Elyon - Gods among us
—Ehécatl, tell me, why don't you join us as a warrior? I see that you are stronger than we are on this continent— Rodrigo asked the wind god, who remained hidden within his totema.
Ana was flying, carrying a platform created with her dark matter chained to her back. The members of Orniskem had been traveling like this for a whole day since they left Chicomóztoc. Since they left at night, they had been traveling in the dark without rest, while Rodrigo, Ana, Epona, and Tania took turns carrying the platform. Fortunately, they could now maintain their transformations for at least an hour.
—Actually, Sir Rodrigo, I am almost a ghost— Ehécatl answered.
—A ghost? Are you dying?— Rodrigo asked, surprised.
—Indeed, I have been using my life energy to the minimum to take you to Cholollan and fulfill my promise to my lord— the wind god replied.
—It must be very hard, then, to continue among us— Rodrigo said sadly. —Is the fidelity that this god had to his lord that great?— he wondered.
—Once you arrive at the great pyramid, my mission will have ended, and I will become a teotonli to continue helping you— the wind god said.
—What is a teotonli?— Rodrigo asked, puzzled.
—It's what you call an idol, but we also use that word to refer to totemas— Ehécatl replied. —In any case, I will become an idol to continue supporting you—
—Thank you— Rodrigo replied sadly. —I don't know if I deserve all this attention, but thank you—
Since dawn, the gods began to see a much more beautiful landscape than what they had been seeing since they arrived near Chaco. Finally, the desert had disappeared, and what they saw below them were vast virgin forests with hundreds of animals, such as deer, squirrels, lynxes, as well as hundreds of birds and butterflies of multiple colors. Large expanses of lakes and waterfalls could be seen, showing the immense beauty of these fertile lands.
—I'd love to go down— Tania commented, seeing the huge pine forests below her. —But I think we should continue our journey to those Otomí realms—
—I'm glad you could say that word correctly— Anpiel interrupted jokingly.
—It's not a hard name to remember!— Tania said angrily to the angel.
—Actually, only the Toltecs call them that— Tul added. —They call themselves Hñahñú—
Tania paled, trying to mimic the sound the rabbit goddess made, but she just couldn't.
—It's very simple, Tania— Anpiel replied. —Jñajñu— said the angel.
—Pretty good, Yuum Anpiel— Tul commented. —But you should make that sound softer—.
Anpiel began practicing the sound, while Tania simply chose to ignore them.
—That reminds me, Tul— Anpiel said to the rabbit goddess. —I saw that you could speak the language that Xólotl and Ehécatl spoke—
—Yes, it's Nahuatl. The language of the Tula kingdom— the rabbit goddess replied.
—Would it be possible for you to teach me, so that I can communicate more effectively in the territories of the Toltec empire?— the angel asked.
—Of course, no problem!— Tul commented cheerily, with a childlike smile at the angel.
—You should pet her head when she purrs like that— Tania said.
Anpiel petted the smiling rabbit goddess's head, and then she began to teach him Nahuatl.
Forests and gigantic blue mountains were seen all around. The terrain definitely looked very mountainous in that area, as groups of eagles flew around the gods.
—This region is called Anáhuac— Tul said. —We are already in the regions of influence of the Toltec culture—
The sky began to darken, so the mountains looked black as they watched the sun set, giving way to the dark night, although the sky still had orange and reddish hues in the lower part.
—We better rest around here, Ana!— Menrva shouted to the Irish goddess, who already had a tired look in her eyes.
—According to the map Ehécatl gave us, there should be a giant lake nearby— Ana replied. —I just want to get there and stop—
—It's Lake Texcoco— Tul said. —Both Otomíes and Toltecs share that lake—
The rabbit goddess then leaned forward to view the landscape and saw the mountains in the distance.
—Do you see those mountains?— asked the goddess. —Behind them is a great valley, and there lies that vast lake— she commented.
At that moment, darkness enveloped the entire scene. The gloom was so profound that absolutely nothing could be seen.
—Wow, the darkness in this valley is eerie!— Ana commented humorously.
—No, this darkness isn't normal— Susanoo remarked, trying to peer into the vista everyone was observing, but he couldn't.
—I... can't even see my own hands anymore— Anpiel remarked, puzzled.
Tul then began to grow anxious. —We... are... under attack— the goddess said.
—Indeed, there are three creatures approaching us— Loki mentioned, standing up trying to sense the source of the energy.
