Bulls and Apes Project Lore
Chapters 1 - 4
Chapter 7 & 8
Chapter 1: Genesis
Humanity and technology grew for thousands of years, expanding into entirely new fields of possibility and potential. Humans upgraded themselves, merging with machines, and possessing powers that we today would consider godly. Over eons of evolution, they eventually reached the end of their evolutionary cycle, able to harness and control energy and matter at will, achieving great harmony with the universe.
They traveled and observed civilizations on distant planets as they grew in their own ways, watching as the cycles of life shifted and adapted, always distant observers from afar. But there was one among them with ambitious and visionary intent. He loved to shapeshift and mingle with lifeforms, blending into their worlds and living amongst them. He became a historical figure in many of the planets’ timelines, offering knowledge and technology that accelerated their evolutions.
Yet, he yearned for more. He wanted to start from scratch, to build his own species and guide them from the very start. In all his time living among countless species, there was one creature that he came to love the most, the bull. The Bulls were proud and strong creatures. They had large hearts, with a natural affinity to protect their kin. He fell in love with their shape, with the strength of their horns, and the dual nature of their soft grazing that could shift in a single moment to great and awesome power. They were perfect to start this new world.
On a new planet, he channeled all his energy into an explosion of creation that instantly formed an impenetrable mountain that reached beyond the clouds, with 9,999 unique bulls at its base who would form his ideal society. He let his creativity pour out and his will began to splice and merge with the Bull’s genetics, altering them and making them grow into bipedal walkers, changing the hue of their furs into bright and beautifully flamboyant shades. He crystallized their horns, made some solid gold, and others rough like the rock of magma. He made some unbreakable glass, that when reflected in the light of day contained thousands of refracting rainbows. There were combinations and genetic splices of textures, materials, and colors that never would have existed in natural evolution.
While they were each a deep part of him, down to their very DNA, they were all free to develop into their true selves and live freely. He used the last remnants of his power to shapeshift from being the creator to becoming one of them so that he could live anonymously amongst them and watch his children as they evolved into his ultimate vision.
Chapter 2: Guilds & Teens
As the thick mist and electrical charges from the creators' blast subsided, a giant mountain began to reveal itself, towering above the bulls, and passing through the clouds. Each Bull was born with one of four birthmarks on the bottom of their feet, and whilst they all acted and looked the same, there was a slight deviation within the string of their genetics. Of the nearly ten thousand Bulls that had been born they instinctively separated into four equal numbered guilds based on the marks, they found beneath their feet. It was all part of the grand plan the Creator had for their civilization. The four guilds exited the base of the mountain at different entrances, each marking the cardinal directions, of North, South, East, and West, and over time each guild grew bright and blossoming cities.
These cities were magnificent works of art. Giant buildings rose high into the sky, in bright colors of oranges, greens, gold, and blues. The Bulls took on expressive and unique personalities, free to do as they pleased, each Bull engrained with the impulse to follow their passions. It was common to see groups of musicians performing on street corners, singing, and playing their hearts out. There were sports arenas integrated openly into the city. Every Bull was allowed to do as they pleased, and a thriving and booming economy grew out of it. With no restraints on their free will, the Bulls were able to thrive in a way that humanity never was. They didn’t have to work behind a desk doing mindless jobs. The world was the Bull’s to play with however they felt called.
Over time as scientists and philosophers grew amongst them, they yearned to know the answer to how they could reproduce. The leading minds of the four cities came together and they soon discovered a beautiful secret hidden in their genes. They discovered within their DNA a method of genetically engineering a new Bull. By merging the DNA of two bulls from the same guild within a highly advanced incubator they were able to do the impossible. As the incubated Bull burst to life, it took on a completely unexpected form. An entirely new species of Bull was born! They were taller, more energetic, and unpredictable to say the least. The incubator had accelerated their growth - they were teens!
As more and more Teen Bulls were born, it became obvious that they were the hallmark for change and evolution within their world. And it was these Teen Bulls that wanted to expand their cities and come together. They offered new drastic ideas and sought to grow to new heights. And it was among one of them, a fearless and adventurous Teen who uncovered a secret atop the Mountain of Creation.
Chapter 3: Gods Are Born
One of the Teen Bulls, bound for adventure, summited the great Mountain of Creation for the first time in Bull history. Beyond the clouds, he located a hidden entrance where He found a large, flat glowing stone at its center inscribed with mysterious runes. The Teen worked tirelessly to decode it and eventually, the secrets inscribed there became clear to him. The runes depicted the next stage of their evolution; an evolution towards the very powers of the Creator himself. But in order for this evolution to take place, a great sacrifice had to be made.
The Teen Bull had to willingly give up his physical form, with the promise of eternal life and the key to the next stage in their evolution. The Teen was brave and proud and sacrificed his physical form with no hesitation. A bright beacon shot into the sky as soon as it was done, and it could be seen from each of the four cities. The Teen Bulls from each guild were the first to respond to the call as if a tribal drumbeat in the very fabric of their bones.
They rushed to the top of the mountain via a stairway that had not previously existed, to find a floating orb hovering above the rune stone. The energy orb was the ethereal remains of the Teen who had given up his physical form and he transmitted the knowledge to the rest of the Teens. They knew what to do now.
A Teen bull from each of the four guilds gathered and simultaneously placed their hands upon the merger orb. In an instant, they were twisted into a vortex of swirling energy that created a burst of dazzling light. Their forms merged and when at last the light dimmed, a Godly presence stood before the rest of the Bulls at the top of the mountain peak.
The first of the God Bulls was born, alive and glowing with elemental energy. They possessed a power greater than any of the Bulls had ever seen. The God Bull could harness the element it was born into, and as more Gods were born they took on different powers, based on the cosmic balance they were born to uphold.
Chapter 4: Order and Chaos
With the birth of the God Bull, a primal surge sparked a new wave of celebration and unity for most within the four Guild Cities.
Subject 01, now known by everybody simply as S1 and the first Teen to ever be born, felt this primal energy… in a different way. Something unknown called out to him to explore beyond the boundaries of the city. He had this new and obsessive craving to uncover more about his origin.
