Empyrean Blacksmith Chapter 422: Against The World (Iv)

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CHAPTER 422

AGAINST THE WORLD (IV)

„TATYANA!!!" a blood-curling scream came cras.h.i.+ng through the trembling sky as Two rushed past the constraints of s.p.a.ce, appearing behind Three immediately, trying to catch the vanis.h.i.+ng ash, blood spraying all over her. Tears rapidly streamed down her cheeks, her eyes wide open, lips trembling as though entombed in frost. "No… no—no… no…" she shook her head violently, staring at the ghastly sight in front of her.

Her arms shook, her heart nearly bursting out of her chest. She couldn't believe it, couldn't fathom it. Something inside of her cracked at that moment as she watched the last sprinkles of gray and crimson fade off into eternity.

"NO!!!!!!!!!!!" she cried out vehemently, the pair of dark eyes turning bloodshot, veering off from the nothing onto the figure floating lethargically in front of her. He was no longer entombed in shadows but encased in skin like everyone else. He had a look of exhaustion on his face, his lips curled up into the faintest of smiles, the pair of daftly black eyes meeting hers squarely.

"… hurts, don't it?" Lino chuckled, spraying out black blood from his throat violently through a cough. "I told you… you should have killed me."

"Y-you… you…" Two stuttered, her entire body trembling intensely, her eyes losing their glee and l.u.s.ter. "You killed her… you-you killed her…"

"… I sure did, ha ha," black blood began flowing freely from his ears, nostrils, eyes, and corners of his lips. He soon looked rather ghoulish and lurid, halfway to the land of the dead. "Tatyana… huh. I didn't know, urgh," he coughed once more, wiping the blood off his mouth. "You guys had names…"

"—you…" the pain, the agony, the guilt… it all broke into pieces like a clay figurine, re-molded back together into a singular emotion: anger. It built up rapidly, like a fueled blaze, consuming every fiber of her being. She found the words she ought to say stuck inside her throat, her chest expanding under the invisible heat, as though preparing to explode. Words mingled together into a mess until her mind blanked. "I WILL KILL YOU!!!!"

Lino watched the rhapsody of colors form before his eyes, yet he was unable to do anything. His body wouldn't listen to him, as though there was an invisible dissonance between the two. He remained floating there, closing his eyes, ready to receive the judgment. However, the pain never came. Instead, firm yet gentle arms pulled at his shoulders as he felt a short sensation of ripping through s.p.a.ce. Just as they arrived on the other end, the familiar voice shouted hurriedly.

"BOOK IT, ELLA!!!" Amadeel screamed from the top of his lungs as he glanced at the ever-growing serpent of death rising toward the fortress. Two had completely let go of her inhibitions, he realized, and there was nothing - not the formation, not the combined effort everyone, not even Ella herself - that could stop it.

Despite his mastery of time, he could not contend with hers at the moment; all the colors touched came to a screeching halt, stretching into infinity due to time dilation. Soon, clouds, arts, even corpses were wrung into an ever-expanding spiral concentrated toward the singularity at the center. He realized it right then and there: it was a black hole. What Hannah failed to do, Two did.

Luckily, Ella seemed to have recognized the urgency of his tone, immediately phasing the entire fortress into the net of intertwining realities, traveling through the dimensions in such a way that it was impossible to track them. Colors, shapes, and objects hurried into a blend of streaming nothingness as he observed the expanding abyss surrounding the fortress.

Everyone fell down and lied on the cold, stone floor, their breaths quick and shallow. Lucky quickly found Alison sitting down, leaned against the wall, a look of utter exhaustion on her face. Sighing in relief, she also slumped right next to her, closing her eyes and pa.s.sing out.

Ella finally stopped the Orbiter, taking a deep breath as she glanced around. The scars of the battle were evident everywhere; over ten towers had collapsed, walls had ma.s.sive, gaping holes all over, debris ran amok through the spiraling streets… and roughly two hundred corpses lay listless throughout, in addition to over a hundred that fell on the outside.

"… you're a real miracle, you know that?" she cried out lowly, quickly spinning around only to see faintly-smiling Lino walk up to her with Amadeel's support.

"Holy—" she cried out even louder after seeing his face, doused entirely in acidic, black blood. He truly looked like a rotting corpse. She quickly ran over and placed her hand gently on his forehead, inspecting his body with her Divine Sense. "How… how are you alive…" she mumbled in disbelief.

"Rather than that," he said, chuckling and weekly raising his arm, suddenly pulling her down as the trio sat down. Ella found herself unable to stand up right after, seemingly glued to the floor. "Let Amadeel take over the navigation. I'm, cough, surprised you've got any Qi left…"

"… w-what happened?" she asked in a shaky voice.

