A never-ending army of towers and monuments stood among the black dunes like tombstones in a graveyard, each made from an obsidian-like stone formed from the ashes of crumbled skeletons compacted together. They almost looked like the remains of a forest that endured the strike of a nuclear bomb. In the background, a vast lake of swirling fire stirred in an eternal whirlpool, and every second, Gargoyles were crawling out and shaking themselves off like wet dogs, having been created by the anger and malice humans on Earth.
Underneath the burning sky, huge blocks of this stone were quarried from mountains and under the sands by the slaves of Hell; men, women, and children, all with rags for clothes, emaciated bodies, and iron masks that were clamped around their heads. Moaning in pain as they worked, the slaves moved the van-sized blocks of stone to the monuments being built, all while their Demon masters barked orders in Hellscript and cracked their flaming whips.
Whenever one of the slaves would keel over from exhaustion, the Demons or Gargoyles would gang up on them like vultures on a fresh carcass. Men and boys would be eaten alive, too tired to scream as the flesh was pealed from their bones. Women and girls were raped to death and then their shredded bodies were devoured. After a few minutes, the butchered remains of the slave would regenerate and the damned soul would come back to life, only to be put to work once again. From the millions upon millions of meaningless statues, pyramids, and temples standing in the sands, it was obvious that this had been going on since just about the dawn of man. But now, it was going to change. Having crossed several hundred miles of desert and fought through the creatures of Hell, the followers of Baltoh had come to the final stretch of the Desert of Pride.
In the shadow of a half-finished pyramid, a Demon sitting in a onyx throne on a wooden sled ordered for her slaves to pull faster, shouting in Hellscript and cracking her whip. The Demon’s roar jumped in volume as the sled came to a sudden stop and did not move, no matter how hard she whipped them. Looking up, the she-beast grew pale as she laid eyes on Selene, blocking the way. With a roar, the Demon cracked her flaming whip and sent it straight towards Selene, but before the coil could even snap back, the Demon’s arm and head were sliced off by surprise attack by Molly, who delivered the lethal blow with a powerful swing of her arch blade. The monster only had enough time to give a single dying scream before the top of her skull was sliced off.
Hearing the call of their sister, all the Demons and Gargoyles raised their heads in alertness and cursed as the Crusaders came into view, flying through the sky or galloping across the ground. With their whips in one hand and weapons in the other, the Demons leapt into action with a tidal wave of Gargoyles rising behind them. While the Crusaders, Archangels, and Valkyries slaughtered the Demons by the thousands, Baltoh calmly walked in between the statues and monuments, creating more suits of armor and freeing those he deemed innocent or undeserving of torment. So calm that he might as well have been taking a stroll through the part, he annihilated every Demon that came close without the slightest movement or thought.
Above his head, Selene and the others were decimating the forces of darkness with spell after spell, obliterating the Demons and Gargoyles as fast as they arrived. However, the enemy force was continuously getting reinforcements in the form of new Demons and Gargoyles, always being born. The Gargoyles would crawl out of the Lake of Fire, hungry for carnage, and the newborn Demons would claw their way up from underground, already super intelligent and incredibly deadly.
Barely an hour had passed since the battle began when the signaling roars were heard, letting everyone know that Lucifer had arrived. It seemed that the Hell Prince of Pride wasn’t just going to sit around while his kingdom was destroyed... The Demons and Gargoyles quickly retreated at the sound of his approach, laughing in the confidence that victory was about to be theirs. The battlefield became quiet, save for the roar that had not ended. Yet there were more roars radiating from the background, thick with power and malice.
“Baltoh, what’s going on? Is it another Hell Prince?” Selene asked, landing beside him. Baltoh smiled.
“Not only that, but all of the Masters of Torture. It seems that Tenebrous is throwing everything he has at us.” He replied.
‘Stay calm; after everything you have seen, you know he can handle it.’ Selene thought to herself, fighting the sudden instinctive flare up of terror as she remembered the power of the Master of Torture that Baltoh had fought and was nearly killed by. Even Baltoh suddenly showed a look of surprise.
“I don’t believe it, there couldn’t be that many. It seems the Masters of Torture are not as rare and few in number as I thought. There are at least a hundred of them approaching with Lucifer, each with their own Goliath steed. He must have created them himself or used his powers to forcefully bond the essences of Demons to form them. All together, I must say that their power is quite amazing.” Baltoh pondered, rubbing his chin with the metal plates on the backs of his fingers and hand catching the light.
“How powerful are they?” Selene gasped, barely able to suppress her fear. Baltoh inclined his head as he tried to read their approaching power levels.
“If they all combined their power into a single explosion, it would be the size of a solar system.” He shrugged. Selene’s panting was heavy as she struggled to comprehend such a colossal amount of energy, but her mind was just unable to fathom the size of such an explosion.
“Tell everyone to fall back to the edge of the desert; you’ll be out of harm’s way but you should be able to watch what is going on.” Baltoh said with a hint of seriousness in his voice. He slowly began to levitate, rising up into the air before Selene stopped him, grasping his hand with her helmet open and a look of great worry and fear on her face.
“Baltoh, is it possible for even someone like you to withstand such and attack? Can you win this battle?” She asked desperately, knowing that the upcoming clash was beyond her comprehension.
With a smile, Baltoh lowered himself down without actually touching the ground. He lifted her chin and kissed her, brushing her fears aside.
“Selene, I made you a Valkyrie because that I know that you have more faith in me than anyone else in existence. What does your faith tell you?” He whispered. Selene hesitated.
“That you will win.” She sighed, having regained her confidence.
“Good. Now don’t worry about me, just kick back and watch the show. I think its time I finally got some exercise.” He said, placing one last kiss on her forehead before shooting up into the sky.
“Everyone retreat! Go back to the ocean!” Selene shouted with a smile on her face.
“Selene, what’s going on?” Molly hollered, wiping the Demon blood off her cleaver.
“Baltoh is going to take care of everything. He just wants us out of the way so that he can finally let loose!” Selene replied. Molly gained a wide smile of excitement, eager to see what power Baltoh would unleash.
“Everyone go back to the ocean! We have to get out of here! Master Baltoh is going to fight!” Rosemary shouted, having overheard them.
While almost everyone wanted to stay and see the clash, Baltoh’s orders were obeyed and a full retreat was set in motion, with everyone fleeing as fast as they could so that the battle would begin soon. With the help of spells from the Valkyries and Archangels, all the Crusaders zipped across almost half of a thousand miles of desert in a second and appeared at the edge of the inky Sea of Envy.
