Chapter 71:

Arriving to Asgard

Elyon - Gods among us

On the west coast of a vast land of ice and scarce grass, called Greenland, Norse settlers from Iceland, under the command of the Viking explorer Erik the Red, established two small camps.

The Norse people were in a natural transition to Christianity, but many of them, like Erik the Red, remained pagans. That's why in this small Norse settlement in Greenland, there was a Christian chapel and a temple to Odin, which was a huge wooden house with an inverted V-shaped roof.
The temples dedicated to the gods served as portals between the divine realm and Earth. Since this temple was up-to-date, the Norse gods no longer had to make a long and dangerous journey from Iceland to what was already beginning to be considered the territories of Vinland. In fact, the native people living in Greenland belonged to the jurisdiction of the kingdom of Adlivun in northern Vinland.

Lel had no knowledge of this temple, so the Norse gods were starting to use it to form alliances with Sedna, the Anunnaki of Adlivun. Greenland was, so to speak, a land far from Lel's supervision, and sending malak to that region would provoke a conflict with the gods of the new continent.

Six days after the feast in Ibiza, Rodrigo, Tania, Ana, Epona, Anpiel, and Susanoo, all under Menrva's leadership, appeared before Athena and Horus in the conference room.

—We have excellent news for you— Athena commented while sitting in her chair with a bunch of grapes in her hand.

—What is it, teacher?— Ana asked curiously.

—Thms alrmmgy a pormntm opmnd tom Grmnlmdm— the goddess said as she ate her grapes.

—Don't talk with your mouth full!— Horus shouted at Athena.

Rodrigo looked at his companions; they were all somewhat shocked to see Athena displaying such mannerisms. The only one who wasn't surprised was Menrva; she seemed to hang on to every word with an almost romantic devotion.

—That there's already a portal open to Greenland, so your journey should be shorter, understand?— Athena replied loudly just after eating the grape in her mouth.

—Does that mean we don't have to go all the way to Iceland to get there?— Tania asked.

—No, but you'll need to travel to Asgard and from there, use a teleporter to reach Greenland. I've already spoken with the inhabitants in Asgard, and they'll be willing to help us— Athena explained.

—Thank you, my beautiful and beloved Master Athena... and the other one— Menrva replied, bowing to Athena but completely ignoring Horus.

—I would like to spend my entire day admiring your beautiful face, your sensual lips, your gorgeous legs...— the Etruscan goddess continued expressing until she was abruptly cut off by Horus.

—The 'other' one present here believes that there are other moments for declarations of love— Horus said grumpily as he stared at Menrva defiantly.

—Sorry, 'person sitting next to my goddess Athena,' but when I'm in front of her, my heart and mouth can't help but praise her in unison," Menrva continued, without even bothering to look at the Egyptian god Horus.

—Don't get jealous, Horus; you have your devoted disciples too— the Greek goddess replied, laughing as she lightly punched the Egyptian god's arm.

Horus made a gesture of disdain and put on a serious expression again.

—What a crazy leader we've got— Epona thought, surprised by Menrva's behavior.

—Master Athena, we'll take our leave if you don't need us any longer— Menrva continued, still looking down as she spoke.

—No, thank you. Rest, eat, sleep; we'll meet tomorrow at this time in the garden to leave Pallas— Athena said.

—One very important thing— Horus added. —Vinland is a land outside Lel's jurisdiction, so the laws there are established by the gods who govern it. So, remember not to draw too much attention and be careful; we don't know how far Lel's influence extends in that region—

—We'll be careful— Tania replied, and everyone nodded.

—Remember, you must locate Thor, Loki, and the others; they might already know something about Odin's whereabouts. Also, find Bellona; we've lost contact with her since she entered Vinland— Athena continued explaining.

Rodrigo and his companions bowed slightly and left the room, leaving Horus and Athena alone.

—Don't you think Vinland might be more dangerous for these kids than the battle against Ares? After all, I've heard that both the Toltec kingdom and the Mississippi kingdom still practice human sacrifices to increase their power— Horus asked, concerned, while Athena continued eating her grapes nonchalantly.

