“How far is this America from the country we just left from, human?”
“About 10,000 kilometers give or take, ex-god.”
“I see. If you ran, King Evans, then you would reach it in less than half an hour, give or take.”
Van, Charlotte, and the three Olympians were currently peacefully flying in the air with the colossal Stymphalian. Initially, Van thought that it would be a bit crowded now that there were five of them, but before they mounted the bird, Artemis created a giant saddle to fit all of them.
“Yes. Perhaps you want to try? You said you could run in the air similar to your father, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“…Maybe next time.” Van quickly refused the idea. Sure, it might be fun to do so, but Van could not imagine what would happen if he ever becomes lost.
“Stop putting ideas on the boy’s head, with his upbringing, he might just do it.”
…Why is his upbringing always being brought up?
The group remained like this for a couple of hours, with Athena asking questions about America and its current state; Artemis talking with the colossal Stymphalian, and Dionysus still drinking his wine.
“So you can also talk to animals?”
“And you can too, King Van. I suppose you got it from Hermes?”
Van then approached Artemis, as she had been quiet the whole ride and not talking to any of them.
“I can’t only talk to them,” Artemis let out a smile as she gently caressed the Stymphalian’s bronze-like feathers, “I could also control them.”
“Doesn’t that make your… hunts too easy, then?”
“Not at all,” Artemis shook her head, “I am sure you feel the same way, but once you can hear the animal’s thoughts, it makes it hard to actually kill them. Controlling them only makes it worse as it feels like I am violating their free will in a way.”
“I… see,” Van doesn’t really understand Artemis’s sentiments. “But even if you could hear their thoughts and talk to them, aren’t they still just… animals?”
“But you learn to empathize with them,” Artemis then looked Van straight in the eyes.
“Hm,” Van did not say anything more as he didn’t really want to argue about this with Artemis. However, Athena, who heard their conversation, approached the two of them.
“Your apathy for life seems to be a bit skewed, King Evans,” Athena said with a sigh, “Without a doubt, it is an influence of your good for nothing mother. She represents Death, after all. But perhaps it could be a good asset, knowing when and who to sacrifice amongst us when the time comes would not be a problem for you.”
“I would never sacrifice my friends, Miss Athena,” Van could not help but furrow his eyebrows.
“But you will. If the time comes that the citizens of this world would be in trouble, and the only way to save them is to sacrifice one of us, then the obvious choice is to–“
“Let them die.”
“But there are millions of–“
“It doesn’t matter,” Van did not even let Athena finish her words as he looked her straight in the eyes, “I do not know them, why would I even choose them?”
With Van’s words, the rest of the group could not help but turn their attention towards him. Even Dionysus, who was drowning himself with wine, quickly sobered up.
“That… is a very dangerous belief, King Evans. But it pleases me that you will choose our survival no matter the costs. Self-preservation was the thing we lacked the most, and in the end, we destroyed not only ourselves but our universe.”
The group remained completely silent after that.
“…Awkward,” Dionysus said before taking another sip. He also summoned other goblets so that the others would have something to push down the surprise heavy topic that suddenly emerged in the air.
And finally, after another hour, the islands of America could be seen. However, as soon as they saw land, Charlotte and Artemis’s expressions quickly changed.
“Something is not right,” Charlotte leaned over the saddle, squinting her eyes as she scanned the lands of America. While Artemis leaped onto the Stymphalian’s head, standing over its head as she looked at the shore.
“…What?” The other three that had lower senses quickly followed the two, also turning their eyes below, “What’s happening?”
No one had to answer their question, however, as they easily saw what Charlotte and Artemis were going on about. There were several ships scattered on the shore, all in pieces. And if they were seeing it right, the red that stained the ground was most likely not foliage, but blood.
The beautiful port that Van and Charlotte left from was also now unrecognizable.
“Did they… kill anyone who entered the country?” Athena muttered as soon as she realized it, “I think it would be better for us to go a bit higher until we reach our destination.”
