Episode 49/Chapter 3: The Goddess of warfare Athena (3)
The battle at the north was at its climax.
The army being led by Thor was pushing back the army of Harmarti.
Harmarti’s forces resisted fiercely but it was only a matter of time. The front lines moved north every day and the front lines that were maintained for more than a hundred years weren’t that far away from Jotunheim.
Odin’s army, which regrouped with Thor’s army last night, was waiting in the rear to act as reserve forces.
The crow Hugin that was sitting on Odin’s shoulder raised its head. There was an unfamiliar existence among the crows gathered in this place.
There was a white cat with small wings in its back.
The cat ran swiftly in the air threw itself towards Odin. Odin, who was already aware of the existence of the cat, moved his hand swiftly even before Hugin could whisper him something.
It was Freya’s pet. Odin held the cat with one of his hands and then touched the forehead of the cat lightly and closed his eyes. Freya’s face appeared in his head then.
There was a deep anxiety showing in the beautiful face of Freya. Odin asked with a low voice with eyes closed.
“Freya. Did something happen?”
‘It’s too long to explain. I will send you a memory.’
A new rune appeared in the forehead of the cat Odin was holding. Odin received Freya’s divine power naturally and frowned.
“This is troublesome.”
The path was completely sealed by Zeus’ divine power.
In addition, the great hero of Olympus Achilles attacked the warriors and Valkyries of Valhalla.
Freya bit her lips at Odin’s calm voice.
‘Odin, this isn’t something that simple. I’m sure something happened in Olympus.’
The 30 Valkyries of Hermod’s legion that headed to Olympus never returned and something similar occurred now.
It was the worst situation but they would have to investigate why Olympus had become their enemies.
“Did you mobilize the defense forces?”
‘Ragnar is leading the warriors and heading to the path for now. But just like you know, the number of our forces is low. The reinforcements of the Temple that hadn’t returned yet also went there but…….’
The battle against the Magician King was still fresh for Freya.
In addition, the force Ragnar went out with was really too small. It was because in the first place, more than half of the forces that remained in Valhalla followed Odin.
“We will take out part of our forces and send them with Tir so don’t decrease the defenses anymore than you have.’
The fact that Tir would be leading them comforted her. The God of valor Tir was one of the most skilled fighters among the several children Odin had.
Odin paused for a moment and asked Freya as she showed a relieved expression.
“Is the return of Idun’s warrior far away?”
Idun had last seen Tae Ho getting caught in the path.
Freya bit her lips and said with a bitter expression.
‘Ragnar said that he would check things when he arrived….but the path itself was closed. We will need some time to open it up forcefully.’
Even if they managed to open it, what came next was also a problem. The great army of Olympus may face against the army of Asgard.
“Idun’s warrior…..and one warrior that Thor and Ullr each treasure.”
‘And five Valkyries. There are Adenmaha and Nidhogg of Idun’s legion….and Rasgrid.’
One top ranked warrior and two superior ranked warriors.
He was with three experienced Valkyries but also one battle Valkyrie that worked well with Idun’s warrior.
Freya and Odin didn’t think of Nidhogg as a force but she still possessed strong magic power and divinity even without her armored body. She would certainly be of help somehow.
“How is Idun?”
‘She calmed down a bit…but she’s quite unstable.’
Actually Freya cared more for Idun than Heda. It was because she felt pity for her as she always hid her emotions and acted as Heda’s assistant.
“Idun’s warrior will be fine. He’s not someone that will die easily.”
Freya also agreed to it but his words were too casual. But Odin said something else instead of expressing remorse.
“So he already went through the top ranked ceremony.”
‘Right before he departed.’
“You did well. The difference between having and not having a divinity is bigger than you think.”
In addition, a divinity would grow bigger in harsh environments.
Freya let out a sigh once again.
‘Odin, you aren’t going to return?’
“Harmarti will notice the changes if I move rashly. So wait for a few days.”
They couldn’t exactly know the situation in Olympus so they couldn’t end it with temporary measures. Odin had to go the path directly and check the situation for himself.
“I will try my best.”
Odin smiled bitterly and stroked Freya’s head like he would stroke a cat. He opened his eyes calmly and sent the cat flying to the sky.
Odin whispered his name and thought of Tae Ho’s face.
Odin’s benefactor and the savior of Asgard. The real successor of Erin that would inherit everything from it.
