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The New World 231 Havoc

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As the s.h.i.+ps droned and the Hybrids stomped, we skulked beneath them in the sewers. We pa.s.sed several of the checkpoints, dispatching several groups of Hybrid sentries sent to find us. Once up close to the first point for our illusions, I stepped up the wall of stone. As if covered in black water, my skin s.h.i.+fted like living blades. I cut through the rock with ease, pulling myself forward with gravity.

I rose through the dirt and stone, pa.s.sing up into the first building. I walked up to the top floor, the windows blown out from the chaos below. Beneath me, Hybrids haunted the streets like steel t.i.tans. They stood over the doorways and cars, their monstrous frames crus.h.i.+ng the city with ease.

Several of the Hybrids carried carca.s.ses of espens, chewing on the opened entrails. They dug their metal wires into the corpses. It mirrored the mandibles of a mantis munching through a cicada. Several of the espens were alive, screaming for help.

I crushed the urge to help them as I planted the quintessence stone. I ripped my gaze from the horrors, pacing back down into the depths. We raced through the hidden hallways of the city. Once through to the next point, I walked into a woodshop that survived the last incursion. I planted the illusion and pa.s.sed the corpses of a family of espens. Someone devoured only their eyes and the contents of their skulls.

Throughout the entirety of placing these illusions, the city showed signs of devastation. The totalitarian rebels took a zero-tolerance policy for those that didn't join them. Though it might not have started that way, over time, these people devolved as the conflict continued. From what I imagined, the rebels committed acts of evil after joining. Once done, they either rationalized what they did or went insane.

This devolvement of the city's people made Polydra's destruction less of an issue for me. This place died a while back, and now it was a shambling corpse instead of a living metropolis. Either way, I planted the final illusion near the entrance of a metro.

With that finished, I turned towards the final group remaining with me. The others split from us as we planted the decoys. Now Kessiah and Krog braced themselves for what was to come. I raised a hand,

"For the guild. Let's show them what we can do."

They gave me a curt nod before racing off to their positions. I did the same seconds after, burrowing until I reached a tall skysc.r.a.per. After pa.s.sing a beautiful but downtrodden reception area, pounding footsteps echoed above me. I sprinted towards an elevator shaft, not wanting to walk up hundreds of staircases. Avoiding prying eyes played to my advantage as well.

I wiggled into the elevator sideways, struggling to fit. Seconds later, I melted through the top of the metal box. I timed the roof's destruction with a giant explosion in the distance. After rippling of the wire ebbed in my ears, I shot up with gravity guiding me. Hundreds of floors pa.s.sed before I reached the top level.

Far above the destruction below, I gained a view of the entire city. I walked up to a wall of gla.s.s, Polydra's ruin spreading out beneath me. After rolling my shoulders, I pressed my hands together. A dozen different objects lifted from around me. I pulled my arms in, the furniture racing forward.

With office chairs keeping me hidden, I sat down in a fort of printers, water coolers, and office furniture more akin to cardboard than wood. From the cracks in my guise, I reached out a hand, mana saturating my blood like liquid energy. It built in my hands as I stared at the dreadnought. A few seconds later, and my hand trembled with palpating power.

I braced a hand while sending a message to the others, 

The Living Multiverse(lvl 10,000) - Go

- Kessiah -

I turned my gaze up as a flash of light erupted over the city. Above, cataclysmic detonation echoed across the city. Plugging my ears, I braced myself as a shockwave dispersed throughout Polydra. A sound loud enough to shatter teeth and crack stone followed.

Krog raised a wing, protecting me from being launched like a styrofoam cup caught up in a gust of wind. The source of the carnage, the enormous vessel's forcefield billowed out. My breath seized in my chest at the sight of the d.a.m.n thing. It was just so f.u.c.king big. Ah f.u.c.k, why was I here again?

I shook my head as gla.s.s pelted me from above. I was tough enough for this s.h.i.+t at least. I turned down as Krog ripped a Hybrid from one of the gialgathens. Yeah. That was why I was here. To help this a.s.shole. Great.

