Confession time. I finished this at the end of April but have been too busy with school and such to post it 😅 but hey! This is the final chapter of Vanilla Destiny! Soon I will post the first chapter of The Dark Below, along with the beginning of a side arc called Out Of Time!
Alright! Time to finish this!
[i]Chapter 24, The Glass Throne
Light rippled through the countless triangles of silicon glass that filled the far end of the chamber, illuminating the dimness around us with a dancing white glow. After a moment the entire thing was shining, and a single, blinding white light formed above the center of the platform at the top of the stairs in front of us. Space itself seemed to warp and twist around us, and everything grew blurry aside from the large, brightening point of light.
With a final flash, the light went out, and from its fading ring stepped a Vex that glistened just as the glass hanging above it did. Its body was angular yet all the surfaces appeared smooth, and the two brightest parts of its crystalline white and blue body were its brilliant white eye and a glowing point in the chest. Its fingers were long and slender, matching the spikes that rose up from its elbows, back, and chest like needles. Its head was unlike that of any other I had seen before, sporting three horns that pointed straight up, and in its hand it wielded a massive cannon.
Atheon, Time’s Conflux, walked down the stairs and onto the lower level of the arena, looking across the gap to the platform that the six of us stood on. I met the gaze of the giant, feeling the weight of reality as if I was a mere shadow cast by Atheon’s existence.
I looked to Sierra and Drew on my left, then Guardian, Hunter, and Warlock on my right. Guardian met my gaze for a moment. I could feel all of them with me, their souls and their Light making me feel solid once again as I set my eyes on Atheon.
“For the Light,” my voice rang out into the cavern, seeming to come from a hundred of me in a chorus that sung throughout time and space.
We would win.
• • •
“Sierra!” I called, holding my arm up to protect my head from the melting heat of the blasts that pounded against the column I hid behind, “Can you hit the eye?”
We were all hiding. Atheon hadn’t even flinched when we all opened up our weapons on it, and with just a trio of blasts from its cannon we were scattered. Warlock had actually gotten caught in it and been vaporized, and we found the Darkness so suffocatingly thick now that her Ghost hadn’t even been able to revive her without Guardian lending some Light. One of Sierra’s legs had been scorched to a nub at the end, but she had managed to leap away and recover. I had been tossed by the explosive force of the blasts, nearly falling over the edge of the little platform and into the abyss, but I caught the edge and pulled myself back up. Guardian had also been knocked back, his armor melted a little by the sheer heat of the energy blast, but he had recovered well and immediately gone to Warlock’s Ghost. Drew and Hunter were relatively unaffected and jumped over to Atheon, running around it to keep its attention off of the rest of us. Drew died, but I hadn’t seen how, and Hunter managed to pull him out of there. Now no one was out in the open.
We weren’t off to a good start.
Atheon was still the only Vex in with us, but we had our hands full taking pot shots to keep his attention shifting around the room. Not that any damage was being done.
“The eye?” Sierra repeated, “Yeah, keep his attention for a second, I need a good line up.”
“Got you covered,” I joked with ill humor, wincing every time another shot hit the metal I had my back against. Just to make sure Atheon would keep his attention on me, I peeked around the other side of the pillar. My vision flashed white and I landed hard on my back, legs and chest burning in pain. To think, a shot to the ground in front of my feet could hurt that much. Turning my head, I panicked when I realized that my head and chest were laying outside of cover, and Atheon was adjusting its aim.
“LIGHT!” I yelped, rolling just in time to avoid a direct hit. The blast sent me tumbling into the frame of the inactive Vex Gate to the future. I grunted as I got up and used the Gate as cover, holding my aching ribs until Rush healed them.
“Hey milk bucket!” Sierra challenged, and I spotted her out in the open on the right side of the platform.
Atheon gave up on me and turned to the Huntress. It reminded me of a child choosing which toys it was bored with and which it wanted to play with. The Vex was clearly focused on exterminating us, but something about the whole thing made me feel as insignificant as a bug running from a boot.