“Angel Art: Heavenly View.” Gabriel cast, holding up his hands. Like a massive movie screen, a canvas made of pure light appeared in the sky above the crowd of millions with a real-time view of Baltoh at the battlefield. He was hovering in the sky, watching the black clouds stir in the distance.
Everyone suddenly covered their ears as a deafening roar rang out, far louder than the one that had been sent out before, even with the distance that had been traveled. Covering their ears, everyone looked up at the screen as the Masters of Torture arrived, riding on the backs of Goliaths as they escorted the Hell Prince of Pride. Like Satan and Leviathan, Lucifer towered above all else, able to easily kill a Goliath with a single swat of his hand and destroy a mountain with a sweep of his tail.
Lucifer was built differently from the other Hell Princes so far encountered, as his body had more of a reptilian-draconic build and form to it, and instead of one head, he had seven. The seven humanoid heads each stood at the end of a long powerful neck, with each head lacking eyes or a nose but instead having pointed ears and shark-like teeth. Six of the heads each had a horn protruding from the top of their head with a crown looped around it like a ring, but the seventh head had four of each. Lucifer’s whole body had a much more revolting appearance the other Hell Princes’, for instead of scales or hair, his flesh consisted entirely of exposed necrotic muscle, grotesque and dark like a burn wound that had completely pealed away the flesh and singed the muscles underneath.
His long bladed tail swishing from side to side with excitement and his wings keeping him aloft without a single flap, Lucifer looked at Baltoh without any eyes and began to laugh.
“So the terrorist returns. You, you have always been a thorn in my side and the hindrance in the growth of my armies. I have been hunting you ever since you were born, but always would you jump to Earth before I could end you once and for all. But now, it seems like you are finally ready to die.” He boomed, grinning with each lipless head.
“It seems that you do not know about Satan and Leviathan.” Baltoh sighed with his arms crossed. Lucifer just gave another laugh.
“Oh, I know alright. You put those weaklings in their place and ended their pathetic lives once and for all. Don’t think that scares me, I could have killed them with all seven heads cut off. I, I am the strongest of the Hell Princes! It is why I am the own who commands the Ash Fields and rules over the Demons and the Masters of Torture! In the rank of Hell, only the almighty Lord Tenebrous has greater power than myself! And even if you kill me, then he will just create more Hell Princes with a snap of his fingers! You’re in our world traitor, there is no way you can win!” He cackled, all seven faces pointing to the sky.
“For someone who is so confident and sure of himself, you sure brought a lot of minions.” Baltoh remarked, looking around as the Masters of Torture and Goliaths around and behind Lucifer. This only drew another laugh from the Hell Prince.
“After I was cast out of Heaven, I learned to be cautious and became wiser. I won’t make the same obvious mistake that the others made.” He said.
Six of the seven heads then looked in opposite directions, each spitting out a Horror Obelisk like a missile and lodging them at the edges of the battlefield. The seventh head looked straight up and opened its jaws, and six triangular daggers reached out of the back of its throat and opened up like a blossoming flower with a sphere of darkness hovering in the center.
“FORCES OF HELL, LEND ME YOUR STRENGTH!” He bellowed as the six Horror Obelisks all caused the power of Lucifer and his minions to skyrocket.
Raising their swords, all the Masters of Torture began channeling their energy straight towards the sphere of darkness above his seventh head, while channeling the power of their Goliath mounts through their own bodies. With the power of a hundred Masters of Torture and Goliaths pumping through his veins, all with their strength multiplied by the Horror Obelisks, Lucifer’s energy levels more than doubled past what Baltoh had expected. The Celestial Avatar gained a look of surprise as he felt the Hell Prince’s power levels skyrocket without any sign of stopping. If it weren’t for the fact that Tenebrous already possessed it, Lucifer could very well acquire the Throne of Hell through such a powerful combination.
At the beach of the Sea of Envy, everyone struggled to breath and stay on their feet as Lucifer’s power levels weighed down upon them like an entire ocean. Finally, a great eye opened in the center of Lucifer’s chest, jet-black with a bright red ten-pointed star for a pupil.
“I see you…” He said, staring at Baltoh.
While Baltoh was surprised, he was far from alarmed. In fact, he was already bored.
“Are you going to attack or not, because I don’t want all of that stretching I did to have been for nothing.” He grumbled.
With a roar in reply, Lucifer opened the jaws of one of his heads and launched an Apocalypse Eruption, several times more powerful than Satan and Leviathan’s. This time, the natural force field that stood around Baltoh was not strong enough to keep the blast at bay. Raising it to eye-level, he blocked the ray with the back of his hand, hovering in that same spot with the beam being deflected and washing over him like a vacuum behind a moving vehicle. Lurching forward, Lucifer strengthened the blast, making Baltoh grit his teeth from the sudden shove. This certainly was surprising; not only was the power truly worlds apart from Satan and Leviathan, but the fact that he was able to launch so much power with just one of his heads was a bad omen, as Baltoh originally figured that he would need all seven heads together to form and manipulate the energy.
The blast ended and Baltoh’s eyes widened as Lucifer’s throat met his view, the Hell Prince having pounced while Baltoh was blinded by the blast. Teleporting, Baltoh reappeared at a seemingly safe distance but was forced to teleport again as one of Lucifer’s heads reached out and tried to grab him. Keeping his distance, Baltoh reappeared at the edge of the battlefield and flicked the air with his finger, releasing a concentrated shockwave that was as powerful as a meteor impact. Lucifer was thrown back with ripples traveling through his body but didn’t seem to be suffering from a single popped vein or broken bone.
‘That hit should have ripped off all his heads and splattered him like a paint balloon. It seems that his power isn’t the only thing that has been enhanced…’ Baltoh thought to himself.
“Demon Art: Mutilation Mutation!” Lucifer howled.
Opening the jaws of one of his heads, Lucifer shot out his tongue like a frog, sending the tendril flying towards Baltoh faster than a high-caliber bullet. Warping in the air, the tongue mutated and changed in shape, covering itself in blades of bone. With a switch of his eye, Baltoh fired an invisible blade of vertical energy, slicing the appendage in half down the middle. Undeterred by the injury, the two halves of the tongue went in opposite directions and then converged on him.
With another twitch of his eye, Baltoh launched a horizontal blade, slicing off the split portions of the tongue. Lucifer showed no signs of feeling any pain, and with a whiplash, four new tendrils grew out of the bleeding tip of the severed tongue. Baltoh teleported as the four bladed tendrils tried to grab him and reappeared to the side, launching another blade and severing the tongue. To the sound of Lucifer’s booming laugh, eight new quivering tentacles burst out the bleeding stump.
