This took far longer than I wanted it to. Well, it was kinda fun to write, so I suppose that's not a bad thing.

Hope this chapter is somewhat enjoyable.

Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Campione! Those rights go to Taketsuki Jou.

Ptolemaida, Greece

January 5th, 1998

The city of Ptolemaida, despite all of the pollution produced by its numerous and massive power stations, was quite a beautiful sight to behold in the winter. To the people of Greece it stood as one of the only cities where snowfall in the winter was not an uncommon occurrence. To the residents of the city, the snow provided a perfect excuse to stay inside, huddling with the family, and to share warmth by the fire. The winter season, although it brings many transportation problems, is always a time that is especially appreciated by the local populace. If they can actually afford those luxuries, then the winter is a time of peace and quiet. For those that can't, winter is comparable to the Ninth Circle of Hell.

For every rich man, there are at least five hundred poor men. For every five hundred poor men, there is one poor soul who hasn't a penny to their name, someone who doesn't have the luxury of sitting beside their nonexistent fireplace with their fictitious family within their imaginary home. These people are the ones that mortals and gods alike look upon with disgust, even though their misfortune is not their fault. Those that hold within themselves a touch of sympathy might just pretend not to see in order to allow these poor people to retain whatever pride that the world left them with.

It is in this manner, this selective awareness, that the street-dwellers are forgotten. The mind quickly forgets what it doesn't want to remember, after all. If even one person had bothered to pay attention, then perhaps they would have noticed how peculiar a certain little girl was. Perchance it was better that they had not minded the girl, however, because if they had…

Well, then the little girl might've been put to death before she had her chance to become King!

In one of the filthier areas of the city, in a dark, dank, deserted alleyway, a small girl began to weave. Her hands were empty, but her mind was clear; she cut herself off from the rest of the world. The various distractions- the smell of smoke, the sound of engines, and the touch of the blistering cold were all forgotten. Her spool was not in her hands, but in her mind, and it began to unravel. The yarn followed her previously constructed mental draft, conforming to the shape of the object she wanted to create. It was a delicate process, but not a difficult one; she had memorized the steps a long time ago and put her skills to practice almost every day since.

When the manufacturing was completed, the girl felt the new construct materialize in her hands. She glided her hands around the surface of her creation, checking for any mistakes or impurities; she was not one for imperfection, and any piece of hers that was flawed was not fit to be sold. The perfect ones didn't really sell well either, but at least she felt more pride in her work. Pride, even when all else was lost, was one thing that she could never abandon.

A short while later and the girl's inspection was completed. She smiled slightly in smug satisfaction, her creation having met her high standards, and then started to repeat the manufacturing process all over again. Selling one quilt, perfect as it may be, would not earn her enough to ensure her survival for another day.

When it was time for her to set up shop, she folded and then gathered her twenty newly-made silken quilts and left the comfort of the dark alleyway, making herself known to the world. Well, most of the world, anyway. The other people never bothered to even look at her unless they were drawn in by her exquisite craftsmanship.

With that somber thought on her mind, she made her way to her self-designated 'Marketing Spot' that was located in a better area of town, populated by people who had great wealth to their name. She brought out a thick mat (made of silk, of course) to sit her quilts and her person on, and began her long day of trying to get her 'betters' to get over their reluctance to buy wares from a dirty street-dweller child.

Many hours later of sitting with her (self-proclaimed) adorable smile adorning her features and the girl had finally been able to sell all but one of her quilts. Now all she had to do was gather up her mat and-


-get some food first. And with that, she left her mat and journeyed across the street to the bakery.

After securing her dinner, and her food for the next three days, the girl began her walk back to her mat. She took out a slice of bread and began munching on it- not for the taste, but for the sustenance. She didn't exactly have an idea as to what 'taste' and 'smell' meant anyway, so she didn't think herself unfortunate. As they say, 'It's hard to miss something you've never-'

Her current train of thought grounded to a halt.

