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Book 6, Chapter 61 - The Power of the Four Realms

 The Avatar watched Cloudhawk abscond with the prisoners. She made no effort to pursue him - in fact she seemed hardly bothered at all.

Skycloud's finest were gone. Arcturus, Skye, Ramiel... they had all perished. Phain and his like were not weaklings, but nor could they hold a candle to the old guard. When compared against the War God Skye, or Phain's predecessor Vulkan, he was hardly worth noting.

Selene's goals had been realized. The Temple's Boundary Portal was opened. What did it matter if a few small minnows slipped the net? They were no threat and thus could be ignored.

The Avatar peered coldly down upon the masses, writhing in pain and fleeing in terror. The city still quaked and its people scrambled around like ants. A sneer crept into her face. If there was any trace of the real Selene left, she would have killed herself before taking joy in the suffering of her countrymen.

But now Selene was the Avatar. The Avatar was Selene. Her mind was under complete domination by the God King. The combination of divine mental power and mortal will is what created the Avatar.

Likewise, the combination of the God King's mental strength and Selene's natural abilities made an even stronger final product. Selene's person had been entirely inherited, conveying unto the Avatar her strength, tenacity, resilience and submission.

However, the God King's all-powerful mind had imprinted itself on her. The Avatar was completely subservient to the will of its maker. All orders had to be followed.

It was this imprinting that made the Avatar unfailingly loyal to the God King. Selene would remain a slave forever, unless one day her strength somehow surpassed the power of the Avatar.

Regaining her self-control was a monumental undertaking. Even a fraction of the God King's power was beyond mortal comprehension. Thus, with just this modest gift from the mighty deity, the Avatar commanded no less respect than a Supreme.

The Boundary Portal cast a harsh light over the ravaged city. Dozens of figures appeared from this air, hovering over the center of Skycloud. They hit the ground with force enough to leave craters. Rising from the dust, the figures were bathed in auras of might and majesty.

Numbering in the dozens, these strangers could be separated into four distinct groups by their clothing and equipment. It was clear they were from somewhere completely different.

Selene, with the Seraphs, floated down to where they'd made landfall.

"You are the venerable Avatar, Selene Cloude." An older man with white hair and a kindly face stepped forward. White was certainly a theme for this man, for aside from his hair he also sported a snow-white beard and robe. Even the staff he bore was a milky white like fine jade. He was like a collection of light moving through the air. "I am the High Priest and Master Demonhunter of Highmorn, Lucian Ambrove. At your service, honored Avatar."

Highmorn's High Priest... He also styles himself Master Demonhunter which means he had felled a demon at some time in his past. In all of Skycloud there had been only three with the qualifications to call themselves Master - the Cloude brothers, now all deceased.

Clearly this white-haired, fatherly man was not as simple as he appeared.

Light from the Boundary Portal had begun to fade. Apparently its transmission had ended when this group arrived.

Selene frowned. "Only you?"

"The God of Light has instructed us thusly: The energy field around Skycloud is unstable and cannot support the whole army. A god's perfect form in particular requires great power to transmit. I have come with this group to help stabilize the land and prepare the way for the others. Once we have repaired the energy field, we can proceed."

It was the same for the other three Elysian lands. Selene understood what the problem was. The Great Wall... the wall Adder had destroyed.

Its destruction caused the flows of energy within Skycloud to break free and seep out into the surrounding landscape. As the energy field weakened and became disrupted, it had led to a parade of miseries. What Adder could never have guessed was that his act of terror would one day save countless Elysian lives.

Trying to activate the Boundary Portal with a weakened energy field had caused it to become unstable. Troops in the numbers Selene had expected were impossible until it was restored.

Selene then turned to the Seraphs. From them she extracted information about the Temple's current state. Its energy levels were depleted.

If this was not corrected, it would lose control of the realm. From this moment forward Skycloud would be defenseless. Climate and environment could no longer be maintained. The wastelands would begin to encroach and impact the lives of Skycloud's citizens.

This was not the biggest concern. Repairing the energy field would require a month at least. A month before another transmission of soldiers would be possible.

Now that she understood the situation, Selene drew her eyes over the crowd of new arrivals. The gods and armies of the other four realms had not passed through, but they had sent their best as a vanguard. They should be enough for now.

Highmorn's leader was its High Priest, Lucian Ambrose.

Dragenmere's delegation was commanded by a stunning woman in her early twenties but that couldn't be her real age. She had fiery red hair that reached down to her waist and was dressed simply so as to show off her alluring form. Her name was Phoenix Igna, known as the Immortal Ave.

Phoenix was commander of Dragenmere's demonhunter corps and was its best warrior. Although not quite at the level Arcturus had been, she wasn't far off. Compared to many other Master Demonhunters she was far superior.

Leading Praelius' fighters was a bald man of middle years. Cold and unapproachable, with features that looked to have been chiseled from stone, he was quite an imposing figure. He was neither large nor frail, but well-built and exuded a sense of physical aptitude.

His weapon was a large, pitch-black spear. What made this man stand out more than anything else were the eight other blades of various lengths strapped to his back, like some grizzly peacock's tail. It deepened his air of ferocity and mystery.

This man's name was Ash Farran, Commander General of Praelius' armies.

He was similar in some ways to Skycloud's late War Saint. A master of martial ability, he also possessed considerable psychic power. However he was stronger than Vulkan had been. His comprehensive fighting ability was comparable to Skye Polaris in his prime.

Finally there was the group from Stormford. Presiding over them was a man with naturally silver hair, clad in a scholarly gown that added to his elegant demeanor. He bore no obvious weapons and with his agile bearing did not seem to fit his name - Bruno Argyris.

Bruno looked to be somewhere between thirty and forty years old. His skills were the most unique of his compatriots and back in Stormford he was known as 'Silverbolt.' It was a nickname earned from his two abilities. The first was thunder, much like Arcturus. Second was a talent to manipulate space.

Indeed, a one-in-one million demonhunter capable of using spatial relics! In all of Skycloud's history there had only been a handful of people with such a skill. However even when a spatial-focused demonhunter emerged, there were few relics that catered to their talent. The skill itself rarely manifested with much power. Thus they vanished from public attention and left no lasting mark.

Bruno, however, was an exception. A master of spatial power. Even though his mental prowess was inferior to the others, underestimating him was fatal.

Lucian, Phoenix, Ash and Bruno. Four of the most powerful people of their respective realms. Each came with five to ten of their best subordinates to constitute a formidable array of might. Their average strength was comparable to Phain Mist.

In addition to their personal strength, the leaders of the four delegations were capable commanders as well. They were all very different, with their own strengths and merits, but there was no doubt that each were warriors who shook the earth where they passed.

Now they were all gathered in the Cloud God's realm. Skycloud, whose mightiest had perished in a series of tragedies, were now replaced with foreign powers. Together they were no less indomitable than the three Cloude brothers had been in their prime.

Furthermore, the strengths and styles of the soldiers under their command were also unique. There were those with pronounced mental abilities, healers, some specialized in locking down opponents, and trackers. Among the thirty or so who had passed through the gate there were no less than ten who were masters of their craft, their four leaders included.

In other words, one in three were peak-level fighters. Each of them were the very best of their realm.

Nevermind. Although the armies of the four realms could not pass the portal, those that could were far from weak. They would be more than enough for what was to come.

1. It's Sarumon!

2. Jean Grey!

3. Uh, Kratos?

4. Kakashi?

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