The end draws ever closer, what is the final fate waiting for these heroes which don't know the true depth of their actions? What will have they obtained on this battle once it ends, what will they have lost?
(This is technically Chapter 14 as well as 15. Next chapter is the last one)
An apology note to all readers excited for the final battle: It won't be exhibited right away, the story will travel back to the past. Decades, perhaps a century, into the past, to narrate the beginning of these events and reveal the true root behind all of it. Your patience will be requested for some pages, but do not worry, the end of the story will certainly come.
There once was a couple of scientists which were very worried about the environment. There was no truly endless source of energy, if humankind continued following the path it had created so far, it would only be a matter of thousands of years for the planet to die out. 'The earth is billions of years old, and, in just two thousand years, we've beyond exhausted this planet! We won't take place on this sacrifice, we must revert the situation,' was what they would constantly preach and repeat, but while many would be moved by their determination, none would ever invest on their research or at least the field they researched.
After all, it could be said that it was pointless. The air, the earth, the water, the oil, everything could be said to have a due date. If it would come sooner or later, why bother to make it come later if that means making life harder for society? They pleaded and begged, but their requests always went in vain. But the couple knew that it would only be a game over if they gave up, one day the world would see what they meant, and when the time came, they shouldn't have their hands empty.
It was in a particular night, the two would be lying on the rooftop of their home, stargazing. As anyone would expect, they had very odd hobbies and habits, their peers would call them 'the hippie scientists.' Returning to the topic, while they watched the twinkling of the stars, something slipped towards them. Slipped, fluttered, fell, hovered, the words could be many, but what matters is that it came to them.
A transparent blue-ish gem, the size of his head. He tried grabbing it as it came down, but almost like magnets of identical polarity, it instead hovered above his hands at a constant distance. After had been 'holding' it for a while, the gem gathered particles of light and became heavier. It finally stopped hovering and fell on his hands, but he couldn't hold it for long, it was too hot.
The two waited for it to cool down, puzzled by the nature of that gem. Once it cooled down, they tried taking hold of it again to analyze it, but not long after they got close to touching it, the gem gathered light and increased in temperature, just as it did before. They couldn't understand what was going on, but one thing was clear to them: if it produced heat, it produced energy. Just by them being close to it, the gem produced energy, which was very interesting to them.
They tried solving the puzzle of where that energy came from by doing many tests. It wasn't by using their body heat that it was produced, both after and before touching it, their temperature remained the same and the gem's increased. They sealed it within a box of perfect darkness and touched the box. It still produced heat, but they couldn't determine it if still created light, so they attempted it on a dimly lit room. The very gem produced light to illuminate the room and then, as every time before that, produced heat.
The couple could barely contain their excitement. That was it. That was proving to be a fantastic source, the energy they had wished to discover. They only had to discover what it was, how it produced that energy, where it came from, how could it be harnessed. They couldn't disclose it without answering these questions, otherwise they'd just make a mockery of themselves. But they had one close acquaintance, someone they really could trust with this, so they called that person.
'Start by harnessing the energy. If you discover how it works and for what it can be used, the rest might be easier to uncover,' was his suggestion. They didn't agree with working with unknown energy, but it had an inch of sense. Even if they discover all about it, if it turns out it can't properly be used to fuel a car or sustain a home, they'd have wasted their research time. So they continued testing and investigating how to control it.
After a few weeks, they created a small machine, a motor which used the gem to move. By touching its surface, it would start the process of gathering light, then produce heat, which would activate the mechanism and turn on a lamp. It was pretty much that one childish experiment of turning on a lamp by using a potato or lemons, it was meant to be a simple test.
The result was an explosion. They touched it and the gem gathered energy endlessly. The second it 'activated,' the cables and the lamp caught fire, but it wasn't a matter of unplugging it, it wasn't powered by electricity or anything. It would only stop when the gem stopped feeding it energy, which it, for some reason, never did. Until it exploded, it didn't stop gathering light.
That explosion didn't kill them, it didn't destroy their home. What it did was blow up a small hole on the gate. The gate which connected two worlds, the world of humans and the world of spirits. While the explosion didn't kill them, it took them along with it, throwing them and nothing else into the spirit world.
Not that such a thing would be clear to them upon waking up on an unknown and apparently deserted island, of course. They spent half an hour panicking and creating theories about what might have ocurred, then argued about why did the other allow them to make such a stupid experiment without any protection. After wasting all that time, the true terror settled in. Their home was gone, they were transported to a place they had never been to before. In front of them, the ocean. Around them, trees and sand. Behind them, a jungle.
'Such a classic setting, when you think about it,' the woman commented, but the man didn't understand what she was going on about. Seeing as it wouldn't be day forever, the sun was already starting to set, they had to try to locate themselves, ask for help somehow and find somewhere to settle, all of that before nightfall. All these sudden tasks plus the unstoppable passage of time created a second panic. While adults, they certainly lacked the ability to keep calm under adversity.
“Adol, you were right! There was someone here!” A young woman appeared, running towards them, talking to the penguin she holds on her arms. She had long brown hair tied in a ponytail and wore a huge yellow jacket. The penguin was white with a black head, its feathers formed a question mark above its head. But while they recognized it as a penguin, it wasn't quite a penguin. It was cartoonish, short and round, its beak was bright yellow. “Are you two okay? Adol said he heard an explosion over here..”
“Ah... we... don't know where we are...” They looked at each other and then to the girl, they didn't know how to explain what happened to them. Not only that, they have many questions themselves.
“...?” The girl tilts her head. She didn't understand a word of what they said. While they could understand her, their language was lost on her. The penguin made a few gestures and peeped a little. “Ah, you understand them? Amazing, Adol! Well, this isn't anywhere really, it's just some random island. Wait, but can you two understand me?”
“Random island...? Were there any close to our home? Could we have been taken to another state? Or worse, another country?” the couple discussed among themselves before turning to the girl once more. “What country is this, miss?”
“...Country? Well, I think this is technically within Blue's domain, right, Adol?” She waited for the penguin to translate it, then put her hand against her mouth while she thought about it.
“...Is that any country you know of?”
“...” The penguin takes a good look at them, paying close attention to every detail of them. He whispers some weird sounds on the girl's ears and her expression becomes a facial representation of '!!!'
“Is that so! We'll be going now, but we'll be back... well, not soon, but we'll be back.” The girl removes her jacket and hands it to them. She had a white tanktop beneath it, but that truly called their attentions were the bumps on her back, two large orbs, they believed they were tumors for a while. “If it becomes cold, use that! We'll be back, okay?”
The two orbs 'open,' releasing a pair of white wings. She gives them her back and runs towards the ocean while flapping her wings. Still holding the penguin, she leaps and takes off the ground, flying away towards the horizon. The two watched it happen. They had a witness right by their side that would confirm what they just saw, but still didn't believe it. 'An... angel? Are we dead?' Once they accepted what happened before their eyes, their mental state only got worse.
Her jacket had enough width for her to wear it over her wings, so by sticking close to each other, the two managed to at least cover their backs and one of their arms. With a blanket and human warmth, they would endure the chilly night, but when the wind carried wailing voices and when maniacal cackling echoed forth, the already stressing and unknown situation they found themselves on became even tougher, it was hard to find enough peace to sleep.
They didn't want to venture the jungle, and the rocks by the coast were clearly a bad choice of a place to sleep on. As they were expecting the angel to return as she had promised, the two didn't move from that beach, they just lied down on the sand and, embracing each other to optimize the use of the jacket, tried sleeping like that.
After some hours, regardless of the anxiety and fears, their bodies forcibly shut down and they slept for a few hours. They would have slept more if allowed to, but louds noises awakened them. A girl screaming 'heeeeey!' the sound of ships approaching the shore, the stomps of a large creature. Nobody would manage to stay asleep on such conditions.
The angel returned, this time not only with the penguin, she also had a dog. A brown dog, his face reminiscent of a corgi species. If that dog didn't stand on two feet and was as tall as the girl, they certainly would just say it's a corgi, but instead they end up shocked once more, having to convince themselves into accepting what they were seeing. He wore a blue jersey suit, a hammer on his right hand, a toolbox on the left. Behind them, unloading many crates from the ships, countless robots. Some of them made of iron like the robots they knew, others were made of wood or rocks which multiplied the shock factor by two.
“Huh, so there really were humans here,” the dog looked at them with surprise, but less because they're a pair of humans and more because the girl's information was correct.
“Hey, you still didn't believe me?”