I hyperventilated as my eyebrows singed off my face from Krog's heated breath. That was about the only thing that matched the guy's fiery temper. Once the Hybrid disintegrated, I leaped down onto the broken pavement. Stumbling over to the gialgathen, I opened my ring's storage. 

"f.u.c.k, ah f.u.c.k."

I pulled out a bag of blood before ripping it open. A car beside Krog exploded, another shockwave making me stumble to my side. I lost focus for a moment, the blood falling down in a torrent of red. I reached out a hand, my eyes widening, 

"Ah, h.e.l.l no. No, no, no."

If I had to f.u.c.king use my own blood again, I'd fall out right here.

Another deafening boom shot out from above, the dreadnought unleas.h.i.+ng arcane bolts at one of the illusions near us. I attempted ignoring the insanity all around me as I healed this gialgathen that got caught up in this s.h.i.+tstorm.

I stuck to the wounds that usually resulted in death. Pretty much, they were always blood loss, cardiac arrest, or organ failure. The other stuff was beyond me, so, I prioritized the major arteries first to stabilize their blood pressure and lower blood loss. After that, the guys needed an injection of fluids to help the heart with the whole pumping to live thing.

Once I got them stable, I slapped the s.h.i.+t out of them to wake them up. Worked like a charm.

With that in mind, I unleashed a furious flurry of slaps onto this random dude. The gialgathens eyes twitched, so I set his head down. Tossing it onto rock wasn't a good idea. Done it once and the gialgathen died. Talk about a lot of wasted effort.

A bit of Hybrid mush beneath me twitched, so I jumped up and screamed,

"Oh s.h.i.+t."

Krog obliterated it with a tail whip, dirt spraying over my face. I spit out some mud, my hair blown back. I turned to the a.s.shole, 

"Thanks for the help."

The d.a.m.n gialgathen smirked at me,

"No need for thanks. I would do it anytime."

He pulled the gialgathen up onto his back with a wing. After he adjusted it, I jumped on top of the pile of bodies. We leaped back up to the chaos, the wind off his wings, sending cars flying. I stared at the dreadnought, the s.h.i.+p casting entire city blocks in the shade. It looked like s.h.i.+t. 

Daniel already blew up vast portions of it. Large hunks of the s.h.i.+p were just missing. It looked like a void shark just took a ma.s.sive bite out of the d.a.m.n thing. No void sharks here though. Only Daniel and his good ole singularity thingamajig.

As we crossed portions of the ruins, one of the spires reared back to swipe at us. It was like staring at a giant d.i.c.k of death. Well, maybe the fact I thought of it like that said more about me than the d.a.m.n spire. Eh, whatever.

As it whipped towards us, I swore to Baldowah that if I lived through this s.h.i.+t, I was never going back to a warzone. Leave this h.e.l.l for fighters like Daniel. I preferred putting the mess back together afterward. Yenno, in a safe a.s.s hospital. This s.h.i.+t, this s.h.i.+t right here sucked.

As the metal tendril of doom slammed towards us, I covered my ears. Krog unleashed a devastating roar towards the metallic tendril, the sonic boom sending the tentacle sideways from the impact. The wily old general aimed his attack to send the spire at one of Daniel's illusions. As it landed beside the mana crystal. Krog sent out a telepathic roar. Once his mind touched the gem, the white stone detonated. An elemental blast boomed from the tiny bomb. It unleashed blue fire, orange ice, and multi-colored crabs from the point impact. I shook my head, utterly flabbergasted at the sheer amount of crabs here. I mean, what the f.u.c.k was going on? 

There were so many crabs. Why were there so many crabs?

Wait a minute. They were elemental crabs. The elemental crabs latched onto the frozen tendril, crawling across its surface. As they pooled near the base of the ma.s.sive pillar of metal, they used their claws to snip the d.a.m.n thing to death. I started rooting for the little guys. 

