Wilkas dove forward, smashing his fist into a column of stone that Kaoné had just risen from the ground. The column shattered at its base as it was launched forward at Siyuakén, who quickly ducked to evade and then shot a lightning bolt toward the Wilkas. The Forcetechnic ignored the attack as he barged forward, closing the distance between himself and Siyuakén before throwing his fists out again, missing the corrupted Electrotechnic only because she bent over backwards. She then continued the motion into a full flip and channeled an incredible electric charge into her feet just as she kicked Wilkas’s chin. He reeled back, momentarily stunned and left open to attack — though Kaoné quickly transmuted steel shields all around him, blocking the lightning attacks that followed. Wilkas then punched the shields, launching some of the plating toward Siyuakén before grabbing the rest and smashing it into a large club that he then began swinging at her. She responded with a fierce blast of electricity, giving the steel club an incredible charge that she then manipulated to fling the weapon out of Wilkas’s hands. He simply ignored the weapon as it tumbled down the mountain to try and close the gap between himself and Siyuakén again, pulling back his fists for another punch — and then getting distracted as a loud rumbling noise echoed through the valley.
“What was that?” he questioned as he jumped away from Siyuakén.
“The crevice! Look!” Kaoné pointed toward the bottom of the valley, prompting Wilkas to glance down the nearest cliff face. “Where did that metal covering come from?”
“Aren’t the others down there?” The Forcetechnic scowled. “Ah, damn it. Let’s go save them—!?”
The moment he moved to take a step toward the cliff edge, a powerful lightning bolt struck the spot right in front of him. He immediately jumped back and snapped his attention to Siyuakén, who was rushing forward with both of her arms sparkling with electricity.
“Shit—!” he grunted, crossing his arms in front of him to shield against the incoming electrical strike. The Electrotechnic thrust her arms forward, impacting Wilkas with a massive burst of energy before jumping away and following up with several more lightning strikes, most of which Kaoné managed to block with more steel shields. “…We’re gonna have to stop her first,” Wilkas muttered, eying Siyuakén as he took a moment to stretch his arms and neck.
“Siyuakén…!” Kaoné pleaded as she took a step forward from her position several meters behind the Forcetechnic. “We don’t have to fight…!”
“Yeah, we kinda do,” Wilkas countered impatiently. “She won’t leave on her own. Besides, I’m sure the others are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.”
Davídrius kicked out the stone trapping him against the wall and stumbled forward, coughing, before falling to all fours. Damn… He glared down at his armor. That cave-in overloaded my shielding? …Wait a minute—? He glanced up and began inspecting the area around him: a small, dome-shaped area had been carved into the stone, while all around the base the rock glowed a dim red with heat. The Velocitechnic looked to his left as Vélunis began coughing as well — and then he noticed Kevérin and Kievkenalis, both lying on the ground, unmoving.
“DON’T WORRY, THEY AREN’T DEAD.”
“What—?” The two conscious Chaotics snapped their attention toward Morcii, who stepped forward casually from the far side of the dome.
“I MUST ADMIT, I’M IMPRESSED,” Morcii commented, his smirk barely illuminated within the dim atmosphere. “YOUR FRIENDS REACTED JUST QUICKLY ENOUGH TO MAINTAIN A SMALL SAFE AREA. IT SAVED YOU FROM INSTANT DEFEAT… BUT ALL THEY TRULY ACHIEVED WAS DELAYING THE INEVITABLE.”
“Defeat? Ha!” Davídrius snorted, and then fell into a coughing fit before continuing, “…like hell we’re defeated. You… you ain’t defeated me ‘til I’m a cold, dead carcass.”
“REALLY NOW?” Morcii continued to stare down at the Chaotics. “WHY ARE YOU STILL ON YOUR KNEES THEN, HMM?”
“…Shit.” Vélunis scowled. “I can’t move my legs.”
“…You…!” Davídrius shot Morcii a menacing glare.
“ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM WHILE IT LASTS.” Morcii chuckled viciously. “YOU’LL BE MINE WITHIN MINUTES.”
“You damn machine—!?!”
“PITIFUL.” The Nanocreature leader shook his head in disappointment. “YOU’VE SERVED YOUR PURPOSE AS MY PLAYTHINGS; NOW IT’S TIME TO PUT YOU TO ACTUAL WORK. ONCE YOU FALL COMPLETELY UNDER MY CONTROL, I CAN SEND YOU BACK UP TO THE TOP AND FEIGN A LOSS, AND THEN YOU’LL RETURN TO THE RANKS OF YOUR FRIENDS. OF COURSE…” He smirked. “YOU’LL BE COMPLETELY UNDER MY CONTROL, SO I THINK YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.”
“Sh…shit,” Vélunis muttered, “…at least you don’t have their Ayas, huh?”
“HMM?” Morcii raised an inquisitive eyebrow, and then glanced toward Kevérin and Kievkenalis. “…HA! I THINK YOU OVERESTIMATE THE CHAOS STATE,” he continued as he finally revealed his hands — with the Ayas Tanivas in one, and the Ayas Mystryth in the other.
“THE CHAOS STATE PROVIDES A POWER AND DURABILITY BOOST, BUT I CAN STILL KNOCK OUT SUCH A CHAOTIC ALL THE SAME.” The Nanocreature smirked as he began tossing the Ayas to himself. “AND ONCE YOU LOSE CONSCIOUSNESS, YOU AUTOMATICALLY DROP OUT OF THE CHAOS STATE. CONVENIENT, NO?”
“Fucking… damn it!” Davídrius growled, “I… am not… gettin’ corrupted!”
“FEEL FREE TO SAY THAT ALL YOU WANT, LITTLE ALDREDANOID—”
“Chaos State: First Tier!”
Morcii stopped tossing the Ayas to himself as he turned to give Vélunis an empty stare — and the Ayas remained in his hands. “…DO YOU HONESTLY EXPECT ME TO MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN? I AM STANDING WELL OUTSIDE OF THE CHAOS STATE ACTIVATION RANGE. YOU WON’T BE GETTING OUT OF THIS QUITE SO EASILY.”
“…Eh…” Vélunis smirked spitefully. “Worth a try.”
“…Damn it!” Davídrius snarled, his shoulders quivering with rage. “…I can’t fuckin’ do anything…!”
“Calm down, mate,” Vélunis commented, “going berserk won’t help us at all.”
“Yeah? And what else is there?!”
“Well, it’s not like I have to move to use my powers.”
“…OH?” Morcii snorted as several floating laser cannons suddenly surrounded him. “…DO YOU HONESTLY EXPECT THIS TO WORK?”
“Not much else to… try,” Vélunis countered, his face slowly contorting into a painful frown as his corruption began actively interfering with his speech. “…Like hell… I’ll… let you control… me! Overdrive: Limitless Weaponswright!”
“…WHAT—?” Morcii’s eyes widened slightly as dozens more cannons appeared around him before they all opened fire at once, unleashing their entire contents into the Nanocreature Leader. Immediately, the far end of the stone dome became obscured with a thick dust cloud as the sounds of continuous cannon fire echoed through the air; Davídrius squinted through the dust in an attempt to discern Morcii’s presence, but his attention was torn away as the two Ayas were ejected out of the dust cloud and clambered to the ground a mere meter away.
“The Ayas?” he muttered in surprise, and then immediately began, “Chaos State—!?” He was cut off as his mouth involuntarily clamped shut, forcing him to bite his tongue painfully. …I can’t… I can’t move my mouth?!
“AHAHAHAHA… HA HA HA HA HA HA!!”
“He’s still—!” Vélunis started, immediately summoning a hundred javelins around his body — and then freezing as Morcii appeared in front of him… and then smashed his knee into the Chaotic’s face, completely obliterating his skull.
