Chapter 66:

Rodrigo vs Ares

Elyon - Gods among us

In the distance, Khonsu witnessed the immense power about to clash between Ares and Rodrigo. The wicked god had managed to escape just as Areopagus exploded, and everyone had moved away to avoid the volcanic eruption. The gods were surprised by the phenomenon and had stopped paying attention to him.

Despite that, Khonsu was badly wounded, missing both legs and an arm, and had very little ichor left to survive.

—I swear I'll get revenge for this humiliation— Khonsu said angrily, biting his lips as fresh blood oozed from them.

At that moment, he felt someone's presence behind him. Even though that person's divine power was very low, Khonsu had a strong feeling that it was deliberately hiding it. The presence was immense and terrifying, enough to send shivers down the spine of the god. It was so overwhelming that even Khonsu hesitated to turn around.

—Khonsy, I'm glad to see that you're still alive— the man said as he stood behind the trembling and cold-sweating Khonsu.

—Are you... the current Anunnaki of the Land of Manu?— Khonsu asked nervously.

—Yes, indeed— the man replied.

—And what brings you here?— Khonsu asked, still unable to look at the man.

—Isn't it obvious? I've come for you and Sekhmy— the man replied.

—But Sekhmet is dead— Khonsu responded. Gathering his courage, he finally turned to face the man.

The man was very tall, with two small wings on his back, and his body was coiled by a golden serpent. His face and details were obscured, but Khonsu assumed the man was smiling. In his arms, he carried the unconscious Sekhmet.

—I can resurrect the dead, Khonsy— the mysterious man said.—Although it seems she has already seen that thing—

The malevolent god intended to ask what he meant by 'that thing,' but immediately regretted saying anything. Then, he felt an overwhelming urge to bow his head to the ground.

Khonsu had never shown respect to anyone; being the adopted son of Amun, the former Anunnaki of the Land of Manu, he had always exuded an air of arrogance. But the presence of this man was like that of the god of gods.

—I am not worthy of your presence, my lord— Khonsu said nervously, still putting his face to the ground.

—Why do I feel this need to prostrate myself before this man? I don't understand!— the god thought.

The man smiled and raised his left hand towards Khonsu. The Egyptian god lifted his face, took his hand, and stood up. At that moment, Khonsu realized that his limbs had returned to his body.

—Khonsy— the man said, —I need your help to create a magnificent new Land of Manu. Will you assist me?— he asked.

Khonsu began to cry with emotion, even though he couldn't believe he was doing so. —I will follow you even to the land of Duat— the god replied with immense joy.

At that moment, a dark portal appeared behind the man. Turning around, he walked towards it while still carrying Sekhmet. Khonsu quickly followed him.

Both gods disappeared as the portal closed and vanished from the horizon.

Al-Qaum, who was nearby witnessing the situation, was petrified with fear at the sight of the appearance.

—I must inform the others of this, but... but... I don't think we'll survive— he thought, trembling with fear.

As the planet continued to shrink, magma emanated from the ground, creating new continents due to seismic activity. Meanwhile, Rodrigo, transformed into a Tannin, had landed a powerful blow on Ares. The god of war took three steps back, dropping both Epona and Tania from his hands.

The young man made a hand movement, and both goddesses floated in the air and landed gently on the ground.

—What was that? Why did that punch hurt me?— Ares thought fearfully as he wiped his face.

At that moment, Ares realized something he hadn't noticed since the beginning of his transformation: His wounds weren't healing; it was as if he had no ichor left.

—The blows I received from those girls earlier made me bleed a little, but I didn't fully recover. The impact was so minimal that I couldn't tell if my wounds had healed or not. But now, this guy has broken part of my jaw, and my ichor isn't recovering. Did I not achieve a perfect assimilation?— Ares thought, terrified, as Rodrigo walked towards him.

Ares regained his composure and smiled at the young tannin.

—I must admit you caught me by surprise, but it won't happen again. You have no idea how important I'll become if I bring your head before A...— the god of war said, interrupted by a powerful punch to his abdomen from Rodrigo.

Ares doubled over in pain, stepping back as Rodrigo approached furiously, his serpent-like eyes filled with rage.

—I didn't expect such power from a tannin. It's as strong as the monster Typhon— Ares thought, his mouth bleeding, trembling with fear as he looked at Rodrigo.

Then, Rodrigo charged at Ares, delivering relentless punches. He grabbed the god's head and slammed him into a group of mountains, breaking the god's helmet and causing blood to flow from his forehead.

