By Adam Lynch
“Yeah, I’m glad we could work out an understanding,” said Tait, Asmund rolling his eyes.
The three warriors were expecting a place like “the temple of light” to have appeared a lot more majestic than it had—or at least more exciting… but it was pretty boring, actually. The temple was old, abandoned, and mostly covered in ruins—certainly not a place where someone would expect to encounter the son of man. The three children wondered if they were even at the right temple at all.
“Where’s Jesus?” asked Eydis, getting impatient with the search.
“Did you check that area over there?” asked Asmund, pointing in the direction that he was referring to.
“I checked everywhere. But I can’t find him.”
“Don’t worry, Eydis. We’ll find him. Just keep searching.”
“Do you think that he’s already here, or do we have to wait for him to arrive?” asked Tait.
“I’m not sure… but whether he’s here or not, we’re bound to find him eventually. He wants us to find him after all. That’s why he led us here.”
They searched the temple for a brief time, gazing at the remains of these ancient ruins. There were spider webs everywhere—that’s how the three heroes knew that this place was old. Whatever had happened to this place, it’d happened a long time ago.
“Any luck yet, anyone?” asked Asmund after searching for ten minutes.
“Nope.” said Tait, wiping the sweat off his forehead. “Nothing over here. How about you, Eydis?”
Though his question was perfectly audible, she didn’t reply, compelling Tait and Asmund to turn curiously towards the focus of her attention.
“Eydis?” Asmund asked, noticing her distraction.
“Ooh! I found him. I found him. Look,” she said, jumping with exhilaration as she pointed to an old door with a light shining brightly in between the cracks.
“You found him?” asked Tait as he and Asmund raced over to see.
“Yeah! He’s behind this door. I know he is.”
“Wow. I think you’re right.”
“Great work, Eydis,” said Asmund as his eyes turned away briefly, suddenly feeling nervous. “Alright… so who’s going in first?”
“Ooh! Me first! Me first!” said Eydis, raising her hand as she jumped up and down faster than a racing rabbit!
“Shouldn’t we all just go in together?” asked Tait.
“You’re right, Tait,” said Asmund. “I suppose we should…”
“Well, what are we waiting for then?” asked Eydis. “I’m ready to see Jesus!” Without warning, she slammed opened the door and rushed into the room. Just like that.
“Wait, Eydis. Don’t just barge in.”
Asmund’s voice flew right over Eydis’s ears. Her exhilaration silenced everything that stood on the basis of rationality. She didn’t have time to acknowledge such silly things. She wouldn’t allow such irrelevance to slow her down. She wanted what she wanted, and she wanted it now. Tait and Asmund’s hearts had nearly popped out of their chests upon witnessing such brash audaciousness.
“Jesus Christ? Is that you?” The instant she caught eye of the son of man, she inhaled so deeply it was like she’d just come up for air after being submerged for so long.
“Yes! Here I am,” he replied with the same energy.
She ran as fast as she could to embrace him. The boys were terrified that she’d tackle and stagger the son of man from his sitting, but instead he rose up quickly in anticipation, lifting her off her feet and spinning her around like she was his most precious newborn. The two of them laughed with a liveliness that no person would have ever expected to hear from a child and an adult. There was a spark of joy present in the midst of watching this embrace, and upon its viewing, Tait and Asmund’s happiest memories were made present.
“I’ve always wanted to meet you, Jesus,” Eydis said to him as they smiled as widely as their faces allowed.
“But you’ve already met me. Don’t you remember? It was on the fifth day following your second birthday.”
“I meant I’ve always wanted to meet you in person. But you’re exactly how I’ve always imagined.” It was at that moment when Jesus and Eydis turned to look at the boys simultaneously, who had both now entered the room. “Well come on, guys. Aren’t you going to say hi to him?”
