Campione!:Volume 1 Chapter7
Chapter 7 - Heretic God Athena
Although Godou's night vision wasn't bad, it was nowhere as clear as his daytime sight.
But Godou immediately noticed Yuri's unnatural countenance.
"Mariya-san, are you alright? What did Athena do to you?"
"It's not that she did anything to me...... when Athena retrieved the Gorgonieon, I was nearby, so I received some influence. Please be careful, Athena isn't the same as before......."
Yuri coughed nonstop.
Her coughing was really bad; it was worrisome just to watch.
Godou ran over and gently stroked her back, but it didn't seem to help at all.
"Ah, allow one to tell thee, the miko was nearby when one was reborn, thus she received much spirit of death from one. If left untreated, she will die, as thee didst."
Athena looked at Yuri like she had nothing to do with her as she spoke in an uncaring tone.
Her actions irritated Godou.
The opponent was a god.
Even though she looked human, but her mentality and ethics were completely different. Godou understood long ago not to use human values to compare with them.
"......Erica, can you heal this affliction?"
"No, I'm not that all-capable, use the [Sword]. With that, you should be able to cut Athena's curse."
After asking Erica who stood behind him, her answer made it completely clear.
Godou put his hands on Yuri's shoulders.
Although Erica was also short and slim, she was a high-class knight who hid strength indiscernible to conventional senses.
But Yuri seemed like a girl that was every bit as frail as she appeared. Other than her abilities as a hime-miko, she was just a normal girl; yet to make her shoulder such a heavy burden, it was natural for him to be angry at himself and Athena.
"Kusanagi-san, what are you planning to do?"
Godou patted Yuri's shoulders to relieve the distress in her eyes a bit.
Imagining the flashing gold sword, he began to chant.
"Heed the power of my words, let justice reveal itself, under the strength and eloquence of this incantation, for strength is ever victorious, for strength is the answer to all things."
The spell words of the sword.
With a single swing of the golden sword, the divine power of Athena that invaded Yuri was severed. Now they no longer had to worry.
The goddess who has been watching them with bored eyes suddenly frowned.
Godou stared at her pleasant appearance and firmly said:
"Oy, I'll confirm it one last time; if you can just leave obediently, I can let you go. How about it, do you plan to do so?"
"Speak not such disappointment, one just retrieved the ancient power of the trinity, accompany one in this game at least."
He didn't think that Athena would say something that a child in tantrum would.
Looking down upon humans to such extremes.
At this point Godou had already decided. 'Fine, then I shall keep you company.'
"O one does not understand, but thou seemest angry. How about this, Kusanagi Godou? Allow one to be pleased for once? One has surpassed thy once prior, this time we shall compete by martial strength."
After casually almost killing Yuri, now she was challenging him as though facing a toy.
To Athena, mortal lives were like the ants under her feet, whether they lived or died was none of her concern.
Taking note of Yuri's weak voice, Godou strengthened the hand that was holding her shoulders.
Because of him, she had gone through so much trouble. The debt he owed her, he would take it from Athena with interest.
"Relax and rest, Mariya-san, allow me to take care of that goddess."
"Alright...... sorry, I had underestimated Kusanagi-san. I had always thought that even though you were a godslayer, you were an unreliable and flippant person—"
"No, you're absolutely right, you aren't wrong at all."
With an emerging smile, Yuri shook her head.
It was the first time Godou saw her gentle smile.
Like the blooming cherry blossoms, it was a very lovable expression, and Godou's heart couldn't help but skip a beat.
"When I met danger, you really did rush here. Of course, this destructive god was also called here by you, but your willingness to come take care of the mess yourself, made me change my opinion of you...... really."
".......Saying it like that, it's not very convincing that your views changed any."
"Really? Then, I'll praise you with even nicer words later; but please use your full power now. Alright?"
Towards the gently smiling Yuri, Godou stood up.
Then he told Erica, who was behind him:
"I'll leave Mariya-san to you. On your honor, protect this girl well."
"Your wish is my command, my liege—finally putting aside that stubborn fake pacifism of yours."
Erica responded after realizing his thoughts.
As expected of the [Diavolo Rosso]; if Kusanagi Godou was the king of the chessboard, then she was either the unstoppable knight or the queen.
"Don't add 'fake' to it, I'm really a pacifist, but I'm not going to sit here quietly while one of my comrades gets hurt. I only want to defeat Athena right now and take back everything she owes Mariya-san."
"That's my Godou, and this is my blessing for your victory."
Suddenly, Erica walked up to him.
Taking Godou's face with both of her hands, she brought her lips to his; although it was short, it was a passionate and deep kiss.
—Knowledge about Athena flowed in.
Regarding the goddess of war and wisdom, he now grasped her connections with snakes, owls, and mother Earth. In this moment, the [Sword] that slept within Godou had reached full potential.
"I'll pray for your victory, so go defeat the Heretic God Athena!"
'Why do you suddenly do things like this!'
Although he wanted to complain, Godou's face unconsciously revealed a grim smile.
It really was the best gift he could wish for.
Now he could use one hundred percent of his full strength to fight Athena. After all, she claimed to be the strongest goddess across all of Europe, Africa, and the Middle-East!
The calm Godou yelled towards Athena:
"I accept your conditions! I will deport you from this country by force. Once you lose to me, run and flee for your life!"
"Very good! We shall see who is stronger, godslayer!"
Athena roared back in delight, then waved forth her arm.
Dozens of owls flew forth from the darkness in a flash.
Furthermore, dozens of snakes also slithered towards him.
As birds of prey, the owls were armed with sharp talons and beaks, and each snake was at least five, six meters long in size, obviously poisonous given their colorful scales.
—He had to change to a different dueling ground.
Quickly realizing this, Godou began to run to open his distance with Athena.
The faint smell of seawater.
The prominent buildings surrounding them.
Thanks to them, he roughly knew where he was.
On the map within his mind, he managed to find a good location and began to run towards it as his goal.
The hordes of snakes and birds that closely pursued him changed their direction as well, and even the goddess herself followed in her strolling pace.
"You did great, Mariya Yuri. Thanks to you, that idiot man would finally fight seriously."
Erica, who stayed behind, smiled lightly towards the girl wearing miko clothes.
She took off her red coat and put it around the other's shoulders.
But Yuri wasn't that calm as she stared at Erica with a disturbed expression.
"W-what did you just do? Such a shameful, dirty......"
The serene expression she showed to Godou suddenly switched to one of anger.
She complained indignantly over what just happened.
Unable to understand why Yuri was unhappy, Erica tilted her head.
