Bruce had undergone extensive training at the sanctum under the direct tutelage of the Ancient One. Whatever she deemed necessary, he learned. He also had to learn a whole new language from scratch to make sense of the immense wealth of knowledge in Kamar Taj. It was still a work in progress but he was having some significant improvement on his learning curve considering the complexity of the Sanskrit language. There were too many synonyms for a word each with different meanings in different contexts. This is the reason why the books of Kamar Taj were never translated into other languages. The context behind the formulation of the spells would be lost in translation. This made it harder for students to pick up the spells as the mastery of spells depended entirely on the mastery of Sanskrit.
This was why Bruce immediately jumped back and let the three other masters erect the magical defences as the harmless old man turned into a devilish creature with big ass horns and red skin dripping lava. Looking into the fiery red eyes of the devil, Bruce gulped in fear. He could feel the 'other guy' clawing at the back of his mind to come out. The Hulk for whatever reason found this devilish creature an affront. But, unleashing the hulk would be counterproductive. Once unleashed, he feared the Hulk won't differentiate between a friend and foe.
"Umm... guys. I'll just hang back here." Bruce tentatively whispered as the devil let out a cruel laugh before spawning a sea of black fire in their direction.
Masters Kaeceilius and Mordo were quick to strengthen their shields. A tidal wave of black fire crashed into the magical shields grinding against them. The terrifying thing was that the fire was accompanied by the tortured screams of souls. Finely attuned to the magic as he was, Bruce could see the eternal torment the souls trapped in the black fire were going through.
In fact, he could see the souls were being drained of their energy to fuel the fire.
"Dr Banner. Guard the woman." Master Kaeceilius shouted before the man went through a series of hand seals summoning small discs of energy.
Kaeceilius then released the discs through the magical barrier the Ancient One and Mordo were holding. The discs expanded into giant vortexes which began to suck in the black flames. As the dark vortexes sucked in the flames the tears in space induced violent thunderstorms to gather in the sky.
"Are those miniaturised singularities?" Jane asked in wonder.
"I don't think this is the time for finding that out." said Bruce, taking Jane's father into his giant arms. "We should move to somewhere safe."
"Yeah. You're right. Who're you again?" asked Jane, both of them running towards the car.
"I'm Bruce Banner. I'm a frie..."
He didn't get to complete the sentence as the ground exploded beneath him. Bruce was thrown away from the force but he managed to land on his feet. Thankfully, Jane's father was also safe in his arms.
But, Jane on the other hand was not at all safe.
"Oh, no." Bruce muttered in horror.
There was a black pointy tail piercing through Jane's heart from beneath the ground. Bruce immediately set Jane's father down and rushed towards Jane. A spiralling disc of energy cut through the air and sliced at the dark tail piercing through Jane's heart. Bruce was able to quickly catch Jane but she was spasming wildly as a black tar-like substance began to spread through her body. He could see the black substance turning Jane's veins black. The Ancient One was also by his side quickly using her magic to isolate the black substance.
"What is this thing? It is behaving like an infectious disease." said Bruce, watching the black tar-like substance lash out at the Ancient One's attempts to isolate it.
"Evil, Bruce. This is evil." said the Ancient One, looking far too serious for his liking.
However, he couldn't ask the Ancient One to clarify because the ground around them rumbled violently. The earth was upturned as demonic creatures and skeletons began to rise from the ground.
"Bruce, can you buy me some time?" Ancient One asked, pouring magic into Jane to keep the infectious energy from spreading.
"Gladly." He growled, before letting Hulk take over after turning towards the demonic creatures.
'Don't harm my friends. I'm trusting you here.'
That was the final thought that crossed Bruce's mind before the Hulk took over.
A roar of challenge was let out before Hulk trampled into the midst of the undead army making bones fly.
Coulson was tired and he was obviously going to end up holding the fort on the ground for a bit more time. All around him there was only destruction before his eyes. His team was a hundred strong when the incident took place and now their numbers were barely fifty. It was a total wipeout when it comes to the soldiers employed by the army. Very few survived the onslaught of the demon. The less talked about the civilians the better.
