ONCE UPON A FUTURE
The wind blows strongly forming something akin of a hurricane.
First, the dust arrived. Yellow dust billowing to the clouds, carrying the scent of a plague. Second, the sound reverberates.
The squeaking of vermin, the sound of it fills the forest.
The sound of the rat’s horde is like the cacophony of misery and death as it is marching towards this little city.
Nestled deep in a forest, this city is full of people from Greece.
After New Greece falls, many of its immigrants ran until they meet this large forest and started a community inside this place.
Homes built above in the trees and visitors quarters of market, inn, magic and temple on the ground below.
Gully system filled with traps surrounds the city in a natural way, mostly camouflaged, difficult to spot for invaders.
It is usually clean and peaceful but since the oars of warning fires has been lighted from the nearby cities and villages, the people of Freytown have been nervous and fearful.
They saw the flames burns and extinguished. Their heroes went and disappear. And they know. Something is coming.
The roads are crowded and unkempt. Some are running away from the city believing they could escape the calamity that will befall them.
Only to find that there is no way out. The forest is swarmed with them, leaving the runaways with only the path of death.
This far across the world, the Sovereign will not care. The Gods feign ignorance.
Not to mention Greece has no Sovereign type existence. No Gods watching over them, no Gods to pray to.
This little city out of nowhere, it has no protection.
The highest level of cultivation of them is Divine Comprehension Low Realm and that person has already been eaten by the rat horde when he went to help the nearby village.
Heroes either soar to the Heaven or dies before being great. And the Gods are deaf to their sufferings.
No Gods here. They do not listen. Not here. Not in this small little city. They are on their own.
The Ice Deity only guards the European. Earthshaker protected the World Government. The Time God stays out of mortals affairs and mourns his beloved in his Neverland.
The Twin Sages protected only those closest to their vicinity. While the most mysterious of them all, the God of Death only comes when it is time for people to pay their dues.
Or when he so deign to descend. The only Sovereign that travels the world and grants wishes, is the Trickster.
Only that, everyone knows, his wish comes with a price.
‘Boss, what should we do?’ a young man asked, sweat is filling his forehead, his hand trembling and his voice is full of nervousness.
Behind the young man is about a dozen people also looking towards that Boss, waiting for his decision.
The man people called boss is standing inside a hut closing his eyes trying to think what to do and still hesitating.
‘Brother’ the woman beside the man was about to say something but in the end she did not say anything.
‘Monika’ the man said as he looked at the woman holding a baby and sighed.
‘Well, Boss, you have to decide.’ Another man come closer to the Boss and urges him to make a decision.
This man is muscly, bald, with a scar on his left arm, very military type.
On the outside, the walls of wood made from the Redbark tree is being actively gnaw by the rat horde.
The Boss name is Eurus. He looked at the people inside the hut and he knows outside there are hundreds more people depending on him.
The rat horde will come and they will chew this city alive. Even though they live inside the hut high on top of the trees, he knows that the rat could eat even this gigantic tree.
He looks towards his sister and her baby. The baby belongs to Milos, a great friend of his. Milos died in a service of a great man.
Died in a war, protecting a man of whom Eurus has always felt grateful to. He tries to communicate with that great person, but it seems his voice did not reach him.
Thinking of all those people that would die…he could not help but gulped his saliva and then decided.
He walk to the windows, put his hand together, look into the sun high on the sky, and with a hint of finality he pray.
‘Trickster, I want to make a deal’ the moment he said this word, it was like he was summoning something dark into the forest.
Very dark. Very dangerous. A presence of an unholy magic spreads out across the entire forest.
All the slithering animals burrows themselves inside the ground, while those that could fly soar through the sky, feeling that presence of evil
Then a cackling laughter filled the entire forest. The cackling sound like a symphony of madness.