“Ever heard of the boy that cried wolf?” He turned to her, a sarcastic smile on his face.
“...No,” she pouted.
“Then, after getting so much misleading information from you, it's only expected that I'd start getting cynical.”
“...But you still came fully equipped.”
“Hm, blame my sixth sense for that. I just felt you wouldn't make up a story like that, Charl.”
“Thanks!” She grinned, feeling she was praised.
“Because you wouldn't have the brains for it, I meant.”
“Oh. You're pretty mean, why are we friends again?”
“...” He considered answering 'We're not,' but he found that to be too mean. While he tried thinking about some other retort, the couple who watched their routine trying to understand what was going on finally broke from their silence.
“Hm, excuse me, what... is going on now?” The woman asked.
“Ah, sure, sure, I forgot about you for a moment!” The girl scratched the back of her head, laughing.
“Wow, they really speak a weird dialect!” This time the dog actually showed some real surprise, he even dropped his toolbox.
“You didn't believe that as well?!”
“Don't change the subject. Mr. Pentan, could you translate them to me?” The dog turned to the penguin, who quickly proceeded to make gestures and peep around. “Ah, I see. I'm a carpenter, the girl here told me she found some humans and that I should build you two a home. And here we are.”
“...I'm really lost, I'm sorry,” the woman could accept a conversation with a dog-person, but she failed to connect the logic on what he just said.
“...Well, you came from another world, right? I think it's expected that you'd be lost,” just as the girl, there's a delay to the dog's answer because he had to wait for the penguin to translate
“I think the idiom was lost on translation, I meant that I don't understand why you'd have to build us a house,” she tried again, hoping that this time she got a proper answer.
“...Why? Is that bad, do you not want somewhere to live? I mean, if you like the sand that's your thing, but...” The dog scratched his face, feeling confused. 'Ah, he has an opposing thumb, freaky!' the woman comments internally.
“When you put it that way it does sound good, but... we'd like to know where we are and... how to return to our own home, instead of settling here...” She also wanted to ask about the girl's wings and the dog's, well, being a dog, but she won't be rude to people who seem to be trying to be helpful.
“...Charl, did you explain nothing at all to them before running off?”
“Whoops, tehe,” the girl hit her head and winked, trying to put on a cute front. The dog is unamused.He let out a sigh and sat down, making a gesture for the two to do so as well. “This might be hard to take, but...”
The dog explained it in direct and simple terms, there was no point in beating around the bush. 'You'll never return home,' was how he started it. This is not the world of humans, it's a world somewhat connected to that of humans. He told them the two weren't the first humans to ever appear on that world, so spirits have a few rules concerning humans. They cannot live within the cities of spirits, for their own safety as well as for the balance of the spirits' societies. Spirits must not harm humans, they break too fast, even a small prank might kill them. That rule only applied to spirits with sapience, of course, those who are wild animals wouldn't ever abide to that, which is why humans must have a safe environment to live in and, if possible, the intelligent spirits must protect them from any possible threats.
“That's the basic gist of it. If you have any questions, ask the penguin, not me.”
“Never... return home? A world of wild beasts and 'spirits'? And... what happened to the other humans who lived here?”
“...Yes, so far we haven't ever found a way to travel back to your world, so we just assume there is no method. There are beings other than spirits, but that's not your problem, just imagine everything is one and it'll be the same. And as for other humans... some got killed, some died, some turned into heroes. But that was mostly before we developed those rules, right now... It should be fine.”
“Are there any other humans for us to talk with?!”
“...I'm afraid not. For some reason, new groups of humans only appear after the previous group vanishes... And by that I mean when they die,” the dog talked with a tired expression on his face, which made them feel very nervous. When a cute dog casually talks about never returning home and humans dying, the gap makes it much more heavy.
“Geez, Kerry, you're so mean! Why scare them like that, life here isn't so bad!”
“I guess a traveler without a worry on her life would feel so. But look at it from where they stand. If you ended up on the human world and found out you couldn't fly or look eternally young anymore, would you just shrug it off?” The dog's expression only changed when talking to her, shifting into a somewhat playful mocking gaze.
“W-well...! I guess I'd have to go there to know! Hahaha!” She tried to play it cool, but from her expression, anyone could tell that just by being unable to fly she already felt really be troubled
“...Thanks,” the woman lowered her head.
“...Did you translate that right? Why would she thank me all of a sudden,” Kerry poked the penguin.
“No, I really am thanking you. You're a very nice... I'm sorry, should I call you a dog or a man?”
“...” The dog cringed and lightly hit the penguin's head with his hammer. It did not hurt, but the penguin thought he meant it, so it did scare him for a moment. “I'm this sure you're just messing with me. But, on the slight possibility of her actually having said that, I'll answer that I'm a man.”
Saying he had no more time to waste being mocked by the pair of Yellow fools, he started building the house. Within the craters carried by the machines, which the couple would discover were called golems, were the materials that were used on building their home. As the house was built, the couple talked for a while about the situation and started crying. They had no reason to not believe all Kerry and Charl said, they had no counter-theory to present, they had no choice but to believe it.
Seeing the two distant and upset, breaking into tears from time to time, Charl and Adol called for their attention and started doing magic tricks. For human standards, that would be actual magic, but for the two it was just a bunch of tricks, since they had no purpose. Charl would build a sand castle through psychokinesis, then Adol would crash into it while screaming. As the castle crumbled, the two would do a silly pose and say 'Pentanzilla.'
If Kerry was around to witness that, he'd hit both of them and tell them to use psychokinesis to help building the house instead of telling terrible jokes. But as he was focused on building the house, he couldn't intervene. The couple didn't get some of the jokes, the references weren't always commonplace for humans, but they cheered up simply by realizing she was trying her best to help them. She couldn't understand their language and they were from different worlds, but she tried to connect with them through humor. 'Comedians from Earth would probably be happy to know there's life out there and that they're also into comedy.'
“I'd say it's done,” in just a few hours, Kerry not only built them a small house, he also gave them furniture. A wardrobe, a bed for each of them, chairs, a table.
“A-amazing,” the man was amazed at how beautiful was his work, despite his spending nothing but around three hours on it.
“Heh, don't understimate the carpenters of Blue, we work on another level. Also, come with me,” he guides them through the house, leading them to a room besides the bedroom. There's a wooden box with small holes on it hanging on the ceiling and another hole on the floor, this one with a metallic grid above it. “Do... Do humans take showers? The books aren't very informative about that, I wouldn't know.”
“We do, yes,” the two answered at the same time.
“Ah, good, so, you see here,” he removed the box, revealing a deep blue gem, a sapphire. He tapped it twice and water flowed forth from it. “Each tap increases the potency, so, in case it takes a while or doesn't seem to be working, don't tap it ten times or anything like that. Only fools do that, right, Charl?”
“...I don't know what you're talking about,” she averts her gaze, embarassed.
“That gem! We... had one similar to it before coming here.”
“...Um, if you're talking about what I'm thinking, it's nothing special. A transparent one, yes? That's just a core, pretty much everything is fueled by it,” he shrugged. He just figured humans didn't know how to use core, he would never imagine that somewhere out there existed a world that didn't make use of them, a world which needed different resources. “This is Blue's specialty, a core that creates water. As I was saying, if it seems to not be working, the problem is that you are the one tired, the gem will never be exhausted.”
“...You mean that this one gem will forever give us water?”
“...Hm, sorta? I mean, when you're old or dead it won't produce anything, but while you're living...” For him, it's a weird question, but he expected that humans would see things differently. 'I can't believe this... endless water? Where does it come from?' the scientists couldn't help but be thrilled by those mysterious rocks, they almost forgot their terrible situation. “Also, an important thing, I can't believe I forgot about it.”
“What is it?”
“What are your names? I'm Kerry, as you might have heard, but that wasn't a proper introduction,” the dog offered his hand. It was furry like a dog's, but shaped like a human's hand, every time they looked at it, it became weirder. But both still shook his hand, ignoring such small details so they could properly thank him.
“Sarah,” she opened an awkward smile, wondering if the penguin would need to translate that.
“Ellian,” his name which always sounded weird is met with normalcy, Kerry doesn't even falter.
“Sarah and Ellian, ok. If there's ever any problem on the house, just send me a message, my carpenter pride will come running.”
“I'm Charl! And this is Adol! We're adventurers!” The girl wanted to introduce herself along with Kerry, but she couldn't intrude the mood before.
“Thanks again. We'll probably... need some time to adjust, but we'll try to settle down,” even if they've met with nice people, it's still a predicament they had never thought would come to them.
