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Book 6, Chapter 53 - Battle With the Cloud God

 Cloudhawk picked out a small tract of wasteland near Oakstead to make his research space.

He moved a cylindrical device into the center of this area. It was five meters tall and as wide as three people. Glyphs and other patterns were embossed along its surface, but otherwise it was a simple looking thing.

However, were one to look closer they would discover that the materials used to create the cylinder weren't evenly distributed. Layers of it looked to be composed of wood, or metal, or some jade-like material. 'Rough' was the best way to describe its appearance, like some crude totem pole. Or perhaps the maker was too drunk to know what he was doing when he made it.

Cloudhawk had put all his effort into its creation. Over a hundred relics had been deconstructed for their materials and anima. With what smattering of knowledge he had concerning this extraterrestrial technology, Cloudhawk eventually succeeded in making a functional composite relic.

The relics he made were different from combat-oriented relics. Those were more complex and difficult to control. These tools, on the other hand, were comparatively bulky and exceedingly simple. Though far from elegant in design, their usefulness had been proved in Greenland's Miracle Towers. This was his second attempt at a relic designed to improve quality of life instead of taking it.

Cloudhawk slowly spread out his hand. Moments later flickers of green flame danced across the surface of the cylinder. They swept out through the air and vanished. He'd tempered the device, its anima core sealed and set in a stable configuration. Sensing the resonance from it, the waves were consistent and complete. As far as Cloudhawk could tell it was ready.

The theory revolved around a single question; what is the earth? To Cloudhawk, the earth was soil; minerals, organic compounds, air and water.

Hellflower of course would have provided a more comprehensive answer. Soil was the material that absorbed water, transformed biodegradable substances into nutrients, maintained global temperature, sheltered budding life and provided an environment for growth. Its creation was a complex combination of natural phenomena which included erosion of rock, volcanic activity and more.

Thousands, even millions of years were necessary for the earth to produce fertile soil on its own. As far as human technology was concerned the state of the planet was functionally irreversible. Changing the barren landscape would require efforts on an atomic scale which would be both incredibly complicated and very demanding.

The technology of gods and demons was a different matter. Relics existed that earth-type demonhunters could use to spawn different biomes. Swamps and so forth.

Such technology was fundamentally different from human advances, but if they had to be categorized, they might be seen as relying on quantum science. Superstring technology focused one's will to manipulate the resonance of matter, changing its base qualities. Stone could become gold, gold could become silver, silver could become bronze, and bronze could become wood.

In short, matter was simply clay that could be molded as one wished! The world was nothing but building material.

All of reality was made up of vibrating strings. The frequency at which they hummed is what determined the properties of these materials. Microscopic substances - undetectable by human eyes - gathered together. They created larger, more complex structures that made up the world.

Relics were a template for superstring manipulation. They allowed the user to influence spatial distribution and material compounds. The power allowed one to create something out of nothing, or release waves of energy in an assault. Skilled users could summon spears of ice or waves of fire. In the realm of gods and demons, if the relic existed than anything was possible. Nothing was rare or invaluable.

Cloudhawk had only just begun to scratch the surface of this mysterious technology. He'd done so only because of the Demon King's inherited memories.

These memories had always been vague and fragmented. Only with great effort and examination had Cloudhawk begun to piece them together, gaining some shallow knowledge of these higher-order beings.

As Cloudhawk learned more, his awe in what had been mastered grew.

Arcturus had been enormously strong, but in all his life never openly contested the gods. Perhaps it was because he was keenly aware of how advanced and powerful they were. The ignorant could not be afraid of what they did not know and Cloudhawk was beginning to realize his ignorance.

No, he couldn't waste time thinking about it! Instead he resolved to give his new invention a test run.

By now a group of citizens from Oakstead had gathered round. They watched the strange man and his strange contraption in curiosity. What was this foreigner doing here? What was this ugly cylinder of his? Was this some sort of dangerous plot?

Perhaps two dozen vigilant denizens of the realm stood on the outskirts of the research area. They watched him with a mixture of wonderment and distrust. Cloudhawk paid them little mind. His full attention was reserved for this important endeavor.

He reached out with his will... the cylinder began to respond! It spread out over a patch of land.

Like it drill it started to churn the sand, slow and steady. It didn't descend but remained on the surface, just moving the grit around. Energy pulsed through its glyphs and were disseminated out into the surrounding area.

"Hey! What are you doing!"

"This guy is up to no good."

"Let's grab him before he does any damage!"

As they watched the odd contraption begin to move Oakstead's citizens grew nervous. The way he manipulated energy and made this cylinder move was like the Chosen, but he definitely wasn't one of them. Neither did this cylinder look anything like any relic they'd ever seen.