“Just as I thought, a Hydra affect. Tch, what a nuisance.” Baltoh scoffed as he raised his hand.
“Celestial Art: Star Birth.” He announced, pointing his finger at the head with the bothersome tongues.
A small sphere of red light shot from the tip of his finger, flying over to Lucifer and entering his skull. In a deafening roar and a blinding flash, the head was ripped apart by a miniature nuclear explosion. Lucifer roared in agony from the destruction of his head, but within seconds, the singed flesh could be seen quivering and regenerated as the head was slowly formed.
“Celestial Art: Woodland Prison.” Baltoh cast, clasping his hands together.
On a scale never before seen in the history of the universe, a colossal tree burst out of the ground beside Lucifer and began growing at a phenomenal rate, forming a ring around the Hell Prince while branches grew out from the interior and grabbed his limbs, wings, and heads. The tree was so large that it had more than three times the flora biomass as the Amazon jungle.
With a roar, Lucifer opened up his next head and vomited up a waterfall of black sludge, pouring from between his jaws slowly like hot tar. The sludge poured down onto his restraints, instantly causing the wood to turn grey with death and deteriorate as if through hastened decomposition. Baltoh sighed in annoyance and Lucifer opened the jaws of his fourth head.
“Demon Art: Extinction Tombstone Summoning!” He bellowed, launching totems from his throat like a machine gun.
These totems were different from the Horror Obelisks and Inferno Abysses, with an Egyptian-style obelisk that towered at thirty feet in height, surrounded on all four sides by human skeletons frozen in a look of desperation as they reached for the top of the spire. Upon their landing, the obelisks all detonated into a vast mushroom cloud of fire, dwarfing the most powerful atomic explosion with their combined power. Baltoh was in the center of the burning hurricane with his arms crossed and a look of boredom on his face. Back at the Sea of Envy, everyone was watching the scene with looks of awe and fear, waiting for their savior to reveal himself.
“Celestial Art: Absolute Zero!” Baltoh finally shouted out.
The explosion came to a complete and utter halt as every atom within its perimeter sank to −459.67° F, the temperature in which matter loses the ability to move. All the expanding gasses and dust in the explosion were literally frozen in time. Baltoh ended the spell and all the matter in the explosion suddenly dissipated or fell back down to the ground like a sandstorm with the sudden loss of the wind, having been drained of all momentum and energy. Everyone on the coast looked at the screen raised his or her hands and cheered as Baltoh was revealed, completely unharmed.
‘Power absorption, transformation, summoning, poisonous acid, and energy blasts. If my theory is correct, the last two heads each have their own unique power.’ Baltoh pondered.
“Demon Art: Phantasm Nightmare!” Lucifer bellowed with his fifth head.
Shimmering like a hologram, Lucifer slowly dematerialized, completely disappearing. Even his siphoning of energy from the Masters of Torture and Goliaths came to an end. Baltoh scowled as the Hell Prince completely disappeared, not just from view, but from all other senses. He couldn’t hear him, smell him, feel his energy, or otherwise find any trace of his energy throughout Hell, Cinereo, or Heaven. Whatever it was, he was somehow masking himself from even Baltoh’s divine-level senses.
“Tenebrous, this ability is definitely his doing. Only another god could create a power to block my senses…” Baltoh muttered.
“Right you are!” Lucifer howled as he reappeared behind Baltoh and snapped him up like a whale catching a fly. Everyone watching the battle gasped in horror, believing the battle to be over, but the Valkyries and Archangels all had confident smiles, knowing that Baltoh wouldn’t be caught dead losing to a pitiful attack.
“Celestial Art: Universal Plague!” Baltoh called out from inside Lucifer’s mouth.
A minute after the announcement of the spell, Lucifer released Baltoh and howled in pain. Everyone watching the screen of light back at the sea squinted to figure out what was going on and gained smiles of relief and joy as it became obvious. Lucifer was swinging his fifth head wildly as his teeth and flesh slowly melted away, being devoured and ripped apart by a green moss-like material. It was a flesh-eating virus Baltoh had created, one that had a particularly strong appetite for Demon flesh and Demon energy. With all the power in Lucifer’s body, he was the ultimate feast for the cellular creatures.
Sliding out from between the jaws of sixth head, Lucifer drew a long dagger-like blade of red and black steel and used it so sever the infected head before the virus could spread. Baltoh analyzed the sword closely, sensing its ability before it was even used.
“A sword that seals spirits with which it cuts, a very handy power when fighting Demons and Archangels. But I should warn you now, that blade will have no more affect on me than any of your other powers. I have transcended far past the point where I need or have a “spirit”.” He said.
With a roar of frustration, Lucifer cast a spell of healing to repair his heads and then brought all seven together. With the heads forming a ring and each looking in the center, a sphere of red and black energy began to form, rumbling with instability. The Masters of Torture and Goliaths were struggling to breathe as they pumped every drop of energy they had into Lucifer while he charged the sphere. After only a few seconds, it was in a whole other league from the Apocalypse Eruption, great enough to possibly rip a hole between dimensions or cause the collapse of all of Hell.
“I grow tired of your feeble attempts to harm me. It is time that I moved on and got back to work.” Baltoh groaned.
“I WILL ANNIHILATE YOU!” Lucifer screamed as the sphere reached critical mass.
“Please, the most powerful Hell Prince is no more a danger to me than the most powerful bacteria. Allow me to show you the true power of a god.” He said, causing the desert to shake as his power began to radiate out.
“Celestial Art: Galactic Judgment. Celestial Art: Universal Sculptor.” He said with a deep haunting voice as he raised his hand.
Up in the sky, a sphere of pure black matter materialized, as large as a mountain and more ominous than the scout of an approaching army. Everyone watching the battle, be it Crusader or Master of Torture, gazed at the sphere and gasped in disbelief as they realized what it was. Even Lucifer was filled with unparalleled awe and fear. It was a black hole; a literal orb of matter so dense and heavy that the atoms compacted within was done so in a way that went beyond human understanding. It was a beacon, the end of all reason and arguing. It was as absolute as it was foreboding. The only reason why it wasn’t causing the complete and total destruction of the planet from the inside out was that Baltoh was using the Universal Sculptor spell to shape the laws of physics themselves, allowing him to change or deactivate them however he wanted.
“I would hold on if I were you.” Baltoh said as he allowed the black hole’s gravitational pull to spill out in a small controlled release.