“…!” Davídrius stared wide-eyed and speechless as Vélunis’s body slumped to the ground, headless, surrounded by the many polearms that clambered to the floor.
“YOU ALDREDANOIDS NEVER LEARN WITHOUT EXAMPLES, DO YOU?” Morcii sneered, glancing toward the remaining Velocitechnic before raising his foot and slamming it through Vélunis’s back, completely destroying both the armor and the underlying corpse. “I TRUST YOU UNDERSTAND NOW, HMM?” The Nanocreature turned back toward Davídrius, not even bothering to remove his foot from the dead body. “YOUR LUCK RAN OUT LONG AGO.”
Wilkas whirled around, grasping a thirty-meter stone pillar before flipping it over his head and down on Siyuakén’s position. The Electrotechnic dived out of the way, evading the pillar — but she was caught by the debris as Wilkas followed by smashing his fist into the end of the pillar, shattering it and sending debris flying in every direction. He then lunged forward, grabbing two hammers that Kaoné had fabricated in the air near his head before slamming them down on Siyuakén’s location. She quickly flipped away, firing off a lightning bolt at the Forcetechnic as he was swinging with the hammers and unable to dodge. Wilkas immediately released the weapons and moved to ram the corrupted Electrotechnic with his shoulder, but she hit him with another powerful bolt of energy before he could, momentarily stunning him as his armor shut down yet again. Siyuakén then moved to strike once more, but was distracted as an invisible force grabbed her right arm and yanked her to the ground. She immediately fired a storm of lightning toward Krydonin, who withstood the brunt of the blast and then moved to continue attacking.
“Wilkas!” Kaoné exclaimed, rushing over to the Forcetechnic as he recovered from the blow he had taken. “Are you alright?!”
“I’m fine,” he replied offhandedly. “C’mon, repair my armor again.”
“I’ve already done that several times…” The Materiatechnic frowned. “I can only do so much; your armor is about to fall apart all on its own.”
“I thought you could fix things just by thinking about them?”
“Well, yeah, but it looks like there’s a limit, and that limit is sometime after fixing something for the twentieth time.”
“Of course…” Wilkas snorted impatiently. “…Fine. I’ll go without my armor then!”
“What—?” Kaoné started, but was interrupted as the Forcetechnic grabbed his chest plate and tore it off of his body. He then proceeded to do the same with his limb plating until all that was left was the under-armor skinsuit. “What the—?!” the Materiatechnic exclaimed, “you didn’t need to tear it apart!!”
“It’s fine, it’s fine.” Wilkas stretched his arms and neck casually. “If the shielding won’t work, then the armor’s just in the way!” He bounded forward before Kaoné could speak another word, bringing his fists down on Siyuakén as she was distracted by Krydonin. He failed to land a direct hit on the Electrotechnic, but he still flung her several meters into the air when his fists slammed into the ground with massive force. She quickly responded by sending out two powerful shockwaves, stunning Wilkas and Krydonin long enough for Siyuakén to get back to her feet and begin flinging out lightning bolt after lightning bolt. Kaoné quickly countered each bolt with diamond plates, raising the blocks of stone to shield Wilkas as he charged forward. The Forcetechnic barreled through the shields himself, grabbing one of the diamond blocks and crushing it into a rod as Krydonin telekinetically yanked several of the other blocks into the air and launched them toward Siyuakén. The corrupted Electrotechnic deftly evaded each of the blocks before throwing herself to the side just in time to dodge Wilkas as he smashed his diamond rod into the ground she had been standing on moments prior. She then reached back to the rod, grabbing it as Wilkas began to lift it and sending a massive charge down it, shocking the Forcetechnic and forcing him to drop the rod as he stumbled backwards in pain. Immediately Siyuakén lunged forward, her right hand outstretched, before her attention was suddenly drawn elsewhere, her head snapping toward the bottom of the valley.
