84 Place your bets
"So it begins..."
Four figures were reunited in the middle of white space while observing a screen that showed images of a battle happening inside of a city located on top of an agglomeration of snowy mountains.
"This should be interesting..."
The figures were composed of one muscular man with long hair wearing a white robe, one small boy wearing similar attire, a young girl with black hair wearing a white dress and an older-looking lady also wearing a white dress with blond hair.
The figures were taking turns glancing at each other as if trying to guess what everyone was thinking at the moment while still trying to pay attention to the ongoing battle.
The young girl decided to break the silence and spoke to those that were present.
"It's been a while since all four of us were together like this huh?"
The woman who was looking at the girl with a cold stare nodded in agreement.
"Indeed... You sure do enjoy messing with other people's business, don't you? West goddess..."
"Don't play innocent... You are the reason this whole mess is going on... If you had just behaved like a good girl and allowed me to win in peace there wouldn't be so much chaos going on right now..."
"I think you're confusing a few facts... I didn't start all this... You did!"
"Nonsense... I merely performed my duty and put my champion on the right path to give me glory."
"Yeah, at the cost of everyone around him being throw into a nightmare. Do you honestly don't understand how many lives you ruined by your little actions?"
"A few ruined lives is nothing compared to the mountains that will be saved if Marceus had just listened to me... What a waste of a good tool..."
"Man... Talking with you is always so tiring... You never think you are in the wrong, do you?"
"Purging the evil is never wrong."
"What about purging the evil at the cost of innocents?"
"A small price for a much more valuable reward."
"Ugh... You're hopeless..."
The woman got bored of talking with the west goddess and turned her attention towards the muscular man who was watching the battle with a stiff expression and his arms crossed.
"What about you north god? Do you also think this is my fault? Are you also planning on sending an assassin to kill me so you can win the competition?"
"I require no assassin. My champion will bring me glory with her own actions. I still believe in my victory, east goddess."
East smirked at his remark while trying to cover her face with her sleeve.
"You can't be serious... Do you have any idea how many demons both Marceus and Marcus already killed? How could you possibly catch up with me by this point?"
"Foolish goddess... You rely solely on numbers when you should be focusing on the warrior itself."
"Your champions were surely very powerful tools, but that's all they are, just tools. Blindly following your command without ever truly believing in you."
"Oho? And how did you commanded your champion?"
"My champion is a force of nature... Any attempt to try and control her would strip her of what makes her special. I prefer to just observe from a distance while she grows on her own."
"And what happens if she betrays you?"
"She won't... She knows that I believe in her to fulfill her destiny. Becoming the queen of this world."
"You have a lot of confidence in that little brat."
"She might look like a brat, but just like your champion, she endured centuries of struggle and survival... But, unlike your champion, her spirit was never broken! She is a winner in every sense of the word."
"Interesting... You think letting your child run free and doing whatever she wants is the right way to have her reach her full potential."
"Indeed. While you think keeping your champion on a short leash is the best way to stop him from ever disobeying you. It seems that we have completely opposite approaches to how we interact with these humans."
"Truly... I can't wait to see which approach is the best one."
East finished her conversation with the north god and turned her eyes towards the small kid who was trying not to attract attention to himself.
"What do you think, south god?"
"Of course! You are the only one without a champion right now. Which one of us do you feel has the best approach?"
East extended her arms and pointed at all the gods present. She first pointed at West.
"The girl who tried to take advantage of people when they were in a dire situation bu now finds herself desperately begging for their help?"
Next, she pointed at North.
"The man who gave all the freedom one could possibly give to a child without not once sharing what her true responsibility should be?"
Finally, she pointed at herself.
"Or me? The one who actually told her servant what his mission was and how he should perform it in the best way?"
All of the gods were staring at South. He was feeling extremely uncomfortable for being in the spotlight. He didn't want to disagree with West since she did her best to send people to help recover his kingdom. But he also didn't want to disagree with East since her method did prove to be the most efficient so far, as shown by the fact that she was in the lead. Plus she was really scary and he didn't want to anger her.
