The Guardians of Rhea

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Chapter Eighteen

“Everyone just relax.” Leon said, moving closer to the dead crowd.

A Fenrir, in his alternate human-like dwarf form, approached Leon, “Hey there. Welcome to the city of Mictlán. Name’s Stig. It’s amazing you made it through the portal, with that battle going on the other side.”

Leon was about to speak before being interrupted by the portal opening and three Fenrir coming through.

“Don’t move!” Leon yelled at the group, “Sara, stand still!”

“Are you crazy?!” Sara asked, barely resisting the urge to grab a weapon, as was the rest of the group.

“Do not move!” Leon insisted.

One of the Fenrir howled before making a sudden leap at Gillan with his claws and mouth wide open. However, at the last second, the Fenrir was stopped in midair by an unseen force.

Gillan, wide-eyed and trembling, fainted. Kamala and several others immediately ran to his side.

The remaining Fenrir attempted to attack the group, and like the first, they were also stopped by the same unseen force and held in place, “What is the meaning of this!” a Fenrir asked.

Leon answered, “Rule number one, no fighting.”

The Fenrir gave up and changed into their altered form. With that, the force that was holding them let go.

Stig was shocked seeing his fellow Fenrir, “Hurok?”

“Cousin!” Hurok said.

The two embraced for a moment.

Stig waved at the other two Fenrir, “Rona, Doradus. It is good to see you.”

Doradus approached Leon, asking, “Who do you think you are helping the Prometheans?”

“We’re not helping them,” Leon said.

A Promethean stepped forward, “You Fenrir need to get off our land. You have no right.”

“We have every right!” Hurok said, “You’re dead, Promethean! That land belongs to the living!”

Sara stood by Leon and asked, “What’s going on?”

“The longest running feud in Rhea,” Leon answered.

Nedim splashed some water from his canteen on Gillan to rouse him.

Gillan sat up and looked around, “Aww, man. I thought I was dreaming.”

Rona, the female Fenrir, approached Leon, “If you’re not helping the Prometheans, then what brings you here?”

“Pelasgians,” Leon answered, “I’m sure you’ve heard of their little invasion here.”

Laughing lightly, Hurok said, “Who hasn’t? But what do you think you’re going to do?”

“We’re on a mission to gather our forces,” said Leon, “If you’d like, you may join us. We’re going to need all the help we can get.”

Hurok looked at Leon curiously before answering, “What exactly are you up to?”

“I’m sure Stig can tell you.” Leon answered.

“He’s right.” Stig said, “The Pelasgians have invaded us. We’re fighting, but it hasn’t been going too well, cousin. Hurok, please help these people.”

Hesitating, Hurok held Stig by the shoulders, “The only thing better than killing a Promethean is killing a Pelasgian.”

Walking down a dirt road, the group noticed very few residents hanging around.

Caycee couldn’t help to point it out, “I know this city’s dead, but damn.”

“Yes,” Nedim said, “The adults must be occupied with the invasion.”

Several of the children followed or ran around the group, teasing playfully as they passed by.

“I’ll tell you one thing for sure.” Janah said, “I never thought I’d be walking down a street here. Not alive at least.”

“I thought we were done for sure back there.” said Sara. As she rounded a corner, she bumped into someone so hard she fell flat on her rump. Looking up to see who it was, she was shocked to see it was Arloff, followed by Elsa and Lugos.

Aside from Leon, the rest of the group stood in shock.

Arloff turned to his companions, “Bring the others back from Rhea. We must fight the Pelasgians here.”

Elsa and Lugos then ran off.

“Follow me,” Arloff said, “Lilith is waiting for you.”

Leon helped Sara up.

As they followed Arloff, Sara spoke to Leon, “I thought we killed these guys.”

“Don’t you remember?” Leon asked, “When Rheans die, they become immortal. All we did was send them back here.”

Arloff led the group to what looked like the entrance of an underground shelter. After going down a flight of stairs they entered a large throne room lit by torches. It was decorated with drapes made of silk, and a floor made of shiny marble.

At the center, sitting on her throne, was Lilith. Humanoid, with small accentuations around her eyes, ears, and nose that gave her an otherworldly streamlined beauty. Clothed in a red toga, a modest amount of her smooth, light-orange skin revealed a slender body. Her curly, shoulder-length hair was as red as her dress, but the most striking feature of all was her sapphire eyes.

“Hello, Lilith.” Leon said as he approached.

After taking a moment to look at the group, Lilith spoke, “My beloved, Leon. Have you come with a solution to my...problem?”

“To be honest,” Leon answered, “I’m not sure there’s much we can do right now. Sara here is of a race that may be able to help. The humans are vast in number-”

“Yes, they are.” Lilith laughed before standing and walking towards Sara, “I know very well of your race. So dearly cherished...but you are nothing compared to the Pelasgians, or even to us for that matter.”

Looking Lilith in the eye, Sara said, “I thought you were the one with the problem. For someone so powerful, it sure sounds like you’re in a lot of trouble.”

Lilith leered at Leon, “This was all your idea, wasn’t it,” she asked, “You, of all people, should know what we’re up against. The humans are but a small part of your world – something the Pelasgians apparently eat for breakfast.”

“I know what we’re up against,” said Leon, “That’s why we have to take our time and look at all options.”

Lilith clinched her fists in frustration, “I really hope you’re just low on blood, Leon. Time is a luxury I don’t have. Surely the Savior of Rhea can come up with something better than this.”

Almost sneering, Leon said, “You asked for help, we’re doing everything we can.”

For a moment Lilith seemed lost. Looking somber, she sat on her throne, “You promised me, Leon. You promised they would never find this place. You said that even if you failed...”

“It was a risk we both took,” Leon said.

Lilith shook her head, “Sara is right. Even with all my power, my influence is limited to the Rhean people.”

Sara asked, “You mean you can’t do anything to the Pelasgians?”

“With my powers? No, not directly,” Lilith answered, “I can’t even harm you. All I can do is give my people weapons that make little difference, and open portals for them to escape through.”

“But you’re immortal. How can you lose?” Sara asked.

“Imagine being a slave for eternity,” Lilith answered, “I would call that a loss. They’ve already taken thousands and tried to assimilate my world into theirs using some kind of…something. Good thing for me it won’t work here.”

“Lilith,” Leon said, kneeling beside her, “We need a portal to the Shadow Realm so Sara can see it.”

“You came all this way just to see the Shadow Realm?” Lilith asked.

Sara answered, “I know it sounds ridiculous to you, but my people want proof.”

Lilith smirked, “If you want to see Pelasgians, all you have to do is ask.” she said, with a doorway sprouting up from the floor itself.

The doorway showed a balcony with the Netherworld’s sky in the background and the sound of a battle being waged. Lilith stepped through, “Come now, it is safe.”

Everyone walked through the doorway to find themselves on the balcony of a circular tower in one of the Netherworld’s cities.

Below them, they could see thousands of residents braced for the impending flood of Pelasgians on the opposite side of the wall.

“This is the city of Gehenna,” Lilith said, “It’s been under siege for two days now.”

At the forefront in the Pelasgian ranks were the human-like Corinthians armed with swords and shields. Among them were the Minotaurs – equally tall creatures with the body of a muscular man, the head of a bull and an enormous battle-axe.

The Pelasgians firing arrows were the Centaurs.

As typical as such battles were, each side fired a continuous volley of arrows. The Pelasgians on one side were using a battering ram on the gate, while Rheans on the other made every effort to reinforce it.

Sadly, however, it would only be a matter of time till the Pelasgians would break through, roaring and snarling as they swarmed the denizens of the peaceful city.

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