Under the surface of Venus, The Vex were on edge. Not long ago, six Guardians of the Last City retraced the steps of a long-forgotten fireteam, bringing them to the doorstep of the Vex stronghold, The Vault of Glass, a timeless dimension where they contained their most powerful weaponry that they sought to one day use to conquer the solar system.
Despite the Vex's efforts to keep them out, the Guardians opened the door descending down into the Vault, where so many others before them met their end, lost to the far reached of time. In no time, The fireteam was engaged by the Templar, the Vex Axis Mind in charge of protecting the Vault and responsible for Scattering Kabr's fireteam. After a lengthy battle, the Templar fell that to the Aegis' intervention, a relic left behind by Kabr, who used his remaining time as a Guardian to forge a superweapon to defeat the Vault of Glass where it waited for years for a worthy wield to find it.
The Aegis had found a worthy wielder in Pekis who, with it, defeated the Templar. Soon after, he was taken from his teammates, and they were left to venture further into the Vault without him, finding their way into the Gorgon's Labyrinth. One of the Gorgons went about its patrol, searching for the intruders that had slain the Templar, creating the Vault's power gape. It glowing body standing out in the dark caverns of the Vault of glass. Its eye twitched side to side, scanning everything in its path.
Crux peaked out from the rock wall where he hid. Bitsine and Kelly stayed close behind him, letting him lead them through the maze towards the rendezvous point at the cave exit on the Labyrinth's other side. "You see anything?" Kelly asked.
Crux spotted the Gorgon passing through. It stopped in the middle of an intersection between paths, slowly spinning its body around, scanning everything around it. Crux pulled his head back before the light of the Gorgon's eye made contact with him. "There a Gorgon looking around for us." He said, waiting for the light to pass.
"Should we try to kill it?" Bitsine suggested, raising her weapon to show she was up for it. It hadn't been that long since the Guardians' split into two teams to sneak past the Gorgons, but Bitsine wasn't one for stealthy approaches.
Kelly pushed the Titan's weapon down, "No! It's too dangerous to try that with these things. You saw what almost happened to Crux." Kelly kept her voice down to avoid the Vex hearing her.
Crux shook his head, remembering when his body was fading away from the Gorgon's gaze. It was as unpleasant a feeling as it could get, and didn't want to go through it again. His thoughts turned to the other members of his fireteam. Ellie and Avez were both fully capable Guardians who could take care of themselves, but down in the Vault, Crux hoped that splitting up wasn't a bad plan. The Gorgon ceased its scanning and moved on, continuing its patrol, giving the Guardians an opening.
Crux peaked out again. Seeing that the Gorgon was gone, he stepped out to look around for anymore. "Your clear," Soul informed her Guardian.
Crux looked back at the Warlock and Titan behind him, "Come on, let's move." The Hunter continued on with the other two on his heels. They kept an eye out at the move forward, not wanting to be caught by surprise while their Ghost kept their sensors active to alert them of any enemies. They stopped at another turn, Crux pressing his back to the wall, peaking out for any threats. At first, there was none, then a Gorgon came into view. Crux pulled back to avoid being spotted, but the Harpy spotted movement, heading over to investigate.
"It's coming this way!" Soul warned.
"Crap!" Crux backed up, prompting his companions to do the same. With just the three of them, they wouldn't be able to quickly kill the Gorgon and escape before more showed up.
"Crux," Kelly said, getting the Hunter's attention, pointing to a ledge above them they could reach.
The Gorgon turned the corner, its eye scanning the path ahead for whatever it might have seen. It slowly hovered forward, emitting a dim searchlight and making different manners of electronic noises. Above it, the three Guardians quietly couched on the ledge as they waited for the Vex to pass through. Thankfully they had adequate cover, so there was little chance of another Gorgon spotting them where they were, and all long as the one below them didn't look up, they should be good. The Gorgon adjusted its fins, turning off the searchlight, and moved on.
Kelly, being the only Human of the group, sighed in relief. She was holding her breath the whole time, and now she could relax for now. Crux hopped back down, with the other two doing the same seconds later. He looked out again, no enemies in sight, but he spotted Ellie and Avez on the opposite side of the Labyrinth, moving towards the waypoint their Ghosts made for them. The Exo Hunter chuckled, glad to see that his long time teammates were alright, but he had to focus on getting through the maze himself and his companions.
Ellie and Avez traversed their route through the Labyrinth without much difficulty thus far. The did have a close encounter early on a few minutes after their trek through the maze began, but they avoided drawing any attention from the Gorgons. Ellie led the way of their two-person team, unaware that Crux managed to spot them. The Warlock and Titan kept their eyes open, watching where they stepped. With any luck, they would be able to escape the Labyrinth with little trouble.
