Chapter 98:


Elyon - Gods among us

—Why don't we just fought to escape?— Susanoo asked frustratedly.

—We were surrounded by very powerful gods, our chances of victory were minimal— Anpiel replied.

—But, at least, we would have had an honorable death— Susanoo remarked.

—Well, I think I agree with Susanoo— Tania chimed in.

—Why do you say that?— Rodrigo inquired.

—Now we are in a cell that has an anti-deity power even stronger than the one outside, and they extracted our ichor. Which basically means we can't move, and they also took our totemas— Tania commented frustratedly.

The goddess and Rodrigo had their necks tied together with a rope, and Rodrigo was also tied to the ground. Anpiel and Susanoo were bound in the same way.

The four gods were prisoners exposed on a high hill, where the boundaries were marked by a circle of stones, but from these emanated a very potent anti-deity barrier. It not only prevented the gods from using their powers, but it also kept them weak and dizzy.

—We will be taken to that city they mentioned earlier without our totemas. We will die, and without honor— Susanoo remarked pessimistically.

—Cahokia, the capital of the Mississippi empire— Anpiel mentioned.

—But Susanoo, wasn't it your dream to kill a tannin? You should be happier about that, at least your dream came true— Rodrigo tried to be optimistic.

—I needed the help of Hé-no-sama, Rodrigo-san. It still isn't a clean victory— the Oriental god responded pessimistically.

At that moment, there was a lot of noise and a massive commotion. The earth began to tremble, and the sky to thunder.

—What's happening in the village?— Tania wondered.

—We should take advantage of this commotion to escape from here— Susanoo suggested.

—The closer you get to the barrier, the weaker you will feel— Anpiel warned.

—Both Rodrigo and I are tied to the ground. If you manage to get out, you would lose consciousness and we would all be strangled because of these ropes around our necks, and due to the height of the hill we're on— the angel added.

—But if we don't try, we'll die in that city they mentioned anyway— Tania pointed out.

—Cahokia, Tania— Anpiel corrected.

—How can you remember such strange names?— Tania asked curiously.

—I'm older than you, and I was used to memorizing millions of names for my missions— Anpiel answered.

Suddenly, the sky darkened even more, and lightning flashed. Agonizing and terrified screams began to be heard, and then the gods saw a group of humans at the base of the hill armed with knives and spears.

—They're the culprits!— one shouted, picking up a stone and hitting Rodrigo in the face. Due to the anti-deity barrier, the blow severely hurt him, causing blood to flow from his forehead and right eye.

—Yes, they are the culprits who brought those stone demons!— the people shouted as they picked up more stones and hurled them at the gods. Tania, Anpiel, and Susanoo began to bleed from their faces due to being stoned by the humans.

—People, they are demons. Grab our weapons and let's kill them— one said, and all raised their knives and spears, approaching the gods to finish them.

—I never thought I'd die at the hands of humans— Tania said in frustration.

—And to die in such a dishonorable way— Susanoo added in astonishment.

But at that moment, a bright lightning flash blinded everyone. Just outside the circle that formed the anti-deity shield stood Hé-no, bow in hand.

—Sorry for the delay, but I've come to get you out of here— said the thunder god, shooting his arrows at the stones forming the shield, destroying them.

The gods quickly felt their energy returning and broke the ropes binding them. Hé-no, then, tossed each god their totems.

—It was hard getting these back, hence the delay— the god said.

—Thanks, I suppose we're even now— Tania said with a grateful smile.

—Of course not, it was my fault for bringing you into this trap set by Sawiskera, so I'm doing this to make amends— the thunder god replied.

At that moment, Rodrigo realized that the humans had frozen in time. —Is this an alternate dimension?— he asked.

Hé-no didn't know how to answer.

—I mean, humans seem trapped in time, while we can move normally— Rodrigo explained.

—Ah! I can stop time in human lives with my lightning; so don't worry, when their frozen time ends, you'll have simply vanished from their sight— the god explained.

—Wait!— Anpiel shouted, making appear a horn of mead. —We can't fight without regaining our strength— the angel suggested.

—Good thing you're always prepared, Anpiel— Tania said.

They all drank some ambrosia to regain their energy as Hé-no explained the situation.

—Sawiskera is blaming you for the current attack on the village by some kind of stone giants. That's why they came to kill you, believing it would appease the attackers— Hé-no explained.

