Anodyne stared down at his planet with eyes of disbelief as he saw those who resided upon it celebrating. His body shook with rage as he spied a new deity being praised by his people. They sowed the seed, and the new deity would fly by, waving his hands, causing the crops to mature instantly. The swirling clouds Anodyne crafted to reside upon Hollow had long since departed.
“I guess traveling universes has a downside.”
Anodyne peered to his side and noticed a familiar face.
“Lord Anodyne, your absence has been noticed.”
“You are full of useful information, Conductor.”
Anodyne turned towards his old friend
“What have you been doing in my absence then? How did you let my world become overrun?”
“It is simple; you did this by neglecting it, then leaving it for over a century.”
“What do you mean? I thought my leaving was the neglect; what neglect are you referring to?”
“Why, leaving your arrogance all over the place by allowing that other deity to live.”
Anodyne dug his hands into his skull and pulled down his skin as he spiraled on the spot in frustration.
“Sylum said that the cross was one of the absolute ways to hold a deity.”
“Oh, it was, but unfortunately, a hundred years of a deity whispering in the ears of mortals is too much for them. That, coupled with the fact you have made no presence during that time, led to those forgetting. They never forgot you, but they forgot how you were.”
Anodyne stopped his turning and faced his planet with a fire in his eyes.
“I say we make them remember.”
Energy started to rise around Anodyne as he let his rage fill him, a rage that was subsided by a hand being placed on his shoulder.
“If you are to fight on Hollow, you are surely to lose. The Holites will give praise to the Risen God.”
“Wait, the Risen god is the name he is using? Does this have any relation to the psychos we followed in Hell?”
Both Anodyne and Conductor stared at each other; they thought hard for a moment before Anodyne spoke.
“I guess time does run weird in there. My deity, for a time, made it their pet project; it confuses me to death. It runs the same as the current time but multiplies the time for every permanent resident. Eventually, the sun burns out, and the sentence is served.”
“Even by that logic, the Risen king could not have served his sentence; that time has not passed.”
“That is just the first rule; there are around twenty. I don’t remember; that was a job that I was glad to pass on. Fuck having to deal with time; that guy has a ridiculous number of rules to follow. Hold up.”
Anodyne disappeared and quickly returned with another individual; she seemed a little shaken by the experience. She shook her long hair out and turned to Anodyne.
“I can’t be here; why am I here?”
She started to fly away, but Anodyne dragged her back against her will, forcing her to remain still.
“Please, I need to be elsewhere; I can’t be here; please let me go.”
The desperation in her voice gave grins to Anodyne and Conductor; she squirmed as she tried to release herself from her invisible binds.
“Listen, Tukon, we just need to find out if the Risen god is the Risen King from Hell. You should know hell, your bizarre project.”
Tukon stopped squirming and started staring into the distance; her vibrant green eyes swirled and turned black. Muttering under her breath, she turned back to Anodyne.
“So he did finish his sentence, must have already done his one hundred years.”
“Did not finish his sentence, left.”
“They can’t leave Hell; it is not possible. He must have finished his sentence.”
“I don’t make mistakes; if I did, this universe would be in chaos. Risen left, did not finish his sentence.”
All three stood in silence before Tukon muttered.
“I can send you to when he left. Since you don’t believe.”
All three disappeared in a flash, appearing in Hell.
“Follow him; he leaves soon.”
Tukon left again, leaving Anodyne and Conductor in the rocky landscape of Hell.
“Where do you think he is my lord?”
“My guess is the stone pillar, the one with a cave on the top and scaffolding made from bones. Why do I ever leave this place?”
As Anodyne stared out over the blood streams that carved through the landscape, he failed to notice those behind him. A crude blow made a purchase with his head; turning with fire in his eyes, he saw two scared individuals.
“Oh, we are dead; that is Anodyne.”
“Beat it; I am busy.”
Before Anodyne finished, the two ran off with full haste, leaving Anodyne to stare back at the shanty town made from human flesh.
“You leave because, as fun as it is, people here are inherently stupid. At least those on Hollow create things of actual interest.”
“Are you telling me you don’t find that interesting?”
Anodyne pointed to the top of the stone pillar before them; atop swaying in the slight breeze were strange plants.
“Let’s look at that.”
Anodyne teleported over to the top of the stone pillar and found himself in the middle of a lush garden. Deep crimsons and dark purples spread like a weed over the top of the stone pillar. The spined plants curled and swayed; others had large fleshy openings that let loose plumes of a red mist into the air. The violet sun illuminated small intricate patterns over all the plants, giving them a slight glow. Standing center on a raised piece of stone was the Risen King, staff in hand. Swirling his hand over the top of the staff, the eye adorning the top followed his hand. The eye then snapped its direction off into the distance, and the Risen King spoke.
