Once everyone basically bowed their heads to Yasaka, it got…..boring.
Realistically, that's a good thing, but still, they just droned on about certain things that didn't really concern me. I, of course, was attentive and supported Yasaka whenever she needed me to. Sometimes asking me questions, very visibly, for whatever reason, or sometimes I would speak up about certain things.
It was literal hours later that everyone finally had a solidified agreement in front of them. A document that was Magicked up, copied over, and would copy their signatures or marks with a hint of their aura left on it for validity.
I would have been skeptical about this treaty in any other circumstance. Being nothing more than a piece of parchment, not worth the ink it was used to write. However, with both Lugh and Odin as signers, and Sun Wukong as Witness, everyone would be very cautious about breaking it.
They would immediately become pariahs to much of the world. More so than they already are. Right now, people simply don't like the Three factions for the most part. However, there are still many different kinds of trade agreements and of the sort going on.
If they so blatantly break an agreement like this, they'll lose a significant amount of credibility. If it was just the Youkai faction, they could easily bury it without much effort.
Funnily enough, they all looked…not excited about the whole thing. Not that they were upset, but there was clearly not much enthusiasm about their signing.
Well, all except one.
The One-Eyed God let out a snort as he tossed a quill of all things onto the table after slapping the parchment down. "Only one side is walking out of here with a grin on their face." He was complaining, but it held a hint of begrudging respect to it.
And yes, Yasaka was looking rather gleeful after everything finally settled.
Made out like damn bandits is what we did.
And it's funny that they really couldn't do anything to stop it because we held all the cards.
Basically, we managed to squeeze into an agreement that Heaven, The Celtics, and the Norse currently had regarding Fae activity in that part of the world. Very soon, we were going to start getting shipments of Iron Weapons straight from the dwarves of Nidavellir. Some of the best craftsmen in this world. It was a special few that made Mjolnir, Thor's Divine Hammer. Not to mention a plethora of other weapons the Norse use. Hell, I think even Odin's Gungnir was made by the dwarves.
So, quality is to be expected, and the quantity is nothing to scoff at either.
As for the Celtics and Heaven? They're both promising support based on their own cosmologies. The Celtic have Druids that use Touki and Magic in a very unique way that's very productive in battles with the Fae. Yasaka managed to negotiate both aid and teachers to come around Kyoto.
Heaven was a bit more difficult. They really couldn't commit to any War, not that the others did either. That was a very stringent requirement they all adhered to. We were on our own when it came to the actual war. However, we were able to secure a few uses of their forces for some very specific plans, which will play out well in the future. That was, in addition, to more tangible resources they would be sending our way.
The Devils, well…honestly, we wanted nothing to do with them. Basically, we were getting just raw resources in return for all the information we provided. And it was unlikely that the Youkai would want to work with them in any case.
Funnily enough, that irked the Devils something fierce that we basically told them they were unneeded for the most part. That isn't to say they wouldn't be paying some substantial amounts, but they were otherwise not worth more than what they were giving us in monetary value.
The Grigori, they're basically an in-between of Heaven and the Devils. Their population isn't very good either, but they promised some resources and some manpower for certain things along with some monetary compensation.
Though, that was just the benefits we got.
The main focus was the fact that there was an organization out there that was composed of cross-pantheon deities and other creatures.
Everyone agreed to pull their resources and look into it. An alliance of sorts to deal with the problem. Before Yasaka decided to overturn their entire perception of this conference, they originally gathered for something similar, if less…..pressing on the matter. Odin came due to Níðhöggr and presumably Loki causing problems.
He would have done the usual song and dance, throw a few promises out, ease any tension, and be on his way. Lugh, he was a little more difficult to read. From what I summarized, he came out to support the Heaven Faction, and due to his own interest in Scáthach. He apparently had suspicions of something like the Khaos Brigade existing, but nothing concrete.
And of course, the three factions would have come together to broker a peaceful coexistence. Before, even with the unspoken ceasefire, if a Devil or Fallen popped up in Church territory, it was very much smite first, ask questions never.
