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342 From Space to Void to Nothing

    "A dragon? What is a dragon doing here?" Asked Nova the spatial elemental with a curiosity masked by his expressionless face.

    While the power of an elemental was shown by his ability in emulating complicated forms like the human form, Nova had chosen for his humanoid shape to resemble that of a faceless mannequin. That was part of a tradition adopted by the spatial elementals from the void, where the spatial elementals would assume that form, in order to avoid being confused with the void dwellers, whose gift made them extremely similar to spatial elemental themselves.

    Without looking back at him, Edmund muttered through a confused expression, "I have no idea.. Are there dragons that live in the void?"

    "No. Especially at that level of power.. He is too weak to live in the void, and I have never heard of a dragon living within the territory of the Void Dwellers." Responded Nova without thinking twice about it.

    "His power feels somewhat familiar.." added Edmund in a low tone after observing the curled up dragon. He could not place the pieces together in his mind, but there was something inside the draconic essence of this dragon that told him that the two had been near each other at some point in the past. He simply could not remember when or where.

    As soon as Nova heard Edmund's words, he turned to look back at the dragon, and asked, "Really? Why don't we wake him up and ask him?"

    "He seems to be in hibernation." Responded Edmund right after.

    "So? He might know something about this place than we need to know.. He might even know what that thing is." Added Nova after pointing his finger at the pulsating yellow object that was assimilated within the wall of bright red flesh.

    Edmund became pensive, and started to brush the badly cut beard which he had been forced to shorten by using knives made out of metal essence for the past two years. Then, after a few seconds spent considering their options, he said, "I don't see why not. He does not have the power to threaten us anyway."

    The moment Edmund finished speaking, Nova once again turned to look at the curled up dragon, and after taking control over the space that surrounded it, he made it tremble in place like a leaf that was being ill-treated by powerful gusts of wind.

    A few shakes in, and the body of the dragon began to move. His long tail unwrapped from around his body, and his massive head moved raised from above his thick legs. Still sleepy, the dragon stretched his neck, and tried to gather his thoughts. However, before he could do that, he felt two scents.. One that was unfamiliar, and one that he had smelled before.

    He turned towards the two figures that floated a few meters away from him, and after looking at them with confusion, his eyes opened as wide as possible. He had clearly remembered something extremely important, and anything else was irrelevant in comparison.. So he looked around, and noticed that the boulder on which he had fallen asleep, as well as many others, were close to the massive lump of yellow tissue.

    "HOW LONG BETWEEN PULSES?!" Yelled the dragon to the two, after turning to look at them in shock.

    "What? What are you tal-"

    Nova tried to inquire about the dragon's odd behaviour, but he was interrupted by the dragon who once again yelled, "ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION!"

    "A minute." Responded Edmund, leaving Nova to look at this massive black-scaled dragon with curiosity. From the way he behaved, this dragon appeared to really be in possession of information about the place they were all in, and since he was not used to treating with people, he decided to stay quiet and let Edmund do the talk.

    While still a dragon, one could notice an evident change in his expression, which was now one of anxiousness and horror. "On no.. oh no damn it! I have slept for too long.." He said while looking at the pulsating yellow lump. He then turned around, and pushing with his legs with as much power as his massive body could muster, he took off in the opposite direction.

    For as big and impressive this dragon was, the power that his body emanated could not stand up to par with Edmund's or Nova's. While comparable to the initial immortal stages of human cultivation, Edmund's cultivation was already at the late stages, while Nova could use his power to compete against high humans if he wanted to. For either of them, stopping this Dragon was not an issue, and so they did.

    Nova immediately took control over the space which surrounded him, and shifted it with the empty space that was in front of them.

    "What are you doing!?" Asked the dragon in a state of pure anxiousness after finding himself back where he had started. "Let go of me! We have to get away from that thing! IT WILL HAPPEN ANY MOMENT NOW!!"

    "CALM DOWN!" Shouted Nova in an attempt to help the dragon with recovering a portion of his sanity, he then said, "Explain what you are talking about, and I will get you as far away from that thing as you want."

    "There is no time! One minute is already too late!.. It's.." The dragon's sentence trailed off as a crusty sound made its way into their ears. The two halves of this yellow protuberance had stopped beating, and were now beginning to part from one another. "It's too late.." muttered the dragon in resignation.

    The slit that was thinner than a strand of hair, was now becoming larger and larger, uncovering what was behind it.

    Edmund and the dragon looked at what was uncovered with shock and terror, but the same was not for Nova, who finally understood not only what was about to happen, but had also uncovered the reason why the void was the way it was.

    "What is that?!" Asked Edmund while looking at a vortex of darkness that attracted anything that floated in the vicinity of the now opened protuberance. He himself, along with the dragon, were feeling an unbearable suction force, pull them in.. but before they could be taken away by this power, a sphere of powerful spatial essence formed around them, separating them from the space that was under its influence.

    "I finally understand now.." Said Nova while staring at the massive objects that were being swallowed by the massive vortex. He could feel what kind of power this vortex was made of, and the reason he was attracted by it before, was because it was nothing but pure spatial essence, a type which composed his very own body, but that he could not recognize due to the dormant state it was in before the two halves that protected it opened completely.

    He could also feel how these objects were charging the power of the vortex. Each massive object was composed of numerous types of elements, and within these elements, were the correspondent types of natural essence.. After being absorbed, these essences would be turned into fuel for the vortex to rotate faster, and increase in power.