In a roar so loud that it was heard throughout all of Hell, every grain of sand within the black desert and every drop of the liquid flames in the Lake of Fire were pulled up towards the quantum singularity. Every grain of sand from every single human spirit that crumbled away within the dunes from all across time was pulled into the darkness and destroyed. Back at the coast, everyone cursed in disappointment as a cloud of surging black sand blocked his or her view like a TV buzzing with static. Reluctantly, Lucifer reabsorbed the power of his spell and distributed it back to himself and his followers, granting them the strength to cast shields strong enough to protect them from the gravitational pull.
After twenty minutes in which nobody moved, the last grains of sand and drops of liquid fire were absorbed, revealing the landscape below. There were massive temples and altars, adorned with bronze statues of Angels and Archangels. Radiating from the temples like ripples in a pond, towns of sandstone had been built, with coliseums, forums, theaters, and rows of houses from mansions to huts. It was an entire web of cities.
“Damn it, I can’t move.” Lucifer cursed, barely able to speak. He wasn’t the only one cursed; every Master of Torture and Goliath was paralyzed by Baltoh’s spell.
“I didn’t want you moving around and interrupting my finale. Now, learn the true difference between our strengths and let regret be the final emotion that you experience as you die.” Baltoh said with a deep authoritative voice as he clapped his hands together.
Up above the desert devoid of sand, the black hole shattered into tens of billions of marbles, all made from the super-dense material. While altering their gravitational affects and nature, Baltoh spread out the marbles across the sky, holding them above the battlefield with each weighing as much as a whole star. With the laws of physics altered, Baltoh released the cloud of marbles down onto Lucifer and his minions. Falling like indestructible meteorites, the super-dense super-heavy marbles rained down without mercy, piercing the Hell Prince and each Demon uncountable times, each experiencing an execution like twenty loads of birdshot being fired simultaneously at pointblank range.
Lucifer, the Masters of Torture, and the Goliaths didn’t even have time to scream as their bodies were pierced tens of millions of times, each filled with more holes than a dish sponge. From the speed and power of the falling marbles, aerosolized Demon blood filled the air and flesh, muscle, and bone were shredded as if in a blender. Upon contact with the ground, a vast dust cloud was thrown up as the marbles drilled through the soil, bedrock, and endless layers of stone, using only their weight and momentum. The smoke eventually cleared, and not a single trace of Baltoh’s enemies could be found. In place of the battlefield, a massive pit had been carved into Hell, deepening every second as the blanket of black hole marbles basically burned through the land.
Baltoh was greeted with thunderous applause upon the return of his followers, all cheering and clapping from his legendary defeat of the Hell Prince and a small army of Goliath-level Demons. The Crusaders were all jumping up and down like kids on a trampoline, the Archangels were clapping as loudly as possible (even Gabriel was clapping), and Selene, Molly, and Rosemary pounced on him as if desperate to fuck.
“Baltoh, that was amazing!” Molly exclaimed, truly beginning to see just how powerful Baltoh really was.
“Thank you, that means a lot. But the true challenge was staving off boredom.” He joked before pulling her close and giving her a long passionate kiss.
“Baltoh, what is this place?” Selene asked, looking around at the network of Rome-like cities scattered across the city. Baltoh smile gained a sad tinge.
“These cities are remnants from the age before Tenebrous, when Hell was under the jurisdiction and control of Jehovah and Heaven. The Angels and Archangels lived here while they worked, punishing the sinners that were cast into this realm for their crimes. Originally, there were hundreds of these cities scattered across Hell, like the forts that dotted the Roman border walls that served as small towns for soldiers. These settlements were all inhabited before Tenebrous gained the Throne of Hell and took it over, turning it into a realm of Demons.” He sighed.
“Well Master, with the Ash Fields and the Lake of Fire destroyed, at least you won’t see too many Demons and Gargoyles.” Rosemary mused, relighting Baltoh’s smile before he turned to his Crusaders.
“Crusaders! Soldiers! Listen to me!” He called, using his powers to increase the power of his voice so that everyone would hear him. The armored followers all became silent, eagerly awaiting the next order from their commander.
“I am proud of all of you, you have all helped me reclaim Hell in the name of light and justice. However, you cannot follow me past this point, as my next destination is the Dunes of Sloth. You are all to return to the Sea of Envy, the City of Wrath, the Burning Pastures and the rest of the Ash Fields, and continue freeing innocent souls. I know the next circle very well, and believe me when I say that it is better if I bring as few people as possible.” He commanded, drawing hushed muttering and frustration from his followers.
“This is not a lot to ask. While we have already moved through three circles of Hell, the area we’ve actually covered and the number of innocent souls is miniscule compared to the entirety of this planet. There is still a lot of work to be done in the areas we’ve crossed. If you truly wish to assist me in my journey, you will do as I say.” He established.
Cursing in disappointment and frustration, the loyal Crusaders obeyed Baltoh’s orders and turned around, going back to do a second sweep of the crossed land. Baltoh then turned to Selene and the others.
“How about we go exploring?” He suggested.
Baltoh walked down the streets of the abandoned city, peering into the homes and buildings as he sampled the lost culture. Selene, Molly, Rosemary, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael were the only ones with him, the rest of the Archangels having left with the Crusaders to help fight any Goliaths of Masters of Torture that might be encountered. They were closely following him, trying to figure out his true reasoning for sending away the abandoned armies. Stepping into an abandoned home, Baltoh picked up an Angel statue made of Hellsilver, several times older than he was. Everyone was watching him, wondering how he could be so carefree.
“Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, you should all be paying more attention to your surroundings. After all, contrary to what you’ve been told in Heaven, you are in the former habitation of your predecessors. Humanity is far older than you know, and the Archangels that came before you are the ones who were born because of them.” He remarked without turning around.
“Couldn’t we just skip the next desert and keep going through Hell?” Molly asked.
“Unfortunately, no. Remember those laws that I said even I couldn’t break? One of them controls movement through Hell; you can only move from one circle by crossing through the others between you and your destination. Basically, as far as crossing over through the dimensions with Angel powers go, you can only jump back and forth between different areas of the circle that you left from. It’s why we had to actually enter Hell and why I didn’t just go straight to Tenebrous. And even worse, the Dunes of Sloth have even more rules; no teleportation at all, no flying or even jumping long distances, and no super-speed. The only way to cross the desert is on foot. As long as Tenebrous exists, so will those rules; they simply cannot be broken as long as we are on his turf.” Baltoh said as he placed the statue back down.
“So you’re saying that we have to walk across the entire circle?” Michael asked, already feeling his feet hurt.
