134 Arbiter“s Purpose
Zoey had never expected for her drones to report to her that another corrupted creature had been spotted.
Max, Viridi, and her had been a day out from reaching the location where the Asurai clan was located at along the Bulwark when her high altitude drones had signaled her that another corrupted creature was headed towards the bulwark and would reach it the following night. And it just so happened to be headed towards the place the Asurai clan had been forced to defend.
Zoey had no real attachment to the Asurai clan, but since her drones had reached the area they were in she had become aware of the horrible conditions that they had been subjected to, she had begun to admire them. They were being denied food, reinforcements, and basic necessities, and despite that they still held their ground with dogged determination. Zoey found their stubbornness and grit admirable, and not dissimilar to Max's and hers.
So she had put on some speed in an effort to reach the Asurai clan's location before that corrupted creature got to them. She was an Arbiter, and part of her reason for becoming one and her purpose as one was to put an end to these corrupted creatures.
She was concerned about the fact that there was another one after she had killed the first. Both of them seemed to have come from the wasteland, so Max's feeling that the beast tides were related to the corruption was sounding more and more credible.
In order to make good time, Max had been carried piggyback by Zoey as they ran. The extra weight was not too bad to manage for her, but this was their only option as Viridi was not exactly rideable with those sharp spines along her back and Zoey had no time to fabricate an alternative. Max did not seem to mind too much though and took it all in stride.
Shortly after dusk on the second day after leaving Brumau, they were still a few kilometers away from the canyon when Zoey got the alert that the corrupted had entered the canyon and started making its way through. The Asurai warriors were managing the defense against the beast wave rather well as far as she saw, but she needed to speed up if she wanted to get there in time. So Zoey made the decision to leave Max behind with Viridi while she used all her speed to push on towards the canyon.
As a Rank 4 Gaia human with dual Heritages along with the fact that her body had been altered on the DNA level by whatever the Dark Star was, Zoey was incredibly fast. Now that she was not carrying Max, she practically flew across the ground, her light and nimble form barley seeming to touch the ground as she took long, leaping strides to cover the distance. Despite the dire circumstances she was heading towards, Zoey found the feeling rather exhilarating once her adrenaline started flowing.
As she drew within a kilometer of the location, a piercing wail ripped through the air giving Zoey goosebumps. The drones high in the sky were monitoring the situation and showed her that the corrupted had reached the Asurai defense line and was getting ready to engage. Also interesting was that a number of shadowy individuals were spotted by the drones making haste away from the canyon. Zoey quickly tasked some drones to tail the fleeing people and warned Viridi to watch out for them on the way.
By now she was almost in sight of the canyon, so Zoey pulled out her DAAC and loaded two shells laced with Sethrii's divine power drawn from her Arbiter's Mark into the chambers as she ran. The corrupted she had killed in the tunnel back near Brumau had been a small fry compared to the one that Athena and her had faced in the dungeon, and the one she was headed towards seemed to be about as strong as the first had been.
Zoey was stronger now than she had been then, but she did not plan on becoming complacent, especially when fighting these corrupted. Their uncanny resemblance to the enemy that laid waste to her old universe and home was unnerving, not to mention the damage they could cause if left unhindered.
Just as she spotted the lip of the canyon ahead, another wail pierced through the air. The corrupted monster was getting angry. The drones showed her that two of the Asurai warriors had managed to actually fight the thing and crack it's shield! Whatever their weapons were they seemed to be good quality, better than anything she had seen so far in this world.
Zoey quickly reached the lip of the canyon and activated her Dark Star Vision as she took in the scene below in a glance. The two warriors had been knocked back and were struggling to stand while the corrupted monster wailed and writhed in anger. Zoey saw the crack in its energy shield was already regenerating and would be back to normal in only a few seconds.
It was time for her to go to work.
One of Zoey's techniques that had not yet had its moment to shine was brought to full effect in that moment. Dark Star Enmity was a new technique that Zoey had only just begun to understand. When she had fought the beasts in the Gap, and the corrupted creature in the tunnel, she had started to uncover what exactly this technique was good for.
Since it was a passive effect always applied to her, it would activate by itself whenever an enemy was in range. The corrupted in the canyon below where Zoey stood was currently in range so the effect activated and marked the monster with Enmity. For Zoey it was almost subconscious when this happened, but once the corrupted was marked with Enmity, she could instinctively sense where it was most vulnerable to attack. It wasn't visually represented in any way, but with her Dark Star Vision active, Zoey could see every flaw and defect in the corrupted creature's defense, and that crack in its shield was a perfect target.
Barely a second after Zoey reached the canyon's edge, she raised up her Dual Aether Accelerator Cannon and rested her sights on her target. Zoey kept her hand steady while the DAAC came to life as she called out to it with her magic energy. The weapon answered her call with grim purpose, the runes and arrays on the twin barrels blooming to life as magic power flooded through the channels.
Just as she had her purpose as an Arbiter, her weapon also had its purpose.
Zoey exhaled, and with a calm and steady hand, pulled the trigger.
A brilliant while line of energy illuminated the night as the two slugs from Zoey's weapon descended into the canyon enroute to their target. The corrupted creature's shield shattered instantly from the impact alone, allowing the slugs to deliver their divine payload directly into the creature's chest. They detonated, sending an explosion of pure energy ripping though the corrupted creature like a hot knife through butter.
The detonation of the shells released a corona of white energy that seemed to expand out and cleanse all of the corrupted aura that the creature had given off, leaving behind only a blackened husk and charred remains.
Up on the cliff, Zoey watched the scene with wary eyes as she loaded a fresh pair of shells.
She dared that thing to try and get back up, because she had another gift for just that occasion.