“Xai, xai, xai, XAI.”
From under the plants, bones started to shift, pulling the plants from their rocky binds. What seemed to be a large bulging bush covered in eyes rose into the air. A colossal serpentine body made from bones and flesh rose into the air; the head was a vast collection of eyes that all peered in different directions that gave a spherical shape for a head. The mouthless creature strained and attempted to pull up its vast wings but kept falling under their weight. A collection of bones started to stack upon themselves, climbing upwards towards the serpent, then another pile starts, and another. Soon the monster had six angular legs that braced its body. Again, it strained at the wings; this time, it ripped the plants that grew over it. Raising its wings high in the air, those around cheered as the voiceless beast held its form.
“You said these idiots can’t make anything. But they built that monstrosity, and these plants have been cultivated. This world is interesting.”
“What interests me is how this beast is involved with the escape from this world.”
“I guess we watch on.”
The beast’s million eyes focused on one point after darting aimlessly. They stared intently at the eye that resided upon the Risen King’s staff. He moved it side to side and watched with a grin as the monstrosities eyes followed.
Risen king turned and walked to the end of the rocky top, the serpent leaning slightly, trying to follow the staff. He called out to the crowds of those that amassed in the skin shanty town.
“This is the fruit of our labors; we have grown a creature that will be our salvation. Using the psionic plants to bind the bones of our scrap pile into a body and legs, the skin we harvested bound to be wings. Finally, the eyes of those who vexed us all grouped in a bouquet to give vision to our creation.”
The Risen King leaped forward off his perch, the winged serpent coiled around the spire, destroying the scaffolding stairs that gave others access to the top. Once below the Risen King, it stopped, forming a small podium on its spine out of bones it received him. As many eyes that could be rolled back and stared at his staff.
“I have absolute control of this creature, this great serpent of eyes. Our Savior. Now watch as it takes me high into the sky, where it shall use its abilities to release my soul from this realm.”
The great serpent flew higher in the air; its body lay relaxed and drooped towards the ground as its wings kept it aloft. The eyes started to move and started to wind around the Risen King. Laying on his back, he was carried across the eyes till he sat in the center of their cluster. With a pale blue light, everyone watched as the Risen king fell limp; his tense body loosened completely and fell from the eyes. His corpse caught alight as it fell and burned to ash before colliding into the ground; his staff, however, collided with full force and shattered.
Anodyne watched as the creature started to fly erratically, everyone below understanding that the beast was angry. It started to swoop down and claim people into its eye mass, disintegrating them and absorbing their souls.
“Well, that is how he got out; they created a demi-god from psychic plants and the remains of the living dead. That makes this the third demi god the Holites have made.”
“Maybe they will create too many demi-gods and replace themselves with these greater beings.”
Anodyne gave a light laugh at what Conductor said.
“If that does happen, we reset this world. Demigods are strong, but they need lesser beings; they would all fight for territory till only one remained. Not fun to rule over one being; I have tried it before, not that great.”
“One day, you will have to tell me about that, my lord, but for now, shall we follow the Risen?”
Anodyne let off a long-winded sigh.
“Can’t? He left this universe. He must have finished his 100-year sentence of life before I sent him down here.”
“What 100-year sentence are you referring to?”
“I assumed you knew every being in existence has to live life as all stages of life. At the sentient stage, like humans, you live 100 years, either in one life or through reincarnation. After that, you are reborn as a deity, like me. Sylum hinted at further stages, but I can’t imagine a stage after deity.”
“Ah, so this Risen must have already lived 100 years, so once he died, he should have become a god. Instead, you sent him to hell, meaning his soul could not pass on, then this demi-god used its abilities to remove him from this plane by killing him and releasing his soul.”
“Yes, but unfortunately that staff broke. Because the lives it took after that did not have their souls released, the demi-god ate it. It should be interesting to see what this thing will become.”
Anodyne snapped his fingers, and Tukon reappeared.
“When did this happen? Relative to my current time in Hollow.”
Tukon thought for a short while and used her fingers to try and calculate in her head.
“A short while.”
“For fucks sake, Tukon, this is the third time I have asked you this, and this is the third time you have said a short while. The first time it turned out to be around forty years, the second time it was slightly over a billion years. So please use a more specific term for measurement.”
Tukon thought again for a short while, her eyes darting around as they closed slightly. Muttering under her breath, she concluded.
“Close to ten billion years ago, with a variation of a few million either side.”
“One of these days, you are going to have to write down your rules for how time works in Hell because I would not have guessed anywhere near that. Anyway, you have done all I need. Go back to your tasks, Tukon.”
Tukon gave a slight bow and flashed away; Anodyne and the Conductor did the same to return to the outer space of Hollow.
“What now, my lord?”
“Now, now I show this Risen god the full force of my unbridled rage!”