Chapter 286: Victory!
A dozen silvery dragons of lightning screamed toward Thor. Strangely, though, there appeared to be some invisible force acting upon them. Like water following a riverbed, the writhing electric bolts all flowed toward Thor’s right hand.
One after another, they gently disappeared in to the gathering golden light.
The orb expanded with each passing moment, now an intermingled sphere of silver and gold. Thor thrust his arm out toward Thunderclap.
The resulting release of energy shook the forest, as a beam of light fired outward. The beam itself was thirty meters in diameter, and easily swallowed Thunderclap in its depths. Then the beam went on toward the rest of the Star Alliance, watching nearby.
Deimos and his crew were not prepared for such a dramatic change in circumstance. As the fight neared its conclusion, Lan Jue had also been in contact with his team, outlining his plan. At Prometheus’ command, Coeus, Triton and Cerberus rushed in to the fray directly behind Thor’s beam.
Prometheus lead the charge, and in his wake were spawned several tornados that went spinning after him. They swept around to assail the Star Alliance from several directions.
Hades’ Hellfire Cannon roared like a demon as it’s payload was released. He didn’t need to charge it, he already had his target in his sights – Skyshade.
The Knave’s mecha was lit in red, gold and silver. Thor’s beam was seconds away with him dead center. If the fastest hands in Dreamburg dodged, his only escape put him directly in the path of the Hellfire Cannon’s barrage.
The three Monarchs reacted exceedingly fast in grasping the opportunity. The moment Thor’s strike consumed Thunderclap, their duel was considered over – no one said there needed to be downtime between winning and continuing the fight.
Hades and Prometheus took up position on either side of the lightning god, while Poseidon took to higher skies. Where Triton soared, a wake of metallic blue light followed its trident. Upon reaching the peak of its arc, the glorious three-pronged weapon silently burst in to a bloom of light. The vibrant colors painted the world in blue, and when in the next moment it was restrained there appeared countless halos hovering in the air. They fell over Poseidon and his companions, enveloping them in a shroud of gentle energy.
It was a perfectly executed attack and regroup maneuver. A testament to the excellent synergy of the Monarchs.
The Star Alliance had been caught completely off guard, Deimos included. The Knave saw the attacks coming a fraction of a second late, but his hand speed was fast enough to cover the hesitation. Skyshade split in to two images, each strafing sideways to avoid Thor’s energy beam. But there was still Hades’ Hellfire, and it was right on top of him.
A mecha’s inherent powers were changed when a pilot added their Discipline. It was a fact the Knave understood, however in this critical juncture, his reactions only took in to account the DreamNet Thor he knew, not the one battling him now. His doppelgangers were effective in dodging the first threat, but nothing escaped Hades’ Hellfire. Skyshade was knocked away, encased in flame.
A nearby cyclone was just in time to snatch up the tumbling mecha, as though it had been waiting there for just that purpose. The Knave was spat out right back in to the gold and silver beam.
Boom—! The unfathomable power of the beam claimed another challenger.
Another dramatic encounter was setting up as Prometheus and Windbreaker met on the field.
As suspected, Windbreaker had been chosen specifically as a counter to Prometheus. As Coeus’ cyclones came for him, Windbreaker used his Discipline in attempts to disperse them. That was his power, mastery over air. Between he and his mecha, Prometheus would have a hard time influencing much with his wind Discipline.
However, when their powers collided Windbreaker was confronted with his own naivete. His control over air wasn’t enough to stop this wind, like it had a will all its own. Six whirling tornados converged on Windbreaker’s location, and as he was swallowed in to the buffeting assault, all he could do was focus on not being smashed to pieces in the storm.
Poseidon’s radiating power continued to descend from on high. Like the fathomless ocean, Starlord was drowned in it. Thor then focused its beam at the Star Alliance’s leader.
The moment he became the target, Deimos was in motion. His first reaction was to take an oblique juke up and to the side. As he did, those twinkling stars appeared again upon the mecha. Halos of resplendent light burst in to existence, and merged to create a shield that looked like a microcosm of the galaxy surrounding Starlord.
Still, Poseidon’s Boundless Depths attack was there first. Poseidon’s area-wide emulsion couldn’t break Starlor’s shield, but it did slow him down considerably.
Starblade flared to life, with a myriad of constellations appearing along its make. It split the Boundless Depths like a tree parting a stream. He cut a majestic igure with sword raised high to face the incoming tide. However, this didn’t stop the other three silhouettes who were coming at him from three angles.
Eventually Poseidon’s energies overwhelmed him, and Starlord lost control of its motive functions. Deimos could only watch from his cockpit as Thor’s golden beam filled his screen.
The galactic orb detonated, sending out twinkling detritus as though the Milky Way itself had exploded. In its center blazed an orb of fire so bright, it was like a mother star at the heart of the galaxy. It was stunningly beautiful.
And yet, there were few to appreciate its beauty. For the audience, the more important circumstance was what the fireball meant.
Starlord, the greatest mecha pilot to have ever lived, first under heaven, was beaten back.
Deimos had finally been bested.
It wasn’t just the audience members who were stunned, either. Even the streak-breakers themselves, all four Divine Monarchs, looked on speechlessly as their mighty foe burned.
Still their victory was tainted by Deimos’ announcement of retirement. On the contrary they were sad. They had contributed to the downfall of a public hero.
In addition, they had found it strange and disconcerting that Starlord had employed no Discipline whatsoever in his defense, or in conjunction with his mecha at all. It meant, or might have meant, that this man who had dominated DreamNet for so long was in fact a weak Adept. He relied on other things to get himself the advantage in combat, and that alone catapulted him to the very peak of the mecha pilot world.
Windbreaker was finally relinquished from the cyclone’s grip, but lasted less than a second. This fight was decided.
And yet there was silence. The audience, in fact all of DreamNet was still as the grave. If there were any who doubted Deimos earlier words were a result of his two wins, they changed their mind now. He then went on to announce the addition of disciplines to DreamNet. This said everything. He could have waited to make the two announcements until after the games. He could have preserved his spot at the top of the lists. But he didn’t. Instead he used his own defeat to showcase this new era in simulation. It was a fine display of spirit, and dedication to the cause.