Louie was definitely not a real God.
He was only a dragon that had chanced unto the godhood of a dead one. As his godhood was neither connate nor something he had personally cultivated, he did not understand much about its abilities.
With his divine power, he could replicate some divine abilities, but his efficiency in doing so was piss-poor. He knew what he was doing, but he didn’t understand how he was doing it.
Louie had also racked his brains thinking about how to accumulate more divine power. At the moment, however, he felt elated as he realized that the natives could be useful in that regard.
At the very least, Louie knew that even if he was not a God, he had the ability to collect divine power with his godhood.
‘Is this because of their faith?’
Louie gazed at the natives who knelt before him. Even though Louie himself was an atheist, he could detect the devotion within them.
Perhaps to these people, Louie’s appearance, his ability to spit flames, and his speech were enough to convince them of his supernatural origins.
At that moment he received a flash of insight, ‘No wonder San Soliel is so backward……’ he wondered.
Louie realized that San Soliel was quite possibly underdeveloped because the Gods themselves had prevented any technological advancement. That its civilization had stagnated for millennia despite its plurality of realms, races and magic could only imply that, in his opinion.
When humans banished the unknown and grasped the truth by themselves, they would cease to worship deities. This was why modern societies tended to have high incidences of atheism and irreligiosity. So long as humans needed to turn to the Gods for comfort, they would continue to worship them. The more primitive the society, the greater the reliance on deities.
Of course, this was not absolute. As civilization advanced and populations boomed the number of believers would often actually increase. What fell was their proportion in relation to the rest of the population.
Louie felt he might have touched on something extremely important. He thought more carefully about the information he had obtained in San Soliel. That world had numerous Gods and no particular God fostered a tremendous amount of believers. Moreover, even that backward world had its own share of irreligious people who officially ‘worshipped’ under the banner of a God. It was not necessarily the case that the more believers a God had, the better.
If that were the case then the Gods would likely have fought between themselves for absolute control over the faithful. There would definitely be more theocracies around in that case.
Louie looked once more at the natives and decided to put those matters aside.
This tribe, in addition to the 20 to 30 people who were driving off the crocodiles, and including the children and elderly, had only about 70 members. They would be suitable for a few experiments to better understand godhood.
Their ignorance of modern scientific breakthroughs and phenomena made them good sources of faith. Their tribal structure, however, meant that they couldn’t expand their numbers very easily. Louie surmised that this was likely why the Gods did not keep all races in a primitive state.
Well, I can always look deeper into that later. Right now I need to find some food...’
In a small, dilapidated village outside the Amazon jungle, three Apache helicopters landed. Under the gale of propellers, a group of locals held back their curious children and watched the aircrafts’ passengers alight with trepidation.
The men were heavily armed and carried heavy bags bearing the insignia of the US army. Their numbers were small, but each bore a steely look in their eyes that only the hardest, toughest, and most exemplary of soldiers could bear.
“Captain, now that we’re here you have to tell us what this mission is about. The humidity here is killing me.”
An officer walked to his superior’s side, complaining.
The captain ignored his grumbling subordinate. His eyes were covered by a pair of thick-rimmed sunglasses and he shouted, “Attention!” At this, all soldiers present, including the one pestering him a while ago arranged themselves in a straight line. Each man stood erect with their fists firmly by their sides and their chest puffed out.
The commander went over several cycles of ordering the soldiers to attention and ease.
With his hands behind his back, the captain walked back and forth in front of the soldiers. “Our mission today has been ordered by the President himself as well as the Secretary of Defense.”
The soldiers kept their heads high and stayed motionless, but their eyes carried a gleam of expectation and excitement.
“Sorry to disappoint you fuckers, but there’s no one to kill or kidnap this time. We’re here to do reconnaissance of this area with no other instructions. We’ll be moving by foot so prepare your asses for a long march!”
Despite some disappointment, the soldiers responded firmly.
At this moment a soldier spoke without looking away.
“Speak, Private Bourne!”
“Since we’re here to investigate, what are they here for?”
Bourne indicated, with a tilt of his head, towards the passengers that had alighted with the soldiers.
“Over there is a professor of ecology from Stanford University and some of his students. They happen to be in Brazil right now to conduct ecological research on the Amazon jungle. In this unknown terrain, some expertise is required. This is also on orders from above.”
The captain paused before continuing with a smile, “ He also gives us a good pretext for coming here. Professor Johnson is a well-known ecologist, and ‘protecting him’ is quite important as he goes on this journey .”
At the captain’s words, the soldier nearly broke out into laughter.
What excuse could be more superfluous? As members of the United States Army, the defenders of the free world who would stop them from roaming wherever they pleased. Their battleships could wander any waters they wished, and their planes could bomb whoever they wanted to oblivion. Given this small-scale operation, what was the point of even giving an explanation?