Elyon - Gods among us
Anpiel and Susanoo rushed to where Tania was. When they saw her with her healed body and embracing Tul, they both felt a huge relief.
Despite having recovered, Tania's skin showed terrible burns and was completely stained with blood. Anpiel quickly approached with the mead and poured it into her mouth. The goddess's wounds healed instantly, an act that completely surprised Tul.
—What kind of magical drink is that?— the rabbit goddess asked as Tania chuckled softly.
—It's medicine from the other side of the world, called ambrosia— Tania replied, as she let go of Tul and stood up.
The rabbit goddess looked puzzled and was immediately excited to learn of such a powerful medicine from worlds she hadn't known.
—In fact, Anpiel, give her some as well— Tania told the angel, who was still puzzled looking at the rabbit girl.
—Yes, sure— he replied and handed the horn of mead to Tul. She sniffed it first, then took a sip. Her wounds healed instantly, and she jumped excitedly, feeling completely relieved.
—Its taste is sweet, intoxicating, and it also heals all wounds. I want to know more about this elixir!— she shouted, full of excitement.
Tania looked at her like a mother would look at a joyful daughter, but Susanoo looked at her with loving eyes.
Tania turned to Anpiel and Susanoo and asked about the status of the city.
—Thanks to the help of this beautiful girl, we both managed to defeat all the creatures that threatened us— the Oriental god replied proudly.
Outside the great pyramid, the bodies of two massive snakes lay decapitated on the ground, along with the shattered remains of the piasas that had also attacked them.
The populace, which had taken refuge with the help of the angel, began to emerge and gather around the great pyramid. The soldiers, who had lost all their power when Tania fought Heshuka, did the same. Everyone was confused and fearful about their future.
—There's a problem— Anpiel noted, looking out from the temple atop the great pyramid. —These people are left without a leader, and I don't think any of us will appoint a king or something—
—No, they will probably just see us as invaders— Tania remarked and sat on the ground. —I'm sorry, I didn't think of this situation when I confronted Heshuka—
Protest cries began to rise. The gods could not leave the empire's leadership without a king. Concern began to fill everyone's hearts.
At that moment, four gigantic birds, resembling eagles, appeared over the great pyramid. The birds had horns on their heads, and their bodies emitted static electricity. Their colors were dark blue, as if made from thunder, and their white eyes seemed to be the source of all their electrical energy. As they appeared, the sky clouded over, as if a storm were about to break. The populace, seeing this, began to fear.
—Has the sky darkened?— Tania asked.
—Yes, and I also feel the presence of four very powerful beings— Anpiel added.
The gods were about to leave when they saw a rabbit sitting at the entrance of the temple.
—Oh no, not that guy again— Tania thought.
—Oh! It's a bunny!— Tul exclaimed excitedly.
—Why have you visited again, great Wenabozho?— Anpiel inquired.
Tul became even more excited.
—Is he, is he the great Buenaboso?— she asked the gods, but couldn't help noticing Tania's disappointed look.
—Indeed, I'm glad you could identify me so easily— replied the rabbit, and at that moment, transformed into his human male form, making Tul look at him with loving eyes. Something that made Susanoo utterly jealous.
—I came personally to thank you for overthrowing this tyrant. You can't imagine how much you've helped since you arrived here!— said the Anishinaabe god.
—Wait, you were hoping we'd overthrow him so you could take possession of this kingdom?— Tania questioned, annoyed.
Wenabozho began to laugh.
—Come on! It's not like I knew you would free both the Iroquois and the Mississippi— the god replied with a clearly fake smile.
—You were manipulating us, weren't you?— Tania pressed again.
—It's not what you think— replied the rabbit god. —Both kingdoms are my neighbors and were causing much pain to their people. Now, they can finally be free— Wenabozho said somewhat wistfully.
—Free?— Anpiel asked.
The Anishinaabe god began to walk around the temple.
—These massive cities, these works of civilization, might seem like a great idea for accumulating resources and power, but they only create inequality, slavery, and tyranny— commented Wenabozho.