While they're trying to keep territory lines strict, it's not going to be immediately smiting if a Devil finds themselves where they shouldn't be.
Now, though, there was something much stronger binding everyone to common goal. Something that forced everyone to solidify a real agreement of cooperation and peace.
And as hilarious as it all sounds, they were all looking to Yasaka, to us for some manner of guidance here.
The smallest faction that was never even thought of anything worthwhile. Well, we were going to be under a lot more scrutiny from now on. But even so, I could easily tell how euphoric Yasaka was right now due to this.
She made them look at her like an equal.
Everyone slowly got up from their seats and sort of meandered over to their own people, talking amongst themselves. A few courageous of the lot went to talk with other factions here or there.
But the main negotiations, the debates and the talks were finished.
We all had a finalized agreement that was decided on.
Outside of the leaders, there were plenty that were looking at us with hesitance in their eyes. Like, I think someone wanted to come over to talk but they were a little intimidated.
There was one person who ignored all that and came walking over without a care in the world. "Yasaka."
"Sun Wukong." Yasaka smiled warmly. "Are you finally finished with your 'Watcher' status and come to ask some questions?"
The Old Monkey let out a chuckle. "I don't think it would be appropriate." He shook his head. "And the glares I'm getting from some of your companions is making me uneasy."
Scáthach was visibly glaring at him.
She's cutely protective of Raikou. They certainly bonded quicker than the others.
Because even now, The Monkey King was shooting her glances.
"I just wanted to give some parting words. I have nothing to say about the meeting, or any of the many questions I have." He tipped down his sunglasses. "That being said, well done, Yasaka."
"Why, thank you~" Yasaka preened under the praise.
"Mmm, you did a wonderful job leading them along that they didn't even remember the reason I was here in the first place." The Monkey King praised more. Sparing one more glance at Raikou he pushed his glasses back up. "How unfortunate that no one asked about the young lady that I was supposed to investigate." He exaggeratedly shook his head. "It seems I'll have to report back to Indra that I couldn't find any other information out about the woman who wielded his sacred weapon."
Even Scáthach seemed to relax a little after hearing that. It was honestly very difficult to dislike this Buddha at all.
Every time I've met him, he was doing something that was objectively against my own interests and those around me, yet….I don't think I had any ill will towards him.
"Thank you, Sun Wukong." Yasaka said softly.
"Thank me? For what?" He chuckled. "I'm just an old man, talking to myself. " He hummed, taking out a familiar pipe before biting down on the end. "How the years passed by." He turned, looking towards the groups of people still gathered. "I remember a long time ago, Indra had a child by the name of Arjuna. It was a time when many heroes rose under the banner of the Hindu Pantheon. There was a tale about Arjuna and his half-Brother, very popular in that part of the world, but I won't get into it. Indra was different back then, he had many children and never cared to put much thought into having the next. Though, after those two died, he changed. The swathes of little Demi-Gods began to trickle away. He rarely had any other children with mortals afterwards. In fact, it's been centuries since he's last had Demi-God." He very clearly emphasized that point.
"How random a thought you're having there." I crossed my arms.
"Yup, just a random thought I had. I'm old, I like to reminisce sometimes." The Monkey King chuckled again. "Though, if there was a child of his. One that could hear my words in this moment, I think I'd say something like 'Stay in Japan and don't go near India and southern Asia', but of course I have no idea about such a thing." The Monkey King shrugged.
"Thank you, again, Sun Wukong."
He silently waived it off with a smile. "Oh, and before I forget." He raised on a finger, pointing it at me. "Odin asked me to send you his way since I was coming to say my goodbyes."
"Odin wants to talk to me?" I raised an eyebrow. "About what, exactly?" Might help if I knew the specifics, even if might seem obvious.
Might be able to bullshit better if I have a few more moments to give it some thought.
