Chapter 54: The Return
Everything was so vivid. Bloody vivid.
Watching the chaotic mess knitted carefully by the tempest blob had me mulling about the brittleness of life. The image of the frozen world where I once died flashed, interweaving with the nature-born pandemonium unfolding on the ground.
“Nature can indeed be both brutal and beautiful at the same time.” I sighed and shook my head.
The army of rats soared and drifted into the dark skies like broken kites as the tornadoes swept them up from their smelly feet. Hundreds. Thousands. Ten thousand glided from twister to twister. The scent of blood, smoke, and burned flesh wafted into the heavens and stung my nostrils. I pinched my nose and peeked into the truck-size hole while the twisters shifted hues from pitch-black to dark-crimson. A bunch of hairy rats pounded against boulder, trees, or even against other rats midair before exploding into mushed patties after a few cruel repeats. A few unlucky ones even had their entire body frayed into bits by the passing bolts of lightning waltzing inside the tornado.
But the weirdest thing I caught sight of was a fat giant rat gawking at me before he had himself ripped into pieces. I sensed dread, helplessness, and acceptance gleaming in that giant sewer rat’s eyes. Why the fuck he looked like he had been enlightened after seeing my face wasn’t of my concern. Still, watching his grotesquely fat innards glide in the skies had me quivering in disgust and it made me take a deep breath.
Ah, I’d loved to breathe some fresh air, but not this type of fresh air. “Ugh.”
The scent of the budding blood mist and fresh flesh had me scowling. The rancid acids within my stomach tossed and churned. I looked away and remembered my mom’s good old meat grinder. The twisters seemed to be its reincarnation in this damned magical world. “Maybe I should really start the vegetarian thing. Is fate pushing me to the veggies?”
Anyway, the wrath I had against the rats was satisfied with these great sacrifices of blood. This aunt’s thirst for revenge was quenched. A giggle slipped out and felt like I was some kind of summoned demon king. I felt like I was teeming with power.
“That’s enough, Alistair,” I whispered through the link while gulping down the rushing sour soup rising from my throat. I don’t know why, but I felt like I had my hands with a terrible genocide and I somehow wanted to take a long bath.
“Sure!” Alistair said through the contract line. His voice was full of pride after accomplishing the mission I gave him. “And don’t forget our deal.”
“The deal, huh? Alright.” I groaned. The tempest blob was still as greedy as ever. A wry smile skidded on my lips. “But don’t take too much. Don’t suck me dry and almost dead like before.”
“A-Alright…” The tempest blob’s tone deflated and sounded a bit unsure, but that’s not my concern.
With that, I turned my gaze into the receding twisters and surveyed the ground zero. In the sky, the pitch-black and the white clouds retreated, only leaving a stunning open ocean of azure. Suddenly, a shiver tingled as the limbs, blood, innards, and what-nots of the tens of thousands of rats showered the ground akin to heavy hail. With the twisting winds gone, the earth had its entire face tinted crimson while the scent of death drifted into the skies, and reeked like a disturbed septic tank. I sniffed, winced, and coughed. It smelled like a camel’s fermented thousand years old fart and I hated every bit of it.
“The gods have come to save us!”
“Thank you! Thank you so much I’ll still get to see my daughter!”
“My wife! I’m coming home!”
How did I hear that? Ask Maggie. The little whispering blob had a hand on this. With the chaos Alistair had created, I’m sure she’d awaken from her sleep.
“Maggie?” I asked through the link and immediately had a reply, but it was not what I was expecting.
“Victoria! Victoria! Alistair went ‘zhoongg’ and ‘zoom’! He was so powerful!” The little blob sounded jumpy. “And then, oh wait, what is it Victoria?”
“Nothing…” I frowned as a fresh bout of headache loomed, and this time, the cause was the little blob’s harassing prattles echoing through the line. “… but please, keep it a bit down.”
“Oh…” Little Maggie whispered with excitement, incapable of reading between the lines, but that’s what makes her cuddly and cute. “Alright, I’ll talk to Alistair.”
I immediately heard a huff echoing in my head. “I also don’t…”
‘Maggie’s mom. Take care of Maggie.’ I said and made him remember some responsibilities he had while also cutting off his path of retreat. A smile bloomed on my face and I immediately sent a mental note to the little blob. “Alistair would play with you. He’ll love it.”
