Two years later
Torga didn’t bother to dodge out of the way of the insanely fast ice spike that was on a collision course with his chest. After all, what would be the point? He knew it wouldn’t even cause his scales to itch.
The spike shattered at the moment of impact and Torga gave his assailant a bored expression.
“Was that supposed to do something?” He asked flatly.
His two opponents looked at each other, nodded, then vanished in twin bursts of speed.
His eyes tracked them easily as the weaved in and out, up and down, and around to his blind spots… He used his tail to lightly swat the two forms out of the air as they prepared to slam spikes into the back of his neck.
Though he’d only hit them hard enough to change their trajectory, he was still worried that he might have hurt them.
He tilted his head to one side to avoid a heavy sword slash, then he ‘lightly’ tapped the breastplate of his new attacker.
Leon bounced three times across the ground before finally slamming into a tree with an ear-ringing crash of metal.
"And that's lunch!" Torga said cheerfully as he left the 'battlefield' and began raiding the basket of food they'd acquired in the nearby town.
Reina, Donna, and Leon climbed to their feet and glared at the glutton currently eating their hard-earned lunch.
“Hey! Don’t you touch my sandwich, Ken! I’ve been looking forward to that all day!”
“Then you should have fought better.” He replied while opening his mouth to show the already half-eaten sandwich.
Reina glared at him, but couldn’t find it in her to dispute his words.
Reina, and subsequently Donna and Leon, had all made a deal with Torga… If they didn’t want him to kill their attackers en masse, then all they had to do was become strong enough to never be harmed…
Yeah, that’s not working out as well as they’d hoped.
Even now, though it all seemed peaceful from the ground, Torga’s clones were slaughtering armies all across Yggdrasil because they dared to attack them.
Nevermind the eight planets that were reduced to ashes after their patron gods managed to harm Reina.
The group of four finished their lunch… Or, they finished what Torga left for them. Then they resumed their training session.
“You’re still trying to fight me when you should be trying to flee!” Torga yelled as he caught Reina’s arm as she raced past him.
“Running won’t matter when we’re against something faster than us!” She yelled in return.
“Then get faster!”
“Easy for you to say! You’re a god, we’re not!”
“You seem to forget that I became a god through sheer force of will… Something the three of you are still severely lacking.” He rebutted.
He dropped Reina on her ass, then sighed.
“I don’t want to argue with you, Sarah. We’ve argued enough over the last two years to last us a lifetime. Can’t we just… Enjoy this moment?”
“Yeah, whatever you say.” She snorted at him.
Torga grunted in annoyance at her.
Truth be told, even he was getting sick and tired of the arguing. Reina either didn't understand or chose not to understand, that none of this was easy on him, either: The constant fighting, the constant threats against her, and her attitude towards him were quickly reducing the already short fuse on his temper.
Most people would have left by now. Would have discarded their losses and simply moved on... But he couldn't do that. He'd never leave her to face the dangers of Yggdrasil alone.
Reina climbed to her feet, brushed the dirt off her pants, then drew her mag-pistols from their holsters.
In some distant part of Torga’s mind, he knew what she was doing. He knew that she was trying to prove that she could take care of herself and didn’t need his constant protection. That he didn’t need to fight so hard because she could look after herself… But that simply wasn’t the case… yet.
Yes, she has been growing stronger by the day. Yes, she’s probably risen two or three tiers in power since she was oh so easily defeated by the archangel Zuriel. Even so, she was only now approaching the level of power Torga possessed before his fight with the earth dragon.
Reina feinted to the left, then accelerated to the right and appeared beneath Torga’s right arm with the barrel of her pistol aimed at his pit.
She fired six rounds into his side, then leaped high into the air and fired another four into the top of his skull.
As before, Torga tracked her with bored eyes. He waited until she landed on his left side, then he disappeared in a burst of speed that caused the air around him to briefly ignite. He appeared behind her, then lightly pushed her over.
She glared at him from the ground, then hopped back to her feet.
Reina hit the ground again.
She lands on her back.
She lands on her stomach.
"No, that's enough for today."
"I can still go on." She said seriously.
"I know you can... But did you ever think about if you should?"
She didn't answer him.
"You're missing the point of this entire exercise, Sarah. I don't want you to fight as I do, I want you to find your own style... Your own source of power. The problem I've seen with almost every god I fought, is that they all fight the same way. They use the abilities given to them like a crutch and never bother to earn that power."
"I don't want you to follow that same path."
“Donna, Leon, are the two of you ready to move out?”
They looked at each other, then nodded almost simultaneously.
“Good. We’ve spent too much time here as it is.”
The four gathered up their equipment, or rather, Reina, Donna, and Leon gathered up their equipment while Torga stood on overwatch. They began walking through the valley they’d spent the night in as the sun was just beginning to reach its zenith and in the distance, they could see Yggdrasil’s branch reaching high into the sky.
