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Book 6, Chapter 79 - The Cube's Worth

 Cloudhawk - Lord of the wastelands and leader of the Green Alliance - convened a meeting where he announced changes to the staff. Chief among them was the news that the Cloud God was now a formal member of their organization, holding the title of deputy Alliance leader equal to Wolfblade. He was directly responsible for Elysian citizens.

The response was shock.

Part of the reason for humanity's long history of divine worship was that the gods were aloof. Only very rarely did they interfere with human affairs. Their elusive, mysterious nature made them larger than life, and thus worthy of worship.

Why, then, had the enigmatic Cloud God suddenly broken from the tradition of his race? Further, he was siding with wastelanders, who had for ages been seen as filthy heathens. It wasn't long ago that Cloudhawk and the Cloud God were mortal enemies. Now they acted like none of it had ever happened? Furthermore, the Cloud God entered the Green Alliance as an Elysian protector, but it also made him an enemy of Skycloud.

The consequences of such news were as staggering as one might imagine.

At last, Dawn Polaris could get her much deserved rest. As the city's Governor she had spent every day overseeing its construction, while simultaneously trying to keep the peace between wastelanders and Elysians. She was so exhausted she couldn't sleep.

With the Cloud God as part of the Alliance now, the most immediate benefit was as a deterrence. Elysians revered him, wastelanders feared him. Under such circumstances no one dared earn his ire.

Secondly there was a sense of security. Cloudhawk and the god were different, obviously. Cloudhawk was a product of the wastes with only a few years of leadership experience. The Cloud God had been around since the time of the Great War. He was powerful, eternal, and had a long history of authority. With him and Cloudhawk together, what hope did their enemies have?

Finally, the Cloud God was very useful in running a city. From its center, his mental powers could stretch all across Greenland.

Anyone who entered into his expansive scope was open to assault. If he focused on someone to read their memories, they could hide nothing. Ninety-nine point nine percent of humans read like open books to the god. Such a deterrence would greatly reduce crime, since the offender could not hide. Foul deeds could be stopped before they even occurred.

That was a serious problem for anyone hoping to undermine the Green Alliance.

Wastelanders were, by their nature, obstinate and resistant to rule. They cherished freedom over civilization and a portion would always live bloodthirsty lives. On the surface things were very harmonious, but there was an underbelly of violence. As such it could be understood why Elysians wanted to live separately from wastelanders. For the time being at least, the Cloud God's presence allayed their concerns.

In many ways, the Cloud God was Cloudhawk's mightiest ally.

He was under no illusion that he and the god were perfectly aligned, of course. The Cloud God's sole aim was to learn the truth of his race. His search would invariably bring him into conflict with Sumeru, so while he did not share Cloudhawk's goals they did walk the same path.

Under these conditions the Cloud God could be very useful.

Dawn heaved a sigh of relief. Her first order of business was to take a nice relaxing bath. When she was finished she brought a basin and washcloth into Aquaria's chambers and gently cleaned her mother's face. She'd been in a coma for some time now. Although no longer in danger of dying, there was no sign she would awaken soon.

"I've been too busy to come and see you the last few days. I don't know when you will open your eyes... but I wanted to tell you something. A lot has happened lately, the most important being that the god you serve has joined us. He now serves under Cloudhawk's command." The news made Dawn happy. "This afternoon we had a meeting with the god. Incredible, right? Too much to imagine, even for someone as faithful as you. But that's the truth. It's real."

Aquaria did not stir.

"In the end the gods aren't so mysterious. They're just stronger than we are, live longer, maybe a little smarter. Really though, the distance between gods and humans isn't that wide. What is noble and sacred, this stuff we worship... really it's all in our imagination. There is strong and there is weak, but there is no such thing as inherently greater or lesser.

"We should have faith, but not faith in mystical beings. We need to have faith in a beautiful future. Instead of begging the gods for trinkets and protection, we should work toward an inner peace and strong motivation."

Dawn leaned onto the bed, cupping her face in her hands. She looked at her mother and knew she probably was never going to wake up. She probably couldn't even hear her. But Dawn didn't care. She just needed someone to talk to, to unload what was on her mind.