"Who knows." He tapped his pipe, putting it away. "Just a messenger. Anyways, I'll see you ladies later. And you, young man. I'm sure we'll be meeting again soon." He didn't really give anyone time to answer before he stepped away and shot off into the air on a cloud.
"That was….surreal." Rin muttered. "The Monkey King was just talking in front of us."
"Literally friends with Japan's Mother goddess." I pointed out.
"It's still weird." Rin huffed.
"Are you going to go talk to him, Wilhelm?" Yasaka asked.
"Should I?" I mean, I assumed I was before, but…maybe not?
"It may not be wise to disregard him." Scáthach admitted. "If he is vengeful like we are familiar with, the next time may not be polite. If there is a time, he is now forced to act with decorum under this situation."
Ugh, she's right.
"I guess I'll go have a chat with the All-Father."
The Norse God was sitting quietly off to the side. It wasn't very difficult to find him, but he was putting out this sort of….presence that made it difficult for others to approach him.
Sitting upon a large piece of rubble, he raised his head as I approached, silently tapping his palm on an empty spot to his side.
Well, I followed along and plopped myself down right next to him.
He didn't even look at me. Instead, he leaned on his walking stick as he watched the other people in the area go about their business. Could see all of them from where we were sitting, even my own people.
"Look at them." The God opened his mouth.
"The Angels?" I questioned, turning my gaze to where he was staring. "Yeah, even as a Devil, they're really something." I could admit that they were magnificent creatures.
"No, I was talking about Gabriel's Boobs." He replied without a completely straight expression.
"…I don't know how to respond to that."
He then broke out into a soft laughter, his walking stick tapping against the ground a few times as he held himself sitting up straight.
It was odd, in this moment, he really did seem like a frail old man.
"Just look at them bounce, that roundness, yet they're also so firm! Really, that Biblical God, he was a man of taste." The Norse god nodded to himself. "Makes you wonder why he would give that kind of body to such a kind and selfless woman. Doubt she'll ever touch a man, let alone put those assets to use. Such a shame."
"Alright, good talk." I was about to get up and walk away, but his stick found its way pushing against my chest.
"Won't you listen to an old man for a little while longer?" He sounded pitiful, which set off some dangerous vibes.
I let out a sigh. "What do you want?'
He hummed, not answering me, instead turning towards somewhere else. "That brunette, with the white dress. She's the one that's yours?" He raised his stick up, pointing to my woman.
"Yes, Venelana and I are in a relationship." I didn't hide it, not that it wasn't mentioned during the talks.
"Nice, very nice." Odin nodded appreciatively. "I wonder if I can flip her dress from here, get a look at that nice round butt of hers. Is it as amazing as I imagine it to be?"
His stick slowly moved towards her before I grabbed hold of it. "If you want to lose your arm, feel free to continue."
"Hoho, so protective~" The God chuckled. "That's good though. A man should be protective of his woman." He nodded approvingly before letting out a sigh. "I can't control Loki anymore." He suddenly said, leaning more against his stick. "He wasn't always evil." The God emphasized that word. "He would sometimes take his jokes too far, causing pain. He would sometimes do unpleasant things to others without considering their own feelings. But…..he didn't used to be intentionally cruel."
"Are you trying to make me sympathize with him?" I raised an eyebrow. "Due to his actions, someone I care about almost died. He's just living on borrowed time right now as far as I'm concerned."
"And If I said I disagree with Loki facing your wrath? If I stood in your way?" Odin the Great God of the Norse. I felt his presence suddenly looming over me. No longer the frail old man he was pretending to be, but the God of War that the world would cower away from if he marched to battle.
However, I didn't react, I didn't back down from his presence that bore down on me. "Make sure it's the hill you want to die on."
The presence around him dissipated as quickly as it arrived, the God letting out a bark of laughter. "Hahaha! If I was a few centuries younger, I'd love to go a round or two."
"Please, you're talking like you don't sit at the peak of the world right now." I rolled my eyes.