‘HEHEHEHE’ the laugher echoes like it was a sound produced in a long and deep cave, creepy and frightening, so much so, that the rats stopped squeaking and chattering, and some of them even shivered and some of it, their mouth began frothing and suddenly their stomach exploded.
A green smoke filled the huts and a man appeared in front of Eurus, swirling around the man hands was green smoke while the man smiles were very creepy.
When Eurus tries to look at the man directly at his eyes, Eurus nearly staggered and fainted.
For that one moment he dares to look directly into the eye of that man, Eurus was assaulted mentally, with all of his dark desires almost bursting out.
The man looks at Eurus and chuckles.
‘Oh, forgot about that. Sorry, I always forgot to turn that off. Don’t want to scares my customers, would I?’
He waves his hand and Loki eyes shines before the luster inside his eyes disappears.
Loki eyes then darted left and right, his nose seems to sniff something and his face was the definition of sly.
It doesn’t exactly inspire trust.
The man was thin, lanky, lacking any muscles to speak of. Wearing a large oversized robe, he looks very out of place and strange.
And he seems to be smiling but not the kind of smiles that is pleasant.
It seems more like a condescending smile or a sarcastic smile.
Loki the Trickster, the Seventh Sovereign has arrived. Eurus didn’t think it would really work.
While it is true he summons the Trickster, not all that summons the Trickster succeeds.
It requires luck.
Now that trickster has arrived what Eurus is worried about is what he could pay the Trickster. Everyone knows there is a price dealing with the Trickster.
‘I seem to hear someone is talking about a deal? Yes?’ Loki asked as he takes a step towards Eurus and Monika.
‘Your Excellency’ the other people in the hut kneel. Loki might be known as a Trickster but he is also one of the Seven Sovereign.
He is a God.
The God of Deceit.
But not everyone kneels and not everyone respect the Trickster. As there are those that worships him, there are those that denounce him.
Loki could not care less. However one man intrigues him. This particular man does not only denounce him but also carries an air of impudence.
Out of all the other that doesn’t kneels to him, this one particular man seems to look at him with condescension and Loki smirks.
‘You mortal. Give me your name.’ Loki voice was full of scorn.
‘Hmph.’ The man said.
‘Unholy evil. You’re not even the strongest out of the Seven Sovereign. One of my friends once made a deal with you. You’re a Demon, not a Sovereign.’ the man said speaking his thought, his voice was full of anger and scorn.
The other people in the hut gasped. It is one thing to denounce a God; it is another thing to insult that God in His presence.
Loki smirks widened.
‘Oh, a smartass, huh.’ With a pop sound Loki disappears from his position in a green smoke to appear directly in front of the man.
‘I don’t like your tone, mortal. I might be the weakest among the Seven Sovereigns but I still can do this.’
Clicking his fingers, green smoke envelops the man and suddenly where the man used to stand, when the green smoke dissipated what replace the man is a hamster and Loki laughed.
The hamster then look left and right before running away as Loki was cackling with laughter holding his stomach as he couldn’t help but laugh maniacally.
‘HAHAHAHA. That will teach you not to insult a god next time. Now…’ Loki said as he turns back to the other people inside the hut.
‘Who called me and why? And what price would you pay? HEHEHE’ Loki said as he rubbed his hand together.
The other people in the hut were still afraid of Loki demonstration of his power and prostrate even more reverently while those that denounce him only maintain their silence.
Eurus quickly gained his calm and quickly said.
‘We require your help, O God of Deceit. Please hears our pleas’
‘Oh, do tell. I like solving problems. Of course, as many know, I require a Price befitting of my service.’ Loki said his smirk widens
‘Yes, anything.’ Eurus accidentally blurts out
‘Anything?’ And Loki eyebrows moved up.
‘That’s a reckless thing to say’ Loki said chuckling as he disappears in another green smoke before appearing just a few feet from Eurus, his finger caressing the mortal cheeks, looking at him with slitted eyes like the eye of a reptilian predator.