During the first wave of attack, the army had thrown everything at the demon and it proved to be a hindrance to proper evacuation. He was sure there are quite a lot of people left stuck in the rubble. He prayed they'd survive but he was not that confident. There was a reason this missile was kept classified and never used even in the most desperate situations. It was only after the failed Kree invasion the protocols to defend the planet were updated. He was not exactly kept in the loop of what those changes were but apparently use of highly classified weapons on US soil was one of them.
An attack of this scale has never happened on US soil. To think the people in Washington would use a dangerous weapon on US soil didn't sit well with him. Especially considering SHIELD had an asset on the field. The bright explosion high in the sky was not at the level of a thermal nuclear explosion but it was nearly there.
"Coulson, do you copy?" Fury's voice cackled through the comms.
Without taking his eyes off the sky he pressed the comms.
"Do you have eyes on the target?" Fury asked.
"We have lost sat visuals, Coulson. Can you see anything?"
"Sir, the sky is glowing. It's like the whole sky is burning with something." said Coulson.
"The air might be ionising. Check the radiation levels." Fury ordered.
"Nothing out of the ordinary, sir. I checked."
"Then what the hell is going on? Somebody give me something. I need to know whether the threat is neutralized and I also need to know what happened to Vex."
Coulson frowned as he noticed something in the sky.
"Director Fury, we have a visual." he spoke into the comms.
"What do you see Coulson?" Fury asked hurriedly.
"What?" Fury sounded incredulous, a sentiment Coulson paralleled.
"You'll have to see this to believe, sir." said Coulson, sending the video feed of what he was seeing to the SHIELD HQ.
The energy surging through his body was evermore but it was also calm. Unlike the many times he was forced to suppress the energy, this time it felt like the chaos was settled...controlled.
Cerion eyed his arms where the silvery wisps of energy lingered. It felt like a flowing stream full of warmth to his senses. There was also a cocoon of energy around him hugging close to his body. It was as if the energy was protecting him.
He reached out with his right hand and touched the silver energy covering him. The moment he touched the energy it retreated to his back. It was then that he got a clear picture of what was happening. The energy didn't retreat as he thought but instead, it coalesced into his back to form two wings made of pure starlight.
He blinked a few times but the wings remained attached to his shoulder blades.
"Okay, this is weird." Cerion mumbled.
"Optima, how come I have wings growing out of my back?" he asked his trusted AI.
"I'll need detailed scans and run diagnostics on your genome to come to a proper conclusion, sir." Optical reported.
"Is there anything you can tell me now?"
"Only that you seem to be overflowing with unknown energy. The white light seems to be augmented by the new energy of an unknown source." said Optima.
'Strange.' Cerion thought.
Suddenly, his eyesight changed and his senses were flipped. He saw the world in only black and white. His enhanced eyesight immediately zeroed in on the ground where humans dwelled. He could see people down the street but he perceived them as dark and light wisps of energy. Whatever was happening to him was beyond his control as he could not change his vision back to normal.
He was left holding his head in his hands as his senses went haywire.
Suddenly, an upsurge in dark energy caught his attention. It was coming from further east and the location made his eyes widen. For whatever reason, his hold over the senses returned and what he found made him act fast. He made his way to the east coast as fast as possible easily breaching the sound barrier. He was sure SHIELD can take care of the situation on the ground.
As he speared through the sky, he was not ignorant of the effect he was having on the surroundings. There seems to be a sizeable storm of energy trailing behind him. For whatever reason, the energy seems to be lingering in the air just like those insufferable wings on his back. No matter what he tried it was not folding back or just powering down. In the end, he had to ignore the wings for the time being.
As he neared his destination he could immediately feel a stark change. The air was suffused with a potent malefic energy that seemed to reject his existence itself. He finally found himself near Jane's house or at least what remained of Jane's house. Landing on the ground he expunged the excess energy bubbling within him in a wide arc wiping out the shadows and bony creatures in the blink of an eye.
For a moment, the air stilled as Cerion took in the carnage. He could see Jane on the ground with a faint heartbeat that was held upright thanks to the Ancient One's skill. The Hulk was surrounded by demonic creatures but they were getting smashed left and right. The force behind Hulk's punches and smashes seems to be thinning the numbers of these creatures.
