Chapter 30: Trial by Fire
The Elevator reached its destination, and I did not hesitate to remove myself from the premises of said Elevator. I ignored the running crew members, now given the order to retreat themselves, and like them, headed towards the nearest shipyard. I was closing in, it was just a short hallway away, straight ahead-I made it!
The A-12 docks were good docks, according to Pandora's mind, as they were usually well-kept and sparse of others, so she could easily get some privacy when she got on and off her ships-a good thing, considering her dislike of noise. I had to add that: It was really the only description that could give credit to the type of chaos going on. The relatively calm dockyard was now alive in a chaotic frenzy of activity, ships going and leaving with relative speed. There was no longer any guessing where Gear was or when he'd be leaving, and through whatever intercom systems remained in the half-of-a-ship, they declared unanimous retreat. I could see Curze (badly wounded and on a limp), Avonu (masked but still bloodstained from head to toe), and Prikade (seemingly the only one of the three to not be totally wrecked) board an important-looking troop transport and leave very quickly. They probably didn't see me, though, which was good. Hell, nobody would have given a d**m for me at this point, like anyone could
give a d**m-Taking all the ships first would certainly not seal my fate, and considering I had just recovered most of my injuries from the prior fight (I did use Recover) and had a good reservoir of energy left, I was pretty much guaranteed to live at this point. All that was left was finding the Calypso.
I telepathed, loudly.
<"Wha?! Are you OK?!">
Mario responded, quite scared for my life considering my tone.
<"Just checking! I'm at the docks, I'll get out! I just saw Avonu, Curze and Prikade board a troop transport, though, I'd keep an eye for anything fancy in the skies...">
<"Don't yell like that! It'll make me think you're in deep sh-I mean, trouble!">
Mario telepathed, correcting his cuss.
<"Ah, don't worry, the chance I'll get buried in s**t is almost zip at this point! Just telling you ‘bout Avonu! Oh, yes, he IS the High Priest, confirmed for real. Don't have any proof but my sight, but it was definitely him, NOT Tyzzax. I guess that's two Zav from Issac, right?">
<"Uhh...OH! It's Avonu?! You found him, High Priest Avonu?! Fantastic! I should inform Issac...Anything else...Wait, No, you're still on that ship! Get here now, and tell me the rest later!">
Mario ordered, pleased by his minor profit, but deciding that he'd rather have me telling this next to him.
<"Gotcha! I'll be there.">
"Err...He's looking at you. In the bad way."
I turned my head, and saw, to my displeasure, one last Arbitarian Loyalist that dared stand in my way. Technically, in fact, he did NOT stand between me and freedom, but Blizzard certainly looked like he wouldn't let me go easily. Still wearing those Anti-Illusion goggles, too...D**m those. I need Intel, from the source, to get to the bottom of this! Facts were contradicting themselves, and fat chance they were all right!
"...Maybe you are
nothing more than a murderer, after all." Blizzard said simply, unsheathing the rapier he had.
Ooh, scary, his ice-based offensive absolutely worthless on a frost-immune Dragon-Type, some spatial tricks that were somewhat
better, and what else? I'd probably have a hard time being threatened the instant he pulled out the invariably predictable-HOLY S**T!!!
Blizzard-defying the prior strategy I predicted-suddenly brought a massive black mallet into existence-this was NOTHING like those anime cartoons where girls just grab mallets out of thin air to smack people, this was the kind of thing THOR would tremble at seeing, a hammer of pure Darkness. Worse, Blizzard seemed to slightly best me in the Darkness department, and he defiantly had a bind on that hammer that was a waste of a ton of energy to remove.
Dodging ensured. Whenever it brought down, it made a shockwave but never left damage on the floor, instantly dissipating whenever it hit the ground-and the nearby airspace lost half its light whenever the hammer struck. That wasn't enough for a revenge-driven Blizzard, though, and he also sent it flying like a fist towards me at times, slamming into walls. Blizzard got no hits-a mallet that big had some easily predicted movements, but it was fast, and the ducks and slips I had to use were always close calls.
The Black Hammer strategy Blizzard was going for subsided, but my adversary followed up with bullets, and even as they flew by my face, they were reeking nastily of death energy…Meaning no metal control. Aww, come on! I tried making a break for the sole barrier that separated ship from space-but Blizzard unexpectedly turned it into a hard wall. It was quite like pressing my face against a window, only the window was near-invincible. Said nigh invulnerability shortly proven thereafter by a ship, attempting its escape and clueless about the danger, ramming into it.
