Cynthia finished her story and finally bit into the sandwich she had prepared. To do so, she assumed a half-way humanoid form, to use her paws to hold it. It wasn’t good to see.
“So, I will go warn the other gods and we will stop Jaliehv.” Cynthia said with a full mouth. “If we combine our wills, we can actually revoke godhood from others. We’d just need to find a replacement before the element of light falls into chaos. You demigods go and stop Valyra. I’ll go send Milala your way and whichever other demigod is good to fight.”
“I’ll go with Lasha.” Marvie said.
“I’ll be no good” Malai said. “I think I’ll stay here in Amieredetta and try to cover for Algasath.”
Lasha really wanted to just stay home. Valyra would just let Algasath go, like Cynthia, right?
“Okay then.” Lasha said though. Somehow she’d force herself through it.
“She picked Algasath as her second victim because he’s always in Amieredetta and easy to find.” Cynthia said. “So is Madrian, but I already told him to hide. So I believe her next target will be Cralvalas, the magic god. He can be found on his island, somewhere. Lasha, are you familiar with the geography?”
“It’s basically across the country and then across the ocean. There are no ships to take us there though, humans haven’t discovered that island yet. Or can I walk on water?”
“I can fly you there.” Marvie offered.
“Perfect. Be on your way then. She likely is already on the way.”
“Wait, wait.” Lasha said. “You didn’t explain how to kill a demigod. I can’t just… stab her, right?”
“No, of course not. Demigods cannot be killed by bodily damage. You have to destabilize her soul and bring it into a death state directly.”
“And how do I do that?”
“What abilities did you gain as a demigod? Use those.” She said as if that was obvious. Maybe it was.
Lasha didn’t mention that she wasn’t a big fan of going out to kill someone either. She didn’t know how else to stop a god or magically engineered copycat ghost. Not like you could put them in prison.
“Alright. Good luck!” Cynthia vanished.
Marvie took hold of Lasha’s hand. “I’ll stay by your side all the way. But if you feel you can’t go on, I will bring you home. I’m sure the other, more experienced demigods can take care of it on their own if need be.”
Lasha looked at Marvie. She couldn’t really hide how tired she felt. She had a strong desire to just lay down on the floor and stop moving. The only thing that stopped her was her dignity.
“I’ll go as far as I can.”
“Okay. Then let’s save the world.”
The wind flew over the ocean unobstructed. The air was cold and salty and Marvie’s flight was surprisingly gentle. Cralas was an island with not much going on. There were no trees or grass, just mountains and purple sand. The perfect place for someone rather left alone. It wasn’t hard to spot Valyra. She knew Cralvalas was somewhere on this island but had no clue where. There weren’t many spots to hide either. Perhaps inside a cave or atop a mountain. Valyra spotted them too, choosing to run away from them. She was slowed down though, still surveying her surroundings carefully. Marvie extended her arm to catch her and pulled her closer.
“Stop interfering!” she said, weakly straining against the arm wrapped tight around her.
“Release my dad!”
“Oh, Algasath?… Sure, it would be beneficial to approach Cralvalas in an unseen form. But you are my enemy, so I won’t do what you tell me.”
Valyra still wore her dad’s appearance. She knew he was immortal and as such, she could attack him and remove Valyra from him that way. Still, she was worried she might hurt him. She created a shadow sphere around her fist and wound up a punch. She hesitated. Valyra changed her appearance to Cynthia’s cat form and slipped out of Marvie’s grasp. Her arm tried to grab hold of her again but Valyra fled with full speed now. The two watched her dash across the sand. Then something shot vertically out of the sky, colliding with her and she skipped over the landscape like a flat stone over a lake. It was a Shandari. Valyra laid motionless, her body broken but slowly regenerating. No, that was still Algasath’s body. Lasha ran over, but Marvie coiled her arm around her now, pulling her back. Moments later, a tornado so strong it visibly distorted the air cut into the small body, ripping gashes into the sand around it as well, like invisible blades. Sand was flung at Lasha and she shielded her eyes. When the wind subsided, the Shandari stood in a crater surrounded by pieces of unbleeding flesh and clumps of grey hair.