As she neared closer and closer, she realized that something was amiss. The sound of people walking, of engines revving, of birds chirping…they were all gone. All was as silent, like the world around her had forgotten its melody. The snowfall halted in its descent, becoming as still as the moon. A momentary eternity had fallen upon the world.

The girl began to panic. Had the world itself finally excluded her as well? Had the flow of time forgotten her, just as everything else seemed to do? Or… had she finally been deprived of her last two senses? Oddly, that thought scared her even more than the flow of time never resuming. Hadn't the world already taken enough from her? Hasn't she already endured more suffering than ten grown men put together? It wasn't fair! Why her! She had suffered ENOU-

"Mortal! End thy hysteric state and answer to my query: Art thou the maker of this divine silk?"

The sound of a deep, distinct male voice broke her out of her delirious state. It spoke in an archaic fashion, yet the clarity of the voice suggested that the man who spoke with it was young, maybe thirty or thirty-five at most. However, the oddest thing about this newcomer wasn't the mix-match of his style of speaking and apparent age.

Pure power flowed to her through the words, commanding her to submit and obey. She opened her mouth to reply, momentarily forgetting that she never had the ability to speak. Instead, she tried with her actions to convey her disability to the man, frantically moving her hands around her mouth and clamped it shut, then repeated the process in hopes that the message would get across.

"Hoh? Thou art dumb? It matters not. Nod thy head for confirmation, shake it for denial."

As quickly as her neck would allow, she nodded her head to confirm his suspicions. She knew that she would die if she dared to ignore or lie to this man. She didn't know why she knew that, but the fact was as clear as day to her. She awaited his next words, praying that she would be spared of his wrath. However, nothing prepared her for his next action…

"HAHAHAHAHAHA!" he guffawed, "So this is what happened to you! How pitiable! How tragic! How fitting! You, whose story is one of nothing but degradation! Grandmother, Trickster, and now we have our Mute Girl? Why, is the Cycle beginning yet again, Mother?"

His laughter was deafening to her already enhanced hearing, causing her to crouch and clutch her head in pain. It also didn't help that it seemed like something deep within the pit of her stomach was revolting. This man's words…they made her sick!

Her body was beyond her control. Her adorable face twisting in rage at his mockery. Already, an image was forming in her mind. The spool was there, but the thread was bigger, thicker, and sharper. It isn't going to be a basket that is formed this time. No, 'she' was going to create another one of 'her' masterpieces, like 'she' had done all those years ago.

'She' was going to create a new Tapestry, and 'she' knew which god was going to be the focus this time.

"O sinful, immoral deity, let thy true nature be uncovered!"

Spider silk was being created in surging waves, like a dam bursting. The silk flooded the ground, covering the entire area of the city, leaving no ground uncovered. It weaved around the streets and buildings for miles all around, creating a new piece of sorts with the man at the middle. All 'she' needed to do now was to pull the wire quickly and then the man in the center would be sliced to pieces.

When the silk touched the man, whom she could see was still standing in place, a smug look having found its way onto his features, information wracked her brain. Once again, a surging headache emerged, accompanying images of various other forms- all relating to the concept of time. However, whatever was borrowing her body left her no time to continue processing the images before she continued her chant:

"Thou art guilty of what thou judge mortals for! May thy hypocrisy bring about thine demise! Become This One's masterpiece, Tapestry of the-"

"THAT IS ENOUGH!" the man- the god- bellowed.

Suddenly, she felt and saw a large hand on her shoulder, pressing onto her with a force that threatened to dislocate the bone from her body. But instead of breaking her bones, the god pushed a spiraling surge of power into her body, blasting her body away from him.

The power inside her body burned and twisted something at her core. The thing that had taken away her body's freedom must have felt it too, because it began letting out a cacophony of screaming and howling in pain.

Slowly, the girl began to regain control of her own limbs and thoughts. Each part of her resubmitting itself under her control as she struggled to regain her bearings. The sea of webs that she had projected from her mindscape started to flow in reverse, slowly finding their way back to her person before disappearing altogether. Sadly, the reversion didn't stop there. Slowly, she could see that her sight was beginning to fade. The savory aroma of freshly baked bread was forgotten by her senses. Even the cold, dry taste of the air began to disappear.

