Book 2, Chapter 118 - Power to Split Mountains

Frost let his full potential erupt. He was a prideful man, how could he allow these provocations to go unpunished?

He gently struck the ground with his silvery spear, causing frozen dirge to hum with power. A pale and ominous fog of cold spread out in all directions. The land it fell over was choked with frost and ice crept along the ground.

Cloudhawk began shouting orders. “Veronika! Go!”

She answered by stretching out her slender, snow-white hands. Ten meters above Frost her bronze mirror reappeared. It was a simple looking object, but the power that flowed from it was mysterious and strong. The others could see Frost’s field of cold constrict. 

Cloudhawk felt his confidence swell. Aren’t you supposed to be some sort of momentous badass! Let’s see what you can do with a third of your strength cut from under you, asshole. Cloudhawk had no qualms in holding a fair fight, he wasn’t any sort of hero. Anyway, it wasn’t like a one-on-one fight with Frost was fair odds either. Frost had been training for years, how long had Cloudhawk had his powers? Skycloud domain’s most powerful master demonhunter was his teacher, and he had the backing of the domain’s greatest family. For most of his life, Cloudhawk only had himself to rely on.

So what if he was fighting with numbers? He’d been bullied for as long as he could remember. This time, he was gonna do the fuckin’ bullying!

He summoned a small sandstorm, which immediately went to war with Frost’s field of cold. If one listened carefully they might hear the sound of scraping metal in the sand-choked winds. It was the sound of paper thin metal petals, hundreds of them whipping through the storm like a deadly train. An addition from Claudia’s tempest flower.

Frost’s spear last out like an angry dragon, first knocking away a pair of beads from Rohan, then whipping around like a mad bull. All the petals that got close to him were repelled before they came within two meters. Meanwhile, Gabriel’s fingers were also dancing busily as he weaved threads throughout the battlefield.

But Frost de Winter was deserving of his reputation. He was beset on all sides, but the disadvantage was not overwhelming.

“What the hell are the rest of you looking at! Do you wanna die?!” He hollered at the dumbfounded survivors. “Don’t stand there like idiots, you’re getting in the way. Run!”

His harsh shouts roused them from their shock. They raced toward the mountains in a chaotic stampede.

Frost frantically swung his spear through the air, casting twenty glittering icicles in a cone. Half of them were directed at Gabriel’s threads, but the other half were intended to impale the fleeing villagers.

Cloudhawk had guessed that would be his reaction. “Caspian!”

The young demonhunter rolled his eyes. “I see it, I see it. I’m not blind!”

He raised his delicate hand and a beam of blue light shot forth. It collided with some invisible substance as it neared the survivors and coalesced into a curtain of water. With astounding speed, it spread out to encompass a large space.

This power came from a formidable water-based relic. It was used to establish a defensive field with a unique function. Unlike many defenses that relied on brute force, every inch of the water curtain supported one another. Like throwing a rock into a lake, force was distributed and diffused along the surface as ripples. Breaking through would demand a tremendous impact.

Frost’s icicles struck the curtain of water and melted away. Caspian’s defensive field began to freeze, inch by inch, until it was an enormous block of ice. It glittered prettily like a work of art, stunning to behold.

“Oh! So strong… so strong!” Caspian’s voice was rich with admiration. “He froze my defense so easily, what a man!”

Cloudhawk didn’t have time to retch over Caspian’s nonsense. He had to fight the urge not to kick him into the sun.

Under the cover of Caspian’s interference, the survivors vanished from view. In their wildest dreams, these poor villagers would not have imagined living through such a catastrophe, but they had thanks to these young men and women. Caelum was being pulled away by a group of older survivors, but he craned his neck back to see what was happening.

“How are they so strong?”

“They’re demonhunters.”

“I want to be a demonhunter. I want to be like that man in the mask so I can get revenge for my sister and the others.”

The elders sighed miserably, they couldn’t bring themselves to tell him the truth. Although they didn’t know what any of this was about, it was clear that the operation was a military one. They were being slaughtered by the elysian army. They weren’t wearing armor and carried no banners, but their weapons, efficiency, and mannerisms said it all. Their own government did this.

There was no hope. Even if they survived the night, they were exiles.

“Don’t look, come quickly!”

The further the survivors got, the lighter the weight in Cloudhawk’s chest became. It was time to pull out all the stops and finally teach this stuck up sack of shit a lesson.

There was always a limit to an enemy’s strength. He had a group of talented opponents to face, and his psychic energy was quickly being drained by the demon sealing mirror. Cloudhawk suspected it would only be a matter of minutes before Frost was exhausted.

He was tired of all the problems he’d suffered because of this dick. He’d almost killed him a number of times.

Finally, he had an opportunity to give Frost his comeuppance. Even if he didn’t kill the man, he was damn sure going to make sure he remembered this beating for the rest of his life. Anything less than crippling him for life went against Cloudhawk’s style. There was one piece of crucial information Cloudhawk learned from the skull that he’d not yet used. Now seemed like the perfect time to give it a shot.