This unknown calling gnawed at him until he eventually disobeyed the laws of the Bulls and left his guild and brothers behind to search the vastly unexplored land that surrounded the mountain of creation.
He couldn't explain why he needed so badly to leave, but it excited him to traverse new and entirely unexplored terrain. At first, it was easy, but the further he got away from the four cities, the harsher the terrain got.
It was after weeks of travel and ascending a range of sharp snowy mountain peaks that he found himself spotting a shimmer amidst the snow. His eyes widened as he beheld a vessel of seamless metal half-buried in the snow.
As he stepped towards it, the vessel seemed to respond to his presence, and from the seamless wall, a door materialized, revealing the inside of a spacecraft.
S1 knew this was what had been calling him all along.
He stepped inside to see a metallic orb miraculously suspended mid-air, with glowing symbols etched into it, resembling guild marking all Bulls had on their feet.
This had to be the Creator's craft!
S1 reached out and touched the orb, causing it to spin quickly and erupt with a burst of holographic displays. Before him, on multiple screens, Images started playing. Images of beings he had never seen before. They were wearing all sorts of strange garments, unique to everyone. S1 sat down and watched the history of humanity unfold before his very eyes. Weeks went by as he learned as much as he could at a pace beyond belief. For reasons unknown, he could absorb and retain information from all holograms at once. The technology was mind-boggling.
He watched until suddenly the video changed, and he was staring at a familiar face of a godly looking being that he had never seen before and yet couldn't shake the feeling that he knew who it was. And as the footage unraveled, his eyes widened as he watched the Creator spark the life of everything he now knew.
Mystified and in awe, S1 collected the hologram device, which he dubbed the "genesis sphere," and took the long journey back to the four cities.
S1 brought the genesis sphere to a high-tech arena and displayed it for all to witness. The arena became a museum, displaying the history of humanity and the origin of their creation.
Having been mixed with their Creator's DNA, the Bulls had a genetic affinity to all that they saw within the old footage.
The Bulls quickly took to making the clothes, outfits, and uniforms to match what they saw in the videos. They fell in love with the beauty and diversity of the 20th and 21st centuries of humanity. The styles mesmerized them and most quickly fashioned outfits without any real knowledge as to their primary function.
Suddenly there were Bulls wearing pirate outfits, drinking coffee, or lounging with others dressed in police uniforms, chef hats, superhero costumes, and even kingly robes. Bulls wore football gear, headpieces, and all while having breakfast with samurai. Their creativity and love for fashion boomed, and soon, all four guilds had over half of their population in clothing from various time periods in human history, and it became a show of pride to the point of near religion for a Bull to wear new outfits daily, regardless of what they were doing.
They let their creativity unfold and mismatched various attires, some sporting bathrobes while also wearing sailor's hats and gold chains. Others carried surfboards while wearing cosplay headgear and creative t-shirts.
Not all Bulls, however, took to this new craze, and roughly half the population chose to remain closer to their roots, keeping themselves free of clothing.
The Creator who walked amongst them observed them with an odd fascination. Even as there was a split in opinions on clothing, the Creator noticed that, unlike humanity, no conflict arose out of it. He had watched many a human fight over lesser matters, but the Bulls seemed content with whatever their brothers chose. While the new spark initiated a change in their fashion, that was only a surface-level alteration. The Bulls had grown content, and the strive for further progress seemed to vanish.
The Creator teleported to a lab deep within Creation Mountain and watched as his creations, driven by their programmed DNA, slowly began to fall into a state of fulfillment with no strong drive to advance their civilization. The Creator saw an error in his dream. In his striving for a perfect civilization, he had tipped the scales of balance too far into serenity.
The truth of the universe was that it needed both chaos and order to survive. One could not exist without the other. The Creator realized the error in his ways. Deep change was needed -- the emotions the Bulls rarely displayed, like anger and rage, were catalysts that evoked transformation. Civilization needed conflict to grow.
As he was analyzing the strands of DNA within the Bulls, he found that they did have the possibility for conflict but only when called to protect themselves or those a Bull cared about. Therein lied the secret. The bulls were happy with themselves. They were loyal to a fault and had no deep conflicts with their kin.
They needed Conflict and Rivalry. The Creator knew what he had to do.
Chapter 5: Invasion
Darred slipped from the city confines with a bottle of vodka under his arm. The city walls were not easily surpassed, but Darred had figured out a route through some of the smaller drainpipes that completely went unguarded. He jumped from a larger pipe onto the wide-open fields beyond the walls.
Darred took a swig, pleased with himself, and inhaled a large nostril breath of the fresh air, sat down at the top of a rolling hill, and stared out at the landscape, enjoying the view of the night sky without the veil of city lights.
Bright silver trails of comets fell through the sky, and Darred smiled, basking in the fresh air, when something in the distance caught his eye. His head quirked, and his eyes strained to make it out.
There was a bright light on the flat of the distant horizon. It glowed a wild, amethyst purple. Darred's ears perked, and his senses began to peak, hair standing on end. There was nothing beyond the four cities that could produce a light that bright. He stood in disbelief, trying to strain his eyes to see the source of that strange light, but he couldn't make it out from such a distance.
Darred glanced back to the walls before dropping his bottle, turning back to the light, and began jogging. Curiosity peaked in him, and he used that energy to propel him into a full-on run. The power of his legs allowed him to charge at incredible speeds. The wind rushed through the hair on his body as his heart thrummed with wild anticipation.
The vast open plains were easy to traverse, but it still took Darred nearly an hour to get across the expanse and draw near enough to see what was happening. A strange sense of fear arose as he saw the light source. It glowed and shifted in odd angles, revealing what appeared to be a tear in the fabric of time and space itself.
Then from the glow of this strange rift, something stepped out. Darred ducked behind a large boulder, spying on the figure that emerged. It was unlike anything Darred had ever seen before -- a bipedal creature with an odd face and large ears.
He wore a patch over one eye that only partially covered a scar that ran the entire length of his face. The creature inhaled and smiled, flashing sharp canines. Then from behind him, a troop emerged from the portal.
