At the Mediterranean Sea, The Forgotten Realms.
Inside the castle, Lanlan ran out of her room while smacking her lips. As she yawned and stretched, she wondered why her aunts did not wake her up that day. The little girl had overslept and was famished at the moment.
However, it was good that she did not have an aunt to urge her to brush her teeth and wash her face. After all, she hated such troublesome and boring things, and the toothpaste was not even fruit flavored.
Wearing only a thin short-sleeved T-shirt and white shorts that exposed her fleshy wrists and legs, Lanlan looked around and ran to the nearest aunts' rooms, only to see that no one was there.
A hint of displeasure appeared on her chubby face as she wondered if everyone had gone to dinner without her knowledge. Yet, after sniffing her nose, she did not smell anything tasty either.
Soon, like a little whirlwind, Lanlan ran to the door of the master bedroom and twisted the door handle, but it was locked.
In an instant, she puffed up her face. I can hear a lot of breathing inside the room. They are all playing hide and seek and ignoring me on purpose!
The little fat girl's strength was no joke. With a strong yank, the metal door lock was wrenched right off the mahogany door panel.
This antique mahogany door and the WWI-era royal door lock that cost hundreds of thousands and tens of thousands of pounds respectively were ruined by her, but she did not even know it.
Having kicked the door of the room open, Lanlan ran in shouting, “I’m angry! Aunties, what are you doing hiding here!?”
As soon as she finished shouting, she realized that something was not quite right.
First of all, all the aunts and sisters were undressed; they were not even in their pajamas. All of them were lying on the big bed in various positions.
Also, her father was gone, and there was a strange fishy smell in the air.
However, the smell was not new to Lanlan as it was there after every time her dad did some strange exercise with her mother and aunts. Since her grandmother told her that it was her father’s effort to give her little sisters and brothers, she did not bother to care much about it.
Stroking her already flat little belly, Lanlan jumped onto the bed and started shaking the women one by one to get them to wake up.
Finally, the women all woke up in a daze under the incessant harassment of the little devil.
When everyone got up, they all wanted to hide under the bed upon realizing that they were all in such a mess, especially the women who still had some sticky fluid on them.
The group of women managed to get Lanlan to go downstairs and watch TV by herself before busily getting up to go back to their rooms to change and wash up.
Even a few of the women, such as Qiang Wei and Cai Ning, could not even be bothered to think about what was going on with Yang Chen, who, they vaguely remembered, seemed to have done something to put them to sleep.
While the women were quite disturbed, Guo Xuehua assisted Yang Gongming to the hall downstairs and started calling Yang Chen's name.
It was already noon, yet no one was in sight. Indeed, it was a bit strange.
However, the women were oblivious. Even if Qiang Wei and the other women had some idea, they did not dare to say anything for fear of scaring Guo Xuehua.
Everyone had no choice but to suppress their uneasiness for the time being and let the kitchen prepare the meal since Lanlan kept pestering to have food.
Guo Xuehua cared about her granddaughter the most, so she personally went to cook a bowl of dumplings for Lanlan to quench her hunger.
Just as she was carrying it over to the table, her hand somehow shook, and the whole bowl fell out of her hands.
A shattering sound was heard, and both the dumpling and the bowl scattered all over the ground.
In the hall, the women were startled and looked over in surprise before coming forward to check on Guo Xuehua.
Guo Xuehua forced a smile and said she was fine, but her hand reached out to touch her left chest. For some reason, that spot suddenly hurt.
At the North Pole, the dark clouds covered the sky, and the wind was biting.
The huge golden canopy of Mother Tree had somehow started shrinking at a speed visible to the naked eye.
The branches and leaves began to turn into dots of golden light, dissipating in the air. The outer Titan Boundary, too, had disappeared without a trace.
Those Gods that were still in gestation were of no exception, falling from the tree and dissipating.
The giant tree, which had been covering the sky, had begun to gradually return to its original state.
“It's over… Athena, too, has lost…” Venus lamented as she looked at the shrinking Mother Tree.
The Gods were, at that moment, standing on an ice floe, watching the scene from afar.
