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Home > God Rising: Battle of Atela

4 Part II

 Aliah walked into the chapel that night, just checking if everything was in place for the service later in the morning. The light from the candle's flame illuminated the places she went to examine. She checked if the seats were free of dust. She looked at the carpet, luckily there were no footprints from toddlers who'd been playing in mud.

She was happy that she didn't run into any mishaps, she was too tired for that. She heard the knob of the huge oak doors to the chapel creaked like someone was trying to struggle with it. That was strange. Everyone should've known the chapel is closed from seven till eight in the morning. What if the person struggling with the door wasn't from her village?

The thought of that was frightening, her heart pounded hard against her chest as she took slow timid steps to the door that someone was trying so hard to open.

Her hand was shaking as she lifted it. she thought twice about opening it. The door became still, whoever tried to break in must've reasoned enough to have stopped.

A possibility was that the kids were trying to scare her.  she thought to herself - As a priest she's not supposed to be scared, the raindrop God was with her even in the darkest of the night. She closed her eyes shut after accumulating enough courage she needed to open the chapel doors. Once her eyes opened, she realised no one was there. She must've been imagining things or maybe the kids were actually trying to scare her. She'd ask them tomorrow whenever she'll get the chance. They might've gone back to sleep and she didn't want to be seen in an almost transparent nightgown.

She closed the door and made sure it was locked. Before she could turn, she felt something like sharp nails trailing across her skin "Thank you for letting me in" With that being said, the flame of her candle was blown out.

***

"So your dad really isn't coming home today" Edvin said from the top bunk he shared with Shirlyn who was already sleeping.

"Don't remind me" Artemis turned over wanting to sleep when a question she wanted to ask popped up in her head.

"Hey Edvin, what do you know about the tournament?"

"Well...not too much" he sat up closing the book he'd finished reading "but I heard it's to pick a new demigod to watch over our two worlds. Humans participate in it, but we never win."

"I heard that as well, what's the point of signing up anyway?" Artemis was quite curious.

"From what I know, they say we can earn our freedom and give the beastmen a taste of their own medicine. You see, it's impossible. We're slaves and we'll always be" After his words he yawned and stretched his arms "Good night."

"Goodnight" Artemis responded and was about to do the same when she heard a scream. It sounded like Aliah.

Artemis glanced at Edvin who couldn't sleep after hearing the call for help. Hearing her echoing scream again caused a chill to run down their spine. The pair scurried out of the rustic building and headed for the church, where the sound likely came from.

They tried opening the door but it was locked. Edvin with his little strength tried to force it open but it was jammed.

They heard laughter from the inside of the church and Aliah's muffled scream. Artemis's heart raced at what could be happening to their precious priest.

They made way into the town to meet the chief and alert him about what was happening to Aliah. Edvin suggested that he might not believe them, he only took adults seriously. The only person that was likely to give them ears especially when it was about Aliah was Nadir.

The moon lighted the path for them and they saw it as a sign of good fortune. It seemed like the raindrop god was with them every second of the way.

They knocked hard on Nadir's cottage door almost forgetting he didn't live alone.

"God raindrop, what is going on?" An elderly woman who looked like she weighed a ton opened the door angrily. The pair took a step back because she didn't look a bit friendly.

"Mother who is there?" Nadir was also disrupted from his sleep but once he saw the children, he knew something was wrong.

"What?" After their narration, he became worried as well. So much time must've passed, he prayed Aliah was alright. He went back into his home and grabbed an axe from his bedroom corner where he kept most of his tools.

He told the children to tell the chief what was going on while he'd go take a look at the situation himself.

The three went separate ways, Edvin and Artemis went deep into the village while he hurried to the chapel. "The door really is jammed."

He moved from the door to peep into the window but it was pitch black. He picked up his axe and swung it at the door. It took a couple more hits before he'd make any more progress.

Once he created a hole wide enough for his hand to pass through, he searched for the key, and luckily his hand felt a bunch. He pulled it out from the door hole careful enough to not mix it up with the orphanage keys.