Yes, Blizzard did not notice the ship leaving right then and there, and yes, it exploded. And forcefully, mind you. I was thrown away from it. Blizzard was smart enough to include what made the barrier in the sudden burst of invincibility, otherwise I'd escape and he'd be sucked into space without a viable method of breathing. That being said, even though it was a small ship, the explosion was enough to envelop other ships in its explosive wrath, and Blizzard himself was swept away a little. Despite the fact that he nearly compromised a third of the dock, Blizzard was confident-and had perfectly logical reason to believe-that he had me pinned and as good as dead.
I would not tolerate that, not even a little. From the smoky aftermath of the blast, A long-reaching Dragonbreath, thin but long and still strong, hit Blizzard and sent him backwards, very near to a wall. He recovered from that as well, but when the smoke truly cleared, he realized that I was nowhere to be seen. He then realized that he noticed some odd pressure that was applied to his arms in some forceful and strong fashion, like something was gripping it. The instant afterwards he then realized that gravity's effects suddenly were nixed for his specific person. He then realized that the logical cause of both incidents were about to hurt him badly. He then realized the painful sensation of having your head knocked into a metal wall by an invisible Half-Latries Pokethrobe.
Oh, but I did not stop with merely a forced arrangement of a wall-meets-head scenario for poor Blizzard. Oh, no, I decided to ram him into the Ceiling as well. However, Blizzard braced just in time, and though he couldn't get a good enough Kinetic Guard going for him, he defiantly made sure my mach-speed wall-slam was not fatal. I threw him on the ground, still rapidly, and went to cover. No, I would play stealth this time. I was determined NOT to get put in another icy sphere.
"Hmph." Blizzard muttered. His head was bleeding his weird black blood a small bit on his head, but he froze it over. Blizzard moved slowly, steadily, and silently. He knew I was here, and he knew that I'd pop out at the most inconvenient of times to attack me, but he did not know where I was, and he did not know what I would do next.
This was really, really starting to annoy me. If he saw me make a break for the barrier, he'd just solidify it, and it really was better to have one less living Loyalist, well alive. I assumed they all survived the blast, unless I got solid proof that they weren't. The less, the better in the long run, and in this case, there wasn't an option on snuffing him...Unless Gear got out first. That was about as suicidal as it got.
"<Avalon, what's going on, you should have been back by now!">
<"Blizzard decided to kill me, and he's really starting to become annoying.">
I replied. <"He's going to keep me in the ship by solidifying the barrier when I'm near it, so it's either him or me, and he definitely doesn't want it to be him.">
"Those Arbiters...Ugh! Stubborn as hell, like Pikachu. I'll see what I can do about that!">
I peeked my invisible head over my sole piece of cover, a crate of ammunition for Arbitarian Crossbows I did not have. Considering they weren't explosive unless launched from said Arbitarian weaponary, I was safe as far as cover went. However, Blizzard was clearly in control, capable of keeping me pinned down and away from ships, and considering I last saw Gear in the elevator shaft, close to the edge of the ship, I was betting that his time in this place was not much longer. I had to take him out fast.
I floated about a foot off the ground, careful to not touch anything or go to fast. I approached Blizzard in this silent manner, truly afraid of what happened if he found me close to his body-that shadow hammer did not give pretty images in my mind of my fate. Considering he was moving himself close in the direction of my previous piece of cover, he only made me more nervous. However, when I got within viable striking distance, life for me got easier. I proceeded to make a blow against the seemingly unwitting Blizzard...And then he turned around, right in front of my face.
But he wasn't staring at me, of all things. Oh, no, he was looking at somebody completely different.
Well, I did say that his time for departure from this ship was imminent. Imminent’s time frame never really was specified, however, so today was the day I realized it meant whatever time was most inconvenient.
Yes, it was Gear, and a familiar, angry face was present on his head-though it was less pure rage than before, it still was a kind of face that made a powerful feeling that he was in charge come to mind very quickly. He didn't even bother for Blizzard (I was never sure if Gear saw Blizz that day at all), but instead came to the nearest ship.
"Gear." Blizzard said, simply. I was still invisible, but I got the f*** out of his line of sight-I'd rather not be seen by the guy who could detect life force after I basically abused his trust of me to escape death.
"Fallows. No surprises there."
Gear said, still more focused on the ship than the Arbiter, not even looking at Blizz.
"...You do realize-" Blizzard said. Then, abruptly, he got sent flying to a wall, leaving an imprint of his body. Both Volteer's Kinetic Energy must have been strong, Gear for obvious reasons, and Blizzard for surviving the blow mostly intact.
"Yes, I realize you're an a**hole. I don't bother with them much."
Gear said, closing the hatch.
Gear was in an Arbitarian Ship, like the rest-the anti-friendly fire chips would keep the guns of his ship from firing at him (how they got it to work that precisely, I'll never guess correctly), meaning the instant he got out of the resulting blast from the ship, we'd be done for...And I did NOT know how to operate an escape pod.