—Yes, it will be tougher— Athena replied indifferently.

—Do you not want me to accompany them, then?— Horus asked excitedly as he stood up from his chair.

—Not needed— the goddess replied firmly.

—But they might die— Horus said worriedly. —They're very strong, I admit that. But they're also passionate and impulsive. That girl, Tania, tore off her legs to win a fight; and that other girl, Epona, kissed a tannin, knowing it could kill her—

—That's why I have faith in them— Athena said as she took another grape.

Horus looked at the goddess with a concerned expression.

—Furthermore, I'm sure that Lel is spying on us right now. When we returned, I noticed something strange in the Labrys— Athena said, her expression becoming more serious.

Horus looked at the goddess with worry. Athena, on her part, put aside the grapes and clasped her hands thoughtfully.

—I have a feeling that Lel will invade this planet very soon. If those kids were to face Lel's forces directly, they wouldn't stand a chance, and this mission will make them stronger... or they will die— the Greek goddess concluded.

—Do you think there are Lel's spies in Pallas?— Horus asked, surprised.

—It would be strange if there weren't, but for some reason, one of them had access to the Labrys, and it's possible they have deciphered the labyrinth code— Athena replied as she stood up.

—This is serious! I'll alert everyone to defend Pallas!— Horus exclaimed.

—Don't worry, it's just my conjecture. Besides, we'll soon get rid of a spy within Vinland— Athena replied.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo and his companions walked through the gardens of the Palladium Palace, where everything was as green and fresh as ever.

Menrva was sitting on some stones placed by a small lake. Rodrigo, Ana, Tania, Epona, Anpiel, and Susanoo approached her as she studied a map that seemed to generate holograms.

—How will we get to Asgard?— Epona asked curiously, watching Menrva study the celestial map.

—I've never been to those regions, but it seems that we'll appear at this point when we leave Pallas, and this is the route we should follow to reach Asgard— Menrva replied, pointing to the path they had to take on the celestial map.

—It's quite far, so we may have to travel at least an hour— the goddess concluded.

The celestial maps that the gods used were simple papyrus maps, but when the gods touched them, a three-dimensional holographic image appeared above the map. This made it much easier for them to know which route to take and not get lost on the way.

—Well, we have a whole day to relax, what do you want to do first?— Ana asked cheerfully.

—Eat!— Epona answered with a big smile.

—Hey, Epona, why don't you join the feast of grass those ponies have over there?— Anpiel asked sarcastically, pointing to a group of horses grazing by the lake where they were all sitting.

—Anpiel, Anpiel, Anpiel; I still don't understand why I went to so much trouble to rescue you— Epona responded, covering her face with her hand.

Everyone started to laugh. Rodrigo was surprised that, unlike other times, the equine goddess did not throw a tantrum over the joke.

After eating in one of the dining rooms inside the gardens of the Palladium Palace, they strolled a bit while chatting animatedly. Rodrigo was happy to see Tania so animated. Just ten days ago, she was gloomy and melancholic, but now things were different.

Epona, for her part, was getting close to Rodrigo, which still made the young man a little nervous. He did not know if what had happened in Ibiza with her had been just the product of alcohol, but neither he nor Epona had mentioned anything about it. It was possible that the equine goddess was also a little nervous.

After sleeping, they got up early and returned to the main door of the Palladium Palace with their totemas on. There, Athena was already waiting with the Labrys.

—Alright guys, you know, I'll guide you out of the labyrinth. Return safely and soundly; this will be your most dangerous mission so far— Athena said with a big smile.

—We will return safe and sound— Tania responded cheerfully.

—I'm sure you will— Athena responded, smiling.

At that moment, Menrva threw herself at the Greek goddess with a hug.

—It was only ten short days, but they were the happiest of my existence, Master!— said the Etruscan goddess with teary eyes as she continued to hug Athena. The Greek goddess was a bit uncomfortable, but she still allowed herself to be hugged.

Menrva released Athena, and the Greek goddess responded by removing the Etruscan goddess's helmet and stroking her hair. Menrva was jubilant.

