Chapter 133:

Monster: Tlaltecuhtli

Elyon - Gods among us

After flying for over two hours to the south, the Toltec gods, along with Tania, Loki, and Tul, completely crossed the vast Lake Texcoco and arrived at the city of Xochicalco.

Hidden among the hills near the great city, it showed no traces of violence or destruction. The city was intact, however, entirely empty. The vast metropolis, protected by a massive red and white wall, boasted sumptuous pyramids and several esplanades. The city was built on mountains, so it had several sloping roads throughout the area. In the center, the city's government palace, together with a massive pyramid with a beautiful feathered serpent sculpted at the base and painted with vivid colors, crowned the highest part of Xochicalco. However, despite the city's immense size and beauty, it now looked like a ghost town.

—I don't see any signs of violence in this area— Tania commented, trying to find any monster or group of soldiers that might have attacked the region.

—I can sense some presences near here— said Loki, who had already returned to his deity form. —However, I assume they are survivors who fled—

But neither Tláloc and Xipe Tótec said anything. They just stared at the vast city.

—What are we supposed to find here?— Tania asked, annoyed.

Tul glanced at the Toltec gods with an uncertain look. It just seemed like an abandoned city, although deserting cities in that region was not uncommon. But Tláloc and Xipe Tótec continued to be silent, seemingly ignoring Tania's questions.

—Hello, Toltec gods— Loki said impatiently. —What exactly are we up against?—

Then, a hawk flew near the city, and what they saw horrified the gods of Orniskem. From the city's ground, a giant mouth full of sharp teeth appeared and, stretching out a grotesque tongue, caught the hawk and devoured it. When the mouth closed, the ground from which it had appeared was left completely clean, as if nothing had happened.

—Xochicalco has always been the most independent city of the Toltec empire— Tláloc began. —So it's not surprising they rejected Itzpapálotl's rule, and she sent that terrible beast to destroy them completely—

—What kind of beast is that?— Tul asked nervously.

—It's an ancient Earth deity, defeated centuries ago by Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca. The giant demon Tlaltecuhtli— Xipe Tótec added.

—So you're saying if we touch the ground or get close to that city, that creature will devour us?— Tania asked.

—Indeed, the creature is really hidden under the ground, and we have to draw it out to confront it— the blue Toltec god replied.

—We tried to get it out of its hiding place, but with our skills, we couldn't— Xipe Tótec grumbled.

Loki then stepped forward and stood at the edge of the hill.

—It may be a frightening creature, but it's just a dumb beast— the god explained. —I'll get it out, and you, Tul, will finish it off— the Norse god said, looking at the Mayan goddess.

Tul was surprised by Loki's confidence. It was as if he knew he would easily win the fight.

At that moment, clones of Loki filled the sky above Xochicalco and began to fly, taunting the monstrous creature in divine language. In response, countless mouths appeared from the city ground, and with their grotesque tongues, they tried to capture the Norse god. But being illusions, they vanished.

Loki made the illusions disappear, and then sat on the green hill.

—I can sense that it's a creature whose body is made up of countless mouths, which it can use without any restriction— he remarked.

—I don't think knowing that helps much— Tania responded.

—Of course, for simple minds like yours, Ebony beauty, it doesn't seem like an important detail— Loki retorted. —But for a genius like me, it's an entirely different matter—

—Do you have a plan?— Tláloc asked.

—Of course, watch and learn— replied Loki, and at that moment, the god jumped onto the ground. No mouth appeared beneath him.

—Impressive, how did he do that?— Xipe Tótec asked in surprise.

—Tul, darling, you come down as well— the Norse god ordered the rabbit goddess, shouting.

—Don't call Tul 'darling'!— Tania yelled furiously at the Norse god, but he only smiled.

Tul prepared to jump, but Tania stopped her. —Wait, Tul. It seems very dangerous— the goddess said with a concerned look.

—Don't worry, ch'úupal, I'll be fine— the rabbit goddess replied with a smile and jumped to the ground.

