Faith and Winona shot forward like arrows of flame and sand. Chris could feel the immense force rocketing right toward him.
“Let’s do this!” Chris snapped his fingers, unleashing multiple mighty sparks of crimson energy which flew at his opponents.
“He’s combined his Ability with the chaons, huh? I figured…” Winona raised her hand as a floating wall of solid stone formed in front of herself and Faith, blocking the attacks as they exploded with tremendous force.
Through the dust, Faith shot out, releasing a powerful flame from her hand. Chris, as if it was on instinct, ascended, flying high above to evade the raging fire.
“He can fly now!?” Faith questioned, pursuing Chris with multiple bursts of flames coming from the soles of her feet.
“You know Medusa can be depicted as having wings, right? I’m guessing that’s why I can!” Chris laughed maniacally, snapping a powerful beam of energy down toward Faith.
She countered the energy by forming a Roswell Sphere in her hand, smashing it against Chris’ attack. For a few feet upward, Faith managed to successfully make her way toward Chris. But her sphere could not last long, as the beam seemed to continue to emit from where Chris originally snapped his fingers.
Sand formed in front of Faith, Winona aiding in Faith’s defense as she rose next to her.
“We have to finish this quickly...” Winona commented while concentrating on bringing massive amounts of sand together. “Faith, think we can make an opening?”
“Yeah, we can!” Faith nodded, rocketing around the air with her flames. Chris had now given up on the beam, keeping an eye on Faith. Winona attempted to move sand toward Chris to capture him, but he was far too swift.
“I've gotten good at this,” Faith noted as she continued to propel herself around in random directions. “Liz, thank you. You thought it could work for me, and it really can.”
“Trying to make me waste my shots while trying to hit you down?” Chris asked as he flicked a few sparks at Faith, all missing their mark. “That would work normally, but how much energy do you really have left at this point!?”
“I have as much as it takes to survive this!” Faith shouted, now directing herself in Chris’ direction.
“Geez…” Chris sighed, maneuvering around plumes of sand Winona now threw at him. “Come on, let’s see what you can pull off!”
Chris formed a whip, now made out of chaons, and swung it at Faith. Faith formed flames around her hands, creating something along the lines of gloves., and managed to grab a hold of the whip. Chris did not let up—his weapon now carrying Faith around the sky above Prelude as she held on, as letting go would mean an instant hit from the whip.
“What a moron!” Chris chuckled as he flung Faith hard into the earth below. The dust that formed quickly settled, revealing that she did not take hardly any damage.
“Thanks, Win,” Faith smirked seeing that Winona had used her Ability to make the ground soft enough for landing without issue. “Although, I can’t seem to figure out how to land a good blow on him…”
“That’s okay—” Winona quickly manipulated the sand around the area to grab Chris’ whip, which he attempted to swing down at Faith. “Save your energy for the decisive blow. I’ll get us to that point!”
“You have an idea!?” Faith asked as Winona shook her head.
“Nope. We’re just going to have to wing this.”
“Yeah, that’s… not really a good idea at all.” Faith chuckled anxiously.
“Heh…” Chris looked down as his whip faded away. “I think it’s time to see just how much power I can really use! You ladies ready?”
The two did not respond. They simply looked up at Chris with cold, yet determined eyes.
With a mighty flick of his fingers, a crimson spark unleashed, spiraling around Chris’ body multiple times. It continued to grow in size until it dwarfed the man, transforming into a red-scaled serpent. Its eyes flashed the original yellow color Chris’ Spark Blast gave off as it glared down below.
“Spark Blast: Serpent Swallow!”
The massive beast descended, baring its destructive fangs, ready to consume anything that entered its path. Winona slammed her foot into the ground causing an eruption of sand that surrounded her and her friend. Within a mere moment, the mass of dirt transformed into the shape of a giant hawk and ascended without delay.
The monsters clashed—the serpent grabbing the head of the hawk with its fangs, attempting to tear it apart. At ground level, the force of this duel was strong enough to knock Thomas and Travis off of their feet, scrambling to get somewhere safe.
Sand began to spiral around the beak of the hawk, creating a mighty vortex inside the serpent’s mouth.
“Huh? What’s it trying to do…?” Chris asked himself, keeping focus on his power so it wouldn’t go out of control.
The hawk resumed its ascent, now drilling its way right through the inside of the serpent, tearing the chaonic energy to shreds. It broke through—the spiraling mass of earth now directed at Chris himself.
“Shit! It was that easy to break through!? Shit shit shit!” Chris prepared his body to evade the attack. He noticed, however, that the sand could barely rise, losing most of its power from breaking through his Serpent Swallow.
“Heh… That’s fine!” Chris channeled chaons throughout his body to control his Ability, just as if they were his phantons. He quickly prepared more energy to unleash a powerful attack that would rip through the sand.
