A patch of ash within the newly-created black desert suddenly began moving and shifting. A large slab of superheated stone that had survived the Armageddon Spell steadily rose to one side as Kora grunted with effort to lift it up from underneath.
With a final yell, she threw off the thick, flat rock that was easily 4 times larger than her, allowing the other survivors to breathe once more. The scalding, ash-filled air was far from lung-friendly, however, making them choke and cough almost uncontrollably. One of the Druids in the unit somehow managed to cast a Soothing Rain Spell, causing a small, black cloud to appear almost immediately overhead. The curative rainwater that poured down from it not only helped restore everyone’s HP, but also purified and cooled the air to make it more breathable.
“Koff! Koff Koff! Everyone alive?!” yelled Keira while looking around.
“I think we lost the two-timing short-ears!”
“Oy! I’m not dead yet, Holt!”
“Tch, just my luck.”
“Arms, is Mr S alive?” she turned towards the fiend.
“Uh, yeah. The boss is still around.”
“... Do a handstand to prove it!”
“Oh for the love of-”
Kora then did a perfect 10-point handstand using only her frontal pair of arms.
“Yes, thank you. What about the VIP and wounded?”
“VIP’s safe and sound, Ma’am!”
“Some of the magic users passed out, but they’ll pull through!”
As the reports rapidly came in, it quickly became apparent that everyone was present and accounted for, even if not entirely fit for duty. Once the group’s immediate concerns regarding their comrades’ well-being were taken care of, they finally began to take in the devastation around them. The desolate, lifeless scenery was so silent that even their own uneven breathing sounded unnaturally loud and grating.
Keira rose to her feet and looked towards the middle - the source of all this destruction. The ground in a large radius around Punchy’s last location had turned to glass. Like a muddled diamond, it glistened and sparkled in the sunlight, although its impure nature and rough, uneven texture gave it an eerie, foreboding shine.
Following her example, one by one the men and women rose to their feet and stared mutely at the glass field.
“That’s…” one of them began speaking in a low voice brimming with disbelief. “Isn’t that where…”
“Yeah,” confirmed Mikey. “If the Dec hadn’t told us to relocate… We’d have been right in the middle of that.”
It was an undeniable fact that the catgirl’s decision had spared them the absolute worst case scenario. Even after they moved they’d have been caught up in the blast if the Decanus hadn’t demanded that everyone seek shelter inside another basement the instant she heard that chanting start. Getting underground and establishing a bunch of magical barriers in a matter of seconds was no easy task, but they somehow pulled off. If the call to retreat underground had been any slower, then they would have definitely not gotten off as easy as they did.
And yet here they were - covered in soot, mentally and physically exhausted, not to mention disoriented and disheartened, but undeniably and unequivocally alive. It was unclear as to whether what they had been through over the last 10-to-15 minutes was lucky or unlucky, but given that they were all still around to debate the point would imply the former. No, thinking about it from start to finish, their continued survival wasn’t due to something like luck.
It was a damned miracle.
And the one that had brought this miracle about through her own effort and intuition was none other than Keira Morgana. The catgirl that had saved their lives many times over was looking over the ruined landscape with a sorrowful expression, as if she were mourning all the lives she couldn’t save. It was a solemn, beautiful scene worthy of becoming an icon. Heck, they could’ve probably made a religion out of it.
Of course, what said catgirl was actually mourning was the loss of Hilda’s equipment, but that was besides the point. It also wasn’t something baseless like intuition that told Boxxy what Nagnamor was about to do. The Mimic had actually managed to recognize some of the words in the Overlord’s chant, courtesy of Ambrosia’s ongoing language lessons. So when it heard the Archfiend mention something about ‘rendering the air aflame’ it immediately ran underground and cut itself off from the outside world. It was the right decision, as relatively little of Armageddon’s heat seeped into the ground itself. Whether it was because it literally set the air on fire or due to something else didn’t matter, the important part was that Boxxy and Keira’s unit managed to survive more or less unscathed.
They were hardly the only ones, however, as hundreds of people began emerging from the ground around them. This vaguely bowl-shaped black desert coupled with the unbroken sunlight from above made each and every survivor stand out like a sore thumb, even to the untrained eye. In fact, one of them was raising a lot of dust as he made a beeline for Keira’s unit, and judging from his armor’s colors he was in no way an ally. He was no pushover, either, if his running speed was any indication.
“… We have incoming!” shouted Keira. “Look alive people, the war isn’t over quite yet! Syme - how’s the Comm-crystal?”