"Obviously that! that... ki... eh, when you bid goodbye to Kusanagi-san, you did something immoral, something that definitely shouldn't be done in front of others!"
"You meant that kiss? Well, I wanted to continue it a bit longer, but it couldn't be helped; there wasn't enough time, and I haven't seen Godou so serious for such a long time."
Erica mistook Yuri's intentions and gave an irrelevant response.
"Just watch, when Godou is like that, he won't care about what methods he uses. He'll use every idea to achieve victory; he'll definitely defeat Athena."
Unable to understand the angry Yuri, Erica continued to smile towards her.
In the end, when it came to physical ability, the basics still fell to running.
Running from the pursuit of the owl and snake corps, Godou's mind continued to plan.
Although he has experienced many times of crisis, but compared to the authorities of Verethragna, his most familiar weapons were his own two legs.
Whether it was fighting or escaping, there was no way he could start without running first.
Convinced of this, he continued to run every day even after he stopped playing baseball.
He didn't want to put it like this, but he also had no choice except to exercise diligently, since he kept getting mixed up in these troublesome incidents. Truthfully, if it wasn't for his daily workout, there was no way he could keep running this long.
He didn't have the superhuman footwork it took to escape from the owls that charged him from the air, as well as the snakes that moved in like lightning.
Not to mention that the enemy's numbers increased before he even noticed it.
It was unknown where the owls and snakes kept coming from, but their numbers had already risen above a hundred.
"All evil things fear me! Unjust beings of power cannot defeat me! —for I am strongest, able to break all barriers!"
As Godou chanted his spell words, a golden radiance flashed past.
Since it came to this, he just had to sever the heads from the bodies of Athena's horde of servants, forcing them to return to dust.
They shouldn't be normal creatures, so they didn't leave any remains.
"Heh...... thou didst hide a wonderful weapon, not only to slash but also to cleave—it must be a sword. Spell words of a sword, thou dost hath taste."
Athena's relaxed voice came from behind them.
So it seemed like she had immediately realized the difficulty posed by the sword.
"Then, one shall play such with thee—though one's power cannot be fully display in this concrete forest, it is more than enough to match such tricks, take this!"
Godou was aghast with shock as he suddenly turned around.
Under Athena's feet—
The once hard concrete pavement had formed a massive wave, with the goddess standing upon it; the crest of the wave was gradually become scythe-like.
The cold solidified material once mixed from sand and stone now stood high like a snake head peering down.
Just as he noticed it, the concrete snake had finished its construction after only a few dozen seconds.
Its length was around twenty, thirty meters.
The elegant, silver-haired Athena stood straight atop the snake head.
Was that also divine power, or did she simply have an unparalleled sense of balance? Even on such an unstable position, she continued to look gracefully down upon the ground.
"Rise, my talons. Crush the godslayer into paste!"
The snake head Athena stood on was significantly taller than even the viaduct of the Capital Expressway.
"Damn it! What a mess this is!"
The roads that had produced the giant serpent had been completely ravaged by Athena's divine power.
The concrete had been uprooted like water pumped from a river, leaving only a massive ditch behind.
To restore the road's ability to handle vehicles again would require untold amounts of time and money.
Godou grumbled as he continued to run.
They were almost at a completely uninhabited location.
There were still some apartments and hotels nearby, so if they were to fight here, he had to be careful not to trash the surroundings.
Once past Shiodome District, there was a dense forest of giant trees—although it wasn't a scene that belonged in a city, he could see green forests on his right-hand side.
That was Godou's destination.
—Hamarikyu Gardens[1H 1].
Since its park hours were long over, there would obviously be no one there. Within such a large park, even if he went all out against Athena, it still shouldn't affect anyone else.
Furthermore, the walls in this place were low in height.
Dexterous people could easily leap over the walls.
Climbing over the barricade that was used to block the road at the rear gate, Godou caught onto the low wall and successfully made his illegal entry.
He watched the gargantuan snake chasing after him from atop the wall.
The massive snake continued to close in, crushing vehicles parked by the roadside, electrical wire poles, and sidewalk fences.
After revealing his location, Godou went inside the park.
Hamarikyu Gardens was on the edge of Tokyo Bay.
The water inside the gardens was drawn from the sea.
With Tsukiji District[1H 2] as neighbor, it also had a fish market and a produce market nearby.
Following the outer wall, Godou continued to run quickly within the park's dense woods.
He was surrounded by trees, some over a hundred years old, with the smell of earth and greenery all around him. But it was a man-made park after all, and after merely five minutes of running, he had already left the woods.
The pool was filled with seawater.
Godou had arrived at a very spacious plaza.
He quietly waited there for Athena's arrival.
He had already understood all the information about the goddess. But if he could defeat her with knowledge alone, then he wouldn't need to push himself so hard. More importantly, he needed to grasp his opponent's character and the surrounding environment.
To seize the opportunity for victory, then press forth to defeat the enemy.
When Godou still played baseball, he was hailed as a catcher with courageous leadership and daring, while at the plate he was known as a slugger who could calmly analyze the situation and correctly pick the timing to bat.
To carefully watch the enemy, adapting as opportunity calls. This was already habitual to him.
Victory or defeat all depended on one's ability to adapt and adjust.
No matter how thorough the battle plan, victory cannot be assured.
No matter how great the power, victory cannot be assured.
It wasn't the strong or righteous that would achieve victory, but the victorious that would be declared strong and righteous.
Maybe this belief was the greatest reason why Godou became MVP numerous times.
"Thy choice is this battlefield, a shabby park. Humans do love such insignificant ploys, those of this island verily so. One hath visited many nations, but rarely meet people who cover so much earth with stones, to deny the darkness to such extent."
Moving over the rocks, the snake and Athena finally caught up.
It presented itself after tearing through the walls, which fell like paper under its greater height, and crushing the trees under its body.
"Please take your critique of other civilizations somewhere else. If you like living a carefree life, hurry back to the depth of Europe's mountains. I like to read at night so I want light; to regularly supply vegetables we need pesticide. I don't have time to accompany your worshipfulness in being selfish."
"Such is the arrogance of man. To awake at dawn, to sleep at night, to be blessed by the earth for abundant harvest, to enjoy the luxury of life, at last to die by starvation and enter one's underworld gates. One does believe this to be best?"
"As expected of a goddess amongst goddesses...... worse than even Marie Antoinette."[1H 3]
Talk about preaching fallacy, Godou couldn't help but grumble.
But even that famous line 'If there's no bread, let them eat cake'[1H 4] has been adapted for creative use by descendants......
"The banter stops here. To encounter means to fight. Let us compare the martial strength of one and thee."