Wild shrieks and cries rose as this band of strange creatures poured in. Hundreds of them at first, then thousands. They were smaller than the first creature Darred saw, about his height, and each adorned with various equipment and weapons. Some carried primitive spears, wearing shoulder pads and loin guards made of wood and debris. Others held chainsaws over their shoulder, equipped with spartan-like helms and dual-wielding swinging maces. They were speaking in a strange language that Darred couldn't understand. But the name of the giant being became apparent. The thousands of creatures pouring through the portal began worshipping the larger one and repeatedly chanted his name, "Vyl! Vyl! Vyl!"
The sound of all of them together was deafening, and it rose a terror in Darred. He stumbled away from the boulder, suddenly feeling the need to retreat into the darkness. He needed to inform the gods and his brethren of this potential invasion. These did not look like the sort of beings who wanted peace. The Bulls were in danger! Darred turned and fled, leaving the horrible sight behind him, and made straight for the four cities without turning back.
Whilst the Bulls had never met another sentient race, Vyl, King of the Apes, had seen countless worlds. He stood triumphantly after another successful battle, and a familiar thrill rose in his blood as his troop of apes surrounded him. He wielded a device, holding the portal open for his forces to pass through.
This world had appeared on the device seemingly out of nowhere. It was constantly scanning the cosmos for new and inhabited planets, and mere moments after their latest scavenge, the indicator light had started flashing before opening a portal on its own. It was a complicated device that Vyl did not fully understand. He had scientists who had researched it, and he had learned it could open a single portal with the push of a button, or on rare occasions, as it had just done to bring him here, the device would open a random portal on its own. He did not need to know how it worked or why a random portal would open, for it never failed to bring him directly to where he needed to be.
Narrowing his eyes, Vyl set his sights across the plains, locking in on the lights emerging from the distant cities he could see on the horizon. They were so far away that they appeared to be nothing more than sparkling towers, like stars in the night. He had risen this band of sniveling Apes into a powerful force of warriors, and for the past many decades, they had been moving from world to world, invading sentient species and scavenging from the remains of the crumbled civilizations they had lain to waste. To Vyl, this world was just another place to conquer, another step to even greater heights.
He exhaled powerfully and leaped to the top of a nearby boulder. Vyl was formidable, standing nearly twice as tall as the rest of the Apes. His strength and power were one of the several things that had secured his place as their alpha. Taking a moment to view his troop in all their glory, he shrieked a moment later, calling the Apes to attention, and banging his fists on his armored chest plate.
There was no time for rest. No time to waste. Vyl cried out and ordered his troop forward, and with terrifying speed, the Apes began to head for the nearest city.
Back in the city of the Bulls, Darred had gone directly to officials and then the Council of the Eleven Great Gods. When officials heard Darred's story, they summoned the god bulls to the city from the Mountain of Creation. After an eternity to Darred, the God Bulls finally entered the chamber, each of their steps sending a thunder of vibrations through the room. Darred was in awe at witnessing them in person. They were incredible and, at the same time, terrifying. Their eyes were like fiery orbs, and as they gazed down upon him, it felt like they were staring right into his soul.
Their eye colors mesmerized him, which seemed to change based on their moods. Waiting for Darred to speak, the Ice God leaned forward, looking right into Darred's eyes, and let out a booming huff. Darred shook himself out of his silence, bumbling for a moment, and then told them what he had seen. The God Bulls communed with one another, their powerful voices deep and low, with rumbling undertones that mirrored the high tides of a storm within the echoing walls of the chamber. The Gods had used their enhanced senses to know the truth for themselves, but by then, it was too late.
Like a dark wave of locusts in the night, the Apes stormed the Northern City. The guards had only just managed to sound the alarms before being swarmed by vicious biting and weapon-swinging Apes.
They were brutal and broke through the Northern Gate like it was nothing. The Bulls had never faced another race, never even communed with any being other than their own. They did not even know what race or being these horrible creatures were. To the Bulls, the Apes were monstrous aliens, and by the time the sun rose in the morning, the Northern City had fallen. All those who survived had retreated into the sanctity of their brother cities. The Apes decimated and stripped it of everything it had, taking it and the Northern Methane fields as their stronghold.
The Bulls had never faced conflict within their kind, but something inside their blood triggered and boiled as they saw the smoke rising from the Northern City. The Bulls were mighty and proud and would not stand for this. They would fight and protect their kind with all the might their horns could muster.
The Gods sounded the horns of calling and gathered every Bull in the central arena at the base of the Mountain of Creation.
They revealed the truth of the attack, and the mention of the alien foes sent a wild thrill of outrage throughout the population. The Teens felt a sudden shift in their desires, standing taller and answering the call to protect their brothers. They would not allow a band of monkeys to interfere with their brethren.
The Gods began to plan their strategy. The fortresses of the three remaining cities were positioned with great advantage. They had high walls and had the upper ground. But as the Gods deliberated, they realized that while their horns and size were mighty, they did not have enough weapons to arm every Bull.
The Bulls would need every advantage they could get if they were to survive the coming horde. So, as night quickly turned into day, the Gods acted as generals, setting up a great battalion of Bulls outside the gates and placing bulls with projectile weapons atop the towers.
The alien scourge approached with their leader Vyl at the forefront. He raised his arms and howled, sharp canines flashing in a jeering grin, riling them up for another run at the remaining cities. This time it would be the West city. Most of the defending bulls had moved from the other cities to help defend against the approaching ape horde. This time around, the bulls knew the Apes were coming.
The gods bellowed their warning as the vast army of Apes approached, but Vyl did not heed a single word before screaming out and ordering the attack. The apes charged, and as they did, it was evident that they drastically outnumbered the bulls.
But the Bulls would not back down, answered with bellowing war cries of their own, and charged in with horns held low, battering through the Apes like bowling pins. The first charge seemed to be to the Bull's advantage. However, many of the Bulls were ill-equipped, and the Apes were cunning and agile while also seasoned soldiers. In addition, many of the apes carried weaponry the Bulls had never seen before. The Bulls and Apes fought their first battle for days, with the tides shifting and turning back and forth. But on the last day, the Apes found the advantage, driving the Bulls back into the pen of their fortress, like cattle.
