The legion of soldiers thundered out. The roar of approval lasted for a full minute before I turned towards the barrier. Before we marched through it, I needed to finish off my speech with a bang. You see, Torix added a simple adjustment towards my own plan. It was centered around a show of strength. It was a simple set up really.
The monster density had increased over the last few days since the quarantine zone shrunk. By the time we reached them, the monsters begged for freedom. They collected near the outer barriers, so the legion’s progress stalled out. The density of monsters was too high. Many members of the legion where demoralized by the wall of monsters. Who could blame them?
They were running into a massive horde of monsters. They needed a reminder of what humans could do. These hordes of monsters were just fodder compared with what we had to face next. To demonstrate this, Torix and I discussed all kinds of different tactics from nukes to bombs to speeches. The best solution we found was abusing Event Horizon.
It drained health in a massive aoe. That meant I could take on throngs of enemies without suffering the consequences. So we added a speech and this slaughter as means of making the legion fight with all they had, even against Ajax.
With that in mind, Torix raised a hand, his own voice amplified, “Remember that he too was a human, just as many of you still are.” He turned to me, “Show them what we are capable off, Harbinger.”
I nodded, my armor grinning with a set of jagged armor teeth,
I charged my runes before discharging them. I shot towards the barrier before drilling through it. I reached the other side, a swarm of monsters pouring towards me. I reached out with Event Horizon, feeding off them. Even as the abstractions clustered around me, it made no difference. I regenerated faster than they could kill me.
On the other side of the barrier, the soldiers stared in silence. They saw a horde of monsters tearing me apart. I would show them something different altogether. As I shot through the air, I dragged a horde of the abstractions with me using gravity wells. I crushed them into the pavement below me. As I landed, crags of pavement and dirt crushed upwards.
I grinned and laughed at the monsters. As they came, I crushed. As they swarmed, I slaughtered. With limitless health, I ripped and roared out. I punched and pulped the creatures. I maimed and murdered them by the dozen. With Force of Nature at full blast, I was a blur of movement among the abstractions and solar beetles.
I weaved between their endless strikes, my technique flawless. No number of them would phase me. I devoured their bodies, feasting on the energy as I crushed them to pulp. It was a bloodbath. Puddles of blood formed under my feet. These pudddles turned to streams than rivers. Before I finished, I created an ocean of their blood.
Everything else faded way. It was effortless destruction. I chained my skills and strikes, the usage of the skills pristine, like a symphony of movement. I reached for the apex of my potential, pushing past my own limits. I was a storm of death. I was a monster made of metal. The bodies piled beside me, becoming hills than mountains. They melted within my aura, turning to mush.
Within minutes, I decimated the crowd of monsters that collected along the barrier. I heaved for breath, breathing in a fine mist of orange blood. The coagulating liquid on me soaked into my metal skin as my armor gorged on the corpses. Once the area was clear, I walked out of the quarantine. My steps pounded on the earth, each step quaking the ground.
I leapt back onto the earthen pillar. I landed onto it before standing tall. Torix pointed towards the barrier. From his hands, several portals opened. From them, monsters crawled out. Dragons of fire, treants of light, swarms of hornets, ice elementals, and monsters of all kinds poured out. Torix put on the helmet I made him, the black accentuating the golden trim on his robe.
He opened a portal beside him, pulling out the staff. Mana gems encrusted both the helmet and the staff, extending his mana pool. He pointed it forwards,
“Come, legion. We fight them with their own kind.”
The monsters charged forwards, the soldiers marching behind them. Once they crashed through the barrier, they tore into the world tree’s roots. Fire spread out along with ice, mist forming where they met. I turned towards Hod and Althea,
“You guys ready?”
They nodded. I stepped into the ground, burrowing beneath them. Althea dissipated and Hod leapt up into the air. We needed to hurry. Our plan rested on catching Elijah by surprise. He wasn’t even a mile away, so we reached him in a minute. I burrowed deep beneath them while Hod and Althea closed in.
Once under them, I sensed Elijah and his followers above me. My gravitational sense and Tactile Cognition gave me a picture of the followers. Once there, I took a moment and prepared myself. The plan relied on a fast, hard burst of damage. We would cripple him before he could escape. Once he was downed, I would whittle him down.
During the fight, I would use his followers as free health regen, keeping me alive. Althea and Hod would sneak in attacks on him while I preoccupied him. The plan was solid, one I could follow.
With that resolve forming, I gritted my teeth and clasped my fists as I walked out of the ground. Elijah was preaching his sermon. A congregation of followers piled along the bank of the lake beneath the world tree. They took on all shapes and sizes. Somewhere like lions and tigers with fur made of steel. Others were crustaceans, covered in armored shells.
