THE LAST TITAN
Lino and Hannah were currently standing in front of the tallest mountain either had ever encountered in their entire lives. Far from being able to see the mountaintop, they were unable to even see the halfway point of the mountain which was already well over thirty thousand kilometers tall. Standing at the mountain’s bottom felt as though they were staring at an entirely new world, as the sheer size of it easily encompassed the size of a fairly large island.
Entirely new species of flora and fauna could be found throughout the mountain that were non-existent elsewhere within the Titan Realms. The purple-domed trees of trunks as thick as entire buildings, shrubbery that made both of them feel like the tiniest of ants, and strange herbs whose petals would flutter, occasionally closing up and opening, radiating different colors each time they did so.
It was a spectacular sight to behold, especially so once they realized that the mountain contained even more diverse biome, the bottom end being forest-like, yet just above it a scorched wasteland of black rocks and soot and volcanic ash. Nothing living inhabited it, just a line of rising hills of sorts. Due to the sheer size of the mountain, the uphill climb was eerily flat, as though they were climbing a small, house-sized hill rather than an entire mountain.
Beyond the scorched wasteland lied frigid tundra, with iced spikes shooting out of the ground for over a hundred meters up, and frozen bodies of water as large as medium-sized lakes elsewhere. No matter where they stepped, they felt incredibly small; the two had, uniformly, began doubting as to how the world actually fitted the entire Titan Race within its confines.
The reason why they were climbing up the largest mountain they’d ever seen was due to Ataxia, as he’d finally told Lino it was time he headed toward the Realms’ center, following his instincts. It was exactly this mountain that stood at that center, and his instincts told him that whatever he needed to see was inside the mountain itself. Rather than digging his way through, Lino decided to slowly explore with Hannah and find a natural entrance.
“Ataxia hasn’t told you what we’re looking for, right?” Hannah asked suddenly as they slowly began living the frozen biome.
“No. Yours?” Lino asked back.
“She’s eerily quiet...” Hannah sighed. “Usually she never shuts up, but right now? Nothing. Zip.”
“Eh, whatever it is, we’ll handle it.” Lino shrugged, looking around. “But seriously... this mountain... I kind of wish to turn it into a Flying Artifact and make it my permanent home. Can you imagine?”
“You ruling over something this large? No.”
“Eh? What do you mean?! I’d make a great ruler, I’ll have you know!”
“You know nothing when it comes to ruling, Lino,” Hannah rolled her eyes at him. “You’d not only cripple the economy before it even, well, developed, you’d most-likely instigate every war possible within the first year, and every single one of those you ruled over would grow to resent you and would eventually band to overthrow you.”
“... that’s one grim estimate of my leading capabilities.” Lino frowned.
“Leading and ruling are two different things,” Hannah chuckled. “Why do you think Kings need Generals? If charging forward was all there was to leading, couldn’t they do it themselves?”
“Aren’t Kings mostly just cowards?” Lino asked.
“You’d be surprised,” she replied. “But, no. To rule, it comes from here.” she poked his head. “But, to lead... it comes from here.” she poked at the center of his chest. “And, I’m sorry to have to point this out for god knows which time, but you’ve got very little of this,” she once again poked his head. “But excess of this.” she ran her finger down his face and pressed it gently against his chest, smiling.
“... ah, I see you’ve mastered the art of the underhanded compliment. Very nice, very nice indeed.”
“Eh, I learned from the best.”
“I am the best, aren’t I?” Lino grinned, suddenly stopping to look around as they’d finally left the frozen tundra, having entered an eerie sort of a marsh. Bones, skulls, carcasses, skeletons... of all the things to decorate the landscape with, Lino mused, this was by far the worst. “Then again, I could leave the ruling to you, and you can leave the leading to me.”
“Hoho, that’s the best idea you’ve had yet.” Hannah chuckled. “I’m an excellent ruler.”
“I’ve no doubt. So, while you sit back in a roomy chamber, sipping fine wine while wrapped in silk, I’ll be out leading brainless idiots to their deaths on a campaign of wasted dreams.”
