Chapter 9: Xaos
“Run!” Tahkshi yelled as Xaos drew his blade and ran at them. They turned from Xaos and fled, but Xaos was larger than them and easily kept pace.
“Call the other elevator!” Foton yelled to Pandora, who was at the head of the group. Tahkshi was at the back, drawing his pistol again and shooting half-blindly at Xaos, who seemed unfazed by the bullets.
Pandora pushed the button to call the elevator and the doors opened. “Get in!” she screeched, turning to face them. Xaos was running forth now, Tahkshi's bullets seeming to just annoy him as they ricochetted off of him, splintering the cells' walls nearby. He ran and had almost caught up with Tahkshi now, and he swung his sword, which was almost as tall as he was, at Tahkshi wildly, but Tahkshi ducked and the blade shattered one of the low-hanging strip-light.
“Come on, Tahkshi!” yelled Viretta desperately as Tahkshi fired a bullet into Xaos's stomach at close range. Xaos winced and slowed, stumbling back as Tahkshi turned and ran into the elevator, Xaos quickly recovering and taking long, quick strides to catch up, but Tahkshi was inside the elevator now, and the doors were closing, but not fast enough for Tahkshi to like.
“No!” hissed Xaos, his footfalls growing heavier as the doors clanged shut.
Gold let out a held breath. “He won't give up, y'know.”
“I know.” Incarnate said. “which is why the lift is going faster than it should. I messed with the gravity.” Incarnate, Demigod of Gravity, looked slightly proud.
Tahkshi looked out of the window and saw the Gardor below. But, he noticed, there was something...off about them. “Devilclash,” he said, “You've dealt with Gardor before, right?”
“Yeah,” she said as she walked over to the window.
Tahkshi pointed at the Gardor, which were all staring at the elevator. “What are they doing?”
The Gardor were staring at the elevator and smoke was coming from their feet, it seemed.
“Dunno.” Devilclash said. “It's almost like they're trying to enter some sort of flight mode...”
“Oh, crap.” Tahkshi realised as Gardor after Gardor left the ground and darted for the elevator. “Crap crap crap!”
One Gardor flew into the steelica panel on the elevator, cracking it, before falling to the ground.
“What do we do?” Viretta asked.
Tahkshi held his head in his hands. “Incarnate. Make the elevator go at normal speed, but keep those Gardor down”
Incarnate nodded. “OK.” He strode over to the window and the elevator slowed to its normal speed. Incarnate concentrated and raised a hand. The Gardor hung in mid-air as the gravity around them held them in place. He watched as some of them writhed about, but he noticed that some of their arches were glowing. Recognising this from when he watched Pandora take down the Gardor guarding his cell, he clenched his fist, and every single one of the Gardor felt the full power of gravity as it strengthened around them, pushing them inside themselves, crushing them into wrecked balls of scrap. When Incarnate unclenched his fist, the Gardor fell to the ground, their new denser forms smashing dents into the ground.
Tahkshi whistled in appreciation. “Nice.” He exclaimed.
Incarnate smiled his usual nervous, half smile. “Thanks.”
The elevator halted and the doors slid open. Something landed atop the elevator, shattering the steelica above them. They ran once once more, as the sceptre-like figure of Xaos straightened up once more, sword in hand. This time, Tahkshi recognised the sword as the Blade Of Olympus. “Go!” roared Tahkshi.
But as Tahkshi turned to face Xaos, the others also stopped with him. “Didn't you hear me?” Tahkshi yelled, “Go!”
“No.” Viretta defied.
“We fight together.” Foton stated.
Xaos chuckled as he picked shards of steelica from his cape. “You and all of your armies can fight me, Tahkshi, and you still won't win.” Xaos spread his arms aside. “Come on then. Come to die.”
Tahkshi shrugged. “May as well.” He drew the Terran Blade and spun, blade marking his path, until it smashed into Xaos's Blade Of Olympus. Xaos smiled, before twisting his wrist, prising the Blade Of Olympus from the sword-lock and unbalancing Tahkshi, who fell to the side, before Xaos kicked him in the chest and Tahkshi fell back, the reinforced steelica ground creaking against the force.
