Chapter 63:

Phobos and Deimos

Elyon - Gods among us

—Less than twenty minutes left until that sword falls and pierces Anpiel— Epona said while still keeping the unconscious Malak lying on his resting place. She stared fixedly at the floating sword above them, looking concerned.

Meanwhile, Tania was breathing heavily with a high fever. Although she had regained the use of her legs after the drop of ambrosia Montu had given her, it wasn't enough to fully heal her injuries. Her organs were severely frozen, and she was bleeding heavily from her wounds.

—Without ambrosia and trapped here, we won't be able to do anything— Maahes said as he tried to help the goddess by applying cold water cloths to her forehead, water created by him as a Moon god.

—How could it have come to such extremes when she knew there would be no medicine to heal?— Montu said, frustrated.

Epona bit her lip, causing blood to trickle from it. She gently laid Anpiel on the ground and stood up, but a terrible dizziness overwhelmed her, causing her to fall to her knees while breathing heavily. She had lost a lot of blood, and her ichor wasn't recovering anymore.

—Don't get up, Epona! You've lost too much blood!— Mitras shouted as he rushed toward the dying goddess.

—My wounds are nothing compared to hers— Epona said while making an effort to get up from the ground, her mouth now also oozing fresh blood.

—She needs a transfusion of ichor; I will give it to her— Epona continued to say. Her body began to feel warm, and her vision became blurred.

—Enough, Epona!— the Persian god Mithras held her arm, trying to prevent her from moving.

—I'm weak, I'm a crybaby, I'm just a peasant; she's the one who should live, no matter what— Epona said, continuing to crawl toward Tania, who remained unconscious and in agony.

Sol, on the other hand, had also lost consciousness due to his injuries and was lying on the ground. He used Mithras's cape as a makeshift pillow.

Elsewhere on Mars, Ana was still unconscious after the fight against Ishtar, but the Mesopotamian goddess sat beside her, covered in blood and badly wounded. At that moment, Ninshubur flew to where they were.

—Darn it, Nin, you took forever— Ishtar replied, looking annoyed.

—I apologize, Milady, but I truly lost sight of you. When your energies went out, I feared the worst and couldn't locate you— Ishtar's assistant answered.

—It doesn't matter. Do you have the contraband?— Ishtar asked.

—Yes, Milady, I still have it. I'll attend to you right away— Ninshubur said.

—Wait— Ishtar said, showing her palm to stop her. —I want you to leave one here and head to Areopagus immediately—

—But, Milady, you...— Ninshubur began to protest but was interrupted by Ishtar.

—We're going to support these kids now, dear Ninshubur— Ishtar replied with a smile, starting to stroke Ana's head, who lay on the ground.

Ishtar's assistant pulled a flask of ambrosia from her dress and threw it to her mistress. Ishtar caught the flask, opened it, and began to feed Ana with it.

—That flask wasn't meant for her, Milady. I only have two!— Ninshubur cried out in annoyance.

—What the hell are you still doing here, Nin? Go to Areopagus immediately!— Ishtar shouted back.

—Yes, Milady, right away— Ninshubur said, and white wings appeared on her back as she flew away.

—I will put my faith and hopes in you guys, don't disappoint me— Ishtar said as she continued giving ambrosia to Ana.

At the same time, inside the labyrinth of the palace in Areopagus, Athena kept walking. Suddenly, she saw a light at the end of the hallway.

—Finally, I found you, idiot brother. You can't keep me trapped in a labyrinth forever, as I memorized every possible route and followed it based on pure statistics— the goddess said to herself and ran towards the light.

Upon entering the room, she found everything in ruins. Broken walls, statues on the ground, columns toppled. However, her biggest surprise was seeing her brother Ares sitting defiantly on his throne, with Horus prostrated on the floor, trembling in fear.

—Oh, big sister, so you managed to find the way out after all. Although it's a bit late, your friend Horus has already sworn loyalty to me— the god of war laughed.

—What did you do to Horus, you bastard?— Athena shouted furiously.

—It's the natural order of things; the weak obey the strong. It has been this way since life began with simple bacteria— Ares replied with amusement.

—Horus would never bow before you, coward!— Athena continued yelling.

—Then, what do you see here?— Ares asked as he placed his right foot on the back of the Egyptian god.

Enraged, Athena summoned her spear Erichthonius.

—Oh, so you're going to use your powerful spear now, big sister? I thought you were ashamed of your bastard son, so you hid him in the form of a weapon— the god of war laughed.

—If you don't release Horus from your spell right now, he will be the last thing you see— the Greek goddess screamed furiously.

Ares began to laugh, and then he kicked Horus, causing him to fall backward.

—Die, you damn son of a bitch!— Athena yelled. She swung her spear in a crescent shape, unleashing a wave of energy towards Ares.

Just before the attack could hit, Horus stood up, making it strike him in the back.