—I know you will do a great job as my substitute on this mission— the Greek goddess commented, to which Menrva nodded.

—That girl makes me embarrassed— Epona thought, while she continued to internally reject Menrva's role as leader of her team.

The Etruscan goddess stood up again in front of her companions, and Athena continued with the instructions.

—When you have accomplished your objectives in Vinland, notify me with this— the goddess said, making a communication sphere appear. Athena then gave it to Menrva.

—Your excellence Athena, I, Menrva, can assure you that I will fully meet your expectations— the Etruscan goddess responded, standing at attention, and saluting the goddess by placing her hand on her forehead.

—I know you will— Athena responded.

The goddess looked at Rodrigo's group and smiled.

—Remember, trust each other, don't fall for the temptations of your enemies. The warriors of Mississippi and Toltec are not only exceptionally strong, they are also very versed in magic; they could use tactics like the ones Lel used to divide you— Athena added.

—I will never fall for those tactics again— Tania responded.

At that, the goddess pulled Rodrigo to her and put her hand on his shoulder.

—I will defend my companions with my life— she affirmed.

Rodrigo felt relieved again; being accepted again by Tania as his equal was something he appreciated a lot.

—And you, Robert— Athena said, looking straight at Rodrigo.

—Rodrigo!— the young Tannin corrected, annoyed.

—That's right, Roderick!— Athena responded.

At that moment, Rodrigo removed Tania's hand from his shoulder, approached Athena, and looked her straight in the eyes.

—Is it taboo for you to say my name correctly? Can't the goddess of wisdom say a correct name just after she heard it? My name is Rodrigo!, not Roderick, Roberto, Rupert or whatever name you want to put on me. Rodrigo!— the young man said.

Everyone around him was stunned. Rodrigo was always shy or unsure, but there he was, raising his voice to the goddess Athena for forgetting his name.

Epona began to laugh quietly, while Susanoo crossed his arms and smiled approvingly at Rodrigo's actions.

—Alright... Rodrigo, I'm glad to see that you're finally starting to show more character— Athena responded, surprised.

At that moment, Epona approached Rodrigo and sought his hand with hers.

—If you wanted to talk to me about my Tannin powers, rest assured that I've improved in these last days that I was in Pallas— Rodrigo answered with a smile.

Ana looked at Rodrigo and Epona holding hands and felt a bit jealous, but tried to hide it.

—Ana, how did your training with Myrddin go, and your control over the sacred element?— Athena asked the Irish goddess, while she continued to see Rodrigo and Epona together.

However, there was no response. Ana was completely absorbed in watching Rodrigo with Epona.

—Ana?!— the Greek goddess asked again, surprised.

—Oh yes, teacher! Everything is fine— Ana answered, still somewhat distracted.

Athena quickly realized what was happening and shook her head in denial.

—Listen, no matter what happens, don't doubt your friends and fully trust them, do you understand?— the Greek goddess continued.

—Yes, teacher!— Ana answered with an almost military shout.

—And you, the Malak and the Oriental; don't be overconfident and support your companions in everything they need, understand?— Athena said, looking at Anpiel and Susanoo.

—Yes, Athena-sama— Susanoo answered, bowing.

—I won't disappoint you this time— Anpiel said, also bowing to the goddess.

—And remember, you're a Malak. If you need help or support from Orniskem, don't hesitate to report it to me— the Greek goddess commented, producing another communication sphere and giving it to the angel in his hands.

Anpiel nodded.

—Alright, guys; Ana, Menrva, Tania, Epona, Rodrigo, Susanoo, and Anpiel, get stronger because I can assure you that more and more complicated days will come in our fight against Lel— Athena said, raising her hand with her palm open. The others responded to her salute.

The goddess raised the Labrys, and it began to glow. Rodrigo and his companions entered the labyrinth, leaving the Greek goddess behind.

At that moment, Tania remembered the last time she crossed the labyrinth when she had the mission to kill Rodrigo. She felt relieved that those times were finally in the past; now everyone trusted her, and she would not let them down.

