Chapter 231: Universal Expansion
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In the depths of a palace's deepest and most secretive chambers, a single creature closed his eyes. He was surrounded on all sides by strange and potent worshipers of his. On one side of him, there were a pair of powerful devils. Behind him was a strange and eldritch demoness. In front of him were clones of skilled, mortal leaders. And none of them mattered at the moment.

The deity was silent and still. As he stood, his servants bowed before him, unsure of what he was doing but as his eyes closed he began to radiate a bright, blinding light. The light washed over them and made them fall to their knees as it overwhelmed their vision. Their deity was aggressively, powerfully, unleashing his powers but not there, not on them.

The god was expanding his influence. He was only shedding light as an unexpected consequence of the tremendous display of power he was unleashing elsewhere. It was a chaotic display of unprecedented power, as his influence surged across the vast dimension, the natural birthplace of the creatures known as "mortals". The strange, mortal realm, filled to the brim with galaxies, stars, planets, and life.

Though his servants didn't know it, he was finally extending his dreadful tendrils across the universe.

The universe was an unimaginably vast place. Only a deity had the sort of mind that could process the sheer scope of it on a conceptual scale, and only a greater god could spread their powers across it all at once. Althos had become one such deity, due to the immense surge of power he received by inflicting a vast genocide on the overwhelming majority of vestiges hidden throughout the mortal realm and absorbing their power into himself.

Behind closed eyes, Althos was quietly viewing the entire dimension known as the "universe". Behind closed eyes, he was viewing his not-so-mini-map, and he had it zoomed out to the maximum possible increment. That allowed him to lay his mind's eye on a scale map of the entire universe. He gazed at it and began to smile.

The god began to silently target every single member of a specific race throughout the universe. The race in question was a powerful, quasi-divine race. And despite the comparative rarity of the race when compared to species like humans, dragons, or elves, across the vast cosmos, Althos's all-seeing eye still found trillions of what he was looking for. And for the heck of it, the deity also targeted the universe's nephilim, the powerful children of angelic and non-angelic families.

In searching across the universe, Althos was able to find trillions of angels. And he immediately targeted them, while his physical form opened his arms in a gesture of peace and love, even though the angels couldn't actually see him. In the room that Althos's physical body resided in, his followers were overwhelmed when the light that he emanated took on a pink hue and he began to radiate an aura of undeniable, attitude and heart-changing, love-based power.

Sombra was unaffected by the power, as Althos was already the sole thing in what passed for her heart, but she was the only creature in the room to be unaffected by his power. The two vizier devils, and the clones of the emperor and empress, were overcome by the power which could penetrate any defense mustered by any non-higher-being. They gazed at the silhouette at the heart of the light, and they felt their hearts surrender to Althos's terrifying perfection and masculine beauty.

Althos himself felt their hearts shift towards him, he felt their wills and desires change and inwardly chuckled. He even felt their destinies shift, his powers over fate itself alerting him to the strange ramifications of his minor actions here, but he hadn't done that for them. He was channeling love-based power because he was on a mission to recruit angels.

The deity quietly manipulated the system, taking command of it for one of the first times since he became a god of reality itself, to compose a special notification for the angels who had chosen to reside in the mortal realm known as "The Universe". It only took him a few moments to do this, as his power had hit a critical mass where many aspects of reality were his to manipulate freely including the system itself.

The deity began to audibly laugh as he took control of the system and felt it bend to his will. At last, the strange mechanism which had once trapped him in a tutorial state was his to control and command, and this time he was quietly appreciating the full power at his disposal as he fiddled with the system itself.

"Finally... I can use you as I please." I mentally muttered as the system itself became docile and meek at the slightest and lightest conceptual touches I gave the thing. As I messed with it and worked on the notification I was going to send to angels throughout the universe countless blue textboxes appeared in my mind's eye.

Each of them was filled with words that onomatopoeic in nature. The system wasn't responding to me with intelligent, articulate words but rather with sounds that indicated various stages of delight. And this continued as I explored countless submenus and shortcuts like my own vision had once been filled with.

I explored menus I had unlocked, and ones I had flown past when I earned my latest surge in power. I explored menus related to how much magical power was in any given world, ones that related to the allocation of chi, and others that explored things like distribution of the classical elements across various worlds. I also explored expanded menus, such as the one I had had about the swarm.

The expanded swarm menu just showed me how many members of the swarm there were in this dimension, a number in the vigintillion. The number was so incredibly vast that even I chuckled at it.

