Termination 21.Z (Interlude: Break)
Break looked over the battlefield, knowing this fight was lost, but, in a weird way, that made him feel better. He wasn't trying to win. He wasn't trying to figure out the Endbringer, who still hadn't shown the fuck up. He wasn't doing anything other than fucking shit up, and if there was one thing Break was good at, it was fucking shit up.
Teleporting over the Northwestern quarter of the city, several groups of Endbringer Spawn, of Legionnaires, were charging towards the central camp, where thousands more were deploying, groups of equal size passing through the bubble shield around it to meet up with the groups coming from the portals that ringed the city, all of them having moved closer after two of them had met.
Each group had a Centurion now, managing them, some kind of Master effect empowering the Legionnaires under their command, their eyes glowing a warning yellow instead of a soft white. If he was still trying to stop this, it wasn't fair that not only were they closer to the main camp, but they were moving faster, but Endbringer fights were never supposed to be fight, just survivable if you weren't really dumb, or really unlucky.
Unfortunately, Break was both, but he had enough powers to compensate.
Flying down, as fast as he could, towards the nearest group, the defenders in this quarter of the city a disorganized mess, he called out to his power, Area attack, high damage, from below, quick activating. His Shard, searching from the thousands of powers he had, brought up something, one he'd have to get close to use, but that worked for him.
The phalanx of a hundred minions spotted him, and, not stopping their sprint down the city streets, lifted shields to protect themselves, as well as green spears, which started to glow, before spitting out a hail of bolts, fast as arrows instead of the fastballs they used to be, and with enough power to pierce steel.
But, know that he had their measure, he could deal.
Spammable projectiles, Break requested, as he charged in, a Thinker power he didn't ask for flickering to life, not slowing time, but coating his thoughts so the movements around him just made sense and he slipped through the barrage like a buttered boar through a cowboy conventions, throwing his own attacks down as arrows made of glass appeared in the air around him, shooting downwards.
The Legionnaires' shields blocked them all, the energy their defenses glowed with spreading a bit to make sure there were no cracks, but he didn't want his shots to hit, he wanted their attention.
The Centurion was slightly taller, hunched a little under the shields of the others, sword ready, but it didn't attack, obviously waiting until Break broke through their shields, to counter him.
Counter this, the man thought, getting in range, breaking his charge to slip and slide across the air, the spear-shots getting harder to dodge, but, with a wave of his hand, he set off the other power, pillars of light blasting upwards from under the Legionnaires' feet, killing most, sending others sprawling, as Break turned, calling out for a shield power and flashing a wall of fire into existence as the Centurion, who'd dodge the mass attack, slashed out, a crescent of energy closing the distance between them in a second.
It hit the wall, which couldn't stop it, breaking apart after a second, but that extra second was the time Break needed to dodge, mass-firing arrows once again as he darted forward, riding the hailstorm of fire into their ranks and closing on the Centurion, Break's hands crackling with the same power he'd used to kill the last one.
It was fast, and good, and twisted about, sinking its glowing sword into Break's chest, impaling his heart even as the man shoved his fingers into the Endbringer Spawn's helmet's eye holes. The same windchime sound rang out, and the creatures flesh cubed, killing it, its death healing Break as the man ripped the blade from his chest, and turned on the other Legionnaires, who'd stumbled, eyes shifting back to white, moving slower as they tried to hit him, but he could block their shots easily now, his glass arrows ripping into their weakened red flesh with ease, even as he asked his Shard, sword enhancing power?
Something clicked into place, and the green crystal blade he was holding caught fire, burning with neon blue flames. Following his instincts, Break swung, feeling something connect to the sword itself, and released a crescent of energy himself, one that cut through the Legionnaires like a hot spoon through ice cream, only the ones that'd gotten their shields in place surviving, and a few of them were missing limbs.
Then, their eyes all flared yellow again, and they sped up, his glass arrows only doing slight damage, but the pillar power had recharged, and he unleashed it again. There was a glow beneath their feet, which some now recognized and dodged, but another dozen died, less than twice that still surviving, and, charging into them with his flaming sword, Break made quick work of them.
Taking to the air, teleporting his sword back home, looking at the portal they'd come from, the man grimaced, confirming his suspicions, as another Centurion had emerged from it, and was already gathering forces to try again. Looking at the other five pairs of phalanxes charging through his quarter, five were being handled by others, one group was trying to hold another one off and losing, while the other four were charging forward, or backward, without a problem.
Artillery shot power, aiming Power, Break requested, flying towards one of the two groups of Legionnaires that was winning their fight, feeling the second one he wanted click into place, one that'd let him set a point for things to home in on, but it required him to be close to it first, so he tossed it, asking again, long distance aiming power.
