The doors opened with Lord Blentus and Lord Boros turning their heads to the door. Lord Boros chuckled as he saw Vidian at the door, "Come in," His voice bellowed, similar to Lord Orn's, "I was waiting for you," He stood up from his black throne. He was massive, nearly four heads taller than Vidian, wearing sheathed blade on his back. His right arm was covered in a thorny armor with a gauntlet with spikes on its knuckles. His left hand had a glove that was made of black leather with metal bumps on the knuckles. He wore no shirt and had thick leather pants, similar to the ones Vidian had, but at a much larger size. Lord Boros also had two large horns that curled slightly. He walked down to Vidian and eyeballed him, "Lord Eternum sent you, ha, you are a joke."
"Lord Boros, you know that I am no joke, I came here for a reason."
"I know, do you think I am an idiot?" He clapped his hands and two more gods appeared, "Meet my gods, will you?"
"Lady Sinestra, Lord Insantiuny and Lord Blentus, I know them, Lord Boros."
"Good," He sat down on his throne once more, "You will now begin my work, there are no breaks and if you fail once, you repeat everything," The doors slammed shut, "If you want to quit, you will just repeat everything, but note that once the work starts, there are no breaks until the end."
"Yes, Lord Boros."
"Blentus will give you the first task, go with him," Vidian nodded his head and followed Lord Blentus down several flights of stairs and down several long hallways. They entered a room that had four braziers lighting up a sort of arena in the middle of the room, a square arena with small pillars at each end and three ropes as the sides. Vidian looked at it curiously.
"This is my work, the work of suffering, you and I will be in that arena, for several hours and you will have to withstand my attacks without quitting, of course, you can try to defend yourself, but you might find that worse for yourself."
"Are you going to use the hammer?"
"No, of course not, no need," He pulled off his hammer and tossed it to the side before doing the same with his cloak, revealing a large body that was chiseled, each of his muscles seemed to be trying to fight to show how defined it was. He wore large leather boots that were held together with a chain that acted like a shoelace for each of the boots. His wore black leather pants with a large, gold and silver belt holding them. He hopped onto the edge of the ring and then entered it. Vidian removed Lady Fryida's mask and placed it on a table, next to Lord Blentus's things. Lord Blentus gestured for him to remove the amulet. Vidian looked at him and then placed both hands on the amulet and tried to remove it, but it resisted him and stayed around his neck. He shrugged and Lord Blentus simply gestured for him to enter the ring. Vidian imitated him as he entered the ring, "Is there a way to get rid of these wings, Lord Inventaariy?"
"Hmm, well, Vidian, you can get rid of them by simply forcing them, they will be gone, but you won't be needing them, I don't believe that this work will need them, nor will you need them to get to the Death of the World."
"Um, there, I am ready," As he said that, Lord Blentus appeared behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist and threw him backwards. Vidian slammed onto his shoulders and then rolled onto his feet and stood up. Lord Blentus appeared in front of him and his fist streaked across Vidian's face, turning his head 90 degrees. Vidian swung back at him but his fist got blocked by Lord Blentus's open palm and then he was pulled forwards and slammed onto the floor, back first. Vidian took more time to get up.
"Get up," Lord Blentus said as he stalked him, pacing around him. Vidian stood up and lifted his arms to defend himself. Lord Blentus appeared in front of him again and grabbed one of his arms and pulled him to launch him at the ropes that pushed him back into and swing from his massive arm, making Vidian flip onto his stomach on the floor. Lord Blentus picked him up with his arms under Vidian's shoulders and hooked his hands behind his head. He lifted him from the floor and slammed him again on the floor. Vidian curved back as his back took another big hit. Lord Blentus dragged him to one of the corners and jumped onto the top of one of the pillars, before standing completely straight and then launched himself into the air, back flipping and then landing with his back on the floor as Vidian rolled out of the way but was still caught by his feet that hit his back, "Go back to the corner, and stand still."
