The Reviver’s Passage: The God’s Deadly 1st Test

The Reviver's Passage

The Reviver’s Passage: Chapter VII
By: Prappies

Hestia stood at the edge of the bridge. Below the wobbly bridge was a suspicious-looking river. Its currents lay around 100 feet underneath. The cliff she stood at had sharp and jagged edges. The river itself was very fast-moving: the water crashed against the boulders in the river, creating large waves.

Falling into the river meant inevitable death. 

Hestia looked hesitant as she turned to look once more at the bridge. It was a rope bridge that looked like it could collapse at any moment. 

How am I supposed to get across?

She never lifted a foot, scared to make one wrong step. 

Suddenly she felt something in her back when she turned back to see what it was, she saw the god dispatching himself from her body. 

He looked translucent, he exited her as he had entered her. His back came out first, and he used his arms to push himself out. He stepped out and then pulled his head out. And then, finally, his hands were the last to exit. He finally stumbled backward, free of her. 

The color returned to him as he regained his usual form once more. 

“Guess he is gone now.” said the god as he turned back.

“You mean Death?” She asked him.

“Yes, him. I thought he would’ve snitched us out. Guess I was wrong. Love that soul.” he said with a wisp of a nostalgic smile. “Death is often the kindest being that exists.”

A silence fell between them. 

The god clapped his hands, “Well, we can’t stand around any longer now. Come on now. We have to cross the bridge.”

“Hey wait… that bridge looks as if it could collapse at any second now-!” said Hestia, as she reached toward him to grab his arm. In a hollow attempt to stop him from walking to his death. 

He put one foot on the bridge… 

And another.

Before Hestia knew it, he was halfway through to the other side. 

“What? How is it supporting your weight? You’re much heavier than me… and I don’t think it should even be able to support me.” She asked in astonishment. 

The god smiled as he waved his hand. 

“That’s where you are wrong, my dear.” He said almost condescendingly.

“What? But you are much bigger than me. You are taller and much more burly… you are definitely heavier than me,” she said with a half-laugh and a confused look.

“You are a living human, and I am technically a soul… albeit an all-powerful soul, I am still a soul. Souls have no weight,” he explained to her. At this point, he was facing her while walking backward, not paying attention to wherever he stepped. Hestia stood there completely perplexed, terrified, and impressed. All emotions showing at once. 

“So, how can I get across?” she asked him.

The god had just jumped over to the other side of the bridge and now stood on the cliff parallel to Hestia. His smile suddenly faded as his lips pursed into a thin line. He looked at the bridge and then at Hestia. A realization struck him. 

“I. I actually have no idea. This is the first time a human has arrived in the underworld…. A living one, at least. The configuration of a human body is different yet similar to that of a soul… that’s only because humans, like all living things, have souls in them. Maybe… your soul will help you cross?” Said the god uncertainty.

“Oh yes, because if that fails, I’ll go plummeting to my death into a raging river around 100 feet below me.”

“Oh no, you won’t die.” the god flatly said with a small smile.

“Huh? That drop looks very bad.”
“As a god, I know the river won’t kill you.”

“As a human, that river is definitely deadly enough to crush my bones and perhaps more.” The fall would probably rip her skin and muscles off her bones before she even landed at the bottom. 

The god looked at the highly nervous young woman and tiredly asked her.

“Do you always have an attitude like this? I liked you better as the sweet, young girl ready to sacrifice anything for her companion to live.” 

The woman turned to look at him, and in her eyes was a terror that the god hadn’t seen before. 

“‘I’m sorry, but I just get like this when terrified.” She said apologetically.

The god stared at the shaking woman with no emotion on his face. 

But his mind was full of spinning thoughts.

A fool he was, a dumb, foolish god, he couldn’t help but muse. He realized that, of course, she was terrified. No matter how hard her life got, it would be nothing compared to this expenditure. No living human, not even those of myths and legends, has embarked on a journey as perilous as this. And here he was, expecting a young woman to accomplish the impossible. But alas, this must be done. For his sake… she is his only option. She, too, will benefit from this. This was something they could not back up from.

“You have to come across. There is no other option.” He said hardly.

Hestia turned to look at him. His face was hard and cold. His mouth said cruel words, but his heart felt a mellow sense of understanding. But she must go on if she is to get what she wishes for.

All Hestia saw were eyes that stared at her with no pity, a mouth that laid jaggedly across his face, and a stance that stood firm.

“I suppose that this is the easiest part of our mission… crossing the bridge.”

The god solemnly nodded.