"Ellie?" Avez whispered.
The two Guardians stopped behind a large boulder that would shroud them from view. Their Ghosts monitored the surrounding area with their sensors while their Guardians conversed. "What is it?" Ellie responded.
"Do you think Pekis is okay?" Avez spoke with concern.
Inside her helmet, Ellie's face turned into one of doubt. She knows that Pekis is a capable Guardian, but she couldn't say for sure after what happened to him. They were in the Vault of Glass, after all. Who knows where the Vex sent him or what that shield has to do with it. "I honestly don't know. I hope he is alright, though. Even if he is a Fallen, he's one of us, and we need everyone we got to see this through."
Avez nodded in agreement. Whatever he was, he was a fellow Guardian of the Last City and their ally. And whatever the circumstances behind the Aegis' creation were, It was now bound to Pekis, and after seeing it in action against the Templar, it would definitely be a huge help for the Hunter where ever he was, and they would definitely need its support for whatever was at the center of the Vault.
At the gateway nexus, two radically different Light wielders were going head to head. Pekis dashed across the area at breakneck speed with the Aegis and Fatebringer in hand, lightning dancing across his body and weapons. He chased the Vex created from the downfall of Kabr, the Legionless, Its metallic frame glowing with the power of arc. Time's Blade crackled with the energy of its robotic wielder, the glowing edge ready to clash.
The Legionless Mind stopped, doubling back to intercept Pekis. The Guardian and Vex stood in a deadlock with one another. Sparks flew from the empowered blades grinning together, their owners giving one another death glares. Pekis four blue eyes stared back at the lone white-blue eye of the Legionless mind, snarling at the Vex while it remained silent. Their powers clashed on contact, Pekis' pure Light fighting against the Legionless Mind's corrupted Light.
The Vex's tainted Light disgusted the Guardian. It did not feel warm and inviting like the Traveler's power. It felt cold and sinister, like the presence of the Vex. The Vex would use this power to enforce their will upon the entire system, destroying all life and converting the worlds that circled the sun into machines. Pekis would not allow that to happen. He will put the memory of Kabr to rest and let the Aegis have its purpose fulfilled.
The Legionless mind released a burst of energy that broke the deadlock, and the fighting began. Pekis landed on his feet, the Legionless Mind appearing in front of him a moment later, bringing its sword down. Pekis blocked with Fatebringer, keeping Time's Blade at bay while he struck the Vex's chest with the shield. The Legionless Mind was forced back from the hit, its chest armor cracked, but the damage minor, it readied itself for the furry of attacks Pekis unleashed seconds later.
The sounds of metal on metal contact rung repeatedly in their exchange. The two opponents using all their power to keep up with one another. Pekis block a punch from the Vex with the Aegis, the shield holding firm against its creator's corrupted form. The impact still pushed the Hunter back a few feet, the Vex using its incredible speed to get beside Pekis, swinging its blade for a decapitation. Pekis ducked out of the way, bringing his sword around to slash at the Vex's midsection only for it to jump up to avoid it. The Legionless Mind came back down, channeling it Light into its fists. Pekis blinked away just as the Vex slammed into the ground, sending an electric shockwave in all directions.
Its target gone, the Legionless Mind stood up when Pekis reappeared several yards way, forming an arc sword in his lower hand, he threw it at the Vex. "Danger!" Detecting the attack, The Legionless Mind leaned out of the way, the sword grazing the side of its head. It turned its attention back to the Hunter, who blinked again, reappearing a second later directly behind the Vex. Pekis swung again, looking to slice the machine in half when it spun around, knocking his arm away with its elbow, then tried to jam Time's Blade into his abdomen. The Hunter jumped back, putting a reasonable distance between him and the Vex that ended up stabbing empty air.
Pekis respite was short-lived, the Legionless Mind quick to come at him again. He blocked the Vex's sword with his own parrying the blade and created an opening for Pekis to strike his opponent on the side. The Legionless Mind stumbled, registering the impact it recovered in time to deflect an attack from his sword, now put on the defensive. The ferocity of Pekis' attacks increased with his speed, forcing the Vex back bit by bit. Pekis blinked again, reappearing behind the Vex to cut it down. Like before, the Legionless Mind spun around to deflect the attack, except Pekis blinked again and appeared on its side, bringing his sword down to serve the Vex's sword hand.
