Book 7, Chapter 74 - Unity in Opposition

Zephon’s legs were fused to the ground like tree trunks. Although his transformed body had been cut to pieces by Selene’s brutal attacks, it had caused no substantial damage. Under the dark blessing on his relic, Zephon’s body joined with the widespread contagion. The only way to kill him was complete annihilation.

Selene’s attacks were mighty, but he was bolstered by the sick energies swirling through the area. There were many side-effects to using the Star of Dark Omens, but by corrupting hundreds of acolytes he strengthened himself to a tremendous degree.

Even Cloudhawk would have a hard time against him. So what hope did Selene and Dawn have?

The Apostle’s twisted voice ranted. “I will give you a painful death! It’s what all blasphemers deserve!”

Selene, soaring through the air, glared at him with a cold disregard. “You think you can?”

Silver gleamed in her eye and she was on the move again. Sublime Transcendence became a beacon of fire as suddenly it became several dozen angry slashes, carving through the fog like a knife through butter. Once again Zephon felt its bite.

But it made no difference. He was a part of the contagion, fed by the poison energy. There was no weak point for Selene to exploit. Each time she cut him down the sea of gore remade his body.

She kept trying regardless. There was no such thing as limitless power, there had to be a way to stop the regeneration. If she could do damage faster than he could recover, eventually the Apostle’s body would fail.

Her sword kept dancing, leaving behind a brilliant tail. Under the oppressive, dazzling light Zephon’s body was withering away. Even if Selene’s onslaught did not destroy him, it would surely cause great damage if left unchecked. He roared in pain and protest.

Did she think she could defeat him by herself? Dawn wouldn’t let it happen. With a heart full of disquiet she told herself that this was a foe they discovered together. She couldn’t let this bitch get all the glory!

Dawn took a moment to inspect their surroundings and get a handle on the situation. It was a world of sick flesh leaking foul fluid, undulating like the innards of some dying creature. Everything it touched was corrupted and its energies fed to Zephon.

If they wanted to kill him then the method was simple. Cut him off from the energy!

As her mind raced, planning the next move, Dawn’s armor had started to blacken. Malignant flesh had started to wrap her up. Thankfully her armor was completely sealed, otherwise she would already be infected.

Get the fuck off me!”

With a roar her armor blazed to life and she lurched forward. Tearing from the fleshy bonds she dashed ahead, but quickly found her power waning after only a few steps. Black tentacles wrapped her up once again.

Shit. Instead of breaking free she was even more entangled! When she tried to use her armor’s power, the film of diseased flesh covering her quickly corrupted it.

At the same time Selene’s attacks had begun to slow. Even though Zephon had been chopped down to less than one meter, he still refused to die. Surrounding energies were keeping him alive and making him stronger. He was like a tumor that was still growing.

He felt like he could breathe a little easier. These women were strong and under normal circumstances he likely couldn’t beat one of them let alone two. Thankfully, the Temple was his home turf. They’d walked into the heart of where he was strongest.

“You’re done!” The pieces of his body gathered back together, forming a two-meter tall monstrosity. Now that his attackers had reached their limit, it was time for a counterattack.

But were they really at their wit’s end? Zephon underestimated what they were capable of.

Selene gazed at the two-meter tall orb of undulating flesh. The silver light in her right eye was unassuming, but heralded a magnificent power. She could see the movement of all things, knew what they would do before they did.

The flow of time began to change.

Selene’s attacked with renewed vigor, as fast as before. In fact everything around him had accelerated to incredible speeds. No… that wasn’t right. Things weren’t moving faster, he was moving slower.

Blood vessels burst in Selene’s eye, a side-effect of the relic’s power. For a short time she would be unable to use it again. But that didn’t matter – she’d already achieved her goal. Around Zephon, time was under her control.

Her control over time was not strong, but by pushing the Eye to its limit she could even turn back the clock on a small scale. Again Zephon, however, this was unnecessary. Instead her powers manipulated how time moved in this space. To him, it crawled along at one-fifth the normal speed. To his eyes it was like the world sped along around him.

Then it was Dawn’s turn to act!

All of the diseased skin clinging to her solidified, like fragile black ice. Light bloomed from it as bright as the sun, blinding everything within a dozen meters before detonating. The skin was reduced to atoms.

“Let’s turn it all to stone!”

Dawn stepped out into the center of the chamber and thrust Terrangelica deep into the flesh. A formless power was injected into it, spreading in all directions. Suddenly all the wriggling meat turned to crystal. Groping tentacles froze solid mid-swipe.

“Boom.”

At her command the crystal released all of its energy. The explosion ripped through the Temple like a tidal-wave, swell after swell that threatened to rip the entire structure apart.

Zephon’s twisted face revealed terror. “That’s the High Priest’s power...”

He was right. Dawn’s ability to convert energy came from a treasured Highmorn relic. With it, she had annihilated Zephon’s fleshy domain. No more infected clerics remained, so he had no way to bring it back.

In a flash ten consecutive strikes bit into his body! Zephon’s form sloughed to the ground in bloody chunks and emerging from it was a spike-covered black ball. The Star of Dark Omens, as though it had a mind of its own, quickly began to roll toward an exit.

“Where the fuck you think you’re going?”

Dawn thrust her hand toward Selene, whose white clothing became enveloped in fine scales. She felt invigorated, infused with power. The Dragon God’s relic didn’t just absorb mental energy, after all. It could also gift it to another. 

“Quick, stop it!”

Selene reacted immediately. A column of brilliant energy fired from her sword into the relic. With a thunderous crack, it broke in half.

Shrill howls arose from all directions. The chunks of diseased flesh that remained liquid and splattered the area like a foul rain. Without the star to keep him alive, Zephon’s brutalized body did not recover. He died in agony, splashed against the Temple floor.

“Done.”

Selene floated to the ground. Although the surroundings were filthy, there was not a blemish on her resplendent clothes. The only stain was a single rivulet of blood that dripped from her right eye. It carved a crimson line down her pale face, adding to her domineering charm.

Thud, thud, thud, thud! Dawn stomped over to her, opening her face-plate. She glanced at the broken Star of Dark Omens. “Who told you to break it? That thing is definitely valuable.”

Selene’s response was tepid. “If you’re looking for someone to blame, blame yourself. I hit stronger than expected after you intervened.”

Dawn’s face turned red as a tomato. She helped this bitch and here she was blaming her?!

“No more nonsense, we have a mission. Let’s find the Key and return it to Cloudhawk.”

Dawn could only huff in response. 

It was an unexpected fight they’d stumbled in to, but a fine opportunity to test their newfound strength. They figured out how to cooperate, at least a little, and both women learned valuable lessons.

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