Chapter 128: Monster

As Burnout dove at the figure floating above the city, his armor began to change. The patterns on his armor grew more detailed, the nearly solid flames grew scales, and his wings became so thin they were almost transparent. His helmet grew together, hiding his face completely and forming its own. Its eyes were a cold and glassy solid blue. Its mouth was opened wide, revealing row after row of long curved fangs. There should have been an end to the maw, Burnouts real face was centimeters behind the mask, but the rows of fangs never seemed to end. Fire trailed behind him, leading back to the sky, and reaching down to the point of impact.

Burnout slammed into the unyielding form of Eclipse. Fire erupted from the two of them, like a new sun being born in the empty skies.

The heroes below shook themselves free of Eclipse’s attack. Most had to shield their eyes immediately, but a few were able to watch on as a blue form lanced out of the sun and crashed into the streets below.

The sun faded slowly. One by one, the heroes were able to return their eyes to it and watch it vanish from existence.

Against the blackened sky, it almost looked like the attack had succeeded. But the darkness still pulsed around the figure floating above them. Eclipse had not even moved under the assault.

His finger twitched.

A pillar of white light erupted from the ground a full block away from Eclipse. The sliders had tried to warn everyone they could, but at least half a dozen heroes were caught in the blast, but there were no screams. There wasn’t time. When the light vanished, the thing that emerged couldn’t be called human.

The pale mass of flesh half crawled half rolled down the street. A mecher dove down. He gripped a long barreled gun with both hands and unleashed a beam of fiery plasma at it, but a long segmented appendage whipped out of its back and snapped up to smack to weapon from the mechers hands.

The mecher tried to fly away, but the appendage wrapped around his torso and dragged him into its mass.

Hawthorne and Allspades watched from a street over as it began to move again. Most of the nearby heroes were retreating; those that could were launching attacks at it, but nothing seemed to phase it. There were a few who tried to get close, but more of the whips warded them off or pulled them in.

“Nobody can get close. It needs to be contained so that we can get something heavy on it.” Allspades clenched his firsts and allowed the glow to wrap around him.

Hawthorne’s suit rustled as the vines writhed into a new shape as she backed up to the center of the roof. “I need you to throw me over it. The higher the better.”

She didn’t wait for him to respond before she charged at him full speed. Allspades cupped his hands and the moment her foot hit he heaved her will all his might into the sky.

Broad multicolored leaves sprouted from Hawthorne’s back, catching the air and letting her soar over the mass. She spread her arms wide and miniscule seeds fell on and around it. It ignored the assault and continued to march towards the city enter.

Hawthorne landed on the ground in front of the mass. It slurped towards her, and she could feel it picking up more of her seeds as it rolled along. She just needed it to get a little closer.

It didn’t have the eyes to see her, but she could feel it stretching towards her, to strike her or maybe to pull her in.

Hawthorne slammed both palms into the ground and called out to every seed she could reach. Vines and trees grew up and around the mass, but its rolling weight ripped them from their purchases as it plowed forward. Hawthorne dipped deeper into her power and her plants began to grow faster and thicker.

Something in between a scream and an earthquake erupted from the mass. The seeds on the blob had started to dig into its core. Blood began to ooze, but it was mixed with so much pus and oil that it was clear and barely dark enough to be called pink.

The mass started to wriggle, tearing more of the roots from the ground but also ripping open its flesh as the plants buried inside of it were forcibly torn or broken.

Attacks rained down from the roos above the mass. A lance of plasma pierced through its core, crossing paths with ice spears from across the street. A mecher flew overhead, dropping grenades as he went; no two exploded in quite the same way. A wind manipulator stood on the edge of his roof, gathering more and more wind into the palm of his hands until he held a hurricane above his head. He threw it at the blob; at first, its skin just dented under the ripping winds, but as they pierced through, the mass gave another cry and fell silent.

Hawthorne stared at the husk and called to the plants that weren’t buried too deep inside. The plants around the corpse shriveled until they were small enough to slither on the ground and back into her vest.

Her legs were already feeling weak, and she could feel the reserves of her power getting low already. But the day had barely begun. With the blob’s screams gone, she could hear the sounds of fighting from other parts of the city, and most of them weren’t going as well as hers.

Hawthorne Move!”

She jumped up and onto the roof, just in time to avoid another pillar of light. She wasn’t the only one that had heard Unimportant, and this pillar didn’t hit anyone.

Don’t stop!

The pillar started to grow wider. Hawthorne raced to the other end of the roof. A figure faded into existence in front of her and she grabbed Unimportant’s hand and whipped him onto her back before she kicked up the roof and over the center of the block. Another push sent the two of them over the street and halfway through the next block.

It stopped.”

Hawthorne planted both feet in front of her to keep from pitching over and turned around. The pillar had grown just large enough to absorb the blob, but it hadn’t managed to get any of the heroes.

“What’s it doing?”

it feels different; i think its pulling them apart.

The light vanished, and the corpses of 8 heroes had replaced the blob. The trees still grew straight through them, even piercing the armor of the mecher she had seen devoured, leaving them suspended in the air.

Hawthorne risked a glimpse at the figure in the sky. He was surrounded by every flying hero who could get close enough to launch their attacks. A blue streak darted around him; a lance of fire stretched from Burnout’s hands to Eclipse, but she could clearly see the shadow man through his and every other attac; as if they were being absorbed into him.

“How do you fight something like that?”

Eclipse waved a lazy hand and white and black rifts opened in the sky around him.

i don’t know

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