He wrapped his fingers around the phase stone and summoned his psychic energy. Right away, mind and stone began to resonate. With all the knowledge his predecessor had of normal relics, there was of course a wealth of secrets about his own phase stone left untapped. In the months since absorbing the inheritance Cloudhawk had diligently studied what he could. Now he felt like he was fully capable of communing with the power of the stone. With enough power, he could even traverse dimensions.

But that wasn’t what he was reaching for now.

He reached into the depths of the stone, toward the sea of mental power that lived within it. He agitated it, causing it to seethe and boil, and inspiring a gush of power to rise to the surface. Cloudhawk guided that torrent through him and into the sword in his right hand. Reality around the sword’s edges warped in protest as unadulterated psychic energy coalesced. The earth and grass beneath it withered by its mere presence.

But at the same time Cloudhawk was gathering his power, a hail of attacks from exorcist bows came crashing down around them. Where they hit the ground, great craters opened up. He looked toward where they came from to see a group of demonhunters scurrying their way. One of them had his hands held high and was gathering power into a fireball larger than he was.

Fuck! Frost’s reinforcements? The power surging through his arm and into quiet carnage continued to swell. “I need ten seconds!”

Both Frost’s forces and Tartarus Squad noticed the expanding power Cloudhawk was gathering. While no one knew where it was coming from, it was clear at a glance that the power in Cloudhawk’s sword was enough to decide the outcome of their battle. Only, the wastelander was struggling to control the torrent, and the process of wielding it was a slow one.

“Help the Knight-Commander!”

The demonhunter hurled his enormous ball of fire, to which Caspian responded with an orb of water. The two collided in midair and immediately erupted into steam. Gabriel and Claudia disengaged from the fight with Frost to turn their attention on his reinforcements. That left Felina, Rohan and Veronika with the herculean task of keeping Frost locked down.

There was no way Gabriel and Claudia could hold off so many people for long, but they only needed to keep them away from Cloudhawk for a few seconds. By now, Frost’s mental reserves were down eighty percent – not enough to break through them and get to his real target.

Sweat poured off of Cloudhawk’s forehead. He held tight to Quiet Carnage, which now had become a searing blade of pure energy. A terrifying shell of energy encased it, so intense it seemed nothing in all the world would survive a single blow.

Now.

Whether or not they would defeat Frost and survive hinged on this moment.

Frost could feel it too, he sensed the energy gathering. His expression changed dramatically, and with great effort he broke frozen dirge free of its containment. Like a tidal wave, he lunged at Cloudhawk spear first. The wastelander didn’t hesitate. All at once, he released all the energy stored up in his sword in a torrential blast. The resulting shock wave was a dozen meters long as it carved a path through the air.

Soundless. No boom, no whistle.

It wasn’t merely silent, the attack seemed to swallow up all the sound in the world. Everything was robbed of its voice, reality steeped in the silence of the grave. And though perfectly mute, the force of Cloudhawk’s attack was undeniable. The onlookers stopped to stare in shock, in fear, and in despair.

Frost’s attempt to interrupt him came too late. By the time he broke away from the others, the dead silent shock wave was released. The unconquerable wave of power was headed right for him.

While fighting for his life in the wastelands there were several times when Cloudhawk drew on the power within the stone. It came to him when conditions were just right, the best example being when he defeated the Caliph of the Sands. That one strike, which had blazed so brightly it rivaled the heavens, was the strongest expression of power from Cloudhawk so far.

Countless days and nights have passed since then, spent trying to understand the phasing stone. Hoping to control the incomprehensible sea of power locked inside it. For the better part of a year he’d been unsuccessful, until he encountered the skull. Ever since slowly assimilating his predecessor’s knowledge, things had changed. He was beginning to see, when he picked up that stone he’d acquired an immeasurable treasure – but a treasure without the key. The skull had taught him how to open it.

The power he released now did not compare to the blow that cut down the Caliph of the Sands. But it did command power that would give a master demonhunter pause! His efforts now were more significant than ever before, because this time he had come to control the uncontrollable. For Cloudhawk, it was a substantial awakening.

Had Frost been rested and at full strength, perhaps he could have taken this blow head-on. Much to his detriment, though, the knight commander was weakened from their exchange. His psychic energies were drained, and the demon sealing mirror had robbed him of his advantage. He was outmatched.

But he could not stand idly by and let Cloudhawk claim victory.

Frost reeled back as fast as he could, desperate to get out of the way of the attack. Meanwhile he gathered what remained of his own strength for a riposte. He swiped at Cloudhawk with Frozen Dirge, releasing a silvery dragon into the sky. It slithered toward the shockwave, a dragon facing a power that could split mountains. What happened when they met would decide everything.

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RWX's Thoughts

Limit break attack unleashed!  Phase stone blast vs frozen dragon strike.  I really do love Tipsy Wanderer's battle scenes.