HARBINGER OF CHAOS (V)
A pair of golden wings unfurled with a boom, capsizing the tiled floor and nearby columns, flapping and taking their bearer to the sky. Just a blink later, a spearhead tipped into the ground and ripped it open, causing a small earthquake to shake the whole hall. Lino winced temporarily, somewhat stunned by Agguv’s speed; had he reacted a mere moment later, he’d have been turned into minced meet.
“Servants, come!” the Titan roared as he slowly moved, each one of his steps shaking the ground. “Behead the heathen!”
Rather than fear, there was a strange sort of glee in Lino’s eyes as he saw hundreds upon hundreds of smaller Titans -- still at least thirty meters tall giants, though -- swarm out of the void itself and slowly march in front of Agguv toward Lino, leaping into the sky like cannonballs.
Lino grinned, grasping tightly at [Dragon Slayer] as he felt excitement overwhelm him; he slowly felt abundance of strength overwhelm him as his [Heaven-cast Armor Set] began working its magic, his basic stats all increasing by just over 1000% as he effectively grew to be ten times as strong.
In addition, as he was attacking from the air, the [Dragon Slayer] gave each one of his attacks 1000% to effectiveness -- which included speed, damage, piercing... practically everything. Taking a deep breath, he waited till the small army of Titans rushed within twenty meters of him before flapping his wings once.
His excitement turned into poised determination as he streaked in gold forth, slashing quickly and repeatedly against the stone-cold rock; soon, a shower of rubble and debris turned into a massive rain as one Titan after another fell, Lino’s Defense and Vitality increasing madly.
Realizing something was wrong, Agguv removed himself from the backline and stretched forth as well, grasping at the massive spear and thrusting in toward the golden glimmer in the air. Lino nimbly dodged one strike after another, each flap of his wings sending him into a burst of speed closing in to that of light as he slashed away at the ever-increasing number of Titans. Hundreds soon turned into thousands as they filled up the entire hall, jumping at the nuisance fluttering about the air.
Lino looked for their most concentrated spot before shuffling his Singularity and causing Qi to overwhelm him, turning into mist surrounding his body which then became coated in azure bolts of lightning.
“Ashta, awaken!” he roared as he begun his descent. A small, golden glimmer of light appeared by his chest, quickly charging into the sword and setting it ablaze.
Alongside the vibrating sword, Lino’s armor soon shook, seemingly coming to life as its black-jet surface attained a crimson sheen. He felt his soul revving like a maddened beast, each fiber of his being seemingly working in concert with another to perform something that he never thought possible. After he became the Exalted, he also unlocked one additional [Special Effect] of the [Heaven-cast Armor Set]:
Special Effect [Baptized in Flames] -- Charging a powerful strike triggers the Heaven's Might stored within the armor; for each 1,000,000 projected points of damage, increase the end result by a double
From being as high as fifteen thousand miles in the air to being an inch away from the massive head of a rather small Titan -- comparatively speaking -- took less than a second. Roaring madly from the depths of his lungs, Lino held at the handle of the [Dragon Slayer] with both of his hands, still barely able to keep it relatively still, as the sword roared with him, the Dragon’s might adjoining his own Will to form a spectacular mirage behind him -- that of a massive Dragon, its maw spreading wide open to swallow the entire world.
At that moment, a faint regret flashed past his heart -- the fact that he hadn’t activated <Berserk>. He couldn’t even fathom just what sort of a scene he’d cause if he did, but he had no doubt in his mind it would be at least more than twice as cool as the current one... and the current one was practically the highlight of his fights -- save perhaps for the Birth of Light.
Agguv didn’t even have time to react from missing one of his piercing attacks to seeing that flash of light descend upon his servants. The sheer abundance of Qi present in that attack terrified him -- not because it was unleashed by a human, or because it was unleashed by someone many-a-realm beneath him... but because it was ten times his total reserves. He’d have to charge a Talisman for over ten thousand years in order to reproduce an attack on a similar scale.
In that brief flash before the little human boy completed his attack, Agguv contemplated something he had seemingly forgotten -- the little boy, despite being a human... was also an Empyrean. It all clicked, all of a sudden; he was no longer terrified... but proud and in awe. Those jet-black eyes were no longer harbingers of death, but the shining light within the endless darkness. But, then, the darkness was no more.
Lino’s sword cut through the Titan’s head as though it was tofu, piercing all the way through and absolutely decimating a fifty-meters-tall rock into nothing but literal ash, yet he didn’t lose a single iota of speed or momentum. He crashed into the ground, stabbing the sword directly; a storm erupted beyond what the hall could ever hope to handle. A swirl of thunder, flames, light and unbridled chaos formed into a tornado reaching as far as five thousand miles up, spinning tens of thousand of miles an hour, swallowing and annihilating everything in its path.
The swirl expanded in a ring-like fashion, further digging up a massive crater that covered the entire hall within a second. Pillars and columns upholding the far-end sky cracked, creaked and broke, torn away by winds too sharp to exist; flames roared into an inferno, with thunder repeatedly crackling within them like a crazed laughter of a maniac. All the while light spurred the two, fanning further the flames and turning the thunder even wilder.