“But that still doesn’t explain why we can’t take the Crusaders with us. If we are traveling on foot, why can’t they follow?” Selene inquired.
“Rosemary, I believe you can explain this.” Baltoh said as he read a sign placed on the side of the building, taking a second to decipher the strange dialect of Enochian.
“The Dunes of Sloth have another name, they are known as the Desert of the Lost. It’s a shifting sea of sand that can hide and reveal anything at any time. It also causes hallucinations. If we took our army in there, we would be lucky to come out with ten percent.” Rosemary said with a nod.
“The Desert of the Lost is of a very unique classification of levels of Hell, in that the Hell Prince is the land itself. Belphegor, the Hell Prince of Sloth, is no longer a physical being. Instead, his spirit is fused with the Desert of the Lost, meaning that entering the area basically means entering his mind. He is no longer sentient, his mind moves far to slowly to form thoughts, but his energy and oppressive existence are still rich and powerful. The Demon and Gargoyle population in the desert is impossible to measure, as they can be swallowed by the sands and buried for centuries before finally resurfacing. Though there should be little to no chance of being attacked.” He said.
Baltoh stood in a small cavern chamber, gazing with almost a sad look on his face. The walls were decorated with trinkets and artifacts, ranging from bronze goblets, daggers, and flint-lock pistols, to rings, flasks and watches, all ranging across time on Earth and each tens of thousands of Hell years old. They were resting in shelves hand-carved into the stone. Hanging from the ceiling like stalactites were strips of clothing, chainmail, and even armor. A hammock was strung up across the chamber, made from trees from the Isle of the Damned. The cave entrance looked out over the Desert of the Lost from a towering mountain spire in the very outskirts of the wasteland. Her wings fluttering loudly, Selene landed by the cave entrance and stepped inside, looking around in amazement.
“Is this your home?” She asked.
“Yes, whenever I grew weary of battle, I would come here to sleep. I picked this cave because the Dunes of Sloth are the last place anyone would dare look for me. Even Masters of Torture and Goliaths are afraid of forever becoming lost in the sands. But luckily, it’s just close enough to the Desert of Pride so that I can find it and leave it easily. Though that’s not to say to say I didn’t get lost occasionally.” He chuckled as he ran his fingers through the strips of fabric hanging from the ceiling.
Selene picked up an old pocket watch from one of the shelves carved into the wall. It looked so fragile ancient that she held it and touched it as if were made of sand. She gently and carefully opened it, gazing upon a picture of beautiful woman. The glass face of the watch was so cloudy and scratched that the hands and numbers were invisible and the picture was faded to such extent that Selene couldn’t even figure out the woman’s hair color. The woman looked more like a half-completed sketch.
“Are these really-” She began
“Yes, these my personal belongings. Or to be more accurate, they are the belongings of the people that I am made of. When people come to Hell, they bring everything they had on them at the time of their death. Knights, soldiers, cops, executioners, fathers, sons, brothers… Their combined spirits and wills created me. Ever since I was born, I’ve been searching every corner of Hell for their belongings, trying to understand who I am and who I was. I guess that my quest has prevented my nonstop Demon massacre from driving me insane.” Baltoh sighed as he sat down on the hammock, making it creek.
“Damn, it feels like it’s been years since I’ve been here. But considering the flow of time in Hell, I guess it has. It always surprises me when I come back from the human world and find this place still standing and undisturbed.” He said as he looked at the woven branches of the hammock, remembering the time and skill it took to make and flashing back to each individual part.
Selene had a warm smile on her face, getting a unique satisfaction at seeing Baltoh finally experiencing something as human as nostalgia. Walking over, she leaned down and kissed him.
“Come on baby, everyone’s waiting down below. We still have a job to do.” She whispered
With chains linking them together, the group of seven marched through the desert. Baltoh didn’t take any chances, he refused to risk losing anyone to the sands. The going was far slower than anyone had expected. Marching across sandy dunes is difficult, but unlike the dunes back on Earth, the towering hills of sand did not stay still. Rolling slowly but ceaselessly, the dunes rose and fell like waves on the choppy ocean, meaning that walking a straight line and staying balanced was impossible. Everyone gave the mental order for their armor to disappear, greatly lightening their weight and making the arduous trek easier, but it was still a cursed challenge.
It wasn’t long before Raphael became fed up with the impossible march and tried to fly. Ignoring what Baltoh had said earlier, he jumped into the air and began flapping his wings, but after rising five off he ground, he completely flipped over in the air and fell back into the sand. He came up sputtering in shock, wishing he had been wearing his airtight helm as he spat out a mouthful of sand.
“What the Hell happened?” He asked, getting back to his feet with his whole body shaking.
“As I explained earlier, flying is not permitted. Once you take off, you immediately flip over so that the ground becomes the sky. This desert is thick with reality-bending rules that not even I may break. I can’t even cast a spell because it will immediately disappear and reappear in the space around the planet. If I were to try and remove the desert with a black hole like I did before, it would appear in space above the Isle of the Damned and most likely devour the planet.” Baltoh said, demonstrating by creating a sphere of water in his hand, only for it to disappear in a lightless flash.
“So how are we supposed to get through this?” Molly asked.
“We must persevere. Be patient and don’t let your resolve to keep moving waver. If we keep walking, we will pass through this desert without any trouble. Don’t worry, I may not be able to cast any spells, but I am more than capable of guiding us across and out. Don’t worry, in this desert, time bends in ways that can never be predicted.” Baltoh reassured before continuing on, climbing up the back of a sand dune that was moving away from them like a slow-moving wave from a huge cargo ship.
The chain connecting them all suddenly jerked as Selene jumped back in fear and shock. Like a tsunami pulling back and exposing the ocean floor, the receding dune had lowered the sand level and exposed what was underneath it. There was a group of people, plastered with sandstone into unmoving statues with looks of miserable agony on their faces and their arms outstretched, as if desperate for help. Before they could be more closely studied, everyone was lifted up and the statues were buried as a new sand dune rolled in beneath their feet.
“Sorry, that just scared the crap out me.” She panted as she stood up.
“What were they?” Rosemary asked.
“Damned souls, just like all the other people in Hell. The Desert of the Lost serves as the prison for four kinds of sinners; suicide victims that denied themselves life itself and wallowed in their pain, lazy worthless parasites that helped no one, cowards that allowed crimes and tragedies occur because they couldn’t overcome their own desire for self-preservation, and obsessive shut-ins that devoted their lives to one thing and shut out everyone and anything else. Their crime is simple: they denied themselves the world and chose to live in darkness. Now they are trapped in this desert, forever experiencing their pain from life in an endless cycle while their minds are forever bombarded by the mind-poisoning power of Belphegor.
