"Torga! We've got a problem!" a voice cut through Torga's sleep-addled mind and caused his eyes to snap open.
"What is it!? What's happened!?" Torga called back as he climbed out of bed and headed for the door. After throwing it open and stepping into the narrow hallway he saw Naunet staring out of a window at the sky.
"We have visitors." Naunet whispered.
"Visitors? Anyone you were expecting?"
Naunet turned and looked Torga in the eye.
"No one you'd want to meet."
"Who is it?"
"Gods, two of them."
"What!? Why would gods be coming here?"
"My guess? They're here looking for you." Naunet replied while heading back to the 'study'.
Torga followed along behind him and, as always, was slightly dumbstruck at the sight that greeted him. The tree Naunet called home was well over a thousand meters tall and somewhere between three and four-hundred meters around... But the 'study' occupied the entire center of the tree. From the base to the very top level was completely covered in shelves Naunet had painstakingly carved into the walls as the tree grew. Each shelf had between ten to twenty 'tomes'; ranging from ordinary paperback novels to ancient stone tablets.
Torga shook his head and walked over to Naunet's desk; it was large and carved in a very simple way without any opulent trimmings or decorations and, like most furniture in Naunet's home, it was carved from the tree. Naunet was sitting in a chair scouring a large leather-bound tome.
"Please, tell me you found a solution to my problem?"
"I think I just might have... But we lack the time to fix it before the gods are knocking on my door."
Torga leaned on the desk and looked at the page Naunet seemed to be staring at...
"Magic corrosion?" He read aloud.
"Mmm. I racked my brain for anything that could have possibly pierced your scales and infected you with some kind of magic eating bug or virus. However, after going through my old notes and observations of you, I remembered that damn artifact you used to use as a way to shrink yourself."
"You think it's corroding me?"
Naunet shook his head and exhaled a sigh, "No, I think you're corroding it. I don't believe the stone was ever designed to hold such concentrated magic for as long as it has and your magic is dissolving it from the inside out."
Torga looked at him, confusion clear on his face.
"But... If it's being corroded then why is my magic being held back?"
"I'm not a hundred percent certain, but I believe the dissolved stone is leaking back into your body and forming 'blocks' that is keeping you from bringing your full power to bare."
Suddenly, the entire tree shook and the booming sound of thunder rendered Torga nearly deaf.
"Naunet! Naga king and warden of Orochi! We know you are harboring a fugitive and request you turn him over to our custody!" An obnoxiously high pitched voice yelled.
"You have two minutes to comply or we will come in after him!" Another voice of a much deeper tone finished.
"... Arrogant little shits, aren't they?" Torga's eyes narrowed and he looked to the door.
"Don't even think about it. They're gods, they have the right to be arrogant."
"One minute forty-five seconds!"
"How long would it take you to fix me?"
"Well, first I'd have to find a way to get through your scales, then I'd-" Naunet's eyes widened and his voice trailed off as he watched Torga stab his clawed fingers into his neck.
"N-ext." Torga grunted as he pulled his fingers back out.
Naunet sprung into action; grabbing a knife off the desk and jamming it into the open wound on Torga's neck to keep it open as long as possible, then he pointed one finger at the wound and started whispering under his breath.
"One minute fifteen seconds!"
Torga bit down on his tongue to keep from screaming in pain as something deep inside his neck began to wiggle and force itself through his muscle tissue.
Torga growled after hearing the high-pitched voice.
"Almost there." Naunet whispered.
A wide smile spread across Naunet's lips as he jammed his index and middle fingers into Torga's neck and pulled out a red stone about the size of a grape.
"Good- Unn- Good for you." Torga groaned through gritted teeth. Then he turned towards the door.
"Where are you going?"
"Where do you think?" Torga rhetorically asked as he passed through the door.
"You can't go out there! You'll die!" Naunet yelled while chasing after him.
"Can't help it... I'm hungry."
"Hungry!? Then go eat some of the planet, at least it won't kill you!"
"Relax, you said it yourself. I'm stronger than they are."
"I said you were physically stronger than most gods. And I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but Gods... not really known for fistfights!"
"Good thing I have you to help me then, isn't it?"
Naunet stopped moving and stared at Torga's back...
"Fine... You want me to help you with this? Then after we deal with this, it's time to call in that favor you owe me."
Torga finally stopped walking and turned to look at Naunet. The look in his eyes told Torga all he needed to know about just how serious the Naga was...
"Deal." Torga nodded.
Battle POV (Let's get ready to Ruuumble!)
Torga stepped out of the tree with Naunet following close behind. Torga's eyes narrowed slightly at the sight of the 'gods', the first he'd ever seen outside of the astral form Niabus always used.
