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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, '10, 6:51 pm
Chapter 8

Athena walked slowly toward the fallen heroes and gazed down upon them. They had bought a great battle, the goddess thought. They had given it their all in exchange for the soul of a friend they loved dearly. She gently caressed the bloodstained faces of each of the warriors, who lay unmoving. Their faces were peaceful, free from the memories of the horrors that had just beset them. Athena said nothing for some minutes, but simply walked back and forth to each of the fallen, passing her dainty, yet firm olive-hued fingers through the hair of each of them.

A few minutes had passed when Athena’s attention was directed to a low squawk in the air. A medium-sized owl descended from the sky and landed on her shoulder. She smiled and ran her fingers against its beak. The owl spread out its large brownish-green wings and stretched a bit. It then nuzzled its beak against her ear and let out a few short squawks.

“Very well, so father has given the okay?” Athena inquired of the animal.

The owl bowed forward a little.

“So be it.” Athena turned to the four bodies on the ground. “Well,” she said, addressing them. “Everything will be just fine now. Come, let us take a look at what your valor has made possible.”

Having said that, she lifted up her arms and pointed to the sky. There was a great flash of white light, and the bodies of Sari, Laya, Piotr, and Jack began to give off a translucent teal aura. There emerged from their bodies four glowing, blue orbs which hovered over them for a few moments. Athena smiled and pointed at the statues which were in the cart. The orbs, obeying her gesture floated calmly through the air toward those magnificently-sculpted blocks of marble. Each orb entered into a different statue, which in turn gave off a faint glow for a few moments, after which it returned to its original color.

Silence followed for a few moments. Then the faint sound of stone breaking filled the air. It got louder and the four marble statues began to shake violent. With a loud crash, the statues split in half and shattered into millions of tiny of fragments. The dust soon cleared revealing four people dressed in immaculately white tunics with brilliant gold borders. Their skin gave off a golden glow that illuminated the air around them and their feet were shod with sandals made of pure gold.

Sari stepped off the cart and stood in front of Athena. She briefly cast her eyes to the cart and saw her bloodied body. She lifted her eyebrow and furrowed her brow. Piotr also stepped from the cart and stood by her side. Spotting his own body collapsed on the ground in front of the cart, he tilted his head in confusion and turned his head toward Sari.

“Huh. This was unexpected,” he said to her.

“Heck yeah!” called Jack from behind, who was helping Laya descend from the cart. “Is this what I think it is?”

“Do you think we’re dead?” Laya asked aloud.

“Far from it,” said Athena, drawing the looks of all four. “This is a present from my father and me to you for your braveness and sacrifice.”

“Present you say?” Sari said.

“Of course,” said Athena graciously. “The four of you have shown that you’re not only willing to die for your friend—you live together and die together, indeed—“Athena shot a look at Jack, who grinned at her. “But you have shown that you are well capable of dedicating your own lives to serving others around you as well.” Athena looked at Sari, who at this moment remembered the bitter years of war while she was ruler of Landen some years ago. “I was impressed at the lengths you went to in order to not only rescue Corg, but even to simply find him. Anyone who would travel across so many worlds just to find a friend, with no guarantee of success, is deserving of great praise.”

The four simply looked at each other and smiled. Athena continued, “While you were making your way across the cemetery, I went to Olympus to ask a favor of my father. I asked him if he might grant unto the four of you both eternal life—“Athena paused and chuckled at the widened eyes of her compatriots. “—and, to not forget error of my colleague Eos, eternal youth as well.”

“You mean, we’re i-immortal now?” Sari asked in disbelief.

“Oh, not only that,” Athena replied. “My father agreed to grant unto you the power of deity.”

“What?” Laya gasped. “Like G—“

“Yes. The four of you are now gods. Granted, this world will not be your place of jurisdiction. Olympus has enough gods as it is. The four of you are to rule over the Alis III, over your own people, Laya and Sari. Piotr and Jack will be by your sides throughout eternity.”

Piotr and Jack simply looked at each other and stayed silent for a moment. Then they nodded and hit their fists against each other’s.

“Hecka props on that one,” Jack laughed. “But Athena, why us?”

“Why not?” Athena said, with a light giggle. “You’re certainly a lot more morally upright than some gods I know around here. But yeah, the four of you are free to do what you want with the Alis III, although I know that whatever you do, it’ll be for the good of the people you serve.”