Suicide victims and people who brought forth their own misery and sadness into their minds are played their lives over and over again beneath the sands, sloths and cowards are turned into statues while they suffer because they moved so rarely when they were alive or stood by and allowed tragedies to take place to protect themselves, and those who were obsessed in life and turned away from the world lose all their senses. They all suffer for their half-lived lives, all the while, Belphegor floods their minds and souls with misery, self-loathing, and hopelessness, like the opposite of an antidepressant. It is a terrible fate, one that truly stings my heart when I think about it. But we will not be able to help any of them until we defeat Tenebrous and remove him from power, so we must continue onward.
Everyone be careful, as your minds may very well become your worst enemies out here.” Baltoh explained as the statues revealed themselves once more before again being swallowed by the sandy sea.
For a completely immeasurable amount of time, the group marched onward through the desert, but the going never got easier. More time was spent waiting for a dune to pass beneath their feet than actually spent walking. As they delved deeper and deeper into desert, everyone but Baltoh began feeling the affects of Belphegor’s power seeping into their minds, causing each of them to experience nearly-crippling despair, ranging from mind-numbing fear to nauseating anxiety and traumatic flashbacks.
In the back, Gabriel was staring at Baltoh with contempt, filled with shame, anger, and jealousy. Baltoh had always been his sworn enemy, even when they fought together against the Demons. He thought he had finally let go of his hatred when he came to Hell, but now it was returning. He always believed he would surpass Baltoh and be the one to kill him, but the bastard was always stronger than him, wiping the floor with the Archangel in every fight, and now he was a god, spitting in the face of everything Gabriel stood for and believed in. The only thing greater than his hatred was his shame, shame that he allowed himself to fall so far and Baltoh tor rise so high. As his focus on Baltoh grew and grew, his sight began to blur and his hearing became muffled.
Next in line was Raphael, he too experiencing mental turmoil as he mulled over everything he had seen Baltoh do and heard him say. He had been right every time, shaking Raphael’s belief to its core. The fact that he had transcended to the Throne of Cinereo and could control both light and darkness as well as the power of the cosmos proved that there was a level of divine power that could be achieved, one in which the God he worshipped and obeyed had won instead of being born with. Then there were the cities that stood in the former Ash Fields, formerly inhabited by his predecessors when Hell was different. He had always been told that Jehovah created Heaven, Hell, and Earth and brought forth life. But now, here was Baltoh saying that Tenebrous, a deity of equal power to Jehovah, came later and managed to steal Hell from the Angels themselves. And Baltoh, not only could he create spirits like Jehovah and Tenebrous could create Archangels and Demons, but he could create actual life, giving entities two life times in existence. Was this why Angels and Archangels fell and became Gargoyles and Demons? Did they lose their faith in Jehovah because they new the truth that not even he had been told? Could he ever face Jehovah and live after everything he knew had been broken? As he pondered these questions, sand began to cling to his skin and clothes, slowly hardening like plaster.
Everyone fell as the sand dune beneath them gave way, revealing a crowd of people, entombed in stone with looks of misery on their faces as they reached upwards. With the ground lowering, everyone was basically dropped onto the rough jagged statues. Everyone but Baltoh winced as they landed on the sharp protruding statues, almost impaled by something which would normally not even be enough to cause harm. As another dune picked them up, everyone got back onto their feet and continued marching.
Ahead in the chain was Michael, shaking his head from side to side while he walked, feeling like his numerous piercings weighed ten pounds. In his mind, he began to ponder the possibility that he would not survive this journey through Hell, or even through this desert. He had seen Baltoh slaughter the Hell Princes like flies, he had seen armies of Crusaders rise up and free the innocent souls of Hell, and he had seen the impossible become common. But now a mere desert was making Baltoh, a real god in the flesh, practically powerless. They had made it so far through Hell, but now the true power of its darkness was being viewed. Here, they were in the belly of the beast, trying to face the god of darkness while literally walking through his greatest advantage.
‘It has to be a trap; Tenebrous must be luring us. There is no way it could be this easy. All he has to do is snap his fingers and create an army of Hell Princes to kill us while he and Baltoh fight in an unavoidable stalemate. Even now, we’re completely helpless against him! There is no way we can win, we never should have come here! We have to get out!’ He thought to himself, beginning the panic and completely unaware of the hard sandstone slowly forming on his clothes.
Next in line was Molly, who felt so sick that she almost expected to throw up. While she walked, her mind had begun to wander, and against her will, it strayed into a zone that she had forbidden herself to look into. Memories of her torture and death at the hands of the Demons back in New York were seeping into her subconscious like ink on white fabric. She had shed her mortal body and had one that held no scars of her torment, she had come to terms with what had happened to her as something that had no affect on her Angel body, and she had even been intimate and found love, yet she could not shake away a sickening feeling like it had just happened. She felt more like she had escaped from them and was running for her life, naked, bloody, and sobbing from her experience in some twisted scene created by her subconscious.
‘What the Hell is wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? I’m supposed to have moved on, but it all feels so fresh and recent. Maybe something really is wrong with me. I allowed myself to be used as a sex toy by Selene and Baltoh, I was turned into a fuck-slave by those monsters, and right after I die, the first thing I do to deal with getting raped is I go have sex again. Oh god, what the fuck is wrong with me?! I’m nothing but a desperate whore, getting used by everyone and doing nothing about it! I’m pathetic!’ She thought to herself, suddenly filled with self-loathing and depression as her mind began replaying her torment in vivid detail over and over again, all while her body moved like a puppet on strings.
Nearby, the rolling sand dune passed and revealed the skull of a Bleak, fully buried and still alive. Its red eyes glowing, the conglomerate of Sinners roared and managed to free his arm, desperately reaching out to try and grab them, only for it to be pulled back under the sandy tides. No one paid any attention to it, as it was gone as quickly as it had appeared.
Connected to the chain and walking in front of Molly was Rosemary, struggling to move through the dunes while she kept her eyes fixated on Selene and Baltoh before her. Her heart felt like a cold stone in her chest, yet doubt and despair was pumping through her veins. Not too long ago, she had been intimate with the man she had always adored, but it was not how she had always expected it. Instead of a romantic bond of love, she gave into her deep, dark, shameful desires and he took advantage of her, fucking her like a desperate crack-whore or a kidnap victim with her so submissive and degenerative that she would have allowed a group of strangers to gang bang her on his slightest whim. Then, after that bond was made, he reduced her to one of his concubines, using her as just an ingredient in an orgy, where she threw herself and obeyed the women she envied and lusted for. She had given up everything she was for a man who would use her as one of his sexual playthings, and she would forever be too eager and willing to change it. She wasn’t his lover, she was his property.
