Chapter 62:

The Soninke god of thunder

Elyon - Gods among us

Horus and Ares were fighting in the throne room. The Egyptian god launched multiple lines of light rays at the god of war, but Ares evaded them. With his sword, Ares tried to attack the falcon god, but Horus elegantly avoided all the strikes. The shockwaves created by Ares cutting through the air caused the palace walls to crumble.

Taking his lance, Ares tried to impale the falcon god, but Horus flew quickly, and the cut caused by his lance created a huge hole in the wall. Immediately, Horus kicked Ares and threw him into the bathroom, which was destroyed upon the impact of the god of war falling inside. But Ares got up with an angry expression as he wiped the blood from his mouth.

The god of war charged energy into his sword and fired a red ray that seemed like magma, shouting: —Enyo ephítesi!

Horus, upon seeing the attack, created a translucent golden energy field covering his body, saying: —Axew ikam— The shot collided with the shield and was destroyed. Then, Horus made his defensive technique disappear.

Using his staff, Horus created a huge ball of light, which he fired directly at the belly of the god of war, sending him flying and destroying several walls in the palace. Ares fell backward, vomiting blood, just as Horus returned with his weapon full of light and tried to attack the ominous god, but rolling on the ground, Ares avoided the blow.

Ares summoned two dark wings on his back, and the feathers turned into black daggers that flew towards the falcon god, but Horus destroyed them all by creating several rays of light.

—I didn't expect any less from one of the most powerful gods of the Land of Manu— Ares said with a smile.

—I can't say the same about you; you're truly a disappointment— Horus replied.

—You'll stop talking so much crap soon— Ares retorted.

At that moment, the god of war opened his right hand slightly, where he held the sphere he had been looking at earlier.

—Tch, it's still not enough— Ares thought, closing his hand again.

On the other hand, Rodrigo remained trapped inside the sarcophagus that Ogun had built. However, the coffin began to shake rapidly, while the spilled blood was being absorbed by it.

Ogun, who continued hammering a sword in his forge, stopped at that moment and turned his head to see his sarcophagus breaking apart as it shook violently.

Rodrigo, with both his arms covered in scales and his eyes glowing like a serpent, violently opened the sarcophagus as it broke from the inside. A rush of air blew into the devastated sarcophagus, and the young tannin could be seen surrounded by a shield of wind, covering him like a bubble and shaking wildly around him.

—Can't you stay still? You would've died in there— Ogun said.

—I'm sorry, but I can't die yet— Rodrigo replied with a smirk. His wounds had completely healed.

Ogun looked at Rodrigo carefully and made a disgusted face.

—A tannin? Really? How low can that so-called Athena go?— he said.

—Say what you want, but I'm in a hurry to get to Ares. And if you get in my way, I'll have to remove you from my path— Rodrigo answered.

The Yoruba god sighed deeply, then took the sword he had in the forge, gripped it, and turned around to face Rodrigo.

—Even if you're a tannin, you're no match for me. Yet you still intend to confront my lord Ares?—he asked.

—I won't know until I face him— Rodrigo said.

—Very well, I'll let you experience it for yourself— replied the Yoruba god, Ogun.

Then, Ogun raised his sword and as if has conducting a symphony, began to move it in undulating motions. Chains, spears, and pikes emerged from the ground and attacked Rodrigo.

As Ogun made sword movements, new iron weapons appeared from the ground and walls, which Rodrigo struggled to evade.

Swiftly, Ogun performed a downward motion with his sword, summoning a massive iron column from the top of the palace. It descended rapidly, crushing Rodrigo without any chance to react.

—Death is the only thing that awaits those who defy the great Ares— said Ogun with a tranquil expression.

However, Rodrigo began to rise with difficulty, holding the gigantic pillar with both hands.

—Is that all you've got?— asked Rodrigo.

—Obviously not— replied Ogun.

Then, Ogun created spears from the walls surrounding Rodrigo, and they flew towards him at high speed while he tried to hold the pillar with all his strength.

Rodrigo looked concerned, trying to free himself from the pillar quickly and evade the spears. But suddenly, as if a lightning bolt appeared, the spears fell to the ground surrounded by static electricity.