"What?" As he finished his word, Lord Blentus appeared in front of him and a knee drove itself into Vidian's stomach before he was lifted into the air and brought to the floor head first. He saw stars as Lord Blentus picked him up and launched him out of the arena, onto the hard floor. He staggered up to his feet as Lord Blentus pushed off of the ropes and hit him, slamming him back to the floor. Lord Blentus seemed unaffected by any of his self inflicted damage. He put Vidian back into the ring, not giving him any time to recover and climbed onto the pillar once more as Vidian tried to regain his senses. He was lifted his back from the floor as Lord Blentus flew from the pillar and hit the back of his head with his shin, slamming his face into the ring floor, making his nose burst blood and stunning him again. He rolled onto his back as Lord Blentus stood above him, "I don't quit."
"I didn't ask," He pulled him to unstable feet and took out his legs, Vidian pushed himself up from the ground before Lord Blentus took his legs out from under him again. He looked at the ground, still not completely recovered and got up again and Lord Blentus threw himself at his legs and made him tumble to the floor. Vidian regained his senses and his eyes were wide open. He got up and avoided Lord Blentus's predictable strike, his eyes saw much more detail than before, his mind seemed to be pushing itself as a survival tool. He dodged another swing from Lord Blentus, his eyes kept jumping around and seeing every movement and detail. He ducked away from a blink behind him by Lord Blentus before blocking a massive blow as Lord Blentus used his arm like a sword and swung it down at him after appearing in front of him. He felt his heartbeat begin to increase as pain showed up in his body. He could no longer sense things as he did. Lord Blentus clobbered the back of his head with an axe kick that dropped him, stunning him completely as his face hit the floor with more blood spurting out of his nose on the impact, "Do you quit?" Vidian slowly got to his knees and then another kick his him in the back, "Do you quit?" Vidian placed his foot on the floor and tried to get up before Lord Blentus grabbed one of his legs and turned him him head over heels and spiking him into the floor, stunning him again, "Do you quit? Swallow your pride and quit!" Vidian slowly began getting up once more, "You are better than I thought," He helped Vidian to his feet before making him hit the ropes and as he tried to keep his balance, he turned and Lord Blentus, who had also pushed off of the ropes, speared him and stopped him completely and even pushed him back, slamming him to the floor once more. Lord Blentus rolled onto his back and kicked himself up to his feet, "Do you quit?"
"N-No," He said, pushing his weak body from the floor and trying to get to his feet, "I don't," Lord Blentus spun and kicked him in the guts, making him fold over and fall backwards once more, "Argh, that hurts."
"Okay then," Lord Blentus picked him up from the floor and placed his back on his shoulders as he carried him to the corner of the ring and then pushed him in front of him, making Vidian land back first on his knees. He winced in pain as Lord Blentus pulled himself onto the pillar once more. He spread his arms and then launched himself into the air, twisting and turning in the air, before bringing all his weight down onto Vidian's chest and rolling to his feet, standing above Vidian, "Do you quit!" Lord Blentus shouted as Vidian could barely move, "DO YOU QUIT!" Vidian hit the floor, "Do you quit or want another one?"
"I was expecting it, Kaylyi!" A woman walked into the room, "Patch him up, he is nearly out of it, make sure he is ready for tomorrow morning, no pain, no bruises, no broken bones," He said as she climbed into the ring, "He did put up a good fight though, I like this guy," She picked Vidian effortlessly from the ground and placed him on her shoulder before leaving the ring and walking out of the room with his mask in her left hand as Lord Blentus wiped his body of Vidian's blood, without having broken a sweat. He pulled his cloak back on and swung his hammer onto his back before leaving the room himself.
He woke up and saw Kaylyi above him seemingly mending his body, "Um, what?"
"Oh, you are awake, how do you feel?"
"Dizzy, in pain, what else."
"I'll make sure you feel better for tomorrow," She said as she finished wrapping his left leg with bandages, "What did he do to you? And why does he want you ready for tomorrow?"
