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 Rizal, Ferdinand Magellan, Cleopatra, Newton, Hitler, Qin Shi Huang, Wu Zetian, Galileo, Marco Polo...." and the girl went on with her long list of known personalities from all over the world. She also mentioned Chinese, Russian and Japanese figures that Leyte hardly knew. He didn't know whether to admire the girl from knowing so many people from other countries.
"Cute Miss, you seem to be saying that as long as someone is popular, influential, and has made some marks in history, they can become deities?"
"Then what happened when you become an Anito or a Deity of the Land?" the old man chimed in.
"I don't know. I'm not an Anito, can't you see? I'm simply a ghost. Ay, dearest Grandpa, no matter what, Anitos are beings different from us. We, souls, can live forever in the Underworld but we are not allowed to leave this mountain. But from what I heard, the deities have carefree lives and even superpowers, and their world is many many times larger than the Underworld."
Leyte understood what she wanted to imply. It was quite nice to hear that souls could live forever, however, they have memories and the options to reincarnate. Aware of what the mortal world could offer, it was hard not to be tempted to leave. They would just have to make sure they don't turn into wicked people so that after every lifetime, they could reincarnate.
As for those Anitos, he was not sure about what they enjoy as creatures of the Skyworld but surely it wouldn't be mere freedom and popularity.
However, what does it all have to do with him?
The girl said she still had some stuff to do so she bade her goodbye to the two men and then went inside her house. But before that, Leyte made sure to ask if souls had already been like this for so long.
The girl replied, 'Perhaps? Maybe souls on Earth have been reincarnating since time immemorial but people just forgot every time they went back to the Underworld.'
"So to say, in the end, if we choose to reincarnate, we will still forget that this world and the deities exist..." He chuckled as he walked away from Kylie's house.
He planned to tour The Stairway once again and see if he would be able to get more information from the other villages.
"Hey, Ley, do you want to go to the cliff and watch the punished people water the tall trees?" asked the old man.
Leyte replied. "Why would I take an interest in watching those people? Those who always go to the cliff were the victims of those wicked people when they were still alive. They take joy in watching them bleed as they labor to water the gigantic trees of life. Sigh, I understand them but I don't want to join them. You can go if you want. Keep safe."
He had been in this place for quite a while. He knew that souls like them have an infinite lifespan yet they could still be killed and reduced to nothingness.
Immortality doesn't automatically equate to invincibility. He saw one offender angered Anda and at the very next moment, he vanished into thin air. Perhaps only the deities were true immortals. But normal souls like them, they have enough strength to support their existence indefinitely, yet they were still weak in front of beings like the goddess. He knew even the silly looking werehorses could stomp a ghost like him under them to near-death.
Fortunately, violence was forbidden in the sanctuary. Anyways, good people were not permitted to mingle with people deemed as wicked. Because of this, those who were victims of crimes and circumstances from their past lives could only gloat and stare from afar, but not go down the forest to personally beat up the people they hate.
"You know, Ley, this village system is quite weird. We don't have to work yet we don't need to worry about what to eat. It's really unlike when we're still on Earth. Way back, I used to work as a model, however, of course, because of age I later retired and worked as a writer."
"We don't need to eat. It's quite wonderful to become a ghost."
"We're ghosts?" The old man acted clueless.
"Are you not?"
"I've once talked with the village chief and he said only souls who refused the summon of our current world could be called ghosts."
Leyte just actually wanted to say, 'you still look like a ghost, the clingy type and I want to have you exorcised from my life'.
He never wanted the old man to follow him because he's not good at interacting with the elderly. He preferred the company of his few friends. Unfortunately, all of them were still perfectly living on Earth, probably mourning his death.
He sighed. He wandered around and noticed that from a certain angle, the whole Stairway resembled the famous Banawe Rice Terraces from the Mountain Province, except on every step was not a vast expanse of rice fields, but villages with seemingly endless rows of wooden houses.
The next day, Leyte went to the only two-storied stone house in the middle of the village. He didn't know why, but there were many people there when he arrived and even Kylie and the old man were there.
He briefly gave them each a nod and then searched for the chief. The chief looked like a capitalist because of his squinty eyes and weird smile. But since he was instated in his position, he should be a good fellow.
Leyte only furrowed his brows for several seconds before he informed him of his request.
"Hello. I'm Leyte Baler... And I want to be reincarnated."