—What happened?— asked Ogun.

In that moment, a familiar figure stood before Rodrigo. It was Khine, the African god with a mask that never spoke. Rodrigo had completely forgotten about him.

—You are... Khine, right? Thank you!— exclaimed Rodrigo, as Khine raised his hand to acknowledge the gratitude.

"But what do we have here? A Soninke god. How nostalgic to see you in these places!" Ogun shouted, filled with excitement but with a hint of cynicism.

Khine began to dance in a peculiar way, moving his hands and swaying his body. A shower of lightning emanated from him, destroying all the metal in the room, including the massive column that was crushing Rodrigo.

Ogun, who easily stopped the attack with just the palm of his hand, smiled.

—Oh yes, I remember you, Khine. The bastard who lost his kingdom because of his brother's deal with a Tannin called Bida— said Ogun.

Khine danced again before the Yoruba god.

—Indeed, my weakness is lightning, but your divine power is too weak to exert any real pressure against me— replied Ogun to Khine's challenge.

Quickly, Ogun wielded his sword and attempted to strike Khine, but the god avoided it effortlessly, as if he were avoiding a leaf falling from a tree. All the attacks that Ogun made were elegantly dodged by Khine.

The Soninke god began to spin in the air, charged with static electricity, and collided with Ogun. Though the impact moved Ogun slightly backward, he was still electrocuted. Ogun only arched his back slightly from the impact, immediately straightening himself.

—I told you, it's useless— he said, smiling.

Khine danced again in front of Ogun, but the Yoruba god had grown tired of his incomprehensible actions. Using his metal alchemy, Ogun made metal pieces in the room float and merge with his weapon, transforming his sword into a huge and grotesque shape.

—Let's see if you can avoid my attack this time— Ogun yelled.

The Yoruba god lunged to strike the masked god, but someone else arrived and used their weapon to block Ogun's assault.

Rodrigo quickly recognized him as Susanoo, but this time he wore a horrifying red Hannya mask.

—Do you need a hand, Rodrigo-san?— Susanoo asked the young Tannin.

—We wouldn't mind some extra help— said Rodrigo, still trying to get up.

—What do you intend to do, Susanoo?— Ogun asked, looking annoyed.

—What do you think I'm doing?— asked Susanoo as he pushed Ogun a few meters away with his katana.

—If I didn't want to think badly, I would say you're betraying Lord Ares— Ogun retorted, annoyed.

—You're mistaken, Ogun-san. I can't betray Ares-sama since I never swore allegiance to him. I only joined the group to find a rival with whom I could fight and wield my sword. Now that I've found one, I have no interest in this group— Susanoo replied as he sheathed his sword.

—Thank you, Susanoo— said Rodrigo as he finally got to his feet.

—It's an honor to help you, Rodrigo-san, and... who is this gentleman I saved, by the way?— asked the oriental god, turning to look at Khine.

—His name is Khine. He is a member of Orniskem, but he never speaks. He was using lightning to attack Ogun, but without much success— Rodrigo replied.

The Yoruba god looked at both of them with an expression of anger. —If you think I'll let you go so easily, you're mistaken— he said.

—I have no intention of running away, Ogun-san. I will be your rival— said the oriental god calmly.

—Wait, Susanoo, I don't want you to sacrifice your life for me— Rodrigo said apologetically.

—Did I ever say that I would sacrifice my life for Rodrigo-san? I came so that you could reach where Ares-sama is. I want you to become stronger so that we can have an honorable fight in the future— Susanoo replied.

Ogun burst into laughter.

—Gomen, I don't find it funny, Ogun-san— Susanoo replied.

—Didn't they teach you mathematics, Susanoo? You are Keres twelve, and I am Keres four. The difference between us is vast— Ogun retorted.

—The reason is simple, Ogun-san. I never considered any of you as worthy rivals. Perhaps only Menrva-san or Ishtar-san would have been honorable opponents, but I believe most of you are just genocidal beings anchored in the past, obsessed with returning to a life of senseless massacre. Your tamashi, souls, are dead, and only your thirst for blood and destruction drives you. You are just a group of children refusing to grow up. I know this because I see myself in my past life reflected in you— Susanoo replied.

