"It's easier to fool people than it is to convince them they've been fooled."
I didn’t know why, but there was a feeling that I may have made a deal with a devil during my time on earth and that might have been the biggest mistake of my life. But I’ve got a gnawing feeling that making a deal with this kind of god would presumably be the biggest mistake of my afterlife.
“I don’t understand why you’re so hesitant,” Saklas yawned in boredom as he seated back gracefully into his garish throne.
“It's quite a merciful deal, isn’t it?” He said this as if it was an unmitigated fact.
He was mocking me; using my words against me. If I wasn’t coerced, I wouldn’t even agree to this arbitrary contract that would cost my soul. I clenched my fist knowing he was already setting me up to fail. This task was impossible because mankind’s heart wasn’t peaceful, to begin with. It was the same as if I was already condemned.
Some questions were already piling up inside my head. I still lack the knowledge of what his world entails.
What kind of peace does he want?
What the hell are demi-folks?
Why is there a war?
What is this guy’s motive?
“You think too much. Why don’t you just live in the moment?” Saklas boredly played with his hair.
Please shut up…
I was in deep thought and didn’t notice that Saklas got up and strolled casually toward me. “Does this solve your problems?”
As if there was a rising sense of trepidation screaming to get away from him as quickly as possible, but before I could even move away, something went through me.
Letting out an uncharacteristic shrill when I realized that without any warning, he deftly jammed his hand into my left eyeball. There was a moment of sharp pain before a familiar screaming static flooded my senses.
Even though I have a phantomized body, I could still feel the physical pain as I instinctively tried to retreat, clawing at his arm with my comparatively small yet calloused hands. I was barely fighting off his grip. His other hand grabbed me in a headlock, pushing it further into the crevices of my skull. A sudden deluge of information forcibly pounded into my head.
The moment he pulled out his hand, I collapsed from the unspeakable shock and nauseating migraine, I cradled my aching eye trying to soothe the pain.
“There. That should do it,” Saklas said as if proud of his achievement.
For a moment, there was a sense of satisfaction from being freed, but soon anger started settling in.
“WHAT THE FUCK-!”
“Watch your mouth, my Love… while I’m still being nice.”
“... Well.. I’m so fucking sorry! But what the hell did you do that for, Oh Mighty God!?”
“The finer points can wait,” he rolled his eyes as if I—whose eye got pierced—was being dramatic. “So? Does this answer your questions?”
When I tried to regain my sight and balance, Saklas’ form began to shift away into nothingness. Confusion settled in, there was a momentary lapse of memory, an interval of surreal images repeated relentlessly before me.
Feeling a lifetime pass by like a recursive cycle. How could it be? None of this makes any sense, but looking back all the inexplicable fragments click into place.
What intrigues me the most was Magic. Watching with strange fascination an unfamiliar spectacle of normal people generate sourceless torrents of fire and a bottomless sea of water with just a few words. It was an unnatural phenomenon.
Magic on earth was mostly generated by physics and chemistry and was often used to trick the gullible.
But this was a whole new different sphere. This was Eden.
Ironically, this Eden is a fallen world, just like the previous world I lived in. I discovered the sad state of affairs in that world. There was a conflict (not that I’m surprised) as I found myself in a mired task. There were 5 continents and one of them was neutral. I had hoped that the neutral country was less problematic than the others but, of course, Saklas wouldn’t make my salvation that easy. Success felt bleak.
Every single continent was tied like a globalized cesspool of wickedness. Every flash of information left me more despondent than I ever was. The information wasn’t enough to have me grasp the full story but rather just the surface level.
It all boils down to man’s inhumanity to a fellow man.
However, many of my questions were still answered. This information doesn’t change the fact that this was a fool’s errand. How the heck can anyone bring peace and order anywhere? There was and never will be in any way, shape, or form can you bring forth peace without people being all defensive about your true goal. “Couldn’t you just, I don’t know, send an oracle or something? Gods do that, right? You talk through a burning bush, and let a random guy write your commandments.”
"We, gods can't interfere in the affairs of mortals, unless the world is on the verge of extinction — that's when we'll act. We usually just send someone like you to fix it but in my case, I've been having consistent bad luck with the folks I’ve sent. They only make it worse.”
"...So you mean to tell me, that there are people like me, who I'm guessing, did so much worse than what I did. And yet why would you send them there in the first place?"
"As I said, it's a form of a second chance, fail it and you're done. Oh and don't worry, they wouldn’t be that much of a threat so I think you'll be fine."
