Published March 04, 2019 by

Khan and the Kingdom without Gods Chapter 3

Outside our world exists one of gods. A place where gods reign supreme and humans live like days of old.

Khan is a dashing thief who travels to a small kingdom without gods in the hope of seducing their beautiful princess. He is instead drawn to her unusual bodyguard who has a few secrets of her own. The battle between mortals and gods has only just begun. 

I know that I promised you the exciting adventure of a thief king and his crew, but young Nawaki's story is also vital to help understand Mei Fhan, and Khan wanted to know as much as he could about the mysterious young woman who guarded the princess.

Nawaki grew up in a mountainous village far away from the sea. He lived with his two parents who diligently farmed their fields and sold their grain at the local market. The local god was not especially kind, but he kept them safe in return for their monthly donations of grain.

Sure Nawaki's family had been quite poor and they often went to bed hungry, but Nawaki was sure that those peaceful days together with his parents would never end.

Until one day when his mother and father didn't come home.

A nine year old Nawaki stood on the tips of his toes and stared out the window of his parent's wooden shack. He hoped to see his parents strolling up the mountain road with their arms full of goods that they bought at the market, but that day, like everyday that week, he could see nothing but trees and birds.

Nawaki pulled himself away from the window and began to pace around the room. He had watered the plants, played with his toys, and now there was nothing which could distract him from the anxiety which was growing larger and larger in the pit of his stomach.

He refused to accept that they wouldn't come back. Just a week ago his father ruffled his hair and promised to be back within a day. Nawaki's father had been a good man, and his only son refused to believe that he would break his word.

Nawaki instead began to imagine all the reasons why his parents had been delayed. Maybe the path was damaged and they had to go the long way, or maybe they were abducted by pirates who were after their grain. Perhaps they were now being held captive while desperately waiting for Nawaki to come pay the ransom money.

Nawaki decided that he couldn't take waiting any longer and he had to go find them. He knew travelling alone was dangerous and that the road was often used by bandits or lower gods, but the thought of seeing his parents again outweighed his common sense.

Nawaki clambered down the steep mountain path for hours until he finally reached the nearest town. He'd been there several times with his parents before, but this time it looked completely different like something dreadful had occurred. The buildings were damaged and burnt, the streets were empty, and all the market stores had been abandoned with their wares scattered throughout the street. There was also black smoke rising up from a large stone mansion on the hill. It was the weekend home of their local god Lord Sekiha who had been greatly respected and feared, so Nawaki couldn't understand why no one was attempting to put out the blaze.

"Mama! Papa!" Cried Nawaki as he ran around the town searching for his missing parents, but the streets were silent and not a soul emerged from their homes. "Where are you?"

"Hey kid!" Hissed a voice from behind him, and Nawaki turned to see a dirty man with an inch long beard hiding in a basket on the side of the road. "Get out of here before they find you!"

"Come in here!" Hissed an elderly woman from behind a crack in her door. "I'll hide you good and well where no one will ever find you boy."

Nawaki's life would have turned out differently if he'd listened to their advice, but instead he screamed and ran away in terror. He continued to run around the town in a panic until something grabbed the back of his shirt and yanked him off his feet.

"Looks like another brat those lazy shits forgot to clean off the street," said the voice of whatever was holding him, and Nawaki glanced over his shoulder to see three almost identical male gods with long hair and silk clothes staring back. Nawaki felt the bottom drop out of his stomach and he nervously gulped.

It was the first time he'd ever seen a god and it certainly wouldn't be the last. Nawaki assumed that all gods were graceful and immaculate so he was surprised at how rugged these gods were. Their clothes were worn, the seams were loose, and their hair was messy like they couldn't afford a proper comb. If it wasn't for their complection and godly glow, Nawaki would have mistaken them for regular bandits who roamed the mountainside. They were the Numero brothers, but they happened to look so girly that it would have made more sense to call themselves the Numero sisters instead. After years of famine and malnourishment most of the mortals in their mountain village had perished and left them alone. Fed up with having to feed themselves and wash their own clothes, the Numero brothers had decided to descend from their mountain home and take over Lord Sekiha's land. Unfortunately they were terrible at managing people and were already running the town into the ground.

"Let go of me!" Cried Nawaki as he attempted to struggle and get away.

"Check this out," said Yi, the oldest Numero brother who was holding his shirt. He poked Nawaki in the stomach and the young boy screamed in pain. "This little sqwirt actually thinks he can get away."

