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Book 7, Chapter 38 - Enigmas Revealed

 Phoenix raised her hand and released a gout of flame. Several dozen 'gods' passed harmlessly through with their weapons poised. Before she could react they were on her.

Too fast!

Bruno was forced to engage. His lightning blade flashed, deflecting seven or eight of the incoming blows before being buried in the chest of one attacker. The godly armor was not as sturdy as expected and his sword slipped easily through. Without hesitation he released his mental power through the sword.

BOOM!

First cracks appeared along the armor and from within a spirit-like thing slipped free. The armor detonated, and whatever was inside scattered.

Bruno was then certain what they were fighting weren't real gods.

The armor was empty - or, more specifically, they were filled with mental energy formed into a spirit. They allowed the armor to move, and were probably activated once they started destroying the batteries.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. If these were true gods then they'd be doomed. Even the weakest gods, if they came in the hundreds, would absolutely annihilate them. There would be no escape. There was a sea of these armors closing in and they struck with great speed, but there were mere puppets. That meant there was a chance.

Phoenix punched at a group, her relatively small fist releasing an enormous ball of fire. It smashed into the first suit and sent it smashing through a wall. A hole eight meters deep marked the impact. The armor itself was destroyed.

"Natessa, find us a way out. We'll hold them off!" Bruno shouted.

The instructor wasn't as strong as the Master Demonhunters, but her skills with wind relics where invaluable. She could move quickly, making her useful as a scout and pathfinder.

Meanwhile scores of living armor kept closing in.

Phoenix and Bruno positioned themselves to take the fore. Oren stood nearby as support. But despite their courageous posture their hearts were heavy. These defenses were placed here on purpose by the gods. There was no more denying it - their divine leaders had made this place.

They used humans as fuel? Was that their reason for coming to their planet? To make farms, and collect fuel as necessary to keep the society of the gods running?

They couldn't think about it, not now. They had to focus on survival. Two Master Demonhunters, strong as they were, couldn't hold off this army forever. Two minutes was the best they figured before they were overwhelmed.

A scream echoed through the chamber. Oren had been blindsided by an attack. The sword of light caught him in the waist.

Bruno spun around to try and drag him away but stopped when the man shouted back. "Forget me! You need to get back and tell the others what we found. You must!"

For all the years he was alive, Arcturus Cloude had shielded mankind from war with the gods. Had he known this secret all along? How could he let humanity live in ignorance! They had to know the truth!

Phoenix and Bruno were out of options. They fell back under mounting pressure. Thankfully the armor could not use relics and their attacks were unorganized. But they were fast, and numerous. More than they could handle.

"We can't hold them! Is there a way out?!"

How could Bruno fight them off with just one relic? Phoenix and her deathless body blocked their advance, but she was already peppered with wounds. Many would be lethal to any other demonhunter.

Natessa was desperately searching, but she could find no other way out. She turned to look elsewhere when all at once three suits of armor descended on her. As expected, two people couldn't stop everything from slipping through. The armors weren't intelligent, so they didn't know what Natessa was up to, but she was another target they aimed to cut down.

"Damnit!" She had no powerful attack relic to save her. Her attackers were too quick even for her, and there were three to contend with. She had to run.

Three swords of burning light stabbed her way. But just as they were closing in Natessa saw the air shimmer in front of her. A figure wrapped in black emerged, raised his hand, and a shell of faint white sprang to life. The swords struck and were destroyed.

A simple blade in her savior's right hand acted. He struck so quickly she couldn't follow his movements. None of the armor had time to react before the sword ran them through. Bursts of energy were released and the armor was blown to pieces.

As Cloudhawk pulled back another figure appeared at his side. Dawn Polaris emerged, weighed the scene then raised her weapon. All at once the ground caved in beneath their feet.

Five hundred times the force of gravity descended on the chamber. A hundred kilograms felt like five million. Even the strongest person couldn't move an inch, but best of all was it was targeted; Cloudhawk, Natessa and the others were unaffected.

Flitting about like insects, scores of armor suddenly smashed into the ground leaving craters behind. Without any sort of intelligence they didn't know how to handle this new threat. Those that weren't immediately destroyed were frozen solid.

"Hmph, I knew it. This place has to be a secret god base." Dawn heroically swiped her sword through the air and stabbed the tip into the ground. She glowered at the suits of armor, struggling feebly upon the floor. She was filled with self-satisfaction.

Dawn had grown!

By now Natessa had come to her senses and knew who had saved them. The last person she would have expected was Cloudhawk. By the shocked look on their faces, Phoenix and Bruno shared her disbelief.

Phoenix shouted first. "You!"

"We can talk later, let's deal with this mess first." He glanced at the three survivors before casting a meaningful gaze at Dawn.

She nodded. With both hands on Terrangelica she shoved... gravity increased to one thousand times normal!

Some of the armor had begun to claw their way back up, but all of a sudden it was like a mountain had fallen on them. The ground below buckled as they were crushed. Odd ripples appeared all around them.

Without a word, Cloudhawk threw his sword.

It streaked off through the air. In a blink it changed from steel into a ball of blackish-purple lightning. It then split apart, becoming countless spears of lightning, each one striking a suit of armor. In a dazzling and breathtaking explosion, they all were reduced to slag.

Cloudhawk waved his hand. The lightning ceased and a simple black blade returned to his grip. He sheathed it on his back like nothing had happened.

Witnessing this scene, Phoenix and Bruno scowled. Cloudhawk was stronger. An attack like that meant he had mental power five times greater than Bruno's and twice that of Phoenix.

He was superhuman, there was no other way to describe it.

Natessa suspected that were Arcturus alive today, he would have no hope of defeating Cloudhawk. The rate of this young man's growth was astronomical.

"I found you using spatial visualization. I saw no gods," Cloudhawk assured. "I figured this had to be a secret base of theirs. An old one, probably several tens of thousands of years. For some reason it was abandoned, but the gods must have forgotten this place was still functioning."

"Do you have any proof?" Phoenix and Bruno didn't imagine the gods would just forget a place like this. Still, they had to consider the possibility. How else could they explain a base like this being here with no godly army to protect it?

But if the gods abandoned this place, why not destroy it? Was it somehow still being secretly used?

"The Demon King." Cloudhawk looked over the scene then made his determination, without a hint of doubt in his voice. "I always suspected the Demon King's origin, but there's no question anymore. The Demon King was once a high-ranking god. More than that - the former God King. All of this wash is doing - what he created while leading the gods.

They all looked at Cloudhawk with different expressions on their faces. Phoenix, Bruno and Natessa recalled what they saw on the murals. It rang of truth - unless this was all some kind of elaborate fraud created by Cloudhawk.

1. Hey guys, when did we see spirit-like creatures before...?

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