The elven Warrior reached for the item in question, but it had broken into three large pieces.
“Damn! Alright, take half the unit and evacuate the VIP and the others who can’t move to safety! Do not turn back, no matter what! You hear me, Legionnaire?!”
“Loud and clear, ma’am! You heard the Dec, lads! You, you, you, you, you three over there and you lot - you’re with me! Let’s move, move, move!”
The man quickly picked out a dozen or so troops and began to make his retreat as ordered. Of course none of them felt right leaving the Decanus behind yet again, but they no longer had room to complain. If their Goddess of Victory told them to do something, then they just had to go and do it.
“Arms - you’re up at the very front. He seems to be a melee combatant so make sure you body block him and hold him down!”
“Whatever you say, boss-lady!” replied Kora while banging her fists together.
“The rest of you, wait until Arms has immobilized the target and then blast it with all you got! I don’t care if you wipe her out too!”
“That goes for miss Snack as well! Don’t pull any punches and really pour it on!”
“Huhuhuhu! With great pleasure!” declared Xera with an evil smirk.
“Remember - just because we’re trying to buy time doesn’t mean we’re throwing our lives away! We’re not just going to stop that sonofabitch, we’re going to annihilate him! We set out an hour ago to ensnare and kill a VIP, and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do! So steel your guts and tighten your buttholes, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!”
The composition of the group that stayed behind to block the incoming threat consisted of 15 beings in total. One catgirl Ranger, two demonic familiars, one golem Paladin, a human Rogue, two Priests, a Druid, a Cryomancer, a Witch, three Wizards and two Warriors. They quickly formed ranks to prepare for the incoming threat. A few of them realized the enemy could just skirt around them and head straight for the vulnerable VIP, but such thoughts were discarded. The target had not only stayed his course, but even picked up speed.
“Prepare barrage!” yelled Keira, prompting the unit to begin pre-chanting Spells or ready any ranged weapons. And several tense seconds later, the enemy entered their effective range.
“Ice Spike! Fireball! Fire Blast! Wind Cutter! Frostbolt! Shadowbolt!”
A plethora of magic projectiles of various elemental alignments flew out, aimed squarely at the incoming threat’s path. The man brilliantly sidestepped them all, however, slipping through the gaps between them with superhuman reflexes. He then leaped through the air in a grand arc, swinging his two-handed warhammer down right onto Kora.
Rather than take it head-on, however, the fiend activated a defensive Martial Art. It caused her towering body to slide backwards across the ashen ground without breaking her stance. With his target no longer where it was supposed to be, the enemy’s heavy blow struck nothing but blackened ground.
Activating the second part of the Martial Art, Kora’s body flew forward with the same dizzying speed, allowing her to deliver a full powered double-right-handed straight punch. One fist connected with the man’s shoulder plate, while the other was a clean shot to his forehead. The heavy dual blow forced the man back, causing his feet to drag along the loose ashes for a few meters. His helmet had gotten blown off by the impact, landing somewhere behind him with a soft thud.
“Well, well, well!” said Kora with a pleasantly surprised tone. “Fancy meeting you here!”
Indeed, the man who had just eaten one of her double-deluxe-knuckle-sandwiches was someone she already knew. He had a full hair of blond, unreasonably spiky hair. His face showed him to be only about 17 or 18 years old. His attractive facial features and sky-blue eyes were marred with an expression that screamed of cold, seething hatred that sent chills down one’s spine. His blue-tinged and well-worn armor looked to be especially thicker on his left side, especially the shoulder, upper arm and left shin-guard. In his hands was a pitch-black warhammer with a shimmering blood-red gem embedded in its head that gave off an ominous feeling.
“I was sure you bit the big one, blondie,” taunted Kora, “but I’m glad your bitch of a goddess cheated and brought you back! Now I get to skullfuck you personally!”
The human was Bernard Samson, Hero of the Hammer and herald of Teresa, the Goddess of truth and justice.
“... So it really is you,” muttered Bernard in a low tone, although his expression didn’t change in the slightest. “I thought I was just seeing things, but looks like the old man was right after all.”
Bernard dashed forward while swinging his ominous weapon in a wide horizontal arc. Kora successfully blocked it with the armor on both her left forearms-
-yet she buckled over and stumbled backwards with a high-pitched scream of pain.