Tania then recalled what had happened an hour ago as they flew towards Xochicalco. While Tania and Tul were riding Loki, transformed into a dragon, Tul looked at Tania and, with much effort, began speaking in a language that the Punic goddess recognized clearly.

—Fatatan. I speak Arabic little— Tul timidly said to Tania in Arabic.

The Punic goddess, who recognized the language, although the rabbit goddess didn't speak it very well, was surprised by the effort Tul made in trying to learn that language in the short time they had known each other.

—How do you know to speak Arabic, Tul?— Tania asked in surprise, speaking in Arabic and speaking as slowly as possible for the Mayan goddess to understand.

Tul looked embarrassed and stared at Loki's back.

—Anpiel. To him, common language in Spain ask— Tul replied slowly and a bit clumsily in Arabic. Despite she couldn't conjugate the verbs, Tania understood the intent behind the rabbit goddess's words.

—Don't worry, Tul. I understand you just fine— Tania replied. —You're amazing!—

Tul beamed, and Tania gently stroked her head in response.

—Speak Arabic so Toltecs not listen?— Tul continued in broken Arabic.

—Don't worry, Tul. What do you want to ask me then?— Tania answered.

—Barrier break how?— Tul asked the Punic goddess.

—I broke it when all I could think about was destroying the human sacrifices in Cahokia, remember?— Tania asked.

Tul nodded, recalling that moment when she thought Tania had lost control of her power and was about to burn down Cahokia.

—Epona told me she could only think about saving everyone from Coyote. Ana admitted that the bond she shared with the group was more important than her selfishness— Tania continued in Arabic.

—Friendship and sacrifice?— asked the rabbit goddess.

—I believe, Tul, it's part of the blessing we received from the deity they called Tawa in Chaco— Tania responded. —Somehow, we've been able to transmit that essence to you, so I'm sure you'll be able to break the barrier too— she added.

—Then, fatatan. Battle mine interrupt not— Tul said, looking at the one she saw as her mentor with her big red eyes.

Tania nodded in surprise.

—What a curious language you're speaking— remarked Xipe Tótec sarcastically. —May we know what you're talking about?—

—I'm teaching Tul the language of my homeland since she will live with me— Tania responded defiantly. —It's just that—

—About that, why have you come to the territories of Anáhuac?— Tláloc asked without turning to look at the goddess.

—I knew there was someone identical to Quetzalcoatl, where is he?— Xipe Tótec also asked.

—I'm under no obligation to share that information with you— Tania retorted irritably while hugging Tul.

Tania remembered that conversation and closed her eyes.

—Loki, please take care of my little Tul— she thought.

The rabbit goddess looked at Loki, who continued with his arrogant gaze.

—Incredible that your mother let you come out to play— he remarked sarcastically.

—Don't call her that; she doesn't like it— the rabbit goddess retorted.

—Well, little Tul— Loki continued. —Our mission is to get that creature to show its head so you can attack it with the technique that Susanoo mentioned you used—.

—Will it be enough to beat it?— Tul asked.

—That's why we're both here, right?— the Norse god replied. —To break that damn barrier once and for all—.

After that, the god discreetly pointed at the Toltec gods. —I don't know if they're hoping this creature will kill us, but I'm sure they chose the most powerful beast that this so-called king of Tula unleashed— Loki said.

—So, you're saying that if we defeat this creature, they'll know they can't beat us?— Tul asked.

—Exactly, little Tul— the dark god responded.

—As an old friend of mine used to say: 'The harder the challenge, the more triumphant our victory'— Loki mentioned, reciting the very words Thor used to say.

—I'm ready!— Tul shouted excitedly.

—That's the spirit, little Tul!— Loki exclaimed, and he began to soar through the skies.

—That Loki bastard is using his illusions to pretend he's flying, just to fool these two idiots. Not bad at all— Tania thought, catching onto Loki's trick.

The dark god then began to shoot stalagmites into the ground at an alarming speed. They stuck upright, forming towers. Finally, the Norse god placed the last one. The stalagmites outlined the shape of the beast that was in the ground. The creature was much larger than the vast city of Xochicalco.