However, Xaos didn't see Foton run at him, and when he did, Xaos raised the Blade, but Foton ducked under it, turned and elbowed Xaos in the thigh. Xaos cried out, a harsh, brutal sound, before he grabbed Foton by the neck and threw him at the steelica wall. Foton had just enough time to shield himself with his arms before he hit the wall and it shattered behind him.
Pandora's mind powers did not seem to effect Xaos, she noticed. He must have used his own psychic power to create a sort of barrier she realised. Tahkshi was standing in front of Xaos now and he drew a pistol, aimed briefly and shot Xaos in the face.
“Argh!” Xaos grunted in pain, stumbling backwards, free hand clutching his face. “You bastard!” Xaos sheathed the Blade Of Olympus in a pocket within his cape and clapped his hands together.
Tahkshi remembered too late that Xaos was the First Child of Destruction as well as inverse Lord Of All.
The entire corridor exploded into flames and sharp shards of steelica. Tahkshi heard screams behind him and watched Foton be flung back by the force of the explosion. Where Xaos was, was nothing but wreckage. Tahkshi stopped abruptly as the ceiling fell, piles of flaming steelica descending in either hail or huge chunks. He stood, shaking like a thrown knife in a table as he struggled to comprehend it: Xaos had gotten away from them, no doubt, in the commotion. Either that, or he was buried.
Knowing that justice for his crimes against reality was not going to be done today, Tahkshi turned and walked away. He sheathed the Terran Blade, which slid into its under-sized sheath awkwardly. The leather edges of the sheath were fraying badly, which Tahkshi noticed. Behind him, only the steady tinkle of falling steelica was audible. He sighed. Xaos had escaped again. Then again, with the stench of smoke overwhelming his senses, it was quite easy to mistake footsteps for larger shards of falling steelica.
“Tahkshi!” screeched Viretta from in front of him.
Tahkshi turned, all too late drawing the Terran Blade awkwardly, as Xaos hammered the Blade Of Olympus down on him, knocking the blade from his hand and sending him crashing to the ground with more of a bang than before. Tahkshi's head smashed against the ground and he cried out in pain.
Xaos raised his blade, ready to kill Tahkshi, but Gold was faster and sent a blast of golden energy at Xaos, who stumbled back. “Gold...” Xaos hissed.
“Devilclash, Viretta,” Gold ordered, “Pandora and Foton, get Incarnate to the ship.”
“But-” Foton protested, before he was cut off.
“We'll give you a signal when we're done!” Gold yelled, dodging a dark-purple ball of shadow from Xaos.
Gold unsheathed an unspectacular blade. “C'mon then, Xaos.”
Xaos leapt over Tahkshi and, in the process Gold realised that he was way out of his depth. He raised the blade, but knew it was pointless as Xaos stormed down on him.
But then he froze in mid-air as a vine wrapped itself around his waist. “What?” was all Xaos could say, before the vine convulsed and sent him smashing through the ceiling.
Tahkshi stood hunched behind where Xaos was. “Thanks.” Tahkshi grunted, coughing blood.
“No probs.” Gold said, “I owe you a few.”
“I guess.” Tahkshi said good-naturedly. “Now lets get that blade.”
Devilclash helped Incarnate to the ship and the other two helped the extremely wounded Foton inside. “You OK?” asked Devilclash, staring into Incarnate's eyes. Suddenly, his looks dawned upon her. His eyes were full of determination, and his face was, in her opinion, a perfect average of not ugly and not too handsome. His hair, which draped to his shoulders, was also appealing to her.
“I'm fine, thanks.” Incarnate said, smiling a bit more than his usual half-smile, revealing some of his bright, white teeth.
Devilclash also smiled, but she tried to stop herself: she thought it looked foul.
“Don't.” Incarnate said sincerely. “There's no need to hide it.” He took in her figure: even with the armour, her feminine curves were still as visible as ever. The only thing hidden was her face, a piece of true beauty.
Devilclash realised, in that short conversation, that they had a connection. A spark. Even as Hurricane called to Incarnate, he turned to her and smiled again. So...cute. She thought. Am I...in love? She decided she would speak to Viretta later as Incarnate jogged over to Hurricane.
