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Chapter 112-2 - Drawn Away

 Chaos was not intelligent, but that hardly meant it wasn't a threat. It was Sumeru's preeminent biological weapon with the power to eliminate an entire planet, leap dozens of kilometers, never tire and heal any injury.

It was a world-ender.

Adopting a physical form, the beast had improved combat abilities. It fought according to the skills of its enemies, with many tools to undermine their strengths. Furthermore, its body changes with the environment so that no terrain was a disadvantage. Chaos was an almost perfect killing machine.

If Cloudhawk didn't stop it, Southern Capital was doomed.

However fighting into the capital would not be easy, even for this beast. The city was protected by five layers of defense. Under direction from the gods Chaos had only broken through the first. Several more still remained.

Cloudhawk gathered his people and teleported to the boundary. Chaos was fast, they only had fifteen minutes or so to prepare.

"I can't believe this thing's so tough!"

"This old man has never seen anything so terrible in all my life."

Every one of Cloudhawk's team was injured in some fashion. Phoenix was especially maimed after her clash with Chaos, nursing broken bones and lacerated organs. Luckily her relic was designed exactly for this and was keeping her alive. However, at least for the time being, she couldn't join the fight. Even with the body of the War God, Legion only barely managed to protect himself from the monster. Everyone was suffering some harm from the exchange, but the ones Cloudhawk had brought with him were not common warriors. In a couple minutes they were stable and ready for round two.

"Now is no time to complain. If anyone has a lock on the thing tell me where it is."

"Allow me." A Master Demonhunter from Highmorn stepped forward. "I am Toroa Wiater [1]. My specialty is in tracking. Since I have fought this creature I will be able to know its location, no matter the distance."

Cloudhawk knew a little about Toroa. Anyone who reached the rank of Master Demonhunter had an area of expertise. He was average in a fight, but peerless when it came to hunting down a target.

"Well Master Toroa, it's up to you."

"Say no more."

Toroa produced a small mirror. When released from his grip it floated up and hovered above the Master's head. A strong light reflected off its surface and fired off in the direction of their foe. They could see it fixate on some unseen thing in the distance and move with it.

"There," Toroa confirmed.

Now that they knew where it was, Cloudhawk calculated what was in the monster's range. It was enough information for him to activate the Eye of Time and see where Chaos would strike.

"Chaos is too strong for us to try and just beat down. We have to use home turf to our advantage. Block it with the boundary enchantments and use the psionic towers to give yourselves a boost. We have to stop it here, we can't let it get any farther in."

Cloudhawk picked where they would make their stand. A hundred airships were dispatched to the area as backup. Hovering a thousand feet overhead, they were reasonably protected from danger.

They weren't just there to participate in the fight or offer support. Against a monster like Chaos most of their weapons were useless anyway. Throwing them directly into the fray would cause meaningless casualties.

Instead, every ship was equipped with a psionic tower. Belial's inventions amplified mental ability, making Cloudhawk and his allies much more effective on the battlefield. They also lowered the rate of mental exhaustion. Enough of them could turn the tide of battle.

Chaos was brutal and extremely dangerous, however, and prone to explode. They couldn't get mired in a long fight. The monster had to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Cloudhawk helped his companies recover from their injuries. "Well Elder, what's the plan?"

"No matter how mighty one's enemies, everyone has a weak point. Chaos is no exception. In this form our ordinary strength will not be enough to stop it, but we can destroy it." Legion explained, "In physical form Chaos must have a core. It is the center of its will - the same as any other living thing's brain. Destroy the brain and we destroy the beast."

"Where is the core supposed to be?"

"I am unsure. More than likely it moves. The gods manufactured this weapon and know its weakness. It could not be made perfect, but the gods could at least make the weakness difficult to exploit."

The core of Chaos was packed into a small orb and could be anywhere within the monster's body. It's head, chest, leg, arm or hand... to stop Chaos they had to locate and destroy this elusive core. Of course, thanks in part to the monster's high rate of healing this would not be easy.

As everyone was pondering the best plan forward, the creature appeared on the horizon. With every leap the ten meter tall monster drew closer.

Boom!

It landed with thunderous force. Fissures split the ground from its point of impact, slithering through a number of hills and valleys. A number of muttered curses followed. The damn thing was too fast, they had only just caught their breath.

"Alright everyone. Time to get to work." Cloudhawk drew himself up. "Whatever happens we stop it here."

Chaos was charging ever forward. With its limited intelligence it didn't know what it was running into, so it slammed head first into the energy shield blocking its path. Everything shook as though the heavens had come crashing down - but the barrier held. Chaos was flung backward with a terrible explosion.

With a roar of fury, Chaos released a column of destructive energy at the barrier. But again it failed to break through. The earth shook in protest.

Cloudhawk sighed in relief. Now in physical form, Chaos couldn't just slip through their protections any longer. They could hold the monster in this spot and stop it from pushing further into Greenland. Of course that was assuming Chaos didn't change back to a quantum state.

**

At the same time, atop the Source mountain.

Selene, Belial and others peered toward the horizon with pensive expressions. Their area was encapsulated in a dedicated energy shield and scores of elite soldiers were posted here as defenders of the southern wastes. IF anything happened to this mountain the consequences were unthinkable.

As Selene peered out into the distance with an alert gaze, the hulking white creature by her side released a low growl. Anima, defender of Skylcoud's Temple, had bound to Selene after she became the Avatar. IT had remained obediently by her side ever since.

Rarely did it go outside. Most often it serves as protector back in Southern Capital or other important places. This was because of its peculiar ability to sense imminent danger. Anima warned them that something was amiss.

"Is an enemy near? From where?"

Selene scanned the area but said nothing. It was then she heard the explosion. By the time she turned toward it Janus and her team of assassins had arrived to deliver their report.

"Two Supremes have appeared near the mountain."

"Supremes? Here?" Selene felt like something had a cold grip on her heart. "How did they get through the shields? We have to stop them."

How had they gotten so close to the Source mountain without anyone knowing? There was no indication that something had broken past their defenses.

Chaos was supposed to be their primary gambit. But here they were, in this critical location. Selene couldn't afford to be careless, she was here because Cloudhawk made her responsible for the safety of their back line. If Chaos was just a diversion, Selene and her team were the only ones standing between them and Southern Capital!

1. 'Reaching wind'. Toroa is Maori for albatros, reaching out. Wiater is a polish name meaning 'fast as the wind.'