Book 7, Chapter 120 - The Path to Gehenna

The southern waste’s front line had met with catastrophe. Losses in both equipment and human lives were great. Emerald Star, however, was untouched. Not even a ripple was felt.

After an initial period of chaos, things quickly settled down. The many pests that had called the city home were eradicated and humanity’s new shelter was made safe. Millions now called it home and that number was growing all the time.

Undercity appeared to have been built for humans. Its buildings and layout were suitable for their needs. Most importantly, it came equipped with a sophisticated energy grid. The crust overhead was connected to the whole city and provided it with a never-ending supply of power to provide whatever they needed. It was why everything moved forward so smoothly.

“There’s enough for everyone, keep in your lines!”

“Keep things civil. Make trouble and you’ll suffer the consequences.”

Ten soldiers in green cloaks with eboncrys rifles were passing out food and supplies. A transport ship was parked in a public square and a large crowd had gathered. Supply ships like this were a common and ubiquitous sight. Emergency measures in an unusual time. Emerald Star and Undercity had plenty of resources to provide for themselves in the future, but they needed support in these early days. Once everything was up and running, they could operate independently.

“Sister, Grandfather, come quickly.”

A young man turned her head and called out. An attractive young woman helped an elderly man along to her side. She grumbled at the man, “What’s your hurry Summer? There’s enough for everyone, didn’t you hear? You’ll get plenty.” [1]

There had never been any issue in getting enough food and water to live comfortably.

Summer nibbled on a cracker as he spoke. “There’s so much still to do to get this city going. No better time to make a name for myself! Getting recognized now would mean a lot for our future… I’ve thought of everything. When things quiet down a little I’m going to apply for the scout crew.”

Autumn helplessly regarded her brother when suddenly something seemed to occur to her. She spoke up, “In the last few days there haven’t been any newcomers. I heard there might be fighting back home. The gods are killing their way to the Southern Capital. We don’t know what the situation is like.”

“What’s the point of worrying about all that, sis? We’re safe here. Brother Cloudhawk will deal with all the other stuff, so don’t be concerned. Hey grandpa, I’m right aren’t I?” Summer’s optimistic personality hadn’t been impacted by everything that happened. “Things are bad, but there’s a lot of good too. There’s a lot to explore on the surface and Undercity’s only ten percent excavated. This is a newborn city! With our smarts and skills I’m sure we’ll be respected members of the community in no time.”

Autumn understood her little brother very well. He was vigorous and passionate, full of wander-lust. This new world was a paradise to him, full of opportunity.

Craig had one hand on his cane and the other wrapped around a water bottle. A loving smile deepened the wrinkles on his face. He was an old man, nearing the end of his life, but it had been a life with no regrets. He was about to respond to the young man when his eyes were drawn to a group of four figures. They were on a distant tower, but even at this distance there was one he recognized. He narrowed his eyes to get a better look, but by then they were gone.

Have my eyes gotten so bad? I really am getting old…

In truth his gaze was sharp as ever. The four he spied were Cloudhawk and his three demon compatriots. He’d caught them in the instant they teleported into the city, but they moved on just as quickly. Most people would have missed it.

Cloudhawk inspected the prosperity that had taken hold in this new city. While not all of humanity could take refuge here, Emerald Star had a thriving population. Whatever happened, humanity would continue on this distant planet.

Maybe in a few thousand years there would be two distinct species of humans, here on Emerald Star and on Stony Plains. One would be the children of New Humans, a civilization of spirituality and creativity. The latter would be a people steeped in science and technology, established by ancient humans from a long dead world and built on modern resources.

As for their mother planet? Most likely it would stand as a dead monument to a war against the gods.

Cloudhawk knew this would be a protracted contest against two civilizations. The battle that started on his home planet would expand to encompass the whole universe. A few years wouldn’t be enough to determine a clear winner, but what was clear was that humanity wasn’t strong enough to win the fight on their own. That’s why Cloudhawk had to unseal Gehenna and call the demons to action.

“After you, my King.”

Cloudhawk nodded, unleashed his power and wrapped them up in a storm of spatial energy. The group vanished from their vantage over Undercity and reappeared ten thousand meters deeper underground.

There was no doubt that this was a long-abandoned compound of the gods. Instead of destroying it, the Demon King repurposed the base upon its discovery. It now served as the gateway to Gehenna. The way was sealed by a hundred different relics that galvanized a tremendous amount of energy. Utilizing this power, one could open the path to the demonic world.

Legion said nothing as they approached. Cloudhawk, however, felt something.

It was his armor reacting. Faintly a thought swam up to him from the memories of his predecessor, leading him to where the gate could be activated.

“This… this is the gateway to Gehenna?”

The demons followed their king into a cavern. Cloudhawk felt something inside resonating with his armor and tickling memories in the back of his mind. A great and ancient will seeped from him and through this place.

A fissure opened up between volcanic tunnels. It started as a narrow gap but quickly split wider until it became a bottomless chasm. Inside he could feel flows of spatial energy.

Neither Legion nor Belial had ever gone to Gehenna. After the Great War they remained on the human home world, utilizing different methods to keep themselves hidden from gods and demonhunters. So while they knew of Gehenna’s existence, they knew very little else.

Abaddon was a different matter. As with any sealing enchantment, there were invariably loopholes in the Demon King’s gate. There were places and times where the seal was unstable, and a small group of demons could abuse these weaknesses to enter the earth.

But the real door to Gehenna was right here.

Cloudhawk could feel all the energy of the godly base concentrated here, maintaining the fissure. He watched for a few moments but nothing else happened.

“Onward.”

Cloudhawk took the lead, stepping into the darkness. After only a few steps in he felt the flows of space ripple around him. Its power dragged him through dimensions.

But this wasn’t ordinary spatial power, not the sort that was common out in the cosmos. It was taking him into a large sub-dimension, not unlike the cube he held. Where it differed was that this place was enormous, as large as any planet.

Space-time in these places were independent of the outside universe. Stepping into it was like entering a different reality. The gods could never locate this place, even with all their power. 

Was this it? Was this the location of Gehenna?


1.  Refresher 

Previous Chapter Next Chapter