The Bulls sealed their gates and took up positions, preparing themselves for a siege defense. For this, the Apes were unprepared and withdrew after many of their numbers fell as they tried to scale the sides of the city. The walls were too steep and smooth for the Apes to ascend, try as they might, and Vyl called them back to regroup and strategize.
The first city had fallen so quickly, but the second city was proving to be more of a challenge for Vyl.
While the Bulls had just managed to escape, a major problem soon became evident. The Ape's troops now occupied the fields of land upon which most of the Bulls' methane was harvested, the very ore that fuelled the city's energy production. Meth was in everything they used. It powered their electricity, their food mills, and their technology. And most of their Bulls were hitting "zero breed," a term used amongst their kind to name when a donor Bull had reached his maximum genetic capacity for breeding.
Zero Breed left many of their Bulls in horrible fatigue, making them not only unable to work the methane fields but unable to produce new Teens. They were in a quickly rising crisis, and the Apes were relentless and knew they could starve the bulls out of their precious energy. Days would go by with not a drop of action, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, the apes would start an assault on the city. The process would repeat itself with no end in sight. The siege drew on for weeks, and the Bulls were near the breaking point. They needed to find a solution, or their race would fall.
The God Bulls withdrew into the deep chambers of the Mountain of Creation. These chambers resonated with the powerful energy of the crystalline methane that seemed to concentrate greatly within the Mountain itself. Originally the Gods were solitary creatures, aiding when needed and rarely intermingling with their neighboring gods within the Mountain. But with the press of conflict on their borders, they were forced to come together and figure out a way to defeat Vyl and his horde of Apes.
Each of the 11 god bulls was so different and unique in their powers and ideals that it had never occurred to them to join forces. But when they did come together, something unexpected happened. Together they were able to push one another to new heights. Together they deliberated, meditated, and began to unlock new and powerful secrets they would never have come to on their own.
They combined their minds in a great state of meditation and were empowered by the energy within the Mountain. Their minds soared into the Underworld -- the place of knowledge beyond the mortal realm.
Additional weeks went by, and the siege continued. Vyl continued to occupy his permanent war camp with his troop of Apes on the fields outside the cities. They lived there, planning and ordering more and more attacks upon the Bulls, some of the soldiers finding their way past the wall and unleashing their Ape fury on the Bulls within. Being defeated by the Apes was no longer a nightmare in the minds of every Bull – it was a reality and only a matter of time now.
It was on the fifth week when suddenly the Gods returned from their journey into the Underworld. Their eyes glowed with bright flames of knowledge. They had news. What they were about to tell the bulls would change everything.
Chapter 6: The War
With the urgency and conflict, the God Bulls dove deeper into their nature to uncover new secrets even they had not known. They had returned from the Mountain of Creation, each God Bull coming back with different levels of power and atonement, but all having learned the same lessons. During their time in the beyond, the God-bulls discovered three incredible secrets hidden within their genetics.
The first of those powers had to do with the issue of breeding. Many donor Bulls could not recover to their original potential once they hit their zero-breed status, making them inefficient in taking up arms against the Apes.
When donor Bull's offered their genetic code to create a teen, the extraction process was extremely taxing on the Bull's bodies, making it incredibly dangerous to do so more than three times. But the gods now had a solution – a harnessed energy that repaired and replenished the breeding genetics of these bulls. With this divine energy, not only were the once fatigued Bulls able to recover and join the fight, but they could offer themselves for breeding again.
For those bulls not lucky enough to be blessed by this godly power, the scientists managed within weeks to develop a serum that, when injected, revitalized the Bulls, making them stronger and more powerful than they ever had been before, even with zero breeds. The fatigue of multiple genetic breed extractions was now a thing of the past. Instead, the zero-breed bulls became super workers, more productive than most bulls.
This was fantastic news for the Bulls, allowing them to infuse their army with more Teens constantly. The bulls were lucky that a full-grown teen could be lab-created in days. But the teens were just empty shells after creation, like newborn puppies. The knowledge transfer technology could take a newly generated teen and infuse them with decades of information and training. The advanced machinery from the Creator made this all happen in under two weeks. The entire procedure could have a brand-new teen ready to be a citizen and even fighting within a month. But, of course, the apes did not know this technology was possible.
The biggest problem for the bulls was that the breeding technology took a lot of valuable methane energy to run. Since the fields were occupied in war, they needed to find another solution to gather their methane.
The truth was that the God-Bulls had been well aware of the incredible treasure trove of highly potent Meth crystals that lay deep within glowing veins in the Mountain, but they had been unable to access it. The Mountain of Creation's rock was impenetrable. The Mountain was made of un-mineable bedrock that shattered even their sharpest drills.
But in the great forge of the Mountain's creation, thousands of tiny tunnels and tributaries ran all through it. The Bulls had tried to navigate these tunnels before, but their bodies had been too large to fit through them properly. At this point, the Teens, who had never been very interested in helping out before, with their newly invigorated passions, realized that they were the perfect size to squeeze through the tunnels.
So, the God Bulls created a device to help them navigate the dark and near impenetrable depths of the Mountain that only they, the Teens, could reach. A Methane Machine was created and given to the Teens who rose at the chance to help aid in the war efforts. With Methane Machines in hand, the Teens began to pour into the tunnels, using the machines to pinpoint and find the large veins of purple methane crystals that were exposed, mining them, and bringing the ore back to the cities through a series of underground tunnels.
The Bulls no longer had to risk their lives by venturing into the ore fields at night that Apes patrolled. Thanks to the teens, they were generating more methane ore than they ever had in all of Bull history. But they didn't stop there. The Teens knew that there was more for them, more in their DNA they could access. They wanted to help the Gods seek this knowledge, and as the months of siege went on, an occult group of eight bright teen bulls formed.
These were young scientists who worked closely with the gods on various discoveries related to the Underworld. They kept their identity hidden and dressed in dark cloaks.
They had dedicated their lives to piercing deeper into the more profound layers of reality, growing a deep connection with the power of the Mountain, and thus discovering a way to perceive the Underworld.