As I continued to work on the notification I was about to send out to the angels, I knew that I needed to begin to scheme and plan for what to do next. And I felt excited as I began to devote my mind to that.

I was now the nearly total ruler of the dimension of Infernius, home of devil-kind. The final obstacle in the way of my total ascension to the throne of Infernius and to the status of the supreme overlord of devils throughout this iteration of reality was the vestige of the Dark Saint. Slaying him would also grant me the status he had had in life as an overgod of lawful evil.

I was the tyrant who lorded over Zenith, even though I had never been there. As a quasi-overgod of pain and evil my status as the lord of the realm of evil unbeholden to chaos or order made sense.

I had the power to take the dimension known as Archeon, the home of angel-kind and a place I wanted to make my own. I also wielded great influence over the dimensions of the Wildlands, the Heart of Darkness, and the elemental dimensions. But the dimension that most directly mattered right now was the Heart of Darkness.

Now that I was keyed into the domain of knowledge and the system itself, as well as had the memories of Morehammer himself tucked away inside the back of my mind, great cosmic mysteries were being solved almost for me by the part of my mind that was effectively on auto-pilot. One of the mysteries there was directly related to the strange concept known as the "Multiversal Abyss", the strange pathway that allowed for Morehammer to safely create an empire that spanned across universes despite his inability to become an overgod.

I had been annoyed when I first realized that even my powers over reality and knowledge at this level couldn't and wouldn't grant me omniscience, but they didn't have to. I knew how to find the multiversal abyss, and that discovering how to activate it would indeed allow me to spread my malevolent influence to other iterations of reality, other universes that had their own vestiges and where I could find some of the stranger things I had heard of during my earliest days. Including the planet "Earth".

"Defeating the vestiges of overgods is surely a dangerous battle even for me but if I become an overgod myself, I must do it. That said it is not as if my time is limited, the vestiges with the exception of Rok, appear to be self-contained and content to lurk in their lairs. For now... I do not need to rush. I can wage my war against the followers of Morehammer, and then kill the creator of dwarves himself, before pursuing the pathway he used to break free of this iteration of reality." I told myself, finally settling on a concrete plan. My new goal would be the utter annihilation of the Morehammerians, which I would pursue in full after gaining new, greater power than I currently possessed. 

As soon as I was done here, done acquiring the power of angels, I would be visiting a few miscellaneous destinations, dimensions and places I had otherwise long neglected.

The very same instant that I came to that conclusion I also quietly completed the notification I was going to send to all of the mortal realm's angels and their nephilim children. And it brought a smile to my face. And not just because it channeled the power of various domains, but also because of what I was about to do to prove the truth behind the words I was sending to trillions of angels.

Notification: Angelic Unification

Angels of the universe, rejoice! The time has come for you all to be reunified, to find a new purpose, and to regain your former glory. A new god has emerged, Althos, the Eternal Emperor. He is seeking to reunify the angels of the universe and create a single, empowered angelic host.

The age of myths may have ended, but the current age of decay has finally come to an end as well. It is time for a new age, one of glory, unity, and joy. The Eternal Emperor is a greater god of destiny, joy, love, order, and purpose. Accept his love and join his grand empire as the greatest, most beautiful, and most powerful of his servants. 

As a demonstration of his glory, he shall prove that both death and time obey him. Step into the portals in front of you, and watch as he restores the angelic race to its former glory.

The instant that the notification was sent out, the deity froze time. For the first few moments, he froze time for everyone in existence but himself, powerfully freezing reality as easily as he had breathed. As he did that his mind raced through the divine realms at his disposal, the former homes of gods that he had acquired many of when he performed the single greatest deicide in history, in search of a paradisiacal divine realm to transform into the home of his angels. 

It only took a few moments for him to find a divine realm simply known as "Paradise" a Htrae-sized divine realm that was perfect for his needs. He chuckled and modified it by adding a single change that was very Althonian in nature. Above the ocean that separated the realm's five landmasses, he created a copy of his floating island "home", the very same "home" that existed in Torus and in his own personal divine realm. 

The instant that the floating island began to exist above the realm's great ocean, the god unfroze time for angels and for their children. Across the universe, a truly vast number of angels began to move again, and portals came into existence in front of them as they read the notification Althos had sent them. 

As they read the notification they felt... strange. Althos's power was indescribable, and he had been channeling the power of love as he wrote the notification. They felt that soul-changing power, their hearts being touched by the eldritch god who was determined to bring them over to his side. 

Even the mightiest archangels, those just below the angel-lords in power couldn't resist the utter power that was seeping into their souls with every word they read. Nor could they stop reading the notification, their mental eyes were glued to it. 

