In just the blink of an eye the diminutive leader turned into a huge monstrosity reaching over 3 meters, whose bulging muscles would put even Billy's constitution to shame. Even the large wound from [Verun's Bite] was gone, the axe pushed out of its body as the wound closed in an instant. Even the expensive-looking exoskeleton had been discarded as it was bent into scrap metal from the alien's expansion.
Odder yet he had turned into an amalgamation of metal and flesh as parts of him had turned into that of a robot. Zac didn't understand how, but the dying Technocrat had turned into a cyborg teeming with immense power. Even Zac felt threathened from just standing in front of the hulking figure, something he hadn't felt for a long time. Something told Zac that this wasn't some ultimate technique by the Technocrat himself, as his face lilted listlessly to the side and his eyes were empty.
The foreman had warned him about reprisal, but Zac didn't expect it to be so direct. He felt the situation was turning bad, and he immediately unleashed a round of attacks on it, holding nothing back. But metallic clangs and deep thuds were all that could be heard when the axehead hit the Technocrat’s muscled torso, only leaving scuff marks behind. Zac couldn’t believe it was so durable that he wasn't even able to leave a shallow wound.
He didn’t give up though and unleashed one ferocious strike after another across the brute’s body in hopes of finding a weak spot. But danger suddenly screamed in Zac's head as a fist as large as a wrecking ball slammed into him with such speed that he didn't have time to even blink.
The power of the punch was enough to shatter all the spectral chains still binding the Technocrat in an instant, and Zac was launched into the air with such speed that it looked like he was teleported away. The enormous shockwave swept all the corrosive mists in the area away as well, exposing the decomposing corpses of the cultivators on the ground.
It felt like his whole body was broken, and it only got worse when he slammed into one of the towers from [Profane Seal] with enough power to cause a large crack running along its whole length. Black ichor ran down his mouth as Zac desperately crawled back to his feet only to see the monstrosity treating his entrapment as a joke.
Alarm bells were going off in Zac's mind, and every fiber of his being was telling him that this was not something he could contend with. He frantically tried to figure out what to do next, but the cyborg wasn't waiting for Zac to come up with a strategy. A huge shockwave exploded out from where it stood as the cyborg disappeared from sight, only to appear right in front of Zac once again.
This time Zac was somewhat ready and he barely managed to duck out of the way from another world-ending fist that instead tore the miasmic tower apart. It almost looked like the extremely sturdy structure was made out of styrofoam as it shattered and dissipated into churning mists of Miasma.
The destruction of the tower was the straw the broke the camel's back, and [Profane Seal] started to crumble. All the chains were already broken which had damaged the other towers as well, and with one tower utterly destroyed the shield was already down for the count.
Luckily the fight outside had mostly ebbed out as well, with Ogras dismantling the last remnants of the Technocrat army. The demon seemed to be in good vigor, though his clothes were completely burned and the side of his face was covered in a large scorch mark. Verun was nowhere to be seen though, but that quickly changed as the large beast appeared out of nowhere and chomped down on the towering cyborg.
Verun didn't have much better luck than Zac did though despite its furious attempts to rip his master's enemy to shreds. The Tool Spirit's large fangs couldn't even break its skin. The cyborg only stoically stood there acting like it couldn't feel a thing until it slammed its hand in a ferocious overhand slap that hit Verun's head.
The Tool spirit Yelped in pain and was forced to let go, at which point the cyborg unleashed yet another of its terrifying punches. Verun was utterly helpless as it turned into motes of light that fled into Zac's axe. Thankfully Zac could still sense the Tool Spirit in his axe, though it immediately entered hibernation after getting destroyed.
If Zac's heart had been beating in his current form it would have been hammering away at this moment as he gazed upon the Cyborg. Something unfathomable was happening with it. It was as though the monster had gained over 20 levels in just a few seconds, and its towering aura had more than doubled since it attacked Zac the first time.
Futility threatened to consume him as Zac scrambled for any idea of getting out of this mess. The cyborg didn't seem to possess any skills or Dao Seeds, but it also didn't need it due to its ungodly power. It was like a supercharged version of Zac himself, a true testament of the horror of superior attributes.
There was a small remnant of the technocrats sticking close to the Nexus Hub. They had likely tried to escape Earth but was blocked due to Zac's interference. But the group seemed emboldened from the turnaround in the battle and they rushed toward Zac in an effort to assist their foreman in taking him down. Zac had no time to bother about them, so he could only infuse his body with the Seed of Hardness as he kept his eyes trained on the true threat.
Another apocalyptic punch soared toward Zac who desperately activated [Immutable Bulwark]. An earthshattering explosion echoed out across the area when the fist connected, and Zac realized the power was well beyond that of the first strike. He wasn't sure he would still be in fighting condition if the first fist contained this amount of force. Even the extremely hard stonebed cracked all around them from the attack, a testament to its immense power.
The unlucky Technocrats who had wanted to fish in muddy waters were rendered into meat paste just from the shockwave. They died without knowing what happened, likely thinking that the foreman was still on their side. But Zac knew that this thing had no such alliances. The former foreman had turned into an emotionless tool of slaughter upon his death.
Zac's eyes widened in alarm as the punch caused massive cracks across the bulwark. Neither Salvation's self-detonation nor the laser beams of the two enormous mechas had been enough to cause a crack in his defensive wall, but one simple punch from this thing was all it took. But just as Zac despaired a huge form materialized and punched into the chest of the cyborg.
It was [Deathwish] that activated, and the force was tremendous even though it only contained a part of the original strength of the attack. This became especially true after Zac managed to imbue the spectral projection with the Dao of Heaviness with some quick reflexes. The Cyborg was launched into the air, flying tens of meters away before slamming into the ground with a large bang.
