Chapter 278: Prometheus Erupts
The Wheel’s central area was small and narrow opening, which one had to occupy if they wished to inject it with energy. It was a dangerous gambit since flooding the Wheel left you exposed, and unable to employ any defensive counter-measures.
When Hades fired the Hellfire Cannon, Bahamut had still been in the center. At that point, it was too late to retreat and escape unscathed – Yu Honghu had taken too long.
So how did he survive?
Chu Cheng was now simply a spectator. He adjusted the cameras for full view, and focused it on the Wheel. The center could be entered from the bottom, so he panned his camera there. He was surprised to discover a blue and red figure dangling there.
Chu Cheng finally came to his senses. So crafty! he thought.
Bahamut was using a remote device to inject energy in to the Wheel.
The mecha itself never entered the small area, hiding instead on the outside. When Cerberus’ attack was incoming, Bahamut quickly cut connection with the Wheel, took its device and hid behind the indestructible walls of the structure.
The whole thing had been a trap. The Star Alliance never expected to fully control the Wheel in the beginning. Now, they once again held the advantage.
However, Prometheus wasn’t going to let that stand.
Coeus changed from a dark green to a resplendent jade before their eyes. It pulsed with vibrant energies that energized its surroundings. Once the release of energy seemed to reach a critical mass, Coeus shot forward and collided with Starlord.
The moment Prometheus saw Starlord shift focus to Chu Cheng, he puzzled out the Star Alliance’s plan. Late, but as he well knew even the best laid plans often went awry. This was no exception, and they still had a chance. The crux lay with Starlord himself. His attack on Hades, protecting Bahamut, reduced his energy reserves to perhaps half. If they could defeat him before Bahamut finished with the Wheel, victory was still within reach.
Coeus dashed forward like an emerald green beam of radiation, invisible to the naked eye but for the vibrant color. Like a terrible, living blade of wind, Coeus went for Starlord’s throat.
Everything had happened so quickly: Starlord repelled Coeus, brought down Hades, then faced the opposing team leader once again. It all passed in the space of a thunder bolt. This time, though, Starlord was without his weapon. It was still returning from its attack on Hades.
It could be argued that there had been no obvious mistakes from either side as of yet. Hades had made a quick and decisive determination based on the information he had. Prometheus was just as quick to take advantage of the opening he saw. Hesitation meant death in fights such as these. Even after seeing the trap they’d lain for him, Chu Cheng had no regrets. At least he’d given Lan Qing a chance. He couldn’t help but yelp excitedly when he saw Lan Qing finally go in for the kill.
Win or lose, they fought with everything they had! If they really ended up losing to this powerful foe, at least they went down swinging.
Starlord was still unarmed. Though powerful and deadly, Starlord’s drawback was his attacks needed time to refresh.
Deimos watched with narrowed eyes as Coeus pressed forward on the warpath. The twinkling starlight that emanated from his mecha flared brightly in response. Starlord’s metallic figure dimmed considerably, like it was not real.
Slow-motion cameras were able to catch the scene. The reason his suit seemed so strange to look upon was because it was actually in a state of extremely fast motion. It would move back about a meter, and then leap forward the same, all in a fraction of a second. The elbow of its sword arm was extended like a battering ram.
The two mecha collided with a frightening explosion. It’s force and ferocity brought everything to a screeching halt. Time seemed to stop. Zeus, Poseidon, the Knave and Windbreaker – all of them turned their attention to the ballooning mushroom cloud.
Without question, Prometheus and Deimos had connected. The victor, however, was unclear. The other combatants watched with baited breath. Whoever stepped from the smoke would likely determine the end of this fight.
A white figure went soaring from the debris like a cannon ball. It tumbled through the air, but as it did the glittering swipes of the Starblade could be seen behind it, warding off Coeus’ pursuit.
Repelled! Prometheus’ strike hadn’t finished the Starlord, but put the old master on the defensive.
Mo Xiao’s voice rang clear in the ears of all onlookers. “That, ladies and gentlemen, is why Deimos is the best of the best. If he were at his peak, I guarantee that strike would have been easily avoided. Now you can see that he spoke true, he’s a little slower with his response times and control. Even still his wisdom and combat understanding are unparalleled. It’s obvious why he’s touted as the best pilot alive.”
Starlord’s chest plate was badly damaged, and its left arm was missing after the collision. It was really in remarkable shape after facing down one of Coeus’ most powerful strikes.