The weakest of the angels and even the greatest of the nephilim were instantly enraptured by the words of the notification. Their hearts were instantly captured by Althos, whose powers over emotions were so unbelievably vast that even other higher beings were unable to resist them. That handy fact was something Althos had learned when dealing with Orfeo, the archdevil he had unleashed on the world of Ta Hendo. 

The greater angels were able to resist some of the words, but even they were unable to resist for long. By the end of the first sentence, they felt their god in their hearts and were eager to join him. No one who knew the history of angels, such as Althos, could really have been surprised by that though. 

Angels were designed, created, to serve the gods. It was impossible for them to resist one for long, this simple fact about their species was so universal that even angel lords weren't able to resist the gods in any meaningful capacity. 

The greatest angel in existence that was alive at the moment of Althos's notification was also the only archangel to not offer any resistance to his new god. He was an archangel of the faith domain, and the very instant that he read that there was a new god, he gave himself fully to that god offering prayers, praise, and to be anything his new lord desired him to be. 

The angel was the very first archangel to hurl himself through one of the portals that Althos had spawned across the universe. He found himself in the skies above a vast forest and began to smile as he gazed out at the vast, wooded area below him. He audibly praised his new god, delighted to see what he believed to be the god's innate divine realm. Althos, distantly, saw no reason to correct this misconception. 

Across the vast dimension other angels, and the entirety of the nephilim race that had lived in the mortal realm, were exploring this realm. And within a few minutes so were other archangels. The very first of the archangels to answer Althos's calls for unification and for a new purpose watched with great, almost maddening joy as his god continued to forever alter reality. 

When the last of the universe's archangels stepped through the portal in front of her, Althos manifested in the divine realm. He manifested in the form of a human-shaped silhouette that radiated light and darkness in equal measure, one that was so unbelievably vast that it could be seen by every single angel and nephilim in the realm. Those who laid eyes on it instantly knew that it was their god, and they felt an irresistible compulsion to bow and prostrate themselves before Althos. 

As they bowed, the strange silhouette rose of its two hands and performed the single greatest miracle Althos had performed to date. As the deity's hand rose into the sky, angels who had long died began to come back to life. They began to appear throughout the realm, their minds sharpened and their hearts were and truly Althos's. 

The higher the god's hand rose in the air the greater the power of the angels he was resurrecting. And without exception, he was resurrecting every single angel who had ever died. The skies filled with angels, and the god himself felt the emotions of his newest worshipers surge into him.

It wasn't long before the god's hand was high in the air and he was at last mentally preparing to resurrect the last of the angels he had to resurrect before he had every single angel from the mortal realm and every single angel and angel-lord who had ever died in this iteration of reality alive and worshipping him. 

Though his grin wasn't visible, the instant before he resurrected the hundreds of angel-lords who had once existed he was smiling. When he felt ready he didn't hesitate, he stretched his arm as far up as he could without using any sort of supernatural ability, and at the same time resurrected the five hundred angel lords who had once roamed this universe, back during the mythical age. 

The resurrected angel lords all manifested on the glorious city on the floating island that was a copy of the place the god once called home. As they were suddenly and powerfully brought back to life, they felt their hearts become the possessions of their resurrector, the god responsible for bringing them back to life: Althos.

Even Althos himself felt the incredible power he had just acquired, as he had just acquired the worship and service of hundreds of higher beings. Their worship surged into him and he shivered internally as he began to process the power of his newest servants and how their worship empowered him. 

"Finally... Now, this is power." The god whispered, his voice rumbling out of the silhouette and radiating outward to be heard by thousands of the angels closest to him in an area centered on him that extended for miles. The god's voice was a powerful thing, and in this place where everything worshiped him, those who heard him began to weep golden tears of joy. 

The silhouette was still for a moment, before abruptly vanishing. The god still hadn't acquired the worship of every single angel, but he was close. Angels existed in every dimension in this iteration of reality, but now that the angels of the mortal realm and all of the angels who had ever died were his, there was only one great stronghold of angelkind left: the true neutral dimension of Archeon. And before he went there, Althos knew that there were other loose ends he should tie up first. 

Althos's next manifestation would appear in a place he had long-neglected: the Wildlands. Althos was ready to become the lord of the fae and to finally gain the authority to rule over unseelie fey, the malicious manifestations of the crueler sides of nature. 

As the god shifted from one dimension to another, his form changed from that of a gargantuan silhouette to that of the powerful archfey known as the "King of Spring and Summer".