Not long after that, Kerry returned to his ship along with the golems and sailed away. Charl said he remembered another important thing and flew away, the two were left alone. Their new home had a bedroom, a bathroom, a living room and an entrance hall. They had worked hard to get their old house. Finding it, buying it, giving it the furniture that made it truly feel like theirs, all of it took lots of time and effort. And now that was gone, to never return. They got a new one in just a matter of hours, without paying or doing anything for it, but still... everything felt so odd and out of place.
“But we have no choice other than living with this now, do we?” They smiled at each other, trying to put up a front. They had to start by lying to themselves, then it would eventually become their true feelings, certainly.
Hours passed. They have no TV, computer or radio. They're stranded on a deserted island. In thirty minutes they were already terribly bored, and after enough time went by, they became hungry and bored. They remember what Kerry told them about the spirits which don't have enough intelligence to obey the rule to not attack humans, so they fear walking into the jungle, there's not even guarantee of it actually having edible fruits or vegetables. They don't even begin to consider fishing, anyone would guess the sea is much more dangerous than the jungle.
“Heeeeey,” Charl's screaming voice, followed by multiple knocks on the door. The two quickly rush to the door, hoping that she'll do something interesting again. And they weren't one bit wrong on that.
Charl stood by the door, a large grin on her face. Behind her, Adol posed atop a large green bird, similar to a vulture, but clearly not an animal that could be found on the human world. The bird had a basket tied to its feet, lots of boxes within it. While a it was a basket, it was proportional to the bird, it would be fitting to say it had the size of a van.
Charl carried the boxes into their home with psychokinesis, but it still tired her out. 'It's not just because I'm using magic to do it that it doesn't weight anything at all,' she complained. From within the boxes, she removes countless fruits and vegetables, some fish, raw red meat and so on. In simple terms, she brought food.
“Can you believe this island is equally distant to all of the six domains?”
“Really? You can measure that whilst flying? And also, what measuring system do you use over here?” Ellian decided that it's better to start discovering as much as possible instead of wallowing in sadness forever. After Adol translated everything to her, Charl tilted her head.
“Measuring? Uh... I, well... You know. None of them seemed to be too far away...” She didn't know how to say it. Seeing her struggle to justify herself, Sarah and Ellian could understand why Kerry compared her to the boy who cried wolf. But they didn't think she did it out of malice, instead it was probably because she was easily excited and got carried away.
“Don't worry about it. This food is for us? It's... a lot, isn't it?”
“...You're worried about it rotting? Well, that's what this is for!” She removes a white gem, a large diamond, from a bag she brought along with the crates. She hovers it above one of the fruits and the diamond absorbs the fruit into itself. “The world within this diamond is reaaally cold, so fruit can be preserved here. My personal tip is to not rub your partner on it, even if he might be a penguin, not all of them are built to endure extreme cold.”
“...We'll make a note about that,” 'Charl, how much a klutz are you?' they wanted to ask, but didn't want to upset her.
“Next! It's this one here,” she picks up a red gem, a square ruby, and puts it on the floor. She throws a piece of meat inside of it, counts to five, then quickly pulls it back, putting it on a plate. The raw meat turned into a finely cooked steak. “And you can use this to cook! I'd say there's endless room on the diamond, but I recommend not putting lots of things on the ruby, it might become messy in there.”
“...Any other piece of advice on what not to do with the ruby?” Sarah asked, interested if Charl hadn't misused it as well.
“Hm, let me see. After you get out of a shower, don't rub it on your body or hair, it won't dry you up.”
“...Do the burns take long to heal?”
“I w-wouldn't know, but I heard it might~! ”She looked away, laughing. The two are very happy that Charl was the person that found them. While she clearly isn't the brightest, her intentions were the best. She was a very nice person, neither Sarah or Ellian could think of someone who was ever so nice to them back on Earth. “Well... Ah, a small thing. Humans are always popular, so you might get some visits from time to time. Nobody mean, of course, everyone follows the rules. Be nice to them and you might get some gifts!”
“Thanks, Charl. You're a really gentle person, did you know?” Sarah can't help but feel moved by the girl's kindness.
“...Repeat that when Kerry is around, I'll feel morally victorious. Two more things, before I go,” she whistled loudly, the two jumped in surprise. Seconds after her whistling, a small black bird landed on the window. “This guy is gonna be your messenger. No, wait, tell him to come over here first.”
“Uh... Mr. Bird, could you fly to Charl?” Sarah had a vague idea of what Charl wanted to test, so she complied without hesitating. Right as she ordered it, the black bird opened its wings and started circling around Charl.
“Good, he understands you. Just tell him the name of the person you want him to find and the message to deliver and he'll do it. His name is Ninp, treat him well, please, he's a nice spirit like everyone else. Second, I'm having food delivered to you every four days, if it's too wide or too small a gap, just tell the delivery bird, it'll adapt to your choices. That's it.”
“Wait, Charl,” Charl turned her back and walked away, almost like a 'mission complete, I'm no longer needed' sort of thing. Sarah followed her and gave her a hug, thanking her once more.
“You are some pretty nice humans too.”
“Was a human ever mean to you?” Sarah asked. She knows how people are, she wouldn't be surprised if someone managed to be cruel to this gentle and caring girl. But after getting the sentence translated, Charl averted her gaze, embarassed.
“Not really... since I haven't met any other humans... hehe,” down to the last sentence, she was still a big dweeb. Sarah and Ellian waved her goodbye as she flew away, Adol on her arms as always. Wherever she goes, they hope that she's having fun and not freezing, drowning or burning anyone... or herself.
Just as she said, the two received multiple visits as the days went by. The queen of the nightlings, Yow, a beautiful and pale vampire. She talked to them about how tough it was to be a queen on a country filled with demons and hideous creatures. She was quite fond of the women of the country, though, they never disappointed her, all were beautiful and gallant, powerful and noble. 'None are quite on my level, but let's not raise the bar too much, hohoho,' she laughed. The two couldn't participate on the conversation, she didn't understand their words, but she didn't mind, more than a dialogue, she wanted to vent.
The next visit was the emperor of Blue, Alexander. He was too big to enter their house, so he sat down by the beach and the two climbed to the rooftop. It was awkward at first, but the conversation was so enthralling that the awkwardness soon disappeared. He told them about he was a living legend, he started from nowhere, only a few giants with him, but his many travels and battles gave him much fame and power, which resulted on him becoming the emperor he now was. His only regret was never getting to see where the world ended, which is why he wanted to visit them, beings from another world. 'Humans... how is your world? That certainly is a place I'd like to one day see...'
A certain day they were visited by an angel which brought many child-like angels along with her. 'They desperately wanted to see you people, so I couldn't help it...' she apologized. They played with the children for a long time, which turned out to be one of the best visits they received. Some of the 'children' mentioned that it was so much fun that they would never scam humans into huge debts again, which honestly made the couple wonder if they really were children.
After that day, they'd start thinking about it, considering it, discussing it and not many weeks after that they'd announce that Sarah was pregnant. They asked Ninp to go around and tell everyone they knew about it, because it was very important to them. Ninp returned with countless congratulations messages, along with a few sweets, fruits and charms, good luck wishes from the different cultures across the spirit world.
“Do you... still regret coming to this world?” Sarah asked, feeling their lives became much more fulfilling once they entered this world. They live on a small island, but get constant visits. Often by people they never met, yet they mutually treat each other as friends, be them a huge dragon, a ghost or a pig.
“...Not really. For the longest time I've felt that accident was something meant to be... Something we needed to finally be at peace.”
“Could we just be happy because we don't have to work anymore? There's somebody taking care of us, it's like we're children again.”
“That could be it,” he laughed, unable to deny life had been easy for them.
“But maybe this baby will give us something to worry about,” she caressed her belly, feeling the life that was forming within.
A few days after she announced her pregnancy, Charl, Adol and Kerry appeared on their island again, bringing the ship and golems. 'You need a room for the baby, right? Let me work on it,' they hadn't even requested it, but he came anyway, as if it was obvious he should. His plan wasn't even just a baby room, he had to build a small tub to give the baby showers, a craddle, a room for it to play... In other words, Kerry was very excited about their baby and wanted to pamper it before it was even born.
“Kerry... you really are the nicest, did you know?” Sarah felt like petting him, but she knew he identified as a man, not as a dog. Doing that would be very weird, maybe even make him uncomfortable.
