Chapter 818 818: We Should Be Heroes
"What… what just happened?"
Nothing, or at least it feels like that if one were to ignore the dead bodies and all the blood scattered around the auditorium. But aside from that, with the stands and seats separated from the center of the auditorium by a certain level, it truly also felt like nothing had happened.
The space station heals itself, and therefore any damage done to it is no longer visible. Diana and Aerith, both themarians that were handled by King also recovered in the blink of an eye. And Pirate Queen Xra, who was practically turned into blood popsicles was now also slowly springing up to life.
Except something did happen — Bernard was now missing.
"What happened…?" Hannah started looking around. She first turned toward her mother, whose eyes were even wider than hers. Aerith, who was standing beside her, could really only close her eyes as her head stared at the floor.
Nannah, who was being shielded and protected by Bard the entire time, could really only look at Hannah with trembling eyes. She had seen many of her father's variants die, she had seen many of her variants die and sometimes even killed by her own hands.
She had seen firsthand how devastating this was for other people. But it is truly only now when it was a variant she slightly grew close to, that she remembers how much loss affects people.
"Did… we win?" Gracy and the others who were watching from the deck above jumped down one by one, "Hera was preventing all of us from going down, so we couldn't really—"
"Why didn't you do anything!?"
"What was I—"
Gracy quickly raised both her hands in the air as Hannah's voice thundered throughout the entire auditorium. But her words weren't addressed to her at all, Hannah was stomping her way to Riley, violently pointing at him as her eyes slowly reddened.
"Why are you always just floating there!? Like what the fuck!?" Hannah bared her teeth as she practically drilled her finger on Riley's chest, "You come down there like fucking Jesus and then you just spend the entire time just staring and doing nothing!?"
"..." Riley did not really say anything and just let Hannah scream at him.
"You could fucking destroy an entire galaxy for fuck's sake! You could have just torn that fucking psycho into shreds!" Hannah continued to raise her voice as the temperature in the room started to rise, "And there's a fucking group of us here, we could've taken that guy!"
"I could have taken him, Sister," Riley finally opened his mouth as he looked Hannah in the eyes, "But not when you are here."
"I sweat to fucking god if you say you're protecting me the entire time I—"
"Not the entire time, no," Riley shook his head, "You almost died once at the start when I was not focused on you, Sister."
"I'm fine!" Hannah continued to scream.
"You—" Hannah was going to drill her finger on Riley again, but instead just backed away as she let out an exasperated gasp. And after a few shakes of her head, she quickly walked toward Bard and Nannah,
"You can figure out where they disappeared to, right? We can just go to them and save Dad, right?"
"..." Nannah seemed to want to say something, but just chose to look away and shut her mouth. As for Bard, he truly couldn't say anything and just glanced at Diana.
"No! You don't look at her, you look at me!" Hannah's voice started to crack as she ran out of breath; her eyes which were red with tears that did not wish to fall, now on the verge of collapsing as they reflected the face of someone who looked like her father,
"You… look at me."
Hannah's voice began to quiet down as she started brushing the tears that managed to trail down her cheeks,
"Please…" She whispered, "Please…
…Save my dad."
Bard looked at Hannah's trembling eyes for a few seconds, before shaking his head and backing away.
"The guardian force, once activated to self-destruct is—"
And before Bard could finish his words, Diana suddenly approached Hannah from behind and embraced her—letting her head rest on her bosoms, almost covering her ears as she gently caressed her hair.
"What…?" Hannah tried pushing herself away but was not able to, "What? What…?"
"He's gone, your father's gone," Diana's voice was but a whisper, but everyone in the auditorium could hear her words fall onto their ears like cold water.
"What…?" Hannah forced out a chuckle as she finally returned her mother's embrace, "What do you mean… gone? He's not gone, he just… he just disappeared with that fucking…"
"You know…" Diana's voice was calm. Gentle, even, "...Your abilities and the guardian force have the same type of energy, I know you felt it when your father started triggering the—"
"I didn't feel anything, okay? I didn't!" Hannah gritted her teeth as her eyes refused to close, "We could… we could save him, that's what we do. I know we haven't been saving a lot of people lately, but that's what we do. Dad needs us right now and we…"
"We're… not saving anyone," Diana closed her eyes as a single tear trailed down her cheek, slightly damping her daughter's hair, "We… haven't been able to save anyone from the start."
