Chapter 37:

Curse (3)

Mad God


Arriving at the cathedral, the feeling inside Ren just grew stronger.

"What have you used this place for?" Anya asked as they walked in, admiring the architecture of the old building. While inside, the sun shone through the cracks and holes in the roof, shining on the broken statues and faded paintings on the walls, making the cathedral look beautiful, like a mirage from the past.

"Not important." Kang said, "Big but much holes, wind strong, rain falls inside. Feel… bad here. Not like it."

"Yeah, the whole place gives off a creepy feeling to us." Shaman nodded. "You may feel differently, but for us, this place is… unnerving."

"Maybe because this was once an important place for humans?" Isha thought, looking at the apes.

"It's more like their instincts are still working." Ren commented, looking at the floor, "It comes from underground. I feel it. There must be a crypt down there; is there any way down?" she turned to Kang, who shook her head.

"Then it's hidden. Mom, can you find it?"

"I'll try. If there is a way down, water will find it." She nodded, and when she summoned water from the nearby river, it slowly washed over the floor, like cleaning away the grime and dust of centuries. Soon everyone saw the ankle-high water start to flow down through the cracks near where the old altar stood once. "There."

Kang walked up, grabbing onto the frame of the big chunk of marble of an altar, who knows how heavy, and by sheer strength, he ripped it off the ground, tossing it away without any problems. His little stunt was followed by a loud bang, scaring the gorillas who were curiously watching them from the broken windows and cracks in the walls. What revealed itself was a damp, musty staircase leading downwards into the darkness.

"Creepy… I don't really want to go down there…." Isha murmured.

"Well, you are out of luck. We need your flames to light the way." Ren giggled, making her moan frustratedly but just summoned a small flame over her hand as she started to descend, closely followed by Zern, then the others.

Going down the stairs was like descending into a different world, and soon, looking back, they did not see the light from above; only Isha's orange flame gave out any color. Kang and Shaman had to almost crawl and got stuck multiple times as the whole place was designed for humans, not the tall and bulky apes.

After 5 minutes of constant walking, they arrived at an underground chamber filled with otherworldly, bluish-green light from strange crystals on the old pillars holding up the ceiling. It looked like any ancient crypt where important people were laid to rest, not to be bothered by the living in their everlasting rest. The only difference being at the far end of it, on a small altar, laid a wooden goblet and a crystal the size of a heart, floating and slowly rotating above it.

"I feel… like…. Someone is sitting on me." Isha whispered, breathing hard, rubbing her body, between her chest as the others found it hard to breathe while Kang's and Shaman's fur stood on their ends.

"This place feels dangerous. Too dangerous." Shaman murmured, gulping hard. "We should go back. I like discovering things, but this place is best left in the dark, where it belongs!"

"Of course, it scares you," Ren said, looking directly at the slowly rotating, floating crystal that was murky and bluish in color. "You stand in the presence of a God."

"That's… the God Core?" Feynor mused, slowly approaching, while Anya stood close to her daughter, not leaving her out of arm's reach.

"Yes. That's it. It was suppressed here." Ren nodded again.

"Suppressed?" Anya asked as Ren looked up, and following her gaze, they could see that the ceiling was filled with tiny, colorless crystals that laid out a giant circle with an intricate, foreign pattern drawn around them.

"That is a formation made by another God. See those crystals? Those are all a life."

"What mean?" Kang asked, darting his eyes all over the pattern, soon noticing some cracked crystals.

"As I said, to cultivate a God Crystal was hard. Just think how many years have passed, and how long may our history go back? Hundreds of thousands of years? More? Millions? Who knows. Time always moves forward, and the old days are forgotten and lost. Yet, for a God, time means nothing. But I'm rambling… through time, talented people may reach the threshold but fail to form a perfect core. Crystal. Whatever you want to call it. Those could be called Demigods, if you will."

"Those are cores of… demigods?" Leinor asked with awe in his voice. "I counted more than 200 up there…."

"Yeah… their cores formed a pattern that kept the regeneration of this God Core, or call it God Crystal, as back then there was no demon folk around. You said there was an earthquake? The formation above us is damaged. Its suppressive effect waned! The God who is slumbering here started to regenerate. It must be an unconscious move as it siphoned away your tribe's soul."

"Fascinating…" Feynor whispered.

"This rock is evil? Killing us? Then destroy it!" Kang roared, clearly enraged, and stepped forward, trying to smash it, but Ren only signaled to the others to not move.

As Kang's fist landed on it, a clear, bell-like ringing was heard, and the giant gorilla flew backward like a bullet, crashing into the wall, shaking the whole underground crypt while he spurted a mouthful of blood onto his own legs.

"Don't even try it. Other Gods would find it challenging to destroy it. It would require too much effort. Why do you think it's placed here?"

“Why… not say…?” Kang gasped, standing back up.

"You wouldn't listen to me anyway. We have two options, repairing the seal or having you move out and find a new home. As I said, you will be fine; just give it time."

"We move." Kang nodded.

"Good. Also-" Ren wanted to continue, but soon a tremor swept through, and all the color, few there was, were washed out from reality. Only Ren's purple eyes retained their light and the still-floating God Crystal that now stopped rotating. "So you are conscious…." She thought as her body did not move or react in any way, yet her thoughts rang out clearly inside the now black and white crypt. The tiny dust particles in the air stopped flowing, and the slowly dripping down water drops stayed still in midair as time reached a halt.

