Elyon - Gods among us
Tania and her group were still in the royal hall of Otontecutli when, at that moment, guards approached the Otomi god to deliver an urgent message.
The guard spoke directly into the ear of the god in Otomi language, preventing anyone in the hall from hearing their words. However, none of Orniskem's members could understand anything because the soldier used the Otomi language, and Tul didn't understand that language.
Otontecutli nodded his head and said: —Let them in—
The guard nodded and gave an order to the group of soldiers at the main entrance of the hall. The nobles seated beside the god grew nervous, and concern filled the air.
—I think someone important is about to arrive— Menrva commented nervously.
—It seems like someone important, indeed— Tania explained, observing the nobility growing worried. Even Otontecutli himself looked nervous as he continued to sit on his throne.
—Your Majesty Otontecutli— Menrva spoke up. —Could you inform us of what is happening?—
However, at that moment, two individuals entered through the main door of the grand hall. One was short and had his body painted blue, wearing the head of a sea creature as a helmet and snake-made goggles. The other was as tall as Anpiel but had his face painted red, and he wore the skin of another human as armor.
Tania, upon seeing the two figures approaching, could smell the addiction to blood in their scent, and she felt disgusted. The goddess couldn't help but show a look of indignation in the presence of these two individuals.
—Your Majesty Otontecutli— the short man spoke in Nahuatl. —We thank you for receiving us in your palace at such early hours of the day—
The two gods walked down the aisle while all the nobles stood up and bowed to them. They approached Tania and the others, but chose to ignore them and walk past them.
—May I ask why you two have come?— Otontecutli asked in the divine language. —Our kingdom is under attack by the Toltec capital, so you will understand the inconvenience we have in receiving you in our quarters— he added.
—We were exiled from Tollan during Huitzilopochtli's coup— the short god said in Nahuatl again.
—Oh, these idiots don't want us to know what they're talking about for sure— Tania thought, then turned to Tul. The goddess had a look of rage that she couldn't hide.
—We wanted to make a deal with you, Great Otontecutli— the blue-skinned man said. —You support us with one of your divine armies, and in return, we will release the people captured from your embassy—
Tul made a disgusted face upon hearing those words filled with arrogance from the blue-skinned god. The rabbit goddess couldn't stop glaring at them with anger.
Otontecutli remained silent for a moment as the nobles continued to bow before the gods, though it was clear that their postures were hypocritical.
—The Toltec kingdom does nothing but expand militarily and force us to pay high tributes to avoid being invaded by you— the Otomi king finally replied in the divine language. —And now, when you find yourselves in the worst of situations, you come to force me to support you without even a hint of modesty or humility?— he asked, annoyed.
—Will you then let your men die in Tollan?— the short man asked.
—My men are already dead, Tláloc— Otontecutli replied. —I went to Tollan to present my complaint alongside other gods, and only I managed to escape. That's why we're under attack—
Tláloc looked surprised. —Forgive me, Lord Otontecutli. We didn't know— he said.
—Yes, I'm sure you came with me because I've always had a reputation for being insecure— the Otomi god continued. —But what I saw there opened my eyes, and I have no intention of giving you any support, as you are just like those Chichimecas who seized your throne—
—Are you declaring war on us, then? You Otomi piece of...— the man with human skin as clothing shouted.
—Wait, Xipe Tótec!— Tláloc shouted, trying to prevent the god from acting recklessly.
—Wait, my ass. I'm going to kill this bastard!— Xipe Tótec shouted as he drew a knife.
But at that very moment, Tania grabbed the god by the neck with her arm, Ana pointed her sword at his chest, Menrva held her knife ready, and Epona and Susanoo placed their weapons against the god's face. Freyja and Loki stood beside Tlaloc.
—You'd better watch your words, because we're here— Freyja said in a low voice to Tlaloc.
—Who the hell are you people?— Xipe Tótec asked in fear.
Tania pulled the Toltec god with her arm and brought him close to her face. —Make a blunder like that again and we'll be the last thing you see, damn addict— the Punic goddess whispered softly.
Tul and Anpiel watched the act, while the rabbit goddess reached into her bag to support her friends in case they needed it.
—I get it, you are the gods that Anath mentioned were in Adlivun— Tláloc remarked. —I didn't think you'd still be alive after Tezcatlipoca went looking for you to kill you—
—Who do you think made that so-called king of Tula flee limping with his loincloth soiled?— Tania challenged, looking defiantly at the Toltec god.
—As you can see, Tláloc, I have quite powerful allies at the moment— Otontecutli remarked. —So I'd recommend you watch your words—
Immediately, the Otomi god signaled for the members of Orniskem to release the Toltec gods. They complied, just as Menrva was removing the knife from Xipe Tótec.
