A/N: In case you immediately want action and you later find yourself bored with the introduction, please give the next two chapters a chance. Thank you.
The sun could not be seen above.
If one would raise their head towards the skies, only the dark and thick clouds would greet their eyes which in turn would cause them to frown. It was always like that. Most of the time, a person's mood could be swayed and influenced by heaven. If it was a clear sky, most people would smile. If not, they would do the opposite.
This was one of the reasons a youngster in faded jeans and the black jacket was frowning deeply as he marched under the dark clouds. He was not alone in this march. No matter where one would turn their head, there would be people. In fact, in all directions were all sorts of people.
There were ugly ducklings. Beauties. Elders. Children. Tall giants. And dwarven folks.
At first, the youngster could still giggle since there were some with appearances that he found indescribable. Others were creating all sorts of ruckus and they all had made him laugh to the extreme. After a while, he lost interest in those people. Instead, he found himself being intrigued by his new environment. He was greatly puzzled why he was in this march, and why there were so many humans parading.
Like the grey skies above, it was really creepy. No one had ever said even a single syllable.
As time passed, the frown on his lips became in-erasable. His mind was flooded with questions. Unfortunately, although he had already squeezed every juice in his brain, he had yet to gain anything. He was only losing brain cells, but because he seems really had no idea about the situation, no memories or information surfaced.
The creases in his forehead deepened. As they continued walking, his heart also continuously got heavier and he felt like he was slowly learning the simple truth.
He couldn't remember anything. Nothing at all.
Say he did remember some stuff; it was all about the fact that he suddenly found himself appearing in the middle of a marching bunch. Other than that, none. Really, none.
He had no one to ask and this fueled his gloomy aura more. There were people everywhere, but there was another huge problem.
All of them couldn't talk! Literally!
They don't have the ability to speak, as if everyone in this march was mute from the very beginning!
Because of this, it became a huge mystery to him why he knew the concept of speaking.
He was also confused about why he could perfectly hear the crying of the passing birds above, everyone's footsteps, and the noise created by the whip wielded by the burly Werehorses that oversee this march. But they couldn't speak. Only the Werehorses around them could make sounds in a language no human would ever understand.
The young man jumped from fright when an aged hand suddenly tapped on his shoulder. Without stopping, he turned around only to see an old man with no front teeth trying to hold a conversation with him. The old man had his mouth opened and his lips kept on moving as if there was something he would like to communicate with the young man. Sadly, no sound came out of his throat.
When a look of puzzlement crossed the old dude's face, the youngster thought, 'Ah, a newcomer.'
It seemed the old man had just joined the march. The youth easily figured because people like him who had already been here for quite a while no longer bothered doing what the old man had just attempted. They became too lazy to even open their mouths. 'Just sneer and shrug at everything.'
Why even bother when they know that kind of communication would not work? It would be okay to be stupid at first, but only at first since they were not initially aware of this fact.
The old man restlessly pointed his finger ahead, his eyes as wide as a one-peso coin. As for the youngster, of course, it was a normal instinct to turn his head to where his conversation partner was pointing. That was exactly when he witnessed a bright yellow column of light appearing from who-knows-where, gradually lessening in brightness and changing shape. Time passed and the column of light shrunk into roughly human-size.
'Ah, okay.' He indifferently thought.
He returned his gaze to the old man walking behind him. Then he shrugged. Afterward, he mouthed to the old man, 'Another newcomer'. Then he looked away, not caring if the other party understood him or not.
In front, the cylindrical light changed shape again. It also changed in intensity, turning friendlier to the eyes. At this point, everyone could make out the shape and physique of a sexy woman with long flowing hair.
Many guys made soundless whistles because the silhouette depicted a young woman wearing short skirts. The light vanished first from the lower body, enabling everyone to see a pair of flawlessly white pair of long legs under the red mini-skirt. When the perfectly narrow waist was revealed, the blood in every male present already reached their heads. Some even had a nosebleed.
With hands-on his pocket, the young man in the black jacket silently clicked his tongue and thought to himself, 'It seems a new hot and beautiful chick is joining us. Eh?-----"
Someone suddenly pummeled the young man's back and he could already deduce that it was the newcomer old grandpa. He stared daggers at the old man. If only eyes could kill, the sharp glare would have murdered the other party a thousand times over.
How he wished he could freely curse out.
'Damn this life. Where's freedom of speech?' From how he sees it, not being able to freely communicate his anger to the world was more deadly than anything else. The resentment could only be bottled up.
The old man was scared by his angry, bull-like face. Afraid of the young man's closed fist descending upon his wrinkled countenance, he immediately and relentlessly pointed his finger towards a direction and held the young man's face to turn it towards there as if his life depends on it. His mouth was moving once again, even though no words were coming out.