Catching the opening, Wilkas thrust his right fist forward with amazing force. The Electrotechnic turned her attention back to him just in time to see the attack and begin to dodge, but failed to move out of the way completely as he slammed his fist into her left shoulder, cleaving through her body and sending her left arm flying. The force of the blow sent her tumbling away uncontrollably until she was stopped suddenly, jerked upright and into the air, and held in place by Krydonin’s telekinetic fields. Kaoné quickly followed by clamping diamond shackles around Siyuakén’s neck, ankles, and remaining wrist.
“We’ve got this!” Kaoné gestured for Krydonin to leave. “You can go help the rest of your soldiers!”
The Commander passed Siyuakén a wary glance. “…Are you sure?”
“Yeah.” Kaoné nodded, and then turned back to the trapped and dazed Electrotechnic. “…I want to see if I can talk to her.”
“…I hope you know what you’re doing,” Krydonin responded, but eventually turned away. “Very well. Watch yourself, Nimalians.”
Wilkas watched the Commander dash away before turning back to Kaoné. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“She can’t get away, not without breaking those shackles,” the Materiatechnic replied. “…I want… I want to know for sure if this is really Siyuakén.”
“Yeah?” Wilkas crossed his arms impatiently. “How’re you gonna do that?”
Kaoné responded with silence as she stared up at the corrupted Electrotechnic, who returned the stare blankly despite there being a gaping hole where her shoulder should be. “…It’s not bleeding…” Kaoné muttered, eying the wound warily before meeting eyes with Siyuakén again. “Siyuakén! Can you hear me?”
The only response was a blank stare.
“Is it really you? Can… can you respond?”
The Electrotechnic continued to stare at Kaoné for several seconds before finally opening her mouth, drawing the attention of both Kaoné and Wilkas.
“The Siyuakén you knew… is gone.”
“Wha… what—?” Kaoné started, but was interrupted as the shackles trapping Siyuakén turned a metallic gray. The Electrotechnic then let off a massive electric shock before fleeing into the sky, leaving Kaoné and Wilkas to stare after her.
“…Well that worked.” The Forcetechnic snorted irately. “You just had to let her get away, didn’t you?”
He then turned toward the nearest skirmish and charged forward to join in the fight, leaving Kaoné to continue staring into the sky uneasily. Siyuakén…
“YOUR LUCK RAN OUT LONG AGO.”
“…!” Davídrius finally tore his attention from Vélunis’s body to give the Nanocreature leader a menacing glare. Morcii simply laughed in response, appearing to derive amusement from the Velocitechnic’s helpless state.
“AND STILL YOU TRY TO RESIST.” He shook his head wearily. “THERE TRULY IS NO UNDERSTANDING YOU ALDREDANOIDS. OH WELL… I CAN WAIT.”
Davídrius continued to glare at Morcii even as the Nanocreature leader took a step back and glanced upward, creating a three-meter wide hole in the ceiling with seemingly only a thought. A second later light began shining through, indicating that the hole ran all the way up to the top of the crevice — and a mere couple seconds after that, Siyuakén appeared through the hole, stopping her rapid descent inches from the ground and carefully alighting.
“…YOU LOST YOUR ARM,” Morcii observed with a scowl before raising his arm and drawing a silver cloud out of the surrounding rocks. The cloud floated through the air before coalescing around Siyuakén’s shoulder and then forming into a new arm. “BE MORE CAREFUL. LETTING THESE ANNOYING PESTS GET THE BEST OF YOU IS PAINFULLY SHAMEFUL.”
Siyuakén simply responded with a curt nod as she flexed her new arm, ignoring Davídrius’s gaze as it settled on her.
Siyuakén… damn it, the Velocitechnic growled internally, I couldn’t save you… I couldn’t do anything for Vélunis, and now I can’t even save myself! Damn it…!
