Chapter 268 [Bonus chapter] Clint's Job
Fisk nodded, taking in Aldrich's words.
"Yeah, when you put it that way, it does make sense. That makes me feel a little better about it all. Anyways, I hope you don't mind me enjoying this vacation, boss." Fisk shrugged before he pulled out a gamedeck, a portable console. A chrome blue X shaped logo showed that it was from Exceed, a top end video game corp based in Japan.
Unsurprisingly, as far as gaming went, Fisk spared no expenses.
"You sure Spybird doesn't need your help piloting this?" said Aldrich.
"Got no experience interfacing with planes," said Fisk. "I just BS'd to V that I could to get out of her hair. Literally."
"Haha!" A deep laugh boomed through the innards of the plane, echoing off of every wall with near deafening intensity. "Look what we have here!"
Clint stepped into the cargo hold, dwarfing Fisk in both size and personality.
Diamondback smiled. "Yeah, I'm seeing a good for nothing punk."
"Heh, I've grown outta that phase a long time ago," said Clint. He nodded to Aldrich and Valera. "How was Diamondback and his boys? Real good, ain't they?"
"Good enough," said Aldrich.
"Indeed," said Valera.
"Y'all are tough customers, huh? But ya ain't got nothin' to worry bout' anymore! Cause ya got the best of the best." Clint pointed a thumb proudly at himself. "And that's me!"
Spybird's voice emanated through a PA system. "Lifting off now. Every second we spend here is more time for pesky heroes or drones to catch us. Flight may be a little shaky because I am going fast, not careful.
And I am drunk."
"…Is he truly capable of steering a flying mount while drunk?" said Valera.
"I wouldn't want it any other way!" said Clint. "Survivin' a plane crash has a thrill of its own, y'know. Worst comes to worst, I can fly y'all back too. A crash ought to give my body enough reason to grow some wings."
Aldrich glanced at Clint with a questioning look, but then again, if there was anyone out there that enjoyed exploding airplanes for fun, it would have been Clint.
The airbird rocket violently as it hovered in the air.
"Nooo!" Fisk slipped off balance, though everyone else remained standing fine. His gamedeck flew away from his hands, heading straight for a demolition course against a wall.
"Got ya, big guy!" Clint picked Fisk up like he was a puppy by the back of his jacket. "And that!"
Clint used his other arm to reach out for the gamedeck. It stretched out like it was made from rubber. He grabbed the console and brought it right back to Fisk.
Aldrich got a good understanding of Clint's powers by now. It was, in essence, some form of adaptive evolution. He could alter his biology according to what he needed, but though the range of powers seemed incredibly varied, it was largely reactive in nature.
Most likely, Clint could not consciously control his evolution.
Aldrich had read up on Clint's feats after Stella had brought him up, scraping together as much info that was available about the legendary Unbreakable.
Judging from his research, if every rumor or tall tale about Clint was actually legitimate, then Clint truly was essentially unkillable.
A good contingency against Clint would be instant death magic applied quickly, before he had a chance to realize the dangers and develop a way to escape.
Aldrich cleared his head. It was in his nature to start thinking of ways to take others down, even if they were his allies, but there was a point where such thoughts became intrusive and counterproductive.
Especially when it came to pure hearted guys like Clint that were easy to read and thus easy to judge whether they were friend or foe.
"Hey put me down!" complained Fisk. "I ain't a kid!"
"Huh? You're like a kid to me, though!" said Clint with a big chuckle. "Don't touch that game of yours until we're cruisin' unless ya wanna see it tumblin' down again."
When Aldrich saw Clint lecture Fisk, he could tell that once, Clint had been a father. According to Diamondback, Clint had lost both wife and daughter to the Dark Six.
It made Aldrich that much more aware of Chrysa's situation. How he was in danger of losing her. He would have smiled faintly at Clint and Fisk's shenanigans, but right now, he was not in the mood.
Perhaps it was because Aldrich was linked to Chrysa, but he felt now more so than ever a deep sense of uncertainty.
Uncertainty about the future. About the world that was so much bigger than he originally envisioned. At the end of the day, he was still new to this power and the responsibilities and risks it carried.
No matter how much he prepared himself, there would always be risk.
Valera sensed Aldrich's thoughts, the worry that plagued him, the loneliness and fear he felt reflected back at him from Chrysa. She reached out and held Aldrich's hand.
Aldrich blinked in surprise. Valera normally would have been too shy to ever make a move like this unless she was blood crazed.
But Valera was not blushing. Her eyes - they were determined.
'We will get through this,' said Valera with her mind. 'Together. So long as I am your guardian knight, you will never face a fight alone.'
Aldrich saw that look in her eyes and it was then that he felt close to her. Oddly, he had never felt like this during the many fights they had battled through together.
It was only now, when there were no shockwaves or energy blasts to deal with, just the abstract idea of facing an uncertain future, that he felt comfort in the firmness of her hand that would always be there for him.
Aldrich nodded to Valera and squeezed her hand back.
"We are in the air now," said Spybird. "Congratulations, all. No crash. But bad news, too. Worse than crash." The sound of him taking a gulp of liquor echoed through the cargo hold. "Hero" spat Spybird, disgusted.
A display screen hanging from the ceiling showed a super floating in front of the airbird. Two wings of golden energy stretched out from his back in a wide wingspan that nearly matched the size of the entire plane. He wore a white super bodysuit with flowing outer layers of fabric that looked like a toga.
The hero put a hand to his ear, connecting his earpiece to the airbird's speakers. He stared at the airbird with bright white eyes, flowing locks of shoulder length golden blonde hair billowing in the wind. "Turn this unauthorized flight and land immediately. If you resist, you should know that I am authorized to enforce justice upon you with lethal force."
Aldrich sighed. Another nuisance. At least, he had fully prepared for this one.
Diamondback started to grow his blue crystal armor over his skin. "That's Seraph. A ranker, though he's down in the minus league. Known for being a real hardass, that one. Stickler for the rules. A little too trigger happy about killing for the sake of 'justice', whatever that means.
Damn, if we weren't flying, I could deal with him."
"Shall I?" said Valera. She could deal with flying targets surprisingly well using a martial arts skill called [Air Jump] that, as the name of the skill would indicate, let her jump on air.
"No, I brought Clint here for a reason. This is precisely why," said Aldrich. He had fully prepared for this exact scenario after hearing it could happen from Casimir.
Nobody other than Clint had the power to deal with an A ranker and also reliably survive and escape solo. "You mind taking this one? Next drink's on me."
"Heheh, you do know the way to my heart, huh?" said Clint. An eager grin imprinted on his face. "Sure, I got this. Next drink ought to be real nice, though."
"I'll have Casimir dig up something vintage," said Aldrich. "What do you like? Liquor? Some kind of artisanal beer?"
"Vintage, artisanal? Psh!" Clint stepped up to the hatch with a disgusted face. "Don't insult me with that fancy crap! Gimme enough shitty beer to knock me out, and ya got a deal!"
The hatch door clicked open, roaring winds whipping through the cargo hold.
"See y'all later!" Clint winked before he jumped out with gusto, the flesh on his back rippling before tearing apart to make way for newly grown, feathered white wings.