Ascension: A Short Story

By Griffen S

      The gods stood, their faces hidden by gold-plated masks. As it was a tradition from the God of gods, they had to get something, someone, perhaps, who was worthy to become a new god. A god sat on the edge of the floating island, hidden by the clouds below. A ray of light shone from the heavens. It glittered. Was it...a human? A challenger, perhaps? Yes, that was what it was. A challenger, trying to ascend, to be free of all burdens…
      “Welcome,” a god’s voice echoed. “If thee completes thy gauntlet, then thee shall become a new God.” The voice rang through the gauntlet, clear and booming. A god entered the gauntlet, his mask adorned with bronze. Unsheathing a sword, he took a battle stance. The challenger, his long blonde hair flowing in the wind, took out a dagger.
      “Thy weapons will clash...NOW.” The voice yelled. The bronze-masked god immediately dashed at the challenger, his sword gleaming in the sunlight. The challenger dodged, stabbing the dagger into the god. Golden ichor flowed from the wound, glittering. The god seemed to wince at this pain, slashing the challenger in the arm. The challenger checked the wound, bandaging up immediately. The god, seeing the opening he had, immediately sprinted towards the challenger. The challenger, at the last second, stabbed the god. The god immediately dropped its sword. It made a large ‘THUD’ as it hit the stone floor. The god’s voice was heard once more.
      “Thou has defeated a god? Impossible…” It sounded skeptical of the challenger winning the fight. The bronze-masked god seemed to disappear into a white light, blowing away in the wind. The challenger grabbed their dagger (still stained with ichor, might I add), and raised it skyward.
Out of many godseekers (ones who had devoted their immortal lives to finding new gods) and a few gods, only 1 clapped.
      “..where’s my praise?” The challenger muttered.
      “That was only the first,” the god’s voice rang out, “out of 100.”
      “..WHAT?!” The challenger shouted, filled with rage.
      “..Thee shan’t simply become a God just by one battle!” The god’s voice chuckled. Everyone in the crowd laughed.
      “Is thou serious?” one god asked.
      “Pppftt- one battle..thee must be kidding me..” another remarked, stifling laughter. 
      “SHUT UP! ALL OF YOU! YOUR SORRY POSTERIORS ARE LUCKY TO EVEN HAVE ME!” The challenger yelled. Everyone stopped for a moment…and immediately continued laughing.
      The challenger grumbled, “ALL RIGHT, NEXT FIGHT!” The crowd stopped laughing, looking at the challenger. Another god teleported into the gauntlet, making eye contact with the challenger. They took out a pair of what looked like fishing hooks, except much bigger, made of steel, and with a grip at the dull end.
      “What, you’re gonna fish me to death-” The challenger was immediately cut off by the god rushing forwards, stabbing both hooks into the arm of the challenger. The challenger, caught off guard by this, screamed in pain, slashing the dagger at the god with his good arm. Ichor leaked from the wound across the god’s chest, thankfully not deep enough to have slashed the heart. The challenger dashed away, small holes in their arm. They ran to the god, stabbing them. The god put their hand on the wound, disappearing as the first god did. The challenger instinctively raised their dagger skyward. Through many, many, many many MANY battles, the challenger came through them all. They were bruised and cut, and their entire arm was covered in bandages.
      “..I, the God of Gods, have never seen such a display of power and finesse with thy weapon…” The voice remarked. “...As tradition says…I offer you one final trial!” The voice shouted. All the other gods that had disappeared came back, making a pathway in front of where the next god would teleport in. The God of Gods appeared, their mask adorned with diamonds, pearls, rubies, everything. They seemed to have the same physique as the other gods, except their cloak was much more regal, adorned with sapphires and emeralds. They unsheathed a sword, walking towards the challenger.
      “Y-you think I’m going to stand here..and take it?” The challenger strained, as the wounds from previous battles, though bandaged, still stung. The God of Gods shook their head, swinging the sword down in front of the challenger. The challenger dashed backward.
      “I know your every move...” The God of Gods remarked. “Your physique, your stance, EVERYTHING.” They rushed towards the challenger, slashing them with their sword. The challenger dodged to the side, stabbing the God of Gods in the back.
      “..WHAT-” The God of Gods started to disappear, turning into light. “..I never thought thou could do it. We’ve had hundreds, even THOUSANDS of challengers...and none have performed as well as thou just did.”
      The challenger started to turn into light, teleporting to what looked like a ceremony, Every god bowed as the challenger walked past. A pedestal rose from the ground, a velvet pillow on top of it.
Light coalesced into a gold-plated mask on top of the pillow.
      “It’s yours now,” a god whispered, “a final reward for your trials.”
      “..For me? What?” The challenger thought.
They put their hand on the mask. It felt smooth and firm, as if you punched into it, it would break your hand, but there would be no visible damage to it. They put their other hand on the mask, turning it away from them.
      They put it on, feeling a rush of energy flow through them. They weren’t a challenger anymore.
They were…

A new God.