Its head came around and Sierra fired. Since Atheon was facing away from me I couldn’t see where the bullet landed, but the giant didn’t even flinch and Sierra was already dashing off in a panic, so it clearly didn’t work out.
Sliding behind cover with bone-melting death on her heels, Sierra raged over the comms, “It just bounced off! A sniper round to a glass eye, and IT BOUNCED?!”
“Well now what do we…do…?” Hunter grew distracted and finished the question slowly, “Aw hell, what now?”
Peering out, I saw that Atheon had stopped, lowering its cannon and raising its left hand high above its head. Raw, glowing power swirled around Time’s Conflux and concentrated above its hand, for a moment seeming to twist everything around it as well.
“What the blam?” Warlock gawked, “Where are we?”
“What do you mean, where?” Hunter responded, “Exactly where we were five seconds ago.”
“I think this is the future Vault that William was in,” Guardian’s Ghost observed.
“Yep,” Drew confirmed, “Still dirty.”
Looking around, I realized that Warlock, Guardian, and Drew were nowhere to be seen. Atheon was motionless, keeping its arm raised even while Sierra and Hunter shot at it. “Atheon‘s separating us,” I deduced.
“Shoot it!” Sierra ordered, and I joined her and Hunter in firing at Atheon’s head.
“It’s not taking any damage,” John announced, and the three of us lowered our weapons.
“We have the Aegis,” Sally thoughtfully announced for those of us that weren’t there.
“Good thing, too,” Warlock commented, “We were getting smothered before Guardian grabbed it.”
“Yeah yeah, I commended you, you don’t have to look so smug about it,” Warlock sighed in good humor, clearly addressing Guardian.
“Look out! Precursors!” Guardian’s Ghost warned, and I heard gunfire break out over the comms.
A light that signaled the arrival of other Vex by teleportation was forming in the air to the left of Atheon. That was the side with the portal leading to where the others now existed, although the Gate itself was not open.
“We need to open the way out for them,” I told the two Hunters, “Sierra, you use the central platform to keep an eye on everything. Hunter, you hold right in case Vex come from there. I’ll open the Gate.”
“Aye aye, Zavala,” Hunter responded with false enthusiasm, mocking the way I was ordering then around.
I was at the Sync Plate in moments, gun aimed up at the ledge above me because I knew the Vex reinforcements would be coming here. “Sierra, what kind of Vex came?” I asked.
“Hold on, they’re still… Harpies! Three, coming straight for you,” she described, then fired a round that was immediately followed by a Vex scream, “Two, but they’re ignoring me.”
Acknowledging her warning, I stepped closer to the column in the center of the Plate for cover, knowing the Harpies would try to mow me down with a heavy barrage. The first shot out in the air above the ledge, and I destroyed it with a controlled burst to the eye. To my surprise, the Harpy exploded. Not like they usually did in a small, splattering burst, but an actual fiery explosion that sent a wave of heat at me.
Shrill twittering behind me made me spin to face the last Harpie, which was mere inches away. Clearly it had snuck around to the ramp where Sierra and I wouldn’t be able to see it, but why was it so close and not locked in its attack configuration? Realization struck just in time for me to leap backwards, but still I was battered by the force of the detonating Harpy and landed on my back with black streaks scorched across my armor and robes.
“Ow…” I whined, wincing as I pushed myself back up. Rush quickly healed my burns and I stepped back into the Sync Plate, trying to brush the soot off of me.
“What happened?” Hunter questioned.
“It blew up in my face,” I admitted, a little embarrassed.
“Wait, like, literally or metaphorically?” Hunter asked.
“Three more just came on your side, Hunter,” Sierra announced, firing a couple rounds.
Link to Ch23, The Maze: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/251014320/0/0
Link to Ch24 Pt2: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/252637013/0/0
Table of Contents: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/212710816/0/0
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