—Why would he do that?— Tania wondered.

—I don't think he has a reason— Anpiel answered. —To cause the most chaos possible?—

—For some reason, now that I think about it, I don't remember why Sawiskera became king of our realm. It's as if I've always believed he's been the king— the thunder god mused. —That doubt crossed my mind when I saw his face filled with wickedness—

With their energy restored, the gods leapt off the hill.

—No matter what happens, let's defeat this Sawiskera— Susanoo urged enthusiastically.

—I've only come to help you escape. In the end, this is something we have to resolve ourselves— Hé-no said, but Tania shook her head.

—What kind of gods would we be if we didn't help those in need?— the Punic goddess asked.

Hé-no nodded in gratitude.

The gods donned their totemas and fled. At that moment, humans regained their sense of time and were baffled by the gods' disappearance. After all, there was no way they could have escaped.

All of Onondaga was in flames. The tipi huts were burning or had been destroyed, and the ground was cracked.

The gods finally saw the immense stone monsters attacking the village. Each was over five meters tall, with long white hair, bloodshot eyes without pupils, and a sadistic, violent grin. Their bodies were hairy, resembling grotesque gorillas, and they walked slightly hunched over.

—Those are stone monsters? I was expecting more like golems or jotun— commented the Punic goddess.

Tania then set her claw on fire and struck one of the giants, easily destroying it. The stone giant shattered and ceased moving.

—They're not powerful; we can defeat them— the goddess stated.

—The problem is there are over a thousand of these giants attacking the village— a voice echoed from the distance.

Hé-no then turned to see a man with a bow, to which the god simply said: —Sosondowah—

The man who had attacked the realm of the goddess Sedna now stood before them, his bow aimed at the group.

—You! Gods from other lands, who have brought blood and war to our society with your spells. You will die right here!— the hunter god declared.

—Wait, Sosondowah, didn't you just see that this girl here just killed one of those giants?— Hé-no questioned, taken aback.

—The law of our leader, the great Sawiskera, is absolute. If you oppose it, Hé-no, I'll consider you as much a threat as them— the hunter god responded.

—We'll fight as well— Susanoo stated, but Hé-no stopped them with an outstretched hand.

—You focus on defeating these giants and stopping this chaos by Sawiskera. I'll handle this one— the thunder god declared.

—Alright, mr. Hé-no, just don't die— Anpiel replied, and the four gods left the battlefield.

—For someone wanting to kill the four of them, you didn't do much to stop them from moving— Hé-no noted.

—I heard they want to face the great Sawiskera. That's worse than a death sentence— Sosondowah laughed.

Rodrigo and the others rushed towards the grand house where Sawiskera sat as a king, but then they saw dozens of stone giants destroying the village and innocent people fleeing from them.

—Anpiel, tell me, can I entrust you with the stone giants?— the goddess asked.

Anpiel then ran towards one, and with his flaming sword, sliced it in half, then, shooting from his weapon, turned it to dust.

—Yes, I'm up to the task— he replied.

—Good, the three of us will keep going on— the goddess shouted, and Rodrigo, Susanoo, and Tania continued their sprint towards the grand house. However, halfway there, dozens of gods appeared, blocking their path.

—It's you who caused this— one shouted, and all the gods drew their weapons: spears, bows, axes, and knives.

Tania unsheathed her fire claws, and Susanoo his katana, both engaging with the Iroquoian gods. They inflicted them significant wounds but couldn't defeat them instantly.

—Rodrigo! Sawiskera is yours!— Tania yelled while she and Susanoo continued battling the Iroquoian gods.

—Believe in yourself, Rodrigo-san— Susanoo urged as he kept clashing against the foes.

Rodrigo wanted to stay and help, but he knew that only by defeating Sawiskera would the chaos end. He swallowed hard and continued running until he finally reached the grand house, which was the only building not burning or destroyed.

Rodrigo entered and found it eerily empty and dark. Suddenly, Sawiskera appeared behind him, whispering: —It's a pity, they sent me the weakest—. As he said that, he drove his hand through Rodrigo's chest.

Rodrigo fell, but when he touched his chest, there was no wound, and Sawiskera was no longer before him. But then he saw Sawiskera advancing from the darkness. Trying to retaliate, Rodrigo realized he had no hands. Sawiskera grabbed him by the throat and slammed him to the ground.