“I would’ve loved to tell you that it gets easier after this. But that would be a lie. And I do not intend to lie to you, Hestia. I need you to be fully aware of everything that you are going to face.”

Hestia said nothing, but her face no longer displayed pure worry. Worry was still present, and so was fear and dread. But so was determination. 

She took a deep breath and took her first step. 

The bridge creaked under her weight. But it held up. Emboldened by this, she took another step. Now, her entire weight stood on the bridge. With an expression of worry and concentration, she looked down at the tatty bridge. 

The bridge creaked under her weight. But held up. Emboldened by this, she took another step. Now, her entire weight stood on the bridge. With an expression of worry and concentration, she looked back down at the tatty bridge, her eyes flitting over the decaying wood and rotting ropes.  

One step after another, Hestia, she repeated internally, one step after another. Keep in the fear. It’s ok to be scared, but do not let it get the better of you. 

Her hands turned white as she tightly gripped the weak ropes holding the bridge up. They slowly glided across the rough surface. She gripped tightly enough that it hurt but not tightly enough that her hands got rope burned.

“You’re too stiff. You have to release the tension in your body. Calm yourself.”

Hestia looked up to see the god staring at her. It was he who had given her the advice. 

“How would that help?” she asked him, her breathing uneven from fear.

“I don’t think it will,” said the god.

“Then why are you-?”

“It might not help you here, but I want you to learn to calm yourself when we face formidable enemies. This is simply a small step.”

Hestia looked at him and released the breath she hadn’t known she had been holding. She rolled her shoulders back and relaxed. And continued to walk. The god smiled at her.

The bridge continued to creak, but she kept walking.

There was only one way to go, and that way was forward. 

And before she knew it. Her foot hit rock. She had crossed the raging river. Alive. 

“Wonderful, you made it. I’m proud of you,” the god said, putting both hands on her shoulders with a smile on his face.“That was the easy part, but you made it without losing your soul.”

Hestia frowned. “Lose my soul?”

The god gave a grim smile. “There are things worse than death. If you were to have fallen into that river, your soul would’ve been ripped from your body. And it would be cursed; you’d never be reborn. Instead, you’d be made to wander here for the rest of eternity. The soul would never be able to leave the underworld. Not even a god could fight against the river; it would doom even me to such a horrendous fate. Never mind a measly human like you.”

Hestia nearly tripped over nothing, the information so stunning that she completely ignored his backhanded insult. “What?!”

“Well, don’t worry about it now. You made it! If I had told you, you would’ve panicked even more. I did what I believed was best.”

The god then rolled his hand down from her shoulder to her shoulder blade and gave her a little shove. Hestia snapped out of her confusion and horror and took the signal to continue walking. Her feet slowly began to move. The god walked beside her. 

“Where are we going right now?” She asked him, turning to look at the humming god.

“Well, we have to fight…my brother.” said the god.

“Now?” said Hestia. “So soon?”

“Well, that is the whole reason we came here after all.”

“Uh yeah, I suppose so.”

The duo kept walking. Hestia had a more unsure stride, and the god easily kept up with her. His feet walked like an undisciplined king, sure and steady yet prideful and arrogant. One arm was on his belt, and the other was swinging back and forth. His eyes darted forward, occasionally toward the young woman beside him.

Is bringing her here a good idea? Is she truly ready for this? Should I not have rushed it so much… fretting over it now won’t do either of us any good, though. She is here, and from her look, she won’t back down. Besides, all I need is her body, I can do the fighting by myself. 

Despite all that had occurred thus far, he couldn’t help but wonder if his actions had been smart. Had bringing her here been a good idea? Is she truly ready for this? He couldn’t help but think about the fear that raged in her eyes as she saw the river and the bridge. A moment of hesitation and rethinking had flickered across her face. 

But Hestia herself had a determination he had seen in no other man. She had come here with a goal, and he had an odd feeling that she would see it through to its victory no matter what. He had nothing to lose; he needed her body and couldn’t do the fighting himself. He turned around and followed her as she began walking inland. 

“When do we enter your brother’s domain?”

The god looked at her in mild surprise, having been distracted by his mind. “Repeat yourself.”

The woman gave an indignant sigh. “When will we enter your brother’s domain?” 

“Ah. About that…” he began.

Suddenly, a huge creature appeared from behind them. It erupted from the ground, sending rocky debris flying everywhere. Hestia covered her face with her arms. Rocks scratch against her delicate human skin, leaving behind numerous cuts and bruises. The god on the other hand, turned to look at the offender slowly. Debris hit him but bounced off. He didn’t get surprised nor raise his hands like Hestia did to cover herself. He smiled at the ugly, monstrous being that was now screeching at them. 