As they prepared to put a stop to this, a surprising scene held them fast!

They stood on an area of barren landscape hard as stone, but as the energy spread out around them cracks started to appear in a hundred meter diameter. The packed earth trembled beneath their feet and became powder. Even granules of sand split apart to create soft soil particles. All around them the earth stirred from some mysterious force!

The pale yellow hue of the ground started to darken. Dried, lifeless silt became moist.

Stunned, the people watched as the process stretched on for twenty minutes. In the end a field of fertile land appeared before their eyes. Some bent down to scoop up handfuls of earth and stare in wonder at the rich, dark soil. It was soft and fluffy as though recently plowed.

How could this be? The people of Oakstead looked at one another, each grappling with the same silent question.

Cloudhawk moved the cylinder into his spatial warehouse then surveyed his work. He nodded in satisfaction, with a few more microbes added this would be perfect for cultivation. Cloudhawk was certain most crops would thrive in fields like this. Things like the mushrooms, which grew quickly, would see explosive increases from the added nutrients.

With this device he could transform hundreds of kilometers around Greenland. In two years time, with spores and seeds from the city they could make their home as green as its name implied!

Cloudhawk was preparing to explain this to the citizens when suddenly a powerful burst of mental energy rushed at him from Oakstead. Immediately he was on high alert, for Cloudhawk knew no ordinary demonhunter had that level of mental ability. Not even the Shepherd God was this powerful.

It was a psychic assault! In Cloudhawk's experience there was only one being with this level of ability and that was the Cloud God.

The first thing he did was slip on the Mask of a Thousand Faces. He then teleported back into the center of Oakstead.

The waves of mental energy had passed, but its effects on the people were still being felt. Thousands had fallen to their knees, clutching their heads and screaming in pain. The sheer force of the psychic blast was enough to cause terrible, permanent damage - even paralyze them for life!

Bastard! What terrible thing is he doing here?!

Cloudhawk quickly located the two gods, locked in combat.

The Shepherd God was in no way inferior to her compatriot, at least not when she had her original body. Once she took over the form of a human, however, the deity had lost much of her former strength. At such close proximity to the Cloud God's mental assault, she had already begun suffer harm.

The Cloud God sensed a newcomer closing in from behind. It need not turn around for the god's will was its eyes. Its 'vision' was everywhere all at once. Dozens of mental spear were cast toward Cloudhawk.

Psychic attacks were completely different from all other sorts. They were composed of thought waves - insubstantial and with no need of a physical vehicle, not even time nor space. Therefore as soon as the thought occurred, the attack was launched. Nothing was quicker than the speed of thought and thus dodging was impossible.

What Cloudhawk did not expect was these spikes of mental force to be stopped before him. Suddenly, a shield of psychic energy sprang up in his defense.

The Cloud God had never experienced such a thing. None were immune to its attacks unless they were far more powerful, both physically and mentally. Mental ability and psychic power were two different concepts. For instance, Arcturus' psychic power was comparable to the Cloud God's, but his mental ability wasn't even in the same class.

Mental ability could be likened to a powerful body. Psychic force is the power that body could produce. It was not necessarily true that a stronger body could produce stronger power. Sometimes there were other skills and techniques to consider.

Cloudhawk's mental ability was vast, but his psychic force was not at the same level as the Cloud God. As such the preconditions for him to be immune to the Cloud God's attack did not exist. The deity focused on the situation and saw the grotesque mask upon the human's face. Cloudhawk was moving quickly toward the Cloud God, folding space to advance quickly with a black staff in hand.

The Arbiter's Staff!

The Cloud God quickly coalesced its mental powers to form a shield.

Cloudhawk attacked with his left hand, the blow causing a thunderous sound as though the heavens had split. Residual power caused the ground beneath them to buckle. A crater several meters deep was carved out. Cracks appeared in the Cloud God's shield and before it could respond Cloudhawk's right hand crackled with electric blue light. He thrust Ruin at the Cloud God, jamming it into its perfect, diamond-like body.


A staggering blast of electric power was released! The world around them was swallowed by errant power!

The Cloud God was thrown to the ground as though it'd been struck head-on by a missile. Not only did it leave a trench where it struck, but trees in all directions also burst into flame.

"Are you alright?!" Cloudhawk rushed to Autumn's side. "What the fuck is this guy doing here?"

He hardly had time to get the words out before sensing psychic force closing in around him. Dozens of incorporeal tentacles reached for him like some sort of nightmarish octopus. How could the Cloud God respond so quickly after such a nasty blow from Ruin?

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