With each step she took, these twisted lies were repeated in her mind. The desert was making her delusional and filling her with self-loathing and sorrow, and just like Molly, she was buying into it. Between her and Baltoh, Selene was struggling with her own emotions.
No matter how hard she tried to shake it off, she could not rid herself of her fear, fear of the future. She was only a few feet from Baltoh, yet she had never felt farther or more isolated. What would their relationship be like after this was all over? How long could it possibly last? Were their feelings for each other, strong as they were, as fleeting and fragile as her old human life? Had the openness she felt for orgies and letting him fuck other women been her subconscious trying to tell her that the way she felt wasn’t real? That their love was nothing more than sex wrapped in a thin veil of false emotions? Even if their love was strong, was it possible to go back to the way it had been before?
She had used to think that God loved humans and loved his Archangels, but after listening to Baltoh and hearing that God couldn’t care less and didn’t bother to get involved, she couldn’t help but wonder if that was the same fate she and Baltoh would share. Baltoh was now divine; he was an almighty deity. What hope did she have of being able to keep the interest of someone who could shape the universe itself? How could she keep the attention of someone who could create life and change reality? With such a vast difference between them, was there even a chance of maintaining their love, or would this be like a teenage girl trying to maintain a relationship with a boy who had just become the ruler of another country that she could never go to?
As she pondered these questions over and over, her body was flooded with desperation. She was so terrified of the prospect of the end of their relationship that her whole body was trembling and she could not keep tears from running down her cheeks. With her senses beginning to fade, she reached out to touch him, as if to figure out if he was really there or was just a mirage.
‘Baltoh, I don’t want to be without you. I can’t live without you in my life. You’re the only man I’ve ever loved; you’ve shown me more and made me happier than I ever dreamed. My entire world has been completely reshaped all because of you and my love for you. If we drift apart, then nothing will ever make me happy again. If we drift apart, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from taking my own-‘ She whispered in her mind before being interrupted by Baltoh coming to a sudden stop. Everyone halted, wondering what was going on. Without turning to them, he began to speak.
“Gabriel, while our powers may not have been equal, you were my rival and I always respected you and what you stood for. I only wanted you to know the truth and I’m glad we can finally be friends, because your dedication was so much like mine that we could have been like brothers. I have always regretted that he had to be enemies instead of allies.
Raphael, even if your faith is lost, don’t lose yourself. Don’t give up because what you learn about the world, shape your own world around what you learn. Even if what you once believed is false, your mission, your duty, and your identity are as true as they’ve always been.
Michael, I swear to you that we will all get out of here. I will never leave anyone behind and I refuse to ever let anyone die again under my watch. If we are powerless, it is not because of this desert, but because we lost faith in ourselves. That is where true strength comes from; resolve and confidence.
Molly, you are far stronger than you give yourself credit. It is unheard of for an Angel to recover from scars in life as quickly as you did, meaning you truly have a spirit that always burns brightly. Do not be ashamed because you sought comfort in the form of intimacy, as that only means you were too strong to let your death slow you down and ruin your future. You truly are strong and it’s why I love you.
Rosemary, a day won’t go by where I won’t cherish you and be happy for the bond we share. I’m sorry that I couldn’t give you exactly what you wanted, but everything I did when we were together, I did because I thought it would satisfy you. You are important to me, and I will always keep you in my heart and love you. I love you Rosemary, I know you’ve always wanted to hear me say those words, and I’m sorry I didn’t say them sooner.
And Selene…” He said before finally turning around with a warm smile.
“Even with my godly powers, there is no way for me to properly express how much I love you and how I always will. I could take every star in the universe and write a poem in the sky, describing my devotion to you, but I would still consider it a failure to show you depth of my love. I could create a planet with life, solely for the purpose of allowing a species to evolve until it is able to make a sound so beautiful that I would use it to make a symphony to try and let you know how happy you make me, but it would never be good enough. Selene, I love you with all my heart, the heart that I have only because of you.” He said softly.
The power of his words instantly took affect, eliminating all mental poison of the Desert of the Lost. The three Archangels all smiled and shook as they experienced a euphoric sense of a weight being lifted off their shoulders so great that they couldn’t remember the last time ever feeling anything to enlightening. Gabriel’s senses returned to their original sharpness and the slow-forming membranes of stone appearing on Michael and Raphael crumbled into sand. All three Valkyries were weeping with joy with Molly falling to her knees, Rosemary kneeling beside Baltoh and holding his hand against her forehead, and Selene hugging Baltoh as tightly as possible. With the weight of his speech, he had purged them all of the toxic influence of the Dunes of Sloth and rescued them from despair and madness.
“You were reading our minds the whole time?” She whispered in his ear with her face buried in his hood like an animal in its den.
“No, but I know you all well enough to tell when you are hurting. I figured saying the words you all needed to hear would be more helpful than any spell.” He said, wrapping one arm around her and holding her tightly with Rosemary below, nuzzling his hand like an affectionate cat.
With their spirits revitalized and protected by Baltoh’s words, everyone followed him with renewed vigor. They were going to get out of the desert, they were going to defeat Tenebrous, and everything would be fine. With Baltoh leading them, they could not fail. As they walked through the desert, they encountered more and more hidden dangers and secrets beneath the sands. Dunes would roll aside to reveal cocooned spirits with expressions of agony, Demons and Bleaks that would surface for only a second and try to attack before just being swallowed back up by the sands. On their journey, they even encountered wanderers of the desert.
The damned souls were few and far between, but they all had similar rags for clothes that covered their bodies and almost all carried some kind of walking stick. They paid absolutely no attention to Baltoh and the others, even as they were called out to.
“They are known as the Lost Ones. These are the souls who wasted their lives in selfish and fruitless obsession, shutting themselves off from the world. For their sin, they lose all senses, and because of it, they are often the first ones to go insane. I’m not sure if they can even be saved at this point, as they aren’t too far away from just crumbling into dust. Don’t bother trying to communicate with them, as we are naught but ghosts in their world.” Baltoh said as a man wrapped head to toe in rags to protect himself from the sand walked past them, completely unaware of their existence.
“Baltoh, look ahead, I think we have trouble.” Raphael said, pointing to the horizon where a cloud of sand and dust was moving towards them and growing in size and elevation.