At first they both hesitated, not sure of how they should allow themselves to react. However, it wasn’t long for Tait to lose the fight against his resistance. Like Eydis, he charged Jesus like a bull, but even in this second coming, Jesus was tough enough to not only catch him without falling from his graces but clutch him as tightly as he physically could, allowing Tait to feel the immense depth of his ever expanding love. It wasn’t Tait’s plan for tears to suddenly roll down his eyes—he didn’t understand why they had suddenly appeared—but all he knew was that this moment was the happiest moment of his life.
Asmund, who was trying his best to resist his child-like instincts and remain respectful, had not charged Jesus for a loving embrace. Instead, he approached him within reasonable boundaries, and greeted him as an adult should—because reaching fifteen years of age, a much higher amount of maturity would be expected of him. Especially from the son of God.
“We’ve come at your father’s request, sir,” he said elegantly, bowing before him.
Though Asmund had hoped to please, Jesus did not react in the way that he was expecting. He glanced at Asmund with the same look of innocence as young Eydis would, smiling at him with a face that spoke the words it’s okay, Asmund, you can be yourself—in fact, I want you to be yourself.
Opening his palm, he extended his hand out to Asmund, gazing at him with a glare that he couldn’t possibly misunderstand. “Asmund,” he whispered softly to him. “Come.”
Asmund’s first instinct was to hesitate—feeling that it would intrude the son of man’s boundaries—but seconds after the thought, he stopped himself immediately, realizing that by hesitating he was actually disobeying his direct order. Not knowing what to think any further, he did what he was told and embraced the son of man close enough for him to clutch Asmund tightly in his arms. It was at that moment when a hefty level of tension had been released from him, and he’d never felt better.
They held that embrace for several minutes. With every pat and stroke Jesus had given him, Asmund drew closer and closer to bursting into tears—but not tears of sadness of course, but dear tears of joy. The tears that every wearisome heart would wish to release after carrying its weight for so long. It was a moment that had touched all three of the children, but no one quite as deeply as it had touched Asmund.
“There,” he said once Asmund left his arms and removed his tears. “That’s better, isn’t it?” Asmund nodded, letting that be his reply.
“Is anybody else coming?” Eydis asked, glancing around the vacant room, everyone suddenly becoming conscious of the fact.
“It looks like you three are the only ones.”
“You mean everyone in the entire kingdom is disobeying you but us?”
“That seems to be the case, unfortunately. They’re not the only ones to do this, however. Five kingdoms before them have decided to trust in Xuohs over me as well.”
“Xuohs? Who’s that? Is that the bad guy we’re going to fight?”
“Yes. Xuohs is a master of illusions. It is a very powerful and cunning archfiend that studies the desires of others and then uses those desires to manipulate them into getting its way. Be wary of it. It will appear as me in many ways, claiming itself to be the one true god.”
“Wow. That is so bad.”
“It cannot be pierced with any sword, bitten by any beast, or harmed with any supernatural prowess of any kind. No force from around the world may touch it. Only by the power that I manifest within you will you able to defeat it. Now take my hands, Eydis and Tait.” Jesus extended his hands out to them and they followed his command. The instant their hands had made contact, a powerful blessing was anointed to them, and a vast amount of spiritual awareness swept over their bodies—almost like they came alive for the first time.
“Amazing,” enthused Tait. “What an incredible feeling.”
“Wow. I feel so weird,” said Eydis. “But it’s a good weird. I like it.”
“With this blessing, you will now be able to impair the archfiend, Xuohs, as well as all the malignant spirits that may follow it.”
“Cool. But what does Asmund get?”
Jesus smiled when she asked this, raising his index finger to indicate that he was just about to inform them about it. “However, there is only one weapon that is able to defeat the evil spirits and send them back from whence they came.”
“You mean the place called Hell? It’s okay, Jesus. You don’t have to hide the big bad word from us. We’re strong and brave warriors you know.”