While Starlord was careening off in to the distance, Coeus was relatively still. It remained in the blast radius of their meeting, spinning rapidly. Between the smoke and speed at which it spun, no one was able to clearly see the damage Coeus had sustained.
Bahamut had managed to arrive at this point, and blocked Coeus’ advance in order to give Starlord time to recover.
Bahamut was a fitting name for the mythical-looking mecha. It had two thick, powerful wings and dragon heads – one blue, and one red. At present, both had their mouths open in nightmarish roars, belching dragonfire at Coeus.
In the same instant, two beams of green energy lanced outward from Coeus’ location. They were faster than the eye could follow. Before anyone had time to react, the strikes had found their target.
The beams arced away from Starlord. They weren’t even intended for Bahamut. Instead, the strikes parted and made for the enemies on either side: Skyshade, and Phantom.
The whole of the Wheel of Fortune turned a metallic, dazzling blue.
Everything looked like it was being seen through a film of electric energy. It was coming from Thor, whose body was releasing scores of serpentine lightning bolts. The erratic strikes fell around Phantom, pinning it in place.
Triton, meanwhile, thrust forward with its trident as soon as Coeus was visible. An impossible large reflection of the trident appeared, tearing through the air to obliterate Skyshade’s defenses and run it through.
All three actions happened almost simultaneously, perfectly executed in tandem. Thor and Triton let their enemies have it, giving everything they got a half second after Lan Qing’s intervention. Their foes had no choice but to face the full brunt of their power. Coeus’ beams of light arrived.
The two explosions happened one after the other. The pincer attack was set up without telegraph, to the point where the Knave and Windbreaker only discovered their doom after it was too late.
If one blocks the front, they can’t block the back. Prometheus’ power and planning ended two of their opponents in one fell swoop.
The Knave had sought to employ his exceptional hand speed for defense, and split in to three mirror images. However, Thor never gave him a chance. Without concern for energy conservation, the arcing bolts of electricity were easily able to suppress all three dopplegangers. The Knave had nowhere to go, and no way to dodge.
All he could do before exploding in to a million warped bits of metal, was jam his mecha’s two short swords in to Thor’s shoulders.
A similar scene played out on the other side of the Wheel, where Triton and Skyshade were battling it out. Poseidon’s machine may not have had the sheer power of Thor, but what it lacked in damage potential it more than made up for in battlefield control.
Skyshade protected himself with a shield of compressed air, called to reality when Triton summoned the massive trident. But as the two strikes found their mark, Yu Honghu was surprised and upset to discover that Poseidon’s blow had been gentle, like a lapping wave.
Before he could response, Yu Honghu felt a shockwave shudder through his defenses. Skyshade was temporarily locked solid and unable to move. Coeus moonblade had no trouble slicing clean through the Winbreaker’s shield, and burying itself deep inside Skyshade.
Only seconds had passed. From Cerberus destruction, to Starlord’s retreat, to the death of two more Star Alliance members, the situation on the ground had changed radically.
Now, Bahamut’s breath attack reached Coeus.
Prometheus was left open. His strike against Starlord, and the subsequent coup de grace on the other two, had drained all of his suit’s energy reserves. None remained for defensive maneuvers.
Bahamut let everything he had go in the breath attack. His team was down three men, but removing the strongest Monarch from the occasion would be a game changer. Starlord was still in play, with Starblade ready to go. This wasn’t over.
Booooomm! As Bahamut planned, Coeus went up in flames. Without anything to mitigate it, Bahamut’s attacks were difficult to ward off.
However, as the two-headed dragon opened its maws, a strange cyan gear quietly appeared and affixed itself between the dragon heads. Coeus’ destruction was followed by a blinding release of light, and a blast of energy that blanketing the entire Wheel. Bahamut was so focused on the inevitable kill it didn’t notice the gear. It didn’t notice the dim blue light that suddenly shone out from it. Yu Honghu did notice when his screen went black.
From the beginning of the fight to now, with six mechas destroyed, only about a minute had passed. The action was so fast-paced, so unrelenting that the audience scant had time to breathe.
And at the heart of it all was Prometheus, a man quiet of demeanor but frighteningly strong.
It was he who fought back Starlord and opened up avenues for victory. It was he who facilitated the destruction of Phantom and Skyshade with the help of his two companions. And it was he, under the cover of his own destruction, who took out the demon dragon with him. They managed to take out the great tactician, but the price they paid was three of their own. Now it was two on one. The stage was set for a Monarch victory.