He opened the door from the outside and gained full access to the monastery. "Aliah?" He called.

He heard muffled sounds and tried to trace it. He bumped into seats before he finally made his way to the altar where he thought she'd be.

"Welcome" the lamps in the monastery all lit up at once and from the shadows came a beastman twice the size of Nadir. He'd been waiting for a human that would come to save the priestess despite the warning he gave to the chief.

"Aliah!!!" He spotted her at a corner, bounded by a tight rope that dug into the skin of her wrists and ankles. A piece of her nightdress was stuffed into her mouth causing the lady to be mute.

Aliah's small amber eyes looked up and he met her gaze shortly. It hurt him to see her looking so distressed with her salty tears making its way down her pale face.

Nadir's fear got the best of him. He was trembling by the sight of the two inches dagger-like fangs which was put on display by the Wolfman. His body didn't want to move, his mind wanted otherwise. He was cemented to the same spot not knowing what to do. There were no negotiations especially when he didn't know what the beastman wanted.

"You brought such a puny weapon to fight me? The leader of the wolfman pack!" Melvin was disgusted, he felt like reaping the human in front of him apart, but it would be risky to do so. He only came for the priestess, once he's done, he can have her back.

"What do you want with her?" His voice was shaky as he raised that question. The Wolfman was death and he was talking to it.

"Isn't it crystal clear. I'm going to sleep with her."

Those words were enough to be the gasoline that ignites the fire of Nadir's anger "say that again..."

"I- am - going- to- sleep- with- her" with every word said, Melvin smacked Nadir's head and lifted him by his neck once he was done teasing the earthling.

Nadir's burning rage was like a volcano erupting which resulted in him swinging his axe at Melvin's head but It broke as soon as it made contact.

***

"Sir!!! Sir!!! Sir!!!"  The kid's barged into the chief's house where a meeting was already being held with some other village elders. They expected it, they knew Artemis would come along.

"Something is going on at the..."

"We know. There's nothing we can do" Artemis frowned at the news. The chief was going to let something horrible happen to Aliah and she didn't know why.

"No way! You all have to do something!!!" Edvin challenged the words of the chief. He glared at him with eyes that were already brimming with tears.

"I'm sorry children. My hands are tied. It's just a little sacrifice for our safety. If you're thinking it's a bandit from another village you are wrong. It's a beastman, and his men are waiting for his signal to set our homes on fire. So go back to sleep, I promise you she'll be alright." A maid led the kids out as instructed and closed the door immediately.

"That's a lie. She won't be alright" Artemis said, her tears already trickling down.

***

"So you still have the will to fight?" Nadir refused to back down, even as his lips trembled and his muscles were close to a seize. His lashes brimmed with heavy tears and his hands clenched into shaking fists in a desperate battle against Melvin who was having fun breaking the bones in his opponent's body.

Aliah had been begging from the corner for the beastman to stop but he didn't take note of what she was trying to say with a nuzzled mouth.

She couldn't look at the state of Nadir who was too weak to move. His right eye was swollen, blood from his nose smeared his face, he had deep scratch marks across his back, and his clothes were a complete bloody mess.

Melvin was about to throw a knockout punch when he noticed Aliah who'd slithered to his side. He pulled out the spit-soaked piece of her nightdress and listened to what she had to say.

"I'll do anything you want. Just leave him alone. I'm begging you."

"ALIAH NO!!! I CAN-"

"YOU CAN'T!!!" she yelled at the top of her lungs and it shattered every piece of Nadir. It hurt more than all his broken bones.

"We're humans. We're not God" Melvin had expected the earthling woman to comply, especially with the little show he put on. When he's done, she can go back to her normal human life and act like nothing ever happened.

Nadir watched him take her to the room he was directed to and there was nothing he could do to stop the beastman. She was right, he was just a human, he didn't have the power of a god, neither magic strong enough to challenge the beastmen. If only he was blessed with a little strength, he was sure he'd have inflicted grave damage on that bastard, Melvin.