—Ch'úupal Ana! Descend immediately to the surface!— Tul shouted nervously.
—But I can't see where the surface is— cried Ana.
—Hurry!— the rabbit goddess shouted, as all the gods summoned their totemas to switch into combat mode.
—Okay— Ana replied, trying to land, but before she could, her head vanished from her body, causing the goddess's body to plummet and the platform she had created to vanish. However, the gods could only feel the disappearance of Ana's energy as they started to fall towards the ground.
—Ana! Are you okay?— Tania shouted worriedly, but received no answer.
—Everyone, shield your heads!— Tul shouted in horror. —It's a bat beast called Camazotz that beheads its victims!—
—One? I can feel at least three of them— Loki remarked.
The gods crashed violently to the ground. In the deep darkness, they couldn't see anything. Rodrigo, groping around, finally touched Ana's lifeless body and felt her head was missing.
—Ana! Ana! Answer me!— Rodrigo screamed in despair.
—Rodrigo, are you here?— Epona inquired, but at that very moment, the voice of the goddess faded completely.
—Epona!— Rodrigo shouted, and getting no response, the god lost his composure and became furious.
—Wait, Rodrigo!— Tania shouted. —First, we need to see what the hell is attacking us—
But Rodrigo, enraged, kept releasing blasts of sacred energy in every direction, trying to hit the beasts fluttering about. They could faintly feel malevolent energies lurking around them.
—Idiot! You almost hit me!— Loki yelled in anger.
—Wait— Freyja called out to the team. —I have an idea; try to survive for a meowment!—
At that moment, a thud was heard, followed by a hellish shriek upon impact.
—What happened?— Anpiel shouted, trying to figure out.
—I struck one of those creatures— Tania shouted, —but it tore off my arm—
—Damn it, this can't be happening!— Anpiel yelled in a panic.
—Their power... it's too high, my arm isn't regenerating!— Tania shouted, but right then, her voice too faded away.
—Ch'úupal Tania! What happened?— Tul inquired nervously.
—Tul! Don't stand up— Anpiel warned.
Rodrigo, in his rage, continued to unleash a barrage of attacks everywhere. He was so livid that the tannin transformation began taking over him.
—Mr. Rodrigo, please calm down!— Anpiel shouted. But right at that moment, the young tannin's energy vanished as well.
—Rodrigo has fallen too!— Loki cried.
—These creatures... they attacked the strongest in the group!— Anpiel stated nervously.
—I... I need to treat them all!— Tul shouted. The goddess began running, frantically pulling medicine from her bag.
—Tul! Don't stand up!— Anpiel yelled. —The power of those creatures will kill you with one blow!—
But Tul didn't listen, and as she tried to grope and find her friends, she felt the claws of the beast on her neck. The rabbit goddess, at that moment, knew her life was at its end. But a thud was heard, and the monster's claws released the rabbit goddess's neck.
—What happened?— Tul asked, anxious.
—Are purr okay, Tul?— Freyja's voice echoed in the darkness.
—Ch'úupal Freyja, did you save me?— Tul asked, shaken.
Freyja was in her cat transformation, even though no one could see her due to the profound darkness.
—Yes, Tul. I can see a bit in this darkness with my transformeowtion— the goddess said, looking at the fallen bodies of her comrades.
The goddess saw Anpiel lying face down on the ground to avoid the monster's attacks. On the other hand, Loki had turned into a fly and was hiding under a rock. However, he couldn't see Susanoo or Menrva.
—I'm a warrior goddess!— Freyja exclaimed. —I won't let these beasts end the lives of meow new friends!—
Then another of the bat monsters gripped Freyja's neck. The goddess, at that moment, felt her life had ended, but remembered Thor's sacrifice and what Heimdall told her, that they couldn't even give him a burial.
—Our brother Thor died so that we could live, and the least I'll do is not sacrifice meow life in vain against these shitty bats!— Freyja shouted angrily, holding off the beast's claws and breaking free from its grasp.
—I'm the purroud warrior goddess of Vanaheim, and the queen of the valkyries!— Freyja roared like a beast. —Nothing and no one will hold meow back from surpurrassing my limits—
Freyja then shouted: —Valfreyju stafr—
The staff held by the Norse goddess lit up, piercing through the monstrous bat that loomed over her. The beast shrieked in pain and distanced itself from Freyja as much as it could. But the goddess's eyes glowed amber, and she could clearly see the creature in the darkness.
