Chapter 82:

Under the moon of Denendeh

Elyon - Gods among us

Ana, then, made the cabin appear in the middle of the plain. It was exactly as they had left it when they had been in Vinland.

The cabin had two floors, a fireplace, and a thatched triangular roof. On the ground floor, there was a large table with mead right in front of the fireplace, in addition to several cozy pieces of furniture; and everything was carpeted with a beautiful red rug.

Behind this room, there was a small kitchen equipped with a wood-burning stove, and barrels containing food such as meat, wines, bread, vegetables, and cheeses. The barrels were sealed with ice magic to stay fresh.

Upstairs, there were two rooms, both with a double bed, feather mattresses and pillows. Each room had a piece of furniture for storing clothes and belongings. In one of the rooms, there was a spinning wheel, although Ana didn't know how to sew very well. Both rooms were lit by two large windows.

—Alright— Ana said. —This is a house I bought with my savings over my years in the human world. Make yourselves at home—

The sky began to darken in the eternal plain, even though it was only an illusion. Everyone entered and was amazed at how cozy it was, but Ana stayed outside, which Epona and Rodrigo noticed.

—Aren't you coming in?— Rodrigo asked.

—No, Rui, I have 'this' undesirable on my back and I don't feel like letting him in— the dark-haired goddess said, referring to Loki. —Besides, someone should stay outside to watch for any enemy movement—

—Well, I have no choice but to stay outside too— Epona said, sitting on the ground in a lotus position.

—I will stay here with you too— Rodrigo said.

—Don't you really going to release me?— Loki complained. —In that Skræling prison, I was even more comfortable—

—You should let him in and rest, Ana— Menrva's voice was heard from inside the cabin.

When the three turned around, they saw that the Etruscan goddess was peering out of a window.

—The chains were created by Bellona, nothing and no one can break them; unless, she wants to— the goddess continued explaining. —So don't worry and rest, you haven't slept well for a month—

Menrva withdrew from the window and Ana thought about what to do. Just when she was about to take a step, Epona stopped her by placing her right hand on her shoulder.

—It's selfish of me, but could you stay out here?— the horse goddess asked apologetically.

Ana remembered that Epona had said she didn't trust Menrva, and even though she didn't feel the same uncertainty about the goddess, she decided to halt her step.

—We'll stay outside, Menrva, we'll keep an eye on any enemy movements— Ana said with her voice raised so everyone could hear. Then, Ana turned to see Rodrigo and smiled at him.

—Rui, you don't have to stay. Go back with the others— the goddess said, but Rodrigo made a negation movement with his head.

—I'll stay here with you guys— the young Tannin said.

Tania and Anpiel then came out through the cabin door and saw their companions sitting on the ground. Ana had already taken Loki off her back and placed him next to her.

—Ana, do you remember when we arrived in Ibiza with Rodrigo? Why don't we make a bonfire like that day?— the fire-haired goddess asked.

Tania and Anpiel brought food and some logs from inside. Ana was surprised to see them, but she understood that the Punic goddess had gotten the hint. She quickly nodded with a big smile.

Anpiel placed the logs in the middle of the group, and Tania lit them with one of her techniques. Quickly, the goddess put some pork legs she had been carrying, and Anpiel, using a pan, sautéed some vegetables and bread, drizzling them with olive oil.

—Wow, you remembered that I don't eat meat, malak— the horse goddess said with a smile.

—Well of course, everyone knows that horses only eat vegetables, especially carrots— the angel said sarcastically.

—Despite your stupid comments, I appreciate your action, Anpiel— the Celtic goddess commented as she watched the angel cook the vegetables.

—So here we are, the original team enjoying a bonfire under a strange moonlight once again— Tania commented, looking at a satellite in the sky that reminded her of the Earth's moon, and it gave her nostalgia as it was an integral part of her essence as a goddess.

—The original team, plus an unwanted one— Ana commented, glancing at Loki.

—I would also like to eat, if it's not too much trouble. I don't eat much. In fact, I would be satisfied if one of you beautiful goddesses fed me in my mouth— Loki commented.

—Feed him, Ana. He's a cruel person, but we're not like him to torture him— Tania said as she cooked a dish of lentils in a large pot.

Ana brought a leg of pork to the god of lies and put it in his mouth. —Go ahead, eat— she said.

Loki bit into the meat and was very animated.

—It's delicious! I haven't eaten like this since I was in Denmark— he shouted excitedly.

—Don't get your hopes up, it's just a meal— Ana said.

—Exactly, I was locked up in a prison in Yggdrasil for a thousand years, where a serpent sprayed poison on my face every day— Loki said. —I wouldn't have survived if my wife hadn't brought me food every day—

—It's hard to believe that someone as sick and horrible as you is married— Ana commented.

—A wonderful woman, no doubt about it— he continued. —Although faithfulness was not my thing, and I had affairs with other women. Still, she kept believing in me—

—A stupid woman, for sure— Ana said.

—A compassionate or stupid woman. That will depend on who wants to interpret it— said the god. —Just as you believe me to be evil as Asgard does; those are just silly labels—

Ana began to laugh.

—Don't try to play innocent with me, god of lies— Ana said, looking at him defiantly.

—And what about you? Married? Children? Affairs with that green-eyed snake god?— the Norse god persuasively asked.

—Married? I suppose. I'd say separated. But that's none of your business— Ana commented, making a face of pain.