The members of Orniskem stood in front of the two Toltec gods, and they, being outnumbered, fell to their knees.
—Lord Otontecutli— Tlaloc spoke again, but this time in divine language. —We know we abused your kingdom in the past, but we want to leave that past behind and humbly ask for help to reclaim our realm— the god pleaded. Tláloc then bowed his head to the ground.
Xipe Tótec growled at that moment, but then, seeing the angry face of Susanoo with his sword drawn, he immediately bowed his head as well.
—I appreciate the gesture, even if it's insincere— Otontecutli remarked. —However, I no longer have enough personnel to face such a threat, as my men are now fighting the beasts of Mictlán scattered in my territories— he added.
Tláloc and Xipe Tótec rose from the ground with a face full of annoyance. The blue god took a deep breath to calm his mind.
—Alright, we'll go to the Tzintzuntzan realm then— he said.
—Their situation is very similar, plus their queen Cuerauáperi is recovering in this city— the Otomi god remarked with a hint of sadness.
—Is she here?— Tláloc asked. —Could we see her?—. Otontecutli nodded.
The two gods were taken to Xaltocan's hospital, while Tania and the other members of Orniskem stayed in the royal hall.
Otontecutli sprawled in the seat feeling much relieved. The nobles, finally able to lift their heads, leaned back in their seats, almost fainting from fear, knowing that if the members of Orniskem hadn't been there, Tláloc and Xipe Tótec would have massacred them to force their assistance.
—Once again, you've saved me and my people from a disaster— the Otomi god said. —I thank you with all my heart—
—Excuse me, King Otontecutli— Anpiel interrupted. —Who is the queen you mentioned to those two Toltec gods?—
—Cuerauáperi, the queen of Tzintzuntzan, a realm to the west of this region— the Otomi god explained. —Sadly, she was gravely injured in Tollan, and I brought her here for treatment; but even though she regained consciousness, she is currently suffering from mental issues— he added.
—Mental issues? Did she die and come back to life?— Epona inquired.
—Yes, indeed— Otontecutli answered. —But she was dead for several days, and it seems she didn't come back to life quite right—
—Yes, that must be it. She must be a creature from the beyond— Epona commented worriedly.
—We know a place where she can be treated, Lord Otontecutli— Menrva noted.
—Really?— the Otomi king inquired.
—Yes... I also ended up in that same situation, and if she is treated the same way, she will surely regain her sanity— Epona replied.
—The Tzintzuntzan realm will also be very grateful if you do that— Otontecutli replied with a bow.
—I truly don't know how I can repay you for your immense help so far— he said with a subdued voice.
—Don't worry, we've decided to help everyone we can— Tania remarked.
—Menrva, do you think you can teleport to Chaco?— Ana asked, surprised.
—I think I can make it in two or three steps— the Etruscan goddess replied.
—As long as you don't have to step in that damn desert again— Epona commented.
—Don't worry, I'll avoid it— the Etruscan goddess replied, then turned to the Otomi king. —Sir, can you point out where that queen you told us about is?— Menrva inquired.
Otontecutli instructed his soldiers to escort Menrva, Tania, Ana, Epona, and Tul to the hospital, located in one of the lower rooms of the palace. Inside, there was a large white room with a massive number of reed mats on the floor. All of them were occupied by people injured by the beasts that had been attacking. Healers and priests were attending to those they could.
—At the back, there's a private room. Go in there— one of the guards commented in Nahuatl, and Tul translated for the goddesses. They complied.
When they entered, they saw the goddess Cuerauáperi, dressed only in a white gown, looking pale and hugging her legs while sitting on her reed mat. She was trembling and mumbling unintelligible words. Tláloc and Xipe Tótec were with her, trying to get her to regain her senses.
When the goddesses entered, the defiant gazes of both gods were hard to ignore, but the goddesses chose to ignore them.
—Why have you come?— Xipe Tótec asked angrily when he saw Epona leaning down to see the ailing goddess.
—So, is this how I looked too, Ana?— Epona asked, trying to comfort the deity.
Cuerauáperi mumbled some words, but they couldn't understand what she was saying. Epona then hugged her.
—You'll be fine, I assure you— she said. This reassured the ailing goddess, and she stopped trembling.
—I'll accompany you, Menrva— Epona said. —Won't that bother you?— she asked.
—Not at all, Epona— the Etruscan goddess replied. She then invoked her totema assimilated with Bellona. The goddess was once again wearing her Roman general's attire.
Tláloc and Xipe Tótec were startled by the immense power of the Etruscan goddess. Cuerauáperi herself looked fearful.
