Chapter 16: The Trial Begins
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Gaia, Rhea, and Demeter were lounging around the living room leisurely watching television as they snacked on pastries that Demeter had prepared just recently.

Rhea suddenly looked to the north before speaking, "Athena's here, as you said she would be."

"She has prepared a Trial for him to challenge before accepting him as her Master." Gaia lazily responded.

"That's most likely to be the case. Are you going to go over there?" Rhea looked to her mother.

"No need," Gaia shook her head before continuing on, "He doesn't need any help and they'll be gone soon anyway."

She reached over to pick up a cookie before nibbling on it.

"How long will they be gone for?" Rhea asked.

Gaia finished her first cookie and pick up her second as she responded, "Quite a while for them, but only around 10 days for us. The item she brought over for the Trial to take place in has a sealed space contained within it. The flow of time within that space can operate up to 360 times faster than that of Olympus. As such it'll be about 10 years for them."

"10 years huh?" Rhea squinted at her eyes and looked back towards the northern part of the mountain range after hearing her mother's explanation.

Demeter remained silent as she smiled amusingly at the two of them. She then gently shook her head and stood up before heading back to the kitchen leaving behind the words, "I'm going to check on the tea."

***

Basil and Athena appeared in the middle of a grassy plain that spread outwards for thousands of miles in every direction. 

An amethyst colored moon hung in the center of the sky with countless stars arrayed around it.

To the north of the massive plain stood a magnificent forest teeming with life.

To the west was a sprawling mountain range giving of a heaven suppressing majesty.

To the east was a seemingly peaceful lake that was reminiscent of a full blown ocean.

And finally to the south was a single tree whose top pierced the starry sky above and roots were reminiscent of dragons.

As soon as they arrived within this world they could feel their Authorities being suppressed  and Athen felt a suppressive force clamp down on her Internal World; preventing her from Manifesting her Internal World and significantly limiting the amount of power she could draw from it.

After getting a sense of their bearings the two locked gazes.

A long and drawn out silence ensued as they truly took one another in for the first time.

Earlier Basil had been mainly focused on eating and ascertaining her reasoning for locating him of her on volition, and because of this although he had noticed her immaculate beauty he hadn't had a chance to fully take it in.

As for Athena; when they first meet she had mainly been focused on ascertaining both his cultivation standard and disposition instead of his actual appearance.

"Shall we begin?" Basil was the first to speak after he had taken a moment to appreciate her immaculate beauty and austere aura in all of their glory.

"Yes." Athena nodded and her Divine Armament, The God Killing Spear Palla appeared in her grasp.

Basil similarly summoned his Divine Armaments, the Double-Edged Swords Representing Creation and Destruction. 

He grasped them securely in his hands and steadied his breathing as he adopted a fighting stance.

Athena twirled her spear before she too took on a fighting stance.

In the next instant Basil made the first move.

He took a single step forward and instantly crossed the tens of feet separating them.

His swords turned into two bolts of golden and black lightning respectively as he slashed downwards from above.

Athena reacted just as he stepped forward and raised her spear upwards to parry the blows as if she had read his mind.

Their weapons made contact and an explosion immediately sounded out like thunder as dirt billowed into the air.

Both of them were pushed backwards by a repulsive force with Athena sliding  backwards along the ground and him flipping through the air before landing gently on the ground.

After stabilizing herself Athena launched herself forwards becoming a silver ray of light as she instantly arrived before him just as his feet touched the ground with her spear aimed unerringly in the direction of his heart.

As he saw her coming his pupils dilated and he reacted instantly putting force into the soles of his feet and jumping backwards.

Yet she made the same movement following him into the air as her spear continued to target for his heart.

Seeing that, he snorted as he lifted his right leg to launch a kick at her side and crossed his swords beneath the shaft of her spear to push it upwards.

She saw his kick coming yet remained steadfast as she continued to thrust her spear forward.

As his swords pushed upwards the aim of her spear deviated from its initial target and ripped through the top of his left shoulder.

Athena had drawn first blood, but in the following moment Basil's leg made contact with Athena's side and threw her to the left as she spit out a mouthful of blood.

She crashed into the ground, her impact causing a slight tremor to spread outwards.

Basil too was slammed into the ground, unable to regain his balance after Pallas pierced through his shoulder.

The entire sequence of events from Basil's initial attack to them colliding into the ground, had taken place in a fraction of a second.

When they crawled out of the craters created by their collisions they shared a silent glance as their wounds healed.

