Book 5, Chapter 39 - Daily Progress

Cloudhawk was quietly watching in a distant corner near the training grounds, while Dawn stood with her arms wrapped around Terrangelica at Cloudhawk’s back. Her eyes burned with excitement. “These wastelanders were already really strong. The training has been going well, making them stronger. Now, with these relics you’ve been making and fixing for non-demonhunters… they have explosive power even demonhunters couldn’t stand against.”

Cloudhawk was an expert at performing the unexpected. If Elysians knew that ordinary folk were using relics – even the most basic relics – their eyes would pop out of their heads.

Most importantly, these weren’t just regular exorcist rods; they were self-activating one! In other words, even though these Goshawks were heathens with no demonhunter training, they could still summon their mental power.

Those noble demonhunters would have their haughty airs ripped away in an instant if they saw this scene. It would be a horrifying discovery to learn that mental prowess was not a god-given gift, just a form of energy like fire, wind or light. The only secret lay in learning how to harness it.

Cloudhawk responded. “This is just the beginning.”

Dawn could tell that, since coming to Greenland, Cloudhawk had become an entirely different person. He was still green, but step by step he was becoming a real leader. Dawn was confident that in time he would grow to be someone great. I knew there was a reason why I liked this guy so much!

“What do you think of their abilities, Dawn? What level would you say they are at?”

“They’re not at the level of martial artists, but they’re strong.” She gave her honest opinion with the closest comparisons she could think of. “I figure a hundred of these wasteland warriors could handle their own against a hundred low-grade demonhunters. The Goshawks would have an especially good chance if it came to close-quarters combat. But at a distance I’d still say proper demonhunters would win.”

“Yeah?”

“Endurance, power and speed go to the Goshawks no question, at least when compared to average demonhunters. If you get the drop on them and start the fight at close range, then Elysians would likely lose. But if they get caught at a distance or their targets managed to slip away? Mm. The demonhunters have the advantage of possessing long-range relics to lean on. They could form up and cooperate to keep the mutants at bay. That’d probably win them the fight.”

“Pretty sound analysis, seems to me.” Cloudhawk cast a glance her way. “You’re not as dumb as people say.”

Dawn sputtered. “Who the hell said that? Calling me dumb? I’ll pummel their dumb asses into the dirt!”

Cloudhawk chuckled. In fact, Dawn was quite smart in any field she took an interest in. She had genuine talent that seemed to extend to every field, and most of the time she was able to teach herself everything she needed. So long as she applied herself to something, there was no question that she would achieve incredible results.

Because of this and all her hard work, she was considered akin to a deputy Governor. Her tireless efforts had not only led to the rapid development of the city, but the family she brought with her had become the backbone of the city. She deserved this status.

Cloudhawk’s voice dropped lower. “You’re right, they can’t compare to Elysian Templars. We need to work harder.”

“Hey hey hey, learn to be content right? In Skycloud, creating a demonhunter unit a hundred strong would take years of effort and resources. You’ve done it in a few months. There’s nothing to be disappointed in.” Dawn was rendered speechless by Cloudhawk’s insatiable ambitions. No; to aspire to match the Templars wasn’t just ambitious, it was nearly insane. They were the strongest warriors in Skycloud!

“Honestly, the full potential of this force isn’t even close to being realized.” Cloudhawk spoke with certainty. “These mutants are outstanding physical specimens and have incredible, tempered combat instincts. If they manage to truly master Skycloud’s martial arts and are equipped with a few basic relics, what’s stopping them from dominating a similar force of veteran demonhunters?”

Whatever his hopes, Cloudhawk had to admit the results up to now had been remarkable. He could only imagine the sort of havoc a force like this would cause if thrown into the midst of battle.

As far as Dawn was concerned, Greenland was advancing at the speed of light. For the past two months, they’d been sending out nonstop sorties to other realms to gather resources. The first crews mostly consisted of Talon soldiers, and every day they went out to grab everything they could – relics, tools, spirits, plants, and so forth.

Those tools which seemed useful went with unidentified plants to the laboratories. Broken relics were given to Cloudhawk, and spirits were brought to the God Tree. Everyone had a role to play.

Autumn used the spirits as raw materials to create the psychic pearls. They were then sent to the fortress where Cloudhawk found various ways to make use of them – like self-activating exorcist rods to equip the Goshawks.

Greenland’s manufacturing base had also grown by leaps and bounds, and a number of edible things had been recovered from other worlds to help fill out their agricultural communities.

Dawn had established several of those communities both inside Greenland and out in the outskirts. Now they were working on erecting massive granaries that supported their burgeoning population, with plenty enough to spare for trade with other settlements.