This caught Boxxy by surprise. The Arms just screamed and doubled over in pain. The demon that barely even uttered a grunt as she suffered through having limbs torn off, monsters chewing on her face and being exploded time and time again by virtue of being her master’s test subject. The fiend’s reaction was not just unusual, but downright unnatural. Indeed, looking at the arms that took the brunt of that attack, it was immediately evident something strange was going on. Both the flesh and metal on her forearms had turned into a lifeless, dull brown color and began crumbling and falling away as if they were clumps of dried-up dirt.
“Is that a Demonbane!?” asked Xera through the telepathic link.
“Yeah! The bitch got himself a Demonbane weapon!” confirmed Kora. “Nnnnngh, a really powerful one, too! Boss, this is bad!”
‘Bad’ was putting it mildly. Demonbane weapons were, as their name suggested, implements created for the sole purpose of slaying demonic entities. Not only did they inflict considerable damage to a demon’s physical form, but some of them even had the power to completely destroy their spiritual side as well. Needless to say, this was something Boxxy could not allow to continue.
A Warlock or Witch must safeguard the immortal souls of their soulbound familiars at all costs, even if it meant losing their very lives. Failing to uphold this part of the summoning contract would result in their mortal souls being confiscated and dragged into the Beyond. Not only would this kill them on the spot, but they would also be subjected to unimaginable torture through every single second of every minute of every day for the rest of time.
It was a fate worse than oblivion, and one that the Mimic had no intention of risking. Therefore, it instantly removed the potential danger to its life from the field.
Your familiar has been dismissed.
The spark of life in Kora’s eyes disappeared abruptly, causing her large body to keel over and fall to the ground like a sack of potatoes, although not before flipping Bernard off with both of her right hands.
“Tch, she ran away,” said the Hero with a hint of disappointment. “No matter, I can feel another one nearby!”
The next salvo of ranged attacks bombarded the human, but he evaded the worst of it by circling them around to his left. Kaleera managed to nail him with her Ebonfire Spell, but the black flames that enveloped his body were sucked away by his weapon. Xera’s pet Molten Guardian ran out to challenge him, but the fiery warhound was swatted away in a single blow as if were a harmless shrub.
It would appear that any magic that was even of vaguely demonic origin was useless against the Hero, which included both the Witch’s prided Ruin Spells as well as the succubus’s fiery minion. The former was a school of magic said to have originated in the Beyond, while the latter was created through a demon’s power, so both of them had gotten disrupted by the Demonbane.
“The Pyromancer, huh?”
Feeling the response from his own weapon after taking out Smokey, Bernard immediately set his sights on the succubus-in-disguise. Sensing that the jig was up, Xera undid her disguise, unfurled her wings and took to the air, eliminating the chance of being struck by that damnable weapon. She wasn’t sturdy like Kora, so there was a good chance a good solid hit might wipe her out completely.
However, the Hero would not let her escape so easily.
“Judgement From Above!”
Unleashing the Skill given to him by virtue of being Teresa’s chosen, Bernard caused a column of blinding white light to fall on top of the succubus. It was a Skill that relied heavily on the user’s perceptions and preconceptions, as it would only display its full power against those the Hero of the Hammer had judged to be ‘evil.’ And although the youth’s tortured mind saw all demons as the very incarnation of evil, he was hardly the only one, as 100 out of 100 people would agree that all demons were inherently evil creatures.
Therefore, even if the succubus’s soul would be spared, the fact that her physical body had instantly evaporated without a trace was going to happen regardless of the Hero’s state of mind.
Where the young lad’s twisted worldview came into play, however, was when it came to the elven squad below the demoness - the ones that had gotten caught up in his divine blast. In some ways, he thought of the elves and the Republic as a whole as even worse than the demons themselves. The latter may have been born evil, but the former willingly chose to not only rely on such corrupting influence, but even go so far as to use them as weapons. Horrible weapons of mass destruction that could wipe out entire cities in the blink of an eye. It was a crime not only against humanity, but against the world at large. And Bernard would be judge, jury and executioner to their entire nation.
Just so that nobody would ever have to suffer loss the same way he did.
Which was why, when the dust settled, the elven troop were horrified to see that three of their numbers had turned into statues made of salt.
“H-Holt?” muttered Mikey in disbelief. “Holt?! Hooolt!”
He cried out in despair, but the elven Priest that had saved his life several times earlier that day had become one of the victims. He could do little to answer the ‘two-timing short-ears’ other than fall over and crumble into a man-shaped pile of salt, which is exactly what happened.