He also didn't want to be at odds with North since he was the only one who never looked at South as if he wanted something out from him. North, most of the time just enjoyed letting things take the direction they wanted to take.
"I- It's hard to say..."
"..." x 3
"East's method has indeed managed to kill a lot of demons, but her champions always seem so miserable that they keep turning against her and trying to kill themselves."
"It doesn't matter if the tool gets broken as long as the job gets finished. If it breaks, I just get another one."
South continued his thought-process and moved on with his analysis.
"I also don't think North has the best method either. His champion seems the happiest out of all of us, but she seems less like she wants to kill demons and more like she just wants to kill... Well... Everything..."
"You clearly don't understand her like I do... Once she reaches victory, it will all become clear..."
Once again South was interrupted during his monologue. While he was unsure if he should continue West looked at him.
"Yeah, me! What about my way of raising my champion?"
"Your method kinda looks like a middle-ground between the two?"
"You told your followers what they were supposed to do and you showed why they should listen to you... But they still don't act like they are being forced by your hand... Its almost as if you were some kind of really good option that they choose to accept instead of something that was forced into them. But you still took a huge risk by revealing the secret to kill a god, so if they turn against you, there is little you could do..."
"... So that means..."
"But I still don't know which one is the best or worst method."
"..." x 3
"You all like to approach it in different ways... But in the end... It's the champions that will affect how the outcome will turn out..."
"..." x 3
"So I guess... Instead of trying to look at yourselves... You should be looking at your champions."
North rested his chin on his hand and nodded after absorbing South's words.
South looked shocked.
"It- It does?"
"Of course! You just admitted that my method was the correct one!"
"!!!" x 2
"Who else? If we are talking about who is the best champion, clearly it has to be my Mia!"
"I beg to differ! My Marcus is the ultimate tool of destruction! He obviously is the best champion!"
"Being able to destroy inst always the best option! Ria and Auren can keep the people important to them safe and sound! They are the best champions because they know the importance of preserving life!"
East turned towards West.
"Except they don't! Getting the power of defense was the crossbow girl's idea. They are just a pair of fools who don't know that to do without her!"
"Tha- That only shows the mutual trust they have!! Being a hero is also about knowing when to listen to others!!"
"Its also about knowing when to voice their own opinions and take the first step!"
"Th- They can do that as well!! Besides... Evlin is the leader of their group so she's basically like my champion too..."
"You two re clearly mistaken! Mia is the best example of what a champion should be!"
"You two don't get just how great Marcus is!"
The south god wanted to leave. He suddenly remembered why the four gods barely ever tried to reunite. Every single one of them was so powerful that they had difficulty listening to the opinions of others.
South was almost glad he was out of power right now. He couldn't imagine what he would turn out like if he was also trying to show off how great his champion was.
He honestly couldn't care less about champions or the competition, he just wanted his kingdom back. But right now, his kingdom had turned into a battlefield where every single champion was competing to earn his support.
Like it or not, he was involved in the situation and he needed to choose a side.
Support East and Marcus, the obedient tool that followed all the commands of his master?
Support North and Mia, the wild girl that just did whatever she wanted?
Or support West and Evlin, who were acting less like master and servant and more like coworkers?
By the time this war ended and one side emerged victoriously, South would have no choice but to pledge his alliance to the winner.
He was hoping this would end soon so he could hurry and start getting followers to pray towards him again.
"South!!" x 3
South heard his name being called while he was lost in his inner monologue and realized that the three gods were staring at him again after arguing non-stop for a while.
"Who is the best champion!!??" x 3
South really, really, really wanted to leave.
"Whoever wins the battle and clears my home... I think...?"
"..." x 3
All the gods returned to their positions and continued to watch the flow of the battle as if they were rooting for their team in a football game.
South assumed this would mean the end of the arguing but he suddenly started to hear whispers for his fellow divine friends.
"Evlin will win..."
"Marcus will kill her..."
"Mia will come out as the winner..."
South was slowly considering the idea that he was glad he never got a champion after all.