After the unrecognized Order’s representative left, the negotiations began in earnest.
Theodora Greyman started off the ‘issues’ by bringing up the three disasters that came out of the Epic Dungeon. Instantly Warlord brightened, but that only made Mrs. Hamilton increasingly weary. After even a few minutes of spending time with Theodora Greyman, it was clear that this woman was not a normal sort of leader. If she had been, Mrs. Hamilton wouldn’t have been so impressed with her.
She wasn’t the direct, blunt type like Donny was, or the rather cruel and whimsical brand of leadership that Phirun ascribed to. She also didn’t possess the calculating mind of either Mrs. Hamilton and Han Yazhu.
No, Theodora Greyman was more dangerous than that. She was the unpredictable, charismatic type. She accomplished what she wanted by paying attention and valuing different things than the average person. And until Mrs. Hamilton had pinned down what this woman wanted, she wouldn’t let down her guard.
Still, it was not nothing that the Zone 1 representative brought up the issue of the three disasters. It also allowed Warlord to stand and explain that it appeared that the most active of the three was dealt with. Then the Orders thawed enough from their companion being ejected to join in the discussion and talk what actions could be taken now to reduce the power of monsters streaming out of Zone Eleven.
Very soon, everyone offered opinions. And with the persuasive arguments of Theodora Greyman and Warlord, sentiment slowly shifted toward an agreement.
Although Han Yazhu was quite scathing in his comments, the discussion proceeded smoothly. Even if no one particularly wanted to waste their forces helping Zone Eleven, there was an elephant in the room which made them unwilling to not participate. Everyone was particularly sensitive to the modifier ‘Epic’ that was associated with this Dungeon. Perhaps the reward for clearing it wouldn’t be as significant for those that could be obtained from a Danger Zone, but all the Danger Zones thus far had ended up being connected with other worlds once cleared. If the Dungeon was controlled and could be used as a high-Level training ground without the risk of a whole world waiting on the other side.
In the end, it was agreed that the three disasters needed to be dealt with before they seriously attempted to assault the Epic Dungeon.
Theodora clapped her hands together. “Took a while for everyone to agree…” She shot Han Yazhu a look. The man didn’t even blink. Mrs. Hamilton smirked.
As Theodora turned back froward she continued to speak. “…but the goal for my issue is settled: we will work together to destroy the remaining two disasters. I’m slightly sad that one has already been dealt with… but part of the reason I wanted to bring everyone here was to show you all something. Something that our research team has been working on for quite a while. This can be unveiling of Zone 1’s most dazzling scientific accomplishment to date.”
Theodora gestured and a rumble rippled through the room. Then the floating sphere descended slowly to sit in the middle area of the table. As it was still translucent, it was possible to see the other representatives through it. But as Theodora gestured again, the translucent streams of water began to gather and spiral together. Very soon, brushstrokes of color appeared on the sphere.
Then those brushstrokes resolved themselves into visions of a faraway place. Two images to be exact, reflected on three sides of the orb so everyone could see clearly.
The first was East Providence, showing a relatively undeveloped field South of the city. While some of the high roofed buildings of the science complex could be seen in the background, it was a completely unremarkable vista.
Meanwhile, the other image displayed was a dense swamp populated by Level 70 Basilisks that were dozing in the water. Mrs. Hamilton blinked several times, finally realizing what she was looking at. The marshes seemed to stretch for miles, seeming filled with infinite Basilisks. And of course, seething in the middle was the vast body of murky water was the Level 80 Bog Hydra.
Once she had identified the subject of the pictures, Mrs. Hamilton admired the strange display sphere.
Certainly an interesting bit of science. Does it work like scrying, or are we receiving a feed from something on-site? If this really is a mass scrying device though…
“In order to protect the Earth, we need to work together,” Theodora continued as the representatives around her stared in confusion at the images. “Which is why I’m showing you all these two almost divine ‘tools’ that Zone 1 has created. The first is this viewing orb, inspired by the Champion of Zone 32. With it, it is possible to track or view almost anything in the world. Right now, we are relying on the information given to us by Zone 19 to try and find the culprit in the heinous bloodless murders. Which is just one of many anti-terrorism functions this orb can fulfill.”
While also putting quite a bit of power into your hands,
Mrs. Hamilton thought with a twist of her mouth. But it wasn’t like Donnyton didn’t also closely monitor its subordinates.
