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468 Connections, The Eyes, The Observers, Psypathogen, and

 Day ▋▋ - ▋▋:▋▋ ▋▋ - Underground Crystal Basin, Unknown Dimension

That stare of Bathala towards Mark and Mei made the two somewhat uncomfortable. It was a blatant declaration that they had the possibility of reaching Godhood. The thing that made them very uneasy was that the words came from a Godly being.

Even the others with the two felt strange. Bathala had already said that reaching Godhood in this world was almost impossible. For in all history that the ones that reached it could be counted on one hand, there was no need to tell how hopeless it was to reach that level.

And yet, it was clear that Bathala was pointing his words at Mark and Mei in his last sentence.

Bathala was not mindful of their strange gazes. Instead, he smiled even more.

"Do you all know the most important aspect if a person wanted to take a step towards Godhood?" The Old Man asked.

"Religion and Worship?"

Karlene blurted out. However, Bathala shook his head.

"Religion and Worship is the best way for Gods to reach a higher level. But without stepping into Godhood, no matter how many people worship an individual, it is useless."

The Old Man explained before looking at everyone, waiting for another answer.

"The ability to defy destiny, isn't it?"

Mark spoke with a solemn expression. That was the only possibility that both he and Mei had. And to his answer, Bathala nodded.

"Destiny isn't just some book that dictates the fate of humanity. It is a force of guidance etched within the souls of every individual. When that guidance ends, it is also the end of the individual. Even if a person's lifeforce is still strong, they will die at the end of that line. The perfect example of this is when a mortal with a lethal illness would recover for sometime before their death, letting them spend their last burst of lifeforce. And because of that, there is no way for a person to reach Godhood without defying it."

Bathala looked and Mark and Mei solemnly.

"The time for you two had long passed. Yet, you two are still here. Although it is quite apparent that it was an outside force that caused you two to derail from your destinies, it is a legitimate step towards Godhood."

As Bathala explained further, the more that Karlene and the others became confused. They looked at Mark and Mei, who seemed to understand what the Old Man was saying. It made them feel awkward and out of place.

"Then, that giant, the one you called an Eye, appeared because we are there?"

Mark asked.

"The possibility is there, but not concretely. It might have attacked by coincidence. Or maybe because I am there. Who knows? The Eyes of the Observers are very unpredictable. Even the Observers could not control them after they were sent into this world. They are nothing but autonomous puppets that followed the last command given to them by their creators."

Hearing that, Mark's companions felt a bit lighter. Mark and Mei would surely not care that much, but for them, it would leave a bad taste in their mouths. After all, it was the lives of innocent people that were talking about.

"Then, Mutagen, the thing that is happening on Earth right now, is another form of Culling?"

Alana asked.

And to answer that, Bathala shook his head.

"I don't know if this disaster that is happening right now is another work of the Observers. But in my opinion, it is not." Bathala looked at Mark, Aephelia, and Iola. "The planet Amerillia and Verehillio sent their people are also subjected to a similar event, is it not? Forgive me for peeking into your memories. But if a planet got destroyed like that, the Observers can't do that. Even the Observers had rules to follow. One of the things they are forbidden to do is destroy a world created by who they worked for."

As Bathala said that, the scene around them change, displaying the time where Mark fought the giant.

"Looking at this, I can say that the current Observer of Earth is taking advantage of things."

The current Observer managing Earth wanted to remove the previous gods and stop the ascension and appearance of new ones. The reason was not clear. However, it would deviate from his goals if he sent the Eyes, which was basically at the level of Deities and Gods, that he wanted to remove.

Because of that, it restricted him from sending his Eyes. The Observer was restricted by the same rules he made. This was how the remaining gods on Earth, like Bathala, managed to exist even now.

This time, however, the appearance of Mutagen changed everything. Mutagen was hard to predict. Thus, summoning the Eyes in the bodies of the infected was not breaking his own rules.

Looking at the giant that Mark fought, it was not a creature summoned by the Observer. The best explanation that Bathala could give was that the Observer used the powers of the Eyes as a Catalyst for the Mutation of the Infected.

"Then what about that thing that destroyed our planet?"

Aephelia asked with all seriousness.

"There is no way for me to tell," Bathala replied. "Unless you three want to share your memories to me for a bit."

That suggestion made Aephelia look at Mark with askance. Iola was the same. As there was no problem with it, Mark nodded.

Receiving the permission of the three, Bathala waved his staff, and the scene around them changed once more.

And Karlene and the others almost fled from their seats. What they saw was the scene where some people surrounded by thousands of corpses of hideous infected looking creatures. And in front of those people, was an army of Mutated Infected. Behind that frightening army, was an enormous creature that was taller than Mount Everest.

Even though they knew that it was just a scene created by Bathala, they felt the pressure and fear that this creature could bring.