"I came here to collect Lord Boros's blessing, so I guess I have to suffer as the first work."
"You aren't a simple worshiper then?"
"No, I assume I am not."
"Since he seemed to have taken his liberties with your body and your face," She said, moving herself so that she was closer to his face, "Did he stand on one of the pillars and spread his arms before launching himself at you?"
"I think he did, but everything is hazy."
"You know, I do this with a lot of people, but for you I have to ready you for tomorrow, since a lot of people come to allow him to beat them up."
"What? Why? That was horrible, why would you want to do this?"
"You are doing it, so clearly you have a reason, but these gods have the reputation of making anyone as impenetrable as the Temple of the Gods."
"Legend has it that many year ago, a man wanted to become strong, stronger than any man was, he came here and Lord Blentus trained him, the same way he trains all the people seeking his help, so much so that one day, the man felt no more pain, even the hardest blows that Lord Blentus did nothing."
"What happened afterwards?"
"Lord Blentus told this to Lord Boros, who then trained the man himself, and the same thing happened, he was immune to pain, nothing affected him," She said as she moved his nose back into its regular position and began holding it with bandages, "He had come and gotten what he desired."
"Did someone take care of him?"
"My great grandmother did."
"I assume the caretaker role runs in the family?"
"A little, the men are priests of Lord Blentus and Lord Insantiuny, and the women are the caretakers of the temple."
"And Lady Sinestra?"
"My family doesn't get involved with her acts like the others, long story."
"I guess then that I won't ask you."
"Better for it to be hidden."
"If you say so," He then paused, "Am I not heavy?"
"For me you are light as a feather, why?"
"I thought I was heavy."
"You are, just not for me."
"You don't look all that strong."
"Thank you, I'll take it as a compliment."
"Sorry, not wanting to insult you."
"My family is part demon, that is why."
"Oh, um, that came out of nowhere."
"My great grandmother was full demon, a daughter of Lady Sinestra, so I am only part-demon, so I have some, you could call them powers."
"That is interesting," He said as she lifted his right arm, "My arms are fine, do the rest of my body."
"Why is that?"
"They are barely part of my body," He said as the arm she was holding gained spikes and plated shells, making her jump and move her hands away from his arms, "As you can see," His arm turned back into a human arm, "They recover very quickly, but I meant to ask, do people come here often?"
"Yes, they do," She said as she pushed his arm up and began massaging his chest and stomach, "That move where Lord Blentus jumps in the air like that is his favorite, people cheer when they see him ready it."
"I feel like someone regular would die if they took that punishment."
"Some have, but they are willing to, Lady Sinestra has killed more people than both Lord Blentus and Lord Insantiuny combined."
"Great," He sighed, "Does Lord Boros ever get directly worshiped?"
"Yes, but by very few, his worship often kills his followers, meaning that most will simply want to worship his gods, only the near death people of the town worship him as he is said to cleanse the soul before they die and therefore not be lost souls instead, be accepted into Lord Malvenon's realm."
"How long have you been working here?"
"45 years, why?"
"You look like you are my age."
"Charming, I am nearly 63."
"How do you look that young?"
"Demons age very slowly, allowing them to reach further than the oldest, regular mortals," She said as she made him sit up and began bandaging his torso, "You look like Lord Blentus, how did you get to that point?"
"A lot of work."
"And the scars on your back?"
"Whips and rods, from my childhood."
"How old are you?"
"And these were when?"
"From very young to, maybe 14 or 13 years of age?"
"Oh wow, it seems almost as a pattern, but not something I would recognize."
"If you say so, I don't care about them, they are behind me."
"Nice joke, how long did it take you to think of that one?"
"Not very long, I always said it but then a natura heard me say it and asked if I was joking, I believe."
"Ah, so that wasn't intended as a joke."
"No, it wasn't."
"Why are you here?"
"To collect my final blessing."
"Final? Of what?"
"All eleven of them."
