Chapter 296: Comparison

While Phyrne was being tended to by Allen, elsewhere in the Belit Babili there were several minor skirmishes still ongoing. The elite members of the Freya Familia had invaded the interior of the Ishtar Familia’s compound and were slaughtering anyone that bothered to put up a fight. Since Freya actually had the blueprints of all the surrounding buildings, she had stationed people at every conceivable exit to prevent Ishtar’s escape. She knew this incident wouldn’t be over unless she was able to weed out the root of the problem herself. As long as Ishtar was at large, she could simply charm any number of people to do her bidding and slowly build up her forces to become a pain in the neck in the future.

Since the lowest Level of the elites within the Freya Familia was Level 5, they made short work of the Amazon warriors that had retained their loyalty to Ishtar. Though the premier combat forces of Ishtar had long fled, it didn’t mean everyone in her Familia had abandoned her. There were quite a number of people, like Tammuz, that were fiercely loyal to the goddess of beauty that had ‘tended’ to them in the past. Even without her charm, they would fight to protect the place that had been their home and provided opportunities to them. Of course, there were a number of them that simply fought due to their nature of belonging to a criminal Familia. They were rather cruel and bloodthirsty individuals that thought too highly of themselves and were paying the prices of their hubris.

Some of the most prominent fighters on the scene for the Freya Familia was a group of four Pallum warriors known collectively as the ‘Gulliver Brothers’. Though it wasn’t abnormal for Pallum’s to give birth to twins, or even triplets, they were the rare exception of quadruplets within their race and were well-known for their skill and coordinated attacks. Their members consisted of four 120cm tall, white-haired Pallums named Grer, Alfrig, Dvalin, and Berling. Each member of the brothers was Level 5, and they wore matching black armor with black visors that concealed their faces. Nobody knew which brother was which and the only difference between them was the weapons they wielded. Though some had made an attempt to identify the brothers based on their weapons, it had been noted that each was capable of using the weapons of the others with nearly identical prowess. The only thing for certain was that the ‘eldest’ brother, Grer, was the one that almost exclusively used a greatsword.

Using their coordinated strikes, they quickly cut through several tens of Ishtar Familia loyalists and prostitutes without batting an eyelid. Even when a slightly stronger enemy showed up, Grer would immediately pressure them as the other three took to the flanks and overwhelmed any resistance with incredible precision. Though the majority of their enemies were much weaker than they were, the brothers still teamed up and treated every engagement seriously without showing any leniency. Because they always maintained the mystery of their identity, they cut through the masses silently without uttering a single word throughout the massacre.

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Of course, though their capabilities were impressive, they were nothing compared to the tyrannical might of the man that had charged deep into the heart of the Belit Babili without stopping to draw a single heavy breath. Though his body was covered in blood, there wasn’t a single scratch on the 210cm tall muscular frame of the Boaz man. He wielded two massive greatswords that typically required two hands to wield, each in a single hand as he swung them around as if they had no weight to them at all. Anything that crossed his path was immediately cut down without hesitation, including any obstacles that might get in the way of the beautiful goddess following behind him.

Almost as if their progress hadn’t been barred by more than fifty people, Freya and Ottar effortless made their way into the heart of the Ishtar Familia, all the way to the inner sanctum where Ishtar typically staged her nightly orgies. The area was more than 30m in diameter and was surrounded by curtains with pungent incense situation on each pillar that had a tantalizing aroma. The entire center of the huge circle was a gigantic bed that was covered with a variety of pillows, blankets, and instruments of pleasure. Seemingly unaware of the chaos that had occurred outside, Ishtar was currently being tended to by two muscular men before her eyes widened at the unexpected intrusion.

Before Ishtar could say anything, Freya began laughing in an overly elegant manner as she mused, “Oh, please continue my dear Ishtar. It would be a shame if your final moments in the mortal plane weren’t spent enjoying what time you have left~.” There was an incredibly cold glint in Freya’s eyes as she observed the scene as if she was watching animals on display. Though the two men near Ishtar had well-developed bodies, she could tell they were insignificant men that spent more time improving their bodies than actually developing their strength. They were very likely men personally cultivated for pleasure and served no other purpose whatsoever. In Freya’s perspective, they looked like pitiful ants that had never broken free of their small little world.

