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Book 7, Chapter 34 - Discoveries

 Cloudhawk stood atop the altar, feeling the strange sensation move through him.

A new sense was activated, something outside of touch, sight, sound or taste. It spread from the soles of his feet, out in every direction. He was able to feel every corner of the underground city.

Dawn watched, hands on her sword. She flinched as the buildings all around came to life - one after the other their lights turned on.

She couldn't stifle a gasp of surprise. Lights sparked to life, creating a web of illumination that all at once dispelled the darkness. It wasn't just lights, either. All manner of devices lurched into motion as though this city had been raised from the dead.

This mysterious, alien place had its veil of shadows cast off. It's visage was revealed, and like the face of a mighty dragon it was stunning to behold.

"How did you do that?" Dawn breathed.

Cloudhawk hopped down from the altar. Thinking for a moment he replied, "This is the control center of this district. I turned it on using my will. I have to say, the design of this place is something else."

'Something else'? Looking around, most of the structures were still intact. The place was flooded with energy and came back to life with hardly any effort. Such an enormous area could house thousands of people or more. It was a perfect place to establish a new settlement.

The only thing they didn't know was whether it was safe. An answer came when patrolling robots recently returned to life noted creatures lurking in the darkness. The city's reawakening had stirred them from their slumber.

A host of deadly creatures rushed in from different directions, numerous and varied.

"Hmph, where'd these creepy-crawlies come from? They have the gall to stand in my way - let me teach them a lesson!" Dawn pulled on her helm and the Dawnbreaker armor formed over her. With Terrangelica in hand, she charged at the creatures.

"Careful, there's something strange about them!"

She was too quick. By the time she heard his warning, Dawn was already fifty meters down the street and in range of the first group. She'd assumed they were ordinary creatures. After years in the wastelands, she'd encountered all manner of critters. Vicious and horribly mutated, they were nonetheless no threat to her. Nothing about these ordinary things gave her pause.

But then came the unexpected. She was mid charge when the distant creatures launched an attack first! They were worm-like beasts that stretched three meters long. Although they looked like they would be sluggish, the worms moved at impressive speed.

If she'd stopped to take a closer look, Dawn might have noticed the light coming from their abdomen. It crackled like electricity. They raised their back ends and balls of lightning were cast her way. Electric light screamed toward her as though thrown by a trebuchet, moving faster than expected.

Dawn was surprised by their reaction. She jerked from one side to the other, dodging their attacks. One managed to catch her just as she was closing the gap, knocking her sword aside.

Boom! An explosion echoed through the city. Dawn was flung backwards several meters.

Her sturdy armor protected her from the blast, but it was only the beginning. More attacks closed in from all sides - snakes with vicious claws took swipes at her and bites rang against her armor like machine gun fire.

Their bites were corrosive, powerful enough to even eat away at a relic. Dawn called on the power of Terrangelica to summon spikes from the earth. The beasts were slain, but even in death their acidic blood ate away at the ground and left pits behind.

A second wave was bearing down on her from the roofs above.

Scorpion-like tails fired blasts at her like plasma rifles. Attacks came quick, too fast for her to recover from fighting off the last batch. She braced herself for the incoming blows by lifting her left arm. A shell of invisible energy formed around her.

Orbs of roiling plasma froze solid in the air before her, captured by Dawn's energy field

She swung her sword around and struck the crystallized energy. They burst back toward where they came and detonated in the center of the monsters. But more were coming every second. There was no way to tell how many of these fiends were hiding down here! They swarmed toward her and Cloudhawk as though they'd kicked an anthill.

"No use fighting, let's move."

Cloudhawk looked around then grabbed Dawn and teleported away. They were too strong for the creatures to cause damage, but as far as he knew this tide was endless. It was a waste of energy to fight. Better to escape and reassess the situation.

Cloudhawk brought them into one of the residential buildings. Buzzing lights revealed an interior free from creatures. The room they were in was about two hundred square meters - too big judging from the outside. At appeared all these buildings were connected to one another.

It wasn't readily obvious why they'd been built this way.

No signs of life were evident in these empty rooms. It was like this city had been built and then abandoned before anyone had moved in.

Dawn opened her face place, propped Terrangelica on her shoulder and muttered, "So there was something strange about those creatures."

"Yup, they're special somehow. My guess it they were specially bred to protect this place. But why?"

"Well wherever they came from, there are a shit ton of them. That's going to make our search a lot more difficult." Dawn tilted her head in thought. "You think the others have been eaten already?"

He shook his head. "Phoenix and Bruno are too strong for those things to take them down."

"So they've got to be hiding somewhere. Strong as they are, Bruno is a spatial Master with no relics. It's not like he can blink around like you do."

"You're right. I guess we better start looking."

Cloudhawk's relics were as numerous as the stars. He hadn't brought Oddball with him, but he had plenty of tools to help them search. Anyway, they weren't necessary. He figured the two Masters couldn't be far, so he reached out with his spatial powers to scan the area.

With himself at the center, he reached through ripples in space like a radar beacon. His powers were more effective than most searching relics because he could see in all directions and through nearly any obstacles. Nothing within his range could hide from his sight.

The underground city was an ocean of shadow that stretched endlessly through the cavern. It was so large Cloudhawk was having a hard time wrapping his head around it, and the buildings were all connected. It formed a vast and intricate closed complex.

He sensed a surprising amount of strong creatures all around them. He didn't know where they'd come from or how they reproduced, but if these things got to the surface it would be a catastrophe.

He reached out with his mind to search for a full thirty minutes. Suddenly his eyes lit up.

"Got 'em."

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