Floating castles and sprawling palaces.
Golden-capped pyramids as far as the eye could see, similar to Skycloud’s own. They floated like dandelion seeds through the air off into the horizon. No words could fully describe the miraculous scene.
Cloadhawk floated over part of the city. He figured each one of these hanging structures represented a god and what they contained were the divine creature’s memories. It was no wonder, then, that he did not see anyone else around the city. They expressed themselves instead as buildings to Cloudhawk’s subconscious.
Every one of their species, no matter their station, were represented here. Their will, their memories, coalesced into great Temples – tens of thousands of them. Was this how many gods existed? Cloudhawk continued to make his way around a towering, snow-capped mountain, moving freely with the eddies like a lone fish.
Here was a collection of thousands of years of experience. Godly power stemmed from this wondrous and expansive ability to share everything. Cloudhawk would never have imagined that one day he would be here to glimpse it for himself.
It was… incredible!
He journeyed on, passing one magnificent palace after another before one area in particular caught his eye. Cloudhawk stopped before a beautiful structure. Massive and breathtaking, he wandered this section of the matrix. Herein would be stored all the knowledge of the gods, publicly available.
Inside he found rows upon rows of bookcases, hundreds of them stretching a thousand meters high. From where he stood their peaks were lost in the clouds. Countless books occupied their shelves, vast as the open sea. The whole history of humanity would only comprise a fraction of what he saw. Shocking was the only way to describe it.
So many…! It was hard for him to wrap his head around. It was everything the gods had seen stretching back for millennia. All manner of secrets were hidden here, maybe even the origins of the gods – but with so many books how was he supposed to find anything?
Certainly there was no lack of information contained in the matrix. This was just one building of many, It would be impossible to know everything that was recorded.
Flying among the bookcases, Cloudhawk searched for any secrets that might help him against the gods. With luck maybe he could uncover something, like methods of creating relics.
He fumbled among the stacks for a long time. Here in the matrix was everything he needed to know to become a master artisan. That knowledge would help his cause greatly. The problem was finding it!
After all, Cloudhawk was no god. He’d slipped into the matrix with the help of the Cloud God and lacked whatever methods the divine had to find specific information. He had to rely on pure luck.
“Eh? This is it!”
Luck appeared to be on his side, for before him on the bookcases was a massive tome all about relics. Within were the secrets to all kinds of godly structures, from energy towers to other kinds of war machines. All of great interest to Cloudhawk. In fact, these were likely more helpful than learning more about standard relics. Strong relics were useful, of course, but didn’t help the Alliance on a larger scale all that much. His Miracle Towers were more helpful in that regard, and this book contained all sorts of knowledge about things like that.
Now the question was, how was he supposed to bring it back with him? It wasn’t like he could just carry a collection of memories into the real world. Just as impossible was sitting down to read it all. The book was huge, it would take days to read it. That was time he didn’t have.
Wait! This was a psychic world! He wasn’t chained by physical laws. The book was just the way his mind chose to interpret information.
He held the tome with both hands, closed his eyes and reached out with his mind. A few moments later, words and diagrams floated out from the pages and into Cloudhawk’s body. In a few short minutes the collected knowledge took root in his mind.
Excellent! That sure made things easier.
What a massive trove of information. Cloudhawk didn’t know all of what he’d absorbed, he just copied it and resolved to sort it out later. He grabbed one book after another, hungrily devouring their contents until suddenly an ominous sense came over him.
He’d caught something’s attention…
Cloudhawk lifted his head and in what had been an empty sky he saw several glowing figures. The humanoid silhouettes blazed with light had no discernible features but Cloudhawk felt their attention fixed on him.
“You’ve been discovered. What you see is how the matrix protects itself against apostates.” The Cloud God’s voice rang in his head. “You must leave. If you are destroyed here your mind will never return.”
He wasn’t expecting this . He remembered what he was told, that the matrix was a system of information that saw him as a kind of virus. The beings of light were here to erase him.
He was starting to understand what the Cloud God had explained to him. He still had access to the matrix but the protections for this section had activated. Gods would have no trouble accessing what they wished, but the Cloud God was a betrayer and thus a threat.
He had to remember that the master of the matrix was none other than the God King.
“Damnit. How do I get out of here?”
More figures blinked into being all around him. Once they locked on their target, they began to close in.
“You leave as you came. You must be quick. If they surround you, you will be eliminated.”
Cloudhawk shook off his pursuers and dashed from the palace. All the while their numbers swelled until hundreds floated after him. A hoard of them were right on his heels and gaining.
Woosh! Shhhhrrk! The sound of ripping air preceded a rain of light. Glowing arrows tumbled toward him and Cloudhawk knew that if even one struck, he’d be done for.
He dodged and maneuvered around the threads, racing as fast as he could toward the gate. He reached it just before the figures closed in, vanishing from the heavenly place. All of a sudden he felt like he was falling, tumbling like one of his meteors, faster and faster as that feeling of exhaustion once again came over him.
The Cloud God’s mental fortitude was almost used up. The blue light that constantly flared in his mask was now dull glass. Even the shimmering runes that lined his armor gradually vanished. Evidently, disguising Cloudhawk to enter the matrix was not an easy feat, even for a Supreme.
It was also his first time ever doing such a thing.
Godly society was highly efficient. Their innate interconnected network helped them maximize resources and information. Of course, there were two sides to everything as this excursion revealed. While godly powers were unique, they were also dangerous.
Cloudhawk was a virus, whose infection could lead to unforeseen consequences. To this end the matrix was determined to eradicate him. Yet he had escaped, and with a fine harvest for his efforts. Without a doubt, the information he’d come back with would help the Green Alliance tremendously.
Wolfblade greeted Cloudhawk upon his return with great interest. “What do you think? An experience too wonderful for words, yes?”
He was still surprised that he’d been there, in the world of the gods. But for all its grandeur and magnificence, Cloudhawk couldn’t help but feel that the divine matrix felt somehow… sterile.
The gods were a peculiar race whose thoughts were caged. They didn’t know anything of their own past. They didn’t know the purpose for anything they did. Bluntly put, they were all just pawns to a higher intelligence.
“I didn’t have enough time.” Cloudhawk was impatient to learn more, but there was nothing that could be done. He had to escape or be lost forever.
Now he needed time to digest everything he’d learned. But before he could even begin, someone came to see him. It was Selene, out of bed at last. When he saw her Cloudhawl felt like he could breathe a little easier.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter