There were more mercenaries patrolling the hallways now.
“Judging by every videogame I’ve ever played, this is the right direction.”
A wave of agreement brushed across Burnout’s skin. Unimportant had started opening doors for him to duck into whenever he needed to hide. The patrols had started checking the rooms less thoroughly, but he’d had to be clever with his hiding spots more than once.
How many mercenaries were there? He’d seen Adamant take out at least a hundred just a few hours earlier. Even if they’d had twice that many on the streets, how did Trump get so many of them on the zeppelin?
Burnout passed the open door before he saw it. By the time he slid to a stop and ran inside, the shadows of the mercenaries were already edging their way around the curved hallway.
The room was mostly empty; the only place to hide was behind a freestanding counter in the center, packed with machines he didn’t have time to identify. He dove behind it. If the mercenaries decided to do anything more than glance in the room, he would be found.
The footsteps were almost at the door. It was tempting to hold his breath, but anyone who could hear him breathing wouldn’t need that to find him.
The footsteps stopped, and the sound of them entering the tiled room rom the hallway clacked into his ears. Something slammed into the ground a few rooms away. The sound of feet scrambling on the tile was brief and the mercenaries were gone.
Burnout waited until he couldn’t hear them on the carpet anymore.
Unimportant’s presence flickered in his mind. Burnout stood and brushed the dust off of his costume.
“We aren’t going to get there in time are we?”
“probably not” Unimportant’s voice echoed. He faded into partial existence a few feet in front of Burnout. “the patrols are happening more frequently…it is likely you will be unable to move without notice soon”
“What are my chances if I just fly past them?”
“you would attract the patrols…if you found trump or the ambrosia…you would be facing an army…and i would likely be left unable to help you”
He was right. Anything Burnout did to move faster would just paint a glowing target on him.
Flames started to lick the bottom of Burnout’s feet.
“what are you doing”
“Do me a favor. If you can’t find a way to lock that stuff up, throw it down a drain or something.”
Unimportant didn’t get a chance to answer. Burnout flared the flames at his legs and took off down the hallway.
It was a matter of minutes before the first patrol spotted him, but they barely had time to be surprise before he shot past. He couldn’t hear them shouting into their communicators over the rush of the wind and the roars of his flames, but he could only hope that they were letting everyone know where he was.
The next group of guards had already pulled out their guns, but Burnout wasn’t interested in a fight. He let his flames wash over himself. They grew larger and hotter and soon he was nothing more than a ball of blue-white fire flying through the halls of the zeppelin. The sound of their guns managed to pierce through the wall of flames, but the bullets melted before they reached him. The liquid metal cooled quickly after it reached his skin and fell off in pellets.
He couldn’t pull out his phone to check the map, but he knew the hallway had to end eventually, and he remembered a path that branched off and led to a large room near the back of the ship. Hopefully, there would be enough room to keep the mercenaries focused on him.
There was a hallway coming up, he hoped it was the right one.
He couldn’t turn at this speed. Burnout flipped and shot the flames from his feet as strong as he could without turning the hallway into the oven. He slowed quickly, but that was the easy part. A new jet of flames shot from his hand, twisting him until his feet were skidding on the wall. Burnout shoved off the wall, feeling the metal warp under the heat, and blasted down the corridor. The flames form his feet weren’t strong enough to stop the turn, and when he tried to compensate, he was thrown into a spiral.
He corkscrewed down the hallway, but he managed to stay in the air.
Before he was up to speed, he managed to hear shouts and stampeding footsteps coming after him. Hopefully, it was enough of them to put a dent in the patrols.
He found the room from the map. It was the hangar. It was mostly filled with helicopters, but a few spots had craft that looked like they belonged in a video game.
Burnout came to a stop and hovered in the center of the room. He only had a few minutes.
Burnout remade the shell of flames that had melted the bullets before. He wasn’t sure how long he could keep the mercenaries here. Adamant hadn’t been entirely right when he said that Burnout didn’t have a way to take normal enemies out of the fight. He’d spent the equivalent of weeks stuck in his own head with a dead dragon teaching him how to use his fire. In his head, the fire had been solid, and Azor claimed he could do that in the real world too. He’d just never gotten it to work without a few hours to concentrate on it.
“Okay, I’ve spent the last year and a half of my life throwing around dragon fire. Time to figure out what I can do with it.”
Burnout closed his eyes and held his hands out in front of him. Making fire solid was about a lot more than concentrating the flames; that was the first thing he tried and it just made them hotter. He had to change the property of the fire. The parts of him that understood the science behind fire cringed at the idea, but the part that had talked to a dragon inside his own head was a bit louder.
He felt the heat shield contract closer to his body. He could still only work with solid fire if it touched him, and if he did it right then he needed to be able to see more than the heat shield would let him.
The effort was getting to him. He could feel sweat starting to bead on the back of his neck. The armor formed around him slowly. He couldn’t see what it looked like, but with any luck it would look at least a little intimidating.
Next was the hard part. Burnout brought his hands together. The fire extended up between them, slowly tapering off to a point. It was almost twice as tall as him, but in his hands it was feather light.
Burnout flourished his sword in his left hand looked down. The mercenaries had entered the room, but their guns had dropped. He slowly allowed himself to drop to the ground.
Fire erupted from his back and he shot forward. He brought his sword high and swung it wide. Four mercenaries were struck by its blade and rocketed towards the wall.
Some of them managed to shoot, but the bullets either melted or bounce off of his armor.
“This will work.”