“Oh, really! Alistair, you’re the best. Blah. Blah…”
The tempest had kept its silence, buckling up to the pressure.
“Good.” I giggled and zeroed on the weird turn of events starting on the ground.
The shouts of cheer and cries of relief within the fortress wall echoed louder and louder until reached my ears. Even though I couldn’t see them, I somehow sensed the soldiers within the bulwark of walls lifting their heads towards the cerulean skies. I looked around and was sure they had their eyes on me. After all, the swirling greenish sphere protecting us was quite glaring when the blue skies had no clouds and all blue.
I felt giddy. I glimpsed at the fortress’s gigantic gate as it opened and saw a bunch of lunatics dropping to their knees like flies faced with insecticides. “What the hell are they up to?”
I’m good at handling crowds because of my old line of work. After all, the corporation forced me to represent them in a few media dealings as PR. I also talked about my work and success on a few campus tours that I was invited to. So I don’t fear crowds too much. However, when the crowd’s passion reaches the heavens such as this, that’d be another story. It felt scary.
Soon, the crowd grew in size as another giant stone gate was opened and before I even knew it, the people below bowed their heads in my direction.
“Am I some deity now or what?” I chuckled and found it hilarious. But after a few moments, my face slowly stiffened. They’re not stopping at all. “A-Are they for real? I’m only human, not some god, and not even planning to be one.”
As soon as I said those words, a creepy feeling crawled over my skin. I shook my head. I’m not some object of worship, but an innocent transmigrated aunt. Thinking hard, I remembered the cheap goddess who gave me the [Appraise] for converting Eyad. Maybe that deity would love this bunch. Thus, I immediately asked the whispering wind blob’s help.
“I’m Gaia!” Little Maggie carried my whisper into the ears of the fanatical bunch, bowing below my feet.
“Oh! So it was goddess Gaia! Wait, really?!”
“Thank you so much!"
“Gaia! Gaia! Gaia!”
More armored soldiers ran out of the fortress and began kowtowing to this aunt, ignoring the splattered limbs, shits, and innards below their feet. I heard them shouting atop of their lungs, their calls reaching to the clouds. Some laughing, some crying, and some singing.
[You have forgone your chances of being a true demon queen. The laws of the world would now render the hundred thousand blood sacrifice null. The gods and goddesses respect and adore your choice. Prepare for the blessings and titles, oh, you aunt.]
[Gaia esteems you 100x than the rest. Prepare for her blessings and titles.]
I choked as I heard a familiar ringing in my head. “True Demon Queen? That was, er, shocking?” Nevertheless, I’d accept the blessings, but please make it worthwhile this time.
[Time before total recovery has been reduced to 3 days for the amazing feat.]
“T-That’ll do… I think. Uh, time to go. Alistair, please bring us to the village head’s house” I asked while feeling a bit bloated for some unknown reason. The verdant wind around me and the village head’s wife spun and soon streaked the skies like a meteor. A few minutes later, I glimpsed a familiar endless grassland and a bunch of stone houses somewhat forming a village.
The shadows of the night seemed to be over the border of the grasslands. The crown of light had tinted the sky with auburn. Come to think of it. How long have we been out? I was sure it was noon when little Maggie spirited us away.
I slowly hovered until the wind brought my feet to the ground. With a big smile, I said. “We’re back.”
Looking around, the village chief’s house wasn’t there. There was also no one around. “Tired of waiting?” Anyway, there wasn’t even a splint of wood that remained in place to tell that the village head’s house once existed here. I flinched. Maggie had the entire house uprooted and dragged to the spirit realm. Instead, what I saw was a house-size hole, and in the middle were two small mounds with a few round stones atop. A bunch of flowers of all kinds littered the two mounds of soil.
There were a few characters written atop of the stone.
‘To my wife, Hildegarde. I love you with all of my heart. Your life had saved many. Rest in peace.’
‘To the guest from the unknown, Lady Victoria. We’re sorry. You’re a good person. Rest in peace.’
I stood dumbfounded and rubbed my eyes, wondering if it was playing some tricks on me, still what was written remained the same. My eyes turned into saucers as I gawked at my damn funerary epithet.
“Uh-huh, the fuck is going on?”