It took a few seconds, but his Shard provided, the aiming power needing him to 'ride' the projectile, which meant he could only do it once before he got busy, and the artillery power. . . Was the same power he'd used earlier, one that sent a compressed, meandering explosion at his foe, and which moved at ten miles an hour.
Power to make the artillery power go faster? Break questioned, asking for powers that worked with other powers always a hit-or-miss thing, because unless the guy, or girl, that had it originally knew they could have that kind of synergy, their Shard wouldn't know, so his couldn't copy its homework.
Thankfully, this time he got one, a Shaker power that let him make acceleration tunnels, kind of, but, sure.
Stopping, he opened the first tunnel, putting his mind in the firefly-looking bomb, taking direct control of it, then, directing it, he pushed the explosive through, the power blasting forward like a tiny comet, fighting his control as he tried to make the stupid thing fly straight, mostly succeeding, as it slammed into the enemy Legionnaire formation and blew up, wiping out everyone but the Centurion, who slashed back in his direction, the attack hitting the tunnel and then blurring forward, Break barely dodging the hypersonic slash as it flew past him, up into the sky.
Closing the tunnel, the defenders swarming the asshole, and with a success strategy, Break turned to the next, group, opening up another tunnel, this time towards a free-moving group, the last losing group too close in for this to work without killing them too, and firing another bomb.
It streaked forward towards the running group, who, at the last second, stopped and hunkered down.
The blast went off, but before the smoke even cleared a hail of bolts were sent back his way, Break already moving out of the way, so the accelerated shots missing him as he closed the tunnel as fast as he could, spotting the phalanx charging through the smoke, unharmed.
Stupid learning assholes, Break thought, moving, asking his Shard, power that lets me throw physical shit at them, shit the power makes. Something clicked a second later, and Break opened another tunnel, pulling on the power as hard as he could, and making, giant dice?
Yep, metal giant dice, covered with symbols, which he threw into the tunnel, by hand, but he was rocking super strength, so he was fine with that.
The dice sped up, going so fast they set off sonic booms, and hit, hard, sending the Legionnaires flying, killing a several dozen in an instant.
And then the dice hit the ground.
The entire battlefield exploded into lightning when the first landed, then the second landed on a different face and, for a second, a micro-black hole seemed to blink into being, dragging the soldiers back, the third landing on the same symbol as the first, setting off another electric blast, killing most of the others. Flying forward, the tunnel he'd made was Manton Limited, so he couldn't accelerate himself, but, getting there, the Centurion was struggling to its feet, well, foot.
It was missing a foot, and an arm, and really everything on its left side, but it had its sword, which it tried to slash, but Break blocked that with another fire shield and set off a light pillar under it, killing the ES, catching its flying sword and sending it home too.
Rising back up, Break sighted down on the group that'd been rushing to meet the first, copying the same attack with the Dice, which. . . worked? Again. The Legionnaires tried to block, but physics was an unyielding bitch, and they just weren't strong enough to stop it, their shots too slow to do more than slightly knock it off course, but that just meant the lead one hit the edge of their formation instead of the center, while the other two hit dead on. This time, the first die made a tornado, the second one set it on fire, and the third was another blast of lightning.
Trying it a third time. . . it worked there too! Setting off a mini-black hole, which was nasty at point blank range, then everything was frozen in ice, stopping them cold, then the ice was swept into a tornado, breaking apart and smashing them together, killing all of them, even the Centurion.
Wait, Break thought, can I just trap 'em?
Flying to the last free group, he asked for powers that'd let him trap super-strong opponents, his power clicking, and he needed to get close, but it might work. Once again, dodging fire, when he set off the pillars of light, which they tried to block, or dodge, but they couldn't do that and block his attack, as black mist poured from his mouth, and he was glad his helmet had already broke several fights ago so he didn't have to take it off.
The Legionnaires tried to block it, but it swirled around them, sticking to them like tar, and while they shot at him, the mist stuck to their attacks as well, slowing them down as the bolts of energy spent themselves trying to burn through it, making them easy to dodge. It took a solid minute, but then they were covered, completely, stopped dead.
Fuck yeah! Break thought, flying up, seeing the matching group from the central camp on their way. Gotta get them too, he thought, jetting over to them. If they met up with the trapped group, they'd probably open a closer portal, but they could be stopped too. Getting close, Break was getting used to how they fought, and did the same thing, trapping that group as well, using pillars of light to break them up, then the black mist to trap them.
