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  That shit hurt. The only thing that kept me alive was my paranoia. Children are great, if they’re yours. If they’re not, they tend to be vindictive little shits that steal your kid’s truck when he’s not looking. Betrayal. That’s what I expected. Bitch vanished and dropped a bomb to cover her tracks. But the explosion was a thing of beauty, divine power combined with hyper-concentrated starlight would have annihilated everything if it weren’t for two pieces of prep work, the loving aura of the sapling World Tree that I grew who cares not for the affairs of gods or mortals, and the Chaos crystal, one of my several get-out-of-jail-free cards, I had shoved in one of the battery slots just before telling John to summon his backstabbing patroness. As the light fell to the earth, just before all hell broke loose, I curled up and ducked behind my shield. Gungnir was braced behind the shield in mace-form, fully projecting a field of energy channeled from the Chaos shard. I knew from the initial attack that raw magic couldn’t stop Astria, and since platinum did work some, Chaos was my only trump card. Pumping energy from the generators into the nine normal batteries, then focusing it through the Chaos shard and then channeling new mix of Chaos tinged mana through the bit of the aura of the World Tree that surrounded me and then projecting that through Gungnir was no easy task. But my survival depended on it.

 

  I could feel the agony of being blown apart, but it wasn’t actually happening to me. Everything was happening in slow motion. The white light of the star touching the ground and erupting, earth and asphalt being blown away from the epicenter of the blast. My stone plate cracking and crumbling and being flung at the house with the intensity of IEDs. My wards caving in to the god-like power of the white hot wave. I was out of touch, out of phase with reality. For three whole seconds, I was a ghost enabled by the Chaos shard warping the space-based energy of Yggdrasil, watching the explosion reshape everything around me, reducing reality to its component parts, including my house. It vanished. Everything around the roots of the tree washed away in the rapid expansion of heat and light, including the food stockpile in the backyard. Every bit of my old life is gone, even my crappy car parked down the street and the neighbors’ abandoned houses. The only thing that survived was the basement and that only by the thinnest of threads due to the anti-nuke battery I had installed. Fuck me man, fuck me.

 

  As I felt my body phasing back in line its normal frequency, I began conjuring ice and water on me and all around me to counteract the residual heat as fast as Gungnir would amplify my water sorcery. My regeneration and healing enchantments kept the worst of the damage of the residual heat from killing me. I took a moment to feel out the wards of my house, gone. My generators were out too. The explosion made the enchantments degrade, engaging the safety mechanism for automatic shutdown. I put that there to prevent nuclear reactions from turning Fredericksburg into Chernobyl. The ley line was still intact and running under the World Tree, I could rest easy knowing that the vein of the world would provide my immortal fiance the energy to survive, as it fed the enchantments I embedded in its core. Damn, it looked very weird though, not having a house supporting Yggdrasil’s sapling. Four former oaks, now roots, with the main root shooting straight down were all that was left of my little house in the suburbs. Ahhh, still too hot. I began climbing one of the roots of the tree, using my nature sorcery to grow small bulbs for my hands and feet to grip. With my power amulet powering me constantly, I made it up to the first branch about seventy feet in the air and lay down, just fuckin beat.

 

  My mental link with Norn was still available, thank the Ripple something survived my second encounter with a deity. I used his eyes to check the area, nothing right now, then I told him to fly around double check the area. No more stupid shit. I was done. Looking out for myself was probably my best course of action, how else would I survive four thousand years to see my woman? If I keep going at this rate, I won’t last the year. I need a better plan. Sitting up, I look at the trunk behind me. The damn tree is as thick as a house, and all I need right now is a room, somewhere I can sleep, recover, and plan for the day. Putting my hand on the rough bark, I began using my nature sorcery and channeling all of the flow of my power amulet into the tree. A small opening began to form, just big enough for me to slip into. I kept the power going until it was roughly ten feet by ten feet, then I stepped in, and channeled power until it closed.

 

  I pulled out a flasbang pebble and modified it to be a light emitting pebble only, and set it in the middle of the wooden room. My very own treehouse! A little sparse, but a great bolthole for tough times, like now. I stripped off all of my gear to take stock. My batteries were empty and the enchantments on them were coming apart. Gungnir was the only thing in perfect condition, it had even absorbed some of the star and divine energy from that blast! I could see and feel the flecks of white energy floating through the Chaos crystal shards. The platinum shield was surprisingly fucked up. The center of it had a huge dent, and the bottom part was sagging as if it melted and then cooled really fast. My normal weapons strapped to my legs, my knife and axe, were bent out of shape from the heat and concussion waves. The regeneration had kept me in somewhat of a normal condition, but my hair was missing, all of it. No eyebrows, chest hair, head or pubic hair, all gone. I conjured a large stone pillar, about five feet tall and three feet in diameter and put it in the center of the room, then used nature sorcery to sink it down until only two feet of it remained in sight. Then I spent fifteen minutes adding the matter to mana equation enchantment to the top of it and conjuring gold to host the enchantment and another ten to sink the structure of it till it filled up the stone cylinder. This new power generator was several times more powerful than the ones in my basement combined as it had a gold enchantment controller to increase the efficiency by a factor of five and the size of the cylinder scaled up the output as well. With this, I opened up the tap of power and let it flow to me. Time to get some fuckin work done.

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