Book 7, Chapter 114 - Desperate Combat

The monster’s body began to warp and twist. It stretched in odd and unsettling ways as a misty sort of light poured from the holes in its chest. It spread out behind Chaos like the tail of a comet as it slammed again into the defensive boundary.

Pieces of it appeared on the other side and coalesced into physical form. An eerily long finger stretched out and as it extended, a terrible blast erupted among the humans. A single finger had caused frightening casualties.

Chaos understood how to pass the barrier now and so it began to change more quickly. One finger began a whole hand, then an arm, then half its body. Soon the rest of it would be through.

“It’s power is fragmented when transforming. It’s weaker.” Legion turned to Cloudhawk. “This is our chance.”

“Understood.” Cloudhawk nodded. “Master Bruno, make sure space is locked down in case Chaos tries to run again. Everyone else, prepare to attack. Give this fucking thing everything you’ve got.”

Everyone leaped into action. Various relics sprang to life and energy crackled around their bodies.

The airships also directly entered the fight. God’s Spear ships fired as often as their guns would allow, slamming into Chaos with every volley. While the damage wasn’t what they hoped, it was better than nothing.

Cloudhawk sat back. He shut his eyes and reached out with his feelings. If Chaos could be considered a divine beast, then the changes its body made should present as a resonance. If Cloudhawk focused on this resonance he might be able to tell where this core was.

The way Chaos traversed the boundary was unique. First, half of its body dissolved into a quantum state and seeped through the barrier. Once on the other side it recombined into physical form once again. Because of the high amount of energy contained within it, the creature couldn’t move through in a blink. Instead it effectively split itself in two – one half waiting outside while the other moved across the shield.

Two chaos beasts existed now, one on either side. They were connected by a hazy ribbon of energy, so while there were to physical bodies it was still one creature. But the process had cut the monster’s power in half.

The humans gaped at the beast. What sort of nightmare monster could do this sort of thing?

“Don’t just stare at it, keep up the attack!”

Legion shouted the order as he hurled Oblivion toward the beast. It struck the half-formed monster and left a gaping wound behind. Souls poured out of it like a volcanic eruption. Screaming faces spread out aimlessly in all directions, picking targets at random. The defenders on the ground frantically evaded. Meanwhile, more souls were soaring up to the airships above and detonating against their hulls. Several vessels were obliterated.

Legion didn’t let up. Several more slashes were levied against the beast. Others regained their composure and joined the Elder demon, laying into Chaos with all their might.

Chaos had yet to form fully on this side, meaning its own defenses were weakened. Blows that were useless before were causing wounds, and from the gashes souls poured forth. Eventually it was overcome and the monster’s physical body was hacked into several irregular pieces. They sloughed together like liquid metal even in the midst of the onslaught, trying to reform. 

Its head was lopped off and rolled down to its feet. Ferocious eyes glared at the buzzing things overhead and two beams of light were fired at them. As they raked across the skies the more agile humans dodged out of the way. The airships were not as quick. Half of the armada was destroyed in an instant. A shower of ash, fire and debris covered the battlefield. 

Chaos healed quickly. As the ships above tried to maintain their formation half the monster’s body had recovered. More of it had passed across the barrier now, strengthening its attack power and defenses with every passing second. Every piece of the fiend was a weapon, every drop of blood a thousand souls.

At last Cloudhawk felt something – or, rather, heard something. It entered his field of perception suddenly, connecting to the fragment of chaos on his side of the boundary.

“I found it! The core, its will and instinct!”

Cloudhawk relayed the precise information to Legion through a mental link. Without a moment’s hesitation Legion brought Oblivion streaking through the air toward the hazy connection between the two halves of their foe’s body.

But just in that instant Chaos seemed to sense the danger. Part of its form vaporized and released its stored energy in a lethal shock wave. Everything for a thousand meters around it, including Legion, was caught in the blast.

Reality went dark.

It was like the whole world was enveloped in ruin.

The surviving airships had no chance to escape. They were swallowed up by the darkness and disintegrated. As for Cloudhawk’s team, it was impossible to know who was still alive in the aftermath.

Chaos was almost completely through. Their window was almost closed. Cloudhawk was beginning to lose his composure, only barely surviving the last attack by phasing between dimensions and activating all his defenses. As the initial wave roared passed he saw Legion being blown away. Oblivion spun end over end in his direction.

The Blade of Oblivion was a terrible weapon, built to erase matter from existence. Even amid the flows of violent energy the relic was unscathed as it flew toward Cloudhawk.

This was their last shot.

He snatched Legion’s weapon from the air. With all the strength he could muster he fought upstream against the deadly current of energy, relying on his shields to hold. Eventually he reached the center of the storm, where Chaos waited.

It had taken on its physical form once again. Chaos raised a fist, ready to meet Cloudhawk’s charge.

He summoned his spatial powers to blink passed the attack, appearing behind the beast. Godslayer came hacking down in a brutal arc that carved a path down its spine. That was where he felt it, an object no larger than his fist nestled just off center.

That was it!

Chaos was wrenching itself around for a counterattack, but it was too late.

With all the strength he could muster he shoved both Godslayer and Oblivion into the opening. They pierced the monster’s core and released their power.

Chaos unleashed a pained, angry wail. Its whole body shook as the core burst apart and went rigid. Like a robot deprived of its battery the powerful biological weapon merely stopped. There was nothing left to galvanize it.

Legion raised its head from the ground and called out to Cloudhawk in warning. “It will self-destruct! Back away!”

Fast as he could, Cloudhawk called his powers. And just as the creature’s body detonated he kicked it into a rift of his making. Chaos was thrust into the first place Cloudhawk had visited when the phase stone activated. In that vast and broken world there suddenly appeared a supernova.

Cloudhawk was swept up in the energy as it burst through the rift, hurling him five hundred meters away. When the dust settled it revealed a ravaged landscape, with bodies strewn all over. Cloudhawk’s elite team couldn’t pick themselves up off the ground, and at a glance he couldn’t tell how many were still breathing much less able to keep up the fight.

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