—Did I give you purrmission to leave, you shitty meownster?— she yelled, and with a tremendous leap, she skewered the monster with her light staff, smashing it to the ground.
—Freyja! You broke through the barrier with your power!— Loki exclaimed joyously.
—It's not enough yet!— Freyja yelled madly. —There are still two of those meownsters left!—
At that moment, the Norse goddess saw Tul lying on the ground, curled up and trembling with fear. Freyja quickly took her face in her hands and tried to soothe her.
—I will purrtect you, Tul— said the Norse goddess.
—But... but...— stammered Tul nervously. —We need to attend to Tania and the others, or they'll surely die—
—Or they'll see that beast that Epona saw— Loki commented from afar.
Freyja looked up and saw the two creatures moving very fast in the sky, keeping as far away from her as possible.
The creatures were horrifying. They were two giant bats, dark reddish in color. Their faces resembled dogs, and they had enormous human-like ears. One bat was significantly larger than the other.
—I'll try to fly and take down those two meownsters— said Freyja, raising her staff to the sky.
—Wait a moment— Tul interrupted. —Take me to Tania and the others' bodies first— the rabbit goddess said nervously.
—Tul, I understand how you feel— Anpiel replied, —but if they get up, surely those beasts will come back down and attack them since we can't see anything—
—Don't worry about those beasts; I'll handle them— they all heard Susanoo's voice, though only Freyja could see him. The goddess was then taken aback.
—Susanoo... did you rip out purr eyes?— Freyja asked, noticing that the god had two cross-shaped sword wounds on his face.
—Hai, Freyja-sama— replied Susanoo. —This way, I can enhance my other senses in this eternal darkness—
—Yuum Susanoo, would you like some thunder to fight?— the rabbit goddess asked as she tried to locate the oriental god.
—Iie, Tul-chan. I can't always rely on you to fight— Susanoo replied. —I've been practicing generating electricity for such an occasion—
—But...— the rabbit goddess tried to argue, but Susanoo interrupted her.
—Freyja-sama— shouted Susanoo. —Save Rodrigo-san and the others before they see that creature from the beyond!—
—I trust you... purriend— replied the Norse goddess, lifting Tul and placing the Mayan goddess's arm over her shoulder.
—Bakemono! I am the senshi Susanoo from the land of Yamato, and I will defeat you with all my might!— the oriental god shouted at the top of his lungs.
Immediately, the smaller bat swooped down rapidly towards Susanoo to try and decapitate him, while the larger bat started chasing Freyja.
—I can sense it; it's coming down at a terrifying speed— Susanoo said, preparing his katana for the fight.
Just as the creature tried to grab Susanoo's neck, the god swiftly dodged the attack, leaping and spinning in the air to try and decapitate the creature mid-flight. However, his weapon couldn't pierce the bat's tough skin.
—Masaka! Its skin is very strong— exclaimed a frustrated oriental god as the creature struck him with its wing.
Susanoo was hurled away with terrifying force. The monster then noticed Anpiel and Loki nearby and moved to attack them. But even as Susanoo was flung through the air, the god leaped and returned to attack the creature, yet again his attack couldn't pierce the creature's skin.
—Nande? Why can't I break through?— the god wondered, frustrated, as the creature trapped the oriental god mid-flight with its hind legs.
The beast violently split Susanoo in half, as the god regretted his own weakness. The bat then turned its attention to Anpiel, who was closest, and rapidly flew towards the angel, attempting to decapitate him with its powerful claws.
—Ketsueki no yari— Whispered Susanoo, almost breathless, as he hurled a lance made of his own blood at the monster. It pierced one of its wings, but the damage wasn't significant, though it was enough to divert the beast's attention.
—Onee-san, please tell me what to do— Susanoo prayed in frustration, unable to shed tears because he had gouged out his own eyes.
The Oriental god then remembered a childhood story. It was about two demons living in the mountains. One was red, and the other was blue. The red demon wanted to befriend the humans living below the mountain. However, whenever he approached them, the villagers chased him away out of fear.
Seeing the red demon's distress, the blue demon suggested he would cause havoc in the village, so the red demon could come and save the day. Though unsure, the red demon agreed. The blue demon then went down and began destroying the village.
When the blue demon attacked his friend, he was defeated. Thus, the red demon became the village's protector and could finally coexist with the humans he so yearned for.