Once again, the small girl found herself panicking. Even though she had only had her senses for one moment...even though she was used to the hardship of being blind...the thought of losing this bright and beautiful world to everlasting darkness was terribly frightening to her. It was always easy for her just to blame it on bad luck, to say that it couldn't be helped. She had never known light, smell, or taste, so it was easy to forsake them. Now, however, it was tantalizing. Never before had she felt so naked, like she had been wronged in the most unforgivable manner and she hadn't even known it until the moment she had been offered a glimpse of what the world took from her.

And she was too powerless to do anything about it.

"That is quite the splendid visage of rage, Mute."

She whipped her body around when the God of Time spoke. His authoritative tone suggested that, despite how large and powerful 'her' attack was, it was nothing at all to him. To her astonishment, he was not even winded.

"Why art thou surprised? Did thou truly dare to entertain the thought that such a paltry maneuver could have harmed mine divine form? If it was any other mortal, I would have decimated them for their hubris," he stated casually, as if he were saying "I think I'm going to go to the supermarket to buy eggs for dinner." "However, thou art unalike other mortals. Thine destiny hast been decided by the Fates, and it is most interesting indeed. It seems thou hast been granted the honor of being slain by a goddess tomorrow! A minor one, yet a goddess nevertheless. Well? Dost thou feel honored, mortal?"

She didn't. Honor? Honor be damned! She was peeved. Really peeved. She had wasted the past two years in poverty, dealing with horrible abuse and bearing the constant aches caused by malnutrition, all for nothing?

It was her dream to be noticed. She wanted nothing more than the bare minimum, yet she was denied even that. However, she had not lost hope. Hope was her drive, her motivation, and the only thing left to live for. Maybe one day the people of the city would accept her. Maybe she would be adopted by a family; she didn't mind if the family was poor, as long as they actually cared for her. Maybe...maybe then she could enjoy her life, like any other child.

Maybe she could finally be normal.

HA! She was always deluding herself with 'hope'. There was no hope for her; she knew she was a damned existence ever since she woke up in that accursed alleyway, cold and alone with no comfort to be found!

She was peeved. Not at the world, not at her inescapable fate, but at the fact that she had wasted two years enduring a hellish life deluding herself. Hope truly was the evilest of all evils released into the world.

"Oh? Despairing so quickly, art thou? And here I stood, thinking that I wouldst offer thee an exchange," he stated, his voice carrying amusement. The little girl slowly raised her head to look up at the god with unseeing eyes and a weary expression. Seeing that he now somewhat had her attention, the god began again. "I offer you a deal, mortal. I will give you a chance at denying your fate." The girl's jaw slowly dropped as she processed the god's words. Is it really true? Could she...could she really gain another chance? So easily? "In exchange, thou shall greet me in battle when next us meet, many years from now, to ensure that thou hast time to gain greater might. Well, what say thee?"

Was it true? Could she embrace that Evil -the one called 'Hope'- once again? She was reluctant to accept. Not because the deal was bad- no, the deal favored her too much. Why? Was the god so desperate for a good battle? If that was so, then why? What could drive someone to the point that they would defy the Fates just for one battle?

"Thou should understand me the best, no?"

What did he mean by...oh. Was that it? For such a simple reason? Anyone else would have laughed; It was such a stupid reason, something so out of the realm of common sense that it couldn't be seen as anything but a joke. To her, it was painfully clear. The god was right; she really did understand him. She understood all too well. She had borne the same pain since she started her life, after all. How had he done it? How was he still sane, after all this time? Or, was he really still sane at all? Did he really continue to live just so he could chase after a dream that was likely never going to come to fruition, going as far as to place all of his hopes in a weak little girl like her? She wanted to find out. She was sure that the next time they met, she would receive her answer. For now, though, she would do everything she could to get stronger- for her dream, and maybe his as well.

