Danger was present from the beginning, but this was life-threatening.
In the instant of crisis Cloudhawk released a burst of mental energy. His will took hold and formed a tornado around them whose intense winds carried them from encirclement.
How? Their powers were being suppressed, where had his come from? Under the power of Last Judgment all relics were useless. Cloudhawk’s abilities came from something else.
Last Judgment was an inscrutable weapon established on the moon. As far as humans could grasp it had blanketed their planet in particles large enough to fill the atmosphere. Until now they had lain dormant, activated on command to perform it’s task – to disable relics.
It had to mean these particles disrupted the ability of relics to manipulate string-fluctations. Everything in the universe, both physical and energetic, when deconstructed to its smallest parts were merely resonating strings. Each hum was different, creating everything in the world around them. Manipulating those strings meant control over reality.
Mental energy was a unique sort of energy. It was formless and intangible, created from the will of living things, difficult to capture and quantify. As far as anyone knew it was the only energy capable of altering strings, and only with relics as a conduit.
The gods’ new weapon severed the conduit. Without a source to pull from the relics were useless.
Cloudhawk, though, was different. He had merged several relics with his own body, limiting Last Judgment’s effects by turning his body into a tool. What’s more, over the years Cloudhawk had been learning to shake off the shackles of relics and manipulate reality with his own power. Such a power was wholly unique.
This budding ability was still weak but had tremendous potential.
From the beginning Cloudhawk understood that becoming Demon King meant only one thing, defeat. Not unless something was different. If he wanted to win he had to be better than his predecessor. He wasn’t going to defeat the God King with a tactic that already failed. What he needed was to grow his mental powers. To not only turn himself into the greatest relic ever made, but to transcend relics altogether!
The gods aimed their spear and fired and the retreating humans. A rain of energy descended, as deadly as it was blinding.
Cloudhawk continued to float in midair, maintaining his composure. As the strikes came he extended his hands and a mighty wall of pale white force emerged. Everyone shrank as the barrage came crashing into the shell.
The sound of cracking glass filled the air. Several blows broke through and slammed into Cloudhawk’s body.
He was the only one who could use relics, but only relics he had absorbed. Even those were ten times weaker under the muzzle of Last Judgment. But despite wielding a fraction of his power, it made him their one hope at escape.
Cloudhawk was flung back as though he’d been struck by a bolt of lightning. No wounds were visible. It was a shot that would blow a hole through a ship’s hull, but against Cloudhawk is just stung. Thanks to the Demon King’s Cuirass, his constitution was highly empowered.
Those spears would not be enough to shoot him down.
Soldiers closed in, weapons blazing. They slammed into Cloudhawk again and again until cracks began to appear in his armor. He was starting to take damage, but nothing significant yet.
Cloudhawk swiped at them with Godslayer, although it had lost its power. With pure force he shattered one of the spears and sent its owner reeling. The soldier hit the ground at bone-breaking speed.
Godslayer was still a sword.
Another god went flying. But even the fiercest tiger feared a pack of wolves. Several attackers flung themselves at Cloudhawk and he was finding it hard to fight back. After a few more exchanges he felt his defenses weakening.
Two plumes of fire burst from Cloudhawk’s hands and he sprayed the surrounding gods. Sickly green fire filled the air and coalesced into a wall while a dozen soldiers burned.
But in the process Cloudhawk took five more hits. He couldn’t hold out any longer, so with a burst of spatial energy he teleported back among his team. Exhaustion was setting in. Using his powers this way was draining.
An instant after leaving, two supremes and a group of soldiers burst through the wall of flame. Motes of green danced across their armor, but the gods paid it no mind. Such diminished power might burn them, but would not take their lives.
“Buy me some time,” Cloudhawk growled. He gathered his power and space began to distort around him. Every gathered around, waiting to be succored to safety.
The gods would not tolerate letting the little mice escape. Both Supremes charged forth, one with a sword and the other brandishing a staff. Like streaking comets they quickly reached ten times the speed of sound, enough to pull up earth as they fly by.
Legion’s Blade of Oblivion was only so much steel now, but his body was still a divine one. He was capable of defending himself even with an ordinary sword.
Clang! Elder and Supreme met in a shower of sparks. A nearby soldier fired at Legion from the side.
Unable to spare a hand in defense the blow caught him in the leg. Legion pitched to the side just in time for the Supreme to busy its sword in his neck. It only remained attached by virtue of his sturdy divine form.
The Supreme fought from the front. Behind it, soldiers fired their weapons. Their spears functioned like automatic rifles, firing beams of light one after the other toward the humans. Several Elysian tried to protect the group and were blown to pieces.
Dawn was struck and screamed in pain. Despite her fury she wasn’t helpful here. She stumbled forward, but before she got two steps another blow landed and sent her flying. Selene caught her before she fell.
Dawnbreaker armor was just sheet metal now. A hole had been blown through it. Dawn coughed up mouth-fulls of blood. Her injuries were dire, she was out of the fight.
Divine bodies were hardy, no less impervious than humanity’s greatest martial artists. With their spears that defied the tyranny of Last Judgment, they had a great advantage over the humans. Now the second Supreme joined the fray, wielding its long staff.
Its target was Cloudhawk himself. Orbs of energy gathered around its staff. This relic was like the others and could store energy. By the looks of it, its attacks were even more lethal than the soldiers’ spears.
But the Cloud God, Shepherd God, Frost, Phoenix, Siegebreaker and others saw it coming. They rushed to Cloudhawk’s aid but soldiers blasted them back, injuring them all. It was then the Supreme released the power from the staff. From the orb at its end a beam of unremarkable energy shot toward Cloudhawk.
He was almost there. A few seconds more and they would escape. But if this blow landed it would either badly wound or even kill him. Needless to say his concentration would be blown. Humanity’s one hope for escape would be robbed from them. It could spell their end.
At the last instant a figure shot forward, between Cloudhawk and the beam. Just as the shot found purchase, Cloudhawk released his power.
The humans vanished from sight.Previous Chapter Next Chapter