“Of course you are, my dear soldiers. By coming here, you’ve already proven that you are the bravest of them of all.” he paused a moment in order to see the smiles of his children again. “However, it’s important that you understand that Xuohs will often try to frighten you. In those times I want you to remember that you are my precious sons and daughters, and that I’ll always be right beside you. No matter how powerful and fearsome Xuohs may make itself appear, it is still small in comparison to the god of all creation.” He then turned to look at Tait, taking out an additional gift to lend him. “When the time should come that you find yourselves in low supply of courage, I want you to play this instrument. It’s a mystical flute that summons the will of fearlessness and shuns away all creatures of hatred and fear. Use it in the times you are most surrounded by the archfiend’s despair.” Tait took the gift and nodded.
“Is it really going to be that scary?” asked Eydis.
“A malignant spirit will always use fear as a resort to control someone. Xuohs will try everything within its power to stop you. It will try to influence you and it will try to manipulate you, but just remember that as long as I remain in you, you will always have the power to drive it away.” Once Jesus saw that they understood this, he fixated his attention toward Asmund, who still had yet to receive his blessing. “Now, Asmund, I am sure by now you are eager to receive your gift. Is that right?”
The three warriors gazed in anticipation as Jesus walked over to a mysterious object covered with an overcoat, appearing as if it’d remained there for a hundred years! They shifted their heads left and right in order to catch a better glimpse of it as Jesus very slowly removed its covering. The suspense tormented their minds as they waited seemingly forever to have their curiosity satisfied.
And—presto. After suffering a seemingly infinite wait, the relic had at last been revealed. A bright spark had pierced the eyes of those who were first to witness its magnificence. It was incredible. It was phenomenal. It was--
“Prodigious,” said Tait, the other two staring in awe of its subliming presentation.
Pleased with their astonishment, Jesus grinned merrily. “Well, Asmund?” he asked. “Care to lift up the sword of the spirit for us?”
Asmund took a step forward and placed his hands upon the weapon’s hilt. Tait and Eydis gawked with admiration, eyes glued to the scene. The entirety of the sword was white and pale—hilt and blade in unison of the same design. There was an aura that surrounded the sword, emitting lights of all colors, radiant and vibrant alike—it was Heaven in physical form, a treasure of unequal quality.
Thring! Asmund lifted the sword from the stand, a metal type sound echoing from it as it was removed. With the blade now within his grasp, he examined it devotedly, admiring its exquisite beauty and feel. His first impression of the holy weapon was how amazingly light it was—and yet, it still possessed a substantial density to it. It measured out to be as long and wide as his body—like that of a great sword—but it wasn’t nearly as heavy. In fact it was about as easy to swing as a piece of wood.
The way Asmund held it had looked so natural. It was as if he was born to wield this sword. Furthermore, it matched his complexion so well. It was totally perfect for him.
“Looking good, Asmund.” said Tait as he, Eydis, and Jesus applauded at the thrilling sight.
“Hey, Jesus. How come Tait and I don’t get cool looking weapons like Asmund does?”
Jesus smiled as she asked this. “Because I’ve already given you a gift that is far more “cool” in suit of your own talents.”
“Like what? I don’t see anything.”
“Did you forget about the blessings Jesus gave us earlier?” Tait asked her. “Our powers are now probably three times more powerful.”
“That’s right, Eydis,” said Jesus, gathering the three warriors together for a group huddle. “You and Tait will become the shields for Asmund. Your powers will account as the shield of faith for your communion—your faith in me and the power that I lend out to you will become the foundation of your rate of power. The greater your faith in me, the mightier your miracles will become.”
“So the level of our strength is limited only by the pinnacle of our belief?” Tait asked.
“That’s correct, Tait. However, if the enemy should ever pierce through your shields, remember that as long as you hold the sword of the spirit, the armor of god will always protect your bodies. That is the helmet of salvation, the breast plate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and the shoes of peace.”
“Armor?” asked Eydis. “You mean that we have armor on us? How come we can’t see it?”
“It’s invisible.” said Tait.
“It’s invisible? But why? I wanna see it.”
“Trust me, you’ll be happy that Jesus did this for us.” said Asmund. “Traveling for weeks in a suit of armor can be an extremely wearisome task.”
“That’s right, Eydis.” said Tait. “Asmund’s a knight. He should know.”