"Enough about me. Hast thou arrived at an answer?"

She nodded her head slowly. If she was being offered another lease on life, and he really had no ulterior motives, then she had no reason to refuse. Adding to that, even if she was going to be killed by the god later, she would still get to live a few years more. From her perspective, she couldn't have been offered a better deal. It wasn't like her to despair so easily. She could've given up many times before, but she always pressed on, and now...this time would be no different. She'd rather live and suffer for her dream than to die a worthless husk of what she once considered herself to be. She would live on, and she would try again, doing whatever it would take to actualize her dreams.

"Then with this, mortal, our covenant is sealed! I'll grant thou the tool that thou shalt use to rise to power. In mine hands, this weapon acted as a catalyst for mine time manipulation. It stood as a symbol of mine power. For thou, However...well, it should be far more interesting!" the god exclaimed, a great big maniacal smile plastered on his face. He then proceeded to mutter a few words, causing his hand to glow with a brilliant golden light. He placed his glimmering hand on her forehead and forced the light to transfer from him to her.

As the light poured into her, her body began to reject it. It was useless to her. A catalyst was useless without something that could be used to activate it, and she was no manipulator of time. She began to convulse, her various limbs seemingly having gained autonomy. Like she was having some kind of wicked seizure, her body erupted into a twisted dance. It hurt. Everything hurt. Yet still, the god did not remove his hand. She had no way to escape the torturing pain that plagued her body. She was going to die- if not from melted insides, then from shock, if she didn't do anything.

And so, with the little consciousness she had left, she ordered her body to transform the light. She needed to get rid of the current time manipulating powers that the weapon carried within it and morph the weapon's properties to fit her better. What did she need? What was it she needed to help her make her dreams into a reality?

She needed to end her state of powerlessness. She didn't need to be powerful, but she didn't want to lack complete control over her life like she did now. She envied others. She envied those that were given the luxury the luxury to choose. She wanted nothing more than to be like them.

Her body began acting in accordance with her wish. The properties of the weapon were removed, and the weapon began to lose its shape. Quickly, it was reforged, but this time with a different ability. It became a weapon that was perfect for her.

The next thing she knew, she felt the cold touch of smooth metal in her hands. She ran her hand carefully over the object, trying to get a feel for its shape and figure out what it was. A smooth pole connecting to a blade...a crescent blade connected to a pole...was this a scythe? The tool used for mowing and reaping?

"How interesting indeed...a much more fitting power than that weapon carried in mine hands! Once, it was a Harpe, but now it is a scythe. Once, it was a catalyst, now it is a Blade of Envy! Be proud, mortal. This is now a weapon which is worthy of being wielded by the primordial deities themselves. Allow me to name thy creation, child, for a blade such as this deserves nothing less than an epithet granted by the gods." she weakly nodded her head at him, so he continued. "For an eternity ever after, this weapon shall be known across the land, by mortals and deities alike, as 'The Scythe of Usurpation!' It is a weapon forged once by Gaea and now reforged through its wielder's will!"

'The Scythe of Usurpation'... a perfect name for her weapon.

"I'll grant thee the honor of crafting the chant, mortal, but thee best be quick about it; The moment of truth draws near." He grew silent for a moment before opening his mouth to speak again. "I suppose it is time to depart. It saddens me, but I can rest assured that thou shalt become much more powerful. If thou happen to meet one of mine children, tell them that Kronos sends his regards, will thee?" With those words spoken, the world began to move once again.

The girl's exhaustion finally caught up with her, and she passed out.

The next day, midday

Her awakening was not a pleasant one. Someone was shaking her shoulders roughly, jerking her body with every movement and yelling something into her ear. Her face scrunched up in displeasure at being forced out of her much needed rest. That is, until she realized what the feminine voice was saying…

"Hurry! You can't stay here! It's too dangerous, run!"

And then it all came back. Today was the day, wasn't it? The day that would decide her fate.