Athena declared with her elegant voice.
With this as a signal, the giant concrete snake charged towards the far smaller Godou.
Seemed like it was preparing to crush him under that huge body.
Even as a godslayer, if he was crushed by something that heavy, it would be impossible to revive himself.
Godou hastily ran away.
If he didn't draw it soon to fight this, then he was going to die here. The golden sword—one which only the [Warrior] incarnation holds; a weapon capable of slaying gods.
"Snake—is the symbol of your strength, or one should say your nature."
Godou began to softly chant his spell words.
This was the sword, the godslaying sword of wisdom.
"You were always a goddess related to snakes. As well as owls—with deep ties to birds."
"Oh? Kusanagi Godou, thou hast investigated one's origin?"
"Only because I have need for it. Right now, I already have around eighty, ninety percent understanding of just what kind of god you are; to explain your key aspect, that would be the [Serpent]."
Points of golden light bloomed and surrounded Godou, flickering continuously like the stars in the sky.
"To speak of snakes implied Medusa, as Athena and Medusa were once the same goddess. These two goddesses of a foreign land—spreading from North Africa and into Greece."
Driven by Athena, the giant snake rolled up the lush grass and dirt around the area, then hurled towards Godou altogether.
The slithering snake seemed like a river flowing across the earth.
"Tracing back to source, you are the snake monster—no, the snake goddess. Furthermore, Athena's mother from Greek Mythology, the goddess of wisdom Metis, that goddess is you."
Just as Godou was about to be crushed, the giant snake halted its advance.
It didn't stop by itself.
Instead, the golden light that surrounded Godou blocked the body of the giant snake, then forced it back.
Any snake scale that touched the light was cut apart like it had run into a razor sharp edge.
"Such is the spell word of the sword!? The weapon just now!"
"You are not a goddess of Greece. Born of North Africa, worshiped as the earth goddess by all of the Mediterranean. With numerous names and appearances. Metis, Medusa, Neite, Anata, Atana, Atona, Asherat...... they are all copies of she who calls herself Athena, your sisters in other terms."
Finally, Godou pulled out the [Sword] in full.
At the moment of unsheathing, a thread of light flashed out from the sword, severing Athena's giant concrete snake in two within a blink.
The gravel and sand that had made up half the snake all fell to the ground with a thunderous sound.
Athena's light body slowly descended.
"How distasteful, Kusanagi Godou! Thou darest threaten one with [Sword]! Dost not make one remember such forbidden pasts!"
Contrary to her perfect landing, Athena's countenance was one of great anger.
Verethragna's tenth incarnation, the [Warrior].
The fearsome might of this incarnation, the only one capable of using [Sword], was finally revealed to Athena.
"You, plus the predecessor of Isis of Egypt and Ishtar of Babylon, are all descendants of the mother goddess. You are not merely the goddess of earth, but also the dark god of the netherworld, as well as the goddess of heavenly wisdom."[1H 5]
Every sentence Godou spoke became spell-words, which soon dissolved into the golden radiance.
The light formed into a sharp blade, one capable of cutting the goddess.
Due to her intense anger, Athena's beauty no longer showed the carefree demeanor she once had.
"Ever accompanied by three personalities, so became the goddess of trinity—this is Athena's character. The war god's character is but an extension added over the changing eras, managing death of the underworld from the greatest disasters, connecting with war to become a god of conflict, all perfectly reasonable."
"Thou art too garrulous!"
Arrows and a longbow suddenly appeared within Athena's hands.
Pulling the bowstring tight, she released the arrow. As expected of a war god, the arrow shot straight for Godou's forehead.
But with a flash of the [Sword], the arrow was parried.
"Then, the key to your rebirth as trinity is the [Serpent]!"
"Speakest no more! One's past shall not be tarnished by youths as thee!"
This time, four arrows appeared in Athena's right hand.
Readying all four on the longbow, she simultaneously shot them out.
The seemingly odd but extremely powerful archery.
Yet these arrows were all deflected by the [Sword], scattering across the ground.
"Though [Cows], [Sheep], and [Pigs] have all symbolized the harvest grounds. In truth, you are also the cow incarnated earth goddess—except your character is the [Serpent]; that, is the most ancient key of Athena."
Even now, Godou continued to chant as infinite light emanated from him.
Once the traits of the opposing god were fully realized by him, the [Warrior] incarnation would unravel its true strength.
Transforming spell-words into a golden radiance, the power of the [Sword] which can cut the flesh of gods and their divine powers.
This was his greatest trump card for attack and defense.
"In the end, you are not only the goddess who holds the grace of earth but also the birth of life, growth, maturity, aging, finally death, the same as the four seasons. To take birth and grow in spring, to relish in summer, to harvest in autumn, to wither in winter."
Athena grew anxious from this and initiated her stance, swinging forth her held blade.
Despite being injured by the [Sword]'s radiance, she continued to bravely close the distance.
And her strong and sharp cleave......
Was easily evaded by Godou.
Before he realized it, he had already seen through the god's movements; this was also a power of the [Warrior] form.
"Yet the people of the ancient world did not all receive the blessing of the earth. Due to natural disasters and other unusual phenomenons, more than half of the harvest would be lost—thus the mother goddess gave not only blessings, but also plundered lives during wintertime and brought disasters during ill moods as a harmful deity. Without this, it wouldn't make sense."
Godou grasped the [Sword] in hand and swung towards Athena.
The light flashed once, twice, thrice, and continued.
To evade the cutting spell-words, Athena was forced to step back.
"Thus it was the [Serpent], through several shedding of skins, cycling nonstop between hibernation and awakening, which became the creature representing the cycle of death and rebirth, of the revolving seasons. Compared to the [Cow] of harvest and compassion, it was the snake, with both the grace of life and scourge of death, that was truly worthy of a god."
To people of ancient times, it was extremely rare to find a creature with both the eccentricity and the mysteriousness of the snake.
Casting aside its outer appearance through continued shedding of its skin, hibernating for prolonged periods during the winter, followed by awakening during spring as though reviving from death.
Easily bridging the gap between winter and spring, it was truly an immortal god.
Winter—the god that brought death, but also the god of the wilderness and the underworld.
Such was the relation between Athena and the [Serpent], as well as the reason why she was both the goddess of earth and the netherworld.
Yet the netherworld imagined by the ancients always laid underneath the dark ground.
A winter world enshrouded by darkness.
Similarly, a time dominated by darkness—nighttime, was feared to be another part of the underworld, thus Athena was also the goddess of darkness.