Ares gasped for breath, his gaze full of fury, as he created a gigantic red ball between his hands and shouted: —I orgí tis Spártis!

He hurled the attack at Rodrigo, who responded with a shout, creating a whirlwind in front of him that destroyed Ares' attack. The aerial phenomenon transformed into a flurry of air blades that cut Ares in several places, inflicting significant damage.

—This is impossible! I am the perfect god now!— the furious god of war yelled.

Ares observed Rodrigo closely, realizing that the young man had lost his ability to reason or think.

—If that's what it takes, I'll also give up my sanity to defeat you!— Ares shouted angrily.

The malevolent god inserted his hands in his body, at the same points where he had impaled himself to transform. His body immediately grew twice its size.

Ares' appearance changed, transforming into a gigantic, bipedal, red-colored boar. Saliva, blood, and vapor emanated from his snout. His eyes lost their pupils and irises, turning crimson. His armor shattered, leaving only a bloodthirsty beast in front of Rodrigo.

—I'll forsake my sanity to crush you!— Ares roared and pounced on Rodrigo, who couldn't avoid the impact and was thrown back.

The god of war wasn't finished yet. He leaped furiously towards Rodrigo, who was still airborne, and descended on him like a meteorite, causing Mars to shatter once more.

The planet now appeared only as a cluster of rocks, with its core rapidly increasing in size.

Ares pinned Rodrigo against the dimensional wall and began to pummel him relentlessly. But then, Rodrigo caught his claws with his bare hands.

—You made a big mistake, boy! I'll crush your hands with my claws, and you'll become my servant!— Ares laughed victoriously as his grotesque metallic hoof-like claws made Rodrigo's fists bleed.

However, the laughter was short-lived when Ares saw that Rodrigo's expression remained unchanged.

—Don't tell me tannin are immune to the powers of Phobos and Deimos!— Ares shouted in horror.

The young man just stared back with determination, and in that moment, he tore off Ares' right arm. Ares howled in pain as Rodrigo threw the arm away and pushed the god of war with both feet.

Ares fell backward onto a flying fragment of the remains of Mars. At that moment, his transformation into a monstrous hog reverted, returning to his previous form after fusing with his children. As expected, his arm did not recover.

—This can't be happening! I was going to return to Olympus! I was going to regain everything I lost!— Ares cried, watching Rodrigo flying towards him to finish him off.

But just before Rodrigo could deliver the final blow, his eyes turned green again. His transformation started to fade, along with his immense power. His rage subsided, and now Rodrigo began to feel intense dizziness and fatigue throughout his body.

Ares nervously chuckled as he got up. —Even though I lost my arm, my power will still be enough to kill you— the god said as he grabbed Rodrigo by the face and began to crush his head.

—Now, you'll become my most loyal servant, boy. The fear of Phobos will consume you at this moment— he declared.

However, while Ares was still speaking, a woman's voice was heard behind the god of war.

—Release Ramiro— she said.

Ares turned around and, to his surprise, saw Athena fully recovered. She had a stern and tired look, staring at the god of war with anger.

—How is this possible? You were supposed to be under Deimos' spell right now!— Ares shouted in horror at the sight of his elder sister.

—You lost your right arm. Haven't you realized that your son, Deimos, died at that moment?— the goddess replied.

—Nonsense, my son was already dead— Ares yelled as he threw Rodrigo out of his sight, and he landed on a flying debris from the dying planet.

—When a god becomes an idol, even if their ichor dies, their divine essence lives on. Their dreams, hopes, and desires exist within these vessels. That's why we can assimilate with them. You never assimilated, Ares; you only forced a failed assimilation because you didn't even have compatibility with your own children. That's why your wounds can't heal— Athena shouted furiously.

Ares began to laugh. —You speak as if you've already won, big sister. Don't you forget that I've defeated you with this transformation before? Even if I lost Deimos, I still have Phobos inside me, and that's enough to defeat you— the god of war asserted with a haughty expression.

Athena sighed. —I didn't want to use this against someone as pathetic as you, but I must admit you exceeded my expectations when it comes to raw power. However, brother, I want you to know that you never had a chance to beat me. That's why I didn't make any plans to come here. It was as simple as playing a game of chess against an infant— she said.

—I want to see what you'll say when I rip your head from your neck and give it to the great Anath— Ares retorted.

At that moment, Athena closed her eyes and, upon reopening them, they were no longer blue. They shone with a silvery hue, almost devoid of color, as the goddess calmly said: —Athiná Glafkópis

Only a few seconds remain until Anpiel's execution.