Finally, half an hour passed, and they exited the labyrinth. The space looked exactly the same, colorful with a semblance of darkness and melancholy. Menrva took the celestial map and indicated to everyone that they should go to the left.

—Aren't we supposed to go to the right, Menrva?— Epona asked, confused.

—Oh no!, sorry, I was wrong. You're right, we should go to the right— the Etruscan goddess replied, embarrassed.

—Don't worry, I also get directions confused— Ana said to Menrva with a smile.

However, Epona felt something strange. As weak as it felt, there was a presence of something or someone to the left. She tried to ignore the thoughts in her mind and continued, along with the others, their march to Asgard.

The gods flew at full speed for about an hour through wormholes. Rodrigo was amazed to see all the phenomena that existed in outer space, galaxies, black holes, huge suns, thousands of planets, and light phenomena that he had never imagined seeing. The Universe was undoubtedly one of the most wonderful places that existed.

—They're very pretty, all these phenomena, aren't they, Rui?— Ana commented as she approached Rodrigo.

—I never thought there would be so many colors outside of Earth. When I looked at the sky, I imagined it all completely dark, like a great ocean; and above it all, the paradise where God lived— Rodrigo commented.

—Do you still believe in God, Rodrigo?— Tania approached to ask him curiously.

—When Athena said you were the daughter of Elyon, I didn't know how to process that. Now, seeing a world I didn't know and living with other gods and angels, the truth is that I don't know what to think— Rodrigo said, embarrassed.

—I'll be honest with you, Rui— Ana said as she looked him straight in the eye. —We ourselves do not know what exists outside of the multiverse—

—Yes, you should not think of this Elyon as the god of everything. He did not create life, in fact, no god did— Tania added.

—So the gods didn't create humans?— Rodrigo asked, intrigued.

—No, we are... species similar to humans, but born on other planets— Tania answered.

—Yes, humans are a species very different from the rest of life in the multiverse. Although they do not have abilities like flying or emanating energy through their divine blood, they are capable of creating faith that serves as energy for us— Ana explained.

—They are a unique species. In all that we have explored this huge universe, we have never found a species equal to humans. In fact, I heard that the encounter between humans and gods happened by pure chance— Tania replied.

—However, humans have managed to create technology. We often don't need it, but we've been curious to see the things they create, and we replicate them. For example, that map that Menrva is carrying is based on the cartography that humans do— Ana added.

—It's like a complement of humans for their lack of control over their energy, I suppose— Rodrigo commented.

—That's right— Ana answered. —However, that doesn't mean that humans can't awaken their dormant divine power—

Rodrigo was intrigued. Could normal humans access divine levels? At that moment, he remembered when Anpiel told him not to underestimate anyone.

—Athena told me— Ana continued explaining, —that in Olympus, the realm of the Greek gods, there are groups created by humans who have learned to use their divine powers and it is a quite powerful army—

—Asgard, the realm we are going to— Tania added, —also has an army of humans who were able to awaken their divine powers upon death—

Rodrigo was surprised. Humans, then, seemed to be the species with the most potential of all.

—And, on the other hand, unlike the world of the gods, I feel that humans, despite their wars and violence, know how to appreciate moments more and love each other— Tania continued.

—That's why you love them so much, right?— Rodrigo asked.

—Yes, I... want to be human— Tania confessed.

—Me too— Ana commented with a big smile.

On the other hand, Susanoo was flying next to Menrva, while she was carefully studying the celestial map.

—And tell me, Susanoo, why did you join Orniskem? I don't believe that Yamato is at risk of being invaded by Christians or Muslims at this time— the Etruscan goddess asked the oriental god.

—For the same reason I joined Ares' Keres, to get stronger, Menrva-san— Susanoo answered.

—So you mean, if a group attracts your attention later, will you abandon us?— Menrva asked somewhat annoyed.