“Damn it, that is really going to slow us down.” He muttered.
Forsaking easy movement for protection, the Archangels and Valkyries returned to their armored forms, using the suits to keep the wind and sand from blasting them. While the going was slow before, everyone now ducking in the wind as they tried to walk through the splashing waves of sand had now brought it to a crawl. Even Baltoh had to shield his eyes and face from the sand, unable to do anything to stop it in the desert. He had to play by Tenebrous’ rules while in Hell, and that meant enduring through the Dunes of Sloth. Visibility was almost nonexistent and keeping steady footing was next to impossible. In just a few minutes, everyone was basically walking in their own sandy world, only with the chain between them letting them know that they were not alone.
“Everyone hang on!” Baltoh shouted from deep in the cloud of sand.
Everyone looked around wildly, trying to figure out where the voice had come from and what he was talking about. Suddenly, the wind died down and everyone looked up, gasping in horror. A sand dune, as large as a hospital, was rolling towards them like a tidal wave and blocking the wind.
“Everyone hang on!” Baltoh shouted again, moments before the dune fell and enveloped them.
Being tossed through the tides like a surfer in a hurricane, everyone held onto the chain for dear life. Baltoh had made it so that only he could break it, but in this storm, there was no telling what could happen. Wrapped in a membrane of air that kept the sand at bay, Baltoh’s blood ran cold as he sensed a very dark presence nearby. Something was there with them, something with a power darker than anything else he had ever sensed. For the first time since becoming a god, Baltoh felt fear in his heart, as the chain around his waist suddenly became slack. The chain had been broken!
“Selene!” He shouted as he reached blinding through the sand, grasping her hand.
She held on desperately with terror radiating from them both, but even against all of Baltoh’s strength, her hand slipped out of his and they were pulled apart. With the laws of Tenebrous siphoning whatever power he built up, Baltoh could do nothing as he sank deeper and deeper into the desert but worry about Selene and his friends.
Without warning, the sand around him disappeared and he fell into open space, as if he had been swimming in the ocean and was suddenly jettisoned into the air. Baltoh looked down and his eyes widened as he gazed across a completely full-sized galaxy, red as blood with everything from stars to planets, all inhabited solely by Demons, Gargoyles, Goliaths, and Masters of Torture. Compared to this galaxy, the population in Hell was little more than a tiny spit of the population, like comparing a small bacteria culture to all the life on Earth. Even though it was an actual galaxy, the space around Baltoh contained air, allowing for breathing and sound to be carried.
Moving so fast that he made light particles look like half-dead snails, he flew towards the center of the galaxy, knowing who was waiting for him. Sailing across the cosmos in seconds, he came to the absolute heart of the galaxy; a fiery whirlpool as wide in diameter as an entire solar system, and hovering over the center was a black throne, made from human and Demon bones. Sitting in it was a monstrous being, the King of Hell, Tenebrous.
The god of darkness had a somewhat similar build to all Demons, but was mostly unique. Instead of grayish black, his skin was a deep bloody red and he was far more muscular than any Demon or Gargoyle, with black spikes running up his legs and forearms. He had three sets of horns, two like a goat’s that curled around his ears and pointed forward past his lower jaw, two like a bull’s that extended from his temples, and two that curved back over his cranium almost aerodynamically like Baltoh’s old horns, and above them hovered a crown of Hellfire. Instead of wings, he had a cape that grew out of his lower back and reached upwards past his head with five bony ridges keeping it rigid. It almost looked like he was sitting in the palm of a huge webbed hand. His eyes were jet-black with fiery irises, he had slit-like nostrils instead of a humanoid nose, and his abnormally large lower jaw had three spike-like tusks protruding from his chin. He stood at about eight feet in height, practically a rodent or insect when compared to the Goliaths or Hell Princes, but his power was truly incomprehensible to anyone who wasn’t on the same level.
“I’ve been waiting for this day longer than you could possibly imagine, the day in which I would finally battle someone as powerful as I. Welcome Baltoh, welcome to your doom.” He said with a deep booming voice. His words literally carried so much weight that anyone of Archangel level or lower would be killed upon hearing them. Tenebrous stood up, holding his arms out to his sides.
“Behold! The armies of Hell, hand crafted by yours truly! Once I defeat you and claim your powers, I will disembark from Hell and use this galaxy of followers to conquer all of Cinereo, and then, Heaven itself!” He roared.
“What did you do with my friends?” Baltoh growled.
“Oh, I grew tired of letting you run around my domain and destroy everything I have worked to build. I decided to just bring to me so that we could fight this battle once and for all. Your friends are being taken care of by minions, and if you want them to survive, I suggest you try and beat me as quickly as you can.” Tenebrous taunted as he held out his hand and materialized a six-foot claymore sword of red and black metal, the same kind of metal that Lucifer’s sealing blade was made of.
“Now let the ultimate battle begin!” Tenebrous laughed as the pounced on Baltoh for a diagonal chop to the neck. Baltoh quickly drew his own sword and raised it to defend.
“Ha! You’re a major disappointment if you think you can fight me with a sword of Hellsteel!” He laughed as he swung his sword.
There was a bright flash as their swords met, shining for a few seconds before fading. As the light receded, Tenebrous and Baltoh were revealed, standing with their backs to each other and thirty feet of space between them. Almost the entire blade of Tenebrous’ sword was gone and the Demon King had a huge cut going through his chest, carving through the left side of his ribcage and tearing through his lung, almost nicking his heart. Baltoh swung his sword with the air and light bending around the jet-black blade.
“And you’re a major disappointment if you think I would fight you with a sword of Hellsteel. This sword is made from the matter of a black hole and has the same density and weight of one. Whenever something touches the blade, its gravitational pull is briefly activated, ripping apart whatever touched at the subatomic level. For the transient moment, it is able to absorb light itself, meaning that it is more than capable of breaking through and devouring any defense weaker than itself. Now, draw your real sword and fight me!” Baltoh roared as he turned to the real Demon King, still sitting in his black throne. The Tenebrous he had just fought was merely an illusion, disappearing as the real Tenebrous revealed himself, applauding mockingly.
“Very good Baltoh, very good. It seems that you truly are worthy of fighting me. Very well, I shall answer your request and face you; no illusions, no laws, just raw power.” He said as he held out his hand.
Appearing in his hand, another claymore appeared, this one with a blade of condensed Hellfire, almost like the compacted flames of a star.
“Now let the battle of the gods truly commence!” He laughed as he and Baltoh leapt towards each other and locked swords.