Book 7, Chapter 64 - The Key

Over a thousand years, the five Elysian realms gathered the spirits of a billion people to create the Source. One of the primary reasons gods enslaved humanity was to use them for energy.

That crystal represented a terrible, bloody sin.

But at this moment Cloudhawk needed the sacrifice for his own purposes. It would become the engine humanity used to fight against their oppressors.

Of course, this was easier said than done. The crystal was enormous! At least fifty kilometers in diameter. It was comparable to a small asteroid.

If Cloudhawk wanted to teleport the Source, it would be like trying to move an Elysian capital. What’s more, it was buried ten thousand meters underground. In short, humanity did not have the resources or technology required to mine the stuff. It was too hard to break apart and even if they could, it would take too long to extract it.

It was an impossible conundrum. Or so it seemed. Surely they wouldn’t be forced to simply ignore this buried treasure. Cloudhawk wouldn’t have it, there were ways. 

Belial addressed his new King. “It’s impossible for mankind, but you are hardly a man anymore. With luck, you can succeed.”

“Yeah? What do you suggest?”

“No grand plan. I remember that during the Great War there was a spatial relic called the Key. It wasn’t a weapon and was largely disregarded as a useless trinket.” Belial explained. “But if there is any way to move the Source in one fell swoop, this Key is the answer.”

Belial was an expert in all things pertaining to relics. For these matters, he would not be wrong. Cloudhawk was curious. “What sort of relic has this kind of power? Are you sure I have enough mental power to get it done?”

Even if the relic could excavate this city-sized crystal, was Cloudhawk strong enough mentally to accomplish this? Belial’s abilities were similar in strength, so why did he think Cloudhawk could do it?

“Because this relic is special. It’s… more of an exchange than a transfer.”

“Exchange?”

“Indeed. The Key takes two objects of similar mass within your field of control and swaps their positions. So long as the targets are similar enough, the required energy is small. The higher the discrepancy the more strength is required.”

It made sense to Cloudhawk. This ‘Key’ didn’t teleport things on a whim. Rather, the user had to meet two preconditions.

First, the two items had to be within a set distance of one another.

Two, they had to be of similar mass.

Every spatial demonhunter had a limit to how far their powers extended. Cloudhawk was no exception. This limit of perception determined the distance in which one could use their skills. Teleportation, dimensional phasing, summoning from somewhere else… there was all a range limit.

Cloudhawk’s talents were exceptional and so was his range. But it wasn’t enough, not to get it back to his home base. He needed help.

Luckily he had Bruno’s Riftshards, taken as a victory trophy. They were perfect as spatial markers, which helped to extend the range of a demonhunter’s skills. With the daggers there was hardly any range limit.

With the first issue solved, it was on to the second. He didn’t have to think long.

If he wanted to move the source he just needed to find something with a similar mass. Then it was as easy as activating the Key and making the switch. It was sure to save him a whole hell of a lot of effort.

Cloudhawk’s abilities, along with Belial’s methods and the help of others like Bruno, was enough to do the job. The demon was right; if there was anyone in the world able to accomplish the impossible, it was Cloudhawk.

So, where was this relic? Cynically Cloudhawk figured it was lost to history. How was he supposed to find it then? Time was precious.

“I know they keep the relic in Highmorn’s Temple.” 

To this Cloudhawk breathed a sigh of relief. So long as they knew where it was, getting the relic shouldn’t be hard.

His attention turned skyward when he heard a long, piercing cry. In a flash of gold Oddball approached. It happily landed on its master’s shoulder.

Oddball was three times larger now than it was when it hatched. The divine beast was still a pudgy round thing like some sort of owl, but its eyes were different. They glimmered with a golden, electric light these days.

Cloudhawk’s little friend was getting stronger, too.[1]

It was sturdier than before, but Oddball’s greatest asset was still its speed. In terms of short distances Oddball couldn’t match Cloudhawk, but over long distances they were about the same. The little bird made an excellent messenger.

Cloudhawk cast an eye toward Belial. “It looks like we’re heading back for a meeting.”

“What do you mean?” The demon asked.

“We’re mobilizing.”

**

Southern wastes, the central fortress of Greenland. The city all around was bustling.

Selene Cloude and Dawn Polaris had returned. Among the delegates were also Autumn Draper, Phain Mist, Janus Umbra, Carnage and many others. Everyone Cloudhawk counted among his elite including Coal, Atlas Umbra, Rio Cliftin and other Alliance heroes. All were present.

But that wasn’t all, there were also many new faces.

Master Phoenix Igna from Dragenmere. Master Bruno Argyris and Palagius Audra from Stormford. Soldiers from Sky Fortress such as Siegebreaker, Master Anan. There were others, leaders from all the Elysian realms.

Everyone had gathered in the heart of Greenland for what was promised to be a meeting of unparallelled importance.

What sort of meeting called for all of humanity’s best and brightest to gather together? The sort where the evacuation of an entire species was the topic. A dramatic aim that sounded preposterous, that could only be accomplished if everyone worked together.

However, it was exactly the absurdity of this plan that had many in attendance expressing skepticism. Furthermore, it was the first time leaders from all Elysian realms and the wastelands were coming together. It was an important meeting, one where a foundation for their future struggle against the gods would be built.

Selene looked over the gathering. There were over a hundred leaders from all over the world. IF they were here it meant they accepted Cloudhawk’s vision, and were part of his Alliance. Most of the leadership from all the Elysian lands had come around. The resistance was looking better.

“Lady Selene. I am told MASter Cloudhawk intends to evacuate everyone off planet. Is this true?” MASter Anon rose and presented the question to her. “Where is our Alliance’s leader? Why isn’t he here with the rest of us?”

“You are correct, Master Anan. It is Cloudhawk’s intention to evacuate everyone. We are asking that you gather everyone who is not going to fight – elders and children – so that Cloudhawk can teleport them to safety on the jungle planet. The underground city there has more than enough space and resources to accommodate. It is the only way to avoid unnecessary deaths and allow our soldiers to concentrate on the front lines.”

Selene answered the question with her typical aloof and sedate bearing. Her words bore the weight of certainty and command, conveying a sense of comfort. Word was that the former Avatar was Cloudhawk’s closest confidant. A fine partner for their heroic leader.

Nods and muttered approval followed her decree. If the plan was to move those who weren’t in the fight, that was acceptable. Their soldiers wouldn’t have to worry about what was happening at home if their families were on another planet.

But was it as easy as she made it seem? Even if they were talking about a small segment of the species, it was still a huge undertaking. Cloudhawk wasn’t a god. He was human, with limits to what he could accomplish.

Selene explained. “Cloudhawk is at the meeting place now, waiting for us. But before the meeting officially begins there is something I want to show you.”

With that, she turned and walked away.


1. Your Oddball has evolved into Oddballoon!

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