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Chapter 582

In both his current universe and his last, Ben had heard space described in a few similar ways. An endless expanse, a deep void, eternity itself, but all of those were wrong. When the monster opened a hole in the universe itself, Ben got front-row seats to the true meaning of forever in the form of the primordial chaos searing itself into his mind as he bore witness to something nothing born of a universe should. That mad realm of constantly shifting rules in a plane between realities where any idea of physics was nothing more than a temporary suggestion.

A mortal bearing witness to true chaos itself.

It was both beautiful and horrifying as the sight ensnared him, trapping him more than any magic in the past could have as that same chaos seeped into him in return, leaving its fingerprints on his thoughts and tainting his existence while everything that he was began to be pulled in.

It was like it was singing to him a song of potential. Of opportunity to grow beyond the realm of gods or to fall lower than the meekest ants. To get the sort of power that would let him make the current fight and even the war for the fate of the planet look like nothing so long as he was clever enough, and if there was one thing he was, it was clever. Hadnt he pulled himself up from nothing through planning and hard work? It felt like as long as he could figure out the depths of its nature then hed be able to find paths to power that could leave the divine at his feet.

Myriad screamed again as all of his other attempts failed, this one finally snapping his apostle from his stupor and making him see what was happening.

The two of them were on a collision course with that hole through reality and as the one acting as their eyes, he needed to stop Thera from taking that final dive.

THERA, UP! He screamed with both his voice and mind, his disorientation making him put far too much of his thoughts into it as golden blood began to pour down Theras nose, but she did as he yelled despite the strain his mind had put on her, letting the two narrowly avoid being trapped outside of reality itself as it began to close.

What the fuck just happened?

He didnt have time to process any of that, even as his brain begged him to. They only had two goals, getting away and figuring out how to apply the knowledge that had enraged the beast to begin with.

Even as his minds kept trying to slip back to the scene hed witnessed he kept forcing them back on track, not caring that he now had nearly a thousand more than he had only the day prior as he looked at what happened and what it might imply.

Focus! Stay on topic and think here! The first bit of damage we pulled off came from using a frozen gas, it pretty obviously looks like it couldnt handle the rapid expansion as it melted. How do I use that?

The first idea to pop into his head was to just keep doing what had already worked once, and while he was willing to accept it if nothing better popped up, he wanted more options. Faster options. Even if that was the most damage they'd been able to do until that point, the monster they were facing was on a different scale. Who was to say how many times theyd have to attack that way to finally bring it down?

That led him to looking at alternatives as his mind drifted to something that would equal the sort of rapid expansion he wanted. An explosion.

One of Bens greatest struggles in that universe was the fact that so many reactions seemed to be so much less energetic compared to those of his home reality, to the point that hed long since given up on his past goal of making anything akin to gunpowder and was more than happy to use different configurations of magic as a substitute for any time he needed such a thing. Materials would still burn well enough, even a few of the elements hed already made would combust once exposed to air, but he wanted something more. Something that would go boom.

At first glance, that seemed to once again point back to the two options hed been avoiding, both anti and foreign matter, with both of them acting plenty explosive to get the job done.

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But while both could have been perfect in the right conditions, neither would work for what they faced. Making antimatter might have given the reaction he craved, but it would be doing so in the air directly in front of them. Sure, he could have attempted to do the same thing he had during the first wave, encasing it in such a way that no stray atoms would be able to touch it, but that was something hed only been willing to do with his subconscious fully at the wheel. His conscious mind thought better of such a mad, risky, and overall suicidal idea.

And as for foreign matter, that would only stay together while theres power being poured into it so again, given it would be being created directly in front of my face, Im going to say no. Plus that isnt even considering the mana cost. It was absolutely insane before and Im not expecting it to have gotten that much better just because of a few new skills. Which means Im left with a different experimental option if I dont want to be doing this the slow way as this thing slowly wears us down or succeeds in getting us to fall out of reality itself. Great.