"What the hell is that thing?" a shocked voice asked from the side.
Zac looked over to see Ogras standing there, staring at the cyborg with horror in his eyes.
"A cyborg, a mix of man and machine," Zac sighed. "The foreman turned into this thing just as I was about to kill him."
"Mix of man and machine? That's Impossible," Ogras said with a shake of his head. "The heavens won't allow such a thing."
Of course, it was hard to refute the evidence as it stood up again as if nothing had happened. Its chest was completely fine, with not a single blemish from the retaliatory strike. The air around it was crackling and twisting from just standing still, and it looked as though it had once again powered up.
"I can't harm it, and I can't defend against it, and it keeps getting stronger," Zac sighed. "Do you have any ideas?"
"Throw things at it," Ogras said, immediately taking out a handful of offensive arrays.
Hope reignited in Zac's heart as he took out all his offensive treasures as well.
The next moment the Underworld lit up in a cacophony of chaotic energies as over ten powerful offensive arrays exploded at the same time. Everything from fires burning so hot it the flames were white to poisonous mists and crackling lightning caused a both beautiful and terrifying display as the cyborg was submerged in a conflagration of their most powerful arrays.
Zac even went so far as to throw out his one and only [Void Ball], his ultimate tool of destruction. The ball plunged the whole area into spatial chaos far worse than what he had seen over by the entrance to the Mystic Realm. That time he was even thrown inside while fighting the tiger, but he managed to get navigate his way out in one piece.
This time the zone was jam-packed with spatial tears, some as large as two-three meters. Some of the largest tears even combined to form large sections of void space, looking like windows into outer space. Those were even more terrifying than the tears, as one could actually fall into such a thing. What waited on the other side depended on one's luck, but it was most likely a horrible death.
Zac didn’t think he could throw a stone through the area unscathed, let alone passing through it. But the hulking form of the cyborg seemed completely unbothered as it stood inside the blast zone, only a few scorch-marks and slightly melted metal the proof that he had been inside radius of the attacks at all. Even the spatial tears were crushed against its body, though they did leave somewhat deep cuts. But the wounds didn’t bleed at all, and it didn’t look like the cyborg even noticed them.
Zac and Ogras only looked at it with dismay, unsure of what to do next. Its enormous fist suddenly slammed into the ground with impossible speed, causing a huge shockwave to erupt. It looked like an atomic bomb had erupted beneath the ground they stood on, causing crushed stones to blast upward in a circle of hundreds of meters.
Zac and Ogras stood over a hundred meters away from the center of the impact, but they were still pushed back another hundred meters, barely able to keep their footing. The demon also suffered multiple cuts from errant pieces of stone hitting him with the speed of bullets. The remaining power of the offensive arrays were blown away in an instant as well, with only a few spatial tears remaining.
"Is it D-Grade?" Ogas screamed in alarm. "We need to flee!"
Zac had to agree with Ogras' assessment. This thing was just too powerful. Zac could barely cause a few cracks in the extremely hard rocks around them, but this monster could suddenly cause widespread damage with a simple punch, something Zac wouldn't even be able to replicate on the surface. There was no way that the Cyborg had less than 2-3000 Strength by now judging from that slam alone.
The two immediately started to run away, but the monster was just too fast. One moment it was still standing in the distance, but in the next it was right next to Ogras, shrouding the demon in darkness. Its fist ripped through the air at the demon, foretelling of impending doom. Ogras roared as torrential amounts of shadows erupted from beneath him, completely submerging the cyborg in darkness.
The cyborg froze and shuddered in response, which caused the shadows to get ripped into pieces and Ogras to cough out blood from the blowback. But the brief pause allowed Zac to once again summon [Immutable Bulwark] and place it and himself in front of the demon for a final stand.
But the cyborg had grown too powerful in this short time, and the bulwark only managed to absorb some of the force before cracking like brittle glass. Zac only had time to erect all his other defensive treasures before the herculean fist rammed into his shield, causing both Zac and Ogras to sail hundreds of meters away until they slammed into a wall with a resounding crash.
Zac almost blacked out from the pain as black ichor flowed like a waterfall from his mouth and nose. At least thirty bones in his body were broken, and the demon seemed to be even worse off when the two crashed into the ground. His shield was completely destroyed as well, well beyond salvaging. Zac desperately tried to get back on his feet to meet the oncoming enemy, but he barely managed to get up to a sitting position.
He was almost all out of Miasma in any case, and using any skill was off the table. He would likely turn to his human form in minutes unless he managed to restock on energy. He briefly considered trying to transform to his human class, but he knew that it was a fool's dream.
There was no way to finish the transformation as the cyborg had already appeared right in front of them with the help of its tremendous speed, a series of crashes in the ground exploding behind it. Its hollow eyes stared down at them without a shred of emotion, which in a sense was even scarier than a glare full of hatred.
The transformation skill required ten seconds to finish, but those seconds were the difference between life and death. Besides, Zac knew that there was no way he could harm the thing, even if he unleashed his most powerful moves from his Hatchetman Class. The monstrosity wasn’t even hampered by the spatial tears, and those were far more dangerous than his skills.
"I'm sorry," Zac sighed as he shot a look the demon who helplessly lay in a heap next to him. "This is all my fault."
"This is the life of the cultivator," Ogras wryly smiled with a blood-filled mouth. "The road has to end sometime. Shame I never got to finish my movie."
Zac's snorted before his thoughts wistfully went to his sister as he closed his eyes, ready to meet his maker.