"Heed the power of my words, let justice reveal itself! For this incantation is powerful and eloquent. The sword of wisdom that calls victory —Athena, how do you feel now? This sword is specially made to eliminate you. Its use will guarantee my victory over you."
Godou chanted the spell-words as he circled around.
Having revealed his final trump card to her, just how will Athena counter?
The overwhelming situation has returned to a balanced state. But with just their own strengths, the goddess still held the advantage; if the fierce fighting continued, she would regain the opportunity to retaliate.
"Kusanagi Godou...... one hath underestimated thee."
Athena said calmly and seriously.
As expected of the goddess of wisdom, she recovered her composure so quickly.
That couldn't be helped. There was no easy victory when fighting against a god.
"Though thou art young, immature, but still a devil king, and one who usurped power from us gods—from spell-words just spoken, one hath understood."
Athena stared sharply at Godou.
"Verethragna! The god thee killed is Verethragna! A god of conquest, closely tied with my friend Heracles and Indra[1H 6] of the far east. In servitude to a new divine king, the [Defiant God][1H 7] that struck down the ancient gods with his spear."
Godou suddenly shivered.
If the goddess began to stop underestimating him, then she would be a truly fearsome opponent.
......But could that be true? Could she really fight seriously with a puny human? That detail would determine victory or defeat.
"That war god was the crusader of the ancient gods. If thee may kill Verethragna, then usage of the godslaying sword is expected...... yet can such be all?"
Athena smiled thinly as she gazed towards Godou with her sharp sight.
"Verethragna is not only the god of victory, but also the guardian of populace and kingship, the personal guard of the Persian God Mithra[1H 8]. Mithra is the incarnation of the sun, thus Verethragna is linked to the sun."
She saw through him.
Athena already realized the last card Godou kept.
Was this a power of the goddess of wisdom? To instantly discern even the traits of foreign gods, that had to be cheating! This was going to get problematic.
"Though one knows not of how many powers of Verethragna thee commandest, but thou should hast an Authority of the sun. To disperse one's darkness, the most capable shall be sunlight."
Both of Athena's eyes narrowed.
Both eyes were pitch black as though filled by darkness. They seemed to cover over everything within her vision, coldly seeing through all of Godou.
"Such a tarnished and fearsome [Sword], but thy use is too blatant. Seekest to anger one and findest weakness during opportunity? One hath already seen through thy ploy."
Petrify. Petrify. Petrify. Petrify. Petrify. Petrify. Petrify.
Everything would gradually petrify, as long as it entered Athena's sight.
The ground they stood on changed into stone. The grass that swayed in the breeze and the beautiful flowers petals also changed into stone.
The lush trees also petrified to stone, the pool full of seawater became stone as well.
Athena was now using Medusa's mystic eyes, capable of petrifying all that it sees.
"Temporary deaths, stone coffin—such was also the ancient mother's power...... O, as expected of a godslayer, thee managest to actually survive. Spell-words must really be directly poured into thy body, truly troublesome."
Godou's legs, from his feet to his knees, have already been completely petrified.
But everything around him had already changed to stone, so his situation was good by comparison.
Athena probably wanted to convert everything within her sight to stone. To use such a power, even transforming all of Tokyo into a stone city was a piece of cake.
Godou felt fear.
Unless he stopped this goddess, there would definitely be a tragic catastrophe.
"The mystic eyes of the [Serpent] goddess Medusa, that is the best proof of your close relationship with [Birds]."
Godou infused the [Sword] with new spell-words, accelerating the power of the Authority to cleanse petrification.
The golden sword began to dance wildly.
Wherever the light struck, the petrified objects would throw off the curse, returning to their original appearance.
"The three Gorgon Sisters, including Medusa, had not just snake hair but also golden wings on their backs. The second sister Eurayle's name meant 'far-roaming flyer', while the youngest sister Medusa was the mother of the winged Pegasus.[1H 9]
The portrait of Medusa had dispersed throughout the Mediterranean.
In this portrait, the goddess held snakes with both hands, while a bird perched atop the head, clearly representing the link between snakes and birds.
"Linking you and birds were the earth and the underworld—you are a god who dominated over two worlds, while birds had the magical power to fly between the current world and the outer realms. Our ancestors have believed in this since long ago in ancient times. The souls of the dead will become birds who fly off into the skies, or guided by the birds into the netherworld.
Godou's petrified legs changed back to their soft flesh.
The circulation of blood was also returned.
"To travel between the earth and the underworld, it was natural for Athena and the bird to become one. Your trait is [Serpent]—but also [Winged Serpent]!"
"Thou seekest to injure and disgrace one, even hoping to make one lose composure. One will not be tempted by such!"
Every time Godou used the [Sword], Athena's mystic sight would grow stronger.
The petrified ground was returned to normal by the sword's golden radiance, then turned back into stone by the pitch black mystic eyes.
As the two confronted one another, their surroundings had already repeated the cycle several times, petrifying into gray stones before returning to the green earth.
"Originally you were a winged snake; before becoming a member of the Pantheon, you were the goddess of life and death worshiped by the ancients. After the winged snake was desecrated by the ages, the changing attitude would become the Heretic God Athena."
"Shut your mouth! Such ploys are meaningless!"
Although no weapons met one another, the battle was growing fiercer and fiercer.
But Godou could only stop his words as it was very hard to discover Athena's weakness. If they kept up such a battle of attrition, the tremendous divine powers of the goddess would surely gain the advantage.
Godou had originally hoped to decide the match with a counterattack.
When confronting a stronger opponent, one should allow the enemy to attack, exhaust them, then counterattack once they reveal their weakness. He had saved a trump card for such a decisive moment.
With the spell-words of the [Sword], he could unravel an iron-wall-like defense, granting ample odds of victory.
However, Athena had realized his plan. Therefore she used her mystic eyes to pin Godou down.
—Can't be helped. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Godou took a deep breath, preparing to expend the power of the [Sword].
"Dominion of the earth and the underworld, goddess of snakes who commands the wisdom of the heavens, doubtlessly the greatest existence among gods. Second to none, a god among gods, mandate of the greatest authority, Queen of the Pantheon."
The [Warrior] using the offensive and defensive [Sword] is the most powerful incarnation for battling gods.
But, its limitations were extremely severe.
The spell-words of the [Sword] may not be used indefinitely. The longer it is used, the duller the sword would become, until it was reduced to a blunt blade; this was no different from reality.
And just as any authority of Verethragna, an incarnation cannot be used continuously.
Without a day for recovery, use of the same incarnation again was impossible; as long as this condition stood, Godou could not rely on brute force to overpower the enemy.