She shrugged off the hands belonging to the young woman and rose to her feet. She turned to face the direction in which a great magnitude a divine energy stemmed from. It was like Kronos's energy, but it was much weaker. To be fair, she doubted that nothing she could ever encounter would have a greater presence than Father Time.

It was reassuring, to say the least. She knew that the goddess would have much greater power than her, but she thought that it was going to be neigh impossible for her to win. Having one's first supernatural encounter with one of the greatest gods in existence tended to skew one's perception, it seems. But this goddess...she was weak. Something within her almost wanted to sneer and snicker at the prospect of her failing to kill such a weak deity. With that as reassurance, the girl began to walk toward the thing that everyone else was fleeing from.

"Wait! Child, you need to run away! There's something terrible in that direction, so you need to turn back, okay?" she couldn't respond, so after a moment of pondering, she turned around and stuck up her thumb in a gesture of reassurance. "'s okay? You've got this…?" The tiny girl nodded and beamed a smile at the older woman. "Oh, that's good then…" she said, still befuddled by the sudden turn of events. The girl turned her around so that she was facing the same direction as the evacuating citizens and gave her pack a little push. The woman just stood there.


She turned around to face the girl and order her to evacuate.

But she was already gone.

"Ah, damnit."

Leaving the kind woman behind, the girl rushed toward the divine energy as fast as her short, malnourished legs would carry her.

It wasn't like she couldn't have just strolled there…some part of her reveled in sick joy at the image of some of the haughty faces that once sneered down at her being broken and trampled into the ground. However, not all of the people in this city were such horrible excuses for human beings. Some of them were just like her; people with no place to go. People who were shunned by all others just because they had been unfortunate enough to be born into worse conditions. Leaving those left a bad taste in her mouth.

And so she ran, never stopping once until she finally found herself right in front of the source of the energy trail that she had been following. She braced herself to fight the deity, but then it spoke to her:

"Pathetic. Have the mortals of this time truly become nothing more than spineless cowards? Have the men become so vile that they would flee, leaving naught but a woman to fight one such as I? And a child at that!? How disgusting." her voice quivered with rage and disbelief. Honestly, this is what mankind had become without the gods to punish them for their misdemeanor? It was time to change that, she realized.

"Move aside, child. Thou hath not earned mine wrath." she commanded. But the girl didn't move a muscle. "Art thou trying to elicit my ire, child? I commanded thee to move!"

Like before, with Kronos, the goddess's powered words threatened to overpower her will. Visions of her death plagued her mind, causing her knees to grow weak. Still, she did not move. Regardless of the countless warning signals in her mind, regardless of what common sense was screaming in her brain, she stood her ground. Normally, she would have ran far, far away by now. However, hadn't Kronos already told her? She was fated to die today. Her only method of survival was to use the weapon that he had bequeathed to her and fight.

However, if she was right about the conditions for the weapon's use, then she shouldn't resort to using it just yet. Instead, she began to think back to when 'she' tried to attack Kronos. She knew that the power that she used then wasn't hers. In fact, even the weaving that she had been doing for two years was probably just a borrowed skill that had its origins in that power. She knew that but…

If it was in her body, then it was hers to use however she saw fit, no?

"Thou will not move, mortal? I admire thine courage. If only the rest of mankind could be so impressive." she said, a genuine smile finding its way onto her face briefly before quickly disappearing. "I am saddened, child, to have to slay one such as thee. Nevertheless, I shall do just that. Your courage, child, is unwarranted. Thou art deprived of sight, yes? Thine eyelids have been sealed this whole time. Tell me, child, can thou dodge this attack with thine handicap?"

Numerous chains appeared from behind goddess, their ends pronged with sharp points. Two of them cut through the air and flew toward the girl's neck, the first poised to pierce her throat, and the second set to pierce the heart.

The goddess frowned as she released her chains. She hated the idea of killing a human that had many of her favored qualities. What made it even worse was the idea that she was going to kill a child, one with a crippling handicap. There was no honor in this act. But she was a goddess, and would not discriminate. Any that dared to oppose a deity deserved to die for their hubris, whether she liked them or not. And so the goddess silently watched, displeased, as the chains neared their target. She prepared herself for when the chains would finally meet flesh, when…

The girl dodged. The girl actually managed to dodge her chains.

