Chapter 307 [Bonus chapter] Aftermath of the Judicata
Aldrich, in the next instant, found himself floating in s.p.a.ce that he could tell from a distinct feeling of weightlessness. s.p.a.ce was cold, and that was about all he felt from it. The vacuum environment did nothing to Volantis or his lich body. What struck him was how pretty it was, how if he turned from Earth, he could so clearly see the infinite vastness of the cosmos, the inky dark canvas upon which countless little specks of golden stars were scattered.
But Aldrich had little time to admire the scenery because most of the examiners could not survive in s.p.a.ce. Some of them could, having the ability to levitate or having guards or heroes that could help out, but just as many just floated about, breathless, soon to perish under the harsh emptiness of s.p.a.ce.
Aldrich clasped his hands together and activated his cloak. The souls making it up groaned, their voices audible even in the soundless expanse of s.p.a.ce. They spread apart, whirling about as they left wispy green trails that eventually created a sphere of misty green.
Within this sphere, the [Hallowed Ground], there was absolute safety. Nothing from outside could harm anything within, and on top of that, the active also had the clause of keeping anyone within immune to any status effects or environmental damage.
Several examiners sucked in deep breaths, the [Hallowed Ground] providing them the opportunity to breathe.
"Everyone alright?" said Aldrich.
"I'm quite fine," said Jin Woo. "And soon to make my leave. Serpents, prepare for warp."
The six Serpents marched into formation around Jin Woo and his faction of corporate reps.
"Now ain't this a fancy ability?" said Tychus. He tentatively walked around, finding that he could take steps wherever he wanted in the [Hallowed Ground]. He reached out to one of the floating spirits, but before he could make contact with it, the spirit howled and flew away. "Ain't ever seen the likes of it. You sure you don't want a piece of my new agency?"
"I prefer to work alone," said Aldrich.
"Sounds about right, heh. Well, Thanatos, I ain't about to pressure you into a deal you don't want. This ol' boy's takin's his leave too. Let's go, fellas." Tychus clapped his hands, and one of his mercenaries tapped the side of his head, channeling his own warp ability.
"Those of you that can warp out or find safe pa.s.sage down to earth, do what you can," said Aldrich. "But for those of you that can't, Machine Emperor said he'd be okay with giving you all a ride down."
It was then that Aldrich sensed a ma.s.sive surge of energy through his helmet vision. A surge so strong that it completely engulfed his sight in white. He turned towards the direction of the Judicata. The walls of the [Hallowed Ground] were see through to Aldrich and his units, though to others like the examiners, it was impossible to see through.
Aldrich saw an explosion engulf the Judicata. But that was not from the self-destruction sequence. He had seen a Pillar self-destruct before on the news when variants had managed to infiltrate it. The explosion was awing, but nothing compared to this.
What Aldrich saw was a blast of gold laced with blue electricity so ma.s.sive that it looked like the sun been dropped right there. It was such an enormous blast that it must have been visible from Earth, and the shockwave it generated would have crushed the vast majority of people in the [Hallowed Ground] to a pulp.
Luckily, the [Hallowed Ground] rendered them invulnerable to any outside damage.
That was the combined firepower of Indra, Star Spartan, and the Judicata's self-destruction all mixed together. None of the Panopticon bots could have survived that. But what about bots elsewhere? If the Stranger could take over one Pillar, then what about the others?
Aldrich jumped, leaving the [Hallowed Ground]. He floated in s.p.a.ce for a second before Volantis unfurled his draconic wings. The wings generated their own lift through magical energy, so Aldrich could still fly through the zero G environment of s.p.a.ce.
Chunks of floating, melted debris were the only thing left behind of the Judicata and all its bots. The S-cla.s.s heroes rapidly approached. Star Spartan rushed in the fastest with his blazing comet form. No surprise. His hero data indicated that Star Spartan could get so fast he could circle the entire planet in thirty minutes â€“ around mach 60.
Behind him was Indra, flying with a trail of lightning crackling behind him. At absolute top speeds, by turning into pure lightning, Indra could reach a high of mach 350. But he rarely, if ever did that. His reaction speed did not scale with his top speed, so he was liable to cause significant collateral damage moving as pure lightning, especially since his lightning was far more destructive than its natural equivalent.
Machine Emperor flew behind them while carrying Mus.h.i.+n with an arm.
And last, but not least, Dracul moved as a formless ma.s.s of darkness that shaped into his human self when he got closer.
"Glad to see you're alright, Thanatos," said Star Spartan as he stopped before Aldrich, a shockwave of force hitting Aldrich's armor as the S cla.s.s hero stopped.
"Sorry about that, I try to keep my stops slow, but I was in a rush," said Star Spartan.
"An understandable rush. It's fine." Aldrich nodded. From hero data, Star Spartan was one of the 'good ones'. No bad track record. A few botched missions, a few side casualties from the nature of his destructive power, but nothing that his good did not overshadow.
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"Are the examiners in there?" said Star Spartan, pointing his golden energy spear at the [Hallowed Ground] sphere.
"Don't mind if I do. I'll have to give him an earful about going to dangerous places without me. Wait, technically, I was here with him, ah whatever." Indra shrugged and floated into the [Hallowed Ground] where, Aldrich saw, Indra reached out and hugged his older brother.
"So much for coordinates, huh?" Machine Emperor got near Aldrich. "You didn't warp that far at all."
'I can do much better!' protested Chrysa, though she spoke only in Aldrich's head. 'Tell the tin man that I can do a lot better if it was just father!'
"It was the best that could have been done given the tight timeframe," said Aldrich.
"I understand. I've sent a signal out to my s.p.a.ce station. My shuttles will be here in a few minutes," said Machine Emperor. "Though, are you sure the examiners are okay in there? You might have warped out of the blast radius, but you were still in range of the shockwave."
"You can go in there and find out yourself, if you want. But they're all fine."
"I'm not ragging on you or anything, just surprised that this barrier's so durable. The blast was big enough to easily level a city â€“ the shockwave would have been equally nasty. Your powers are so diverse and so powerful â€“ you're quite possibly the most interesting person that's come out of the woodworks in the past fifty years."
"Indeed," said Mus.h.i.+n, his body covered in a lattice of orange light â€“ Machine Emperor's s.h.i.+elding that protected him from s.p.a.ce. He put a hand to his chin, gazing at Aldrich inquisitively.
"Ah, there goes Dracul." Star Spartan watched as Dracul's formless darkness rippled overhead, pa.s.sing by and heading down to Earth. He had said what he had wanted to say, so there was no need to waste any more time.
Until Aldrich reached out to Dracul, he would probably see little of the Sentinel.
"I wish he helped out more. A man of his power would help the world greatly, but after getting his vengeance, he's done little," said Star Spartan.
"Sometimes, the vengeance is all there is," said Aldrich, looking out at Dracul's distantly shrinking form. "And once that's gone, there's not much else."
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