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 giant rock was around a hundred meters. And he didn't know how he came up with that figure given that he couldn't even see how high it was. Of course, the edges were not even and rough. It's just that the side facing them was very smooth and it seemed to be something a battalion of sculptors had labored with.
The young man's Adam's apple bobbed as he looked up.
If the people at this place only had their voices, for sure the surrounding would transform into a noisy marketplace. Even he had the urge to shout in his bewilderment!
He momentarily frowned because some pieces of information popped up within his mind with origins he had no way of explaining. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. But then, he remembered that according to the newly acquired memory, the largest and tallest rock in the wall was only twenty meters in height! A mere twenty meters!
There was no ground for comparison after seeing this giant block in front of him which was easily five times the size of that one.
A familiar noise sounded out which caused the young man to stay still. It was the familiar neighing of horses, and speaking of horses, the only other beings with them here was the group of Werehorses supervising them.
Everyone's eyes almost popped out of their sockets when they saw so many Werehorses suddenly appearing in front. Many of them promptly turned back, only to stare ahead once again.
'Damn! Even the monsters located at the farthest reach of this march actually teleported? Did they really all run from the back? As expected of the ancestors of all horses in the world... They all instantly gathered in one spot only to speak their alien language...'
The youth slapped both his cheeks. And it was to no avail because it hurts! He was awake, not turning nuts from too much hallucination!
He was yet to recover from the shock when another fantastical thing happened. The werehorses stopped neighing.
A huge branch slowly bent over upon the tall rock and it was coming from a very tall and massive tree. People's jaws once again reached the dry soil below. Due to the huge rock earlier, they forgot that a forest was behind it, and all the trees from there seemed more than a hundred meters tall too. One of the trees even seemed alive, its branch reaching out to them.
If this scene was not jaw-dropping, then what?
Son of vegetables. He could no longer understand this world. His human brain only knew he was witnessing something out of the norms.
A weird march where the participants don't tire, as if they have unlimited stamina.
A type of creature called werehorses that previously only lived in myths, folktales, and horror stories.
A giant rock... which should be the most normal out of all the abnormalities he had seen.
A, scratch that, many gigantic trees beyond the tall rock... with one of the trees currently attempting a normal 'hi' with the people below.
And a beautiful missy who suddenly appeared out of nowhere, boarding the moving branch while wearing a beautiful gown that covered her body with only the ankle visible. The gown was decorated with many types of gems, gold, and pearls. Her dark green body-hugging clothing was also painted with seemingly live plants and flowers. On her head was a pretty tiara encrypted with so many small black diamonds. The tiara was the only accessory on her body.
The pretty woman remained sitting on the branch. In front of her, a lone butterfly flew in front of her. She watched as it flew across her, a smile blossoming from her lips. Only when she saw the butterfly landed on the flower on her shoulder did she give a close look at the sea of people below.
Everyone blinked. The woman's eyes were so pretty that they failed to see the mocking and belittling gaze she was giving all of them. The woman's lips parted. And as if under a spell, they all tacitly waited for her to speak.
"Congratulations, humans. You did well in reaching the territory of the sacred mountain of Balatukan. Please let your heart be at ease. Everyone can speak now. Because all of you have qualified to participate in a sacred assessment where each and everyone will be given a chance to uncover the stored fate meant for them."
After the woman slowly enunciated those words, only one word came to every human's mind.
***"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
***When Ley said to his village chief that he wanted to get reincarnated, he expected the elder to ask a few questions about his request and then explain how it would be processed before sending him off. However, in reality, the other party only remained silent. After a while, Leyte was feeling a little bit uncomfortable."Village Chief," he called out.No one answer came. The older guy was only giving him a weird look."Kiddo Ley..." It was the old man who suddenly appeared behind the young man.Leyte Baler stayed on the spot, frowning at the chief's lack of response. From outside, consecutive bell tolls suddenly rang and the people inside the two-story stone house rushed out to see what was going on.Although puzzled, Leyte Baler and the old man followed the chief outside. What greeted them was still the never-changing gloomy skies, with the addition of the bell tolls which heightened the eeriness of the place."Is there any event?