the ground. The crows that had not been affected yet dove towards Ishtar, who was rising to her feet after freeing herself from the impalement.

The queen of Uruk watched them and shouted: —Zi-sha-ghal Nigh-si-sá—. The Martian skies lit up with white energy, and a massive sacred explosion engulfed the surrounding hundreds of meters. The dark birds caught in the blast disintegrated.

The injured crows and scattered feathers began to reform, and Ana emerged from among them, but she was badly wounded. —If I hadn't trained to withstand sacred elements with Myrddin, I would have died at this moment— she thought.

—Well, well, where is the girl who believed she couldn't defeat me if she turned her body incorporeal?— Ishtar laughed.

Ana was panting, severely injured, and her ichor was starting to deplete. However, Ishtar's enormous hole in her abdomen had been healed. Even worse, she now radiated a white aura, as if she were an envoy of light.

—This fight is over— Ishtar declared. At that moment, the sky turned red, and she saw Sekhmet creating the enormous solar disc to destroy Tania in the distance.

—You're insane, Sekhmet! How could you unleash that monstrous attack?— Ishtar shouted furiously at the goddess, who completely ignored her.

—Will that attack destroy Mars?— Ana asked, surprised.

—Damn it, that madwoman wants to destroy everything— Ishtar said worriedly.

—If that attack hits us, we will perish without a doubt— the Sumerian goddess continued to explain.

—We must flee, Milady!— Ninshubur shouted in the distance.

—Let's leave this fight for another time, Ana— Ishtar said with a concerned expression. —If we don't escape Mars, it will be our end!—

—I won't do it! Because Tania will stop that insignificant attack— Ana replied with a smile.

—Are you crazy? Do you really think she has the power to stop the special attack of the great god Ra?— Ishtar yelled angrily.

—Watch and learn. Do not underestimate the great goddess of Carthage— Ana responded.

At that moment, both goddesses witnessed the collision of Tania and Sekhmet's explosions, and how the attack of the Punic goddess completely destroyed the Egyptian lion and her energy. When it exploded, all three goddesses covered their faces from the blinding light.

—I told you— Ana said with a smile, still shielding herself from the dazzling light.

When only smoke remained in the sky, Ishtar observed that attack with surprise. —That was incredible, that girl destroyed Sekhmet with such power— she thought with an incredulous expression.

—Can we continue the confrontation then?— Ana asked.

Ana's wounds had already healed, although her ichor was running low. She still had enough reserve to heal her injuries, albeit slowly.

At that moment, Tania leaped next to Ana, who looked at her in surprise. Tania had returned to her normal appearance, disabling her Manticore transformation.

—Tania, that was fantastic!— Ana exclaimed, but she saw the Punic goddess's face filled with immense sadness and her eyes still teary.

—Thank you... Do you need help here?— Tania asked.

—No worries, I can handle it on my own— Ana said.

Ishtar watched the two goddesses with surprise. She truly felt admiration for both of them in that moment.

—Was it difficult?— Ana asked.

—It was, but I must carry on. I will go to where this Ares is and kick his ass— the Punic goddess replied with a smile.

—Wait, Ares is much stronger than you. Do you really intend to sacrifice your life needlessly?— Ishtar shouted at Tania, who was already preparing to fly away from the scene.

The Punic goddess turned to look at her and smiled. —If I don't try, I'll never know— Tania answered.

Ishtar sighed. —Well, if you want to die... go ahead— the Sumerian goddess responded and pointed towards the horizon. —Head in that direction, to Areopagus. But I won't be responsible for your life— Ishtar commented.

Tania looked into Ishtar's eyes and saw that there was no falsehood in her words. —Thank you— Tania said to the Sumerian goddess and gave her a genuine smile, contrary to the fake smiles Tania used to give.

—Ana— Tania addressed her friend, —Let's meet soon at Areopagus—

—We'll all be there, along with Rui and Epona. And we'll save Anpiel— the Irish goddess responded enthusiastically.

Tania raised her thumb and smiled at her friend. Then, she flew off and disappeared from the horizon.

—Does she really intend to die?— Ninshubur asked.

—I don't think so. I'm starting to believe they will succeed— Ishtar said, still surprised.

Two explosions could be heard in the distance, and both Ishtar and Ninshubur could sense the disappearance of divine energy.

—Two immense energies have fallen, Milady— Ninshubur exclaimed in surprise.

Ishtar fell silent and looked at Ana.

—Listen, Ishtar. I don't want to keep fighting you. Let me go and help my friend— Ana said, placing her two swords on the ground.

Ishtar smiled. —You know, Ana? I've enjoyed this fight very much, and you're right. Ares might lose against you, but I won't lose against you. I don't fight for Ares, I fight to become stronger, to surpass my dead totema that I carry. Let's finish this fight and hope that we can be friends afterward— Ishtar responded to Ana.

—In that case, I'll use my full power— Ana said as she made her weapons disappear, and an enormous, monstrous sword appeared in her hands. It was so huge that the goddess had to wield it with both hands.

—Well, what's with that sword, Ana?— Ishtar asked.

—It's called Gram, a Viking sword created to slay dragons— Ana answered, exuding an immense increase in power. —My speed has decreased drastically, but my power has increased hundreds of times at this moment— she said.

Ishtar surrounded herself with sacred energy, so much so that she appeared completely white, and the eight-pointed star on her forehead began to shine intensely in a bluish color. The goddess's eyes had changed to a grayish color, and she wore a serious expression with little emotion.

—And this is my innate ability, 'Nin An,' which means 'Queen of the Heavens.' Now, all my attacks have sacred power embedded in them, and my body will heal immediately, even without sufficient ichor— the Queen of Uruk explained.

—Then let's end this once and for all, Ishtar!— Ana shouted.

—I agree, Ana!— Ishtar shouted back.

Both goddesses lunged at each other, ready to fight, with a little less than three and a half hours remaining.