—Little Tul!— Loki shouted. —Whatever happens, do not cross the boundaries I've drawn with my ice needles, or one of those mouths will try to devour you—.

—Okay, yuum Loki— Tul yelled back.

—That guy is amazing; he's traced the shape of Tlaltecuhtli— Tláloc remarked, surprised.

—I have to admit he's right— Tania thought. —Determining the shape of this creature just by using his illusions is extraordinary—.

Loki then raised his hands to the sky and said: —Alright, let's begin—.

He then powered up and yelled: —Hugur sprengja

Nothing seemed to happen initially, but Loki kept smiling.

—What the hell did you do, Loki?— Tania questioned.

—I've attacked this monster's mind— Loki replied. —Right now, it should be more stupid, and its reflexes should have decreased—.

Tania then remembered that Loki had used this technique to destroy the minds of the monsters that attacked them in Adlivun.

—If he was at full strength, he would have destroyed the monster's brain— she thought.

—Alright, now for the tricky part— Loki commented, and made three thousand two hundred and thirty-nine stalagmites appear. This was a massive effort for him, especially within the barrier. Moreover, he had his illusory clones carry them.

The clones positioned themselves over the sketch of the massive beast as the horrifying monster opened its thousands of mouths to try and devour Loki's illusions.

The dark god shouted: —Hrímþursar kæsia

All the clones threw the massive ice spears at the monster's multiple mouths. However, the attack didn't hit any mouths, instead landing near each one. At that moment, the monster stopped its assault and began howling in pain.

—Did... did he know that Tlaltecuhtli's body was covered in eyes?— Tláloc asked in astonishment.

—No, he didn't— Tania thought. —He determined the line of sight for the beast's attack... Clever bastard—.

The ground started to shake and crack. Loki looked at Tul and shouted: —Little Tul, prepare your attack now!—

—Okay, yuum Loki— the rabbit goddess replied, throwing her bag to the ground. She began moving her hands hypnotically.

—Kaansaj Ixchel, please lend me your power again to use your technique— she murmured almost hypnotically, her hands moving, and a beautiful moon appearing behind her.

The grotesque creature began to emerge from the ground. It was a monstrous feminine demon, standing on its four grotesque limbs. It was yellowish with long, curly red hair. Instead of a mouth, it had a powerful jaw with a massive tongue sticking out. It was clearly female, having two saggy breasts like an old woman. Its body was covered with eyes and mouths, and bloodthirsty skulls jutted out from its elbows and knees.

Behind Tul, red and amber glyphs began to appear. A white moon illuminated the red symbols, while men bowed down, worshipping this phenomenon. From the moon, a rabbit shone light onto the men who adored it.

Then, Tul raised her right hand and screamed: —Kili'ich uj léets

In the hand of the rabbit goddess, a glyph representing the moon in the ancient Mayan language appeared. The moon behind Tul disintegrated, and like a whirlwind, the light illuminated the sacred glyph of the Mayan goddess, generating an immensely powerful beam that struck the hideous monster in the face.

—Tul, you combined water with sacred power, and yet you always consider yourself weak— Tania thought. —That's an excessively advanced technique—.

—No, that power won't be enough to defeat her— Tláloc shouted as he watched Tul firing her powerful white beam.

Hearing Tláloc's words, Tania quickly started shouting: —You can do it, Tul! You're an incredible girl, and I have full confidence in you!—

Tul wore a pained expression as she continued to fire her powerful attack, although the beast only seemed annoyed by this sacred assault.

—All my effort, I must break the barrier— Tul thought as she continued to unleash her attack.

At that moment, she felt a hand touch hers. The goddess turned and saw Loki standing beside her.

—Don't think I'll leave you alone, little Tul— Loki said with a smile, squeezing the goddess's hand.

—Right here, we'll break the barrier— the god declared, then shouted at the top of his lungs:—Fimbul-vetr

The terrible creature started screaming in pain as it felt the combined attack of Loki and Tul, but it slowly advanced toward the two gods, while swinging its tongue, ready to strike. The horrifying demon had Xochicalco on its back.

