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Book 7, Chapter 60 - dominance From the Pas

 Cloudhawk had stolen a fraction of the God King's power through the Eye of Time. However, with the full breadth of his power he could only see an hour into the future. What's more, merely trying risked serious injury. He could also see clearly an hour into the past, but that appeared to be the limit of what mortals could accomplish.

Seeing what this being was capable of... it was beyond all of Cloudhawk's abilities to comprehend. The God King was able to have a talk with him from a thousand years in the past. In the same moment he defeated Belial with a single attack. There was no way to describe it other than surreal.

No wonder the Demon King lost. The powers of space transcended location, but the powers of time had no restrictions. There was no question which one was stronger.

Cloudhawk got his shock under control. There was no way around it, this was happening. He grit his teeth and resolved to face whatever came. "What is there for us to talk about?"

"Heh... although this is our first meeting, I have always known about you." The God King's voice was calm. It did not sound particularly imperious or powerful. "You may not know it, but you are very special."

A strange feeling crept into Cloudhawk's chest. It came with a thought. Was this creature really the King of the Gods? He'd encountered a handful of gods so far and knew something about their way of thinking. They were emotionally indifferent, unified in thought and highly evolved in all aspects.

In many aspects, godly society could be likened to that of ants. But gods were only gods when they were part of the whole. When one attained individuality, they were no longer considered 'godly.'

That was the dooming quality that made them demons.

Already in their brief exchange, Cloudhawk knew this one was different. In mannerism and speech, the greatest of the gods sounded... ordinary. He could even hear the emotion in its voice. Nothing about the God King was like any of the other gods Cloudhawk had known.

"I know I'm special," Cloudhawk replied.

"No. You were never told what truly makes you special." The God King stood on the other side of the mirror, its eyes piercing the veil of a thousand years to peer into Cloudhawk's own. "This universe, with its countless wills and manifestations, has been searching for you over many eons. So many millions of civilizations have been birthed and faded into obscurity, until at last your very specific union of talent and blood. Your existence will shape the next cosmic era. That is why the Demon King chose you."

Cloudhawk was nothing but a speck in the eternal blackness that was the cosmos. When had he become so special? Special enough, the God King claimed, to shape the whole universe.

What was it trying to tell him? It was bullshit. Cloudhawk was no scholar, but he did know that their planet was one small marble among an infinite number. Humanity was just another civilization existing in the blink of a cosmic eye. In a word, insignificant. Cloudhawk was fully aware of this fact.

He didn't believe it, but there was a smal tinge of pride at being so praised by a creature like the God King. After all, its will spanned a thousand years and defeated Belial with a thought.

"Do you imagine that the Demon King is the leader of the rebels? That Legion is a selfless guide? Your predecessor is the true old guard, sworn to stubborn ancient ways. He attempts to gain immortality through you. He cares nothing for the universal order or its destruction. And Legion? A vile thief, nothing more. A clown who aches for center stage."

Cloudhawk's brows furrowed. What was this creature telling him?

"Cloudhawk. Your existence cannot be allowed. But nor was it an accident."

As these words hung between them a string of thoughts rushed through his mind. The God King's words were pregnant with meaning. Was this all meant to be some campy reveal? That the Demon King had been the villain this whole time? That the God King was the savior of order?

What a fucking joke.

What was the point? Were they supposed to shake hands, forgive and forget? Horseshit, Cloudhawk didn't believe it for a second.

"Now let me see how much you've grown." As it spoke, the God King extended a finger toward the mirror. That bitter sense of danger washed over Cloudhawk and he knew the being was about to attack,

BOOM!

A burst of power that defied logic filled the chamber.

Cloudhawk reacted, having learned by watching Belial's misfortune. In an instant he teleported two hundred meters away while activating several dozen of his defensive relics. Over it all was his repulsion field.