Flying high, more Legionnaires were coming out from both directions, but only a few, matching the numbers he'd killed with his pillars, and neither of them with Centurions, though, squinting, Break could see they still had yellow eyes, so the trapped leader was still empowering them.
Heading back in the first direction, Break came in physically, slamming into their raised shields with his fist, his copied Vampirism having gone long enough uninterrupted that it was boosting his already high physical stats. As they started to use their spears to counter, Break felt his Shard stir and Enter, his Stand, manifested, transforming into a drake and leaping amongst them, taking the hits, scattering the Legionnaires without killing them, the black mist covering them completely.
Raising a fist, Enter shifted back to human, or human-ish, and bumped it, the Stand vanishing as Break darted to the remnants of the second group. Enter popped back into existence, turning into a dragon and swooping down, its injuries healed since it'd gone away, and caught the Spawns' attention as Break covered them with black mist as well, completely covering them.
Alright, one group down, like, twenty-four to go, Break thought, before a horn blared, and, with a crack like a gunshot, one of the Legionnaires broke free of its cage, then another, one covered spear seeming to explode, sending shrapnel everywhere, as the Endbringer Spawn forced their way out, like the shittiest butterflies in existence.
Ones with glowing blue eyes.
"Oh, Fu-" Break started to swear, before Enter slammed into him, sending him up and away, as a barrage of bolts, fast as gunshots, slammed into the Stand, which was where the man had been a moment ago, and it was blasted apart, each bolt now hitting like a rocket.
A teleport power took Break high, and, yeah, the portals had all moved closer, again, the largest group he could see over in the southwestern quadrant, near Alexandria, but not the one her group was fighting.
Well, Shit, the man thought, but flew back down at the freed Legionnaires, who'd gathered and were moving as fast as fucking cars, and, when he shot a firefly-bomb down at them, they shifted to block it in an instant, coming out unscathed, but right in the way Break had thought they would.
Gravity pull power. Illusion power. Slashing power, he'd requested, and set them off, the first taking the group of thirty off their feet, flying forward, but they just twisted around as they flew at the him before them, keeping their spears downward, firing at what they thought was him without stopping, not realizing he was still above, and behind, them ready to take advantage of whatever they did.
Shapeshifting into his half-dragon form, he didn't bother with the wings, and slashed out, claws enhanced by the slashing power, and, trying it, the sword enhancing power too, tearing into them, but even then, it was like trying to carve steel.
He could, but that wasn't a good sign.
They died, but they were mooks, and lifting up, he could see everyone else was either getting slaughtered, or running, and the entire situation was going to shit. Calling up his Telepathy power, he knew he'd probably catch crap from Cauldron for this later, but fuck it.
~EVERYONE, RUN! THIS FIGHT'S LOST, AND THE ONLY THING LEFT HERE FOR YOU IS DEATH!~
Turning on his comms, he called, "Vejovis, everyone out?"
"Almost," the projection replied. "But they're ignoring us. We're not in their path, though if they succeed at whatever they're doing that probably won't last. What're you doing?"
That. . . was a good question. "I'm seein' how crazy this shit gets," he answered, already on his way for another group of Legionnaires that were running to catch up to the moved-up portal, which already had more Legionnaires coming out of it. "If anyone can survive it, well, it's 'You', but then it's me. Goldenrod doin' anything?"
"Still searching. We're gonna grab a Praetorian and leave," the power-created representation of his friend announced. "Stay safe."
"Will do," Break replied, closing the line, wanting to ask what a Praetorian was, but he could see it.
If the Legionnaires were all six feet tall, and the Centurions seven, this thing was closer to ten, covered head to toe in armor, its helmet crowned with a crystal mohawk, and it was carrying a Glaive. five feet of handle, then another three of blade, with a flag where the two met, almost shimmering with power. The fact that it was flanked by two Centurions didn't help either.
Well, Break, lets see what they can do, he thought, pulling up the 'meteor-strike' power from before, growing armor as he tried to drop down, knowing if he used a Glimpse he'd lose his momentum, and he couldn't afford that anymore.
Coming down, the attacks were fast, they were accurate, and they were strong, actually slowing his living artillery self down before he kicked his flight powers into high gear, pushing himself forward, unable to see, but calling down exploding ice, glass arrows, and everything he'd used before to carve a path through the incoming fire, heading straight for the middle of the group.
Using other powers, he saw the Praetorian step forward, waving his glaive, a shield springing up over the group, but it broke under Break's assault, though the Villain took even more fire as he did so, the drop-power barely able to replace the material that was blasted away, even as the man queried his power for an intangibility power, which it gave him, though it'd render him blind, even light passing through him.
