Year 857 of God's Calendar, Himalaya Mountain outskirts
It was an overgrown forest full of tall ancient trees and dense vegetation filled with a gloomy evil atmosphere. Usually, not a single soul could be seen here as the whole Himalaya Mountains and its surroundings were the territory of the Rakshasa tribe.
In this world, Rakshasas were believed to have been created from the breath of Creator God Brom when he was in a slumber. As soon as they were created, they were so filled with blood-lust that they started eating Brom himself.
"Rakshama!" (Sanskrit for "Protect me!")
Brom shouted and God Maugus came to his aid, banishing to the Mortal World all Rakshasas. He made sure that all these evil creatures were cornered to a small portion of the Eastern Islands. A Church in his name was constructed, where his warriors set base to forever guard against Rakshasa tribe and keep them banished there.
Rakshasas were ugly, fierce-looking enormous creatures, with two fangs protruding from the top of the mouth and having sharp, claw-like fingernails. They were evil beasts and insatiable man-eaters that could smell the scent of human flesh. Some of the most ferocious powerful ones of their tribe had flaming red eyes and hair, habitually drinking blood with their palms or from a human skull.
They could fly, vanish, and had Maya (magical powers of illusion), which enabled them to change size at will and assume the form of any creature. The female equivalent of Rakshasa is Rakshasi. They were the mortal enemies of all the humans of the Eastern Islands, and they battled each other often.
In this Rakshasa Forest, tree crowns filled the forest canopy and blocked out the sky, leaving the forest in dimness-- if it was not for the occasional ray of sunshine piercing through the canopy to project faint strips of radiance within the forest, one would have trouble differentiating whether they were in hell or not.
A young woman who was dressed in combat gear was running through a narrow path between the tall ancient trees of this forest.
Her black ponytail danced as she moved. Suddenly, the woman tripped over a tree root and fell. She got up panting heavily, sweating buckets from all the running and leaned on a tree with a face full of grief.
"It is all because God Maugus has now left us." She sighed.
After the Great War between the Ultimate Gods Trinity, even if the survivors of God Maugus's church maintained their traditional belief in the God of Harmony and Order, almost everyone was aware that the God has left them.
It made sense if she thought about it: the great empire of Kalwars which had been at the height of its power and ruled the entire Eastern Islands was invaded and driven to its knees by the alliance of Gupta and Maratha Empires, and yet, the God that the whole Kalwar Empire believed in and fought for, had never once displayed even the slightest of providence.
With just her left now, even if she was a Saintess of God Maugus, it was certainly impossible for her to gain any divine compassion.
Nonetheless, Nandini who had long since gotten used to these cruel blows shook her head, throwing aside doubt towards her God.
"More importantly, how was it that I was poisoned!?" She wondered out aloud.
"I can answer that, Saintess Nandini."
A sharp voice with unrepressed hostility suddenly spoke, setting Nandini on alert at once. Soon, however, her alertness turned into profound despair, for many figures dressed in light leather armor with patterns of other Gods appeared from the dense forest.
She too was familiar with them-- they were the warriors and rogues who had pursued her for the past three days!
At the moment, she was completely surrounded by the believers of other Gods.
One Bronze Knight slowly stepped out from their formation, who was probably their leader.
"The village maids that were hired by your church to clean and cook food betrayed you, Saintess." the knight said proudly.
"I'm very sorry, Saintess." Maria, her maid said dryly, stepping out of the formation, before pointing her sword at Nandini.
"How could this be!?" Nandini was still in disbelief.
"You know very well that my husband died in the The Great War of Gods. I could never forget about it, and in every moment of the last few years, my heart burns with vengeance! I sold my soul to a god who can help me claim revenge." Maria remained as stoic as ever and showed no apologetic expression whatsoever.
"You will face divine retribution for turning against our God." Nandini said, slightly trembling as she tried to maintain her courage.
"Maybe. Like you, I once held immeasurable faith in that God of Harmony and Order, but he never answered my prayers. He has already left us, Saintess." Maria said coldly.
"That is why now, in this very moment, he would not help you either, Your Grace."
Nandini bit her lip and sheathed her sword. Even though she was poisoned and in no state to fight. She did not have any intention to simply give up! She kept her sword leveled at Maria, the maid whom she once trusted the most.
But even before she could react, Maria had already bounded forward, easily sending Nandini's sword flying out of her hands.
Stumbling two steps backward, Nandini almost fell over.
"It's over!" The knight laughed cruelly, totally uninterested in the elegantly decorated sword that dropped right before him.
That was when a blinding radiance suddenly shone out of nowhere, instantly taking away everyone's vision!
Meanwhile, Nandini was the first to react after being covered in that light. She found herself within a space of pure whiteness.
"God Maugus!?" She appeared excited but doubtful as all she could make out was a nearby blurry form of part lion and part human.
"That's right." a voice that seemed very familiar to her spoke.
Nandini felt a myriad of emotions when she heard those two simple words from the god she believed in and immediately knelt down.
"I bow down to the Lord who resides in the hearts of all beings."
"I should begin with apologies. I was in slumber since my defeat and could not answer your prayers." God Maugus continued with his enigmatic and mysterious voice. "That being said, your prayers all this time had not gone to waste-- for I have risen from my slumber!"
He waved his hand, and a bright light covered Nandini, dispersing the poison inflicted on her and recovering her strength to the Silver level, and even upgrading it to a Gold level warrior.
At the same time, Nandini had a feeling as if she was an orphan who had finally been adopted by a family and found a place where she truly belonged. She had finally found her spiritual pillar and she could face anything head on without fear from now onwards!
It was so warm that she broke down in tears!