—I want to give these people a chance to leave these great cities and start living naturally alongside Mother Earth— he concluded.
The gods remembered how the Anishinaabe lived, and they understood the god's concern. Of course, achieving that with a civilization so accustomed to the luxuries of large cities would be difficult, but it was what he considered 'freedom.'
—I understand that changing paradigms won't be easy or quick, but I would like this land to once again belong to the natural balance between humans and their planet— the rabbit god said and paused.
—What do you all think?— he then asked the gods.
—It's something I had never considered, but it would be interesting to see— Anpiel responded.
—As long as they don't perform human sacrifices, it's fine by me— Tania commented.
—I find it hard to believe they'll stop waging wars and using slaves due to their human nature, but I suppose you have to start somewhere— she added.
—One step at a time— replied Wenabozho, and at that moment, the god bowed before the others.
—Hey, please don't do that— Tul said with embarrassment.
—You don't need to do this. I don't want it to be interpreted as us being superior to you— Tania said angrily at the gesture.
The god stood up again.
—This will remain between you and us, but it's my way of thanking a couple of foreigners who had to come and solve problems that weren't their own— Wenabozho commented.
—I also want you to know that you have my eternal gratitude— he added.
—Could you really not have solved the problem yourself?— Anpiel asked.
—No, I wouldn't have been able to defeat Heshuka or Sawiskera— the god said frankly.
Tania then remembered that Wenabozho was capable of floating in the air, something she had only achieved when she partially broke the chains of the anti-divinity barrier.
—If what he says is true, still, I'm sure his power is quite high— the goddess thought.
—Well, it's time for me to talk to the people of Cahokia and inform them about what will happen— the god said and turned to leave through the door.
—Wait... Mr. Buenaboso— Tul said nervously. The goddess had a lily in her hand, which she had taken from her bag.
—This... flower is called naab, and I wanted to... offer it as a gift— the rabbit goddess said as she stretched her arms to give the lily to the Anishinaabe god.
Wenabozho took the flower and looked at it.
—It's very beautiful, almost as beautiful as you— the god commented.
Tul sighed, completely enamored, while Tania and Susanoo both radiated anger at the gesture.
Wenabozho then placed the lily in Tul's hair.
—I appreciate the gift, but it would look even better adorning your beautiful face— the god said in a flirtatious tone.
—IKARI!— Susanoo yelled furiously as flames emanated from his body.
—Don't you have an 'urgent' message to deliver to the people?— Tania said grudgingly, unable to hide how furious she was that the god was flirting with Tul.
—Don't get jealous, my beloved, and I apologize for not having a flower to offer you— Wenabozho replied with the same tone of voice.
—Just go away!— Tania responded sourly.
Anpiel approached Tania and put his hand on her shoulder.
—I didn't know you were a jealous mom— the angel said with a teasing voice.
Tania pouted in annoyance, a gesture that reminded Anpiel of Epona.
—Well, wish me luck— Wenabozho commented and left through the door to address the people.
The people looked in terror at the enormous thunderbirds flying above the great pyramid, but they knew they had to stay because the Wakiya were celestial birds of the Northern God.
Soldiers, slaves, priests, servants, merchants, even members of the human nobility, all gathered as equals, gazing at the great pyramid as Wenabozho emerged from the temple like a majestic god.
—Residents of Cahokia— exclaimed the Anishinaabe god in Pawnee. —My name is Wenabozho, and as you might have inferred from the four beautiful thunderbirds around me, I am the god of the northern region of these lands—
The people began to murmur nervously.
—Are those barbarians from the north trying to conquer us?—
—Has our hawk god fallen?—
—Is this a coup?—
—First of all, I hear your murmurs, and I want to clarify that I have not come as a conqueror. Instead, I'd like to see myself as a liberator— continued the Anishinaabe god.
—To liberate us from what?— The crowd began to shout furiously. —Do you want us to live like the uncivilized from the north?—
—Many of you may not have realized, but Heshuka's tyranny forced you into countless wars, to spill the blood of innocent people. Yes, you had prosperity, but atop a mountain of bodies and corpses. That's not freedom!— shouted Wenabozho.