"How, did you know? How did you know when to move? You should have been skewered as you stood,!?" she choked out.

She was confused. It was, admittedly, a rather weak attack, but it wasn't one that a blind child should have been capable of dodging. Scrutinizing the girl, she couldn't see what could have...wait, wires?

She had no further time to ponder the matter, however, because an unspoken chant, one that could only be heard by the girl and the goddess, rang out.

O sinful, immoral deity, let thy true nature be uncovered!

Suddenly, she felt an aura of power erupt from around the small form of the girl. Those were empowered words, she realized.

"Thou, thou a Godslayer?" She knew it was wrong the moment the question left her lips. After all...if this child was one of them

Then why did the child not give off the familiar feeling of divinity?

That was her last thought before a sea of webs reached her and wove themselves around her, sending her into darkness.

Her plan had three steps.

She had little time, so she needed to do this quick. The image of the spool was still fresh in her mind from yesterday, when 'she' projected it to use against Kronos. However, right now, she didn't want it to have the thickness that it had back then. No, what she needed was a thin, maneuverable thread, so that any vibration of the air would cause it to stir. She shaved off the extra centimeters from the thread until it became what she wanted.

The wires, so thin that they were almost invisible to the naked eye, were projected from her mind into reality, and affixed themselves to her limbs and the surrounding buildings that had not been leveled yet. With this, she was ready.

Just in time too, it seems, as she could now feel a major shift in movement from the threads only a few feet away. Quickly, she jumped to the side, effectively avoiding the bladed chains as they whizzed by her ear.

Step one: complete.

Next, she needed to bind the goddess. Once again, she thought back to events during her encounter with Kronos. Back then, 'she' had said those words. Those empowered words that brought about the full potential of her ability. She needed to invoke that power once again. She didn't need the information, but the bind was indispensable if her plan was to succeed. And so she chanted in her mind:

O sinful, immoral deity, let thy true nature be uncovered!

Webs were projected at an astounding rate. They wove themselves together and sped toward the goddess. As soon as the first thread wrapped around the goddess, information began pouring into her head.

'Hebe, Grecian goddess of youth, Cupbearer of the Gods. Nectar and ambrosia.. Hercules. Iron and steel. Chains of sealed divinity. Prisoners. Chains held and chains replaced. A goddess of forgiveness, yet one who was wary. She held their bindings as insurance. Replacing shackles for misdemeanor. Forced to be subservient. Anger at the gods. Despair. Helplessness. Powerless.

But she didn't need that, not right now. She shoved the unnecessary information out of her thoughts and focused on the task at hand. She needed clarity for this next task.

The Scythe, she needed to empower it, and she knew just the words to use. An homage to the one who gifted it to her.

I am powerless, yet I refuse to be. Just as he did when he usurped the position of his tyrannical father, I will use you. You are mine to use until the promised day! Come, Scythe of Usurpation!

The massive scythe materialized her hand, appearing slightly taller than her small body. As soon as she felt the cold steel pressed hard against her palm, she rushed toward the goddess, relying on her thread to convey her position. She was still wrapped up in a tight cocoon of webs, but the snapping of several threads told the girl that the goddess wouldn't be held for much longer.

She stepped up to the form of the incapacitated goddess, and swung her scythe in a clear arc.

Step two: complete.

No blood was spilt, but the girl wasn't expecting for that attack to injure her opponent. What she was after, as the name of the scythe suggests, was the usurpation of a specific Authority belonging to the goddess. She needed to remove her opponent's method of attack before she could do anything else.

Power flowed into the scythe, and from the scythe, into her. On an instinctual level, she began to understand the properties of the chains. They carried within them a great power, for such a weak goddess. The chains can seal divinity, or, in other words, an Authority, of another deity.