One day, missing his friend, the red demon returned to the mountain to find him. But the blue demon was nowhere to be found. Instead, a farewell note was left on the door, explaining that if people saw them together, they'd suspect their ruse. The red demon had gained the village's friendship but lost his best friend forever.
—Must I sacrifice everything like the red demon to make my friends happy?— Susanoo wondered, sensing the monstrous bat beside him.
—All my blood, all my essence, I'll use for my final attack!— the Oriental god shouted, manipulating all his blood into a red thorn bush, which enveloped the beast.
—Ketsueki no ibara— The oriental god roared, the thorn bush made of his own blood crushing the creature, causing it to bleed. Yet, the creature continued to resist. The thorn bush began breaking, and Susanoo was fading.
—Nakama! Tomodachi! Arigato gozaimasu!— Susanoo shouted with all his might as more thorns emerged from his blood. His entire body dried up, trapping the creature within those spikes.
—Susanoo!— Anpiel shouted in alarm, feeling his friend's essence fade.
—Damn it, Susanoo, you said you could defeat that meownster!— Freyja yelled in frustration as the massive creature landed in front of her, blocking her path.
—Fool— Loki thought bitterly, sensing their companion's divine energy extinguish.
The beast, ensnared in the thorny bush created by Susanoo's blood, tried to break free but only harmed itself further with every movement.
—It's my fault... I should've given him lightning— Tul cried, still being carried by Freyja.
—It was his decision as a warrior, Tul. You must never dishonor a warrior's vow— the Norse goddess replied with frustration, raising her golden staff.
But then, a bolt of lightning struck from the sky, electrifying Susanoo's body. The lifeless form of the Japanese god glowed blue, his heart started beating again. The electricity traveled through the thorns, causing the monstrous bat to explode into countless pieces as Susanoo's body rapidly healed.
—Susanoo's power is growing— Anpiel observed, as the blood thorns vanished and Susanoo rose in his electric form.
—Part of friendship is knowing you need help from others— Menrva said, approaching the battlefield.
—What would you have done if you had died, Susanoo? Don't you know it would hurt us?— the Etruscan goddess said, almost in tears.
—Menrva-san... I didn't know where you were— replied the Oriental god, as his eyes also began to heal due to the electric power.
—Do you realize that you're healing yourself with electricity?— Menrva asked the Oriental god. —You've broken the barrier just like Freyja—
Susanoo then realized that he no longer felt tired or overwhelmed by his transformation, as he had since arriving on this continent.
—Honto desu!— Susanoo shouted excitedly.
—Thanks to Tania, Epona, and Ana, we've also been blessed with Tawa's light, but that essence has been testing us. I finally understood— Menrva continued, and at that moment, the darkness completely dissipated.
The Etruscan goddess had a much different appearance with her totema. She had the bearing of a Roman general, wearing golden armor that shone like the sun, with electric sparks emanating from her body. A red cape fluttered with the energy she generated. Her helmet, now a beautiful Roman centurion's helmet, emitted light throughout the area.
—Menrva! You've broken the barrier too!— Anpiel exclaimed excitedly.
—I apologize; I had to think about how Bellona wanted to help us... in her own way— the Etruscan goddess remarked, conjuring her spear. It now looked gigantic with a silver tip, a golden shaft with intricately sculpted horses and beasts.
Meanwhile, Freyja did her best to fight the giant bat, which was particularly stronger than the other two. She didn't let go of Tul either because she knew the creature could attack her while she was defenseless. However, her body finally reached its limit, and she lost her transformation.
—Curse it, not now!— the Norse goddess exclaimed when she saw the monster rapidly approaching her. But as if a lightning bolt had struck, the bat's legs detached from its body. The monster screamed in pain and flew backward.
Freyja turned and looked at Menrva in awe. The goddess had successfully broken the barrier by merging with Bellona perfectly. It wasn't a failed assimilation like Ares', Menrva had reached an entirely different level of power.
—Back, Freyja! Go and help Rodrigo and the girls— Menrva calmly said, keeping her eyes on the creature, which stared back at her with fury.
The monstrous bat emitted a deafening screech, causing everyone to cover their ears except Menrva. In an instant, she swiftly decapitated the creature. The attack was so quick that the goddess's sacred spear wasn't even stained with blood.
—Vini vidi vici— Menrva said calmly as she made her mighty sacred weapon disappear.
The last monster that attacked the group had finally fallen.