A moment later, a surge of energy burst from the mirror. It tore right through Cloudhawk's defenses, even the field. All of a sudden he found himself engulfed in a storm from which he could not escape. Godslayer released thousands of lightning bolts to try and keep the attack at bay.

The two powers clashed. For a moment they were locked in a violent stalemate. But it was clear right away that a vast gulf existed between them. Cloudhawk was nowhere near the God King's level.

From a thousand years in the past, the God King attacked Cloudhawk. Even though he was defending himself in the current time, the power of the god from a thousand years ago still had the upper hand. There was no question who the weaker of the two was.

Cloudhawk's mental powers were waning quickly. The God King's powers should be draining faster, but it was Cloudhawk who was reaching the point of collapse first. For ten minutes the deadlock persisted, a war between lightning and pure energy that warped space around them. It brought Cloudhawk back to his early days against Arcturus Cloude and how helpless he felt.

It was laughable to think he could stand against the God King! He was outmatched. It was suicide!

When the God King came to his planet would there even be a need to fight? This monster could end him with a wave of his hand. With his ability to see through time, Cloudhawk didn't have a chance.

From the corner of his eye, Cloudhawk saw cracks beginning to appear in the mirror. There were limits to what the God King could accomplish from a thousand years ago. Its deluge of power was too great for the mirror to support. Once it shattered the attack would cease.

Cloudhawk dug deep, releasing even more of his strength. Fire burned behind his eyes as psychic was summoned forth. At last the lightning broke passed the storm of energy and spread through the chamber, disintegrating the manifestation of the God King's power.

The mirror was a collection of fragments now, loosely held together.

"I have given you sufficient time to grow." There was disappointment in its voice. "Unfortunately, this is all you can show me? There is no need to keep you."

The God King reached out with both hands.

Around Cloudhawk, the lake of liquid metal started to seethe. It gathered into six large orbs that were the focus of the God King's power. With incredible speed, they shot toward Cloudhawk. He reacted by calling on Godslayer's lightning, tearing into the orbs one by one.

But they just drank up the lightning without issue. Like a clay ox thrown into the sea, the power dissolved into nothing.

A silvery fist launched from an orb. Crashing into Cloudhawk's body, the impact was deafening and bone-shattering. He staggered backward, only regaining his balance after a dozen steps. By then the orbs had surrounded him. What seemed like hundreds of those fists came crashing down like machine gun fire. In their wake reality warped, struggling to maintain.

Cloudhawk felt like a frail child being attacked by an army of burly men. Only his god-like constitution and defensive relics kept him alive.

A hundred strikes. A thousand. Ten thousand! A hundred thousand. A million!

Cloudhawk lost count of how many blows he'd suffered. All he could see was protect himself, instinctively wrapping himself in what mental power he could summon. He was like a fragile leaf being battered by a hurricane, at risk of being torn apart any second.

Now he understood how insignificant he was in the face of his enemy. He was completely overcome, unable to fight back. Cloudhawk had thought he'd become so strong, but it was shown that he was nothing in the face of the God King.

No. He couldn't lose. If he failed then his entire species was doomed to extinction. Every living thing on this planet would be erased by these so-called 'gods!'

I can't lose.

I CAN'T LOSE!

Cloudhawk let his anger and despair empower him, releasing his potential. Like crackling arrows the lightning reached out, destroying a large number of the encroaching fists. But just this small victory cost him, for a bone-deep fatigue washed through Cloudhawk's body.

Darkness came and swallowed him up. Unconsciousness. If the God King attacked now, there was no one to save him.

Yet in a stroke of fortune the mirror reached its breaking point. The God King's power was cut off, though from across space and time it still could peer upon Cloudhawk's prone form.

"A little better than expected." The cracks continued to reach through the mirror as the God King spoke, muttering to itself. "Pity. Not strong enough. How I wish you could live. How I wish you could defeat me, instead of die by my hand."

His mournful words echoed through the chamber as at last the mirror broke apart.

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