Of course, they had a restriction too. For example, an Authority of a greater power than the owner of the chains couldn't be sealed. Using a more powerful Authority, a deity could easily snap the seal. If the chain is snapped, then the damage is transmitted back to the user and the authority becomes unusable for twenty-four hours. Everything considered, it was an Authority that required cautious use. If she misjudged the strength of an opponent, then she would be crippled for the rest of the fight.

And, judging from what information she gathered about the goddess from using her other power, she needed to borrow its strength already.

The goddess had a rather troublesome Authority; she had complete immortality because of her domain of youth. Piercing the heart, separating the head from the body, blowing her up...nothing would work. She would simply be restored to her previous form. It was truly troublesome.

The girl decided that she'd rather not deal with something like that, so she summoned one of the goddess's chains and wrapped it around the giant cocoon. she could finally complete her plan.

Everything was set up. All she needed now was to say the finishing words and she would be the victor. She felt something close to pity for the goddess. In the end, everything came to down to a matter of luck. She did not win because she was skilled; she won because she was lucky. Actually, it was probably because her opponent was unlucky. She had never been looked upon favorably by Lady Luck, after all. If she had not met Kronos...if she had not defied death...then Hebe, the Goddess of Youth, would have been the victor. The Fates decreed it to be so.

There was no point in mulling over things that could have been. She covered her ears so that she didn't have to hear the goddess's screams and chanted the words of power in her mind:

Thou art guilty of what thou judge mortals for! May thy hypocrisy bring about thine demise! Become This One's masterpiece, Tapestry of the Blasphemer!

The cocoon, responding to the unspoken chant, unraveled itself until there was only a small strip holding the goddess in place. The girl was sure that the goddess was probably screaming at her, but she never took her hands off of her ears to make sure.

The next part was gruesome. The unraveled threads began to twist and form a different shape- a giant net. A net made of extremely sharp wires. The net fell down and covered the body of the goddess. She, for someone about to be killed, remained oddly still. The net began tightening, causing a myriad of lacerations to form on her once flawless skin. They cut deeper and deeper, slicing through skin, bone, and muscle alike, until the Authority finally dispelled.

The little girl sensed the threads dispelling and removed her cupped hands from her ears. All was deathly silent until…

"That was...quite a powerful attack, girl. have mine own power turned against's almost laughable." The little girl slowly turned around, until her body was facing her opponent. She was panicking a little; did she fail? Was the goddess, through some miracle, able to survive her killing blow?

"Thou can relax, child...I shall not be among the living for much longer." Those words caused the tension to ease out of her body. However, a heaviness of heart arose in its place.

She realized when she saw the goddess's origin and felt her emotions that the goddess wasn't malicious. Her domain was tread over with muddy boots by the gods when they forced her to become their personal maid. Her miraculous ability to produce nectar and ambrosia was scoffed at. What a useless power for a goddess to have! All greek gods were immortal anyway, so why would they need something like that?

The King of the Skies, Zeus, was no better than his father or his father's father. All three were tyrants. He, the King of the Olympians, rendered her powerless. She couldn't even think of rebelling by not performing her role or she would be punished. And so she performed her duties as a good servant would. She fed the gods, prepared her mother's chariot, and helped her idiot brother Ares take baths.

She was no better than a slave. She was powerless.

Having Ganymede replace her was, beyond doubt, the best thing to ever happen in her life. She had finally gained freedom...the freedom that had been kept from her for so long. She couldn't have been happier.

And she... she had just slain her. She killed a goddess who wanted nothing more than to be free.

"Do not feel guilty, little one. I would have destroyed much of Greece, and possibly more, had you not stopped me. Mine state of madness would have persisted until either a vile Godslayer vanquished me or I had caused enough devastation to release me from mine rage. Such is the nature of a Heretic God. So let me give mine thanks to thee, new Godslayer. Being killed by thee is much more preferable than the other two scenarios.

Let us meet once again, when I return from the Domain of Immortality. Hopefully...hopefully our next meeting is under more favorable conditions.

Goodbye, Campione!"

And then there was one.



Step three: complete.