"What do you expect," said Arh, the next brother who was not any kinder. "These bumpkins have never felt the terror of a real god before."

"Maybe we should teach this little guy a lesson he'll never forget," said Yi.

"Let's just get going," sighed San. He was the only brother who disliked violence and would rather be at home reading a book. "Sister is going to worry if we don't get back there soon."

"Guess this guy might make a nice present for Sis," said Yi with a laugh. "She's always moaning about wanting more pets."

"Just as long as she takes care of this one's feces," said San.

With a laugh Yi threw Nawaki over his shoulder with enough force to knock the wind out of the boy's lungs. A trembling Nawaki could do nothing but gaze over the remains of the market as the Numero brothers strolled through the town. Many buildings had been smashed, and a large group of adults were tiredly farming a large field on the outskirts of town.

"Quit slacking mortals!" Yelled Arh and the humans picked up their pace. "We want our food ready by the end of the week or it'll be your heads on sticks!"

Arh picked up a rock and casually tossed it at a man who fell down from the impact. Nawaki couldn't tell if he was alive or dead, but both Yi and Arh just laughed as the poor man lay there twitching. Nawaki had never encountered a being as cruel as these gods, and he finally began to realise that all the terrible tales he'd heard about evil immortals were very much true.

At last the brothers reached a large mansion which had once belonged to Lord Sekiha. The front door was missing like they'd smashed it to pieces, and Yi, Arh, and San, confidently waltzed in like they owned the place. The mansion was full of young children who were cleaning the walls and floors. Most of them looked no older than Nawaki, and several of them were frantically scrubbing while tears ran down their faces.

"We're home darling sister," sang Yi and he hauled Nawaki into the front sitting room.

In the center of the room, amongst the expensive furniture and glittering works of art, sat a young female god on a red leather couch. She lethargically leaned back as a small child nervously fed her grapes. Her name was Su and she was the only girl amongst the terrible Numero siblings, but despite her fondness for cute things she didn't have an ounce of empathy for humans.

"We have a present for you Sis!" Said Yi and he tossed Nawaki onto the floor with a thud. The boy cried out in pain, but Yi and Arh only laughed.

"Thank you dear brothers," said Su with a lethargic yawn. "He'll make a great addition to the ones we already have."

"Start scrubbing pipsqueak!" Said Arh and he tossed a cloth at Nawaki's head. Yi, Arh, and San took their seats in the room and leaned back to relax. San pulled a small book from his pocket and began to flip through the pages. Nawaki couldn't read the title because his parents had never taught him how to read symbols.

Nawaki sadly took the cloth and began nervously scrubbing the white ceramic tile floor. He could recognise some of the captives around him as children he'd seen in the market. Nawaki was not in town often enough to remember their names, but he could remember their parents' occupations.

"Hey, veggie guy's son," whispered Nawaki to the small boy scrubbing beside him. "Have you seen my parents?"

Veggie guy's son nervously shook his head and continued scrubbing the floor in a frenzy.

"How about you, guy whose father sells meat on sticks?" Asked Nawaki to another boy, but the child turned away and continued cleaning.

"I saw them in the market just before those gods came," whispered candy seller's daughter. "But I haven't seen them since, there were lots of adults who got hurt when those gods came."

"Yeah, those gods probably killed them or something," said horse dung man's grandson.

Nawaki froze. As much as he wanted to keep cleaning to avoid getting punished, he found that his hand would not move, and only one thought rotated through his head in a never ending circle.

His parents were dead.

The shock hit him like a tidal wave and Nawaki soon slipped into despair. He was old enough to understand that his mother and father who'd always treated him so kindly would never come home. He would never taste his mother's food, listen to his father's terrible jokes, or speak with either of them again.

He was suddenly alone in the world and he was already a slave to a gang of malicious gods.

Nawaki's face felt numb and tears began to spill from his eyes. His body began to shake and there was no way to stop it.

"Hey! Don't cry!" Hissed candy seller's daughter. "They'll only hit you if you cry."

Nawaki tried his best to muffle his sobs, but the thought of never meeting his parents again, and his terrible situation, was enough to send him over the edge.

"I thought I told you little shits to be quiet!" Said Arh and he walked over and kicked Nawaki in the stomach. "How's a guy supposed to relax around here if you brats keep sobbing."

"I told you we should have rounded up the older ones to take care of the house," said San.

"It's all Su's fault!" Said Yi. "She only wanted the cute ones but they're completely useless!"

"Don't say that," said Su and she hugged the child beside her who almost wet himself in fear. "They're all so adorable!"