Ishtar looked at Freya with eyes that had widened as if they were trying to compete with the full moon. Her gaze wandered to the mountain-like Ottar and gawked at the sheer presence of the man known as the ‘King’ amongst all others within the City. He had a body as if it had been carved from granite by a heavenly artisan and she could see the line of his figure through his clothing almost as if it served no purpose other than to tease women. When she turned her attention to his eyes, however, Ishtar’s eyes opened even wider because the only thing she could see was a complete lack of interest even as he witnessed her naked figure. The fact that he was covered in blood and also wielded two giant swords sent danger signals to her mind and she suddenly felt like she was fresh meat served up on a silver platter.

Waving away the two men, Ishtar stammered, “W-w-what are you doing here Freya!? Y-y-you have n-no business here! This is my home, not your playground where you can wander about freely!” Even though she put on a brave front, Ishtar already had tears in her eyes as she looked at the cold and amused expression of Freya. She had been constantly trying to charm Ottar, but he didn’t waver in the slightest and continued to stare at her as if she was insignificant. Seeing that Freya didn’t respond to her words, the worry in Ishtar’s mind continued to grow as she asked politely, “Freya, t-to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit? Is there a matter I can help you address?” The only way forward was to take two steps back and put herself in a submissive position even though she had a profound distaste for the goddess before her.

Freya’s smile widened partially and a ‘gentle’ look appeared on her face as she stated plainly, “Of course Ishtar~! You see, there had been this really frustrating pain in my neck for the last few years…” Freya released a sigh and theatrically rubbed her neck as if trying to remove some discomfort as she continued, “If it isn’t too much trouble, perhaps you’d be willing to help rid me of it~?” Even though she knew what Freya was implying, Ishtar asked with a wry smile on her face as tears dripped from her eyes, “W-would you like me to help m-m-massage you?” Ishtar was doing her best to keep her nerves, but her teeth had already started to clatter and she regretted sending her servants away. Even though both men were just Level 1, Ishtar suddenly felt very alone and afraid even though she was in the room that brought her the most comfort over the last fifty years.

As if she were amused by Ishtar’s words, Freya laughed like a bell as she covered her mouth in a very elegant gesture before saying, “Silly girl, I have capable men like Ottar if I need things like that~! Unlike those pitiful toys of your’s, my partners are quite capable you know~?” Ottar understood Freya’s intentions as he swiped one of the greatswords in his hand through the air and a line of pressure bissected every single pillar in the area cleanly. Even though the ‘pleasure circle’ was 30m in diameter, Ottar was able to split each one in half with a single swipe of his blade. There wasn’t even in extra wind pressure trailing behind the sword and Ishtar hadn’t even seen the movement clearly with her eyes. The only thing she was aware of was the small bald spot that had appeared at the very top of her head.

Seeing Ishtar’s state, Freya began to laugh with an incredibly amused expression on her face as she said, “That is quite a look, perhaps you’re trying to start a new fashion trend~?” Though she was profoundly afraid, Ishtar still glared at Freya through her tear-filled eyes and screamed, “Freya, you bitch! What right do you have to do something like this!? Why must you embarrass me and put me down at every turn!?” In response to her words, Freya began to walk forward and Ishtar immediately fell onto her butt with her legs spread slightly as if by some primordial instinct. Even now, there was the proof of her licentious behavior dripping out from her inner thighs and it added a strange peculiarity to the otherwise serious atmosphere.

Unaffected by the immortal sight, Freya continued to walk forward as she said, “It was your decision to oppose me when you arrived in the City those many years ago. Even though I ignored your actions and let you do as you please, you continued to act in spite of my generosity and constantly sought to oppose me. Did you honestly have the expectation that my patience was without limit~?” Within Freya’s eyes, there was the visible light of a predator eyeing its prey and Ishtar wasn’t able to move a single centimeter under the gaze of the goddess she hated. She had always been fiercely jealous of Freya’s success and the fact that her charm was much stronger than her own. Even though Freya had never proactively acknowledged their rivalry, Ishtar continued to undermine Freya whenever she got the chance just to vent her own frustrations.

