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9 Chapter 3 The awakening

 Artemis dragged her feet from the flame engulfed cottage she used to live in and walked in the direction of the village gates.

She had a parcel of questions to ask concerning why she didn't die in the fire. Funny enough, it wasn't that hot in there, and she didn't suffocate in the smoke like she thought she would.

She imagined a voice in her head say "Enabling fire resistance auto mode."

She assumed it was her mind playing tricks on her because she didn't have a clue of a valid place the faint voice came from.

One thing was for sure, she needed answers to her questions, but the reality of things was that no one would reply or even converse with her after what she'd done to humanity.

"Artemis?" Aliah was en route to a market when when she saw the familiar girl covered in what seemed like coal powder and her dress was in an awful state as well.

Artemis weakly took a glance at the woman that had a growing smile on her face, then she lowered her orbs a little to her swollen stomach before proceeding on the path she walked.

"Artemis!!! It's a miracle you survived!" Aliah hurried to catch up to the little girl who was trying to get away from as many humans as possible. Primarily those dwelling in the village of Morbon, her home town.

Artemis didn't let out the slightest peep as the lady grabbed hold of her arm "I'm not against you Artemis. I know you did it to save us!"

"Sir nadir said God Raindrop would rebuff me... "

"I'm certain he didn't mean that" Tears were gushing from the eyes of the pregnant woman as she cupped the cheeks of the youngster that was going to face exile.

"I'll miss you Artemis. God raindrop will protect you so don't lose faith in it!" Artemis already lost everything. She didn't need the deity and her life anymore. She gave Aliah a simple nod then started to walk away.

"Artemis wait! Please, at least come see your friends one more time before you leave."

She nodded again and walked with Aliah to the orphanage. She urged Artemis to hide so the new priest wouldn't see her and report his findings.

The girl remained in her hiding spot, a bush, while Aliah went to call the children to say a final goodbye to their dearest friend.

"Artemis..." That was her signal. She peeked from the bush hoping she'd see her friends but Aliah came back, alone.

"I see" she also expected it. They didn't want to see her, not after what she'd done. There was nothing surprising about that.

"Goodbye Aunt Aliah" She could no longer say see you later or I'll stop by tomorrow because she wasn't sure about the future outside morbon. She was uncertain of what she'd come across as she walks forever till her legs surrender.

Aliah couldn't do anything but watch the girl leave. She didn't have anything to offer her as she embarked on a journey to the unknown. She could only offer prayers and undying support, regardless of the separation. She'd perpetually care about her since she had confidence that Artemis was the way to triumph.

***

"I should've died..." Artemis had walked miles before halting to rest. She had no idea of where she was going and she was certain she'd die sooner than she expected. What might end up killing her was something she hadn't experience in a while, starvation.

"Food..." Where to get it and how? There was nothing around to take care of her snarling stomach except if she made due with the dirt underneath her feet.

She clutched at her stomach that felt like it was digesting itself. Nothing edible had entered there for almost a year and sadly for her, things might continue that way until she dies because she was stranded with absolutely no help.

For once, she actually wished she could eat the monasteries porridge, and she'd do so with so much gratitude.

She got back on her feeble feet and walked down the dirt road snaked around trees and bushes, brightly green and some withered.

The path accompanied by plants led to a narrow valley that ran ten miles before it's slope.

She went on her knees to drink from the valley's clear stream that surged over rocky beds. She savored the taste of the water that traced its way into her dry mouth and down her sore throat.

She paused to look at her mirrored face in the stream. "I really... Look different," she observed her droopy lids, pale bony face, the restlessness of her dull brown eyes, and unruly mess of dark chocolate hair, all making her look expressionless.

"Don't give up yet Artemis!!!" The same faint voice reverberated in her ears and it was really ticking her off because she didn't have the foggiest idea where it was coming from.

"Don't be too hard on yourself. You tried your best on that battlefield!" She cast her eyes warily around looking for what or who was conversing with her. She began to feel a tingle on her chest then darted her eyes to a moving lump underneath her dress.

A tiny head poked out and it was very similar to the face she saw in the stream. The unidentified specie slithered out of her dress to make it's grand entrance.

"Hello Artemis!"

Artemis gazed vacantly at the small insect that could communicate in her language. She didn't know if she should call it an insect, but she didn't have a term for the mysterious creature that looked human but at the same time too small to be.

"Aren't you surprised? Why aren't you startled? Excited? Creeped out? Come on Artemis! Show some emotions even if it's a little" Artemis rested on her back then gazed upwards at the cloud dappled sky showing no concern whatsoever.

"I'm You Artemis! Well basically your Olth"

Artemis didn't react and it made the alleged Olth upset about her uncaring attitude.

"I smell an Olth" The scent of a Sol parasite was whiffed into the nostrils of a traveling beastman by the solid current of the air. It could only mean one thing. Powers had been awakened.

"Artemis talk to me!!!" The Olth hummed In her ears however Artemis was still reluctant to give the response the small creature wanted.

"Hey-" the Olth was grabbed, and the attacker dressed in a navy blue hanbok investigated what was in his grasp before diverting his gaze to the destitute on the ground.

"Ah!!! Artemis, help me!!!" The Olth attempted to liberate itself from the crushing grip and hoped Artemis would help her out but the girl didn't move an inch.

"Artemis?" The beastman was certain she was the one he was searching for. The Moronic Contestant 99.

"Oi! Is this Olth Yours?" He inquired.

"I don't have a clue, and I couldn't care less."

"Artemis what are you saying?" The Olth sweat dropped then turned to look at the face of the angry foxman of the Fay tribe.

"Please don't listen to her. She's not in her best state of mind and It's playing with the things she says" The Olth could do nothing but talk her way out with excuses and lies if she'll have to.

The girl lying comfortably on the ground glanced at the man standing in front of her. She hadn't seen him before but by his appearance she could tell he was foreign. Too foreign.

He took off the Gat on his head, and his ears were uncovered. 'A beastman!' Artemis' brain alarmed her, and she sprung to her feet. Not to battle, yet to give up herself to be slaughtered.

She wasn't the same Artemis she used to be. Ever since she woke up, she was just an empty shell with little to no remains of the happy and confident  girl from before.

"Just make it quick and simple" She tilted her head and waited for him to slice her neck. Death was the only escape, and she desperately needed it.

The foxman sighed "Unfortunately for the both of us, I can't kill you even though I want to."

Artemis clenched her fist then fell backwards "go away then."

He didn't move because he wouldn't listen to the command of a rude child. He stayed back to introduce himself "I am Orion, Demi God Melissa's previous aide."

'Demi god?' Artemis could remember the pretty Elf. Her memories were still foggy, perhaps it was for the best. She didn't want to remember everything because it would make her more depressed than she already was.

"I can tell your world is already punishing you for what you did. Everyone detests you kid. The competition rules changed since the time you ventured into the field bringing misfortune to everyone."

Artemis listened cautiously to what he needed to state, engrossing the essential truth about that day.

She sat up wanting to know more about the damage she'd caused "What exactly changed?"

"I could begin by disclosing to you that you'll never become a demigod on the grounds that females are not allowed to compete anymore."

Every part of Artemis paused as her mind stuttered for a moment trying to comprehend what she was told.

"Be that as it may, there is a way you can contend once again. You still have time to undo what you've done, Human. Don't mistake my intentions of coming all the way from Sol to root for you. I'm only here to make sure Melissa's powers don't go to waste."