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Book 7, Chapter 92 - The Attack Commences

 The Abyssal God hung in the darkness of space. Its body was encased in armor black as the surrounding universe, with no flows of energy or reflected light. The power radiating from within warped space in the near vicinity, making it seem as though space was collapsing around it.

Floating alone in this pocket of space hung a desolate planet, its tarnished surface lit up like a firework. Flashes of yellow light danced across it, until like a sphere dipped it dye it was painted a vibrant blue.

The once dead planet, now glittering with color, exuded an ethereal sense of beauty.

In the same moment, on the dusty gray lunar surface behind him, there appeared a grand structure among the craters. Pulses of energy that spread from it resonated in time with the dull throb from the distant planet.

This was the true weapon. Composed of some liquid metallic substance, slithering throughout were threads of pure energy. Intricate flows of power were orders of magnitude stronger than they had been moments before. With one attack it could permanently alter the landscape of the world.

The Abyssal God waited.

It was not the first time it dealt with a situation like this. Countless intelligent species existed out in the vast universe. As guardians of the cosmic order there have been several times when the gods were forced to put down the agents of chaos. Typically the gods dealt with this by gathering their ships and obliterating the planet altogether.

This time the situation was more... complicated. The God King did not elect to erase this planet from existence. There was something about this 'Cloudhawk' that was unique in the eyes of the God King. But what was it?

The God King was leader of their divine society and was capable of knowing every thought. It was not reciprocated, for no god had the right to know their King's mind.

The Abyssal God did not understand. The God King was different from the others - not just in terms of power and station, but something more constitutional. This was not to say the Abyssal God was not loyal. Indeed, its loyalty to the God King had existed for as long as it had existed.

One of the Supremes connected with the Abyssal God's consciousness. "Mount Sumeru has completed its analysis. The invading consciousness was a god from this planet. The way in has been sealed for this betrayer. For the time being, it will have no access to the Divine Matrix."

Another renegade who severed their connection? The Abyssal God was not surprised. Many of the problems its species had faced in recent years had arisen from gods who turned their backs on their people.

Once the gods were a monolithic whole, but that had changed over the last several millennia. For reasons unknown - perhaps a defect in the Matrix - a number of gods had spat on their glorious heritage and became despicable demons.

To this day the Abyssal God did not understand it. Was it not an honor to be a god? Their lives were infinite, their bodies were perfect. Each of them was a cell in a perfect body. Cells died, but so long as the body lived on they would be forever regenerated.

When the gods were unified, they created a society of perfect harmony. There was no crime, conflict or war. No god tried to cheat another. All of their thoughts and experiences were shared and any one's troubles were shared by the collective.

What was there to wont? Why turn one's back on this perfection?

"Betrayer gods are an aberration we are duty-bound to eradicate." The Abyssal God, the fifteen Supremes and several hundred divine soldiers all linked together. Their leader delivered its orders. "Deploy the Last Judgment. The first wave will act as our plans dictate."

"Yes!"

The knowledge was quickly passed throughout the Matrix. Theirs was a species of supreme efficiency, and through their mental link even the most complex plans were conveyed in no time. Traditional modes of conversation were a waste of time.

A layer of wind blew through the area. This was impossible, of course, but happened all the same. The plumes of dust were kicked up by the vibration of energy. Fifteen Supreme gods launched into space, each one enveloped by a different color of light. Behind them, a host of two hundred divine soldiers followed.

Distinguishing classes of gods by their appearance was difficult. The most obvious distinction was that grunts all wielded spears. They were equipment standard for low-level warriors in Mount Sumeru, but were comparable to epic-level artifacts on earth. Each one had the power to level mountains. Things were different from Supremes. They each had their own specialties and equipment, making it difficult to know their strength at a glance.

Together, this fragment of the vanguard shot through space toward the rebellious planet. When they hit the atmosphere an ear-piercing squeal emerged. It was the sound of thick air rubbing against their sturdy bodies. They picked up speed, roughly thirty times the speed of sound. The air around them burst into flames, turning them all into blazing fireballs. Although temperatures were easily in the thousands, they suffered no damage.

All the while they communicated with each other. The fifteen Supremes broke off when they entered the atmosphere, three to a group. With each group went forty-some divine soldiers. Like comets they tore across the sky to various locations across the globe.

One such group landed in a desolate section of the planet's northern hemisphere. The ground raced up to meet them and there in the center, a vibrant region among the sands.

An Elysian land. Their commander gave the order. "Spread out."

Once again the group broke apart, a handful of gods for each major city. The three Supremes themselves made for the capitol. Closer and closer they came until they crashed into the city center, amid a chorus of terrified cries.

Bo-o-o-o-m--- !

The city was devastated, as though a small nuclear bomb had gone off. Three huge craters remained from which a shock wave was birthed. Buildings collapsed in its wake and thousands were killed instantly.

"Gods! It's the gods!"

Stunned faces watched the three perfect figures rise from the craters. They immediately fell to their knees in supplication. They knew it was their time, only they did not think it would come so soon.

Less than a year had passed since the Elysian lands had fallen to disarray. Had Mount Sumeru heard the news and sent their angels here to set things right? The second coming was finally upon them.

"We are all faithful to Mount Sumeru..."

"We give ourselves up to the might of the gods1"

"We have turned from the darkness. None of us follow the evil Cloudhawk."

"Please, mighty gods, forgive our sins! We will fight for you to the end!"

Those who still lined in the Elysian lands were those that refused to follow Cloudhawk. Opposition forces and traditionalists, they were either too afraid or unwilling to give up their faith. Still they placed their faith in the gods, fearing them and hoping for redemption.

Salvation had come! The gods would recognize and reward their faith! Their benevolent masters had finally arrived!

The gods needed soldiers. Just as a thousand years ago devout humans could fight by their side. Together they would destroy the root evil that had infected everything, Cloudhawk!

Yes, that was what they would do! It would be their reward for holding true to their faith, no never giving in to darkness!

Norman Seabrook raced to the scene. But instead of elation there was a great unease when he saw the craters, and the creatures that rose from them.

They were so powerful! Norman had never met the divine master of his realm, but he was certain these gods were its superior. Three of them! It was a terrifying show of force.

On this planet, none with the exception of the devil Cloudhawk were their match. Norman was also grimly aware that these three were not the only agents sent by Mount Sumeru.

What were humans to such creatures? All they had was what the gods gave them a thousand years ago, and what were these paltry things in the eyes of their masters? Cloudhawk wanted to fight these beings. What made him think he could?

"Polluted mortals. You will all face reckoning."

Fantasies of benevolent gods were shattered. Hopes of fighting for redemption were dashed. One of the gods raised its hand and a burst of power was released among the thousands of quailing citizens. Horrible screams flooded Norman's mind, but they could not drown out his one final thought.

Humanity is finished.

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