The metal appendage hit the ground with a clang, Time's blade falling out of its fingers. Before the Legionless Mind could do anything, it was struck in the head by the Aegis, its metal head fractured from the impact as the Vex hit the ground. Pekis pounced, pinning it down while raising the Aegis above his head to bash the Legionless Mind's to pieces. The Vex's eye turned purple, projecting a void barrier around its head for protection. The Guardian struck the barrier with all his might, the veil of void holding against the shield hitting it. After a few more hits, the barrier broke, and the Vex concentrated its Light to release a pulse of void power that blasted Pekis of it.
The Hunter's back hit the ground hard, Fatebringer tumbling out of his grasp while his super wore off, returning him to normal. The Legionless Mind got back up, missing one hand and its cracked face having seen better days. It needed time to repair itself and allow its energy levels to recover. Using its connection to the Vex network, The Legionless Mind activated the gateway, putting forth a call for assistance. Pekis got back to his feet, reclaiming Fatebringer, he noticed that the gateway had been activated, Its surface pulsing with energy, "What's it doing?"
"The Legionless Mind activated the gate. Something big is coming through." As Aepvis said, a towering figure's silhouette became visible, a flash occurring as the entity stepped through. Standing on two feet, towering over the two combatants, a Minotaur class Gate Lord came out of the gate, winding its arms before fixing its torch hammer on Pekis. Behind the Gate Lord, Thykon, several Goblins, and Minotaurs came through, weapons primed as they all focused on the Hunter. "Move!"
Heding his Ghost's advice, Pekis got his feet moving, avoiding a barrage of Vex fire. The Vex kept on him, Thykon staying where it was with the Goblins and Minautours moving forward. Pekis blocked direct hits with the Aegis, throwing a flux grenade to take some of the machines out but more still stood. With Thykon providing an adequate distraction, The Legionless Mind retreated to rear, holding its remaining hand out towards its dropped sword, which then flew across the area into its grasp. Its eye turned purple and cast a Ward of down around itself. Then its eye changed to bright orange, enveloping itself in a solar aura for repairs and calling for a sacrifice to be made for it.
The Vex pinned Pekis down behind a pillar in the area's outer edge, closing in on him. Thykon fired two blasts from its torch hammer, hitting the pillar Pekis hid behind, rattling it, causing chucks to break off. Pekis peeked out, seeing the Vex closing in, he knew he couldn't stay for long. A blast from Thykon missed the pillar, hitting the ground near the Hunter. Pekis' shields took the brunt of the explosion, and with little other options, he unholstered his shock pistols with his lower hands, rushing out to meet the Vex head-on.
Pekis raised the Aegis' barrier for protection, moving forward, shooting his pistols at the Goblins attempting to flank him. Thykon fired its torch hammer again, but the volley did nothing to the Aegis' barrier. The Hunter dropped the barrier upon getting close to a Minotaur. He bashed it in the chest with the shield, cutting through its midsection with Fatebringer, bringing down the first of many more Vex. Pekis offensive continued, the Hunter dashing across the battlefield, cutting down any robot that got to close while dodging attacks from the others.
Thykon launched another volley, Pekis blocking the attack with the shield. The Gate Lord then stepped forward in challenge, making it the next target of Pekis assault. Pekis charged the Gate Lord, ignoring the few Goblins that were left. Thykon continued firing, Pekis using his speed to avoid being hit until he was at the Vex's giant feet. Thykon raised its foot, bringing it down to crush the Eliksni only for Pekis to jump out of the way. The ground shook from the stomp, Pekis using the moment to jam Fatebringer into its ankle, cutting deep through metal and wiring alike. Thykon pulled its foot away, stumbling from the damage done, it fired another volley at Pekis, who jumping the air using his Light. He focused the Aegis' power to its center, firing the accumulated energy into a single shot that made direct contact with the Gate Lord's head.
There was a bright flash, and Thykon's head was blown off, the explosion damaging a good portion of its body in the process. Pekis landed on the ground, the Gate Lord going crazy, firing its torch hammer wildly, but unable to land a hit on the Hunter. He jumped up again, going straight for the sparking Vex giant and latched onto its midsection. The Goblins that remain fired their weapons to shot Pekis off Thykon, but it was too late. Pekis plunged Fatebringer into Thykon's mind core, breaking the glass container holding its radiolaria, the sword's void energy destroyed any white liquid that made contact with it.
Pekis pulled his sword out, jumping away from the dying Gate Lord as it soon toppled over, crushing the remaining Goblins it came with under its weight. Pekis stood victorious over Thykon, but the battle was not over. The restored Legionless Mind took to the air, Sparking with the power of its corrupted Light and came down on Pekis. Thankfully, Pekis power came back as well, his body, sword, and shield sparking with electricity, he leaped upward to meet the Vex halfway. Fatebringer and Time's Blade struck one another, the attacks created a burst that blew the two combatants in opposite directions.
