“Adapt and conquer.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
We are on the citadel's command bridge, which looks quite different from the last time we were here. My father held his promise to remodel the ship's inner design. There is no trace left of the old bridge. Dad is walking back and forth in front of a huge screen, which is the only item in the room. Ok, he kept that one, but even the chairs are gone. No consoles, no crew-members, everything automatized. I harbour the suspicion that he decided against using real people to control the ship because of the last battle. It had to be a shock when someone spoke up to him and told him what to do.
But I have to admit that I also think of the old bridge-design as quite inefficient.
The screen shows a large, red spot with a cloud of smaller dots around it. Exactly like our first combat scenario. Our enemies clearly have one blueprint which they use for all their bases.
Further inspection of the map reveals our dilemma. At first I assumed that the citadel's computer simplified the tactical map by grouping all the spirits together and painted the dangerous area red. Turns out that isn't true. There are simply so many dots that the map is overloaded. We are badly outnumbered, which leads us to the question of how to come out of this alive. There are two acceptable ways to win a fight. Either by overpowering the enemy with brute force, or by being sneaky. We definitely have to depend on the latter solution.
When our scouts returned, they brought a lot of information with them. This made one thing very sure. We would never be able to fight our way through the enemy ranks. Going in with weapons blazing and with a war-cry on our lips will only get us killed. There are simply too many of them. Even Shade voiced his doubts about the fact that utilizing Lidith as our hidden weapon will be enough. Then he promptly suggested to throw Adea into the mix.
I vehemently fought against using Adea as a weapon. The poor girl had gone through enough in her current life. Of course, there are people who had to endure a far worse fate, so she has no reason to complain. But I kind of took responsibility for her, so there is no way that I can allow my parents to use her as their play-toy. They have their network and more than enough of enemies in their dungeons. No human experimentation on our friends.
“I don't understand, Seria. You were modified too and you are fine,” Mom pouts from her position at Shade's side. Normally she is the reasonable one, but somehow I got to be the voice of reason this time. I simply couldn't allow them to mistreat our newly found... refound?... friends!
“Well, then how do you suggest that we get near that fortification? I suggest that we use Adea and Lidith, a.k.a. Beth, to bore a hole through the enemy army. Once we get to their installation, it will be a repeat of our last battle. We can even put down some beacons to summon help from the other realms,” Shade explains.
Didn't I see a scene just like that in some movie a really long time ago? What do we have teleportation for? Our enemy is using it all the time to show up where he pleases.
My thoughts derail the idea that I could actually be a character in some brain-dead fantasy world. I wonder if the multiverse is big enough to play out every stupid Hollywood scene in one of its versions. This new discovery about a wholly separate multiverse should certainly allow for that.
But I am getting sidetracked. “I am far more concerned about that big, oozing rift in space right next to their superstructure. You noticed that it's spitting out even more spirits by the second? Seems like they are getting reinforcements… a lot of reinforcements.”
Shade shrugs. “Yeah, that's one of the collision points between the two multiverses. A mana storm that got strong enough to rip a hole into the fabric of space and time. There will be more of those once the shit hits the fan. I am not sure how the collision will play out, if the multiverses collide and one or both get annihilated, or if they merge is up to speculation.”
“That's no good. I don't want the multiverse to get destroyed,” Elona mumbles. She absent-mindedly corrects her hair.
Shade reaches for her hand and smiles. “Don't worry, Sugar. That worst case scenario is very unlikely. It would mean that both multiverse collide dead centre. It's far more likely that we'll sheer off each other. Once that happened, the tear will close on itself. We could also use Yggdrasil to repair it. I only mentioned the possibility for the sake of completeness.”
I bristle with anxiety. “So, why don't we open a portal directly into their base? It has to be possible.”
Shade purses his lips. “The idea is sound, but we have nobody on the inside. They have a strong inhibition field, which makes aiming the portal complicated. I don't think that we can manage it on the fly with our available resources.”
Hah! I think that I am ahead of Dad for once! Though my idea is stolen, but who cares? “So why don't we use their own methods against them? Let's place the equivalent of cornerstones around their base. We can use the stones to triangulate their position without ever getting close to the focal point, just like they did with Newerth's academy. The base isn’t moving, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“That's so simple that it could actually be my idea,” Dad mumbles and scratches his cheek while he studies the map, already calculating numbers in his brain.
Marcus decides to enter the discussion with a snort. He followed the discussion in silence up until now. “Maybe it was your idea. We aren't sure from where the spirits got their knowledge about portals. Their know-how seems to be up to yours, or at least up to your double. The technology seems to be standard practise for them.”