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Book 7, Chapter 77 - Completing the Mission

 "All done?"

Selene walked over a shattered scryspire. These tools broke like this when their capabilities were exceeded. As the trembling earth quieted, she knew that Cloudhawk's goal had been achieved.

"I'll look." Selene jumped into the broken tower.

Inside she saw Cloudhawk, drained of all his strength. He was lying on his back and panting like a dog whipped within an inch of his life. He felt drained and spent, unable to move a single hair.

"Fuck... Belial, that asshole. He didn't... say it would be this... tiring. I felt like... I almost exploded." Cloudhawk groaned between deep breaths. "Help me up."

He'd succeeded in exchanging two truly massive items. The Source was highly energetic, massive in scale but relatively light in mass. As a result it strongly resisted his attempts to move it. It took Cloudhawk all of his strength to hold out, but in the end luck was on his side.

Selene carefully lifted him up so he could rest against her. He was drenched in sweat, his black hair stuck to his pale face. As always his dark eyes glimmered with mischievous power, like tunnels to a distant light.

Her eyes housed a mixture of bitterness and loss. As Selene gently wiped away the sweat from his brow, there was a rare moment of tenderness from this typically aloof beauty. The warmth from her soft touch brought him back to years ago. He took her by the wrist and said, "Don't worry. I didn't push too hard. There was no danger."

"You've always loved the desperate gambit."

"It's the only thing that's kept me alive this long."

The two shared a laugh. He wasn't in a hurry to get up, so the two remained in their solitude for a little while. He pressed his back against her and felt the soft threads of her hair tickling his neck. He looked out across the barren horizon.

"What are you thinking?"

"Oh... I'm just thinking, this place would look beautiful if it were green again."

Selene nodded. "Yeah. It's been dead a long time, but I don't think it will be like this forever."

A new life...

Cloudhawk raised his head, looking up at the sky as though he could see through it to the distant universe beyond. Toward the hostile enemy that approached.

The gods were so strong. It seemed like if they wanted to destroy this planet, it would be as easy as turning over one's hand.

Yet, for some reason, they couldn't. They needed Cloudhawk. If the God King's words were to be believed, he represented something special.

"I don't know why, but when I encountered the God King... I felt the same way I did the first time I met Arcturus."

"How so?"

"The God King doesn't want to kill me. At least not right now."

"Why not?" Selene's face had hardened when she heard the old Governor's name.

"I can't say for sure. It's... waiting for something. Waiting for me to grow. It doesn't make any sense to me. It's the master of time, what else could it be trying to achieve?"

Selene replied. "I don't think you need to trouble with it. We know very little about that creature. It's motives are a mystery, which is not surprising for something so strong. Right now we should focus on the things we can control, like preparing for this war."

"Yeah, you're right."

Eventually others came to check on them. Belial made his report. "Kesjir is gone. All of the Source has been transferred here successfully."

"We're receiving information from the capital," Hellflower added. "There was a significant earthquake spanning 250 kilometers but it passed quickly. There is now a massive crystal - you succeeded. We can begin mining the Source right away."

Cloudhawk nodded. "What were people's reactions?"

"Disbelief that you actually did it," Hellflower replied, surprise on her own pretty features. "We now have a massive, almost inexhaustible source of energy. It will make everything easier. Everyone who saw it will know this and follow you anywhere."

Source. A crystal, inundated with mental power. The energy it held was the power of creation. In theory, if one possessed enough mental energy then they possessed anything. Source was the key, a universal currency! It could be exchanged for whatever they needed.

Of course, the prerequisite was that someone knew how to use it. After all, Source didn't come from a person. What it could accomplish might be different from what a demonhunter could summon.

"Let's take a look."

Aside from his attack on Sanctuary, this was Cloudhawk's greatest miracle. He knew how awesome the accomplishment was, but he wanted to see it with his own eyes. By the time they reached the Southern Capital he was mostly recovered.

The citizens of the capital, on the other hand, were still reeling from the spectacle. The army made sure things didn't get too out of hand, and most were now back in their homes or districts. There were still many airships in the skies above, floating lazily around the massive crystal that had appeared to the south-west of the city.

It was a towering plateau, several thousand meters high. It caught the sunlight and glittered alluringly like some sort of divine palace. Within it one could faintly see the spirits winding among the crystal.

At a glance the Source was long and flat, roughly oval in shape. Roughly eighty percent was buried underground, but even so it was a mountainous structure on the border of the city. The process of transferring it and the warping of space had caused the crystal to crack. Massive pieces were tumbling free and littering the surrounding area.

Airships shuttled back and forth, snatching up these fragments and moving them into the city. From this point on Greenland would never have to worry about production or defense. One of these chunks was enough to provide for the city's millions of inhabitants, at least for a little while. The trouble came in the knowledge of what this power represented. It came from the suffering of generations. So to honor those who had their essence stolen, it should be used for the betterment of the species and not wasted capriciously.

"I can use the Source to create a large defensive zone. One even the weapons of the gods would have a hard time piercing. It's where we'll make our stand." Cloudhawk was pleased with the results.

He was confident that he was right. The Source would protect them, sustain production and keep them operating at full capacity. He could rely on it to help with the mass evacuations he had planned. All the preparations they needed to accomplish before the gods arrived were now possible.

"What are we waiting for? Time to get to work."

No time to waste resting. Source was mental energy, but using it to power relics required talent and ability. There was still a lot for him to do.

Time was running out.

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