He smiled smugly. "Pretty dang smart for someone so young. The young'uns these days, they look at that supposed list and think it's the end all, be all of power. But there's still a bunch of us old geezers that stepped back. The old Monkey is one example. Hel, you got one over in Japan too. Though, he sleeps all the time."
I blinked at his words. "Who?"
"The creator God of Japan, who else?"
"Izanagi." I breathed out his name.
"Mmm, that's the one." Odin nodded. "The Husband – or former of a Goddess you're familiar with. The pitiful woman that secludes herself in that dreary place."
"Hehe, got a cute little name for her, huh?" The God laughed again. "She's got a nice body and isn't bad on the eyes. Why not make her yours? It looks like you already got a bunch already."
"I didn't realize you were that close to her enough to try and set her up." I eyed him suspiciously. "Whenever she talks about you, it's not pleasant."
"Bah, that woman is too pitiful. Who wants to make fun of a lonely old woman who sits in the dark?" The Old God huffed.
"That's oddly kind of you."
"And if she starts banging a kid barely in his 20s then I can make fun of her for being a cougar." He gave a wide grin.
"And there it is." Though…that last bit felt less sincere. "So, what's the real reason?"
"Hmph." Odin's 'grin' disappeared immediately. "Really are smart of someone your age." He let out another sigh, looking up towards the sky. "I said before that I can't control Loki anymore. You know, back during the Great War, it was the most exciting time of my life. I am – was – a God of War. I relished in it when I conquered the Nine Realms and dug out my Kingdom upon Yggdrasil. Then, other Pantheons began warring, and we inevitably got drawn into it. And again, I loved it. The Greeks, the Egyptians, The Hindus, and even the Shinto. All across the world, everyone witnessed our might my might. I was Odin, the Great God that sat upon the Throne of Asgard."
"What happened?" I was a little curious.
"I led my armies from victory to victory. I was so enthralled with the battles, with the wars that erupted everywhere. I only thought about the next battle, the next conquest. And my dear Frigga, she supported me every step of the way. If it wasn't for her, Asgard would have fallen into ruin while they suffered under my warmongering. I don't even remember when it happened." A look of defeat overcame him. "What honor I was seeking, what I was trying to conquer. All I remember was the news that Asgard was attacked. It wasn't something new, enemies often sought to try and strike down our seat of power, but they were repulsed every time by the All-Mother, Frigga, in my stead. So, I paid it no mind, tossed the letter informing me aside and continued in my own arrogance. When I returned, my beautiful Kingdom was barely held together. But most importantly, my wife was no longer upon the throne, waiting for my triumphant return. The moment she died, so too did my ambition. I lost something of myself that day, the Great War God Odin would no longer appear. "
There was a complicated look on his face as he retold his past.
"Due to certain circumstances, Ragnarök was seemingly perpetually put on hold. I felt like I no longer had a purpose. So, once my Sons were old enough, I handed over the crown, and left." The Norse God breathed out. "Loki never forgave me for giving up. We had agreed, once upon a time, to fight our fates together. To fight against Ragnarök, to fight against our fated ends. But….I couldn't find the will in me anymore. This peace that came about, that put the end times on hold, it just further crumbled away any resolve I have."
"Temporary. It's only temporary." I muttered. "There's no way that Ragnarök was just put on hold. There has to be something more to it. Eventually, whatever Dam is blocking it, the tide will wash over."
Odin's eyes flashed. "You really are an intelligent kid. As expected of someone who was blessed by another version of me."
And like that, all my thoughts came to a screeching halt.
"What are –"
"Don't take me for a fool." His singular eye snapped towards me. Looking, gleaming every single response I had died instantly. It was as if he could see through everything I was currently thinking. "Do you think my blessing can just appear? It isn't hard to put together the clues when they were laid out so plainly. I'm curious how you got around that Red Lizard though. He's known for not letting anyone in or out."
"…..what do you want from me? Why are you telling me your life story?"