“IT’S TIME FOR US TO LEAVE,” Morcii remarked as he glanced up at the hole he created. “SEIZE THE AYAS, BUT LEAVE THE CHAOTICS BEHIND. THEY HAVE TASKS AHEAD OF THEM DOWN HERE.”
Siyuakén nodded once before turning toward Davídrius and the two Ayas. She began approaching steadily as Morcii casually turned his attention to the unconscious Kevérin and Kievkenalis.
No! Damn it! Davídrius quivered again as he eyed Siyuakén’s approaching form. Fuck! We’re gonna lose the Ayas… and then we’re gonna get used like fucking pawns! Argh, I can’t even move my body anymore! He watched helplessly as the Electrotechnic finally reached him and stooped down to grab the Chaos Ayas. D…damn it! I… I can’t…!
“If… if something goes wrong… can I trust you to just end it?”
What—? Wait… that was…
“If something happens to me, can you… can you stop me?”
Siyuakén… The Velocitechnic glanced back up at the corrupted Electrotechnic as she stood up and turned away from him. …Right, you trusted this whole damn thing to me, didn’t you? And I fucking failed. Failed… damn it— fuck that! Fuck getting corrupted! Fuck this losing shit! I’m not gonna stop until I’m fucking dead! “Sec…!”
Siyuakén paused mid-stride, turning to face Davídrius curiously. Morcii noticed immediately and turned his own attention to her. “WHAT IS IT?”
“WAIT…” Morcii narrowed his eyes, and then lunged forward. “YOU CAN’T—!”
Instantly, the two Ayas disappeared out of Siyuakén’s hands as a silver cloud exploded away from Davídrius. Ignoring both of these factors, Morcii barreled forward and thrust his knee forward in the same manner that had killed Vélunis — only to be stopped mid-strike.
“That attack might’ve worked the first time…” Davídrius smirked as he held Morcii’s knee several inches from his face with his hand. “…But you’d be an idiot to expect it to work again!”
“HMPH!” The Nanocreature leader scowled and jumped back several meters. “…YOU BROKE THE CORRUPTION… HA!” He smirked again. “BUT EVEN SO, YOU STILL CANNOT DEFEAT ME—!”
“Like hell I can’t!” The Velocitechnic burst forward, reaching Morcii in the blink of an eye and performing a fierce bicycle kick that launched the Nanocreature through the ceiling. Siyuakén immediately fled through the hole Morcii had created earlier, followed closely by Davídrius as he cleared the entire crevice depth in a single bound and alighted at the lip of the crevice.
“…You’re here.” He turned to the side, addressing Kaoné and Wilkas as they rushed up to the crevice.
“What happened?” Kaoné questioned, “Morcii and Siyuakén just flew out of the crevice—!”
“I know. Look, there’s no time to explain; I’m in the Second Tier Chaos State, and I need to stop Morcii! Uh, Kevérin and Kievkenalis are down there, in the crevice. You need to rescue them. They’re getting corrupted, but I know how to stop it! We just need to use the Chaos State!”
“You— wait, what?” Kaoné responded in confusion, “Davídrius, what are you—?”
Before she could finish her question, however, the Velocitechnic had already left, leaping high into the sky.
“…What’s up with him?” she muttered to herself warily. “…Wait, he said Kevérin and Kievkenalis… what about Vélunis…?”
“…THAT PESKY BERSERK TENDENCY. WERE IT NOT FOR THAT, THE CORRUPTION WOULD’VE GONE SMOOTHLY. BUT OF COURSE, IT WAS SLOWED BY THE CHAOS ENERGY MANIFESTATION OF RAGE. I’M A FOOL FOR OVERLOOKING THAT…”
Morcii grumbled to himself as he and Siyuakén ascended through the atmosphere, already several kilometers in the air. The corrupted Electrotechnic followed silently as the Nanocreature leader continued to berate himself over his actions.