"Once, you were a woman who held dominance over the ancient command, commanding the humans in the name of the gods, thus the leader of the gods was also the goddess—goddess of the winged snake. But you were overthrown from the highest throne by the martial forces of rebellious men, ending the matriarchy society."
Godou chanted, to forge and refine the strongest [Sword].
To expend all spell-words here, to inflict critical wounds upon Athena's divine power.
To pin her down and establish the way for victory.
Even the most detailed of battle plans could be disrupted by situational conditions, therefore the focus must be on responding to changing circumstances.
"The era of the Queen had ended; the era of the King had begun. The supreme power and wisdom of the motherly matriarch changed to that of the strict patriarch; from Zeus, the kings of gods were born."
Currently in front of his own eyes stood the former queen goddess of the Mediterranean.
Right, the former queen.
An overthrown queen forced to obey.
These spell-words that exposed Athena's past were also the sharpest sword to be used against her.
"The most ancient Athena was divided, degrading to the king of god's wife, sister, or daughter, losing all former glory; mythology was altered as such."
Athena's mutter was overflowing with silent rage.
"Athena became the king's daughter. Metis was disgraced and robbed of her wisdom. Medusa was even degraded into a monster. Furthermore, Hera and Aphrodite of Greek Mythology[1H 10] were also defeated mother goddesses, goddesses who once commanded life and death similar to you."
"Thou art told to shut up! Such spell-words are filthy beyond comparison!"
Athena was angry.
That was a good sign, but she still hadn't lost her composure, so he should follow the plan and attack her once.
"The defeated mother goddess, portrayed in mythology as the winged snake, the winged serpent—which was also the dragon. The evil dragons that stood in countless legends and myths, defeated by heroes and gods alike, were the final form of the defeated and trampled mother goddess!"
They were not prosecuted because they were evil monsters.
But because the victors demanded legitimacy, they discredited the defeated as evil monsters, then spread the tales of themselves vanquishing evil.
Due to this, the winged snake fell from a sacred beast and became a monster; the traits of the mother goddess were fundamentally denied. Thus this spell-word would become the mighty [Sword], capable of rending even Athena.
Golden radiance gathered in Godou's right hand.
Godou compressed the light into a longsword; with a brilliant glow spreading from him, he advanced towards Athena.
Readied to stop this sword was Athena's pitch black scythe.
A scythe of the death god that absorbed all light into its razor darkness.
Between the sword of light and the scythe of darkness, Godou and Athena finally clashed with ferocity.
The golden sword clashed with the pitch-black scythe.
At the same time, the darkness continued to spread from Athena.
The temperature dropped as the darkness expanded.
Frost that felt like it cut through skin, as though winter had suddenly arrived.
"One shall not be struck by thee. One may be immortal, but cannot endure thy attacks that sever the source of divinity, thus one must defeat thee with forbidden darkness!"
Athena injected her power into the wrist that held the pitch-black scythe.
To fully repulse the golden sword, she was also expending her full power.
Before he realized it, the spreading darkness had covered the entire sky, extinguishing the light from the moon and the stars, and the entire surrounding was plunged into a chaotic darkness.
Other than the golden sword, not a single ray of light could pierce this darkness.
Despite this, Godou's eyes could still see perfectly through this abyssal darkness—he was really surprised.
The flowers around him withered within an instant.
The trees also lost their verdancy.
Greenery of all sizes began to wither one after another. Fruits turned to dust in moments. Branches also withered, shrinking until they looked like dry sticks.
Even the sound of insects vanished from the night.
—This was [Death].
Wielding the divine power that commanded death and demise, Athena injected her most dangerous powers into her scythe.
"One summons the winter, master of life and death, emissary of the icy netherworld, the shrewdly procuring queen. One commands. Kusanagi Godou, become the dead king, decompose into a corpse!"
Athena said as she drove back the golden sword with her scythe.
Her spell-words entered through Godou's ears and began to invade his body, which slowly grew cold.
—Is this a joke?
I can't be defeated here!
Maintaining his stance to counter the scythe, Godou tried to imagine the next scene.
He had planned to strike Athena down, but was blocked by her black scythe, yet the black scythe was also a part of Athena. To put it that way, could the [Sword] still cut everything?
This was one created to be only effective against Athena—a [Sword] that could defeat and surely kill Athena!
Godou cut through both the black scythe and Athena at once.
The divine power that composed the goddess transferred the feelings over directly through the edge of the spell-words.
Earth, darkness, wisdom, snakes, birds, cows, queen, wife, fearsome woman, reborn woman, immortality—
Godou cleaved down with all his might towards everything she had.
At the same time, Godou was also inflicted by the [Death] spell-words.
He wasn't sure how long he lost consciousness.
Either several seconds, or several minutes, but by the time Godou realized, both he and Athena laid on the ground.
Godou pressed all his strength into his limbs, struggling desperately to stand back up.
Although they both fell at once, Athena wouldn't be defeated so easily; as the one who attacked her, he knew that better than anyone.
Then, Athena slowly rose back up.
Not a trace of a wound remained on her body, but the damage inflicted within her shouldn't recover as quickly.
"As expected, winning isn't so easy, but it would have been great if I had just won like that."
"Nonsense. To call one the snake goddess hath thee; no matter how wounded, neither snakes nor woman will die. Even if dead, they shall be reborn."
Snakes who shed skin to be reborn. Women who wouldn't die even with profound menstrual blood loss.
Both were representations of immortality.
But even though her words sounded fine, Athena's countenance grew very pale.
Yet at the same time, Godou had also lost much vitality due to the words of death. Though there were no injuries, he felt that his life force had been significantly reduced.
The result was that they both continued to confront one another in critical status.
"With this, thy [Sword] can be used no more; one is certain of this."
This troublesome fact was exposed by Athena.
She wasn't wrong. The golden [Sword] had already disappeared after expending its full power.
Godou no longer had any weapon capable of both attack and defense.
"In other words, thou now wishest to use the power of the sun...... amongst the incarnations of Verethragna, the one closest in origin to the sun was the [Stallion]."
His own combat power already grasped by his opponent; the goddess of wisdom was truly a difficult opponent to fight. Godou couldn't help but want to sigh.
But he didn't even have time for that.
Athena pressed in silently, striking once again with her black scythe.
Godou barely managed to evade.
Followed by a second swing.
Cutting through the skin of his shoulders.
A third attack.
His ankles were almost severed.
Despite losing the power of the sword, he was still in the [Warrior] incarnation; it had kept some power, and was able to grasp Athena's intentions, as well as predict her next course of action.
Therefore he could at least evade the fatal strikes.