“I forgot to mention that the moment we walked over the bridge, we had entered his realm.”

“We haven’t even walked 10 minutes away from the bridge!” gushed Hestia angrily as she pulled out her sword. 

“Well, yes. Once someone steps on your door threshold, they are in your house. This is much the same.”

“Why are you so calm?” Asked the woman as she swung her sword at the approaching beast. The sword made a tiny slit in its body. The creature screeched in response as it slightly moved away. The god swiftly moved to the side when the beast came forward. 

The monster was serpent-like in shape, huge, and long—from head to tail, it seemed around 50 feet long. Blackish, red scales embellished its entire body. Even in what seemed to be the lowest pits of the underworld, they seemed to glitter. 

The head of the beast looked like the head of a creature you’d find in the deepest and darkest trenches of the Mariana Trench. Long yellow teeth that protrude far from its mouth. Teeth longer than the average adult human’s arm with a slight inward curve. Eyes blacker than the night. A massive, thick, sharp horn stood on its head, equal in size to the teeth. 

It retreated backward after Hestia swung her sword at her. But quickly, it returned and lunged forward toward the woman, who, in surprise, jumped to the side. But even as fast as she jumped, the beast was faster and managed to scrape her arm. She seethed in pain. 

She turned back to look at the god in anger but noticed he had a blank expression on his face. He made no move to help her, nor did he react in any shape or form to the beast’s viciousness. 

Maybe I can use this as a sort of test. The souls she is fighting are nowhere near as powerful as Animus. But maybe this way, I can get a feel for her skills, and can adapt according to that. 

The god watched her, and Hestia stared back angrily while trying to hold the beast back. It had been two minutes now, and her body was littered with bruises and scratches. 

Are you going to help me? She asked through her eyes. Her eyes had a slight pleading expression in them, mixed with anger and confusion. 

The god smiled and waved his hand. Hestia immediately got the memo.

He’s not going to help me! That bastard. I guess I’m on my own. 

She stood a little straighter and held her sword in front of her defensively. If he wasn’t going to save her, she had to do it herself. She stood there panting but with new resolve. Her arms and legs wobbled in fatigue, but she stood, waiting for the monster to come at her again. 

And ‘come’ it did.

It gave an ear-splitting screech and charged forward. Sliding through the rocky terrain with rigorous force. Dust and debris went flying everywhere. Hestia waited until the last moment and sidestepped. Just as the beast passed where she was standing, she stabbed it. The blade slit the monster as it kept running forward. Hestia managed to hold onto the blade hard enough to ensure it didn’t leave her hand. The blade finally exits through its tail, and the beast turns around, screaming in agony. A 2-foot-deep gash extended from near its head to the very end of its tail. Blood rolled from its tail, splattering the ground in large puddles. 

The god tilted his head. Oh, she managed to attack it. She injured it deeply, too. The way she sidestepped at the right moment. Patience took her far. But I’m more impressed with the fact that she could slice through it while the beast was going at that speed. I might be able to work with this. 

Hestia kept sidestepping and kept swinging at the beast. The sword penetrated far into its skin, leaving deep slashes. But none of those injuries seemed to deter it in any way. It kept coming back and back. 

As soon as Hestia gave it one more slice, the beast kept running and running until it finally turned its head. The body kept running until it was completely behind the head. Then roared and charged once more. 

Hestia jumped into the air to avoid its head from smashing into her. But she miscalculated her jump, so the beast crashed into her legs, sending her falling forward. She landed on its back, but then due to the immense speed of the monster, she promptly fell backward and rolled onto the ground. She hit the ground with a groan, her back aching in pain.

Jumping up wasn’t the best idea, was it? Wait, no, I have to get up before it comes back! If it hits me while I’m off my feet, I’m done for. 

She coughed up blood as she slowly rose to her feet. She got into her stance once more and then relaxed. Watching the monster in confusion. 

Why did it stop moving? Why is it just standing there?

The beast was giving her a death glare. Its head had stopped moving, but its body was moving still. But in a way, that was currently a threat to her. The rest of its body was moving again to get behind the head. That’s when Hestia saw her opening.

Dear gods, that’s it. It can’t turn properly without halting to a complete stop. It can only go straight. It does this, maybe because if it turns while running at the speed it’s going at, it would trip. So it needs to straighten most of its body before charging again. That 5-second gap it doesn’t move could be my chance. I’ve just got to dodge this one charge, and I’ll be in the…

While Hestia’s mind was elsewhere, the monster had finished its turn and had charged straight at her with its horribly fast speed. Unable to dodge, she got the full blow of it crashing into her. She managed to avoid its horns, but the crash was enough to send her flying backward.