"It's funny. For being a so called 'God of Wisdom', I'm entirely unsure." He let out a mirthful chuckle again. "It's not like I expected this. It sounds outlandish to even think about, let alone just speak openly, but you basically confirmed it with your reaction. Those ladies you brought with you too, once I saw them, it was easy to put together. Luckily for you, I think I'm the only one. Even the Old Monkey was more concerned with the Daughter of his master you brought with you."
Well, small mercies I suppose. But now I have to deal with Odin knowing a rather valuable secret of mine.
"Oh, don't get your panties in a bunch. I'm not here to threaten you, brat." The God huffed. "I want your help."
"My help? What do you want me to help with? Aren't we already technically in an alliance?"
He snorted in response. "Please, that Fox of yours did a damn good job of stacking everything in your favor. Not to mention pushed all the dirty work on to us, and we even paid her for the opportunity. No, what I want is something else. Yggdrasil is dying."
My eyes widened at that reveal. "How is it dying? Wouldn't that mean Ragnarök already started?"
"You're right, Ragnarök already started." Odin confirmed without any fanfare. "Right as it began, it stopped. But things set in motion aren't so easily undone. Yggdrasil is a Tree. It grows, it blooms, and acorns drop to the ground. Eventually, the tree gets too old, too frail, or even nature could strike it. The Tree is toppled, falling to the ground. It breaks down, becoming nutrients for what was left behind. A new tree takes its place, nearly identical, but different to the previous one. The Cycle continues on."
"All this time, the World Tree has been slowly dying because your cycle should have already ended."
Ragnarök was a cycle. Just like Odin described, just like a tree.
"It's a secret, more so than even the Biblical God being dead. Not many even amongst our number know of it."
"Loki does, doesn't he?" I asked.
"He does." Odin didn't hide it. "I don't think he even cares about stopping his own fate anymore. I think he just wants to watch the world burn and dance on the ashes. According to you, he allied himself with others who just want to end the world."
"Why are you telling me?" I looked at him again. "What do you want from me?"
"Did you know? There are two kinds of beings that exist in this world. Those who want to preserve the world. Those who want to destroy the world." He stated, as if ignoring my question. "Loki was…..in the middle more or less, barely a step in any direction, undecided. It wouldn't be hard to nudge him onto a specific path. I said before, he was never intentionally cruel, but sometimes his nature poked through. However, I saw the potential in him. I took him into my court, befriended him, and made him my brother. I even helped him become a proper God. He felt betrayed by my actions, and he fell to the opposite end. He no longer cares about preserving what we fought for. Maybe, I knew what he was up to, that he had already gone off the deep end. But having it so blatantly thrown in my face, I can't hide from the truth anymore. I have a duty to uphold, to clean up my mess.
The great god turned towards me, looking oddly resolved.
"You asked me what I want? I want…..help." Odin's hands tightened around his stick - no, for a brief moment, I saw that Golden Spear that laid dormant underneath. "I'm going to make a bet. I had given up, thought fate was already predetermined, so I no longer cared to fight it. However, I now see an opportunity, so I am going to wager to see how far Fate can truly reach. You, who can leave this world and travel to others. I, All-Father, Great God of Asgard, Odin. I am asking you for your help in stopping Ragnarök."
So, this chapter gave me some trouble. My original intent was to go all around, the back and forth of what they're giving and such. But...I realized that it wasn't really all that important? The negotiations had basically been 'won' already before that point, so just a brief coverage of it to clean up felt more appropriate. It would have just been more regurgitated of what the last few chapters were, and at that point, it would feel sort of dragging on, and I didn't want that since this whole thing lasted 4 huge chapters already. So, chapter basically cleaned up the last bit off screen as everyone begins going their seperate ways with a few things from Odin and Sun Wukong. Got an interlude from Sirzechs next.
Also, sorry for the late chapter, the one over on pat is a chunky one that took me awhile to wrap up. Next chapter will be out Tuesday/Wednesday some time. If you want to read 7 chapters ahead or support me, visit my p.a.t.r.e.o.n.c.o.m / astoryforone