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The Candle Lit Room Part Two
We are now back at the same place where Part One was narrated just a day or so ago. The narrator looks the same since the last recording, except his tux seemed to have suffered plenty of minor burns, and the white fur on his face is now covered in ash. His headdress now looks more like it was made from a century plant instead of feathers from Central American birds. Around his neck is a bright green scarf with a strange design resembling a face, with a suspiciously realistic and toothy mouth.
The scene is the same since the last narration, but there’s more activity going on in the dark shadowy background. One could see slight glimmers of light moving about suggesting glass objects being used by whoever is in the background. Many faint noises, including soft whimpering, can be heard.
Whatever you do, don’t ask about what happened after our last encounter. I could have fixed myself up but then I had other things to do...Like make sure nobody got hurt by this scarf-monster I’m now wearing!
Just when Tepoztecatl spoke of the green scarf, it suddenly comes to life, starts a hissing fit and tries to get off of its wearer. Tepoztecatl immediately grabs the weird piece of cloth. This wrestling goes on for a minute and finally ends with the narrator growling,
Will you stop that! I know you’re scared of mortals knowing your identity and capturing you again but this is getting embarrassing!
He finally tucks the scarf into itself, restraining it.
Sorry about that awkward moment, sometimes I wish you humans will start treating your livestock better. From cows to hippalektryons to emus, whenever a human finds a way to keep a bunch of creatures in sometimes horrific conditions, he does that for cash. Sometimes, you mortals remind me too much of the terrible spirits I once had to put up with, which *sigh* brings us back to the story.
In Part One, I spoke of a little mistake humans everywhere make when it comes to family relations in the Mesoamerican pantheons, Xolotl is the brother of Tezcatlipoca, not Quetzalcoatl, and it should have been obvious. It makes you wonder how anyone could make that mistake. Well, I think I know how that happened.
After a long day of going to different classes and dodging surly godlings, I was really looking forward to staying at Tezcatlipoca’s palace in the creepy world of Mictlan, which is just a dark landscape of dense forests, dull, hilly, occasionally rocky plains, a few murky rivers and plenty of ponds. Before there were any rough and sadistic people in Mesoamerica, this place used to be a little peaceful. Oh, those were the days.
The entrance to Mictlan was a wide-mouthed cave in the center of a forested mountain range in northern Mexico, but then it became part of the spirit world when Tezcatlipoca made the Chihuahuan desert and accidentally destroyed the beautiful place. I eventually got him back by inventing a pretty but invasive plant. As I was saying, after we came to Mictlan, I noticed that our group was split up into pairs, with me and Tez walking in one pair and Quetzal and Xolotl traveling in another, but those two were especially close to one another. Ever since Quetzal offered to help Xolotl out with his assignments and studies and stuff like that, they had been really close. I think that was why everyone believed they were twins.
As I watched them, it made me think it was a little sad Xolotl rarely had a friend outside of his family. It then reminded me of that party (and possible trouble) me and my friends just got invited to, so then I turned to the bulky giant next to me,
“Hey Tez, I got an idea.”
Right after Tez said that, his little science experiment tried to break free for the third time, and flailed its tail and tried to kick itself free.
I then replied, “Seriously man, you know you could just let that thing go free in this gloomy field, right?”
Tez grunted and told me to forget about his latest present to his family and asked about my idea, so then I asked him if he really thought taking our friends to that party four days from that time would be a good idea. Obviously, he said no.
“So why don’t we try to make Huitzilopochtli forget the whole thing? I mean I’ve heard you’ve been working on a powerful forget spell. And if it wears off and Huitzilopochtli asks if we ever showed up-”
Tezcatlipoca cut me off, “Well what should we do if Huiti’ interrogates our friends? You know the next majority meeting is about two weeks from now. If that bird finds out about our plan, I’m sure it involves someone getting hurt.”
When he said that last part about someone getting hurt, he glanced at his brother. We Aztecs are monsters as I said before. Apparently, Xolotl didn’t wear that eye patch to make himself look cool. On a side note, the majority meeting was an event where all the major gods met at the most important pantheon. Back in my days, that was Egypt. Some of those who got invited were allowed to take a few guests with them, with Huitzilopochtli being one of the usual guests. It also gave young deities the opportunity to switch pantheons.
