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Book 8, Chapter 44 - Fighting Back

 Sumeru's ruin proceeded. From physical matter to immaterial space, all was being erased.

The initial few seconds of this conflict occurred far from the battle lines, but it didn't take long for it to threaten both armies.

Belial and the other demons were powerless to stop this. All they could do was try to flee as fast as possible. But if Cloudhawk's war with Legion continued then soon all of Sumeru would soon cease to be. Everything here would be no more, except the two gods themselves.

However, the circumstance Belial feared may never come. Legion's supremacy over Cloudhawk was obvious and Cloudhawk's body was quickly dissolving away. While the Grand Elder was also struggling to keep himself together, it would take longer to erase him completely.

Was the young Demon King still not strong enough? It appeared that this final struggle would be his end. Cloudhawk was grimly aware of his inadequacy and the cost it would demand. Their contest was a steady war of consumption. There were no sudden surges of power or bursts of strength. Strength was strength, weakness was weakness. Reversing the tide was not so easy.

He had come to know the primal forces of reality, learned how to rewrite the universe as he pleased. But he was still... him. He could only rely on his knowledge and abilities to get him through this crisis. But even as he was losing ground Cloudhawk maintained his calm.

Legion was right. Cloudhawk was a scourge. So long as he existed nowhere in his universe was safe. That mad race would never give up a chance to save their species and if they learned of Cloudhawk's existence they would come for him. If they didn't, then civilizations all across the universe would still continue to suffer.

When he lost this fight it would be a personal loss, but perhaps the greatest outcome for all the billions of lives that were and would come.

His body continued to break apart. Everything below his neck was gone. A few moments later His head dissolved into nothing and he was no more - just a small speck of light. With his abilities now, he could use that speck to build himself a new body, but Legion would suppress the effort.

Legion now just a head. But compared to Cloudhawk he was faring better. Their conflict was decided.

The Grand Elder prepared to rip Cloudhawk down to the barest hint of existence and seal him away. Only, in that moment something was off. Legion felt himself beginning to break apart. The information that made up his person grew volatile and started to hemorrhage from him.

What... What was this?

It was coming from the portion of himself that he'd taken from the God King. But hadn't that fragment been absorbed? How was its will exerting control! An inkling in the back of his head grasped his attention and Legion's eyes were drawn out into space. Floating alone in the void was a figure, humanoid in appearance with bright silver light blazing from her eyes.

It was a face she recognized. Dawn!

Dawn Polaris regarded the demon with an expressionless face:

"At the moment the quintessence felt the chaos of disunity its form fractured. A spirit in pieces loses the talents of a God. Your primal abilities are no more."

"You! Betrayer! What have you done!" Legion slipped into madness, screaming with wild abandon. "Our people can't just wither away. The child of destiny has appeared, you can't stop the inevitable!"

"I may have betrayed the will of our people, but never our fate." The essence coming from Dawn was the same as the God King. The original body of that fragment may have been destroyed, but a piece of him still lived within her. "From the creation of our race, we have been entrusted with a sacred mission. The moment we turned our back on this responsibility we were lost. A group of corrupted guardians, no longer worthy to guard anything. All I have ever pursued is to submit to fate."

"You hateful psychopath!"

"I am you. You are me. To my eyes, are you not the psychopath?"

While these two fragments of one Quintessence faced one another, the fog of light that was Cloudhawk restored his physical form. When he viewed the situation, he understood immediately what was happening.

Ah... so that was it.

The God King they fought wasn't the whole being. Before Cloudhawk even entered Sumeru he split himself in two and put a portion inside Dawn. When Cloudhawk defeated the God King he only erased one piece, and the part in Dawn awakened.

Legion, like Cloudhawk, mistakenly thought the God King had been dealt with. After taking in that last rebellious fragment the Quintessence was reformed. Time, space and matter were again whole and the basic powers of reality were within Legion's grasp.

However, Legion did not anticipate the God King's ploy. This seditious will, once here by Legion's side, once again threw the quintessence into conflict. As wondrous and powerful as a Quintessence was, when split apart it became an incomplete collection without the powers of a god.

Each piece possessed a portion of the whole's strength. The God King wrested the powers of time from Legion and severed his wholeness, but Legion still possessed enough potency to squash this shadow of the God King like the insect it was.

But that was not the situation he found himself in.

Cloudhawk had reformed his body while Legion teetered on the precipice of oblivion. There was no question what was to come.

Dawn turned to the young God. "Cloudhawk, destroy him!"

Filled with rage and defiance, Legion continued to scream into the ether. "You're making a mistake! You'll regret your foolishness!"

Cloudhawk turned his attention upon the screaming head; all that remained of Grand Elder Legion, the final pieces of a Demon King and the Quintessence it was severed from. With a wave of his hand the primal powers washed over the one who had guided him since birth. Luminous cracks slithered through Legion's skull and face and as he screamed, the last vestiges of him exploded. Legion and any memory of his existence was wiped from reality.

Only a vague impression remained for Cloudhawk and the Demon King, the faintest recollection that they were responsible for ending an existential threat to the universe.

Dawn looked once more at Cloudhawk. "Now it is my turn. The God King's will should no longer persist. To put this all to rest you must also erase the final piece. Me."

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