Artemis and Edvin went back to the chapel and noticed the place was trashed. Service wasn't going to hold the next morning, and Aliah won't be the priest anymore.

The children ran to meet Nadir who was frozen in place. He didn't hesitate to tell them he lost and they pulled him into a hug and Artemis whispered "We tried our best."

Nadir led them back to the cabin and urged them to sleep along with the other children who got up once they heard a loud howl from what they guessed to be a wolf.

Nadir ensured them that it was nothing, but with the way he looked, it made them even more worried. Once he read the little ones to sleep, he begged the pre-teens - the ones who were awake to help him calm the toddlers if they happened to wake up. He'd take care of the rest himself.

All he had to do was wait for the Wolfman to leave before he'd go check on her. He didn't want to think of the horrific things he could be doing to the innocent priestess. The beastmen didn't care less about humans, whether man, woman, or child, they did things not considering attributes.

An hour passed, stretched to two, and finally the Wolfman came out. Nadir wanted to meet her immediately but Melvin blocked the passageway. "Let her rest" He suggested nicely despite the malicious look on his face.

"You're done. I want to go see her. Now!!!"

"If you have the strength, push me aside" Nadir couldn't. His arms were far to weak to do anything at that moment.

"Just like I thought" Melvin smirked proudly before walking away. Nadir had the opportunity to finally go see her after waiting so long.

"Aliah" he cried out then swiftly ran to the girl who was drenched in the peaking moonlight from the window beside the bed she laid on.

She didn't respond to his call. Her eyes were glazed with grief and her state of mind was a complete mess. She paid little or no attention to what was around her and failed to notice Nadir who shook her countlessly in an attempt to pull her back to reality and out of her imaginations.

"Aliah can you hear me? Please say something!" he rubbed her hands "you don't like me touching your hands. Please react to this" still no response.

"I'm sorry. I blame no one but myself. If I was stronger I'm sure I could've saved you" he placed a kiss on her delicate hands for the first time.

"I know you think your life is over but I'm sure it's just the beginning. I don't care what people will say and I want you to show no concern as well. You might lose your priesthood, but that's not the end of the world. You have children who love you, you have fans who admire you, I love you just as much Aliah. I'll only be happy if you're happy... so please don't lose hope to live. We can make it out of this together."

Aliah never thought she'd leave the chapel so soon and for a reason such as not being pure. That was the least her mind went to. Thinking about it knots her chest to a painful extent, ceases her lungs, and other means to breathe. She wanted to die, she wished the wolfman killed her. She'd rather die than to live a life she thought was destroyed.

"Aliah are you listening to me?"

"It was my first time. Do you know what that means? Why aren't you irritated? I'm sure the raindrop God is waiting for me to take my stained body away from the chapel. I don't belong here anymore" the muscles of her cheeks trembled like that of a weak child, and tears raced down before dropping unto the thin blanket she wrapped around herself.

"The raindrop God loves you more than before, I'm sure of it. You sacrificed what you protected the most to save me..."

He wiped her tears away and continued to talk "I'm sorry but, I love you twice as much now. Even if the world is against you, you have the raindrop God, myself, and the children who were worried sick about you. Aliah you've impacted so many lives, no one will despise you because it was not your fault. Please stop crying, I'll cry as well" his voice was breaking and his fist clenched.

"I'm not saying this to make you love me back. I honestly will be fine if I see you with someone else. I just want you to be happy. Even if it's not with me. So please promise me when you've healed, You'll smile like you used to."

She stared deeply into his eyes. He really meant everything he said. Aliah sobbed into his chest unceasingly, hands clutching his blood-stained shirt. Nadir wrapped his arms around her and sang a song they both liked when they were younger. It was a simple lullaby sung to them by an old fisherman they were friends with.

"Nadir, promise me you'll never leave me"

"I promise you I'll always stay by your side no matter the circumstance" with that being said, he gave her a shy look before slowly moving his head closer until it was an inch apart from hers then proceeded to seal his promise with a gentle kiss. That moment the world fell away and her heart thumped softly. Then she knew, she was never going to be alone.