That option involved going farther down the periodic table than he ever had before when it came to his materialization, so far that he was looking at things that shouldnt exist in the natural world, at least as far as the grey were concerned and in theory, should result in a significantly less stable atom, one primed and ready to decay into pure energy.

With in theory being the keywords. Ive already seen the grey be wrong about a couple pretty significant aspects of reality at this point, do I want to trust them to be right about this?

Who am I kidding? What choice do I have?

Feeling the weight that a lack of options gave, he gave a brief prayer before figuring out exactly how much farther beyond the worlds natural ninety elements he would need to go before determining the structure it would need to have and filled Theras mind with that information.

There was a lot to consider. It needed to be something that would have hypothetically been a gas if it could exist long enough so they could materialize it in an already low-energy state to give them enough time to fire it off, while at the same time having a high enough decay rate that the moment it warmed up it would begin breaking down in the beast, both expanding the way the last gas attack had while at the same time unleashing massive volumes of energy all at once, but with all of that considered, that only left seeing if it would work.

He merged more of his mind into Theras, ignoring her discomfort as he got her to create five massive balls of the new substance before firing each off at different points, watching as four hit their marks and slid within the warping flesh just before Ben had the two shoot away into the distance, as far and as fast as they could while being chased, giving him the view he wanted of his plan working.

In only a few seconds, massive tears ripped across the body of the beast, giving him the smallest of hopes that theyd done it, theyd won, right up until the thrashing started again, breaking the universe around them.

Even as he watched it though, Ben wasnt feeling the same pull as he had the first time, the chaos beyond having already stained his mind as he forced Thera to evade, all while he noticed a different change thanks to the small clarity of thought. Reality was taking longer to repair itself.

Just noticing that fact filled Bens head with dread. He knew plenty about the universe but he had no clue about anything when it came to it breaking down. The fact that it seemed to repair itself at all was a blessing, but was it repairing itself slower due to the last attack having more force behind it than he could see or was it accumulating damage from everything that had been built up so far?

And most important of all, is it only going to get worse as this goes on? Id rather not take too long and discover this is going to break the whole of reality if I dont finish this quickly.

As ridiculous as it sounded, that was beginning to feel more and more likely. The monster was in a panic and smashing space itself with gusto. Even if it wasnt going to break the whole of the universe, Ben felt more than justified in worrying that it could get so bad that their entire planet might fall through, with whatever consequences that would hold waiting to be discovered.

He didnt mean for those worries to be passed on, but the effect glimpsing the chaos had on his mind was still lingering enough that it was affecting how much he could hide away, and without meaning to, some of his worry slipped through.

Ben, what do you need me to do, Thera asked him, still deaf and blind to the world but trusting hed be able to properly use her as a resource, with that same trust leaking through the connection and steadying him as he looked at the situation.

Even as the beast rained down chaos around them, it felt like the last death cries of a cornered animal. It could do a lot of potential damage before its end, but he was sure it would get there, they just couldnt afford to be patient.

So he looked at it, really looked at it, staring deeply into its damaged body, feeling his mind want to rebel against the previously hidden bits of the creature as he instead fell into his sacrilege, letting the instinct that came with it point him where to aim. They wanted to finish things off which meant that they wanted to go big, so as Ben identified what he felt was the perfect target deep within his core, Thera began spending her mana, taking all that she had and under Bens guidance, fired.

As that final attack blasted through the sky it lodged itself into the target, the monster unable to shake it free before it reacted. The frozen ball warmed up, expanding into pure gas that inflated the monster before it decayed further into energy, exploding outward as it shredded the beast, bringing an end to the destruction it wrought.

Thera slumped beside him as he breathed a sigh of relief. It felt over, it felt complete. With the thing capable of tearing apart reality itself dead, it felt like the ghosts were the only thing left to worry about, but through it all Ben had forgotten one thing. Without something controlling it, foreign matter could behave unpredictably.

This 𝓬ontent is taken from f(r)eeweb(n)ovel.𝒄𝒐𝙢

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