—Don't want to talk about it? Don't worry, we all carry crosses within us, the important thing is to overcome them— Loki commented.

—Well— said Ana as she took a mug of beer and downed it in her mouth wildly, drinking it all and putting it back on the ground.

—I have three children, but I've never seen them nor do I know anything about their existence or whereabouts— she continued explaining.

Then, the goddess brought a mug of beer to Loki's mouth for him to drink.

Loki drank heartily and shouted full of excitement: —It's delicious! This makes me forget that I'm tied in this position—

—Well, I said something I didn't want to say, now tell me— said Ana, her face flushed.

—Is it true that you killed the son of the queen of Asgard?— she asked.

—I did, yes. I envied him— Loki commented. —I hated all the members of Asgard, they always mocked me for being a jotun. I liked to mock them for their inferior intellect. You've seen how barbaric they are, haven't you?— he asked.

—Yes, at the banquet everyone behaved like savages— Ana commented.

—I never fit in there, so I was the butt of jokes. They asked for my advice when they needed it, but other times they just humiliated me like once...— Loki commented, but then stopped talking.

—Come on, man, we're in confidence— commented Ana, slightly drunk.

—They made a horse rape me— the god commented, ashamed.

Ana dropped her beer mug and looked at him in surprise.

—You're lying, aren't you?— Ana asked.

—I'm not lying. Being a brainiac among savages always ends up being the target of mockery and humiliation— Loki continued explaining.

—As weird as it may seem, I understand you— Ana commented, putting her head down.

—Anyway, Balder was Asgard's pride. He was a blond, effeminate boy. Frigg spoiled him to the point of being just a pampered, petulant child— Loki continued commenting.

—I knew that Odin was going to make him an Anunnaki of Asgard, someone who had never had problems, who saw everyone as servants, who humiliated the weak. So I devised a plan to murder him, and I succeeded— he concluded.

—And that's why they locked you up?— Ana asked.

—Basically yes, for exactly a thousand years— commented the Nordic god.

—I also want to kill someone from my land, I want to make him suffer— Ana commented with an evil look.

—Let me guess, the ex-husband— Loki said mockingly.

Ana started to laugh.

—How did you know, fool? Do you read my mind?— Ana asked Loki, still laughing.

—Oh come on, girl, it's the most obvious thing in the world. With everything you've told me, I'm sure it was some big shot from Tuatha Dé Danann who abused you. Surely even gave you in a marriage arranged by some stupid alliance— Loki commented.

—Yes... that's true— Ana responded, her face full of sadness.

—You should see how common that is in Asgard— Loki continued.

—Women given as prizes to men, women sexually abused by their partners without being able to defend themselves. I was a bastard, I admit, but the women I slept with always chose it, I never forced anyone— he explained.

—It's a shitty world— Ana commented and tears began to flow from her eyes.

—Come on, Ana! You have to be stronger. Remember you're going to kill that bastard. You're not going to start crying like this in front of him, are you?— Loki said, feigning irritation.

—No, I suppose not— Ana said, wiping her tears with her hand.

—How about this?— Loki continued. —As soon as we find Odin, and I do what your friend ordered me to do, I'll help you in your crusade against that big shot from Tuatha Dé Danann. How about that?—

—I suppose you're trying to convince me to let you go, right, damn liar?— Ana responded with a more serious expression.

—I never suggested that, Ana, but I wouldn't mind if that happened— Loki responded with a mocking smile.

Ana got up, swaying a bit.

—Goodnight, god of lies— she said grudgingly and walked away from there.

Loki returned the gesture with a smile.

The Irish goddess then saw Rodrigo and Epona, both leaning against each other completely asleep. Ana felt a great envy seeing them.

—Why? Why do I feel this? Do I have feelings for Rodrigo or am I just feeling envious of Epona?— she began asking herself in her thoughts, but Tania appeared behind her with a plate of lentils.

—Come on, Ana, eat— the fire-haired goddess said with a smile.

—Oh, thanks, Tania— Ana replied and sat down with the goddess.

—They look so cute together, don't you think, Ana?— Tania asked, looking at Rodrigo and Epona together.

—Yes, I suppose— Ana answered indifferently.

—You're very transparent, you know?— Tania commented, laughing quietly.

—I don't know what you're talking about; he's my disciple and I'm proud of him— the Irish goddess said as she drank the lentils as if they were water.

—You never saw him as a disciple, in fact, you always identified with him— the Punic goddess commented.

—You were too rough to train him, you would have killed him— Ana commented.

—Bringing him was and always has been your idea— Tania commented.

—We could have left him in Spain with a scolding or a wound so he wouldn't make any more mess, but it was you who suggested that he live with us. Educate him, teach him to fight and give him some general culture. This whole adventure was because of your decision— Tania continued.

Ana remained silent.

—Why didn't you ever tell him how you felt?— asked the Punic goddess.

—I'm not exactly sure what I feel for Rodrigo, Tania— Ana said melancholically.

—Does he know what happened to you in Tuatha Dé Danann?— asked the fire-haired goddess.

—He knows— replied the Irish goddess.

—I heard you talking about it with Loki, you would never have opened up about that to a stranger before. I think Rodrigo has helped us all change, improve— confessed Tania.

—Do you think I'm better than before now?— Ana asked, still melancholic.

—By a lot!— said Tania. Then she got up, smiled at her, and went to sit next to Anpiel.

—I'm a better person than before thanks to Rui— the goddess thought deep down and smiled.