“We can’t,” Artemis quickly said, “Aurora is tired.”
“The bird,” Van was the one to answer, “It did not get enough rest in Egy–“
Before Van could finish his words, he could not help but hold on to the saddle as their colossal mount suddenly moved to the side, avoiding a huge ball of fire that threatened to burn them down.
It did not stop there. Before the Stymphalian could even flap its wings again, another ball of fire shot towards them.
“Tch,” Charlotte jumped from the stymphalian, clapping her hands loud enough to burst the fireball before returning back, “What’s our move, general?” Charlotte patted Athena’s stomach as soon as she landed back in the saddle.
“Let’s go down,” Athena said, “Artemis, just let the aves fly straight down. The sorcerer is not that strong to damage its feathers.”
Artemis quickly nodded before the stymphalian dived down without any hesitation. A huge fireball struck its body head on, but it didn’t really seem to be affected by it besides a little nudge. And as soon as it was about to land on the ground, it quickly flapped its wings open, violently pushing anything in its perimeter away.
Charlotte was the first one to jump down, trying to see if there were any enemies near them. “I count about 20 people.”
As soon as she said that, 20 people suddenly surrounded them at all sides, “Die, circle scum!”
One of the people quickly rushed towards Charlotte. Charlotte, on the other hand, just stood there with a sigh, “Relax, we’re not from the Cir–“
Before Charlotte could finish her words, the man that was rushing towards her suddenly burst into pieces.
“–cle. You didn’t have to do that, boy.”
Charlotte then looked towards Van, who was holding his shield that already had human guts sticking on it. “They attacked first.”
The other people that surrounded them were about to attack Van and the others, but before they could do so, a woman stepped forward and got in between the two groups. “They’re not our enemies!”
“But they killed Jeff!”
“Do not engage, that’s an order!” The woman raised her hands, once again ordering the group not to attack, “Do these people look like they’re from the circle!?”
The group then all looked at each other before turning their head towards the group that just arrived riding a colossal bird.
“Why did you even engage without my order!?” The woman screamed, “We have already lost enough men, you don’t help if you attack anyone you see in sight!”
The group could only swallow their words as they were reprimanded by the woman, who seemed to be their leader. She scanned her men for a few seconds before finally letting out a huge sigh of relief as she turned towards Van and the others.
“I truly apologize for my men’s actions, they didn’t know who you are, President Evans.”
“President… Are you from the Pit?”
“Yes, we were stationed here to control the port… but sadly, we were too late. My name is Patricia, I lead the 36th platoon of the Square,” the woman named Patricia saluted Van.
As soon as the men that attacked Van and the others heard their captain’s words, they all quickly imitated Patricia and saluted Van. They have all heard of the rumors circulating around him, not only was he the son of the resistance group, but he was also considered as the President of the lost people of the Pit…
…and they also heard that he kills people without even batting an eye. It was a good thing that their captain stopped them as soon as she did.
“…The Square?” Van slightly squinted his eyes.
“Yes, we are under the company of sir Angelo.”
“Angela’s brother? Just what exactly happened here?” This time, it was Charlotte who spoke, “Did… you guys do this?” Charlotte then pointed towards the port, where the broken ships and dead bodies were scattered.
“No, the people from the Circle did this. They closed down the port and killed anyone who tried to escape the country.”
“Where are they now?”
“Gone, it was already like this when we got here. It’s probably why my men attacked your group, they thought you were the ones responsible for this, please forgive us for our actions, President Evans.”
“…Please stop calling me President, what happened to Nisha?”
“President Nisha is currently busy at the New Wall.”
“You guys are still there?” Van could not help but blink a couple of times.
“Yes. The majority had decided that it would be our new city. It’s also now the main base of the Resistance.”
“…I see,” Van looked at the others, before turning their head towards Charlotte, “What about Latanya, has she woken up yet?”
“I… Yes. But there seems to be something wrong with your wife, President Evans.”
“She’s not my wife. But what is wrong with her?”
…seems to be talking in a different language.”
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