The Legionless Mind Landed, impaling its sword into the stone floor. Pekis struck the ground in front of him with the Aegis, gripping Fatebringer tightly as he stood up. They glared at a distance with one another, Pekis speaking up to challenge it. "Come on, Machine! I grow bored!" The Legionless Mind gripped Time's Blade with both hands, funneling more of its Light into the blade, making it glow brighter.
"It's channeling its Light. Be ready." Aepvis warned, getting a grunt from Pekis.
After channeling a sufficient amount of Power into Time's Blade, the Legionless Mind twirled it several times, slashing the air in front of it, and sent out a bolt of arc Light straight at Pekis. The Hunter was quick to block with the Aegis, the attack's impact causing an explosion of electricity that Pekis sure felt. The Vex slashed the air three more times, each sending another bolt of arc at the Eliksni. Pekis attempted to get out of the way, but the attacks homed in on his position, so instead, he restored to using Fatebringer to cut through each one. His Light negated that of the bolts, and once he cut down the third, the Legionless Mind took the direct approach.
The Vex slammed its fist into his chest, breaking Pekis' torso armor and snapping a few ribs. Pekis howled in pain, coughing up some blood behind his face mask. Adrenaline overcoming pain, Pekis raised his sword to counter the Vex's, every breath took inciting a sharp pain within him. Aepvis healed his wounds, giving his Guardian a better chance of fending off the unrelenting machine. His breathing easier, Pekis stood firm to defend himself. He blinked out of sight, momentarily confusing the Legionless Mind until it detected him and a massive build-up of power up above. "Danger."
Pekis faced the Aegis downward, focusing their combined power to launch a supercharged energy blast from the shield. The Legionless Mind jumped out of the way to avoid a direct hit, still getting caught in the explosion, its armor taking some damage. The Vex's feet scraped on the ground, looking up, spotting Pekis in the air, who threw an arc sword at it. The Legionless Mind ducked, but before it could do anymore, Pekis blinked in front of it, using the Aegis for a fierce uppercut that broke the bottom portion of the Vex's face. It stumbled back, reaffirming it footing to block a follow-up attack.
The two opponents went at it again, their Light and swords clashing for dominance. Pekis disarmed the Legionless Mind, striking its sword arm with the Aegis making it lose its grip. Time's Blade hit the ground leaving the Vex unarmed. Pekis brought Fatebringer down to cleave through its body, the Legionless Mind managing to grab him by the wrist with bone-breaking pressure, twisting his arm harshly, making him roar in pain. Pekis brought the Aegis around to strike it for that, the Vex swatting the shield away, causing some damage to its forearm and hit him twice in the head, rattling his brain.
Dazed, Pekis couldn't do much when the Vex brought its knee up to collide with his stomach. The Eliksni's body rocked, letting out a gasp of air. The Legionless Mind repeated its action, bringing its knee up several times, taking the air out of Pekis' lungs. It released his arm to his surprise, allowing it to fall limply to his side, and a torch hammer appeared in its hand. As the Legionless Mind aimed it at Pekis chest, he quickly pulled his shock knife out of its holster using his lower arm then jammed it into the Vex's side just as it pulled the trigger.
Pekis was blasted away, his shields and armor taking the brunt of it. He hit the ground, gasping and groaning. Aepvis got to work fixing the damage, acting fast to get him back up before the Legionless Mind could finish him.
"Damage detected." Pekis shock knife was lodge deep in the Vex's side. The blade grazed the Legionless Mind's core, cutting into the glass casing resulting in a small breach. It pulled the knife out, tossing it aside, then glowed with solar. Dents and cuts healed up, its face was still partially damage, but all in all, it was still functional. The Legionless Mind called Time's Blade back to its hand, glowing with arc Light it jumped up, focusing it Light into its fists to crush the downed Eliksni in one go. Aepvis healed Pekis, who saw the Vex about to come down upon him, raising the Aegis above him.
The Aegis strained to block the Legionless Mind Fist of Havoc, the impact creating a shockwave strong enough to cause several pillars to crumble. The barrier the Aegis surrounded Pekis with flickered with every following strike the Vex brought down on it. The ground they were on crack from the pressure, the fissures getting larger with every hit until the Legionless Mind forwent its fists and turned Time's Blade downward for a piercing effect. The Aegis dropped the barrier in favor of putting all its energy into reinforcing its frame. A bright flash emitted from the sword and shield making contact, the sharp tip of the Time's Blade digging into the Aegis' metal.
