Dimly, Crystal heard a clap of thunder, followed by a pained roar. She hoped Isabel would be alright.
Unfortunately, Crystal had other things demanding her attention.
Crystal’s twin blades sung as she swung them in an impossibly complex spiral. With each pass, there was a gentle ringing sound as they caught bullets and sent them ricocheting away from her body. Her divine sight was wide open, the complicated equations informing her of where her swords would need to be to intercept the next bullet.
The three super soldier / corrupt goddess hybrids were definitely tapping into their military training. Well, at least in terms of unity. Each one was taking turns firing their weapon on full automatic towards Crystal, giving the others a chance to reload. With every second, Crystal was forced to step backwards, giving herself a bit more space to deflect the next round of bullets.
Her Hungers clawed at her. She was near the edge of collapse already. The moment her divine power ran out, she would die – assuming she didn’t slip up before then. That was not a safe assumption. Already Crystal bled from a dozen injuries where she’d had to take bullets that would only graze her skin in exchange for stopping ones that would have ended her life. She’d never had the strength to negate the hemophagic toxin from the Typhon, so those wounds bled with no signs of stopping.
She needed an opening but had no way to create one.
“You should have let us embrace you,” Potentia said through Evans mouth. Or Evans said with Potentia’s words. Crystal had no idea where the soldier ended, and the goddess began. If she survived this, she’d try and dissect it then. “We could have accomplished so much.”
“But you had to keep fighting,” Munoz said as her gun emptied, and she stepped aside to reload. Arnold took up the role of shooting as Munoz spoke. Crystal decided to focus on the soldiers, since that made the whole situation infinitely less creepy. “You had to resist. You just couldn’t accept it.”
Evans stepped forward and took up the next volley of bullets as Arnold took over the conversation. “You never figured out what the real problem was.”
Crystal took a step backwards. “Enlighten me,” she managed to grunt.
“First law of Thermodynamics,” Evans said as his gun emptied, and Munoz took over the firing. “Energy cannot be created or destroyed. When you destroyed Enki’s twin nanoverse, you released exponentially more energy than your puny single nanoverse could contain.”
“That energy created us out of you to balance the equation. You absorbed us, trying to contain that power.” Munoz was slipping another magazine into her assault rifle. “But we cannot be contained by a single nanoverse.”
“So, we had to go somewhere,” Arnold said. “When you stepped back into the street, fragments spilled out. Nanoverses, in a way. Each of us our own. We felt these soldiers, their bodies primed for divine power-” He cut off at it was his turn to take over firing”
“-and we offered them a deal. They share their bodies, their souls with us. In exchange, they get nanoverses.” Evans smirked as his clip slid into place. “They’re letting us have control to explain this to you.”
“After all,” Munoz said, her voice light with amusement, “it doesn’t benefit you to know this. There’s nothing you can do to-”
Their conversation had slowed them down. There was a gap in their firing. Crystal hurled one of her swords with all the strength she could muster. It flew unerringly at Munoz, guided by a twist of divine power directly towards the woman’s heart.
Munoz caught it with one hand and tossed it aside. “-to stop us,” she said.
Crystal didn’t respond to the taunt. The sword toss had widened the gap in their firing, and she was charging Munoz, leaping into the air with her remaining sword held high in an overhead strike. Munoz blocked the blow with her rifle. The gun was cut in half, and Crystal brought up her foot to a quick kick. Munoz block the blow with her shin, and her head lurched forward. Crystal could feel her own nose shatter under the impact, and the blinding pain drove her back.
Then a fist impacted her kidney. Another one hit her in the knees, driving her to the floor.
Then a foot impacted the back of Crystal’s head, and everything started to go dark. Crystal reached out and grabbed onto equations, changing variables randomly. The air around her crystalized as the temperature was driven into the negatives, and a bust of wind surrounded them as she momentarily unified the airflow. It drove all three super soldiers back.
Crystal leapt to her feet with the grace of a falling log. She swayed, unsteady, fighting back unconsciousness. It was too much. She’d endured too much today.
“Give up,” Munoz said. “We are free now. We don’t want or need you dead.”
“No,” Crystal said. Her breathing was ragged, and she was pretty sure she had a concussion. Her nose throbbed a symphony of agony in time with her skull. “I am Crystal. I am thirty-four million years old. I have bathed in the darkness of a black hole. I have swum through seas of stars.”
She raised her hands and grabbed onto equations. Energy began to dance along her fingertips. The three super soldiers had thrown aside their guns, raising their own hands to try and prepare to counter whatever Crystal attempted next. “I have ended the world in fire and ash, and then I endured the longest wait in sodding history to do better the next time.”
Crystal’s entire body was aflame now, dancing with Saint Elmo’s Fire from the forces she was warping around herself. The static electricity caused her hair to float upwards in clumps. Behind her, the sound of Isabel and Kali’s battle still rung out. Crystal felt herself rising into the air, electromagnetic equations cracking enough to overcome the moon’s gravity and repel her into the air. “I have guided humanity since its birth. I showed them their first nanoverse. I taught them flame and stone and song. And I am not going to bloody fail them now!”
Crystal threw her hands forwards. She let loose an impossibility, the most dangerous twist she’d ever attempted – a wave of True Vacuum, a slice of reality where the energy had reached its lowest possible state. A sliding blade where the laws of physics were fundamentally different.
It streaked towards her foes and tore reality in its wake.
Three feet from impact, the trio of gods restored the natural energy state of the universe. The blade of unreality fell apart like it had been unraveled.
That was it. Crystal collapsed to the ground, her power completely drained. She was as strong as a mortal at this point – no more, no less.
Three beings with the power of gods approached, and Crystal realized this was the end.