“You monster!” bellowed the distraught Rogue. “You’ll pay for that!”
Disregarding or perhaps not even registering Keira’s words, the hot-blooded adventurer rushed forward to challenge the Hero. Bernard stared him down as he instantly condemned him as a traitorous piece of garbage and got ready to smash him into a pulp. Before Mikey’s rash actions could get him killed, however, Keira put an arrow through his foot, pinning him to the ground with excessive force. As the hapless Rogue howled in pain, anger and sorrow, the catgirl tossed a trio of purple beads at the human. Being wary of those odd projectiles, Bernard made a few steps back. The alchemically made smoke bombs cracked open on the ground in front of him, releasing a puff of thick, purple gas that was probably poisonous in nature.
Using the miasma as cover, one of the Warriors in the group pulled the human’s foot out of the ground and roughly carried him away from the threat. However, the Hero dashed through the smoke and swung his weapon towards the elf’s unprotected back. The sudden attack nailed the Warrior in the shoulder, sending both him and the Rogue tumbling to the side like a pair of ragdolls.
In the next instant, the Hero slammed his black hammer into the ground, causing a small wave of dust to travel across towards the elven ranks. The Druid in the group stabbed his staff into the ground and used a Strengthen Soil Spell in an attempt counter and defuse the incoming Martial Art. Unfortunately, the clearly unnatural environment refused to yield to his magic, and the Quake Strike reached his feet unabated.
What followed was a violent explosion of dust, ash and what little dirt was left underneath all that devastation as the ground itself split open. It didn’t do much in the way of damage, but scattered the Republic unit and obstructed their eyesight. The Druid had fallen over on his knees and was coughing violently when he looked up to see Bernard burst through the cloud of dust. The human swung his warhammer down on top of the elf, who unwittingly closed his eyes, unable to stare death in the face.
However, death would not claim him right that instant, as a white streak of gleaming mithril had run in between him and his incoming doom at the last possible moment.
The impact of an Artifact-grade weapon colliding with an Artifact-grade shield rang out with a gong-like sound. The violent winds kicked up by the sudden turn of events blew away all the ash and dust lingering in the air to reveal Fizzy had successfully stopped the Hero in his tracks.
“You’re gonna have to try better than that, blinky!”
The golem put some more strength behind her left arm and forced the human backwards with a shield bash.
“Marcus get off your ass and get Mikey and Yulian patched up!”
“Y-yes, ma’am!” stuttered the shaken-up Druid as he rose to his feet and rushed to aid his allies.
“Poe and Tulus - cover Fizzy! Box him in with your magic and don’t let him run wild! The rest of you get your heads out of your asses and ready a secondary defensive line!”
Fizzy and Bernard continued to exchange blows. Being Paladins, both fighters had activated their respective Divine Wrath Skills, which greatly increased their damage output for a short time. The golem had also added Plus into the mix by activating Parallel One, who was doing her best to disrupt the human through targeted applications of the Magnetize Skill, coupled by repeated applications of the offensive Judgement Spell. The charge pack strapped to the golem’s back was humming along, zapping the Hero with arcs of electricity every time he and Fizzy made contact. His armor protected him from the worst of it, but it still steadily sapped his HP, regardless of whether he hit or was being hit. Even a block or a parry resulted in yet more damage being accumulated, while two Wizards and that beastkin Ranger relentlessly targeted him with Spells and arrows, severely limiting his ability to move around.
And yet the Hero did not fall, nor did he slow down. For even though Judgement From Above could not be used in rapid succession, the other Skill granted by the Goddess Teresa was something he could whip out as many times as he pleased.
With his whole body briefly enveloped by a bright glow, Bernard suddenly unleashed a massive golf-like swing. A Berserker-like technique, Vengeance rose in power directly proportional to the amount of damage he had taken over the last 10 seconds. And since that accursed golem’s interference had led to the Hero losing about half of his HP in that time frame, the power behind the Vengeance-enhanced strike was several times stronger than any of his previous attacks.
Fizzy managed to catch it on her shield, but it still proved too much for her. While the cursed armament remained mostly unscathed, the arm it was attached to crumpled under the ridiculous strain put on it. The golem was knocked away, flying through the air and crashing into the ash-covered ground with a heavy thud, kicking up a small cloud of debris. The remains of the Republic unit watched in abject horror as their guardian angel’s mangled left arm fell several meters away from her. Fizzy herself seemed to still be functioning, but her body was bent over and dented in a weird and clearly unnatural way, rendering her unable to even stand up.