They were the original eight who had embarked on the terrifying venture of journeying to the Underworld in a process known as Sacrificing. When repeated in abundance, it was an undertaking that caused their eyes to glow like those of the God Bulls. It wasn't long before all knew them as the "Sacrificers.'
The Sacrificers combined their knowledge with the God Bull's powers to resurrect previously sacrificed teens. The Sacrificers could witness the energy of their fallen Bull brothers. But there had to be an energy balance for this to work. To pull energy from the underworld, energy had to first be put in. A resurrection required a living teen to give himself freely to the underworld. The sacrficers could guide Teens to the Underworld.
The reward for later being resurrected was they would be granted heightened powers and newfound knowledge, additional vigor, and strength, and one striking ability that stood out -- they could all trace the presence of the ever-important methane crystals without the need of a Methane machine. As a result, many Teens felt compelled to dive into this temporary death themselves, hoping they could return with this elusive knowledge should they find the path toward resurrection. It was a significant risk, for nothing ensured that a Teen would find their way back to the land of the living.
With the pieces in place, seven of the eleven God bulls returned to the Mountain of creation to offer the powers they had just revealed. The other four God bulls, each of a different guild, remained, helping guide the cities during the war. They were officially called the Council of the Four Directions and would lead the path to victory. Amongst the population, these four Gods became known more simply as the 'Compass.'
Observing from his ship, the Creator watched all of this unfold. The Bulls, who had once grown complacent, were suddenly thrown into great leaps of technological advancement and personal evolution. All it had taken was a little push into conflict. Their Methane production hit record-high levels, and they could now afford to start forging new weapons, tech, and even teens. The tides of war were looking better, but they were still massively outnumbered.
The Creator had surprisingly underestimated the colossal number of apes that Vyl pulled through the portal. Vyl had never summoned this many troops in the past. Even with everything the Creator observed that the Bulls were doing right, it appeared the odds were significantly stacked against them. It was an almost insurmountable possibility that the Bulls could win. All his work with the bulls would end if Vyl succeeded. The Creator could intervene.
No... The Creator had vowed to himself he would not interfere with the outcome of this process. He had interfered once before, long before the bulls, and it ultimately led to a failed civilization. This time it would be different. He had to see where both his creations, failed and new, would end up on their own. His Bulls and Apes project needed to continue unimpeded.
Meanwhile, on the Apes' warfront, there was great unrest. Their numbers were beginning to dwindle beyond what Vyl was comfortable with. The Apes were not used to long, drawn-out sieges, and many grew tired of fighting. Not only that, some grew tired of Vyl. He ruled with fear and power, swiftly punishing anyone who opposed him.
Many of the Apes feared not only his power but the technology he hoarded. Of all the places they conquered, Vyl saved the most advanced technology and mighty weapons for himself. But a powerful ape had caught wind of the whispers of discontent amongst their camps and secretly began to form a large following of rebels.
Her name was Ava, and if she had it her way, Vyl was about to have a terrible week.
Chapter 7: Revenge
Ava was not a typical female Ape. Vyl had coerced her into a betrothal against her desires. Vyl had set his eyes on her long ago and, without blinking, made her his. Ava knew that if she resisted, it would be her head on the next battle spike, so she had submitted to him, holding her resentments secret and awaiting the day that she may one day get back at him. After years in his consort, she had the scars that proved disobedience was swiftly met with violence.
She had been waiting for an opportunity for years, and finally, this war had provided an out. Because of her position as Vyl's mate, her influence amongst the apes was strong. But she had to be careful who she chose to join her rebellion.
Ava quickly and quietly recruited a small legion of apes, promising them they would finally settle and lead lives of peace and stability if they followed her. She discreetly unified a band of mutineers and rebels right under Vyl's nose and took it upon herself to plan their uprising. She knew Vyl was planning to attack the next day, so with nothing more than the clothes on her back, Ava separated herself from the war camps in the middle of the night and snuck to the walls of the Bull city.
The Bulls saw her immediately, and she raised her arms in surrender. Ava was taken directly to the Council of the four directions and shoved to her knees before the four great God Bulls. Ava had visited many worlds and seen many things, but the God Bulls were something else entirely to behold.
She bowed her head to them, pulling a device from within her armor. It was an advanced piece of technology that she had scavenged from the same ancient remains from which Vyl had found the portal device. She had taken it without his knowledge, and no one else knew she possessed such an item.
It was a universal translator. Eva had no interest in war. She instead found fascination with all the different races and cultures she had come across. Her race's actions were appalling, and she wished for nothing more than to live a life of peace, learning from the various races across the seemingly infinite worlds.
With no reluctance, she handed over the device and explained its purpose. Her words were translated to the Gods through it. The Gods listened to her with skeptical ears, but the more Ava spoke, the more their minds changed. She offered them a truce and even offered to aid them in the battle against Vyl, for they shared a common enemy, and she knew their next move.
Even though Vyl was of her own race, he had gone mad with power, greed, and desire and used violence to ensure his strength. Nothing could satiate his yearning for blood and conquest. She vowed to aid the Bulls to the best of her ability if they let her troop of Apes live peacefully alongside them. She offered them the knowledge she had learned from the different worlds and promised that the Apes under her wing would only aid in the Bulls' growth as a civilization.
Many hours later, Eva walked from the city walls with a smile. She snuck back into her camp and called a secret meeting with the leaders of her rebels, revealing what she had done.
The next day, after months of near-constant fighting, the Bulls sent all their troops to the fields for one final battle as the Ape legions approached. The bulls were outnumbered and outgunned, and Vyl could already taste the spoils of victory.
But just as he was about to call the charge to war, Ava sounded her own call. Suddenly, her band of rebels sprang into action and instantly attacked Vyl's lieutenants and those closest and most loyal to him, slaughtering and disabling most of the Ape leadership. At this exact moment, the Bulls came charging in. Ava's Apes all marked themselves with red palms across their faces so the Bulls would know who was who when they came charging in.
Chaos broke out in the camps as Ava mutinied to overthrow Vyl's status as alpha. Ava had told her rebels to stay clear of Vyl, for he was hers to seek revenge upon. In the height of the chaos, she attacked him, hoping to end his reign swiftly, but his quick reflexes deflected her attack and knocked her to the ground. He glanced at the chaos erupting around him and let out an enraged shriek, fury burning in his face at Ava's betrayal.
