68 Secret Wars Part XV
The Avengers ended up at very small Shrine at the base of Mount. Fuji, Peter then looked at the small cave and said, "Wait a minute, we have to go in there?"
"What's the matter kid, you afraid of the dark?" Logan chimed in.
"Up yours, Bub! I just thought there would be some fancy gate like the Bifröst," Peter said mimicking Logan's voice.
Thor gave a laugh, "Hah! You mortals and you're silly bantering."
"Shut goldilocks!" Logan and Peter shouted at the same time.
MJ laughed and said, "So, where do we go?"
"This is how you get inside, just follow me," Thor said as he took the lead.
They moved deep into the cave and ended up at a small Shrine made completely of gold.
"What, so that's it. Just pray at a shrine and we're there?" Peter asked.
"Not very defensible, can anyone just wander in?" MJ asked.
"No this place is special, many can pray, only few can enter," Thor answered.
"Cool, so how do we get in?" Iron-Man asked.
"You forget you traverse with a god," Thor bragged as he walked up to the Shrine, he placed his hand on a mirror and said, "Open, in the name of Thor."
The mirror lit up and out from its surface came a bright-golden glow that looked like the rays of the sun.
Everyone closed their eyes in order to shield themselves from being blinded; when they opened them again, they saw a strange and beautiful world displayed before their eyes, only they noticed the winding land below them was transparent, they were suddenly far away from Mount. Fuji and they upsidedown at a place called, Ama-No-Hashidate, the bridge of heaven.
As they walked they could see the clouds on both sides of the walkway, the buildings and most of Kyoto could be seen in the distance, but above them, there was an endless stream of stars and galaxies, "Don't stray from the path, if you fall, you will enter Japan's reincarnation cycle." Thor warned everyone.
Peter shook his head and thought, "Don't want to experience that again."
After following the path for a few minutes, they came upon a large stairway with translucent steps, there were souls wondering about wearing white robes and soft-straw sandals, all of them appeared to be waiting for something,"Something is wrong, all of the Shinigami are missing, something is not right in Takamagahara," Thor warned the party.
Spider-Man and MJ's spider-senses weren't blaring yet, but even they had a bad feeling, the Avengers stood side by side as they climbed the stairway to heaven.
Spider-Man suddenly started humming the Led-Zeppelin tune to match their position making Tony join in, the two then suddenly started singing a bit, "And she's buying the stairway to heaven."
"Haha!" The two started to bust up, "Man, who knew we'd be doing the same?" Tony chuckled.
MJ shook her head, "Nerds."
Their laughter grew when all of a sudden a bright light appeared as an unknown portal pulled them into the ground.
The Avengers stood back to back in an ancient looking Japanese room where a single person stood with his hands on the ground and blood covering his body.
Peter ran over to check if he was alright when the mysterious black-haired youth collapsed.
"Wait, he is a god, this could be a trick!" Thor shouted.
Peter shook his head, "My Spidy-Senses say it isn't!"
"You senses may not work on a god," Thor said as he held Peter from helping.
Peter sighed, he then turned around and said, "Try and punch me."
"What?" Thor said in surprise.
"You heard me! Punch! You know, throwing out your fist in a violent manner." Peter said with a joking tone.
"I know what a punch is, I'm asking why?" Thor responded.
"Because we can check if works on gods," Peter answered.
"I'm not going to punch you, if you fail to dodge I could end up killing you!" Thor shot back.
"I'll regenerate, now punch you, sissy god," Peter mocked.
"I know what you're doing and it won't work." Thor said lifting a brow, "I'm not going to punch you on principle alone."
Peter took a deep breath, "Loki is talented in magic than you, he's smarter than you, stronger than you..."
"I see what you are doing Spider-Man, it will not work," Thor crossed his arms and grinned, Spider-Man didn't back down, he grinned as he got ready to pull out the big ones, "He's more handsome than you as well."
Thor winced, "You don't mean that..."
Spider-Man Grinned, "Oh, but I do, and you know what? He more worthy to handle Mjölnir than you are."
Thor swung out, Peter's Spider-Senses blared as he leaned out of the way, "There it works,"
Thor threw another punch, Peter dodged again, "Ah, Thor, you can stop now, the test is concluded."
Thor ignored Spider-Man and continued to try and punch him, Peter shook his head and jumped over Thor and grabbed on to his back, "Man, would you calm down, I didn't mean any of those things. I take it back, you happy now."
Thor calmed down a bit and scratched his head, "Hahahaha! I was just messing with, Spider-Man."
"Sure, thanks, buddy." Peter said as he jumped back down to the ground and thought, "But, my Spidey-Sense says those punches were real. Not that I'd say that out loud."
Peter made his way back over to the boy, however the moment he reached out for him, his spidey senses went off and his suits magical protections sigils lit up, just as Peter's hand paused, an elderly male's voice called out, "I wouldn't do that, he is one of the few remaining Shinigami, if you touch him, you will lose your life."
Peter looked over to see a thin looking man with a black sun hat covering the top of his head, he was small, even shorter than Wolverine.
"Hey, I know you..." Logan spoke up trying to remember where he encountered this smell before, "You smell like that Fox who led me out of the Fallout Zone."
