Champion of the Gods (pt6)

Still, Shu-fang had had them show up at random times so often in her life that she always expected one to show up. It was how she ended up talking to herself on many occasions. And then also not speaking out loud to herself on others. It depended on what she was okay with another person perhaps eavesdropping on her hearing.

Offending the gods was one thing though. Getting away from them was another.

Now, in the library, Shu-fang began her research. There were all of the things she knew, but that had the problem with specifics being buried under the mountain of things she knew. Then there were the many things she did not know. Searching her memory for those things would not help. Searching the records here would give her a starting point.

She made a chart of every place every god was ever mentioned in. It was a lot of places to go through, places that in many ways no longer existed. At least not in name or in shape. Shu-fang had to determine where those places were now. She pulled out a map in order to figure it out.

Many sticky notes later, she finally found a selection of places that didn’t show up in any of her memories, any of the stories. Places that the gods were not known for.

It was time to go.

Champion of the Gods (pt5)

The glimmer of fascination that the gods had held over her once had long since disappeared behind that veil and flashlight. The gods were just as petty and dumb as mortals were. Maybe even more so. Because they lived forever and Shu-fang expected them to know better.

After years of fighting for one god, then being snatched up into the services of another, it had all become the same. Shu-fang was more likely to serve the god that gave her the most to do, or the most interesting thing to do. Sometimes that was the underdog. Sometimes it was the morally reprehensible one.

It was thinking about this yesterday, with her bottle of Dynasty Wine, that she had come up with the idea of retirement. She was tired. Tired of doing dumb things for dumb people. Of having lost her morals, her morale, and all of those other important things that started with the letter ‘m’.

“I don’t care if I offend them anymore,” she said to the empty room, waiting for a god to pop out and ask what she was talking about.

They didn’t do that. Often, anyway.

Champion of the Gods (pt4)

It was Shu-fang’s fault the gods were so interested in her. She remembered it as though it were hidden behind a veil, where someone was shining a flashlight through the other side and into your eyes and you would tell them that wasn’t how it worked, that they needed to give you the flashlight so you could at least make out shadows, but the other person was insistent this was how it worked.

Meaning to say, Shu-fang didn’t remember the details, it had been a while. Plus, a whole lot of it blended together, like the weave of said veil.

The battles of mortals had all been the same. Fighting them had seemed important at the time, before she realized something important.

Mortal battles were sort of dumb.

There was a time she had thought they mattered. A cause that she believed in, a belief she shared. Maybe Shu-fang would have done better creating her own kingdom and fighting for herself, but the thought had never crossed her mind. Shu-fang didn’t think an immortal would make great choices for the rest of mankind. The gods were immortal and they sure didn’t. And despite everything, Shu-fang still considered herself human.

Champion of the Gods (pt3)

Shu-fang slowed down as she neared the stage, much like the part of the crowd she was in the flow of. The children on stage were dressed up in facsimiles of traditional garb. To be fair, children couldn’t wear something a little more realistic. The adults didn’t know what that meant. They simply picked up something that looked old, something that they knew was old. This would have worked, if the presentation the children were putting on had occurred only a thousand years ago.

The story of immortality. Shu-fang knew it well. This was her story. Of course, it was all wrong. No one had much of it right at all. And there she stood, in the crowd, with no one the wiser. She was the one in the midst of that original story. She watched what they did have though, a slight smile on her face. This was how it had changed recently? It had been a while since she had spent a moment to watch it.

The girl pretending to be Shu-fang had far too much decoration in her hair, speaking to the boy that was playing War. Or whatever it was they were calling War in this play. He wore pretend armour and a girl hovered somewhere behind him, wearing all black. Probably Death.

Shu-fang tried to remember the last time she had seen War in armour. It had been a long time. War did not often spend the time to don it. She was too impulsive.

The tale of the Gods’ Champion might have entertained her long enough to leave the flow of the crowd and stop to watch it, but Shu-fang knew she would not. She let the slow pace carry her away, too tired to care as much as a part of her wanted to. Shu-fang would rather not think about the gods right now. The very thought of them made her want to bury herself in the seabed. It wasn’t as though the constant drowning would kill her, as uncomfortable as it would be. Yet there were plenty of gods who would be able to make their way into the sea, to bother her continually if she were to strand herself there.

If there was one thing she wanted to do, it was find a place where they wouldn’t bother her. Shu-fang did not know what sort of place that would be, but she would find it. She headed to the library.

Champion of the Gods (pt2)

Just in case they needed further proof, she picked up her sword and broke it in half with her own two hands. The sword was nothing special, the most recent in a very long line of tools that she had borne. Shu-fang didn’t need anything special. The symbolism might be enough though. She hoped so. It would make up the fact that gripping the blade as she had cut into her hands, causing her to bleed.

It meant little to her. Her hands would heal. It didn’t matter what happened to her injuries. Here now, gone later. None of it would kill her.

Nothing could kill her. It was how Shu-fang had lived for thousands of years. Being immortal, being invulnerable.

Shu-fang wiped off her hands, picked up her small bag and left this apartment for good. Someone wouldn’t be happy with the state of how she left it.

She left enough funds behind that hopefully no one would mind.

The world outside went on as it had been before her decision had been made. The sun was bright, people were in a festive mood, and the vibration of the world continued. Shu-fang fit into the crowd easily. No one recognized her as anything different, which meant she could follow the flow and make her way out. Perhaps it would be enough to distract any eyes that were on her now. She bought some festival chains on her way through, placing them about her shoulders. From above, from below, she would seem even more like those around her.

Champion of the Gods (pt1)

“I am retiring.”

The room was completely empty, but for Shu-fang. She still put forth those words without hesitation, loud enough for every corner to capture her words. Because there might be someone listening. Shu-fang had long since been used to anyone being able to hear her.

Today though, she did not want to be misconstrued. The seemingly young woman rolled back her sleeves, tying them out of the way. She had bought a large paintbrush for this occasion, with candy apple red paint. Viewing the white walls of her canvas, Shu-fang dipped her brush into the canister, then drew it back out to write it on the wall.

Shu-fang covered the walls with her message. It was a simple one. I’m done. I’m retired. Don’t come for me. She wrote it in her mother tongues – it had been so long she did not remember which was actually her first language, but she was native enough in many of them it didn’t matter. She added in languages that she did not use as often, but was close to fluent enough in to write it casually as well. She found her tape recorder, her computer, her phone, and recorded the message on all of those as well.

There were many different ways to say it, but Shu-fang kept it simple. She would no longer do the gods’ will.