The Persian waved his hand, and a scorpion appeared. It looked the size of a rhinoceros, though flat and low to the ground like a true insect. The horn on this beast appeared, not on the head, but at the end of the multi-jointed tail where it waved slowly up and down, ready to strike at any moment. Its six legs made the creature shuffle back and forth, and it made a great clicking sound with its jaws, but it did not charge.
“Oh, Lovely.” Greta clapped like an excited schoolgirl. “A teleport device. I can do that.” The Persian looked confused again as Greta called. “Bonebreaker!”
The ogre appeared beside his goddess as he had no choice. He looked confused about what just happened and where he was, but looking confused was not an unusual thing for an ogre. The poor ogre looked cut up, a few deep cuts, and he looked burned in several places, but he lived and would heal. Greta touched Bonebreaker’s upper arm, about as high as she could reach, and the ogre felt strength and healing enter his body.
“But you can’t do that,” the Persian protested. “You are just an ordinary, stinking, mortal human.”
Bonebreaker grinned, which made Alesander and Briana look away and made Vedix swallow to keep from throwing up. “Yes, Lady,” Bonebreaker said. Ogres lived to smash things.
The scorpion moved, but Bonebreaker leapt and both fists came down at once on the scorpion head. He grabbed the clicking jaws and with a great roar, ripped them out. The scorpion insides and brains began to leak out on the dock even as the stinger struck Bonebreaker in the shoulder. Bonebreaker howled, but grabbed the tail below the stinger and yanked. Reflex kept the stinger in attack mode, but Briana let out a great scream of her own and leapt. One swing of her sword and her sword broke even as the scorpion stinger flew off into the bushes.
Briana landed hard on the ground, the wind knocked from her lungs and the strength gone from her arms. Alesander raced up and grabbed her. He carried her to safety even as she protested that she could walk. He told her to shut-up and kissed her to keep her quiet.
It turned out a good thing Alesander pulled her back from the action, because Bonebreaker shifted his hands on the scorpion tail and began to swing the scorpion to the left and the right, smashing it against the ground on the left and on the docks to the right. When the scorpion became sufficient pulpy, Greta said stop, and Bonebreaker stopped and fell to his knees.
Greta rushed up. The scorpion venom started having its way. Greta was not a goddess, but even as a human, she remained Bonebreaker’s goddess, and she was the woman of the ways for all the Dacian people, and not without training and some small power. She prayed as she touched the big ogre on the shoulder. She emptied her mind and focused as well as she could, even as Mother Hulda taught her, and the venom collected next to the wound and forced itself out of the hole in the shoulder. It dribbled to the ground and the earth steamed where it landed.
“That’s not possible,” the Persian shrieked. “You are not a god.”
“I am human, but as Mother Greta, you know I have some small power.” Greta turned and her eyes were hard and cruel enough to startle the Persian. Her hand once again shook a finger at the Persian like he had been a naughty child. “You claim to be a god, a claim I dispute. So let me put you to the test of water, fire, earth, air and ether. We will see if you are truly a god or not.”
The Persian looked surprised, but soon enough the sly look returned to his face and he accepted the challenge.
“We are here by the river,” Greta said in her stern voice and left little time for the Persian to think. “Since I am already soaked from the rain, let us begin with the water test.” Greta sat down on the dock and dangled her feet over the side. “Let us see which of us can stay longer under the water.” She slipped off the dock and sank beneath the waves. The fish gave her plenty of room as instructed, and the water sprites surrounded her with a bubble of air and kept her supplied with plenty of oxygen. The Persian slipped into the water to stand beside her, a smug look on his face before he realized she tricked him again. The water sprites that protected Greta could also feed off the pressure at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, and they pressed in on the Persian and would have crushed him utterly, before he could react, if they were not followed by the Piranha. It took less than thirty seconds to strip the Persian of every ounce of flesh. Greta surfaced, as a spark of white light shot out of the water and zoomed into the north. Then the gnawed bones floated up.
Greta looked at Alesander and Briana, but they were busy kissing. All the same, she positioned Vedix between her and the lovers before she traded places with Amphitrite. Amphitrite bent down to the water and thanked her water sprites first of all. Bubbles popped up from the water and she petted his head like a mom might brush the hair out or her little one’s eyes. Bubbles turned from a gray-blue color to slightly pink and broke to water pieces. Amphitrite looked up to the sky sprites, and made a point of thanking them as well as singling out the winds that helped. She turned again to the water and called her Piranha to the surface. When they jumped from the water, she sent them all the way home to the Amazon, a little less hungry.
“They would not have survived in these cold waters,” she said, and went away so Greta could come back. “Better they go home,” Greta finished the thought before she added, “I wish we could go home.”
Vedix nodded. “As you say,” he said, while he got a boat pole and hook and tried to fish the Persian’s bones out of the water.
“Lady!” Greta heard Mavis’ voice and looked around. Lucius was nowhere to be seen. Greta walked off the dock and headed toward the fort where Mavis and Hermes started walking toward her, followed by a great host of hard looking men in leather armor, round wooden and some metal shields, long spears and great swords that hung from leather straps that fit over the opposite shoulder. Bogus and Pincushion came from the big building with dozens of horses in their trail.