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Book 6, Chapter 75 - Subspace

 Under Wolfblade's direction, the three entered into a dark and chaotic space. A special and little known region of the wastes - the old battlefield.

Stories claimed that it was here the biggest conflicts of the Great War were waged. Tens of thousands of gods and demons fought, forever altering the world in their struggle. Whether by some obscure power of relics or interdimensional chaos, a dark fog shrouded much of the area.

Light could not pierce this unnatural haze. The battlefield was a sprawling monument of death and destruction, forever shrouded in night.

Gods emerged victorious after this terrible clash. Demons, suffering a ruinous defeat, slunk away to the safety of Gehenna to lick their wounds. They had been nothing but a scary shadow ever since, incapable of interfering with the whims of Mount Sumeru. When the war had concluded, tales stated that all the bodies - god and demon alike - and the relics they'd used were taken away.

Still, those brave enough to pick through the area could find remains and broken fragments of relics. No one knew what secrets were still buried in that vast, inhospitable region. To most mortals the ancient battlefield was too dangerous to traverse. Among the frigid ruins mysterious creatures stalked, making this place a no-man's land. To the three who traveled there now, however, there was no threat to concern them.

Wolfblade led the way. Cloudhawk and the Cloud God followed closed behind.

Harsh winds blew unimpeded across the field. Sharp eddies of blue ice crystals tore through the air. Cloudhawk could sense that the winds were all blowing in one direction, as though it were being gathered by a giant vacuum somewhere up ahead.

Eventually he saw it for himself.

It was located at the heart of the battlefield, an enormous cyclone that was perpetuated by some unknown power. What was clear was that all the winds swirled around a central point, forming a tempest that would shred steel to pieces.

Brows furrowed, Cloudhawk asked, "What is this?"

Wolfblade replied. "A nucleus of displaced spatial energy. It has caused space in this area to collapse, causing great disturbance to its surroundings. The end result is what you see before you."

"That is not what I am asking." Cloudhawk's eyes were fixed on what was inside the tempest. "I can feel it. The veils of space here are... different."

"What you see is the precise spot where the former Demon King fell."

"What? He died right here?"

They stood among a hostile land of darkness, inaccessible to most, where even spirits wouldn't dare to tread. Who would imagine that a thousand years ago here is where one of the strongest beings in the universe breathed its last.

The Cloud God's voice invaded their minds. "Why have we come to the Demon King's place of demise?"

"There is nothing about the place that is worth noting. We have come, instead, for something he left behind." Wolfblade gazed upon the swirling vortex of cutting wind. "The storm is too intense for many to approach. However, every twenty years there is a brief period where it weakens enough for mortals to pass through. The last time this happened was five years ago.

What a terrible whirlwind! Even a Master Demonhunter would struggle to survive within it for very long without help from specific wind-type relics.

Of course even at such strength it was not enough to dissuade Cloudhawk or the Cloud God. There was no need for them to wait fifteen years for a lull. A pale white light sprang up around Cloudhawk, strong enough to protect him from the cutting winds. He then condensed space to teleport himself, Wolfblade and the Cloud God into the heart of the storm.

When air was pressurized and moving at high speed, it cut deeper than a blade. The winds were so intense a tank would likely have been shredded in moments.

Cloudhawk stood in the center of it with his feet firmly planted. He didn't feel the winds, nor any air at all for it was not strong enough to punch through his protective shield. He carefully examined the surroundings and discovered a shining white light in the eye of the storm which had been hidden from the outside.

This fragment of space was different from the rest of the battlefield.

"This is a piece of another reality - a splinter of subspace existing independent from the rest of the world." Wolfblade explained the phenomenon while looking toward the light. "Our world is mysterious. There exists much that the eyes cannot see, parallel worlds that are transposed upon ours. These are subspaces, separate from the rest of reality. But with the right tools and methods one can slip through."

Cloudhawk pressed him. "Like when I teleport to other worlds?"

Wolfblade's lips curled into a grin. "Not quite."

"What's the difference?"

"Trying to explain would be a waste of time. You simply do not know enough, yet." Wolfblade tried to clarify. "Within the Demon King's phase stone is recorded several markers. The places you have traveled to were anchors, left behind to make it easier for you to move among them. When you employ the stone you do not so much move through space as you traverse dimensions."

Cloudhawk didn't quite understand. Wolfblade continued to try and explain.

"The worlds you have visited are a nigh unfathomable distance from your world. Though we do not understand how or why, these worlds that have spawned intelligent life are separated by vast distances yet overlap in dimensional space. That is how you are able to travel between them."

Cloudhawk frowned. "I don't understand a thing you're saying. What is this subspace you're talking about?"

Wolfblade shook his head. Clearly the new Demon King had yet to fully absorb the knowledge of his predecessor. Knowledge was power, and while Cloudhawk was strong if he could become much stronger if he understood his abilities.

"Simply put, the worlds you've visited are real and exist in this reality. Subspace dimensions do not. They exist on a razor's edge, in unstable universes that are constantly being created and destroyed." Wolfblade looked back at the point of light. "Nothing better for learning than to experience it yourself."

With that, Wolfblade looked around for a suitable entrance and stepped into the light. Cloudhawk and the Cloud God followed.

For Cloudhawk it felt similar to when he was passing through to other worlds. Like pushing through a soap bubble. The roaring tempest was suddenly gone. He found himself somewhere far less antagonistic.

Subspace dimensions were habitable?

They were, because these dimensions often borrowed from the main reality they branched from, drawing in materials to create this temporary space. Air, environment, even plants and animals were sucked inside.

Cloudhawk got his bearings and discovered that the gravity and air pressure here was no different from what he was used to. This was a fragment reality that was very welcoming to life.

And it was big! A giant, illusory maze.

There was no sky nor ground and the whole thing was encased in white light. Like they'd stumbled into an enormous box, which itself was connected to other boxes creating a vast, bizarre, illogical world.

"This is the very last marker the Demon King left behind." For a moment there was almost a note of emotion in Wolfblade's voice. "In theory this pocket plane could extend indefinitely. Time here works differently than it does in reality."

"What do you mean," Cloudhawk asked, surprised.

"These subspace dimensions don't count as real in the way your world does. It is a different universe, and the rules of time work differently here."

Old legends existed in the old days of special locations on the earth - often where great storms where common - where boats or planes would vanish only to reappear years later. Passengers on these vessels report feeling no difference, as though nothing had happened at all. One explanation was that these boats and ships had blundered into a pocket dimension.

What Wolfblade described sounded like the opposite. What was a full day here was merely a few minutes back in the world they'd come from.

All at once Cloudhawk recognized how special this place was. If they moved weapon production here it would be a huge boon for the Green Alliance. Right now they were in a race against time - time determined life and death!

Wolfblade... what an absolute bastard! He'd known about this all along and only now told him? How many other secrets was he keeping?!

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