Despite the… problems he and Reina were having. He was genuinely excited. The denizens of the last three towns had all agreed that the branch they were heading toward was special.
At least, it was special to Torga and Reina… Because it led home.
The branch they were steadily walking towards connected to Earth.
Whether or not it was their Earth was inconsequential. The simple fact that it was an Earth was enough to make them giddy with excitement.
Torga nodded his head, then he teleported them to the base of the branch.
He looked at the three of them with a slight smile on his face. Reina was looking fairly green, Donna was practically swooning on her feet, and Leon… Leon was puking his guts out.
One of the cons of being teleported, aside from teleporting yourself, was the severe motion sickness that usually accompanied it.
Reina, as per usual, was the first to recover, so she used her healing magic to ease Donna and Leon’s discomfort.
“You enjoy that way too much.” Reina accused half-heartedly.
"I’m not sure what you mean.” Torga replied with a grin.
Reina just rolled her eyes at him and refocused on her magic.
Torga walked over to the branch and put his hand on it… And, as expected, nothing happened.
Aside from the time Yggdrasil herself transported him to the silver city. Torga hasn’t been able to use the Bi-Frost to travel from planet to planet. Instead, he had to fly while the others used the branch.
It was an… Inconvenience, to say the least.
“Reina, can you come check the Bi-Frost locations?”
“In a minute.”
“I’ll do it.” Donna said. Now looking decidedly less green.
She walked up to the branch and placed her palm flat upon its surface.
“Rishtar, Zaltos, and… Earth.” She finished with a smile.
Torga’s head spun to look at her with a wide smile on his face.
"You’re sure?” He asked excitedly.
“Of course.” She coyly replied.
He lifted her by her waist and spun her around as if she were a child.
“Reina! Did ya hear that!?” He exclaimed after setting an unsteady Donna on her feet.
“Yes, I heard.” She laughed. All thoughts of their previous argument gone as the prospect of finally going home sunk in.
They were so close…
Reina, Donna, and Leon walked up to the branch one by one and vanished in flashes of rainbow-colored light.
Torga, meanwhile, waited for their signatures to reappear then he teleported to Reina’s side.
It was beautiful.
Skyscrapers poked through the clouds as far as the eye could see, while cars drove in a semi-circle around the base of the branch.
Judging by the look of the neon-covered buildings, the massive towers in the background, and the massive electronic billboards they appeared to be in Times Square, New York… An odd location for a branch to sprout, but hey, it caused a great first impression to any newcomer that happened to find their way here.
As depicted by Leon, as he still hasn’t picked his jaw up off the sidewalk.
“Welcome to the Big Apple, ladies.” Torga said cheerfully.
His words cut through the fog in Leon’s brain and he immediately protested.
“You know… Everything looks…”
“Yeah, it doesn’t look much different than it did before I died.”
“Not surprising. New York was designated a national landmark in 2072 and altering it too much was forbidden. So, while it may have been updated a bit, most of the city should still be the same.”
Reina looked at him skeptically after watching a sedan about the size of a motorcycle ride past them. The driver and passenger both stuck their heads out the window and whistled appreciatively at the two women.
Torga merely quirked an eyebrow at them, then waved his hand dismissively. He was in too good of a mood for it to be soured by assholes driving what amounted to a clown car.
He glanced at Leon, who was busy staring at the scantily clad women walking the streets, then bumped Leon’s shoulder with his elbow.
“What?” Leon asked. Annoyed at the interruption.
“Wanna see something cool?”
“Cool?” Leon asked in confusion.
“Yep, cool.” Torga took one big step to his left, dragging the girls along with him, then he held out his hand and summoned a bit of energy.
The energy in his hand was compressed once, twice, three times, until the air inside Torga’s open hand began to heat up.
[Fire detected!] A robotic voice said from… somewhere.
A fire hose sprung out of a nearby metal grate and sprayed in the direction of Torga’s hand.
The fact that Leon was directly behind Torga’s hand made the entire situation hilarious to Torga.
Leon was blasted with enough water to fill a swimming pool and was sent careening into a nearby light pole.
He was unhurt… But incredibly annoyed.
“Asshole!” Leon yelled at the laughing Torga.
“What? You looked thirsty.”
Leon looked at him in confusion, though Reina got the joke and slapped Torga on the arm.
“Really? That was your payoff?” She asked sardonically.
“Hey, that was a good one and you know it.”
She sighed in annoyance.
“Come on. Let’s get out of here before you cause even more of a scene.”
Torga looked around at the faces of the crowd members currently staring at him with looks ranging from annoyance to humor, to… Was that lust?
He decided that promptly ignoring the last one was in his best interest and he began to follow Reina and the others.
Leon, and to a lesser extent Donna, gawked at the highrises and vehicles they passed as they walked.
Torga grinned at the three of them.
“If they think new york is impressive… Wait till they see the new cities.”
He continued to follow behind them as various scenarios played in his mind.
Oh… He was definitely going to make this a trip to remember.