“Don't underestimate a Blue carpenter,” he smiled, very smug. And the world paused, Kerry slowly turned to Sarah and she tilted her head, just as shocked. Adol didn't translate what she said, but Kerry understood. “When did you learn?”
“I... don't know. I just realized that during some visits Adol wasn't around and we could communicate... But I just figured that, just as he could understand, there were other people who could. But if you can understand me now.... I have no idea what happened.”
“Call Ellian here, let's see if it works with him too,”
That was a very sudden twist on their lives, up in there with being thrown into another world. They couldn't even pinpoint when it started, but the fact it happened made them very happy, they finally were starting to be part of the world of spirits. As they talked about it, Charl entered the room, very out of herself.
“I've been holding it for a long time, but I can't stand it any longer, I'm sorry!” she yelled, her legs shaking.
“What... is it, Charl?” They had never seen her like that before, she seemed to be close to crying even.
“Where do babies come from, how are you getting one?!”
The two froze. 'There should be a limit to her naivety, shouldn't there?' They don't want to be the ones to ruin that purity, so they don't know what to say. Knowing Charl, if they say a stork brings it, she'll stalk every stork she ever sees, just to confirm. While the two thinked, Kerry walked towards her, grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her outside.
They return in less than two minutes, Charls eyes had no light on them. She looked to Ellian, then to Sarah, counted something on her fingers, stared at the ceiling, scratched her chin. Then she returned to her smiling self, as if nothing had happened. 'Kerry, what did you tell her?' was a question that would plague them for years.
Almost like an arrow, the nine months flew by. They occasionally got a few messages from their friends, but never a visit, which upset them a little. The ones who came to deliver the baby were a bugman who called himself a priest and an angel. The priest didn't really do anything, the angel was the one who helped Sarah during the entire process. That was the couple's perception at least, which wasn't very wrong. The priest was one who followed Zearth and had the god's blessing, his presence was only to assure that the 'harvest,' meaning the birth, would be successful.
“It's a girl! What are you gonna call her, did you think of any name?” White robes surrounded the baby girl. These clothes were blessed, they ensured protection from evil, disease and also would help her develop.
“We thought of calling her Karen...”
“What a pretty name! Let's see if she likes it,” the angel tickled the girl and called her by that name a few times. The girl giggled a little, but tried to stop the angel from tickling her. “What a lively baby! I'm sure she's gonna like the name.”
And that's how Karen was born. The angel and bugman left right away, leaving the girl on Ellian's arms and Sarah recovering. From time to time she'd suddenly wake up from her sleep and ask to hold the baby, then fall asleep while singing a lullaby to it. On one of her awakenings, she somberly said 'she's cuter than those angels, I bet she'd never scam people into debts.' Ellian didn't reply, but whenever he remembered what she said, he'd start laughing.
A day later, Sarah was already feeling better, the blanket that covered her was also made of divine fabric, to ensure a fast recovery. 'The angels sound nice, but I can't get my mind out of the debt thing. Will they charge us for this?' She asked, feeling the divine fabric up, agreeing it indeed was soft, nice and overall perfect.
A knock on the door. The two find it odd, there's no one who ever came to visit them that only knocked once. They walked to the door, feeling a little anxious, worried about what might be going on. 'When things are going too well, it's only expected that something bad will happen...' they gulped, opening their front door while feeling their hearts up their throat.
“Cooooooongratulations!” Charl screams, blowing a horn. Adol rings a triangle by her side, and everyone is there on the beach as well. Yow, Alex, the angels, Kerry, the priest and many of the other visitors they had. A surprise party to celebrate Karen's birth. Multiple rubies lined up after the other, huge pieces of skewered meat above them.
“You mentioned that barbecue thing once, I thought... you'd like to see it again, so I tried my best to develop it,” Kerry laughed, a little nervous about whether he got it right or not.
“Here's a gift for the little warrior,” Alexander kneeled and handed them a sword-shaped wrapped gift. They can tell he attempted to make a surprise, but it clearly was a sword.
“From me... A mirror. It will always tell her she's beautiful,” Yow handed it to Sarah, as Ellian had his hands on the sword. She got close to Sarah's ear and whispered. “Sometimes it might say not as beautiful as me, but, while true, it's a simple defect, tell her to ignore it, hohoho.”
“Leave the gifts for later, let's eat!” Charl lifts a skewer the size of a cow with her psychokinesis and digs into it along with Adol. Kerry runs to her, screaming 'don't do that, you stupid angel!'
Odd gifts and fighting over barbecue aside, it was the happiest day of their lives. They never had friends over like this. They never had friends like this. A giant, a vampire, a dog, an angel, a penguin. It was all very emotional to them, they even felt they might not deserve all this happiness, since it all was born out of an accident.
'We want the star of the show!' the spirits playfully cheered, clapping their hands. Sarah entered their home for a while and soon brought Karen outside. She had just woken up, somehow the noisy conversations until now hadn't bothered her napping at all. Her reactions to each of the spirits was honestly surprising, it's almost as simply by being born among spirits her resistance is superior, no other baby would react to such diverse cast the way she did.
She didn't want to let go of Kerry, which resulted on Charl saying he's cute, adorable and fluffy. While all of it certainly sounds like compliments, he felt mocked and humiliated. When it was Charl's turn to hold her, she started crying. As to whether that 'she' refers to Charl or Karen, it is better not to disclose. Yow faltered for a moment when looking at the baby. 'This is bad, I can see into the future of this girl, she might be an opponent which grows to rival my beauty,' people thought she was joking, but she truly meant it.
Alexander was too scared to hold her, but people encouraged him, saying it would be okay. Even if he's a giant, he won't smash the baby on accident. Scared, he carefully picked her up and tried making a silly face. She giggled nonstop and tried reaching for his face, but her tiny arms wouldn't ever manage to reach him. 'She's gonna kill thousands with a smile alone,' he followed after Yow's prediction with something even more incredible.
After the party ended, Kerry and Charl stayed around to help clean up, the others were all busy people and couldn't afford to. The four would stop and stare at the setting sun, each of them with their minds full of different thoughts.
“I'm glad you were the humans I got to meet. It's been really nice. Knowing you, I mean,” Kerry said, feeling sort of awkward. He didn't know how to express himself well, he was better at mocking others.
“Me too, I feel seeing you from time to time is my favorite adventure,” Charl laughed, petting Adol, who voiced his agreement to her words.
“We're also glad to have had you two as our first friends. Charl, Kerry, you two make up the nicest people we've ever known.”
“Did you hear that? She said I'm the nicest,” Charl poked Kerry's face, smiling like an idiot.
“Well, I never denied that. If she said you're among the, let's see, twenty smartest, then I'd have to retort,” 'now this is more like it,' he sighed, feeling like himself once again.
“...You could have just praised me and ended it there, why say something mean like that!?” She pouted.
“Sometimes I really can't tell if you're friends or not, you know,” Sarah laughed.
“I like to think I wouldn't put up with this if she weren't a friend. If I did, I would be even dumber than her,” Kerry shrugged.
“You did it again! Stop balancing out every nice thing with a mean one!”
Their daily life continued, peacefully as always. Visitors from time to time, playing with and taking care of Karen. Years went by, they eventually forgot of their lives before coming to the world of spirits. Their daughter turned five, she already could speak, a dialect understood by her parents and the spirits, which was the one thing they worried about. Her hair was almost reaching her shoulders. They wouldn't know if it was too much hair for such an age, but they knew for sure that its green color wasn't natural. The spirits said there's an important test she must take at that age, which sort of worried the parents, but everyone assured them it was safe.
They placed Karen on the beach and told her to stand still. Then Kerry put many toys in front of. A dragon, an angel, a large blue man, a skeleton, a bird and a robot. The test consisted of which one she'd take, they wanted to discover her innate color.
“I'm gonna bet ten dinners that she'll take the bird,” Charl whispered on Kerry's ear after he returned.
“...Because of her hair?”
“It's failproof, trust me,” she grinned.
“If there's one person on this world whose theories I'll never believe, it's you,” she threw her arms up, 'every day the same thing, don't you ever get bored?!' but he didn't answer, only laughed a little.
“You can go and choose one now, Karen!” Ellian screamed. Nobody could be nearby, to not affect her choice, so they're all behind her, waiting.
Internally they're all cheering for her to pick their color, for no real reason, they just want to say she's with them. She's just that precious to them all, she'd become a trump card for any possible argument, all she had to do was take a color related to one of them. The girl looked around, thinking and thinking.
