* Chapter 18: The Trouble with Gods *
The figure that stood before them was like none they had ever
seen. He was gigantic, seven feet tall if he was an inch. Muscles
possible only through constant strength training and a few illegal
substances bulged over his entire body. His long, golden hair
fell in curls across his broad, muscular shoulders. A crest,
which looked like three overlapping triangles set in a row,
was tattooed on the back of his hand, and again on his forehead.
But possibly his most distinguishing feature was the golden
glow that emanated from him.
"Dear Tria..." Rena said to herself.
"You called?" the man said, with a voice like a thunderbolt.
"Tria? The god of Creation, Tria?" Noel shouted.
"Yes," Tria said. "What's so hard to believe?"
"Nothing..." Claude said. "Yet everything. I
mean, Orin's body disappears and then suddenly you're here!"
Tria smiled. "I'm surprised you didn't figure this out
earlier. Even the name was a bit of a giveaway, Orin Good Facet,
I mean, come on..."
The four looked at the god with blank faces.
"It's an anagram. For 'god of Creation'," Tria said.
"Oh..." the others said in unison. Then Chisato spoke
up. "Why are you doing this? You know, trying to destroy
"I'm not destroying the universe," Tria said. "The
last phase of my plan was to put the Crest of Enchantment on
the Crest of Annihilation, and then invoke them combined."
"You want to destroy Nede? Why?" Noel shouted.
"Because it's not natural," Tria said. "Nede
was destroyed for a reason, and it was meant to stay destroyed.
Claude coughed politely.
"Nedians," the god corrected himself, "Think
you can play God and do whatever you want. It's not right, and
I decided to stop it."
"Oh," he added as an aside to Claude. "Don't
be so smug. You humans aren't much better when it comes to these
"But why go to all this trouble?" Claude said. "Couldn't
you, you know, wave your hand and zap Nede out of existence?"
"Actually," Tria said, looking as embarrassed as
a god could, "I couldn't. Three reasons mainly. One, I'd
also be getting rid of you guys, who are innocent pawns in this
entire ordeal. That'd be bad for my image. Second, as far as
godly powers go it's not a part of my contract."
"I thought you were a god," Rena said.
"A god of Creation. Meaning I create things. Not destroy
them. Third, I had a bit of an argument with Conam last week
and we're not speaking right now."
"Conam?" Chisato asked. "Who's he?"
"She, actually," Tria said. "The goddess of
Destruction. Didn't you pay attention in theology class?"
"Still, you can't do this!" Rena shouted. "It's
Tria chuckled. "I'm a god. Who are you to tell me what
I'm doing is right or wrong?"
"He does have a point," Claude said.
"He's right," a voice behind him said.
"Mayor Narl?" Claude shouted in disbelief.
"Upon hearing the full story," Narl said, "I
realize that this is unnatural. Please let him continue with
"But..." Rena said.
"Don't worry," Narl said. "By the way, you might
want to have these little guys back," he said, handing
the twins over.
"I'll make sure that you get returned safely to Expel,"
Tria said, hoping to improve the situation.
"One more thing," Rena said. "About the Wise
"Yeah?" Tria asked.
"I know that you know they're violent, reckless, unfeeling,
and more than a little stupid..." Rena said, "but
they're our friends...could you possibly spare them?"
"I think so," Tria said. "They have a punishment
far worse than death coming to them soon anyways..."
Tria turned to the Crest, and took a second Crest out of his
robes. The two merged, creating an entirely new Crest. He then
said something unintelligible, invoking the Crest. The ground
began to shake violently.
"There..." Tria said. He turned to the four, and
said, "You'll be back on Expel before you know it."
They nodded in thanks, and soon a flash of light engulfed them.
When it subsided, they were nowhere to be found.
"Mayor," Tria said, turning to Narl. "I have
just one question. Why are you always so damn calm during these
situations?" The ground rumbled even more intensely.
"I guess one has to be when one's a semi-omniscient ruler
of an entire planet," Narl said. "That, and a lot
of downers help..."
* * *
Indalecio sat in his chair, reading a book entitled "A
History of Rock on Nede," the consolation prize given to
the losers of the contest. Very soon, he found himself reading
at a very high altitude, accelerating downward at about ten
meters per second, every second. The other Wise Men found themselves
doing much the same.
"Great, not again..."
* * *
Claude, Rena, Chisato, and Noel appeared on Expel's surface,
just outside of Linga. Claude and Rena's ship also appeared
a short distance from them. "I guess everything's about
resolved, then," Claude said, with a tone of satisfaction
in his voice.
"Wait," Rena said. "Do you hear something?"
"Like what?" Claude asked.
"Kind of like a screaming noise, from way up above..."
The four strained their ears, and did manage to hear a faint
screaming. It increased in volume almost constantly. Eventually,
a figure dropped out of the sky and landed before them with
a very loud and convincing thud. Nine more instances, happening
in much the same way, followed.
"I see you're okay," Claude said. "Sort of..."
"Ugh..." Indalecio moaned from the ground. "Get
me some aspirin or something..."
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