—But if he kept defending, he would eventually be defeated.
He could not cope with her offensive pressure; therefore she need not bother with defense, since there was no worry of the opponent retaliating. Then, to desperately attack the opponent, forcing him into catastrophe was enough.
The scythe cleaved, slashed, and attacked relentlessly.
Evade. Duck. Dodge.
Against Athena's endless attacks, Godou could only continue to evade.
"What's wrong, Kusanagi Godou. Why dost thee not use the power of the [Stallion]? Is it not the only weapon capable of defeating one?"
Athena mocked with a voice filled with ridicule.
After pointing things out so clearly, why would I use that to fight you? You must have readied countermeasures already.
Godou cursed in his mind as he desperately sought for a way to victory.
If he continued his melee fight against Athena, there wouldn't be even a chance of winning.
Godou completely understood this point.
If it were baseball or indoor soccer, maybe there were still some chances of winning. But Kusanagi Godou didn't have a trace of martial background; there was no way he could defeat her through strength alone.
At this time, he really wished that reliable partner of his could appear right now to act as his shield.
She would be wielding her lion-like magic sword, wearing a red-and-black outfit, and storm in with grandeur.
But she wasn't here right now.
With such a performance opportunity, how could such an egotistical person not appear?
Could it be that she couldn't find him and Athena? No, she wasn't that stupid. Godou only wished that the reason why she didn't appear was the reason he thought of.
......As Godou still pondered, Athena's scythe swung in right before his eyes.
Godou hastily jumped back and managed to protect his vitals.
But he couldn't completely evade it.
His chest was struck, spraying blood into the air; although it wasn't a fatal injury, the wound was still very deep.
—Godou was immediately convinced of one thing.
He was already in such a crisis, yet she still didn't come out to help.
In other words, his partner thought of the same thing as him and was waiting for an opportunity to attack. As long as he endured through this, there would be a chance to win......!
"Surprising thou managest to evade! Feebly clinging to life is an ugly sight, Kusanagi Godou!"
The unstopping scythe assault forced Godou to dodge by rolling on the ground.
His entire body was covered with wounds.
Despite this, he still managed to guard his vitals.
With his entire body stained by blood and soil, he rolled along the ground; although it looked shameful, it was enough as long as it kept him from dying.
Godou finally stopped fleeing.
He stood up on trembling legs.
Convinced of his beliefs, Godou decided to gamble on it: Erica would definitely take some action that he could look forward to!
"Just as you said, I still have the incarnation that represented the sun."
Godou said as he pointed towards the eastern skies.
He imagined a white stallion under the brilliance of the sun, its majestic body glowing with pure white light.
"For victory, come before me! Immortal sun, please grant me the shining steed. The divine horse of glory, bringing forth the light wheel that symbolizes the lord!"
The third incarnation of Verethragna, the [White Stallion].
Since ancient times, the [Stallion] kept a close relationship with the sun god.
The sun god that roamed from east to west atop a chariot—this was a common description passed down in numerous civilizations. The Orient, India, Scandinavia, China, and Babylon were no exceptions.
Apollo[1H 11] of Greece was also like this.
Similar to him was the Persian god of light Mithra, mythologies spread far and wide by the people.
For Verethragna's white stallion incarnation that once served Mithra, even carrying the sun was natural!
"O—it came indeed, that annoying horse."
Athena muttered towards the east.
That was right. Even though the darkness had blocked out all light, the eastern skies began to burn.
The sun was rising.
The dawning light dyed the eastern skies red.
It was obviously still midnight, five hours short of sunrise.
But the current skies grew very bright.
This was the incarnation of the [White Stallion], able to summon the power of the sun.
"Honestly, this incarnation is the hardest to use, but you've gone too far this time, so I managed to call it—because this in an incarnation that can only be used against a [Sinner who inflicted suffering upon the people]."
The Athena who created the dark world managed to satisfy this condition.
......To use himself as the target, he always felt that the summoning would succeed. But this time, he should ignore that for once.
"See this, Athena! Let's see you taste the burning flames of the sun that vanquishes darkness!"
It was either an arrow of light or a spear of the sun god that descended from the skies.
An area spreading out dozens of meters around Athena was engulfed by the white light.
The holy fire that consumed sinners.
From the faraway eastern horizon, searing fire descended upon the ground.
Even those stronger than Athena could only cry out in anguish.
The sun god that replaced the underworld lords and his flames that expelled the night were the nemesis of this goddess.
"Hahahahaha! Dost not underestimate me, Kusanagi Godou! One hath made it perfectly clear. One hath long known thy final card! This is merely thy dying struggle."
Athena's surroundings were protected by a black enchantment.
An immensely powerful black barrier capable of severing all light.
It warded off the white flames. To prepare for this move, she had probably been gathering the divine power of darkness this entire time, and then waited for just the right time to use it.
If Athena protected herself with this until the fire burned out......
Godou no longer had any incarnation capable of defeating the mother goddess of darkness, and once the flames died out, the [White Stallion] incarnation will lift, leaving Kusanagi Godou without a single authority.
But Godou shook his head.
"You're wrong; the one who underestimated others is you. Although you didn't underestimate me, but you did disregard—us humans."
A beam of light soared towards Godou from the other side of the darkness.
A beam of silver light.
The brilliant silver light—it was a cold light, like that of a sword's edge.
Cuore di Leone, the lion sword wielded by the girl that stood as Godou's partner.
The silver sword buried itself into the ground before Godou.
"When we fought, did you forget Erica's existence? It would be my loss if she wasn't here, but unfortunately, things didn't turn out that way."
Godou pulled out Cuore di Leone.
"Athena, you're far too foolish! That person's sword is specially forged. It contains the spell-words of despair, power even to defeat the gods. Normally, you can probably completely guard against it; but what will happen now, while you're defending against the sun with all your strength?"
The white flames were blocked by the barrier of darkness, unable to reach the pure body of the goddess.
But, Athena's countenance revealed her anxiety.
—If Erica had rushed in when Athena's scythe pushed Godou into a corner, Athena would naturally become aware of Cuore di Leone's presence, and would alter her actions as appropriate.
So despite watching Godou fall to desperate straits, Erica did not reveal herself to rescue him.
Because Godou realized Erica's plan, he gambled everything on this attempt.
Everything had been for this opportunity to let Cuore di Leone become his new trump card.
"Though, this cooperative fight wasn't preplanned. Thankfully, it worked; that girl Erica really knows how to calculate the best time to appear."
To toss over her beloved sword by guessing through this darkness, it was as expected of his partner.
Godou slowly approached Athena.