Ogun's expression turned to rage as he swung his sword, causing two guillotines to appear on the walls next to Susanoo, as if to cut him in half. However, the god avoided the attack by leaning backward and placing his katana between the two huge blades, subsequently cutting them with a water reflection.

—I'll stay here, Rodrigo-san. Hurry! Confront Ares-sama and become stronger— Susanoo said as he stood up normally.

—Alright, I'll leave it to you— Rodrigo said and began to run towards Ogun, who observed him with a challenging gaze.

—Khine, let's go!— Rodrigo shouted. But the Soninke god didn't move a muscle.

Khine then started to dance again.

—I don't think he can understand me, but what should I do?— Rodrigo asked.

—Leave Khine-san here and move forward. I'll protect him— Susanoo replied.

—I won't let you pass here, kid!— Ogun yelled, and as he moved his sword, spears appeared on both sides of Rodrigo.

However, the weapons were cut in half just as Susanoo leaped toward the Yoruba god and stopped his motion, clashing his katana with Ogun's sword.

—Alright, I have to keep running until I can feel the energies of Athena and Horus, so I can teleport to where they are. But this labyrinth doesn't allow me to sense any presences— Rodrigo thought as he moved away from Ogun's forge room.

Meanwhile, Susanoo was thrown back with the force of Ogun's sword. The Asian god performed a somersault in the air and landed in a combat position on the ground, holding his katana in his right hand.

Khine continued dancing strangely.

Then, Ogun shouted: —Ihamọra ni kikun—. Many pieces of iron began to adhere to the god, ending up covering him with an enormous and grotesque armor, leaving only his eyes visible. He wore a complete helmet, which made him look like a horned demon, with a high collar covering his neck up to his mouth, composed of several rings. The bare parts of his body had taken on a shiny metallic color, and various chains encircled his chest. Additionally, a metallic skirt covered his legs.

—I will destroy you quickly here, Susanoo, and you will regret using us in that way!— Ogun yelled furiously as his sword transformed into a massive, thick, curved saber with a spiked handle.

Then, to everyone's surprise, Khine began to laugh.

—What's so funny?— Ogun asked angrily.

Khine then started floating and suddenly turned into pure electric energy in the form of a sphere.

—Lord Susanoo, right?— Susanoo heard a voice speaking to him in his mind.

—Are you... the dancing lord?— Susanoo asked in his mind.

—Indeed, I am Khine, the true king of the Ghana Empire. Unfortunately, I am not strong enough to fight Ogun, but I want to lend you my energy so you can defeat him— the Soninke god replied.

The huge energy sphere landed on Susanoo, who immediately began to glow with a blue light, and electrical shocks emanated from his body.

Susanoo's appearance drastically changed. His body was surrounded by a bluish-white electrical energy, and lightning emanated from him. A kind of vapor appeared on his nape, resembling a cloth draped around his shoulders. His eyes turned blue, and his hair became white. His two horns also increased in size.

—What's happening? How can a Moon like you control the electrical power of that guy?— Ogun asked, puzzled.

—Because I am actually a Mercury, Ogun-san— Susanoo replied.

—You hid that from us too? You miserable!— Ogun shouted furiously as he raised his massive sword.

The god charged at Susanoo to cut him down, but the oriental god quickly moved his katana, and a rain of thunder struck Ogun, electrocuting him as he grimaced in pain.

—There was no reason to mention my true element, Ogun-san. But I'll give you some advice: this energy has exponentially increased my power, and I can control the power of lightning, but I think I can only control it for a few brief seconds. If you want to defeat me, you'll have to endure my attacks until it runs out— the oriental god said.

Ogun fell to his knees and tried to get back up while breathing heavily.

Susanoo began to shine with a silvery-white light and, with his sword drawn, moved towards Ogun like lightning. He quickly pierced the god's armor with his katana infused with electricity. Ogun tried to grab Susanoo with his hand, but upon touching him, he received a massive shock that forced him to withdraw his hand.

Ogun fell to the ground and yelled: —Orin ẹrọ—. Hundreds of chains with swords at their tips were thrown at Susanoo, but he raised his power, causing all the weapons to emit electricity, which electrocuted Ogun as he cried out in pain and desperation.