Ishtar looked up at Freya and realized that they were never even on the same playing field from the outset. Freya had slowly built up her forces and focused on nourishing elites while she just haphazardly charmed whoever caught her eye and tried to build an empire. The majority of her subordinates disliked her, and even refused her commands at times, while each of Freya’s showed an unwavering loyalty toward her. Even now, though she had tried more than a hundred times to charm Ottar, he hadn’t even flinched in the slightest. The only woman in his eyes was the beautiful, silver-haired, goddess that was looking down on her as if she were an insect.

With tears streaming down her face, Ishtar asked, “Tell me Freya…what is the difference between us? Why do you get to be so happy and experience so much success even without working hard? Why do you get to sit at the top of the tower above everything else while I have to slough away in this foul district surrounded by criminals and incompetent subordinates? Why do you get to live in the light and enjoy everyone’s adoration while I have to live in the darkness surrounded by filth, drawing the ire of everyone around me?” From an objective standpoint, Ishtar knew that Freya was more beautiful than she was, but they were both goddesses of beauty. She couldn’t understand why Freya enjoyed so much success while she had to struggle endlessly and constantly suffered setbacks.

As if she were seriously considering Ishtar’s questions, Freya tilted her head slightly as she gently stroked her chin in a gesture of deep thought. After waiting for Ishtar’s expression to break down a bit, Freya smiled and responded, “It’s an interesting thing, really, that you thought we were ever comparable in the first place. I wonder where I went wrong to be compared to such an insignificant creature~?” For a brief moment, the indignity Ishtar felt from Freya’s words overwhelmed her fear and she tried to scream out a rebuttal. However, the moment she opened her mouth, Ishtar felt a ‘sickening’ feeling followed by an intense pain as she raised her hands up to her throat.

At the moment when Ishtar had been stunned by her words, Freya drew a black dagger and slit the pitiful goddess’s throat before she could say anything to defend her own dignity. Freya watched as her expression turned into one of pain and incredulity as she tried to stymie the flow of blood from the gaping wound on her neck. Her healthy brown complexion quickly began to grow pale as she activated her Arcarum to try and stop the flow of blood. Unfortunately, the dagger Freya used was a cursed weapon and the wound couldn’t be healed so easily. Since Freya didn’t want to face the matter of ‘killing’ a goddess on her own, she simply pushed Ishtar into a corner and forced the goddess to activate her own Arcarum. As compensation for breaking the taboo, Ishtar’s body began to glow with a Divine Light as she scowled at Freya and tried to form words, but the only thing that came out of her lips was a line of blood that spatted along Freya’s face.

Freya continued to watch the light slowly dissolve Ishtar’s body as she was forcibly returned to Heaven. Since she was ‘ejected’ for breaking her vow, she would be able to return in a few short decades instead of waiting for hundreds of years. This was the common outcome for disputes between gods since it wasn’t considered a heavy penalty to spend a few shorts years in Heaven to settle any enmity. After Ishtar had completely vanished, Freya wiped the blood off her face and remarked, “A curious thing, that you were able, in your death, to actually manage to leave an impression on me. Sadly, it wasn’t a lasting one…” As she spoke, Freya wiped away the blood on a handkerchief before throwing it onto the sweat-stained cushions beneath her feet. Turning around, she smiled elegantly at Ottar and said, “Ottar, dear…please burn everything. I don’t want a single building belonging to the Ishtar Familia to remain~.” Without a change in expression, Ottar bowed subserviently and proclaimed, “As you will.”

(A/N: People aware of the original canon might draw some parallels with Ishtar’s current fate and the original plot. Please keep in mind that Ishtar’s fate was more or less sealed from the moment she decided to make Freya an enemy. The only thing Freya ever needed was ‘any’ excuse to eventually get rid of her~! Also, I always found it strange that Ishtar never spread word of Haruhime’s magic even when she died in the original plot. It’s really weird, since ‘oracle’ magic is totally a thing and there is a direct line of communcation with Heaven. Since the original Author completely ignores this fact, I’m going to take a note out of their book and pretend Ishtar simply didn’t care about Haruhime when she was returned to Heaven and kept the information to herself kappa (O,…,O)~!)

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