She finally took a step forward. She was heading for the bird, Charl could feel she was getting ten dinners. Suddenly, she stopped and went for the skeleton. Yow bites her thumb, she could see that coming, she knew the girl wouldn't settle with going to any other domain, she had to become a direct foe. Before taking the skeleton, she spent a long time staring at the blue giant. For a plush doll, it sure had lots of work put into making the muscles. But it's too huge, she can't pick it up.
“This one!” She picked the dragon and waved, a large smile on her face.
While they were visited by dragons from time to time, none really became a friend quite like Yow, Alex, Kerry and Charl did. So on a trivial event like that, there was no one who could really feel victorious over that. Still, Kerry turned to Charl with an expression that said 'What now? She picked red.'
“Rush,” she answered. He tried to keep his disdainful stare, but he couldn't deny he found it pretty funny and started laughing.
Time continued to move, their daughter grew up as strong as anyone expected. Sometimes she'd be found playing with the sword Alexander gave her and everyone would worry, but she never hurt herself or anyone. Kerry often said he'd rather entrust a sword to a child like Karen than to Charl, and she'd complain that she never ever even injured him with a sword. 'Did you ever injurse someone with a sword though? Wouldn't that sound better than Kerry specifically?' Ellian would ask, and Charl would whistle and change the subject.
A certain day, they received a new visit. They had already learned more after all these years, they knew every proper term already. The being which visited them was a brave, which is a being which can combine with spirits, sort of like an equipment. They're generally conscious, even if they can't speak at times.
The brave which visited them was a golden two-headed snake. The two heads converged into one body, which wore an armor shaped like a snake head as well. Despite being a snake, the armor had two legs and feet which it actually used to walk. The tail which came out from behind the armor probably was its actual body, that armor was, very likely, for combining purposes, they believed.
“Hello there,” said the left snake.
“Good afternoon,” said the right snake.
“Ah, hello. Nice to meet you, actually. You haven't ever been here before, have you?” Ellian asked. He couldn't invite the snake in, it was too large to enter their home. “Do you want us to come outside, it's too tight for you to enter, I think.”
“Actually, yes, I want you to come with us,” the snakes turned around and walked into the jungle. “Bring the child.”
While entering the jungle with Karen was something they agreed to never do, under the snake's command, they couldn't argue. They took her hand and walked with her into the dark jungle, a place they never ventured into in all these years. At times, there were sounds of something moving, leaves rustling, but, every time something made a sound, a single stare of the snake made it stop.
“You know... There are six gods on this world, right?” After long minutes walking, the snakes finally started talking. The two adults had no idea where they were going, and the girl was just as confused to what was happening.
'Magna, Rafil, Rizelfar. Galvados, Zearth, Stromhyde. Isn't it inadequate to balance the world on such capricious beings? They come and go as they want, they don't answer to anyone but their own whims... And we just take the load from whatever they come up with, isn't that unfair? They're not just, they don't think of anyone but themselves, they're terrible pillars to stand on.'
'But it wasn't always like this, did you know? There once was a truly gentle and capable goddess on this world. She was a dragon, which we all know are the wisest and strongest. If a snake one day tells you it never wished to be a dragon, not even once, that snake will be telling you a lie. Look at me, I'm trying my best here and I'm still not even close to being a dragon.'
'Moving on, the nice and cool goddess, Amaterasu was her name. Unlike the capricious gods, she answered to the plights of everyone. Brave, spirit, ultimate, she would give ears to all of them and solve all their issues. She even made a snake become a dragon once, he's called Pendragon nowadays, look it up. One day, trouble wouldn't ever stop coming, you know? The six domains were six empires at the time. They were at war with each other, seeking to expand their domain. And there were multiple prayers, conflicting prayers, as everyone begged for the others to lose.'
'The oh-so-good goddess wouldn't ignore anyone's wishes. And can you imagine what that means? Everyone would lose. She gave birth to destroying spirits, called Voids. Some people call them Empty Skies, but that title is pretty weird to us, so forgive us for using Voids instead. The Voids assailed every empire mercilessly, nobody could stand up to them, as they were powered by the goddess herself.'
'Oppressed by the Voids, the world prayed for someone to save them. But the goddess couldn't save them, she was destroying them, as they requested before. But she couldn't ignore the wish of her people. So she got them a savior. The first human to enter this world, a young boy that lived an average life probably, nobody ever cared about what he did before coming to this world.'
'Many misadventures ensued, like that time he ate the fruit of life by accident and turned into an immortal, but these aren't really relevant. What matters is that the boy couldn't save anything. The Voids devoured each empire, the boy tried fighting back together with the spirits, but, in the end, everyone just sacrificed themselves to protect the boy. When an empire disappeared, it gathered into a gem. All of its data, all the information which formed the land and its spirits, became a single crystal, which hid inside the boy.'
'A ruby for red. A diamond for white. An emerald for green. A sapphire for blue. A topaz for yellow. An amethyst for purple. The six gems dwelled within the boy. But by the time he had all six of them, the world had returned to nothingness already. But the boy didn't disappear. The six gems protected him, even without a world around him, the boy still survived. And considering he was an immortal, he was meant to drift nothingness for all eternity.'
'But somehow he was saved. When the entire world is gone, what remains? Ideas. Don't ask me, I don't understand it very well either. Phantasms, imaginary creatures, beings which shouldn't exist still lived. And they rescued the boy. And so, together with these illusions, he faced the goddess.'
'The boy didn't have any secret power or hidden spell, there was no technique only a human could learn. Nothing like that. Because what he got was actually the powers of the six empires. The goddess was pure and absolute, but she still belonged to a color, she only possessed the power of red. Which is why the boy with the powers and dreams of six could beat the absolute deity of one.'
'But without a god there is no world, without a world, there is no god. The boy solved the two problems at once, he created six gods and six lands. Each god for one land, one land for each god. He believed that would balance it out. The six would be coexist and rule the world together. Naive, right? Not because he believed the six would get along, but because he believed the goddess was defeated.'
'The goddess was obstinate. She granted both wishes, the world was destroyed and saved. But she was forgotten. She was erased from history. The gentle goddess which always gave her best for everyone wasn't remembered by anyone. She wanted to exist. But she was gone. Spirits and humans beg to the gods, the gods beg to the stars. And the only stars which shine on the darkness of the underworld are the stars of the reverse galaxy.'
'I won't tell you much about the reverse galaxy, it doesn't matter to you, but what matters is that we absolutely want to answer the wish of someone so gentle. She wants to come back and become great and loved as she was before, can you blame her? Wouldn't you feel the same? Well, I guess you don't, since you're fine with vanishing from your world and settling down here.'
'And I think this is where you come in,' the snake stopped. They stood in front of a pedestal, a ruined temple covered in moss. The snake turned to the girl and gestured for her to climb the pedestal. She looked to her parents, who tell her to go, it's no problem. She was still frightened, but she complied. And the moment she set her feet on the pedestal, she no longer was herself.
“We can't open the gate to where you are from here. You need to go to the world connected with every gate,” the snake said, bowing its heads.
“...Sure,” the girl stared at her own body. She was used to a much larger body, she felt weird being so small.
“I'll send you there, but that's not the end of it. You need to achieve two other objectives: harness the power of the six gods and destroy the six gods.”
“Your power is still the same as always. Create a new army to fight them. At first you won't actually need to beat them, just get them to battle as much as possible, that'll weaken the lock on your gate. Then wipe them out once you come into the world.”
“...So my allies don't need to be powerful?”
“No, they only need to entertain the gods. You're the only one who should be powerful here.”
The snake's four eyes emitted a red light, which surrounded the girl and made her disappear. 'What do we do with these two?' the left snake asked. 'Let's break the hypnosis, I want to see their faces of despair when they realise everything they just did,' the right snake laughed. They could no longer see the snake, but it still was there, watching, basking on their panic.
“E-Ellian? What was this just now?” Her hands trembled. She was recording everything, but she only became able to take hold of her body at that moment.
“Karen...! Karen!” The man climbed the pedestal, stepping on it multiple times, trying to activate it just as it did before. They can't remember anything concerning the snake, they've forgotten it wasn't a pedestal which activated, it was the snake which made the girl teleport.
“Ninp! Warn... warn Charl or... Kerry or anyone, Karen is gone!” The bird had been following them all this time. When Sarah saw him, she couldn't think of anything but asking for it to deliver a message. Ninp complied, flying high into the sky. The snakes clicked their tongues, 'as usual, birds are sneaky... damn them.'
