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Chapter 4 Nectar of the Gods!

  • The golem dived forward with arms raised and brought them down together to clobber Niobe. The goddess raised her own to defend against the assault.
  • The collision’s shockwave boomed out like a cannon, flattening the grass and herbs of the meadow. It swept the dust off the ground, raining it back like a sandstorm. Flocks of birds scattered out of the area in alarm.
  • The percussion made Felix skid back on the ground, but he managed to stay on his feet. When visibility returned, he squinted to see the outcome of the clash.
  • Niobe was holding onto both arms of the monster with her bare hands. They were locked in a contest of raw strength. Her limbs were puny compared to the monster’s, and yet they kept him fixed in place. Such was the power of a goddess-prior.
  • She was not the least bit rattled by the onslaught or the hulk towering over her. The monster heaved and grunted, levering its weight.
  • Niobe’s thighs bulged, and the ground cracked beneath her feet. She pushed forward, her armor clinking, and her adversary’s body skidded back with every step. Shaking her arms free, she turned and landed a blow into its gut with an elbow. It threw the monster like a ball into the distance. The creature tumbled to a stop near the margin of the clearing.
  • Niobe turned towards Felix in a heroic flourish, eager to see the impressed look on his face. “I told you-” she teased. “-To let me handle this.” She blew him a kiss.
  • However, the look on Felix’s face was not one of fascination but of confusion and horror.
  • “Niobe!” he cried out, pointing. “Your arms!”
  • The goddess raised her arms to examine them, and her heart froze. There was glowing red ooze on her upper arms, dripping down to the elbows.
  • Then suddenly, the pain came to her.
  • The miasma burned through Niobe’s skin and flesh and bones.
  • A scream escaped her- a low-pitched cry that Felix did not recognize. The sweet-talking, vivacious goddess was braying without grace.
  • Niobe had never felt pain like that before. She screamed her heart out, praying it would go away. It did not. Her hands and lower arms turned to cinders as the ooze spread to her upper arms. She sank to her knees, convulsing, debilitated by the agony. The smell of burning flesh filled the air.
  • Meanwhile, their assailant had gotten to its feet.
  • “False Gods must die,” it declared, with a much clearer voice. “I serve the nectar of a true god,” it added ominously and shuffled up for another encounter.
  • The first thought that arrived in Felix’s mind was to turn and run away.
  • Escape. Survive. Get help.
  • There was no way he could handle a monster that Niobe had failed to subdue. She was a prior-goddess seasoned in battle while he was a green-eyed princep.
  • Felix shut his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, he found himself standing in the way, shielding his lover.
  • ‘What? How did I get here?’ he found himself wondering. ‘Did my body act by itself? Am I doing it for love?’
  • Felix had been a simple peculiar in the patrician city—one who was envious of the gods and aspired to walk among them. After entering the citadel, Niobe’s love had transformed him into a man he did not deserve to be. He had indeed been content with his life. The young god owed everything to her. He would do anything to protect her.
  • “No! Felix! Run! ”Niobe begged.
  • “Nero Impexis Techos!” Felix grunted. 
  • A wall of ice, a foot thick, erected itself in front of him. The frost shield was known to be formidable enough to stop a charging minotaur.
  • The monster raced towards them again, determined to finish what he started. Through the wall of ice, its red haze looked surreal, almost aesthetic. However, the spectacle did not last long.
  • The searing heat melted the ice as the fiend made its approach.
  • Felix took a high attack stance, imbuing his sword with elemental power. He swung down with all his might.
  • There was a loud clang as metal screeched against stone.
  • The next moment, Felix felt a grip around the waist. The monster had seized him and lifted his body in the air. It opened its mouth wide, revealing a glowing, bottomless crater.
  • ‘Is it going to swallow me?’
  • Felix struggled in vain and watched helplessly as he was pulled closer. The monster’s insides were a fiery vortex. The red haze was blinding, but Felix could not take his eyes off. He could hear voices. Thousands of voices calling out, screaming in agony. The young god realized his destination then.
  • Behind him, Niobe let out a fresh scream.
  • The monster chomped Felix’s head off, gulped it down, and cast the rest of the body aside. There was no blood. The blistering miasma had cauterized his torso.
  • Niobe went mute, pincered by her emotions.
  • ‘It is my fault that Felix is gone.’
  • ‘I brought him here and yet could not protect him.’
  • ‘And now I am going to die as well.’
  • What does a god faced with mortality do? Accept the end readily or resist till the last moment?
  • ‘No! Felix gave up his life for me! I will survive!’
  • ‘But how?’ Niobe looked at the stubs that had been her hands. She let out a cry of anguish and joined them as if praying.
  • Only a titan could rescue her then.
  • She screamed a prayer at the top of her voice.
  • Louder than ever.
  • O Queen amongst gods!
  • O Guardian of fire and lightning!
  • Anaktoria Ifianasa Elektra!
  • Heed my prayer!
  • Immune to her desperate invocation, the golem approached Niobe. Its mouth opened again, revealing the hellish vortex within.