"I suppose that there's no helping it," said Arh with a sigh. "You're always going to end up with at least one useless mortal no matter what you do," he rolled his sleeves up and walked towards Nawaki. "It's probably best to put this one down."

Nawaki squealed and backed away until he hit the wall. He looked to the other children in desperation and hoped that someone would come to his aid, but they all quickly moved away and began scrubbing like crazy.

"Sometimes I wonder why mortals even exist," said Arh as he looked down at Nawaki in disgust. "Why would anyone create something so weak and pathetic in a god's image."

"Mortals exist to serve the gods," said San as he glanced up from his book. "Even a child knows that."

"They were put on this earth to serve our every wim," smiled Su.

"How right you are dear brother and sister," said Arh. "And their pitiful fates are ours alone to decide!"

Arh raised his fist to strike Nawaki and the young boy cried and covered his face with his hands. He would have definitely gone to the same place as his parents if it wasn't for what happened next.

White smoke began to waft in through the open door. It snaked itself around the corners of the room, and then rose up until the entire room was filled with a mysterious white fog.

"What is this?" Yi cried, but he soon disappeared from Nawaki's view.

"Today is the last day that you'll treat mortals like dogs!" Said a strange man's voice from within the smoke.

"Mankind has no obligation to serve you as slaves," said a woman's voice which echoed throughout the room.

"The time of gods is at an end!" Said another man.

Arh stopped his advance towards Nawaki and anxiously glanced around the room. He'd been confident and smug moments earlier, but now he looked anxious and afraid. Nawaki was close enough to see a young human man with dark skin and dirty blonde hair emerge from the smoke and slice Arh's head clean off in one swipe with a golden scythe. The god's head went flying across the room and his body lifelessly collapsed to the ground.

Nawaki sat there trembling in shock, and couldn't pull his eyes away from Arh's terrifying headless corpse. He'd always believed that gods were invincible, so he found it difficult to comprehend that one could be defeated so easily. If the weapon hadn't been a god instrument it wouldn't have done anything. The human man holding the scythe was a god hunter by the name of Malik, and Nawaki would never forget his serious and focused expression. He offered one hand towards Nawaki and pulled the trembling boy to his feet.

"Don't worry kid," Malik quietly whispered in his ear. "It will all be over soon."

Malik was not alone, and the other members of his group quickly attacked the remaining Numero siblings. It was impossible to see anything through the thick fog, but there was the sound of weapons clashing, and the children around them began screaming and crying.

"How dare you! This is blasphemy!" He heard Yi cry before the god suddenly when silent.

When the smoke finally cleared Nawaki could see three human men and one woman standing amongst the bloody remains. There was a large middle aged man named Jinro, two brothers named Seven and Eight, and a much tattier Mei who was dressed in men's clothes with her hair cut short to just above her shoulders. She was carrying a long sword and her face was expressionless like she didn't care that her clothes were covered in Yi's blood. Luckily for Nawaki they'd heard rumors of the Numero siblings enslaving the town and rushed to free them all, but many often wondered if Malik's group attacked gods for the sake of saving humanity, or to act out their own morbid desire to cut gods to pieces.

The white flawless room had been turned into a bloodbath, so the children all dashed away crying until only Nawaki remained. He should have been glad that the monsters who killed his parents were sliced to pieces, but it didn't bring him an ounce of happiness and he only felt empty. He considered going back to his family's home on the mountain top, but all that awaited him there was an empty shack and painful memories of his mother and father who weren't coming back.

"Hey, don't you want to go home little boy?" Kindly asked Malik and he crouched down before Nawaki so that they were both on the same level. "This isn't really the sort of place a little kid like you should be in."

"My parents are dead!" Cried Nawaki, and the tears began flowing down his face twice as hard.

"Hey, did those nasty gods kill them?" Malik asked and rubbed the boy's back.

Nawaki didn't know the exact details of his parents' unfortunate downfall, and the crying was making it difficult to speak, so he just nodded his head and assumed that's what happened.

Before he knew it the grown man before him was sobbing as well. Malik grabbed Nawaki and pulled him into a tight hug. "It's okay! You can come with us and we'll look after you kid!"

The two of them stood there sobbing together, and Nawaki frantically cried out something about not wanting to be alone. He looked over Malik's shoulder to see Mei looking at them with disapproval but she didn't say anything and turned away. If someone had told him that Mei was to become his future guardian Nawaki would have assumed they were messing with him.

Chapters: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06

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