Pekis growled, pushing up against the Legionless Mind barring down on him, Its single eye fixated on the shield attached to his arm. The opposing forces of Light were in a stalemate, neither getting much ground over the other. The Vex focused more of its power into the sword, allowing it to cut further into the shield, causing it pain that Pekis also felt. Pekis' body surged with arc, with Fatebringer laying on the ground out of his reach, he formed an Arc blade in his right hand, getting it at the right angle and hacked off one of the Legionless Mind's feet. The Vex stumbled back from the loss of its foot, balancing itself on its remaining foot and stump. Pekis got back on his feet, turned to finish the Axis Mind while he had the chance. "Danger!" Pekis Lunged at it, swinging his arc blade to cut through its midsection. The Legionless Mind jumped on one foot, leaping away from Pekis' attack.
Pekis followed, blinking into the air above the Legionless Mind, swinging the Aegis at it. The shield struck the Vex's chest, sending crashing down into the ground. Gravity took effect, sending Pekis downward towards the Legionless Mind, arc sword for impalement. The machine rolled out of the way, causing Pekis to only stab the floor. The Legionless Mind concentrated its power into one fist, slamming it down on the floor, creating a shockwave that blasted Pekis away. He landed on his feet using his enhanced speed to reclaim Fatebrinnger when a red hot energy beam flew past his head.
Pekis turned to see the gateway was active once more, multiple Goblins and half a dozen Hobgoblins came out, and behind them was something much bigger. Stepping out of the gate, a massive Hobgoblin class Axis Mind came into view. Arkeox, the Gate Keeper, the Vex tasked with monitoring the nexus gateway's functions. Responding to The destruction of Thykon, Arkeox towered over its smaller minions. Attached to its right arm was a high powered tri-barreled line rife capable of rapid-fire. Its other arm was equipped with three energy projectors for closer engagements, capable of releasing deadly solar, arc, or void attacks.
"Damn!" Pekis cursed, seeing that the Legionless Mind had enveloped itself in another Ward of Dawn to repair itself.
"Watch out!" Aepvis warned.
Arkeox charged its rifle, the three barrels becoming read, then fired precision energy bolts. Pekis evaded the first one moving fast to avoid the next ones from Arkeox and its minions. The half dozen Hobgoblins stayed by Arkeox's side while the Goblins moved in. With his super still active, Pekis got to work cut down the encroaching robots one at a time, his speed making it next to impossible for them to get a bead on except for Arkeox. Arkeox's more advanced processing capabilities made it able to keep its sights on the Hunter, even calculate where he would go. It proved this by firing at locations where Pekis would arrive moments later, getting a few good shots that he couldn' block or dodge in time.
Another shot from Arkeox broke through Pekis' shields, burning through his shoulder. Pekis roared in pain, raising the Aegis to block another shot aimed for his head. Arkeox raised its left arm, the energy projectors charged and released a burning waterfall of fire at him. Pekis jumped back in time, the Hobgoblins opening fire immidently. Pekis super wore off, and he felt another burning sensation on his chest, prompting him to raise the Aegis' barrier for protection. Arkeox readied its projectors again, its arm charged with void and unleashed a torrent of purple energy directly on top of the barrier. The Aegis had little trouble defending against the attack, the void streaming down the barrier's sides, and dissipated on the floor. Pekis dropped the barrier once Aepvis fix the damage done to him.
Pekis stared down Arkeox as it was charging its weapon. He had to take it out, so he rushed it, dodging or blocking every shot at him by the Axis Mind and Hobgoblins. When he was close enough, he leaped into the air going right for Arkeox head. Seeing him, Arkeox attempted to swat him out of the air with its rifle, Pekis double jumping to avoid being hit and slashed at Arkeox's head with Fatebringer. Pekis cut in deep, leaving a large gash on the Vex's head, almost cutting off one of its horns. Pekis landed behind the Axis mind, Arkeox turning around, extending it left arm out where large tesla coils extended out of the energy projectors, surging with arc power.
The Hobgoblins took aim, and Pekis raised the Aegis' barrier again. Arkeox fired a thunderstorm's worth of lighting at the Hunter, the Aegis' barrier absorbing the electricity, protecting Pekis from any harm. Aegis siphoned energy from the attack to become fully charged, ready to retaliate with full force. Arkeox's tesla coils overheated, making further use of the weapons unwise, so it deactivated them, ending the lighting storm giving Pekis the opening he needed. The moment he had the chance, Pekis dropped the barrier focusing all the power the Aegis accumulated. The shield fired, its energy volley exploding once it hit Arkeox's arm, destroying the appendage, sending pieces of shrapnel flying all around in a bright explosion.
