[i]Chapter 24, The Glass Throne
“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.
Looking over, I was able to catch sight of them hovering towards our companion, but he wasn’t down at the Sync Plate So was able to pick them off with Sierra quickly. “Whoa!” Hunter cheered as the last one detonated upon death, “They do explode!”
“They’re called Supplicants,” John noted, making me wonder where he had learned that.
The sound of an energized field turning on brought my attention to the Vex Gate above me, and I could see the top portion of the glowing white portal past the ledge. “The way is open!” I informed the others over the comms.
“Hold on, there’s Oracles in here!” Guardian’s Ghost told us.
“Red ones!” Drew described.
“More supples!” Sierra shouted.
“That is a COMPLETELY different word,” John snickered at Sierra over Hunter’s laughter.
“Shut up,” the Huntress growled.
“Don’t let them get to the Gate,” I commanded, jumping up from the Sync Plate to stand by the frame of the Vex portal, “They’ll blow everyone up as soon as they come through.”
Luckily, since there were only three again, we were able to pick them off just in time for the rest of our team to return without getting attacked right away. They stepped through one at a time, Guardian coming last with the Aegis in tow. There was an inexplicable shift in atmosphere as they arrived, and I suddenly felt a bit more sure of myself and less overshadowed by Atheon.
“Maybe we can hurt him with the Aegis?” Rush asked more than suggested.
“It,” I corrected.
“What?” Rush questioned me.
“It,” I repeated, “The Vex don’t have gen-!”
Guardian suddenly shouldered his way past me and braced the Aegis up in front of him, summoning a barrier of filtering Light. Blinding flashes and deafening booms attacked our senses as Atheon’s blasts collided with the shield, but we were unharmed.
“Hah! Thought you had us that time, didn’t you, bucket?!” Hunter taunted, firing a couple rounds wildly to make a bigger show of it.
I blinked a couple times after watching his shooting, then checked the ground around our feet. “Guys,” I got their attention when I was finally sure the bullets weren’t there, “We can shoot through the shield.”
Before I could even suggest attacking, bursts of gunfire lit up the cavern, sailing through the filmy wall in front of us to hit Atheon. The giant Vex roared angrily, but its own cannon fire splashed uselessly against the wall created by the Aegis. A rocket flew out from Drew’s launcher, but Atheon stepped out of the way easily, letting it sail through empty air. However, it was caught in the face by a sniper round from Hunter, who was waiting patiently for good shots. It was slight, but we all saw the flinch from Time’s Conflux.
“We hurt him!” Drew cheered, and I was so pleased I didn’t correct him about the pronouns.
None of us let up; in fact, some even switched to heavier weaponry since this was the chance we had been saving ammo for. Atheon roared in what I could only assume was rage and maybe pain, but it did not falter even under the force of an entire raid team’s arsenal.
Suddenly, the Aegis vanished from Guardian’s arm, and the veil of Light surrounding us began to fade. “Move move!” Sierra urged, and everyone leapt away from the central platform just in time to avoid getting incinerated by Atheon’s barrage.
I settled down behind cover with Sierra near the triangular door that had let us into the chamber, but was now sealed tight. She had her sniper rifle out still to take careful shots from this slightly safer distance, and everyone else was taking shots when Atheon’s back was turned, so I pulled out my scout rifle to help.
“Guys,” John called to everyone over the sound of gunfire, “It’s not taking damage anymore!”
Everyone stopped shooting but Drew, although he eventually did realize he needed to conserve ammo. I realized then that the empowered feeling had disappeared. We’d lost our permanence in this plane of existence, so couldn’t rival Atheon again.
“Well what are we supposed to do now?” Rush asked.
“Wait for another opening,” Warlock answered.
As if on cue, Atheon stopped where it was and raised a hand high above its head. Suddenly I felt a slight tingle in my body, as if all my molecules were quivering, and my vision blurred slightly. “Wait for the pattern to repeat itself,” I muttered, looking at Atheon and knowing what it was about to do.
A shrill roar from the Vex lord accompanied me as I was moved through time and space. Now I stood beneath the triangular glass frame at the pinnacle of the Glass Throne, the lush foliage around me marking it as the Vault in the past. Sierra and Hunter stood on either side of me, looking confused. I hardly had time to acknowledge that the Aegis was floating right in front of me before pain wracked my body and black tendrils shot across my vision. It was the pain of reality itself trying to tear me out of this place in space and time that I did not belong.
Sierra and Hunter both grunted in pain next to me, showing that they felt it, too. Lunging forward just as I felt my body was going to split into a trillion tiny pieces and dissolve into nothingness, my hand found the Aegis and Light poured out of the Relic. The three of us gasped in relief as the bubble spread around us, relieving us of our pain.
“Traveler above…there’s no getting used to that,” Hunter bent over as if he were about to throw up, but kept his helmet on, “You knew that would happen?”
“The Vex always choose the most efficient method, then rinse and repeat until it succeeds,” I explained, then looked at the two for a moment, “It looks like Atheon relocates the three people furthest from it when it raises its hand.”
“Where are you?” Warlock questioned over the comms.
“Past,” I answered, “Activate the right side Sync Plate.”
A red glow tinted my vision, and I looked up to see a red Oracle floating nearby above our heads. “Shoot it!” I shouted, alarmed by how quickly it had begun its work.
It went down almost instantly to the two Hunters, but another appeared further away after only a couple moments, accompanied by the familiar bell toll. Looking down the steps, I saw two Descendant Goblins and a Descendant Praetorian Minotaur watching us with their yellow eyes.
“You guys take the Oracles, I’ll handle the Vex,” I directed, then let the barrier drop so I could charge forward.
I leapt over the stairs, curling up in the air behind the shield so the incoming fire from the Vex wouldn’t hit me. Landing in front of one of the Goblins, I dove forward and smashed into it with the Aegis, tossing it backwards so its crushed chassis landed a few meters away. Hunter and Sierra destroyed the second Oracle.
Blasts from the Praetorian scorched the ground at my feet as I sprung backwards and then sideways, swinging my arm out wide to catch the second Goblin with the narrow edge of the shield. Its head tumbled to the ground, and I swatted its body towards the Praetorian to distract it for a moment. A third Oracle faded away.
I was right in front of the Praetorian now, smashing the Aegis upwards into its dusty brown chest. Metal bent and broke under the impact, but the Minotaur didn’t fall, raising its arm up and then swinging down at me. Hefting the shield up above my head at a nearly vertical angle, I deflected the blow and spun, bringing the Aegis all the way around and slamming it into the Vex in a heavy slash motion. The Praetorian fell, and the fourth Oracle burst apart.
The shadows had begun creeping out from the corners of my eyes again, and the pain of my body’s existence fighting itself was returning. Looking back, I saw Hunter and Sierra had worked their way down the stairs while fighting the Oracles, so I rushed over to them and cleansed all of us at once with the Aegis. They eliminated a fifth Oracle.
Without need for words, we approached the empty portal frame on the end of the platform opposite of where we had started. Oracle number six dissipated as we were going up the staircase.
One final ring of an Oracle appearing sounded as we stood before the closed Gate, and the two Hunters had to turn their weapons almost directly upward to shoot it. As its red glow flashed and then slowly faded away, the Gate opened behind us. I used the Aegis once more to cleanse us before Hunter stepped through the portal, followed by Sierra, then me.
Ch24 Pt1: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/252636990/0/0
Ch24 Pt3: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/252637037/0/0
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