But if he attacked directly, he would be burnt himself.
Could he wait until the flames burned out?
Just as he thought over this, Cuore di Leone changed to the form of a javelin, probably because Erica had used her magic.
Of course, if he used a thrown attack, then he wouldn't need to close the distance.
Such caring support made Godou smile.
"This is the last hit; take this, Athena!"
He threw with all his strength, hurling the javelin out.
The Cuore di Leone that had taken javelin form dissolved into a silver meteor, piercing through Athena's chest.
Both the goddess and the silver javelin were immolated by the flames.
It didn't matter.
That sword was forged from indestructible steel. Even after melting in the fire, it would still resurrect like a phoenix.
"Kusanagi Godou, thou would sneak attack Defiant God Athena! Damn thee, to own a title as hateful as devil king, one never guessed thou art so contemptible!"
"Stop blaming others! It's because you underestimated humanity that brought about your own demise!"
After been hit by the silver strike and falling to her knees, Athena was swallowed by the white flames.
After several minutes, the white flames finally burned out, and the dawning light to the east also vanished.
The black night returned.
Yes, countless streetlights now illuminated the roads and streets, and light from the skyscrapers leaked out from the windows—everything had returned to that old semi-darkness.
Godou let go of the breath he held and stared into the night sky.
The half-moon and numerous stars twinkled in their light.
Even if he ignored his real feelings, he still couldn't claim Tokyo's night sky to be beautiful. Maybe tens of years had made him used to it, but the current feel wasn't bad either.
Nevertheless, the duel had ended.
First he should hurry home and take a shower, then sleep in relaxation. Taking care of the aftermath could wait for later.
"How was it Godou? That fight just now, I think receiving the Best Supporting Actress Award won't be an exaggeration."
Two girls walked into the once fierce battlefield.
One was a graceful blonde Italian, while the other was a Japanese who wore a miko outfit and looked very serious for some reason.
"If I could manage it, you can have however many awards you want, even an award ceremony is fine."
Godou replied as he sat down cross-legged on the wilted grass.
Even he was exhausted.
But, although his body should be injured all over and wracked by pain, he felt none of it, and even the serious wound on his chest had begun to heal. The recovery ability of a godslayer's body was still inhumanly high.
The catastrophe in this garden, he had caused half of it.
Just how many people could still recognize this as the Hamarikyu Gardens?
He wasn't sure when, but a massive crater had appeared on the ground.
The pine forest that remained since the Edo period, the numerous kinds of colorful flowers in the gardens, they were all ruined by the fight between him and Athena.
—Godou reflected deeply; he had gone too far again.
"So, how should we deal with this troublesome goddess? I think I should hurry and give her a final blow."
"......I second that. If we leave Athena like this, she will definitely become the source of more disaster one day, so we should naturally take preventative measures."
Erica suggested that as if she was taunting. Although Yuri looked like it was hard for her to express it, she nevertheless agreed.
The one they stared at was an Athena who looked like a little girl that sat on the ground after throwing a tantrum.
Maybe it was because she was burned by the flames of the [White Stallion], or maybe it was because she had expended too much divine power, but the mother goddess of darkness had shrunk, returning to the little girl look she had several hours ago.
She was truly a goddess with the divine trait of immortality. Even though she was just consumed by flames, she had already resurrected.
Of course, even Godou doubted the kind of attack just then could have completely killed her.
Although she was already deprived of her combat ability, she still had a fearsome vitality.
"Mariya-san, what you just spoke of, was that from your usual power? Through your intuition as a miko, or some similar ability?"
"No, just the thought of a normal person...... for something like this, even those who aren't miko would decide that way."
Yuri's reply relieved the weight on Godou's heart.
Even though he would arrive at the same conclusion with an ill prediction, Godou nevertheless felt relieved.
"Then, let's part here...... Athena, did you hear me? These people want to finish you off; you better hurry and leave this country."
"—Why would thee not finish one off? Slaying one would allow thee to usurp new powers, becomest an even more powerful godslayer; why would thee abandon such a good opportunity?"
After hearing the angry words of an unimpressed Athena, Godou couldn't help but reply with a frustrated and tired voice:
"I don't want these weird powers; the ones I already have are hard enough to deal with. Besides, how could I kill someone just because I beat them in a fight; I'm a civilized man you know."
"I said, I'm not some god born during the Bronze or Iron Ages. It's the twenty-first century now, we don't have the habit of taking the life of another after winning a duel; don't push those ancient practices onto me."
After suppressing Erica and Yuri's desire to interject with his sight, Godou continued:
"Although I've always won competitions, I've never thought of killing the defeated opponent. If you won't accept that, then let's go with this: the saying goes 'the winner takes all, while the loser is obliged to obey the victor'...... can you accept that?"
Godou asked the shrunken Athena.
The goddess held her silence for a long time before she spoke at last:
"......Very well, the defeated should obey the orders of the victor. One knows not if we shall fight again, please take care of thyself; destiny willing, we shall meet again one day."
As Athena stood up, her silver hair swayed.
"The man who had defeated one, one shall always remember thy name—goodbye, Kusanagi Godou!"
Turning her back towards Godou and the group, Athena slowly departed.
Once she could no longer see Athena's small shadow, Erica intentionally sighed:
"Godou, you know, even if you defeat [Heretic Gods], your authorities won't increase if you don't take their lives?"
"Don't talk about killing so casually. Besides, even if we defeated those gods, they can resurrect like nothing had happened, how can we manage that so easily?"
Godou replied seriously, refuting the simple explanation his partner offered.
To those people, resurrection and rebirth was an everyday thing, so they were all immortal monsters. With such a blessing, he could go all out on the offensive without worrying about harming the opponent.
"Even though you say that, you never actually considered killing her right? Eh, I originally planned to help Godou quickly become independent, but if this keeps up; our future doesn't look very bright."
"I don't want to become any more of a monster, so don't make decisions for me with such an uncaring attitude...... right, is Mariya-san alright? She still looks really weak."
Godou asked about Yuri who was still staring at him with cold eyes.
When he left, she was still very gentle; why was she like a mine that was about to explode now?
She must not be feeling well. That was natural, since he had asked too much of her earlier.
Godou focused his sight on Yuri's countenance.
"My body really doesn't have any problems; I'm really grateful that Kusanagi-san was able to come save me just then."
A chilly tone.
Behind her polite words laid a cold expression.
......Was she really angry? Then he should hurry and apologize; Godou continuously pondered over how he might defend himself. Although it was really shameful, but it was also a desperate matter of survival.