Around him, his troops, taken by surprise, were utterly trampled over. They fought frantically for their lives, but the battle was in complete disarray as bulls attacked them from the front and Ava's apes from within. Vyl gave Ava one final raged look, canine teeth in full view that burnt a dark impression in her soul. Then, without hesitation, he turned and hacked his way through foes, retreating away from the city. He knew his forces would not likely survive this ambush, so like a snake in the water, he vanished, slipping away unseen, with no regard for his troops. The Apes didn't stand a chance without their alpha leader and felt abandoned. Finally, with the threat of imminent defeat, they surrendered and submitted themselves to Ava's authority.
The war between the Apes and the Bulls had finally ended. Over the next few days, roughly ten thousand Apes loyal to their alpha were persuaded by Ava to align themselves with the Bulls and not with Vyl. The gates to the cities were opened, and together they celebrated for days. It was no longer a city of just Bulls. It was a city for the Bulls and Apes.
The Apes had never known a true alliance, basking in the welcome. The Bulls adorned them with clothing and showed them their ways. And so, the peace they sought had been found.
But even though they had won, Ava could not shake a riddle of anxiety. She knew Vyl had not risen to become their alpha simply because he was strong. On the contrary, Vyl was highly cunning, and the fact that he had escaped bothered her. She knew he would not just run and hide with his tail tucked between his legs.
She tried to warn the Gods, but they did not see the threat of a single Ape. They did not see the need for concern. What could one Ape possibly do against a legion of Bulls?
Ava wasn't wrong.
It had been an entire month since the final battle, and Vyl had used this time to plan his next move carefully. The thoughts of Ava and his troops' betrayal set him into a rageful madness.
He no longer wanted to conquer the bulls – he wanted to destroy them, decimate them, obliterate their race, and Ava along with them. So, he would strike at the Bulls where it hurt most. And in fact, he had already made his move in this game of chess.
He let out a burst of chimpish laughter that echoed deep and unheard within the heart of the Mountain of Creation.
Chapter 8: The Unexpected
"30 DAYS EARLIER."
Vyl stood on one of the constructed platforms he had ordered to be built not just for himself but for his archers. Vyl was already giant, but atop the platform, he towered over his army like a God, eyes scanning across the battlefield. Several of the Apes looked up at him in awe. In the distance, he could see the Bulls finalizing their frontlines. A dark smile quirked on the corner of his lips. The Bull's forces were small. They were vastly outnumbered. They must have had enough of the constant sieges because it seemed that today the Bulls were summoning the entirety of their troops.
Vyl's eyes narrowed. Surely the Bulls were not so desperate. Vyl's troops were in an attack formation, and his apes were awaiting his command to strike. But something seemed off. He pulled his eyes away from the Bulls and subtly surveyed his troops. In the corner of his eye, Vyl noticed many of his apes slowly reaching into black pouches mounted on their belts.
They delicately pulled out their hands and touched their faces. It wasn't just one. Dozens of them were doing so in unison. No. Not dozens. Hundreds. Vyl scowled. He couldn't make out what it was they were doing. That was until one of them looked up and stared Vyl directly in the eyes. He saw an oily red handprint pressed like blood onto the Apes face.
The hairs on Vyl's body instantly stood up on end, and he felt the electric surge of instinct warning him. He knew something was amiss. He pointed to one of the red-palmed apes and was about to yell an order when suddenly a female voice surged up from the crowd. His head snapped in the direction the call had come from, and he saw Ava turned the opposite direction to his frontline troops, looking at him with her sword held high.
At that exact moment, the war horns from the bulls sounded. Instantly the red-palmed apes attacked. But they didn't strike at the Bulls. They attacked other Apes! Chaos erupted within his ranks, his troops stunned by the betrayal and mutiny.
Vyl's eyes went wide, and his face distorted into pure rage. The ground began to tremble, and Vyl's head snapped to see the Bulls charging at full speed toward them. It took mere seconds before they crashed through his dissembled troops, obliterating his Apes with giant horns and flinging them into the air.
Vyl let out a cry of fury and pounded his chest, trying to get his troops to fall back into rank. But the damage was already done.
If it wasn't for his honed instincts, Vyl would not have shifted his position just as a gleaming blade sliced past his face, barely missing him.
Vyl managed to get his sword out in time just as another strike wound up. He deflected the blade in one swift movement, coming to meet Ava face-to-face. She bared her teeth at him and growled. He cursed her and unleashed a flurry of blows in her direction, which Ava only just managed to parry.
His blood surged with anger, and in a dirty move, he threw the blade at her face, knowing she would have to deflect it, and when she did, he took his chance and pressed his hands to the ground, swinging and kicking Ava square in the chest and sending her flying off the platform. She let out a cry as she landed on her back. Vyl was about to pounce on her, but suddenly a group of red-palmed soldiers surrounded her, raising their swords to protect their new Alpha.
Vyl almost leaped down on them, but his intelligence quelled the fire of rage enough to help him see reason. He snarled at them, and turned around, eye scanning quickly through the madness and plotting an escape point. One of the red-palmed Apes with Ava was nocking an arrow. Vyl had to decide now. In the last second, he jumped off the platform just as the arrow whizzed by him.
He landed with a thud on an unexpecting Bull, pulling axes from his belt as he did so. Vyl began smashing and hacking his way through the battlefield, heading away from his camp.
Many of the Bulls and traitorous Apes tried to attack him, but he let out a cry and rallied several of his still loyal followers to him. This gave him enough time to escape the battlefield unscathed. Then, sprinting, he ducked behind a hill, where he found a half-covered hole that led to an underground tunnel. He tossed aside the debris covering it and barely squeezed himself in, vanishing before anyone saw where he had gone.
Vyl crawled and scrambled through the tunnel for nearly an hour before the ceiling began to rise, a profound purple aura visible ahead. Then, finally, Vyl turned a corner, and suddenly, the tunnel opened into a gigantic cavern. Vyl stared up at it in shock. Massive amethyst-purple crystals the size of glaciers hummed and glowed. The entire cavern was filled with them, covering every inch of wall and ceiling.
