Bloodlines of the Ancient Pantheons Chapter 199: CXCIX. The Inner Struggle
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"My time has not come yet!"
"Aaagh! Fuck! Grr... aagh!" shouted Dag, opening his eyes and barely breathing, as his own black liquid clutched his neck, trying to suffocate him.
Slowly, looking up, he managed to focus on the clouds and the blue sky, illuminated by the false Sun created by the Xis.
"Dag! What the fuck are you doing?! Wake up!"
"Captain, what are you waiting for?! Free yourself!"
Gridd and Reidar's voices echoed in his ears, while his senses were unstable, due to the tightness that the black liquid exerted on his neck.
Slowly, Dag looked down at his hand, opening it: the crystallized tear was there.
It wasn't just a dream or a vision, it was real.
"The black hand that shook the Sun and made it explode... there must be someone who moves the wires of the Xis, who are nothing but puppets! They have been ordered to capture me for sure, because, for some strange reason, I have something to do with it! The liquid I saw... it's identical to what my body produces when I activate my powers! What does that mean? I have to find out what's wrong with me, I can't die now!" he thought, reflecting on what had just happened to him.
Motivated and relieved that he was still alive, he squeezed the drop-shaped crystal into his hands, shattering it into a thousand pieces, and grabbed the black liquid around his neck with both hands, trying to rip it off.
Despite the incredible force that now flowed through his veins, the fluid was so hard to break, becoming plastic.
"Enough... leave me alone!" exclaimed Dag, his teeth clenched to hold back the pain.
In his mouth, he felt the taste of blood and when he looked in front of him, noticing the enemy's legs reduced to shreds, he regained courage.
In a decisive gesture, he bit the bundle of black liquid that wrapped his chin, trying in every way to free himself.
"You won't succeed... to resist... my powers... will kill you!"
Dag looked around, unable to understand where that voice came from.
"You're going to explode... your body is too weak..."
"Who spoke?!" thought Dag intensely, that in addition to his companions, who looked at him in despair, saw no one else around him.
"You're not worthy of all this... power... die!" continued the voice, identical to that of the old woman he had defeated just before.
At these words, the beam of dark material became even narrower, forcing Dag to open his mouth wide, avoiding breaking his jaw.
"Out of my head!" thought him again, who with a bite tore a piece of black liquid and, instead of spitting it out, began to chew it frantically.
"You won't succeed!... what are you doing, silly human... stop it!" continued the voice in his head.
Dag swallowed the first piece of liquid, which suddenly loosened the grip around his neck as if it had been drastically weakened.
Soon after, he bit the dark substance again and swallowed another piece, feeling a burning in his throat: that material, traveling in his trachea until it reached his stomach, burned like a firebrand.
"How do you... how is that possible... you can't succeed... you can't counter my strength... you're just an inferior being..." continued the old woman's voice, which slowly began to fade, freeing Dag's mind.
With a sudden gesture of his arms, he tore the entire bundle of dark liquid, finally managing to breathe, albeit with anguish.
After twice ingesting the substance containing the powers of his enemy, his physical strength increased.
He looked at the remaining liquid, which moved winding in his hands, and without thinking too much, he slipped it into his mouth, swallowing it all in one breath, without even chewing.
"What are you doing?! Is he crazy?!" shouted Gridd, looking at Reidar, believing that Dag was doomed.
"He's powering up" Karl said, as a smile of relief lit up his face.
Dag stopped moving.
He stood still on his feet.
Strange gurgling-like noises came from inside his body.
His muscles suddenly hardened: his abs, arm muscles, legs, and back muscles hardened, trying to retain the new power.
"If my body is not compatible with these powers, I will die in a matter of seconds. The only answer, it's in my blood again. If there is any connection between me and these cruel beings, I will be able to absorb this power, whatever it costs!" thought Dag, closing his eyes to concentrate.
As soon as he closed them, a sequence of images came to his mind, composed of many small flashbacks: from the moments of his childhood to his arrival on Skjold, from his friends on Earth to the early days in the Arena, Asa, Stein, Karl, Gridd, and his new friends.
His memories lingered on one moment in particular: the first and only time he had made love with Freydis, to whom he thought every single day of his life.
He clenched his fists, trying to keep all those positive thoughts in mind, which were bright spots within the total darkness, which without any effort, would totally swallow his brain and soul.
"That's why it's worth living. 813666 no longer exists. My name is Dag and from today, my goal will be to end your existence" he thought out loud as if the old woman could hear it, noting that her voice had disappeared from his head.
Suddenly, he began to writhe, bending over his back and screaming loudly.
Soon after, his muscles, which for a few seconds had become harder than the metal, lost their strength to the point that he could no longer withstand the weight of his body, which fell to the ground.
"No, no, no, no..." whispered Gridd, rushing towards him, not perceiving further threats in the surroundings.
She lowered herself towards her brother, who was on the ground with his eyes closed and placed her fingers on his neck and an ear on his chest.
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