"This Trial will be harder to pass than I initially expected. Your expertise with the spear is in no way inferior to Prim's and you seem to possess some for of precognition. You also possesses countless years of battle experience. If it wasn't for this space sealing your Authority and suppressing your Internal World I'm sure a single attack from you could render my entire being to ashes." Basil spoke first.

Although his tone seemed dismissive of his own chances he didn't appear flustered or fearful in the least. Instead a light of excitement flashed in his eyes as his grip on his swords tightened in anticipation.

Athena gently shook her head as she spoke, "You are incorrect. It is not precognition it is a combination deductive reasoning and the vast wealth of combat experience you mentioned earlier. This battle will be much more difficult than I first thought aswell. Not only does your physical ability surpass many Tiers, but your Divine Armaments possess extreme sharpness. Your combat also doesn't lose out to my own, that includes the degree of expertise to which you wield your blades. I can already come to the conclusion that this will be the most lively battle I have been a part of in a while."

A light of anticipation began to fill her eyes aswell as her aura of austerity and sophistication faded only to be replaced by an intense desire for battle.

Basil suddenly launched a cross slash outwards and two crisscrossed blades of black and gold light flew towards Athena.

She immediately vaulted backwards as she executed a slash of her own and a violet colored streak of light launched outwards colliding with Basil's cross slash.

Basil dashes forwards at a speed comparable to light and appeared before her as he swung the gold sword of Creation from the right.

Athena parried the blow and stepped on air as she jumped skyward to dodge the delayed slash of the black sword of Destruction that came from the left.

She then thrust her spear downward.

Basil once more crossed his swords to parry her blow.

The resulting collision caused their weapons to tremble as a thunder-like explosion rang out once more.

Basil was pushed downwards and once more collided with the ground causing another tremor to sound out.

As the dust cleared he climbed out of yet another crater before swiping his swords to create another cross slash swordlight towards the descending Athena.

She slashed it apart before thrusting her spear forwards to pierce his chest.

He parried the spear with the sword in his left hand and made an thrust his right sword forwards.

Seeing that Athena let go of her spear and leaned backwards to dodge his thrust.

She then pushed off her feet and formed blades with her hands before knocking the swords from his hands and launching a kick at his chest.

When Basil was blasted backwards she clenched her fists and chased after him, turning into an illusory ray of light and unleashing a barrage of punches and kicks onto his body.

Basil continuosly spit out mouthfuls of blood as he did his best to block the brunt of her attacks.

As Athena's figure once more flickered and she moved to circle around to his back, he suddenly erupted in a spout of golden red flames and vanished.

He instantly reappeared behind her and launched a kick at the back of her head.

Before she could respond to his sudden reappearance his foot connected with the back of her head.

She flew towards the ground creating another tremor on contact. 

Basil was right behind her as he delivered another kick yo her back sending her deeper into the ground as she spit out a mouthful of blood.

The two swords once more appeared in his hands as he released a downwards slash at her prone body.

An explosion tens of times louder than any before sounded out as a blinding light filled the night sky.

When the light faded a massive crater had formed on the plain. 

In the center of the craters laid the prone form of Athena. Not a single blemish was present on her mantle or the armor beneath, yet she struggled to stand up as blood leaked from the corner of her mouth.

Basil stood not to far away with a slightly pale complexion and a trail of blood leaking from his mouth as he panted.

The moment before his final attack had landed Athena had managed to pour her Divinity into her Mantle. Her Mantle then created a field of purple energy around her that attempted to rebound the force of his attack back at him.

But, his black sword of Destruction managed to negate and cut through the field of energy, leaving him only to face the rebound of the gold sword of Creation's attack.

This meant each of them had to suffer through half the force of one of his all out attacks at point black range with no defenses.

"Ha... ha...ha..., that Mantle of yours it's the rumored Aegis isn't it?" Basil continued to pant as he asked.

"It is," Athena answered before asking a question of her own, "Those wouldn't happen to be the Sacrificial Flames of Hestia would they?" 

"They are." Basil confirmed her conjecture.

"So that means, that you'll be able to use her flames to overcome the bounds of space even in this world." Athena spoke.

"And you'll be able to reflect all of the attacks I throw at you besides those made by my sword of Destruction.  If that’s the case this ‘Trial’ will truly be interesting." Basil responded

Silence once more reigned between the two as they stared at one another, the determination to win filling both of their gazes.

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