He had now acquired a divinity. It was a small divinity that didn’t even have a deity but it was always momentary.
And one more thing.
The arrangements Odin had set just in case.
He couldn’t even thank him properly for having rescued Asgard. This was taking the worst situation into consideration but Odin was thinking of going to war with Olympus if it was to protect Idun’s warrior.
A victory cry burst out from the north. The lightning Thor generated was shaking the ground and the sky.
Odin looked at the north.
And then looked in the direction of Olympus.
The cave was longer and harsher than they thought.
The good thing was that the ceiling was quite high and the passageway was wide. Thanks to that even Rolo, who was quite big among gryphons, could follow the group without getting left behind.
Some time passed like that.
They advanced for close to three hours including the time they rested.
“We are almost at the exit. The sun will be setting when we get out.”
The cave still looked like it had no end but he wouldn’t be saying that for nothing. Rasgrid lowered the light in her light rune that she was using as a torch and asked.
“Is there somewhere we can spend the night?”
It wouldn’t be bad to spend a night in the cave if they were to camp outside anyways.
Gandur turned to look at Ingrid who was leaning on Rolo’s back. It seemed like she was quite exhausted but she was better than before.
Nidhogg started to nod in a doze and mumbled. She couldn’t even take her nap like usual so she was almost at her limit. She had been almost sleep walking until now.
“There are cities and villages near the path and the surroundings haven’t changed until now. But…..I can’t be certain of it now that the path is closed.”
The thing that closed down the path was none other than Zeus’ divine power. There was a possibility that part of the path changed.
“So anyways, it’s better if we hurry right?”
Adenmaha, who was supporting Nidhogg, summarized things. Patroclus, who was taking into account a chaser or the changes in their surroundings, wanted to leave the path as soon as possible.
“Well, we just have to walk all night then.”
Bracky spoke magnanimously and glanced at Adenmaha. The meaning behind his gaze was that he would carry Nidhogg if he had to.
“If we were to dodge cities and villages……is there a road few with people? Somewhere like a forest or a mountain?”
Patroclus nodded at Siri’s question.
“I’m planning to use the forest road. Only…..there’s a small shrine near the forest that serves Apollo-nim. We still don’t know his state so we will move the farthest we can from it.”
Patroclus had moved while evading the shrines to go to Asgard.
“Let’s hurry if we have decided. We have to go a bit farther when the sun is still up.”
Everyone nodded as Tae Ho spoke last. When they climbed out by following Patroclus, an exit that had a complicated structure covered with bushes appeared.
The air changed as they got out of the cave. It was late in the afternoon just like Patroclus had said. It seemed like the sun would set in one more hour.
“This place is Olympus…..”
Tae Ho checked his surroundings and said in a low voice. The scene he was looking at right now was closer to Midgard than Asgard.
“The mountain of Olympus is over there.”
Patroclus pointed into the distance. They were able to see it as the exit of the cave was at a high place but the color of the sky changed at some borderline. The ash colored sky was close to black.
The path that had changed was connected with the world that changed but hadn’t changed yet.
Because of that, Tae Ho could feel the difference Patroclus talked about immediately. The world beyond that boundary was close to Erin- no, you could feel despair and hopelessness beyond that.
“I will increase my speed a bit.”
Patroclus started to take the lead. The group climbed down the cliff and hurriedly hid their bodies in the forest that appeared.
They couldn’t see the sky and outside the forest because big trees were covering them. Because of that the group decided to advance only looking at Patroclus’ back.
After advancing like that for a bit. Gandur raised her voice in a region that the forest got cut coincidentally.
“Wait, the shrine you talked about. Isn’t that it over there?”
The group turned to look at the same direction. There was a big shrine and a village surrounding it.
Patroclus said that the shrine was small but there would be at least a hundred people living in it.
But there was one more problem.
Flames and black smoke was surging from the shrine that resembled a relic of Greece and the village.
‘It’s not smoke from making food. They are under attack.’
There was no need to transmit Cuchulainn’s words. Everyone thought of the same thing.
“Let’s help them.”
“We have to.”
“It’s too dangerous as we don’t know the sit…….”
They were Bracky, Siri, Ingrid and Adenmaha respectively. Rasgrid and Gandur only managed to say ‘let’s hel-‘ and looked at Adenmaha. No, everyone was looking at her.