Nonetheless, Cerion didn't want these creatures to linger any longer. A blast of concentrated white energy blasted out of his eyes cutting down the creatures en masse. Strangely enough, he couldn't feel anything from Jane's father. There was no heartbeat he could hear from the downed man.
"How do you like the grand welcome I've prepared for you? I hope this is to your liking."
Cerion rounded on the creature that uttered those words. His vision cleared as he cut off the energy to his eyes. His senses kicked in and he could see the vilest malevolent form of dark energy clinging to the creature. The sheer wrongness radiating from the creature was unbelievable. Every instinct in his body told him to destroy the creature.
This creature was a perversion of life. It was an enemy of life. It has no right to be under the warm cradle of light that facilitates life. This thing was the end of all civilizations. It was unnatural and it was not even death, the balancer of life.
"You! You are a blight to all life. You are a blight to all souls."
Cerion didn't know where the words came from but he believed them all the same. He could feel the urge to strike this creature down. The unnaturalness radiating off this creature was such it was affecting his grip on his emotions. Combined with the anger he felt on behalf of Jane and her father made Cerion act rather than talk.
What happened next was purely on instinct.
His wings pulsed with a blue light and the next thing he knew he was firing off what amounts to small bolts of energy. The creature let out a crazed laugh as it conjured a veil of darkness. Some of the energy bolts punched through and struck the creature injuring it. But, its injuries only made it laugh harder.
"Oh, yes. I've forgotten what pain feels like. Although, I must say I miss the old names." the creature shouted with a crazed frenzy palpable in its voice.
"Aren't you going to use my old names? Your kind oh so loved to give me names. Beelzebub, Apollyon, Archfiend, demon, Lucifer..."
"You talk too much." Cerion's lips curled into a sneer.
He was right upon the creature floating right over the creature's head. Having a clear shot twin beams of concentrated energy blasted out of his eyes spearing into the creature. The blast of energy was far too close for the creature to avoid and Cerion's speed was totally unmatched.
Caught completely off guard, Mephisto had no room to dodge. He took the full brunt of the energy blast straight on the head.
Cerion pressed on with the attack increasing the density of the energy beam. The pure light managed to burn the flesh of Mephisto with increasing intensity but it was not cutting through fast enough. A black tail jumped towards him as if to pierce his heart. To his eyes, the tail was travelling at a snail's pace. He caught the tail in a vice grip and he promptly sliced it off using a blade his Vibranium suit conveniently provided. The intensity of the creature's painful scream picked up a notch as its tail was cut in half.
The wings on his back covered the creature and began to sit out white flames. He didn't know how but somehow he knew that his wings were useful in this fight. The flames coalesced around the creature and began to burn away its red skin. Layer by layer the creature lost its skin. Cerion let out a bellow of rage as he released as much energy as he possibly could muster and flew back a safe distance drained to do anything else.
The rest he left in the capable hands of the sorcerers of Kamar Taj. They were already creating barriers around the creature and the Ancient One was summoning some sort of portal. Believing that they were far more knowledgeable in the mystical side of things he floated towards Jane who looked normal from the outside. But, with a single look with his augmented sight, he could see she was far from being okay. There was a dark parasitic energy coiling around her spine.
Gathering a sliver of energy augmented by the white light into his fingertips, Cerion reached out towards Jane to expunge the foreign dark energy.
The Ancient One stopped him halfway by raising a small barrier between him and Jane.
"Your energy will simply annihilate her as it'll battle the dark power within. We need to heal her some other way. She can barely host the current energy. Her body will simply break down as her vitality is not strong enough." said the Ancient One.
"Can you get this thing out of her?" he asked, terminating the energy gathered.
"I can try but her body needs to be augmented with more energy. I need time to isolate the dark energy and safely pull it out."
Cerion looked between the rapidly paling face of Jane and the unmoving body of her father. He had promised himself that he'd never use the procedure on a human unwillingly but he was left with no choice.
"I can augment her body at the city."