Though Eydis had nothing more to say at this point, she still insisted on grumbling and pouting.
“I know it’s tough to be excited right now,” Jesus said to her. “But don’t worry. Once you begin your journey, you’ll see soon enough just how incredible your new gifts are.”
“You mean you’re not coming with us?” she whined.
“Of course I’m coming with you. I’m with you wherever you go.”
“I meant in person, Jesus. How come you can’t come with us in person?”
He smiled after she said this, embracing her for another heart-felt hug. “I know you may feel that I’m not with you because you can’t see me, but just remember this: if you don’t see me standing beside you, then that’s because I’m living inside you.”
“Yes. In this way, you can talk to me anytime you want, whether you see me or not. And I’ll always listen.”
“Of course. I’m looking forward to hearing more funny stories about your horse, Cheesecake.” Jesus cast a brief wink at her and she smiled, delighted that he’d referenced something that only the two of them would know about.
“So where do we find this archfiend?” asked Tait.
“Many are not aware of this, but Xuohs has already achieved significant conquest over the majority of your world. Because of the fact that it has claimed so much sovereignty over it already, it will be difficult to spot out its true identity and location.”
“Why’s that?” asked Eydis.
“Because the more land that it conquers in your world the more effective its illusions become. Not a single person from the five lands that I’ve visited has listened to my voice when I went to warn them. Because of this, the archfiend, Xuohs, has taken their lands without any resistance, and has been doing so at a very fast rate! Thanks to this success, it has achieved multiple identities.”
“What do we have to do to find the real one?” asked Tait.
“In order to flush out the illusions of Xuohs and expose it as the monster it truly is, you must eliminate the vessels of its false identities dwelling in the other lands.”
“Where do we start?” asked Asmund. “And how do we identify his false identities?”
"Follow the voice of my father as you’ve been doing. He will guide you to where you need to go.”
“I don’t get it,” said Eydis. “How come nobody in the whole wide world wants to fight the bad guy except for us? Are they all really that scared of it?”
“Not scared of it. Xuohs has achieved a method of control that is far more cunning than fear.”
“But I thought it was supposed to be this big scary demon?”
“Jesus already told us that this demon was a master of illusion, Eydis,” said Asmund in an annoyed tone of voice. Weren’t you listening?”
“I was listening. But I’m still confused.”
“It’s true that Xuohs’s true identity is most disturbing,” said Jesus. “But in order to win over the hearts of man without being delayed any resistance, it’d changed its form and found ways of pleasing them—by giving them everything that they’ve ever desired.
“You mean they won’t fight it because they love it?”
“Yes. Some have even worshiped it as the rightful god.”
“Wow. That is so bad. How could they do that?”
“Because mankind would rather worship someone who gives them what they think they want instead of what God knows is best for them,” said Asmund.
“That’s so sad.”
“Yeah,” said Tait. “Everyone knows that God always gives us what we truly want. Right, Jesus?”
“That’s right, Tait,” he replied, placing his hand on his head as he smiled at him. He then turned to Asmund and Eydis as well, placing his arms around them as if gathering everyone for another group hug. “It will all be okay, Eydis, Tait, and Asmund. Everything will be made right again. As long as there’d remained one person who was willing to fight for this world, that person would’ve been given everything that he or she would’ve needed to save it. Don’t forget that all things are made possible through my father who lives inside of you.”
“That’s right, Jesus,” said Eydis. “Together we’re going to kick so much flipper-sticks.”
Jesus and Eydis high-fived each other that very moment.
“Indeed, we will, Eydis. It will surely be an exciting journey for us all.”
“Well, then what are we waiting for?” asked Tait. I’m ready.”
“Me too,” said Asmund.
“Me three,” said Eydis. “Well, Jesus, I guess we–”
Though the three warriors had only glanced from the son of man for a second, he’d suddenly vanished—actually no, he hadn’t vanish, for the three warriors remembered well when Jesus had told them that he would remain in their hearts for all time. Wherever they went—no matter how far—he would be right there inside them… always.