***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?
***Within a village nearest to the peak, two women faced off. An encirclement of curious villagers and gossipmongers watched them with unblinking eyes, some of them discussing why a confrontation arose while others marveled at their beauty. Yes, both women dressed in long skirts and traditional shirts were beauties rarely seen in the Underworld. Many curious boys even said that they were not in any way inferior to Goddess Anda in terms of beauty."Ay, the two argued about who is more beautiful,” speculated a bystander."No, I think I heard them quarreling for a guy. Maybe they know each other from the other world and are in love with the same man. However, one of them ended up the real lover while the other one became the trying-hard mistress.""Wrong. The other one is not even a mistress. She is a mere villainess getting in the way of two lovebirds. I think the reason they are both dead and transported into our current world is that the mist
***"P-please help me." cried the girl he remembered to be the first to arrive in Mount Balatukan. She was the schoolgirl from before who was pushed to the rock by her friend.Ley only blanked out for a few seconds before he decided to help. He was neither a saint nor a lawbreaker. However, he was not that heartless to ignore a helpless girl's plea and let her fend by herself.He squatted down to carry the girl, then he asked, "Would it be alright if we jump down the cliff? I'm afraid it’s the only way to reach the forest faster."He saw the little girl hesitated. It was a normal reaction considering that most people hate the pain and fear heights. Ley tried to explain further. "Don't worry, I won't abandon you. If we jump, we would surely get hurt. But at least we would be able to escape from here. The goddesses are both fierce and merciless. They don't care how many people will be caught in their battle. We have no time to dilly-dally. I'll carry
***Skyworld. In a brightly lit palace on one of the highest mountain peaks of the Great West Empire.A woman whose head was adorned with an exaggeratedly decorated crown gazed at the person who requested an audience with her."Your Highness," greeted the man whose features resembled an elf. In the Skyworld, people like him were called Forest Fairies. He had a natural good-looking face and tall built, his ears long and pointed. The visit of this forest fairy happened a day after the battle between Mayari of the Skyworld and Anda of the Underworld."You came to remind me of your goddess' condition?" The beautiful, ethereal-looking woman seated on the throne had an intelligent pair of eyes that could glimpse into a person's intention before they could even voice out.Watching the slight shock on the visitor's face, she indifferently said, "Just a reminder. I've already won the bet so the Authority of Light is now mine.
***Leyte could still remember the uncomfortable feeling and the suffocating fear that swallowed his whole person as he fell from a high place. It was simply awful. Terrible…. For he knew not if there was something to fall to… or if he would still be in one piece once he landed at the bottom.Now he wanted to question his decision, whether jumping off a cliff was really a good idea. It was simply one of the most horrific experiences he had had where he could not even control his own imagination. Never did he expect that closing his eyes would not help at all.The most damnable part was how his imagination almost never left the negative side!‘I’m in a soul state, I won’t die…. Right?’ Even he had begun to doubt his own survival due to the unending jump.Then when he felt like his body would be finally reaching the ground, his consciousness suddenly slipped into the darkness… as if he was being forced to sleep or fall into brief oblivion. This seemed to be proving his conjecture about h
***Several minutes later, Hana returned and stood in front of him with her hands behind her back. "Grandpa Fernando is right next door. And I have many more things to explain to the two of you. Since he had also woken up and it would be more convenient if you two are in the same space when I explained, can you please come with me to his quarters?"Leyte nodded his head gently and said, "No objections here. I had many questions in my mind that need to be clarified.”He first drank the glass of water to quench his thirst. Then he finally agreed to her request and let Hana support him as they walked next door. During the short but laborious walk, he tried to ask some stuff, “Earlier, you mentioned Earth. I just would like to know, you mean our Earth, right?"“Yes.” She nodded and glanced at him. “It’s the one we are more used to.”“I see,” he said.‘So from spirits briefly staying in the Underworld, we got upgraded to Earth’s wandering ghost.’He went quiet for a moment as he contempla
...To be honest, while he seemed like he believed everything Hana said, the opposite was actually true. Not knowing that his intellectual abilities improved greatly, he subconsciously noted the several dubious points that he picked up from Hana's words. There was the unanswered question, why turned them into whatever Anitos? Why not humans?The other souls were escorted into Great Underworld Chief Deity Sitan’s dwelling place. Why were the three of them turned away?The matter about the internet and the language of the human villagers which she said they would have no problem understanding could be excused somewhat. It was not as important. But Hanan?The suspicion only turned stronger when he heard the name. The girl was correct. In the records, ‘Hanan’ was the Goddess of the Sun, eldest daughter of the Great Creator Bathala, said to be one of the most powerful second-generation gods.Ley who had even known about the nearly lost knowledge of the local ancient Underworld rituals co
...He turned into a 'higher being' but knew nothing about them. Ley asked himself, 'Are goddesses so whimsical? Some are violent to the extreme and some beyond generous?’"Julia, I wish to know. Is everyone on the island aware what this place is? Are they also Anitos or supernatural beings?"The maid replied, "Young master. Most of the villagers are people with pure hearts or supernatural abilities. But everyone excluding the three masters of the governing mansion is merely human."It felt like he had asked something already answered before. He shook his head and sought out Hana and old man Fernando.“Hello, I plan to check out the village and sightsee. Old man, you coming?”Hana raised a hand. “I’ll go. I want to try out my abilities at the village.”The girl was being generous for offering a real demonstration of what she had learned so far.She added. "You know, before the goddess left fo