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Chapter 111 - Lightning Speed

 The aftermath of the explosion still tore through the area.

Cloudhawk's team reeled like doused rats, their heads ringing, while Cloudhawk himself rushed in for a renewed assault. Bruno maintained his concentration on the sealing relic to keep Chaos contained, but that wasn't all the relic could do.

While he locked down locale space, Bruno allowed exceptions for Cloudhawk. He was able to use his spatial abilities without impediment, using them to teleport right in front of Chaos. The monster felt the danger suddenly appear.

Its tentacles disentangled and several dozen appendages groped for Cloudhawk. Each one wielded tremendous power like a storm of blades. At the same time, it was preparing a grim surprise. Inky black energy gathered in the limbs before being released from overhead

Cloudhawk's silver eye flashed. He saw the flood coming and danced between the beams of red, teleporting away from the black deluge. He summoned his pale white shield before flinging himself into Chaos' body like an arrow.

Immediately he was swallowed up by crushing pressure. It felt like he'd been dragged into a dark sea with currents pulling him in every direction. His shield provided enough relief for him to get his bearings and crawl forward.

It was a world of tumultuous light and feral souls. Their humanoid shapes streaked passed him, faces twisted in howls of pain and rage. Cloudhawk imagined this was what hell must look like. Looking passed the damned he could see a towering figure slowly solidifying through the madness.

Cloudhawk could see this god was different. It had turned itself into a spirit in order to join with Chaos. Their war against Chaos on the outside was actually a struggle against this being. Chaos was to the gods what a robot was to humans, a tool to be controlled as needed. This one was commanded from the inside, so if they wanted to stop Chaos eliminating this spirit was the best way.

"Get the fuck out!"

Cloudhawk tightened his grip on Godslayer and thrust it forward. Wild energies were channeled through the blade and released, sending a beam through the sea of souls. The divine spirit was struck full force. All the souls in between howled in protest as they were destroyed.

The god's soul could no longer ignore this intruder. It formed a physical presence, brandishing a long battle axe of golden light. Like a predator through this dark ocean, it charged toward ahead.

Cloudhawk was struggling against resistance from all sides, overwhelming his reaction times. He only recognized the god's charge when it appeared before him. The gleaming battleax struck him square in the center of his chest.

It felt like being struck by a meteor which flung him backward. His shield had been punched clean through which allowed the flows of antagonizing energy to seep inside. It tried to swallow him up, but Cloudhawk's body reacted instinctively by bursting into flame.

Tongues of green fire were belched from every pore, turning him into a raging pyre.

It was an effective defense against the deluge of energy. Cloudhawk's armor had absorbed much of the god's blow but suffered for it, with more cracks visible than before. He felt the damage to his internal organs, but to Cloudhawk this sort of wound would not stop him.

The god followed up with a second attack. This time the ax was aimed at Cloudhawk's head.

Spirit or not, this foe was a powerful Supreme. Cloudhawk couldn't risk underestimating it. Even in neutral territory victory was not guaranteed, and this was definitely not favored terrain. Chaos attacked him unerringly while the god's spirit could move at will.

Clang!

Ax and sword met and Cloudhawk felt like a mountain had been dropped on him. The fires around him flickered and were nearly extinguished. He reacted by thrusting forth his hand and releasing a burst of energy. Repel!

White light sparked between them and formed a vacuum. The rush of space being pushed out threw the god's spirit a hundred meters through the air. However, the Supreme's reactions were quick. Its form disintegrated into countless streaks of light then gathered around Cloudhawk's body.

Fast!

He couldn't follow all the streaks of light at that speed with his own power, so he prepared to engage his Eye of Time. Only when he did a stabbing pain drilled into his skull. Blood began to pour from the eye and it failed to activate.

His surroundings were too chaotic, too densely packed with possibility. Both space and time were influenced by the power of Chaos. Thus overwhelmed, Cloudhawk could not rely on his eye here.

The god reconstituted itself on Cloudhawk's left side. Both hands wrapped around the haft of its golden ax and brought it down with a mighty heave. At the beginning of the swing this weapon was of ordinary size, but by the time it reached Cloudhawk it had swelled to a hundred meters long. The tyrannical energy caused Cloudhawk's already shattered armor to fracture further.

Ever more intense blows assailed him. He felt like a mouse tied to rail tracks, cruelly crushed beneath the wheels of a train. He only survived thanks to his evolved physique and the power of the Demon King's Cuirass.

He caught another attack with Godslayer and the two weapons were caught in a stalemate. Hostile streams of energy continued to wash over him. With every passing second Cloudhawk felt his strength wane. Unless things changed, it would be him who would fall here. Only one option remained, a gambit he had to put all his faith into. As the two opposing forces battled on the edge of collapse, Cloudhawk pulled his sword away and allowed the golden ax to slip passed.

The god was confused that this human would open himself up to a mortal blow. The searing blade dug into Cloudhwk's body - though not likely enough to kill him outright, it certainly crushed his defenses. Without them the human would swiftly be devoured by Chaos' power.

But that couldn't be permitted! Cloudhawk had to be captured alive!

The God King's orders echoed through the Supreme's mind. It instinctively held back as much of its strength as it could, about fifty percent. The rest poured into Cloudhawk's body.

A gleam flickered in Cloudhawk's eyes. In this split instant he once again released an orb of repellant force. Everything was expelled from the space around him. It lasted only a second, but that was all Cloudhawk needed.

"Switch it up!"

He called on the power of the Key, exchanging himself with one of the Spares inside Greenland. The original was deposited in the forests around the capital with a bone-crunching impact, creating a small crater. Wounds covered his body, but he escaped in time to avoid anything fatal.

Within Chaos, the god's ax was buried in the body of Cloudhawk's copy. The frail simulacrum was cut apart. In the instant before it exploded into lightning it released a dagger - a Riftshard - which dug into the god's back. By then it was too late to react.

In a blink the original Cloudhawk was back inside Chaos. Godslayer flared with power as it cleaved the ghostly head from the spirit's shoulders. Castigation Fire infected the wound, spreading through its body and sealing its fate.