Monika quickly pinched the arms of his younger brother, warning him. This does not escape Loki eyes.
‘Ah, a sensible woman. Hard to find these days.’ Rubbing his chin, Loki added
‘Reminds me of Katarina. Though in Love she is quite crazy’ Loki said.
‘Ah, look at me. Talking about myself again. I should have been more of a listener. My servants did tell me that I like to talk. Maybe there is a truth of what my servants has been saying. I should have listened more.’
Loki keeps talking endlessly before he finally asked.
‘What’s seems to be the problem? Tell me. Only if I know your problem can I solve it’
The others look at Loki like a fool.
Could the Trickster not see the horde of rats gnawing down the defense of the city, and in any minutes now will breach that said defense and gnaw everyone in this city leaving only bones?
‘Umm..aah..the rat horde, Your Excellency?’ Eurus offered to answer. Loki finally realized the millions of rats outside the city walls. It was genuine shock to him.
‘Oh…that?’ Loki said shocked.
Then he chuckles.
‘I forgot. You mortals see it as a big problem. Come to think of it, yes, of course a rat horde is a big problem for mortals. To me, they are nothing but a small infestation problem.’
The other in the hut could not help but be shocked but as they think about it they could understand where the Trickster is coming from.
Comparing their strength to a Sovereign, maybe the Sovereign would view a catastrophe like a rat horde invasion as a minor problem.
‘I can deal with it’ Loki rolled up his sleeve and began preparing to conjure his magic. But before Loki could use his magic Monika then shouted
‘Wait, Your Excellency!’
‘Oh? Why? I thought you are worried that the rat will come inside this city?’ Loki asked annoyed that his attempts are stopped.
‘What’s the Price?’ The woman asked and Eurus also suddenly remembered. The Trickster did not demand his price.
Loki looks at that woman and then with voice cold as winter he said
‘That’s not how it works, dearie. Usually, I would state what my price is…..but as you remember…your brother said anything. No take backs.’
Smiling mischievously Loki clicks his fingers before Monika and Eurus even had the chance to said stop.
On the walls of the city, green smokes rises up from underneath the soils of the walls, and it slowly spreads all across the walls and slowly reaches the rat’s horde.
As the gas began spreading all over like a gigantic fog that seems capable to covered a whole continent, the shrieking and squeaking of rats could be heard.
The fog covered the entirety of the rat horde in three seconds. That is how fast the rate of spread of the fog.
Then Loki who was inside the hut clicks his fingers again and a gust of wind comes and rid out of the greens smoke leaving a gruesome sight.
A millions rat monster could be seen, bleeding from every orifice spurting black blood from all over their body.
The smell is pungent and some people wanted to puke.
‘Done’ Loki said cheerfully as he looks at Eurus. Eurus looks at Loki cautiously and wanted to smack his own mouth for saying the word anything.
‘Now, my Price’ he said.
To be honest, the reason Loki answers this man prayers are because he noticed something odd about the woman beside the man.
When he glances upon the man praying to him in his dark realm, he saw a Destiny Thread linking that woman beside that man to the God of Death.
An unresolved debt. The God of Death owes this woman.
How could a God owes a mortal? For someone like Loki, to manipulate the Thread of Destiny, while hard, it is not impossible.
For once, Loki found chance to at least have a certain leverage the next time he would deal with the Prince.
Smiling Loki pointed to the baby on that woman embrace.
‘I want that cute little baby, dearie’ Hearing this all the people inside the hut gasped and Monika grasp of her baby become tighter as her eyes becomes red.
‘NO!’ she shouted.
‘I’m not the one making the deal with you!’ She shouted
‘Your Excellency, please’ Eurus pleaded
‘Take me instead.’ Loki look at Eurus and his face was full of disgust.
‘What use I have of you?’ Loki snorted.
