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Book 7, Chapter 37 - Body Batteries

 This had to be a godly masterpiece, leftover from... whatever happened here. By the looks of things it was still in operation, but how it worked was a mystery. And why would Cloudhawk send them all here?

The group continued to stare in shock as the lights coalesced. It poured into these odd molds to form the divine armor. No raw materials were visible aside from the glow. Obviously the technology of the gods was too far advanced for mere mortals to comprehend.

"Automated, and working without a hitch."

"Or maybe there's a god somewhere making sure it's all still working? If there is we can entreat them for help. Find a way to leave this world."

As Bruno listened to the others wonder aloud, his forehead knit tight in thought. To his eyes this was all so strange and inexplicable. Whatever was going on, it had no simple answer. At any rate, since they were here it was worth exploring further.

None dared act rashly so they carefully picked their way through the factory. They passed through a particle gate on the opposite side of the chamber into another beyond. At first glance it appeared to be some sort of show room or library. Towering walls rose up from the ground, so high one couldn't see their tops. Inset on both sides of the slabs were half-embedded spheres of some unknown white material.

There were so many... too many to count, reaching off down a hall with no end.

Phoenix, Bruno and the others carefully stepped inside and looked around. As they examined the slabs and the orbs within, they noted that something was contained inside. Most were dark, but a few hummed with faint light.

"Are these some sort of... energy source?" Natessa muttered to herself as she examined the objects. Even the most oblivious person could feel the mental energy radiating from them. It was being transmitted somehow.

In other words these orbs were like batteries. They provided mental energy and the gods utilized it somehow to keep the factory running.

Bruno caught Phoenix moving out of the corner of his eye. "Master Phoenix, what are you doing?"

She paid him no mind. With a mighty heave she slammed her fist into one of the orbs, causing cracks to appear across its surface. A surge of something enigmatic poured out and then -


She punched it again! The sound of shattering glass reached everyone's ears.

The orb broke apart, released its stored energy all at once. A humanoid shape sloughed out and onto the ground before them. Its humanoid shape was wrapped in gray flesh. Its cheeks, chin and forehead all sprouted strange tentacles. The chest was covered in thin scales and were it to stand straight up the thing would be about two and a half meters tall.

Who knew how long it'd been dead. It was curled up like a fetus, wrinkled and atrophied. It was clear that in life it had been vibrant, but now it was like a dead fish hung out to dry. Upon coming into contact with air it instantly began to shrivel. Shrinking half a meter whatever fluid was in it dried up, leaving only an old emaciated corpse.

The explorers stared, horrified and bewildered.

Who was it? What was it doing here? The latter question seemed obvious; locked in that orb, it was being used as some sort of battery. But who would do such a thing?

"Well it sure doesn't look human." Bruno muttered the observation then, spotting something, followed up in surprise. "Wait a moment... doesn't it look like the things in the murals?"

The others saw the similarities too, once he pointed them out. Since being left on this planet they'd found a number of murals, depicting the lives of creatures with tentacles on their heads and bodies. Unless they were mistaken, this was one of the planet's original inhabitants.

"Let's look at another."

Phoenix wasted no time smashing several more orbs. Each one contained a body, some similar to the first and some of other species. All it did was add to their confusion.

"Wha... look at this one!"

The urgent tone caught everyone's attention and they hurried over, only to freeze in place when they saw it. A human... ! He was an old man without a stitch of clothing, long white hair plastered to his head. He was hardly more than skin and bones. Like the other creatures it was curled up and long dead.

Oren Cloude muttered to himself in open confusion. "What is going on..."

Phoenix glared, a darkness coming over her features. "Isn't it obvious? He was captured and used as an energy source. Put here to power this factory."

It certainly appeared to be the case. Without question the only species capable of building a place like this was the gods. Humans and whatever other species had occupied this world had been snatched up, stuffed in these orbs and used for their mental energy.

If that were true it would explain quite a lot. For example, why would the gods teach lesser races to use mental power? If they learned to harness their minds they could be used more efficiently as batteries.

Anger welled up inside Phoenix. "Is this the true face of the gods?"

"Let's not rush to conclusions." Bruno's eyes scanned the countless orbs stretching down the hall. There was a trace of sadness in his gaze. "I feel like it's more complicated than we know."

Where had the gods come from? What about demons? Who created this place? What was the truth behind all of this? There were too many secrets humans were not privy to.

But even if you took all these questions into account, what they found today shook them to their core. It was especially poignant to Bruno and Phoenix - Master Demonhunters whose mental energies were highly cultivated.

They knew that mental energy was a power than can make something out of nothing. One or two Master Demonhunters had the capability to level half a city. There had to be millions of pods here, eternally providing energy. Over hundreds of years or longer... it was impossible to know how much power was extracted.

More frightening was the realization that this was probably only a glimpse.

"Let's keep moving, see what else we can find."

They were here, they had to find the truth. But as they prepared to move further in a sense of danger washed over them. In the same instant they heard an ominous crash.

"Watch out!"

From the corner of her eye Natessa saw shapes moving toward them.

They were large, clad in magnificent armor and the air around them rippled like they'd been born from a dream. Swords of light burst to life in their grasp as they charged forward.

Cosmo Thane instinctively raised his weapon to protect himself. It was no use, for the sword of light passed right through and severed his head from his neck. It soared through the air then struck the ground with a wet thud.

"What the hell?!"

Phoenix looked wide-eyed at the host of gleaming figures that appeared around them. There were hundreds! Gods? So many?

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