Part 36 - Death and Rebirth, Part 1Mature

The iron tomb began to corrode around Unit 03's reaching hand.

A wise kilometer distant, The Maledict took a step back. He did not understand what was happening. He did not understand that with the armor dismantled there were no restraints left, no activation restrictions, and no human conscience.

The iron tomb, through some obcene manner of witchcraft beyond his energy manipulation, became a haze of rust and metal vapor that took flight with a stirring breeze. The third demon emerged from it, and The Maledict observed it keenly.

For a moment it remained where it stood, blood and saliva seeping through the broken helmet seals, breath hitching in the regenerating lungs. In its first attempt at walking, it fell to its knees, hands thrown to head, limbs seized by an epileptic tremor. So terrible was the mental anguish that fingertips drew through the steel helmet as if it were made of clay. Cracks split the mirrored visor, and revealed a moment's glimpse of a mad eye behind a savage clawing hand.

Then, with a sudden violence, its gaze marked him.

The Maledict was specifically born to slay these demons, and because of this, he had a reasonable fraction of a second to raise a force shield.

The demon then flew to sudden speed with an earsplitting crack; the entire street exploded into the sky--ejecting crushed concrete, steel and broken glass to stand and disintegrate in the terrible void in its wake. He saw the blast--his own electric blast--crash down upon him as a ten thousandfold hammer strike.

Stone rubble took to the air in a twisting bouquet of destruction, and sent sheer canyons through the planet as the maelstrom spilled into alleys and side roads. The Maledict crashed out from the blast, and the remains of his force shield shimmering before him like broken glass.

He struck the ground and tumbled across the broken terrain, smashed through concrete slabs like an armored missile, and at length dizzied to his feet, dazed. A mere graze of its electric blast cracked the iron dense bone in his legs. He layered three more force shields in front of himself, realizing had he not raised one before...he would've been vaporized.

He saw the demon at range, within a sizzling impact crater. Smoldered chunks of armor, aglow with an orange gleam, crumbled freely. It now stood on both feet and tore apart what remained of its restraints. The bulletproof jumpsuit beneath was exposed, soaked in flash-dried blood. The beast had finally broken free.

He would've fled then were it not for her eyes: a drowned lavender shade that was once rich dark red. The raven hair was cropped at the neck. For the moment her skin was deathly pale--like something that lived in a cave's darkest depths.

The demon then flew from the crater with noise like the tear of lightning--such horrific speed that the distance before it? crumpled and then expanded with its passing, and what remained of the street erupted oncemore. This wasn't normal movement; it was a subspace jump.

The iron boot instantly shattered all three force shields, caught his chin, gunned him skyward.

He flew as a crimson nightmare--twisted jaw hung by torn ligaments and rags of steel skin. Open sky and the ruins of Kairut City stretched out beneath him. Below, the turbulent wake caught up a moment later as a slicing current of debris that crushed the street beyond into a storm of shredded asphalt.

Lightning exploded unto him, cast him from the heavens.

A slicing pressure wave detonated and erased the clouds and dust below. Both flew apart from the blast--the third demon spun farther sunward with a deftly composed trajectory, arms and legs tucked close, while he shot downward in turbulent shockwaves, aglow at hypersonic velocity.

He met the ruins at such a flat angle, with such violence that a cascade of dirt marked his path as he dragged his course through the planet, spiraling with the force. Rusted cars, bridges and derelict buildings split wide and shattered before him--then he slammed to a bone-crunching halt against a stand of iron girders on the other side of the city.

The Maledict lingered in a stupor and then tried to rise, only to notice his broken arms awkwardly poised above him. Legs with bone strong enough to press steel had snapped like match sticks. He had some life left in him, but he was near his limit.

No more than ten meters distant, the beast flashed into existence from the upper atmosphere. It ambled forward, trance-like yet slow and deliberate, left hand sparking as it reached for him. The Maledict raised his final shield, and the magnetic force that sought to crush him careened from the barrier.

He didn't understand what was happening. He felt vigor bleed from his limbs as he struggled to hold the defensive orb. He didn't understand that he could not fight an enemy that literally vanished from one spot and appeared at another. He didn't understand what happens to an unwilling hand forced.

The demon's reaching hand trembled--then closed shut.

A blinding heatwave seared the ruins as the magnetic implosion collapsed The Maledict into a microscopic pinpoint. Upon expanding, the resulting thermonuclear blast uprooted lamposts from their skewed mounts, tore the remaining buildings from their foundations and erased them in a hellish incandescence.

Viewed from the heavens, the ruins of Kairut became a dust cloud.

The End

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