‘I want that baby. For the Price of saving this tiny little city I demand a Price. This is the Dark Price, boy. Wishes always come with a Price. I think everyone knows that. It’s the motto of my business’ Loki said as he fling away Eurus to the other side of the hut.
Landing on the other side of the hut Eurus could feel his ribs broken.
Some of the people in the hut was about to help Monika when they realized that they could not move.
It was like their feet were stuck to the ground. They could only watch helplessly as Loki eyes Monika mischievously
Loki smirked and chuckles.
‘Mine’ he said. Loki was about to use his magic as he waves his hand when suddenly the white clouds in the sky become dark.
Lightning suddenly flashed throughout the forest and with it comes the thunder, and booming sound that could crack the sky.
Arise the sound of gale like a trumpet shaking the firmaments.
And then with a soul shaking noise, thunder struck the forest leaving a huge 12 feet deep crater and the forest shakes like it was experiencing an earthquake.
Energy fluctuation spreads throughout the forest, a malevolent, dark, and full of bloodlust energy that seems to be able to cow every existence into submission.
The hut also shakes and Loki magic was nullified somehow. Then thunder clouds formed all across the forest and rain began pouring down.
BOOM! Something appears across the dark clouds.
Coiling dragons made of thunders prance across the clouds like a herald announcing the appearance of an almighty being.
Storms formed through all direction as strong winds washes the forest. Huge and gigantic trees plucked off to their roots shredded by sharps gales.
The rat’s carcasses were swallowed up by the wind, shredded into atoms. Yet the small city was protected by this wrath of nature.
Reality around the forest was weaved and unraveled as the thunderous sound becomes louder and more frequent.
Loki tries to use his magic again but a godlike pressure crush his invisible magic and Loki back away three steps from that woman, looking at Monika with a trace of shock.
‘Could she be this important to Him?’ Loki asked himself. Did he just kick a hornet nest without knowing it?
Loki could not accept this so this time he wanted to grab the baby with his own hand and then a voice pierce the clouds
‘HEII!’ The voice was full of wrath and the clouds opens as lightning flashed across the huts and blood soaked images flooded Loki mind and Loki step back three more steps this time coughing black blood.
Thunder dragons began descending as a Thunder Hellscape was reflected in the clouds.
The Dragons roars in anger, frenzied and in verge of madness, and thunders shoot of to all eight directions from its body casting an apocalyptic atmosphere.
It was like the whole world will be bathed in Heavenly Thunder
Spiting the blood towards the hut tiles, Loki look toward the sky with a distorted face. Only one person could create such pressure just by the appearance of nature avatar.
Then from the clouds, emerge a gigantic face that seems to cover the entire continent.
The face was made of clouds looking towards the city in that forest, specifically looking at Loki.
The face was angry and full of wrath.
The people looking at this phenomenon could not help but prostrate themselves. The God of Death appeared and all humans kneel and prostrate themselves in reverence.
‘You will not take the baby girl, little runt! Or I will end you where you stand!’ The voice said with a hint of an ultimatum and with each word thunder and lightning accompanied it.
Like a hammer striking an anvil, the sound of his word echoes throughout the continent.
Storms form all across the forest like a sharp blade that is about to emerge from their sheath, ready to decapitate its enemies, and dark shadows began to envelops the forest.
‘The great Death finally descended from your Heavens, to come to this noisy and disorderly secular world for a mere woman? She must be very important’ Loki mocked but the God of Death, The Prince of Darkness pay him no heed.
‘I didn’t want to appear, but you forced me to. Now, leave’ the gigantic face in the clouds warned him.
Loki look at the face in the clouds and for awhile he just stares at the face and then he shake his head.
‘NO!’ Loki said.
‘No?’ The face was incredulous. Clearly, he thought Loki was joking before his face distorted and turns into a wrathful appearance again.
His face was like an Asura God that fight his way from the depths of the Samsara reincarnation cycle, bloody, wrathful, and full of bloodlust that could cover the whole universe.