'Severe damage detected.' Arkeox stumbled back from the blast, registering its missing appendage and damage to the rest of its chassis. Its eye flickered, sparks flying out the shoulder its arm was once attached to. Arkeox did a diagnostic on itself, checking for any further damage Pekis' attack may have caused.
Pekis lowered the Aegis, deriving satisfaction from seeing the Vex deprived of one limb. He tightened his grip on Fatebringer, moving to take advantage of Arkeox's disability. A bight flash in the corner of his eye made him stop, a familier foe intercepted him. The Legionless Mind's feet slid on the stone floor, stopping to bring Time's Blade crackling edge around to cut him down a size. Pekis blocked in time, The tip of the Vex's sword grazing his helmet; the ensuing melee forced him back on the defensive. Pekis growled aggressively. He grew tired of this back and forth and wanted an end to it.
A red flash made Pekis block with the Aegis. Arkeox stabilized itself, refocusing its aim at Pekis. Though its left arm was destroyed, its arm-mounted tri barrel line rifle was still fully functional, All three barrel charging for rapid-fire. Although outnumbered, Pekis reignited his bladedancer allowing arc Light to surge through his body and engaged. The two Vex put Pekis on the defensive. Fighting either one by himself was stressful enough, but dealing with both at the same time left him with limited options. The Legionless Mind confronted the Hunter up close and personal as it always had, slashing away with Time's Blade while Arkeox stayed at a distance, firing every opening it got. Pekis was forced to stay on the move, dodging and blocking, running all over to avoid being overwhelmed and killed.
Pekis took cover from Arkeox behind a stone structure to get a moment's respite from getting shot at. It, unfortunately, did not stop the Legionless Mind from following and continuing its melee with Pekis. Sparks flew from their clashing blades, Light conflicting just as the hosts did. Pekis heard Arkeox moving to get an angle on Pekis from behind. He snarled, dodging a shot from Arkeox, but he gave the Legionless Mind an opening in doing so.
The sword-wielding Vex knocked Fatebringer out of the Hunter's hand, sending it tumbling to the floor. Pekis blinked, attempting to retrieve his weapon, but the Legionless Mind wouldn't have it, using its high speed to catch up and cut off the hand he reached out with. "Ahh!" Pekis' hand fell next to Fatebringer, Its owner retreating to avoid another strike. With only the Aegis at his disposal, Pekis put some distance between him and the Vex while Aepvis restored his missing hand. At this rate, he would be overwhelmed unless he could come up with a plan.
Arkeox turned around with its weaponed charged, Pekis gained an idea. The Legionless Mind was on him again, bringing time's blade to cut him down to size. Although relieved of his sword, Pekis held his ground, taking a defensive approach to the attack, blocking or dodging the Vex's attacks, His eyes switching between the giant approaching and the smaller machine before him. Arkeox stopped where it was aiming its rifle, calculating its first shot. Pekis intentionally left himself open, The Legionless Mind taking the bait, moving in for a killing blow. Instead of blinking to safety or running away, he waited until the last possible second. Arkeox got a clear shot, charging its weapon to fire.
At that moment, Pekis acted. With all the speed his Light could muster, he brought the Aegis around, striking the Legionless Mind in the arm, throwing Times Blade off course, and doing serious damage to the Vex's limb. The legionless Mind stumbled, vulnerable to Pekis follow up strike to it head, breaking the armor plating. Arkeox fired two shots, and with the Legionless Mind off-balance, Pekis wasted no time. He grabbed the Legionless Mind, pulling it close to him and put it between himself and the beams. Arkeox's first shot ended up hitting the Legionless Mind head, blowing off the upper right section, exposing the internal circuitry and damaging its eye. The second hit the left side of its chest, punching a hole straight through and hitting Pekis, burning through his armor and into his chest to his ribcage.
'inter-nal cranial systems com-promised. Vis-ion impaired. Damage to mo-tor functions detec-ted. Unable to-' Pekis let the Legionless Mind go, and the Vex fell like a brick. He clutched the gaping wound in his chest as Aepvis closed it up, grateful it was not fatal, but he had more pressing matters. Arkeox continued firing, notwithstanding the Legionless Mind being incapacitated. Now with only one opponent, Pekis felt much better about his chances. His super running low, Pekis was quick to retrieve Fatebringer to finish Arkeox off. With no assistance available, Arkeox reactivated the gateway to summon, but Pekis moved faster than they could arrive.
