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Paragon of Destruction - Chapter 54

Published at 12th of August 2019 08:29:11 PM

Chapter 54

The standoff lasted for a while, yet the battle that Arran expected never came . Instead, Panurge suddenly burst into laughter .

"Still afraid to face me, old man?" he asked, a wide grin on his face .

Senecio did not respond, instead merely giving Panurge a contemptuous glare .

Although Arran was relieved that a battle had been avoided, he was still distressed at being dragged into a conflict he wanted no part of, and did not understand in the slightest .

"Who are you guys?!" he blurted out .

"We," Panurge began, "are what you might call Gods . I am this world's God of Chaos, while my phlegmatic counterpart is the God of Order . "

"Gods? You?" Arran gave him a doubtful look . He understood well that Panurge was powerful after the confrontation between him and Senecio, but to Arran's eyes, the man seemed far from divine .

"I could turn you into a rat, if that would help convince you," Panurge said, raising an eyebrow . "Or perhaps it would help if I looked the part?"

At once, Panurge's body started to change . He had previously been a normal-looking man, but now, before Arran's eyes, he started to grow taller . First an inch, then a foot, then two — in moments, he stood over eight feet tall .

And that wasn't the only thing that had changed . His shoulders and arms now bulged with muscle, and his pale face had grown inhumanly handsome, as if it was sculpted from flawless marble .

"Perhaps this better fits your idea of what a God should look like?"

Arran was startled to hear that his voice had changed, too . It had grown deeper and louder, and there was an authority to it that caused him to shudder in awe .

"Leave the boy alone," Senecio said .

"After all the work I did to bring him here?" Panurge grinned wickedly . "I think not . "

"You arranged for him to be here?" Senecio frowned, for the first time seeming genuinely surprised .

"Of course," Panurge replied . "I've had my eye on him for quite a while already . " He let out an exaggerated sigh . "It really took some work, helping those Redstone fools find him . "

"Then why did you do it?" Arran asked . He had already suspected that he had not run into the Redstone men by accident, but the idea that someone as powerful as Panurge would go through all that effort for him seemed absurd .

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"I already told you," Panurge said . "You interest me . You're still terribly weak, and perhaps not all that talented, but trouble seems to follow you like wolves follow sheep . "

Arran looked at Senecio, feeling some worry . Although he had no intention of joining Panurge, he feared that even the suggestion of him doing so might stir Senecio into action .

"Don't worry about the old man," Panurge said . "With my protection, he cannot touch you . "

"Why not?" Arran had no intention of joining Panurge, but he was still anxious to learn more about the two warring sides . Even if he made it out of here, he very much suspected he would not be rid of them .

"There is a treaty," Panurge said, "between Chaos and Order . We Gods cannot interfere directly with the affairs of each other's forces on their own worlds — not unless the other party does so first . "

"Is that true?" Arran gave Senecio a questioning look . Although Panurge was the more talkative of the two, Senecio seemed more trustworthy .

Senecio nodded in response . "For once, he speaks the truth . If either side breaks the treaty, the other side will respond in kind . And when that happens, this world is all but doomed . " With a sigh, he added, "My task here is to observe Panurge, to ensure he does not violate the treaty . "

"And my task is to observe the old man," Panurge said, scowling . "Century after century of boredom, keeping my eyes on the world's least interesting God . It almost makes one wish for mortality . "

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"Then what about the Herald?" The two men both claimed they could not interfere in each other's affairs, yet the memory of Senecio killing the creature was still fresh in Arran's mind .

"The Herald was not of this world," Senecio said . "In truth, just his presence here violated the treaty, but…"

"But the old man has grown weak," Panurge interrupted him . "He does not dare battle me, for fear of what would happen to this world . So occasionally, I prod him a little . Isn't that right, old man?"

Arran looked at Senecio, but the man did not react . His face was like a mask, betraying no emotion whatsoever .

Panurge turned toward Arran and gave him a long look .

"Now that you know the situation, perhaps you will reconsider my offer? I can protect you from the old man, and help you gain enough power to face the Academy . " He smiled eagerly . "All I want in return is to see the outcome . "

"No," Arran said without hesitation .

"You would deny me?" Panurge seemed puzzled rather than angry . "Despite all I have to offer you?"

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"I don't trust you," Arran replied honestly .

"What does that have to do with anything?" Panurge looked genuinely confused . "I'm offering you power and protection, not marriage . What you do with my gifts after you accept them is up to you . "

"No," Arran said again . "I refuse . " He was certain that if he accepted, there would be a catch . With what little he had seen of Panurge so far, he was certain the catch would be a disastrous one .

Now, a hint of annoyance appeared on Panurge's face . "You would dare refuse me?" He stepped forward, and Arran instantly felt a sense of grave danger .

"Panurge!" Senecio called out, voice thick with anger .

"He's not one of yours, old man," Panurge said . "You cannot interfere . Not unless you're ready to have that battle, at least . But maybe you've finally grown as bored as I am?"

Frustration was clear on Senecio's face, but he did not respond, and Arran realized the old man would not help him .

"You said you would let me leave if I refused!" Arran hoped against hope that Panurge would honor his word . He had little confidence in the man's promises, but right now, he had nothing else .

"So I did," Panurge said, furrowing his brow in thought . Then, with a grin, he said, "I suppose I lied . "

He snapped his fingers, and before Arran could respond, the world went black before his eyes as his consciousness slipped away .