“And the second divine tool…”
As she waited to speak, Theodora Greyman licked her lips. There were pink and fleshy, and Mrs. Hamilton sensed something monstrous from the woman. Which was usually the problem with the charismatic sort of leader. They generally used logic, but they were not bound by it like a true rhetorician was. And generally, those few slightly off-kilter believes were exactly the reason why this type of leader was so dangerous.
The ground in the picture of East Providence began to shift. The grassy field crumbled and ripped as metal panels slid backward, revealing a dark opening in the rather idyllic field. However, as the image continued to roll, Mrs. Hamilton’s eyes widened. She could clearly sense the vast, catastrophic danger roiling upward from this opening. The viewpoint drifted closer, giving a better angle of sight down into the opening.
Energy gathered, slowly illuminating the interior of the silo. For a second, Mrs. Hamilton worried that Zone 1 had reclaimed and was about to use a nuclear warhead. Setting aside the issue of radiation poisoning, Mrs. Hamilton had some serious concerns about the ecological consequences of using nuclear weapons within the closed area the System had created on Earth.
But as the gathering energy illuminated the silo, it was clear that wasn’t quite the case. There was a tall form within the dark silo, but it was a seething mass of movement. It looked less like a missile and more like a misshapen blob that was constantly trying to sculpt itself into something presentable.
With the energy came light, but there was only a brief moment where that light crossed the threshold from dim to blinding and they were similarly isolated from the information. Yet for a hair-thin split second, Mrs. Hamilton witnessed a portion of the operations at the core of this Mjolnir. And what she saw was actually vaguely familiar.
Like the floating orb that Zone 1 had created to display pictures of a faraway place, what Mrs. Hamilton saw was a towering pillar of thin, slug-like… somethings. The wriggled and spun, gathering energy to themselves.
And then as that light became completely blinding, the viewpoint began to back away from the opening. A split second later, whatever that thing was blasted its incandescent energy into the sky. The perspective that had previously shown East Providence shifted and suddenly they could see a brilliant beam of light shoot upward into the sky and then curve Northward. Only a few short seconds later, that beam arrived at the view of the swamp.
Instantly, that blinding energy severed the view that the representatives had. The display went immediately black the second after that energy arrived. Everyone was deathly silent.
Exactly five seconds later, the display reestablished itself. A smoking crater about the size of a small town filled most of the screen. Murky water calmly flowed into the newly created crater, carrying with it the large and charred corpses of the basilisks that had dominated the swamp previously.
The representatives watched in a sort of detached horror as the Level 80 Bog Hydra struggled to its feet and swayed. Of its intimidating nine heads, seven were completely burned away, and one head had been so badly scorched that the bones of jaw were exposed to air. Puss dripped from its agonizing burns. Its one remaining head cried to the sky in fear and fury.
Of course, the danger of the Bog Hydra was that it would quickly recover and heal. But as the view panned outward, squads of Zone 1’s forces could be seen trooping forward, preparing to take advantage of the wounded Bog Hydra.
Theodora Greyman steepled her fingers with an innocent smile. “This is just meant as a display of Zone 1’s sincerity. We strongly urge everyone in the World Summit to consider themselves as part of a broader world relationship rather than simply as characters in antagonistic Zones. And we hope you will soon join us in enthusiastically seeking to accomplish the resolutions of the World Summit.”
After a pause, she turned to the surrounding representatives. The orb displaying the destruction wrought by Mjolnir floated upward while maintaining the pictures. It was a constant reminder of the weapon that Zone 1 had boldly revealed without batting an eyelash.
Mrs. Hamilton kept her breathing even as she considered Theodora Greyman.
This is Zone 1’s Sincerity, huh…?
Randidly eventually withdrew his attention from the Nether Ritual. After the display from Zone 1, the other issues brought forward by the World Summit were quite minor. Even Phirun appeared shaken by what this Mjolnir had accomplished. The only other thing of note Randidly had learned was the fact that another World Summit was scheduled for a month, where the group would select a chairman for their meetings.
Yet how could he blame the representatives for their reaction? Even Randidly was shaken by what he had seen. As he slowly massaged feeling back into the claw that had been channeling Nether for the entirety of his time watching the World Summit meeting, he gritted his teeth and tried to figure out how to proceed.