“I’m the only bad one here. Let’s go. Let’s help them.”
Adenmaha snorted while flushing and then Nidhogg embraced Adenmaha.
“Adenmaha is nice. You are not bad at all.”
Everyone burst out laughing. Patroclus was bewildered as everyone in the group decided to help the shrine.
“We can’t be certain yet on what side Apollo-nim is.”
“If he was an enemy, he wouldn’t be under attack like that.”
There was the possibility for it to just be a conjecture but it was quite a logical reason. Bracky smirked at Tae Ho’s words.
“Let’s go save them for now.”
It wasn’t Valhalla style to think deeply about something.
Bracky was planning to charge towards the shrine immediately while thinking of something that others would rebuke him greatly if they knew about it. Gandur spoke quickly at that time.
“I will execute my stealth blessing so gather next to me and Siri. We will approach the as stealthily and swiftly as possible.”
Ingrid, Rolo and Rasgrid stood next to Gandur and Tae Ho, Bracky, Adenmaha and Nidhogg stood next to Siri.
“Adenmaha, I will leave Nidhogg to you.”
Adenmaha answered at Tae Ho’s words and placed her fist on her chest. Everyone excluding Patroclus acted the same way.
This place wasn’t Asgard but they were still warriors of Valhalla.
“For Asgard and the nine realms.”
“For Asgard and the nine realms.”
Everyone followed Tae Ho’s words and they started to run with Tae Ho at the front.
Red words were seen with his ‘eyes of the dragon’. They were still quite far away from the village but that was why he was able to see the entire village at a glance. It seemed like there were about forty red words.
‘There’s a strong guy among them.’
It was like Cuchulainn said. Tae Ho concentrated his divine power in his eyes. He glared at the shrine and the centaurs surrounding it with his ‘eyes of the dragon’ that got strengthened.
[Artemis’ battle slaves]
The shrine being attacked belonged to Apollo.
If the ones attacking it were Artemis’ underlings, did it mean that Artemis had turned into a being wanting to destroy the world? And Apollo was someone that wanted to maintain the world?
The distance closed some more. Screams and yells entered their ears.
And it was at that moment.
Patroclus extended his arms and made the group stop. There was surprise and happiness in his face.
“It’s a quest.”
He said briefly and quickly. At the same time, Tae Ho and everyone else felt an unfamiliar strength. They heard someone’s voice in their heads.
[Rescue my shrine, my maidens.]
[Defeat that evil Orion.]
[Then, I will bless you by my name of Apollo, the God of light, and give you a suitable reward.]
[Anyone is good. Fulfill my wish!]
It was weak and small but it was certainly a divine power.
The owner of the voice was certainly Apollo.
The special power that made the warriors of Olympus grow.
The grace of the Gods that are given to the ones that fulfill the quest and the blessing of the world.
Tae Ho sensed it and at the same time thought of several things.
Apollo was in a really weakened state but he was someone wanting to maintain the world. He hadn’t turned into someone wanting to destroy it.
The quest could also influence Tae Ho. It wasn’t something unique to the warriors of Olympus.
He would finish the quest and obtain strength.
He would obtain Erin’s and Olympus’ strength on top of Asgard’s.
Tae Ho clenched his fists. He answered Apollo’s consciousness and accepted his quest.
Apollo’s blessing fell over Tae Ho and the group. They took off their stealth blessing when they arrived at the village and started to charge.
Tae Ho was the one at the forefront. He moved like lightning and approached the centaurs, that were massacring the villagers, and cut off the head of one of them. Followed by that, an arrow fired by Siri pierced the chests of two centaurs and Bracky’s hammer crushed the head of another one.
It all happened in an instant. Tae Ho looked back at Bracky and Siri. They shared their thoughts just with that and scattered. Tae Ho headed towards the shrine in a straight line. Siri followed his back and kept firing arrows and Bracky started to advance slowly from the entrance with the Valkyries that arrived one beat later.
Tae Ho brought up Idun’s divine power as a warrior of Idun.
He softly covered the divine power containing in Apollo’s blessing instead of pushing it away.
Divine powers of two different Gods.
That wasn’t all.
Tae Ho could feel another divine power deep in his soul.
It was still small and weak.
But it was certainly there.
Tae Ho increased his speed and charged towards the red words that got clearer the closer he got to the shrine.
< Episode 49 – The Goddess of warfare Athena (3) > End
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