"Who.. are… you?" came an old, dry voice, undefinable to be a man's or woman's. It felt foggy, weak, and distant, like a dying patient trying to speak up.

"A girl."

"No…"

"Sorry, but yes." She said with a calm voice, and soon her body started to shimmer in a brighter light as a corporeal soul, looking the same as Ren but naked, flown up above her head, "I am just a girl, through and through." Ren smiled as a small crystal fragment pulsed in the middle of her soul's chest.

"That…" seeped out a dark bluish gas from the God Crystal, formless and shapeless, but soon it was blocked by an invisible force.

"I don't know who you are or what happened to you, but it seems Alfina and Oynega did something nasty. Or maybe all four of them? I wonder when it happened, or did they forget it already? It must have happened eons ago, huh? Probably this is just another prison for you through the countless years." Ren mused, watching the swirling, black mass in the goblet under the God Crystal that was clearly binding it still, trying to swallow it back.

"Those… names…" came the answer with unmistakable sadness as the 'smoke' started to swirl.

"Relax. I'll come back when I'm stronger… and we can talk. But right now, you are in my way of getting allies! This was only a backup if I met one of my old friends before time, and they sent me back into reincarnation…" she said while tapping on the fragment inside her soul, "But unlucky for you, it is enough to deal with you. For now. Only, they must have felt I'm back… oh well! They won't find me easily; everything is fresh, even my soul; only my memories stayed." she laughed as her fragment broke into more tiny pieces, suppressing the dark smoke of the other "God," stuffing it back into the crystal as it moaned tiredly before going silent once again.

When it was done, those small pieces floated up, fusing into the formation, into the cracked crystals. As they did so, they slightly repaired them. But what was weird is that Ren suddenly felt something new inside in everyone she "touched."

"What is this… this energy is… this… is... different… is this… faith?" The God murmured confusedly before the color soon returned as the wheel of time started turning again as Ren's spirit fused back into her body.

For everybody else, everything happened in an instant; the tremor they felt was like someone tugging on their souls. The formation on the ceiling suddenly lit up with multiple colors, pushing the God Crystal back to the wooden goblet and submerging it in the dark liquid.

"Ren!" Anya screamed suddenly as her daughter coughed up a mouthful of blood from nowhere, looking pale.

"I'm fine…." She murmured, but soon her vision started to swim, every voice became a white noise only "Fucking… backlash…." Ren whispered before fainting.


….
….

"No, no, the second ring is bad. Also, the fifth and ninth symbols are in dissonance." a young-looking woman said, maybe in her twenties, standing over a middle-aged man who was drawing on a giant sheet of paper. A complicated, circle-shaped pattern decorated with runes and symbols were forming under his fingers, too dizzying to look at it for long.

She wore a cream-colored silk dress, and her chestnut, curly hair draped over her shoulders. She crossed her hands under her chest, puffing up her breasts, revealing a beautiful cleavage, yet the man ignored her looks.

His face was calm, and he only nodded while making the changes, following her instructions. If Leinor or any of the imperial family were here, they would be surprised as he looked similar to him and Dermitos, clearly indicating he was of the imperial family. After finishing the drawing, he fixed his scholarly robes before mulling over it.

"I still feel something is missing. It does not feel right, Master. Master?" Levictus asked when he did not get any response, and looking over, she was already gone. "Unreliable. As always," he murmured, then just tore it up and started over.

The woman felt like she was electrocuted a moment ago and immediately disappeared, reappearing above the city they stayed in. It was a bustling, big city, next to the multiple rivers as the wind carried the fresh air while dozens of ships were sailing to and fro, but nobody seemed to notice the girl floating above them.

She was looking east, with tears in her eyes, soon wiping them down, revealing a happy smile.

"He is back… Master is back!" She laughed happily as if someone did not laugh for decades. Her voice was carried by the wind, but few, if any, people heard it.


….
…..

"He is back." came a voice in a dark room, like a small square in the abyss, carved out perfectly.

"I felt it; you don't need to come here and tell me that woman." replied another voice to the first, cold, feminine one.

"Watch your tongue, baldie. The other fragments we collected showed a reaction, but it was too little to follow back to the source. We need to get ready."

"Ready? For what? He is a mortal; if he thinks he could return to where he was before, it's a fool's errand. He was lucky once and won't be lucky twice. You three worry too much."

"Don't underestimate him."

"I'm not. I'm just speaking the truth. You are the one who overestimates him. Still, have feelings for him? Was he that good in bed?"

No answer came; only silence reigned again in the darkness as the bald man sitting inside the nothingness gently caressed the rusty blade on his knees.


….
…..

"It was him, wasn't it?" Alfina asked, hugging Oynega in a hot spring while it snowed around them, as the steam rising from the water painted a misty, otherworldly picture.

"Yeah. Don't worry; we dealt with him. We will deal with him again and…." He smiled while kissing her neck. "We four have already dealt with others before, and he is no longer a God. Relax, Sis… we are enough for this world; there is no need for more Gods! Maybe… we would be enough in the end…."

"What about his disciples? They are still stirring up problems all over!" She moaned as they were clearly doing more than just hugging in the water.

"Insignificant. Their new ways are nothing more than a dead end. The people's faith in us is unshakeable, and you can't kill ideas; you can't kill faith! So you can't kill us~ They are trying to stop a river with their bare hands. Just forget about it. Enjoy the now~."

“Mmmh~ You’re right… don't stop~" She moaned again, and soon they forgot about everything happening outside their realm.