Most were humanoid though, with dark yellow skin and covered in robes of white or black. Elijah Joan’s voice boomed across the landscape as they stared at him. The world tree’s green glow was dimming, the energy sinking into Yawm. It was like staring at a ticking time bomb. When I looked at Elijah, I gulped at his title.
Elijah Joan, the Fallen Seraph(lvl 3204)
It reminded me why we were rushing in like this. Fighting several of these monsters at once was impossible. This particular monster seemed unconcerned, however.
He preached away even with me showing myself. Elijah’s face was hidden under a white hood on his white robe. Everything was cast in a shadow besides his teeth and eyes. Both were open too wide, making him look insane.
His words didn’t sound quite so unhinged,
“Yawm will come before the day ends. He gave you life with his plague. We protect him from the residents of this world. We have guarded his resting place. He let us come here after the last world was glassed by Schema. Now someone has stolen the core our lord created. We are no longer protected from the atomic fires that Schema will no doubt rain upon us.”
He spread his arms, “It matters not. Yawm will use their own fires against them. He will harness the energy that boils the blood of us mere mortals. He has done so before. He will do so again. We must hold faith in him. He will revive himself, and his might will smite those that kill your brothers and sisters.”
I speck of doubt formed in my head. If Schema planned on dropping nuclear bombs over our city, he should tell us that way we could get the fuck out. Even then, Elijah was talking about nuclear holocaust levels of destruction. Even with all my stats, I would be obliterated along with anything else in a mile radius of the explosion.
I didn’t have time to dwell on that though. After killing the crowd of monsters, I gained a few levels. I placed all my points into endurance as Elijah noticed me. I finished walking out of the the ground. The white of his eyes turned bloodshot in an instant, “We have a transgressor upon holy ground. Prepare yourselves. Those that die will be sent to an eternal afterlife, but Yawm wishes life for you all.”
I opened a palm towards him, shouting so my voice would be heard, “What did you mean by an atomic fire?”
Elijah’s eyes narrowed, “I do not trust an agent of Schema. You’ve been indoctrinated by his dogma. You worship the strength he gives. You are drunk on it. We will not submit to the same tyranny. We will not let him turn us into no more than machines, living tools that must obey him.”
I spread out my arms, “We don’t have to obey him.”
Elijah pointed a hand at me, “You are a fool if you believe that. What choice have you had since our lord arrived? Just like with all the other worlds covered in intelligent life, we have been assaulted since we landed here. Brother Dakhma and Sister Etna have both perished to this harsh place. Like so many followers before them, they were killed not by an eldritch, but by sentient life.”
I shouted, “What the fuck are you talking about? You infected our planet with a plague. You turned families into moving piles of meat. Now you’re bitching about us fighting back. What did you expect? For us to kiss your feet while you turned us into puppets.”
Elijah grimaced, “The insects freed them from the shackles of Schema. You have no idea how tight the iron grip of that machine becomes over time. He can turn you into a willing slave given time. In your case, he already has. You’re like a pig being fattened before the slaughter.”
I reached out with Event Horizon, “We’ll see who slaughters whom.”
I walked forward, the named ones backing away from me as I approached. Elijah raised hands towards the sky. His wings burst out from under his robe. One wing was a holy white, an angel’s wing ebbed light. The other wing was one of flesh, the strips of meat forming into a single mass. He spoke out, an orb of light forming over his head.
Before he finished chanting his spell, I dived into the ground. Within a second, I unleashed my overcharged runes, propelling me from the ground. I shot over the mass of named ones, their health charging my runes in seconds. With the runes on my arms bursting with power, I readied myself for an aerial strike.
Elijah crossed his massive wings in front of him, forming an X shape. I grinned mid flight. Althea materialized right behind Elijah’s right wing. Hod’s dive whistled through the air as he reached towards Elijah’s left wing.
With the dagger I made, Althea slashed down. Her left arm morphed into a mass of muscle mid swing. It connected with the ligaments holding Elijah’s wing out. Hod landed at the same time, his hulking, eldritch form slashing with curved claws. The shadows dug into the flesh wing of Elijah.
Elijah’s orb of light dampened before I slammed into his crippled wings. I condensed Event Horizon onto his frame, the aura bending as I commanded it. Elijah fell backwards, crushing into the world tree’s root beneath him. I bounced back from the point of impact with his wings. As Ianded on the ground, Hod and Althea dashed back towards Elijah.
They stabbed at his wings, feathers and blood flying everywhere. Seconds later, Elijah sliced his wings outward, blowing a tremendous gust of wind in both directions. Hod and Althea were flung backwards. As they flipped through the air, I dug into the world tree’s root, burrowing through it like dirt. Elijah tried standing, I grabbed his foot before dragging him down into the root.