Furious, and using all his strength to cover his body, Ogun managed to dissipate the electricity affecting him and pounded the ground with his fists. Spikes surged from the ground, impaling Susanoo's feet. However, he simply emanated his enormous energy and electrocuted Ogun again, using the floor as a conductor.

Still under the effects of the electric shock, the Yoruba god created four walls next to Susanoo and enclosed him within a gigantic steel cube.

Ogun quickly raised his sword, and the entire room began to transform into thousands of weapons of different types: swords, spears, shields, daggers, chains; and all of them were launched towards the block where Susanoo was trapped, piercing it completely.

Then the god yelled: —Ina alagbẹdẹ —. A gigantic explosion erupted from where Susanoo was.

The metal that covered the entire room began to melt, while Ogun breathed deeply, as he had used a lot of manna for that attack. The heat was unbearable, and the room shone brightly with a brilliant red color from the fire caused by the technique.

—How about that, Susanoo? Do you see what a Keres level four can do? Did you think using that old man's energy would make a difference?— Ogun shouted triumphantly, but then he saw rain starting to fall in the room, extinguishing the fire.

Emerging from the smoke left by the exploding weapons, Susanoo still had his electric appearance. Ogun yelled in rage.

—I already told you, Ogun-san, you won't be able to defeat me. Steel is literally the worst element to fight against thunder— Susanoo replied.

Ogun began to laugh like a madman.

—Well, it's time to finish this— Susanoo said as he lifted his sword again and dashed toward Ogun like a lightning bolt.

However, midway through the air, Ogun struck Susanoo, causing him to fall to the ground like a thunderclap. The oriental god got up, wiping off the blood when he noticed that Ogun's fists had turned a different color, light brown to be exact. They were broken and falling to pieces on the floor.

—What was that? Nani?!— Susanoo asked.

—Ceramic— Ogun responded.

—I don't only forge iron in this forge; I also work with other types of elements, and the previous fire helped me quickly assemble these components. And if something is insulating, it can still hit you!— Ogun shouted.

Raigeki— Susanoo yelled and launched an electric ellipse toward Ogun with the movement of his sword, but Ogun created a shield of wood from the ground, dissipating the attack.

The shield quickly sprouted several spikes and flew toward the oriental god, who tried to evade it with his electric movement, but failed and was struck directly.

Still propelled by the attack, Ogun, once again with his ceramic fists, mercilessly punched the oriental god. He then grabbed Susanoo by the neck and, using wooden shields with spikes, slammed him against them while running around the room before finally throwing him far away.

—Your pathetic electrical trick with the borrowed energy of that old man won't work on me anymore, Susanoo!— Ogun shouted at the oriental god, who lay on the ground face down, trying to get up.

—However, Ogun-san, you have not realized a grave mistake yet— Susanoo said, still on the ground and coughing up blood.

—And what might that be?— Ogun asked, creating a spear made of ceramic.

—Ogun-san's armor, you haven't taken it off yet!— Susanoo shouted as he got up and raised his katana to the sky, creating several electric specters.

At that moment, the room disappeared, and it seemed as if both of them had been teleported to the sky, but the clouds were golden. Above them was a red Japanese gate called a Torii, set amidst a group of mountains that opened up among the clouds. Beside the gate, two monstrous beings appeared in the form of ogres. One was white, and the other was green, and both had demoniac faces showing a mix of anger and jubilation. They were semi-naked and both had horns. Susanoo lowered his sword and shouted: —Tengoku no mon

At that moment, the golden clouds shone with immense intensity, while a white light emanated from the gate. The clouds revolved around the light, and it shot toward Ogun, striking him with tremendous force.

The illusion disappeared, and Ogun, who had been struck down by the attack, fell to the ground unconscious. The armor he had created also vanished, melting away on the floor.

Khine left Susanoo's body, and he lost his electric transformation, falling to his knees on the ground, clutching his katana.

—Arigato, Khine-san— Susanoo said to the masked man, who also fell unconscious to the ground.

—Now it's all up to you, Rodrigo-san. Don't die— the oriental god said before losing consciousness himself.