Hera had a bitter smile on her face. “Zeus’ divinity is gone, Athena has lost control of her divinity, and ours have been severely damaged… Even if the Mother Tree doesn’t choose to return to its Gaia's Heart form on its own, we are powerless to protect it.”
As she had said, Mother Tree, as the mother of the Gods, was linked to the Gods' lifeblood.
It had sensed the defeat of the Gods so keenly that it could not possibly sustain itself any longer. Only by reverting to Gaia’s Heart could it devote all its power to protecting itself and be able to hide properly.
That was also the self-protective form of Mother Tree, which would not choose to degenerate into Gaia's Heart until it was absolutely necessary.
After all, it was better to wait for another chance to sprout and grow than to be destroyed by the cultivators of the earth.
At that moment, the Gods did not look regretful nor joyful.
A loss was a loss. Even if Yang Chen paid with his life in the end, it did not mean that the Gods had obtained the victory.
Without exception, the gazes of all the main Gods converged on another huge ice floe in the distance.
Lin Ruoxi was kneeling on the ice, holding Yang Chen's cold corpse in her arms. She seemed dazed and lost in thought.
His chest, where the Pallas spear had been removed, left a large hole. The blood had dried, and the wound had frozen. As for his heart, it had long since broken into pieces.
The woman's tears had dried up. Her eyes seemed dull as she stared at Yang Chen's pale cheeks without saying anything or moving a muscle.
The wind blew her long black hair, making her look lonely and cold. No one dared to disturb her.
After a long time, Venus suddenly leaped up gently and landed on that ice floe.
After gazing at Yang Chen's face, she swallowed hard and asked softly, “You… are Lin Ruoxi?”
Lin Ruoxi did not seem to hear her as she did not bother to respond to her question. All she did was hug Yang Chen without displaying any reaction.
Hera, Artemis, and the others came to the ice floe. All the Gods looked at Yang Chen's corpse, sighing and lamenting.
All grudges and grievances were irrelevant at that moment.
The revival of the Gods was almost impossible, and they, too, were tired.
“Aphrodite, don't ask her. She must be feeling very miserable now.” Apollo sighed. “Athena's divinity is still there, but she should have voluntarily surrendered the control of her soul just now…”
“How could this be? Even if Athena isn’t Yang Chen's opponent, she won’t lose to the souls of two human women,” Ares said in disbelief.
Artemis said sadly, “Maybe it's because… the last name Yang Chen shouted was ‘Ruoxi.’”
“It seems that whether it was once Seventeen or now Lin Ruoxi, Athena has unknowingly harbored true feelings for Yang Chen. It's such a pity that she didn't understand until just now… and the only thing that she can do for Yang Chen is to return the control of her soul to Lin Ruoxi,” Apollo remarked emotionally.
“Does that mean that Lin Ruoxi is now in control of Athena's divinity?” Hermes frowned.
Artemis chuckled. “Why? Are you afraid that she will kill us? We're lucky to be alive now. Could you be afraid of death?”
Hermes' face stiffened, and he said nothing more.
Just then, the situation above the ice floe changed abruptly.
All that could be seen was a man and a woman stepping out of the void. The Gods simply could not understand how the two had gotten there.
The newcomers were, naturally, Meng Xiaoyao and Yu Xuening.
As soon as Yu Xuening saw Yang Chen's corpse, she shook her head mournfully. Indeed, he was dead as a doornail; no amount of saving was going to work since he took his own life.
When the Gods got a good look at Meng Xiaoyao, they all looked tense, their faces grim.
“It's you! The one from 20,000 years ago!?”
The Gods quickly recognized that he was the same expert who sealed Zeus into the great formation 20,000 years ago, and also the one who prevented the Gods from taking over Earth in the first place.
Meng Xiaoyao, on the other hand, was not in the mood to pay attention to them. When he looked at Yang Chen's corpse, he had a complicated expression on his face. "What a foolish child. In the end, you're still on a dead-end road. Why are you being so stubborn?"
Lin Ruoxi finally raised her head at that time. Her face was indifferent as she questioned him fearlessly. “Are you satisfied with such an ending?”