She slammed into her ground multiple times until friction finally stopped her body. She slid to a stop. She was now viciously bleeding from multiple scrapes on her body. Her clothes, while thick, had some tears in them now. 

Fool, you got lost in your thoughts. Get up… get up. 

She pushed herself up onto her knees after a few attempts and looked up ahead to where the monster had hit her 2 seconds ago. 

The monster was now 10 feet away from her.

She just managed to realize the situation she was in and swayed to the right seconds before it fatally hit her. The horn on its head grazed her left arm, but other than that, she was unarmed from the attack.

It’s so fast. But wait, this is my chance! It has to turn around to charge at me once more. Up! Up! Up on your feet! 

Hestia pulled her left knee up, and pushed upwards using the hand she held her sword. 

Up! Up! You are almost there. Just a bit more push!

The beast had almost completed his turn, and Hestia could see its eyes slowly turning to peer straight at her. 

Her arm buckled under the weight, and she fell to the ground. She struggled to put her chin upwards on the ground so she could see the beast. It had completed its turn and was about to rush her. 

She tried once more… when she felt something heavy press gently yet firmly on her head and neck. 

“Stay down.” said the god’s voice from above her. She yielded to him. The man reached down and pulled the sword from her grasp, pulling her fingers off its handle,  as the beast began its run. 

He took his foot off her head, and Hestia looked up. She watched as he turned the hilt in his palm until his grip was to his satisfaction. He walked slowly towards the beast, blade dragging on the ground. His eyes didn’t seem to blink.

“Wait, what are you doing… It’s dangerous!” yelled out Hestia. The god gave her no heed. 

She watched in awe as the beast quickly got closer, and the god simply raised the blade to his right, straight out from his body. There was no fear on his face, only focus. 

He watched until the beast was centimeters before him, and he sidestepped out of its way. He walked to the right of the beast when it passed him. With one slash, blood splashed everywhere. The long snake monster screamed as it fell to the ground. 

The snake’s head had been sliced off its body. Clean off. Hestia, who wasn’t able to raise herself up, watched in horror and admiration as the god gave the sword one harsh jerk, and all the blood was cleaned off. He then picked up a piece of his robe to clean the leftover blood off the sword.

Hestia watched him. She was still on the ground when he turned to look at her. 

“Well, you didn’t particularly win the fight. But this is something we can work with. Get up. If you cannot beat a bunch of souls… there is no way in hell you can beat Animus, the god of Hate himself. There is much you must learn,” He said with a smile that didn’t quite meet his eyes.   

“A bunch of souls?” Asked Hestia. Her head turned around when she heard multiple shrieks. The large snake beast was suddenly turning into… What’s the best way to describe it?

It slowly disintegrated. But instead of disintegrating into small particles, it was disintegrating into large, clear, flying sheets of something. Hestia’s eyes widened when she realized it was disintegrating into single souls. 

“Don’t worry about it,” said the god, who had somehow sensed her sadness. “I know Death had asked you not to be good souls, but it attacked you first. Good souls get a second chance at life. Bad souls rot here forever until they form beasts like this. You had no choice but to defend yourself. Death is a benevolent being. He will not hold it against you.”

“How many souls were in that beast?” Asked Hestia. The god grimaced. 

“A few hundred. A tough opponent for your first major fight. The fact that you nearly killed is nothing short of amazing. While Animus will be much harder to force surrender.”

“Force surrender?” Asked Hestia as she rose to her feet. She groaned as she rose. Her injuries were not minor after all. 

The god was beside her in a second and helped pull her to her feet. Hestia clutched her arm and stood up, most of her weight on one leg. The corner of her mouth was bleeding. She stood slouched as she tried to balance. 

“Force surrender. There is no way in hell you would be able to kill a god. Not even with my help. Animus knows that too. You have to fight him, to impress him. Persuade him to let you pass on to the next trial.”

“Persuade them to let you pass. Impress them with your fight, convince them with your will.”

“That’s a lot harder than I said. I am not a lawyer.”

“God of Animus… the god of literal hate… that I am strong enough to go on?” Asked Hestia with great incredulity. 

“Look, it sounds bad I know…” said the god, embarrassed. 

“You don’t really have a plan for this do you?” Asked Hestia.

The god laughed nervously.

“You dragged me on a suicide mission didn’t you?”

