Chapter 337 The President
Aldrich glanced over to the Dominion. It hovered near soundlessly above Arcadia, maintaining a safe distance, wary. However, its weapons, though out, were not aimed, indicating some level of trust.
But who was it in the Dominion that wanted to talk to Aldrich?
"And who is 'he'?" said Aldrich.
Lightspeed rubbed the bridge of her nose, impatient. She put down a pair of black goggles over her eyes and looked around. Little whirs clicked from the goggles, indicating that they were high tech and doing something.
"You've got a communication device in your ear," said Lightspeed. "You'll have to get rid of that."
"I can't do that until I get an explanation for why I'm needed," said Aldrich. He raised his hand and pointed up, not to the Dominion, but far beyond, to the Halo carrier. "And why the Panopticon's Halo carrier is watching from up there."
Lightspeed's brow arched, surprised that Aldrich could see through the cloaking. Or that he could see that far up. The Halo carrier, though massive, was still a huge distance away, nothing more than a small blip to the average person's eye.
Volantis, however, could easily zoom into it. And his Truesight meant cloaking was useless.
Before Lightspeed could talk, she pressed her hand to her ear, to a communications device of her own. "Okay, okay, whatever."
She shrugged at Aldrich. "You can have that device with you. Just go on up and let me be done with this. I'm wasting time I could be spending drinking this already shitty day away."
It was Aldrich this time who raised a brow, if he had one on his skull head under his helm.
'It's way too early to be drinking,' was Aldrich's intrusive thought, but he did not let that slip out. "You still haven't answered my first question. Who is 'he?'"
"Really making this hard on me now, aren't you? Fine. Emrys Du Lac. You know, president of the AA."
"I see." Aldrich nodded to himself, assessing the situation.
"You'll have to go alone, too," said Lightspeed. "We'll make sure your forces here are safe."
"Safe, is it? Interesting word for 'isolate'," said Aldrich.
"It's what my job description told me to do. However you interpret it is your choice," said Lightspeed bluntly.
'Master, are you sure you wish to go?' Valera's thoughts beamed into Aldrich's head. 'If it comes down to it, I am ready to fight. You can always wake the little one to teleport away.'
'Fighting right now isn't prudent. I don't believe they're here to pose us any direct threat. Emrys just wants to talk, and he gave me the AA's support in the form of votes in the Judicata.
He wouldn't have done that if he wanted to get rid of me. I'm also quite interested in hearing what he has to stay.
Plus, I have insurance.'
"Let me leave a friend of mine here to make sure my soldiers really are safe," said Aldrich. He nodded, and the shadow he cast behind him flickered.
From it, like emerging from a sea of dark, viscous waters, Dracul appeared, trickles of solid shadow streaming off of his face and body.
Lightspeed's bored expression broke into pure surprise as she hovered backwards out of sheer instinct.
Valkyrie, however, Aldrich noticed, turned her gaze from icy cool to bright hot. She hovered closer, and in her eyes, Aldrich could see a very familiar sight, a sight he knew well from Valera.
"I have business to conduct with this man," said Dracul, jutting his chin to Aldrich. He was covered from shoulder to toe in a billowing cloak of dark, making him seem like a formless mass of black.
His face, pale and with sharp features, tall nose, sunken in, dark eyes, and flowing locks of inky black hair, made him look very much like some vampiric count.
Fitting for his code name of Dracul.
"I expect him to return in one piece."
Lightspeed's surprise faded, which was impressive in its own right. It meant that other than momentary shock, actually standing in front of Dracul, a powerful Sentinel, was not something that bothered her too much.
Either she was that bored or she was that powerful. Likely a mixture of both, from what Aldrich knew of her strength via publicly available records.
"I can assure you, we aren't here to fight. Consider us more like insurance," said Lightspeed.
"Consider me insurance," said Dracul. His gaze narrowed as he noticed Valkyrie's bloodlust, targeted right at him like a knife. He took his arm out from under his cloak, revealing shiny black armor. Around his gauntleted hand, a blade of swirling dark formed.
"I do not like when fangs are bared at me," said Dracul.
"…" Valkyrie, in response, also armed herself. She held her arm out, and from her arm, twin coiling vines emerged, winding around each other in to form a helix patterned blade of hardened plant mass.
Gold particles - spores or pollen of some kind - gathered around the vine blade.
"Knock it off, Valk." Lightspeed put a hand on Valkyrie's shoulder, shaking her head. "You pick a fight with him, with Thanatos on top of that, and we're going to be dealing with a headache I really, really don't want to deal with."
"…" Valkyrie nodded. She hovered backwards with a soft flick of her flowery wings.
"Hm." Dracul lowered his arm, though notably his darkness blade remained manifested.
"I'll go," said Aldrich. "I'm interested in what Emrys has to say."
And, Aldrich did have to acknowledge, Emrys did help with his votes.
"You should've just done that from the start," groaned Lightspeed. "No need for all this drama."
Aldrich ignored her and flew upwards, his cloak of souls softly wailing as he passed by the two S class heroes. Lightspeed did not give Aldrich a second glance, but Valkryie did. Her lingering gaze settled on Aldrich, and he had the instinctive feeling that she had something she wanted from him, some form of interest.
Regardless, Aldrich moved on. A door atop the Dominion's head, where the cockpit was, opened up indicating where he was to go. He passed through it, settling down in a circular landing zone.
The hatch above him closed, sealing off the sound of howling winds.
"Welcome, Thanatos." In front of Aldrich stood Emrys, the enigmatic president of the Alterhuman Agency.