Before he could do so, Faith popped out of the sand, a blazing ball of fire concentrated into her right hand.
“Got you!” Faith roared as she chucked the Roswell Sphere up toward Chris.
Chris, however, easily avoided the attack.
“Are… Are you serious…!? You’re wide open now!” Chris cackled, unleashing a burst of crimson energy from a flick of his fingers. Faith responded by releasing a blast of flames out of her hands—the orange now clashing with the red.
“Not good enough! Not good enough! You’ll start to descend in a second! Not a good counter against someone who can easily fly!”
“Y-You do realize…” Faith snickered—her voice barely audible to Chris. However, he heard her words.
“...when I said ‘Got you!’ I meant it, right…?”
Being able to sense his surroundings, Chris picked up on what Faith was talking about. He glanced behind him toward the sky above, as if he could now see what was happening. A gigantic mass of light was now hovering over Prelude.
“The… sun? No… What is…!?”
The Roswell Sphere that Faith had thrown had grown in size and power—still perfectly capable of being used. Upon Faith’s words, the mass descended at the speed of a meteor, as if someone had a hold on it and simply let go.
Chris was too focused on the flames coming directly from Faith herself. He had no time to move out of the way as the attack slammed into his back.
“Gah! Son of a…!”
The flames exploded in the fashion of a bomb going off in the air—the force knocking both Chris and Faith down toward the earth below. For Faith, Winona helped break her fall by once again softening the ground beneath her. Chris never reached the ground—Winona managed to grab him with her sand, now holding him a few feet above her.
“Now I’ll finish this…!” Winona began to gather sand around her arm. It quickly began to swirl around, much like her hawk’s beak did moments prior.
Chris slowly descended to the ground, attempting to process the pain he had just received from Faith’s attack. Due to this, he was unable to bust his way out of the sand wrapped around him.
“Come… Come on…!” Chris groaned as he squirmed around. “I… I have to…”
The sand around Winona’s arm was now formed into the shape of a spiraling drill—the sheer force moving the air around it.
Winona did not hesitate with her strike. The attack’s mighty strength smashed Chris into the earth below—dirt erupting from the ground, spinning around the area like a dust devil.
Due to the recoil of her attack, Winona was knocked back, landing next to Faith on the soft sand. They had both unleashed their final attacks—their bodies finally catching up with them, as blood started to spew from both of their mouths.
“T-This is…!” Faith coughed, trying to wipe the blood off of her face—having difficulty due to the pain now surging through her body.
Thomas ran up to the two, leaning next to them. “This is what happens when you use those pills and go past your limits…” He gritted his teeth. “Damn, hang in there you two…!”
“I-Is he down, though…?” Winona asked as she struggled to sit up. Thomas kept her down, not wanting her to strain her body any more.
Thomas glared into the dust as Chris’ figure came into view. The Chaonic Assimilation that had been active had faded away as he lay in the rubble, barely conscious.
“D-Damn… That would have fucked me up if it wasn’t for those chaons…” Chris chuckled. “Damn… What am I doing…?”
“Let’s get him restrained so he won’t cause any more trouble…” Thomas sighed, standing up. Travis walked over to him, placing his hand on the man’s shoulder.
“You need to stay with Faith and Winona right now. I’m sure you’ve got more stuff that can help them out, right?” Travis smiled. “I’ve got a Core that turns into binding—I can use that on him.”
“I-I guess, yeah…” Thomas pulled out a tiny black briefcase, seemingly out of nowhere. Opening it revealed four syringes with a light-gray liquid inside. “This stuff should stabilize them. Can’t use anything too phantonic at the moment, as their phantonic networks are probably all kinds of messed up.”
Travis nodded as he walked over to Chris. Thomas, taking a second quick glance at Travis, leaned back down. He injected the mysterious fluid into the arms of the two battle-worn girls. They did not seem to flinch at all from this act.
“I figured you’d have something… to help us…” Faith giggled. “You wouldn’t have given us those pills if you didn’t, right?”
“We didn’t have much of a choice, but… yeah,” Thomas sighed with a smile on his face. “Those pills use concentrated liquid phantonium, you know. That’s the key to unlocking the massive surge of phantons.”
“Phantonium…?” Faith seemed curious. “A-Aren’t the obelisks in Nexus City made of solid phantonium…? You gave us something like that!?”
Thomas chuckled. “Well, it worked out, didn’t it? You sure are chatty for someone who’s just gone through a hell of a fight.”
“Sounds like Faith…” Winona whispered, giggling softly.
“Well, I’m hoping that’s the end of things over here,” Thomas said while stretching his arms. “Once Travis gets that guy bundled up, we can—”
Upon turning his attention toward Travis’ direction, Thomas froze in horror. Faith and Winona looked up and managed to view the event as well. What they saw was Travis, standing next to Chris.
Completely turned to stone.