“... here it is.” Lino pointed as he stopped in front of a massive cave of sorts; rather, it seemed more like a gigantic, gaping hole in the side of the mountain leading down, at least in his eyes. “I sure hope whatever it is, we at least won’t need to fight it.” Lino sighed bitterly.
“Huh? Aren’t you always ready for some brawl?” Hannah asked, seemingly confused.
“... I’ve done nothing recently but fight... and fight... and fight...” he lamented. “I... I just wanna sit down, drink some fine ale, and enjoy life for a little bit, you know? Even the maddest of crazed war-machines eventually tire out.”
“It’s alright,” she said. “If it comes to down fighting, you just sit back, drink some fine ale, and enjoy the sight of me eradicating whatever need be eradicated.”
The two proceeded down the cave’s flattened, straight path in silence. Though doused in darkness, neither paid it much heed as they could clearly see everything surrounding them. The cave’s walls were tall and stacked with dimmed stalagmites, with occasional deposits of strange materials pruning out of the slightly wet walls. Though tempted, Lino in the end decided against digging it; if all went well, he decided he’d do it on his way back.
Their trek turned into a long one, as they’d been walking for over a day with seemingly no end in sight. Occasionally sitting down to rest and recuperate, in case fighting broke out, they paused little, and moved at a rather quick pace.
It was only after the end of the third day that they’d spotted the exit, clamoring in joy for a moment before stuttering to silence. Just beyond cave’s exit lay the hollowed out center of the mountain, and they’d quickly realized they were just a tiny part of one of the millions of tiny holes. Their gazes, however, were quickly dragged toward the bottom; there, a throne of skulls and spikes rose out of the other end, spitting out into the sky for tens and hundreds and thousands of kilometers.
Sitting on it, however, was what truly gave them a start; jet-black body, with unidentifiable amount of cracks spread throughout, heaved well above them to the point they were roughly around the giant’s knee. Lino couldn’t even begin to estimate the size of whatever it was as his instinct suddenly kicked in; grabbing Hannah’s arm as she cried out, he tried to dart backward yet suddenly realized he couldn’t even move.
As sweat poured down his back, he turned his head and looked up where he saw two crimson suns staring at him. They were like saucers, spinning eerily, with black-inked sphere at their center. The world around them was misted through the ash and distance, and Lino didn’t dare try and peer through it with his Divine Sense.
It wasn’t that he was too afraid to move, or paralyzed due to sheer terror; his body was actually physically locked in place by the giant’s Will, and even Lino’s -- however robust and unwilling -- was unable to break the chokehold. Even with Hannah’s assistance, the two were entirely helpless, only able to stand in place and stare at the blood-colored doom hanging far up above them.
The two suddenly felt their feet lift off, their bodies slowly cruising through the sky -- again, Lino found himself beyond shocked as he realized that the giant was using his sheer Will alone to move them against their own Wills. It was at that moment that Lino realized that whoever -- or whatever -- this was, the two stood no chance, no matter what they did. He still, however, trusted Ataxia, which is why he could remain calm even in these circumstances.
They flew up slowly, as more and more of the giant’s body began revealing itself; massive waist of stone and rock covered up with a black-jetted belt, a humanoid torso with seemingly muscle-shaped rocks which were so large a single breast was already over three hundred meters across, short yet wide neck, and eventually the head -- it was a Titan, Lino mused inwardly as his suspicion was confirmed.
The Titan had a pair of enormous, crimson eyes which were currently staring at the two with emptiness that one can only achieve moments before death.
“... I shall allow,” though the Titan’s lips didn’t move, his voice shook the entire mountain inside out. “For you to inspect me. I bear no ill will, honored Bearers.”
Lino swallowed a massive gulp, but unlike Hannah who hesitated over whether to inspect the Titan, Lino went for it taking a deep breath to prepare himself for whatever he may see. Yet, he immediately realized, even if he took ten thousand more of them, it wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.
[Alst R’ggav -- Titan -- Level 48,933]
Titles: The Last Titan (Universal), The Chosen (Void), Ashened Survivor (Realm), Forged in Flames (Realm), Former Descender (Void), Harbinger (Level 999), The Last Champion (Continental)
Titular Creator: The Immortal Titan