The young man angrily brushed away the wrinkled hand holding his jaw in place.
With a crumpled face, he quietly decided to just walk faster and leave this crazy old man.
But then, when he turned around and looked ahead, he finally saw what was causing the old man's dilemma earlier. It seemed the old man was just purely shocked as the should-be-beautiful-hot-chick became a human-shaped shrimp*! A shrimp! One with a tasty body but a nasty face! The young man couldn't help but freeze in his spot. The old grandpa passed by him and kindly gave him an encouraging shoulder-tap.
Only when the nearest horse-headed, human-bodied werehorse shouted at him in an alien language did he regain himself. The evil glare from the mythical dark creature scared him sh*tless.
He knew the werehorse was displeased and he might be the reason so he cussed silently but still went back to marching again. The fierce glaring of the creature made him very afraid since he knew whenever someone disrupted the march, the whip the werehorse wielded would descend upon that person. It would definitely be painful.
He sped up his pace due to fear. In one corner of his eyes, he kept watching the werehorse while holding his breath. He shuddered when that particular werehorse focused on somebody nearby and fiercely swung a long-barbed whip.
'Sh*t, I seem to have seen a piece of flesh on the whip,' he shuddered.
The young man didn't know that man but it did not stop him from uttering his prayers for that person who was now trembling and crying soundlessly. He also took the chance to say his thanks to the Creator for not making him be foolishly dumbfounded for so long. He really and certainly never wanted to be subjected to the whippings. Just look at their tall and muscular stature. Obviously, the sufferers would not have a nice experience, unless they don't fear death and pain.
'I should stop courting danger…' He quietly promised himself not to stray his eyes anymore to that sinful gay with a devilish body.
As he stared in front and walked alongside the others, he let his minds wander once again. He really couldn't remember a thing and also know nothing aside from the fact that he was in a damn parade. That was it. The skies were dark, plus the ones supervising were monsters. And he knew nothing about the destination.
How many hours had they been walking without a single rest?
Two? Three? Perhaps four? Or five? Yet no one seemed to be feeling tired. To be honest, not even him.
He sighed and tried to roam his gaze once more. The horizon had been a never-ending stretch of wastelands. After another hour or so, something different finally appeared.
'It is a mountain!' The young man exclaimed to himself. He reckoned it would be the destination.
Until now, his mind was full of unanswered questions. Mentally tired of aimlessly walking under the watch of horse-headed creatures equipped with whips, he prayed as he stared at the mountain which had its peak hidden by the thick grey clouds.
'Let that tall mountain be the destination, alright? I'm so mentally exhausted! I'm so confused! Where am I? Who am I? Dammit! Of course, I can't speak so there's no one customer service to complain to. Just who the hell disabled human communications in this world?!'
The werehorses shouted some phrases in an alien language once again. The young man looked up to the ever-dark skies and frowned. It was really one heck of a march.
A/N: werehorse - a shapeshifter who can assume the form of a horse
***The march suddenly stopped after half an hour. The young man in the jacket got curious. For this reason, he tunneled through the walls made of his fellow humans to reach the front line.Throughout this, an uncountable number of evil eyes bore holes through his body, with some even burly muscled man baring their fists at him with the intent to beat the sh*t out of him. In their eyes, he must have been a pretty damnable young man. It was only out of the Creator's mercy that he managed to escape and reached his goal.And lo-and-behold. His jaw dropped in amazement to the scene that greeted him.A tall, or rather, a borderline gigantic wall of rock stood in their way. It served as a natural barrier separating the dead wastelands they were at and the lush, vibrant forest at the foot of the mountain.There was no need to peek behind him. For sure everyone else was gazing ahead with indescribable astonishment filling their eyes. In his humble estimate, both the height and width of the gi
***"A goddess..." One from the front line said.To everyone's shock, he really managed to speak. They all clamored to try their voices and none of them could contain their excitement and joy. It was like they finally regained something very precious, the feeling was so marvelous and indescribable.They were finally no longer mute!Meanwhile, the woman smiled at the man who spoke first."You are correct, young man. My name is Anda, one of the goddesses of this place. Please bear in mind that you are all now in the Underworld. This whole world is called that. This world is a never-ending wasteland. The only sanctuary for humans and all deceased beings is the sacred mountain behind me, Mount Balatukan."The people expressed their confusion. They all inspected the mountain that stood tall after the forest. Then they began debating on what was currently happening and what the goddess meant when she said that. The young man from before kept frown
***"Listen!"The voice came from the foot of the sacred mountain, Mount Balatukan, from the other side of the tall freestanding rock. Despite being confused about how the