As Achelous glowered at the pool he felt the anger in his heart subside a little. The demigod had neither crawled out, nor broken to the surface. That rascal could've drowned, but he knew better. Poseidon's blessing, no matter how weak, granted one the ability to breathe underwater. He couldn't sense the half-blood's life force but that could also be the work of the darn blessing. He should've attacked before the bastard drank from the flask, but he'd underestimated him. He didn't think a 12-year-old mortal could harm him, a god.

He pawed the ground, or water, in annoyance, as he tried to sense the demigod, but it was in vain. The bastard seemed to have disappeared. Had the demigod really died? If so, he had found some modicum of peace. Herakles had torn out a part of his heart when he took Deianira away from him, and now he would do the same. If Herakles felt merely a hundredth of the pain he suffered through during the past millennia, he would be satisfied.

His eyes returned to their usual mournful state, and his glasses reformed, but just as he was about to dissolve back into his river, he spotted something odd at the very edges of the pool. He would've usually disregarded it, but it had something which he could not ignore - Divinity. Poseidon's divinity to be exact. He hesitated for a second, remembering the demigod possessing the Earthshaker's blessing. Was this his spoil of war? Or was it a trap? He shook his bovine neck, even if it was a trap, so what? The demigod was strong. Truly strong, living up to his father's name, but he was no match for a god. The armour he had was powerful, and so was his axe, but what he was most wary of was that demon mask. He could not see through it.

He cantered over to the pool, keeping an eye out for anything unusual, but when he caught sight of the object, his godly heart skipped a beat.

A sand dollar was stuck between two small rocks next to the pool. It looked normal enough, but it was anything but. It contained the divinity of the second most powerful Olympian. He wrenched the sand dollar out using his mind and brought it closer, his eyes widening when he confirmed that it really was what it looked like.

The sand dollar was probably from the demigod. It was certainly suspicious, but he couldn't care less. It was extremely valuable to him, almost as valuable as his horn, although he would never part with it. If he could absorb the divinity in this sand dollar....perhaps....he could restore a part of the power and glory he had in the days of yore. The days when he was worshipped as the God of freshwater, the chief amongst his three thousand late brothers, and as the longest river in Greece.

He snorted as he thought of the old days. Just how far had he fallen? He was now the only one left among his siblings, who had all long faded into Khaos, and was stuck on an island that did not exist, next to his most hated enemy as a mere husk of himself. A shadow.

He released a small tendril of divinity and inserted it into the sand dollar, finding a large concentration of foreign divinity that was just waiting to be absorbed. The divinity of an Olympian, however small, was enough to greatly strengthen a minor god, and to Achelous, a broken god, it was priceless. He grinned, and imagined regaining his glory but was interrupted by a loud thud to his right.

He turned around to find a red and blue blur slam into him, taking him off his hoofs and throwing him onto the river bank.


Athos and Achelous both slammed onto the river bank hard, but the river god was either far more disoriented or just wasn't used to having ground beneath his feet, as Athos recovered far quicker. He got to his feet and grabbed one of the god's four legs before spinning him around and throwing him further away from the river bank, into a large pine tree that promptly broke into two.

"AAAARGH! DEMIGOD! GIVE IT BACK!", the god roared, slowly getting to his feet while numerous leaves and twigs made his curly hair their home. He looked around in confusion before realising, much to his indignation, that the demigod was standing between him and his river.

"YOU! Out of my way!", Achelous growled before lowering his head and charging, going full bull mode.

Athos' brain immediately went into overdrive, trying to find the best possible way to respond. He couldn't dodge, else all the effort he put into getting Achelous away from the river would be for nought. He needed to stop the god's advance and all he had was his strength. Moreover, he needed to defeat the god before his blessing ran out lest he wanted to drown. Leviathan reformed around his finger but that wasn't it.

He still had one card up his sleeve. His strongest card.

The Oni half-mask morphed into its full, menacing form, covering the entirety of his face.

"AARGH!", Athos boomed as his veins bulged and his irises turned blood-red. An aura of death and brutality filled the air as the outline of a twenty-foot-tall red Oni formed behind him, grabbing the green trident and absorbing it. He felt unstoppable, boundless, invincible. His back bent down in a feral hunch as thoughts of violence took over his mind. The strength he previously had, felt negligible, but he knew this new-found strength wouldn't last for long. Power did not come without a price.

He stomped the ground cracking the earth, which made Achelous' advance falter. He exploited that hitch, blasting forward and grabbing onto Achelous' bovine neck, ramming him into the ground. He then launched a left hook that broke the ground further and earned a godly yell of pain.

"WHY?! WHY WON'T YOU LEAVE ME BE?!", Achelous wailed as Athos rained down punch after punch, beating the god into the ground and causing large amounts of environmental damage. When he was done, his hands were stained with gold and Achelous was an ichory mess. The potamus' wounds were still healing, it was impossible to truly kill a god after all. He bent down and grabbed the god's horn, summoning Leviathan.

"W..why?...What..have..I.....What have I ever done to you?", the god mumbled, his face an unrecognizable mess.

Athos did not answer, cleanly slicing off the horn and storing it in his watch, before bounding away toward the beach, his every step covering large patches of land, but the words stuck. He grit his teeth and shoved them to the back of his head, focusing on getting back to his father. If he collapsed here, Achelous may recover and seek vengeance.

A few minutes passed as he continued leaping over boulders and he could feel his strength slowly start to leave him. With one last push, he vaulted over a large hill and crashed onto the white, sandy beach below.

He groaned in pain and saw a familiar figure materialize next to him.

"It's about time. Did you really let him beat you up that much? Humph! You shouldn't be this weak", the figure grunted and crossed its arms.

"I take after you dad", Athos grinned, before the last dregs of strength in his body slipped away.


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