—No, I couldn't. This group has something that the Keres didn't have. I saw how those girls fought and they did it with all their heart. And, later, with my fight against Rodrigo-san; I was able to feel something in that combat that I hadn't felt since I lived in Takama-no-hara. Before, I was like Khonsu-san or Sekhmet-san, and I just wanted to defeat strong enemies and massacre them. But my combat with Rodrigo finally made me understand what my sister told me, Menrva-san— Susanoo commented.

—And what is that?— Menrva asked.

—Well... the truth is that I was never appreciated in Takama-no-hara, and many times they threatened to exile me; but my sister always defended me. She believed that there was honor in my heart, but that I needed to discover it— the oriental god answered.

Menrva looked at him uncertainly. How could someone as educated and serious as Susanoo have been an outcast in his kingdom? She did not understand.

—I never appreciated her affection, and in a fit of anger against her, I destroyed her rice fields, murdered one of her maids, and even... defecated in her palace. She looked at me with a look of sadness and hatred, I will never forget it— Susanoo continued telling his story.

—You defecated in her palace? You? I can't believe you were that kind of person— Menrva replied amused.

—I'm sorry! But that's how it was. Even so, my sister's words still resonate in my kokoro, heart, before exiling me: 'One day you will wield your sword against someone you will respect so much that it will break it. And you will realize that although you pretend to be someone evil and harm others, you only harm yourself. The day you find that person, and fight against him or her, I am sure that I will be ready to call you my brother again'— the oriental god commented.

—And that person is Rodrigo?— Menrva asked.

—Hai! I believed that my sister wanted me to show my worth, bringing the head of some legendary being in the world that caused destruction and harm, but now I understand that she was referring to find someone like Rodrigo-san— Susanoo commented.

—Then why don't you return to your kingdom?— the Etruscan goddess asked.

—Because I want to fight alongside Rodrigo-san and the others; I want to become stronger next to them— Susanoo replied with a smile.

—Then let's both get stronger. I want the same, I want to fight for my idol, the goddess Athena— Menrva proudly replied.

—Yes, Menrva-san— Susanoo replied.

Further behind the group, Epona and Anpiel were flying together. Anpiel, although he did not carry a totema, did wear an armor that the malakim soldiers of Orniskem used: a red breastplate with a white skirt, gold sandals and bracelets. The white, almost pink, wings were shown on the angel's back.

—I can't believe it! You haven't complained that you're tired, you haven't demanded that I carry you, or any of your classic whims, Epona— Anpiel said, surprised.

—That Epona died when you left, Anpiel— Epona replied with a smug smile.

—But now you've become so boring— Anpiel replied.

—Are you that kind of people who like to be messed with?— the goddess of horses asked, surprised.

Anpiel started to laugh.

—So you liked it when I treated you as inferior, ordered you around, and stuff?— Epona asked.

—Epona, Epona. You didn't realize, did you? In the end, it was always you who did those things. I don't know if it was a defense mechanism of yours, but the truth is we never had a relationship like that; rather a relationship of friends— Anpiel answered, still amused.

—Are you serious?— Epona asked.

—Sure, we bothered each other and that's how we lived. It was actually more fun to deal with you, than with some other proud goddess who usually didn't speak to me— the malak replied.

—Well, if you want me to keep bothering you, I will!— Epona commented with a mischievous smile.

—And I will be ready to ignore you and humiliate you for it. By the way, what happened to your alcoholic peasant vocabulary?— the angel asked, noticing that Epona no longer swore as she commonly did.

Epona sighed.

—Rodrigo stuck me with his vocabulary— Epona replied with a smile.

—Do you have a relationship with that young man?— Anpiel asked, surprised.

Epona then signaled him to keep quiet, putting her index finger in front of her mouth and giving him a wink.

—But if you are degenerate, aren't you a virgin goddess?— asked the angel.

—And I will be, or... Anpiel, are you jealous?— the Celtic goddess replied with a mischievous look.

—I'm sorry, Epona, but I must confess something to you— Anpiel said with a sad look.

—What is it? Do you secretly love me?— Epona asked eagerly.

—Well, the truth is... I couldn't have anything with you— Anpiel continued explaining to the horse goddess.

