Chapter 84: The Asura Blade-Maiden
“Fine,” Xiuxiu responded coolly. “I hadn’t thought the boss’ actions would bring you lot. It’s good, really – it make things more interesting.”
Uriel tilted his head, and looked at her with a hint of curiosity in his dark eyes. “And you aren’t the least bit afraid?”
Xiuxiu shot him an impish grin. “Why should I be afraid? Do you honestly think you and your people can defeat my boss?”
Uriel’s laugh was deep, and sinister. “It appears you aren’t interested in standing idly by. But I’d advise you against taking any reckless actions. As far as I can recall, the Amazons were Talents ranging from eight-level, to ninth-level first-rank. Simply put, that isn’t enough to stop us.”
Xiuxiu looked at him earnestly. “Data, words on a paper. How can you really know unless you find out for yourself? Am I right?”
Her dark eyes shone like lacquer. A flash – but not black, white like a terrible heat. It was quickly followed by a sudden and violent burst of power, and a curtain of light erupting from behind her.
It coalesced in to a shimmering white sword, and a thunderous sound like tearing filled the air as it solidified. Uriel felt himself stiffen in response, and from his wings there emitted a gentle golden glow which shielded him from the worst of the ensuing blast.
“Impressive – worthy of being called Zeus’ right-hand. Quite the powerful aura! I’m going to assume your Discipline lies in the domain of piercing. It’s a rare thing to find someone who’s cultivate this sort of power to the eighth level.” As casual as when he first appeared, Uriel lazily motioned with a finger. Tendrils of golden light, thin as spider silk, slowly slithered from his body. They had no rhyme or reason, nor did they stretch towards Xiuxiu. Instead they blossomed like groping fingers, like threads of fishing net.
The undulating blade on Xiuxiu’s back slowly manifested itself, growing until it stretched a meter and a half in length. Decorative designs etched themselves upon the blade, and a crimson fuller [1. The indented part in the center of the blade that – contrary to their secondary name ‘blood gutters’ - is actually to make the sword lighter, not promote the flow of blood.] stretched down to the impossibly sharp tip.
The light emanating from Xiuxiu’s eyes shone brighter, yet her form began to grow hazy and indistinct. She faded until, surprisingly, the blade swallowed her in to itself.
The great blade shuddered, and swelled a hundred-fold [2. A five hundred foot sword is ludicrous, but that’s the translation, so that’s what ya got]. Now an enormous, blazing sword of light, it carved a deadly path towards the net of golden tendrils.
The grating sounds of impact arose as blade met spindles. A great tear appeared in the net, and with a sharpness that threatened to tear reality at the seams, it continued it’s dangerous arc directly towards Uriel.
“”Ninth-level, then?” Uriel looked at the dancing blade in mild surprise. According to his research, the Blade-Maiden should have been the weakest of Zeus’ Amazons – no higher than eighth-rank. Simply following at Zeus’ side had apparently caused her to increase in strength and ability.
As he watched, he realized also that it wasn’t just the data that had been wrong. In these last few years, the Blade-Maiden had crossed an Adepts most important threshold, advancing from eighth, to ninth level. Moreover, it almost seemed as though she were holding back.
Lost in his thoughts and under assault from the living blade, he hardly noticed when Zeus-1 shuddered in to motion. Without any indication of the engines spooling, the ship immediately began to rotate. It was quick, small, only fifteen degrees or so – but it was enough to catch Uriel off guard.
Not far away, the deafening roar of engines arose. As the air whipped violently around them, the sensation of compression from the engines sputtering to life was nearly crushing. Uriel’s threats had not been empty, for now four great battleships were rumbling to life. Slowly each began to rise in to the air. High overhead, only partly visible through the clouds were revealed several more enormous figures. A classic dragnet.
The great blade paused for but a moment in midair, but only long enough for it’s edge to adopt a golden glow. It struck anew at the embattled angel.
In the face of the great blade, even Uriel had no choice but to retreat. A radiating white light arose to shield him.
Sword never met shield, but the guard pulsed with power regardless. Uriel had grown angry, and with a growl his great wings unfurled, launching him above the Blade-Maiden. His figured dipped, aiming a vicious punch towards the living weapon.
Boom! Zeus-1 moved anew, this time it’s five massive engines firing all at once. In a space of time that should have been impossible, the engines roared to full power, and the thin white light of it’s shields buzzed over the ship’s length.
But the ship didn’t lift off as expected. The roaring engines this close to ground screamed like banshees as the ship lurched backward.
Zeus-1 had maneuvered back, slamming directly in to a building situated behind it as weapon blasts from the battleships overhead rained down. The resulting impact razed the obstacle and left the ship with a clear path of escape. By virtue of it’s speed and shields it was able to complete the motion. Almost instantly the ship launched up a thousand meters, then rose abruptly towards the skies.
Crack! Countless streams of white light shot forth from Uriel’s extended fist, followed by a dizzying hum.
Xiuxiu had appeared again in the air between them, the great blade situated at her side. Streaks of blood covered her nose and mouth, but her battered face still looks delighted. Finally realization dawned on Uriel’s face.
“There was another on board.” Uriel’s face was dark with rage. In his time as Cherubim, never had he been so deceived. He found it difficult to keep his emotions hidden.
Xiuxiu only laughed. “You think I’d tell you?”
Uriel opened his fist and reached out to grab Xiuxiu. Once more numerous threads extended in to a web, enveloping the Blade-Maiden in their depths.
Xiuxiu grunted, reaching up to pull a necklace from around her throat.
It was a thin thing, unadorned and not visibly special in any way. The pendant, however, drew the eye. It was a small golden sword, that shimmered with it’s own internal light.
She held the pendant gently between her fingers and, her eyes growing soft, she called forth: “Asura!”
A piercing golden light flared from the small sword. As it receded, an inky void appeared before Xiuxiu, and from it’s depths arose an colossal figure.
White, with two seven meter blades affixed to it’s back. A massive mecha, which when it arrived blinded the eyes with scores of dazzling prismatic rays. Uriel’s net shattered harmlessly under the strain.
From the mecha’s chest a light shot forth to embrace Xiuxiu. As the light dissolved, so did the Blade-Maiden. What remained was the mecha. It’s eyes shone as it came to life.
Asura stretched thirteen meters – not tall by ordinary mecha standards. However a nearly indescribable, palpable sense of dread accompanied it’s arrival. Scores of tiny black fissures appeared in the air around it, growing larger and more numerous as the mecha’s power flooded the surroundings.
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