Book 7, Chapter 21 - Sacred Flash

“He’s got some nerve breaking into the Guardian’s Palace!”

“Everyone, let’s get after him together! For the glory of our benevolent gods! Kill this devil!”

The demonhunters forging the Sword of Sumeru couldn’t move, but the remaining four hundred of the inner circle began to react. Cloudhawk saw them approaching and realized he was being blocked in. His mission seemed doomed.

Still he did not seem nervous. His expression was calm, his eyes tranquil. Looking out over the bloodthirsty crowd, he spoke: “If the gods are so great why is there doubt? Can they be called merciful when you watch them strike down people without thought? Wake up! You poor fools, lost in delusion!”

His words fell on deaf ears. All it served was to stoke their anger.

“Shut up!” A young man shouted up at him. “Why should we listen to you, with all your crimes?!”

“Skycloud was lost because of you! Its people die because of you! Cloudhawk is nothing but a devil, drenched in the blood of innocents!”

“You are the only person who deserves to die.”

“Every day you draw breath is a disaster!”

“Kill him!”

As they closed in a looming figure broke from the crowd. “I am the War Sage of Praelius, Siegebreaker, and I will end you!” [1]

He dashed forward almost faster than the eye could follow. Judging by speed alone, he surpassed human capability.

Cloudhawk, however, saw him clear. Every rippling muscle shone like lacquer. His weapon was saber of some unknown material. Two bushy eyebrows were raised high, giving him a wild appearance.

Praelius’ War Sage, Siegebreaker. A warrior of great reputation.

Besides Phoenix, he was without equal back where he came from. Where he differed was that he was purely a martial artist. He had no mental powers.

He was called the War Sage, Like his name he was cheered for being able to break through anything, even a host of a thousand enemy troops. With a body nearly evolved to perfection, his punches could alter landscapes. The weapon he wielded was made from materials not of this earth, so tenacious as to seem almost magical.

As Siegebreaker charged forward he tightened every muscle in his body and released their power all at once!

Torrents of vital energy poured off him and a shuddering boom emerged as he broke passed the sound barrier. Swinging his sword, the tip almost appeared to warp space around it. Cloudhawk’s shield contorted from the strain and then broke.

Die!”

With his foe’s shields down, Siegebreaker continued to press the attack. His weapon came hacking down in an attempt to cut Cloudhawk in two.

“Look at that! What a blow!”

“The War Sage sure earns his name!”

Gasps and appreciative calls rang out as Siegebreaker attacked. Only a handful of humans throughout history had reached this level of martial skill – harder even than becoming a Master Demonhunter. Siegebreaker had as much destructive capability as his Master counterparts. He could not use relics, so he turned his body into one instead.

Up close he was ten times more dangerous than a Master Demonhunter. His speed and explosive strength surpassed human limitations. A domineering, living weapon! Siegebreaker was so fast his allies couldn’t keep up to provide aid.

Cloudhawk brought his sword up and deflected the strike. In the instant their swords met, there was a sudden change in Siegebreaker’s power. All of the forward momentum was concentrated on his enemy’s weapon. Sparks flew as Cloudhawk’s weapon was knocked away.

Strong!

Siegebreaker wasn’t just a boorish fighter, relying on brute force. He was a master of technique with a plethora of skills to draw from. In the briefest instant, from an unassuming shift in power, he had executed no less than three peak level moves.

Siegebreaker’s sword closed in on Cloudhawk’s throat.

Onlookers were certain they were about to witness a beheading. At best Cloudhawk was on par with a Master Demonhunter, but how could he contend against a martial artist in close-quarters combat? But their confidence was shattered when Cloudhawk grabbed his foe’s weapon with his left hand, stopping it mid-swing!

Shock ensued. Cloudhawk tightened his hand and a crackling sound followed as motes of green fire sprang to life. They quickly swallowed up Siegebreaker’s sword and in the blink of an eye it shattered. Fragments of burning metal scattered across the floor.

He followed up with a swift kick. Siegebreaker had no time to be indignant as the blow landed with the force of ten missiles. He broke the sound barrier again, only this time flying backward uncontrollably.

Without a doubt, the scene had a deep impact on the soldiers who watched. Cloudhawk broke his enemy’s weapon with his bare hands! He couldn’t be human, not with a display like that. The Praelius War Sage was known for cutting through anything that stood in his path – except the pale flesh of this monster. It was totally outside the realm of possibility.

Siegebreaker was a singular warrior, no one could deny that. Even weakened his attacks were a threat to a Master Demonhunter. But against Cloudhawk, it wasn’t enough. His own physical abilities were not far behind the martial artist.