"I'm so proud of Cloudhawk. It's just..." Dawn's pretty face grew melancholy. "He's gotten so strong that even gods and demons follow him. My strength and the worth of the Polaris family... I can feel we're getting less and less important. I need to get stronger."

Over the last several years Dawn had lost a great deal. Her family, her position, and loved ones...

She didn't look at her life and feel despair. On the contrary, she was happy and enthusiastic to have found her place. Like she'd said, everyone needed faith. It was calming and strengthened one's will. Dawn's faith, was Cloudhawk."

Well, it was time. Dawn gathered up the basin and washcloth and was preparing to leave when she ran into Cloudhawk.

"Ah, you have some time to come by? Came to buy me a drink?"

"I wanted to bring you somewhere."

Bring her somewhere? So mysterious. With a mind full of suspicion Dawn agreed.

Without saying anything further, Cloudhawk pulled out a cube from his pocket. He flung it out in front of him and it started to shift the moment it left his fingers. Thousands of cubes burst out before her.

They hung all around her like bubbles. "What is this? A new relic?"

Dawn's eyes were wide in wonder. As she spoke she reached out a hand to touch one but when she did, the unexpected happened. She immediately felt an intense vacuum force and she was sucked inside.

It took her a moment to get her bearings. She looked around and saw that her surroundings had changed. She was now in an empty, square space. It wasn't overly large, with visible borders about five hundred meters long. The walls were a spotless opaque white and besides air there was nothing here.

"What do you think? Awesome, right?" Cloudhawk appeared behind her. "This is a sealed, stable pocket dimension. I think this is going to be a great benefit to us."

He explained the situation to her. There were over two hundred subspace sections in the Cube. Alone they were small, but two hundred together could build a huge maze. In battle that would be one hell of a trap and that was before you considered the time discrepancy.

Think of what a great place this was for study, cultivation and research!

As she listened to his explanation, Dawn couldn't help but feel elated. She was stunned that he had this treasure and at the fact that such a thing existed. Selfishly she thought it would be great to help her train her own powers 'quickly.' Who knows, after a month real time in the cube, maybe she would emerge as strong as a Master Demonhunter.

After all, she was still young! Dawn was far from achieving her full potential. There was so much talent she could draw on!

She understood why Cloudhawk had brought her specifically to this place. No one knew her heart better than him. His Cube would aid her tremendously.

"So you're saying a year in the cube would equal twenty or thirty years of training in our reality?"

"In theory. But if you think about it, I don't think it's that simple."

Cloudhawk had thought to use the Cube to increase production, but with thought and research he learned that it wasn't the perfect answer he'd hoped for. First of all, the Cube needed to be activated for spatial energies to flow. When it was 'turned off,' it was like hitting the pause button.

Because the physical laws of subspace were more fluid, and because its stability was tied to the dimensional core, when that core stopped everything would cease. That meant that any living thing inside would also not survive.

The Demon King's plan to use the Cube as a trap for his nemesis was because of these features. Inside his pocket universe time effectively ceased. At that point it didn't matter how miraculous the God King's powers were.

However, he discovered that when a living thing was inside the Cube it was much more difficult to close!

It had taken the Demon King a vast amount of energy to close the relic when it had a thousand spaces. During the process, if the God King was trapped inside he could fight back and break out. So in reality this unbeatable trap was totally capable of being beaten, if one was strong enough.

That caused some serious problems.

Unless Cloudhawk was willing to keep the subspace open all the time, the instant he allowed it to close everything inside would freeze. Nothing would resume until he opened it again, and in that process any living thing would be destroyed. All he'd find after reopening the cube was a bunch of corpses.

Every coin had two sides. Anything he put inside would be preserved, practically forever.

In addition there were several key things to consider. First was to solve the material transport problem. Moving large quantities of material into subspace was difficult. Next, space was limited. That meant setting up a production hub was hard. Then there was waste to consider.

All things considered, Cloudhawk chose not to use the Cube as a place for manufacturing. Instead it would serve as a suitable place for Dawn to train and grow stronger. The malleable rules of subspace made it very good for all sorts of training methods. Research also could be performed without fear of explosions or noxious emissions affecting nearby areas. And of course, the benefit of stretched time.

For now, that would be the worth of his Cube.

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