Within the incarnation of hell itself, Agguv felt a tinge of something -- a tinge of something so distant... so faint... entirely forgotten... yet something so familiar he’d nearly shed a tear. Within the heart of the obliterating storm, he sensed an iota of something old... archaic... eternally Primal and untamed. His whole body shook as he shot to his knees instinctively, letting go of the spear as his arms fell by his side, his face bearing the expression of befuddlement.
In the eye of the storm, the epicenter of the absolute destruction, a boy now stood upright, his legs slightly spread apart, the roaring winds fluttering his cloak and hair in concert, entirely avoiding him as though serving him. Between those jet-black eyes, slightly elevated above the somewhat bushy and wild eyebrows, at the center of the forehead, stood a small gem -- no, to call it a gem would be a lie; it was the size of a grain of sand, perhaps even smaller, barely visible at that. It was jet-black in its make, within it a single iota of pure-white liquid swirling about freely.
Though it was small and appeared insignificant, and even sensing it directly through the Divine Sense wouldn’t trigger any alarms, Agguv knew it better than perhaps anyone currently alive; that little thing... should not exist. Or, rather, it hasn’t existed since the Origin Era, since well before his own time, and the time of his ancestors... since before the life as the world knows it came to be. In billions of years of Empyreans fighting, through tens of thousands of Empyreans rising and falling, through events that words could never give justice to... it has never appeared... until today.
“... P-primal... Primal Chaos...” Agguv mumbled, unable to stop his body from shaking.
Though the world now may be entirely ignorant to what the Primal Chaos is, Agguv wasn’t; as one of the Guardians tasked with training Empyreans, he had among the best understandings of the calling. Just being able to use Chaos directly without filtering it into different elements would already constitute one as one of the strongest Empyreans to exist, to say nothing of actually conjuring up a sliver of Primal Chaos, the only Pure form of Qi whose existence was eventually proved.
Many times he, as well as most of those who knew of Primal Chaos, even doubted its existence... as its sheer existence created a quintessential paradox of creation: if the theory is correct, the Primal Chaos is the source of everything... including the First Scripture, as it is the most primitive form of energy. However, if that was the case... then why was the Empyrean Writ merely one of the Seven Servants of the Scripture, rather than its ruler?
The lifelong question of existence was answered right here and now, but the paradox was not; rather, it was merely confirmed. Though Agguv couldn’t even begin to venture a guess as to what this means to the Myth of the Origin, he understood too well that if this knowledge were to be made public, it would capsize all other theories in a heartbeat... and it would definitely destroy any form of illusion that others hold over the Chaos.
Just as he was about to get wrapped into the baseless thoughts, he saw that sliver disappear from Lino’s forehead as the latter suddenly collapsed on his knees, breathing heavily. The storm disappeared immediately after, leaving only destruction behind as the evidence of its existence. Agguv raced over and crouched down, gently and tenderly picking Lino up and placing him on the palm before lifting it up.
He carefully inspected the boy’s body only to realize that he had merely passed out -- and that he was completely out of Qi. His body was like a plant in a desert, in desperate need of water. He slowly and carefully injected a small sliver of his own Qi, with Lino’s body devouring it all like a greedy drunkard.
“... you’ve realized what it was, Agguv?” a swirl of nothing and everything appeared next to Agguv’s head, causing him a startle.
“L-lord At-Ataxia...” he mumbled, quickly bowing his head. “Yes... I have...”
“... everyone who has met him,” Ataxia spoke in a somewhat mellowed tone. “Told me I had chosen wrongly... that I had wasted my last ditch effort. Do you think so too?”
“... if I did, I’d be no more than the world’s biggest fool, Lord Ataxia.” Agguv chuckled bitterly. “If he’s the wrong choice... then there isn’t the right one. Did you see it coming?”
“No... not in the least. I was far more shocked than you when I sensed it,” Ataxia said. “For the first time since my birth... I had heard the calling, Agguv. That voice. Now more than ever I’m reassured of my path. Oh? Ha ha... looks like your cousin has also noticed it.”
“Ah... poor lad,” Agguv said, smiling. “I both envy and pity him for being chosen to sit upon that chair and wait. I’ll tell him to wait outside till the Empyrean finishes his Trial. Right, should we do anything about the Elysian girl?”
“No...” Ataxia mumbled. “Astrum, too, has made a fine choice. She’s headed down the Path of Creation.”
“... ha ha, so they need each other?” Agguv said, slowly getting up as he gently laid Lino down onto the floor. “My, I’d say Fate brought them kindly together, but I very much doubt that whore really wanted this to happen.”
“Oh, she doesn’t know.”
“Good. I only wish I could be there when she finds out. That expression... aah, I’d live through the Ashening all over again just to see it.”
“... no, you wouldn’t.”
“... I couldn’t,” Agguv said, his voice turning hoarse. “I don’t think even the Liberator could.”
“... I shall wait for the boy to wake up,” Agguv said. “What should I tell him?”
“Just tell him that he won and stroke his ego a bit,” Ataxia said. “He’s going to love it.”
“... you... ah, fine. But, seriously, you couldn’t have used your wit to make this one a bit more humble?”
“Yeah, you’re right. That tongue of his... it’s going to serve him well. Farewell, Lord Ataxia. It has been honor.”
“Sleep well, Agguv. You’ve expended a lot of Spirit. Perhaps, if the time is right... you just might recover enough to witness it...”
“... I’ll breathe and dream for it...”