It was a sight unlike Vyl had ever seen, and he could feel an incredible power with the thrum of the crystals and stones with strange writings. Various chambers branched out from this one, with several other tunnels and winding passages. Vyl knew at once that he had stumbled across the Bull's most well-kept secret.
With the war taking place, the Mountain of creation seemed nearly abandoned. He snuck about and saw things he could never have imagined. Various god bulls occupied different crystalline chambers throughout the Mountain, each separated through a maze of cavernous tunnels.
He walked through the tunnels in complete stealth, hiding in the shadows and observing the strange secrets of the Bulls. He watched God Bulls deep in meditation, pulling energy and power from the crystals and harnessing it to their needs. Occasionally, Vyl saw a teen bull mining ore, and strange bulls in dark cloaks with glowing red eyes assisted some of the Gods. Vyl recorded every detail in his flawless memory banks. In the hours he was in the Mountain, he created a mind map of every detail -- down to the individual glowing Meth crystals and where they were hanging within the Mountain.
Vyl carefully snuck back into the tunnel and eventually found an offshoot that led to an exit from the Mountain and into the woods that bordered the great methane fields. Night had fallen, and he knew the battle was over. Looking up to the stars, he used them to navigate his way back to his original entry port, where he had first stepped onto this world. The portal was long gone, but a few of his apes had remained behind on his command. They included a handful of spies and his chief scientist. Vyl knew this would be the first place the bulls looked for him, so he gathered what remained of his troops and equipment and moved to a new location, hours outside any of the cities, hiding away and plotting in secret for the day of his revenge.
"29 DAYS LATER"
Almost a month had gone by, and Vyl had sent individual hooded spies into the Mountain almost daily to gather more intel. Having been there, Vyl knew the interior of the Mountain of Creation was almost always dark, strangely lit by only the glowing crystals, which made the subterfuge of his spies all the easier to sneak around.
The interior of the Mountain had no security, almost as if they had never needed to worry about vandals or spies in the night. The God Bulls were always deep in meditation, periodically communing with one another or setting their minds to the Underworld. The Ape spies in their hooded cloaks were careful and masters of their art, often spending entire days within the Mountain. They were fast, agile, and nimble. They could quickly climb up the rocks and even hide on the ceilings when there were no other options. For their entire time there, Vyl's spies never got caught.
Vyl had gathered an incredible amount of information. He knew there were eleven different God types. He knew what their routines were. He knew the schedules of when the resurrected teens and those carrying meth machines would show up for mining work and the paths and tunnels they would take. But most importantly, he knew that the god bulls did not work 100% of the time as most thought. They needed to recharge their power levels from the Mountain itself. The God Bulls did this in solitude, deep into their secluded sections within the Mountain, away from any teens or other gods. This charging period varied from God to God, but Vyl knew an opportunity when he saw it. He had been planning his next move for a while, and tonight was that time.
It took hours to reach the Mountain of creation, and only one tunnel was large enough that Vyl could fit through. It was the tunnel he had used to escape Ava and her rebellion. He had been here multiple times, and his spies had used this entrance daily for the past few weeks.
Once inside the Mountain, Vyl had set his eyes on a single prize, and his blood thrummed with the hunt as he snuck down a long rocky corridor where a chamber opened beyond the central crystal cavern. His spies had described this room to him, but that description did not do justice. The walls and ceiling were shimmering icicles of meth, and the floor was a flat and clear crystal, all glowing violet like the cluster of stars in a galaxy. There was not a single space of visible rock.
At the center was a raised crystal slab or bed of some kind. And upon it, appearing to be in a state of deep sleep, was the God Bull that Vyl had explicitly chosen. This one was especially powerful. It seemed composed of ice, with sharp frozen spikes that erupted from all parts of its body. Vyl could see electrical wisps of purple energy from the altar that touched the God Bull's body like tiny dancing wisps of lightning. The God Bull, as Vyl expected, was recharging.
Vyl dug his hand into the sack he had carried over his back and quietly pulled out a round futuristic metallic device, which he flipped into the air above the sleeping God Bull. The machine burst out suddenly above the God Bull, sending metallic cabling from around its perimeter, shooting out and around the crystal bed, the sharp metallic tips of the wires smashing and anchoring themselves into the crystal floor. There was a loud whine as the cables instantly tightened around the God Bull, pinning it to the slab. The God Bull's eyes opened in shock as he felt the incredible pressure of the cables squeezing his body. The lines sinched so tight that they began to fracture the ice God's body in terrible cracks.
Vyl pulled from his sack one of the two remaining tech devices. The first one resembled a giant futuristic thumbtack the size of a dinner plate that blinked with bright colors. It appeared to be constructed of a unique-looking metal polymer. This device was Vyl's coveted energy absorber, a new machine his scientists had recently crafted from several high-tech parts scavenged from other worlds.
Before the God Bull even had a moment to speak or telepathically connect to any other God, Vyl took the large thumbtack device and plunged the sharp end into the chest of the Ice God, sending ice shards flying in splintered fragments. The God Bull let out a thunderous roar of agony, spraying a sizeable cloudy mist from his mouth. Impaled into the God Bull's chest, the device began humming, lit with flashing rings that pulsed to a steady rhythm. The god could hardly breathe, inhaling sharp pain filled gasps. Vyl sneered and stared the God directly in its eyes as he sapped the very life and power from him.
Then with a quick leap, Vyl pulled the remaining device from his sack. It was his portal opener. As he approached the God Bull, a large wisp of blue energy shot out from the chest device, connecting to the portal opener in Vyls hands. A jolt of electricity surged through Vyls body. Basking in the power, he quickly placed the machine onto the flat portion of the energy absorber, where other tendrils of blue energy snapped to the device. Both machines began to glow a bright aquamarine hue.
With his work done, Vyl took a few steps back to admire his machines in action. He knew he needed more energy in the device to open both portals to the worlds of his remaining ape legions. Then, he could demolish the remainder of the Bulls and all of his troops who had betrayed him.