—You must not fear; you will get better soon— the Etruscan goddess said, shaking her hand. Cuerauáperi, hesitating for a moment, accepted it.
Epona then took something from her robes and gave it to Tul. —I'm sure this will help you while I'm gone— she said. Tul accepted it and put it away.
At that moment, Menrva, along with Epona, who was hugging Cuerauáperi, disappeared from the city of Xaltocan. They had teleported to the city of Chaco.
—The power of Menrva is impressive— Tania commented, somewhat melancholic.
—Don't tell me you're jealous, Tania?— the Irish goddess asked playfully.
—Ch'úupal, you're strong enough as it is— the rabbit goddess replied with a smile.
Tláloc turned to look at the rabbit goddess strangely.
—Ch'úupal? Are you from Mayapán?— Tláloc asked.
—Yes, I am. Any problem with that?— Tul asked defiantly.
—No, I was just surprised that a Mayan deity was with foreign gods— Tláloc replied.
Tania then hugged Tul. —Yes, now she's part of our group. Why should it matter where she or we were born?— she asked.
—You're right; I'm sorry— Tláloc replied apologetically.
Ana, Tania, and Epona were about to leave when they were stopped by Tláloc.
—Would you like... to help us regain Tollan?— the Toltec god asked timidly. Xipe Tótec looked surprised, and Tania shivered at the thought.
—I know it must be difficult to lose your home and way of life— the Punic goddess replied. —But I would never team up with someone whose stench of human sacrifice is so strong it can be smelled from miles away—
However, Ana remained standing. Tania, noticing this, indicated that they had to return to their friends.
—Well, Tania, if we're going to invade Tula anyway, why not do it with them?— the Irish goddess asked.
Tul and Tania turned to the Irish goddess with a surprised expression.
—The enemy of my enemy is my friend— Ana commented.
—Ana... that idea doesn't sit well with me— Tania said, and Tul also seemed to dislike it.
Tláloc, however, felt silent, waiting for their acceptance.
—Let's wait for Menrva to return to discuss it— Tania said, and the three goddesses left the Toltec gods in the small room.
Tania, Ana, and Tul returned to the royal hall where Otontecutli was seated. Anpiel and the others were still standing, waiting for their friends to return.
—What happened, Tania? Was Menrva able to teleport to Chaco?—Anpiel asked.
—No problem— Tania replied to the angel.—Although Epona wanted to go too—
—I suppose she must feel a certain need to help that goddess after experiencing the same thing— Freyja commented.
Tania then turned her gaze to King Otontecutli.
—Your Majesty Otontecutli, we have taken your companion to the city of Chaco, where she will receive treatment. My companions Menrva and Epona will take care of her— she said.
—I'm very glad to hear that— Otontecutli replied. —I will communicate with the kingdom of Tzintzuntzan to inform them that their queen will recover soon—
—As for starting to fight against the monsters—," Tania continued, —we would like to leave as soon as possible to liberate your kingdom from these threats—
—Wait!— a shout was heard from behind the doors. When they opened, Tláloc and Xipe Tótec were behind them, out of breath. The two Toltec gods had run to reach where Otontecutli's throne was.
Tláloc then inclined himself toward Tania. —Upon sensing the enormous power of that woman, I realized that your level is much higher than ours— he said. —I'm asking for your help again; those monsters are not only attacking the Otomi kingdom but also the villages that reject the rule of Itzpapálotl—
—A powerful beast appeared in the kingdom of Xochicalco, but it's an excessively powerful creature, and we were defeated by it before coming here— Xipe Tótec added as he prostrated himself. —If you help us defeat it, we won't ask for any more favors—
Tania remained silent until Ana reached her. —Just this once, Tania— she said.
The Punic goddess turned to her friends. Anpiel, Susanoo, and Freyja nodded immediately. Tul seemed more hesitant to accept the Toltec gods.
—Ebony beauty— Loki commented, who was right behind Tania and Ana. The Punic goddess, feeling his presence so close, became furious. —Why don't you let me go with Tul, the two of us who haven't... I mean, explored these lands enough?— the god asked.
Tania and Ana realized that Loki avoided talking about breaking the barrier. That way, he would keep his power levels a secret.
—I wouldn't want to go to help a Toltec city either— the Mayan goddess said apologetically.
—But it will be good training for you, Tul-chan— Susanoo added. —I'm willing to accompany you in case you need help—
—But I'm not a warrior goddess— Tul said apologetically while looking at her bag.
