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Chapter 11 - Going Home

 Spatial compression. Dimensional detonation!

With every wave of his hand Cloudhawk warped the weave of space-time, forcing it together then ripping it apart. Not only did this release intense energy, but the threads of space nearby were also affected. A ripple-effect of devastation spread through the area, like throwing a stone into a lake.

Unlike ordinary ripples, however, these possessed tremendous destructive power. They moved quickly and could travel through objects, including living flesh. All molecular structures were stretched and squashed by its passage.

Even godly bodies were no exception. Sumeru's soldiers found themselves in a minefield of spatial explosions. They had no way to protect themselves, so they suffered the ravages of Cloudhawk's fury with no way to fight back.

The mighty Abyssal God had fallen here, what hope did mere soldiers have?

The sub-space cube possessed countless internal 'sections', all under Cloudhawk's command. He shifted these blocks and the demons inside, confounding the gods and delivering them into the grasp of their enemies. Once trapped within this place, most of the gods were separated from their compatriots. Forced to fight scores of demons on their own, there was no suspense in how it would end.

Even gods, for all their strength and constitution, could not survive in this hell for long. There was no way forward and no means of retreat. Attacks were feeble and withdrawal was not an option. All they could do was suffer the ire of their foes and fight back as hard as possible.

The disparity was too great.

Cloudhawk compressed space into a cutting blade and sent it slashing across several sectors. It bit into the gods, cutting them down. Once they were slain these sections were free of divine soldiers, but with each subsequent attack the sectors themselves were failing. After the Abyssal God and the soldiers that were pouring in, Cloudhawk's pocket dimension was beginning to fall apart.

His priceless relic was nearing its limit, and perhaps already could never again be used. In sacrificing the sub-space cube Cloudhawk had won them a spectacular victory. One of Sumeru's strongest marshals and a thousand divine soldiers, erased.

The demons' losses were kept to the double digits, most of them at the hands of the Abyssal God. As for the soldiers that slipped inside, all their efforts to break free came to naught. If they couldn't even break out of their prisons, they couldn't harm their demonic attackers.

Cloudhawk left the pocket dimensions. Outside the battle was raging.

Selene and her team were leading Eternals and Ark Base's robots against gods that managed to slip through the barrier. Mighty though they were, the humans who rose in defense of their home were formidable.

Sumeru's vanguard forces numbered only around a thousand by this point, but they still fought with intensity and cohesion despite losing their leader. A single divine soldier could fight off several dozen robots or Eternals. After all these losses they still managed to have the upper hand.

A gulf existed between the fighting capabilities of the two sides. However Selene and her warriors were not few in number. She herself could battle three to five soldiers on her own without issue. So while Sumeru's forces had the advantage, it wasn't overwhelming.

Once Cloudhawk released the demons from his sub-space cube, the tables rapidly turned. The gods were taken aback by the sudden change and were quickly defeated. Not a single one escaped.

"It's about time you came back." Selene approached Cloudhawk once the fighting was over.

Cloudhawk looked over his people. Seleme, Autumn and his other stronger lieutenants were not hurt badly. The weaker ones, like Hellflower, had suffered more but were not seriously wounded. He nodded to each in a silent gesture of thanks before looking outward.

Scores of liquid-metal octopuses still clung to the barrier. They thirstily drank up its energy and continued to reproduce. Their numbers were beyond measure now. What conventional means could rid them of these parasites?

It was not an issue for Cloudhawk.

Autumn was supporting Hellflower, helping her stand. The two made their way to his side, but before they could speak Cloudhawk blinked away.

All that remained on the battlefield were a few thousand demons. Intense and frightening were their presence, filling the humans with disquiet. Gehenna's secret power had emerged from the shadows. But would these strong and unruly beings actually listen to their King? Could they be trusted to live in harmony with other races under human rule?

"So... where did Cloudhawk go?" Hellflower looked around.

Suddenly a piercing sound shrieked from overhead, moving quickly. Everyone raised their eyes and felt a powerful energy approaching.

Cloudhawk had wrenched a five-kilometer wide asteroid from the depths of space. This time it was different from before, coming from more than a hundred kilometers away beyond the atmosphere. The moment it struck air the enormous rock burst into flame and began to break apart. By the time it reached their location, the main piece was roughly two kilometers wide. Even still it possessed as much destructive energy as a nuclear bomb.

A deafening explosion followed.

The asteroid slammed into Greenland's barrier. Aftershocks were flung out in all directions, powerful enough to cause avalanches in distant mountain ranges. The ground at the shields base sank a full ten meters. A million tons of material was flung into the air, where it was melted into slag and fell upon the area as a molten rain.

This apocalyptic barrage was focused where the liquid monsters were thickest. In the fiery aftermath, the eight-legged parasites were all destroyed.

In the midst of this violent and incredible display, Cloudhawk reappeared within the boundary. As the furious storm raged outside, he didn't even turn to look. The world within the shields trembled from it, but was otherwise unscathed.

It certainly spoke to the strength of their boundary! Cloudhawk paid it no mind, but everyone else looked upon his expression of power with stupefied expressions.

After calmly bringing the invasion to an end, the Demon King turned to his attendants. "Legion, Korath."

The two highest-ranking demon Elders presented themselves, silent and respectful, awaiting their King's command.

"Sumeru's vanguard built their advance garrison on the moon's surface. I want you to take the demons there and claim it."

"As you command."

Cloudhawk ripped another tear in reality, this one leading to the void of space where he had snatched that meteor. He had placed a marker there, creating an easy channel for demons to escape earth's atmosphere. Demons, like gods, could live without issue in the harsh environment of space.

Legion and Korath wasted no time. They summoned the demon hordes and poured through the rift, heading for the abandoned lunar base as fast as possible.

"Cloudhawk!"

Selene called out after him. He turned to face her.

Encased in armor, with his face behind a hideous mask, Selene could not read his face. But what she could easily sense was the regal bearing he now possessed. He had grown strong, dignified, to where even demons bowed before him.

Yet Selene held onto the belief that no matter how much he appeared to change, the core of who he was remained the same. Cloudhawk was still the good, reliable man she kept in her heart. No matter how bad things got, it would all be ok with him at her side.

"Welcome home, it's been a while. Let's go home and get some rest."

Go home? The thought had a strange effect on him. He watched Selene approach and take him by the hand. She then waved at the others. "The rest of you, clean this place up."