“I ADMIT, I’M SURPRISED BY THIS TURN OF EVENTS, BUT… OH WELL. I CAN ALWAYS GET THE OTHER AYAS THROUGH BRUTE FORCE. TIME TO PUT THESE ANNOYING ALDREDANOIDS DOWN ONCE AND FOR ALL—?!”
He was interrupted as Davídrius suddenly appeared in the air beside him, having cleared the several kilometers of altitude in a single leap. Morcii had only a fraction of a second to stare at the Velocitechnic in wide-eyed rage before Davídrius smashed his foot onto the Nanocreature’s head, sending him rocketing back down to the ground below. The Velocitechnic immediately summoned the Ayas Bow Mystryth as he began to fall himself, drawing the bowstring back and launching volley after volley of hypersonic Chaos Arrows at the Nanocreature leader below. The moment he finally landed on the ground he took off toward Morcii, dismissing Mystryth and summoning the Ayas Staff Tanivas in its place and thrusting forward.
“NO!” Morcii boomed as he grabbed the end of the staff and stopped Davídrius’s charge. “I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO DEFEAT ME SO EASILY!”
“No problem. I’ll just have to do somethin’ a little more complicated!” The Velocitechnic shot back, letting go of the staff and then roundhouse-kicking it with enough force to rip it out of Morcii’s grip as well as obliterate his entire lower arm. Davídrius immediately lunged forward and head-butted the Nanocreature in the chest, launching him hundreds of meters away before he tumbled to a stop along the ground. Morcii quickly jumped back to his feet and flipped away just as Davídrius launched another kick; the Nanocreature then stopped himself mid-flip and reversed his movement to catch the Velocitechnic’s foot, but the moment he got hold Davídrius stomped the ground, ripping his foot out of Morcii’s grip and obliterating his other hand.
“YOU… FOOLISH ALDREDANOIDS!” Morcii snarled, putting all of his effort into evading Davídrius as he slowly reformed his broken limbs. “WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND THIS POINTLESS RESISTANCE?! EVEN IN THE FACE OF IMMEDIATE FAILURE, YOU STILL REFUSE TO GIVE UP!”
“Well of course we ain’t gonna just roll over an’ surrender,” Davídrius retorted, summoning the Tanivas Staff and whipping it around in addition to his furious kicks to force Morcii back even harder. “Ha! Is this all it takes? A single tier jump in the Chaos State and suddenly you can’t do shit to stop me!”
“YOU… ARE… WRONG!” the Nanocreature leader exploded with rage as he slammed his fist into Davídrius’s foot, obliterating his own arm but stopping the incoming kick. He then severed his other arm from his body and transformed it into a dozen laser guns, using all of them to attack the Velocitechnic at range and force him to divert some of his energy to defense. “THE SECOND TIER IS JUST AS MEANINGLESS AS THE FIRST! YOUR ARROGANCE IS MISPLACED; YOUR EARLIER ADVANTAGE MEANS NOTHING!”
“Ha ha!” Davídrius grinned, easily evading the constant streams of laser fire as he downed each gun systematically with the Mystryth Bow. “You sound pretty damn flustered to me! You sure I’m not actually a threat?”
“YOU MEAN NOTHING TO ME!” Morcii shot back, diving under Davídrius as he kicked again. The Nanocreature leader whirled around and dealt his own kick to the Velocitechnic’s back, sending him flying forward. Morcii quickly reformed his arms before transforming them both into laser cannons and opening fire on Davídrius, obliterating the terrain around him relentlessly. “YOU COULD NOT POSSIBLY STOP ME HERE! YOU ARE NO MATCH AT ALL FOR MY LIMITLESS POWER!”
“Bullshit!” Davídrius countered, bowling through the cannon fire to slam the end of Tanivas into and through Morcii’s stomach. “You definitely have a limit, and it’s a lot closer to ours than you like to pretend it is!” He ripped the staff sideways out of Morcii, destroying the entire left side of the Nanocreature’s body before flipping and bringing his foot down over Morcii’s head, slamming him to the ground. “We can beat you, Morcii! And this fight here proves that!”