"… I may have gone a bit too far to kill one of them," he smiled weakly, his breaths growing shallow. "But, I'll be fine. How's the situation?"

"… the situation can wait. You aren't fine, Lino. Why'd you come here? You should go see—"

"If I do end up dying, do you really think anyone could have done anything about it?" he interrupted, asking. "Relax. It may look bad, but, aside from the excruciating pain, inability to move a single muscle in my body, and the fact that my Qi is so clogged up it's barely moving through my body, I'm great. How's Hannah? Lucky? Ally? Val? Alex—"

"They're all fine, don't worry." she said, sighing in defeat. "You… ah, you really are insane. It's at times like this that I finally end up remembering you're the Empyrean…"

"… fair warning," he said. "I may have p.i.s.sed off Two beyond reproach."

"… who'd you kill?" she asked.

"Three."

"Well, of course you did," Ella said, sighing once more. "She's her younger sister."

"… oh boy."

"Yeah."

"… so… how was seeing your grandfather again?" Lino asked.

"… odd," Ella replied, chuckling faintly. "I thought he was dead."

"Right, by the way," he mumbled, glancing around. "Something's different. And, though I may be asking late, the h.e.l.l's Primul doing pa.s.sed out over there?"

"We temporarily shut down the Defensive Layers," Ella explained. "So he could tinker with them some. From what I gathered of his explanation, he did it so that Ataxia and Ashtar's link would stop working while you are in the fortress."

"… wait-so we aren't being tracked?"

"Not as far as I'm aware…"

"Holy s.h.i.+t…" Lino suddenly sighed in relief, seemingly recovering halfway through by simply learning that fact. "You should have led with that, G.o.ddammit… so we're safe…"

"… yeah, we're safe." Ella said, smiling faintly. "Though, I suggest we don't go directly to the Isles just yet. Not in this shape, at least."

"I wasn't planning on going there just yet anyway," Lino said, sighing faintly. "It was just a temporary fix Vy suggested. I think he's just missing his family, is all." Lino ignored the sling of curses echoing inside his mind. "… you really are amazing." he added, glancing at her and smiling warmly. "Thank you…"

"… what for?" she chuckled, helping him lay down on her lap as she began caressing her hair. "You did the brunt of work. I still can't believe you kept Two, Three and Six at bay for so long."

"… I did good, huh…" he mumbled, weakness a.s.sailing his body as he found himself cradled inside a safe place.

"Yeah, you did well. Get some rest now." she added, smiling gently.

"… you… too…"

"… thank you for saving him." Ella glanced at Amadeel who was currently commandeering the fortress through the bends of reality.

"—you realized it too, didn't you?" Amadeel said, his tone and expression both somber.

"Yeah…" Ella nodded, her tone similar to his. "Have you picked up on anything?"

"… no," Amadeel shook his head. "Her application of time is vastly different from my own. Sorry, but Origin Awakening is still some ways off for me."

"Ha ha, don't worry about it. If it was that easy to do it, the whole of the world would become it."

"… sounds rather insincere, coming from you." he chuckled, shaking his head.

"… there's a price to pay for everything," she mumbled lowly. "What did you manage to glean from her Awakening?"

"—it was, fortunately, just a dual one," Amadeel said. "I think she was too concentrated on killing Lino at the moment that she decided to forgo the technicalities, or was even unaware of it all to begin with. Primary is Time and Secondary is s.p.a.ce."

"… it's a good combination."

"Perfect, for her at least," he said. "Though the black hole is a short-lived one, it does not lessen the variable she's become."

"… there'll be time to plan things out," Ella said. "For now… we should recover. We've taken a ma.s.sive hit, and lost a lot of people, to say nothing of the countless injuries. How's Hannah?"

"She's fine," he replied, his gaze somewhat dubious. "I don't know if you're aware, but, uh, I think she's pregnant."

"Ah, yeah, Lino mentioned it. So, the baby's fine as well?"

"She is," Amadeel nodded. "It's partly why Hannah was so exhausted, as she split her attention on also ensuring nothing happened to the baby."

"… she? They're having a girl?"

"—ah, sorry. Did you not wish to know?"

"No, it's fine," she shook her head, smiling warmly as she once more glanced at the fully-grown man happily snoring on her lap. "Who would have thought he'd become a dad one day…"

"Ha ha ha, indeed. He hardly seems the part." Amadeel chortled. "You should rest too. We've already gained enough on them so I'll slow down for a bit. We'll arrive on the Bridge in about a month."

"Thanks… don't overwork yourself either."

"I wouldn't dream of it."

Empyrean Blacksmith Chapter 422: Against The World (Iv)

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Empyrean Blacksmith Chapter 422: Against The World (Iv) summary

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