I waved my fist. Go crabs. Go get that b.a.s.t.a.r.d. f.u.c.k him up.

Another calamity discharged behind us, the behemoth of a s.h.i.+p quaking under the might of another gravitational implosion. We rode the shockwave, Krog smoothly adjusting to the s.h.i.+ft in his flight path. I stared down, several other spires stuck in giant blocks of burning ice. The frozen fires allowed more crabs to destroy more spires.

At this point, the entire battlefield descended to utter madness. Hybrids attacked crabs. Crabs attacked Hybrids. Gialgathens burned. Gialgathens got burned. I'll be honest, I kept my head down as Krog took the brunt of the battle on. This s.h.i.+t was way beyond me at this point.

The battle continued even if I didn't look at it though. We landed at the base of one of the pillars. It smelled like a jug of milk left in a hot car for months, the Hybrids repulsive as can be. I gagged as Krog ran up to save other gialgathens. 

From this stinking, orange, and sloppy pit, Krog roared once more. The apricot-colored liquid sprayed out at us, but Krog waved his wings, sending it flying everywhere else but here. Thank Baldowah. I did not want that s.h.i.+t on me.

Krog reached into the pit of metamorphizing gialgathens. Pulling them out one by one, his eyes widened as a thousand-yard stare covered his face. It was too much for the old guy, and I couldn't blame him. A lot of these poor b.a.s.t.a.r.ds didn't have skin, the orange slop replacing it with metal wires and corded steel.

It gave me flashbacks to the endless flesh that used my body like a puppet. The violation. The helplessness. My breath quickened as I calmed myself, using some mental tactics I developed to deal with it.

Count to a hundred by 7's. I didn't understand how Daniel pushed through all this. He just did. I wasn't like that. It hit me hard, and I couldn't just keep standing up after every knockout blow like Daniel could.

h.e.l.l, it took all I had just to stand back up.

I shook out that memory, getting back in the moment. I slapped my cheeks as Krog sorted the gialgathens. One pile was for those beyond saving. The others had a chance. Once completed, I jumped down, my feet cracking stone under me. I frowned at the rock. I wasn't fat, alright? The pavement was just weak.

Anyways, I ran up to one of the tangerine-colored bodies. This one retained skin for the most part. I grabbed the sides of my head, panicking for a second. I couldn't do a d.a.m.n thing due to the nature of the wounds. These guys were in the middle of a reformation. All my skills oriented around healing injuries, so what good was I here?

From behind me, another enormous detonation echoed out. As it rippled past me, I stumbled forward. A good portion of the orange gunk sprayed off the corpses, stopping their reformation. That was it. I raised my hands while turning to Krog,

"I think I have an idea for how to get rid of this...Krog?"

I turned around, unable to find the fiery gialgathen. I walked back and forth, my gaze wide. Hybrids sprinted off in the distance. They burrowed through the ground and grabbed running espens and gialgathens alike. For a moment, I wondered if the old b.a.s.t.a.r.d left me. If he did, I was dead. I couldn't even fight one of the Hybrids here. They'd reach their hands through my skin, eating me alive from the inside.

A primal, dark fear manifested in my chest. Memories of that day versus Dahkma ran through my mind. My breathing quickened. My pulse pounded in my ears and chest, almost painful as adrenaline flooded my system. A second later, Krog let out a roar of agony.

I sprinted towards the source. I wish I could say it was to save a friend. It wasn't. It was to save me. As I neared the gialgathen, I found three Hybrids pinning Krog down as one pried his mouth open. One of them was trying to crawl inside him, his skin too hard for them.

My heart seized while my stomach sank. My vision narrowed as fear overcame me. My knees wobbled. My hands trembled. I blinked back tears as they crawled towards Krog, making progress in their infestation.

I willed myself forward, desperate to help him, to help me. I didn't budge. I stayed in place. A wave of guilt and self-loathing washed over me. Why was I so weak? Why was I so pathetic? I could do this. It was better to die saving Krog than trying to run away.