"So you have 10?"
"Well, actually all 12, the amulet is one as well."
"Okay," She said as she washed her hands in a bowl of water, "You should be able to recover for tomorrow, but for the concussion you won't be perfect for a few hours."
"The head injury, you will have some bad headaches for a little while."
"Okay, that is fine, I think, thank you."
"Don't thank me, just doing my job," She said, moving around the room, he began looking around it, mainly , "Curious about me or the room?"
"The room, why do you assume I am looking at you?"
"You are a man, and I have been told that I look good in the past, and the fact that your mind will be slightly weakened, maybe you just happened to be think of my behind more than the room you are in."
"What did you put on me?"
"Recoveritinoli Sap, a plant that grows in volcanic rocks, it has supernatural mending characteristics, so I put it over your body, your nose might be a little scarred but I believe that you should be perfect for tomorrow," She took out a rolled up mattress and took out a blanket with it, "Pillow or no pillow?"
"None is fine."
"Okay," She walked over to a bed that was already made in the room and slid a board from under it and then moved it a few meters from the bed and rolled out the mattress and the blanket, "There, your bed for the time you are here."
"I'm guessing that is your bed."
"Yes, it is, so no funny business."
"Where did that come from?"
"Once again, experience, I have killed several men for trying to get me to have sex with them in the past," She said as she pulled off a long, white glove from her revealing a black hand with red, pulsing markings and three jewels in her skin, "If I hit you with this, I could send even Lord Blentus back slightly."
"Yep, being part demon gives me the appearance of a human and some powers of demons," She said as she walked over to a stone table where a bowl of dry food sat, "Let me show you," She took out a hard shelled nut and placed it between her thumb and index finger and it cracked into several parts without her straining, "This hand is very powerful," Vidian joined her at the table, "You will still be sore for a while."
"I don't feel much pain."
"Hard work, from childhood to now."
"Ah, tough guy, huh?"
"No, I just try to get stronger all the time."
"Have you ever felt that type of pain?"
"From Lord Blentus? No, never, that was, more, more than anything else, simply overwhelming."
"He is fast for that size, well," She giggled, "He is a god."
"No really? I thought he was a regular human."
"Not going to lie, you are impressive as well."
"What do you mean?"
"You got up more than any other man that faced him, and kept going until you couldn't move, and were probably knocked out for the second time."
"So you saw him hit me with that leap."
"Yes, I did," She said, breaking another hard-shelled nut with her fingers, "Are you going to open that one?"
"Yeah, one second," He said as his fingers morphed and created two wedges, he placed the nut in between them and it opened easily in two, "There."
"Hey, you are half-demon, I am blessed."
"True, but you are more of a mortal than me."
"Yeah, but you know, in the end only death will remains."
"What did you say?" The two of them turned and saw Lord Boros standing at the door, "Where have you heard that, boy?" His steps shook the ground as his massive body walked in, "Speak."
"Then it is nothing," He laughed, "I got ahead of myself."
"Lord Boros, why do gods react to that weirdly?"
"I know why, but you will understand soon."
"What do you mean?"
"If I wanted to be clear, boy, I would explain, wouldn't I?"
"Then I don't want to be clear, use the thing between your ears a little more," He said as he left once more, "Kaylyi, Blentus told you what he wanted, right?"
"Yes, Lord Boros, I have him getting ready."
"Not that, the other task, he gave you two tasks, I know that."
"Oh, yes, excuse me, Lord Boros, I will have that ready."
"What other thing?"
"You will see."
"Tomorrow, like he said you really need to-"
"Use the thing between my ears some more, yeah, I know, but that head injury, well, right now I am not in perfect shape," He said before yawning, he stood up and walked to the mat on the floor and lay down, "I haven't slept in forever."
"You are more curious about me than I am about you."
"Of course I am, you are different to the men I know."
"I don't need to sleep with my blessing."
"But you can?"
"And I will," He said closing his eyes and quickly drifting to sleep.
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