He was all set to hit, exploding like a living morter when the Praetorian stepped up, swinging the glaive, which gleamed with energy, as it cut through Break's shell like it wasn't there, the fucking thing a lightsaber as it sliced Break in half, the shell exploding outward in shrapnel, but barely doing any damage to the Legionnaires, and putting him right in the middle of the group.
They all attacked, spears thrusting with blinding speed, bolts blasting, but Break pulled on the Dice, dropping six the size of cars around him, before slamming on the intangibility, the world going black.
Whatever happened, it killed something, as everything missing from the waist down grew back in an instant, Vampirism at work. Break dropped back into reality in time to see the glaive as it came for him again in an instant, taking off an arm, but Break lashed out with the blasting set he'd played back in his first attack, setting it off around him, tanking the damage and killing more Legionnaires to heal himself as he stepped forward, using brute force to slam a fist into a Centurion's helmet.
It was stronger than it was before too, but the crystal still shattered, and, touching its flesh, it cubed with the sound of windchimes that rang unnatural over the raging chaos of the battlefield, as Break grabbed the sword it dropped, enhancing it with the same power he had before, and the slashing one he'd used on his claws, catching the Praetorian's blade with his own, the blades holding up against each other, as Break slashed with a clawed hand that was blocked by the other Centurian's blade, so Break set off another firefly bomb, point blank, popping out of existence for a moment, and moving, jumping back in with his foot in some rubble, which fused with the rock, so he ripped it free, the healing from more dying Legionnaires regrowing it as the Praetorian twisted, jabbing its glowing glaive at Break, a stream of energy shooting out of it like a river of destruction.
Break sidestepped it, but the Praetorian turned his weapon, directing the stream, cutting through the buildings around them, focused on him and not the glow beneath its feat that exploded upwards in a pillar of light, which didn't seem to hurt it, but it did throw it into the air, fucking up its aim.
Beam annihilation power, came up with nothing, but asking his Shard for depowering projectiles did, purple ghost arrows shooting upwards, slamming into the Praetorian, not seeming to do anything other than leave glowing spots, but, the next power, fitting the prompt of stream of go fuck yourself, roared into being, literally, as long, snakelike dragons of blue flame emerged from his hands, slamming into the Praetorian, a dozen thin streams of fire shooting through its back as his armor broke, the ghost arrows having worked all the way through it, before, twisting the dragons, they poured themselves into the shaped armor, making the fucker explode.
Grab that, Break directed, the Praetorian's glaive, the flag having burned away, changing direction as it flew through the air, coming to his hand.
Taking to the sky again, Break knew there was no way the few groups too stupid to stay would stop the others, himself included, as phalanxes made of 200 Legionnaires ran up buildings, marching in a straight line, and, with a sight-enhancing power, Break could see the toe-prints they'd left in the masonry to do so.
Yeah. . . this is an Endbringer Fight, he couldn't help but think, having started off more like a throwdown with a larger villain group like the Fallen or the CUI. Still keeping himself in the fight, Break asked his power for every nuke-level projectile it could give him, which got him nothing, but, dropping his request to ICBM, levels it started to hand them to him, most of them requiring some kind of charging, which he started to do, waiting.
Just like Scion is, Break thought, glancing upwards, the Warrior's avatar not having moved, other than to glance about, clearly waiting for Lee to show up, and frustrated that he hadn't.
Able to watch, Break noticed that there weren't anymore groups coming from the central camp, which had over ten thousand troops stationed, all of them clearly waiting as well, which didn't exactly fill the Villain with fuzzy feelings, but that meant that it took a bit longer for the Legionnaires to make the trip to the center. The portals didn't move, though, as phalanxes positioned themselves around the outside, the Praetorians commanding each one planting their glaives in the ground, butt firsts, against the outer edge of the main bubble shield.
Do they all have to get there? Break wondered, as that would mean, as long as they could hold off one group, that was doable, but. . . no. The glaives were thinning the bubble, the colors of it fading in patterns flowing up from where they touched, but even when Alexandria came down and plowed through one group, tearing the glaive away, the effects from the others kept moving outward, and spread across areas where other groups would've met up.
A single one getting to the center would be enough, eventually, the ones closer together spreading it out more, and faster, a Thinker power letting him understand that letting one through wasn't game over, but they all had to be held off, which was just impossible at this point.
With a crackle in his ear, he heard 'Vejovis' state, "We're out!" and Break sighed a little, glad it was just him now.
Him and the other idiots.