—What about the extreme poverty in your cities? What about the children who go hungry or are abandoned? What about the inequality between the rich and the poor?— the Anishinaabe god continued to question.
—It's better than living in tipi huts!— shouted one of the nobles from the crowd, receiving applause from many.
However, others began shouting back at the nobles:
—Of course, you in your lazy palaces while my children died from lack of food—
—I had to sell my children as slaves to survive!—
—I lost my husband in the last war!—
—I don't want to be a slave anymore!—
The crowd was deeply divided, with bursts of violence breaking out among them.
—I urge everyone to remain calm! Remember, all of you are functional parts of this civilization. From the noble prince, whose decisions determine the welfare of the people, to the humblest farmer, whose food strengthens this large and prosperous people— Wenabozho once again implored.
The crowd momentarily halted their disputes and turned their attention back to the northern god.
—I have not come as a tyrant, as I've indicated. I want you to decide for yourselves which way of life you prefer. Those who stay in Cahokia and its surrounding cities will need to work hard to reduce economic inequality. And those who aren't happy here can opt for a peaceful life like their neighbors in the north. I want you to choose the lifestyle that will be most prosperous for you—
—To hell with this city!— one person shouted.
—I'd never leave; I have a thriving business here!— another person retorted.
—If you take the city's homeless with you, we'll worship you as our god!— another voice added.
Surprisingly, people seemed energized by the idea of choosing to live in or leave Cahokia. There were many classist and even racist opinions, but as Wenabozho thought, it was a start.
—Now that Heshuka is no more, I want everyone to help one another as best as possible to make this region the most prosperous in the world!— Wenabozho exclaimed with all his might, and the crowd applauded and cheered in ovation.
—It seems everything has turned out well— Anpiel commented satisfactorily.
—Yes, he really knows how to sell false hopes—Tania grumbled, leaning against a wall in a huff.
—Did you understand what he said?— Tul asked, puzzled.
—No idea, but it's clear from his tone and manner; it was a speech to win over the masses— Tania answered.
—He's so... perfect— Tul commented dreamily. —My heart trembled with each of his words—
Both Susanoo and Tania once again looked irritated.
—I'm glad everything went well— the Punic goddess said, comforted.
—It seems I managed to convince them. I hope I can meet most of their expectations— Wenabozho commented as he re-entered the temple, with cheers continuing outside.
—We hope that a new golden era will dawn here as well as in Onondaga— Anpiel noted.
—We have to leave— Tania interjected.
—Oh? Aren't you staying for the party we'll be having?— Wenabozho asked, disappointed.
—No, one of our friends was sent to Tula, and another group to the Haya territory. We haven't heard from them— Tania explained.
—Haida, Tania. It's not even a hard word— Anpiel corrected.
—Thanks for always making me look like a fool— Tania replied, somewhat dejected.
—I understand— Wenabozho replied, —and thank you for everything—
—I'll be back to... see you— Tul commented with a forlorn look.
The Anishinaabe god took the goddess's hand and kissed it, making both Tania and Susanoo furious again.
—Of course, beautiful. We'll meet again— the god replied.
—That's enough of that— Tania said, pulling the rabbit goddess away from Wenabozho's hands. —I'll let you see her again when you grow up—
The Punic goddess then transformed into a manticore, only showing her fiery wings while the rest of her body remained flameless, and embraced Susanoo, Anpiel, and Tul.
—We're heading south now. Good luck and prosperity— the goddess said and flew out of the temple's door.
Wenabozho exited the temple and waved them off. —Come back soon!— he shouted.
—Didn't you think you were a bit harsh on him, Tania?— Anpiel asked, then noticed the Punic goddess was teary-eyed.
—We liberated those people, right?— Tania asked, her voice quivering with emotion.
—Yes, Tania. You did very well— Anpiel assured.
Tania smiled radiantly as the sun completely disappeared from the sky, giving way to a dark night.