GDK 1014: Time is Running Out
Seeing Han Shuo agree, the God of Space smiled. The world suddenly quieted down as a colorful pathway manifested in the sky, stretching out and stopping before Han Shuo. He noticed that there were different bright lights in it that collided with each other, seemingly able to tear apart anything within. Soon, an old aura seeped out of the pathway.
"Come with me. I have something to show you," the God of Space said, the projection of his face suddenly vanishing as he slowly emerged from the pathway. However, the sound felt like it had come from behind him.
Han Shuo's two souls immediately sensed that the ancient aura had come from the figure emerging from the pathway. After some hesitation, he smiled and stepped into it with his two avatars. The odd energies of space contorted his two bodies and before he was ready, a bright point appeared in mid air, into which both his bodies were sucked within.
Now, he found himself on a fluffy bed of clouds. In front of him was a shambling old man who smiled and said, "Thank you."
Han Shuo immediately knew that this was the God of Space from the same aura that came from his body, which distinctly marked him as a possessor of a Quintessence like Amon and the rest.
"You're welcome. If I am truly capable of reaching that level of power, I will gladly lend you a hand." His split avatars were united again with the power of space.
"This is no longer the world you created, right?" Han Shuo could feel the elements again and the odd sensation of space was no longer there.
"Of course not." The God of Space pointed ahead and asked, "Look. What do you see?"
There was an ancient city beyond the thick mist, surrounded by thunderclouds that rained chaotic energies of death, destruction, light, and other elements that clashed with each other. It formed a barrier that closed up the entire city.
Han Shuo felt like the city had a life of its own. Wherever it moved, the thunderclouds followed close behind, forming a beautiful colored trail of various elements. "This is Aethernia!" he gasped.
"That is correct," the God of Space said with a solemn nod, "This is a fortress that moves constantly of her making. It absorbs all elemental energies this universe has to offer. Aethernia destroys anything that stands in its path. Since the beginning of her slumber, 65 planes have been crushed in its wake."
"Why would she do something like that?" What power must the city have to be able to crush entire world planes so easily? If the Allmother could command such power in her slumbering state, how truly powerful was she in her prime?
"I believe Nestor and the rest have told you that Quintessence bearers need the power of faith. That power comes from sentient life from all across the myriad planes. Once a plane disappears, all life within it is gone and faith can no longer be produced. Without being able to generate faith, the Quintessence will escape our control and return to Aethernia," the old man lamented, "Even in her slumber, she holds the initiative. We will be slowly forced into the corner and forever live under her shadow."
"Is there nothing you can do to stop it?" Han Shuo felt a little sympathetic to the Quintessence overgods when he looked at the barrier of myriad energies encircling the city.
"The barrier that protects Aethernia comprises all types of energies in this universe. They endlessly collide in a manner that supercedes all complexity. Our Quintessence's power isn't able to help break the barrier. All we can do is watch it destroy one plane after another. The best we can do is to evacuate life from those planes the best we can. But many of them often aren't willing to leave and doubt their planes will get destroyed. Even if we pledge to them with the power of our shrines, many of them start to doubt their faith and end up perishing with their planes. Countless lives were lost over the past aeons and we are gradually getting less and less faith. With enough time, she could end us Twelve even without leaving Aethernia."
"How savage!" He finally understood how desperate the twelve were. It was no wonder the fight for faithful believers was so strong.
"You might not be aware of this, but each plane contains a huge amount of energy which will be unleashed upon its destruction only to be absorbed by Aethernia. That will hasten her recovery. Every time a plane is destroyed, she will recover a portion of her power. Now, she has recovered a third of what she has lost. That's why she's confident she will be able to take care of us soon."
"Why is that so?"
"It's obvious from Aethernia's trajectory. It is on a collision course with Elysium!"
Han Shuo's expression immediately changed. Elysium was the cornerstone of the Twelve Overgods’ survival. That was the area with the densest amount of energy in the entire universe. If it gets destroyed and Aethernia absorbs all that energy, the Overgods would have no hope of ever prevailing.
"It's just as dire as you imagine. The Elysium alone contains more energy than all the planes' she has destroyed combined. She will recover another third of her energy if she succeeds and nobody in this universe will be able to match up to her," the God of Space said with despair.
"How much time do we have left?" Han Shuo asked, understanding the gravity of the situation.
"Around 230 years at the rate Aethernia is moving. We must make the necessary preparations and break the barrier during this time. The battle of the gods also has to conclude before that happens. Otherwise, nobody will be able to escape her!"
"It really is a rather pressing matter..." said a red-skinned man that appeared from a burst of fire. He seemed to be covered in burning flames thanks to the dense fire element that surrounded him and was even hotter than the sun.
"Chartrice, you came too," the God of Space said.
"Fernando, I thought you went into hiding. Looks like you are worried about Aethernia after all." The God of Fire smiled warmly and turned to Han Shuo. "You're Han Shuo, right? I've long been wanting to meet you. I didn't think this would be how the first meeting went, though. Any thoughts of Aethernia's imminent approach?"
Chartrice approached him without reservation as he talked, bringing his heat wave with him. His two avatars almost buckled from the burning sensation. Backing off a little, he turned to Aethernia and smiled. "What else is there to think about but a way to stop it?"
"Assuming there is a way at all," Chartrice said with a mocking smile. He looked at Han Shuoh, seemingly a little disappointed, and turned back to Fernando. "Are we helpless even after so many years? If we could somehow lead Aethernia to another universe, we wouldn't have to wait here like sitting ducks."
"If I had that power, I would've left this universe long ago without caring if the rest of you would survive," Fernando mocked plainly. He didn't seem too happy to see Chartrice.
A giant drop of crystal-clear water then appeared before Han Shuo and surrounded him before he could react. No matter how much he struggled, he wasn't able to break out of it.
A beautiful woman slowly stepped out from the void. Her skin was so clear it was almost see through and a frosty aura came radiating from her. She gave Han Shuo a disdained look as he continued to try breaking out. "Isn't it a little reckless of us to place all of our hopes in someone like this? There's no way he'll be able to break the barrier even if given two millennia!"
"If you had any other ideas, Monroe, by all means give it a try. I will follow your lead if you can break the barrier," Nestor said as he manifested with Cratos and Amon, staring mockingly at the Goddess of Water.
Monroe humphed and withdrew the water that had Han Shuo trapped.