Chapter 59:

Golgotha

Elyon - Gods among us


—Why did you come with me, Sol?— Epona asked.

—I have decided to follow you, Mis... Miss Epona— the solar god replied.

Both gods were flying towards the summit of Areopagus, an inactive volcano.

—Why?— Epona asked, puzzled.
—I believe you can be a great le... leader— Sol replied with a smile.

—I'm just a foul-mouthed peasant who doesn't know much about the world. I really have nothing special, Sol. In contrast, you are a very handsome and majestic god; I'm nothing compared to you— Epona replied, feeling embarrassed.

—It is very di... difficult to find goddesses as humble and yet as magnanimous as you— Sol replied.

—I think you just don't know me; I'm not any of that. It's just that...— Epona began to say but stopped her sentence right away.

—Just what?— the blonde god asked.

—Well, I always treated Anpiel with arrogance, and when I lost him, I felt that I should act with more humility. Besides, my new friends brought out the best in me, I suppose— Epona replied.

—You are very transparent and sincere; I don't feel the same with Lady A... Athena— Sol replied.

—I think a leader should be more like her, Sol. Being manipulative and cunning is part of leadership. If I were a leader... they would easily betray me— the horse goddess replied sadly.

—Do you not think that people co... could give their best under transparent and well-intentioned leadership? Instead of manipulating their per... personnel with lies and sometimes hiding their true objectives?— Sol asked.

Epona sighed.

—I always thought that helping others would reward me. I always believed that doing everything possible to support my siblings was necessary to earn their love and trust. But once I became a burden to them, they simply tried to kill me. That's why I understand why Athena is the way she is— Epona replied with a pained expression as she touched the scar on her jaw.

—I'm sorry— Sol said.

—I have still met wonderful people, and I believe that when a group of individuals help and support each other, they can achieve something much greater— Epona said, smiling at the blonde god.

Sol nodded with a smile as well.

Both gods reached the top of the volcano, where Anpiel was crucified over the crater. He was naked, covered in blood, and his eyes were blindfolded.

—Despicable— Epona said angrily.

Floating above Anpiel was a sword levitating. It was a white sword with energy in the form of blue fire emanating from its blade. Epona saw it and realized that it was the infamous Chronoxiphos sword that Ares had mentioned.

—Wait, E... Epona, this looks very suspicious; it could be a trap— Sol said.

—I know— Epona replied, trying to look around.

—A trap? I was waiting for you here— a voice said.

Epona and Sol turned to see where the voice came from. They saw Khonsu covered in bandages and blood, missing an arm and his left eye. He was breathing heavily but had a sinister grin on his face.

—Who are you?— Epona asked.

—I am Khonsu, and I'm tired of being humiliated by you, Orniskem. But I won't die without bringing one of your heads to the mighty Ares— the evil Egyptian god said.

Epona wanted to take action, but Sol raised his arm to stop her.

—Let me han... handle him— Sol replied.

—Handle me?— Khonsu said, laughing at the same time.

Neither Epona nor Sol had noticed that there was dried blood right at their feet, and Khonsu, using his powers of blood manipulation, created red and thorny ropes with that blood that tied both gods.

—How does it feel? How does it feel to have your friend's blood choking you right now?— Khonsu commented, laughing while struggling to stand, supporting himself with his staff.

—This... is... nothing— Epona shouted as the blood-soaked ropes tore at her, causing blood to gush from her arms, legs, and neck.

Khonsu approached and started caressing the goddess's face.

—Don't worry, my dear. I will soon crucify you alongside your beloved friend, Malakim. You led me to commit these atrocities— the evil Egyptian god said.

—Re... release her!— Sol shouted furiously as blood also started to flow from his body due to the restraints.
—What did you say? What did you say, you stuttering piece of shit?— Khonsu yelled and struck Sol's face with all his strength using his staff. The malevolent god mentally manipulated the staff due to the lack of his second arm.

—If you want to stop me, do it— Khonsu replied with a diabolical smile.

As best as she could, Epona bit and tore off Khonsu's finger.

—You damn bitch!— Khonsu shouted angrily and hit Epona with his staff.

The goddess spat blood, and one of her teeth fell out. Since she had only taken a few drops of ambrosia to heal the wounds she had inflicted on herself in the fight against Al-Qaum, she didn't have enough ichor in reserve to heal quickly.