“What the fuck?” Lasha shouted, getting up. Marvie’s arm slipped off her and she ran to what remained of Valyra and her father. “What did you do?” She collapsed at the center of the carnage again. The Shandari had snow-white skin and a clean-shaven head.
“What?” the Shandari answered. “That was our mission, wasn’t it?”
The remains were completely lifeless. Her fingers dug into the sand.
Marvie rubbed Lasha’s shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
“Why are you so sad? She was our enemy.”
“My dad was in there too! You killed him!”
The Shandari laughed. “Oh wow, you think I could kill a god?”
Lasha got angry. She got up and punched her in the face. “Then where is he? He’s not regenerating!” She gestured at the pieces.
The Shandari was not bothered by her attack. Perhaps she should try again with her shadow powers.
“There’s only one Algasath. He’s only going to regenerate from one piece, dumbass.” She pointed at a slowly growing piece of red meat. “My name is Duuri, by the way. I’m an air demigod.”
Lasha didn’t respond, she just watched the piece slowly regrow.
“You’re Lasha, right? And you…” Duuri pointed at Marvyad. “I don’t know you.”
“I’m Marvyad.” She answered as if being interrogated. She grabbed Lasha’s hand for comfort.
“You’re both wimps, huh?”
The piece of flesh lengthened and took on a black color. Algasath’s red cloak grew around it and finally Lasha could lay her arms around him.
“I’m sorry for worrying you.” He said and laid his arms around her as well.
“So, mission accomplished, right?” Duuri asked.
“I’m afraid not.” Algasath said. “Valyra left my body before your attack.”
“Huh? Then how am I supposed to kill her? I can’t attack what I can’t see.”
“I didn’t gather much about what’s going on, but since Cynthia had to carry her to me before she possessed me, that means she’s still around here somewhere. She probably continues her search for Cralvalas without a body.”
“How do we stop her then?” Lasha asked.
“We should go back home and rethink our strategy.”
“What about Cralvalas? Shouldn’t we warn him?”
“We’d just guide her to him. She’ll be occupied on this island looking for him for a while longer, we should use that time to come up with a plan.”
Lasha did just want to go home.
“I can teleport one person with me.” Algasath offered.
“Oh, I… I think I’ll let Marvie fly me again.”
“Okay then. I’ll try and get caught up in the meantime. Thanks for coming to help me.” Algasath disappeared. Marvie looked elated. She was scared of Duuri, so Lasha didn’t want to leave her alone with her.
“Tell you what.” Duuri said. “One specialty of air demigods is our speed. So let me carry you both. We don’t have time to dawdle.”
“Okay.” Marvie agreed with slight hesitation.
Duuri let Lasha climb on her back and Lasha tried not to obstruct her wings too much.
“Oh, don’t worry about that, just hold on tight.”
Marvie then got on Lasha’s back and extended her arms to bind the three together. Then Duuri took off. Her wings pushed Lasha around effortlessly in order to flap and she wasn’t sure if she would’ve been able to hold on if it weren’t for Marvie. It was a rollercoaster ride and over in just about the same time. Duuri gently lowered them down into the forest ravine when Lasha dared to open her eyes again.
They regrouped in the throne room. Malai just finished explaining what Cynthia had found out to Algasath. There was another familiar face too.
“Hey Madrian.” Lasha said. She wasn’t quite sure if the thing with her parents stood awkwardly between them or not. Or what he must know about her.
“Hi. Cynthia told me to hide and since Valyra already got Algasath, she probably won’t return here.” he explained.
“You’d still be safer in the Afterlife though.” Cynthia said. “Valyra can’t teleport there.”
“We’ve already told him about our encounter with Valyra.” Algasath said. “So we’re currently thinking of ways to defeat her.”
“I left Midori a note to meet me here. She’s the time goddess, remember?” he looked at Lasha. “She usually knows a lot of stuff. And she’s always on time.”
Midori appeared in the room, though she no longer appeared as a dragon. She took the form of a human, a long orange scarf mimicking her previous dragon body. She had dark hair and wore a black dress.
“Oh, I guess we’ll have humans as our next theme?” Madrian commented. “Makes sense.”
Midori dragged her finger across her throat.
“Right, no talking about the future.”