Thunder roar and the wind howls as Thunder Dragons were released from their clouds chains and descending down flying through the lands.
The clouds of golden thunder morphed into a red clouds that seems to color the whole city red.
In his realm, sitting on his Throne, Azief snorted and the sound of it shatters a mountain in one His Realm.
Playing with the handle of his throne he then push down his finger on a small orb that resemble the projection of Earth.
His fingers which was full of light turns to golden and the energy emanated out from that finger causes the Gates of Heaven shakes violently alarming the Angels that Guards the Heavenly Gates.
The Doors of all of His Hells shatters almost instantly causing all of the Judges of Hell to sweat and began barking orders to contain the chaos.
Thousands of souls went out to once again breathe the fresh air of the Living while behind them millions of Reapers flies through the mortal world to capture back these Lost Souls.
One finger to throw Azief realms to chaos. The energy was formed from the very essence of annihilation.
Such energy could destroy universes.
Meanwhile, on Earth, on that small city, energy fluctuation that could shatters stars emanated out from that cloud avatar in the sky as suddenly a finger come downs from the heavens, ripping the sky and parting the clouds.
A heavenly gigantic golden finger that seem to be able to annihilate all existence, a divine punishment from the Heavens.
The waves of the ocean on Earth moves wildly like it was going crazy as the pillars of the sea shakes and mountains crumbles just by the sheer pressure.
A mountain nearby the city, even when the finger did not yet reach its target, the mountain has already been flattened.
The sky cracked open and space curled and breaks, rolling out and rolling about like the wave of an ocean.
The clouds opened and an apparition of a gigantic golden finger descends down with the force of a million stars come crashing down to pressure Loki.
Retribution thunders swirls around that finger carrying with it the essence of annihilation that is able to destroy a planet.
The force was contained by Azief will. If not all of the Sovereign will also not take this lying down.
And all of its energy was compressed into that one finger to crush Loki. It did not emanate that pressure to ruin the continent or Earth.
Its target is only Loki
Loki knows he could not survive that finger if he did not run. Instead he chuckle maniacally and rub his hand his tongue licks his lips
In normal days he could not survive that finger but this is not a normal day. His Deals is not yet completed.
‘HAHAHAHA. I’m not that easy to kill’ he laughed.
Instead Loki is thankful that at least the Prince attacked him today.
When the finger is about to reach him, a dark force surrounded Loki as a Dark bell apparition appears and protected Loki.
The finger collide with the Dark Bell and the Bell rings, the ring noise piece the Sky and resounded in the Universe.
In Azief realm, his finger could not penetrate that apparition of the Dark bell and Azief eyebrows creased,
‘Hmm’ he contemplated.
The Golden Finger dimmed and slowly dissipated into showers of golden lights and the Bell kept ringing, black miasma keep coming out of the Bell.
The black miasma shapes itself into a dark chain that chained all the Thunder Dragon on the surroundings of the forest as the Thunder Dragons howls and roars
Azief who was inside his realm, sitting on his Throne of Light with his eyes closed finally open his eyes and look at this phenomenon with amusement.
‘Interesting’ he said. He did not personally descend as he only appears as the force of nature on Earth.
‘A deal is a deal, Prince. You might be powerful but y-‘Loki said to the face on the clouds, smiling and smirking when his voice is cut off by the Prince tone of amusement
‘The Dark Price, huh. So that’s how you became a Sovereign.’ the face in the clouds talked with a face of enlightenment.
‘No wonder, no wonder.’ But there is no sign of shock in the face on the clouds. Only amusement.
And the Prince doesn’t seem the kind of guy that would back off.
‘But I will not let you take the baby. Do you want to bet whether your Dark Force will be able to endure me? Or will you compromise?’
Azief asked, his voice booms across the clouds like an ancient God proclaiming the Will of Heavens, his gigantic eyes bore down on Loki and with it comes the pressure of a man that is equal to a cosmic force.