Ninp landed on a particular tree. A very large tree, which is also part lion. That tree is always resting, tenderly craddling countless lives. But even though Ninp told it everything which transpired, the lion didn't open his eyes. It only nodded and told Ninp to continue his mission, it wasn't yet time to act. The fruits weren't ripe yet, the lion said. Ninp was quite frustrated by that answer, but he didn't plan on losing any more time on that lion, there were people who'd actually do something and those were the people he should have prioritized.
“Sarah, calm down, it's... it's gonna be okay...” Charl hugged Sarah and tried to comfort her, but she wouldn't stop crying even for a second.
“But... Charl...! Our Karen...!”
“Kerry, Adol, Alex and Ellian are at the pedestal right now, they're gonna solve this matter and bring her back, don't worry!”
Charl wanted to believe, she wanted to be positive. She wouldn't say that Karen was as precious to herself as she was to Sarah, but she truly loved her. Just as she loved Sarah and Ellian. Hearing she's gone and seeing how destroyed the two are, her heart was broken, but still not convinced to shatter. Meanwhile, at the ruins, neither Adol's cryptic knowledge, Alex's experience that spanned centuries and Kerry's mechanical knowledge could decipher the pedestal. But in fact, they got the right answer, all of them could see that the pedestal shouldn't have any power to teleport someone. But as both Saran and Ellian insist it happened, they can only believe it did, somehow.
Meanwhile, on the human world, a girl roamed the streets. She had seen the human world once or twice, but, back then, there weren't any cars, buses, telephones or anything like that. From time to time she saw horses, which were the one familiar thing to her, the rest was a mystery. But it wasn't an issue, her divine powers allowed her to take over other people in an instant. In order to truly plant her seed, however, she needed to offer some supportive words, which weren't hard to find when she knew exactly what plagued each person's heart.
'It's okay to be different,' 'your daughter will love you,' 'you'll get the money to save your mother' or 'you can make other people understand you,' empty words which were filled with power so no one could see how hollow they were. A family to take care of her, people to search for the gods for her, someone to entertain her. Her divine power, acknowledged as radiance by human eyes, gave her everything she desired, the only downside was that she still hated being trapped on such a small body and had no choice but wait to get rid of it.
While she gathered her army, the snake had one more mission. It had to make the gods move, which wasn't easy at all. 'If you had to say, which of them is the easiest to manipulate? Hypnosis won't work, brother,' said the left snake. 'Affectionate? She sounds like a total fool,' the right snake answered with a question.
“But if you tell a fool to go right, they might go left. Because they're a fool.'
“You're right. Harvest won't move for a decade. Impregnable won't move for a century.”
“Greedy doesn't care, Sealing would shrug!” The left snake laughed, nothing was more pleasurable to it than mocking the six gods.
“That leaves us...”
“The hothead!” the two cackled endlessly.
It was a simple task, once they discovered how to start it. Some hypnosis here, some manipulation there, some suggestion and whispers on the way and it started. A rumor about the existence of a goddess from another world, an 'absoluter' deity. If it was one or two red spirits talking about it, it would soon die down, so the snakes went all out, the rumor existed on the six continents. But the reasons it had an effect was because it was brilliantly devised.
“And what's up with that deity that surpasses the six, what's it got to do with us?”
“It seems to be stronger than the six and can replace them.”
“Cool, I guess, but that still doesn't answer the question.”
“It's just funny. Someone is saying they're stronger than Magna and he isn't doing anything, just... you know how he is, someone says you're getting buff and he appears on your window at night asking for a fight.”
“Yeah, it's pretty inconvenient when he does that.”
“And now there's someone pretty much challenging him for a fight and he's not doing anything.”
“Does that... mean what I think it means?”
“He might actually be scared to fight someone, maybe that god is truly above everyone else.”
Across all six continents, on paintings, drawings and comics, nobody would stop talking about it, about the being that surpassed Magna. It starts as 'he's avoiding a fight?' then grows into 'he's scared' and spreads as 'Magna is terrified of this being.' Such a process wasn't quick of course, it wasn't wildfire. The snake had to put lots of effort into it, so it would reach Magna's ears and not sound like someone was just provoking him.
On the spirit world, over a decade passed. On the human world, seven years. That's the time it took for Magna to finally stand and decide he would enter the world that 'absoluter' god existed on, the world of humans. What exactly set him into motion is unknown, but something truly ticked him off and made him walk out of his path to enter the human world.
If he wanted to enter the human world to fight, he had to find a host, somebody who could handle his core energy. As the human world doesn't create core naturally, that's the ideal method to enter it, otherwise he'd only last in there for a limited amount of time. While spirits and humans can't do it, gods can easily travel between worlds, that's one of the privileges of godhood, it could be said.
He had to fight that god, that was all he could think about. For that objective, he needed to find someone who would be easy to bait into a conversation about fighting a god. Maybe saying that would save the world would work. While he decided to say that as a lie, it would turn out to be a possible truth, as, if she returned, the goddess could simply go insane again after a while. He believed a younger host would also be better, as that would mean someone easier to fool, young people are gullible and naive. The second aspect he filtered his choices was by sociability, 'I don't want someone who'll be telling all their friends about me.'
After gazing into the hearts of countless humans, he found someone truly adequate to become his puppet into this. And that's how he chose Sirin Almaz as his host, that's how she got caught up on this battle. Because she was lonely, young and would survive sharing a consciousness with him.
Those who followed used different aspects to choose their hosts, and gave them different reasons as to why they were fighting as well. Only two of them, unbeknownst to the others, already had a host before Magna even started to feel bothered by the rumors. But all of this, the very act of the gods entering the real world was part of the snake's plan, they all danced to its tune.
“You know Ellian...” Even after all these years, the wound of Karen's disappearance never closed, for her parents and for spirits alike. The joy they once showed slowly died down, the mystery of that pedestal was never solved. The current occasion was a visit by Alexander, Sarah didn't feel very well, so he talked to Ellian alone. “This is gonna be weird, but ever since Karen disappeared... I've been able to see this small human boy walking through the city sometimes. He's really out of place, I ask him whether he wants to stay or return home, even though I know he shouldn't be here.”
“...Do you think it's that 'new humans only show up when another one is gone' business?” Ellian lost most of his cheerfulness, but he still enjoyed talking with all his friends, they were always there trying to support them, after all.
“It could be, I wouldn't know. If he ever decides to stay here, would you take care of him?”
“...Sure, don't worry,” Ellian sighed.
“There's nothing you need to apologize for, it's pretty much my fault,” 'because I was the one who told her to walk into that pedestal...' His vague recollections of that day have cursed him for all those years.
And that is the cruel story of Ammie's, real name 'Karen,' birth and the reason this battle between gods started. It could be said that the cause of it all is the pride of two dragons. One which didn't want to be forgotten, one which didn't want to be called weak. What followed after the pride was a domino effect which took down one unrelated piece after the other, bringing more hurt than what should be necessary. And now, the final pieces compete on who will fall next.
Space rips apart. There is no other way to explain it, the two girls stand atop the building, facing each other. Upon the gates of Yomi opening, the fabric of the world tears, and a white serpentine dragon comes out. Her eyes are deep red, her mane is crimson, her scales are white as snow. Above a city of humans, a spirit goddess manifests. 'I've been waiting for this!' yells Drag Magna.
If the goddess entrance was gently ripping through the fabric like a fish jumping out of a pond, Magna enters the human world by breaking through a glass door. He punches the fabric until it breaks and allows him to come out. A second god flies above the skies now, more than ready to engage in battle with the goddess.
Yomi, the gate to the netherworld. All which dies travels through this gate, but while they can come in, nothing can come out. Or at least it should be so. The shockwaves of six gods constantly clashing made the gate become increasingly frail, the more they struggled, specially when among themselves, easier it was for her to sneak through. And that gate connects directly to the human world, without filtering their forms and forcing them into possessing a host. Meaning that, when Yomi opens, spirits can physically manifest on the human world, they become capable of handling their need for core autonomously.
Ammie collapses. With her mission complete, the goddess can drop her body. Having spent seven years out of control of herself, the girl can't get a grip of her identity, she has become an empty husk. As for Sirin, Magna attempted to delete her entire personality and memories when he left. For no particular reason, a simple 'just in case' measure, but the two guardians within her mind protected her from that.
“Once more, nice to meet you,” she feels they've properly met now, since before they weren't in their real bodies.
“...You do seem pretty strong as they said. But! There's nothing that can stand on my way!”