The first was a young girl, approximately nine or ten years of age; Her hair was the color of blood and hung down her back in a wave. Her eyes were the same color as her hair and her skin was pale like a corpse's, and her outfit consisted of shining silver-white plate armor that covered everything but her head and hands. She had no visible weapons on her person.
"Hi~." The little girl waved and said in a surprisingly deep voice.
"I told you he would be here, Carlas!" The obnoxious voice cheered causing Torga's head to turn towards it.
The other god was a tall, thin man in his thirties; His hair was bright blue and was cut into a military-style buzz, his eyes were dark green, his skin appeared to be made of solid gold, and his outfit consisted of dark robes, a tall metal staff, and a large kite shield strapped to his back.
"You certainly did, Arkos. When we get back home I'll be sure to tell mom to bake you some cookies as a reward."
"Yay! Cookies!" The tall man cheered and clapped as if he were the little girl and not the clearly much older man.
"Are all gods this weird?" Torga mumbled under his breath to Naunet.
"Not all... But an unfortunate majority are." He sighed.
"I'll take the big one."
"What!? Why do I have to fight the little one!?"
"She's closer to your size." Torga replied with a smirk.
Naunet opened his mouth to argue, but the sound of approaching footsteps caused him to snap his mouth shut and focus on the task at hand.
Torga and Naunet turned back to the gods and saw the little girl walking towards them... Alone.
"No need to bicker, boys... I'll take you both on all by myself." She told them, a wide smile on her lips.
As she drew closer and closer to them, a small, forked tongue flashed out of her mouth and ran around her lips, revealing extremely sharp teeth.
"Not human then." Torga said under his breath. His eyes narrowed and he slowly raised a fist into the air... And swung it at the little girls face.
His fist caused a sonic boom as it accelerated to well over the speed of sound and when the punch collided with Carlas' face, it caused another loud boom to shake the ground. Torga had time to allow a small smirk of pride to flash across his face before he was suddenly staring at the stars while floating miles above the ground.
After realizing he was no longer on the ground, Torga had another fifteen seconds to recall just what had happened to land him in his current situation...
"We're in so much trouble..." was his last thought before he slammed into the ground and tore a four-hundred-foot long trench into the unforgiving soil.
After exhaling and slowly, painfully climbing to his feet. Torga looked down at the arm he used to punch a god in the face... Or what was left of it, anyway. Everything below the elbow was gone and dark red blood was pooling on the ground. Torga had the odd feeling that if he'd touched her for any longer than he did, he wouldn't have an arm left to look at.
"What could have done this? Acid? No, that would take too long." He decided.
"Some form of magic perhaps?" He shook his head in denial.
"No, it couldn't be that either... So what did happen?" He wondered as he began to take deep breaths and draw in any ambient magic to help staunch the bleeding.
After a few seconds of pulling in magic, the bleeding began to slow and a thin, transparent film grew over the wound.
"We-ll," Torga grunted in pain. "That's one problem taken care of... for the moment, at least."
"Torga! Run!" A voice yelled.
Torga's head spun in the direction of the voice. He saw Naunet's broken, bleeding body laying on the ground two-hundred feet away. A large golden portal was floating in the air behind him and through it, Torga could see the gods stepping through.
"Damn!" He hissed.
Torga lowered his head and sprinted for Naunet. He covered the distance in the blink of an eye and threw the Naga over his shoulder, then he took to the skies and fled as fast as he could. However, before he could even get twenty-feet off the ground, something grabbed his right leg, completely halting his momentum and slammed him into the earth. This sent Naunet flying away from Torga as his earlier momentum continued to carry him forward and away from them.
"Sorry, snake-boy, but I'm afraid I can't let you escape."
Torga was flipped onto his back and a metal boot was pushed into his throat. His eyes widened in pain as she pressed down on his windpipe and cut off his supply of oxygen.
"After all, if I let you get away. What kind of precedent would that set for the other people I'm hunting? I'd have to let them go as well or I'd be seen as 'unfair'... You don't think I'm an unfair person, do you?" She asked with a wide smile on her face.
However, when Torga didn't answer her, she stomped down on his throat several times and punctuated each stomp with, "Do you!? Do you!? Do you!?"
She slammed her metal boot into Torga's ribs and sent him spiraling away.
"Answer me damn it!" She hysterically yelled after Torga slammed into the ground.
"Carlas!" The man whined. "Can we go now? I'm hungry~"
The little goddess patted her messed up hair down and slowly allowed a smile to spread across her lips.
"Of course. Let me finish up here, then we can go."
She walked over to the still downed Torga and bent down to look him in the eye. The glare he gave her made her giggle and she rolled him onto his back.
"Don't worry your pretty little head. I'm a god of Time and Justice, so trust me... You won't feel any pain and it'll be over quick. I promise."
She reached out her pale, ungloved hand and grabbed his face.
All three of Torga's eyes turned pitch black, his vision went dark, and he rapidly began to age...