—Neither am I, Tul, but I can still become stronger— Loki said, laughing, and took a step forward while looking at the two prostrated Toltec gods. —Besides, I want to know their real intentions before anything else—
—Tul-chan, you are very strong— the oriental god commented. —In Cahokia, I saw you use your sacred energy to fight against the terrible monsters that surrounded us. Without Tul-chan's help, we wouldn't have won—
—Okay, I'll do it— Tul said excitedly and jumped with enthusiasm.
—Very well, two of my companions will accompany you— Tania said to the two Toltec gods. —But after this cooperation, forget that we exist, alright?—
—Agreed!— Tláloc replied.
—Come on, get up; it annoys me when people bow to me— Tania continued, turning her back on them.
—So, are you going with Tláloc and Xipe Tótec to the Toltec kingdom?— Otontecutli asked.
—For now, only Tul and Loki will accompany them— the Punic goddess replied. —We will help you clear your kingdom of these monsters—
Tul and Loki nodded and approached the two Toltec gods, who were still prostrated on the ground.
—Let's see, let's see— Loki commented. —I'm Loki, and I'll be your new boss. So I don't mind if you bow to me—
The two Toltec gods, annoyed, stood up.
—I'm Tláloc, and this is Xipe Tótec— the blue Toltec god said as they introduced themselves.
Tul approached the two gods cautiously. —I do know your names, and I must admit, I don't like you— she said.
—I assume you're a rabbit goddess of Ixchel— Tláloc said.
—That's right!— the reluctant Mayan goddess replied.
—Well, this girl is a very essential part of our group— Loki commented. —And her mission will be to make her smile, or else we'll throw you to the beasts— he threatened, wearing a devilish grin.
—Alright!— the two Toltec gods responded, looking worried.
—Oh, Loki, always so arrogant— Ana approached the Norse god and touched his shoulder.
—My dear, I'll have to leave you for a while. But I swear I'll return to your side— Loki said to the Irish goddess. She just blushed.
—Ana, for God's sake!— Tania thought angrily.
—Loki, you'll never change. Damned degenerate— Freyja thought at that moment.
—Come back safe and sound— Ana said with a smile.
—Tul-chan. If you run into trouble, don't hesitate to return— Susanoo remarked. The rabbit goddess nodded and bid everyone farewell.
At that moment, Tania thought it would be very risky to leave the two weakest gods in the group, along with two Toltec gods whose intentions were still unknown.
—What will happen when they find out that neither Loki nor Tul can fly?— the goddess wondered.
—On second thought, I'll go too— Tania interrupted. —I'm sure that with my help, they can complete that mission more quickly—
—Wait, Tania— Ana interrupted, but Tania motioned for her to be quiet.
—Wait for Menrva and Epona before you move, okay?— the goddess said.
Tania didn't risk mentally discussing her concerns, as the Toltec gods might overhear.
—Well, great Otontecutli— Tláloc interjected, addressing the Otomi god. —If there's no problem, we'll leave immediately—
—Go ahead, and take good care of your three companions— the Otomi god replied.
Tania, Loki, and Tul, along with Tláloc and Xipe Tótec, then left the palace. In front of the staircase, the two gods prepared to fly; but when Tul was about to confess that she couldn't fly, she was interrupted by Tania.
—What a beautiful day today, isn't it, Tul?— Tania said very animatedly. Her expression seemed quite fake, but when she saw that the two Toltec gods didn't react to her exaggerated behavior, she felt relieved.
—Yes, ch'úupal, it's a very beautiful day— Tul confessed, smiling at the Punic goddess.
—Loki, don't you think it would be good if you transformed into, I don't know, a dragon or something, to carry Tul on your back and let her appreciate the beauty of this sky?— Tania asked Loki.
Loki quickly realized that Tania didn't want their companions to know that neither he nor Tul could fly using their divine powers. Hiding in the form of a dragon would be a way to deceive them, even if he had to fly more slowly. Also, Loki's transformations barely used up any mana.
—Certainly— Loki commented, and he transformed into a huge red dragon with blue eyes. The god even had a mount on his back.
—Why didn't we think of this before to travel in the desert?— Tania wondered.
—Tul, lie down on my back; I'll follow these two guys through the air— the Norse god commented.
—Thanks, yuum Loki— the rabbit goddess replied joyfully, and with a jump, she sat on the back of dragon-formed Loki. Tania, excited, sat next to Tul.
—I also fancy flying like this through the skies— the Punic goddess said.
—And for me, it's an honor to have such beautiful goddesses on my back— Loki mentioned.
—Save your flattery for another time, pervert— Tania scolded the god.
—Alright, just follow us to the city of Xochicalco— Tláloc commented, and both Toltec gods began to fly. Loki followed, carrying Tania and Tul on his back.