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Book 8, Chapter 37 - Confronting the God King

 Dozens of demon Elders rallied with Cloudhawk to make the assault. Among them were Legion, Korath, Haborym and Belial. They would travel through the portal from the outreaches of Sumeru to it's center-most point.

This dimension was a place without gravity. Huge unidentified objects floated all around like a loose collection of islands. They each released waves of intense energy.

Sumeru was constantly undergoing changes as time reversed damage from the war. These devices are what kept the process going. They were all suspended around a massive column of light reaching up from the center of the city. No reference existed to differentiate up from down, so the scores of dark figures that appeared were scattered all around the islands.

The Elders did not expect to slip so easily into the most sacred part of Sumeru. It was said here was where Sumeru controlled all the gods across the universe. As the most important part of their society it should be well defended.

How strong was the God King? Even now Cloudhawk didn't have a real answer.. He wasn't confident of his chances but still charged forth without hesitation. He was like a gambler, putting all his chips on one hand and praying for a lucky draw. This was their only chance for survival.

The Elders scanned the area carefully. There were no soldiers here or defenses of any kind. Only a single figure, alone among the light and islands.

Belial's eyes went wide. "That's-"

"Yes, the God King." Korath's tone was bleak.

The Fifth Seal's eyes were fixed on their enemy. "He plans to defend the heart of Sumeru by himself. The God King's arrogance knows no bounds!"

Cloudhawk had encountered this entity before, in the world of illusion. Now was their first time meeting face to face. On the surface there wasn't much to distinguish the King from his people, other than he was a little taller. He cut an imposing figure, clad in the silver and white armor typical of his race as though wrapped in jade.

Although he might not look much different from the others, there was no question that the stuff of this being was anything but similar to the puppets he commanded. He was a Quintessence, born from the nothingness between realities. This being before them was a result of the split that fractured its personality.

A Quintessence did not have a physical body. Their composition was not something mortal minds could describe or understand. Beyond an innate ability to alter matter, it also had the power to manipulate the uncontrollable. Any Quintessence was a prophet, able to wield time and space with a thought.

"Here we are. Finally, the moment we have anticipated for so long." The God King's thoughts were transmitted to all of them. "You are an excellent specimen. Only one final step is needed to achieve perfection."

"What's missing," Cloudhawk challenged.

"Defeating me."

"Let's fix that, then."

Their exchange lasted a fraction of a second. In the next instant, the God King released a power that galvanized Sumeru's most basic essence. His will spread rapidly across the area and enveloped everyone nearby.

Gehenna's denizens had only heard tales of this mystical power over time. No demon that ever faced the God King survived, any help in combating his abilities died with them.

"Be wary, in this place time is entirely under his command." Legion growled the warning. "While in his domain he is invincible, we are helpless."

Cloudhawk didn't need Legion to tell him how precarious their situation was. What they called the Time Domain was an area of space flooded with the God King's power. Here, the flows of time were subject to his every whim.

With a thought time could speed up, slow down, stop or flow backwards. In the event Cloudhawk and his allies managed to kill the God King, their foe could simply will it to be undone. They would be brought right back to the start of the conflict.

Unless one's mind was powerful enough, it wasn't just time that would reverse. Even memories and thought would be restored. This meant that so long as the domain was maintained, nothing could destroy the God King.

But his attacks could pass through time.

That is to say he might miss with an attack at one point, but if someone were to pass through the area where the attack happened, they might suddenly be struck by what happened in the past- or future. The God King's attacks existed in all times, a trap waiting to be sprung that there was no defense against.

"It is time. Show me what potential I can extract. Show me that you are truly ready to become the child of destiny." The God King's form split into two, then four, and continued until there was a legion of him. This wasn't some trick or illusion. Each copy was real, and soon there were hundreds ready to attack.

Suddenly all the demon Elders felt their hope dwindling. What was this? Real duplication!

Cloudhawk could see through the deception. This wasn't duplication, but mirror images pulled through moments in time. By manipulating flows he gathered instances of himself from other 'whens' and brought them to the 'present.' A way to fight across time and space.

Cloudhawk remembered the first time he encountered the God King. It was an exchange that occurred from a distance of one thousand years. The God King was able to kill something a full millennia in the future. This wasn't something mortals could understand, much less contend against. But such was the God King's power.

"Here I come!"

The God King appeared suddenly among the demons. Each iteration wielded a semi-translucent blade composed of time-energy that ignored armor or psychic defenses, for nothing could resist the erosion of time. One of the Elders was caught off guard and the sword was buried in their gut. In an instant, they disintegrated into dust.

Legion's cold voice rang in their minds. "Keep him tied down, don't let him strike you!"

For all the God King's strength, his power was not infinite. He was constantly resurrecting Sumeran forces in combat outside while also at war with Gehenna's Elders and their Demon King. IT was a lot to manage at once.

Most of the God King's reflections were headed his way. As scores of shimmering swords closed in he felt space warp, as though falling into a bottomless abyss of time.

The God King's weapon attacked through the power of time. If it struck, every atom in every cell was transported billions of years into the future. This universe was only ten billion years old, and there was no living thing that could outlive the cosmos. In the passage of such extreme lengths of time, all the stars in all the universe would extinguish and grow dark.

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