“So, I believe this is the time where you warn me about… Val… Valerie?”
“Right. Well, I already know. I can find things out without being told.”
“Good, but we actually wanted to ask you something.” Algasath said. “We currently cannot defeat Valyra. She can always slip away in her invisible soul form. Since we can’t detect her then, there’s no way we could fight her that way.”
“Algasath talking about fighting someone, did I drift into an alternate timeline?” Midori joked.
“It isn’t I who decides how this conflict is resolved.”
“I see. But I’m sorry, there is nothing I can help you with.”
“Damn.” Madrian shook his head.
“So, there is nothing we can do?” Malai asked.
“Not entirely.” Madrian explained. “There is nothing that already exists that can help us. However, Midori cannot reveal the future to us, so it is possible we could invent something that can take her out.”
“That doesn’t sound very likely.”
“It’s all we got. Thanks Midori. Maybe you should limit your appearances for the time Valyra is active. If she got the power of time travel, there’d truly be no way to stop her.”
“Yes.” Midori said and vanished.
The others went back to discussing. Lasha tuned out their voices as best she could. She felt sick and just wanted this all to end. She just wanted to go to bed without worrying about the fate of the world. Wait a few weeks and see if her medication works. There was no point in going to her room, she knew these walls were thin and being the central chamber, every room was only one wall away. So she went down the stairs and outside. See some greenery and the night sky.
However, as she approached the city gate, she found she would not be alone. She would have no peace.
“You stupid coward. Can’t you do anything right? There’s only one thing you have to do and you mess it up!” Lasha heard dull thuds in between the words.
She found Midori outside. Her fists were covered in blood. She stood over someone. Another Midori lay crumpled to her feet. The other Midori continued to kick her.
Lasha ran between them, pushing the standing Midori away. “What the hell?” She asked. “What are you doing?”
“Yeah, why don’t you tell her?” the attacker said. “You have another chance not to fuck up. Will you take it?”
“What are you talking about?” Lasha asked.
The victim sat up and leaned against the cliffside. “I don’t even know why I did it. Do I really think she could be as bad as you? Who am I kidding, you’d come to haunt me no matter what I do.”
“Is that another excuse I hear? You’re so full of shit.”
The victim smiled and wiped the blood from her lips. “You know, the best thing about getting beat up by you is that I know I already got back at you. With things that hurt way more than your skinny little fists.”
“You sick piece of shit. I should just kill us both.”
“Maybe it will happen. Maybe they’ll let us one day. We’re both too afraid to check.”
“Just piss off already. We both know this scene ends here.”
“Careful, don’t spoil the future.” The victim disappeared.
“I’m sorry about that. I wish we could have avoided this.”
“Who was that?” Lasha pointed at the spot. Only a few handfuls of blood remained in the grass.
“My past self. The one that just lied to you all.”
“There is a way to defeat Valyra. To trap her inside a body.”
“Why didn’t she tell us?”
“Because she doesn’t think. It is a bit of a grey area too. This method is actually conceived of in the future, but it has been brought to the past through… circumstance. As such, you are allowed to learn about it. I will give you an address. The person you find there will be able to teach you the way. You will need someone well-versed in Universe magic.” Midori handed Lasha a note with a faint red fingerprint.
“Okay. I don’t know Universe magic though, so I don’t have to go myself, right?”
“Sick of adventures, hm? I’m afraid you will have to go. This is a secretive person, and I don’t know what magic user will be chosen, so I had to give them your name. You’re the only one they will open to. But don’t worry, all you have to do is escort the chosen one to their doorstep.”
“Okay. I’ll do it.” Lasha already felt bad for trying to weasel out of this. Depression or not, as a demigod she had a responsibility towards the mortals of this world. She could at least do this.
“You have to make sure to follow this one rule though. When you are there, do not learn their names or anything about them. Try to forget their faces. You are only there to learn the spell.”
“I’ll try my best.”
“Better go tell the others now.”
“Hmm… earlier, it didn’t sound like you were only mad because your past self hid this from us.”
“Really? Earlier, it didn’t sound like you wanted more problems to worry about.”
Lasha got the hint. Midori vanished. The moon barely shimmered through the dense fog.