But no matter how hard I tried running forward, fear paralyzed me. It whispered in my ear about my failures. It spoke about all the times I failed not only myself but other people. It reminded me that when everyone needed me most, I failed.

My vision blurred as tears of frustration built in my eyes. I fell down to my knees as nausea pa.s.sed into my chest. I watched as the Hybrids edged closer and closer, Krog struggling to stop them. I looked down, grabbing fist fulls of dirt.

Why was this all so hard?  Why did fear stop me?

I didn't find an answer. 

I glanced back up, the horror of the situation overwhelming me. For a moment, it was like I was looking at myself from a distance. A realization sparked in my head. What would happen if I just kept laying here?

I would die.

I was letting the fear of what may happen stop me. Well, if I did nothing, the outcome was about as bad as it could be. I pushed my knees, wobbling as I stood up. I gripped my hands into fists. It was about d.a.m.n time I put my fear behind me instead of letting it stop me.

Still shaking, I opened my dimensional storage. I pulled out dozens of blood packs, tearing them open as the blood siphoned around me. It pooled, purifying in a sanguine sphere. I siphoned streams of my blood into my eyes, ears, and skin. As the sensation of power flooded my frame, memories of killing my family with my blood arts rushed into my head.

I shook them off. Black veins spread over my skin as the urge to kill and crush rushed over me like endless rain. Even with fear still coursing through me, I dashed towards the Hybrids over Krog. My feet turned pavement to dust as I tackled one of three Hybrids holding Krog down. The metal crumpled under my touch, but my own skin and bones ripped as well. The Hybrid tumbled across the ground before colliding with a building beside us. Concrete powder billowed out from the Hybrid's impact with the building as I let out a grunt. Staring at my wounds, I diagnosed myself. 

I wiggled an arm. Pain radiated upward. Yup, I dislocated it while covering it with a few nasty gashes. Pulling the blood from the wound, I healed the external wounds before taking a deep breath. I bit into my sleeve as I shoved my arm back into the socket. I let out a scream m.u.f.fled by the jacket as I turned forward.

The other Hybrids turned to me, their insectoid mouths squirming. Their twitching, deformed features sent another wave of terror up my spine. I lifted my s.h.i.+vering arms and said in a meek voice,

"Get off him."

Krog took a breath, this one moment enough. He opened his ma.s.sive mouth, the Hybrid falling into his maw. Before it infested him, he roared out. The other Hybrid flew off from the shockwave. Even I dragged back several feet; his roar was simply that strong.

Krog stood up as another Hybrid jumped behind him. The old general whipped his tail, annihilating the Hybrid into a fine mist with an explosive impact. He stomped another into nothingness, killing it under his thick heels. He turned to me,

"That was brave, little one. Thank you for saving me."

I won't lie, I blushed a bit. I don't know why exactly, but I did.

"Uh, no problem."

Krog pulled the gialgathen onto his back before gesturing to me,

"Come. There's still much to do and little time to do it."

I took a few more deep breaths. He was right. 

"Yeah. I'm coming."

As I ran over, I peered down. Oddly enough, there was a grin on my face. I lifted my hands in fists. I did it. This time was different because I was different. I was a new me.

Another unG.o.dly explosion radiated out from above, and I howled while raising my hands over my face. The moment pa.s.sed as I lowered my hands.

Ok, maybe not an entirely new me, but it was a start.

- Daniel - 

Ascendant mana coursed into my blood before dispersing through my palm. My hand glowed from the flow of energy, lighting the cl.u.s.ter of s.h.i.+tty office furniture covering me. In my view, another singularity obliterated the side of the dreadnought through its forcefield. After twenty minutes of bombardment, the s.p.a.cial field protecting the dreadnought fizzled out.

I reached out my hands, the furniture cras.h.i.+ng outwards along with the gla.s.s wall lining this portion of the skysc.r.a.per. I sprinted forward before lunging out over the battlefield. Firing over the expanse, I shot forward with a gravitational well. A shockwave ebbed under my heels as I s.h.i.+fted my body into a sharpened blade.