Avoiding the red beams, Pekis quickly closed the gap, leaping up to meet Arkeox face to face. The Vex swung its weapon arm to swat him away, Pekis responding by blocking with the Aegis, releasing a burst of energy that damaged the tri barrel line rifle, causing it to spark and go haywire, firing wildly. Pekis doubled jumped, getting close enough to Arkeox's head to stab it in the eye with Fatebringer, blinding it and the electricity running through the blade doing internal damage.
The Legionless Mind managed to regain control of its motor functions, weakly getting off the ground with a large hole through its chest with its head still opened up. 'Mot-or functions re-stored. Severe dam-age to systems de-tected. Withd-rawl required.' Sparks flying from its head wounds, the Legionless Mind turned to see the predicament Arkeox was it. The damage done by Pekis caused the Axis Mind to go out of control, firing its damaged weapon with no accuracy, many of the shots hitting the gateway, causing structural damage, destabilizing the open portal. Pekis pulled his sword out of Arkeox's head, jumping off and landing on the ground, firing one last blast from the Aegis, hitting the Axis Mind directly in the chest. Arkeox's chassis was blown wide open, the explosion rupturing its mind core, resulting in the colossus Hobgoblin to topple over.
Arkeox hit the ground hard, rocking the floor, laying dead before the malfunctioning gateway. With that out of the way, Pekis turned to the weakened Legionless Mind yards away. His power ran out, reverting the Hunter to his normal state, Fatebrinnger void glow returning. Regardless, Pekis approached the Legionless mind, gripping his sword tight to finish it off. The Legionless Mind raised its own sword, equipping its other hand with a touch hammer to defend itself. The gap between them shrank with every step.
Before either one could make a move, the gateway went haywire. A pulse emitted from it, Aepvis and the Legionless Mind, detecting erratic power fluctuations coming from the gateway. Another pulse came more substantial than the last, interfering with the electronics the two combatants' armor had. "What is happening!?" Pekis question backing away from the gateway that was sparking as the pulses continued.
"The gateway is malfunctioning! The damage it sustained during the fight has compromised it!" The pulses grew stronger, creating fissures in the floor around it. The portal destabilized the gate's frame, straining from the power surge, causing further damage to its systems. Small explosions began happing, The portal turning into a vortex sucking in everything within close proximity. Arkeox was the first to be pulled in, the dead Axis Mind's body breaking apart and getting pulled into oblivion. The vortex grew in size, increasing the range of its suction.
Pekis cloak got pulled towards the vortex, the area around the gateway becoming unstable, stone columns and chucks of the floor breaking off, getting pulled in. 'Struc-ture integri-ty com-promised. Unable to shutd-own N-exus.' The Legionless mind feet began dragging along the floor as it too was slowly pull in. The same could be said for Pekis as he tried to get away, but the vortex became stronger. The remains of Thykon were sucked into the vortex along with all the other dead Vex scattered everywhere.
Pekis grabbed onto a nearby pillar as his feet were pulled off the ground, the Legionless Mind, punching a hole in the floor to hold onto, unable to teleport away due to the damage it sustained. The floor around the Legionless Mind broke apart, making it lose its grip and get sucked into the vortex. Pekis grabbed onto the pillar tight, his legs dangling towards the vortex. During his predicament, Fatebringer slipped out of his fingers and into the vortex. He cursed, "Aepvis, where does that portal lead!?"
"I have no idea! It's completely unstable! Don't let go!" Aepvis' plan wouldn't be an option much longer. The gateway released another pulse, causing further damage to the surrounding area and causing the pillar Pekis held onto to break apart. He lost his grip, searching everywhere to find something else to grab but to no avail. Both he and Aepvis were pulled through the vortex, at which point began closing in on itself. The gateway itself finally gave out, falling apart, the pieces being sucking into the vortex as it closed with a bright flash.
Once it was over, everything was quiet. No Pekis, no Legionless Mind, only the gentle wind blowing through the cavern the ruin Vex structure resided in. Wherever Pekis went would be a place outside of time and space.
In the Labyrinth, the other five Guardians were nearing their intended destination. Crux, Kelly, and Bitsine hid behind a rock formation, waiting for a pair of patrolling Gorgons to pass and give them an opening to move. Their waypoints showed that the exit was a short distance away, but with the Gorgons nearby, the safest thing would be to wait. Crux peaked out, seeing the Gorgons still lingering about.
"Is it clear, Yet?" Bitsine questioned, watching the rear for any more Vex though that wasn't necessary as their Ghosts would alert them of any other hostiles.
One of the Gorgons took off to continue its patrol, the second staying to search the area. "No. One of them is sticking around."
"Is it coming this way?" Kelly asked.