The technology worked quickly. It was only minutes before the body of the once bright blue God faded to a colorless glass-like hue. The chest device had sapped the life energy from the God Bull.
His breathing slowed and then stopped with one final cloudy exhale. He was gone. The Ice God was no more.
Vyl collected his devices, crouched down to look the colorless ice god in its dead eyes, smiled... and then smashed the God's corpse, shattering it.
Meanwhile, back in the City of Bulls, life was good. It had been thirty days since the war ended, and the Bulls and Apes were acclimating well. The universal translator helped at the start, but the apes were swift learners, and within weeks, Bulls and Apes were communicating with one another at a rudimentary level. Many apes were fascinated that there were teen bulls, yet no female bulls to produce them. The technology to make this possible blew them away. Alternately, many of the bulls were fascinated at how intelligent the apes were with such tiny heads. How could so much brain power be stored in such little space? They laughed and joked about these things.
Apes took on new jobs, and it was common to see new friendships between the two species, having drinks at bars, singing music together on stage, and playing sports.
Now well indoctrinated into the Bull culture, Apes jumped into their fashion. Many of the apes were already wearing the outfits the bulls had created. The fashionable apes would wear ape gear and bull clothing together, perhaps in an attempt to start a new trend. Other apes fully adopted the bull styles, while others worked on creating brand new designs that reminded them of the past. The bulls had also decided to share the historical videos of Human Civilization that S1 had discovered years earlier, which set off a new round of fashion styles.
Ava could not have been happier. She was well respected in the community and a conduit for many of the bulls' and apes' politics. She had also met a striking bull she referred to as "Captain" because he always wore a white sailor's hat no matter what he was doing or other clothing he was wearing.
Ava and Captain met at the hospital, where she observed him investigating medicines and tech for the bulls that would also work for the apes. Captain was a doctor at the hospital and always got excited when he saw Ava come in. For nearly a month, they saw each other every day. Work led to social gatherings and dinners; eventually, the two were not seen apart from one another outside of work. Through the Captain, Ava began to learn what it was like to fully trust somebody. She had finally met somebody who exuded kindness and selflessness and cared about everything she had to say. This was in complete contrast to what she had with Vyl. With Captain, a bond, perhaps even love, was forming, but Ava and Captain kept it a secret. Despite the good goings of their races, things were still new.
It was on the thirtieth day after the battle on the fields when the joyous atmosphere of the bustling city was suddenly interrupted. The horns of warning sounded through all four cities. An emergency meeting was held in the Arena, where the God Bulls announced one of their brothers was dead. The Ice God had been brutally murdered.
They automatically suspected an Ape and called Ava to their Mountain. Upon witnessing the corpse of the former Ice God, she knew at once whose work this was. With pain in her eyes, she revealed that Vyl had returned, just like she had warned.
The gods cursed themselves for their foolishness in thinking they were safe with Vyl still out there. Though upon communion with one another, they found that they could still sense the ice God's power, realizing quickly that Vyl must have taken it for himself.
The gods gave the location to the Bulls, and they formed a legion to intercept Vyl. Many of the apes also took up arms and joined the army. The site was several hours outside the cities, less if the Bulls moved fast. The bulls were filled with anger as they marched towards it, for he had taken an irreplaceable pillar from their family. And the Bulls honored their brothers above all else.
One of Vyl's spies alerted him to the quickly moving army of Bulls and Apes that were now less than three miles away.
Vyl had only a scientist and a handful of spies in his ranks -- no real warriors to deal with the approaching Bulls. And it had not even been a full day since he had taken the life energy from the God Bull. His plans had been interrupted. Vyl needed to act ahead of schedule and summon his legions from the two other worlds.
Vyl pulled the portal device out, alive with the thrum of the Ice God's energy. He had never seen it like this before, not even when it had been fully charged in the past. The device was hot, and the metal emitted an eerie glow. Vyl fully expected it had enough power to open the first portal to his legion and could immediately open another portal to the second world, where his remaining regiment was almost as large.
Vyl ran to an elevated position to look out toward the direction of the quickly approaching army. He crouched and put his hand on the ground. He could feel the vibration of the charging bulls. At that moment, he saw his enemies appearing over some distant hills. They were very close. He needed to act now.
Vyl placed the portal device on the ground, and as he had done multiple times, he dialed the coordinates to the first world. Vyl squinted as he worked the machine, its light and heat pressing on his eyes. He looked up again at the inbound army he knew wanted blood.
Vyl smiled. He would give them blood, alright.
The bulls crested a final hill and saw Vyl crouched atop a bluff. A rush of adrenaline and anger spurred the bulls and apes into a full charge. They'd be on him in a minute. But Vyl had finished entering what he needed into the portal device. It was ready. He let out a dark laugh and pressed the button to open the first portal.
Instantly the device exploded, the shockwave sending him flying up and backward through the air, the shockwave knocking leaves off a nearby tree.
There was a pause in the very breath of reality as everything went silent, saturated in a violet glow. Then instantly, thousands of flashing purple portals burst open across the land.
Vyl, smoke bellowing from his armor and fur, crashed into the ground, entirely unconscious as he tumbled down the backside of a hill, right into one of the new portals. It sucked him in, and he instantly vanished from the planet.
Meanwhile, the Bulls and Apes army came to a grinding stop as the explosion and the thunderous claps of a thousand portals that had opened up hit their ears. The shimmering portals stretched as far as the eye could see. These looked exactly like the one Red had seen bring the apes to this world.
The bulls looked on in shock. The apes were equally dumbfounded, as they had never seen more than one portal at any one time. If a single gateway could bring so much chaos, what would thousands of portals bring?
The bulls stared out in horror, expecting the worse. Finally, one Bull dropped to his knees as if resigning to the fact that it was all about to end. The apes looked around, scared and confused, weapons nervously at the ready.
Suddenly the first shadows could be seen in a few front portals. Whatever lay on the other side was approaching. Then, as minutes passed, more silhouettes formed on hundreds of portals. The bulls tightened their grip on their weapons.
The first of the creatures stepped through a handful of the portals. But what the Bulls and Apes saw was not what they expected. There were apes… yes. But there was so much more.
These portals were gateways to... Infinite Worlds.
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