As a sign of how he acnknowledges her strength, Magna enters overdrive mode right away, allowing the magma-like fluid to cover his entire body. The goddess isn't interested on this fight, she wants to go back to her world right away, but as the snake said she needs to defeat the gods, she'll entertain him for a while.
Like a bullet, Magna flies towards her at extreme speed, succesfully delivering a punch to her face. While that normally is enough, he won't let his confidence get the best of him. A roundhouse kick, a straight punch, multiple jabs, a headbutt, he delivers an onslaught which could turn a mountain into dust. The shockwave from his punches connecting with her cause the earth to quake, the building below them trembles, almost as if moments away from crumbling.
'They sort of... itch,' the goddess admits, she's certainly feeling the blows, which is indeed pretty rare. The last time she felt any pain was millennia ago, when that boy banished her. Remembering how embarassing that was, she feels a little pissed. She shifts her gaze to Magna. She has vestigial limbs, not fully developed arms like him, she can't deliver a punch. A red dart shoots from her eyes and hits Magna. No, that is an incorrect description, the process of 'shooting towards' doesn't exist, she forms the light dart on her eyes, and the next moment it has pierced Magna's shoulder.
'It stings a little,' Magna admits, he didn't expect it to move so fast, he was hoping to dodge on the last minute, but he has to accept it's hard to move faster than light. He brushes the dart off himself like someone removes a barb from their clothes. 'But I guess I'm not doing much damage either,' he goes beyond overdrive, the color of the fluid becomes even more crimson, it is even hotter and Magna is even faster and stronger now.
He delivers six punches in one second, eight punches on the following second, ten on the one after that. The more he strikes, faster he gets, everything in a five meter radius around him is distorted by the fata morgana, anything, be it living being or object, would be pulverized or melt if it approached him. And yet, for the goddess, it's still just an itching.
She tried to be nice before, but since he's being so persistent, she'll try a little harder to show him the difference in their power. One thousand darts hit Magna, covering his entire body in red sparkling light. By the time his body shifted into a defensive position, all of them had already digged deep into him. But he won't admit defeat, he flexes his body and removes the darts with raw muscular power. 'More... I need to surpass the very limits of Overdrive mode!'
The goddess isn't hurt by Magna and cannot hurt Magna. Magna isn't hurt by Amaterasu and can't hurt her. If this continues like this, the two will endlessly fight each other, it's an encounter between a pair of absolute powers which don't bend. It is almost midnight, which doesn't even necessarily mean there's walking around the streets. Ammie deployed a barrier which wouldn't let anyone come close to her territory, but they can still be seen from the distant. How would humans react upon finding two divine dragons fighting on their skies?
“Are you ready?” The boy asks. The dark clouds have cleared, a shining light can be seen on the distant horizon.
“I was born ready,” she answers and immediately regrets it, that doesn't sound as cool as they make it sound in movies. The silver-haired girl looks at her weird, she wants to die.
“I'll release you then,” he puts his hand over her forehead. “There'll be someone waiting for you, you won't be alone, don't worry.”
“Ah, wait! Wait! Before that, what are your names?” She spent all this time with the two and it escaped her mind completely.
“It sounds silly, so I hoped you wouldn't ask. Lolo,” the boy answers, smiling.
“I'm Antarc,” the girl waves Sirin goodbye.
“...You could have your names reversed, you know? But I feel this works better. Lolo is as cute as his name, Antarc is as cool as her name,” Sirin shrugs, 'either way works, really,' she thinks.
“Thanks. Good luck,” he pecks her forehead and, just like that, she awakes on the real world.
She's dizzy at first, but she knows what she has to do. Her body is tattered, she can barely get it to stand. 'Damn you, Magna, at least respect my limits while you control me,' she looks up at the battling two and wishes she could at least call him an idiot. Their minds are no longer connected, so she'd have to use her voice to do that, not her thoughts.
'But now is not the time...' She continues forcing her body. Ammie is just four meters ahead of her, but that distance is already too much. At least, due to Amaterasu taking all his focus, Magna can't even see her standing, he would never expect that he failed to wipe her out. Sirin gets to the collapsed girl's side and hugs her. A little girl, a little over twelve, and yet that small body feels like it weighs a ton. Sirin would spend ten years cursing Magna for wrecking her youthful body like this.
“When a mind is weakened, entering it is easy...” She holds the girl tight and connects foreheads with her. “Punishment game.”
She never did it before, but the feeling of diving into someone's mind is worse than skydiving. Especially because there's no parachute. And there probably are less snakes on the sky. A protection left by the snake brave, a barrier to ensure this wouldn't happen. While Amaterasu thinks the girl is no longer of any use to her, until she returns to the spirit world, the girl is still working as her host. While the goddess doesn't know, the snake predicted this could happen, so it left a trap within the girl's mind, a firewall.
Countless dark snakes fly towards Sirin. It could also be said they crawl through air, but that's pretty much flying. If she was on a red sea before, now she's freefalling on a snake sky. One of the snakes gets an inch away from biting into her, but it freezes at the last moment. The same happens to every other snake, the second their fangs would dig into Sirin's skin, their bodies completely stop moving.
“Heeeeey!” An angel grabs Sirin on her arms and the two fly away from the snakes, their speed much faster than their air-crawling. The girl has short brown hair, she wears a white shirt and has a huge pair of wings on her back. “Are you Agent #2?”
“...Agent #2?” 'Give me a cool codename at least, something like Rad Eagle,' Sirin complains internally.
“Nevermind that! Can you save Karen?!” the angel has a cheerful expression, but her eyes are sorrowful.
“I assume that's this girl's name! Yes, I'm here to save her!” Sirin nods. The angel sighs in relief, then opens a wide grin.
“If you're that confident you can do it, then I can't let you down! I'm going at max speed now!”
While it is a imaginary world and probably doesn't count, the angel breaks the speed of sound. Sirin shouldn't be able to handle that, but since it isn't her physical body taking it, instead her determined mind, it doesn't bend before such a small thing. Snakes continue their pursue, but the distance between them only increases, Charl is too fast.
After a few minutes of flight, the girls land on an island. There's nothing but a beach and a small house on it. It literally ends there, it's a representation of what the girl knew of the island she lived. The beach and her home, nothing else. Charl grabs Sirin's hand and they enter the home, but there's nothing within. Just endless darkness.
That is a second firewall, the closer they get to the girl's consciousness, more barriers they'll run into, each with the intention of being more powerful than the last. After the sea of snakes, darkness where they can't tell up from down. But something is moving within it. Unlike the dark snakes from before, this time there are large beings, hiding on the shadows.
“Well, this is my due date. Change!” The girl high-fives the air. Sirin gives her a puzzled stare, but seconds after that, the girl shatters into stardust, and a blue giant in heavy armor appears on her place.
“I won't allow you to continue residing here!” The giant thrusts his spear at the darkness. He certainly couldn't see it, but he could feel it with his fighting spirit. A screech of pain, whatever it hit died on one blow. At the same time of that blow, four other screeches happened. Alexander's Assault is merciless. “I'll cover you, run on a straight line, don't falter!”
Sirin puts her chin back where it was before dropping and nods, then starts running. The giant truly covers her, its gigantic body is like a huge Stand on her back at all times. While they run, he thrusts his spear around countless times, but despite only attacking once, she can hear countless creatures screaming and hitting the floor. They find a radiance at the end of the darkness and leap into it.
The scenery changes into a white landscape, a mountain covered in snow. 'We have to head down now,' the giant says and they continue their stride. The mountain quakes. It's not an avalanche, however. A mechanical snake rises from beneath the snow, its length so enormous that it coiled around the entire mountain.
“You certainly underestimated how prepared we were...!” The giant fiercely hits his spear on the mountain's surface and becomes stardust, just like the angel did. From within that cloud, comes out a corgi man, riding a large tank.
“Get on, we're gonna floor it,” he extends his hand to Sirin and pulls her up the tank. The tank is white and shaped like a helmet, odd but very artistic.
The mechanical snake shoots countless beams, but the tank is surprisingly agile, it dodges every beam and goes down the mountain's steep and uneven soil without getting knocked over or stuck. Not to mention being faster than the robot snake, which soon turned into just a small beam-shooting sillhoutte far behind them.
At the foot of the mountain, another radiance. They drive into it without hesitating, and the scenery changes to an ocean, they're about to fall into it with their tank. 'Ah, not this again,' Sirin frowns. As for Kerry, before the tank hits the water and starts to sink, he hits a button on the control panel and it shifts into a hovercraft.