Less than a minute later, the sound of ringing steel echoed out and the bubble covering the central army shattered. From the main portal a figure strode out, easily twenty feet tall, covered head to toe in intricately carved seafoam green crystal armor, Break couldn't tell if it was wearing lifelike armor or if its skin was its armor, its face impassive, with short cropped green crystal hair topped with a crystal crown of leaves, as the eyes of every single Legionnaire shifted from a bright blue to a shining black.
Letting every power Break had been charging go, glowing bolts of energy, shards, winged unicorns, lightning birds, and more arced down into the masses, detonations, warps, and more stacking up on top of each other, forming a cascading detonation that he had to strain his flight powers to keep from being blown away from, levelling the center of the city, as an enormous mushroom cloud started to rise, was sucked down, turned into a tornado of bright yellow energy, was shot through with blood red lightning, then detonated, again, but bigger.
Then, from the cloud, what at first seemed like debris shot out, but they were spherical, and glowed seafoam green.
Then they started firing.
There was no aiming, only fire laid down in every direction, as Break reached out for any precog or Thinker power he could get, starting to move, each one clicking in place, one after another, as he pushed his flight powers to their max, the air filling with death, even as Break started throwing everything he could, at them, but everything he could use just slid off the projectiles, and it took a moment to realize what they were.
They were phalanxes.
The Legionnaires had used their superstrength to pull themselves into balls, hooked together somehow, using that strength to jump into the air, unable to see, but firing indiscriminately in every direction because fuck everything else.
Throwing more giant metal dice, that didn't work, as, even accelerated, the Legionnaires were strong enough now to hold together, and the dice didn't go off until they hit the ground, which these Phalanx-Balls were keeping off of as much as they could.
It was only when Alexandria slammed into one, breaking it apart, that Break got a look inside, four Centurions inside holding it together, with two Praetorians in the center doing something.
Then, as the invincible woman plowed her way through, the Legionnaires let go of each other, moving as one, turning and blasting the woman, while the Centurions stabbed her, to no effect, Alexandria's defenses letting her ignore them.
The Praetorians, however, had better luck.
Both twisted, eyes radiating blackness, swinging their shining glaives, and, in a single motion, cut off both her arms, their follow-up super-speed slashes to her back barely missing the woman as she flew away, but she was unsteady, getting blasted by the other Phalanx-Balls, as several hit the ground and instantly shifted direction, coming for her, opening up as they closed in like crystal flowers of death, Praetorians at the center, glaives cocked, ready to finish the job.
But Break was there, sending off another volley of attacks, some blasting away the now-vulnerable formations, other attacks of his sent back at the main camp where more Legionnaires were surely charging through the main portal. Break called upon Tempest's weather control powers, creating tornadoes all around the battlefield, setting off a superstorm large enough to destroy the city to cover his back.
Grabbing Alexandria, she struggled, but he had her power, and then some, her invincibility fucking up his Vampirism to keep him from getting stronger since it time locked you, but he was already on his way out.
Securing her under one arm, his captured Glaive in his other, and with a moment to spare, Break swept gale force winds down to clear the clouds of debris and get a good look and what kind of damage he'd done.
The 'camp' was gone, blasted down, the ground collapsed, but the big guy, the Caesar, was there, armored skin cracked but slowly healing, as it stood up, then pointed directly at him, ghostly ballistas springing into being and firing bolts in his direction that closed the mile between them in a few seconds.
Break hurled Alexandria upwards, along with his glaive, throwing his hands out to fire off everything he had, he didn't care what, a mass of something roaring out, but the bolts pierced them all, a couple knocked off course, but three struck him, and detonated.
And he was blasted to bits.
And then he wasn't.
He didn't know if it was another copied power, or Vampirism from destroying more Legionnaires, or what, but he knew that attack had killed him, completely, but he'd survived, and, looking back at the Caesar, it frowned, dropping one hand, which was now missing a finger, though it was slowly growing back, and lifted the other, pointing at him once again.
Break might be stupid, but he wasn't dumb, and was already in motion, flying upwards, catching the unconscious Alexandria, and his glaive, and, as more empowered ballista bolts came screaming in, he did what he should've done when the big guy first showed up. What they all should've done when the Praetorians showed up, and definitely should've done when those assholes had made it to the main camp and started taking down the barrier.
He fucking left.
AN: Herb (the real one), is currently in the hospital, having life-threatening medical issues, and, almost two weeks later, is still under heavy sedation. As such, I've been having a bit of a harder time hitting my normal posting goals (hence why this one's two days late, and the last SWPP didn't get posted), but I'll try and get back on top of things. Just a heads up, as I will finish AB, come hell or high-water, I might just take a bit longer to do so then I originally planned.