—Aren't you going to help her?— Xipe Tótec asked Tania, but she refused. The goddess crossed her arms and watched the battle intently.

—Trust among us is another virtue of Tawa, Tul. I have complete faith in you— Tania thought.

—Then, she's going to die— Xipe Tótec commented calmly and with a sarcastic smile.

Tania began to chuckle discreetly. —You're just an ignorant brute— the goddess retorted defiantly, which infuriated the Toltec god, but Tláloc calmed him down again.

The monster Tlaltecuhtli waved its grotesque tongue, using its spine-covered tongue to strike Loki and Tul. The gods resisted the attack, continuing their assault on the terrible beast.

—Don't give up, little Tul!— Loki shouted.

—I won't move an inch!— the rabbit goddess replied, also shouting.

Tania was a bundle of nerves but pretended to be confident in her companions' victory. She wanted to go and kill the creature herself, but she couldn't. She had to trust Tul and Loki.

The monster continued to batter the gods with its tongue, which had multiple spines on it, causing the gods' skin to stick and tearing parts of their bodies. Loki had already lost his right arm and part of his face. Tul had lost her left leg and an ear.

—Tawa, please, how much longer?— Tania prayed, crying inside.

The Toltec gods saw her and began to mock her.

—Tul, Loki, don't give up!— Tania shouted at the top of her lungs as the creature continued to punish the gods.

—Almost... I'm nearly dead, Yuum— Tul said, her voice almost extinguished as her energy began to fade, but Loki held her up with the arm he was using to attack.

—Little Tul, dispel the doubts within you— Loki commented. —Up there, your mother is sure you'll succeed—.

Tul smiled and turned to look at the Norse god. —And I believe in you too, Yuum— she said.

At that moment, an idea crossed Tania's mind. Both Tul and Loki were the ones who most openly expressed their issues with hatred. Tul felt hatred towards the Toltecs, and Loki never seemed to apologize for the crimes he had committed.

—Could that be an impediment for Tawa's light to reach them?— she wondered.

—Tul, dispel the negative thoughts you have about the Toltecs!— Tania shouted at the rabbit goddess.

—Loki, I know you made mistakes in the past, but I can see that you're trying to improve every day!— Tania shouted again at the Norse god.

—I... want to help everyone, even if they're Toltecs— Tul said with a pained expression.

—And I have finally found inner peace with all of you— Loki shouted.

At that moment, Tul saw something shining among her clothes. The goddess knew instantly what it was, and she screamed with all her might.

Magically, the goddess Tul's appearance changed slightly. Her red eyes disappeared, replaced by silver circles. Her fur turned as white as snow, gleaming like a pearl. Loki also underwent a transformation. The god's skin turned bluish, and his hair and beard became white.

Both gods screamed with all their might, and the beam they fired grew in size, piercing through the face of the terrible beast. Like a saw, their combined ray cut Tlaltecuhtli in half. Screaming in pain, the monstrous woman retreated underground, and her presence disappeared. The city of Xochicalco remained unscathed from the attack.

Tul and Loki fell exhausted to the ground and looked at each other.

—Congratulations, little Tul— Loki said.

—Congratulations to you too, Yuum Loki— Tul replied with a smile.

Tania jumped over to her companions and gave them chocolatl with ambrosia to help them recover, which intrigued the Toltec gods.

—You did it. I'm proud of both of you— Tania said, holding their hands. The moment had finally come when the Punic goddess fully accepted the Norse god, Loki.

At that moment, Tul and Loki's appearances returned to normal.

The rabbit goddess rummaged through her clothes and showed Tania the Tawa amulet that Rodrigo had bought in Chaco.

—With this amulet, he has been protecting us since we faced Coyote— the rabbit goddess said.

Immediately, Tania remembered that Epona had given something to Tul before leaving with Menrva to Chaco.

—It was this amulet— Tania thought. —Epona deciphered it before we did—.

Tláloc and Xipe Tótec watched the scene with fear and uncertainty. These gods had accomplished something that only Quetzalcóatl and Tezcatlipoca had achieved. The power of these foreigners was truly something to be feared.