The first pillar shot out of Hector’s armor like a rocket--a massive knife through the air, a good fifty meters. He couldn’t direct it. The thing just shot up and out, far enough to reach Harper but still well over the man’s head. So he added sharpened branches to it, as well--blades upon blades upon still more blades, a great tree of iron daggers. It had nothing in the way of support, however, and immediately began to fall, which if nothing else, certainly demanded Harper’s attention.
And it was not alone, this knife. Nine more followed it up, all leaping from Hector’s body in different directions, splayed out and wild, each one so thick that it crushed or impaled its own cluster of trees.
Hector annihilated them each at the base only and let the boat-sized columns of metal fall around him. He propped himself up with another pillar as his neck finished regenerating. Looking over his work, he wasn’t sure if this was emergence’s doing, just because it happened so quickly this time, but he didn’t have long to think about it.
Harper’s zigzagging frames of light bounded from pillar to pillar, and then in an instant, Harper was there in front of him, an arm plunged through Hector’s chest.
Still not quite going for the kill, it seemed. That suited Hector just fine. Every functional muscle in his body flexed as he strove to repeat himself. A new mass of spikes flew out, each one furnished with thorns and gnarled hooks.
They forced Harper back and gave Hector a moment to breathe.
He spotted a broken slab of aluminum on the ground, shimmering in the mud and drizzle. He dove for it and clapped a pair of iron straps around the thing. He slid his arm through the straps and raised it in front of himself. A mirror shield. Makeshift and crumbling, but better than nothing. And just in time, too.
A white laser flashed across the clearing.
It bounced off the shield, but the force of the impact still blew him back. His mirror held together, however, and Hector regained some unsteady footing on slippery rock.