—Horus!— Athena shouted in surprise.

The Egyptian god fell to his knees, gasping and vomiting blood.

—No, Athena, we must not fight against Ares— Horus said.

—Coward! You're using Horus as a shield?!— Athena screamed furiously, her eyes bloodshot as she tightened her grip on her spear.

But Ares only laughed.

—Athena, Lord Ares is the most magnificent and terrifying god in the cosmos; his mere presence makes my heart tremble with fear. We can only serve him to protect our miserable lives— Horus said tearfully, still prostrated on the floor.

—You heard it, Athena; now it's your turn to kneel before me and hold my left foot— Ares taunted.

Athena began to walk towards Ares with a furious look.

—You've always been a coward, haven't you? Is this the work of your son Phobos, or am I mistaken?— the goddess asked.

—Oh, I'm surprised by your perspicacity, big sister— Ares said, smiling.

The god of war stood up and showed his sword to his sister. It had a dark blade and a red and golden hilt.

—This is my son Phobos. Just like your beloved Erichthonius, my son Phobos gave his life to become a weapon embodying his native power: Fear— Ares said.

—I'm not surprised that you use your children like that, no matter how dire they might be— Athena replied.

—Coming from someone who did the same with her serpent son. Tell me, how did it feel to be raped by the crippled asshole Hephaestus?" Ares laughed.

Athena took a deep breath and looked at him defiantly.

—I didn't do the same!— she shouted. —I didn't kill him to turn him into a weapon; I'm not a monster like you!— the goddess continued, visibly upset.

—Say what you will, but a slight scratch on his body was enough to shatter your friend's mind in terror, and now he bows before me. Do you understand the great power of my son Phobos?— Ares inquired.

—When gods die, their energy can be converted into an idol, just like your sword or my spear, but their divine attributes remain. So, I assume you killed your children and turned them into your weapons to make them more useful to you— said Athena.

—Alright, big sister, since you guessed it, let me show you the other one as well— said the god as he pulled an enormous dark lance with red from his back using his right arm.

Athena ground her teeth in anger.

—This is my son Deimos, unlike Phobos, who only makes enemies weak and cowardly, he will destroy your nervous system, and you'll lose consciousness, falling into a horror nightmare from which you can never escape— Ares laughed.

—Your villainy knows no bounds— said Athena as she got back into her combat stance.

But to her surprise, Horus stepped in front of Ares with his arms extended.

—No, Athena, don't fight; let's resolve this diplomatically. Let us surrender to the great Ares and achieve an idyllic world— replied Horus.

—Awaken, Horus! Do you forget your dream? To free the Land of Manu and avenge your friends! Have you forgotten already?— Athena cried desperately.

—The great Ares will build a new Land of Manu where we will be happy and blissful— Horus replied, crying tears of joy.

—You heard it, Athena, Horus is willing to give his life for me, and if you want to face me, you'll have to kill him first— Ares said, laughing.

—Please, Athena, surrender to the great Ares!— Horus said, crying tears of joy.

Athena then closed her eyes and sighed.

—It's clear that you still don't know me at all, brother— she said irritably. —Certainly, what you're doing is cowardly... but...—

At that moment, the goddess gripped her spear with both hands and shouted: —Xenýchtis

Suddenly, the spear arched, and from it vividly appeared the image of a green owl made of energy, with bright blue eyes. The bird flew at full speed towards Horus, who made no attempt to defend himself, and it struck him squarely, shattering his armor and helmet. The Egyptian god stood after the impact but lost consciousness and fell face down.

—I have no qualms about facing my allies if they stand in my way— Athena said as she pointed her spear at Ares, who now had a more serious expression.

The god of war slightly opened the hand where he held his sword Phobos, and then he began to laugh. The sphere he held finally started to emit a glow.

Ares then remembered when the goddess Anath tasked one of her malak to deliver that sphere to him.

—That is called Hikaptha, an artifact created by the personal blacksmith of Elyon. What that sphere will do is absorb the wounds of those near you, and when it is full, you can use it to increase your strength. Don't try an assimilation before that, understood?— Anath said to the god of war.

—Yes, lady Anath— Ares replied, bowing to her.

Having remembered that, Ares gleefully witnessed the power of the sphere, but at that moment, he also saw Athena rushing towards him with her spear ready to pierce him.

Ares then squeezed the sphere with all his might, and it shattered into hundreds of pieces, which turned into spheres of light that incorporated into the god of war. He began to shine like a star, emitting rays of light in all directions, an act that caused Athena to stop abruptly in surprise.

The entire palace started to shake, and smoke began to rise from the crater of the mountain. Mars grew darker, and a terrible quake was felt across the planet.

—Fear not, sister; I'm not done yet— said Ares, taking his sword and spear in front of him and then impaling his chest with both.

Fifteen minutes remain until the execution of Anpiel.