He could fly despite his immense mass. That was Elijah’s biggest strength. Once up in the air, he could reach Ajax in seconds. We needed to cripple him before he got up. Torix had never seen him dig through the ground, so this was an easy way of slowing him down. I drug him into the dirt before his wing of flesh balled itself up like a fist.
It slammed into the tree, sending a kinetic wave through me. It was like the sandworm on Hod’s homeworld, but my body tanked the damage with ease. Without missing a beat, I dragged him deeper into the root. It was like knowing someone couldn’t swim, then taking them out into deep water. Like that, Elijah submerged into the root.
Elijah curled up into a ball, his arms and wings moving through the dense wood with ease. The sound of an earthquake ebbed from above. The matter around him condensed, pulling in before he spread his arms outward.
A wave of light magic discharged with destructive might. It rattled through me, like being in a car barrelling down a hill. The root around him disintegrated into sawdust, leaving a circular impression in the wood. I flopped onto the ground. I looked up, and Elijah had grown two more wings while he floated.
Just like the others, one was flesh and the other made of white feathers. Before he finished Hod and Althea were upon him. Hod leapt from the top of the root, his body behind his overhead slash. Althea darted down, firing a bolt into the wing before slicing with her dagger. They both impacted Elijah’s injured wings.
Hod severed through the one of flesh, and Althea broke the one on her side. I dashed towards the flesh wing, reaching out with event Horizon. I caught it and bit into the wing, devouring it before it could do more damage. I even reached out with Event Horizon, disintegrating any splatters of blood or falling feathers.
I didn’t want him empowering his allies with feathers or his blood. Elijah stayed flying, the two new wings supporting his weight. His hood fell from his face, exposing him. Like his wings, one half of his face was angelic. The other half was monstrous. He had kind, soft features on the unmarred one. His skin was pale, like snow. Red veins crept across the skin like a roadmap, however.
The other side of him wasn’t as easy on the eyes. Massive scars crept up his face, the results of many burns. Patches of exposed bone where seen on his jaw and skull. On the bone, the dimensional cipher was carved. He had given himself to Yawm’s experimentation.
Elijah spread his working wings out, one of his wings limp against his side. He spread them shooting into the air. Before he even reached thirty feet from me, I grabbed him with telekinesis. As I did, I created a gravity vortex beneath me and him. I condensed Overwhelming Presence back into my frame, making me much heavier.
The pull on my hands was tremendous, but I stopped him from moving. He glanced down, veins popping up over his face,
“You shall not stop me heathen.”
He curved his wings together, generating a ball of white energy. It it sucked the air in around it before he launched it. A cataclysmic sound ushered as the slow moving ball floated towards me. Hod and Althea dashed towards him again as I released my telekinetic hold on him. I leapt sideways, avoiding the ball of light.
Whenever it struck the ground, the matter near it siphoned into the light. It released a high pitch sound, like screeching metal as the ground around the orb disintegrated. Once it finished eating the ground, it imploded, blipping out of existence.
Althea and Hod dashed towards Elijah again, but he whipped his wings at them, “Begone, insects.”
From the ends of his wings, two tornadoes formed. They slinked around Elijah like snakes before reaching Hod and Althea. They were both sucked into the vortexes. Elijah spun his wings around, the tornadoes slinging with them like whips. After building momentum, he lifted his wings to slam them into the each other.
I shot off the ground. I interrupted him, my fist colliding with his stomach. Elijah keeled over, blood spurting from his stomach. The tornadoes dissipated, slinging Althea and Hod in random directions away from us. Before I fell from Elijah, I wrapped my arms around him and his wings. Like an aerial german suplex, I sent us back towards the earth.
We plunged down, pulverizing the bit of root remaining beneath us. The entire ground splintered, cracks webbing outwards for dozens of feet. An explosion of sound emanating from our impact. A cloud of tossed dirt billowed after, along with a shockwave. Named ones were blown away, some landing in the lake beside us.
The fish snapped at the named ones, gobbling them up as they ran towards us. I pulled myself over, placed my knees around Elijah’s stomach. I ground and pounded his face, my strikes creating ripples in the ground. The entire time, I converted each punch into telekinetic bullets. My runes raged with energy.
I raised my fist, overcharging my runes before slamming in against Elijah’s exposed skull. The bone cracked before he grabbed my back with a wing. He pulled me up, a pillar of light surrounding us both. He floated up, defying gravity as he reared back a fist. A ball of white light appeared in his palm. He grinned at me,
“Let’s see how much it takes to break you.”
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