The Nanocreature growled and opened his mouth to respond but received a sudden blow to his side, flinging him several kilometers back and into a cliff side at the end of the valley. Davídrius immediately appeared beside him and made to smash his foot through Morcii’s head, but the Nanocreature ducked just in time to evade the attack — which instead shattered the entire cliff. Morcii immediately slammed his head into the Velocitechnic’s crotch, launching him up into the air before dashing off toward a group of Nanocreature soldier units to repair his body. Davídrius quickly summoned Mystryth and fired an arrow toward Morcii, piercing him through the right kidney and blowing off both of his legs — which promptly reformed into a multitude of flechettes that immediately homed in on the Velocitechnic at hypersonic speeds as Morcii’s legless body continued to fly through the air toward the other Nanocreatures. Davídrius scowled but nonetheless deftly picked each and every projectile out of the air in under a second flat, before smashing them with Tanivas and then bounding off toward Morcii just as the Nanocreature leader seized direct control of the other units and used their nanomachines to repair himself. He turned around and crossed his arms in front of him just in time to block another kick from Davídrius, but was still flung backwards hundreds of meters — he quickly lifted into the air, however, looping around and slamming into the Velocitechnic’s back just as he blocked with Tanivas. The blow knocked Davídrius clear across the valley and up the mountainside, but he recovered immediately and leaped back to his feet just in time to counter Morcii’s next punch with a kick, obliterating the Nanocreature’s fist again. Morcii instantly reversed his momentum, drawing away from Davídrius and ascending into the air as he disengaged all of his limbs from his body and transformed them into a variety of weapons before launching and firing them all at Davídrius. The Velocitechnic disappeared from his spot the moment the attack began, completely evading all of the weapons before leaping up at Morcii from directly below and vertically impaling the Nanocreature all the way through with Tanivas. Morcii immediately tore himself in half, backing away from the Ayas Weapon and Davídrius before reforming his body again — just in time for Davídrius to smash him back down to the ground with a leap and an over-head flip-kick. The Velocitechnic dropped back to the ground and prepared to slam Morcii with another attack before being stunned by a sudden and immensely powerful lightning strike, a strike so powerful that it crystallized the ground beneath his feet.
“…AH, YOU’VE RETURNED,” Morcii muttered wearily, taking advantage of the lull to leap back into the air as Siyuakén slowly descended from the skies above and hovered in the air over Davídrius. “THAT TOOK LONG ENOUGH…”
The Velocitechnic glanced up at Siyuakén and then immediately leaped toward her — only to be struck by another lightning blast, flinging him away.
“What the…” he growled, glaring up at the Electrotechnic — and then scowling when he noticed the Dark Blue Ayas in her hands. “So you’ve got an Ayas too, huh?”
“TWO CAN PLAY AT THIS GAME,” Morcii retorted, floating over to Siyuakén and taking the Ayas from her before ascending into the sky. “IF YOU WISH TO USE THE AYAS AGAINST ME, SO BE IT. YOU’VE FORCED MY HAND… NOW BEHOLD THE POWER OF THE AYAS IN THE HANDS OF THEIR TRUE MASTER!”
Davídrius glared up at Morcii as he continued to raise into the air, his speed rapidly increasing. The Velocitechnic then crouched down before leaping up, meeting Morcii in the air and preparing to slam his foot into him again — only to have his foot caught instead.
“DON’T MAKE ME REPEAT MYSELF ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF REPEATED ATTACKS.”
“Heh. Worth a try,” Davídrius responded with a smirk before Morcii launched him back at the ground. He flipped himself around midair and caught himself easily and then turned his attention upwards.
“YOU WILL REGRET YOUR ACTIONS TODAY, ALDREDANOID!” Morcii shouted down at Davídrius as he continued to raise into the sky, “I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN YOU SERIOUSLY FROM THE START… EVEN IF YOU ESCAPE TODAY, THE NEXT WE MEET WILL BE THE LAST!”