—Do you think there won't be consequences for your acts of rebellion, bitch?— Khonsu screamed as he repeatedly struck Epona with his staff.

—Enough! Kill me, but don't hurt her anymore!— Sol shouted indignantly.

Epona mumbled some words, but they couldn't be understood.

—What did you say, whore?— Khonsu asked, raising the goddess's head with the blood ropes. Her face was covered in blood, and she was breathing heavily.

—I... I'm going to kill you, you son of a bitch!— Epona yelled.

—Oh, I see you still have a lot of strength, my dear. Let's see how much you have left afterward— Khonsu replied, turning his back on both gods.

—Have either of you read the Bible?— Khonsu asked as he used his telepathy to construct two enormous wooden crosses.

—A man named Jesus, who is the supposed son of the Hebrew god, is crucified alongside two thieves on a hill called Golgotha. It would be interesting to reproduce that, don't you think?— the evil Egyptian god continued to comment.

At that moment, Khonsu stared intently at Sol.

—You, you will be Jesus. I have seen him portrayed as a blond shepherd with light eyes just like you. You will be at the center of my theatrical representation— the Egyptian god said with a malevolent smile.

At that moment, the god felt Epona's divine power still growing, even though she wasn't moving.

—No matter how much you struggle, there's no way to destroy these ropes, as they are absorbing your ichor and manna— Khonsu laughed.

—It's simple. If my divine power disappears, it might worry my friends. But I will prove to them that I can get out of this predicament on my own— Epona said with a defiant smile.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo, Athena, and Horus had entered Ares' palace, but inside, they only saw a vast dark corridor without walls surrounded by columns, where the ceiling couldn't even be seen.

—Don't separate— Athena said, turning to her companions, but to her surprise, the goddess was already alone.

Athena crossed her arms and shook her head while closing her eyes.

—Using cheap tricks now, brother?— the Greek goddess said to herself.

Horus, on the other hand, was walking in the large maze of columns.

—I don't know what Ares intends to do with this, but I suppose we can't keep wasting time— the falcon god said.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo walked slowly between the columns. He felt insecure because he could no longer sense anyone's presence, as if he had isolated himself from the world.

—I can't feel the presence of any of the girls. Are they okay?— he wondered, but then corrected himself.

—No, they are fine. I must trust them— he said to himself.

Rodrigo walked and walked, but the path of columns seemed endless. However, after walking a bit, he saw a light in the distance and decided to approach it.

Finally, Rodrigo arrived in a room different from the monotony of the rest of the columned corridors. In the center stood a dark-skinned man who had his back turned, working at a forge, hammering what appeared to be a sword.

—Well, I didn't expect it would be you who made it this far. After all, you're the only one without Ares' reward— the man replied.

—Are you one of Ares' Keres?— Rodrigo asked, getting into a combat stance.

—That's right, my name is Ogun, the Yoruba god of metalworking, and I am Ares' fourth Keres— the man replied.

The god wore a red crown with spikes and a long collar made up of various rings that covered his neck and part of his mouth. His body was covered with white protuberances that appeared to have been formed with heat. His hair, eyes, and eyebrows were all very white. He wore several red rings on his arms and legs, and a black skirt covered much of his legs.

—Well, are you going to tell me where Ares is right now?— Rodrigo shouted furiously.

—And what would you do if you saw Lord Ares?— Ogun asked.

—Isn't it obvious? I would defeat him to save my friend— Rodrigo replied.

Ogun shook his head and sighed. —You wouldn't be able to, you wouldn't even be able to lay a finger on me. Yet, you dare to speak so boldly about our Lord Ares— the Yoruba god said to Rodrigo.

Just then, as if rising from the ground, a gigantic metal sarcophagus appeared behind Rodrigo. The sarcophagus, resembling an iron maiden, was open and filled with spikes. However, it also bore Yoruba cultural features, with the face of an African woman on top and an elaborately spiked crown. Additionally, figures of horse-mounted warriors were carved on its surface.

Rodrigo, unable to do anything, was trapped inside the sarcophagus when it immediately closed shut. Blood began to seep from the slot where it sealed.

—It's a shame that the other Keres were defeated by these arrogant insects— Ogun said as he continued to hammer his sword.