In the next instant, there was a loud clang of metal scraping against metal, followed immediately by a certain message that appeared for everyone within several kilometers of the scene.
Clash of Fate has been invoked!
The Hero of the Hammer will now face the Hero of Chaos on the field of battle!
May destiny smile upon the victor!
Swerving their heads around, the elven troops could do little but stare with mouths agape as Keira stood before the Hero. She had discarded her shortbow and was pointing her mithril rapier squarely at Bernard’s throat.
HP and MP have fully recovered.
Skill and Spell cooldowns have been refreshed.
None can interfere in the Clash of Fate until it is resolved.
Having regained his strength, Bernard rapidly rose to his feet with a truly bewildered look on his face, but assumed a fighting stance out of reflex. His enemy was clearly no elf, nor did she look evil, but if she stood against him, then he would give her no quarter.
“You favor your left when you dodge,” she said in a cold, deadpan voice.
Not giving anyone a single chance to grasp the sudden development, Keira slashed at the man’s head. He dodged it by going down and towards his left, just as she had said, only to have the thin blade swerve at the last moment and slash him across the face. It almost looked like he cut himself on it on purpose.
“Guh!” he grunted, his eyes once again filling with anger. He then swung his prided hammer at the beastkin’s center of mass.
“Your attacks are strong and fast, but way too direct.”
Saying that, she effortlessly sidestepped his retaliatory strike, ducked under the follow-up backhanded swing and then leaped over his shoulder-charge with a somersault, landing squarely on top of his shoulders.
“You’re also pretty terrible at point blank ranges.”
She then leapt off with a backflip, slashing him across the face yet again as she spun around.
“Why you little-!”
His anger steadily rising, he kept lashing out at her, but failed to land a single hit. Like a blade swaying against the grass, the catgirl’s body seemed to evade his strikes before he even made them.
“Also, your armor is horribly unbalanced and impractical. Not only is it messing up your swings, but your knees, armpits and elbows are totally exposed. You think you look cool or something? You’re a joke!”
Her blade unerringly ripped through his right arm’s elbow as if to prove her point. The human yelled out in pain, stumbling back as blood gushed out of the wound.
“You’re no soldier. I’d call you a mindless brute instead, but that would be insulting to trolls everywhere.”
She kicked some dust into his eyes and then tripped him up with swift kick to the back of his knee, causing him to buckle over. She then stabbed him through the shoulder from above and behind. Having put her entire weight into the blow allowed her to pierce clean through metal and flesh alike in a single, magnificent thrust.
“AAAAARRGHH!” he screamed in pain. “V-Vengeance!”
Activating the same Skill as before caused him to lash out with the same ferocity that sent Fizzy flying. It kicked up an impressive volume of dust, but ultimately hit only air since the catgirl had let go of her weapon and leapt over his head.
“Blindly relying on Status and Skills to get you through your battles… It’s a miracle you lasted this long! You’d never make it as an adventurer with that foolish attitude!”
With yet another scolding remark, Keira grabbed onto the handle of her blade and violently pulled it out of Bernard’s shoulder by kicking off his back.
He swung blindly as he turned around, only to have his opponent find a weak spot in his armor, puncturing through it and jabbing him in the thigh. Several quick exchanges later, the human was left kneeling on the ground, bleeding heavily from multiple wounds without being able to so much land a scratch on his opponent. She had used the knowledge gained from his fight with Fizzy to thoroughly analyze and then pick apart his amateurish fighting style, demonstrating that he stood no chance against her. She wasn’t just trying to defeat him - she was humiliating him. She even somehow managed to goad him into using and missing his trump card, the deadly Judgement From Above Skill. Nobody knew exactly how she had achieved this feat since they were momentarily blinded by its flashy nature, but the fact that she was still standing after taking what seemed like a direct hit was something nobody could deny.
All Bernard could do at that point was to glare defiantly at the catgirl, who was currently walking circles just outside his range and continuing her verbal onslaught.
“I repeat, you’re neither a soldier nor an adventurer. You barely even qualify as an adult! It really would be for the best if you apologized to all the Warriors and Paladins of the world for your shameful performance and went to live on as a Farmer! That way the only thing in danger of suffering your incompetence would be your cabbages! But you won’t do that. Because underneath that thin veneer of a Hero lies nothing more than a crying toddler throwing a tantrum over things he can’t change.”
“Shut up! The hell do you know?!”