“What the hell? How does this work?!” Sirin can't contain her amazement this time, that was the coolest transforming sequence she saw.
“Don't look down on a blue carpenter/mechanic!” the dog grins, going full speed ahead again.
This time, what pursues them is a nine-headed cyan hydra. The maneuverability and cannon are gone on hovercraft mode, so dodging nine consecutive attacks becomes increasingly difficult. Within the water the hydra has more mobility as well, which makes them evenly matched in speed, they can't break away from it and can't dodge forever.
“Damn, I thought I'd get to have all the spotlight from now on!” He hits the driving wheel and cross his arms. Corgi and tank alike disappear, leaving Sirin standing on midair. Before she can raise her voice, she's embraced by a pale woman with silver hair, bat wings coming out of her waist, long nails on her fingers.
“Oh my, how cute you are. I'd like if the situation I got you on my arms wasn't like this, though” she says, all her attention on Sirin, yet she dodges the hydras blows mid-flight without having even need to look at them. She can feel every source of life or warmth around her, dodging something she can't see is no problem.
They fly straight into another radiance, leaving the hydra and the ocean behind. But the place they come out in isn't any sort of amazing landscape or anything. They're indoors, in front of door. Sirin tries to open it, but it doesn't budge. She turns to the vampire, but she doesn't say anything. Only her face delivers a message, a melancholic gaze and a sorrow-filled smile. 'Please, now it's up to you,' is what Yow's expression says, moments before she vanishes within stardust.
Sirin knocks on the door. 'We fought hard over here, but they had their fight over there too,' everything is falling into place for her. 'In fact, maybe they were the ones who truly were fighting. We just got caught up into this and tried playing it like a game,' she feels a little frustrated, but it's not the time for that.
“...W-Who's there?” A trembling voice asks, the young girl is scared.
“A friend,” Sirin wouldn't know what to say other than that, even if she knows that's not quite correct.
“Everyone tried their best for you. I don't know their names, but there was a cute angel, a strong giant, a cute-cool dog, a vampire lesbian...” 'Whoops, that last one was a little,' she went with the flow and got carried away.
“How ironic is it that I'm trying to get someone to leave their room?” Sirin mutters, feeling she understands her mother's life a little better.
“There are no snakes out here, don't worry. Though saying that might sound suspicious, I'd totally think a snake would be waiting for me if some stranger said that to me.”
“If I say I'm totally a snake, will I sound trustful? I'll have some of my venom pass beneath the door, to prove I'm a snake.”
“Don't trust me at all, I'm gonna take you away to a word of pain if you open this door.”
“I'm gonna bite into you and suck your blood away. Wait, that's not what snakes do, I'm still thinking about the lesbian vampire.”
“...Hehe,” she finally hears something coming from within the room again.
“Ah, did you like that one? Are you into lesbians?” 'I keep doing it,' Sirin facepalms, disappointed in herself.
“I'm a lot funnier online, trust me. Do you even know what online is?”
“You... sound like Charl,” by which she means 'you sound like an idiot,' but in a good way.
“Which one is Charl? I don't know their names.”
“Do you like Charl?”
“...I love Charl.”
“Wow, it's nice to know that I sound like her then. What about the giant, what's his name?” 'When mother asked me about my middle school delusions... did it feel like this? It's... pretty heartwarming,' she leans her back against the door and slides down, to chat while sitting down.
“How is he?”
“He gave me a sword when I was born. Mom says he's clumsy, but likes me a lot.”
“Hey, I wish I got a sword at any of my birthdays, that guy is the coolest.”
“And the dog?”
“He doesn't like when you call him a dog! He's Kerry and... he's my parents' best friend, along with Charl. He built our home, my room and... helped out a lot.”
“Sounds like a swell do-, dude, I mean. The vampire?” 'Good, I managed not to call her a lesbian this time,' Sirin lets out a small cheer.
“She says I'm the one person that can be more beautiful than her. Mother says that's the greatest praise there is for her, so I feel very happy.”
“And how are your parents?”
“They're... they're...” the girls starts sobbing. The door unlocks and opens, Sirin falls on her back. Before she can get up, the girl gets on top of her, and, trying to wipe her tears away, answers the question. “I want... I want to see my parents again!”
“...You will. Trust me,” she pats Karen's head, a silly smile on her face. Lolo told her only gods can travel through worlds, she knows there's no way they can do it, but she can't help but to try and give the girl some hope.
Amaterasu is tired of fighting Magna, he truly doesn't seem to understand this is going nowhere. She would have ended this sooner, but she just returned to her body, getting used to it again was hard. She opens her mouth. The same light which gathered on her eyes as small darts gathers on her mouth. The size of a tennis ball, then a soccer ball, soon the size of car. It gathers red light up until having radius equal to the length of a bus, none of Magna's attacks were able to stop her from gathering that energy.
That blow will wipe out the entire town along with Magna, but that's none of her problem, the only world she cares about is the spirit world. Humans can lose a city or a country and it'll mean nothing to her. She just wants to lock on so it gets a direct hit on Magna, to make sure he won't run away from it. A misjudgement on her part, he planned to take it head-on, just so he could brag about surviving the goddess' breath. He wouldn't live to brag, but his confidence finally got the better of him.
However. Fortunately for the city and Magna, the goddess never shoots her beam. Her body rots once more, she's pulled back into the netherworld by the chains of death. The light which she had gathered dissipates. Magna lets out a loud 'No!' which echoes across the sky like thunder. He couldn't imagine what might have happened, but he instinctively turned to the Amaterasu facility's rooftop.
“Did...I do good?” Karen asks, still within Sirin's arms
“You did the best. Congratulations on saving the world,” Karen faintly smiles and passes out again. She seized five seconds of consciouness only for that, Sirin feels bad for forcing her into it, but it couldn't be helped.
Magna reverts into normal mode and slowly flies back to the rooftop. Sirin can no longer read his expression accurately, but it seems to her that he's deep into thought. He does have something on his mind, something he hadn't realized until now, but once he cooled himself off and saw the goddess was dead again, it came to him.
“My siblings are gone... The goddess is dead... Wouldn't that make me the last remaining god? I can just take the throne for myself, can't I? I'm already alive on the human world, it's easy now,” his smile is just like the one some kid who just solved a hard math problem has.
'Is that what you wanted all along?'
'Is this who you really were all along?'
'Did you plan to use me all along?'
These are all thoughts which would be natural for Sirin to have. She was betrayed and used by someone close to her, someone who was her friend. It's only expected that her feelings would go that way. Instead, the words that come out of her lips aren't any of those.
“Will I have to stop you as well?” Is what she says. Magna can't help but laugh at her words. He knows she's delusional, but there's a limit to how much one can lie to themselves.
“Well... You have no powers, no magic, no summons. It all belonged to me and I properly took them out of you when I left. If you can still do it even like that, I'll be above the heavens, taking the throne of god for myself. See you there, Almaz.”
Laughing like the villain he has become, Magna flaps his wings and flies straight up, beyond the clouds. She has no idea what this throne of god business is, but she can guess it exists to give someone the powers Amaterasu had. A power which surpassed even Magna's absolute strength and magic. 'If someone like him obtains that...'
Sirin lets go of Karen and takes a deep breath. Her body feels a little lighter, it's in so much pain she can't even feel it anymore. She gathers some momentum and runs towards the edge of the building. She leaps, closing her eyes. But she doesn't fall down. For few instants, she started to develop a vector whose direction would send her straight towards the ground and make her become statistics, but she doesn't start falling.
“I'm not gonna say 'what you were gonna do if I wasn't there.' My question is, how did you know I was gonna be there?” Solon asks, helping her get a proper footing on Shino's back.
“My sixth sense has been wild these past hours, I feel like I know the entire plot.”
“...You always say the most interesting things,” he smiles.
“Thanks. Ah, I just thought of another cool thing to say,” she hits her fist into the palm of her other hand, grinning.
“Go ahead,” he's expecting something that sounds lame, but won't tell her such a thing.
“Follow after that dragon!” 'As expected,' he laughs.
He pulls Shino's reins and she flies upwards, into the clouds. The Amaterasu crisis has been averted, but now there is another problem child on their way. Sirin has no power, Solon knows his power cannot destroy anything. But he believes. He believes on the girl behind him, he knows she can do whatever she puts her mind into.
'If you say you can stop him, I'll do my best to not lose to that determination,' he smiles, feeling excitement like never before. 'What are you going to show me, Sirin?!' he wishes he could skip time and go straight to the scene of Sirin somehow defeating Magna.