"Mariya-san, I'm really sorry for causing you so much trouble over this incident."
Godou bowed his head, realizing that even his waist had bent over.
What a disaster.
He wasn't sure if the gesture was enough. Would he still get scolded? He felt extremely uneasy about it. But Yuri didn't care about this at all; instead she began to berate him over something totally unexpected.
"No, I don't mind about that; it's because of Kusanagi-san that I met such extreme circumstances, but you also saved me, so I don't mind. Aside from that, there is something else I would like to ask you."
She revealed a dark smile just like several hours ago.
For it to reveal itself on Yuri's beautiful face yet again...... is really frightening.
"You are a true devil king—one who wields the authority of a real godslayer. But, these powers aren't for you to do whatever you want with. What do you think over this?"
"Uhh...... about this...... I think you're completely right."
"Then, why don't you watch your surroundings more! These gardens are ruined, and just how do you plan to take care of what happened over there?"
Yuri pointed sternly towards what was in front of them.
Godou glanced over the distant view and froze as he saw the tragic appearance in the night sky.
The rooftops of several skyscrapers that reached into the heavens—
Two-thirds of those roofs had been sliced off, completely gone just like butter sticks that were cut by a knife.
Furthermore, the same happened to the elevated highways of the Capital Expressway.
Entire sections of the road were missing, just like icicles melted by a blowtorch, entire road portions had vanished without a sight.
The flames of the [White Stallion] that descended from the heavens must have caused this.
Because of the ultra-high temperature, the destroyed highway had the appearance of being melted near the edges; but this wasn't candy or cream or ice, but reinforced concrete.
"If it's like that, they should be able to just repair the melted sections right?"
"Who knows? Even if it can be, it'll be extremely difficult; just building construction scaffolding on top of those skyscrapers will be problematic enough."
Erica and Godou discussed as though they were casually chatting.
The former didn't see this as that serious of a problem, while the latter only chose this tone of talking to escape reality.
"Didn't I tell you this morning? You don't watch your surroundings enough; it hasn't even been a day yet and you still managed to do this."
As the only person present with common sense and moral integrity, Yuri coldly spoke out:
"And you're too low, too dirty, a complete pervert! For someone as indecent, lascivious, and imprudent as you to get the power of the devil king, I doubt this world will last much longer! I really misjudged you; sure, I thought at the time that you were a reliable and honest man, but I was being too naive. Talk about a complete disappointment."
"That, Mariya-san...... what low, indecent stuff; that doesn't seem right—"
Faced with this strangely agitated miko before him, Godou timidly responded.
Yet a razor-sharp glare cut him off.
"Really, Kusanagi-san, you've already forgotten what you were doing this quickly? Erica-san is Italian so I won't speak of it, but you're a Japanese man; how could you do something so low, so dirty, you should properly reflect just what shame is!"
"Huh? What do you mean? I, did I do something strange?"
"Did you seriously forget? Such a passionate—eh, that warm k-kiss, to actually do something so shameless!"
Now, Godou finally understand the reason why Yuri was so angry.
But he was also very troubled at the same time.
He wasn't good at explaining himself, and it would be very hard to clarify that it was a magic necessary to defeat Athena; it would be best to leave this to his more charismatic partner.
He begged Erica with his eyes, before he realized too late that this was like digging his own grave.
"Hehe, so Yuri didn't like that move. You really are late to mature...... At the beginning, Godou didn't feel much differently~~"
What was she saying, 'at the beginning' was completely unnecessary!
"Since ancient times, wasn't a girl's kiss the best blessing for departing brave warriors? So I gave him strength this way. Godou was shy at first, but now, he couldn't even fight anymore unless I did this—it's really worrisome."
As he listened to Erica's explanation, Godou realized what utter despair tasted like.
Although it wasn't really a lie, but the malicious explanation completely twisted the facts and deliberately hid the truth.
"No, it's not like that, Mariya-san, it's actually......"
"If it's an excuse, then that won't be necessary; I already understand what's going on."
"By understand you mean—"
"Being tempted by Erica-san like that, Kusanagi-san must have been obedient every time. Right? I understand these things very well, since Kusanagi-san is also a man; as long as your lover coaxes you, you'd do her every bidding."
No explanation would be accepted.
Yuri smiled as she said these words, her expression beautiful yet frigid, accompanied by a cold emotionless expression.
"It's already late tonight, so I won't say any more, but please visit Nanao Shrine tomorrow. I won't need to mind the time then, so I'll properly educate you tomorrow—because I need to seriously teach you these things, so you better come alone. Definitely do not bring your lover there."
She gave him a heartless verdict with her steely tone.
Yielding to the overwhelming pressure, Godou couldn't help but agree involuntarily.
Translator’s Notes and References
- Hamarikyu Gardens: a public park located at the mouth of the Sumida river, surrounded by a seawater moat and built from what was once a Tokugawa family villa.
- Tsukiji District: tsukiji literally means 'reclaimed land', and although multiple Japanese cities have such an area, none of them are as famous as Tokyo's.
- Marie Antoinette: Queen of France executed during the French Revolution, known for her corrupt, selfish, and gaudy lifestyle with an inability to understand the common folk.
- Let them eat cake: famous line supposedly said by Marie Antoinette in response to those who complained of having no bread to eat, although historians believe this to be a byproduct of dramatized journalism.
- Isis and Ishtar: Isis is the Egyptian goddess of compassion, nature, and magic, often viewed as the ideal mother and wife, as well as a friend to the downtrodden, the sinners, and the slaves; Ishtar is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, war, love, and sex, known as a fickle lover who also unleashed the Bull of Heaven upon Gilgamesh for refusing her love in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
- Indra: King of the gods and god of storms, rainfall, and war in Hindu mythology, and associated with Vajrapani, the chief protector of the Buddha.
- Defiant God: as Heretic God, both written as 'Disobedient God' in raws, but since heretics never refer to themselves as heretics, Athena's use of 'Heretic' will be converted to 'Defiant'.
- Mithra: the Zoroastrian god of covenant and oath, a god of judgment and all-seeing protector of truth, guardian of cattle, harvest, and water elements.
- Pegasus: the winged horse; according to Greek Mythology, Medusa was impregnated by Poseidon and when the hero Perseus beheaded and killed her, Pegasus and Chrysaor, a golden-sworded giant, burst from her body.
- Hera, Aphrodite: Hera was the sister of Zeus and goddess of women and marriage; Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, pleasure, and beauty.
- Apollo: Greek god of the sun, truth and prophesy, healing and plague, and patron of the fine arts; son of Zeus and Leto, he is one of the most important and idealized deities of Greece.
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