Strange Cosmology Part 31

Been a long time since you’ve been part of anything even close to a Pantheon, love. You forgot how much arguing there was. Crystal watched as Athena bit her tongue, and she crossed her fingers that Athena would mollify the situation somewhat. “Of course. My apologies – I just dislike our failure here.”

Thank you Athena. Crystal took a step forward to reassure Athena they would catch up with Moloch, perhaps take a look at the portal –

And then the world exploded. Crystal found herself flung into the air with all the others, cushioned by a hasty air barrier erected by Athena. It was a bloody trap and I triggered it. Stupid!

The ground was rushing up at her, and Crystal stretched her hand downwards and made a quick twist – the same she had used when jumping off the building earlier today, zeroing out gravity then allowing it to come back but at a much gentler rate.

That really was earlier today, wasn’t it? After the world ends, you deserve a vacation. Crystal lightly touched down on the ground and looked around.

She’d landed close to Moloch’s exit portal, an area that had been relatively untouched by the earlier battle. None of the other gods were immediately visible, although she saw a speck in the distance that was probably Horus in falcon form. I hope it is. Or that the others are okay.

A clap of thunder tore through the air. No, not thunder. That’s a sonic boom. Someone’s fighting. Crystal turned on her heel to head that way – and then felt a hand grab her foot.

Reflex kicked in and she leapt upwards. With her personal gravity still decreased, the motion carried her a good twenty feet into the air. It had the downsides of leaving her horribly exposed and looking ridiculous, but carried the advantage of giving her a chance to look for her attacker.

Only it wasn’t an attacker. The man had been half buried by rubble, which was why Crystal had overlooked him before, but he didn’t look like he’d be threatening anyone any time soon.

She landed and took a tentative step towards the man. “Hey. Hold on a second, let me get you out of there.”

He pulled up his head to look at her, and Crystal realized she knew this man – Resheph, god of plague. “Ishtar?” he asked, his voice weak.

She bent down to begin sifting through the rubble. “In the flesh, love. Don’t try to move, you look like you’re in a right state.”

“No…time,” he coughed, a phlegmatic sound that made Crystal shudder. Normally the ill didn’t particularly bother her, but hearing Resheph cough used to be a death sentence. It must have shown on her face, because he shook his head. “Not…I wouldn’t…”

“I know,” Crystal said, lifting a piece of debris and tossing it aside. The others will have to handle the fight. I can’t leave him crushed under here. “Just an old reflex, yeah?”

He nodded slightly, a slow gesture that caused him to scrunch his face in pain. “Moloch. It was-”

“Yeah, he’s been a right pain in my arse for a bit now,” Crystal said as she lifted the next stone. “No need to waste the energy – I’m here because I was following him.”

Resheph scrunched his face up, trying to force more words out. This chunk of rock at least revealed why Resheph was having so much trouble speaking, and Crystal did her best not to let her horror show. He’d been impaled, a spear driven straight through his spine and then broken off by the collapsing ruble.

“He took them,” Resheph managed to spit out, ichor beginning to leak from his mouth as he spoke.

Something in his voice made Crystal pause and look at him. “Took what? We saw Marqod earlier…” but Resheph was shaking his head, and Crystal went silent to let him continue.

It took him a bit to manage to speak again, and in the silence Crystal could hear the sounds of distant battle. I shouldn’t be wasting the time. I should be getting back to-

“The…verses. He took them.”

Crystal winced. “So he’s going to destroy them,” she said, her voice harsh. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. Enki escalated it to life or death every fight, and now Moloch’s continuing that.

“No. Said something…about ritual. Merger. But needs…more.” Resheph was shaking now from the effort.

“Oh no.” Crystal wanted to be sick, thinking about what Enki was like with two nanoverses. If Moloch had an entire pantheon’s worth…He’ll be unstoppable. “Did he say where he was going?” Again, with great effort, Resheph shook his head. Internally Crystal cursed. “Okay. Did he take yours?”

Resheph smiled slightly there. “No. Managed to…bring building down…on myself.” He tapped a pouch on his belt. “Got it right-” the last word was cut off by more of that disgusting coughing, this one carrying a chunk of viscera with the ichor.

“Okay,” she said, her mind racing. “Resheph. Other gods, my allies, are fighting for their lives. I need to get back to them. Your spine is severed, love. How do you want me to deal with that?”

He didn’t need to think about it. “Do it. Quick.”

Without waiting, Crystal brought her sword down into Resheph’s skull. The sound was sickening, as always, but Crystal maintained eye contact until the light went out in Resheph’s eyes. She reached down and scooped up the pouch containing his nanoverse before a quick twist set his corpse on fire.

It was a choice she’d made herself before, when the injury was bad enough.

Without wasting any more time, she turned and headed towards the sound of battle, moving in giant leaps augmented by her decreased gravity. I just hope I get there in time to help.

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