—Is it because I'm a goddess and you're a malak?— asked the equine goddess.

—No, it's because... I'm not a zoophile and I could never have relations with a mare— replied Anpiel, starting to laugh.

—You damn malak son of a bitch!— Epona yelled and started trying to hit him, but the angel evaded her attacks while continuing to laugh.

—And there's the vocabulary of the Epona I know!— replied Anpiel laughing as he continued to evade the blows from the Celtic goddess.

—Well, I hope you're all ready, we've arrived at our destination: Yggdrasil— interrupted Menrva with a strong voice at full lung.

Just as they had described, Yggdrasil was a gigantic planet, which was completely covered by the roots of a huge tree. The tree was much larger than the planet, so it seemed that the planet was the underworld of Yggdrasil. At the top of the great tree, three gigantic cities illuminated the dark panorama of outer space.

—Asgard... is the one located in the upper central part of the great tree— Menrva commented while pointing at the city on Yggdrasil.

—And how will we enter? From here I can see that it is protected by a dimensional shield at least— asked Tania as she approached Menrva.

—According to master Athena, a man named Heimdal will welcome us when we approach Asgard— replied the Etruscan goddess.

Rodrigo and company approached the gigantic tree. The lush stem of Yggdrasil was reddish, and its leaves were a very dark green. Asgard looked like a huge set of golden buildings, although traces of destruction could be seen throughout the gigantic city.

—Welcome, Orniskem, to Asgard— a voice was heard in the distance. The gods turned to look and saw a rainbow-colored bridge appear from the city of Asgard to the area where Rodrigo and company were flying.

—Are you Heimdal?— Menrva asked intrigued.

—That's right. Please enter this bridge called Bifrost and you will be transported right here— the god commented.

—Alright, everyone get on this huge bridge and let's enter Asgard— Menrva told Rodrigo and company.

Everyone nodded.

As if it were a teleporter, just when they touched the Bifrost bridge, they were all automatically brought to Asgard. Everyone appeared on a huge golden platform with white, which was at the top of a hill. Around them, there were several golden statues of valkyries and gods. Heimdal was wearing his totema with his sword stuck in the ground, and was accompanied by a group of Valkyries.

—So you are Heimdal, right? We have come to be able to travel to Greenland and to be able to visit Vinland— Menrva commented while all the others admired the surroundings of Asgard.

—I regret to tell you that before proceeding, I will need to test you— commented the white god.

—A test? What do you mean?— Tania asked intrigued.

—Yes, it's very simple, I need to know if you have the necessary power to enter Vinland. So all you have to do is defeat me and my two companions— commented the Nordic god.

At that moment, Modi and Magni, Thor's sons, fell from the sky. Both wore a blue Viking armor, covered with bear skins.

Modi was blonde and had a huge ponytail in his hair and very pronounced moustaches. Magni, on the other hand, had his orange hair tied up as if it were an onion at the top, and he had a thick beard. They both carried axes and shields. The two stood side by side with Heimdall, who did not show a trace of emotion.

—A fight? We weren't told anything about a fight— Menrva answered annoyed.

—These are orders from Thor, who now serves as the leader of Asgard. He saw how weak those two goddesses were when they faced the Celtic Katteres, and he doesn't want them to get in the way of his mission—Heimdall calmly replied.

—Wait, Menrva— Tania put her hand on the Etruscan goddess's shoulder.

—He's right, we were easily defeated; but this time it won't be the same— continued the fire-haired goddess while pulling out her claw engulfed in flames.

—That's right, this time we've improved a lot, we're not the same weaklings they saw in Jutland— Ana commented as she made her sword Dyrnwyn appear.

—Wait a minute girls, I'm the leader of this expedition, so I won't allow you to fight alone. I'll take care of Heimdall, you fight against those two who also appeared—ordered Menrva while making her electric spear appear.

—Hold on—Susanoo interrupted. —We will also fight—.

Rodrigo nodded.

—You guys stay back, you'll have another opportunity to fight. Don't worry, the three of us are enough— Menrva commented with an excited smile on her face.