“Oh, but I know everything,” she said in a low voice. “I know you died at Monotal.”
The man’s eyes suddenly grew to the size of dinner plates. Underwood had given Keira all of the intelligence they had on the enemy VIP, so it was only natural she knew about that, even if members of her squad didn’t.
“I know that man Edward told you the Republic was responsible for that Calamity, but guess what? He lied! And you fell for it! That’s so pathetic I can’t even laugh at you!”
“N-no! That’s not true! Allen’s the one who gave me purpose! He’s- He showed me! Proved to me that-”
“He knows exactly who killed your friends and family, you know.”
“Ah, but he hasn’t told you, has he? Of course he didn’t. He knew you wouldn’t have become such a convenient tool for him to use if you had a clear target in mind. That’s why he pinned the blame on the Republic as a whole! Face it, kiddo - to him you’re just another weapon to aim at his enemies. Just a tool to be used and discarded.”
“No… No! You’re a lying, conniving t-t-twig-lover! You’re just saying those things to mess with me!”
“Am I? If you truly think my words are false, then why do you waver so? Go on then - deny them! Look me in the eye and tell me you actually believe in your own cause, you selfish prat!”
“I- You don’t- The Goddess- She, she has-”
“The Gods have nothing to do with this!” countered the clearly irate catgirl. “It’s not their asses that are on the line down here! It’s not them that had to resort to eating rats and leaves just to survive another day! It’s not by their hand that this pointless war started! Fuck, if they wanted to they could’ve easily put an end to all of this in an instant, but they’d much rather sit back and watch us die for their amusement! Like we’re nothing more than brainless puppets dancing to their tune! None of those worthless pieces of shit have any place on the battlefield, and you fucking know it!”
The catgirl reined in her blasphemous tirade. It wasn’t intentional, but Boxxy’s true feelings regarding the whole Hero business had slipped out. Well, neither the Mimic nor Keira could hardly be blamed for losing their cool, all things considered. Indeed, this whole performance was nothing more than an excuse for the Mimic to vent its frustrations, for even psychotic murder-boxes needed to blow off some steam every now and then. Besides, this was the best way it could think of to stick it to that bitch Teresa for meddling in its life.
“Ultimately, your lack of conviction is not my interest,” continued Keira. “I care not what brought you here, nor what possessed you to attack me and those in my charge. If you had just turned away instead of charging at us like the retarded pile of fuck that you are, then it wouldn’t have come to this. But now - now it’s too late. Your sins are too heavy.”
The catgirl abruptly stopped and faced the utterly perplexed ‘Hero’ in such a way so that only he could see her face. A cutely smiling face which seemed to contain all the world’s innocence, all dipped in an extra layer of sweetness as it delivered a message only he could hear.
“Nobody defiles my shinies.”
With those parting words, the bloodied mithril rapier was sheathed into the shaken and confused human’s eye socket, impaling him through the brain completely until the bloodied tip poked out of the back of his head. The catgirl then viciously kicked the former Hero in the face, pulling her beautifully deadly blade out of his skull in a single motion while his body fell over and collapsed onto the black sand.
Clash of Fate has been resolved!
The Hero of Chaos has defeated the Hero of the Hammer with a flawless victory!
A faint blue mist rose out of Bernard’s corpse, enveloping around Keira and seeping into her very being.
Feat of strength performed! You have unlocked a new Perk: Hero Killer.
Feat of strength performed! You have unlocked a new Perk: Usurper of Justice.
Proficiency level increased. Vengeance is now Level 1.
When Boxxy turned around, however, what greeted it wasn’t the surprised, perplexed or otherwise awe-filled faces of Keira’s subordinates, nor was the charred wasteland that Punchy left behind anywhere in sight. Instead, what the creature beheld was an endless, serene sky filled with fluffy white clouds as far as the eye could see. Indeed even the ground it was standing on seemed to be made out of solidified mist.
And floating directly above it, was a 20-meter tall woman with flowing gold locks, bright blue eyes and flawless pink skin. She was draped in a pure white garment halfway between a robe and a dress that left her back, shoulders and arms exposed while the hem of her skirt just barely reached her knees. She also wore bracelets, sandals, necklaces, rings, and even a tiara, all seemingly forged out of the purest gold, its luster matched only by the radiant golden halo floating over her head. Her full, red lips parted as she let out an authoritative voice that seemed to echo into eternity.
“Greetings, creature,” said Teresa while idly raising a hand into the air, “and goodbye.”