Piercing into the s.h.i.+p's hull, I sprinted through several walls before reaching the factory line for the gialgathens. I grimaced as I stepped out onto a metal walkway. Someone in a gas mask glanced at me, stunned before I stared down at him. 

I backhanded his face into a pulped mush against a nearby wall. His remains splattered onto the floor beneath me. One of the workers gasped as blood covered him. I stepped forward while cracking my knuckles. With Event Horizon, I jumped down as the bodies near me evaporated into the abyss. 

I silenced every voice, a symphony of screams then silence pa.s.sing over the line as I salvaged the gialgathens here. Once culled, I sprinted back out towards the hull. I gripped the steel wall before shearing it in my palms. Like wrapping paper, it tore with utter ease, the splintering steel rippling out with an ear-piercing squeal. Gravity contorted the walls further, letting me pull the gialgathens from this h.e.l.l. 

Working with Krog, I threw the ball of gialgathens out into the sky. A legion of gialgathens raced pa.s.sed, collecting their fallen brethren. The most contorted members stayed suspended within my dimensional warp, keeping them from infecting others. The others were carried to relative safety. 

With the gialgathens out, I turned back to the metal structure that held them. I leaned down, planting my feet. With telekinetic augments, I shot upward. The walls of metal bellied outwards, stretching and leaving the surface heated. I crushed through walls and expunged the people here. Within minutes, I killed most of the crew.

As I lifted out of the dreadnought, I left a void in the hull beneath me. The torn upper portion of the s.h.i.+p sheened in the sun as fires and explosions rippled out beneath me along the surface of the vessel. I glanced up at my allies as the dreadnought collapsed onto Polydra.

A blinding light flashed behind me as I stared at a golden line grafting into the sky over the other side of the city. Lehesion's aura leaked out, but the colossus himself didn't pour out of the portal. s.h.i.+ps and other resources flooded from the rippling void, along with an army of Hybrids, however.

Around me, my guildsmen and the injured regrouped onto the other side of the city. As they flew beneath me, another ent.i.ty came from the portal. It was a different member of the Hybrids, its bulk far larger and its form more humanoid. It mimicked the energy aura of Lehesion, a palpable, golden atmosphere encompa.s.sing it. 

It showed the same sleeker, more shaped body of the Hybrid in the nautical base. It carried the same variety of faces, mouths and electronic eyes scattered over its upper body. Unlike Version 2.0, it glared across the battlefield, its eyes a.n.a.lyzing with a cold, calculating gaze. 

In a way, it was like staring at a crowd glaring in the same direction. Within seconds, it locked its many eyes on me, a s.h.i.+ver racing down my spine. I a.n.a.lyzed the creature. As I did, I grimaced. This was worse than I thought.

Version 2.2(lvl: 19,429~ Status: Unknown Bounty: S-) - This unholy amalgam of eldritch and silver has developed baseline levels of intelligence and autonomy. This in conjunction with an immense, natural tenacity given its form, and the monster is enough to be considered a planetary threat all on its own.

This is due partly to its insatiable nature, but it also persists from a presence in its mind. Due to some psionic influence, this beast is far more stable and intelligent than it would otherwise be. Combine this with the apparent feeding from Lehesion's own reserves of energy, and this Hybrid is an utter and complete monstrosity.

Good luck should you be forced to face its wrath. It's recommended you run and plan against it, however.

I took a deep breath before charging energy into my blood. Defeating something like this on my own was beyond me. I understood that in an instant. However, holding it at bay was within my grasp. Until my forces retreated, I'd fight this behemoth on my own.

You'd think fear would be racing up my spine, but no, an excitement grew in my chest. I glared at it as it glared at me. It gave me a menacing, broken grin. From one monster to another, I grinned back. And so, I dashed forward, into the swarm of metal.

This was going to be fun.

Chapter Notes:

Want to keep reading? Here yah go: 232 The Minds of Many

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