...I don't think I will, though.
Something tells me that this wasn’t a fortuitous coincidence. There were a lot of things that were bothering me, why bother employing someone to solve these problems? Between a mortal and a god, the obvious difference in power is unimaginable. A god can only defy and surpass the laws, but…
Why is he passive? Despite being capable of handling planetary and mortal threats with a snap of a finger.
It was hard to see any motives behind his immaculate appearance. He wasn’t rigid and was, at most, dramatically hyperactive. That in itself is deceptive.
"Anyway, as long as you can ensure that the peace will be retained after some time then we can count that as successful," Saklas boorishly stated making me scoff.
"See! Even you don't have faith in your own people. You just know that no matter what happens, the conflict is still there! How am I supposed to maintain that?"
"Worry not. Just for a hundred years, that’s all I’m asking for. Since, as you know, I am a merciful, powerful, and understanding god.”
“I said that I’m a merciful, powerful, and understanding god.”
“Yes. Yes. Of course, you are,” as if he didn’t notice the forcefulness of my answer, he offered me a gift to aid me.
“I'll grant you something that would help you in your journey of repentance."
It isn't even a 'journey of repentance' anymore, I just think that you're passing your job to me.
People at their inner core have self-preservation. It was almost impossible to subdue them, unless…
I let out a frustrated sigh, still unsure about how to reply. “I know you know that this job can’t be done via any normal means.”
“That’s why I’m offering. You can wish for anything you want.”
“Anything?” I asked still unsure about this.
“Anything,” he confirmed. “So, What do you want then?”
Maybe there’s hope.
"Well, you can't really save the world with your skillset. You'd probably die before you could do one decent thing," he rudely added, after hearing my thoughts.
"Can I ask for multiple things then?" I questioned only to be warned back.
"Being too greedy is a bad trait, sweetie."
“Then, give me something that can brainwash people,” I replied almost immediately.
“Nice try! No.”
Choking back my complaints after he shot me down, I tried to figure out how the hell am I supposed to solve his unreasonable demand.
This was going to be a long bargain then.
I was at my 22nd attempt at playing semantics. It might have been the last straw for Saklas who was starting to grow impatient and did not hide his peeved expression.
“What about the power to control language-”
“I know you’re trying to find an easy way out. Drop it or else I’ll throw you back in there,” he threatened, giving a cold glittering smile.
Flinch. “Alright, I’ll stop.”
It was enough to say that mentioning that carnage of pain and anguish weighed heavily, as though a mental scar has been forcefully etched into my system.
After all, there is no better deterrent to disobedience than trauma. I remembered his words. It paralyzed me into silence, I meekly backed down.
“You told me to wish for anything…” I muttered.
“Anything of my approval.”
“GAH! Wisdom then!”
“Do I look like the Holy Spirit to you? Pick something else.”
I was at my wit's end and was so tempted to just give up, seeing that we were going nowhere.
“How about this: let me decide your power?” Saklas casually suggested.
I immediately vetoed that idea. There was a time that I considered continuing my argument, but a small part of my intuition was telling me that that was a bad idea. I’ve already made an irreversible mistake by even agreeing to “save the world” knowing full well it was impossible.
I was even more worried if this was a twisted attempt to deceive me. It would be nice to hear his motives but the way that things are going, I was sure he was already setting me up to fail.
“As much as that sounds fun, I’m getting bored with this fiasco,” resting both of his palms on his face, in a childish display of ennui. He replied after reading my thoughts. “Besides! I also have an obligation to foresee that world!”
“Then why don’t you agree to my terms? Frankly, if all you want is ‘peace’ it’s only a matter of time that it benefits both parties,” I angrily challenged.
Saklas paused to look at me before he burst into a refreshing fit of laughter.
“HA HA HA HA!”
I blankly stared at the being who kept laughing as I was at a loss on what to say. Despite being a tutelary deity of Eden, he was a lot more passive and whimsical than I thought. It completely shatters the concept of a faultless deity. This guy was unreadable and exuded an aura of arrogance.
“Do you really think that you're in the position to negotiate?” His pretty smile did not match the unnerving tone of his voice as he rose sharply from his seat, towering over my insignificant form.
I grit my teeth, feeling goosebumps over my spiritual body. Having clearly learned nothing from my previous lesson, I was admittedly stupid enough to overstep.
“You’re so~ ungrateful!” Saklas taunted back, putting on his playful tone, but the tension never left.