Siegebreaker was just as stunned as everyone else. He hadn’t underestimated his enemy and came at him with his full strength. While he wasn’t sure he could beat the monster one on one, he thought at least he could go a few rounds. His ignorance was proven when after just one clash.

“Bastard!” Siegebreaker roared and wrenched his body around, stopping his forced retreat. But before he could regain his footing Cloudhawk was on him. With another kick he sent the War Sage a thousand meters down the hall. Then again. Finally he planted him into the ground with a full-armed punch.

CrrrrACK!

Siegebreaker hit so hard the hallway split in two. 

A few drops of blood trickled from a wound in Cloudhawk’s left palm, the only mark left after stopping Siegebreaker’s blade. A few moments was all it took for the cut to seal closed. His challenger had achieved nothing.

“Fuck off!”

Cloudhawk turned back toward the Temple. He dashed down the hall, knocking back a dozen attackers with one swipe of his sword. They were all forced back before they had an opportunity to strike at him. Another swing and bolts of mental power were deflected. The relics they came from were destroyed, and the demonhunters who held them knocked off their feet.

This man was inhuman! Cloudhawk’s abilities were a terrifying shock to the Crusade’s inner circle. Fear gripped them and they worried this lone attacker could defeat their army. Morale was shaken from Cloudhawk’s mighty display. None of them had ever met a monster like him and he filled their hearts with fear.

Cloudhawk saw their hesitation and capitalized on it. He dashed toward the Sword of Sumeru. If the Temple was out of reach for the time being, then he would go after the next best thing.

The godly superweapon was now twenty-five percent charged. Inch by inch an enormous blade was being forged. Cloudhawk attacked without hesitation, swinging his sword his lethal intent. Godslayer [2] unleashed its payload in a blast no living thing could deflect. All the soldiers could do was watch as the cataclysmic blow was delivered.

They were beginning to understand. No wonder Cloudhawk had been able to take Skycloud. His strength, drive and boldness were unimaginable. He was like the perfect evolution of a human.

“He’s as strong as a god.”

“How could these lowly humans even reach such capability?”

“It doesn’t matter, he must be slain. Shall you begin or shall I?”

“Allow me.”

The conversation between the gods of Light and Lightning took place in their minds and lasted only a moment. Wordlessly they made their determinations and then acted, like robots.

As Cloudhawk launched his attack on the Sword of Sumeru, the Light God came at him with his blazing weapons.

“Sacred Flash!” [3]

No traveling, no process, no delay. The attack happened instantaneously. Cloudhawk only felt a moment of danger wash over him, intense and deadly. He’d learned to trust in his sixth sense and broke off his attack just as the streak of light appeared.

Highly capable people may still have been able to follow Siegebreaker’s moves despite his speed. However this blow truly appeared to simply flash into being. Even Cloudhawk hadn’t seen it coming. The strike split the flesh of his back. Luckily he’d allowed instinct to take over, otherwise it would have cut him in two.

Luck was what saved his life, not skill. He looked toward the source at saw the towering spirit of light, wrapped in radiance and holding a blazing sword of fire. The attack had come from the Light God. How was it so fast?

Lifting its imposing weapon, the Light God’s ‘voice’ permeated Cloudhawk’s mind. “Sacred Flash moves at nearly the speed of light. There is no escape.”

The speed of light?! The weapons of the gods were amazing in the power they wielded. His enemy’s attacks moved too fast for any human dodge, even Cloudhawk. Attacks like these could kill a foe in less than a second!

What else was capable of moving that fast? Humans couldn’t even reach a tenth of the speed of light!

Cloudhawk felt a curtain of light fall over him then. In his distraction he didn’t see the Lightning God – in its terrible beastly form – come near. Before he could react the maw of crackling lightning swallowed him up.

All of a sudden he was enveloped in an abyss of thunder! Lightning struck at him from all angles. He reacted without thought, hacking at the body of the god he was trapped inside. An opening was cleaved and Cloudhawk dashed out from the creature’s back. A few teleportation bursts later and he was at a safe distance. It took two seconds for him to escape the god’s gullet.

So, the Supremes were attacking him together? Cloudhawk was more vigilant. The gods were not playing around, this was life or death. The Demon King’s successor was facing two against one odds and the threat to his life was great. 

The Light God ordered the inner circle to protect the Sword of Sumeru. Cloudhawk’s plans to destroy the superweapon were foiled and again he found himself in dire straits.


1. Names like Siegebreaker are usually wasteland names, but this guy’s Chinese name is unique. 碎千军 can’t be confused for a name at all. It means ‘Breaker of a Thousand Armies.’

3. Literally ‘instant light of holiness.’ Flash was chosen for its dual meanings.

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