Until they found a way to deal with Last Judgment, Cloudhawk and his people were a turtle hiding in its shell. Those survivors in the Elysian lands? They would have to fend for themselves. No kind sentiment remained anymore.
Gods were not limited to the power of Last Judgment. With the Elysian lands conquered they were sure to be preparing more direct means of assault. The Green Alliance had to be prepared for anything.
Dawn and Selene were inside the subspace cube, staring at the gods locked in transparent crystal. Dawn couldn’t help but wonder aloud. “Why are we keeping them? Why not just steal their power and be done with it?”
“With the death of the Cloud God we’ve lost a crucial link to the enemy. Belial and Legion are trying to discover what they can take form our captives, like memories or other data.” Selene stood by Dawn’s side. “We were lucky. This group was intentionally sacrificed. Next time I’m not sure it will be so easy to capture soldiers. It makes these few very valuable.”
“Hmph, well they shouldn’t get off easy. Let them suffer hardships the same way we did, I say.”
“The methods you use against humans will do nothing against the gods,” Selene stated, shaking her head. “Cloudhawk is holding an important meeting. We should go.”
Dawn glowered at the incapacitated gods. It was obvious she was reluctant to go without venting her frustrations. At least while they were locked up in the subspace cube there was little to be concerned about. The separation in space and time meant their communication with Sumeru was delayed. Legion and Belial made sure there was no way for them to escape.
By the time Dawn and Selene arrived, the meeting room was filled with people. Among them were Frost and other members of the Hand of Gehenna, who Dawn despised. There were also leaders from the Elysian lands and other factions. The Green Alliance was still a collection of interest groups who only followed Cloudhawk because he was the only option.
All their eggs were in one basket and disaster would crack them all. To survive against the gods they had to follow orders.
“They’re here, too?”
Phain stepped forward, with a veil covering his face and a sword on his hip. It was no ordinary weapon, but a powerful relic. Phain himself was no ordinary martial artist. He was Awakened.
By his side was a small coterie, largely composed of Skycloud’s former Temple faithful. Dawn was surprised by the group. “So many?”
He was ringed by powerful men and women from the Elysian lands, but not only them. Wasteland leaders and even ordinary elite soldiers were all gathered together, making this area of the cube rather crowded.
Cloudhawk, meanwhile, was gathering whispers with his presence
“What’s he doing?”
“Meditating? Never seen him do that before.”
Mumbled discussion surrounded Cloudhawk concerning his odd appearance. He sat in the center of the area cross-legged with his eyes closed. Flows of energy appeared and disappeared around him; wind, fire, water, earth, lightning, light, darkness, space… all dancing among one another.
It was a strange and confusing thing to behold. Did he ask them all here just to watch him meditate?
Suddenly his eyes popped open. He was wearing the mask, concealing his features, but the sudden pressure assured everyone that his attention was now on the present.
“As you all can see, I am able to summon power from nothing. Hardly strange for a demonhunter. But where I am different is that I do not need relics to do it. I am able to do it with just my willpower.” His voice echoed in everyone’s ears. “No relics. Just willpower.”
A sea of different expressions looked his way.
Selene, Dawn, Frost, Phain and others who were more familiar with Cloudhawk had known of this power for some time. Others – especially those from the Elysian lands – were hearing about it for the first time. It was a staggering revelation. How had he learned this power?
Cloudhawk went on. “This power isn’t affected by Last Judgment. Even without relics we can fight back.”
Without question, his ability was a magnificent one. However it was underdeveloped. Without relics the power he wielded didn’t even match a Master Demonhunter’s. Far too weak to use against the gods. Somehow, Cloudhawk had to empower this talent.
“I’ve spent the last few days exploring this power. Recently I felt something.” Cloudhawk looked out across the others. “Manipulating reality without relics isn’t a superpower. There’s no difference in summoning a fireball through will or through a relic. I was just able to naturally understand the method. I felt how to make the world bend to my will.”
And this wasn’t called a fucking superpower? What the hell did he think a superpower was, then?! Everyone was eager for Cloudhawk to reveal his secret.
“What Leader Cloudhawk is trying to say,” Pelagius began, “is that there is a structure to this ability. Rules. Rules that can be broken.”
Shock once again rippled among the crowd.
After experiencing Last Judgment, Cloudhawk got to thinking. Using the tools of the gods, humans couldn’t defeat their former masters. To defeat that superior species they had to find another way. A human way.
During his meditations Cloudhawk had gained a deeper knowledge of relics. He learned that his power wasn’t mysterious, and likely wasn’t special to him. Perhaps it was a system, a skill that could be taught. If he could learn exactly how the ability worked then maybe others could learn to manipulate reality the same way he did.
Right now, however, the ability was felt more than understood. A difficult task was before him, but not impossible. He was determined to try.
Cloudhawk had no idea how, but if he succeeded in mastering this ability it wouldn’t just benefit him. With a training method humanity as a whole would have a new treasure all their own. A treasure they could use to permanently throw off their reliance on the gods.
He pulled out a relic at random and held it before him. “Every relic has its own melody and structure. It’s the root of their power. Basically they are encryption keys. But if we can learn how, we all will be able to use this mysterious power.”
Gaping stares answered. He said it with such confidence. Did he realize what he was implying? If his words became real it would be the beginning of a new era! But how were they supposed to accomplish this if most people didn’t even know how a relic worked? On the other hand, if it was at all possible they had to begin learning this secret immediately.
Cloudhawk put the relic away. “Now, I have some experience with this. I give my knowledge to all of you without hesitation. Whether or not you can master it or not will be up to you.”
Thus Cloudhawk began to explain what he knew, to the best of his ability. He had called them all here to teach them what he knew.
He began with the pulse of resonance, the simplest weaves of the simplest relics, and hoped that they would grasp what he was saying. However even the basest tools were not easy to comprehend. It was, after all, a power that humans were completely unaccustomed to.
Dawn looked at her companion. “Eh? You get what he’s saying?”
“A little,” Selene replied with her brows knit tight. “But… not entirely.”
Most were similarly lost. However there were a few who stood with thoughtful expressions. Cloudhawk wasn’t sure his words were enlightening at all for this group, or whether it was a worthwhile endeavor at all. But in the limited time he had, it was the best he could do.
He believed what he felt, that anyone can learn this power. It was a start. If in the future he developed some sort of system to learn, it would be an entirely new underpinning to their civilization. Cloudhawk would be the father of a new age.
But he didn’t have enough time to feel his way along. Fate had conspired to reveal this truth to him now, so fate would have to decide what would be done with it.Previous Chapter Next Chapter