    "GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF AND START EXPLAINING!" Shouted Edmund in exasperation. The situation appeared to be critical, and yet his companion did nothing but form two protections around his and the dragon's body, and spectate as these events unfurled in front of their eyes.

    "Collapsed space.. A spatial sinkhole.." muttered Nova.

    These two phrases meant nothing to Edmund or the dragon, but meant almost everything to Nova.

    As an elemental made out of one of the core essences of the universe, there were powers that he himself were not able to use despite the comprehension he possessed on them, or at least, not at his level of power. For spatial elementals, that power was the control over collapsed space.

    Many erroneously referred to the space within the void as "collapsed", but that was incorrect. The structure of the space within the void was broken into an infinite amount of cards that, while still connected to each other, were extremely well shuffled.

    True collapsed space, on the other hand, was fully destroyed space. A sinkhole that lead into the nothingness that lay beyond, where space itself had ceased to exist. An appropriate method to compare the three types of space, would be to look at stable space as a whole mirror, shattered space as a cracked mirror, and collapsed space as a frame with only fragments of glass left on the edges.

    After realizing what lay behind these yellow barriers, the pieces of the biggest mystery within the void began to come in place, and finally, Nova realized what the truth was.

    "It was these monster's fault.. It was them all along." Said Nova as city-sized boulders were broken apart and swallowed into this vortex of collapsed space. He then turned to look at Edmund, and said "I don't think we can get away now.."

    Edmund looked back at him in confusion, then turned to look at the increasingly bigger vortex that, once reached a size large enough to fill the cavity where it had formed, was once again covered by the two yellow masses.

    Once completely hidden, the behaviour of the originally pulsating mass changed, and instead of pulsating, it began to tremble.. causing for the space within the monster's stomach to tremble alongside it. The trembling became more and more violent, until finally, it stopped abruptly. The protruding yellow mass deflated as if the vortex inside it had lost all of its mass, and only moments later, the body of the monster lost any form of spatial formation that kept him protected against the destructive power of the shattered space.

    The monster had become like a normal being made out of flesh, but before the shattered space could tear his body apart, an explosion that could be compared to the power of a dying star, but completely made out of spatial essence, pushed through the molecules of his body without damaging it.

    The explosion moved through the monster's body and reached outwards, expanding for millions of kilometers per second. This spatial shockwave was able to further shatter the pieces of space that were contained within the affected area, and it was clear that, if multiple of these explosions happened at close intervals, the whole area would collapse altogether.

    Thankfully, this explosion only went off once, then retreated back into the monster's body as fast as it expanded.

    While the wave of spatial power moved back into the monster's body, Nova dashed in the direction of one of the walls of the monster's stomach, while forcibly dragging Edmund and the dragon with him. The moment it looked like he would crash against the meaty surface, however, was when a thread of spatial essence invisible to the eye pushed through the monster's body, and one it reached the other end, extended in thickness until forming a clean path for the three to go through.

    After the three went through, the wave of spatial power entered back into the monster's body, and the connection that made the monster's body unaffected by the shattered space, reappeaedr.

    Nova immediately tried to teleport away, but the scene that was enveloping in front of him left him aghast.

    Multiple massive rifts had appeared all around the monster's body, and through each of them, were numerous tentacles that tried to grab as much as they could before taking it back into the monster's mouth, and work as fuel for the next explosion.

    Unfortunately for them, the monster was not distracted to a point where he wouldn't notice their presence, so he immediately moved one of his tentacles in their direction in an attempt to get a hold of them and pull them back into its mouth.

    "Damn it!" Exclaimed Nova as the massive tentacle moved against him with enough power and speed to disturb the spatial essence around the whole area. Luckily, they were covered by his spatial essence, which when struck by this massive tentacle, threw them in the direction of one of these massive rifts.

    The impact of the blow was enough to send them directly through, and travel through space while fully unconscious.

    After an unspecified amount of hours, Edmund woke up to see himself, Nova, and the dragon which they had picked up only moments after the disaster, travel in space at a mind boggling speed. He immediately tried to stop their motion, but unfortunately, the remnants of Nova's power were still enough for him to keep him locked, and force him to shoot through the emptiness of space without any form of control.

    When Edmund turned around to look at the direction where they were headed, he saw what looked like a grain of sand come his way. This grain of sand, however, immediately grew to reach the size of a pebble, a rock, a fist, a human head, a house, a mountain.. And it didn't show any intention of stopping.

    At first Edmund hoped for that grain of sand to be a small pebble that would disintegrate against their barriers, but it was only after this grain became as big as an entire planet, that he began to panic.. After all, the planet was headed his way.

    "NOVA! WAKE UP!" He screamed in an attempt to wake the spatial elemental, but it was already too late. The spatial essence that protected their bodies began to burn off due to the planet's atmosphere, which was thick enough to restrain Edmund's power into his body.

    In a matter of seconds, he found himself freefalling from a height of tens of thousands of meters.

    Muffled by the copious amounts of air that entered his mouth, he screamed, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!" The ground became closer and closer, but no matter what he tried, his immortal essence was simply not able to push through his skin.

    In the end, unable to avoid the impact, Edmund covered his face with both arms, and waited for it to happen.

    However, it never did.

    When he opened his eyes, he, Nova, and the dragon were floating about half a meter above the ground. In front of him, stood a wolf cub with a fluffy black mane around his neck, a long thin black tail, and crystal clear eyes.

    "You look like **.." said a familiar disembodied voice that came from behind him.
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