—It's impossible for you to defeat me, boy. I can alter reality as I wish. Here, I am the god of gods— he sneered.

Rodrigo realized he once again had arms, but when he tried to turn to see Sawiskera, he found himself petrified, unable to do anything but watch. Sawiskera then appeared, his hands transforming into grotesque claws emanating dark energy.

—Now, boy, I'll teach you a lesson for daring to challenge me— he said, and with one of his claws, shattered the statue of Rodrigo into hundreds of pieces. However, Rodrigo continued to sense and see, through his eyes now strewn across the ground.

—How do you find reality control, boy? With this skill, I've been ruling these fools, making them believe I've always been their ruler when it was only my stupid twin brother— Sawiskera commented.

Rodrigo then horrifyingly saw that his fragments were no longer made of stone but flesh, with his entire body scattered in a sea of blood as worms consumed his parts. Each bite from these insects felt like a sharp stab to his now non-existent body.

—How does it feel to be devoured by worms? If you want, I can stop your heart anytime so you won't continue suffering this way— laughed Sawiskera.

Rodrigo then began to laugh, despite the immense pain he was experiencing.

—Is this your idea of eternal suffering? If I become unconscious, it'll be from sleepiness and boredom— Rodrigo remarked cockily.

—You think I can't make you suffer more?— Sawiskera responded, and at that moment, Rodrigo was whole again, but this time he floated above a gigantic spiked bed.

—Now I'm going to crush you with this huge spike bed, boy, let's see how long you continue to be mouthy— Sawiskera threatened.

But then, Rodrigo turned his body into tannin scales and shouted: —I was hoping you'd put my body back together! Open, fourth chakra!—

Rodrigo was engulfed in a white light, which shattered Sawiskera's controlled reality as if breaking into pieces.

—It's incredible, I finally managed to do it!— Rodrigo thought excitedly, recalling that he hadn't been able to open his chakras previously due to the anti-divinity barrier.

—It must be thanks to getting more and more accustomed to this barrier— he thought.

The young tannin then lunged at the wicked god, and with his fists infused with sacred energy, began to mercilessly beat him. With a barrage of attacks, Rodrigo dragged the evil god out of the large hut, destroying the entrance gate.

The continuous blows filled with sacred energy continued to severely damage Sawiskera, but then the young god looked at the god's utterly deformed face. His headdress had fallen off during the blows, and now only a deformed mass remained where Sawiskera's face had been. Seeing this, Rodrigo couldn't help but pause, reminded of the soldiers in Coímbra that he himself had slaughtered.

—What's wrong, boy? Never killed before?— the evil god asked with a smile, or at least what attempted to be one on his twisted face.

—No, you've killed and live with the guilt of having done it— Sawiskera continued.

At that moment, Rodrigo lost his power and felt as if all his manna had been suddenly drained, causing a severe dizziness.

—You almost defeated me, but your foolishness doomed your friends— said Sawiskera as he buried his arm in Rodrigo's chest.

—This time it's not just an alternate reality, boy, this time you'll die— he stated.

Rodrigo's eyes began to roll back, and his strength waned.

Meanwhile, Anpiel collapsed, completely exhausted, as hundreds of giants approached him like a stampede.

—I've killed more than fifty, but this exceeds my strength— thought the angel as he lay on the ground.

Then, Anpiel laboriously stood up and raised his flaming sword as high as he could, inevitably seeing all the giants running towards him, trying to crush him.

—Well, I won't die without giving them a good fight— said Anpiel, shouting as he threw himself back at the monsters.

—My name is Gaoh, and my duty is to finish you off— said one of the gods fighting Tania, and opening his right hand, he shouted: —Ya-o-gah

A chilling, cold wind blew behind the god as the image of a bear appeared behind him. Tania began to feel her body freeze, struggling to move against such an attack. The deity, a man with long hair dressed in a bear tunic, lunged at the frozen goddess and pierced her abdomen with his bare palm. Tania coughed up blood as she remained frozen in a cross-like position.

—I overestimated my power, thinking I could fight against dozens of gods at the same time, but under this anti-divinity barrier, I have very clear limits— Tania thought.

—Rodrigo, everything is in your hands now— shouted the Punic goddess before completely losing consciousness.