“Well are you going to back off?”

“I…. you’ve got to stop using that as an excuse that you have no plan as to what we are to do.” 

“Well, we have hope do we not? Have hope and don’t lose sight of it. It will bring us to great victory,” the god said. He continued on, Hestia realized he was now trying to change the subject. “How about we work on your fighting skills?”

Hestia raised an eyebrow. “I thought you were going to do the fighting? Just in my body?”

“Yes, that is the plan. But we will need coordination with each other.”

“I am sorry, do we need to coordinate with each other? You have my body as your vessel of sorts… What sort of coordination is needed?”

“Well I am not in COMPLETE control of your body. Your consciousness is not silenced. You will feel and can speak. You can take over your own body.”

“I’d hope so…”

“No,” the god shook his head. “I need to make sure that doesn’t happen in the middle of the fight. It can lead to trouble.”

“How can we lose ‘coordination’ in the middle of battle?” Asked Hestia. 

The god took a deep breath. “Well let’s say we are fighting and you get scared. If you get scared, your fear will fight against my control of you, and it could ultimately win and release me from my control. Both are bad situations. If you were to fight my control, even if I had the control, it would be harder for me to fight. And you, fully in control of your own body fighting against the god of Hate… pretty sure I don’t have to elaborate.” 

“So we have to practice that much? Cooperation? So basically I have to learn to trust you, trust that you won’t get me killed?” 

The god smiled. “You’re getting it now.”

“Ok, when do we start practicing?” Hestia asked, standing up a little taller, she grimaced from stings of pain throughout her body. 

The god answered her with one quick word

“Swoosh,” 

The god waved his hand, and once more a small ball of blue light appeared on the face of his palm. He pointed toward her chest.

The god disappeared. From inside her, he spoke

“Hello there. How are you?”

“Hahaha. Very funny. Why are you inside of me?” Asked Hestia with a forced smile. 

“We need to begin practicing, don’t we?” 

Hestia stuttered. “What? Now!? I’m half dead. I can hardly walk. Why would we practice right now?”

“Well, when you fight Animus, you will be in even worse condition than you are now. You will have to walk when you can’t think. You’ll have to fight when your arm is slashed into ribbons. We need to build up your pain tolerance and stamina. That way, you won’t fight with my control. You can still feel everything that happens to your body… it won’t be fun. The fight with Animus and beyond will not be fun… that is if you even survive Hate’s onslaught.”

“Wonderful,” muttered Hestia. 

“So,” Hestia gave out a small shriek when she felt her arm fly upward, gripping her sword. Her legs spreaded into a defensive stance. 

“Woah,” she said in surprise. 

“Feels odd right?” Chuckled the god’s voice in her head. 

“Very.”

“You’ll get used to it.”

“I’d very well hope so,” joked Hestia. 

“Ok, let’s start small. Let’s find a singular soul to fight. You’re new to this whole ‘a god takes over my body’ business… and so am I, I am not going to lie.”

“Wait,” Hestia stopped, she heard the god groan from inside her. 

“See, this is what I mean, you’re fighting me. Give me the wheels of your body!”

Hestia relaxed. “Right, I’m sorry.” She once more felt her body move, without moving herself. She walked stiffly, Her feet sometimes dragging against the floor, and her arms swinging at her side almost robotically. 

This is so goddamn weird, he clearly hasn’t ever done this before. His walk is very weird… talking of which…

“You said this is the first time you’ve been inside of a human right?” Asked Hestia.

The god was silent for a bit, Hestia could feel him thinking from inside of her. 

“Yes. I have never taken control of a human being before. You are my first.”

“Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask. How many humans have you met before me? You give off vibes that you haven’t talked to many…”

“That is very much not  true. I often interact with you humans. I just haven’t been able to have a proper conversation with you humans. The last time interacted with a meaningful human that wasn’t you… was 10 years ago.”

“So me and Wally were the most recent… er… meaningful humans you’ve interacted with,” Asked Hestia.

“Wally? Oh yeah your friend,” He said quickly. “Oh… yeah I forgot about him. Yes, you and him were my most recent. I haven’t had many meaningful conversations with humans since…”

“Well, I was the only human you’ve really spoken to since then…”

“…Well that’s true too.” 

Hestia wanted to shake her head, but decided the god would get annoyed if she did that. 

“Ok, so we need to fight some souls right?”

“Righto… let’s go find some undead souls!”

 

<–The Reviver’s Passage: Chapter VI                                                                                                                                                           The Reviver’s Passage: Chapter VIII –>

 

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