Loki look at the ground and the new thunder dragon that have already formed from the thunderstorm began circling the forest.
Those that are chains are struggling to get out.
As thunders in the clouds keep flashing by, new thunder dragons are formed for every second they keep talking.
He hears the howling of the dragons, hear the cracklings sound of electricity, felt the annihilation power that is not yet dispersed.
Loki knows he has to compromise. He did not want to bet his life to know whether the Sovereign that Governs Death could really break the Dark Consuming Bell.
‘A name. At least a name.’ he shrilly demanded
‘I require something to pay for the Price of using my magic. You should allow me this courtesy or I will also fight you to the end.’ Loki said to the face on the clouds but Azief just maintain his silence.
Then Loki asked looking at the woman.
‘Give me her name. That’s the Price. Or I will take your brother to the Dark Realm and believe me; you don’t want that for your family. Choose!’
He said looking at Monika, his face was full of annoyance. The face in the clouds did not say anything so Monika then said reluctantly, looking at the face of her child
‘Annika.’ Loki repeated his eyes shines as he sees the thread of destiny between Azief and the baby girl seems to be clear than most.
‘What a beautiful name. HEHEHEHE’ Loki said smiling and laughing though that smile was laced with the anticipation of the future.
Loki then look back at that gigantic face made out of clouds as the blood soaked sky has dissipated
‘You will regret this day, Prince. I will always pay back my debts. You interfere with my Deals today. One day, I’ll make you pay’
Loki said as the Dark Force shrouding his body dissipated. Now, that the Deal has been concluded, the Dark Price will not protect him any longer.
He flourishes his hand quickly and disappears in the puff of green smoke.
Azief who was in his realm creased his eyebrows and the angel beneath his feet all felt sorrowful seeing such expression from their creator.
Azief then said to no one in particular
‘Names have power’ he said only this word before closing his eyes again.
‘Lord Loki’ the voice startles Loki. He then look back at his hand and he nodded
‘You did well, Trisha. Keep looking over him. Make sure he joins the Army. You are dismissed.’ Loki said gesturing Trisha to leave him
Trisha nodded and was about to disappear before she voices her doubts.
‘My lord, if you don’t mind me asking?’
‘Hmm’ Loki said
‘Ask away’ he answers.
‘What so important about this boy? I’ve checked. He is not anyone important. He is not a noble son, not even a bastard son of some powerful man or comes from a strong faction. He is just a street boy’
The reason why Trisha does not understand why Loki focusing on the boy is because usually Loki would focus his attention to powerful people, or powerful faction.
This is the first time Trisha and her agents are ordered to guide a young boy to enter the army and make sure that the man serve in the Imperial Residence.
‘Milos is very important.’ Loki said.
‘Hmm?’ Trish said tilting her head not understanding her lord words.
‘Hmm…I mean he will be important one day. That’s what I feel. And you know about my hunch, don’t you? I’m usually right’
‘May I ask why, my lord?’
Loki smiles mysterisoly and said
‘Because maybe someday I will I owe him. I will owe him big.’ Then Loki gets up from his seat, the document about Milos in his hand, he walked to his courtyard with an open heart.
‘ The Trickster always pays his debt’ he said, laughing at the wind.
Meanwhile, while Loki is fighting the invader sin the Northern Plains, a couple in the Forest Region packed their bags to leave the Forest Region
In their hands is a letter.
From Lord Shadow.
As dawn is coming the pair of couple, that is well matched, rides a flying chariot, heading the summon of a person.
Their destination…..the Vast Sea. Their Target? The World Government.
Milos. Who is he? In the side chapter he is the main character. Though that chapter is only to show the vibe of Azief city and not touches the political situations that is happening in the main story.
Sorry, that the side chapter is not yet finished. I already finished half of it. I will finish it ASAP. And I will be taking a rest and you can expect Song of Heroes chapters since when LS in hiatus I will post that story as compensation.