goddess' voice triumphed over the ten thousand voices of everybody else, they still did as told. They quieted down to listen, each pair of eyes directed to the person sitting on the branch. Everyone fought their unease and fright and did their best not to look at the skeletons and waited for Anda's next words.They fervently hoped it would be words of enlightenment and hope."In front of you is the monolith called Liyang! Prove you are worthy of entering the sacred mountain by overcoming this giant and tall wall! Those who can pass will be allowed sheltering by the sanctuary and saved from the treachery of the dead plains. Those who fail, stop denying you don't know what you'll end up with!"Everyone remained silent, and in utter disbelief.They would have to cross this rock to pass… Hoho, sounds easy. But was it rea
***A playful reply came. "Nope. Hey, the author seemed to know very little about us. His story stopped on the part where the Creator Bathala was said to disappear, leaving the whole Skyworld to be managed by the other deities. And. Well, that's it." She then rolled up the bamboo scrolls and left it on top of the small round table. "This should be a work of some mortals from thousands of years ago, correct? They are quite amazing to know a bit about us, don't you think so?"The man who yearned for some peace but couldn't find it due to the woman's presence signed and replied, "You are correct. That scroll was brought to this world by one of the priestesses of a human tribe from one thousand years ago. When I read that mortal's memories, it was still a time when tribes worship beings like us, calling us their gods and goddesses or anitos.""Oh," the woman responded before laughing. "Anitos… Really foolish mortals. How dare they say Gods and Goddess of the Skyworld are the same with the
***Anda remained sitting on the branch hanging above. She looked down on everybody with a beautiful smile on her lips.There were so many people jumping around the big rock. Quite a few tried out their parkour tricks and there were even some people conferencing near the challenge location, each participant with eagerness and seriousness on their faces.They looked like some earnest and dependable people and this prompted the young man in the black jacket to approach them."The test is so difficult. It's like the administrator is purposely eliminating the old and the weak." The old man following the young man made sobbing noises. "Wwuuuuu! This is unfair. Tell me, kiddo Ley! How do I survive!?""You think I know? I'm not even sure if I could make it through. And why the heck are you following me?" The young man called kiddo Ley didn't hide his displeasure through his tone."Even the seventy-seven years old me can't grasp the logic of this te
***The old man roared in anger. "Obviously! Can't you see how people are trampling the others just to make sure they don't become skeletons!? And you only said now that something is wrong! Everyone's moral character is wrong!"Actually, Leyte was also quite scared by what he was seeing. It was just that when he saw something that was not matching up with his common sense, he somehow calmed down and started to ponder.He once again said, "Something is really wrong.""You!" The old man next to him stared at Ley as if he was a hopeless nutcase."When that person was beaten up, there's no blood or bruise. However, she's one of the odds.""Huh?""There are also people in evens that got punched and beat up but they bled. And they are those who turned into skeletons.""Young kiddo, what are you saying?"Leyte shook his head in dismay. He also didn't get it.A thought crossed his mind, "Is ensuring you don't turn into a
***People's reaction to the revelation was normal. None of them were aware of their actual status at first.Majority cursed and made scenes, showing through their actions how hard it was to accept that they have already died. Some cried and once again, it was normal. No one would be able to easily accept the truth, even if it was true that time was always kind to people and could help heal the pain and confusion.One month passed since then. Everybody had gone through what Goddess Anda called Ritual of the Dead. They passed through a gigantic rock, etched their names on some trees, danced the day away to 'shake off their sins', and then underwent Anda's judgment. The judgment referred to the normal segregation of good and bad people.Leyte was neither a saint nor a criminal so he was quite conflicted as he waited for his turn. Fortunately, he was still sent to The Stairway to Heaven. The goddess termed it Dunkituhan but since the word is so foreign and t
***While the young man was lost in nostalgia, Kylie continued explaining to them. "Actually, not all people reincarnate on Earth. Apart from those who stay in the Underworld, there are actually some who become similar angels and are sent above. The village chief said it's because those people are like saints...""Angels exist?" The old man muttered internally, complaining, 'Why am I not selected?'The girl hesitated. "I'm not sure if they are really angels, but according to the souls I've talked to before, some souls did go above, to the heaven which our Goddess Anda called Skyworld."She paused and then acted as if she remembered something. "Among them, there are some popular people or devotees who ascended to that place. The village chief said they are Idols, Deities of The Land, or Anitos.""... I remember that one of the oldies here said President Marcos turned into an Anito and is now living in that world. Others were figures like Dr. Jose Ri