"..." Aerith could really only watch this scene as Diana's words almost pierced through her heart. They—she hasn't been able to save anyone for a very long time. All she had ever done now was to try and prevent Riley from doing anything… leaving everything else vulnerable.
"We…" Hannah gasped for breath as she grabbed her mother tight,
"...We should be heroes, Mom."
"Hannah…" Paige wanted to approach Hannah and Diana, but stopped beside Riley as she held his hand. Her eyes, very slowly turning toward Riley's face. After all, Hannah and Diana weren't the only ones that lost a family here…
…but what Paige saw on Riley's face was just… a sigh of emptiness.
"Riley, we wanted to help but—"
"Hera told you not to, it is good you listened to her," Riley's eyes remained at the silhouette of his sister and mother.
"But Cherbi could have—"
"It wouldn't have made a difference, Paige." And even with the somber air, Chihiro seemed to remain completely unperturbed as she just crossed her arms and observed, "Lose trust for everything else, but always trust Hera's instincts—that's her ability."
"Riley…" Paige only responded with a subtle nod as she once again glanced at Riley's face,
"...You're not okay."
"I am not," Riley shook his head as the mystical armor he was wearing faded away and his feet touched ground, leaving him only wearing a pair of slightly oversized pants and a comfortable long-sleeved sweater.
"..." Paige did not really say anything else. She was about to hug Riley there and then, but just decided to hold his hand even tighter.
Delivery did not really know what to feel, as he was only supposed to be there as a bystander. Even then, he could not help but feel that something must be done as he tipped his cap down.
Hannah's tears became somber, but the more they did, the louder everyone heard them. But soon, only the quiet sound of grief and sorrow echoed in the air.
And that was that — no one was really allowed to lament as the threat still looms over them.
"Bard, what are the chances that King already knows the frequency to our universes?" Diana very gently let go of Hannah, who was immediately approached by Nannah, Gracy, and Paige.
"He probably already has mine," Bard immediately started accessing the Nexus through his helmet, "As for yours, I doubt it — he seemed to only be moving his way through the universes of every one part of the Council. He… fuck…
…Fuck. We lost… we fucking lost."
"Bard!" Diana raised her voice, "Calm down. What do you think King will do now?"
"I… I don't know," Bard's helmet opened up to reveal his face; extremely confused and just… tired, "He's too different from the rest of the variants. I can't predict what he will do next."
Xra, whose body was now back from being frozen and sliced, quickly floated near Bard and Diana, "What does that even mean? We had him, we already had him here — we could have killed the man. Riley Ross could have killed him!"
"..." Hannah, who was being consoled by the other girls, could not help but flinch as she heard Xra's words. Now that she slightly sobered up, she finally realized one thing.
If it wasn't for her, Riley could have fought King.
If it wasn't for her, her father would still be alive.
"It's not your fault," Paige quickly saw the look in Hannah's eyes as she grabbed her by the shoulders, "It's not your fault."
"Of course, it is not."
Everyone widened their eyes as a portal once again appeared above them; this time, slightly bigger than before.
"It is mine."
"You…" Diana's calm demeanor instantly faded away as King once again emerged from the portal… completely unscathed. But that was not why Diana's eyebrows lowered and her teeth bared themselves—no.
It was the fact that in his hand… was the head of the love of her life.
"I realize now how dangerous you people are together."
Diana was about to rush at King again, but immediately stopped in her tracks as something… floated out of the portal behind him.
Some sort of… machine.
"I can't allow that to happen."
"That's…" Bard's eyes widened as soon as he recognized the shape of the machine,
"Destroy the machine before he—"
"No, it's already activated."
And before anything could even process what was happening, King snapped his fingers…
…and darkness flashed through everyone's eyes.
"What… the fuck just happened?"
Hera, who was slightly far away from everyone else blinked several times as she looked around—only to realize she was no longer surrounded by walls. She wasn't even in the expanse of space at all, but a wide green field. But not in the wild, no, it was a small football field.
"Who's… that? A transfer student?"
Hera quickly turned around, only to see a group of people there… wearing normal clothes and looking normal-no. They were wearing what seemed like a PE uniform, and they weren't looking at her at all, no.
"Was he here earlier?"
They were looking at the person beside her.
"It would seem you and I are stuck together again, Miss Hera."
Hera only glanced at Riley for a few seconds, before once again looking around. They could very well be on Earth as it looked like they were on school grounds, but the fact that the students did not recognize her or Riley at least tells her they weren't on their Earth.
"…Where the fuck are we?"