Anyway, I thought of a solution.
“Why don’t we let them visit our place? That way, Huitzilopochtli would be duped into thinking they did come, if he questions them.”
Once again, my friend Tezcatlipoca questioned my plan.
“Have you found a way to make the other partygoers forget too, genius?”
“Pssh. I doubt they know a bunch of foreign godlings are coming to Mexico. And you’re the guy who’s good at using mind magic, not me.” I confidently replied. And later regretted.
To save time, I’ll describe the Mictlan manor and my other associates in one incident, so this took place one day after my talk with Tez. At noon, Tezcatlipoca, Xolotl, and I planned to travel to Australia, which back then was very close to another landmass, but it was still far away. At this point you’re probably wondering how we got from one side of the world to the other side in less than a day. Well, it was this newly-made form of magic at the time called rainbridge stones. They are these little opal-like stones about the size of a young man’s palm. You had to find a certain spot that was the location of a big iridescent circular stone. If you used the right spells and such, a big rainbow bridge would appear, hence the name rainbridge stones. Even better, the bridge had a type of magic that got you to your destination faster, even if you just strolled down the colorful arch.
By early afternoon, the jaguar god, the supernatural dog, and my rabbit self made it to our destination, Australia. Back in those times, the place had more lush vegetation and looked nothing like the desert most of it will end up changing into later on. We got off the bridge at the Northern Australian coastline, where we saw Maatsemur playing with a dried starfish. The cute smoky-gray cat took notice of the three Mexican godlings on the big opal-like stone and ran into the bush to tell her “big sister” that we had just arrived. Even though Australia hadn’t became an island yet, the spirits here still ended up looking...er, different.
Moments later, Maatsemur came out with a small crowd following her. One of them was the star-goddess I mentioned in the first recording. She simply looked like a pale Egyptian girl with straight black hair, green eyes, and a pastel green, blue, and purple dress that shimmered when she moved. Though Sothis belonged to the Egyptian pantheon, she lived with an Australian family, and had two very weird looking siblings, who were also following Maatsemur at that moment.
First you have Seth, a guy who used to wear animal skins like the world’s most pathetic barbarian, with the head of a red-furred dog with the snout of a tapir.
Then you have Eingana, who like I said before, is NOT a fat snake constantly having kids somewhere. In fact, she reminded anyone who had actually seen her of a monstrous thylacine with a pitbull-ish head and a thick neck like an orange polar bear, she was basically the more sociable tiger-striped version of Xolotl.
Behind everyone else was the critical Bobbi-bobbi, the black mamba/snake person who was something like Quetzalcoatl’s double, except he was not really on the dragon side, and he didn’t have any iridescent feathers; only scales colored in black, pink, yellow, orange and green. Those pastel lines of color banded and streaked all over on his body made him appear to be wearing plenty of jewelry. Like I said before, us "gods" are weird when it comes to genetics, so it might be not too much of a shocker if they turned out to be siblings. Believe it or not, they were.
I started the conversation with greeting them and asking if they had anything better to do, but then Tezcatlipoca realized that I was beating around the bush and he broke the news to them very tersely,
“We’re asking you to come over.”
Well, I didn’t know what to expect. On one hand, I expected them to be delighted because they had always wanted to see where we live, but on the other hand, I’d expected them to refuse because of the Aztec pantheon and its rotten reputation. Innocent Maatsemur clearly didn’t know, so of course she started celebrating. Seth and Bobbi exchanged worried looks, Sothis was just surprised, but it was Eingana who surprised me the most. She squealed with glee and blurted out, “Will Huiti be there?!”
That last part was shocking. I immediately started hoping that Eingana was talking about someone else named Huiti, not the monstrous hummingbird I was thinking about. I also expected Tezcatlipoca to be surprised as well, but judging from the expression on his face, he knew about it, and it seemed to bother him.