Malaya even fell from her seat, and Mark had to catch her. She wanted to change positions as she felt uncomfortable, but because of the terror that she felt, her wings did not flap at all.

Seeing the creature, even Bathala was surprised. This being was not any less than a Higher God like him. Furthermore, even Bathala felt that if he had to fight this creature, the outcome would be unknown. It was kind of surprising that there was a group of mortals that tried to fight it.

Mei grasped Mark's hand tightly. Even Amihan, Abbygale, and Miracle stuck to him after seeing the creature. On the other hand, Aephelia and Iola were calm like Mark. After all, it was not the first time for them to see this.

"That's Freed."

Mark said to Mei while pointing at the handsome man with blonde hair that led the group of humans. He already told Mei the story he heard and saw from Freed. But of course, there was no way for him to accurately portray the exact appearance of things using nothing but words. It was unexpected, but also the perfect timing for him to show her.

He also told Mei, who was Aephelia and Keeper among the group. Spera also learned who her ability belonged originally, while Bathala observed the creature.

"There is no doubt." Bathala voiced out. "This thing is also an Eye. But this Eye is from a different Observer."

"Eriellis also had its own Observer? But our ancestors were told that the planet that they were sent was far from the reach of other godly beings."

Aephelia said.

"That might be true," Bathala replied. "After all, this kind of Eye is being used by the Observer that caused the flood before I arrived. That Observer would use Eyes with a very unsightly appearance like this one. No one can even tell what this creature was."

Then, Bathala came to a realization.

"This planet was destroyed, isn't it... No wonder now. That Observer was replaced rather too fast. From what I heard from the other Gods that came to Earth before me, that Observer had the shortest term of management on Earth and was abruptly replaced. To think that this was the reason why..."

Mark and his group could not comprehend what Bathala was grumbling about. After all, they were not born in that era to understand.

Bathala then removed the scene around them, returning to the paradise that they saw after arriving. Finally, everyone was able to breathe normally. For those that were able to see that creature for the first time, it was too frightening.

"So, the current Observer might go after us. Is that what you wanted to say before calling us here?"

Mark asked.

"That is the gist of it," Bathala replied. "But don't you want to hear about that voice in your head earlier?"

That question made Mark silent. It was, without a doubt, a silent agreement. But then, he hurriedly spoke.

"By the way. I want to ask something first before you start. Did you plan everything from the start? To meet me here, and yesterday, meeting them?"

Mark indicated Mei, Amihan, Spera, and the three little girls, that met Bathala at the trade area, yesterday.

And Bathala laughed.

"The thing yesterday is a pure coincidence. It is even embarrassing to remember that I lost my composure in front of them. They gave me quite a surprise when your wife took out those crystals containing pure energy."

Bathala took out one of the crystals he got from Mei yesterday.

"You might think that this thing is just a tool to raise the abilities of your subordinates. But I will tell you. This thing is very precious to us Gods here on Earth, especially with our current state."

Then, the Old Man sighed.

"The Current Observer did not like the presence of us Gods that came from other worlds here. He instigated the war between the Gods of Greece. Don't you think that a son of a God would grow very differently to the point of having a war with his siblings and even his own father? It is all by the instigation of the Observer. And the result, it forced many Gods present on Earth to retreat because of a promise."

And of course, as that was a war between a family and group of local gods, many gods like Bathala did not comply. After all, not all of them had somewhere to return to, unlike the Gods of Rome, Norse ane Greek Mythology. Like Bathala, there were also other gods that were sent here without their consent. Still, honoring the rules, they lessened their interaction with mankind.

But of course, the Observer would not see that as an excuse. And thus, he did the worst thing that he could do to an Earth God.

Earth was not a good place for powerful beings. The magical energy was very low, and there was no way for the Gods to grow further aside from one method. It was to gain energy from the worship of the religion they founded.

To remove the remaining Earthen Gods from the picture, the best way was to cut off that worship.

And thus, the plan to spread a single religion all across the globe commenced. A religion that worshiped the True God that created Earth.

The Crusade.

It was despite the fact that the very God they worshiped did not interact with humans.

And sure enough, the Observer succeeded in his plan for the most part. The remaining Earthen Gods lost the worship of their religion and became weakened. To avoid the relentless pursuit of the Observer, these Gods had to hide in inferior dimensions in Earth where its eyes could barely see.

That dimension was the Spirit Dimension, where almost every race that was living were failed creations, accidental creations, and experiments of the Gods.

Without anything to replenish they lost magical energy and grow, these Crystals that Mark could produce was very precious.

"You know, with the right amount of crystals like this, some Gods might even sell their daughters to you."

Bathala joked.

And of course, the joke was not well received.

"Really?"

Except for Alana, it seemed.