"I will keep you from leaving, you know?" Blizzard said, getting himself out of his imprint in the wall. Gear clearly couldn't hear him from outside the cockpit, but it was clear, and Gear breathed onto the glass, forced the moisture to stay where it was, and wrote upon it with his Kinetic energy, "Blizzard, f*** you."
Clearly, Gear wasn't concerned with Blizzard's threats.
Gear also got the ship's thrusters going, and Blizzard's face turned red (or really, as much red as such a dark skin tone would allow), but then paled with some sort of horror-maybe his Spatial trick didn't work?
Gear took off, and Blizzard used Kinetic Energy to bolt towards the closest Emergency Escape pod. Clearly, Blizzard failed.
Time slowed down, slowed down as much as I could do it, slow enough to notice Gear start to approach the barrier at a crawl's pace and Blizzard enter the nearby escape pod-the only escape route at this point. Screw killing him, I was just interested in surviving-in fact, that meant he had to live, as he probably knew how to steer that thing, and I certianly didn't. Reach the pod, d***it, reach the pod! I started telepathing Mario the instant this was happening. <"Mario!">
<"D**m Blizzard stalls too good! Gear's nearly out of the ship! I'm trying to board a Pod Blizzard's taking, 'cause I never could pilot one!">
I said, rapidly, flying over inside the pod, careful not to touch Blizzard himself.
<"No time to slow down!">
I added, as I decided to slow down everything else, but speed everything in the pod ridiculously fast. I was running low already, d**m, but I had to survive this, surviving this was everything! I could return to Eon Sky if I could just survive.
Blizzard made all the preparations to launch and accomplished said launch before he noticed me. In fact, it was because of the launch (which threw my body towards him due to the acceleration) that he happened to notice me at all.
"WHAT THE F***?!"
The dreams were thrown at me at mach-speed, but I could swear they were all of what was to come: I called out to allies, many whose names were unknown to me; I obliterated foes in uniforms unlike those of the Onlisk or the Arbiters; I was doing stuff that Legendary Volteers were accredited for; I looked upon faces new and old, in rage, joy, sorrow, boredom, and a myriad of other emotions; I distinctly remember Gear's Dog tags (or Cog tags, or both) being held in my hand.Much of it was a blur.
Then the last bit came, something that even today was crisp and clear: I distinctly recall a Meadow on an overlook. I don't know where it was, but I was definitely older for whenever this was-my body was much bigger. I was curious how an immortal Legend would age-maybe they chose their ages? Regardless, I distinctly remember it: Flowers of all sorts, some rarer than Shaymin’s Gracedias (You probably never even heard of some earth-native flowers. Those flowers can grow literally nowhere else.). I looked over the edge of the overlook, and saw a seaside town, nice and pretty, the ocean onward looking crisp and blue, fair weather and a gentle breeze helping along the feeling of something good.
Then I woke up. I woke up for real, because I could easily feel the cold steel. I struggled to move, but some of my bones were broken-especially the wings. I felt pieces of shrapnel in my arm, but that was about it. I then remembered what I was doing before I went under: Escaping from an about-to-explode Arbitarian ship in an Emergency Escape Pod, Blizzard nearby. Those pods were meant to make sure that if anything fractured, it didn't fracture towards the people inside the pod-however, the pods are designed to land sideways, not on its top or bottom. It must have been a crash landing, and it must have been either the top or bottom, but...Here I was.. Trickles of light were coming through cracks in the metal pile above me. I was also hungry. I wondered how long I was out. Gravity was here-I was on an object with gravity, at least. It may have been an asteroid, a moon, a planet, or somewhere else. I transformed into a human, and let the pain on my wings transfer to pain on my back, to at least lose size and worm out quicker.
"Hurrp-urup!" Went someone (or something
). Clearly, whatever it was currently tasked itself to remove the debris. I waited patiently-metal shifted above me, as two more pieces were moved-
And then one movement of the metal brought another large piece of metal on my crotch.
I yelled, instinctively. The movement of metal directly above me resulted from that yell, and the light poured down.
Two men-whose faces were obscured by the sudden light source-were looking at me, but one immediately turned to another. "Sir, we've found another. He appears to be young, and he's bleeding! Notify the cleric, he needs to be healed!" One said.
The other immediately reassured me of my current status-still half-trapped under a pile of metal-would end soon. "Don't 'cha worry, sonny! We'll get 'ya out!" He said, clearly older than the other guy.
I nodded. The fact that, at least, they didn't immediately say anything that sounded like they'd kill me, was more reassuring of my lifespan than actually being found under here.
...That being said, I was still somewhere totally unknown to me. I'd probably get a grasp for what was going on here soon, but for now, all I knew was that I was at least going to a cleric, for some reason. Wouldn't a medic make more sense?