Unfortunately, it was just as I feared. On the way back to Mictlan, Eingana described her new lover in unnecessary detail. The more she talked about him the more I began to fear our plan will backfire. Maatsemur appeared to get more uneasy with Eingana as well, while Seth stared at her and his younger sister like he was waiting for one of them to mess up or something like that. The trip was eerily quiet, so being a future god of comedy, I tried to make everyone laugh by calling Bobbi his nickname.
“Don’t call me Bob!” was the only reply, though it sounded more stressed than usual.
The main road to the pyramid of Mictlan had gone through a dense forest before it finally reached its destination. Unlike most of the shady forests in the gloomy place, this one was full of fireflies, which made it easier to walk through. I didn’t know why, but back in those days, I had a strange feeling that something was following me every time I walked down this path with Tez and his shadow of a brother, though I had not asked if Tez knew of this presence, in case it had something to do with his family, and family was a touchy subject with him. As usual, I felt the eerie presence, which did nothing to help my already dark mood.
For some reason, the walk to Mictlan felt longer than usual, and I suspected that something fishy was going on. I started to think that this was a bad idea, but by then it was too late; we finally reached our destination.
Half the length of a football field away from the end of the forest sat Tezcatlipoca’s “house”. It looked a lot like the Palenque palace in the Mayan city of Palenque, except that most of the stones used to build this place were of a very dark, smooth stone. The sprawling manor sat on top of three flat-topped mounds, though a few parts of this place had a few doorways built next to the staircases bordering the mounds. A little boring to describe, but a beautiful place to visit. After we gone up a set of stairs and walked a long distance about three times, our tourist group reached the main hall of the royal palace.
Naturally, the gloomy king and queen we saw at the end of the hall were Tez’s parents. Folks that had heard of them claim that the both of them were skeletons, but this wasn't meant to be taken literally. They were just really skinny, especially the very pale King Mictla.
Tezcatlipoca greeted his royal parents in the most princly way he did, “Hi Mom. Hi dad.”
The new Mexican cow finally broke free from Tez’s hold and it loped down the hall, and it bellowed an eerie moo that echoed through the corridors.
You’d think the creepy atmosphere would leave us by now, since we were about a football field away from that forest. Nope, I still felt it, so I turned around to make sure it wasn’t Xolotl causing it. He had the ability to turn himself into a ghostly form so he could follow us and hide from bullies easier. Xolotl materialized next to me but I still felt an eerie chill; the kind one feels if lost in a swamp or forest in the middle of the night.
We headed down to the left corridor that contained enough bedrooms to house a small village. Two of the rooms were reserved for “someone else” Tezcatlipoca said once. The other rooms were used randomly by Xolotl and Tez for some reason, but since Quetzalcoatl smelted a silver lock for the last room, they had been staying there for the past week and a half. Maatsemur, Sothis, and Eingana got one room, Bobbi, Quetzalcoatl, and Seth shared another room, and the Mictla kids and I shared the silver-lock room. Everyone wanted to know why we got crammed into three rooms, but I thought I knew why: Danger lurked within these walls, because of that “someone else”. Obviously, I didn’t tell them.
I couldn’t sleep. Even with the sound of birds chirping, the pale blooms of the moonflowers nearby, and the faint scent of fresh hay I was sleeping on top of didn’t help like usual. I couldn’t help but get an ominous feeling in the air. I was scared for everyone. It worried me what was going to happen the next day. Then at some point, fatigue overwhelmed me and I was out like a light. That was when that dream came to me.
In my dream, terrible things happened all around me and they happened very quickly, so I wasn't able to intervene. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but it was appalling to say the least. Everything stopped and I found myself in a velvet-colored room. Then a column of smoke appeared in front of me. That column of smoke talked to me, and it said, “You are not an omniscient deity Tepoztecatl Báitu. You will fail in keeping the box of salt unturned, and it will happen when your ears are deaf and your back is turned.”
When I awoke, my mind buzzed with questions, Why did that thing call me Báitu? What does it mean about that box of salt? And what does omniscient mean?? I didn’t dare forget that dream and remembered it well...until I passed out the next morning.