That weapon… that fucked up thing…
Even no one else had been able to see what was going on clearly, Randidly could. The Nether Ritual had given him vision that was exceedingly clear. Plus a clue to what was going on had been hanging above the group the entire time.
Because Randidly had carefully studied the flowing orb with strange flows of water around it before the World Summit had started. Even he had been somewhat confused by what it was. But soon it hit him. The Grim Chimera growled its fury and a fire was lit in his belly as he considered that floating orb and what it meant. Then, when he had seen the strange Mjolnir activate…
I should never have let the government of Zone 1 off so easily after seeing what the church was allowed to do.
Randidly’s eyes burned emerald, activating the energy he had obtained from the Fate blade subconsciously. The fire in his chest was so hot it seemed to even warp the image around him that was sustained by the Aether Key.
These tools… they are just thousands of specialized Raid Bosses that have been spliced together to one mass organism.
For Mjolnir, most of those Raid Bosses gather and transfer energy, and then a few at the top blast it outward. Even if the Raid Bosses’ Levels are capped in the mid-thirties, the energy that a thousand Level 30 monsters can gather… well.
The result spoke for itself.
Perhaps even more dangerous than the fact that it had been able to critically wound a Level 80 monster was the fact that it had left a rather large area wrecked by the blast. All of the Zones or Orders present at the ‘World Summit’ had bases that could be demolished by an attack like that. It was a barred threat toward every other force in the world, just like a nuclear bomb used to be. Having that capability for mass destruction once more return to humanity…
And Randidly had no doubt that Mjolnir was much more dangerous than a single-use bomb. After all, such a unified usage didn’t seem possible just while relying on the intelligence of monsters. Perhaps just like the church, the souls of human beings were placed inside of Raid Bosses to make them work in concert with each other. Which meant that the more Mjolnir was used, the stronger it would become.
The System would recognize its progress and allow that horror to grow.
Still, one fact that most of the watching representatives had missed had been immediately obvious to Randidly. What they were seeing from the other amalgamation of Raid Bosses hanging over the World Summit were simply recordings.
Based on the way it was shown, the attack had been launched and landed only a few seconds later. But for all that it was a quick moving attack, it wasn’t that quick. Perhaps more importantly, Randidly had been able to detect the subtle angle of launch that enabled the Mjolnir to strike almost directly downward toward the target. Based on what Randidly had been able to project, they likely needed to shoot the energy bolt in a loop up into the atmosphere before it slowly was able to turn all the way around and descend. Due to the nature of the attack, the turning radius would likely be severely limited.
Even if the energy blast moved quickly, it could not turn quickly. And that trip up into the atmosphere with enough distance to curve back toward Earth was significant. It would be possible to detect the launch of such a strike and move out of the target area. The devastation would be large, but not so large that it couldn’t be avoided with a warning.
But it did give Randidly pause. Because it didn’t seem like this Theodora Greyman was a fool. And showing Mjolnir was very clearly a show of force. A lot of the population probably thought they were protected from such abrupt destruction with the rise of their Stats. But this weapon would remind people of the commodified fear of sudden and violent death. Randidly had no doubt that some of the Zones would respond very dangerously toward this sudden power Zone 1 now possessed.
Still, that’s not so big of a deal.
Some of the fire in Randidly’s chest cooled. The logic of the Grim Chimera eased some of the surging emotions.
People die. Such is life. The stronger the weapons they possess, the more people of Earth can grow to rival them. But the real worry is that these weapons will be TOO strong. That they will cripple humanity’s desire to grow by cowing them with a terrible fear of death.
Randidly raised his gaze toward the wall of his hut.
Fearing something isn’t a problem. It’s living without doing anything but fear allowing that fear to control you. With a threat like that hanging over them… it might cause the Earth to collapse on itself and spend too much of its effort crafting grand weapons for murder. Which would mean that the Earth was doomed against the Calamities.
Besides, that power… there was no image to that power.
Although he had intended to take a break after the long viewing of Mrs. Hamilton, Randidly was no longer in the mood to rest after seeing Zone 1’s demonstration of Mjolnir. After forcefully suppressing the ache from overusing Nether, Randidly began to conjure another Nether Ritual.
You might not want to cross me, Greyman, but you’ve certainly got my attention.
Randidly grimaced as pain lanced up his arm. But he ignored it.
And if you threaten the image that I want the Earth to have… well, I will just ensure the Order Ducis won’t be shaken by a power without an image.