“You can bet your ass it will be!” the Velocitechnic shot back as he summoned Mystryth and fired several arrows at the Nanocreature leader. Most of them hit, but Morcii ignored the blows and returned fire with several laser blasts that Davídrius easily evaded. He glared up at Morcii and then shifted his attention to Siyuakén, shouting, “hang in there, Siyuakén! It won’t be much longer ‘til the end, I promise!”
The corrupted Electrotechnic responded with an empty stare as she and Morcii continually shrunk away from Davídrius with distance. He stared after them until they disappeared completely, and then began glancing around the battlefield warily. “…The fuck is he up to…?”
“What’s he doing…?”
“Captain!” Krydonin exclaimed as she barged onto the bridge of the Genesis, “what’s the situation? Why have we been pulled back?”
“Mission’s over,” Krick responded briefly, not even bothering to face Krydonin as he spoke, instead keeping his attention focused on the bridge displays. “The moment Morcii appeared on the battlefield, the entire area was blanketed in an anti-beaming field. The field moved just a couple minutes ago, so I had everyone beamed up immediately; I’m not risking leaving you stuck with Morcii. One of the Nimalians was still within Morcii’s anti-beaming field though, so they’re still down there… though that’s about to change.”
“What do you mean?”
“Morcii’s ascending into the planet’s upper atmosphere, but not at the same speeds that he uses when he leaves a planet’s gravity well. He’s up to something, but I don’t know what…”
Krydonin sighed as she shook her head warily. “We were only able to distract Morcii for a single day…?”
“This mission wasn’t only to distract Morcii,” Krick countered. “…What’s that energy build-up?”
The Commander turned toward the bridge displays, quickly finding the one display amongst the many that was showing sensor read-outs on Morcii. “…It’s Chaos Energy. That much… he must have an Ayas on him.”
“…Beam up the remaining Nimalian!” Krick barked, just as a light flashed through the bridge window. “Initiate the cloak! Clear the entire region—!”
His command was cut off as Davídrius appeared on the bridge — followed immediately by a second flash of light, this one signaling a massive blast of energy directed at the planet. Within seconds the blast impacted the planet’s surface, replacing the entire valley that had contained the mountain base and battlefield mere moments prior with a fifty-kilometer wide crater.
“…It’s no Drive bomb,” Krick muttered as he observed the damage through one of the ship’s telescopic cameras, “…but the fact that Morcii alone could do that…”
“He had an Ayas, though,” Davídrius countered, and then leaped up to Krick and Krydonin. “If he doesn’t have anythin’ on him, then we can totally beat him. I’m only in the Second Tier Chaos State and I was kickin’ his ass! …Until he got his hands on that Ayas, at least.”
“You’re sure he wasn’t going easy on you?” Krydonin questioned.
“You don’t fake that kind of disadvantage. I definitely had somethin’ on him.”
“And now he knows that we know that we can beat him.” Krick frowned. “I doubt he’ll be going easy on us anymore.”
“…Well…” Davídrius responded wearily, “…what do we do, then?”
“There’s not much else to it,” Krick muttered, and then shook his head. “…Part of the purpose of this mission was to try and pin down Morcii’s true strength. Now that we have an idea, the CSA can put their final plan to get rid of him into action.”
“What? I wasn’t aware such a plan was in the works,” Krydonin interjected.
“Neither was I, not until after I had beamed all of you down to the surface,” Krick replied. “There’s not much to it…” He glanced toward Davídrius. “But we’ll need all of the help from the Nimalians we can get.”
“A ‘final showdown’, eh? How the fuck is that gonna work?” Davídrius questioned, “where is this ‘plan’ gonna take place, anyways, huh?”
“The CSA are going all-in,” Krick declared. “To lure in Morcii, they’re enacting the plan on their last untouched high-value system: the Citan Primary Fortress World, Neticen.”