Susanoo, on the other hand, was fighting a woman who wouldn't stop dancing, but every step she took on the ground created enormous stalagmites trying to impale the Oriental god. He did his best to avoid them, but didn't see when the goddess leaped over him, and upon landing, crushed Susanoo, creating a massive crater in the earth.

The Oriental god coughed up blood, feeling as if all his bones were breaking and his internal organs were exploding from the pressure.

The woman was beautiful, with loose black hair, wearing an elk skin tunic with short sleeves and leather boots.

The Iroquois goddess jumped out of the hole she had created and approached Susanoo, saying:
—You can be proud you were killed by me, the great goddess Doendzowes— And she withdrew.

—So this was my limit— Susanoo thought. —At least I'll die fighting as a warrior and not captured or sacrificed—

Susanoo then closed his eyes and began to lose consciousness.

Elsewhere, a rain of electric arrows collided with another rain of arrows creating air currents. Both Hé-no and Sosondowah continued their exchange of arrows, which caused a huge explosion and deafening noise whenever one collided with another. Each deity shot about a hundred arrows per round, so approaching their fight was literally lethal.

—We must stop fighting, Sosondowah, and help the people evacuate from this catastrophe!— shouted Hé-no, but he received no response from the hunting god as their exchange of arrows continued.

—Tania, Anpiel, Susanoo— Rodrigo thought as he felt the energies of his friends fading away.

—It's true, I must not give up because the only way to stop this is by defeating this evil god who controls their minds— Rodrigo corrected himself.

Sawiskera then tried to pull his hand out of Rodrigo's body, but he couldn't. The young man had once again changed his demeanor. Now there was determination in his eyes, although it didn't bother the evil god in the slightest.

—So you're back to having that look of fear, huh? But it will matter little when I alter reality again...— the god said, but he was interrupted as he felt Rodrigo's body temperature rise, and his body began to glow. Sawiskera's arm was pulverized as he screamed in pain.

Rodrigo then started transforming into a tannin over Sawiskera, and in his raised left hand, he charged a massive sphere of sacred light and struck the god with all his might. The entire camp, at that moment, trembled, and a gigantic sacred luminous phenomenon shone across the wide area. Some of the giants who were close were caught in these phenomena and disappeared as if they were ash.

The light subsided, and Sawiskera lay beneath Rodrigo unconscious, with burns covering his body. At that moment, everyone who was fighting stopped and wondered what they were doing.

—Hé-no— Sosondowah asked, —Why exactly are we fighting each other?—

—I have a vague idea, but it's as if we were mentally manipulated by someone I can't remember— Hé-no commented. —But my memory suggests that it seems to have been the one sitting on the throne of this realm—

Tania opened her eyes and saw the group of gods who had been fighting against her looking confused.

—Who are you, young lady, and why were you fighting against us?— the man who had frozen her asked.

At that, another god yelled, —There are hundreds of wounded among the humans, and stone monsters are destroying the village!—. Everyone nodded and rushed to help the people.

Susanoo, then, with the little strength he had left, crawled out of the hole he was in, while Tania gathered her strength to shatter the ice cross she was trapped in. Both gods were severely injured, and due to the anti-divinity barrier, their wounds couldn't heal as quickly as they would have outside of it.

—It seems Rodrigo did it— Tania said with a smile and a tired expression.

Meanwhile, Anpiel, who was already lying on the ground completely defeated, drained of energy, and about to be crushed by the giants chasing him, was surprised to see them explode into pieces. Hé-no, along with Sosondowah and the gods who Tania and Susanoo had been fighting, finished off the remaining giants almost immediately.

—Young warrior, Anpiel— Hé-no said, —you're safe now— as he shook his hand.

Anpiel accepted the courtesy and stood up with the help of the Iroquois god.

The sun began to rise, dispelling the terrible night that had enveloped the village. However, everyone was taken aback when they heard Rodrigo start screaming like a madman.

—We need to give ambrosia to Rodrigo— Tania said as she remained injured and sitting on the ground. But then both gods saw people from the village approaching them with water and medicinal herbs to begin treating them.

Rodrigo was almost losing consciousness when he heard Epona's voice in his mind: —Goodbye, Rodrigo— At that moment, the young man regained consciousness and restored his tannin state to normal without needing to drink ambrosia.

—Was that Epona's voice?— he wondered as he got up from the unconscious evil god Sawiskera.