“And what about Corg?” Piotr asked.

Athena nodded and pointed to a section of ground some twenty feet away from them. She clapped her hands twice and the ground began to rumble and shake. The earth split open, revealing a large tunnel. The Greek goddess slowly lifted up her left hand. Out of the abyss rose the body of a beautiful magenta-haired woman in a red leotard. It was Mieu. She was in the fetal position and showed no movement of her own accord as Athena guided her body to the ground in front of the others. In her hands, nestled against her face, was another glowing blue orb.

The goddess closed her fingers into a small fist and then opened it again and pointed at the statue. Like the other orbs, this one floated lazily through the air until it was absorbed into the one remaining statue. The statue shook and stirred and finally broke apart. When the dust cleared, there stood Corg in the middle of cart.

“Hey guys!” he said cheerfully. “Thanks a million!”

The other four stared at him incredulously, the mouths agape in awe. Sari pointed at him, which caused Corg to look over his own body. He was completely nude, but he soon saw that that wasn’t what had caught his companions’ attention. He examined his arms and made an astonishing discovery: His left bicep and part of his left pectoral muscle was covered with a thick, brown bristly fur. It was also a lot bigger than he remembered it being. Glancing at his right arm, he noticed his forearm was covered in an orange fur with black stripes running across it. His right hand was replaced with what looked like a large cat’s paw. Looking down, Corg saw that his left thigh was covered with a brownish fur similar to that of the wolves that inhabited the Hollow Valley. His right leg, from the knee down, however, was covered with armor-like metallic-green scales, ending in a lizard-like claw.

Corg’s eyes widened for a moment, and then he nodded his head and laughed. “Man! I’m hecka a full-fledged altered beast, aren’t I? What’s up with that?”

“It’s part of your destiny back in the other world,” Athena responded. “You’ll have a lot to do there, my friend.”

“Like a god of that world?” Sari interjected.

“I’m afraid not. The Hollow Valley already has its god—Ka, I believe.”

“Ah yes,” added Corg. “The sentient tyrannosaurus. Good fellow, that Ka. So what am I supposed to do?”

“You’ll see. Too many questions from you all, the answers of which will all come in their due time. Now Corg, let me just assure you that whatever the circumstances, you may prepare for a long, long life. You will have many trials to endure and face, but if you are as true as your friends here, you can be guaranteed the same final destiny.”

Corg nodded. “Two final questions,” he ventured.

“Very well,” responded Athena.

“What about Mieu?” Corg asked, pointing at the still cyborg.

Athena nodded and smiled. “You have a point. What about her? She did sacrifice herself to save you. Such courage, from a cyborg even, must not go unrewarded.” Athena’s hand began to glow green and she pointed at Mieu. The cyborg’s body began to radiate a bright pink hue, after which she began to stir. Mieu stood up and smiled.

“Mieu!” Corg exclaimed and ran over to her and embraced her. “Thank you so much! Thank you so very, very much.”

“Anything for my surrogate son,” she said.

“Please, Mieu. From now on do not call me son. Call me your friend. Your dearest friend,” Corg said calmly. Looking back at Athena, he asked his second question. “And Christy?”

Athena glanced roundabout and said, “I do not see her among you all.”

Corg took a deep breath and sighed. “She didn’t come for me, did she?” asked Corg dejectedly. He looked over at the others, who with solemn faces, looked at the ground and shook their heads.

Athena walked over to Corg and placed her hand on his shoulder and gazed deeply into his blue eyes. “When you died, there went all obligations she had to you. It was her choice whether to search for you, or to continue with her life. What you decide to do now will be your choice. I praise your devotion to your wife. Should you, however, wish to simply move on, you are more than justified.” Athena looked up at the others. “Now, my friends, I have much business to attend to. I must be going. I trust you know the way back?”

The six nodded.

“Very well. Thank you for your courage and examples. Please, do not hesitate to come visit us once in a while.” With that, a yellowish mist enveloped Athena and she vanished into thin air.

Sari and Laya ran up to Corg and gave him a big hug. After thanking them, he gave his friends Jack and Piotr a big hug to. He looked at Jack and said, “Brothers…”

“We live together…”

“…and die together.”

Last edited by H-Man on Tue Jul 27, '10, 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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