"No, it's just looking around. It doesn't know we're here."
"Damn, I wish these things were regular Harpies. We could have killed them all one by one and been on our merry way by now." Bitsine crossed her arms as they waited. It may have been her nature as a Titan, but Bitsine was increasingly frustrated by the stealth tactics they had to use. She understood why they had to go undetected, but that didn't mean she had to like it.
Crux was having similar, albeit less frustrated feelings about it than Bitsine. He liked a good firefight as much as the next Guardian, but after what happened with the last Gorgon that spotted him, he would stay quiet this time. "Don't worry, we'll be out of here soon enough." Crux tapped the rock they hid behind, and a chunk broke off from above and broke upon hitting the ground by them. "Crap!" Crux peaked out, pulling his head back immidently, seeing that the Gorgon was looking their way. "We've been made!" he warned.
Bitsine cocked her gun, and Kelly asked, "What do we do?"
Crux gave it some thought. There were no ledges above them they could use like last time, so he came up with another idea. The Gorgon went over to them to investigate the sound it picked up. Just as it was about to turn the corner, an arm holding a burning knife came out and stabbed it in the eye. Crux jammed the solar knife deep into the Gorgon eye socket, its heat doing internal damage, and blinding it, making its power useless. The Gorgon floated backward, letting out an electronic screech and alerting the rest of its kind.
Crux then dropped a smoke grenade on the ground, quickly exploding into a smoke screen that had the effect cloaking the three Guardians, turning them invisible to sight and sensors. "Come on!" He took off running towards the waypoint, Kelly and Bitsine following him as more Gorgons arrive utterly unaware of the intruders running by.
One the other side of the Labyrinth, Ellie and Avez took advantage of the distraction luring the Gorgons away from their side to move up quickly. They wasted no time, Their Ghosts letting them know that Crux's group got to the exit. As they ran, Ellie ended up tripping, landing with her arm between her and a rock, fracturing her bone and making her cry out. A Gorgon picked up on Ellie's cry, going back to investigate as Avez pulled her back up by her uninjured arm. Dex fixed her arm quickly, and the two Guardians got moving, but before getting far, the Gorgon arrived and spotted them. 'Intruders detected. Initiating Erasure Protocol.' The Gorgon expanded its fins to proceed.
Realizing they couldn't run, Avez busted out his Scorch Torch launcher spinning around to fire. The rocket made a direct hit on the Gorgon's eye, destroying it and the front portion of the Harpy's body. The Vex's remains dropped like a rock, and the two Guardians kicked dirt to join back up with the other three members of their group. More Gorgons arrived to find the dead Gorgon on the ground and a dust trail leading to a small cave leading out of the Labyrinth. After scanning multiple footprints heading into the cave, the Vex concluded that the Guardians manage to escape. 'Paracausal entities containment failed. Further directives?'
'Disengage. Resume standard procedure.' The Gorgons complied without question, going back to their patrols to prevent any more intruders from getting by.
The reunited Guardians traversed through the cramped cave, Not giving the Labrinth one more though as soon they came upon another deep chasm separating them from their next destination. Kelly examined the enormous gap separating them from the next structure. As far as she could tell, there was only one way to go. "Okay, I guess we have to try our luck on those vanishing platforms from here." She pointed to the cluster of floating platforms hovering above the chasm. Each one stayed visible for a few moments before disappearing at different intervals for an equal amount of time. Kelly could tell they lead towards the next structure, but traveling across them would be incredibly risky and would lead to a deep drop if their timing was off.
"According to the Sphere, that structure is definitely what we've been looking for in here." Bitsine's Ghost mentioned. "The Vault's network is centered around it, continually feeding testing data and other information into it. It has to be the heart of the Vault."
"That would explain the high energy readings coming from it," Walker said. "I detected a similar energy signature coming from the Templar and Gorgons. It might be where they got their powers from."
"And all we have to do is play a game of hop scot with a bunch of floating islands that disappear. Easy." Crux said.
"We could try jumping across that way over there." Bitsine pointed out the far edge of the structure were a platform was sticking out.
Avez joined Bitsine to examined the alternate route for himself. "That distance is pushing how far we can go with our Light, not to mention how steep of a drop there is to land. And even if we make it, we have to hug the wall across that narrow ledge to get where we need to go."
"At least it's a straight forward jump instead of worrying about timing and all that."
Avez turned to Ellie. "What do you think, Ellie?"
"I think we need to make a decision and not linger around too long." The Guardians would spend the next several minutes deciding on a path to take. Whichever they choose to would lead to the same place. Where the sands of time are crystallized into shards of glass.