Rather than responding, Fidel merely let the heavy atmosphere linger. Only the occasional booms of distant thunder and battle above broke the oppressive stillness.
‘Guess he’s not going to bring anyone,’ observed Garovel.
Hector could see a wall of rain approaching from the other end of the street, could hear its noisy patter growing quickly louder.
Asad decided to strike first. With a mere flick of the wrist, the six rear Blackburns had glassy spikes bursting out the top of their skulls. They dropped immediately, all dead.
Fidel, Sabas, and Silvia attacked in unison, all gunning for Asad.
‘Don’t let them gang up on him,’ said Garovel, touching Hector’s bare hand.
That familiar vigor burned through him, awakening every muscle in his body and rendering his armor no heavier than a blanket. Garovel retreated halfway underground in order to observe the fight a bit more safely, while Hector bolted forward, armor clinking with each rapid step he took toward the closest opponent.
Silvia Blackburn, it turned out to be--a lanky woman with big green eyes and short black hair. Her file had mentioned her explosive ability. Cesium materialization. Dangerous even in a novice’s hands due to its violent reaction with water and tendency to spontaneously ignite in air. And Silvia had already been a servant for twenty-five years.
She noticed Hector’s approach right away and doused him completely in her silvery-gold liquid metal, which instantly set itself ablaze and engulfed Hector in blue flames. This, of course, was not enough to stop him from charging, so Hector just powered through.
And then she clobbered him with a block of frozen cesium the size of a bus.
Hector went flying, toppling, bouncing, and scraping across the open road. And that was also the unfortunate moment when the curtain of rain caught up with him. Each raindrop popped with the force of a firecracker when it touched him, reacting to the still-flaming cesium. On the one hand, it put out the fire; on the other, it caused a chain of explosions from every direction at once, pummeling his plate armor and rattling him so furiously that he could only flail like a fish on dry ground.
When the explosions finally subsided, his fist slammed against the pavement, and he struggled angrily back to his feet. The armor had done its job, even if it now bore so many dents as to look like he’d crafted it out of crumpled paper. Haqq’s shield still looked pristine and untouched.