Xaos got up, picking burnt debris from his hood, before he saw Gold and Tahkshi. “You!” Xaos pointed shakily at Tahkshi. “This is your doing!”
“Why don't you just quit, Xaos?” Tahkshi suggested. “Just give us the Blade Of Olympus.”
Xaos gripped the Blade's hilt harder. “That's what you want, isn't it?” He then threw the Blade Of Olympus at Tahkshi, who slid to the side far too late as it sliced through the left side of his stomach and embedded it self in the wall. Tahkshi fell to the ground, bleeding from the side. Gold turned to Tahkshi, then back to Xaos, who was fleeing. Gold ignored Xaos: they had what they wanted and Tahkshi was dying.
“Someone!” Gold called. “Devilclash! Viretta! Someone!” Gold yanked the Blade Of Olympus from the wall, which shattered as he pulled. Gold put it in his belt, as his only sheath was full, before bending down and lifting Tahkshi into his arms. Tahkshi was surprisingly heavy, but, Gold thought, Tahkshi had a lot of compact muscle.
He struggled to the Hangar bay doors, where he called for help again. “Someone!” This time Devilclash turned and saw him, and she ran over to help, her armour quickly covering her hands as she took him into her arms and carried him into the ship: being a plasmatic organism of no fixed shape, meant that she had no fixed strength, within certain bounds. While she wasn't going to be lifting houses any-time soon, she was certainly strong enough to lift Tahkshi easily.
Gold followed her to the ship, cautiously looking behind. Nothing was following, which for some reason just heightened his paranoia. Xaos must be biding his time. He Thought. Devilclash had got inside the ship now, leaving only Gold outside the ship. The front screen seemed fixed up now, Gold noticed, with parts of the steelica walls from the Star itself. He smiled: that's one way to piss off the enemy.
Then the wall next to him exploded, knocking to the ground once more. “Goddammit!” he swore as Xaos appeared in the centre of the explosion, clutching a blade made of what appeared to obsidian: the Shadow Blade.
“Gold...” Xaos murmured, before spotting the Blade Of Olympus in Gold's belt. Xaos made a wild grab at Gold, who scuttled on his back away from Xaos's claws. Xaos screamed in frustration. “You can't fight me forever!” He roared, before slamming a brutal fist into where Gold's head was. Gold saw the fist coming and rolled to the side, before rising to his feet and stumbling out of Xaos's range. “Give me the Blade, Gold!” Xaos roared.
Gold tried to run to the ship, but slipped on steelica shards and was imbalanced, arms flailing wildly. “Dammit!” he muttered as Xaos gained. “Someone!” he yelled. “Help me for gods' sake!”
Which was when the five torpedo tubes on the Watchman II rotated to face Xaos and fired simultaneously. Xaos leapt into the air, landing on the first torpedo, before reaching in and tearing out the detonator, then jumping across to another and doing the same. One exploded before Xaos could get to it, but the final two, he grabbed and, in one fluid spin, threw them at Gold, who was able to dive aside into the ship, but the force of the explosion toppled him and he fell again.
“Get the ramp up!” came a yell from inside the ship. Gold recognised it as Hurricane’s. The ramp slid up, but Xaos was running ever faster and leapt, grabbing onto the edge of the ramp. Gold scrabbled back hurriedly as Xaos tried to pull himself over the closing gap. Gold gulped and realised that everyone's lives were in his hands now. He drew the Blade Of Olympus and swung it.
Xaos's eyes widened beneath the hood of his cape as he realised what Gold was doing. “Don't you dare!” He roared. Gold shrugged and swung the blade into Xaos's fingers, slicing the tips off. Xaos did not bleed, merely curse at Gold as he finally let go as the ramp slid closed.
“Go!” yelled Gold. The ship took off with an almighty roar and Gold watched as Xaos hit the ground and his fingertips began to grow back. Xaos then became smaller as the ship moved slowly away at first, but as Xaos became nothing more than an insect, the ship entered open space once more.
They had escaped the Star and they had what they came for: the Blade Of Olympus and Incarnate. Gold laid back and sighed in great relief that, at last, the nightmare of Xaos was over.