Scientists from Sandspire and elsewhere in the wastes kept coming in. Currently, Greenland had a tally of about three hundred. The eboncrys engine Hellflower developed was already being employed through the city in various ways. It provided tremendous impetus to help develop new industries and improve existing ones. Production was steaming ahead at break-neck pace. New manufacturing plants and warehouses were being built all the time and could hardly keep up with the demand.

As for infrastructure and urban development, Greenland was enjoying amazing progress.

As chief designer, Gabriel had remolded the entire city in less than three months. Of the city’s fifty thousand residents, over thirty thousand of them were now in newly constructed housing. The markets were bustling hubs of activity all day, every day, and most citizens were able to find a job they were happy with.

Dawn, at least, was quite pleased and looked forward to a bright future. Greenland City was progressing day by day. Each step made them stronger.

They had plenty of water, limitless food stores, safety, and some of the best teachers in the world. They made their own relics, which in and of itself was an advantage that was unheard of and would improve with time.

Together, they’d created a city that defied expectations and imaginations. Through them, the wastelands were being lifted up.

As one of the city’s founders, Dawn of course felt pride and expectation for what they’d built. If she had any regrets, it was that she and Cloudhawk had been too busy to spend time with one another. As a result, there’d been no way for their relationship to grow.

Dawn would not allow herself to fall behind Selene and Hellflower. She fervently believed that there was no one else qualified or destined to walk by Cloudhawk’s side forever.

Was Selene here helping him built a domain in the wastelands? No, nor could she. Baldur’s daughter was too noble, and her ideals too stringent. She was imprisoned by her own stubborn beliefs. She couldn’t match Dawn’s attitude of determination in the face of self-destruction.

And Hellflower? She was just as busy as they were. If Dawn was being honest, then she had to admit the scientist was just as responsible as the Polaris family for what Greenland had become. But what she wanted wasn’t Cloudhawk, for Hellflower only ever chased her own aims. No – only Dawn was compatible, for only she could combine her love and ideals to stand with Cloudhawk.

When she thought about it, she felt even firmer in her resolve. There was no going back.

“Skycloud and the south have been in a stalemate for so long. Even now, there’s still no news?” Cloudhawk and Dawn walked from the field back toward the city, shoulder to shoulder. “Have the scouts we sent out learned anything?”

“As far as I know, there’ve been a few scraps but no major confrontations. Elysians continue to build outposts through the region so that they can establish a permanent presence. Things are just as cryptic when it comes to the Khan of Evernight. His wendigo and wargs are spread out everywhere, and hardly anything escapes his notice. Right now, neither side seems to have the upper hand.”

Cloudhawk rubbed his jaw. “Sure is strange. Whatever they’re planning, so long as they keep each other occupied then it’s good for us. We can’t afford to ignore this chance to build ourselves up. Our progress during these last few months is worth celebrating. We should go grab a drink!”

“Good idea.” His approval filled Dawn with joy. The two of them went to the fortress and sat down with a few bottles.

Greenland was only where it was today thanks to grueling teamwork. In just three months, the city had been transformed from a lawless backwater to a proper city. In the process, Dawn learned that the differences between the wastelands and Skycloud were arbitrary. The domain they’d built could be described as a miniature Elysian realm, and there’d be nothing wrong with that classification at aall

Cloudhawk had learned that so long as he was willing to fight for what he wanted, he could create a paradise even in the depths of hell.

After they had wined and dined to their heart’s content, Dawn returned to her small home. She was greeted by a Talon soldier who had come to deliver a report. “Miss, I have the latest news. A settlement in Rotwolf Ravine has been attacked by an unknown wasteland power. Their leader has been killed and the settlement is in chaos.”

Dawn’s brows shot up. Greenland was taking in more and more territory. The stronger they became, the more settlements came under their banner. This settlement was one of the new ones.

Greenland’s large influence and resources meant that there were very few who would dare risk their anger. Over time, the settlements that had come under their protection numbered nearly twenty, with another ten proper cities on top of that.

It was part of how Greenland had grown so large so quickly. The mutants who made up the Goshawks mostly came from these cities and outposts. Each settlement spread Greenland’s influence farther, spreading the word of their recruitment call.

When little brothers were bullied, it was the responsibility of the big brother to answer. Greenland couldn’t turn a blind eye.

Dawn scowled in irritation. “What short-sighting fool is spitting in our faces? I’ll go deal with this myself!”

The Talons solder couldn’t help but interject. “Shouldn’t we first make a report to the Governor?”

“Can’t you see he’s been busy? He’s got enough on his plate. We don’t need to trouble him with nonsense like this. We came here to share his burdens, not to add to them.” Dawn snatched up Tarrengelica. “Right, that’s enough talk. Ready my plane. I’ll head there immediately and nip this in the bud.”

As promised, Dawn didn’t trouble Cloudhawk with any word. She took a few Polaris soldiers and set off to Rotwolf Ravine.

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