"Wait, are you talking about 'the' bomb," Peter looked back at the old man.
The old God nodded his head, "Yes, I sent my messenger to aid you through the atomic fallout, my name is Inari, and I'm afraid I need you to return that favor now."
Everyone looked at the God as he walked over to the Shinigami and said, "You did well, you can return to your master's side now, we will see each other again, once this whole ordeal is over."
The Shinigami smiled and suddenly turned into a puff of black smoke, Inari let out a sigh as he looked to the Avengers and said, "The one you seek was not kidnapped by us, at least not when you began this quest."
MJ tilted her head, "Oh...No."
Peter slapped his forehead, "Damn it!"
"What are we missing guys?" Tony said tapping Peter's shoulder, "Come on, what did you figure out?"
"We were used!" MJ said with a sigh, "Zeus used us, they are the ones who took Alex, and my guess is that someone kidnapped him before Zeus came running,"
"Son of a bitch!" Tony shouted.
"Language! We have kids here!" Steve shouted.
"We're 17 Captian, not kids," Peter shouted.
"Still kids to me." Logan grinned.
"Shut old man, no Ancient Man! Seriously how old are you?" MJ pouted.
Inari chuckled and said, "Well you're a light-hearted bunch, to be so calm amidst a god,"
"You call yourselves gods, I call you advanced alien lifeforms," Tony chimed in.
Peter began rambling, "Sorry, humor, it's just the best way for me to deal the stress, believe me, if you could see my face under this mask, you'd see a look of surprise."
"That would be hard with all those protection Sigils sewn into the fabric," Inari chimed in.
"It takes the edge of the situation, soldiers do the same thing during war," Captain America placed his hand on Peter's shoulder, "Anyways, could you get back to what's happening currently?"
"Right, well, my guess is Zeus allowed someone from this Pantheon to steal Alex, and then staged that whole affair so Ares would hear that Alex was in Japan," Peter looked over to Inari and said, "And this person...sorry, this Japanese God, didn't have your Pantheon's approval to go through with this?"
"That is correct, we didn't want to reignite old tensions between the two Pantheons," Inari explained.
"Reignite, the Olympians have tensions with the Shinto Pantheon?" Peter asked.
Thor nodded his head, "It is an old tale, a Millenia ago there was a war between the Olympians and the Amatsu-Kami. Zeus and Amatsu-Miksaboshi separately told a single blacksmith to forge a weapon for them. The blacksmith crafted two swords: one perfect, the other flawed. The perfect was called Grasscutter Sword and the flawed one was called Godkiller Sword. The war went on for millennia with no clear winner."
"They fought a war over which sword was better!?" MJ asked.
Thor tilted his head, "It was more about honor, the Godslayer or the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, which one did Hephaestus forge with the flaw, did he betray his own Patheon, and choose to mock his brother by giving Susanoo the greater blade, or did he betray his longtime friend and give him a flawed one."
"What if they were both perfect." Peter held his finger up as he suggested, "Maybe Zeus made up the whole flawed and perfect rumor to start a war and take the Grasscutter Sword, that way he would have two weapons on the level of the Godslayer Sword."
Thor and Inari stared at Peter with wide eyes, "I mean, he did trick us to coming to Japan, and probably bringing a very pissed off Ares along with us, we've all seen just how tricky Zeus is."
"Ugh, reminds me of my brother, always thirsting for power," Thor shook his head in disappointment.
"That would make some sense, but it does little for our current condition, Ares coming here would only make it worse, all of our top ranking Gods are being controlled by another," Inari announced.
"You mean, Ares wasn't the one who did all of this?" MJ asked.
"No, it was one of our own, when Zeus lowered the protections around the one you call Alex, Mikaboshi demanded we kidnap Alex and use him as a tool in order to kill his own father and become the new God of War. Seeing as she wanted to turn an innocent child into a weapon, we refused."
"I'm sensing a butt coming, and that's not from my Spidey-Sense," Peter joked as he waited for the punch line.
"But, Mikaboshi somehow is able to control the other gods. She took control of them and forced them to destroy all of those who opposed her," Inari continued.
"So how come she couldn't control you?" MJ asked.
"I am a nature God, Mikaboshi can only control gods of origin, we are gods that came after the originals, I am the God of Rice and Foxes, the Shinigami are born from the God of Death so they are like myself."
"Okay, so I assume the reason you brought us here is to aid you in some way," Captian America stated.
"Something like that, one of you has the ability to control Reality, yes?" Inari said as he stepped forward and looked at Peter.
"I can help with that?" Peter scratched his head.
"Yes, all I need you to do is sever the connection Mikaboshi has over the other gods," Inari smiled.
Peter waved his hands in front of his face, "Wait, the Reality Gem is the most unknown of my powers, I can't quite control it, simple commands are easy, but let's say, for instance, I want to sever this bond you speak of, I don't know how this God is controlling them, if I use it without understanding what it is I'm targeting, I could end up erasing the gods themselves because it fits the required parameters. It's dangerous,"
"Then I will have to aid you," Inari announced with a peaceful smile.